#24 Thinking of There

I went to Berkeley Bowl last week to grab some fresh vegetables when I suddenly thought of how different American markets are compared to the ones in Taiwan. Even the farmer markets here seem more sterile and perfect, with all the carrots and cabbages laid out carefully side by side. The markets in Taiwan are definitely an adventure to the senses; the smell of fresh vegetables mingled with the delicious aroma of “small eats”, some vegetables are scrubbed clean, some still with soil lay haphazardly in their non-matching bins, the plastic bags hanging in a mass on the concrete walls. Something about the explosion of colors combined with the loud cracking voices of the Obasans make the marketplace one of my favorite places to visit.


Lacquered fans from Kyoto, Japan

I received a wonderful present from a friend in Japan today from the mail; five hand-painted lacquered fans from Kyoto. I was so surprised to receive them and it definitely made my day seeing these beautiful pieces of craftsmanship. The attention to detail in the packaging is amazing; the wrapping paper has its distinctive pattern and sticker, the gold foil logo on the box, the tissue paper, the instructions… everything was designed and packaged with care. The fans each come with a hand-embroidered cloth case for keepsake and an instruction sheet that describes history behind the type of pattern on the fabric. There are five fans total but I only unwrapped two so far (I am so afraid to damage the wrapping paper since its so pretty). These photos don’t do the fans real justice, and the fans themselves smell so good of warm wood. I’m going to find shadowbox frames and see if there’s a way I can display them. They’re too pretty to sit in the boxes! Domo arigatou, Sawada-san!!

*The black one is of the Thunder God, and the smaller brown one is of cherry blossoms.

PIXEL Alumni Day ’10

I went back to Davis with Mei & Kien yesterday for the UC Davis PIXEL Alumni Day event. It was really nostalgic seeing some familiar faces and refreshing to see the young faces who are about to head into the world. I was one of the five speakers (3 of us were Viscomm, while the other two were interior design and fashion) and we tried to give our best take on the post-grad process. The speech theme was “The Rules of Design” where you had to speak about the rules that you follow in your own discipline but I chose to speak about not having rules at all.

You can read the speech behind the cut (sorry for the grammatical errors :P)

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Mt. Diablo Thoughts of the Trek

I went on a 9+ mile hike today with my bestie V at Mt. Diablo. We rocked the Eagle’s Peak and came home exhausted, sore but super satisfied of this nature adventure. I’ve been doing 6+ mile hikes since last summer, having finally brought my weight down enough to enjoy some hard(er) exercises outdoors. One thing I’ve learned to appreciate on these hikes is how quiet it is. Today we heard the wind rustle through the trees and there were no other sounds other than that. In this wide space, two people can share 6 hours of bonding and comfortable silence, which is rare in our time, I think. Another thing I love on the trail is how friendly everyone is; the people you pass will always greet you with a smile, and perhaps leave you some encouragement (especially if you’re pushing uphill and they’re going down). Next week we plan to do Point Reyes, which I’m sure will be awesome this time of the year. I can never get enough green and blue.

#17 Nara

It’s been a week since I last posted about Japan. This photo was taken at Nara, on a cement post overlooking the city and the mountains. It was a very sunny and windy location, and although it was cold, families still traveled there to be blown away by the spectacular view. Its a spot to be enjoyed not alone, but with company, whether it is with your family or close friends. Taking a deep breath of air on top of a mountain always puts my thoughts into perspective…

(’10 Taiwan/Japan Trip) Taiwan Part 1

Lunch food stand in the Nanmen Market

One of many underground markets at the Taipei Main Station. It takes me at least 15 min to powerwalk down one, and there're so many shops to look at!

This is the official Gundam store in the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi mall at the Taipei Main Station... soooo many Gundam toys!

My mom and I got too tired so we had to rest. Because this is where the metro station meets the railway meets the highspeed rail, we were able to people watch.

Dinner with the fam!

The short of the long…:
I arrived in Taiwan on Friday morning. My uncle picked my mom and I up from the Taoyuan international airport and we drove to Xindian, where my grandparents live. For the past two days my mom and I have just been shopping and walking around, basically no big trips until we’re back from Japan. On Friday we took the metro to the ChongXing station to get comic books and I got new prescription for glasses (my eyesight got a little bit worse… D:) Yesterday (Saturday) we first went to visit my grandparents on my mom’s side, had lunch with them, then went to the Taipei Main Station for some shopping/browsing at their underground market. I also went to MUJI, which is basically designer’s heaven, even more so than IKEA. Walking in there was like meditation for me, haha.

My mom and I leave Taipei this morning at 8am for Japan! I won’t have internet access at all for 5 days, which makes me anxious since I know I will have to make a (or several) huge posts once I get back! I’ve been writing what I’ve been doing in my moleskin planner, so when I write, I can remember everything. Anyway, see you all again in 5 days!