Tag Archives: food

I Left My Heart in Japan

Temple aglow at night at Asakusa

Can you imagine why?  Below, some views from along the winding and often surprising journey through this beautiful place…

This was my first gong spotted in a Japanese temple, but by no means my last. Temples abound! This one in Ueno Park in Tokyo.

Did I mention that there are lots of temples? This one in Kamakura overlooks the ocean.

Big Buddha.... (Kamakura)

.... little Buddhas! (Kamakura)

Kanji: Chinese characters imported into Japanese language, usually with different pronunciation and often with different character pairings or even some different strokes. Result: I can almost read.... sometimes. This is something something flavor room, I think....

Tokyo sunset...

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What I’ve Been Eating Lately

Sushi Express, you complete me.

So I’ve been packing and shipping boxes home the last week or two, as I enter my last month in Taiwan. Which leaves me very little extra energy to write every day, work on the book, make coffee, sleep, say good bye to  friends, follow up on research– let alone blog. (Also maybe I was being haunted in the fantasy treehouse–possibly).

But I still had time to eat!

So this is an unabashed excuses-making post, documenting some recent photos of food in Taipei. Aka: what I’ve been eating lately.

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13 Ways of Looking at a Coffeepot: An Expat Fable

Brilliant photo that captures my inner state by Lotzman Katzman, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons license.

Let’s face it: everyone has an opinion on the best way to make coffee. Some are downright elitist about the obvious supremacy of their method, others are looking to trade up in the world of home brewed caffeine. Others, like myself, shoot for an optimal blend, if you will, of their priorities: for me, it’s convenience, consistency, and flavor. So when I found my perfect French press coffee maker about 2.5 years ago, it stuck. And as this summer has been all about daily routines– writing routines; research at libraries, archives and doing interviews; waking up before 11am–the coffee routine has settled into a flow of shared French-pressing with my coffee-drinking roommate.

Until the day. The Coffee. Stopped. Continue reading

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Eating My Way Through Singapore

So before the New Year’s revelry and subsequent non-resolutions (see previous post), I went traveling for my American holiday of Christmas!  These travels took me to Singapore and Vietnam, which I will introduce through my photos, and primarily, through the totally amazing food that can be found in each.

YUM.

There are other cool things in Singapore besides food, but don’t ask a Singaporean resident! They’ll just shrug and say, “Eh, the food, the shopping, that’s about it.”  But don’t believe it!  Singapore is a city-state teeming with an incredibly rich array of diverse cultures, which mix and meld together in fascinating ways.  The food may one way into seeing the different cultural angles of Singapore, but it certainly doesn’t end there.

Check out neighborhoods like Chinatown, Little India (and its Muslim Middle-Eastern section with the beautiful Sultan Mosque and the amazing Café El Caire), Joo Chiat, and places like the Peranaken Museum, Hawker Centres for local street food (I went to the Newton Centre and one by City Hall but the Esplanade Centre looks like an amazing night spot), and Orchard Street– famous for its shopping– for a taste of the many different characteristics of such a small place.

And don’t forget to take a walk around the Marina Bay and Esplanade, for beautiful views of the city skyline.  I was amazed at the night view as well from the freeway at night!   I haven’t seen such a gorgeous– as well as varied and whimsical– skyline since Las Vegas. Say what you like about the nature of the Strip in LV, but the lights are amazing. Same with Singapore at night– it’s really quite breathtaking.

The funny thing is that I am critical of all photos of Singapore at night, because LITERALLY the best view of the skyline is as you drive through it on the highway, past the "flyer" (ferris wheel) and almost up to the Marina Bay Sands hotel and casino (the boat thing). This photo gets the wow factor I think! Photo by coolinsights, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons license.

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My 2011: Resolving Not to Resolve

Click here to see the fireworks we saw shot off from Taipei 101: captured for your viewing pleasure on Youtube!

My first fortnight of 2011 is going remarkably well.  (And yes, I just used the word “fortnight”– oh English language, how I miss thee!)  Research and Chinese classes continue to progress, friends in Taipei are doing well, and best of all, I am not failing at any of my ill-conceived or over-ambitious New Year’s Resolutions, as I usually do at this time every year in January.

Why, might you ask?

Because I didn’t make any this year!!!!  (Cue the dance party!) Continue reading

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A No-Oven Thanksgiving

Our No-Oven Thanksgiving Meal, from turkey, clockwise: pan "unroasted" turkey breast, gravy, mashed potatoes, faux-roasted stovetop cauliflower, string beans, offsite prepared biscuits, fresh homemade cranberry sauce. Photo courtesy of Scott Humm.

This has probably been the best week I’ve spent here in Taiwan!  And it was a big surprise to me, because I was concerned that I would be plagued by homesickness as my nostalgia for American holidays hit over Thanksgiving and Christmas.  But I’m starting to learn that loving American traditions and loving my life abroad are not mutually exclusive.  A little affectionate feeling for the homeland goes a long way, and this week it took the form of one particular Thanksgiving flavor: the fresh cranberry.

My Fulbright friend Veronica and I decided to cook up a Thanksgiving feast for our American friends in Taipei (with a few welcome British exceptions), and so we set about assembling all of the key components: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, etc, etc.  This is also in addition to the lovely Thanksgiving Feast that the American Institute in Taipei served up for us Fulbrighters last weekend; in fact, the traditional food and wonderful company really fired us up to do our own cooking on the Turkey Day itself.  Both Veronica and I have spent the last few years cooking up Thanksgiving storms in our respective kitchens, so the fact that the only oven at our disposal was Veronica’s tiny convection oven/microwave combo left us unfazed.  We would do an ovenless Thanksgiving!

Perhaps we should have been a bit more fazed. But that’s how happy and fortuitous experiments occur, right? When you have no idea how hard something will be. Continue reading

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This Week in Photos: Choose Your Own Adventure

Good news: I woke up this morning and the sun was shining.  After almost 2 weeks of daily rain, I was thrilled!

This week, I noticed that my former “Week in Reviews in Photos” posts have grown more and more full of words to narrate the pictures.  My original motive, however, was to have one day of the week where I just shut my trap and let you see what I see in this fantastic place.

So this week, I’ll take a break from the commentary. Continue reading

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Don’t Mind Me, I’m Just Culture Shocked

 

“What causes culture shock?  It is basically an accumulation of stress caused by a lack of the familiar….  Culture shock can hit the young, the old, the experienced, the naive.  It might be a fleeting moment of melancholy, or a brief loneliness, but it can also be a profound and deep depression.” — Culture Shock!  Taiwan

So the honeymoon is over.  Over.  It’s been a fantastic introduction to Taiwan, but as I bid good bye to my heady first few weeks here, I realize with a shock that I am living in Taiwan, not visiting, vacationing, or galavanting.  So if I haven’t been in touch, don’t worry, I’m just culture shocked. Continue reading

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Week in Review in Photos: The Fruit and the Commute

Hey there folks, it’s hard to believe another week has veritably flown by!  This week was marked by the start of my Chinese class at Zheng Da– which included mind-blowing panic about my ability to speak, understand, and learn this fine language–some delicious meals, a trip to the Taipei IKEA and other adventures with my roommate, interesting new people, intense bus rides, and in just the last 2 days, Fulbright Orientation!  The latter was particularly exciting because it felt like a real kick-off to the year. And there are some amazing people doing research grants, teaching assistantships, and faculty exchanges.

Anyway, the majority of this week’s photo highlights can really be summed up by two categories: eating cool new Taiwanese fruit, and commuting to class and back! Continue reading

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Week in Review in Photos

Hello, dear blog readers!  As I write this, I have finished my first full week in Taiwan. So far, I have found Taipei to be wonderfully accessible, vibrant, and welcoming. This week, I successfully moved into an apartment in Taipei where I will stay for a year during my Chinese language class and research fellowship. I registered for my class that will begin on Monday.  I’ve even made some friends, and have pushed myself to speak, listen, observe, and experience the world past my comfort zone.

So here’s a little week in review in some favorite photos not yet posted: Top Five Things that Have Made Life in Taipei Easier and Fun. Continue reading

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