June 26, 2011

My luck is going up?

One last thing.

I won this bag after the knit-along in May (a pink sweater I made a few weeks ago).  The organizer selected a winner of each prize randomly.  It's a handmade knitting project bag sold by Jen (YarnPlayCafe on Etsy).
I never win anything, at all, so this is pretty big for me.  And the bag is cute.

Surprisingly, in the same week, I also won a pattern (design instruction) of this very cute sweater by sheer luck. I sincerely hope that I haven't used up all my luck for the summer!
Photo courtesy of the designer, Elizabeth Wolden.

Mountain Diner (山食堂)

 Our respected gourmet colleague took us to another new restaurant in an old neighborhood.  Called Yama-Shokudou, meaning "mountain diner" in English, if you must translate.
 A dimly lit, very low-key Japanese style restaurant. They have traditional home cooking menu with fresh vegetable and eggs and such. Everything we had was so delicious. This Japanese wine, below, was also one of the best I'd had among Japanese ones.

 This area seems to be becoming more hip in the recent years.  Something like below, an eclectic second-hand book store, is also nearby.

Some cute things

 A gift from my sister from her trip to Seoul.
 A simple cute horn for iPhone.  It actually works.  My dad trades these things from China, so it's always fun to visit his office for goodies.

 Sorry for the bad color - I should have used a regular lens to photograph...
 And, a back cover to match....
 The front!! Of my new iPad2!!!! (yes, I bought it!)

Father's Day

I haven't updated my blog for 2 weeks (because I was dog-sitting last weekend, which I enjoyed a lot), so please bare with me for a few more.

My family had a reunion for the belated Father's Day this afternoon.  There is a new reverside restaurant not far from his office, called Cielo y Rio.  One of my colleagues took us there on Friday for lunch, and really liked it, so I decided to go back with my family this time.
the 3rd floor, river-front view outside the window

food is itallian / fusion
We had a great afternoon. My niece eats so much, she loves all kinds of noodles and fruits. She kept asking for more.
It was surprising that my dad was also talking about Zaz, passionately.  He even let me copy his CD.  But come to think of it, I grew up listening to his records and cassette tapes and CDs, so I guess it's natural that our tastes in music are alike.


French. Classic.

 My French school, L'institut Franco-Japonais a Tokyo, is hosting a small exhibition of Yve Sant Laurant's old black and white photographs. (Original photos by Jeanloup Sieff)
When he was young and just released a new fragrance line, he decided to use his own nude photo for the advertisement, and commissioned Sieff the work.  Yve and Sieff worked together for many years and left these amazing, classic, chic photographs. 
The show is still on until July 31st.

Long journey to finishing a dress

 As I may have written before, I had been sewing a very simple linen dress these past weeks.  Last weekend, my sister's family were traveling to Seoul, while I was dog-sitting and borrowed her sewing machine as well.
 It's a wrap dress in dark navy linen.  A splash of purple in it.
 While I was sewing the hem (the finishing), one of the dogs, Rey, climbed up my niece's (baby) chair on her own.  So cute.
 Still sewing.
The dress looks like this, it's hard to make out, but it's a wrap dress and there is a bow-tie in front.
Here are something extra: some shots from this afternoon stroll in an old neighborhood not far from Akihabara (Tokyo).  Lovely wall gardens.


I am completely sure that only 1 or 2 people I know have watched this movie.  One of them could be my dad, who watches all the Hollywood movies out there. 
Everytime I saw its teaser in theaters, it left me utterly lost.  The story looked so uninteresting.  But, since Disney has spent enormous amount in its production, I suspected that it can't be all bad.
Then, I found out that there used to be an previous old version of TRON in 1980s.
I actually rented the movie.  80% of the movie looks like below:
It left me in awe. In awe, by its geeky-ness.  How could someone with a right mind have made such a geeky movie with geeky computer terminology back in 80s, when nobody was really using personal computers?  And that someone was Disney production!
You have no idea what I mean unless you watch it.

So I finally rented the new one (TRON Legacy) and watched it tonight.  Wow.  I wish I had seen it in a theater.  I already have the soundtrack, which is a masterpiece (AND the music directer of the film is Jason Bentley, the host of Morning Becomes Eclectic at KCRW Santa Monica, my hero).  The story is not as geeky but not so bad, and the visual was fantastic.  I am not saying TRON will make your heart throb and leave you with tears.  This movie is for "wow" experience.

We need more mind-blowingly creative films like this.  Some of them may turn out to be complete disaster, but we definitely need them.

La Lettera in Kagurazaka, Tokyo

There is something about those "Y" shaped street corners.  You will understand what I mean if you look at this.

The bright street corner is an italian restaurant.  Once I was walking around the neighborhood after my French school, found this place, and I couldn't resist looking into the door.  The place was full.
I was so sure this place to be a French restaurant, because this neighborhood is sort of like a French quarter in Tokyo, and also because of this cafe in Paris:

Au Soleil de la Butte
http://nyctaloop.free.fr/index.html (an amazing photo site)
Looks familiar?  This cafe was where Xavier in the film "Spanish Apartment" met his old girlfriend (portrayed by Audrey Tatou), and the only thing I remember about this movie.  According to various online sources, this place also appeared in Meg Ryan's film some time ago (French Kiss?).  I LOVE this kind of setting.

So I finally got to dine at this restaurant (La Lettera, not Paris) last week, and it was perfect (only, it turned out to be an Italian, not French).  The food and the atmosphere were exquisite.
On that evening, my friend showed me some photos from his recent trip to Istanbul.  One of them was:
See? There is an open air cafe behind the tree in the center.  There is something about this setting that makes things vibrant and cozy. (Photo courtesy of Mr. T)
He treated me with so many breathtaking photos, by the way. I really have to visit this city sometime soon.

June 12, 2011


 Still not sure why, but I am trying hard.  Studying French with the class text, above.  Below, I bought a book on "keeping your journal in French."  Why not?
And, I keep buying books (FREE is not a new book, it had been hiding in my bookcase since it first came out.)  From top, 1) a translation of American college level biology textbook, a book on Twitter, Kotler's Marketing 3.0, and a book on Western philosophy and thinking.

Intentive Bach Course

I was looking for Richter's Matthaus-Passion CD, couldn't find it anywhere, then finally found it at a local library. I thought I was borrowing only 1 CD. Instead, below was what I received.

Quite intense? Yes.

I didn't know a public library has these things. Tax money very well spent.


Found another very pretty florist in the neighborhood.  I don't know its name, I just know where it is.  You can't find many standard flowers such as tulips and carnations.  Instead, they have many standard garden tree branches.
I bought a branch of hydrangea and another with small white flowers.
These are what you can see everywhere in the neighborhood gardens and streets, but I don't have a garden, unfortunately.  So these made me feel like I belong to the neighborhood, to the ground below and its soil.
Below, I found while I was walking a back alley.  It's hard to read, but it reads: "Please tie the rein of your horse here."

GALA (Completed)

Pattern: GALA by roko
Yarn: Pierrot Cotton Neat in Yellow, 8.5 skeins
Needles: US 8 (5mm) needles
Details are here: (Click)
Just finished GALA tunic on Friday.  It was a fun and quick knit!
I finished a sweater in May, a tunic in June.  It feels pretty productive these days.

June 09, 2011


I came across an NHK program called Amazing Voice a few weeks ago, and instantly became a big fan.  The program was featuring a French artist called ZAZ on that day.
She is so amazing.

Zaz is in similar line with Adele, I think, as well as Trixie from Black Dub (which I introduced in this blog a few months ago).
As for Adele, I love this Tiny Desk Concert series from NPR radio (this series is awesome - I am subscribed to their podcast as well).  You can also watch the videos on YouTube.  They sound so effortless.  Wish I could sing like that.












June 05, 2011

Early Summer Evening

Yesterday I had a small home warming party at my place. I waited until now because I wanted to have the painting first, before inviting people (you can see a small part of the picture in the background in my previous post).
I didn't invite too many people because (1) I haven't cooked a real dinner in a while and (2) I only have 3 chairs and 3 mugs (one a bit broken).  So there were just my sister's family (but unfortunately they left before anyone else came), my artistic colleague, an artist who painted the picture, my amazing classmate, and 2 old male friends, one film director and the other a city planner.
I felt so very happy to have these amazing friends.  They all have sparkly eyes with curiosity and aspirations to be different.  Not like those people who always try to pretend to be smarter than others with their egos.
To tell you the truth, I don't have many friends.  I am just so picky about people, and most people just don't pick me either.  Every once in a while, I literally "meet" someone.  It's always a love at first sight, whether the person is male or female. Many of them are not in Japan so I don't get to see them often.
Since I started my career in business (after working as an editor and an entrepreneur), it became more difficult to meet new people.  I think I prefer to hang out with architects and entrepreneurs than hard-working business people.

Anyway, the party.
I cooked a few dishes, but it was really my friends and my sister who brought bottles of wine and great appetizers. And, we didn't have enough chairs...
I am not very good at taking care of people.  If you are my guests, you are forced to just help yourselves (I am so sorry!).  But I love having people around at my place, cook for the guests, and chat with everyone.  It gives you a great advantage - only you know everyone. Also it helps to keep your place relatively tidy.

I will find more chairs (preferably pick up something second hand) and will practice cooking.  So please come visit me.  You are always welcomed.


Taken photos of the finished sweater (by my sister) yesterday.  I really like it. The color is pretty in person, and the alpaca/merino yarn is comfy.  It even obscures many errors I made.
Pattern: Folded by Veera Välimäki 
Yarn: Madelinetosh Eyre Light (fingering weight, Merino/Silk/Alpaca) in Fragrant colorway, 1.85 skeins (approx.860 yards)
Needles: US 6 (4.0mm) Circular/DPNs
Size made: S (2nd smallest, and it turned out a bit too loose)
Mods: Skipped one last increase round on torso. Added 2 extra rows of stockinette and 1 purl row to the neck line before binding off.  Made sleeves shorter.

I am also half done with the yellow tank.  It's such a fun pattern to knit, so one panel was knit up quickly.... then I found...
Do you recognize the left side cable just beside the bottom of the "V" is wrong?  I didn't realize this error until I had spread it on the floor and stared at it for a couple of minutes.  Wish I didn't notice it (because now I am going to have to fix it.)

Also, I am totally pretending that one fact has not yet crossed my mind - the fact that this yellow color may not look great on me.  It's such a cute sunny yellow, don't get me wrong, the color itself is fine.
But anyway, I really enjoy knitting this piece, so I guess it's alright!