Archive for April, 2011

♡ The Yin & Yang of Tamiko

(credit) print | JayHell @ etsy:

I happen to live in a city that’s full of folks who are all zen and holistic and natural and meditative and “one” with nature. Soooo not me. I still succumb to sugar and lately cheese. Yes, I do eat organic. I do consume superfoods. But I’m not religious about it. I may not eat meat or poultry, but I do miss bacon very much. I am not a vegetarian or a vegan. I would cry. I admire people who are vegetarian/vegans. But I am what is referred to as a pescatarian.

Sigh. I find myself a bit yin and yang — little bit of that…and then little bit of that.

I’m not attune to nature nor a yogi or whatever. Please. I do not convene in the forest to meditate with the spirit of the trees and commune with it. I still crave A&W onion-rings on occasion. I will still indulge in a cupcake that’s made from unrefined flour and full of processed sugar, but only if homemade or from Cupcake Royale. Mmm, I whimper with pure joy when I’m eating their lavender-vanilla cupcake. It makes me feel better that they only use flour from a co-op, humane eggs, growth-hormone-free milk and butter, organic sugar, and local seasonal ingredients. Does that count as “doing good” even though it’s a cupcake? Yes, I say.

I do not wear clothes made fair-trade from hemp that’s sourced from a tribe in the Amazon. I like fine things like cashmere and silk and tailoring and pedicures. I do not wear Lululemon or workout wear unless I’m actually, well, working out. I do workout but I do it to maintain my weight because I love food so much, not necessarily to reshape my body. I don’t often push myself to the “edge” that instructors always ask you do. Oops.

I do not like malls. I do source from local designers. I am not immune to ordering online from my favorite New York City boutiques. I own an L.V. bag for goodness sakes. I only use canvas when I’m vacationing or camping, and I do not buy clothes at Costco. Please.

I do not have any desire to meditate on some yoga retreat in an ashram in India. I’d rather be at a spa-retreat in Bali (It was amazing!), indulge in avocado-shakes, dance at Kuta beach, and snorkel along the beaches before scarfing down bbq-ed seafood freshly caught in the mornings. Or zipline above the cloud forest of Monteverde in Costa Rica, go camping along Olympic National Park, or eat at my favorites in New York City and Brooklyn (not Williamsburg, but Park Slope).

I do not have piercings anywhere except my earlobes; and only one hole in each ear. In which I do wear real pearls with a genuinely perfect luminescence. Yes, this makes me a bit snooty but I prefer to think of it as being ladylike and classic. I do not wear silver and turquoise jewelery hammered from artisans in Central America. My silver ring and charm bracelet is from Tiffany Co., thank you very much. I will not wear cheap tailoring, cheap fabric, and poorly constructed wear — but only for myself; I do not judge others accordingly. Trust. I actually do like the person more than the exterior, you can ask anyone.

I do not have a calm aura about me. I’m giggly and bubbly and cheerful — I’ve been described as “effervescent” like ginger-ale. Often people underestimate me because I look sweet and nice and naïve…when really I enjoy the expression of surprise that people get when they realize I’m much quicker, much smarter, and much more calculating than they expected. It irks me greatly when people talk to me like I’m some sheltered, quiet, meek, inexperienced Asian girl who’s never been anywhere in her life. I can whoop their asses with my acid tongue, thank you very much.

I dislike (soda) pop very much — I will not touch it. This is the worst thing you could offer me to drink, whether diet or not. That sticky film it leaves on teeth, yuck not for me. I do drink copious amounts of alkaline-filtered water, coconut water, and herbal tea. I only drink coffee first thing after I wake up and will not touch it otherwise throughout the day…unless it’s been one of those days. Otherwise I’ll drink tea without milk. 

When I travel or feel a bit under the weather, I drink Emergen-C. My favorite being “Pink Lemonade” flavour. I favour red wine over white. I only drink beer if I’m eating something greasy, which is rare. I will always have a cocktail if it has rose syrup, or cordial in it — my favorite being the gimlet, especially vodka ones. I’m partial to Ketel One. I will never turn away rum.

I am a foodie. I obsessively enjoy food. The easiest way to annoy me is to force me to eat somewhere I do not want to eat at. It pisses me of most when I’m paying for something that I know beforehand is crap. My favorite thing to eat continually changes. I always enjoy sliced summer-ripe heirloom tomatoes, sprinkled with Celtic grey sea salt, the really good extra virgin olive oil (the golden almost grassy-like taste of the ones from Spain are my favorite), and chiffonade basil atop. I have a thing for macaroni’n’cheese. I love to cook but baking is not my favorite. You will not find me eating too much processed food or frozen food that needs to be heated up. I have a thing for Cadbury creme eggs, but only the creme part…I lick it out and throw away the chocolate shell. I love the Food Network.

I do use products that have limited chemicals in them — from dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent, facial cleaners, handwash, shampoo, cleaners…I try to get those that don’t have parabens, sulfates, nor test on animals. But I still go to the dry-cleaners, I still drive a car, I still take showers and baths every day. Taking a bath is my thing. I prefer to do this alone. Indeed it’s my “alone time” thing to do. I read books in the bath. I get quite cross but don’t voice it if you try to come in. Trust, person knows very quickly not to do this again. My showers smell like refreshing peppermint because I use Dr. Bronner’s magic soap. I do, however, take very quick showers to do my (psychological) part in conserving water…

I do not like reality tv shows. I really love police procedural shows like law&order or csi or criminal minds. But I watch them online bc I never remember when they’re on at the right time. Funny enough, when I’m sleepy I watch tv, otherwise it bores me. I am a girl who watches Sex and the City. I will laugh at stupid funny movies. I do enjoy foreign films, but I also always go for the loud, crashing, adventure thrillers too. 

I am a big city girl. I am not a nature-communing girl. Yes, I like the outdoors, camping in tents with no running water, but it’s fleeting and should only last a maximum of 3 days before I start to pout. I appreciate the natural majestic beauty of nature. I truly do, but it does not mean I can endure it as a lifestyle choice. *shrug* It’s the truth. I love bright lights, big city. I purposefully go to New York City to inject myself with its infectious energy.

I am not athletic. I dislike the gym. I prefer not to partake in team sports. I’m more solitary, which may be because I’m an only child. I like to run, but you can do that by yourself. I like hot yoga but not regular yoga. I prefer the former because it’s more intense and not as lalala-heal-the-world, which is fine but sometimes I’m prefer a genuineness that is often absent in their lip-service. I’ve trained as a dancer since I was 5 years old, so I look taller than I am because I have good posture — although I’m not all that tall at all! I really like kickboxing because you’re paired up with one person and you can punch and kick…hard. I’m not competitive in sports. I don’t care all that much about winning. I just like having fun.

But…I’m very competitive at other things. Trust, you won’t see it coming. I usually only reserve it for those who cross me, so don’t worry. I am getting better shrugging more things off as of late. It’s thankfully much more freeing to do so. I may soon forgo competitiveness because ultimately it’s a waste of time. In the meantime I’ll try to be good.

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♡ Stand up tall

(credit) Stand Tall | Fall Down Tree @ etsy:

Fall seven times, stand up eight.

– Japanese proverb

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This bouncy, energetic song is great on a playlist for running. Its tongue-in-cheek lyrics are a puff of flossed sugar — you can’t resist them. Enjoy!

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♡ Looking vs. Seeing

I am quite taken by a young teen novel called Chasing Vermeer  — I was impressed that for its genre it managed to incorporate fascinating ideas about how we see things vs how we look at things.


“I have never heard of any standard, in any religion, philosophy, science, or complication of household affairs that could not be made to fit any requirement.

We fit standards to judgments, or break any law that it pleases us to break…we have conclusions, which are the products of senility or incompetence or credulity, and then argue from them to premises. We forget this process, and then argue from the premises, thinking we begin there.” (from Charles Fort, Lo!)

….Fort was saying:

Depending on how you looked at things, your world could change completely. His thought was that most people bent over backward to fit everything that happened to them into something they could understand.

In other words, people sometimes twisted what was actually in front of them to fit what they thought should be there, never even realizing they were doing it. People liked to see what they were supposed to see, and find what they were supposed to find. It was quite an idea…

– from Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett

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(image credit) KobreGuide


I love documentaries, which may technically out me as a nerd, but hey I’m okay with that. This is why I’m fond of the site Documentary Heaven. On a rainy day I could literally sit there watching documentary after documentary. Any subject matter interests me: business, science, history, crime, biography, environment, sociology, politics, spirituality…but most of all I enjoy documentaries about education and schools or even kids.


The last one I saw was Waiting for Superman about the American school system by the same director of An Inconvenient Truth. I’m saddened by the state of education these days. I experienced first-hand how the DC school system works, since I attended a summer workshop at the Center for Inspired Teaching in Washington DC (one of my most favorite cities in the world!). I have faith ever since attending this workshop — the philosophy is amazing, tangible, and innovative.

The Center itself is full of brilliant, energetic, active, warm-hearted individuals who are creating strategies to shape an education system that works for a variety of learning needs and, more importantly but often forgotten, emotional needs. I’m so happy the center has officially opened an experimental school. 

I will always remember what one of my colleagues at the workshop said to me once. Stoic and graceful, she had this wonderful air of calm and peace about her. She has been teaching for more than 15 years in the hard-worn edges of south-east DC in a predominately African-American neighborhood. She said, “I tell my students that they each one is my child. That I will treat them the same as I treat my own daughter. That whatever my daughter gets, they will also get. That whatever trust I have for her, I have for them. That I expect the same in return. That I will fiercely fight for them and care for them as if they are my own. And every year, it never fails that my class returns the same expectations.” Wow. I was left confounded. Indeed. I wish my own children have a teacher like her. 


There are so many great docs in this genre…including the ones I remember distinctly such as Hoop Dreams and A Classroom Divided. The latter is so powerful, I can still remember it clearly from the first day I watched it years and years ago. Jane Elliott is my shining hero. For reals.

Yet, the one I cherish the most is a doc from Japan called “Full of Life” (to watch click on the links at the bottom – it’s narrated in English, and there are English subtitles). I wept through most of it…tears kept spilling out in a good way! This is a moving portrait of an extraordinary teacher who fights for his kids — that is one of the most precious things in the world. The trust this teacher has for his kids….sigh. That fierce intensity of knowing the teacher looks out for his kids is quite rare unfortunately, so to see it done so elegantly makes me all warm and tingly inside. He sets a fine example and doesn’t underestimate how much modeling (positive behaviour) makes a difference to young minds.


This doc also reminds me of the seemingly politeness of my people. My peoples, the Japanese, don’t emote quite readily, they aren’t touchy-feely, nor do they express their feelings or emotions on their sleeve like the Western world. But in their language there are more words that can express empathy, love, compassion than there are in English. Each of these words can succinctly capture a whole picture of feelings — within one word. While in English we have to use so many words to describe how we feel.


In the award-winning documentary Children Full of Life, a fourth-grade class in a primary school in Kanazawa, northwest of Tokyo, learn lessons about compassion from their homeroom teacher, Toshiro Kanamori. He instructs each to write their true inner feelings in a letter, and read it aloud in front of the class. By sharing their lives, the children begin to realize the importance of caring for their classmates.

Capturing the intimate moments of the students’ laughter and tears, the film explores one teacher’s approach to allowing children the opportunity to discover the value of sharing powerful emotions. Classroom discussions include difficult issues such as the death of a parent or being the victim of bullying. In this “school of life,” the simple message is learning to look after one another.

Following Mr. Kanamori’s class for a whole school year, the cameras were kept at the children’s eye-level, giving their view of the world as they cope with troubled relationships and the loss of loved ones. Through their daily experiences, viewers see how they develop together a spirit of co-operation and compassion.

Children Full of Life was awarded the Global Television Grand Prize at this year’s 25th Anniversary Banff Television Festival, the festival’s highest honour. It was the first time Japan took the top prize. As well, the documentary won the Rockie Award in the Family and Youth Programs category.

Children Full of Life is directed by Noboru Kaetsu and produced by the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK).


It’s narrated in English, and there are English subtitles where needed.

@ Culturally Teaching HERE

@ Top Documentaries HERE

@ Documentary Heaven HERE

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☺ Daily Smile | Happy Easter Weekend!

(credit) Happy Easter | Drawn By @ etsy:

Four-day long weekend (Good Friday + Saturday + Easter Sunday + Easter Monday)! Woo hoo! Happy Passover too!

I always love drôle, sometimes “oops-so-naughty-and-stupid-I-can’t-help-but-laugh” holiday sentiments too — find them under the cut:


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I am not one who loses her sh*t over movies or actors or celebrities or whatnot. There are some exceptions, of course, yes, I’ve already confessed to it here. It’s almost like the across-the-board appreciation of Jessica Alba that every guy has. Which, by the way, I agree with — the girl is hot.

So I’m not one to pay too much attention to hyped movies (although, I confess again that my secret shame is reading smutty celebrity gossip at LaineyGossip)…that is, until I was linked back to the trailer for the upcoming film Crazy, Stupid, Love. I think I stopped breathing for a nanosecond.

Not because of Steve Carrell, or Julianne Moore (girl-crush-worthy!), or Marisa Tomei (girl-crush-worthy!), or Emma Stone (girl-crush-worthy too!), or Liza Lapira (my sista Asian gal), but daaaamn, that Ryan Gosling. When did he become so yummy? And it wasn’t the last scene (although Emma Stone is so very cute there) that did it, by the way. It was that ease, that confident stride, that air of knowing who he is and knows what he wants yet is ultimately sweet and vulnerable (well, his character, which he pulls off quite nicely). 


I know many grown women who gush and lick their lips when speaking about him due to his turn on The Notebook. I saw that movie while sea-sick across the Indian Ocean so I can’t recall too much except that I was more impressed with Rachel McAdams. Besides, I always got him mixed up with that other Canadian, Ryan Reynolds.

Now I fully understand the Ryan Gosling factor. If the trailer could induce such fervor, then I’d expect it may not be good for my health to see the whole film when it comes out. (Watch Crazy, Stupid, Love trailer HERE).

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