Not So Black After All?

avocado1

Remember that avocado pit of mine that I’ve been trying to grow? Well, it hasn’t died yet! I guess my “black thumb” isn’t so black after all! This week, I nipped off its top few leaves (to encourage growth, supposedly) and transferred it into a 10-inch pot. I’m using Miracle-Gro soil because, well, I’m hoping it will work some kind of miracle.

avocado2

Who knew our guacamole would actually grow into something more…? ;)

Things I Love: September Edition

thingsilove_sept13

I’m still getting used to my new day-to-day schedule, and trying to find time to continue doing the things I love, including writing in this blog. I’ve still got a backlog of posts and it embarrasses me that I still haven’t gotten around to sharing the rest of my Summer 2012 travel posts about Japan, but I promise, they are coming! Hopefully sooner, than later.

I just wanted to take a moment to say, “hello!” and let you readers know that I am still here. I also wanted to share a few things that I’ve been into lately:

  1. Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Saga. I’m on the third book in the series, Xenocide. I flew right through the pages of Ender’s Game — which I highly recommend, and was surprised I had not read sooner. I am excited for the film coming out later this year, and hope it won’t be a disappointing book-to-movie adaptation. Once I finish Xenocide, that will place me at having read 10 books towards my goal of 12 books in 2013. I’m making good progress this year with the 2013 Reading Challenge!
  2. Justin Timberlake. Always have and always will be a big fan of his, but I am especially loving his most recent live performances which include comedic skits with Jimmy Fallon and his amazing mini-concert performance prior to his acceptance of the Video Vanguard award at the 2013 MTV VMAs a couple weeks ago. The second part of his 20/20 Experience drops this month, and I cannot contain the teenage girl inside me who still swoons for him, especially as I’ve heard the second part will run about 74 minutes!
  3. Boccalone’s Brown Sugar Fennel Salame. Seriously — OH. MY. GOD. I’ve passed by Boccalone several times in San Francisco’s Ferry Building Marketplace, but I’ve never had a taste of their offerings until now. This makes for a delicious appetizer or mid-day snack when paired with fresh-baked Acme bread. Mmmm…! Now, if only the weather were warmer, so I could enjoy it with a glass of wine, as well! A taste of the city almost makes me miss working in San Francisco. (I say almost, because, frankly, I couldn’t stand such a long commute!)

artpop

And saving the best for last, I cannot put into words how excited I am for Lady Gaga‘s ARTPOP to be released. I’ve heard a sample from her performance at the 2013 iTunes Festival and now I am just salivating for more…! I’ve already dropped some not-so-subtle hints to my DH that her album (and unrelated, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie) are being released just days before my birthday… ;)

In other mundane news… weather has been strange in California. I can’t tell if it’s summer or not, or whether fall is just around the corner or still weeks away. I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to summer yet but I am looking forward to the family-filled holiday festivities, pumpkin spice lattes, and warm mulled wine.

What are you all looking forward to in the days to come?

My Little Green Thumb?

avocado

Yikes! It’s been a month since my last post. I’m… embarrassingly behind on blogging. I really, really, REALLY want to catch up on my “lost blog” posts and finish writing about my summer travels in Japan. But I’ve been crazy busy, and haven’t been on the computer or internet much. Part of the reason earlier this year was because I was always sick; but more recently it’s because of something more on the positive side. I have a few little tidbits of good news to share. First is that I’ve started a new job recently (yay!), which is why you haven’t seen much of me on my blog or on Twitter. This is mainly why I have so little free time now. And separately, unrelated to blogging, the second bit of news I wanted to share is that the black thumb I thought I had is turning out to be a little green, after all! I usually have terrible luck with plants; even easy-care-for ones like lucky bamboo. However, this avocado pit is looking promising! I started growing this avocado tree about two months ago, and it’s starting to take root and break out of the seed. I’m very excited to see what will become of it!

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu at J-POP SUMMIT Festival 2013

I’m a BIG fan of the J-POP SUMMIT Festival which is held annually in the summer at San Francisco’s Japan Town. I attended the 1st annual event back in August 2009, when the New People store also celebrated its grand opening launch. There were a few Japanese bands who performed back in 2009, including one of my favorite bands ever, TsuShiMaMiRe, and another band I was familiar with, Noodles.

J-POP SUMMIT

Seeing as how real Japanese bands traveled to the U.S. to perform for this festival, I decided to keep my eye out for the future events in case other bands I liked would make an apperance. Of course then, as you know, I moved to Japan and missed the next couple of years’ festivals… This year, the 5th annual festival was held over the weekend (July 27-28) and I was super, crazy excited (!!!!!!!!!) to see the lineup of performances included THE Kyary Pamyu Pamyu!

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

I LOVE HER. Ever since her video for PONPONPON came out, which I had to watch again, and again, and again… I was hooked.

SO OF COURSE despite my allergies, despite having a crazy busy week and weekend, and despite starting a new job and wanting to sleep in past 6:00 AM for the first time in two weeks, I KNEW I HAD TO GO TO SAN FRANCISCO AND SEE HER.

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu at the J-POP SUMMIT Festival 2013

She was amazing! I can’t believe I got to watch her live, so close, and for free! She opened with Pamyu Pamyu Revolution followed by PONPONPON, Invader Invader (her latest single), Fashion Monster, Kyary An-An, and Tsukematsukeru. SO GREAT.

She is so cute. Her backup dances are AMAZING and crazy energetic. I’m still so stoked that I was able to see her! I honestly thought I would never get to see her perform live.

(。uωu)

I feel so lucky!

Walking in Kyoto’s Streets

Maiko Style Experience It’s been very hot the past few days. The temperatures have been rising past into the hundreds (about 40°C), and when it’s hot like this, I remember the spring and summer heat from my time living in Japan… I’m just glad that it isn’t humid here in California!

I’m still very behind on my blogging. Lots of posts from last year’s summer travels still. But, I wanted to share a post from last spring when I got to dress up like a maiko in Kyoto during the hanami season. This is one of my favorites because the focus is on that beautiful obi!

Happy summer! Hope you are all staying hydrated, wearing sunscreen, and enjoying the gorgeous, late sunsets!

Calamansi Juice

Allergies are the worst! This has been a really terrible spring/summer season, what with the flu, catching one cold after the next, pink eye infection, and itching allergy eyes on top of all that. ne thing that has cheered me up though is drinking freshly-squeezed calamansi juice.

Calamansi is a small, citrus fruit native to the Philippine Islands. I just read now on Wikipedia that it is a cross between Citrus reticulata (Mandarin orange group) and Fortunella japonica (Kumquat group). My mom has a tree in her yard which provides us with a bountiful harvest of fruit year after year. She brought some over to me when I caught my most recent cold, and my husband helped me make juice to soothe my sore throat. Calamansi juice, like lemonade or limeade, can be as sweet or as tart as you’d like it to be. Below is a starter recipe which is slightly on the tart side and can be adjusted to your own personal taste.

calamansi

Calamansi Juice

Makes 1 liter, or 4.22 cups of juice

Ingredients:

  • 15 ripened calamansi
  • 1 liter of water
  • 5 tbsp sugar

Directions:

  1. Slice each calamansi in half. Squeeze the juice into a 1L pitcher. Remove any seeds.
  2. Add 1 liter of water, then add sugar to taste. Stir well and serve over ice.
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