Happy New Year 2016 from Nanansa! Farewell to 2015

Standard

Happy new year!

2015 was a difficult year full of many ups and downs, and tons of changes. Routines changed with the completion of a certificate (actually 2), hiatus with Japanese classes, old friends disappearing, old friendships rekindled and new friends made. At the end, it was a weeding of the bad and unnecessary, onto the much better.

Here’s to tradition 🙂

IMG_6211

Udon!! Homemade and delicious ❤

IMG_6215
Spicy tuna!

IMG_6214
Octopus!

IMG_6212
Mackerel!

IMG_6431
Fireworks at prospect park! This year was spectacular! I took one million photos but would spare you guys!

IMG_6456
The end~

Have a happy & blessed 2016!

Let’s keep our resolution of saving more money and exercising!! ^_^ (among other resolutions!)

Advertisements

Sometimes I don’t have anything to say…

Standard

It’s hard to describe the moment you’re carrying 20 pound weight on your front body. It feels lighter than 20 pounds, maybe because it is raining and half of your senses are numbed, maybe because she is warm.

You think of the conversations you had together, the four of you, just moments ago and instead of thinking of all the things you had said, you recalled everything you hadn’t; feelings you had no words for, thoughts you had no outlets for because you were thinking of the damages it might cause, so you fell silent.

The books you have read taught you not sharing information is because you are afraid of being vulnerable; shrugging off important questions is because of fear or even shame. Knowing doesn’t help the situation at that moment because you know, but the other person doesn’t know. He wants to conceal, hide and make life seem “normal.” Normalcy is a made up state; you go to work, go home, have a routine, live a “normal” life.

You’re frustrated and annoyed because it is 11pm. It is past bundle of joy’s bedtime and you’re carrying her home, her 20 pound weight. At the end of the day, you just want her to be happy and wish the other person feel as lucky as you feel because you have a chance to hold her and watch her smile and laugh.

Matcha Cafe Wabi

Standard

We finally made it to Matcha Cafe Wabi! The back story was a few months ago, S-san and I mentioned we wanted to go to Matcha Cafe Wabi, but whenever we decided to go, it was after closing hour. We finally put our foot down and said, “OKAY, let’s meet there at 9 am in the morning before we go to the holiday house!” 9AM is extremely early for me, on a workday, especially for the weekend.

When I think of this cute little closet sized cafe, I think of the Japanese philosophy of Wabi Sabi (solely from the name). Beauty is found in knowing nothing will last forever, nothing will ever be perfect. Here’s more information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wabi-sabi In my head, this place is called Cafe Wabi Sabi.

Matcha Cafe Wabi
Inside the cafe!

Matcha Cafe Wabi 2
Chalk board art! Chestnuts are in season!

Matcha Cafe Wabi 1
Little baked goods~

Sakura Matcha Latte
Matcha latte with Sakura art for S-san 🙂

Ringo Matcha Latte
Matcha Latte with Apple art for ___

It’s a really good cup of matcha. Don’t go with a huge group; space is small. If you’re looking for a place to sit, there’s maybe enough seats for 2 people. Even though we were there early, there was no space for us 😦

To our dear Matsumori san

Standard

Matsumori san sent us an email that was really sad and heartbreaking. I walked away from my desk for a bit and thought of how inconceivable the world is sometimes. I wish I could make the pain go away or say comforting words but I can’t find the right words to say. I don’t know what I can do but I want to share the private photos I took of Paris in 2013. There is over 1,000 photos. It is such a beautiful, romantic, amazing city. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to cause harm to such an amazing city…

https://picasaweb.google.com/110461591591673978027/Paris2013?authkey=Gv1sRgCMWFq6nS6fCmYA

https://picasaweb.google.com/110461591591673978027/Paris2013PartB?authkey=Gv1sRgCO6rubuIpInXBQ

I want the world to see how beautiful and special this place really is. We are all praying for France and lots of love and hugs to our beloved Matsumori san!

Time traveling- Cupcake cafe

Standard

cupcake cafe

Today is one of those gloomy days where the clouds won’t disappear, the rain won’t pour and the drizzling won’t stop. It made me think of last night when I asked my friend if thought we had control over things, and he said “Sometimes.” “So what don’t we have control over?” “The weather.” It seems very obvious but sometimes I just miss the point.

During lunch I would normally not walk more than a 3 block radius unless I am going to 5th avenue for specific reasons; however, I decided today was my once a year pilgrimage to cupcake cafe. The furniture were the same as the year before, same barista with updated technology (shiny IPhone!), and actually a crowd there during lunch.

Comforted with maple buttercream walnut cupcake and a book on hand, I was actually enjoying this simple moment until the clock hit 1:50pm and it was time to go back to work. If only, life could be spent, doing things that were meaningful like reading leisurely and not thinking about anything else aside from the seriousness of being a writer and hanging lights.

It’s not really a time machine where I can go back in time to tell my past self to avoid all the bad things that would happen in the future; but when I am there I always have the same feeling that I don’t want to leave and go back to work.

All we need is Matcha

Standard

Nektar
From Nektar Cafe in Quebec City

“Matcha (抹茶?, pronounced [mat.tɕa][n 1]) is finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea” – From wikipedia

I have some distinct memories of Matcha:
1) The first time I learned about tea in a traditional tearoom was at Urasenke in New York. I remember being focused, my legs hurting after sitting on them on the tatami mats, being in awe at the significance of every movement from opening the sliding doors to walking eloquently in our white socks and last but not least, realizing I did not have the wrist strength to make foamy Matcha that was smooth- we were all using the same powder, water and utensils but it takes inner strength and good wrist movements to make good Matcha. My tea was good but it could be better.

2) We had high quality Matcha last year at Ippodo (one of the oldest tea shops in Japan) in Kyoto which tasted very rich with the consistency of mud. I was so eager to finish; my normal self of taking one million photographs of everything receded in the background and I was left with only my mental image of this memory.

3) When I went to Nektar Cafe which is in Quebec City, I had ordered a Matcha latte and was pleasantly surprised to find two stenciled hearts. It probably didn’t take much to make them but it was artistic and on top of it, the matcha tasted good; it was smooth and not too sweet.

4) The first time I went to Japan society was in high school; the curator asked us, “Which do you think costs more, green tea leaves or green tea powder?” The answer was green tea powder (matcha). I thought green tea leaves costed more before she told us the answer.

5) I made really bad green tea at a Ryokan in Japan by putting two tea bags in one tea pot; It was really awful and bitter (not matcha related but I felt bad about it; I had good intentions- afraid the tea would be too weak- but no reason could justify that awful tea).

Matcha is not easy to make. It is really an art. It makes me think of the practice I lack from Urasenke, the moment I didn’t try to enjoy high quality matcha in Kyoto, the low expectations I had at a place I thought didn’t appreciate Matcha, my wrong answer at Japan society, and a bad decision to do things before I even consider all the options just because I thought it would make things better.

I am thinking about matcha because I am thinking of a coworker who I am not well acquainted with; he got into an accident on Tuesday. I thought of how a change of event by a millimeter at that time could have changed his situation. If he hadn’t gone jogging at that exact hour, maybe that accident wouldn’t happen.

If we don’t reflect on the small things, we can’t see the big things. If we don’t reflect, how can we learn and grow? Next time, maybe our matcha would taste better and we would enjoy it more. Maybe we can’t master the art of matcha; but we can still try- the chance is here now- at this present moment.

Hakata Ton Ton

Standard

The first time I went to Hakata ton ton was roughly 3 years ago with my two friends. I remember we really lucked out because they won’t take you if you didn’t make reservation ahead of time. Recently, they opened another store so it’s easier to make reservation now. The one we went there was in greenwich village (the original one!).

Hakata ton ton
Kampachi Sashimi served w/ Garlic ponzu sauce and wasabi leaf (from website)
Portion is really small but sashimi was fresh!

Hakata ton ton
Non alcoholic drink 😀 A tad sweet!

Hakata ton ton
Gyoza! Super crispy. Got too excited and didn’t take a pic till we finished most of it…oopsie

Hakata ton ton
Stir-fried Ramen noodle HAKATA Style (from website)- It’s like stir fried ramen with tonkotsu broth. Very savory!

Hakata ton ton
Hakata ton ton hot pot- A specialty of Hakata, Japan. Collagen broth, tofu, dumplings, vegetables, Berkshire pork belly & Tonsoku (from website)- It is a little spicy but manageable. Imagine a hot pot in the middle of winter that is warm, savory, a little chili, it really warms you up. There is more flavor in the hot pot than shabu shabu since shabu shabu usually starts off with kelp and hot water, but hot pots have a broth base. Got too excited again…and didn’t take a pic of the cooked version (Also, Charly was too distracting just by being her usual charming self :D).

Hakata ton ton
Premium Fukuoka Mochi Cake (from website)- It’s chewy and separated to three pieces, tastes like kinako powder which is the soybean powder that’s very common in Japanese desserts.

Hakata ton ton
Green Tea Tofu made with premium YAME green tea from Fukuoka (from website)- This was my favorite dessert. It was so silky smooth and light with thickened green tea sauce that had a strong matcha taste without being too bitter or sweet. (Do you see the little one’s hand?)

Hakata ton ton
Premium Japanese Tea Creme Brulee with black sesame ice cream (from website)- This is where they stuck the candle and went through the whole embarrassment of flickering lights and song singing for a belated birthday in october.

Thank you Shirely, Johnny and Charly for the wonderful birthday ^_^

If you like spicy, hot food for chilly winter, this is a good choice. They were a bit short staff on the night we went, so make sure you’re not starving because you might not get your food right away. Definitely recommend making reservations!