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Yakiniku at Shinjuku

Yakiniku freaks

Couple of weeks ago I went out for dinner with two of my French friends to have yakiniku in Shinjuku. As all French are Laura and Vincent are  all about the food. Everything has to be discussed, carefully chosen and checked for ingredients. They constantly drive me crazy whenever I happen to eat or drink with them. I mean who asks a busy bartender in a packed live house for ingredients of every drink on the menu or “What kind of food there will be at a Halloween party?” or spend half an hour deciding on where and what to eat…Well this yakiniku dinner was no different. They were discussing the course and types of meat as it was some kind of global problem.

Yakiniku - non French side

I like when food tastes good but it’s really very foreign to me to pay this much attention to it. I am one of those people who’d rather order something random from the menu than make a waitress wait for me while I am deciding on food. So it’s always a challenge for me to eat with French people hehe. But of course whenever I eat with them, I eat very good food. So this tiny Korean place we went to is Vincent’s favorite yakiniku shop. The food is cheap and really delicious and it comes with lots of free small dishes. I really loved it.

Yakiniku

It was a nice evening too. We talked about literature and then back at Vincent’s place played French tarot cards. The game is very complicated but interesting, I lost every time, hehe.

Fujinomiya waterfalls and flowers

Fujinomiya waterfalls

A few weeks ago we drove to Fujinomiya to see its famous waterfalls and ice caves. It was a perfect autumn day with heavy sky and crisp air and fog in the mountains. I love this kind of days with an attitude. They make you feel in a certain way and tell you the story as you drive by the fields of cosmos flowers and pampas grass and cloudy mountains.

Susuki

I am an autumn girl so I tend to romanticize the mud on the road and cold rain and smell of old leaves, hehe. But its kind of cool to feel the change of season in the air, to feel cold again after so many days of hot humidity.

Waterfalls

So anyway, we went to see the waterfalls and they were really magnificent, crystal clear water and such a quiet valley, no people to spoil your photo. ^-^ After the falls we went to see ice caves which were really cold and slippery and very narrow. At one point I had to crawl to get further inside. It was scary especially because I was wearing rubber sole sneakers and could fall any second.

Begonia

Later we went to see the garden of autumn flowers, mainly cosmos, late roses, begonias and some purple flowers that looked like lavender but were something else. I love flowers  so my boyfriend takes me to the various gardens and parks all year round. ^-^

How I met Boris Akunin

Akunin, lecture

Boris Akunin is an “it” writer at the moment in Russia. His books have their own shelves in the book stores and many were made into the movies and tv series. He is writing in various genres but one of his main projects is a fictional 19th century detective story about Erast Fandorin – a lucky states counselor/detective who has unveiled many mysteries around the world and even challenged Sherlock Homes.^-^

The writer came to Tokyo to receive an honorary award for his contribution to the cultural exchange between Russia and Japan. He then gave a lecture at Tokyo university about Japan through the eyes of Russian people during the period of 150 years. It was really interesting not only because of the contents but also because of the language he used and his own personal experience that added colors to the story he was telling. He divided our perception of Japan into 4 distinct periods were it changed dramatically and simultaneously with the history and political situations of our countries. I really enjoyed it and if I find a transcript somewhere, Ill post the link.

Akunin and me

I was invited to his lecture by Numano Kyoko – one of his oldest friends and translators. Thanks to her I got the chance to get an autograph and take a picture with him. I also found out that a new Fandorin book is coming this December! Yay!

Surprise, surprise!

My cake

Every year I ask my friends not to throw me a birthday party and every year they completely disregard my wish. This time was no different! I was supposed to have lunch with Gow but instead I came to the restaurant, sat at my table for two, ordered drinks and then turned back to see all of my best friends sitting at another table and shouting “Surprise!” That was of course very sweet especially considering how some of them are very busy.

Sma-girls at my birthday

These are my 4 best girflfriends. We were all sma-girls once sitting next to each other and smiling to the camera. It’s funny how a shitty job like that can bring life-long friendships. Thank you Katori Shingo!

Girls and nasty boyfriends

We did the same for Gow’s birthday two weeks before my birthday. She was lurked into the restaurant by her friend Shelly who supposedly forgot to give something to a friend who was having dinner there. We all hid behind the counter and when they came in we jumped out and surprised her. It really worked because she knew about the fake party the next day and was totally shocked to see us all one day earlier. hehe

Birthday Gow

And then I was surprised again at NHK the other day. They also remembered about my birthday and gave me the beautiful autumn flowers. They probably got the idea that I have a thing for flowers after I stole the roses we used for the shooting. ^-^

NHK flowers

That’s me and Numano Kyoko – our mentor and a truly fascinating woman. She does so much for the exchange between Russia and Japan by numerous translations and lectures and literature and  educational publications.  She introduced me to Boris Akunin who came to Tokyo last week to receive an honorary award. Read next entry about that. ^-^

My **th Birthday! :)

Cake at the office
Yes, I hit the age at which it is officially impolite to reveal it. :) Luckily the more I age the more friends I get and they all made my birthday very special. I received bunch of messages but in a very bizarre sequence with my mom being almost the last one. :) Hehe, yes she is not on my top 10 fan list and nor is my boyfriend. :) My boss sent the last message and left French perfume on my desk! Yay! Surprisingly the very first message came from my friend in Second Life. She always remembers my real life birthday but never IMs me on my Second life rezday, hehe! :) And I received tons of presents too. And the best part is everyone who gave me a present chose something they knew I wanted. Do I talk too much about things I don’t have? Everyone has such a superb memory giving me something I mentioned long time ago.

Dress from Laura

Me and Laura at Kura

Laura gave me a beautiful pale pink dress for my TV show because I told her I have nothing to wear next shooting, Vincent gave me foi gras because I mentioned I wanted to eat it, my brother gave me a Vince coat and Juicy couture sneakers because I told him I had no comfortable shoes for autumn and let’s just say my boyfriend won’t be showing his face at Marc Jacobs store for the next year or so. :) Of course my mom was too busy to send me anything but she said I can use her credit card to buy me a present…Hmm, should I go for Frye Veronica boots or get upset and throw a tantrum? I might do both! :)
After work I came home and was surprised by a candle lit room with balloons and my boyfriend cooking me Russian dinner from scratch. He used Numao Kyoko’s recipe book and made a very nice beef stroganoff and mushroom satay. And I had NY triple chocolate cake with Macadamia nuts and cherry liqueur. My diet went down the drain but it was the best chocolate cake I have ever had!

NY chocolate cake
Thank you guys so much for everything! I love you all!!!