Sunday, April 9

Sakura Matsuri during the National Cherry Blossom Festival in DC

There are a few things I enjoy more than an outdoor cultural festival/street fair. Needless to say, being so close to DC during the Cherry Blossom Festival really is a treat for me. Yesterday was the 57th Annual Sakura Matsuri in DC and I had been looking forward to it for months.

This year, the matsuri (Japanese for "festival") was held at Navy Yard, big enough for thousands of people and dozens of stalls and completely metro-accessible.  There were vendor stalls selling food and crafts, information booths regarding Japanese culture, and plenty of cultural performances throughout the day.

Here are a collection of the photos I took of the festival.

Chefs grilling squid and okonomiyaki, a savory Japanese pancake made with different meats and topped with delicious Japanese mayonnaise

Cosplay contest/fashion show hosted by Anime USA (another con I went to this past year, but failed to share pictures from)

Earrings made from origami paper. I was pretty non-committal this year too and didn't end up buying myself a pair

Traditional ribbon-weaving ("Kimi no Na wa" anyone?)

Kokeshi dolls, I love the expressions on each of their faces

Traditional Japanese dolls, sponsored by a Japanese Doll and Crafts school in Rockville (they offer classes...need I say more?)

Beautiful kimonos

Taiko drum performance

New York-based J-rock group, The Asterplace 

KENYC, a kendama group from NYC

So happy they had this torii gate here this year also!

Ah cultural festivals really are my happy place. The traditional art, food, and cultural performances make me appreciate the diversity and quirks of 

Currently listening to: "Zen Zen Zense" by Radwimps

Sunday, March 12

Katsucon 2017: League of Legends photoshoot

Katsucon 2017 has come and gone, and it was another amazing weekend at the Gaylord in National Harbor.  I can't say this enough, but I absolutely love the Gaylord Convention Center for anime conventions, especially for one that's known for the abundance and quality of cosplay.

Among the people-watching and panels, I ended up going to a League of Legends photoshoot at the fountain.  And as per usual, during the photoshoot, I was just thinking up what which champion I'd like to create a cosplay for. Ahh one of these days, I'll make a costume or prop using non-textile materials like foam, silicone, or plastic.  For now, enjoy these photos!

Ugh so amazing. It's always a slight surprise for me knowing that there's a good percentage of congoers who spend the weekend being photographed and doing photoshoots in the many "biomes" within the convention area.

Currently listening to: "Plain" Luck Life

Saturday, February 11

The Art of Journaling

Hello blogosphere, it's been a while.  Major updates on this end, that'd be conventions, concerts, family, and work.  I obviously want to blog more regularly, but life gets in the way.  Let's see how long this streak goes.

This is a teaser post actually.  My siblings and I have quite a trip prepared for us in late April-early May and as a bit of a creative momento, I want to attempt to keep a travel journal throughout the trip.  Particularly trying to include sketches, thoughts, and the events of the day.  I've been scouring Pinterest and found some solid pinspiration.

I think this tea bag idea is brilliant. I might have to steal this idea with candy wrappers or even tea bags.

I hope to be able to take advantage of waiting time at airports, restaurants, stores, or to find some time throughout the trip to sketch and gather thoughts.

For now, I need to find myself a journal and with all these thoughts and ideas I've got in my head, I figure I can at least try out a couple pages before the trip itself.  I'm thinking to include a map highlighting the major locations we'll be visiting on our trip, and maybe doing some preliminary sketching. Wish me luck!  Any and all advice is encouraged and welcomed!

Currently listening to: "Fire Escape" Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness

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)