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Posts tagged ‘Kokeshi’

Friends Forever!!!

First things first, I wanted to explain that I am not moving to Canada anytime soon!  Friends have been asking me lately, “When are you moving out of Los Angeles?”.  Well, my dearest friends, not until my immigration paperwork gets processed!  Jeff + I haven’t even turned it in yet, as it is not complete.  Once it is turned in, it could still take 6-7 months to process.  Booo!!!  Legally, I could live in Canada right now.  But since I can’t legally work there, I need to stay in Los Angeles + Jeff needs to work in Canada.  This little lady is not playing the housewife eating bon bons + watching daytime soaps (even though I secretly wish I could)!!!  Jeff says I gotta work till I pop one out!



I’ve meant to write up this post for a long time.  A couple of weeks ago, my mom’s best friends from high school, Ayako-san, Taeko-san, Tomiko-san + their respective husbands came to Los Angeles for a visit.  We had an “American” dinner (i.e. lots of beef + large portions) at my parents house + lots of beeru (beer)!!!  My mother + her friends sang their alma mater for after dinner entertainment.  It is tradition to sing this when they get together, as Tomiko-san is a music teacher.  Hang on + keep watching!  Towards the end of the video, the husbands feel a sense of exuberance + everyone starts clapping + joining in!

I’m so lucky to have had the chance to see my mother with her childhood friends, singing + telling stories!  They all attended the Saitama Kenritsu Kawagoe Joshi Koto Gakko.  What?  You don’t know what that means?  I’ll tell you.  It means: Saitama State, Kawagoe Womens’ High School. 



It is a pretty well respected womens’ high school.  Getting into a good high school is VERY important in Japan.  It’s our equivalent of getting into a good university.  In Japan, the emphasis + importance is placed on what high school you went to. By the time they get to university, they’re studied out.

My mother grew up in Saitma, where my family in Japan still live.  I can’t wait to see them again + introduce them to Jeff.  They will really think he is a white giant!!!

How amazingly special is this picture!!!???  From the left: Ayako-san, Taeko-san, Tomiko-san + my mum.  It’s so funny because my mom was rather frumpy in her youth + in her adult years she turned into a straight up DIVA. 

Aren’t they sweet in their gym outfits?  They told me that my mom was a dynamo at the hurdles.  She would run + jump over the hurdles like a gazelle on caffeine.  All would watch with jaws dropped at her skillz.  This definitely did not get passed down to me. I can barely walk.







Ridiculous.  It’s like something from a Life publication.







I can’t stand it.  So cute.  There’s my mom in back chowing down on ramen like a champion.  Taeko-san on the left is a make-up consultant, + you can see it in her effortless style!  It was hard finding pictures of all four of them together, because usually one would be taking the picture. But they were always with each other.  BFFs!!!  2 Good 2 B 4gotten!!!!!

Ayako-san is a tea ceremony teacher.  Here, she is teaching me to whisk the matcha (very finely milled green tea) with a bamboo whisk.  She is politely watching my poor wrist action.  The goal is to whisk vigorously to create a froth + achieve a, “lake” appearance in your tea cup.  It’s harder than you’d think, y’all!!!  I was trying to whisk REAL hard without spilling tea everywhere!!!!  I think I actually burned a couple calories.


Ayako-san looking in my cup in astonishment.  No “lake” after all my vanquished efforts.  She is a master!  She whisked up a “lake” with zen-like movements of her wrist + nary a twitch from the rest of her body.  Like watching a hula dancer who’s hips are shaking, but the upper body remains completely still.



What a fun night!  A couple days later, my mom asked me if I wanted a cup of matcha.  I said, “Oooh, yes! Let’s!”.  Look at what she did!  She busted out the hand blender!!!!  No bamboo whisk!  Oh my Lord!!!  She’s been in America too long.  Good work, mom.  You’ll make your friends really proud.  She is unbelievable.  My mother never ceases to surprise me.




Okay, I have to say something!! Remember the kokeshi dolls I acquired from yesterday’s post?  Remember I said that Megumi was very curious about them in a creepy way?!  Well, yesterday, I had them all facing in a nice, obsessive-compulsive straight row.  This morning, when I went to admire them, THEY HAVE MOVED.  I’m not even kidding you guys + I’m not going crazy!!!!  I did NOT touch them, I swear!!!!  Neither did Megumi!!!  There’s no way she could have jumped up + pushed them around, because they didn’t move in alignment, but it’s like they twisted!!!  The middle one is twisting towards the smaller one + the smaller one has slightly twisted also!!!!  Satan, get behind me!!!  I’m keeping my eyes on these dolls…

Today, my parents came over with my dad’s truck to take a huge load of boxes to their house. 



My parents are freakishly strong + energetic.  I’m a very lucky daughter!!!  Bye for now!!!  Thanks for reading, everyone!!!!

Little Tokyo Love

This video caused me to go temporarily insane.

That video, my friends is one of the many reasons to love life.  Oooooh, I want to cuddle that intelligent Beluga!!!  If you’ve already seen it before, too bad!  I always forward links or videos to friends, thinking I’m really cutting edge, + they’re always like, “Seriously Shelli, I’ve seen that a million times.” or “What, do you live under a rock?”.  I’ve been compared to a coma patient that has just woken up.  It’s true.  I should get out more, but I don’t.  And I don’t plan to!

I love living in Little Tokyo!  Why would I go anywhere else?  Everything I want is within walking distance.  Uuuuuugh, I’m going to miss living here.  I walked to my optometrist this morning, Dr. Kurata.  Do you like my new frames? 

I had a hard time taking a picture with my IPhone.  Or maybe I’m trying to emulate a pirate minus the eye patch.  My frames are by Ic! Berlin.  German, but of course.  Remember: Japanese or German products only need apply.




Everything I need is in Little Tokyo!  My hair stylist + friend Kayo cut Jeff’s hair before he left for Canada.  Kayo is a scientist of hair – a real genius!  Most of my friends + family go to see her.  She usually cuts + colors at Umberto Salon in Beverly Hills, but works in Little Tokyo 2 days a week because she loves styling hair so much.  I’m not going to forward a link, because she’s already so booked by word of mouth, that it’s difficult to get an appointment with her! Recognize!!!





Shin-Sen-Gumi just opened up down the street!  I used to drive all the way down to Gardena to eat at the location there.  This ramen shop is great because you can choose your toppings, how firm you want you noodles to be cooked, how oily your broth, etc.  It’s the ultimate in ramen customization!!!! Plus, they serve Spam!!!!!!!!  The protein of Asia.  What’s not to love?



The waiters enthusiastically SCREAM in Japanese: “WELCOME!!!”, “2 AT TABLE 5!!!”. “TABLE 3 IS CLEARED!!!”, “THANKYOUVERYMUCH!!!!!!!”.  It’s a little jarring + hard to hold a conversation with all the yelling, but at least they’re consistent.  I still relish in their militancy very much.  It flows through my blood…







Today as I was getting my mail, my condo manager Shin-san motioned me into the common room.  He said, “Look at all these things, take whatever you want!  If people don’t take these things, I’m just going to throw them in the trash!”.  Shin-san is not much of an environmentalist.  There were various, not so memorable tchotchkes that were up for grabs.  My condo complex houses many elderly Japanese, + lately they have been unfortunately moving to nursing homes or passing away.

But, look at what I found!  Beautiful Kokeshi dolls!  The one on the left does not appear very old, but the two on the right I have to do more research on.  They look old, yo!!!

Look at the intricacy of the painting!  One of them has “Hakone Onsen” hand written on the botttom in calligraphy.  Onsen is Japanese for “hot springs”.  I’ll have to bring these to the “Antiques Roadshow” (aka Jeff’s favorite show), y’all!!!!

They’re so simple + beautiful.  Aaaaaah, Japanese aesthetic, how I love you so……







For some reason, Megumi was very intrigued by these dolls.  Which kind of creeeeeped me out a little….

Yet another reason to miss Little Tokyo.  The MOCA Geffen Contemporary is one block west of my condo.  I have a membership + can just stroll on down there whenever I want.





Right now they are exhibiting: “Under the Big Black Sun: California Art 1974-1981”.  Go see it, because it’s very in depth + really expresses the raw art, photography + music scene that was happening in California during that time period. People were very jaded + angry back then, y’all! Again, this is in collaboration with fabulous Pacific Standard Time .    Check out my past blog, “Eames to the Nth Degree” for more on Pacific Standard Time.

Well, don’t look to this blog if you need tips + advice for moving, because this ain’t it!!!  I managed to box up a bunch of stuff.  The problem is, I don’t have a tenant yet + I’m not sure of when I’m moving out, so my drive to really get packing is like zero.  That’s how I found that Beluga video on youtube.  It’s called procrastination, people.  This makes it hard for me to know what + how much to box up, because I’m not sure of what I’ll need to keep around to live on without feeling like a complete bachelorette. 



Don’t get impressed, because 3/4 of these boxes are empty!!! Hah!!!





As the night progressed + my IPod played on, I managed to get a good amount of boxes packed up.  There’s nothing like some Bruce Springsteen, Roxy Music + Selena to push things along.

I did the fishy face because I was tired + at a loss.  Plus, I’m not very photogenic.  I wish Jeff was here. 😦