new year >>> new goals

Hot Pot Party with Sariphen (Sari + Stephen) and Benise (Benny + Denise) and we talked about Marshall Goldsmith’s “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There”, a book that Stephen gifted us a few years ago.

The following were identified as potential areas for improvement for me
1. Winning too much
2. Adding too much value
3. Passing judgment

And I have decided to work on #2 (adding too much value). James said he is used to #1 (i.e. my constant attempt to optimize things that may not need to be optimized). James also said the main manifestation of #3 for me is #2 (i.e. I judge other people by telling them that my way is better).

James is going to help me track this using my new calendar from The Regional Assembly of Text.

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harvest moon rising (COUNT=1483)

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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)
i++

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)
i++

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

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

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

grateful (COUNT=1455)

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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?

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

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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.

TEMPLES

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).

SHRINES

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)

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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

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