Monday, August 31, 2009


Hafu Japanese is a project by Marcia and Natalie, photographing and interviewing mixed race and culture people in Japan and abroad who identify as part Japanese. They are exploring what it means to different people to be "hafu", "double", "mixed", etc. - pick your adjective.

I think Marcia and Natalie are a couple of people facilitating some really productive discussion about being intercultural. There are some very strong, intelligent voices in this conversation.

I was photographed for the project. The next photo exhibition will be held in 2010, but there is a talk and party on September 19th in Omotesando.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

He looked deep into my eyes...

and said, "You need to clean your contacts."

Friday, August 28, 2009

When I came to, I was glad to find myself in Japan.

I was on the platform, plugged in to music, listening to Matt Sever's Songs My Mom Doesn't Like. It's a great EP, with covers of Danzig's Mother and a campfire singalong called "Black Blackness" which discusses the hole in his soul. I was humming quietly to myself, waiting for my train, when the last song came on. I got kind of into it I guess, because when the chorus came on I forgot myself and sang out, really loud, "Jack you off!!!"
Then I realized that I had actually sung it out loud, and looked around in a panic.

For once, I was happy that no one understood me.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Seattle calls

Welcome to Seattle.

We made taco salad, with many of the vegetables from D&M's CSA.
Dave took me up to Prospect Park, where we climbed the water tower and meandered in the dahlia garden and the greenhouse. After that, we visited Bruce and Brandon Lee. I hadn't been there in awhile. Peace to them.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

To the Bay and back

C-bear and I drove to SF to attend Holly Awesome's wedding.
Stopping for gas at a Mom&Pop filling station along the way.

As soon as we got into the city, we made a beeline for Papalote, which I've mentioned before, and is my favorite burrito place in the Mission. We stayed with B-Doll, who works at the Starlight Room at the top of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in Union Square. We met up with her there and hung out amidst big-spenders and champagne-drinkers under velvet and chandeliers. Funny.
B-doll lives in Berkeley, so when C mentioned that he'd never had Ethiopian food, I knew we had to go. Especially since it's one of the things I make sure to eat every time I return to the States, and the East Bay has tons of it. So we just drove down Telegraph until we found a place, Ethiopia Restaurant. It didn't disappoint. We also ate yummy gelato at the place which used to be Mondo Gelato but is now called something else and is next to the Downtown Bart station on Shattuck. And we ate falafel on the grass at Cal. And pizza in Petaluma. And I'll stop now, but oh! The food! I miss it!
Holly and Cleavon's wedding was beautiful and also awesome. And Holly was gorgeous in her dress that she made herself. I can't wait until she finishes her MFA and I can pimp out her designs to everyone I know. They had a Latin-flavor drumline perform at the ceremony. No "Here Comes the Bride" poppycock. So neato.

These kids thought so too.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Eating Portland

I love eating in Portland. It is so, so easy to eat tons of delicious vegetarian food. It's the main thing I miss about home when I'm at my other home in Japan. Nicholas restaurant has amazing Lebanese food.
The Farm Café is such a nice example of tasty Portland, with the old converted house and rustic feeling and fresh, local ingredients.
But visiting gimmicky Montage again was a disappointment. It's snooty and dirty, with trash on the floor and bland food. Why did I ever like that place?
Tanya showed me a little scene that's developed recently, and wasn't there when I lived in Portland. It's the food carts on Hawthorne, at about 12th or 13th street. This spot was buzzing until late at night the three times we went; I'm not sure how late exactly, but were surely still going at midnight on the weekend. The Mexican cart has a whole bunch of vegan burritos, including a cactus one; and the cart next to it sells fried vegan pies. I was in deep-fried heaven, with a tofu pot pie and a coconut cream pie. Wow.
Oh yeah, and Rocco's now has vegan pizza. What.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Corvallis things

This town is changing, and I have fewer and fewer ties to it. My folks moved to Portland, and now I just have a few dear friends left here. The handsome old brick post office, where I spent so many nights hanging out in the always-open lobby, has jettisoned the old stamp machines that took pennies and dispensed individual perforated stamps, in a strip. What a shame.
(Displaying the kind of stamps that are no longer sold.)

Waterfront is all developed, but at least it's all indie businesses. China Delight, home of the most awesome sesame tempeh, and The Beanery, where I used to work, are still there. You can still walk everywhere in just a few minutes, and downtown is old and lovely and human-sized. This is the kind of town that Kunstler meant when he talked about livability.

And it still looks like this on the outskirts, where Tyler and Michelle had their wedding. We spent a lot of time as teenagers wandering around in the fields, filching corn and peaches.
Mac and me in our wedding gear.
I miss this place.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Eagle Creek and Punchbowl Falls

The Polish Prince and I went hiking at Eagle Creek. He took two days off work and drove down from Seattle to do this outing with me. What a sweetie.Eagle Creek is a creek, trail, and camping area in the Columbia Gorge, just a short drive from Portland. I first heard about it from Mac and Tyler, who went camping there last year.

Tyler took me swimming at Punchbowl Falls last summer, and it was gorgeous. So I proposed this place when PP and I started talking about hiking and camping. Punchbowl falls is about two miles in, and you can camp after about three miles. It's a steep, hot hike, especially in the 100º+ weather that we had when we went. But the falls and the swimmin' hole are freezing cold, and alleviate the heat quickly. After getting back on the trail, we soon got hot again, lugging our huge packs. We took a rest at a little clearing four miles in, and PP was starting to get a defeated look in his eye. I wandered a little deeper into the forest... and found a waterfall. The trail is dotted with them, but unlike Punchbowl, this one was tucked back away from the trail and deserted. No kids performing daredevil stunts. Just... rushing bliss, punctuated by the white noise of the falls crashing down. And looking up, nothing but conifers...

Monday, August 03, 2009


Chinatown! Chinatown in Yokohama is a busy, vibrant place. At first glance, I thought it had little to offer, but I keep finding more hidden nuggets!

The first lovely place that made me like Chinatown more was one I found thanks to geocaching. The hunt led me to the Ma Zhu Miao temple. (I don't know any Chinese languages except "hello" and "delicious" in Mandarin, but I bet I'm probably being redundant and one of those words means "temple".) I took this picture during cherry blossom season. I went to Chinatown again with a friend who had found a veggie friendly Taiwanese restaurant that I had never heard of before. An accomplishment!The sesame noodles were lip-smacking, and the owner was really funny, chatty, and nosy. He called my friend お兄さん (big brother, even though my friend was 15 or 20 years younger than him; it's a term of affection/familiarity for someone you don't know well) and told me that he knew I was the vegetarian one. He was playing old wartime American tunes (think Andrews Sisters); very incongruous to the setting but enjoyable nonetheless.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Another day in Yokohama

I went ice skating again. It's so refreshing on a hot summer day! Lots of little kids, hardly any grownups, which makes the experience pretty funny. We were the tallest people in line for cotton candy, by a lot.
Between Higashi Kanagawa and Yokohama.

I like the restaurant La Salsa in the World Porters building in Minato Mirai. It's not the best Mexican food ever, but it's pretty good for Japan. The best part is that they make the flour tortillas fresh on site, and they're all you can eat. With an accompanying salsa bar with salsas from not spicy at all to four alarm fire.

I've heard tell that they have mini golf on the roof of the WP building, too. I shall have to investigate this.

I've been spending a lot of time in Yamashita Park lately. I like the bit at the top of the park, above the fountain, that leads to the toy museum. It's beautiful and relatively lonely.