japanesedream_72: (Default)
Let's see, where do I begin?

First off, I want to thank you all again for the lovely birthday cards, gifts, posts, comments, & wishes. <333 I was getting pretty down about this b-day, the first time the occasion has had a negative connotation for me rather than a positive one. But my friends - &, as you will see, my family, too - really made me feel good about it, happy & loved.

As for the celebrations... )
japanesedream_72: (hyde)
Before reading this report, PLEASE have a look at my account of this year’s Dir en grey show!


Next month, another of my J-rock loves, Vamps, are coming back to NY. I was fortunate enough to see them last year (http://japanesedream.livejournal.com/310947.html), but this time they’re playing a different venue. And anyone who’s known me for any length of time knows that if I’m unfamiliar with a venue, I’ve gotta go in early & do a “dry run”, so I’m not totally discombobulated the day of the show.

(Sorry, this entry might be a bit image-heavy for some of you.)

On to the land of roses...but first, to the bus station! )
japanesedream_72: (geisha)
Before I begin detailing our NYC adventure from Saturday, please refer to the map here, so you can follow our little hiking trail, as I reference the neighbourhoods we visited:


Also, I’m trying my hand at thumbnails with this post...

CRAP! The thumbs aren't working! They don't link to a larger photo! I know nothing of HTML, & my editing attempts yielded nothing worthwhile, so I'm just gonna include links to the larger versions. Sorry, guys. If anyone knows how to actually make it work, please let me know!

And now, on with the show... )
japanesedream_72: (gackt)
Work has me ready to join the straightjacket set (literally!), but at least I have nice co-workers.

Allison & I had been talking with some of our colleagues for quite a while about getting together to try various foreign cuisines. Sherrod mentioned a Thai place, Chao Phaya, near the Chinese buffet, & as it was his birthday this past week, Allison & I took him there & treated him to a birthday dinner.

It was really nice! Very cozy, intimate, relaxing, welcoming place. Nice decor - paneled walls, dark wood tables, tapestries & pictures & sculptures all around (a LOT of elephants ^_^), even Thai (I'm assuming it was Thai) music playing, but modern, pseudo-R&B kind of stuff, as opposed to strictly traditional.

We split an appetizer of vegetable dumplings w/peanut sauce (SO GOOD!). Part of the garnish was a carrot cut into a flower shape. Pretty!

For the entree, I had something called Rama, steamed vegetables with tofu in a light sauce. It came with a side of white rice, which I mixed in. Very tasty! Allison let me try her Pad Thai, which is a noodle dish. Sherrod had a basil rice dish, which I would've also tried, but he got the spicy version, & I'm not too great at handling hot/spicy food. We all drank Thai Iced Tea, which is black tea mixed with some other things, one of which I think is milk of some sort. It's very sweet, with a deep undertone, hinting a bit of mocha/coffee. An interesting drink, which we all enjoyed.

Lots of good food, a relaxing atmosphere, & a great deal of candid conversation. Life as it should be, yes?

Oh, & thanks to Sherrod for inspiring the title of this entry. :)
japanesedream_72: (gackt)

This is the theatre where we're going to see Diru next month. Plenty of places in the vicinity for food & lavatories. Which is especially helpful if you plan to sit in line for 6 or 7 hours.

It was very easy to locate, & there is some lovely architecture nearby. A church stands just across the street from the subway when you arrive on 23rd St. (& right next to the subway we'll have to take back). Here is a close-up of the archway. There was also the clock tower, on the same part of the block as the theatre. Once I got back to the Times Square area & hit my haunts, I took a slightly different route back to get to the subway (just on a whim; I'll be doing the usual the day of the show), & found this hotel. Groovy, ne?

While I forgot to stop in Sephora to get the make-up I'd run out of (I'm doing okay with my stand-in stuff, but I'll have to hit Menlo Park one of the weekends before the show, 'cuz that mall & the City are the only places where I can get it), but had a nice time looking around Kinokuniya & Book Off. There was a lot of stuff I'd have liked to buy, but things were SOOOOO expensive! They had some DVD's, live stuff from Diru & Vamps & a Hyde 'best of + concert video' set, all of which cost WAY too much, esp. when I'm saving my money for the Diru show. Thought I might find some CD's, but no joy. They still had Vamps' "Evanescent" single in Kinokuniya, but I still think $12 is too much to pay for 2 songs, one of which I already have. I was hoping something like the Kozi solo stuff or Gackt's "Crescent" might show up, but no sign of the former. The latter, they had on what might have been vinyl or some kind of album-sized laser-disc (it was in a case, so I couldn't tell; I just saw the word 'digital' on there), but I didn't know if I could play it or even afford it. They had "Machine Girl", but since I haven't seen it yet, I didn't know if it was worth $20. I found a cheap copy of "Pistol Opera" in Book Off, which I've been wanting to see for years - the visuals are so bold! - but it was a Japanese print, & I didn't think it had subtitles. They also had the "Moon Child" special edition, the DVD + commemorative book (I'm assuming it's the photobook I've swiped seen so many pics of on the 'net), but I already have the movie, & I didn't want to shell out $40 for the set. And that's to say nothing of the pretty, black & white Goth-Loli dress I saw in Kinokuniya...$375!!! Unless that thing has been on Mana's body, ain't no way I'm shelling out that much for any garment.

Looked at a few interesting books, too. There was a whole rack with J-zines featuring Gackt, for some reason. I know he's popular, & is in a lot of them, but so many at once! If only I could read better...they're a bit too pricey just to look at pretty pictures (pretty as he is, lol). Anywho, as per my M.O., checked out the GL Bible section; looks like they got a new issue (33, I think they're up to), & of course, Mana-sama was in it. Oddly enough, so was Courtney Love! (Understand, I adore Courtney, but it was really weird seeing her in that particular publication.) Also found a book called "Tokyo Gaikokujin" (Tokyo Foreigners), with pictures of the Japanese domeciles of foreign-born residents. There were Americans, Indians, all sorts. (*is jealous*) It was all in Japanese, so I couldn't tell too much about it (it was also expensive). Another book had these little cartoons, & it was written in both English & Japanese. Really funny stuff! It was called "You know you've been in Japan too long..." Strangely, a couple of the things in there already apply to me! I also learned there is a term for what I am: a henna gaijin. Gaijin or Gaikokujin means 'foreigner', but a henna gaijin is a 'wannabe Japanese'. And I definitely wanna be!

I'm always a bit sad & envious, but moreso sad, when I'm in those places, because my knowledge is so lacking. Even the things I can read seem overwhelming, 'cuz there's so MUCH that I can only glance at things (or I'd be there all night!), & what I can read, I have to read VERY slowly. But it gets balanced out by how comfortable I am there, & I just keep telling myself, "Someday." I hope I'm not lying to myself.

In any case, a gaijin dude I'd seen in one of the aisles at Kinokuniya recognised me when he saw me later in Book Off. I didn't get a chance to check the upstairs manga section at Book Off (I can't remember if they have English stuff up there or if it's all Japanese; I usually spend most or all of my time there mired in music & movies), but I couldn't find any Banana Fish. I did find out, though (at home, not in the City), that "Monster" might start showing on Sci-Fi/Syfy next week (they do Anime on Monday nights). Toshie said that's pretty good.

I got to use a little practical Japanese, though, in Chiyoda Sushi, where I absolutely had to go (after passing up buying the Kill Bill set for $14 - I might be able to get them cheaper in Princeton), as I hadn't eaten since breakfast & it was nearly dinner time, so I was getting a bit dizzy. They're really nice in there. Had a lovely meal of brown rice, pumpkin tempura, & these mixed vegetable batter-cooked thingies (not tempura, though; I don't know what you'd call them), with Calpis (a sort of milky soda) to drink. Picked up some foods for home, too - dorayaki (bean paste-filled wheat cake), daifuku (sort of marshmallowy things), hijiki onigiri (a rice/seaweed thing; hijiki is, I think, brown rice & dark seaweed), burdock with carrots & sesame seeds (burdock is some kind of root; I usually get either that or lotus root when I go there, whichever is available), & a dinner bowl of whitefish & other assorted yummy things over white rice. Oh, & another bottle of Calpis.

After that, it was back Penn Station to catch the train. I lucked out, 'cuz it started boarding 10 minutes early. I'd brought a book with me (Koji Suzuki's "Dark Water"), so I got in some reading on the way there & back.

And that was my day.
japanesedream_72: (hyde)
It’s been a long, tiring, enjoyable weekend.

Saturday started off pretty crappily. I’d wanted to go to bed a little early, get up early, & do a few things before meeting up with Allison & Glen. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to sleep until around 4:30 in the morning, with my alarm set for 6:30. Naturally, I said to heck with the alarm, but still only slept until 8:30. It was already getting humid when I woke up, which means my hair decided it was gonna do crap-all except go super-frizzy, so I opted for a little braid-work. Then I couldn’t figure out what to wear - nothing looked or felt quite right. After, at last, finding something remotely do-able, I managed to get to the bank, the shoe repair shop (my mom fixed the teeth on my one boot, but it still needs a new zipper, which the shoe-man said he could do - it’s a tad pricey, but I’ll have my favourite shoes again!), a quick jaunt to the grocery store for a few necessities (where I saw Gerald from work - or, rather, he saw me), then back home for a quick chat with my brother (Johnathan; my mom was out shopping) before leaving to catch the train.

Allison & I had coordinated beforehand, so we were able to catch the train into the City together. Took the subway downtown, to Christopher Street in the Village, where we met Glen at a little pizza shop, & chatted up a storm while we grabbed a bite to eat.

After that, we walked down to Hudson River Park, which is beautiful! It’s a long pier with little grassy areas, places to sit, & large, tent-like structures for shade, right on the Hudson River. You can see sailboats & the Circle Line ferry-cruiser coasting by, & the Statue of Liberty in the distance. We sat on the steps, chatting, enjoying the view & each other’s company.

I was able to get a few photos & possibly a snippet of video of this lovely place, before my camera up & clunked on me. I thought it might be the batteries - even though they were freshly charged, the ones that worked best are rather old - & planned to buy new ones when we found a store that had them.

Walked back to Christopher & around several other streets, going into various shops in the area. (Some of this part of our day gets a little mature, so I may do a separate, friends-only post, with regard to a few of the finer details.) There were lots of things I’d have liked to have bought - some really nice clothes, music/videos, etc. - but even though I’d brought money with me, I was reluctant to pay some of the prices for things (like $125 for a dress!). There were some groovy restaurants, as well: several sushi places, & a nifty, themed place called Jekyll & Hyde (which they were kind enough, when Glen asked, to let him & Allison walk me through).

Made a pit stop at CVS so I could purchase my batteries, which - sadly - failed to revive my now-departed camera. Ah well. I’d been meaning to get a new one, anyway. (Of course, it would’ve been nice if it could have lasted just this one day, ‘cuz there were still fantastic things to see!) Next, it was a quick duck into Starbucks, where there were glorious nature-related photographs on the walls. Several shots were of wolves! And those who know me are surely aware of my wolf-connection.

Next, it was on to another fabulous place, Washington Square Park. It’s really fantastic! Both Glen & Allison had cameras in their cell phones (why am I so behind the times?), so they took some shots for me, & will e-mail them to me. We sat there, at the edge of the water fountain right in front of the arch, for some time, talking & people-watching, enjoying the cooling weather & the sights & sounds around us. And, to think, all I had to do was walk down 5th Ave., past the Empire State Building, & I’d walk right into the place! I’ve been going to the City for 2 years & I never knew that. Thankfully, I do now.

Glen suggested, somewhat earlier during our travels, that we stop for dinner at Jekyll & Hyde. So, after bidding good-bye to the park, that is where we went. This place is awesome! Well, if you’re a geek-a-zoid tourist with a passion for cheeze & horror, anyway. ^_~

I really wish I hadn’t lost the use of my camera, ‘cuz the interior was groovy! Very old-London, with lots of Gothic horror cliché, but so cool! It was dim (they even have votive candles on the tables), with a big streetlight in the middle of the place. Everywhere you looked, there was something neat. Over the bar was a big glass shelf case with (non-human) skulls, a brain in a jar, animals preserved in glass - bats & spiders & such. A little sad, but beautiful, too. There were skeletal figures perched in various places, as well as a mummy in a sarcophagus, a caged fellow, a mad scientist, a gargoyle, a giant boar’s head over a faux fireplace...you get the idea. There were framed photos of Lugosi, Karloff, & either Frederick March or Lon Chaney (it was hard to see), & paintings with moving eyes. The staff passage was a long hallway that looked like a library, with books on shelves & such.

I found a few shots on the ‘net:




We sat right under the wolf’s head!!

I kept thinking they should’ve brought Hyde there when Vamps was in town...he could’ve even ordered the Hyde Burger! XD They had fun names for the food. My friends got the Mummy & Frankenstein burgers; I stuck with a garden salad, though I did drink an “elixir” - 3 or 4 different fruit juices mixed w/7-Up. Yum! I took a couple of the napkins home with me, ‘cuz even the napkins in this place are cool.

There was a very fitting selection of tunes being played over the PA: horror theme songs, novelty tracks, tunes from movies. These would be interrupted periodically by the animatronic entities, like the gargoyle & wolf’s head (who reacted with the patrons, talking to & occasionally insulting them in a humourous way), the mad scientist & caged “Hyde” figure (who sort of battled each other, ‘til the scientist played “YMCA” & ‘saved’ us from the wrath of Hyde, LOL!), & the skeletal organist (who told bad jokes). The Cockney-maid waitress (actually, I don’t think she did any waiting, she was there purely for entertainment purposes, for which you pay extra ~ warning: as awesome as this place is, it’s a bit over-priced; otherwise, I probably would have asked about buying a t-shirt) was a total hoot! She sat at our table & talked to us...after first putting her head down on the table & complained that she was tired of ‘fake-cleaning’ all day, ha ha!

I can’t even get into all the details, ‘cuz it’s just one amazing blur in my mind, suffice to say I got a complete & total kick out of it, & when I told my mom about it, she said it seemed like a place she’d like, too! I’ll have to try & get her there sometime. :D

It was getting late by the time we left the restaurant, but while we needed to catch the train home, we were having so much fun, so we walked something like 20 blocks, all the way up 7th Ave., from Christopher, all the way to Penn Station! Funnily enough, even though we’d walked so much already that day, I barely noticed it. The weather was quite nice by this time, having cooled off tremendously, & we yakked up a storm along the way, talking about this, that, & the other.

Penn Sushi was closed when we got to the station, or I’d have picked up snacks & such to munch on during the remainder of the weekend (stuff I get there almost never lasts me longer than that). Next time, perhaps. Anywho, it was more yakking on the train. Glen’s stop was before ours, but Allison & I were able to continue all the way to the parking deck, where we parted company & made our way to our cars. We’d taken the train in around 2:00, & it was after 11 when I got home!

Talked to my mom, telling her all about our fun-filled day (& noting how much of it she, herself, would have enjoyed...except, perhaps, for all that walking), stayed up for a little while, but zonked out around 2 am.

Sunday morning, I once again disregarded the alarm & slept a little later. After breakfast, I ordered the tickets for myself & [livejournal.com profile] charaxinae for the horror convention. Still no sign of an events schedule, but I’m looking forward to it, nevertheless. I told Johnathan (when I talked to him on Sat.) I’d pick him up a goodie or get an autograph for him or something. If it’s the latter, I’m hoping it’ll be from Katharine Isabelle!

On to the order of the day - Wal-Mart was kind enough to let me buy the display model of a light green Kodak M320. I looked at the various cameras there for a rather long time (not my first time doing so, either), before deciding on that one. It cost just over $100, with 1-year warranty & rechargeable battery included. The lady even ’cleaned’ it up for me, since it was a display camera & lots of people touched it. It fits my SD memory card (some new cameras, you have to buy a whole new kind of card for), which is fab, too. I haven’t really gotten a chance to do much with it, but at least I have it.

Next, it was off to Woodbridge Mall, where I’d hoped to hit Hot Topic & maybe find the third live-action Death Note film, since I heard it might be out by now (with subs). I didn’t find it, but I did get what I guess is the newest D’espairs Ray album! I think it’s called “Redeemer” - I haven’t made my copy yet (I never play originals, my machines want to eat them) or looked up the Kanji titles, but if this stuff is anything like what’s in that concert video I got, it should be good!

They have an FYE there, so I ducked in on the off-chance I might find one of the 2 other “Ginger Snaps” movies. Would you believe I found BOTH of them?? I was, like, jumping for joy! Watched them both Sun. night, & watched GS2 again today (Mon.). That one has yielded an idea for the cosplay we’re doing for the convention...at least, for the character I’m doing.

The weather seemed to work against me, however good the musical & cinematic spirits had been to me: it was sunny when I left my house, drizzling when I came out of Wal-Mart, & POURING by the time I was finished at the mall! And I’d left my umbrella at home! I was not about to go out into that, esp. since I had to walk a ways to my car. So I figured I could buy a cheapie umbrella & use it, then keep it in my car for such emergencies. Can you believe I had to go into FOUR stores before I found an umbrella?? Actually, 3, but I wasn’t going to pay $14 for the one I found at JC Penny’s. Ended up in some shop I can’t remember the name of (Bilibo, or something), where I got a black umbrella with a pink handle & butterflies on it, for $5. :)

Armed with protection against the dreaded wetness (I really wouldn’t mind rain so much, but the least sign of moisture & my hair goes into afro-drive!), I made the mad dash to the car & headed toward home, with a quick stop in Menlo Park Mall to buy more over-the-knee socks (I got 5 pair for $20!) & grab some Oyako-don at Kabuki in the food court.

And that was my weekend. ^_^

By the way, keep me away from glass. Within the last 2 weeks or so, I’ve dropped a drinking glass, had a picture fall off the wall (shattering the glass in the frame), & accidentally broken one of my favourite glass bowls (which my mom gave me 2 of, so there’s 1 left, but I might not use it for a while). Ugh!
japanesedream_72: (melfina)
After all my ranting & raving, what do you think happens to me on Saturday? I FIND SHOES!!!!

And there were decent things on tv, as well. ^_^ But back to the shoes. We were at the chiropractor’s, which is about 20 minutes or so from here (he used to be closer, but moved about a year ago). My grandpa, who’s been an absolute gem as I go insane searching for footwear, was wondering if there were any shoe stores in that area, & asked him after I’d finished my session. He said there were 2 that he could think of. One was a little further away, so we decided to check out the closer one, & the other we’ll look in next time I go to chiro.

Anywho, the one we looked in was a Marty’s Shoes; we have one not too far from where we live, which we tried once before, with no luck. This one was having a sale, though at first, it seemed like there wasn’t anything remotely like what I was looking for, & anything that vaguely fit the bill wasn’t in a size my feet would tolerate. So we’re about to give up - we were actually on our way out - when right there in the corner behind the front door, what should I spot, but these:


They didn’t have the suede in my size, so I had to get the leather. They’re not exactly what I wanted, but they’re not too bad a compromise. And they were only $20. They only had one pair in the size I needed, but it’s a start. Still gonna check out the other store next time. You never know.

Then we went to China Moon, the little Chinese place just over the bridge ‘round the corner from my house, ‘cuz I’ve had a hankering for Asian food lately, & watching “Iron Chef” made me want it even more! Plus, we haven’t gotten Chinese take-out since the end of last summer. My grandpa always tends to pick up the lunch tab when we go out, even if I offer to, so this time, it was totally my treat. We got so much stuff! And it’s not expensive at all. It was so tremendous - y’know sometimes you haven’t had something in a while, & it just tastes FANTASTIC when you get ‘round to having it again? We even tried some new things: the steamed dumplings, the wonton-egg drop soup (I never knew they had that kind of soup! Wonton, yes; egg-drop, sure - but both? Wow!), the boneless, honey-glazed spare ribs (sorry, we’re carnivores). Between that, & old favourites like the spring rolls, the fried rice, & the stir-fry veggies...oh, man, I’m drooling just thinking about it.

So as I towel off the slobber, you check this out.

What else can you do when it‘s ONE frigging degree outside but watch movies? )

August 2017

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