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January 2005

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A scale fell out of her eye

This afternoon Kana, a writer for a Japanese magazine, came to taste my "soymilk hot pot" (which hasn't been introduced in my menu). She loved it so much she said "a scale fell out of my eye." That is how we describe when pleasantly remarkably amazingly surprised. She never thought soymilk could be so delicious. Early evening Daisuke stopped by because his uncle next door is taking him out for dinner. I gave him my rice krispie treat with green tea and after a first bite he said, "It's so good it gave me chills!"
on january 30, 2005 @ 01:07 am [link]

soups and curries

It's 21 degrees out right now but feels like sub zero. I've been cooking away to keep the place and myself warm for two days and getting exhausted. We're selling lots of soups and curries. I made super hearty and delicious mushroom barley soup this afternoon. I was also experienting with soymilk hot pot which I'm supposed to present to a reporter from a Japanese magazine tomorrow. It also came out so well.

"quite frankly i love you" is another graffiti I found on the side wall of Rite Aid on Grand and Clinton streets. People have been taking pictures of "seriously i love you" on the garbage bin next door.

The fabulous self-cleaning cat litter box stopped working only after a month in my possession in the middle of a cleaning cycle, with the rake in the high dumping position and lid for the waste receptacle wide open. I had a hell of a time cleaning it up and taking some parts apart so it would fit back into the box. Then Petco arranged a Fedex pickup for the return, which I was waiting for days and days. "They came Wednesday morning but the package wasn't ready." "What do you mean it wasn't ready? I've been waiting for the pickup for two weeks now." "They'll be in your neighborhood in 30 minutes, so please have the package ready and leave it outside." "I'm in New York City, I can't leave a package outside. It will vanish in 10 minutes!" Things get stolen even from my hallway, like my newspaper this morning. They got to be kidding. My neighbor just told me someone got killed on Clinton Street, right behind us. "Have you been watching over your shoulder?" He asked. No, not enough. I've been too comfortable in my neighborhood and I forget bad things still happen. Like my friend Jose was held up at gunpoint on Chrystie street one sunday afternoon last year. It was less than 10 years ago that my friends were uncomfortable coming to visit me in the Lower East Side. We forget too soon.
on january 28, 2005 @ 05:21 pm [link]

snow day

I was considering of having a snow day night off in the night of blizzard of 2005, but with a prospect of Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth showing up because they were playing at Tonic, I decided to open for business. And they did show up! I got a really nice picture of them.

I was shoveling the sidewalk every hour. I've probably shoveled already about 5 inches. Now at midnight it seems to be tapering off, but weather report says it's going to intensify through the night til the morning. I'll wake up to more shoveling with my new red snowshovel.
on january 23, 2005 @ 12:39 am [link]

pay your bills

Monday was Martin Luther King day. And I was freaked out. I had let my domain name registration expired the night before, which I really didn't realize. When I opened the home page on the web, "" was this generic placeholder, "future home of" I was freaked out. Then I realized my domain name was expired. When I got to my account with a registrar, "" was nowhere to be found. " was expired and cannot be renewed." was the message. Where did it go? I thought someone already snatched it up from my hand and waiting somewhere for me to come buy it back. Eventually I come across a company that says they can 'acquire' I clicked the botton, paid $50 on credit card, and 10 minutes later I was pretty sure I bought some service that didn't do anything for me. They didn't aquire nothing for me. What they meant was they may help me try to acquire some domain name. I was getting really worried. What if I cannot get it back? I registered "" as a back up. Then there was this 'backorder' thing that they'll make sure I'll be the first one to make an offer for the registration of '' But then they say after the domain name's registration expires, it will take at least 30 days for it to become available again. After some time of searching, I was able to find the little "reactivate" tab at the registrar. I wasted hours searching aching frustrating worrying. I'm sure I'll be paying the bill on time from now on.

I was playing Talking Heads this evening and Akiyo asked me if it was the Cure. I felt a generation gap between us. Yes it's freezing out. 8 degrees right now. Getting ready for the snow storm.
on january 22, 2005 @ 12:59 am [link]

kind of nice graffiti

Once I saw a young man spray paint "i love you" on the side of Burger King in the middle of the night. Soon I realized he has been putting "i love you"s all over the neighborhood. They painted over it across the street, but this morning I noticed "seriously i love you" on the garbage bin next door. Look for one on your block.
on january 14, 2005 @ 05:23 pm [link]

Recovery with a help of good friends

Yesterday I remembered I heard from someone once that it takes as many days to adjust to the time difference as hours in time difference. So if it's 14 hours difference from Japan it takes 14 days to adjust? Yikes.

Last night my friend from college 'Tarja, from Finland' (that's how she would introduce herslef if you meet her) showed up with Krystof. She's on her annual trip with her students from arts college in Helsinki. She's such a character with very Tarja way of speech with Finnish accent and Tarja way of behavior, very loving and a bit clumsy. We went out for a drink at my favorite neighborhood dive Parkside. They are dive loving people; we used to go out to Phebe's when it was a scary dive with cheap pitchers of beer. But last night Tarja was still sick from something she caught on the trip- her voice was scratchy which made us all laugh. Krystof was not in the chatting mood, which was unlike him, because he just had a fight with his girlfriend. Krystof goes, Etsko, I guess you have to talk because we are not in the best condition. So I decided to tell then about my recent magical experience at zen meditation, and they soon began to be animated and we had a nice cultural discussion. I had a good night's sleep after a week of tossing and turning, and this morning I was finally able to go out running in the drizzle. It felt so good.
on january 13, 2005 @ 12:57 am [link]

That stinking food we love so much

I'm still suffering from terrible jet lag- sleepless nights, sleepy afternoons. I wouldn't feel normal until I can start running again in the morning, but I feel the worst when I wake up in the morning and unable to do so. Among the little things I brought back from Japan, the one that delighted my Japanese workers most was 'Natto Furikake,' rice seasoning made with notoriously stinky fermented soybeans. Even many Japanese peole can't stand this natto, but this seasoning mix is just full of its wonderful flavor, less stringy slime. Most of the westerners ever come to appreciate natto, with few exceptions like my neighbor Betim and my friend Michelle. They like to keep it in the refrigerator and blame it on me. "It's all your fault! You introduced it to me!"
on january 11, 2005 @ 01:21 am [link]

I'm back!

I just came back from my trip to Japan on Monday, and have been feeling like a zombie- suffering from the most severe case of jet lag. I hardly slept last night, which means I've been up for about 40 hours now. Japan was over-crowded and ridiculously hi-tech as I expected; many public restrooms were now equipped with ass-washing device in toilet seat. Waiters came to take orders with mobile handheld device that sends the order to the kitchen wirelessly, which still didn't prevent them from making mistakes in the order. They now had this little card that you can put credits toward train travel; you swipe the card at the turnstile, and they just deduct the amount you owe at any train station, eliminating your need to purchase tickets. Everyone got a cellphone with high quality digital camera. At hot spring, they gave me a little key with a chip that would register your check-in time and locker room number. What I enjoyed the most, besides spending some time with my friends like Akiko Katsuoka (well, she asked me to mention her in my blog), was visiting old temples, my favorite Senso-ji in old downtown Tokyo area Asakusa, and zen temples in old city of Kamakura. On new years eve I had a wonderful experience of meditating with a priest at Kencho-ji, the home of Kenchin Jiru which is one of my most popular dish. It was snowing all afternoon, and it was pretty cold by 5 o'clock, when they had a zen session open to public. There were three other crazy people willing to sit in the cold room with open windows without socks. (You're not allowed to wear socks, nor outer jacket, of course. The priest told us to imagine warm streams of water pouring from the top of our head, covering our entire body. It did work for the most part, and I survived one hour session in the beautiful tranquil evening. In the new year I attended another zen meditation at Hokoku ji temptle, also known as bamboo temple for their garden, which was another cold morning. I was surrounded by veteran practitioners and also had quite an experience to witness their new year ritual of opening the ancient scroll and chanting. But glad to be home in New York. Many neighbors and customers welcomed me back. Yes they were starving.

on january 6, 2005 @ 12:34 am [link]

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