Farmers Market Sunday

"Fresh Veggies" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/640 sec, ISO200
“Fresh Veggies” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today was a day, which started off with a trip to two different Farmers Markets. The first one was one we hadn’t been to, but it was very small – just a few different vendors selling crafts and honey. So, we decided to head to our normal Farmers Market over by Lakeline Mall. Not only do they have fresh veggies and meats, but also a wide variety of homemade pastries, coffee, and other prepared foods.

"Pasta Flavors" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/1600 sec, ISO200
“Pasta Flavors” Cedar Park, 2018

We tried some gyoza and soup dumplings. They were yummy but not exceptional. I guess the wrappers were a little too thick than what we are used to.

"Soup Dumplings" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/180 sec, ISO200
“Soup Dumplings” Cedar Park, 2018

After the market, we had some free time in the middle of the day, so we spent it doing household stuff like laundry, watched a little tv, and I went for a nice afternoon run around the neighborhood. Gotta keep in a little bit of shape!

For dinner, Mariko made a delicious stir-fry with chicken, jalapeños, and greens. おいしかった!

"Spicy Stir Fry" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.6, 1/45 sec, ISO3200
“Spicy Stir Fry” Cedar Park, 2018

In the evening I volunteered at the high school band fundraiser event at the stadium. The Marching Festival is a huge event, and I spent three hours working at the concession stand as a cashier, which was a challenge for me because my math skills are sub-optimal. 🤣 Since there was no register, all calculations had to be done mentally and it wore me out. Haha. But I enjoyed it and helping out the kids was fun.

"Amazing Cloud" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: Motorola Moto G (4), 3.64mm, f/2, 1/15 sec, ISO1000
“Amazing Cloud” Cedar Park, 2018

My shift ended at 11 pm, and then it was shower-time, relax-time, and reading-time. A long but fun day! And you know what? The afternoon run gave me energy to carry me through the evening. Yay for exercise! 💪

I hope you had a nice Saturday!

おやすみなさい

Sense of Place

"Cloud" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: SONY NEX-6, 37mm, f/9, 1/1250 sec, ISO100
“Cloud” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going? Today’s blog post will be a bit of a ramble, but hey, it’s my blog, so here goes.

I’ve been lucky so far that I have been able to travel for vacation, and also on rare occasion for work, and I now recognize certain distinct affinities I have for different places. For instance, when I traveled to Japan for the first time, I immediately felt like Japan was somewhere I wanted to live. So much so that I gave myself a deadline of 6 months before I moved there.

On the other hand, when I returned from trips to Morocco and Spain, I didn’t have that feeling at all. It was really fun to visit those places and experience a bit of the culture, but I never felt a deep connection. I’m sure it has to do with being Asian in a non-Asian country, although I haven’t thought too deeply about it yet. 🤔

The same can be said of my trips to Stockholm. I’ve visited twice and although I loved it there, felt safe and free, I was simply just a visitor. The thought of having a life there never crossed my mind. Nevermind the complications of having kids and a family… but even if I were single, I don’t think Europe would be on my list of places to live.

And how about my hometown of Torrance? I love visiting family there and am happy I grew up in Southern California, but I have no desire to live there. It’s just not interesting to me… and speaking about the USA, I’ve lived in Texas for almost 20 years now. Honestly, living in Austin never even occurred to me as a possibility before we moved here. It’s a wonderful place, and the people are so friendly and warm. But no, I have no real affection for, nor interest in, Texas and the moment we have the freedom to leave, I’ll be the first one on the plane. 😆

But back to places that I feel a real affinity for. Obviously, there’s Japan. Whenever I visit, I feel right at home, even though I can only understand maybe 25% of conversations. But I love it there. When I lived there I never considered leaving. It’s somewhere I want to live again. (My dream hasn’t died, haha)

Interestingly, I felt a similar feeling towards China when I visited there last month. After returning home, I felt that same blue feeling (could it be like homesickness?) that I felt after returning from Japan after my first visit there. That’s how I know I feel a real connection to a place – after returning, I have that melancholy feeling. It’s like I am living in a dream. 😌

Anyways, that’s pretty much what’s on my mind these past few days. Thinking about a connection to a sense of place I suppose. Although I live in Texas, I feel like it’s a temporary situation… just waiting to move on really. Someday. 🛫

I hope you had a nice day, and thanks for reading!

またね~

Day in Shanghai

"Sunrise" Shanghai, 2018
Photo info: Motorola Moto G (4), 3.64mm, f/2, 1/1500 sec, ISO50
“Sunrise” Shanghai, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today I woke up early to go on a short run to The Bund, hoping to catch a nice sunrise, and I was pleasantly surprised to find some amazing weather. Well, maybe it’s always like this, but I’m just happy there were some cool clouds and no rain. 😀 Other early-morning bonuses included seeing some Tai chi and kite-flying. Both were very cool!

"Morning Taichi" Shanghai, 2018
Photo info: Motorola Moto G (4), 3.64mm, f/2, 1/270 sec, ISO50
“Morning Taichi” Shanghai, 2018

"Kite Beauty" Shanghai, 2018
Photo info: Motorola Moto G (4), 3.64mm, f/2, 1/1000 sec, ISO50
“Kite Beauty” Shanghai, 2018

Our official morning excursion was to the Yuyuan Garden, which includes beautiful pavilions, shaded grottos, and incredible architectural details. I recommend getting there early to beat the crowds! Plus the morning light will be best for photos.

"Shanghai Tower" Shanghai, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/550 sec, ISO200
“Shanghai Tower” Shanghai, 2018
"Framed" Shanghai, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.2, 1/150 sec, ISO200
“Framed” Shanghai, 2018

Adjacent to the garden is Old Shanghai, which is filled with souvenir shops and food vendors. I bought a couple gifts there but didn’t find anything really cool for myself. Still, it was fun to check out all the things for sale!

"Fried Goodies" Shanghai, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/170 sec, ISO200
“Fried Goodies” Shanghai, 2018
"Potato" Shanghai, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/6.4, 1/125 sec, ISO1600
“Potato” Shanghai, 2018

The afternoon activity was a trip to Shanghai Museum, which features four floors of Chinese treasures, but my favorite exhibit was the collection of ink paintings and scrolls. They were beautiful! Also of note are the various costumes of the different ethnicities of China. They were so interesting and varied… well worth taking a look.

"Painting" Shanghai, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/80 sec, ISO6400
“Painting” Shanghai, 2018
"Clothes" Shanghai, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO2500
“Clothes” Shanghai, 2018

Before dinner, we had a couple free hours so I went in search of some shoes that I had seen earlier in Beijing. Luckily, we found a local shoe store just a few minutes away from the hotel, and I was able to try these on before buying them for $20. I thought they were really cool!

"Feiyue Shoes" Shanghai, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO1250
“Feiyue Shoes” Shanghai, 2018

Oh, we also spotted a CoCo Curry house:

"CoCo Curry" Shanghai, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/150 sec, ISO200
“CoCo Curry” Shanghai, 2018

The last item on the agenda for the day was a Chinese Acrobat show, which was pretty good! I didn’t take any photos since they weren’t allowed, but that’s ok. I’ll just keep those memories stored in my head. 🤣

"Old and New" Shanghai, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/1400 sec, ISO200
“Old and New” Shanghai, 2018
"Thirst Quencher" Shanghai, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/6.4, 1/125 sec, ISO4000
“Thirst Quencher” Shanghai, 2018
"Sunrise" Shanghai, 2018
Photo info: Motorola Moto G (4), 3.6400001049042mm, f/0, 1/inf sec, ISO0
“Sunrise” Shanghai, 2018

I hope you had a great day!

またね~