Thursday, May 12

Experiencing Japan Through Candy: May Japan Crate

For the past few months, my sister and I have been subscribed to Japan Crate, a monthly surprise box of Japanese snacks and candy.  Our May Japan Crate came on Tuesday and I wanted to share a little about what the box was about.


Just-opened box, neatly assembled with the information booklet on top.

We've been getting the Original Crate, which includes about 10-12 items per box.  The Premium Crate generally comes with a few more items and a drink.  I love Japanese drinks, as they're generally fruit-based and milkier in texture.  And of course, without fail, every month after seeing the drink item in the Premium Crate, my sister asks me if we should upgrade.

This month, some of the items we got were panda-shaped chocolate wafers, nori-flavored potato chips (I am so excited for these), caramel corn balls, sour cider gum, and even a tiny neko (cat) in a cup.

But wait, there's more!  The Original-level crate also comes with one DIY snack item.  They generally require you to work for your snack, usually by melting chocolate into a mold, creating a play on a s'more, or in this month's box, mixing jelly powder with water to create a melon jello snack.

It was as gelatinous and refreshing as you would expect melon jello to be.  We always look forward to the crate and I'm pretty excited to try out the other snacks this month.

Currently listening to: "Naughty" Trignal

Sunday, May 8

Around the World in 6 Hours: Passport DC 2016

Yesterday, I went to Around the World Embassy Tour Day in the Dupont Circle area of DC with my sister and one of her friends.  It is an annual event where dozens of embassies open their doors to tourists and locals alike, giving us a glimpse into some of the culture and history of their nation.  Depending on the embassy, one can expect to experience cultural performances, authentic food samples, art displays, or food and craft vendors.

As one might expect, this event draws thousands of people to Embassy Row and the surrounding blocks.  The embassies are only open from 10am-4pm and while that may seem like a long time, a typical person should only expect to make it through about five or six embassies.  The lines are a killer; we spent at least half an hour at the majority of the embassies we visited.  The nations taking part in this event can be found here.  Here's a sample of the pictures I took while at the event.

Embassy  of the Republic of Indonesia.



Embassy of the Republic of Korea.


A close-up of the display at the foot of the bed.

Embassy of Costa Rica.


Statue in a small courtyard area while walking.

Embassy of Guatemala.



Embassy of Chile.

Just another example of the advantages of living near DC.  This event was a lot of fun and we'll be heading back next week, when a selection of embassies of EU nations will be open for the public.

Currently listening to: "Namae o Yobu yo" Luck Life (Bungo Stray Dogs ED)

Monday, May 2

27 Years with The Cure's "Disintegration"

Today marks the 27th anniversary of the release of "Disintegration", one of the most highly regarded albums by The Cure.  I developed a bit of an emotional attachment to this album a few years back, and I still believe this is a brilliant album, start to finish.

"Pictures of You"

"Lovesong"

"Lullaby"

This isn't a post about the legacy of this album or this band, I wouldn't be able to do it justice.  But I can, and will, appreciate this album for as long as I listen to good music.

Currently listening to: The Cure's "Disintegration"

Sunday, April 17

2016 Sakura Matsuri at Navy Yard

The DC area is pretty obsessed with its cherry blossoms.  For about a month around this time, thousands of people flock to the nation's capitol to check out the pretty pink blossoms.  The last day of the Cherry Blossom Festival ends with the National Cherry Blossom Parade and the Sakura Matsuri.  So for the first time in a while, my siblings and I took a quick Metro ride to Navy Yard to be a part of the festivities.  While we didn't end up seeing the parade, we did spend the day at the Sakura Matsuri.

It was a beautiful day and the matsuri (Japanese for "festival") was filled with food stands, craft and anime vendors, a stage for performances and concerts, and a culinary demonstration tent.  Needless to say, it was everything I love in one place.  And the cherry on top of the cake was the fact that it was a Japanese cultural festival.  Here are a few of the photos I took yesterday.












And of course, the festival had its fair share of people in cosplay and yukatas (Japanese for "summer kimono").

Miyazono Kaori from Your Lie in April.

Ouran High School Host Club.

Aomine Daiki and Momoi Satsuki from Kuroko no Basuke.

A girl who had fashioned a dress out of Pokemon cards.  My brother and sister thought this was pretty blasphemous, hoping she hadn't sewn any valuable ones into the dress.

Currently listening to: "Mission" Trignal

Saturday, April 9

Shirlington Brunch at Palette 22

While trying to come up with a topic for my next blog post, I'd completely forgotten the fact that a few weeks back, a few friends and I went to a newly-opened restaurant/artist studio in the Shirlington neighborhood, Palette 22.  I had heard a plug for the opening of Palette 22 from a radio DJ on the way home from work one day, describing the restaurant as a restaurant that would feature a rotating set of artists in residence at the restaurant.  Additionally, it would serve small plates and drinks.  So I dragged a few of my friends along to check in out.




An artist quietly working at easels set up throughout the restaurant.

Drinks are apparently their specialty.

Because Palette 22 is more of a tapas restaurant, guests were encouraged to order several small plates and share them among their party.  Had my friends and I not have gone for brunch, we may have tried this out.  But alas, we ordered just one plate each, giving their globally-inspired menu a try.


I ended up getting the Tacos al Pastor.  Verdict: ehh, the meat was pretty dry and the flavors, I didn't think, had incorporated well.

While I will say I did sorta like the vibe and aesthetic of the space, with the murals and artist loft-feel, I don't think I'll be paying Palette 22 another visit.  I wasn't particularly a fan of the food or the prices, but I do love the concept.  Supporting and giving exposure to local artists is, I think, a great idea.  I'll be curious to see how Palette 22 fares.

Currently listening to: "Bird" Oldcodex