Sunday, April 27, 2008

Rice Doubled in Price

I've been hearing on the news over the last few months about the food crisis throughout the world, in particular rice, wheat and corn. Our family eats quite a bit of Thai Jasmine rice and the last time we bought a 25 pound bag of this rice (not the broken rice, this is the only image I could find) we paid about $15. Today we paid $30!! We have finally felt the bite of this food crisis - no pun intended, and although it was not unaffordable to the point where we would not buy it, it was certainly a shock.
It's no wonder people buy rice and hoard it. That's sort of what we did. We still have half a bag when we bought our new rice today. But we were in Chinatown, where it's less expensive and we thought we'd buy it since we were there. Makes me wonder what the price will be next month!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Japan Town Cherry Blossom Festival 2008

On Sunday our family took a trip to San Francisco for the annual Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival. I'd never been to the festival before, but really wanted to go this year since Japanese culture is also of interest to me. This was the first time Aidan rode on a bus! The only down side to the whole experience was the bitterly cold wind. The only place we found for the parade that was available was in the shade of a tall apartment building. We froze ourselves but it was worth it.

Aidan is a big Totoro fan, and his daddy bought him his first Totoro doll from the Kinokuniya bookstore in the Japan Town Plaza. Unlike the Kinokuniya bookstores in Bankok, this one is almost entirely all Japanese books, most popular being Manga with English.

Traditional Japanese dancers. I've always loved the patterns of their costumes.

Taiko drummers. There were several groups of Taiko Dojo drummers. I think of drumming as a masculine pursuit, but that has now changed. Most of the drummers I've seen live or on TV have been women and they are fantastic! Aidan loves the drumming, and who knows, he might take it up when he's older.

In my opinion, this was the highlight of the parade. The Cosplay group!!! Cosplay is short for Costume Play, and fans dress up like their favorite Manga characters. There is a HUGE following in this country, and there are many Cosplay conventions attended by these fans. One of the things I loved about going to this festival is seeing how many non-Asian people are into Japanese culture, Manga included. In this parade, overall, there were probably 1/3 of the participants who were not of Asian decent. Most of the fans in Cosplay are younger - teenagers up through early to mid 20s. What a cool thing to be into! :)

More Cosplay kids. Wish the picture could be clearer, but you get the idea. So fun!

Aidan's highlight was seeing Totoro on the float. The only missing character from the parade was Ultraman. Maybe next year?

Hanging out in the Peace Plaza after the parade, we saw this character. I don't know what this poor kitty's name is, but Aidan really loved playing with him.

While Golf went to get some change for the bus ride back, Aidan and I hung out with all the Cosplay kids. If I didn't have to keep such a close eye on him, I would have talked to some of these guys to find out more about them. Since I used to be into raving years ago, I have an appreciation for sub-cultures of young adults who might be considered freaky by society. Anyway, a little while later Aidan was more than thrilled to see that Totoro had arrived on the scene and he spent a long time playing with him. The person in the suit was fantastic about playing and the other folks nearby got a big kick out of Aidan giving big hugs and dancing with Totoro!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Pictures of Aidan at Fairyland

I took Aidan to a little toddler theme park in Downtown Oakland called Fairyland. It's been around for decades and it looks it, although the park is well maintained. The well-worn rides and fairy tale sets had a certain charm to them when they've been around for so long. The weather was fantastic - we've been going through a bit of a heat wave and it feels really good.

Sawatdee Pii Mai - Happy New Year for my Thailand readers out there. I know you scoff when you hear me speak of a heat wave in the Bay Area - our high temps for the day are a few degrees more than the coolest part of the day for you, just before sunrise. So try and stay comfortable and DRY. I would always load up on food, drinks and DVDs during Songkran. The water throwing got old after the first two years I was there. Anyway, here's my Baby. Gonna be three next month!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Maybe a trip to Thailand?

Not a whole lot going on lately. Been waking up between 5am and 6am to work on my eBook. Then I spend the morning and afternoon with Aidan. After he goes down for his nap by 3pm I write and research until 5. Then it's time to make dinner, then spend an hour or so hanging out then time to put Aidan to bed. Afterward, I write and research again til 10 or 10:30pm. Then repeat the next day.

Last Sunday I got hit with a terrible cold. Monday I was laid out with a fever, cough, sore throat and sinus problems. Today I'm only about 65% back to normal. What was so cute was I bought a box of tissues and Aidan kept pulling them out giving me one after another after another. He's so thoughtful and sweet (even if a little over the top!).

Well, as the subject line suggests, I'm hoping our family will be able to make a trip back to Thailand for a visit toward the end of the year. Golf's got some big jobs lined up and it might just be enough to comfortably get us our tickets for the trip. I sure hope so! I miss it, especially since writing my book and doing the voice talent for Speak Like a Thai. I know Golf misses it too and looks forward to seeing his family. They haven't seen Aidan since he was three months old. He's going to be 3 1/2 when they see him again!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Finally Writing It!

I've been quiet over the last few weeks because I've been working in a project I've put on hold for almost a year. I started writing guidebook for people who want to move to Bangkok and I decided to finish it and get it marketed. I'm even narrowing the niche and focusing on women expats.

More and more women are heading to Thailand to live as expats and there are topics that are not covered in other guides and huge topics that don't need to be explained like how to get a Thai girlfriend, for example. I've already got in mind some expansion ideas after this is released!

And it's funny, while doing this creative endeavor, I feel so in my element. I've always been a creative person, but I've put that on the back burner for some time, choosing to focus on more 'practical' considerations. Well, I you know what, I CAN consider creativity now! I enjoy what I'm doing and it doesn't feel like work and best of all, I might be able to make a some money from it.

I will likely partner up with Benjawan Poomsan, author of Thai for Beginners. Another update is that I just finished doing part of the voice talent for the fifth volume of her Speak Like a Thai series which is apparently selling very well. I've done voice talent for volumes 3-5, the fifth not published yet. Benjawan is a great mentor for the world of publishing success for this market.

So I'm putting my sales job on hold until I get this book finished and who knows after that? I like to keep the future open to possibilities.