Tag Archives: photos

Cherry blossoms and the attack of springtime pollen

This is kind of a back-post, since I made the excursion to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens last Tuesday back in April1. The weather did a flip-flop in the past couple of days, but the warm spell did force the cherry blossoms into peak bloom last week. They must all be fallen by now.

Cherry trees all in a rowCherry Blossoms

It was absolutely amazing walking beneath the sakura trees. Warm and sunny, I couldn’t stop sneezing and that destroyed some of the charm. (I must have been a pretty funny sight, trying to take pictures and holding my nose at the same time–oh dear!) I was–and still am!–intensely jealous of all the people who could spend the entire day out on the Cherry Esplanade.

Cherry Blossoms

I also couldn’t stop flashing back to a class I took at Vassar with Tsuchiya-sensei on Japanese Gothic literature. There was a story we read that featured sakura in full bloom with petals falling all around. Very eerie and very scary. And though I can’t remember quite what it was about, vestiges of the story remain so that I was delightfully chilled under the cherry trees.

Filtered by cherries

Well…at least, it was chilling until I started sneezing again2.


This weekend is going to be dedicated to cleaning out my rooms and making them presentable so that when my landlord shows them to the prospective renter, they won’t be scared away by the mess.  But I think I’m going to try making a second trip to the BBG (With an exotic cocktail of anti-allergy medicines of course!) for the remnants of the flowers.

Cherry Blossoms

  1. It always surprises me how quickly a month can sail by, though it I credit the fact that April was the month before a critical deadline in the office and so I didn’t really pay attention to anything but work for four weeks []
  2. I really really really hope I’m not affected by allergies this badly when I’m in Nanjing []

Tulips, papaya, ramen, ice-cream and friends, Pt. 2

The best part about Saturday’s excursion–friends and ramen! Poor A1 had already eaten soba during the day, but kindly put up with my exuberance for Japanese soup noodles, despite the warm weather.

Salmon Parrot Tulip

After meeting at the Cube in the middle of Astor Place, we walked a short distance to Ippudo NY, just off St. Mark’s Place, where I got myself an incredibly tasty bowl of Akamaru Shin–ramen in thick broth with red miso and slices of Berkshire pork among other vegetables.  I know I was hungry, but it was so good!  Kokuto on the Rocks!Rich soup and QQ ramen noodles…some of the best comfort food in the world!  (And as a side note, we were impatient for a strong cuppa and so, ordered a round of sweet dessert wine to start us off…sweet and full-bodied. I’m surprised my teeth didn’t start hurting with all the sugar in it.)  Dinner ambiance-wise, Ippudo is chic and modern.  Classic ramen-ya practices–loud announcements of guest arrival, food being served, guest departure, thank-you-please-come-again–gives it a whimsical touch, as if it hasn’t forgotten its roots with all its updated decor.  Of course, with all the history behind this particular chain of ramen-ya, forgetting is not likely at all.

Afterwards, J treated us to ice-cream, which we took to this little charming church-like courtyard, which was kind of creepy looking with all the stone slabs set into the ground.2  We borrowed bandwidth from the local unsecured wifi, then walked to Toy Tokyo, home to all sorts of blind box, anime, vinyl & designer Japanese toys.  I think I’ll be going back there again…


Right. So I realize that I haven’t written much about grad school…there hasn’t been much to report besides the massive cleaning and throwing-out-things I’ve been doing. A and I did briefly discuss the existence of proxy servers so that I could update lj from China–which reminds me that I need to get the Nanjing 365 feed added to lj.

I wish there was a Papaya King closer to my apartment.

Papaya King

For the Foodie:

Ippudo NY @ 65 4th Avenue, NYC

  1. Friends shall henceforth be known as “A” and “J” for anonymity. []
  2. But it wasn’t a cemetery.  The slabs had words on it that read something like “George Washington Vault…” []

Tulips, papaya, ramen, ice-cream and friends, Pt. 1

It’s 1AM in the morning and 72 °F.  Talk about unseasonable weather! And May isn’t for another five days!  Thanks to the warm weather, I spent all day yesterday outdoors, hiking the urban trails of New York City and enjoying the sun.

Author in the sun

Hanami–the Japanese tradition of appreciating the yearly cherry tree blooming season (花見)–officially started earlier this month, but because of NYC’s more northern latitude, the whirlwind finale hasn’t quite happened at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, my original destination for today’s excursion.  Due to overly complicated morning ablutions, I made it out of the apartment too late and decided to instead head into Manhatten for some lite window-shopping and the Tulip Festival at the West Side Community Garden.

My first stop was downtown, however.  I’ve been subscribed to Daily Candy for the past couple of months and in this week’s Weekend Guide for NYC the Spring Yard Sale at auto. caught my eye1. I realize that I have a serious weakness for…how shall we put this? Artisanal? Whimsical? Boutique-ish?  Uniquely crafted items. There were these three gorgeous, gorgeous square plates that had drawings of coral on them. But with a price tag of $90 a piece, it was a bit out of the spending range I’d placed on myself for the day2.  But I couldn’t bring myself to leave without some kind of loot and so I picked out three very cute birthday cards from fomato.

Heading uptown on the 1 train with a papaya drink from Papaya King in hand, I got to the Tulip Festival around 2.  I cannot begin to describe how beautiful the tulips in the garden were.  It was breath-taking!  There were  tulips of every shape and color!3

Cherry BlossomsHybrid TulipRed TulipsYellow Lilly Flowering TulipFringed TulipsTulipsPink Lily Flowering Tulips

Alas, the garden is faraway on the Upper West Side, or else I’d go visit it more often!

For the Foodie:

Papaya King @ SW Corner of 7th Ave. & 14th St., NYC w/ various other locations.

  1. I’m a sucker for the words “yard sale”. They get me all excited for rare and curious finds! []
  2. It’s truly a pity I can’t remember who the designer was.  All I can recall was the name “Peter” and a surname that started with an “S”. Oh well. []
  3. Pictures and Pt. 2 to come as soon as I sort through everything on my camera. []

Sleepless in NYC – Take two!

Right then, let’s try again, shall we? My earlier post was a false start…too much for my poor befuddled head to manage at 3 in the morning.

Morning over Manhatten Bridge

Morning over Manhatten Bridge

So, there I was: Eight hours of sleep, ten hours of work, an hour and a half of hummus, not-sure-how-many-hours of bubble tea and wonderful, wonderful conversation. That’s how my day was spent. It was an earlier than usual start on Friday—things needed to happen in the office. But I didn’t mind, I don’t ever mind. After all, it’s not like I have such an urgent social calendar that work is pushed to a second priority1.

Pickled at Hummus Place

Unlike most Fridays, however, yesterday evening was spent in the very pleasant company of a dear friend over hummus. Good food and good conversation. Discussion drifted from grad school in Nanjing (of course!) to family to childhood memories (how nostalgic! how foolish we were!). And before we knew it, our plans to journey up the East Side to the Asia Society had evaporated2 and we were sitting in Tkettle drinking bubble tea3. More conversation and another change of location took us to the Starbucks on the corner of St. Mark’s.

I want to ride the Snaxi!

I want to ride the Snaxi!

It’s probably a good thing we never made it the Asia Society because we had too much to catch up on! Sadly, I feel this is going to be the trend going forward…

For the Foodie:

Hummus Place @ 109 St. Mark’s Place, NYC
TKettle Drinks @ 26 St. Mark’s Place, NYC

  1. But then, I do have the tendency to put an ungodly amount of devotion into the jobs I hold. The mantra goes like this in my head: You are the Company. The Company is You. The Company sinks. And so do You. Make the Company better. Make Yourself better. []
  2. Manhattan is deceptive. It may be situated 22.96 sq. mi. piece of land, but it takes forever to get from place to place. All that subway traffic, you know? []
  3. TKettle has very typical Manhattan prices for bubble tea. $3.75 for a regular I think? They do have a bonus card that allows one to get a free regular sized drink for free after you’ve bought seven. I particularly like their Plum Oolong flavor and my friend told me their Jasmine Milk did not disappoint. []

Goodies in the mail

Between work, errand running and studying Chinese1 I shouldn’t have anytime to think about what I will or will not miss while I’m in Nanjing. But, as luck would have it, the order I placed with Direct Gardening found its way to my door sometime before I got home and I was instantly reminded that I would have very little to do with their happy sprouting lives for at least two years.

The goodies!

The goodies!

The good people of Direct Gardening split my order in two and sent all the freebies I qualified for ahead of my X’mas cactii and Starfish plants, which included 4 Iron Cross oxalis, 3 peacock orchids and 10 blue poppy anemones2.  These will have to go upstate immediately for planting. Hopefully they’ll have enough time to take root and bloom while I’m still here.

Now, the ten thousand RMB question: If I get myself a plant that I can’t bear to part with whilst I’m on the “Far Side” of the world, can I bring it back with me?

  1. Does listening to Chinese radio count? KISS Radio []
  2. Oxalis deppeii (tetraphylla), Gladiolus callianthis, Anemone coronaria []