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And, just like that, it’s raining again! A nice time to enjoy a slice of this autumn Guafengzhai cake I purchased from the Tea Urchins during my last order. Feels like coastal forest-not quite forest-yet. I’m really curious what this cake would be like in about ten years. I don’t think I’ll be able to hold off on drinking it all before then.

Yesterday I went to a sake tasting at one of the only sake breweries in America, a mere 1.5 miles from my house. Even though I can find a vastly wider selection of sake at a Chinese mega-market, I still enjoyed it . The 10-minute “how sake is made” video was really over the top with ceremony and sweeping violins, but it’s Japanese, so I guess that’s what you have to expect. The friend I was with said, after we had emptied our half-filled, tiny cups, “I could have continued tasting..”
Well, it was only five dollars, after all.

We walked by some available commercial rentals at the adjacent corner. Apparently they go for $3/sq. foot. The smallest of them is about 650 sq ft., but it got me to thinking about how many square footage you would need to operate a tea shop. One thing I admire about Asian society is its efficiency when it comes to these matters; I can’t stand excessive wasted space that doesn’t serve a purpose, so central to the American ethos. I like farmers markets, pop up stands, and other such creative use of spaces that maximise the value (theoretically) of the occupants by minimising physical costs while allowing the message/product to still be sold. Constraints are a necessary force towards creation. That being said, Asian cities feel too dense to me to seriously enjoy living in them, at least the ones I’ve been to. Seoul is well planned, though still kind of sprawling and car-centric. I’m curious to see what I think of Japan since everyone keeps telling me, “you’re gonna love it,” with the exception of an insightful friend who once told me it’s like Canada, “incredibly stagnant, stuck in the 1950s.” (He is a Canadian expat attempting to escape Taiwan).

My two goals for this year are to visit Japan during the summer, and to take more risks. I’m excited.
Almost back to work/school. Being a teacher is funny, because working is still looking at books at least part of the time and writing down things, which makes me sometimes slip and say, “I’m studying,” when actually, “I’m working.” Then again, I don’t think it’s a bad thing for students to think of school as a job and teachers to think of teaching as an act of learning. Which I suppose says a great deal about my teaching philosophy. Got a couple of “Manga guide to..” science books and having a great time with them. Giving me some ideas about potential assignments..between that, David Firth cartoons, and the new Nassim Taleb book, I’m set. It’s been a good break.

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