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June 2004

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Pride sunday

I'm going to see the Cure I'm going to see the Cure I'm going to see the Cure! And obviously I'm very excited!

Yesterday 'tourist' Tarja and I went to see the gay pride parade. The mayor Bloomberg was also waiting for us at our meeting spot on 23rd and Madison. (Seriously. As the mayor disappeared into the van his tough guy body guard shoved me off the sidewalk thinking I'm his groupie.) We hovered around intersections and got yelled at police officers. And of course we pretended that we are innocent foreign tourists who don't understand English. It was lots of fun. Things I learned: the city is full of gay people. They love to party and dance half naked. They like to get married. The pretty guys in tight tight shirts are gay. The pretty guys sitting on every phone booths are gay. Too bad they are all gay.
on june 28, 2004 @ 05:36 pm [link]

Tarja from Finland

My friend Tarja who lives in Helsinki showed up to surprise me Thursday night. If you meet her for the first time, she would introduce herself as "Tarja, from Finland." Usually when she comes to NY she is with a group of friendly young Finns, students at the art collage where she teaches. This time is her pleasure trip but she's still so busy and always calling in the last minute from a pay phone and she runs out of coins. She decided to just show up first this time and it was really nice. Friday after work I rode my bicycle to her friend, a crazy polish artist, Krzystof's studio in Greenpoint and hang out with a bunch of crazy artists. I passed by a billiard bar called 'La Cue' which I thought was the cutest name for a pool bar. The warehouse they are converting to individual studio space was really cool. They had a party that started earlier in the evening, and it was nicely winding down when I got there. Another crazy polish artist was almost passing out. Krzystof's girlfriend Cynthia projected beautiful slides on a make-shift sheet screen hang from beams above, with relaxing sound of live acoustic guitar. Improvisationally the image and music played off each other in sync. It was such a beautiful moment sitting around and having beer with interesting and crazy people surrounded by art they created; it was a moment that reminded me why I love being in NYC so much. Later Cynthia complimented me that I am brave to putting personal 'journal' on the web. But I think art is often personal. This has been my personal expression. Although of course there's lots of things that's left out because my parents read this blog regularly.

Saturday, we had some slow moments so I put on KC & The Sunshine Band and George Clinton really loud and Guida and I practiced our funk moves at "funk night at club SOY." And of course a customer walks in at one point but we didn't stop dancing. He laughed at us but he couldn't help himself but to shake his booty himself. Guida finished her temp work at SOY tonight. I'm really going to miss working with her. We're thinking of taking a road trip to New Hampshire next weekend.
on june 27, 2004 @ 01:58 am [link]

Memories of Marathon

Scott and Dana from archrival The New York Flyers came for dinner. Scott is another crazy fellow runner who shared the agony of running the Athens marathon last November. Under blazing sun and 80 degrees, we ran the historical 'original' (supposedly) marathon course plus a little detour around the tomb of Marathon warriors (not the marathon runners) which I called 'this mound of dirt.' Good 2/3 of the entire course (26 miles and change) was uphill. I'm not kidding. It was an endless uphill. I was so looking forward to the last 10 K which was supposed to be downhill, but it was just about flat. When we start the final decent into Athens we were supposed to see Acropolis, the beautiful ancient building, on the hill across the way but I didn't see it because of a gigantic billboard that blocked the view. And when we finished in the magnificent marble stadium our bags which was supposed to be transported from the start line by the race organizer wasn't there. Runners were yelling at the volunteers and the volunteers were screaming at each other. And we wondered: are they really going to have Olympics here next summer? That and not-so-nearly-finished construction of roads stadium whatever everywhere also made us worried about the Olympics for them. But otherwise the trip was wonderful. My hotel room had a large marble balcony that overlooked the ocean and was bigger than my whole apartment. I got to go dip in the ocean after the race. It was fun to hang out with 120 other crazy US runners from all over the country, like Kentucky, Alaska, and even Saipan. Scott and Val, only two other New Yorkers in the group, were the funniest and friendliest people. It was interesting because many of the people from the rest of the country seemed to think New York is this scary, chaotic city. Not a place to live. But Val and I, on the flight back, really looked forward to be home in New York.
on june 23, 2004 @ 11:09 pm [link]


Sunday was the last day of installation art by Victor Matthew "Beyond Metamorphosis" in the Battery Park. The sight of 3000 hand-painted umbrellas laid out on the lawn was quite remarkable. Every year Monarch butterflies make a 3,000-mile migration to Mexico, where they reproduce and die, thereby regenerating the species. The artist explains. "This piece explores themes of transformation, migration and regeneration...Butterflies make an obvious spiritual gesture that is often overlooked: of a life that never ends and a spirit that never dies."

In the afternoon I ran into my former employee Kumi around the corner. She rubbed her beautiful big round belly and smiled. "Three more weeks."

on june 21, 2004 @ 01:59 am [link]

My friends are crazy

My crazy saxophone player friend Pablo from LA showed up Thurday afternoon. As soon as he walked in the door, he started telling me about his close encounter with a little water snake swimming in a river in Woodstock by his sister's house on the previous day. "It was like this!" He brings his hand up 3 inches from his nose. "I just went, AAAAAhhhh and got out of the river. The snake quickly swam away to the other direction. I think he was surprised himself. But it was like this!" He rubs the back of his hand up the side of my arms. He's such a character. He just cracks me up. He wants to change his name to 'Moo' when he turns 50. Moo like a cow? No. 'Mu' like the lost continent. I told him that 'mu' in Japanese means 'nothing.' He stared at me for a moment and said, that's so beautiful. It totally makes sense. Later I went to see his show at Tonic. One of the tune was titled, 'Snake in the River.' After the show, all his friends were asking him, that was about he snake you encountered yesterday? He said, I didn't have a name for it, so I called it Snake in the River. Obviously that's been his topic of the day. There were two beautiful girls, black and hispanic, friends of the percussionist, who stole the floor with their sexy dance moves. Later Pablo was engaged in a conversation with the black girl over 'lonelyness.' I listened to Spanish girl talk about her problem with her husband. I said, well, there's people who wants to stay in their comfortable space, and they want you to be with them, in their little world. They don't want you to grow. They drag you down. She stared at me for a second and said, oh my god. That's exactly it. I said to myself, my goodness, did I just break a marriage? But she sounded like she just wants to get out of it. She only needed little more assurance. Afterwards for some reason she started pinching my butt saying that I have a cute ass. I had a feeling that we may become friends. It was a long day, but quite worth it.

on june 19, 2004 @ 01:57 am [link]

I wish I had enough money to go hear the crickets

My friend Jose stopped by this afternoon. He looked pretty tired sleeping on the couch in the office, working late nights. We both ramented the fact that we are so caught up in 'work' and not being able to push our 'projects' forward. He wished he had money and don't have to work. Some room to be able to take a few days off would be nice. If I could go away to relax once in a while would be sufficiant. But I think too much money would really scare me. I certainly do not wish to be Paris Hilton, nor want to be around such people. Even the people who hover around Schillers scare me. I was reading the review of
Megu in the NY Times this afternoon. As much as it makes me curious, I probably would only dine there if someone else is paying. Well, I wouldn't reject an invitation, I'm saying. I would truly love to admire the ice Buddha and enjoy the sound of crickets. In the meantime, Jose and I made a plan to vacation on the shores of Rockaways around the 4th of July.
on june 17, 2004 @ 01:38 am [link]

My family

My mother just called me and asked me how I knew the tiny Indian in my dream was her. Maybe I was Indian myself. I just knew that this tiny Indian on my shoulder was my mother. My father wanted to know the validity of the sport of 'chicken fishing' I mentioned before. I told him yes, it's up and coming popular sport in America that I'm getting hooked to. Dunkin Donuts is coming to around the corner, at the former site of Bate Records on Delancey Street. What else can we wish to have on our Delancey strip mall?

My Japanese 'boys' Komuro san and Ikko san walked in this evening, "I'm home!" Kazu and Koji also joined and my odd family feasted over beer and loudly praised my food as usual. "Mother's food is always the best!"
on june 16, 2004 @ 01:11 am [link]


This morning I dreamt that my mother was a tiny Indian (from India). She was so tiny I carried her over my shoulder like a kitten. I don't know what this means. I have a feeling this is going to be an odd week. Someone must've left something in one of the apron's pockets; my load of laundry was ruined this morning, with brownish smears everywhere. At least the beautiful large bouquet of flowers in the window keeps me content. My neighbor Aaron brought it to me over the weekend, because I keep packages for him. It pays off to be nice sometimes.
on june 14, 2004 @ 05:51 pm [link]

Bachelorette Sunday

Beautiful weekend. Yeserday I ran Mini 10K in Central Park. It was exciting to be right behind American top runners at the start line. Joan Benoit Samuelson, who won the gold medal at the inaugural Olympic Marathon for women, in Los Angeles in 1984, had bib number 1. She recieved loud applause when introduced before the race. Such a petite woman! I had a good race, feeling strong to the finish.

In the afternoon 'the tile man' Kazu came to finish the floor tiling project. It's all done nice and clean, and ready for the bachelorette party later today.

In the evening we had a surprise sushi-making bachelorette party at SOY with seven Russian girls from Brooklyn. One of the girls called the bride, saying that she was stuck at this restaurant in the Lower East Side with her baby. Please come pick them up. The bride thought it was suspicious, but she decided to drive over. Her friend got no money to come home. So the bride showed up at the door with a roll of Bounty in her hand. (I didn't get the deal about the roll of Bounty, but I guess she was asked to bring it to clean up the baby or something.) Then the other girls hopped up from behind the counter. Surprise! And guess what? We are making sushi today. She was so excited. "Oh, cool!" So I taught these hungry women the must-have skill for moden women to keep their men satisfied: how to make sushi. We had a fun little evening.
on june 13, 2004 @ 01:27 pm [link]

Annoyance - General Ways to Annoy People has many tips on how to annoy people. Generally my customers are nice people, but I also get annoying ones, which is a fate of any business. Today's annoying customer asked for peppers before she tasted her miso soup. As soon as it leaves my hand, the food can be destroyed anyway you wish, but to have it thrown at my face like that is always shocking. For your information, we don't put pepper in miso soup! Asking for hot sauce before tasting anything is also major annoyance. This is not a thai or vietnamese restaurant. We also don't have duck sauce. Other acts of food destruction include: burying rice or any dish with soy sauce or bull-dog sauce. If I'm in a good mood I may answer your annoying question, but other times if you ask me what's in veggie gyoza, I will simply say 'lots of things.' The most annoying incident was when this one customer refused to eat ginger tofu, one of the most popular soy dish, saying that the tofu wasn't exactly like the kind she was thinking about. Sorry, but I'm not a psychic and my job is not to read your mind and prepare the dish you are imagining. Equally annoying was when this woman picked through Niku Jaga and refused to eat it since the meat had some fat on it. People! The world is not as perfect as you dream it to be! Wake up!
on june 11, 2004 @ 05:40 pm [link]

Guida joins force

With sudden departure of Hayato for family emergency this weekend, Guida decided to come work for me, risking our friendship. She said jokingly, "This will be the test if we can really be friends because we're going to spend so much time together." Look forward to meeting her, the tall goofy Brazillian with a beautiful big smile. On her first day, it was a slow night so she didn't get yelled at. However, because of her big ass our delivery bike had a flat this morning. (I'm kidding, Guida!)

Margit came for dinner and she asked, "have I been on your blog lately??" Now you have! I told her that I thought about her this afternoon, when two foreign customers sat down and immediately asked me, "Could you tell us what is that building across the street?" Like I'm supposed to know everything. I surely had some information. The building they were talking about, the one on the corner of Delancey and Suffolk, used to be a movie theater. I believe upper floors are available for rent, but don't know if it is still like a theater inside. My friend Bartholomew and I used to fantasize about opening a club there. And I did hear a rumour that it was going to be a club, but that was a few years ago. I guess it didn't happen.
on june 9, 2004 @ 05:38 pm [link]

I'm learning the art of Chicken Fishing, in case a lost chicken shows up at my door again, which happened last year. A few months ago I also saw a chicken walking down Delancey near the chicken breeder at Attorney Street. Whether he was a runnaway or he just came by to see his cousin was unknown.
on june 8, 2004 @ 03:01 pm [link]

I almost did it

On my morning run, saw hundreds of umbrellas, with a large orange hand-painted butterflies over them, laid out on a lawn in the Battery Park. I was tired and achy from my first tile project I started last night.

A few days ago tiles were finally delivered. Komuro san saw them and said, "Should I come help? I'll bring my friend who's a tile layer. He can do it for you." Then he called his friend, Kazu, and over the phone he agreed to come help. So last night around 7 pm he shows up, expecting a small 'favor' but confronts this job. He says, "Are you serious? You were going to do this yourself?" Well, the floor is not level, there's little corners everywhere, and no walls are straight. He measures, decides on the starting point, and says "Well, it will take time, but let's do it." So he did most of the work, and I laid some of them. I did half of the grouting. And we ran out of tiles. After 12 hours of work it's 99% done. But a tricky little area is still left. I must say that I enjoyed doing it, the new floor looks fantastic, and glad to have a new skill acquired, but this is an extremely tiring job. It turned out that we were all underestimating before yesterday, but I'm glad it's almost over and not looking forward to doing it again very soon. For such an uncalculated work, the newly tiled floor just looks more than perfect.

on june 6, 2004 @ 08:47 pm [link]


White cherries are in season. I'm going to indulge myself in these pretty ones for the next few weeks. On my daily shopping round in Chinatown, they scream from every corner "get me!" So I can't resist. Oh those beautiful yummy things.
on june 4, 2004 @ 12:30 am [link]

grandma gets a tip

So my neighbor Margit sends me a tip for 'the grandma of Suffolk' (that what she calls me, damn it! Some of you who's been reading this long enough know why smile that a new posh club (don't really know for sure since I haven't checked out, but it looks kind of posh from outside) opened up on Delancey, at the foot of our beautiful Williamsburg Bridge, and it's called, surprisingly, The Delancey! It was a surprise since I thought they started fixing up the place just last week. It's on my daily running route, so I was aware of the developement. But last weekend it was open already. Overnight.

Did you read the NY Times article about NY water not being kosher? A while ago I received this lengthy message on my machine from a man in Brooklyn who wants to know if SOY is kosher. He really likes to come try the food, but it has to be kosher. He went on that his friends would also like to know if SOY is kosher, and left two more names and phone numbers so I can call them and tell them if SOY is kosher. I thought this was a trap set by a kosher police, and didn't call them back. I still wonder if the caller was serious. Kosher people take it very seriously, as you can see.
on june 2, 2004 @ 10:42 pm [link]

we're back!

This morning, there was a message on my voice mail. A few seconds of silence, then music started. Clearly, I heard a man sang "It's not easy to be me..." That was the end of the message. Right on!

The plan for this holiday weekend was to lay a new tile floor in the restaurant. I got all the supplies and tools necessary but.. the tiles. When the delivery truck came on Saturday afternoon, they brought me wrong tiles. SOY could not have a black & white checkered floor! When the truck went back to the store, they called me and said they don't have the ones I wanted. So suddenly I had three day vacation, which I enjoyed modestly. And I was proud not to write in the blog. Slept a lot. Some socializing and more domestic chores. Running vigorously around west side and cheered on the triathletes swimming in Hudson River. People think running a marathon is crazy, but I think a triathlon is definitely crazier. Especially these that include swimming in Hudson River. There was a triathlon race last year that was cancelled because they determined that the bacteria level was too high in the River and it was unswimmable. Thank god that they check those things.
on june 1, 2004 @ 10:33 pm [link]

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