Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Quick Update

Playing: Miss You-The Feeling
Reading: Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck
I've been busy lately trying to finish up all my summer assignments for school. I'm almost done with all of my summer assignments except for a few questions on Chemistry, which I'm going to ask my dad about and some maps for History, which Clare and I are planning on doing together. I have a study group this afternoon to help us double check answers, ask for help, and get boba! I'm trying to cram so much into the last few days of summer that I'm starting to get stressed. Not to mention, my laptop is having a hard time charging and stuff.
I went to Little Tokyo, Chinatown, and Olverra Street in Los Angeles in one day! It was extremely hot, so my family and I were like slugs, when it came to how fast we went. While in Chinatown, my family bought some dried plums and the people there were very nice and gave us a bag full of Guava candies for free. Then in Little Tokyo, I went to Q-Pop Shop hoping to buy a pair of fingerless gloves I saw there a few weeks ago. They no longer had them, so I grabbed a Mighty Harajuku pin.
In Little Tokyo, they have all these wishes tied to trees. Some are really sweet, while others are funny. One person wished for "super powers or world peace would be a decent alternative." I liked reading all of them and I was tempted to buy a piece of paper for my wish. If you go to Little Tokyo now, they have all these wish trees everywhere!
Towards the beginning of summer, I went to Amina's birthday party and Erica was there! I met Erica through Rebecca and I loved her shoes. They're floral Doc Martens. I was tempted to hunt down a pair for myself.
Someone my dad knows makes all these animals out of vegetables in her free time as a hobby. She made a duck for me because I really adore ducks. She made it out of squash and carrots, so I was pretty amazed. It always surprises me what people can make with simple things.
I was walking around Old Town Tustin awhile ago and I ran into this house. I love it, especially the stars in the window. I would love to buy this one day, when I'm a billionaire. It would be lovely to move into a Victorian style house...

I've had this song stuck in my head for the past few days because of P o o p e r. I first watched Kyary on P o o p e r's blog and I think Kyary is adorable. I love all the weird faces she makes. (To see them, click here.) I can't help, but like her. The Japanese still come up with the most interesting and cute singers. I saw her on the cover of a magazine yesterday and I almost bought it...Noticed how many times I was tempted to buy something in this post? I've also been exercising self restraint this summer. I need to be extra harsh, when I go clothes shopping.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Istanbul Street Foods

Playing: Muppet Show Theme Song-Ok Go and the Muppets
Reading: The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
Istanbul has so many interesting street stands all over the place and it really does make for good eats! Most of it is pretty cheap and ready to go, so it's perfect for a snack or in some cases a small meal!
All over Istanbul, you'll see brightly colored tents and booths selling ice cream. Turkey's ice cream is so different compared to the ice cream we have here in the states. It's made out of goat milk, so it's stretchy and kind of chewy. When you bite into it, it will stretch with you. It's unlike anything I've ever had and it's absolutely delicious. All the booths have the same flavors: raspberry, lemon, pistachio, chocolate, caramel, vanilla, and strawberry. I always got lemon and pistachio or raspberry and pistachio because those flavors are harder to find here. There are little kids, who will beg you to buy them some by pointing at the vendor and then at themselves. My dad bought some for the kids. However, I was having a dumb day and I thought the kids were telling me that the vendor was their dad.
Everywhere you go, there are people selling boiled and grilled corn. Some also sell roasted hazelnuts, but there are more corn stands. The corn and hazelnuts alike are kind of mealy. Corn, where I live, is sweet, but the corn sold on these stands are more mealy and dry. For 1 TL, I can't really complain and my family did buy corn more than once.
By the sea (and I saw one at the subway station), are people with buckets selling raw mussels. You buy one and the vendor cracks it open for you to eat. You can squeeze lemon into it, if you like things tarter. No one in my family tried this because we were too scared of food poisoning. On the last night we were in Turkey, we saw this boy eating them. He ate around 10-12 in a row and he was so fast! The vendor couldn't keep up with him.
This was probably one of the odder things that I saw. They take a wooden skewer and spin melted sugar candy around it. You can pick from orange, lime, lemon, raspberry, or cream, but I got a mixture of all of the flavors. It's like a lollipop that's kind of melted. You can bite into it and it's extremely sticky. The portion is small, but since it's so sweet, it's OK. Definitely worth trying and how could I not, when the vendor had such sick hair?
What do they sell all over your country/town? In southern California, you can find frozen yogurt and cupcake stores everywhere!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Fair (Again)

Playing: My Racing Thoughts-Jack's Mannequin
Reading: Horseradish by Lemony Snicket
Last year I did quite a few posts on the Fair that comes around and this year I didn't take as many photos because the food I ate were the same things as usual. I always get my favorites, so this year I decided to show you some of the art that was there and a little Alexander McQueen exhibit they had. I think this shows that fairs can be more than a feasting zone with wild rides.
Jim Jenkins had several pieces on display. All of them were moving pieces and some played music too. The house on this one moved back and forth, while the lights switched on and off with the birds flying. Not the most amazing piece of art, but certainly very interesting and creative.
This was another Jim Jenkins piece of two carrots dancing, while the globe rotated. I personally liked this piece because the carrots whistled retro tunes to you. I think I liked this one more based on the humor than anything else.
Ben Walker has the most beautiful splatter paint cherry blossom trees. I liked this one especially because it looks as if the tree is floating in the sky and I love surreal stuff like that.
I loved these sad robot paintings and I thought of Wall-E and the robot's search for love. Really, the only facial feature are the eyes and yet it shows so much emotion. A lot of people were taking photos of these paintings by Tommy Orosco and I believe one of them won the blue ribbon for it's section.
In the collections section of the fair, someone collected Alexander McQueen pieces and she talked about his exhibit in New York City.She had three outfits, two pairs of shoes, and a clutch. I'm highly envious of this collection and I would love to own all the pieces. Next year, I should enter my Hello Kitty collection or my Burberry collection.
What do you collect?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Basilica Cistern

Playing: Amy, I-Jack's Mannequin
Reading: Light Boxes by Shane Jones
While in Istanbul, the weather was incredibly hot, so my family decided to save this for the afternoon, since it's cool inside. It's the largest of all of Istanbul's cisterns and was quite interesting. The cistern is where they stored water in the old days and it supplied water to all the fountains strictly through gravity and going downhill. Doesn't it remind you of Phantom of the Opera?
What I find interesting is how fancy it all is and why would they make it so beautiful inside, if they had no idea that people were going to visit it as a tourist attraction? The water must've been pretty clean because no sunlight ever reached the water, so there was no chance for algae to grow or anything else...
There are actually a lot of fish that live in the cistern's water now, so someone has to be feeding them. I loved how many there were and there were actually some really fat carp in the water too.
The main attraction they show are the Medusa heads that help supports two of the columns. They keep on wondering why the builders would do that and also why the heads are upside down or tilted to the side. In my opinion, the builders were probably thinking, "We need some stones about this height, so these heads work great! Oh and if we tip them upside down, they'll be even more sturdy!"
Now the best part is that the cistern holds concerts. I would love to see My Chemical Romance playing here, but giving them a stage this small would be a crime. A crime, I tell you. They need room to run around and dance and be angst-y and stuff. By the way, did I mention to you that I'm going to a My Chemical Romance with Blink 182 concert? And that my friend, Breanne, is coming with me? We have cruddy seats, but the good seats cost over $200, so you know...
Head down to Mavi Cafe, which is right down the street, for some delicious and decently priced food. Your meal comes with pita bread, French fries, salad, mint yogurt spread, tomato/cucumber mix, and a spicy garlic spread.
The tavuk kebap is absolutely delicious and it's served on top of chewy rice. However, I ate the chicken in the pita bread with the spicy garlic spread and the tomato/cucumber mix. The price is decent and the owner is fairly friendly. He actually remembered us, when we walked by later on in the week. The other thing I loved about this cafe was how brightly colored it was! All the tables and chairs were painted in fun colors like sea green, sky blue, rose, and yellow! I hope you're enjoying my travel write ups...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Forum Istanbul (+Haul)

Playing: My Racing Thoughts-Jack's Mannequin
Reading: Japanese Children's Favorite Stories by Florence Sakade
One of the last places I visited in Istanbul was Forum Istanbul, Europe's largest shopping center and trust me, it's absolutely huge! If you're staying in Istanbul for a week, go for it and see what all the locals are like. If you only have a few days, it's probably not worth it...Not many people could speak English there because it's not a tourist spot. My family and I were the only non-Turkish people in the mall, which caused a lot of people to yell, "Japon? Japon? Japon?" at us. Most people were very friendly though and a few came up to my brother or me to ask us where we're from and when we told them the USA, they asked us what it's like here.
On the highest floor, they have a massive food court with the normal fast food chains that are popular in Turkey like McDonald's, Burger King, and Simit Sarayi. All of the people here are so trendy and a lot of them reminded me of American teenagers. 
The bathrooms were different from what I've seen in the United States because they sell perfume and toothbrushes. I noticed that a lot of the people in Turkey are very careful about their hygiene compared to other places I've gone to. In the public fountains, a lot of people wash off their feet, hands, and faces, so I just thought the toothbrush was also interesting...
The main reason we went to Forum Istanbul was because my brother kept on seeing ads for the ice museum called Magic Ice, which is located on the bottom level. It cost 20 TL ($12) to get in, but a family costs 50 TL ($30). Be sure to ask about the family discount because the girl didn't mention it until we started to pay. Also, they only accept credit cards that have a chip on it. I'm not sure what chip they mean, but none of our credit cards had it, so bring cash. Overall, the ice museum was very nice and it revolved around vikings, so you learn a lot about them. Everything is written in both Turkish and English. They put a huge fluffy poncho on you to keep you warm and at the end, they offer you complimentary drinks in cups made of ice.
I didn't buy anything from this particular mall, but I wanted to share with you what I bought. The blue, red, white, and black scarf is 100% cotton from the Grand Bazaar. The other scarf I got from an attractive guy at a store a few stores down from my hotel, Orient Express. He was around my age and it surprised me how many people around my age were working at these stores. In my country, most people my age don't have jobs, but in Turkey, the kids are sent off to work as soon as they're old enough...
I bought a pair of wizard-y looking blue earrings and my mum bought a pair of black earrings that I picked out for her from a young lady working a small stand in Anadolu Kavagi. She was extremely friendly and packaged them for us in a cute little bag. She sits right by the landing, where you get off the ferry, with all her merchandise. I'm starting to regret not buying the green pair because deep down, I'm a Slytherin. Just kidding, but I seriously do wish I bought the green pair too because it'd be great for dressing up. Now I have to go as a Ravenclaw. I bought an evil eye bracelet from a small store by the Blue Mosque. Originally, I had sewing plans for the beads on the bracelet, but I feel bad taking it apart, so I probably won't. The only problem with going to Europe is I always regret not buying something, but Katrina told me that's just more of a reason to go back one day. Until next time, güle güle!
By the way, I reached my two year anniversary five days ago!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What Do You Do?

Playing: Can You Feel It-One Night Only
Reading: Harper's Bazaar August 2011
My friend, Rebecca, was wondering what I do with my time during summer break and it made me think about what I do. This summer I've spent an inordinate amount of time traveling and I'm not quite done for the summer too. I went to Hawaii and Turkey already and I'm still going up to Northern California soon too.
I've been doing charity events like planting plants for my city, where I ran into my good friend, Sarah. When I'm not doing charity events, I'm hanging out with my friends doing normal teenage-y stuff like watching movies, playing sports (badly), going to the mall, and just walking around town. I've also spent time with my partner in crime, Tina, trying to get through all our makeup hours for art class no matter how torturous it feels.
I've been obsessing over Olivier Green because I've been watching Project Runway. Did I mention he has the most charming British accent? An Asian boy with a delightful accent, who loves fashion and can sew! Does it get better than that? I love boys, who love fashion.So far, there's only been two episodes, so I hope he doesn't turn out to be a jerk or a cruddy designer. He won a challenge and seems very pleasant so far. Fingers crossed! Also, I think this is going to be a great season for Project Runway and Tim Gunn makes the show so much more interesting!
I just bought tickets to see Jack's Mannequin with The Academy Is... and Lady Danville. I'm pretty excited to see Andrew for the fourth time. He only gets better for me. I'm trying to convince my friends to go to the A Rocket to the Moon concert with me and the Blink 182 with My Chemical Romance concert. I'm super excited to see My Chemical Romance! It's Gerard Way! He wrote my favorite comic book series and he's part of one of my favorite bands! I saw A Rocket to the Moon already, but I want to see them again, so that I can sing "Like We Used To" really loudly. I hope Breanne and Chelcee can go to the Blink 182/My Chemical Romance concert with me.
I've been doing my summer assignments too for the Honors and AP classes I'm taking next year. Haven't started my science ones yet, but I'm almost done with English and halfway done with History. I should restart on my schoolwork soon. Why would I post a picture of me studying and doing homework, when I could put a picture of Olivier writing?
My friends, Amina and Rebecca, have been writing me letters for years now, so I've been writing letters too! I've started to use all my cute Japanese envelopes this summer, but I can't use them for Rebecca's letter because my letters to her never fit in them. However, I've started to perfume my letters to Rebecca to make them extra nice. For Rebecca, this is our 3rd year writing letters and for Amina, I think we just reached our 1 1/2 year mark?
I've also been watching a lot of the movies that I've been dying to see. Never Let Me Go had three of my favorite actors/actresses of all time, so I had to watch it. The ending was so incredibly sad that I almost cried, while watching it and that says a lot. There's only been two movies that have made me cry. Other than Never Let Me Go, I've also enjoyed Date Night, 27 Dresses, and Red Riding Hood. There were two movies my brother introduced me to this summer that I loved and they're Moulin Rouge! and 500 Days of Summer. I watched Moulin Rouge! three times in one week and it happens to be one of the movies that I cried at.
What have you been doing this summer?
Photos of Olivier are screencaps from Project Runway: Season 9 Episode 2 and the Jack's Mannequin picture is from here and the Never Let Me Go photo is from here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Playing: I Don't Want a Job-Something Corporate
Reading: What White People Like by Christian Lander
Yesterday I spent the day playing badminton and tennis with Tina, Tiffany, and Vivian, so I didn't get to organize my photos from my trip. So, this is just going to be a quick little post about what I did in between Hawaii and Turkey. I like showcasing California and the USA because I love my country and where I live. Also, California has a lot of Mexican influence because California was part of Mexico before it became an American state in 1850.
The mission consists of some ruins, beautiful gardens, and a church that still holds mass. It's very beautiful and you should grab the audio tour because it's free and you learn so much more with it. The inside of the church is very elaborate and it has a special room for St. Peregrine, the patron saint of cancer. Many people go there to pray for recovery of loved ones or themselves.
Outside there are many native Californian plants and two koi ponds. Many people get married here or take their wedding pictures here. On the day that I went, there were four brides and a wedding party, so they set out tables and a stage.
Right across the street is Pedro's Tacos, which sells delicious Jarritos in a wide range of flavors. I got Tamarind, which is often found in Mediterranean food. Who knew Mexicans like tamarind too?
For $2 each, you can get tasty desserts like churros and flan. I highly recommend the churro, which has a caramel filling. Very tasty and unexpected. The flan was prepackaged flan that you can find at any Mexican supermarket, but for $2, what do you expect? My brother got a burrito and said it was very good, so go try Pedro's! While I was there, I ran into a guy I haven't seen for three years. He didn't remember me...No one seems to remember me, when I say hello to them. Oh well, he wasn't a close friend, so whatever!
Oh, here's some stuff you might like:

Monday, August 8, 2011

What I Ate in Hawaii

Playing: All Across Virginia-Cities and Clouds
Reading: Can't Buy Me Love by Jonathon Gould
Most of the places I ate at in Hawaii were places my dad went to as a child or spur of the moment decisions, so I cannot give a thorough review of what the whole island had to offer. While in Hawaii, my family always tries to go to the same places we go to year after year. Next time I go, I will try the Egyptian place and more of the Japanese places.
Zippy's is a chain fast food restaurant in Hawaii that I always go to. I usually get the saimon or the Zip Pack! The food is a good price and great for a picnic at the beach. The saimon is standard, but the Zip Pack is delicious. It includes fried chicken, BBQ beef, and other delicious meats.
Gulick's Delicatessen is my dad's favorite place on the whole island. We always grab some food from there before we go the beach. I got garlic chicken, spam musubi, shrimp tempura with teriyaki sauce, and some sort of chicken noodle. I highly recommend the noodles and shrimp tempura. The musubi is standard, but it still tastes good. The garlic chicken was a tad too tough for me, but the flavor was delicious!
At Shimazu Store, they offer up some delicious shaved ice that's so finely shaved, it feels like powder. They thoroughly soak your shaved ice in syrup, so every bite is fruity and delicious. What you see above is a small guava and passion fruit shaved ice with creamy hapia on top. The small is huge and I highly recommend paying extra for the bowl otherwise your shaved ice will tip over.
If you're tired of Asian food, then head to Good to Grill. I got the Garlic Ahi, which was very tender and delicious. The fries were good and were served with a wasabi mayonnaise. The mashed potatoes I can't really remember, so they must've been average...
At Chibo Okanimiyaki, you get to create your own Japanese pancake with whatever you like and it's the same price no matter what. I got mine with scallop and prawn, while my mum got her's with scallop, mochi, and cheese. Both were delicious and there was actually a lot of seafood in both of them. It's definitely aimed at people from Japan because both of the waiters we had could only speak ok English and most of the other diners were Japanese. The menu was easy to use, but half of it was in Japanese.
Outside Leonard's looks like a dump, but the food is really good. My dad has been going there, since he was little. The Portuguese donuts are extra dense and chewy. There's so much sugar on them that my fingers looked crystallized by the end of eating them.
Tsukiji offers a Japanese/seafood buffet. My grandparents think the food is "classier and fresher" than the food at Todai, but I beg to differ. I thought the food was only ok and a lot of the food didn't taste all that fresh to me. The sushi had so much mayo sauce on it that you couldn't really taste the fish in it and the udon (pictured above) was not freshly made. The fish cake was dried out. However, it is a family place and you could see little kids there and grandparents too. At night, it becomes a nightclub for all you crazy party animals.
I just got back from Istanbul, Turkey and I loved it. At the moment, I'm suffering from jetlag. I woke up at 5:00 AM and in Turkey it would've been 3:00 PM, so I woke up starving. I need to organize my photos, but I'm probably going to do a lot of posts on it because I loved Istanbul!