|But I liked my plans!|
But all that stuff is boring.
You'd probably rather hear about the fun stuff. Well, I've had that too. Fun, for me, anyway. Bizarre and dorky to others, perhaps.
* * *
I don't usually go to concerts, and I'd never heard of Shpongle. But my friend Ashley and her boyfriend Matt had an extra ticket, so I said I'd go with them on Sunday, March 15th. It was a good excuse to visit my dear friend and thrift store shop for our upcoming Lightning in a Bottle event.
Ashley loves costumes and any sort of quirky clothing. I'm a bit cheap with clothes and cowardly with my appearance, but I do think it's fun to dress up every now and then--usually when Ashley's nearby. While getting ready for the concert, Ashley brought out her collection of wearable lights, tiny bulbs strung on wires thinner than a paperclip. Inspired, I decided to braid it through my hair to see how it would work. To my surprise, it worked pretty well and lit up my face with blue star light.
|Stars in my hair|
|Too Much Blue?|
And it didn't get much easier at the concert. Even though the first person we saw was a man with a flower in his ear, I felt silly and a little bit like a phoney. But I was here. Nothing to do but dance my cares away. With feet rooted firmly to the floor, I swayed and twirled and batted my arms and was very grateful that the shiny lights and green tentacles on the stage were all drawing everyone's attention away from me.
|Two tentacles flank the sound equipment. Pokeballs hung on the wall.|
* * *
On Saint Patrick's Day, I found myself immersed in Japanese culture. Valencia High's Japanese teacher was out administering tests, leaving me to show her class various DVDs. But one little mini series unexpectedly caught my eye.
"My Boss, My Hero"
This goofy little comedy/drama follows the adventures of 27-year old tough guy Makio forced to enroll in... gasp... high school.
|As yakuza, as high school student|
What ensues is a mixture of high school hijinx, Japanese style.
I saw the first episode in class and it was pure, corny hilarity. At times the comedy was clearly intentional, as when Makio donned his "scary face," willing the teacher not to call on him. Other times, I'm pretty sure it was unintentional. Like when Makio has a sad moment and the rain drops on him right on cue. Watching it in class was especially fun, as the students reacted to everything, laughing, mocking, cheering. I was so jazzed up, I decided to seek out the other episodes.
|"Call on me and I'll kill you!"|
Surprisingly, the series gets more and more dramatic as it goes on. By the end, I was actually tearing up at the end. Oddly enough, for all that the first episode champions flying over buildings in an attempt to land pudding, the last episode deals with the realities of being exposed and going separate ways after graduation.
* * *
Speaking of Japan, while I was living in Kagoshima, I discovered the joys of drinking vinegar. It sounds strange, I know. The first time I read "Apple vinegar" listed under the drink menu, I did a double take, convinced I was reading the label wrong. However, I tried it and ended up loving it. The vinegar is actually a special drinking variety native to Kagoshima. It's usually diluted with juice or water.
One of my favorite ways to beat the heat was to combine about a tablespoon of drinking vinegar with half apple juice, half Mitsuya Cider (the closest thing Japan has to 7-UP). No matter how tired I was, a chug of my apple vinegar concoction would cause my eyes to pop open.
|Dilute as instructed|
Recently, I've been experimenting with mixing a teaspoon of the cheap supermarket vinegar with a cup of Arizona ginseng green tea. It's not the same, but I like the zing of vinegar.
I mention all this so that you can appreciate the small slice of heaven I found myself in when my friend, Michelle, proposed a field trip to Taste It! last Saturday.
Taste It! is a small store tucked into a shopping center at the crossroads Bastanchury and Brea that sells infused olive oils, balsamic vinegars, and wines. Like the name suggests, you can taste it before you buy. As I walked in, I saw polished silver vats and beautiful bottles, tufts of bread and little plastic sample cups.
|I just wanted to taste them all|