10.09.2015 § Leave a comment
The Yangtze River divides China into two regions, North and South. The river is the third longest waterway in the world and the lengthiest river to run entirely within one country. The population north of the river consumes mostly wheat products such as noodles, breads and rice. While traveling through a southern city in China, I visited a local fruit shop. Within the supermarket, I came across lotus pods filled with seeds. I decided to try the seeds, raw of course, and they were delicious! My friend, who I was traveling with and a native to the area said, “Poor thing, you have never tried fresh lotus seeds!”
Lotus plants are indigenous to China in the south and wherever there is a pond, usually there are lotus flowers to be found. The plant blooms beautifully in the summer and is still alive and thriving in the fall when all other plants are fading.
30.01.2014 § Leave a comment
20.06.2013 § Leave a comment
It was not until my son commented that I have the weirdest taste that I realized my taste buds might not be typical taste buds. I’ve traveled to many places over the past 15 years, and while eating has not been the most important part of those trips, some of the foods that were new to me left a lasting impression.
Artichoke Fries from Tuscany
About 8 years ago, I was in a small town near Florence when the mill owner I was visiting took me to a farmhouse restaurant. I’ve forgotten what the main dish was, but I remember they had artichoke fries. Since marinated artichokes are on top of my list of favorite foods, I fancied the idea. Of course, the Tuscan valley is so rich with artichokes that they can use them how we use potatoes. They were delicious. « Read the rest of this entry »
09.04.2013 § 3 Comments
Only recently did I learn that at one time Isamu Noguchi was married to Li Xianglan, a woman with a fascinating life. This knowledge came as a shock to me, or almost like regret, because Li Xianglan was such a legend and such a prominent figure during my childhood. She was a very famous singer and movie star during my mother’s youth. My mother was her diehard fan and would sing her songs and talk about her all the time. There were no pictures of her in those years because of her mysterious status and I always wondered, how beautiful could she be? What happened to her after she left China? I did not know that she had a long career after she left China using two different names, Yoshiko Yamaguchi and Yoshiko Ōtaka.
15.02.2013 § 2 Comments
I bought this antique lacquer in a small antique store for china and lacquer ware in Kyoto. The store was so small, the aisles so narrow that I felt like I was knocking things off the shelf with every turn or movement. Especially with bulky coats, etc. Anyway, this lacquer ware caught my eye. The color has such elegance and depth that a plastic imitation cannot reproduce.
I used to call this orangish red color “Ming red,” meaning the red color of the Ming Dynasty red lacquer. Some of the rare Song Dynasty lacquer ware I have seen in museums may not look that different to an untrained eye, but their colors are even more elegant and have more depth. The Song Dynasty was about 1000 years ago while the Ming Dynasty existed during the 1500’s. Is it because the older an object becomes, the more patina it develops? Or that the ancient artists had better taste? It is neither. It is because … please guess.
17.10.2011 § Leave a comment
I remember when my older boy Leo was in high school; he would have his string quartet practice at our house. Leo invested in a bunch of Antonín Dvořák’s string quartet sheet music, and the quartet played gigs throughout their senior year. The sheet music was expensive, and they had just earned enough to cover the investment when they split up to go to college.
It just so happened that I had to remodel my house during my sons’ adolescent years, and I built a light maple floored room with a 14-foot pitched ceiling. The room reflected sound so well when it was completed that the boys used to call it the Echo Room. However, the room provided a good venue for their music practices and I got to listen to live music. They were no professionals, but they were good enough for my amateur ears. I enjoyed those pieces and was pleased to discover and learn more about Dvořák. Before, I had only known of his symphony no. 9, the New World Symphony. « Read the rest of this entry »