harvest moon rising (COUNT=1483)


last night
turning from Pacific Avenue unto Bloor Street
we saw the harvest moon rising
(here is a crappy snapshot)
(maybe too many people are posting too many beautiful photos)

before that
grilled octopus + moscato @ bricco
(a note on notes of lychee
sometimes when I read this in a magazine
i wonder if it’s a nice way of saying smells like canned fruit
but this is the real thing)


before that
armed n simcoe @ rainhard brewing
notes of real lychee
(simcoe may just be the most interesting hop in the world)

before that
(best way to travel to japan without getting on an airplane)

before that
propeller coffee
(always a good way to start a long weekend)


grateful (COUNT=1455)


i++ When I went to Waterloo, I probably walked through Atrium on Bay a hundred times on my way to the bus station but never really took note of anything; he really likes this space so we make a point of meandering through it during our coffee walks

i++ BBQ with Benise (Benny + Denise) on the patio; so many Neo cakes to try … black sasame is really good too!

i++ Catching up with Mathieu @ Sabai Sabai; potato chip story!

i++ Catching up with Yiyi @ Café Boulud (summerlicious)

i++ Catching up with Marco @ Fat Lamb Kouzina

i++ Finally checked out the Inuit Art Museum; I see bike racks around the TD center everyday when I come to the office but, because it’s an elevated section within the lobby, the view of the bike rack is different

TD South Tower from Inuit Art Gallery

chrysanthemum pattern

I began with the question: When I visit Kyoto, should I purchase a tofu server made using the kiku-dashi (chrysanthemum pattern) technique?

img src=kanaamitsuji

I ended with the realization: I can apply a sort of kind of similar technique to all the messy wires around our place.

img src=lowcommitmentprojects

Still thinking about what I really want to take away from the Japan trip coming up in three weeks with some inspiration from the New Yorker: Initially, Muji included only forty different products, mainly food and household goods. Today, it is an independent two-billion-dollar company, selling more than seven thousand items ranging from furniture to soap. It keeps prices low by paying close attention to processing and packaging (most of Muji’s paper products are unbleached), and by using undesirable and industrial materials, which are cheaper in bulk (it once famously sold “U-Shaped Spaghetti,” made from the discarded ends of pasta).

shrines & temples


Visiting shrines and temples is a big part of visiting Japan. Since there are so many many, I think it’s important to think about what I’m searching for.


To be honest, I was not that that impressed with Sensoji in Tokyo. I did not realize that there were so many schools of buddhism in Japan. Chinese people tend to think that Japanese culture is very homogeneous.

My idea of Japanese buddhism was probably best represented by the Shingon school: “Huiguo had foreseen that Esoteric Buddhism would not survive in India and China in the near future and that it was Kukai’s destiny to see it continue in Japan” (wikipedia). What I was expecting was probably something like Kongōbu-ji (金剛峯寺) with its 140 granite stones. When we visit Koyasan this time, we will be staying at Jokiin (常喜院) across the street.

I’m thinking the atmospheric temple in Hou Hsiao Hsien’s Assassin is Kiyomizu-dera (清水寺) in Kyoto. Apparently, Japanese people say “jump down from the Kiyomizu stage” when they do something bold. Also looking forward to borrowed scenery in Tenryū-ji (天龍寺).


One thing I really enjoyed in Tokyo is seeing torii (鳥居) between random modern buildings. See Hie Shrine (日枝神社) above.

This time, we will be visiting Kumano Hongū Taisha (熊野本宮大社). Wikipedia describes its use of “natural unfinished materials” blending “effortlessly into the natural environment” which is exactly what I look for in a shrine.

In Kyoto, in addition to the famous famous Fushimi Inari Taisha, I’m looking forward to the Matatabi-sha Shrine (see below) which is right inside the shopping arcade. Also “Nishiki Tenmangū is home to a rather interesting form of fortune telling in the form of the Karakuri Omikuji. In glass cases, robotic shishi lions wait to be fed coins that will bring them to life, dancing to traditional gagaku court music as they move to fetch a paper fortune and drop it into the tray for you.” (discoverkyoto)

img src=insidekyoto

what i will eat (& drink) in japan (part i)

Day 1: Train from Kansai Airport Station to Namba Station, check into hotel, coffee @ Takamura, walk around Hozenji Yokocho and eat okonomiyaki @ Houzenji Sanpei, followed by Meoto Zenzai, check out the four floor Muji store which is open until 9 pm

Day 2 AM: 8 am coffee @ Mill Pour, 9 am visit Osaka Castle and designer bathroom (see picture)

Day 2 PM: Coffee @ Hood by Vargas, visit Floating Garden Observatory, buy sweets at Hankyu Umeda Main Store, dinner at hankyu sanbangai food museum

Day 3: 5 am breakfast @ Endo Sushi in Osaka Fish Market, train from Namba Station to Gokurakubashi Station, cable car to Koyasan, check into Jokiin (常喜院), book evening cemetery tour and eat vegetarian temple food

img src=fathomaway

grateful (COUNT=1397)

1. He shared this picture with me
Him: Looks at the cute owls
Me: Why do you think they are owls?

2. Discussing Big Salt with Blair @ Taverna Mercatto; maybe South Core is okay after all!

3. Watching Big Chill (his mum’s fav movie): I often wonder whether I am more honest with friends made recently or friends I’ve known for decades; it’s probably easier to question the here and the now with old friends since we have a common frame of reference; at the same time perhaps we feel compelled to be consistent with the person we once were

4. Coffee with Tanya @ Crafted by Te Aro followed by

5. Ava Roth @ Loop Gallery followed by

6. Walking along Bloor Street like we used to

img src=???

no like button

Pinterest is killing off its ‘Like’ button and I think this is the best idea ever. I was thinking of liking Teresa’s Pin. Instead, I will blog it!

When I think of Chinese design, I think of mottled shades of brown and gray with a touch of red. Less stylized than Japanese design but more comforting. Yet most places in China these days is a mess of color a la Times Square. This Pin gives me hope that Chinese design will return to its roots.

img src=claraalcott