dorchadas: (Blue Rose)
Last weekend [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I took a vacation, sort of! We went out to Portland for [twitter.com profile] faylynne and [twitter.com profile] ntcomplete's wedding, and unlike the last time we were there in 2015, the weather cooperated. For Portland, anyway. It was cool and cloudy--just the way I liked it--and being next to the Willamette meant that sometimes there were passing boaters, though at least they cut the motor when they noticed that there was a ceremony happening. But everything else was lovely. I especially liked the sling that the maid of honor, [twitter.com profile] faylynne's eldest sister, had rigged up to allow her new baby to participate in the ceremony.


I also loved how most of the wedding party entered to the main hobbit theme from The Fellowship of the Ring, while the bride and groom entered to an instrumental cover of the Legend of Zelda fairy fountain theme.Link smilie photo lhappy.gif

The ceremony was extremely short and to the point. After a brief opening, the couple gave their vows--almost inaudible to us sitting in the back, but from what I could tell a variation on the traditional ones--and then exchanged rings, soldiering through [twitter.com profile] ntcomplete dropping them when the best man handed them to him and [twitter.com profile] faylynne initially trying to put the ring on his right hand. Then they kissed, the ceremony was over, and the guests all went back to the hall for drinks and snacks before the reception. I drank red wine and gin, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd drank white wine and cider, and our friend [facebook.com profile] aaron.hosek does not drink, but we were all united in our love for the snacks. Caprese skewers and grilled cheese shooters, with a tiny bit of grilled-cheese sandwich stuck in the top of an ounce or so of tomato-basil soup in a shotglass. It was delicious and I'm amazed that I haven't seen it anywhere else.

Inside, we took our seat at the labeled tables, each themed after a specific fantasy setting. The three of us were seated at the Tortall table, which immediately made [facebook.com profile] aaron.hosek text his girlfriend. She was unable to attend due to a family emergency, but despite not really being geeky at all, she's read the Song of the Lioness books and would have instantly recognized the table title.

Then was a buffet dinner and dancing. I was initially a bit worried that no dinner preference had been specified, but [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd correctly pointed out that it was almost certainly a buffet. And it was, with nothing that we can't eat. The salmon and asparagus were especially tasty.  photo wheeeeee_emote_by_seiorai.gif

We did not dance, at least for my part because none of the songs being played are the kind I like to dance to, but the dance floor wasn't particularly well attended. There were a lot of people chatting and eating, and then speeches and cake.


I don't like most cakes, but they did look wonderful. And they were made by the maid of honor. I heard a couple people asking [twitter.com profile] faylynne if her sister was a chef, and her reply was that she took a pastry class one summer.

As we left, we got a bit of a chance to chat with both of them. [twitter.com profile] ntcomplete tried to sell [facebook.com profile] aaron.hosek on attending PAX and mostly succeeded and both of them told us about their honeymoon in Japan and how they wanted us all to go back in 2020 when the new Ghibli Theme Park will be opened. I mentioned that was also when the Nintendo Theme Park would be open and that's in Ōsaka, far away from the Tokyo crowds. [facebook.com profile] aaron.hosek suggested making the Japan trip a biannual thing and you know, that sounds like a great idea.  photo Emot-chocobo.gif

[twitter.com profile] faylynne also mentioned that she had been practicing Japanese on DuoLingo and how shocked she was when the writing suddenly changed and she realized she had to learn another syllabary. All I could do was nod, half sagely, half sympathetically. I've been there.

She wants to get to conversational Japanese in time for 2020. I wish her good luck. She will need it.  photo japan001.gif

Other things I did in Portland!:
  • Stayed with my sister, who kindly put us up in her apartment's spare room!
  • Went to House of Ramen, which featured build-your-own ramen so [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I could have porkless ramen. We got a small size bowl, also known as "the size ramen is served in Japan." My sister and her boyfriend split a regular.
  • Went to the farmer's market and bought a bunch of cheese and smoked salmon. They also had delicious macaroon cookies but we were too full to eat them.
  • Bought some Edo Jidai-era lacquerware at the going-out-of-business sale at Shogun's Gallery.
  • Went to Moonstruck chocolate, which I obliquely wrote about here.
It was a lovely way to spend a weekend.
dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
This weekend [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I are in Portland for a wedding! I'm sure I'll be writing all about that tomorrow when I have more time to write, but at the moment we're sitting in my sister's apartment, where she kindly offered to put us up for the weekend, and eating chocolate. We walked downtown yesterday to one of Portland's farmers' markets, and after buying smoked salmon and a load of spiced cheese curds, my sister said that she and her boyfriend were going to go to Moonstruck Chocolate for dessert, so we tagged along. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd jokingly said that we should do a Darker than Black about the truffles we are, but then I noticed they had chocolate bars.
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Ten years!

Jun. 9th, 2017 05:21 pm
dorchadas: (Link and Zelda sitting together)
And many more to go!

Today is [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and my ten year wedding anniversary. Kawaii heart emoji photo heart_emoji_by_kawaiiprincess2-d51re77.gif As I posted on Facebook, to put that into perspective, I made sure to set my AIM away message to "AFK, getting married" on my wedding day.

Unlike most events, since ten years is a nice round number we actually bought presents for each other. Usually our celebrations consist of going out to dinner or lunch, and we did go out to lunch today at a pretty good restaurant, but here we made an exception and also bought gifts.

click for pictures )
It's been a great ten years and I think it only looks up from here!  photo heart.png
dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
​I will warn you now, dear reader, that this is my most biased review yet. How could it not be? I've been eating See's marzipan dark chocolates for almost as long as I can remember. My grandparents always gave boxes to me and my father at birthdays and holidays, and then my father continued the tradition whenever he went west to visit them, and I'm sure that should I have children they will also be receiving boxes of See's from me on appropriate events.

I mostly hate #brands and I follow See's on Facebook, such is the depth of my love.
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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
I was going to write a story about the chocolate store that we went to in River North before it closed, while [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd was in grad school and we wanted the occasional treat that was delicious but still at mass-market prices. Occasionally I'd meet her there after an evening class or, when I got a job, after work. We'd get sundaes and eat them together, walk past the horse carriages that carry touristspeople on rides in River North, and then go back to our apartment.

But it turns out that I'm misremembering and that was a Ghirardelli. Oops.  photo 3327b7f6b45a33781e80dce4e4461510-d4ipx9c.gif
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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
Apparently I'm starting some kind of sea salt-themed section in Darker than Black. We got a Raaka Pink Sea Salt in our latest chocolate shipment, but we already did that a year ago. There's another sea salt-themed bar waiting as well, but as I was looking through the pile of dark chocolate to see what there was to do, I decided on this one since it was a present. Thanks to [facebook.com profile] topher.elderkin for providing it!
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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
I never used to have to worry about chocolate oxidizing because we would always eat it too quickly for it to matter. Oops. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd is pretty sure we bought this chocolate in December. And to think that we were doing so well with getting through our backlog!
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C2E2

Apr. 22nd, 2017 04:25 pm
dorchadas: (Enter the Samurai)
I'm not really a comics fan. I have a comics tag, but the Japanese it's translated from says manga, and the only convention tag I have is explicitly anime conventions. So when [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd suggested I go to the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo with her this weekend, I was hesitant. Would I know anything that was going on? Would I find anything that interested me? Well, I do like cosplay, so I suggested characters that we both know:

Morgoth Bauglir and Sauron the Great.

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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
Originally, I was just going to skip this week. Then I was going to use some candy that we had gotten in our Japanese candy shipment that didn't have any chametz in it, but did have mochi and strawberry and looked like it would be a pink explosion. And then, as we were walking by a display of Passover goods in Whole Foods, I saw these. Chocolate? Yes. Seasonably appropriate? Yes. Worth spending an entry on?

C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER.
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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
It's been a while! Various things came up, we had packed weekends, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd was gone for a retreat, she made me a tasty olive oil cake with no chocolate whatsoever--yes, I do sometimes eat desserts that contain no chocolate at all!--we had a Call of Cthulhu game...you know, things. But this weekend we didn't have much to do other than one thing that I'll probably also write about tomorrow, and so I took down some chocolate from our supply, opened it up, and we tried it.

I should have skipped another week.
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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
This is going to be a shorter post because we've both had a lot to do today, but I didn't want to go another week without trying more chocolate! The chocolate is piling up faster than we can eat through it. Pretty soon, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's spring break is coming up and I took several days off to coincide with it, so we might do some Darker than Black supplementals during that week to make our way through the excess. Or we might just decide to start eating some of the chocolate. Either way, we'll definitely use our days off to eat dark chocolate. Just like we use our workdays.
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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
Yesterday, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I went with my parents to the orchid show at the Chicago Botanic Garden. The weather wasn't great for garden-viewing, but fortunately this was an orchid show, so all the flowers were indoors. When I was a child, I hated looking at flowers, hated being dragged along with my parents to flower shows, and didn't understand why they cared. There are a lot of things parents tell children that they'll understand when they're older only because they don't want to actually answer them, but sometimes, it is true.
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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
It's been a while, but we're back! This is a bar I've been wanting to try for a while as well, since part of the reason I wanted to write about dark chocolate was to see if there was anything to the single-origin trend. Does chocolate, like wine, have terroir? The advertising certainly makes a bit deal of it, and I'm exactly the kind of person those claims are targeted toward--as I've told [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd, the way to get me to eat pizza is to call it "flatbread" and charge twice as much for it. So when my parents gave me this bar, we put it aside and waited for the right time. That time is now.
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Tamayura

Feb. 17th, 2017 11:48 am
dorchadas: (Chiyoda)
Last night, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I finished watching Tamayura: Hitotose. I gave it a nine. It's not super popular. The animation is fuzzy and obviously not particularly high quality, it's a slow slice-of-life anime shows about cute anime girls doing cute anime things, and the hook is that the main character likes photography and moved back to Takehara, in Hiroshima Prefecture, after her father died.

And that, of course, is the in for me. We watched the intro OVA when it first came out, while we lived in Chiyoda, so everything was familiar. I recognized the view from Mt. Asahi. They went to a shrine in neighboring Onomichi that I knew because an old man complimented [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd on the boots she was wearing, saying that boots with kimono was popular during the Meiji era but had completely fallen out of fashion nowadays. And because it's Takehara, there was an episode set during the Bamboo Festival, and we spent the whole time looking at the scenery of all the places we had been and the sights we had seen, like this bamboo and lights sculpture. There's a quote that's relevant here, I think:
“It is the curse of age, that all things are reflections of other things.”
-Neil Gaiman, The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains
Our love for Tamayura comes maybe half from what it's actually about, and half from our memories of living in Hiroshima, going to local festivals, eating okonomiyaki, living in a house with tatami floors, and standing on a mountain over the Setonaikai, watching the sunlight on the waves.

[livejournal.com profile] ping816 has an anime club he runs, and one of the shows we watched was 5 Centimeters per Second. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I loved it and everyone else hated it. Some of that is differing tastes, but I think part of it is because we lived in Japan and the other people watching did not. We had at least some of the culture context for appreciating what it was trying to say. That's what I seek out in anime now, rather than moeblobs or hot-blooded anime pilots. I can get those from video games, whereas getting an experience anything like living in a small Japanese town is pretty rare in games (though Stardew Valley comes close).

Now I want to go back to the Bamboo Festival. Someday...  photo 58-2nsylaw.gif
dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
I was wavering on doing Darker than Black this week, but since [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd will be gone for a large part of next weekend, we decided to go ahead with it. And also since every time I stopped paying attention to the internet for more than thirty minutes at a time, I'd come back thinking, "So are we a fascist dictatorship yet?" And last I checked, the answer was, "Maybe, we need more time to determine that." So chocolate seems like a good idea.
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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
Monday isn't the usual day, but I already skipped last week and I didn't want to skip another week.

Over the end of the year, we had a lot of candy and other desserts that wouldn't fit Darker than Black, so we stopped updating quite so much other than the marzipan, which only barely qualifies here. But now we've worked our way through everything except the giant bag of frozen Halloween candy that my parents gave me after they realized there was no way they could eat it, and due to the hiatus, we've built up our backlog again. Hopefully we can get through it before it goes rancid.
Read more... )
dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
I've loved marzipan basically as long as I can remember. My father always used to get boxes of See's candies for any holiday or birthday available, and eventually I developed a taste for them too. I presume that my father picked up his love of marizpan from his time living in Germany, and that's also why he pronounces it without the R (which is much more subtle in the German pronunciation). As I mentioned in Week 33, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I go to Christkindlmarket every year and get food, and there's a giant marzipan display in one of the buildings set up by a candy-maker. So of course, I had to get some marzipan bars to write about.
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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
[personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I don't celebrate Christmas, but every year we go to Christkindlmarket in Chicago for the German food and crafts. A lot of it we can't eat because the Germans are fond of their pork, but the Döner Men have a booth there where they serve chicken kabobs that are wonderful with some spiced apple cider and a cold wind blowing around you. Though honestly, I could do without the last part.
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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
It's a yearly tradition for [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and a friend and I--and I can say that, because this is the third year we've gone--to go to Svea in Andersonville for brunch. They have a Christmas Plate they offer for the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas that's $16.50 for a giant smörgåsbord with pickled herring, cheese, ham, korv, limpa bread, potatoes, meatballs, tomatoes, and a glass of glögg. It's also the time of year that the owner comes out and sings songs whenever someone orders lutfisk. It's amazing and I'll be really sad if the restaurant ever closes.

This year, after we finished eating, we all went to the Middle Eastern Grocery Store next door to pick up some hummus and cheese (and baklava at my urging), and I noticed some chocolate by the cashier. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd suggested it for Darker than Black but was worried because it was only 60% cacao, and normally that would be a bit low, but I want a bit of variety here and I have seen that chocolate before and wanted to try it, so we bought it. And then moved it to the top of the list, since the only other chocolates we had aren't as interesting as this one. I mean, it's in Turkish! Who knows what it contains! Certainly not me. I don't speak a lick of Turkish.
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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
A while ago, we signed up for a service called Shoshbox that delivers a monthly shipment of Japanese candy. It's since merged with Tokyo Otaku Mode, and we've upgraded to a larger box size, but it's nice every month to get a shipment of candy even if a lot of it isn't to my taste. The gum goes to [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd, as do some of the more cracker-like snacks, and sometimes we get something amazing like the 菓実グミパイナップル (kajitsu gumi painappuru, "Real fruit gummy pineapple"), which actually does taste like it has real pineapple inside. And, very rarely, we get something that's suitable for Darker than Black.
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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
I know we do a lot of chocolate from Raaka, but hear me out. Part of it is just because I have a chocolate subscription from them, so we get a lot of chocolate already, and I do try to mix things up. This week, though, there's a reason why we did this particular bar.
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dorchadas: (Awake in the Night)
[personal profile] schoolpsychnerd doesn't like the dark. I do. That's the way of it. Left up to myself, I leave most if not all the lights in the apartment out, since the light filtering in from the alley outside through what few openings are left in the curtains we have up is enough for me to see by. Even at night, I usually don't bother to turn on the lights when I get up and move around. The apartment layout doesn't change, after all, and my night vision is pretty good. But sometimes, when I come home, the curtains are open and all the lights are on as [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd soaks up the light.  photo Dawn.png

The last couple nights, I've been reading a Let's Play of a Japanese RPG Maker game called Corpse Party. You can probably tell what kind of game it is from the title, and even though the links to the music and sound had vanished into the internet ether--sadly, since they're the highlight--I still found it creepy enough that before I went to sleep last night, I left the living room light on.

It would have made more sense when we lived in Japan, since we basically lived in a J-Horror house. We literally had an abandoned house right next to ours, plus another abandoned compound just down the street. We had steep stairs with no railing that a spirit could easily have pushed us to our deaths down.  photo japan001.gif But here, where three quarters of the apartment is always visible from any other point in it?

Well, it's the dark. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd was worried that I would think less of her when she told me that she didn't like the dark, but I don't. The dark is scary! And who knows what could be out there. I can tell myself whatever I want, but my instincts are the instincts of a savannah-dwelling ape who stayed with the group or huddled by the fire and lived, while those who knew there was nothing out there were eaten by lions. So it took me a long time to fall asleep, and while I didn't have nightmares that I remember, I woke up an hour and a half before my alarm.

Maybe it's also that the game takes place in a school. I taught in a Japanese school, and I've been in other schools. They're all laid out pretty similarly, so it was easy for me to convert the minimal RPG Maker graphics in my mind into what a decayed, rotting school would actually look like. Maybe more effective than if the graphics had been more realistic.

Usually I'm fine in the dark, but it doesn't take much.
dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
I used to drink a lot of coconut milk. That drinkable kind that came in milk cartons, because I don't like cow milk that much despite how much I like cheese and yogurt. I think it stems back from when I broke my leg. Before then I could drink pretty much whatever I wanted as long as it was fruit juice or water--no pop in our household--and after, my parents made me drink milk at basically every meal to make sure that I got enough calcium to heal my bones. And I mean, I suppose it worked from a folk wisdom perspective. I'm nearly two meters tall and haven't broken a bone since then. Might as well have been all that milk as anything, but that does mean I'm left with a dislike of milk that lingers to this day. I have one cup maybe quarterly and then I'm good.

Coconut milk, though. Yum.
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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
This is another one of the weeks where we go back through the bag and pick out one of the chocolate bars we've meant to do for a while and eat it before it comes completely bad. Only somewhat bad. I knew intellectually that chocolate could oxidize and get brittle and taste a bit off, but before I started buying chocolate specifically for Darker than Black, I hadn't actually seen it other than the one time that a chocolate bar got lost in the back of the pantry for a couple months before we realized it was there and I dug it out to eat after dinner. The lifespan of chocolate in our household is generally measured in days or weeks, but at one chocolate bar per week plus the occasional break, it can last a lot longer in the backlog bag.

We're nearly through the whole backlog, though, now that I have a better sense of how quickly we go through chocolate. And now that if it looks like it's taking too long, we start eating the backlog and not writing about it. Hey, we can always buy more chocolate, right? I don't see a problem here.
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dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
So last time I posted a Darker than Black entry, [twitter.com profile] twentysidedcat expressed astonishment that I was writing about chocolate that he would actually want to eat! I mean, isn't this called "Darker than Black"? Shouldn't this be about chocolate that curdles milk if placed within 10 yards, that travelers keep in their pockets to ward off the evil eye, and that which can only be eaten after secret rites are performed under the waning autumn moon?

I mean, those weren't his exact words. It's just what I took from it.
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