Monday, June 29, 2009

A Bottle of Heaven

I am not very partial to drinking alcohol. I can't biologically take a lot of it. I turn quite red after a couple of glasses of light beer. Yes, you read it right, light beer. When it comes to hard liquor, I don't even like the taste, except for the ones that are nicely hidden in the amazement of sweet cocktails like White Russian and Cosmopolitan.

I do occasionally (and by occasionally I mean once every two or three months) enjoy sipping certain kinds: namely Pinot Noir, Chardney, good-quality Sake, and whatever tastes delicate on my tongue. Sipping, here, is the key. I never really drink my alcoholic drinks. I taste them. And ever so slowly, too. I savor them like they are desserts, you see, and not a drink. And I enjoy it only at home, both because I don't like the idea of being in public when I'm bright red from head to toe, and also because I love being already a step away from my bed if I get a good buzz going.

There is a bottle of Japanese white wine that I have found that is just heavenly. It tastes like a very fruity kind of Chardney. The liquid isn't completely distilled so the color remains cloudy from the process, not completely clear. And it looks so, again using the word, heavenly, especially through the lovely turquoise bottle. What makes this wine even more special is that I can hardly find it anywhere. The first time I found it by accident at a supermarket, I just fell in love with the bottle color and had to buy it. I have the empty bottle on the kitchen windowsill.

I personally feel, with all due respect to every hardworking, crammed-in-a-morning-train, never-see-their-kids-on-weekdays Japanese businessman, the way people drink here is a bit classless for the most part. There is nothing wrong with relaxing and having a bit of fun after a stressful day in an office filled with smoke and lip-services to their boss and clients. Yet I don't buy into the idea of a grown person getting too smashed to look and act decent enough on streets where late-night cram-school students hurry their way home on a weekday.

Anyway, the moment of my day is, when I found the bottle of heaven at a local supermarket after work. The last one on the shelf, too.

Until next time.


Monday, June 22, 2009

High School Reunion

Met my friends from high school in Tokyo on Sunday. I went to a very particular high school in British Columbia, an international "Catholic" privy that no longer exists. I had friends from Germany, Mexico, the States, France, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thai Land, and Japan. I went to a college in southern California and away from everyone, so it's extremely fortunate of me that I now have my beloved friends from my high school years living back in Japan.

We all live in different parts of Japan land, so for some of us, it's a lot of work just to get to Tokyo. Yet, to be able to see the faces of gal pals we shared a few years of our teenage period with, is too special to miss out, and the long travel is worth it.

C is a stay-at-home mom of a girl and married for 5 years.
H is a stay-at-home mom of a boy and married for 2 years.
R works for an IT company and is engaged to be married.
Y manages a boutique and has a boyfriend of 11 years.
S is a doctor and just broke up with a boyfriend.
And myself.

Six lives.
Six paths.
Six hearts.
Six minds.
Six problems.
Six loves.

And all six of us sharing a Sunday afternoon in the midst of a strange land of Japan, eating pizza from the same box and reminiscing of good all days. That was my favorite moment of the day.

Until next time.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Room with a View

How lucky am I to have my flat? I think that pretty much every time I come home from work. I adore my 1-bed-room flat up on a hill so much, I would work for my company forever just so I get to live here... OK. That is such a lie. But a total exaggeration put aside, the company is renting the place for me and I pay 70% of the rent, so you get the point. And today was no exception to my daily gratefulness, especially after I came into the living room to see a view such as this:

...definitely the moment of my day. The exhaustion from work on Saturday in the early summer heat? Totally and utterly gone in an instance.

I have lived in my flat for almost a year now. I chose this one because of the spaciousness and the wide windows that overlook Lake Suwa. I have always been a sucker for sunset, but I rarely get to see it from my flat since my working hours are ungodly and it's usually pitch black when I come home. And on my days off I am usually at my parents house to take care of my dad. So, for the past year and a month, on the rare occasions that I did happen to be here to catch the sun tucking itself in bed on a clear day, I took some shots and have kept them. Here are some of my favorites:

All of them shot from my living room balcony.

There is something incredibly comfortable about longing, and sometimes in a lonely way even, for such grace of nature that is ever so quietly there. With or without us noticing.

Until next time.


Friday, June 19, 2009

A Letter and a Can of Sweets

Tomorrow is my dear friend-coworker's last day. She is taking a one-year leave to become a mother. She promises she will come back. I don't quite know how we can survive without her.

She wrote each of us a letter and gave it to us at today's meeting along with a can of sweets from Mary's Chocolate. A huge fan of hand-written letters on any occasions that I am (and when I say any, I mean any)
, the letter alone would have made my day, or a week. But I also fell in love with the cutest can that the sweets came in.

I'm a big fan of letters but not as big a fan of tearing up, so I am not going to dwell on explaining what she wrote in her letter to me. Instead, I'm just going to upload a close-up pic of the can I adore oh so much and look at it for a while.


It makes me want to keep my precious items in it and hide it under my bed or something. Except I can't think of anything on the spot what I think as "precious" to me...

I like children's-book-like drawings and pictures, like the one on the can. They feed the innocent side of me (still resident but hiding deep down) moments of hope and purity. And, thanks to M, who I still can't believe is becoming a mother, I definitely had one of those moments for the first time in a long time.

Until next time.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Beginning

The first entry to my blogger page will be of a picture of my dinner tonight, because I am random like that. Just to assure you kind readers, this blog won't be of a gourmet diary of some sort (both because I am not a gourmet kind of eater AND because I wouldn't want to read a blog that is entirely about food, myself. I have better things to do on line, thank you very much).

This blog will be of whatever I thought was the highlight of my yet another ordinary day. Everyday in my last waking moments in bed, I think of the best things about that day of my life that I just finished living; something that made me feel really great even for a split second. Sometimes it's a line from a book I happened to pick up, sometimes it's an unexpected kindness from a stranger. Sometimes I really can't think of a damn thing before I fall asleep. Sometimes I am thinking it before I even know it.

It's a habit I started when I was in high school. I picked it up from a meeting thing at the Presbyterian church I used to go to in Canada, where we had a discussion of how we should "count our blessings" in our daily lives. I grew to be a non-religious person, but the habit stuck with me because it seems to work. For me, anyway. You might want to try that if you had a hard time sleeping one night. It wouldn't make you a better person when you wake up the next morning, no. But it beats counting sheep, I can assure you.

There are many things happening in and around my life here in the land of Japan. Some are pretty freaking awesome, some pretty awesomely freaky, and lots and lots of neither in between.

It's a strange place, Japan. And I feel myself strange in it. I try to find my place here as the Japanese Canadian American that I am, what I call Japanadian, and everyday come across something that denies and approves of who I think I am. Like my dear friend F told me the other day, I haven't quite established my true self here yet. I had my self identity crisis in the 4th & 5th year of my life in North America, but now I'm having my second one back in my home country. Anyway, counting what I am happy about seems to work in the end of a day. So. That's really my focus in keeping blogs: elements of happiness.

So, what made me extremely happy today? A smoked salmon and scallop salad. I ate this for dinner (I get to have my dinner around 10 at the earliest so I try to keep it light), and it tasted marvelous.

But, I also want to give my brunch of the day a fair chance in making it on the first page of my entry, because it tasted pretty marvelous too. It just remains a little less memorable than the salad because I had it 15 hours ago, and the salad 20 min ago. Never think less of something just because it is chronologically challenged, ladies and gentlemen. And I will play my part as an anti-ageist by proudly presenting to the world my lovely toasts with marmalade and tea:

The yellowness that seems to be exaggerated on the table is quite accidental. I do love my table cloth I picked up in southern France last summer, though.

Until next time,