Here’s a very interesting article that sums up the idea that Japan is a rich country with a relatively low standard of living. That is to say that the nation is affluent because the citizenry put in long hours and live in cramped, uncomfortable apartments. I can definitely identify with this having lived in Japan for 3 years.
Not too much to report on the personal front. I was doing some web research this morning for work for Japanese university recruiting contacts and I came across the article above.
I do miss Japan a little, but I love my new job and my big city life in NYC.
I started working as an intern at an internet-based progressive multi-issue political campaign start-up yesterday (yeah I know, the description is quite a mouthful). It is a collaboration between MoveOn.org, TheResPublica.org, and PurposeCampaigns.com. The name of the new project has yet to be decided, but we are planning to launch the new site late this year. In the mean time, check out our ad hoc campaign to stop violence in Israel/Palestine here: CeaseFireCampaign.org. My role is pretty random and all over the place right now. There are only about 5-6 people right now, but they are looking to expand in the near future. I spent the morning trying to debug some rather arcane HTML and the afternoon “shopping” online for a new office space (we are subleasing a shared office space with a PR firm right now). I like the challenges of doing all sorts of different things and learning on the fly. I definitely got a crash course in advanced HTML and New York commercial real estate yesterday. I wonder what is in store for me today…
So after work yesterday, I walked over to Japas 38 (9 East 38th Street, between 5th Avenue and Madison) for a JETAANY meeting (Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme Alumni Association of New York). For the first hour, we talked business: introducing old and new members, upcoming events, new event ideas, fundraising, etc. Then we spent the next few hours having some drinks, eating sushi and other izakaya food, and singing karaoke. The karaoke machines and song selection were exactly the same as the ones in Japan! 超 Very なつかしいね！Reminds me of old times — actually only about a month ago, I was singing karaoke until the early morning on my last night in Japan, but it seems almost like a distant memory of a past life.
A Fred and LS original recipe. We made this cold noodle salad for lunch on Friday and enjoyed it al fresco on the terrace.
cooked udon noodles, rinsed in cold water
julienned carrots and cucumber and turkey cold cuts
chunks of avocado
wedges of tomato
chopped green onion
Arrange the vegetables on top of the noodles in a bowl. Garnish with some sesame seeds and season with Wafu Dressing. Mix well before eating. If you can’t find Wafu Dressing, any soy, sesame or miso-based Japanese-style dressing will do. A perfect lunch for a late summer day.
I left New York early on Thursday morning for what was supposed to be a 10 hour train ride up through Upstate New York to Montreal, Quebec, but we were stopped at customs for nearly 2 hours, so I arrived in the Montreal nearly 2 hours late. Fred came to pick me up and whisked me off to his house in the country, about an hour and 15 minutes outside of the city.
Friday, we spent some time out by the lake next to the house, just enjoying the weather. It is quite nice to get out of the city for a little bit. As much as I love NYC, I thought it was really cool to see a real beaver dam and some happy, lazy cows grazing in the countryside. Friday night, we met up with Mark, another friend from Japan who is now living in downtown Montreal. We went to an excellent Vietnamese restaurant for dinner where you can bring your own wine and not have to pay a corkage fee – a fantastic idea we need to implement in restaurants south of the border. Then we walked around a bit, looking for places to get a drink, and we ended up at this rooftop terrace of a bar. The terrace itself was pretty cool, but the sangria we ordered with frighteningly sweet and the crowd was like, tragic or something. Lots of short, short men and some high school kids mixed in. A hilarious parade of oompa-loompas and jailbait. Fun!
This morning, we went to get some brunch and then headed to a suburban shopping mall, more to enjoy the free air-conditioning than anything else. Shopping malls, that cultural nexus that unites us all across this vast continent, from North to South, East to West!
I will upload some picts later when I get a chance. Stay tuned!
Last night I met up with my friend Chie from Japan for some drinks and dancing. It was definitely cool to explore some more of New York’s nightlife and to meet some new people. I was told by a New Yorker that I “seem like I belong here,” and I am starting to feel the same. I am really starting to get into the idea of settling in New York on a longterm basis. Oh yeah, total random but, I ran into another former Harvardian and ex-Pforzheimer House resident, Jane Kim last night as well. She is dating a friend of a friend of Chie’s. Small world, ne?! Anyway, here are some pictures from the festivities last night:
Chie and L.S. waiting for the subway heading downtown
Jordan and Ky
Chie, L.S., Matt and Ky
Ky, L.S. and Chie
My review of Washoku: Recipies From The Japanese Home Kitchen by Elizabeth Andoh has just been published online at JapanVisitor.com. Check it out here.
Here’s a photo of the meal I had in the ANA Lounge in Narita Airport. There was a huge bar of free drinks and snacks (BTW, did I mention that free upgrades to Business Class ROCK!). I had this bowl of udon noodles with a piece of kamaboko (surimi fish paste) with the ANA logo stamped on it and a glass of white wine. I still can’t decide if the idea of that is delightful or disgusting, but in any case, it tasted alright.