Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Book Report -One Pound of Pain

Never had reported on a Japanese book here till now. (In fact I haven't done a book report in a while). Well, I never really did read a Japanese novel after coming back from the states until very recently. The library that I have come to love going to happens to have a section entirely dedicated for English books, but, as one can easily imagine in a non-English speaking country, their selection sucks big: majority of what's in the shelf being whatever is world-wide famous and considered classic, many of which are straight out of high school English class. Don't get me wrong, I got nothing against John Steinbeck and Mark Twain; I happen to think they are great even, but hey, I'm an Eng. Lit. graduate. I'm done with all of that.

So I spend most of my time at the library skimming though hard covers of Japanese literature that I am yet to familiarize myself with.

When it comes to reading, I like it when I know nothing about what awaits me as I get to know of the story. No presumptions. No expectations. Sort of like meeting new people and getting to know of them for the first time; books disappoint as much as entertain. I'm all for surprises.

And my latest surprise was this one by Ira Ishida.

The title translates One Pound of Pain. I am not a big fan of titles that are too suggestive of a certain emotion in the book, this one being a great example. Pain?? I mean, come on! What a promising word to be planted in my head before I even open the book, you know? If I hadn't been all that curious about the author, I would have put the book right back where it was and never turn back to the same shelf ever again. But I was curious. I was curious for a long enough while about this Ira person. And here's why.

He writes a column in the magazine that I read. And! The author's birthday was the same as mine, only 20 years prior. Who can deny the immediate cosmic connection with a person who shares the same birthday with you? Not me. (I also share the birthday with Lady Gaga, and it's gonna be very hard for me to have to hate her just because of that.

At first I thought he was female. After all, the magazine is of women's fashion and life. Duh?! And when I learned that he was in fact a he, I stopped reading his column as fondly as I did before. Call me a sexist, but the whole notion of a mid-aged male human being, however smart and popular an author he may be, talking about women's work and life and love like he knew everything was, in my cynical 30-something-year-old mind, a bullshit. I mean, what the hell could he possibly know of us??? Of me???

But I had nothing to lose. I read the book by Mr. Can't-come-up-with-a-better-title anyway with a little chip on my shoulder, in an I'm gonna read your books even though I already know I'm not gonna like it! attitude.

Aftermath: I LOVED it! And I'm not saying I loved it like when I say I love donuts. I'm saying it in a much, much profound, intimate way. Like I found something that I didn't know I was looking for, you know what I mean? I thought I was done with encounters like that in my life when I met my husband, but bang! This book hit me as hard as when I read Ian McEwan for the first time. Hmmm. Speaking of which, Ishida does write a bit like McEwan. The heart of a human being on a very fundamental level, that's what speaks to me the most, and the two authors do that for me really well.

Anyways, so here's the book report. READ IT if you are literate in Japanese.

Until next time,


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Goodies a la Southern Hemisphere

Got a parcel deliverty from mom the other day. She was in New Zealand for a couple of weeks earlier this month, and got us a:

Feijoa Jam,

Manuka honey that I like to eat with cream cheese on toast while T likes to lick off spoon,

and my personal favorites, kiwi jam and kiwi lemon tea.

They're making my afternoon tea more like a second breakfast now. Thanks, mom!

Until next time!


Friday, February 24, 2012

A Little Pottle Acquittal

The kettle I had been using for as long as I can remember was, in the nicest way possible for me to put, pretty fucked up. It had dents and soda stains that I couldn't for the life of me get off. and it wasn't even very convenient to begin with, with nothing but its spout to pour water in (and out, of course), and when the water boiled it whistled like a really bad teenaged soprano singer wanna-be that I could hear from the outside of the apartment.

Regardless of all that, it did make thousands of cups of tea and coffee for me the past years, it's become an item of sentiment for me. After all, anything that makes or keeps one warm is hard to let go. Right, ladies?

But I had to move on, especially now that I am retired and the afternoon tea - or coffee, has become my favorite time of the day. Onto a Pottle, that is. A Pottle, ladies and getlemen, is a kettle & a pot put together that a Japanese designer came up with. You can boil water on stove, or use it as a tea pot, or both at the same time. And it's frigging adorable (and quiet)!

Come in five different colors.

I went for the yellow one, 'cause, of course, it's the cutest.

Love my tea time now.

Until next time,


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Back to Being a Bookworm

Have been going to the city library recently. Like the super market I last posted about, it's about 10 minutes on foot. A very good excuse for myself why I should go out for a walk.

Yea, it's pretty, ain't? But it kinda stands out in an ironic way, if you ask me, 'cause the rest of the city isn't exactly built on an as modern-and-architechtually-aware paradigm as this. The words are that my current home base has a lot of money, being a city with many supporting factories for Toyota in it. Well, I am all for building a good public library with the money that they can afford, so good job, mayor!

Very nice on the inside, too.

My current hard-cover enthusiasm is for Japanese novels by Kaori Ekuni and recipe books for baking with a rice cooker.

Until next time,


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A New Find

Still have a lot more exploring to do about the new city I live in, but last week, I hit the jack spot.

Found during my afternoon strol was this store, Ikuta Food, a Trader's-Joe-slash-Bristol-Farms-ish organic-slash-import supermarket and deli. Only 10 minute away from my flat on foot!

Gonna start going for a walk more now that I found this.

Until next time,


Monday, February 20, 2012

A dear friend K came to visit yesterday, along with a gift of de-caf coffee beans. She has read my blog post of late.

See? This is why I love Japan. They come individually packaged for a single use, and you can directly mount the filter on the cup.

Made me a cup again. I'm gonna start balencing my bills now.

Thanks a bunch, K!

Until next time,


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Made this for my rock-loving hubby for Valentine's day, using the ice-making mold that I found at the Virgin store at Musee Luvre in Paris. Thought the shape resembled his precious guitar...

and turns out, as he pointed out upon opening the box and taking his first glance at it, "it's a bass." Apprently the guitar has more than four chords.

Initially planned to make a chocolate cheesecake with the same mold, but went with chocolate ice cream 'cause my kitchen isn't yet well-equipped with a good oven and I didn't want to take my chance with the toaster.

Let romance spread around the world!

Until next time,


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Utterly Inspiring

Olivia Palermo is such a fashion icon. I just loooooooooove the way she dresses.

Some of my favorite outfits of hers. *Shots stolen from InStyle.

Until next time,


Friday, February 3, 2012

Eel Ain't Eerie

Sis and dad were here for a visit last weekend, and I got to go on board with them on trying local goodies, food-wise. All while T was working his tail off. Sorry, T.

Among many, I have to say that my favorite has to be the eel.

Sis and dad's choice: hitsuma-bushi

And mine: una-don

I could eat this every day. And I mean every day.

Until next time,