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,


Congratulations, Mate!

A dear friend of mine, K, has been living in Australia for nearly 4 years, and just got married a few months ago to an Aussie dude. The newly weds have been visiting Japan since last week, and a bunch of friends and I met up with them last Saturday for dinner.

K's family had moved around a lot due to her dad's profession. She was born in Osaka, moved to Malaysia and spent a good half of her childhood there, came back to Japan and moved a couple more times until the family decided to settle in our town.

K was probably the closest friend I had in Japan before I left for Canada. I have my childhood best friend, whom I grew up, and shared what we knew about boys and miss-know-it-alls and teacher's-pets with. K and I grew our fondness towards nerds and geeks, and shared what we knew about men and bitches and sex. (By the way, both of them got married this year; a fact that kinda puts my perspectives on things...)

Anyway, my K is married to an Aussie nerd, a karate master (K was his student) and an employee at the Dream World ( and I can never be happier for her.

Oh, by the way, the couple gave us all a bag of SMITH'S potato chips (crinkle cuts? K, you know me too well, girl!) ...

and a lip balm.

This balm is simply a divinity, and I mean it beside the fact that I absolutely love the sheep that's apparently never been shaved in its entire life. I have been told how dry Australia is, but by God, judging from how well this thing works, I now have a good idea of its lack of humidity. My lips will survive this winter no problem. Thank you, K!

And as for the chips, I could almost cry at the site of it (and crinkle cut? K, you know me too well, girl)! Can you believe they don't make chips in salt and vinegar, my absolute favorite of all flavors on earth, in Japan? I mean, the country is a vinegar capital! They put vinegar in AND on every freaking thing, even the things they shouldn't put vinegar in AND on! Everything! Rice. Veggies. They even came up with vinegar flavored apple juice and jell-o. But not on potato chips? What's wrong with these people, seriously?

But that's beside the point. I now have a good reason why I should visit the southern hemisphere (and a free hotel in The Gold Coast too!). Congrats, K!

Until next time,


Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Days of Recovery of Sak

I've always thought that a sick day off makes a perfectly valid excuse why you should spoil yourself rotten. Two sick days off? Spoil yourself to death, I'd say! (except I actually did almost die so not literally to death, in this case). By my definition, "spoil myself" involves "a DVD marathon of my favorite flicks of all time" and "eating whatever I want all I want."

During the two days of recovery from the food poisoning I had last week, that's exactly what I did.

Like I mentioned in the previous entry, the second day was when I started wolfing down everything I could lay my hands on. And you know what I've come to realize? When all the nutrition is drained off your biology, what your body craves the most is not chicken soup or cobb salad... nothing healthy and hearty, at least. Instead, you are in serious need of sodium, saturated fat, and carbohydrate.

So, junk it up and junk away, I did.

First with a new flavor from Haagen-Dazs...

...then my ultimate junk favorite, Shin Ramen.

20,000 empty calories and completely guilt-free!

Until next time,


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Day of Resurrection of Sak

I nearly died exactly a week ago.

At around midnight of October 28th, I woke up panting in pain, followed by a never-ending story of vomiting my guts out, bloody and watery diarrhea (may I remind you that I love you, my kind readers?), splitting headache and maddening stomachache, that lasted for what seemed like an eternity. Medically speaking, I was suffering from a food-poisoning caused by Norwalk virus from some shellfish I ate for dinner that night. Personally speaking, I was fucked up.

In the kind of pain I was and in my fading consciousness, I cursed the doctor for not giving me something just so they would let me go gracefully. Or at least give me a bloody painkiller, god freaking damn you ... I'm gonna kick you in the nuts when I come to my senses Dr. fuckface...

...everything went white and silent...

...or so it seemed.

I came to it, and before I got the chance to kick the doctor in the nuts I was removed from the hospital and in my own bed, but I know where he works and he'd better watch a roundhouse foot in a stiletto a la sak any time now, grrrrrrrrrr!

Anyway, I rose in resurrection, and now had to lay flat in my...well, flat for two days.

Day 1:

My body was slowing taking fluid without back-flowing. Finally! I had never been happier to be able to pee normally 15 hours later...I felt quite weak and I couldn't feel my stomach. Wait... I NEVER can feel my stomach if I was healthy, can't I? I also felt a bit sedated from whatever pills they gave me that I took to rest, but I was strangely aware of my own thoughts and I was thinking I was hungry... so I made the effort to stand up and drag my food-poisoned ass (pun intended) to the fridge only to find I had nothing substantial in it. But hey, after a night of pukarama, you don't really have a good judgement on what is considered "substantial" as food, really. Anything that has calories would have sufficed. So there I was, back on couch, with a raspberry yogurt. Well, actually, the alternatives were either raspberry preservative or garlic cubes, so what am I to do, really? "Go grocery shopping" is added in my mental to-do list under "kick doc in the nuts."

Day 2:

Another day off work due to a low-fever. I had some food sent, though, and I was now eating like an Alaskan bear getting ready to hibernate. That's a good thing, because I lost about 5 kg in the last 40 hours.

And that's how the story of my resurrection goes.

Until next time,


p.s. All the photos of lovely sashimi in this entry bear no actual relation to the pain bestowed upon me a week ago. And might I add, I have not stopped loving row fish, and for that, I am forever grateful.