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god bless the children of iraq

Sorry I couldn't come up with something more clever. Perhaps you can do better at this web sitegod bless the children of iraq. Give them a voice! Let them show a reason to smile about!
on april 29, 2004 @ 03:20 pm [link]

hello neighbors

I finally got new neighbors across the street from my apartment. This means that I won't be walking around naked with my curtains open anymore. Suddently it feels like my privacy is invaded. I was too used to not having a neighbor outside of my window. It also feels strange that I can see in their aparment so weI can see their kitchen cabinets. That means that I could see the contents of their kitchen cabinets. I could almost see what he is typing on his computer screen if I have binoculars. I could totally spy on them. That's really spooky.
on april 29, 2004 @ 12:19 am [link]

it's all your fault

This news in the New York Times about Japanese hostages returned home from Iraq facing hostile reaction puzzled me at first. How could Japanese can be so uncompassionate and cruel to their own people who endured a terrible event? I thought the writer may have exaggerated the small reaction of some Japanese for Western readers. But when I went to some Japanese news source that I found out it seems quite accurate. I read also each local government these three former hostages are from, spoke to the press how much they had to spend for the rescue effort, and they are going to ask some of the cost to be covered by their family. I thought they should just send the bill to George Bush.

Then I realized why I left Japan in the first place. In Japan, you are not supposed to 'cause trouble.' It's all about conformity. You have to obey the rules set by the people above you and precedents. You are never encouraged to challenge or even question the system, the rules, or the people 'above.' You can't just act upon your belief. Whatever you do would be your own responsibility. If you break the rules, you're most likely to get into trouble, and you'll be responsible for the consequences. I thought there was a strange coldness in the society. I still have many great friends there who would do anything to help me if I am in trouble. And of course my family always try to help me even before I ask. But the Japanese society as a whole suffers from a strange sense of detachment. When I was commuting to Tokyo pushed in and out of trains every morning, I was beginning to feel the 'detachment.' I couldn't wait to get out of the faceless crowd to feel my feelings and voice my opinions. So here I am. I'm glad I am here.
on april 27, 2004 @ 12:45 am [link]

finally naturally

I finally went to have a haircut in Chinatown. First they give you this really painful sculp cratch while washing your hair. I hate it but let them do it; it must be good for something. Then my hair dresser was this grey haired man about 60 years of age, who graciously cut my hair with Tai Chi like movement. "Now the style has changed. It's all about your natural hair now. Natural flow. Hair style that you can wash and dry, but do nothing." He said. Only about 10 minutes later, he rinsed my hair and said, "watch what I do." He blow dried my hair just with his hand, sending all the hair towards my face. "Now watch what I do with the brush." At the end with a regular brush, he brushed my hair toward the back of my head. Once. "Done." It was naturally beautiful. I must say this was the best hair cut I've had in a long time. All in about 20 minutes. Amazing.
on april 25, 2004 @ 03:13 pm [link]

The longest tuna roll

This is one hell of a tuna roll. In Shimizu City, Japan, they renewed the record of Japan's longest tuna roll last month. 720 people joined forces at the shopping mall to roll this 274-meter (about 300 yards) tuna roll. More pictures here.
on april 25, 2004 @ 01:25 pm [link]

taste of spring

I found this takenoko, or bamboo shoot in Chinatown this morning. For it is the taste of spring, and I hardly come across fresh one, I had to get one. I haven't decided what to do with it, but it will be a special for tonight. Very special.

For some reason I often feel like listening to the Cure on Fridays. So I do. Then I just noticed that our next door neighbor was listening to the Cure also. Interesting. Did I inpire them, or it's just a Friday thing?

Didn't you just love this news about "Couple Takes Protest Up Tree in Central Park"? I did. I love the last quote from a woman from Geneva. Well, things like this doesn't happen here very often, either. But perhaps only in New York it does once in a while.
on april 23, 2004 @ 03:21 pm [link]

new dish

I let my bath tub overflow last night. Then in the tub I burned my toe under hot running water. Therefore I didn't sleep very well besides thinking too much. I cancelled this morning's speed workout and allow myself to sleep in another hour. Today's experiment: catfish. I never cooked this fish before, perhaps because I'm a cat lover. Perhaps the look of this fish is rather scary. But when it's already in fillet it's like any other fish. I've been too much salmon and cod fish so something for a change. It was such tasty sweet fish even without any seasoning. It became my new favorite dish when crisply fried with spices sprinkled.

"Charming old man" (Guida and I call him) Carl the contractor is working late on the doorstep for Siren Hair Salon. He called me 'princess' last night. I think he was a little drunk. Charming butcher at Essex market calls me 'young lady.' Mary at the discount store always confuses me with some Chinese girl with a baby. She always asks me how my daughter is. A powerful air conditioner is coming next week. I also ordered electric fly trap. Hopefully I don't have to dance around with my little yellow fly swatter. Bothered by a pain in my neck, I miss 'funny little Jew' Dr. Mittleman, the chiropractor. I don't have the health insurance to milk anymore.
on april 22, 2004 @ 10:55 pm [link]

mind racing

I was very upset when I woke up since someone was dying in my dream. But I don't remember who it was. I didn't sleep very well probably because my mind is racing since last night; I came up with some serious new business ideas and have been trying to figure out where I'm headed in the long run. I sent an email to my friend James to bounce off some ideas last night, then he called me this morning to bounce off some ideas. It was both good and bad because he gave me even more different ideas. He thinks that I should expand SOY to a mini-chain; I got a snappy name, great food that everyone loves. I have a dilemma about expansion, although it's sometime away anyway; I love the neighborhood and this particular street even though it's not really the best for the business. I also like the fact that I can oversee everything and can personally tend my customers, which I believe is the part of the charm of SOY. It's not just a place to sell food. The other night, one of my eccentric customer David came by because he wanted to talk to someone but no one was around. Sometimes customers tell me that they can feel that my heart is in my food, which they appreciate. Plus, I still haven't found any employee who believes in me and shares my vision. I have lots of ambitions but it's hard to let go of control. I don't know how others do it. This is probably one reason that I'm not such a good business person. I'm trying too much to be an artist.

I was having tea with Micheal this evening. "When's your birthday?" he asked. "September." "So you're virgo." "I'm on the border." "Like my mother, half virgo and half libra." "Exactly. What day?" "22nd." "Me too!" We started cracking up. "You ARE my mother! No wonder we get along!"

Beside my mind, I'm also getting back to road racing. That may actually calm my mind.
on april 21, 2004 @ 07:04 pm [link]

Want to be bold and beautiful

I've been meaning to have a hair cut. Carefully concealed under a bandanna, you may not notic how messy my hair is getting. It's been good six months since the last haircut, which was way too short that I called a monkey hair. I was going to have a haircut last weekend, but the new salon downstairs was closed. I wanted to go to Chinatown but I totally tired myself from the 10-mile run. I came home tonight and looked myself in the mirror. I seriously need a haircut.

Then I encounted this website: Bold Stars. I wouldn't go this far but they still look all so fabulous bold. My favorites: Uma Thurman, Susan Sarandon, and Gwneth Paltrow. Wait, Julia Roberts and Britney, too. Check out!
on april 20, 2004 @ 11:47 pm [link]

summer is here

I had another sushi class on saturday. This was actually the first class I held where I didn't know anyone among the students. So I was a little nervous. But by the time we sat down and battled with the bamboo rolling mat, we were on the same team. We rolled and ate. We rolled more and ate. Bob couldn't quite get the rolls right, so he kept rolling without eating. There was a mound of disfigured rolls in front of him at the end of the class.

Saturday night, girls' night out with Guida. My customer Adam was doing his beatbox thing at the coffee shop on Rivington. We went to Nublu and observed an artist who sat at the end of the bar drawing. Then we noticed a woman with long dark hair on the other end of the bar, resting her chin on her hand, staring at this way. He started drawing her. She stayed perfectly still while he draw. Everyone else was shoving each other and dancing to the beats.

Long run on sunday morning. The trapeze school is open again on the west side. It looks like fun, but having no upper body strength, I would never able to do that. Mashing big bowl full of potatoes is quite a work out for me. I came across thousands of people doing MS Walk downtown. There was a woman doing the walk while smoking a cigarette. Well, this wasn't an event for cancer research but it seemed rather inappropriate behavior. There was a man with a big lizard on his shoulder underneath Brooklyn bridge. I saw him last summer with a couple of homeless men petting the lizard. The lizard meowed like a cat.

Sunday afternoon. I thought no one was doing the laundry but me on beautiful sunday. As I was walking out of the building, my downstairs neighbor Andrew warned me; "don't go there now. I had to go back so many times. Every machine is full." I waited for half an hour, but the laundromat was still very busy.

It's muggy summer weather out and my building still has the heat on.

on april 19, 2004 @ 11:39 pm [link]


It was such a beautiful spring day; I decided to buy myself some flowers. When I got to the store this morning with red daisies, I realized that my big crystal vase was missing. I realized that my last helper Carlos must have taken it. What a shame that I didn't realize he was such a crook. Then I also noticed that 'Turkish evil eye' lucky charm my friend Betim brought me from Turkey last summer. Carlos must have taken it. I remember asking him to clean the coffee maker, which the eveil eye was sitting on. After he was gone, the change purse for deliveries with 20 dollars in it was also missing. It's a shame that some one could be so disrespectful of others and their property, and be so good at deceiving people. This never happened with so many other help I had. And I remembered that Carlos always came with a large bag. Many of these workers don't carry anything. Like Benito, the guy I have now, don't carry anything. At least I know that he won't take anything bigger than he can put in his pocket.
on april 17, 2004 @ 12:53 am [link]

sushi fever

The phone started ringing at 9 am this morning. Then it kept ringing and ringing until about mid afternoon. It was total insanity, which was because of an event listing at about my sushi class this saturday. This was interesting because the reaction from New York Times listing last week about the class wasn't anywhere close to this phenomenon, although I also received good number of phone calls. Web is powerful. I shouldn't underestimate the number of people who may be reading this.. I'll be on my best behavior.

My fan in Chicago Jim accidentally cc'd his email to his friends saying that everyone should go to eat at SOY to my mailing list. Therefore all the mailing list subscriber receive a fw: version of my soy news. That was so sweet of him to promote my restaurant. I just wanted to say that it wasn't a promotional stunt, although it almost looks like one.
on april 15, 2004 @ 11:51 pm [link]

Namazzi loves Nameshi

My youngest fan Namazzi celebrated his 5th birthday at SOY. When his mom asked him what he wanted to eat for dinner, his answer was of course 'nameshi!' (which interestingly rhymes with his name.) He charmed everyone who walked in with his sweetest smile. Guida was completely taken by him as soon as she walked in. She played a temporary babysitter for half an hour. I got the cutest picture of him as a new addition on my wall.

My neighbor Elliot's dog Winston stops by daily on his night walk around the block, which happens to be around 11pm, my closing time. I don't remember how it started, but Winston has to stop at my door for a possible treat of a croquette. He has to. He doesn't understand that if he stops by iin the morning or afternoon he will not get any. He doesn't understand that sometimes there's no croquette left to give away. He doesn't understand. He has to stop at my door and wag his tail, look at me with his big shiny eyes. Keeps wagging his tail. He did get his treat tonight, but he had to share it with his little dachshund friend. They went off around the block and on his way back Winston had to stop at my door as I was locking up. He didn't understand that I didn't have a croquette to give him. He looked at me and kept wagging his tail.

on april 14, 2004 @ 10:33 pm [link]

new faces

I'm surrounded by all new staff at SOY and it's been a bit stressful week. Last night my new kitchen help Benito was getting lost everywhere on delivery. Today I'm expecting another newcomer Hayato, a tall Japanese boy. I think he'll be very popular especially among my gay customers. Siren Hair Salon will be open next door any day now. My old friends Krzystof and Jim came by. Guida stops by daily. Micheal came with his friend. I love the social factor of the restaurant; I'm working all day, but it's like hanging out in my own living room where my friends stop by.
on april 13, 2004 @ 05:44 pm [link]

A bunny in a lavender tutu

Good run under grey sky in the morning. I saw a very interesting movie "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter.. and Spring." Breathtaking cinematography. Simple yet profound story. Touching in rather strange way. Then my friend Guida and I had a girl's talk over lunch, strolled through a street fair, encountered a pink bunny in a lavender tutu giving out candies, then as a girlfriends' afternoon hangout ritual wondered into an adult toy shop in the village. Lots of places were closed for Easter, but there were still plenty of tourists on the street. On this mellow afternoon I thought of an ex-boyfriend fondly who used to fax me a terrible drawing of a bunny on Easter, although he was a total jerk.
on april 11, 2004 @ 11:49 pm [link]


Finally the hectic week is over. It was quiet Saturday night. This afternoon this old Jewish lady I'm acquainted walked by. For years this little lady with missing tooth passes by pushing her little shopping cart, stops in front of the store, and knocks on the door so I'd come out and have a little chat with her. Sometimes she brings me a jar of Gefelta fish. I didn't see her around for a few months, so it was nice to see her. She looked good, neatly dressed and with pink lipstick. Last night as I was closing up, my neighbor Betim was walking home and told me that she just came across an old, old man trying to get a copy of Village Voice. She helped him get it from the box, and then he started telling her some jokes. He was a stand-up comedian in his young days. But this man so old that his voice was little weak and scratchy, and he was also only 5 feet tall. She had to bend over and listen to his jokes one after another. She was cracking up telling me the story. "I wish I could write down these things!" I like listening to old people. Customers at the end of the night were middle-aged daughters having a night out with their 'ma.' Ma must be over 80 years old. Little ma was trying to stick her chopstick into tofu pudding. She had really cute smile when she left.
on april 11, 2004 @ 02:04 am [link]

mommy's food

The Japanese hair salon next door started moving in. That means the end of a job for the contractors. I'm going to miss them! who lunched at SOY daily. The Japanese electricians discovered red bean tofu pudding this afternoon. One of the guy had 3 and a half pudding, after lunch and for late afternoon snack. They address me as 'okah-san.' A female owner of a bar is called 'mama-san,' but I have a restaurant, and for my homey food, they decided to call me 'okah-san' or mother. Suddenly I felt kind of old, being called a mother by middle-aged Japanese men. But they so love my food! I thought this is what may feel like to have little boys loving mommy's food. It was fun to have them around.

It's been a hectic week. Interviewing. New Mexican never showed up. I had to call Alex who was dying to come back to work for me. Tomorrow is Akiyo's last day. More interviewing. Phone calls. For a job, a class, and orders. I hate telemarketers. They're never ever polite enough ask if this is a good time for a sales pitch. They don't realize that the person on the other end of the line may be in the middle of frying some tofu.

I caught a part of Condoleezza Rice's testimony on TV this morning. I didn't like her hair-do. It looked unnatural. And her forehead was huge. I very much disliked the way she spoke. This woman is really smart, and she will not say anything to screw herself, or the President. It was such a politician talk. Confident, manipulative, careful. And I was truly disgusted by the way she smiled as she spoke. How could you smile when you talk about how you totally ignored, failed to notice any sign of the terror attack when so much information was there? She was smiley. It made her look so fake, unreal. That's what I thought. Heartless.

As I was closing up, I had a great idea for my Japanese home cooking cookbook. I want to have it illustrated by my mother. She's an excellent illustrator. She can draw cartoons. She also does excellent watercolors. There's one of her work on the wall at SOY. Watercolor painting of vegetables.
on april 9, 2004 @ 12:34 am [link]

keeping my head together

Guida wants to take me once her 'cult' and chant with her. If the 'chanting with a cult' helps her, that's great. But I got my thing to keep my head together. Running. This has been my religion, addiction, meditation. This morning I literally 'ran into' the older gentleman I call 'peace man.' He is a fellow runner, perhaps in his 60s, excellent shape, who's out there all the time. He gives a big peace sign to everyone he passes by. Some people respond, some people ignore him. I always gave him a big smile and a peace sign back, so we became buddies. I haven't been running into him for a while, at least 3-4 months. When he spotted me in a distance he was so happy he started dancing sideways. I did a little dancing in return, then we gave each other a big high five as we passed each other. I thought this was kind a cute story to share.

Yesterday and today, Miwako was the girl who was sent as a relief by Akiyo. The little Japanese girl made some deliveries for me. I'm expecting a new help tomorrow. Let's see how it goes this time. My cooking classes are going to be listed in the calendar in the dining section. The phone will be ringing.
on april 7, 2004 @ 12:52 am [link]


I'm just watching a show about an artist selling a piece of cracker, a thum tack or a pencil sharpner, or an eraser, for 15 - 35 cents a piece on channel 13. As an artwork. Or whatever. He would mail it to you, or deliver it to you. It's insane, surreal, and zen like. If I find his flyer posted somewhere, I'd buy one.
on april 5, 2004 @ 12:21 am [link]

In the sky

I saw almost full moon, Jupiter, and Regulus lined up in the sky as I closed up the shop tonight at midnight. Someone busted the door to my building. This afternoon was another cooking class - soy cooking for clueless. Micheal, Trish, Keri, and Micheal's friend Jenny who flew in from England for the class. Soy going global! We had another fun class, starting from cutting up some tofu with plastic knives to battling with nasty natto. My cashier girl Akiyo came in for my rescue tonight. She was busy with deliveries. I think I'm going to sleep in really late today since we are losing one hour. Things are all right. I just tried to figure out where exactly in her body my cat purrs. She purrs so softly I couldn't figure out.
on april 4, 2004 @ 01:15 am [link]

shit happens

Well, some shit happened to my friend Micheal. This email came the night before the April fool's, so I don't think it's a joke.

"I sort of lost track of time this past week as my aunt passed away and my cousins were in town.. but that is only part of the reason for my late response as this is what happened...

Several days ago I had an accident and spilled a bottle of Pepsi (diet) onto my keyboard while trying to get the top off a pen that used to be my favorite. The cap to the pen was stuck and when I jerked it off I knocked the bottle over onto the keyboard.. Then it turned out the pen had leaked so at the same time Pepsi was spilling into my keyboard and files I had ink all over my hands... So I ended up ruining the shirt I had on.. the keyboard seemed fine but then it started acting up and would substitute the letter 'f' for a 'd' - so I accidentally emailed a client telling him to fuck off when I meant to write duck...

So I took the keyboard into the bathroom to see if I might dry it out with the blower. I had my hands full with the blower and keyboard. My sneaker was on the sink because I was scrubbing some ink off that had dripped onto it earlier from the pen incident and as I was fumbling with the keyboard trying to prevent the cord from going into the toilet I knocked my sneaker in. So I put the dryer into the sneaker to dry that out too but that blew the fuse which in turn burnt out my halogen torch lamp which several days later as I tilted it to look at the damage tipped over a glass on the coffee table which rolled off and broke on which I cut my finger and have not done much typing since.."
on april 2, 2004 @ 01:13 am [link]

April Fool's

Downtown Manhattan was in grey fog again. I encountered Chinese sword dancers under the bridge on my run again. It seemed to be a mellow day, until about 5 o'clock, my helper Carlos, who was cranky all day decided to quit. He said, "I'm going home. It's too much work for me." And he went. I was in total shock. I have to take back everything I said good about Carlos. I felt so deceived. Micheal came by and I cried on his shoulder. "But he seemed to be content!" Everyone who met him was surprised as well. He was singing and dancing yesterday. It made me want to quit for about ten minutes, then I had to resume my work. People need my curry! People need my niku jaga! This is just a bad joke on April fool's. I just felt so angry trusting and believing his words, that he's happy to be working, he wants to learn, I'm a good boss and he wants to keep this job. Was it all b.s.? My friend Miles once told me, "Good things will happen to good people." I'd really like to believe that. This is just another small crisis. I'm grateful to my good customers and friends who are patient when things get crazy around here. My sweet kitty Coco taps on my shoulder like nothing has changed as I write this. Tomorrow is another day. Thus the end of another episode of a reality show at SOY.
on april 2, 2004 @ 12:28 am [link]

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