April 2012 Archives

Unrelated thoughts

I keep having ideas for blog posts - topics meaty enough to be more than a tweet or status update on Facebook - but for whatever reason I talk myself out of writing up my thoughts. I've fallen out of the habit of blogging, and that's a shame for me (maybe not such a big deal to my limited audience). So this morning, before I run off to 4th Sunday Spin, I am going to do a couple of mini brain dumps so I feel a little less guilty for not sharing my thoughts on this long-standing platform. Here we go:


Hoop Dance Breakthrough
A few weeks ago, I went to Hoop Lounge and danced. Really danced, possibly for the first time since I was a child. I played out all my emotional energy in an ego-less state of motion. It felt so good. And the incentive for this rather unusual state was three-fold: I was wearing a fabulous silver dress that was felt good to dance in; I was full of repressed emotion; and most importantly, I let myself reach new lows in my hooping thanks to watching aggressive skate videos with Tod. Skaters move with their knees bent for stability and strength. I tried that and it transformed my dance. 

Foreign-run Clubs and Organizations in Tokyo
This may be a bit controversial, but here I go. Thanks to an influx of new friends & visitors to Tokyo, I've had this conversation a few times recently: groups run by foreigners in Japan are more welcoming than ones run by Japanese - and often more welcoming than ones back in the homeland. That is a broad brush, but stereotypically true. When you come to a Spin Matsuri hoop event, I will greet you with a smile, probably a hug, and I will play with you. And so will just about everyone there, including all of my Japanese hooping friends. Go to an event run by locals and you may be required to prove yourself (in a subtle and non-direct way) on the skill- and social- hierarchies before people decide to accept you. It's a long process to really belong to a Japanese group. This is frustrating for Japanese, too, who feel pressure to be skilled so they can be respected before they even try to join an interest group. I am sure my "welcome newbies" attitude is shared by a lot of other foreign organisers. Maybe it's because we are used to a constant flow of people in and out of our lives; maybe we aren't as culturally in tune with hierarchical group formats; maybe our egos have been worn down by living in Japan. I don't know how it comes about, exactly, but it seems to be true.

Guru-guru Camp
Oh, I am so excited to be leaving on Thursday morning for Niijima and 12 days of camping. Not only getting away from the city, but living outdoors for an extended period always makes me so happy. It only gets better when I throw in tons of hooping workshops and collaborations with other hoopers and movement folks. We have so much on the schedule this year and I am thrilled that 22 people have committed to attending. Our boxes are packed and it's time to fill in the labels.

Modernist Dining in Bunkyo

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Dessert last night blew me away. Pictured above you see a "deconstructed apple crumble" that involved nitrogen-frozen whipped cream with a hot caramel soup poured over cubes of apple, cinnamon cookie crumbs, caramel ice cream and a slice of dried apple. It was such an impressive presentation and my first experience with "molecular gastronomy."

The rest of my birthday dinner was equally stunning. We dined at Citta' Alta, a tiny ten-seat place right around the corner from our house. There is only one option at dinner - the full course - and it was incredible. Starting with a "salad" that involved green pea whipped cream, we enjoyed a fish course that was garnished with ethereal lemon foam, fois gras served on raisin toast with and drizzled with chocolate sauce (plus a side of savory fois gras creme brule), homemade pasta with clams and tiny whole squid, and porcini risotto with strawberries in it. Then cames the mains! I had a pork cutlet served with an onion that had been roasted for 3 hours and some vegetables that were beautifully pan seared. Tod chose the duck with five spice sauce. Both were delicious. Then it was dessert time. In addition to the apple crumble we had a tiramisu, deconstructed again, that was incredibly delicious and very pretty. Then the final dessert - marinated strawberries with yogurt injected shirotama and a minature scoop of green tea ice cream. And when Tod mentioned it was my birthday, the chef sent over ("over" being across the counter - this place is all chef's table!) a dish of ginger ale jelly with fresh ginger sorbet. Wow.


You need to make a reservation. Citta' Alta. http://www.cittaalta.jp/index.html

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