I haven’t blogged for a while and this is bugging me
Just arrived in Cambridge, uk
HAVE JUST GONE THROUGH A RIDICULOUS TRAVEL DRAMA
DIOR JUST RELEASE A NEW PERFUME!!!!!!!!!! EXCITED TO TRY!!!!! :) and if it’s awesome, I will consider buying it when I pass by Charles de Gaulle Airport! :D
yes, you heard me. get a box of tissues before looking at all these photos. But please, take a look at them because they are pure amazing and inspiring. for the sentimental folks (which includes me definitely) , ONLY one album a day
Orphans of Addiction http://www.pulitzer.org/works/1998-Feature-Photography
Portrayal of a single mother and her son with cancer http://www.pulitzer.org/works/2007-Feature-Photography
An Oakland hospital’s effort to mend an Iraqi boy nearly killed by an explosion.
Haunting, behind-the-scenes look at funerals for Colorado Marines who return from Iraq in caskets. http://www.pulitzer.org/works/2006-Feature-Photography
Couldn’t have been lazier to write a post :( i am a little bit busy with lab, preparing my visa (US AND UK) and preparing the paperwork for UK next year . ooh la la .
BUT, a sneak peek of my marseille trip, where I soaked in the glorious sun and admired the beautiful beautiful crystal blue sea :) it’s also freezing. hahahah
Visiting chateau d’If, which is also the prison where Edmond Dantès is incarcerated in the count of monte cristo by Dumas!
See what I mean? the water color is just pure amazing!
Hillary and i before diving into the ocean. We brought a bottle of wine to warm ourselves up for the challenge. BUT, STILL, THE WATER IS PIERCING!!!!!!!!!
Why so random you might ask… well, I was inspired by something very tiny, very normal in Japan… :D THE BENTO BOX… :D
I have always been fascinated with the depth of thinking of the people of Japan and the bento box with the stories behind it, is simply amazing! :D
For those who don’t now, the bento box is a lot more than what the bento you ordered at Beijing Tokyo restaurant near MIT. I read online that the history can be traced back as early as the 5th century, as the Japanese people tried to pack food for outdoor activities like hunting or fishing!
There are actually a lot of kinds of bentos: not just “you know, the lacquer box with a lot of stuff in it” as we usually think :D
Okay, cut and paste from wikipedia:
- Shōkadō bentō (松花堂弁当) inspired IBM’s (later sold to Lenovo) ThinkPad design
- Chūka bentō (中華弁当) are filled with Chinese food
- Kamameshi bentō (釜飯弁当) are sold at train stations in Nagano prefecture
- Makunouchi bentō (幕の内弁当) is a classic style of bento
- Noriben (海苔弁) is the simplest: nori dipped in soy sauce covering cooked rice.
- Sake bentō (鮭弁当) simple bento with a slice of broiled salmon for main dish
- Shidashi bentō (仕出し弁当) is made in a restaurant and delivered during lunch.
- Sushizume (鮨詰め) literally means “packed sushi”
- Tori bento (鳥弁当) consists of chicken cooked in sauce served over rice
- Hinomaru bento (日の丸弁当) is the name for a bento consisting of plain white rice with an umeboshi in the centre.
- Hokaben (ホカ弁) is any kind of bento bought at a take-out bento shops.
- Hayaben (早弁), literally “early bento”, is eating a bento before lunch
- Ekiben is a bento sold at railway stations (eki).
Why the sudden fascination with bento? :D well, i think a bento box is the epitome of the spirit of cooking, which is the joy of cooking for others and seeing that satisfied smiles after a good meal. A mother might spend hours preparing a bento box for her kid, because she knows, at lunch, the kids after long hours of studying, open the bento box excitedly, not knowing what kind of delicious surprise their mother prepare for them. The food used for bento box in Japan isn’t fanciful or expensive: sometimes it’s just hotdog, seaweed, vegetables or eggs, but the love and care the mothers put into the kids’ bentos make everything look so amazing!
Making a bento for others is simply not just preparing food, but it’s a gesture of LOVE!
Or, take for example ekiben, the bento for the working class. It’s the most inexpensive bento i believe, and it’s sold at train stations. But the quantity and quality of the ekiben are definitely enough to satisfy the hunger and appetite of the commuters! A lot of times, in the US or in Europe, cheaper food is usually pretty bad… “you pay for what you get” …but for ekiben, i think it’s the opposite. You get a lot more than you expect!
Haha, okay, I rambled long enough! three suggested blogs to read about bento!
In the future I will try to make bentos for my kids whenever I can I think!!!! :D
Second time in Barcelona: i have done all the touristy stuff, sagrada familia, parc guell, ramblas etc. This time, i was determined to watch a flamenco show in Barcelona! Barcelona is considered the third great capital of flamenco in Spain, after Andalusia and Madrid :D
Credits to get2dance.blogspot.com
At first, my friend, anna and I wanted to take a flamenco lesson to completely immerse in the spirit of flamenco but it was too hard to book a lesson because usually they required a large group. a two-person lesson will probably cost us like 60-80 euros, and as poor university students we obviously can’t afford that. So we opted for a performance at Los tarantos, a tablao in Barcelona :D A tablao is a place for flamenco performances, developed during the sixties, replacing “cafe cantantes”.
Los tarantos is situated in Plaça Reial, a beautiful square near the ramblas. the square was a little bit crowded with tourists but not too crowded so Anna and I could still sit and enjoy the evening atmosphere thoroughly :D
The managers of Los Tarantos were known to choose the best flamenco stars of the moment to go on stage. i read that during the ’70s the flamenco club had Maruja Garrido, who was considered the muse of Salvador Dali. how cool is that!!!
Anyway, back to flamenco and less of history…
So we arrived a little bit earlier than the performance time to get good seats since it was free-seating. We also bought the tickets online for cheaper! only 6 euros per person. I think it was wonderful of los tarantos to charge such cheap tickets. I think they are trying to preserve the traditions of flamenco and to help the flamenco fans! :D We have to thank them for that!!!
We got front row seats and waited excitedly for the performance :D
Sitting in front, I could feel every bit of energy coming out of the dancers, the singers and each member of the band. It is amazing how the performers managed to touch the members of the audience through their movements, music and lyrics.
The band is “magnifique”! They were not merely “performing” but rather, enjoying themselves. They laughed and talked to each other on the stage, discussing which pieces to play next. The performance was impromptu but perhaps, that’s why it was so great. There are no restrictions, no rigidity and no planning. Extremely organic and dynamic. The performance also seems to depend on the mood of the audience. As the crowd in the tablao cheered loudly or whistled in approval, I can feel that the performers got even more enthusiastic and pushed themselves more to play, sing and dance! :D I tried to follow and do the “palmas” (rhythmic hand clapping), but failed… I really can’t get the rhythm at all! Anna thought that there were probably no rules; the performers probably just felt it and clapped!
The heart of the flamenco lies in the singers and the dancers. The female vocalist impressed me the most. It seemed to me as if she was not just singing: she was bearing her soul to the audience. Her voice was deep and sonorous, resonating throughout the performance space. The normal elements involved in judging “a good singer” such as the purity of the voice, the beauty of its tone, or the perfect pitch are not relevant here. It’s the soulful quality and coarse texture of her voice that hypnotized the audience. I can’t really describe how I felt listening to her singing but let’s just say, my heart was trembling a little bit.
The flamenco dancers are equally impressive. There were two dancers in the first part of the performance and one in the second part. It’s really interesting to see how the younger dancer might have the same skill sets as the older dancer but it’s only the older dancer with those years of experience who was able to completely incorporate the “spice”, the flirtation and “flame of passion” in her dancing. The stamping of her feet to the music was quite extraordinary. I think if I do that for 1 minute… okay may be 30 seconds, I might collapse on stage because of leg cramps! The way she carried herself, her emotional intensity and extremely expressive arm movements left me watching in wide-eyed wonder and awe.
The flamenco experience in Barcelona has definitely made me love dancing more and more! Flamenco has survived for hundreds of years and I really hope it gets more and more popular!
SO…. normally i usually travel with friends but this time, i decided to do this trip on my own… I arrived in Vernon bright and early in the morning at around 8a.m Thanks to my girl Yeseul, she advised me to just keep going where everyone is going and try to get to the line/queue as soon as I can. So i did and most of the time I don’t have to wait for very long. i had to take a bus to Giverny from Vernon but it wasn’t very long and the scenery on the road was beautiful and very peaceful! :)
so once I was in Giverny I went straight to Monet’s house and garden. And the moment i entered the garden. I thought i was in a different world! i didn’t mind the tourists at all cos everyone is mesmerized by the scenery and stays very quiet and considerate to other people. Totally absorbed in the nature surrounding me, I walked around the garden like 3 times, admiring the flowers, the bamboo trees, the pond, or the flora on the bed of the river streams.
Okay, i talked way too much. just take a look at the pictures I took and you will know why i am so in love with Giverny. It’s beautiful out of this world. Aspiring artists, bring your pencil and sketchbook and some snacks because you can be here all day without getting bored.
Finally I have some time to do some sketches again! :D It was fun! and relaxing. I do miss sketching and painting! :D
The first two flower sketches i did at the garden of monet! I went to the gift shop bought a notebook and just sat down in the sun and drew! I was so inspired and moved by the scenery! :D The flowers, the light, the nature are purely amazing! I kind of… cried. I know… such a baby. But I really forgot how wonderful it is to be totally immersed in nature and celebrate just being… young and alive!
the next few are just random doodles when I take a break in the lab! :D
14th of July-Bastille day Parade-le quatorze juillet- Concert pour l’égalité- les feux d’artifice :D- Vietnamese food
i planned so that i could be in paris for the 14th of july for one of the world’s most famous military parade and fireworks. And it’s totally worth it!
I woke up at 5.30 am in the morning ! so beast right. I know, After getting ready, I set off to see my pal, angela hojnacki and together we went to Metro Franklin R to watch the parade
We kind of jumped the line. at first it was a mistake but we have been standing there for a while and it’s just super annoying to have to go back to the line!!!
Me taking picture with the dudes in the parade. Some dudes were really nice about taking pictures with tourists but unfortunately, i chose the dudes who were a little more on the shy side :(
How do you call parade with horse? i THINK there is a term in French but i forgot. Check out the people on the balcony! :D and i think those were snipers on top of the building
MY PAL- SARKOZY. He tried so hard to wave at me ! hahaha
it’s crazy how many people turned up for the parade
Airshow!début du défilé aérien composé de 54 appareils dont 9 Alphajet de la Patrouille de France
Crazy giant white beret. Very very french hahaha
Notice horse poop. Yup, some of the guards have to walk on the poop :( sad face.
The more traditional parade: début du défilé des troupes terrestres
Motor parade! début du défilé des troupes montées et motorisées
AND THEN exciting show of all the heavy-duty stuff
Many thanks to this girl, angela hojnacki who watched the parade with me and put up with all my childish comments. for example oooh ohhh look at the guy with the funny hat!!!! WOW GIANT BERET. !!!! OMG, HORSE POOP SO GROSS!!! HAHAHAHAHA
Afterwards I was hungry so went to a delicious vietnamese restaurant with my pal yeseul kim and her friend, angela yen!
Yeseul and i then went to st chapelle . i missed it out the last time I was in Paris because i came too late so yes, determined to see one of the most famous works of stained glass in france!
Isn’t that freaking amazing?Saint chapelle is a tiny bit small but nevertheless the stained glass is really sophisticated and intricate! Hats off to the artists!
And then off to concert in champs de mar, on the lawns right in front of eiffel!
There is a concert free for all and it has some pretty famous artists!
me grooving to the beats
AND FINALLY WHAT I HAVE BEEN WAITING, THE STUNNING FIREWORK DISPLAY!!!!!
More details of Paris trip to come! next up Giverny and the beautiful garden of Monet! :D