2010/12/25

Please Don't Go

For you Christmas travelers out there, here's a tune by long time Japanese pop star Seiko Matsuda titled "Please Don't Go" from her 1987 album "Snow Garden".

It starts with Christmas tunes in the background as a taxi pulls up to a railroad station - goes to the sound of high heels walking then running for the train, whistle blowing, the locomotive chugging to life.... The music is at first soothing strings, but gradually it shifts into a jazz swing with clarinet. Seiko finally starts singing just after the 3 minute mark. The music takes on a Latin rhythm turning into a tango. Amazingly complex for a "pop" tune. The voices in the intro, including railroad announcements, are in English, the song itself, other than "please don't go", in Japanese.

I hope you enjoy it. Happy holidays.

2010/12/24

A Traditional Japanese Pasta Christmas Dinner

Well, it's our tradition anyway.

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Each year we have Christmas dinner at one of our favorite restaurants - "Wordsworth" which is named after the poet. We used to lunch there fairly often before we started sailing and eating at Mama's.

Wordsworth is an Italian style seafood and pasta restaurant. For a few days at Christmas time, they offer special set meals for dinner - reservations only.
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Kimie drank Perrie water with ume juice and an ume fruit in the glass (ume is Japanese plum, which is more like an apricot if you ask me, and is primarily used for making ume liqueur).


The meal began with Bagna Calda, a hot dip composed of hot olive oil, garlic and anchovy, along with raw vegetables to be dipped into it. Then came uncured ham with tomato and mozzarella cheese. Kimie had foie gras while I enjoyed stuffed horned turban shell. After that there was a prawn salad, and before the main course, a frothy cup of soybean soup.

For the main course, Kimie had pasta with squid. I chose pasta in cream sauce with spinach and oysters topped with salmon roe.

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Dessert - a wine glass with chestnut puree on coconut ice cream, and a long straw-like cookie. Finally, biscotti and gateau au chocolat with coffee or tea.

Another excellent experience at Wordsworth. I wonder what they will dream up for next year? Daffodils?

If you are still hungry for food pictures, you can read about our 2008 Christmas dinner, which featured different dishes, here: Le Delizie Gastronomici Della Festa

Happy Holidays

2010/12/21

Joy!

Friends. A wish for you all in two parts.

The opening ceremony of the 1998 World Olympics, Nagano, Japan. Beethoven Ode to Joy with Seiji Ozawa conducting the ... well... the whole world.



O Joy, bright spark of divinity,
Daughter of Elysium,
Fire-inspired we tread
Thy sanctuary.
Thy magic power re-unites
All that custom has divided,
All men become brothers
Under the sway of thy gentle wings.
Pacem in Terrace

It's not too late. If you want it.

Best wishes to all on this Winter Solstice and throughout the New Year
with love, from
Kimie and Pandabonium


*Seiji Ozawa, my all time favorite conductor, after a year's hiatus fighting esophageal cancer, raised his baton once again in Carnegie Hall on December 16th.