Picture
I am so missing Yakitori (BBQ Chicken) at Shinbashi in Tokyo all the time.  This week is Japan Week in New York.  To celebrate it, I went back to Yakitori Daisho, the best yakitori I have tried in the US.  I had some yakitori, yakibeef, Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki.  Drinking the Sapporo draft beer, eating the authentic yakitori, and listening the waitresses and chef yelling in japanese, I felt like I was in Japan. Hmmm, oishii!

The Next day, we have a friend meetup at Union Square, we can't help swinging there again to continue enjoy it! - don't be ridiculous!

 
Picture





Birthday Month Gift - illy espresso machine




Valentine's day Homemade Dinner

Picture
National and History Museum Birthday weekend eve

Picture







Two nights eve, homemade Japanese Beef Curry 


Birthday Eve, New York Best, Black Sesame Creme Brulee from Cha-An
Picture







1 of tons of Birthday Gifts from Jon's Mom -  A dress wearing in the opera



BIrthday AVOCE Dinner with @Hegranes




Opera Aida @ MET


Birthday Weekend Dinner hosted by Facio's

Picture
Main course - Pineapple Salmon - Delicious

Picture
Chipotle Chocolate Icecream
 
Picture
I started to like New York more and more since Danielle (@dmfazio) talked to me about a lot of interesting events and activities I should attend.  She told me that she made a lot of friends through @Meetup and @Urban girl squad etc.  She told me with excitement that there are so many interesting events in New York City I can go to, and get chances to meet new friends and to network, such as free Yoga, cupcake class, and running clubs.  When she talked to me about all sorts of activities, she even seemed to have some “clouds” over her head showing happiness and passion about this city.  I went to meetup.com when I got back home.  On my meetup calendar, one day there are at least 3 free events.  I am really interested in Yoga, so that I can show my high-level skills and easily to make friends there.  However, even on the same day, there are two free yoga classes, I feel if I want to attend several events I have to write down on my calendar otherwise the schedule will be easily conflicted. Now I am getting excited too, I start to feel I will never get bored in this city.  

I chose the closest Yoga class to our apartment, which is at the gym in an elementary school. It was the BEST Yoga I have ever had.  The instructor is Thai, I guess. Rather than ask us to follow her own flow, the instructor asked students what they want to focus on.  She customized the requests and came up with the poses.  Rather than demo the poses, the she explained them very detailed and pointed out each students' wrong poses.  When we were doing meditation, she told us some zen to meditate.  She told us this year is the Chinese Year of Water Dragon.  Dragon is the special powerful zodiac among the 12 zodiac animals because it doesn’t really exist.  But dragon’s body is combined by other part of different animals, such as it has fish skin, snake tail, chicken claw, and deer horn.   That normal parts of the other animals stitched together making dragon so powerful.  I am a Chinese, never thought and heard dragon this way though.   Moreover, she taught us: as human being, we also play different roles in our life, how to combine the different roles as friends, daughters, wife, and sisters, together and make ourselves powerful is the essence of Yoga.   I don’t know how much foreigners can understand what she said, but by twisting my body at that time, I felt super powerful.

Picture
Then @hegranes, the social Savvy sent me another surprise that @opentable_ny has the NYC restaurant weeks, from Jan 16 - Feb 10 (Mon-Fri), in which over 200 middle-high end restaurants in New York offer three-course lunch for $24, and three-course dinner for $35.  What a deal!  I can’t help asking my boyfriend to take me to the most expensive restaurants in New York, oh yeah, we don’t go to cheap one, we just go to the most expensive one, because they are only $35 for the dinner.  Can you believe it in NYC? So many people are complaining it to be rocky high expensive.  I love the deal so much.  We tried to book a table either in the attached bar at Jean George or Nobu next door on Friday, but it looked like all the smart New Yorkers already taken the seats there.  It turned out we booked a traditional French in a 1930’s building called Petrossian, on Friday night dinner.  I got Soup du Jour (mushroom soup), Oven Roasted Atlantic Cod (Butter Beans, Bacon Lardons, Sautéed Cabbage,
Romesco Sauce) and German Chocolate Brownie as dessert.  Such a nice restaurant and fabulous food.


Even though I am staying at home, getting moved in, and job hunting, I still feel as if my life is busy and jam-packed with excitement.  I can get a little bored, especially when living in the same city for a long time.  I told a lot of friends that I am a city girl, I am from a cosmopolitan city - Shanghai, I need one after another interesting and new things to keep me busy.  However, Manhattan shows me what the real typical signature cosmopolitan is.  I am so glad that I am a part of city, a part of a new New Yorker.  I also thought only this dynamic city has more opportunities and needs for a talent who has an “interesting” background (a term commonly used by recruiters when looking at my resume).

 
Picture
First 10 days living in Manhattan, and I totally feel it is deferent compared to just visiting the city.  I felt I have experienced what people have lived here for half year, as a half-year long citizen - @fazworks took us to taste the deep inside of New York, the premier places in NYC on his list.  In addition, finding an apartment took such a long and painful process for us, it seemed like forever.

Weather

We just felt so lucky last week that New York this year is not so cold.  My boyfriend is worrying about the heavy coat that he just got has not chance to be worn.  Last weekend, the weather showed its real face to us, lowest 19 in the morning, strong wind like old society, and snow - I start to miss OC and LA.

Picture
Living

On the second day of arrival, we were lucky enough to find a riverside place, which also is close to our friend.  The upper east side has unbeatable choices of restaurants, brunches, cafes and groceries.  The subway line 6 will take us to anywhere.  However, renting an apartment in Manhattan is such a painful thing.  We just came out of school, didn’t have income last year.  Although my boyfriend has a new job, it doesn’t count as a credit.  He needs to find maximum two guarantors whose incomes are more than 80 times of our rent, even though we have shown them our saving amount and are willing to pay several months up front.  The rent about one bedroom in the upper east side is about $2200, I don’t think even regular US citizen in our age can find guarantors, who are most likely their parents who are about retired. For me, a foreigner, it is impossible to get a rent here by this rule.  In addition, they need to send guarantee documents via Fedex to guarantors to sign and ask them to send Fedex back.  Going back and force, we finally got to sign the contract in a week.  Moreover, we used broker, we have to pay one month rent as his service fee, which is relatively cheaper than the second broker we saw the following day who charges us 15% of annual rent and asked us to pay $1000 cash for deposit.  Ridiculous! 

Now we are moving to the apartment, which is limited space and small closets.  Our friends recommend us that buy any furnitures which can store things that  we can go to container shop to hang on every doors to save the space, even don’t miss the wall and cupboard.   However, we also need to consider aesthetics, not too shabby.  My boyfriend and I are moving together, too many things already got thrown away, still we need to figure out the how to store our summer clothes and our dogs items.  Headache!

Picture
Shopping

Anything you can think of can be found in this dynamic city.  We start to buy some home items for our apartment, but figure out there are too many choices, randomly find something else interesting disrupting us.  I realize that we are two picky people with different ideas, so that it took longer time to make decisions.   In addition, there always are too many people shopping, checking out, can’t help thinking of the same thing happened in my own home town -Shanghai.  I made the conclusion: I hate shopping.

Customer Service

Also the customer service is so bad. 

@BestBuy customer services doesn’t waste more words necessary to explain to customer that returning goods needs ID and throw the receipt to me and leave, the manager said it is customer’s responsibility to read the receipt and referred to Victoria Secret also does so. What a logic!  My ID picture in my phone doesn’t count, I have to go back again.  

I went to China Town for some shrimp dumpling and noodles, the seating arrangement was horrible in that restaurant.  There is no first come first get policy, and the Cantonese waitress told me to share a table with two other strangers, otherwise I have to keep on waiting.  Horrible!

Picture
Eating

New York has the most delicious food in the States, which turns me to start to like NYC

I tried three random Chinese restaurants around our home, two (Lily’s noodle & Sushi bar and China Spice) of them are very authentic, which make me miss my hometown.  But I wonder why so many Chinese restaurants, which cook very well, always have sushi, a Japanese option? However China town is different-pure Chinese food - top level dimsum and Shanghai food in the States.   Never the less, I was confused when I should speak English or Chinese to communicate better there!!

I also tried Felice (Italian), Mercadito(Mexican), premium fried potato with 20 choices of sauce, Kobe Sushi (Japanese).  They all make me think New York people are so luck for the delicious food, on the other hand, dining out is about 30-50% more expensive than LA.  hmm, I decide to cook at home more and buy a cart to go to Chinatown to carry some cheap groceries back.

Run

Running is my life.  Upper east side has friendly neighbor that running in the evening is also very safe.  I see many runners running on the street.  My friends and my boyfriend have developed street running strategy that running through the walking lights, always keep on going, rather than go straight, we makes turn depending on the light, which makes few stops.  Our apartment is on the east end close to the river, also only 10 minutes running to the central park and metropolitan museum.  Our friends showed us several courses and said when we are familiar with the area,we can go anywhere in the park.  I never thought I can run the central park on daily bases, just like a dream to me.  I am really excited.  I think a lot of New Yorkers must have really healthy physical condition, (don’t mention psychological one), eating well, walking a lot among the blocks, and many runners and cycler. 

Fun

I love New York the craziness.  I saw pants-off metro ride.  I smelled people smoking pot on the street at east village.  I went to the Burp Castle, which is a quite bar that waitress will shush to customers to keep quiet. See the craziness of some beer drinkers at which is the oldest bar since world war and has tearing story about the wish bones and women fighting history to have the right to come to the brewery.


I have complicated feelings about this city, maybe it is the right answer - New York is complicated. I am hoping in the New Year, I can have steady income so that we can enjoy the good things more and win some respect from New York to make tough things go through easily.
 
The Movie is pretty intensive.  One clue links to the other, makes me think of curb your enthusiasm, every element the movie is connected, a brilliant movie. The movie is about two and half hours, but we spent one more hour to discuss the details trying to put the puzzle together and figure out what happen and why?  Maybe it is the best movie in 2011.  I ended up to watch it twice.
 
Picture
Nobu is not a simply restaurant, it is a luxury brand, it is an upscale experience, which most of people won’t have the opportunity to enjoy. 

On Christmas Eve, I got the chance to go to Nobu, Known as “Iron Chef” Masaharu Morimoto who used to be its executive chef.  Morimoto is a famous Japanese fusion chef. Based on traditional Japanese ingredients, he develops New York-style Japanese food, and Nobu continues to carry his fusion style.  That is why I - a Japanese food fan- have no idea about parts of the menu, and ask a lot of questions to the waiter.  Another word, majority people there, if they go to Nobu for the first time, they have no idea what they will get and present.  They just go there to experience the best “Japanese food” in Los Angeles.  The top reputation also comes with the high price. We ordered 3 glasses of champion, 4-5 small dishes, and 2 desserts, but were suggested by the smiling waiter to order more sushi dishes.  However, we normally eat less to reach the happy degree, but it costs us almost $300.  I will think on average, people will spend $200 per person here, and eat the food which they have no idea.  Why?  Just like me, many people want to experience the brand, luxury lifestyle, and upscale food.

Picture
The dishes had amazing and unique tastes.  They either use traditional ingredients with western source or with western cooking style.  The presentation is elegant, plate layouts even are designed into the details. The environment is gorgeous. The theme is white and red, and the lamps look like Silkworm cocoon - very stylish.  The service is flawless; they change customers dishes between every course.  And also, if you are lucky enough, you will have chance to see some celebrities dining there.  Those elements make me really feel that a high-end brand is established by integrating all kinds of details which establish amazing emotional value, including the restroom design.

I feel the night was amazing, the best Christmas Eve ever, because of 360 degree of  the astonishing experience, and I feel so happy and worthy of it. Maybe Nobu should be opened in Shanghai, I bet it will successful.  There are tons of people who would want to experience this world class luxury and upscale brand.

 
I feel the obvious brands in the movie " mission impossible" are BMW and Apple products, or maybe some Dubai, India and Moscow tourisms.  I really like the high tech is improved that it push to mission into even more impossible.  However the story is a little bit old fashion to prevent the nuclear bomb.

 
I am so happy to go to the Peet's coffee and see a new product called Godiva Caramel Pecan Mocha.  Interesting that every coffee brand is copy-cat of Starbuck, they have Pumpkin at fall and Peppermint or gingerbread at Christmas.  No difference when you walk into different brand coffee shop.  But the Peet's coffee's new product actually refreshes my mind.  if it didn't pass my coffee hour cut-off at 12:00pm, I will definitely like to try it.  Not because it has different taste, just because they are different to any other coffee
 
Do LA people actually calculate the Calories when they consume everyday? Then how much they should take depending on different activities.  Starbucks always puts the Calories number beside the coffee or snack items on the menu.  It makes some people choose regular coffee which as 5 calories and only $1.65, vs. their holiday luxury Caramel Brulee Latte, which is 445 calories and sold as more than twice price as much as regular coffee.  Do people in San Francisco never less concern about the healthy and not showing the calories on the menu. 
When I ordered the snack, I said give me the highest calories one- banana bread - 450 calories, maybe it could be one of the attributes for leading better revenue!?!?
 
I doubted whether I should see the movie - the new year eve, as the review is only 6%.  But I still went to it, as I thought it is a great holiday season and has a lot of movie stars.  It turns out it is the movie I like it very much.  It also has many brands positioning in the movies, such as Toshiba, TDK, philip and the Holmes 2 ads at the time square - great movie for a marketer to watch.