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"



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

Tuesday, March 22

Weekend DIYs: Plywood Projects

It's officially spring and while the DMV area hasn't fully accepted that fact, I'm at least excited for the weather to warm up.  Hopefully, my family and I will be able to make it up to DC to see the cherry blossoms this year.

But in the meantime, I've been trying to spend some of my nights and weekends on DIYs and sewing projects.  I've completed a few small projects in the past few weeks, but oftentimes my laziness prevails and I end up watching TV with my sister.  But if you're in a creative rut, and have some excess plywood lying around, here are some DIYs I've pinned recently.  With plywood's simple and minimalist look, it's the best of both worlds when it comes to DIYs.  There's no need for paint or any other finish, and you still end up with a clean looking product.

Fabric Wall Hanging from Nalle's House.

Plywood Floor Mirror from The Merry Thought.

Mid-Century Nightstand from Burkatron.  I absolutely love hairpin legs.

Not a real plywood DIY, but everyone loves a good IKEA hack.  Using IKEA mattress slats, ICH Designer creates an interesting storage solution.
IKEA Hack Sultan Lade DIY Regal (1)

Currently listening to: "Roses" The Chainsmokers featuring ROZES

Sunday, March 13

American Sign Language and American Authors: An Unlikely Pairing

Sometimes my small worlds collide and it's a beautiful thing.  Case in point, the new video for American Authors' latest single, "Pride."  While the single and initial music video came out a few months ago, a second video for the song was released this past Friday, featuring Sandra Mae Frank, who most recently played Wendla Bergman in Deaf West's production of Spring Awakening on Broadway.  I came across the video while doing my regular Youtube search of "deaf west spring awakening", not wanting to miss any new video/update/interview about the production or cast.  And discovering this video yesterday really did make my day.  I was so incredibly happy to see Sandra and ASL being the main feature of a mainstream music video.

As you all know if you've been a regular to this blog, I recently fell in love again with Spring Awakening, particularly this current Deaf West production.  The Broadway revival sadly closed a few months ago, but before that happened, it seems like someone associated with American Authors heard about this talented actress and created a second music video concept to go with the new single.

Hopefully this doesn't mean that Sandra will be unable to reprise her rose as Wendla in the national tour of Deaf West's production of Spring Awakening in 2017.  But in the meantime, I'm so happy that she and the deaf community are getting recognition in the mainstream music world.

Currently listening to watching: "Pride" American Authors

Wednesday, March 9

Familiar Faces on The Voice: Owen Danoff

This will be a short and sweet post.  Earlier today, I came across a video from last night's episode of The Voice featuring a very familiar voice.  Owen Danoff, who played at a Fridays at Five way back when, was a contestant in the blind audition round of The Voice.  He performed "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" and I'll have to let you watch the video to find out how he did.  I was pretty excited to see someone on the show whom I'd met and heard live...and can actually vouch for.  Danoff is a DC native who's got a cool singer-songwriter vibe and I hope that he fares well in future rounds.

Currently listening to: "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" Owen Danoff

Sunday, March 6

Tea and Real-World Advice at A Baked Joint

On the recommendation of a friend, I visited A Baked Joint in DC yesterday for a coffee date with a colleague.  When I say coffee, I really mean tea.  And when I say date, I really mean a very adult, real-world meetup with a WM alum I met late last year.  He currently works as a field service engineer with Agilent Technologies and introduced me to the idea of pursuing that career myself.  It was honestly such a mind-opening realization when I first met him, to learn that I could make a living of installing, servicing, and maintaining analytical instruments.  It probably sounds boring, I know, but right now, it's at the top of my five-year plan.

So in keeping contact with him, we met up in a super trendy, recently opened coffee shop to talk shop; giving career advice, catching up, and swapping stories about our analytical chemistry lives.  The sister store of Baked & Wired in Georgetown, A Baked Joint, in the Mt. Vernon Square area of DC, offers freshly baked breads and a wide variety of coffee and teas, all in a beautifully open space, complete with an open kitchen.  I've been told the breakfast biscuits are the must-get item, but that'll have to be for another time.  In my sickly state, I only ordered a jasmine tea.

Apologies for the plagiarism, but these photos were taken from A Baked Joint's instagram, found here:

It was a nice change of pace, getting out of Northern Virginia and seeing someone outside of my normal circle.  He heavily emphasized not becoming stuck in the job I have now and pursuing the career if it was what I really wanted to do, so I'll be sure to keep that in mind when I decide to change jobs.  Also, I might have to start to take my tea presented as they do.  I have a glass teapot and I thought I had a small wooden tray.  If not, that's always something I can find at a nearby Goodwill.

Currently listening to: "Fire and the Flood" Vance Joy