Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cadeau de Noël: d'Evelyn

My dearest friend, E, from my So Cal years is visiting for the holiday, and she surprised me with a Christmas gift placed on my bed when I got home tonight (she was fast asleep when I came back, jet-lagging).

I happen to loooooooooooove Susan Boyle's voice.

And a hand-written Christmas card! She just knows me too well! ow I love getting one!

In there she wrote, remind me to embrace both goods and bads in our lives.
Thank you for being my true friend.
Thank you for listening and sharing.
You are a very important person in my life.
My world would be very different without you.
Thank you, Sak.

A Christmas card does not get any better than this.

Thank YOU, and love you, E!

Until next time,


Friday, December 18, 2009

Cadeaux de Noël: La Boîte de Turquoise

A very special box that makes a girl's heart jump at her first glance at it.

My dear friend S posted a blog recently on how Tiffany is overrated and just a label of love, not love in and of itself. I agree with her on a very fundamental level. Still, what can I say? I love turquoise. Besides, she was talking about engagement rings; not Christmas gifts.

Until next time,


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Merry Christmas, Maple!

I'm about to welcome my third Christmas in Japan.

And every time the season comes around, it takes me back to December 2006 when I was crazy busy packing 12 years of my life into 10 boxes and saying my goodbyes to all my beloved friends in southern California. The worst thing of the madness of moving to another country was that I had to say my tearful farewell to the feline love of my life, Maple. (My name being the national tree of Japan, cherry blossoms, I named my cat that of Canada).

I first met her at a local animal shelter. Merely 2 weeks old, she was in a glass case amidst other kittens. I picked up and held her, and I remember how she scarcely weighed anything in my hands, and yet, she was this warmest hairball thingy that I had ever felt. Though shaking, she barely moved. I looked at her, and she was just this tiny life, unaware of my strange hands that were holding her yet trusting in them that they will not let go of her (or not knowing how not to trust yet, really). And I knew that moment that I had to have her.

I can't go on talking about her without choking up, so I am just going to put up a bunch of pictures that highlighted my last part of my life in the states.

She is now with my co-worker/friend K and her family and is living happily. She is in good hands, and she is lucky to be with people half as nice as them. Yet, I miss her. And I miss her the most in December.

Merry Christmas, Maple. I love you!

Until next time,


Monday, December 7, 2009

Go Loco

Was in Tokyo Sunday evening, spending the night at my cousin's apartment in Ebisu to attend a meeting in Shinjuku the next day. She took me to this fun Hawaiian restaurant, Loco Blue Ebisu, for dinner near her place, and it was really, really nice!

The guava cocktail that I had (twice!) was to die for (on the right. The white one is my cousin's coconut something)!

Highly recommend to anyone who has an access to the central Tokyo.

Until next time,


Monday, November 30, 2009

Bakin' Time! VI

I'm at my parents'. And what do I see the first thing when I walk into the living room? A basket full of apples all golden and red and ripe and plump.

How can I possibly pass by the divinity in the fruit form without thinking, "You. In the oven. Now." ?

By the way, here in the land of Japan, an apple comes in a size of a grapefruit. And one fruit costs about, I kid you not, two bucks, though the deliciousness of it certainly makes up for it. Still, no wonder they don't make as much pies here as they do in north America.

So bake them up I did, into cinammon apple muffins. This might be my favorite kind of muffin, but I probably say that about all muffins I bake. The best part of baking this particular kind is the aroma; no question about that. I would gladly bake them solely for the cinammon-y cider-y smell that fills the room any ol' day.

I double the amount of apple to use in the recipe, and that's how i get the moisture and texture to my liking. And since Japanese apples are much sweeter than apples in the states (no offense, granny smith!), I use half as much sugar, too.

A job well done, me!

Until next time,


Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Love Note

How do you know when a 8-year-old student loves you? You do when she draws you on a piece of paper in her free time, and bashfully yet proudly hands it to you the first thing she sees you.

The Japanese characters that follow my name read sensei ,or teacher.

Thank you, N, for drawging me so girlie and pretty.

Until next time,


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pretty in Pink

I recently wrote a post about how I woke up feeling badly like putting on something pink. http://

A new co-worker of mine, S, a wonderful girl with a great smile and spirit, was wearing a pink jacket last Friday. I asked her if she was into the "Pink Friday" thing. She was.

I once was aware and followed that girly tradition to celebrate the weekend to come. It never lasted long enough for me but while it did, I remember, it did lift my spirit up. Seeing S in that pink jacket that day made me happy simply because there was this bright, flowery being suddenly in that office of ours where dark-suited coworkers roaming around like a buncha ghosts in the horrible lighting. I realized that, aside from the fact that she is a happy and pretty person to begin with, pink makes a girl look happy and pretty.

I was talking with another S recently about how a choice of clothes reflects the feeling that day of the person. I was in a mermaid skirt, which I had rarely done at work, and she said that I must have been feeling feminine and even romantic. I denied it at the time, but now I think I agree with her. And, if I might add to her observation, a choice of color(s) you put on do reflect how you feel, too. And rather importantly, it's contagious; you see someone in a bright color, and it somehow warms your heart.

With that realization, I now feel like putting on more pastels and pink and anything but my regular black, charcoal, grey and navy, with occasional teal (my idea of "bright" color) thrown in: a look that has come to be my uniform, really.

When I started my career in Japan, I was going for the sleek, career-driven woman look. I never had to wear a suit to work until then, and I was actually excited about that. I would keep my chin up, my spine straight and stride down isles of the office, pause, left hand on hip, twist and turn, working my size-0-ass walk in stilettos. In actuality, though, after two years and half of 5-days-a-week-in-a-suit routine, the glamorous dragon woman that I had set out to be has somehow turned into a cold-hearted bitch in size 2 who hasn't gotten laid in a while. And it apparently showed. Whenever I was thinking or concentrating as I worked, S would tell me "Are you OK, Sak?! You look pissed off."


I was reminded of the time when I once asked my ex one morning if he had had a good enough sleep because he looked "tired." He told me, "That's like telling me I look shitty" all offended. "That's not what I mean," I said right away. You know what? That's exactly what I had frigging meant!

When someone tells you you look pissed off or tired, you probably are pissed off or look shitty. And by shitty I mean incredibly unapproachable or extremely unattractive or both. And until very recently, I really didn't have the heart to care all that much, and I think that's the saddest part.

Anyway, the point of my story is, pink makes me happy right now. The magic color makes a girl look pretty. I don't care if it's a prison jump suit. If it's pink, a girl looks happy in it. And I want to look happy right now.

And I'm gonna start off my pinkness with my bedroom. The sweet pea, in like 5 different pinks, did just a trick.

Until next time,


Friday, November 13, 2009

Underneath the Winter Pumps

Woke up this morning badly feeling like putting on something pink; a sign that my femininity needs more attention to be paid. A quickest solution in the color department?A pedi.


Excuse my big ol' things. The feet aren't exactly my best physical attribute... Besides, I rarely show my bare feet after September. So this is quite bold of me to do, letting the whole world see my nudité de pieds. Oh la la!

Until next time,


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Artsy Hours on a Weekend

You know it's a good museum when you find yourself going back there. National Museum of Western Art in Ueno is one, for me.

Last weekend, I paid my yet another visit.

They have a quite decent collection of pieces by Claude Monet that I just love, and many more that are intriguing. My favorite by the infamous impressionist is this, Poplars in the Sun.

Poplars happen to be my favorite tree. And I love how sunny and breezy the scenery seems. I can almost hear and smell and feel it.

Here is another favorite of mine, The Port of Saint-Tropez by Paul Signac.

I just adore the use of colors in this. Makes me happy just looking at it. It's the kind of painting that goes perfectly on the stair wall or hallway wall in my future (imaginary) house...

And for a completely different reason, this is also my favorite. Interior with Ida playing the piano by Vilhelm Hammershoi.

I love the perspective of things in the scene: the table, the empty plate on it on the edge, the drawing room behind the open doors, and Ida - the painter's wife, and her piano forte. There is something incredibly still, and something extremely warm and comfy about this otherwise dark and immobile depiction. And, oh my God, the light; just enough amount of it that shows the white of Ida's nape. And you know what else I love about this painting? This is one of many pieces that the painter painted of his wife. The man repeatedly, almost thematically, used his wife as part of his paintings, and I think that alone adds so much more feelings, and stories, to his art. It's rare to see, especially in his time period. I can't hold my tears in when I look at this, no matter how many times I stand in front of it.

So I awe an apology for not capturing the painting well enough, for it hardly does the beautiful piece of work justice.

Until next time,



After 8 hours of a business meeting on the 16th floor in Shinjuku, since I had had a really late lunch I wasn't hungry enough to buy a meal for my journey back home. But, is it me, or are candies a must on a train, especially a 2-hour ride?

Whoever invented gummies is a genius.

Until next time,


Monday, November 9, 2009

De-tox and De-stress

There is this place that I always go to for lunch, whenever I'm in Tokyo, called Brown Rice Cafe ( It's one of these macrobiotic, whole-food restaurants that got really popular among Yogis and vegan foreigners, but their dishes are so delicious, a non-health-conscious coca-cola lover like myself could really enjoy a meal or two. After numerous items on the menu tried and tasted, I have come to have my heart set on Chef Salad and Vegetable Soup (I actually have their picture up this page under "favorite meal").

I was there last Sunday for lunch.

The salad has changed its look a bit since the last time I was at the cafe. They now add grilled veggies (tomatoes, turnips, and broccoli oh my!) among their usual chickpea salad and ratatouille on top of the leaves and herbs. I do like it better this way.

This time, as a starter, since I was dying of thirst after a couple of hours of walking in the unseasonable heat, I had a nice glass of green juice ("the detox blend of green leaves, fennel, peppermint with extract of milk thistle and dandelion to help protect from liver disorders", quoted straight out of the menu). I chugged the whole thing down in 10 seconds. I was too thirsty to judge if it was worth my 800 yen a glass (that's about 9 bucks for a non-alcoholic beverage on a regular glass, if you can dig that) and I had a feeling anyone who actually has liver disorders should be doing something other than drinking this green thing at a whole-food restaurant, but who cares, I was not thirsty anymore.

After the meal, I had a nice cup and a half of tea named De-stress, or "a blend of Rose, Hibiscus, Orange peel and Coriander to ease feelings of stress and promote energy") at a very un-de-stressing price of 630 yen (about 7 bucks). But who cares, I tell myself, "they probably use the rose from the garden of the royalty family's summer house in Provence, carefully hand-picked by the Queen herself during the full-moon!"

Until next time,