Kyoto Day 3: April 12th, 2015 Mon

Kyoto Day 3: April 12th, 2015 Mon

it has been a bit cold and raining. Very wet. Of course I decided to travel to north from central Kyoto. There is a small zen temple called “Shisendo” and this place is famous for its garden. There are 2 rooms you can sit or meditate facing well-maintained and cared garden. I sat there for about 30 minutes just to enjoy the garden, hear birds, feel the breeze. Just to be. 

    

I am just proud to be Japanese especially today.  

 

Kyoto Day 1: April 11th, 2015

Kyoto Day 1: April 11th, 2015

13.5miles. I walked 13.5 miles today. My feet and legs are a bit sore but I’m planning to walk around the city today again.  This is my friends’ first time to visit Kyoto and they wanted to visit Rokuonji (Kinkakji). Not my favorite but yet still impressive. My highlight of my the day was to visit Ryoanji zen Templar for the 4th time. This is my another chapter of my life started. I’m forever grateful for that. This is cherry blossom at Ryoanji.

   

 

It’s just before 7 in the morning. Let’s see what’s waiting for me to explore in this amazing city. 

Story of Shotgun Trip to Seoul & Tokyo: over Via Tribunali in Georgetown

Story of Shotgun Trip to Seoul & Tokyo: over Via Tribunali in Georgetown

March 12 Thursday         left Seattle

March 13 Friday               arrived Gimpo Airport, Seoul, South Korea

March 14 Saturday          flew from Seoul to Haneda,Tokyo

attended concert of this Jin YiHan dude in the afternoon in Shibuya, Tokyo

flew back to Seoul from Tokyo in the evening

March 15 Sunday             Facial, city tour, massage, body scrub, shopping in Seoul

March 16 Monday           flew back to Seattle from Seoul

Who does this?

She and I have been friends since May 2000.  She is unique and I am quirky so we make sense together.  She is the one person whom I don’t feel uncomfortable seeing after not seeing each other for a long time and we can go back to where we left off.  We got together last Friday and we did not have any awkward moments whatsoever and we started our non-stop 3-hour conversation as soon as we met in Georgetown.

We went to Pizzeria in Georgetown in Seattle called Via Tribunali.  They have 20 descent kinds of pizza and some pasta dishes. We ordered one pizza with prosciutto and mushroom and linguine vongole.  To be honest with you, I don’t even remember how they tasted.  It must not have been bad because I didn’t notice.  I was too busy catching up with her whirl wind, insane travel story and it was way more interesting than the food we ordered.  She told me that this trip was her 10- year wedding anniversary gift from her husband, while he stayed behind to take care of his business and their 5-year old daughter.  I have no intention to be criticizing their decision.  I’d rather embrace how understanding her husband is and how hard Amy works every day by working full-time, being a mom and being a wife at the same time.  I guess her mom was so upset hearing Amy was traveling alone and leaving her daughter behind.  I understand where her mom is coming from but she should know already by now that Amy is spontaneous, curious and a determined person, which makes Amy so unique and interesting.

So, I have photos of what we ate that night but I don’t have any comments on them.  They were good.

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Really, who would do this kind of trip?  My crazy friend Amy does.  I am so glad that I have such an insane friend who makes my life way more entertaining and fun.

Embrace your craziness, Amy.  This is a huge compliment.

In Three Weeks: 1200+ Years Old City – Kyoto

In Three Weeks:  1200+ Years Old City – Kyoto

I called our dog sitter today and she told me she was going to take care of my overweight Chihuahua.  Right after getting off from the phone with her, a flush of excitement went through my body.  It was quite strong.

I am leaving for Kyoto exactly in three weeks.  My parents and my brother’s family still live in Tokyo and I am not telling them that I am coming to visit Japan.  This is a huge deal.  Please don’t get me wrong, I enjoy visiting my family every time I go back.  I have to admit however, I don’t feel like I “travel” when I visit my family.  I enjoy the food, hanging out and catching up with them but it is visiting my family, not a travel experience. 1518981_10152091511682230_328486914_n

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Kyoto’s history starts in year of 794 when Emperor Komu stated Kyoto as the capitol city.  It is 1200 years old and there are over 3,000 temples in the city.  Millions of old buildings are still intact.  Not like in Seattle (ugh!  Ugly new developments!), they don’t demolish  old architecture. During World War II, the Allies actually did not bomb Kyoto because of the conscious choice not to destroy tons of historical sites.  In a way, it is like Paris.  Kyoto tries very hard to preserve the way of living and Japanese historic culture.  It does not mean they are not open minded.  It just means they embrace and respect its history.

My grandma was born in 1906 who passed away in 2004.  She had been through a lot.  She was a strict Asian grandma yes.  I remember she never wanted to do things in a convenient way.  For example, she taught me how to make bonito/kelp stock (dashi) from scratch instead of buying ready-made packets at the store.  She showed me how to filet a fish yourself instead of buying fileted fish.  Those thing take time.  To me, people in Kyoto in general seem that they choose traditions over convenience.

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I am beyond excited.  I have my passport, Green Card and the bestest travel companion that I can ever ask for.  I am all set.

What would you like to do if you have a chance to visit to Kyoto?

Alphabet Questions: M-S (especially R)

Alphabet Questions: M-S (especially R)

M – Most favorite book?:  Tokyo Bandwagon

N – Nicknames?:  Mimi Gomez

O – One wish?:  All animals get saved

P – Person who texted me last?:  Vivienne

Q – Question you’re always asked?:  Where did I put that?

R – Reason to smile?:  Chocolate, my overweight chihuahua, many, many, many good books, Billie Holiday records, my mom’s cooking, quote like ““Maybe we should all just listen to records and quit our jobs.” by Jack White, smell of freshly opened bag of Sun-dried Ethiopia Yirgacheff coffee beans, oranges, dog paws, depressing music grabs my heart, English accent, movie like Liberal Arts, independent bookstores like Shakespeare & Co., tasty pastries at Crumble and Flake,  Joseph Leonard, New York City especially East/West Village, Rent, Stomp, handwritten letters, text message saying “i love u,” holding hands, Paris, Paris, Paris, Staub pots, vintage housewares, Bangkok, warm and cozy bed, sound of rain drops, sound of cello makes, Picasso painting, Maria Kochetkova, point shoes, stylish looking glasses, snow,  flower bouquet made by Ayako, Emily Dann, the Corson Building, Autumn, claw-foot tubs, old wood chairs/tables, well-polished shoes, home cooking, chopping vegetables with my Aritsugu knife, beach, ocean, sunset, I can go on for about 2 days to list what makes me happy so I will stop right here.  And, Archie.

S – Song I sang last?:  Cups (“When I’m Gone”)

My Favorite Travel Memory: Bali Airport

My Favorite Travel Memory: Bali Airport

France, Hong Kong, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Italy, Indonesia, Germany, Japan, United States…travel is one of my passions.  If someone paid me to travel and eat, I would do it in a heartbeat.  There are so many happy moments, sad and difficult times and challenging moments throughout my trips.  I love every county I’ve ever been to and I have great memories on those trips.  Thinking about that just makes me happy.

If someone asked me what was my happiest moment, I would answer “Ngurah Rai International Airport.”  It is an airport in Bali, Indonesia.  “Just an airport?” you might ask.  Yes, that was my happiest moment in my travel history.  Entire travel time was 22 hours or so including 2-lay overs at Taipei and San Francisco.  I was tired but excited for my first visit to Bali.

When I landed, I had to buy a tourist visa at the immigration counter.  I was in line about 30 min.  Then I had to be in another 20 min line to go through immigration for an entry stamp.  As any other airport, there were so many exhausted people and crying kids.  Quite loud.

Finally after I came out from the immigration gate to exit the airport, all sounds got muted and all I heard was my name.  This person waving both arms so big but he didn’t even have to do that because all I could see was him.  I kid you not, that was what I experienced.  For a second, I didn’t hear anything and see anything but him.  Then suddenly my world turned to color.  What I mean is that I was not seeing or hearing as I should have been before that happened.  I was not paying attention to what my eyes see and my ears hear.  I had been in a deep and dark hole for the longest time so I probably had forgotten how the world actually looks like until that moment.

From that moment on, I finally have been able to “live” my life.  I feel everything, not only the pain.  I feel happiness, satisfaction, fun, pleasure, enjoyment, well-being, joy, contentment and love.  I am not saying they are the only things that I feel but those feelings are not what I was able to experience completely before that moment at Bali Airport. That was June 2011.  Sun near equator was shining and burning my skin.  Humid and breezy.  I am forever thankful for that moment at the airport.

Dark Place to Happy Place: Just Like That – Outerlands, SF

Dark Place to Happy Place:  Just Like That – Outerlands, SF

I was crying for help inside for weeks. I had been experiencing some hardships that I was not really able to figure out and had been frustrated about not knowing what was going on. As a result, I was being so short with a couple of people, especially my poor best friend, he had to be my punching bag for a while. Even though he bought tickets to San Francisco Ballet (3rd row from the front) and traveled with me. What did I do for return? I snapped at him a couple of times during the trip, which he does not reserve whatsoever.

8 am Sunday morning, we got on to MUNI to headed over to Ocean Beach area to get a nice breakfast. On MUNI, it felt like my chest was being filled with dark emotion and I didn’t want to talk to him at all. We got out and walked toward to this restaurant called, Outerlands near the beach http://outerlandssf.com/ . I was already frustrated because there was a long line even if we got there 20 min before their opening time, 9am. When we sat down on the wooden bench outside while waiting, I started telling him about I need some time for me to be alone for a while. He was very supportive of that. As he asked me a couple of questions about work, all of a sudden, my thoughts are getting clearer, as if clouds are moving and I started to see sunlight. I found the core problem of what’s been eating me this last 2 to 3 weeks.

Of course Outerlands’ food did help me out. Beautiful looking corn bread with crumble of goat cheese, cheerful looking chicory open sandwich with eggs and salad, and fun looking rice porridge with pork belly, pickled veggies. They were all luscious and I could taste their dedication and passion.

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After this inspiring (for food and for my soul) breakfast, I felt revitalized and uplifting. I was getting out from that dark spot to a sunny and hopeful place.

Thank you, Outerlands and Archie for pulling me out of my cave. You guys are both beyond wonderful.

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Dog and Seahorse

Dog and Seahorse

San Francisco was amazing. The city has such an interesting character. Also people in SF seems chill. I had delicious food and bought a Japanese hand forged kitchen knife. Overall I had a wonderful over-night holiday.

I landed Seattle just 10 min ago. As soon as I got out from our plain, I heard people yelling. I wondered why and random someone told me Seahawks just got tied. OK.

I am born and bread Japanese. In my country, football means soccer. I barely know about “American” football as much as my dear co-worker, Nico. He accidentally said the other day, “Go Seahorse!”

My friend Hana who took care of my dog while I was away is a HUGE Seahawks fan. So she put her hat on my dog Ginger (and she looks unhappy).

Anyway, go Seahorse!

Paris in Chinatown: only in San Francisco

Paris in Chinatown: only in San Francisco

It is supposed to be my art trip but it (of course) turned into eat trip. We found this little Paris influenced cafe in Chinatown in SF. This place took right back to Paris. Please enjoy with me.

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