Friday, 28 November 2003

BGM: Diana Krall's Live in Paris

Good afternoon everyone!

I took Grandpa and Grandma Ongg to Thanksgiving dinner last night at a Californian restaurant in Ebisu (Tokyo) called "Cabana." The food was not traditional home-style or lavish hotel style, but it was nice, light (quite an oxymoron to "Thanksgiving dinner"), expectedly chic, and rather satisfying. Grandma seemed quite happy and the usual platonic Grandpa seemed like he might have enjoyed the slight change from the usual. I took a few pictures.

The course started with a mango sparkling wine, which Grandpa and Grandma opted to replace with just mango juice. Of course, I had the more exciting original version. The first course was large servings of Caesar's salad with just the right amount of ground anchovies in the dressing and shaved parmesan cheese dressed over the top. Next marched in chic little bowls of pumpkin soup with a little bit of whisked cream spiraled into the soup at the top. Then we were presented with a triangle of neatly stacked rosemary roasted turkey with a light gravy, accompanied by a small tower of creamy mashed potatoes decorated with colorful vegetables on the side, and of course...a cut of fresh bread pudding with a pleasant hint of rum. Coincidentally, one of the two American expats at the next table was celebrating his birthday, so when the waitress brought the cake lit by thin, sparkling candles against the dim but warmly lit background, the entire restaurant joined in singing a happy birthday to him. What a lucky fellow to be away from home, yet surrounded by friends and other well-wishers on Thanksgiving Day. What a lucky girl I am to be in a foreign land and still have family to celebrate Thanksgiving with! To finish the night of appreciation for our loved ones and everything we have, we were brought a pumpkin seed and walnut pie laced with caramel on a deliciously crumbly crust and topped with a fluffy scoop of whipped cream accompanied by a beautifully spooned serving of vanilla ice cream next to a small pool of bittersweet chocolate syrup that even Grandma finished!

The food was wonderful and the company I had it with made everything work. Without the right people to enjoy the cuisine with, the best dishes made by the most famous of chefs in the world will taste bland. Thanksgiving means a great deal to me, having spent most of my adolescence in the U.S. It's like Chinese New Year, where everyone goes home to be with Mom and Dad that they haven't seen or probably even called in...probably too long. It's a time to catch up on what the brothers and sisters have been doing lately while being put to work by General Mom in her kitchen supervised by the family dogs, and seeing what new additions to the family there has been while losing to them at Monopoly by the warmth of the welcoming fire in the living room.

It looks like the older we get, the more we'll be able to appreciate these moments. So I suppose growing up isn't such a terrible thing after all! In any case, I'm looking forward to Christmas!

Sunday, 28 September 2003

On TV now: Documentary on Rembrandt (but no one's watching)

Two weekends in a row, I've had a hard time doing what I want to do.  Last weekend was a disaster, this weekend was just as bad.  There really isn't anything worse than having to go to school at 18h on a Saturday night to miss out seeing friends whom one hasn't seen in ages, and then having a big fat headache on top of that.  By the time the meeting at school was over, it was nearly 20h and I realized that if I didn't go home, I would be paying for it for the next two weeks.  Instead, I settled with going home and having my head hurt for just another day.

It's Sunday today, and it was mostly a nice, lazy one.  I had a late breakfast of toast, seaweed salad with nameko (Japanese mushroom sauce), and a cut of moon cake.  What a breakfast.  American, Japanese, and Chinese all in one meal.  Then I carved a little on my godmother's woodblock print, read a little FT, then it was time for lunch again, at 15h.  We eat at the strangest times, don't we?  I feel like I'm living with my brothers again.  Oh well, it's only Sunday.  There's no desk to return to and phone calls to fetch.  My headache came back and I took a nap on the couch in the sun until dinner time.  What an afternoon.

Now the day is almost over and I realized that I've done absolutely nothing.  Why is my weekend over already?  Tomorrow, we move back home to Sanbancho because the woodblock is going to another studio where she will finish it up and print.  It's another week of work and learning looking at me.  It looks pretty good, though, because I'm having dinner with a co-worker and then going to watch an uncle play at a gig this week.

In case you are wondering, the big 8+ Hokkaido earthquake didn't do anything to Tokyo.  We're ok here.  So far, no deaths have been reported anywhere, just some 400 injured people.  The week before, though, there was an earthquake in Tokyo.  Of all the places in the world, I was in an elevator, by myself.  Quite an adventurous couple of minutes it was.

On to...doing my expense reports.

Sunday, 21 September 2003

On the stereo now: Maria Callas. Did you know it was her birthday last week?

I thought I'd give weblogging a shot. Perhaps it will cut down the load on your straight-to-trash spam filter. ;)

How are things on your side of the world? I attended an exibition on modern Japanese paintings this weekend at the Nihombashi Takashimaya. It was quite nice, although I didn't really know at what I was looking. Who's had this feeling before? I think we should start learning about these things sometime.

Actually, come to think of it, I have quite an artistic family. My mother Chinese watercolor and calligraphy. After I went home to Taipei this summer, I realized that she's actually pretty good! No wonder my father keeps saying that he's going to be her agent after he retires. I thought he was joking, but I think perhaps...not entirely. Speaking of my father, he's pretty talented too, although not in painting. He photographs. But we can only take his word for it because we haven't seen anything from him lately. Or maybe it's because I took his camera. Hahaha.

Some of those artsy genes did make their way down to my brothers and I. Daniel can paint and Michael and I can shoot. I think some of Michael's prints made it into a published book. Once I figure out how to put pictures in these blogs, I will put some of mine up.

What kind of artist are you? What kind of things do you like to do? Leave me a message. :)

Time to go get the car before the typhoon eats me alive on my way there.

Have a nice week!