Friday, February 27, 2009

I'm hella Japanese!!!! My mom sent this to me and I laughed my ass off at a few of these. Even if you're not born Japanese, you may be Japanese at heart. I know more than a few of you "hakujins" will pass the test. Enjoy!

You Know You're Japanese When...

1. You know that Camp doesn't mean a cabin in the woods.
2. The men in your family were gardeners, farmers, produce workers or plantation workers.
3. The women in your family were seamstresses, domestic workers or farm laborers.
4. Your Issei grandparents had an arranged marriage.
5. One of your relatives was a "picture bride."
6. You have Nisei relatives named Tak, Tad, George, Harry or Shig.
7. You have Nisei relatives named Keiko, Aiko, Sumi or Mary.
8. You're Sansei and your name is Janice, Glen, Brian, Bill or Kenji.
9. You're thinking of naming your Yonsei child, Brittany, Jenny, Lauren, Garett or Brett, with a Japanese middle name.
10. All of your cousins are having hapa kids.
11. You have relatives who live in Hawaii ..
12. You learned the words "bakatare," "urusai," and "yakamashii" because you were called them by your grandparents.
13. You belong to a Japanese credit union.
14. Wherever you live now, you always come home to the Obon festival.

15. The bushes in your front yard are trimmed into balls.
16. You have a kaki tree in the backyard.
17. You have at least one bag of sembei in the house at all times.
18. You have a Japanese doll in a glass case in your living room.
19. You have a maneki neko in your house for good luck.
20. You have large Japanese platters in your china cabinet.
21. You have the family mon and Japanese needlepoint on the wall.
22. You own a multicolored lime green polyester patchwork quilt.
23. Your grandma used to crochet all your blankets, potholders and dishtowels.
24. Wearing shoes in the house is a BIG NO NO.
25. When you visit other JAs, you give or receive a bag of fruits or vegetables.
26. When you visit other JAs, you know that you should bring omiyage.
27. When you leave a JA house, you take leftover food home on a paper plate or a Styrofoam meat tray.
28. You keep a supply of rubber bands, twist ties, butter and tofu containers in the kitchen.
29. You have an air pump thermos covered with lilacs.
30. You know that Pat Morita doesn't really speak like Mr. Miyagi.
31. You're mad because Kristi Yamaguchi should have gotten more commercial endorsements than Nancy Kerrigan.
32. You know someone who has run for the Nisei Queen Pageant.
33. When your back is sore, you use Tiger Balm or that flexi-stick with the rubber ball on the end that goes, "katonk," "katonk."
34. After funerals, you go for Chinameshi.
35. After giving koden, you get stamps in the mail.
36. You fight fiercely for the check after dinner.
37. You've hidden money in the pocket of the person who paid for dinner.
38. You don't need to read the instructions on the proper use of hashi.
39. You know NOT to stick the hashi in your rice.
40. You know that Benihana's isn' t real Japanese food.
41. Sushi and Sashimi is NOT the same thing.

42. You eat soba on New Year's Eve.
43. You start off the New Year with a bowl of ozoni for good luck and the mochi sticks to the roof of your mouth.

44. You put mochi around the house during New Year's.
45. You know NOT to eat the tangerine on the top of the mochi.
46. You have a 12-pack of mochi in your freezer that you still refuse to throw away in July.
47. You pack bento for road trips.
48. Your grandma made the best sushi in town.
49. You cut all your carrots and hot dogs at an angle.
50. You know the virtues of SPAM.

51. You were eating Chinese chicken salad, years before everyone else.
52. You know what it means to eat "footballs."
53. You grew up eating ambrosia, wontons and finger Jell-O at family potlucks.
54. You always use Best Foods mayonnaise and like to mix it with shoyu to dip broccoli.
55. You use the "finger method" to measure the water for your rice cooker.
56. You grew up on rice: bacon fried rice, chili rice, curry rice or red rice.
57. You like to eat rice with your spaghetti.
58. You can't start eating until you have a bowl of rice.
59. You use plastic Cool Whip containers to hold day-old rice.
60. You like to eat your rice in a chawan, not on a plate.

61. You own a 5-cup AND 10-cup rice cooker.
62. Along with salt and pepper, you have a shoyu dispenser at your table.
63. You have a jar of takuan in your fridge.
64. You buy rice 20 pounds at a time and shoyu a gallon at a time.
65. Natto: you either love it or hate it.
66. As a kid, you used to eat Botan rice candy.
67. You ask for things like arare, hashi and have to re-ask using "mochi crunch," "chopsticks," etc.
68. You know the story of Momotaro.
69. You have a pet named Chibi or Shiro.
70. Someone you know owns an Akita or Shiba dog.
71. You went to J-school and your best subject was recess.
72. At school, you had those Hello Kitty pencil boxes and sweet smelling erasers.

73. When you're sick, you eat okayu.
74. Saimin is your Chicken Noodle Soup on those cold rainy days.
75. Milk makes you queasy and alcohol turns your face red.
76. Your dad owns a "Members Only" jacket.
77. Someone you know drives an Acura Integra, Honda Accord or Toyota Camry.
78. You used to own one of those miniature zori keychains

79. You have a kaeru frog or good luck charm hanging in your car.
80. Your parents compare you to their friends' kids.
81. You hang on to the illusion that you are superior to other Asians.
82. Your dentist, doctor and optometrist are Japanese American.
83. You socialize with groups of eight or more people.
84. Whenever you're with more than three people, it takes an hour to decide where to eat.
85. You and your friends call yourselves "Buddaheads," but don't like it when white people do.
86. You've heard your name pronounced a half-dozen different ways.
87. You know that E.O. 9066 isn't a zip code.
88. You know what days March 3 and May 5 is.
89. You're not superstitious but you believe in bachi.
90. You never take the last piece of food on a plate, but will cut it into smaller pieces.
91. As much as you want it, you never ever take the last of anything.

92. You treat an at bat by Travis Ishikawa like he's Barry Bonds. You drop everything and scream your head off if he gets a hit. You also probably reminded your friends sitting by you that he's Japanese.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bottleshock. It's not "Sideways" but then again, it's not supposed to be.

Sideways was a great movie but it did something to my life that I will never be able to forgive. Wine enthusiasts will read this, grin, and nod their heads. Pre-Sideways, I found a great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay producer in Santa Barbara. Now, this winery was not small by any means but it wasn't a household name either. Back then, I could walk into Safeway and purchase a bottle of Sanford Pinot for just over $15. Wine enthusiasts, you may now grin and nod your heads. Fortunately for Sanford and unfortunately for its long time customers, Sanford was featured in Sideways. Anyone want to speak up and comment the price of a bottle of Sanford Pinot today?

Whoa, usually I digress in the middle of my posts but this time I did it in the lead. Sorry bout that one. Anyway, on to Bottleshock. While wine has been mass produced in California for well over a century, it wasn't until just over 30 years ago that Napa and Sonoma wines truly gained world wide notoriety. Though a love story was added to the story, Bottleshock is based on actual people and actual events that took place in 1976. Centered on Bo and Jim Barrett, the owners of Chateau Montelena, Bottleshock tells the story of how a California chardonnay took first prize in a blind tasting that has now come to be known as the, "Judgment of Paris." Until the 76 tasting, France was undisputedly known as the greatest wine growing region in the world. France's soil (terroir), growing conditions, and expertise were unrivaled until Steven Spurrier decided to feature California wines in a blind tasting that he had organized. But he did not do this out of his desire to see California wines win at his tasting. He came to California in efforts to prove to himself that France was the only region in the world capable of growing gold medal wines. He would soon discover that he was wrong and that he had been missing out on a host of world class wines from.

The opening shot of Bottleshock made me grin. The movie opens on a wide angle helicopter shot of the Napa Valley. We sail over its lush rolling hills flying through a countless number of micro-climates that have now become known as some of the world's best Appellations (Stag's Leap, Rutherford, Oakville, etc). Watching Bottleshock made me further appreciate being a Northern California native. Something that we Bay Area natives seldom think about is how lucky we are to live here. Northern California is one of the best places to live in the world. We are no more than a car ride from any climate that we desire. If we want to ski or hit the craps tables, we simply drive three hours east. If we want to surf or bask in warm sunlight on some of the best beaches in North America, we drive five hours south. If we want to drink some of the world's finest wines, we drive forty minutes north east to Napa or Sonoma.

Bottleshock is a movie that wine enthusiasts will be able to watch over and over. So if you find yourself wanting to stay in and watch a movie for the night, rent Bottleshock, open a nice bottle of wine, and curl up on the couch. It'll make you appreciate the world famous valley that's practically in your backyard and it'll make every sip of your wine that much better.


Friday, February 06, 2009

Evo vs. STi. It's the Japanese equivalent of the rivalry between the Camero and the Mustang. The Camero, the Mustang, the quintessential American muscle cars. The Stang and the Mero are stuffed to the hilt with horsepower, they're louder than a rock concert, and they're extremely fast. But here's the thing. I've pushed carts around a supermarket that handle better. So, if driving very fast in a straight line on the freeway is your idea of "running" your car, the over weight over powered American cars are for you.

But if you're looking for the complete performance package, turn to the EVO or the STi and for just over $40,000 you'll be able to out accelerate American muscle and out corner a Ferrari all while having enough room to seat five comfortably and enough trunk space to do all of your weekend shopping at the same time!

Unfortunately, due to stringent smog regs in the US, they've only been in the states for a couple of years. But they're here now. And now Americans get to participate in the battle between the EVO and the STi. One of the greatest automotive rivalries in the history of motorized vehicles. Watch this and make your decision. I've always been an EVO guy myself.