July 2005 Archives

Carded

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Arriving in Chicago, we met John at the airport hotel bar. It was just noon local time, so I ordered a bloody mary.

"Can I see some ID?" the waitress asked.

Hehehe. You bet. And I'll smile for the rest of the day.

Art of Conversing

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Not many people will guess that I'm a shy person. I've learned how to hide my insecurity when I converse and many people believe I am an extravert. Let me tell you how I do it, because these three pointers can help anyone go from wallflower to halfway-decent-conversationalist.

Return the Question
People often ask start a conversation by asking about a topic they want to talk about. Save yourself from having to talk too much and give them a chance to take the lead. When someone asks you a question, you should answer, then ask them back the same question. You can rephrase it or not, as you desire.

"Have you read any good books lately?"
"No, I haven't had the time. What have you been reading?"

"Did you like the movie?"
"I liked the special effects a lot. What did you think?"

"What did you do at work today?"
"I finished a report and took a long lunch. What did you do at work today?"

Use a Detail
When you're asked a general question such as "How are you?" or "What did you do today?" you'll find that an answer like "Fine" doesn't get you very far. In fact, it usually kills the conversation. Try describing a detail that answers the question, instead. The other people in the conversation can use your answer to add their own story or ask another question.

"How was your day at school?"
"Not bad, but lunch was really strange. They served us this pink foamy stuff that tasted like ham. Nobody knew what it was supposed to be. It stuck to the ceiling well, though!"
"Pink ham-foam? Maybe it was aspic or ham mousse. We had chicken soup with vegetables for lunch. I counted only three vegetables, though: carrots, potatoes and more carrots."

"Haven't see you in a while, how are you?"
"I'm fine. Last week I went to see Kabuki for the first time when my mother came to visit. How are you?"

"What did you do at work today?"
"Ugh. Mr. Smithers sent an e-mail to everyone telling them to limit their bathroom breaks to 2 minutes, 30 seconds and to mark them on a sheet outside the toilet. What a fool."
"At my last job, the boss had us call him before we went the the toilet. It felt like getting a hall pass in school. What is it with bosses and bathrooms?"

Smile
It isn't really conversation, but a smile helps people feel good about talking to you. That goes a long way toward being a good conversationalist.

Stress and senses

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creative perspectivesHave you ever wanted to turn on your creativity, but for some reason just can't seem to settle into it? Maybe you're stressed.

"Nah, I'm not stressed. Everything's fine," you say to yourself. "Work's going well, the bills are paid, and the kids are healthy. I don't feel stressed at all. I just can't draw/compose/play/sculpt/write today for some reason."

But maybe it's a different kind of pressure than what we usually consider stressors. I discovered not too long ago that I respond badly to visual stress. When my desk isn't neatly organized--if it's covered with flotsam from other projects or if the wind has scattered my notes across the room--I can't focus on anything completely until things within view are put away, straightened up or tidied.

Some people have aural stress. Noises distract them. A TV in another room, traffic on the street, or something as simple as the wrong music will push them into a state of mind that makes it difficult to think.

Still others get discombobulated by smells, textures, or tastes. I'm sure you can think of a time when a scratchy clothing tag drove you batty until you cut it off, or when the lingering flavor of onions from lunchtime subtly irked you until you brushed your teeth.

So next time you're having trouble getting started or staying in the creative groove, inventory your environment through your five senses. You might find a surprise stressor that you can attend to and then get back to creating.

Yaki Omusubi

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recipe thursdayI learned a great trick for making grilled rice balls from my friend Elizabeth of Taste of Culture fame. It's not exactly a recipe, but a procedure.

When you have leftover rice (the slightly sticky, short grain Japanese kind), make rice balls by pressing the rice in your hands to form a ball or a triangle about two fingers thick and the size of the center of your palm. You can tuck some pickled plum or other tidbits inside if you like. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap and freeze them. They will survive about six weeks in the freezer.

When you're ready to eat them, take them from the freezer and place them on a stove top grill pan. The Japanese ones have a wire mesh over a square pan to diffuse the heat. Cook the omusubi on one side until they no longer stick to the grill (you have to be patient and not test them too often or they will fall apart), then flip them over and toast the other side. Brush with soy sauce, grill another few seconds to let the sauce mellow. Serve with a sheet or slice of nori.

This is explained in more detail with better delivery in Elizabeth's forthcoming book, Washoku, Recipes from the Japanese Kitchen, to be published this fall by Ten Speed Press.

Between Sets

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Hibiya Park, 7:05 pm

To celebrate my last day as FCCJ's webmaster, I walked to the park after work to sketch for a while before meeting up with MJ. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the Greater Tokyo Festival in full swing. I sketched for a bit near my favorite pond, then followed my ears to the music. I drew this as I waited for the next set to begin. It's annoyingly cartoonish and flat. I need to develop quicker realism. Anyone have pointers or cheats I can try?

MJ met me at the park, then Tod joined us and we had an alfresco dinner of good Aussie red (Tod brought it with him) and falafels from an Israeli falafel truck. The Japnese couples sitting near us must have thought we were crazy when we began to dance to "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You," but we had fun.

Shoes on Train

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Fashionable commuter feet.

Yesterday afternoon, I whipped out my sketchbook on the train and drew some shoes. But the feet in them kept moving around and they got off a few stops after I started sketching, so the drawing is really loose and wonky. But I like it anyway and colored it in this evening (loosely and wonkily)

Kick Me & Cringe

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A good friend who's been in business for herself for over 30 years revealed her decision process for accepting clients. She has two scales: "Kick Me" and "Cringe Factor."

The Cringe Factor is measured in time. "For how many years after the job will I cringe when I think about it? If it's more than three years, I won't take the client."

And the Kick Me scale is measured in pain. "How many times will I kick myself after the first meeting? If it's more than five, I can't afford the bruising and there is no deal."

She recently turned down a job she described as 15 in Cringe Factor and 25 on the Kick Me scale. That was a good decision! I think I might try these scales next time I have a client I'm not so certain about.

Kagurazaka Awa Odori

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Last night Kagurazaka's main street filled with traditional dancers

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Dancers waved their hands gracefully while stepping on tiptoe and chanting in high-pitched voices

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Musicians played gongs, drums, and wooden flutes as live accompaniment

The music was very loud and vibrated through our bones. I recorded some of it to share with you:

play video Awa Odori music 1'00" MP3 (950 KB)

Drawing Sounds

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creative perspectivesWhen you're sitting down to draw, do you pay attention to things other than the visual information in front of you? One morning at camp I listened carefully to my surroundings, put myself in the center of my paper and drew the noises all around me.

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a page from my sketchbook

It was an ear-opening experience to translate sounds to the page and the more I listened, the more detail I heard. I wished I'd had a larger sheet of paper and some colored pencils!

Broccoli & Shrimp Salad

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recipe thursdaySummer heat has me wishing that cooked food were never invented. Here's a dish that's easy and tasty on a hot night and can be preapred in advance. In Japan, broccoli is often served with mayo on the side, and though it first seemed really strange and rather gross, I've learned to love them together.

Broccoli and Shrimp Salad
serves 3-4

1 head broccoli
200 g raw shrimp, cleaned
2 Tbspl mayonnaise
black pepper
white pepper

Cut the broccoli into florets & slice the stem if desired. Tip into lightly salted boiling water and allow to bubble cook two or three minutes. Add the shrimp, turn off the heat. Stir and allow to cook for another minute or until the shrimp are almost done. Drain well. Mix with mayonnaise and season with liberal dashes of balck and white pepper. Chill.

Ginza at Dusk

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The neon glow isn't as obvious when I draw it

After work today, I walked over to Ginza and plopped myself on a low stone wall to draw. I wanted to try to capture the glow of neon against the early evening sky. It was as challenging as I expected and I learned a lot that I will put to good use next time I am out drawing at that time of day.

Wrapped Tree

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Nature tamed but still weedy in Tokyo

I passed a pleasant hour in Akasaka this afternoon. I had the presence of mind to set my keitai alarm before I started drawing so that I wouldn't be late for my lunch date. Time slips away very quickly when I'm playing with my pencils.

China Photos

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Yao woman in her farmyard. Jiang Yong village, Hunan Province

The photos I took with Jim's 1960s Olympus PEN camera look as old or older than the camera itself. I am thrilled with the way a bunch of holiday snapshots transformed into something that looks worthwhile.

Jim developed and scanned the photos for me on Saturday night. Here's a galleryof all the photos I took in Hunan and Guangxi provinces.

Midnight snack

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Matt doing his thing in the kitchen.

What a treat. It's nearing midnight and I'm sitting here on Jim & Yuka's sofa, watching their house guest, Matt Peterson, bake his famous chocolate chip cookies. He says he usually makes them at 2 am. I think that after our dessert, I'm going to be ready to walk home and crawl into bed.

Google offers Japan maps

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It seems to have launched without fanfare on July 13th, so when Tod stumbled across it this morning, we were excited. Google Maps now covers Japan in street maps based on the Zenrin maps.

We've amused ourselves testing the features and finding the bits that still need some work.

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Google Maps finds addresses in Japan

Good Points


  • Subway exits & bus stops are marked

  • Every road, alley and driveway

  • Blocks are numbered & buildings outlined

  • Convenience stores, supermarkets and gas stations noted

  • Local Search feature works

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Local Search works if you search in Japanese

Still To Go


  • Labelling of subway stations in the fully zoomed-in view is inconsistent

  • 'Link to this Page' & 'Email' in Local Search sends you to the wrong map (but they work OK in regular map view)

  • Driving directions don't work but maybe that's OK since everyone who drives has car navi.

Pencils or pixels?

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creative perspectivesThis past week in China I experienced many exotic and fascinating places. I drew some, photographed a few (on b/w film with a camera older than me, thanks to Jim). I looked. I listened. I leapt into the unknown and the creative.

But was it enough? It was extremely satisfying and I've returned with a head and heart full of unforgetable moments, scenes glimpsed, and people remembered. I have stories to tell and images to upload, but does it satisfy my lifelong goal of sharing my experiences so fully that someone else understands them?

As I prepare for my next trip and the ones after that, I am in a quandary.

Should I continue to draw my way around the world, making amateurish pictures on paper that engage me mentally and physically but might not convey much about the real experience to the viewer? Or should I bring along the gadgets necessary to record the experiences digitally?

The trouble is that with each device I carry, I put myself at risk of living the moment only through that device. Turn on the audio recording gear and I forget to look at things. Flip open the viewfinder of the video camera and the scents of the place disappear as I look for an engaging motion and sound.

I worry, too, that gear will bewitch me and I'll stop drawing. I don't seem to be able to switch between them very easily. After using the film camera for the first couple of busy days in Hunan province, it was difficult to relax into the slower pace of sketching. Drawing requires me to be in one place for more than 30 seconds.

There are situations when it is simply not possible to draw at length. Is it prudent then to take a pass on capturing those moments at all? Or is it better to turn to technology and risk losing the joy of drawing?

I have a couple of weeks to decide. In the meantime, I am checking out the specs and prices on some tiny easy-to-pack DV cameras, just in case.

Tuna Mornay

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recipe thursdayStaying with my friend, Jon, in Beijing, I promised to return his hospitality by cooking a meal for him one night. When I inquired into what he'd like, he thought a moment, then asked if I could do "a tuna and pasta-y baked dish." Of course I can, that's Tuna Mornay!

So that Jon can satisfy his future Tuna Mornay cravings, here's three-phase recipe I produced last night.

Tuna Mornay
serves 4

250 g egg noodles
2 cans tuna packed in water
1/2 onion, minced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup peas and/or corn
4 Tblsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
600 ml milk
1/2-1 cup breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onion and mushrooms in 1 tablespoon of butter in a saucepan. When golden, remove from pan. Add 2 Tblsp butter and lower heat. Sprinkle in the flour, stirring to form a roux. Pour in the milk, whisking to prevent lumps. Allow to simmer to thicken until it coats the back of the sppon. Add the tuna (drained), mushrooms, onions, peas/corn. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Boil the egg noodles until they are al dente. Drain. Pour the sauce over the noodles, mix well and transfer to an oven-proof dish. There should be a fair amount of liquid; the noodles will soak it up.

Melt the remaining tablespon of butter in a frypan. Add the crumbs and mix until coated. Spread evenly over the noodles.

Bake at 160C for about 20 minutes or until the crumbs are browned.

Notes


  • If you are using fresh peas, you will need to cook them before adding to the sauce.

  • Egg noodles absorb the sauce with more or less intensity depending on the shape of the noodle. If the dish turns out a bit dry, whip up some additional white sauce with milk, butter and flour to pour over it.

  • The crumbs can be seasoned with garlic, lemon or your favorite dried herb.

  • The measurements are flexible. My rule of thmb is to fill the baking dish with noodles (I usually use nests of wide cut noodles) and use the same volume of milk plus a little extra...

Tian An Men

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Tian An Men, Beijing (click for larger view)

I spent my last day in Beijing doing what I'd intended to do on the first--draw Tian An Men, the gate that leads into the Forbidden City.

Arriving at 10, I settled into a spot on the ground near a flagpole by the big obelisk in the square. Five hours later, I completed my drawing.

I'm never a speedy artist, but the work was slowed somewhat by numerous interruptions as Chinese tourists noticed me. I am the subject of half a dozen videos and countless photos. I talked to adults and children, putting forward my best "American representative abroad" smile and good cheer, even when I wanted to smack people for standing between me and what I was drawing.

At various points throughout the day, I had crowds of as many as thirty people watching me. Dozens of sweet little girls came and sat next to me, smiling while their parents captured the moment on film (I saw very few digital cameras and only one D70 like ours). Grown men gave me the thumbs-up when we established that I didn't speak Chinese. Many mutterings of "Very Good!", which is exaggerated praise considering what I drew.

My favorite onlookers were a group of bright blue-shirted students of various ages and their teachers. Their tour guide explained that they had come from all over China on a trip to Beijing that was a prize for an essay contest on the benefits of reading. Some of the kids spoke English and I asked them about the books they liked. None of them knew Harry Potter but it seems likely he's named something different in Chinese.

When I finished my drawing I can't say I was thrilled with the result, but I'd experienced a memorable afternoon. That makes up for any lack of skill displayed on the paper.

Ritan Park

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Turbulence over China

As the plane back to Beijing began to shudder and the Fasten Seat Belts lights came on, Jon told me that the air over central China is always turbulent. So I took that as a starting point and doodled a bit.

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Ritan Park, Beijing (Click for larger view)

When we arrived, I dropped my bag at the Guardian office, left Zoupi to help Jon write up the Nushu article, and went into town. With a jillion choices of destination, I ended up at Ritan Park, near the embassy area. The park was used for sacrifices to the Sun, and there's a large circular altar space in the center. I thought of drawing the Divine Kitchen, but the name was its best feature, so I settled myself on a bench and drew a willow and pagoda near a pond where people angle for ornamental goldfish.

Sunned

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Queen of the River in a crown of flowers rescued from the Yu Long He. Lisa had her turn, too. Photo by Jon.

This was a day to play as we made our way back to Guilin. After breakfast and some shopping in the market (Lisa put her bargaining skills to good use for me!), we hired bamboo rafts and had a two hour trip down the Yu Long He. Jon & I swam alongside the boats for maybe a kilometer, but while I climbed back aboard and stayed put, he jumped back in at least a dozen times. I don't know too many people who like the water as much as Jon.

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Me, Zoupi and Lisa in front of Moon Hill. Photo by Jon.

We stopped for lunch at an open air restaurant near the raft terminal and had a look at Moon Hill. This was another instance of Mr. Fong knowing just the right thing. As we drove along the village street near the restaurants, he told us to look out the window at the hill with the stone arch in it. He speeded up the car, and we watched the moon change phase as the hill behind the gap shifted relative position.

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My sunburn islands

Maybe I should have swum with Jon some more because I ended up with a rotten sunburn from sitting undressed on the raft. When we reached town in the evening, we sought out some after-sun cream at one of the Guilin department stores and had a bowl of Guilin's specialty--rice noodles in spicy broth with bits of duck.

Our hotel, the four star Lijiang Waterfall Hotel, had broadband access, so Jon and Lisa holed themselves up in their rooms and worked for part of the night, then we all went out for a late walk along the shopping street before heading to bed.

Chasing Nushu

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Today we learned all about Nushu from various sources. I've updated Wikipedia's Nushu article with some of the information we learned on our journey, but the impressions of the old women telling us about their lives just doesn't fit into the encyclopedic format.

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Weaving the traditional way. Photo by Jon.

These were remarkable women gathered at Nushu Garden, a local center for preserving the writing. A nearly toothless 80 year old, Ni Youju, told us that she had been engaged at age one, and married at 16. Her husband was still alive and she described him as a good man who didn't drink, smoke or gamble. (Jon blanched...) She learned Nushu by listening to the privileged women singing the songs, and figured out how to weave the patterns they used, but never learned to write or read it. She sang local songs in a strong voice as she worked on a belt weaving that incorporated some Nushu characters in the design.

china-missive.jpgBefore we left Nushu Garden, Miss Zhou presented each of us with a scroll she had written in Nushu. Jon's was a Li Bai poem about a waterfall; Lisa's was a wish for a happy future. Mine was supposed to say "A beautiful woman will always be appreciated by men" but Miss Zhou made a mistake as she worked with the brush and started over with a new scroll and a new saying. So mine is a hope that by sharing Nushu, all women of the world will become sisters.

We headed down a very rutted road to a densely packed village called Xiawan. The world's most accomplished Nushu teacher, Hu Meiyue, lives here. It is the most beautiful town in the world.

It is a maze of narrow cobbled alleyways between two story red brick buildings that have stood for nearly three centuries. The houses are solidly built and most have ornately carved wooden windows and doors, but the town has fallen on hard times and everything is a bit derelict. The old temple is littered with manure; the Cultural Revolution-era hall is a garage for farm equipment.

The center of the town is a big, green pond. It's the only place where you can see the unobstructed sky. Gates on two sides of the pond lead off to the temple and houses. One thing the village lacks entirely is commerce; there are no shops or stores in evidence. People in the village walk or bike to the nearest town.

Jon interviewed Mrs. Hu, who read from her great-grandmother's Nushu book, and after a quick stop back in Jiang Yong to see Zhou Shuoyi, who compiled the first Nushu dictionary, we were on our way to Yang Shuo.

On the way we stopped for a swim in a river. Yeah! Some water buffaloes were curious about our pile of discarded clothing, but I rescued our stuff before mama-buffalo could eat my skirt.

Another family of buffaloes swam across the river as Jon & I played race games with an unripe quince. He later chucked it at Lisa, sitting on the bank, and caused her to fall in. We were back in the car shortly after that.

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Across the river at Yang Shuo (cilck for larger view)

Yang Shuo is a tourist town popular with Western travellers. It has a nightlife/market/cheap hotel district just like Khao San Road in Bangkok. If the scenery in the area were not so terribly beautiful, I'd vow to never go again.

Milky Way tumbles

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After arriving in Beijing on Friday night and staying up til nearly 3 am catching up with my friend Jon, the China correspondent for the Guardian, we made our way from his house at 6:20 to catch a flight to Guilin in Guangxi province. Huang Lisha (Lisa), Jon's able assistant, expert interpreter and government spy, was waiting for us with the tickets.

Stepping off the plane, we still had a 180 km trek to Jiang Yong, the Yao county village over the border in Hunan province, where Jon was doing interviews on the Nushu story, so Lisa hired a taxi and driver at the airport. We were blessed to get Mr Fong, who just happened to be at the head of the queue. He turned out to be the most useful resource and a kind man with a sense of fun. Not only did Mr Fong know the way, he knew all the sights and points of interest along the way. He was with us for the whole time we were in the area, always at the ready with the car when we needed him as if reading our minds. He bought us bananas, shared his mosquito spray, joined in our activites and meals. If you ever need a driver in Guilin, he's the man to call.

The day was a full one, meeting our guide, Huang Yuan, and having a feast of a Hunan lunch before making with visits to some of the important Yao cultural sites. We met the local Yao king, Zheng Shiqiu, elected ten years ago, who accompanied us and explained some of the local history and how the village is hoping to promote tourism with Nushu as a key aspect of the plan.

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Jon & I after our swim. Photo by Lisa.

The highlight of my day was climbing a mountain to the base of a 110 meter waterfall. It was getting near dusk and the light was fading quickly when we reached our destination. Against the advice of our guide, Jon and I ducked under the barrier and ran towards the pool at the base of the waterfall. We shucked off our outer layers and went for a paddle.

I think it was the best swim of my life. The scenery was unbeatable, the water clear and cold. I glowed and bubbled with overflowing joy for the rest of the day. Even now, I smile broadly when I think of how the spray felt on my face as I stroked across the pool.

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Cook prepares local fare in the glare of a bare bulb. Photo by Jon.

Dinner was at a family-run Yao inn. The kitchen was dark and above the smoky wok hung the carcasses of rats, chickens, ducks, and unidentifiable creatures. I don't think the smoky meat in our dinner was rat, but I couldn't tell what it was.

Jon watched the kitchen girl kill our chicken by slitting its throat, draining the blood for a minute, then whacking it against the side of the building until it stopped moving. The chicken soup was delicious, but I'm glad I stayed in the courtyard having a beer with Zoupi.

Light Therapy

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creative perspectivesWe've reached the zenith of long days and now we move into a slow shortening of daily light as Earth makes her way around the sun. For most of us, that means lingering summer evenings and a billiant noon light. Have you noticed?

If you haven't given thought to the sun and its light, get yourself outside this week.
Looking through the window isn't the same as being out in the world, so be sure to get outdoors for this experiment. Take a camera, or a paintbox or your journal and find a way to capture the experiences.

Take an early morning walk--jut after sunrise while the day is still a little bit cool. What color is the world in the morning?

Then go out at lunchtime and have a little picnic in the sunshine. Note the angle of light, the shadows, the color of the light, and its heat.

About an hour before sunset, go out again. The world mellows as the light turns goldy-pink and shadows lengthen. If you can stay to watch the sunset and twilight, you'll be well rewarded with gorgeous lightscapes as lights blink on and the world goes from natural to artificial light.

Cardamom cream

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recipe thursdayI threw this together last night as a topping for fresh blueberries. Although it's very simple, it transformed the fruit into an elegant dessert.

Cardamom cream
serves 4

1 cup heavy cream (35% milkfat)
1 Tblsp powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 whole cardamom pods

Pour the cream into a jar with a tight lid; add the other ingredients. Seal the jar and shake until the cream becomes fluffy and softly solid. Stop before it turns to butter. Remove the cardamom pods. Spoon over blueberries.

Secret language

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During the 15th century, rural women in China's southern Hunan province developed a secret written language. In a few days, I'm going to get to find out more about Nushu in person. A friend is doing a story on the efforts to preserve this language and I'm tagging along.

The last "sworn sister" of Nushu died in September last year at age 98, but there are others who still can read and write the language. It is a mix of Chinese characters and embroidery patterns, each symbol expressing a sound rather than an idea like normal written Chinese.

Women used the script to write letters to one another and when a daughter was married, her mother would give her a handbound book with the first three pages filled with songs from her hometown. The new bride would fill the blank pages herself.

I can hardly wait to learn more.

Surface Tension

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Bubbles on a temple basin. Koishikawa Enma.

Agony

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Waiting for ecstasy

Value: $20

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My lower lip trembled as I peeled back the tape on the packaging. The customs declaration said "painted glass coaster. Value: $20"

By the time I had revealed the contents, a bee-painted tile that I admired in Dad's studio in March, my eyes were full of tears. I picked it carefully from its cushioning, held it in both hands, and sobbed.

Twenty dollars...plus a childhood's worth of memories, a lifetime of admiration, and a few moments of grown-up regrets. How infrequently we sum the true worth of the people we love. And we let them know even more seldom.

Mom, Tod, Jenn, Helen, Dan, Jean, John, Kris, Jeremy, MJ, Tracey, Jo, Jonathan, Sachiko, Jim, Yuka, Bob, Dave, and my myriad friends and relations: you're worth so much more than your declared value. I cherish you.

Away

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creative perspectivesI'm about to embark on a creative project I have dreamed about for years. I'm going to go draw, sketch, paint and collage in cities worldwide--and rural areas, too. The next six months are devoted to travelling and creating.

I realised recently that there is nothing to stop me from doing this. I can budget my savings to cover the costs. My infrequent work as a freelance video editor, writer, and web monkey is not as valuable to me as testing my creative potential.

Perhaps I will get tired of being creative after six months of focus. If that's the case, then I can go get a job in an office and earn a lot of money doing something dull. But I doubt it; this is an adventure with hurdles, challenges and unforeseen excitement. How can I possible get bored?

If you happen to be in Beijing, Chicago, Nagoya, Delhi, Agra, Pittsburgh, Paris, Shanghai, Adelaide, Uluru, or Brisbane, and see a the woman with a sketchbook sitting in the shade, it might just be me.

Stay tuned for "where to buy a pencil sharpener in Beijing" and "fifteen ways to draw a crosswalk"

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