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July 2007

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fear not...

As I left for a long run at noon yesterday, rain started falling. For a few minutes, I was choking in humid air - hitting warm asphalt, rain quickly returned into air as steam. Then it cooled down a little and I enjoyed my run in a steady rain and occasional growling thunder. Although I probably look quite miserable drenched from head to toe, running in the rain in summer is great. It's much better than getting soaking wet from my own sweat. Rain also chased all the tourists out of Battery Park and along the Hudson River- it was wonderful to run in the empty parks and streets. On the way back, I came across a violently bobbing manhole on South Street. Of course the first thing I thought about was the recent steam pipe explosion. I ran to the corner to call 911, but the pay phone was not working. I kept running, and I saw a police patrol car by the East River Park. Officers in the car told me someone called and Fire Department is on the way. Good news was, according to them, the river water flowing into sewer system and causing it, not a bursting steam pipe. It was scary sight, though. I was exhausted after two-hour run in the rain, but I still ran as fast as I can away from the manhole.

So it was right to cancel my beach plan this weekend. I was asking my neighbor Elliot the other day about Jersey beaches. He highly recommended 'clothing-optional' beach in Sandy Hook. I told Heidi about it and she exclaimed, "But I don't want to see YOU naked." So I shared Elliot's words of wisdom; "After seeing a chestnut colored fat man bouncing around playing badminton naked on the beach, you'll have nothing to fear."
on july 30, 2007 @ 07:42 pm [link]

summer morning play

The lightening last week that had caused our computer system breakdown had opened a small can of worms. I ended up changing my account to a credit card processor with high speed internet. I had to get the whole software upgrade. The tiny caller ID box that we cherish so much turned out to be $400. After 10 days the system was finally restored and it's 100 times better! Now credit card processing takes 2 seconds. Amazing.

I got up early, and rode my bike uptown at 8 o'clock in the morning. As much as I hate getting up early on weekend, I love these early summer races. It's great to ride across town in empty streets, and enjoy the park before sun gets too high. It was 'Run for Central Park' 4 miler, which is appropriate for my team, Central Park Track Club. Although I'm still not quite back in my speed, I was happy to contribute for our women's team to win the first place. I saw my teammate Margot at the finish line, and we laughed about this picture she emailed me yesterday, which she found in NY Road Runners' web site. She renamed the file: "Etsuko_no_play.jpg." That's me at the start line in blue uniform in last year's race in September. With my hands on my hips, I was indeed thinking, 'hey, let's start the race. I'm not here to play.'
on july 22, 2007 @ 02:00 am [link]

Learning to be patient again

All kinds of strange things seem to be happening, from the steam pipe explosion in midtown to a tornado in Long Island, and new about the earthquake in Japan is quickly lost from the headlines. Credit card system is not recovered yet, and I am still using the old terminal manually. After being spoiled with technological convenience, it is much pain to go back to the old system. With my computer POS system, credit card processing was just swipe. Done. But the old terminal goes: swipe. Server #. Enter. Amount. Enter. Tips. Enter. Dialing. Connected. Approved. Printing... (then it prints quite slowly). Print a copy for customer? Yes. (then it prints out a copy quite slowly.) If it's a phone order, it also asks for billing address, zip code, and the security number printed on the card. I have to ask a few extra questions to the customer over the phone, and often I get annoying complaint; why do you need all that information? Well, sorry, but this software is designed to make us go through some security check up to make sure you're the rightful owner of the credit card. I get annoyed, and realize that technology brings us much convenience and comfort, but also makes up so dumb. Yesterday Azumi and I were laughing that it would be just too hard to go back to the old way of things, writing down the orders for kitchen and bringing it to them, then writing out the checks and manually calculating. Of course we used to ask the phone numbers and delivery addresses and all the details each time we took the order. Now if the caller id recognize the numbrer, we don't have to ask a thing. We got all the info. You just give us the order. Remember, we used to not have emails, computers, cell phones. We had to be home if we were expecting a call. Remember we used to write letters and send cards to keep in touch? I wrote term papers on a typewriter. I had to go pick up my friends at the train station to bring them home in Japan, because it was too hard to explain on the phone and there was no fax machine. We don't have street names in Japan. Remember we used to have to get up and walk to the tv set to change the channel? Now I freak out if I can't find the remote. Remember the time of dial-up? You were calling a friend but the line is busy because he/she is on-line. Remember before instant messaging? We just had to wait patiently for the email reply. How patient we all were! In the past week I touched three iPhones. Pretty cool. They all love it to death. Tom and I searched for the satellite picture of my parents house and we got it! Nikolai showed me off with the traffic information he can get right on the map. Looks so cool yet I don't spend too much time on the road I really don't need all that feature. I am still proud not owning even iPod. My friends say, but how about when you go out running. I don't like to listen to music when I run. Even on 2-3 hour long run, I don't want to listen to music. There's some music usually ringing in my ear anyway since much of the day I listen to music in the restaurant. I have a camera phone for probably a year now, but I still hasn't used the camera. I still say sometimes, "oh, I wish I had a camera now," not realizing that I have my cell phone. I still like to carry my still camera if I want to take photos. - There's still nothing like grainy black and white photos - some timeless quality and beauty in them.
on july 20, 2007 @ 01:30 am [link]

Makes me want to go to a beach

Looking at Japanese Hellow Kitty calender in the bathroom I realized that this past monday was a national holiday: 'Beach Day.' How cute! I had no knowledge of this holiday, which became national holiday only about 10 years ago. Literally meaning 'Ocean Day,' I love these Japanese holidays that has no political or religious significance. How about Green Day and Children's Day in May? Then there's Sports Day, Seniors Day, and Culture Day. These are real Japanese national holidays. Christmas is not a holiday, but they have Emperor's Birthday on December 23rd, which is of course a national holiday.

on july 18, 2007 @ 12:50 pm [link]

humidity is still in the air

Ever since I started giving her medication, my elderly cat Coco stopped waking me up in the morning. That's a good news. But she throws up a lot more and eating so much less. She is losing more weight. It terribly worries me. I hope she makes it for her 88th birthday in human age.

Very busy start of the week on monday, but then we had very quiet night tonight. Everyday is a rollercoaster ride. I just try to enjoy it.
on july 18, 2007 @ 12:42 am [link]

Riding the waves

The heat wave early week kept us really busy; we do well in steamy hot weather, since less peoplek are cooking obviously. Tuesday was the busiest day ever at SOY. Phone kept ringing and I had to turn down many deliveries since our little kitchen couldn't handle the volume. Then wednesday evening there was a lightening that fell some place very close- sounded like it was right outside of my window that I jumped and almost fell off my chair. I think it did something to our computer system, and modem caused short circuit on the line and credit card processing and caller ID stopped working. One of the refrigerators also stopped producing ice during the heat wave. So the last two days I spent many frustrating hours trying to fix the problems. Especially dealings with unknowledgeable tech support people at credit card processing company is always unpleasant experience. First when I called them, they said, 'oh, we don't support that software.' But how come I have account with you then? So I had to call computer system guys, and Ed showed up and for almost three hours he checked this and that and changed this setting and that configuration and couldn't fix it. I say it was that lightening that penetrated the buildings and the computer and caused something in there. Then on Friday the thirteenth Wada san showed up in the morning and cleaned up the refrigerator. After hours of dealing with unknowledgeable tech support people I got an old credit card terminal up and running. Much comfortable weather and I'm ready for another cooking class tomorrow morning!
on july 13, 2007 @ 11:26 pm [link]

I'm back from short vacation from Mystic, Connecticut. I spent quality time on the beach and at the pool, and came back with nice bikini tan. I also enjoyed scenic run along the river, and admired fireflies on the porch at Kathy's mom's house. Back in the city in the middle of heat wave! Many people are not cooking and kept us busy all evening. It looks like we are going to have a steamy week; perfect for a spicy tuna bowl! I'm enjoying daily fresh shiso leaves Luis brought me last week. I have to do some specials with shiso leaves this week.
on july 10, 2007 @ 12:31 am [link]

Go grab that money

Attention all the starving artists! I'm asked to spread the word about Macktez Summer Stipend:
The Macktez Summer Stipend is a grant for creative development. Each year we try to reach out to the many junior designers, interns, and other creative individuals we come across every day for whom a little extra cash could be the difference between a great idea and a great, finished project. If you can wow us with your idea, you’ll get $500 to make it happen. Apply online at by July 20. It's the simplest grant application I've ever seen. But then the challenge would be how to make a powerful impression about your project in few words.

I heard from Jeff who adopted my little Felix last week. He's slowly getting aquinted with his new brother Willow. They are having much fun with him and giving him plenty of love. So good to hear. My Coco has been on medication for a few days, but she still does 'kitty burst' in the morning, suddenly running from room to room, and I wonder if her hormon level is still too high or she is simply doing what a cat does.

on july 3, 2007 @ 11:45 pm [link]

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