Sunday, January 30, 2011

Chai's B'day Beach Party

Our pug, Chai turned 2 years old. When he came to us about 2 years ago he was so tiny that he could fit in my boot. Now this naughty little doggy weighs 21 pounds! So we gave him a birthday party on the Coronado Beach (well, the party was more for my husband to be exact! lol)


The Coronado Beach is beautiful, and it's known for the fancy famous Hotel Coronado, but we often see the navy ships and the air force planes around there, and it makes me feel very strange. We watched some navy people coming down on the rope from the giant helicopter and jumped into the ocean. I wonder what they were doing over there...


Chai kept himself busy making sure that everyone was having a good time. There were so many dog guests, human guests, dog treats, pizzas from the Bronx Pizza, brownies, cupcakes, Austrian sweets and more and more! Oh, and some Tibetan patties that I had made. I was going to make momos (Tibetan dumplings) the night before, but when I started to make the dough I realized that it would take 5 hours to make 70 momos. So I decided to cheat a little, and made some patties instead. It still took me 4 hours to make only 12 patties! I will never do this again...


It was around 70F, and was a bit chilly on the beach, but it was perfect. We talked about the snow storms on the east coast, but it rather sounded surreal to us... (Sorry, my New Yorker friends!)


I hope that Chai understood that it was a special party for him..., but more than anything, I hope that Chai is happy with us. We do our best to give you a good home, Chai...!


Friday, January 28, 2011

Beautiful things

I was so tempted to pick this fury flower on the street to put it on my hair, but, no, I did not! I have no idea why this flower wants to look this way, but never mind... it is so pretty. Now this flower is everywhere around my house, and they are certainly making my daily walk more joyful.


India meets France? Ghee is an Indian butter, but this lovely package has a French flair! It is just great to look at it. Now ghee is available anywhere... how convenient! I remember that I had to go to an Indian market in Queens (NY) for it. The gastronomic world is changing, too.


Then, this beauty. I fell in love with its shape and the design! It is so elegant and sexy. It is a bottle of Rose, made by Francis Coppola. That is why it is called "Sofia," his daughter's name. That is so charming, too. I don't drink, but I would buy this just to look at it!


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Santa Barbara サンタバーバラ

If I won the lottery I would buy a gorgeous mansion in Santa Barbara. Why? It's because I can live in the "Riviera" without speaking French! When we drove down the highway 1 we spent two days in this breathtakingly beautiful town. I knew very little about Santa Barbara, but as soon as we entered this "American Riviera" this was a jewel. Then, of course, I found out that many celebrities have houses here: Oprah Winfrey, Kevin Costner... and Ronald Reagan had a ranch here, too. But, that is now why I want to live here. It really reminds me of the South France where I spent many summers. Cannes, Nice, Theoule, Aix en Provence, Avignon, Seguret... I truly miss those magical places on earth. Welll, needless to say that it is very costly to live there. So, what to do? I guess I will have to start buying lotteries!



Saturday, January 22, 2011

Go Karts Tour ゴーカートのツアー

I know, I know... it is so touristy! However, since we are still new in San Diego we had to do it. This is a computer-guided tour in a Go Kart. It is so small, but there is enough leg room and a big trunk in the back. It was my husband's idea, of course, to do this trip. To me it seemed like a Western version of tik-tak taxi that you had to inhale so much bad air..., but I wanted to try!


It was certainly fun... for the first 10 minutes. Then, to me it became a torture. It is extremely noisy, the seat hurt my butt, my back was killing me, and the bad air was giving me a sore throat. I wore the mask that I had brought, but the fume was still terrible! When we hit the bumpy roads it shook up the entire car! It was so uncomfortable and scary. It was definitely an experience..., but once was enough.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Highway 1 Journey ~ the end~

Back to the highway 1. So our trip on the west coast was ending as we entered the LA county. All of a sudden, there were more cars, buildings and 10-lane-freeways. We were in a big city!


We stopped at the famous ashram of the Self-Realization Fellowship of Paramahansa Yogananda. They had a beautiful garden there. We had been to the one in Encinitas, but never been to the one near LA. There were beautiful swans in the pond, and watching them in silence was just soothing... a perfect ending of the amazing trip of 10 days.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Tibetan TB Calender by San Raffaele Hospital in Italy

"TB AWARE" is a children's book to teach the Tibetan refugee children in exile how to avoid getting tb. I contributed my drawings to this wonderful project, and collaborated with Rachel V. Roeschlaub, the author in 2006. Now it has been translated into Italian, and made into a 32-page-2011 calender by the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, Italy (Fondazione San Raffaele Del Monte Tabor.) The calender is beautifully designed, and printed in Italian and Tibetan. I'm so happy that this calender will help promote throughout Italy the seriousness of tuberculosis among the Tibetan community in exile!

「TB AWARE」は、結核予防の教育絵本で、2006年に私が挿絵を手がけた本です。テキストを書いたレイチェルロシュラブとのコラボでした。これがイタリアはミラノのサン・ラファエル病院によってイタリア語に翻訳され、2011年のカレンダーとなりました。(カレンダーは病院使用のみで非売品です)デザインも美しく、イタリア語とチベット語で印刷されています。このカレンダーが、チベットコミュニティでの結核の深刻さについて、より多くのイタリア人に伝えて行くことに役立つことを嬉しく思います!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Highway 1 Journey ~ The Getty Villa ~ ゲティヴィラ

Paul Getty. The oil tycoon. He had a "thing" for the Greek and Roman antiquities. So he began collecting them, but his mansion got crowded with them, then he decided to build a museum for them. It was established in 1954 and reopened in 2006. I was impressed by the fact that the admission was free. I heard that it was on his will - he wanted to share the beauty with the public.
The highlight of the museum was the Hercules, of course. Among 44,000 antiquities that he had collected this piece was Paul Getty's favorite, they said.


For some reasons they painted the eyes of those bronze sculptures. They look rather funny and whimsical! どういうわけか、ブロンズ彫刻の顔の目だけ塗られていました。なんだか可笑しいですよねえ、、?

I don't know why, but the museums always make me tired and hungry. It is a good feeling of fatigue though. We had a fabulous panini at the museum cafe overlooking at the Roman Theater. After visiting the Hearst Castle, this museum seemed rather small, but when you think about having the Villa dei Papiri being rebuilt by one man's dream it is quite something!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Highway 1 Journey ~ Santa Cruz~

I forgot to mention that we had stopped at Santa Cruz for a quick sandwich. It was a cute little town, and we strolled down on the main street that was full of lovely shops with the beautiful window displays. At one of those shops I had to buy a huge visor to protect my face from the Sun. My husband was laughing so hard because visors always reminded him of the Korean tourists. (They seem to gear up pretty well against the Sun.) Believe me, I am not a big fan of the visors either, but hey, the Dalai Lama always wears one on the stage to avoid the harsh stage lighting! (My point is that therefore, it is extremely hip! lol)


Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Hearst Castle ハーストの城

I have seen the Rothschild's estate in South France. I have seen the Rockefeller's mansion in upstate New York. However, this castle of William Randolf Hearst was just outstanding. It was overwhelmingly grand, exquisite and dramatic. W.R.Hearst, the king of the newspaper business, inherited 250,000 acres of land from his father in 1919, and began building this castle. By 1947 there were 165 rooms, gardens and pools, zoo, airport and you name what. The construction was originally planned for one year, but ended up for 20 years!


The whole tour production at the Castle was grand, too. There were many giant buses to take you up to the castle that is on the top of the mountain, and there were so many choices of tours. Since we had a limited time we only did the "guest house and the garden tour." The guest houses were so gorgeous that I could not image what the Hearst house would have looked like.


I have been to many great museums around the world, but the art collections here was just amazing. Hearst was purchasing one third of the world's top art collections back then. This is literally "living in the museum," and the weird thing is that he was not a royal king of a country. He was just a man..., well a very wealthy man, indeed. Our tour guide explained that Hearst invited the local families and their children to his castle on the Christmas day and gave them big presents to everyone. He was very generous. Yet, we all know what he did many controversial things back then. "Was he a good man who did bad thing? Or was he a bad man who did good thing?" Our guided questioned. My personal opinion is: it is better to be a bad man who does good things because if a good man does bad things the world is very critical about it. If a bad man does good thing the world feels sympathy for him. Don't you agree with me?


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Highway 1 Journey ~Monterey~

It was raining in Carmel so we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The entrance fee was expensive, but oh my goodness, it was worth it! Although it was packed with screaming children and their stressed out parents I was so glad that I went there. There was a whole another world of the sea.


Can you see this leafy yellow thing? Guess what? This is a Leafy Dragon Seahorse! I would have thought that it is just another sea weed... what a disguise. Good job!


There were tiny jellyfish everywhere, and they were just so cute! 小さなクラゲがあちこちにいました。その可愛いこと!

They are red spider lilies of the sea?  まるで海の彼岸花のよう? 

And those big bloody red mushrooms!  そしてこの血の色をしたキノコ!

These were my favorites after all... because they reminded me of ebi sushi (shrimp sushi), and they were just too strange to look at... We realized that we were there for hours. I was totally exhausted and overwhelmed by those beauty of the sea. Needless to say that I did not feel like eating any sea food that night!


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Highway 1 Journey ~ Carmel-by-the Sea ~

After spending 5 days in San Francisco we drove down to Carmel-by-the Sea. This lovely town is known for the old money riches, gorgeous mansions and Clint Eastwood as a former mayor. We stayed at the Pine Inn, an charming hotel that was built in 1887. I was told that John Steinbeck met his third wife at this cozy place. The lobby was red, red and red! It almost reminded me of a Parisian brothel in the 1930's... how amusing. Our room was tiny and old, but there was free WiFi! Thank God.


Carmel is a lovely town indeed, but for me that was about it. We walked around and enjoyed looking at every shop window display. They were just so exquisite!


The colorful sweets look so scrumptious!

After one day in Carmel I was ready to move on to the next, but we already had booked the hotel for another night. So we decided to visit Monterey the next day to visit the famous aquarium. As I was wondering about the marine life of the aquarium I encountered this fantastic window display at a coffee shop. It was such a small display in the window that no one would notice, but as you can see there was a whole another beautiful world of the sea!


Monday, January 3, 2011

Highway 1 Journey ~ San Francisco 2 ~

The second day in San Francisco began with a good lunch at Cafe de La Presse, a very lovely French cafe right next to the China Town gate. My husband had this banana pancake. I am certain that if this was in France they would display the banana more elegantly... perhaps they would make a 'flower' of banana on the top of the pancake or something!


My dish was this smoked salmon on toasted bagel. It is one of my favorite lunch menus. However, isn't this a Jewish dish? I am not certain that cafes in France would have bagels on their menu... (I must ask my friends in France!) A few cornichons would have been perfect, but hey, this is not France after all...


At the bar there were tasty croissants, pains aux chocolats and all those goodies! Yumm....


After the lunch we headed towards the Museum of Asian Art. Their collection was overwhelming.
They had many amazing Buddhist statues from all over Asia including my favorites, the Gandahra/Kushan period and the Tibetan artifacts. Then, guess who else was there... yes, my pug was at the museum! (See the photo above.)


This dog-shaped water container piece was the talk of the day. Is this an erotic piece or is this a dog carrying a baby dog on his back? It could be seen in either way, and the artist probably played with that. It's good to know that the artists have always enjoyed expressing their humor throughout the times! (To be continued...)


Highway 1 Journey ~ San Francisco~ ハイウエイ1の旅〜サンフランシスコ

Happy New Year! May your 2011 be very pink and joyful like this lighting on the Virgin America!
Wow, I just love this pink light. It is my color! This was a good beginning of our trip: San Diego to San Francisco, then Carmel-by-the Sea, Monterey, Big Sur, Santa Barbara and LA... on the famous highway one.


I was 13 years old the last time I visited this beautiful city of San Francisco. All I could remember was the cable cars on the stoop hill tops. How could I not remember those colorful charming houses?


We walked around the city all day long, and ended up in the area called, Castro, at dawn. It's a gay area that is filled with trendy restaurants and interior shops. At this landmark theatre some old films were shown just like old days.


The winter nights in SF gets really cold and damp. We were so tired and hungry, so ate some burgers and hot soup at Chow, a homey restaurant in the neighbourhood, then went back to the hotel on the Market Street to get some good sleep for the next day... (to be continued.)

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