February 2004 Archives

Leap Day: Sendai - Matsushima - Tokyo


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Restless spirit

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We're off today on one of my "I have got to get out of the city" trips. The urge comes infrequently, but it's very strong. I need to see something new, smell some fresh air, and sleep in an unfamiliar bed.

After a quick check of Shinkansen timetables and weather reports, I realise that the entire country is due for rain tomorrow with the exception of Yamanashi-ken which expects only clouds. But the mountains and lakes of Yamanashi-ken do not appeal, so I think we'll brave the bad weather elsewhere.

Our umbrellas will go north to Sendai and tomorrow I will photograph what we do--get wet, visit museums, ride the train home--to celebrate Leap Day.

Creative logo


creative.jpgI've never really liked the logo I use for Creative Perspectives. I tried to abstract the elements-earth, water, metal, wood, water--and ended up with something that looks like it might say "Hello My Name Is" on top. Not quite what I was going for and I'm ready to try again.

But this time with your help.

Would you like to take a break from your own creative persuits and help me come up with a new logo? Send me your ideas as a psd, jpg or gif file, (120 px by 80 px, please) before next Thursday, March 4. I'll post them next week for you to see. Depending on how I'm inspired, I might pick elements from the your ideas to form a new logo, or maybe collage something together, or use them "as is" or ...well, I'll see what the Muse suggests.

On a related note, creative photographers might be interested in participating in Sh1ft.org's Day in the Life project. You take a photo every hour on Feb 29th, the leap day, then put them online. It's going to be a fun day;I'll be doing it. I hope you will, too.

Dagwood Sandwich

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recipe thursdayWe're having a typical Tokyo spring--alternating warm and cool days. It's hard to decide what to wear, so I'm putting on (and taking off) a lot of layers. With that as a theme, today's recipe is has lots of layers, too.

The sandwiches that Dagwood eats in the comic Blondie are legendarily huge. He puts all sorts of unlikely things on them and really piles it high. This one fakes it a bit by stacking individual sandwiches on top of one another. You can substitute anything in this sandwich--the more ingredients the merrier--and it's agreat way to use up leftovers.

Dagwood Sandwich
serves 2-3 people or one comic strip character

6 slices bread (white, wheat, rye or any combination)
1 sandwich bun
2 oz/60 gr deli ham
2 slices swiss cheese
2 oz/60 gr roast beef
2 slices cheddar cheese
2 slices red onion
3 oz/80 gr salad filling: egg, tuna, chicken potato, ham, etc.
3 slices bacon
4 oz/100 gr deli turkey or turkey leftovers
1 tomato, thinly sliced
3 lettuce leaves
1 gerkhin, halved
2 olives
Mayonnaise, mustard, horseradish, butter, ketchup, as desired
2 long bamboo skewers


Tod thinks the round sandwich looks better on top. I like the whimsy of sandwiching it in the middle...it's up to you!

Simple delights

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The whole dream was homespun happiness. My entire village celebrated some obscure holiday. It was a county fair, a big reunion, a birthday party, a veteran's memorial day.

There was not a single whiff of sophistication--we wove delphiniums in our hair, decorated the square with candles and lamps, played with all the kids, set up chairs and buffet tables in the town hall/church, hugged and kissed friends. And this was just the preparations. I woke up before the actual festivities began.

But I woke up grinning.

S to M

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commu.gifThe city subways are rebranding. Actually, they are privatising. From April 1st, Teito Rapid Transit Authority will become Tokyo Metro.

The new logo is a ribbony M in cyan blue. They call it the Heart M. It's cute but not as distinctive as the pointy red S we all know and love.

It's fun to try to find the things they are doing in advance. You might see some changes in your local station--ticket machines are being refaced in blue, for example. Dark blue uniforms are replacing the grass green jackets on drivers and conductors. And on some rolling stock, you'll see the familiar S logo is now on a sticker covering up a subtle indentation of the new M logo underneath.

I haven't seen any changes to exterior station signs, but I know they are coming...


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Today I'm taking the Neon Chopstix scripts and doing the breakdowns to make our production boards. I've been looking forward to this for months, but it's turned out hte be more of a challenge than I expected.

A breakdown is when you go through the script and list, scene by scene, all the actors, props, effects, crew, equipment, sounds, costumes, and locations needed to film the scene. Once you have the breakdowns, you can budget and schedule the production--the production board is all breakdowns organized into shooting days.

Making the breakdown lists is lots of fun. I'm using software called FilmMakr, essentially a complex Excel macro, to do the breakdowns so they look pretty and can be neatly organised. Look at all the colors:


What's difficult is deciding where to break things up. A scene might be only two pages long but could have cutaways to objects or other people, might have a section that involves a special effect, or multiple cameras. Each cutaway or effect requires a different location, setup, equipment, etc. but they aren't separate scenes. I just don't know quite how far to take the breakdown...

Usually my documentary productions aren't this complex. New things to learn. Yeah!

Windy Day

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Today was the perfect sort of early-spring day to open all the windows and air everything out, so now the apartment is tidy and my sheets and towels smell fresh and clean.

Before my housekeeping binge, I sat out on the veranda and painted for a while. It was more art therapy than Art but I had an adventure while I was painting. The wind picked up and one of the cardboard canvases I'd laid on the wall to dry blew off and landed in the neighbor's garden. Oops!

I trotted downstairs to fetch my painting from our French neighbors who had a baby girl not long after we moved in. Now 18 months old, she watched me cautiously and smiled a little as I walked through their living room to the garden and retrieved my canvas.

Later on, my breeze-animated pillowcases swept a jellyjar-cum-candleholder off the veranda. It crashed into the other downstairs neighbor's yard. I don't think anyone lives in that apartment, so I'll let the "janitor room" know about the broken glass when they come in to work tomorrow.

Pants Patterns


It's nearly impossible to find free sewing patterns on the 'Net, so here are the patterns and how-to instructions for two styles of unisex casual pants I made yesterday. Now you can make your own.

Thai Fisherman's Pants
These are one-size fits-all pants that wrap around and tie with a sash. Very comfy and stylish, too. You can use almost any weight fabric--from silk to lightweight denim. The Thai ones are cotton or rayon. Make sure your fabric looks nice on both sides; I did mine with a contrasting top panel because the print I used for the legs looked ugly on the reverse.

You'll need
2 meters fabric
matching thread
About an hour.


top panel (2): 25 cm x 75 cm
legs (2): 75 cm x 85 cm, with a curved 50 x 10 strip cut away on each side
tie (1): 6 cm x 140 cm

I measured and cut directly on the fabric without a paper pattern. Don't forget to add extra for the seams. I usually do 1 cm all around.

If you're using fabric with a directional pattern, cut the cloth in half widthwise and turn the fabric so that the pattern runs the same direction on both legs.


  1. Sew the short ends of the top panel to form a large hoop. Hem one edge of the hoop.
  2. Sew the center front seam.
  3. Sew the center back seam.
  4. Starting at the center and working out, sew the inseam.
  5. Attach the top panel to the legs.
  6. Construct the sash and attach to the top panel at the back.
  7. Hem the legs.

French seam the top panel sides so there are no raw edges.
Finish the top panel edge with a tiny hem.
Attached the belt securely to the center back of the top panel.


To wear them, slip them on and hold the edges out from you (like a diet "after" picture). Pull one side tight against your body and bring the rest of the fabric across yourself to form an S curve. Bring the ties around your waist and knot. Fold the top down over the ties.

Comfy Pants
These baggy pajama pants are derived from the mompe slacks in John Marshall's "Make your Own Japanese Clothes." An elastic waist makes them really easy to wear. You can increase the width of the leg opening to get a more skirt-like palazzo pant.

This pattern needs to be drafted onto paper, but it's not difficult to do at all. Once you've done it, you can use it over and over, or until you size changes.

You'll need
2.2 meters fabric, depending on your leg length
elastic for the waistband (your waist + 5 cm)
matching thread
a ruler
a calculator
a crayon or colored marker
a sheet or two of newspaper
About 90 minutes.

Measure yourself (it's much easier if you have help with these!)

pants-comfy-measure.jpgHips ________ cm

Waist to floor ________ cm

Crotch to floor________ cm

Around ankle and heel ________ cm

Now lay out your newspaper so that it matches the waist to floor measurement. Tape together if necessary.


Front Leg:

  1. From one corner of the paper, measure 1/3 your hip measurement and mark it.
  2. Move over 1/12 of your hip measurement and mark that.
  3. At the 1/3 + 1/12 point, draw a line all the way down the paper.
  4. At the bottom, mark the width of the leg opening. (1/2 the ankle-heel + 5 cm)
  5. Calculate the inseam: crotch to floor minus 5 cm.
  6. Using a tape measure stretch to the inseam length, make a diagonal from the end of the leg opening to the 1/3 + 1/12 line.
  7. Draw a gentle J-shaped curve from the end of the inseam to the 1/3 mark.

Back Leg:
Same as the front leg, but use 1/3 plus 1/8 of your hip measurement. This allows a little extra room for your derriere.

Follow the pattern, adding seam allowance all around, plus about 8 cm at the top for the elastic casing and 5 cm (or more) at the bottom for a hem.


  1. Sew the center front seam and center back seam.
  2. Starting at the center and working down the leg, sew the inseam.
  3. Sew the side seams.
  4. Hem the legs.
  5. Construct the casing and thread the elastic through.



creative.jpgDo you keep a journal?

As a teenager, I kept a diary for six or seven years--full of the angst or exams and the trials of never having a date--that I wrote in frequently, if not daily. During the dormitory years at college, my diary transformed from lovelorn ramblings to costume sketches and reminders to go to class.

For years, I carried a sketchbook everywhere. That was fantastic. I paid a lot more attention to things around me. Any time I was bored I would grab my book and pen and draw whatever was handy. I did hundreds of little sketches. Some of them are horrible and others are quite good. I took notes in my sketchbooks, too.

But somehow, I stopped doing that. These days (in addition to this weblog) I keep a motley a variety of notebooks filled with to do lists, user interface designs, observations made on the train, grocery lists, meeting notes, and drawings. But I have too many of them. One in my bag, another in a jacket pocket, one on my desk...

So I declare today "starting the journal anew" day. I will keep a better journal. "Better" meaning I carry one with me everywhere and I use it creatively every day. Care to join me?


Drawings - yes!
Observations on trains - yes!
Interesting words and kanji - yes!
Little ideas - yes!
Bg ideas - absolutely!
Costume sketches - yes!
Construction diagrams - yes!
Half-written poems - yes!
Pressed flowers - for sure!
Grocery lists - no way.
Mistakes - yes!
Odd thoughts - yes!
Note to myself - yes!

Corn Encrusted Pork

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recipe thursdayWith a nod to Mike at Arsenic.net's weekly Pork Chop Radio show playing this morning, here's a recipe that I used to cook back when times were tight but we liked to eat. It doesn't make our menu rotation too often anymore, which is a shame. I think I know what we'll have for dinner here tonight.

Corn Encrusted Pork
serves 4
4 pork chops or pork fillets
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
1 cup corn meal (approx)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
salt & pepper to taste
oil for frying

Set up a breading station: salted flour, egg wash, corn meal mixed with herbs and pepper.

Lightly flour the meat, then dip in the egg wash, and finally coat well with cornmeal. Make the cornmeal coating fairly thick with no gaps. Depending on the size of your chops, you may need more than a cup of cornmeal.

Pan fry the pork in a little oil until the cornmeal is golden brown. Because the meat's encrusted, you can't easily test for doneness, so I judge by the "give" of the meat. When it's raw it feels soft and floppy; as it cooks it gets stiffer. Imagine a book made of rubber--that's what your shooting for. Still a little give, but not bendy.

Serve with garlic mashed potatoes, applesauce, and a green veg of your choice.

Flower Market

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On the way to work today, I walked by this impromptu flower and plant market set up on the corner. It reminded me of the farmers market in Chicago--every Thursday after lunch, women returned to their offices with armfuls of gladiolas. It was very cheery and colorful.

Foul-weather Friends


Some expats bemoan the loss of friends when their compatriots move back home. I don't mind at all when friends come and go from my life; it seems quite natural. I think I'm well suited to being a long-term expatriate.

Despite that, it's comforting to have a few friends who I know will stick around. I don't see them all that often, but I know they're there.

I had dinner tonight with Greg, who is actually a newish friend, but has been in Japan for more than a decade. He's applied for his permanent residency, so I think he'll be sticking around for a while. We talk about creativity and organizing our lives. We swap movies. Greg introduced me to Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and loaned me the Edward Tufte book that I hadn't read. He came to Design Festa in November. We made nengajo together. I taught him about CSS and Movable Type templates.

Also among my long-term resident friends is Elizabeth Andoh, who has lived in Japan for more than 30 years, teaches Japanese food culture and writes for the New York Times and Gourmet. Various colleagues from Tod's office and MJ, of course, are here for the duration because they've married Japanese nationals.

Which is something that I wish I could do, too. Not that I want to give up darling Tod (never!), but couldn't I have a Japanese husband, too? Sure would make the visa issues easier...



Boil, steam, vent, growl
Unintelligable rant.
Listen, nod, nod, nod.

Spring gale


Yesterday the first warm gale of spring, haru ichiban, blew through Japan. Although it didn't reach Tokyo, it was pretty windy here and today's weather feels like spring has arrived for sure. The warmth is a welcome change from days we've been shivering through lately.

This morning I opened all the windows to air out the apartment and then gave the veranda a good washing. Afterwards, I burned some incense and enjoyed a cup of coffee to celebrate the sun.

It's too early to replant the little garden off the living room, but I'm itching to do it. I'll settle for planning instead. This year I will make it a true kitchen garden--lots of herbs, as usual, but some vegetables, too: lettuces, peppers, beans. Maybe some berries. I don't believe I have enough room for melons, eggplants or cucumbers, but I can probably squeeze in some tomatoes. I wonder if there's a Japan equivalent to Seeds of Change?

Love = effort?


A late-day blog entry. I'm sitting at my desk, dressed in the cloth of gold dress, waiting to leave for a dinner 10 pm reservation at Cicada.

Cynical as I am, I'm not one for enjoying a consumer based Valentine's Day, but I do like a quiet celebration. So I made an effort to make today a little special. Tod & I enjoyed brunch at home, complete with a magnum of champers which we finished off over the course of the afternoon as we listened to jazz and classical music, following along with the sheet music of some of the Bach fugues. It was relaxing.

After we finished eating, but before the wine had gone to our heads, Tod decided to return my favor. He made a reservation at Cicada, a Mediterranean restaurant I've been wanting to try for a while, hence the dressing up aspect of our day. (Tod's even donned his one-and-only suit for the occasion.)

But we had a philosophical disagreement. I say love requires effort. Tod says effort comes naturally with love. "The things you do to show your love are effortless," he insists.

I think it boils down to a definition of effort. In my world, effort is healthy, good and often quite enjoyable. Apparently in Tod's world, effort is a struggle. How about your world?

Light of Day


creative.jpgBecause of my unusual household schedule, I usually don't leave my apartment until mid-afternoon. But recently I've had the good fortune to get away from my desk in the morning. I've noticed how different the light is at 10 am.

Shadows of trees point in northwest across the sidewalks; light slips through the gaps between buildings to illuminate windows and metal railings. I've noticed architectural details that never caught my attention before--flagpoles, ledges, the color of bricks.

Light is key to visual arts. The Impressionists cared more about light than subject matter. Painters flock to Firenze for golden Italian light and many Great Masters were really masters of light. Noir film thrives on its absence. Stained glass uses light twice--reflected and transmitted. Photographers know that one of the best times of day for shooting is the "magic hour" just before sundown.

Try to get outside today at a time you'd usually be indoors. Take a close look at the light and shadows around you. Does your familiar landscape reveal secrets and hidden treasures?

Garlicy Beef Stew

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recipe thursdayTo celebrate payday, I created this luxurious beef stew. The roasted garlic and wine make it more festive than the typical stew pot. Served with warm rolls and a roasted beet salad with chevre and pistachios, this is one of the more scrumptious simple meals we've had in a while. And it's a almost one-pot meal, so clean-up was as easy as cooking.

Garlicy Beef Stew
serves 4

the roasted garlic:
8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 Tblsp butter

the stew:
300 g (1/2 lb) stew beef, in 2 cm cubes
salt and pepper
2 Tblsp butter
1 Tblsp flour
1/2 large carrot, in 2 cm cubes
3 small potatoes, in 2 cm cubes
6 crimini mushrooms, quartered
1 medium onion, in 2 cm cubes
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 can (10 oz) beef stock
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp Chinese (brown) peppercorns

the thickening:
1 Tblsp butter
1 Tblsp flour

Preheat the oven to 175/350. Roast the garlic, unpeeled, with butter in small pan or cast iron skillet for about 15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. When cool, slip off the peels.

Salt and pepper the beef well and dredge in flour. Melt butter in a pot over medium-high heat. Sautee the beef until brown on all sides. Remove from pan.

To the same pot, add vegetables, roasted garlic, wine, stock and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and allow to simmer until the vegetables are soft, about 25 minutes.

When the vegetables are done, return the meat and any juices to the pot. Rub together the flour and butter to form a paste, and add to the pot to thicken the stew. Cook for about two more minutes and serve hot.


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Today is Kenkoku Kinnenbi, known in English as National Foundation Day. It's the historical (possibly legendary) date that the first Emperor of Japan, Jinmu, ascended to the throne a really, really long time ago--660 BC.

Before WWII, today was called Kigensetsu. But it was removed from the calendar, along with all the Buddhist holidays, and wasn't reinstated 1966.

Not much pomp or circumstance marks this day--there's a parade of mikoshi at some of the key temples. Like most holidays in Japan, people will use today to catch up on sleep, go shopping, or enjoy a meal at a restaurant. Maybe girls will stock up on chocolates for the boys on Valentine's Day.

I will spend my day trying to get Tod away from the computer and outdoors for some fresh air activities. Or maybe some shopping or eating out.

Breath Palette


These are Margaret Josefin Breath Palette, a series of boutique toothpastes.

Toothpaste is something that I don't spend a lot of time thinking about. There are a couple of brands I prefer and I buy what's on sale. Now Breath Palette ups the ante with 31 different flavors:

  1. Sweet salt
  2. Tropical Pineapple
  3. Peppermint
  4. Fresh Yogurt
  5. First Crop Green Tea
  6. Rose
  7. Monkey Banana
  8. Honey
  9. Kiwifruit
  10. Cafe au Lait
  11. Plum
  12. Tsugaru Apple
  13. Vanilla
  14. Indian Curry
  15. Strawberry
  16. California Orange
  17. Kyoto Green Tea
  18. White Peach
  19. Kisshu Ume
  20. Lavender
  21. Darjeeling Tea
  22. Cinnamon
  23. Budou (grape)
  24. Lemon Tea
  25. Bitter Chocolate
  26. Blueberry
  27. Caramel
  28. Espresso
  29. Grapefruit
  30. Pumpkin Pudding
  31. Cola

Rose, lavender and honey bring to mind hygiene of ancient cultures; maybe they should be applied with traditional twig-brushes. Fruit flavors seem refreshing enough to use. But cola? India curry? Chocolate? Those are things I brush to get rid of...

At 200 yen per 25 gram tube (about the same price as a 160 gram tube of regular toothpaste) Breath Palette is a luxury. This is a product for gift-giving or as a splurge when out shopping with your girlfriends.

If you want to see more (in Japanese) http://www.margaret-jj.co.jp/catalog.html. To buy some for yourself, visit Sony Plaza, Tokyu Hands, Loft, or Keio department stores. Unfortunately for my international readers, Breath Palette does not seem to be sold outside Japan; so pack your bags and come to visit.

Late payment


A couple of weeks ago, I got a note from the phone company: "Please pay your past due amount or your keitai service will be terminated on 2/6."

Huh? I checked with Tod, who is in charge of family bill payment, and he said he'd paid them all. The current bill didn't show a past due amount, so I ignored the note.

My keitai was turned off on 2/6.

Of course it turns out there was an unpaid bill buried in Tod's pile of papers. Oops. He paid it at the convenience store on the way to work today and less than 30 minutes later my phone was back on.

I expected a hassle involving a special trip to the NTT office in Shinjuku, a mandatory letter of apology for being a deadbeat, and a fee to turn the service back on followed by a week's delay while they reactivated my account.

But this was as easy as it could be. Thank you, NTT DoCoMo. But next time, could you please put the past due amount on the future bills?

Ueno Streetcorner


play videoTraffic. 0'40" (4 MB MP4)

Shot last night with my lo-res Fuji Finepix 4500 digital still camera from the window of Tampooya restaurant in Ueno. Cars, pedestrians, and a pink-coated night worker, too.

Hello Tokyo Screening


ht-screening.jpgHello Tokyo plays at this weekend's Film Marmalade film jam:

Sunday, February 8
8 pm -- late
Pink Cow, Shibuya [map]
Admission: 500 yen

Film Marmalade is a loose confederation of independent filmmakers in Tokyo.

As you might expect, it's intimidating to screen my work to an audience of fellow filmmakers. If you're free on Sunday evening, why don't you come and keep me company? Otherwise, I'll have to hide in the bathroom until it's over.

Filmmarmalade vol.10

1. Jack Woodyard 
   “Don’t call me sensei”  15 min  Fiction Japan

2. Alvarez
   “Sobre la Tierra” (Upon the Earth) 8 min Fiction Argentina

3. Shannon Winnell 
   “Flow” 5 min  Experimental    Japan

4. David Roy 
“Modius-Café: The Uniclone Conspiracy” 3 min Flash Japan

5. Kristen McQuillin
“Hello Tokyo: Puzzles of Daily Life” 14 min  Educational Japan

6. Steve Ryan  
“24-hour bowling channel”  1 min  Documentary Japan

7. Steve Ryan  
“the love story of Lulu Belle” 4 min Fiction  Japan

8. Mifumi Obata 
“Unusual” 5 min Documentary    Japan

9. Jack Woodyard  
“The B”  1 min Fiction  Japan

10. Toowa II 
“no title” 5 min Animation/VJ Japan

Sinister hand


creative.jpgToday is a tough one; we're going to write our names with both hands in all different orientations. Grab a pen and a sheet of paper.

First write your name with your dominant hand, then with your non-dominant hand.

Then write it backwards. Start with your initial at the right and write each letter backwards towards the left. Do this with both hands.

Now try it upside down, as if you were holding a mirror along the bottom edge of the letters in your name. Again, try it with both hands.

And finally, write your name upside down and backwards.

Here's an example of my name written eight times:


As I flipped the paper around to see the names written right way around, I realise I messed up a couple of times...oops! It was harder than I thought.

And my mood has changed. I was tired and my To Do list looked pretty daunting before, but now I have more energy and I think I can accomplish what I need to do. That's a pleasant surprise!

If you want to go a step further with this, UltraBob suggests writing out a paragraph. I tried a few sentences upside down and some backward with each hand:


It was challenging. I wonder if I'd kept going if it would become easier? I also wonder if I would have written anything different than I normally would, as the right side of the brain tends to dominate when you're writing upside down.

Spinach with Pine Nuts

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recipe thursdaySpinach is one of my favorite vegetables. It's quick to cook and makes a solid base for a wide range of flavors. Japanese spinach is flat-leaved and delicate compared to the curly kind found in America. This recipe will work with either, takes hardly any time at all, and dresses up any plain meal.

Spinach with Pine Nuts

1 bunch spinach
3 Tblsp pine nuts
1 Tblsp mirin
1 Tblsp soy sauce (the lighter brown usukuchi style)

Steam the spinach or boil briefly. Squeeze out the excess water, then chop spinach into bite-sized lengths. Coat the spinach with the mirin and soy sauce. Roughly chop the pine nuts and toss together with the greens.

What's become of me?


Wondering where I am? I'm working. From Monday morning at 9:30 until tonight at 9:30 I've been awake and working solid on editing videos. Tonight will be the thrid and final all-nighter in a row.

I've been in this strange groove of focussed work and caffeine. Time's stopped. I feel simultaneously exhausted and energetic. 60 hours of this and I have the classic jet-lag symptoms. Except that I've been in the basement of an office building non-stop.

I feel surprisingly OK, but look forward to a really long sleep tomorrow! Time to get back to it--I've got to get to work on an energetic short about trash cleanup in Antarctica.

Morning commute


Place: Namboku line subway.
Time: 8:47 am, Monday morning

DOORS open and passengers spill out. A steady stream of men in suits heads towards the nearby ESCALATOR.

KRISTEN stands to one side, waiting to get on. She holds a large tote bag containing 7 Thunderbirds DVDs, a two-page To Do list, and a change of clothes.

K: So many people. What do they all do? Push paper and money around the country, I suppose.

The buzzer sounds and the flow of traffic changes directions. Everyone boards the train.

K: Oh, look a little bit of space over there. Can I squeeze through?

Pushed from behind, Kristen slides into the gap between two people with backpacks. Her tote bag catches between two businessmen's computer cases. She yanks it free.

K: Ugh, foetid breath on that guy...I hope I don't catch whatever he has. Can I breathe more shallowly? How do people manage this every morning? Is that woman putting on makeup? She has no room to move her arms...what a trick!

Train pulls into station after station. More passengers crowd the carriage, until one last one swings in puts his hand on the door frame and pushes back until there is room for his feet to clear the DOOR as it closes.

K: (wedged solidly in the middle of the car) My station's next. I am never going to get out of here.

The CONDUCTOR announces "Nagatacho, Nagatacho desu" and the doors open. All passengers moves as one toward the doors and head up the ESCALATOR to the EXIT.

[OK, now I have to go do this for real. Wish me luck.]

Red Glass Bricks

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Thousands of finger-width glass tiles on the facade of a bank near Itabashi station. The overall effect is brick red and glossy. I suspect that not too many people even notice, but imagine the effort that went into creating this.

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