Yarn Shop Review: Kitschy Stitch

It’s spring break!

My roommate and I took a mini vacay in Rehoboth Beach, DE this weekend. Despite the chill and the rain, we still had a pretty fantastic weekend.

While wandering around the cute beach town we drove past a yarn shop called Kitschy Stitch (blog). The woman who worked there was incredibly nice and helpful and I’m pretty sure I’m going to grow up to be like her. We totally bonded over our international yarn shop travels and love of knitting. :)

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IMG_3342 The shop completely fits the small town, small business vibe of Rehoboth, which is everything I love. It has a wonderful selection of yarn. So. Much. Noro. I love Noro.

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I am still working on knitting up all that yarn I bought in Hong Kong this summer so I decided to go for a drop spindle and some un-dyed roving. I’ve never spun my own yarn before and I’m hoping try it out over the rest of my spring break. I’ll be sure to keep my reader updated with the progress. I think I’m going to make a video haha.

IMG_3351Happy spring guys! It’s finally sunny and I hope it stays this way for a while.

 

Somewhere Between

As if being Asian American isn’t enough of an identity crisis, how about add the fact that you’re adopted?

Last weekend I spontaneously watched this documentary Somewhere Between that I found on Netflix. It follows the stories of four Chinese girls who were adopted by American parents. They all lead very different lives, yet they all find commonalities in their stories.

Being a product of two cultures myself, I sometimes find it hard to find where I “belong.” Sometimes I catch myself wondering how I am so comfortable around my predominantly white friends yet so proud of my Asian heritage. And then I wonder why I don’t have many Asian friends despite my gravitation towards studying and learning and embracing all types of Asian culture.

There is a theory out there about Asian American identity that says that during childhood, one day the kid realizes that she or he not white. They go through a period of “whitewashing” which is followed by a period of extreme Asian-ness (I made up that term myself). Eventually, they find balance and acceptance of their race. This happens to kids who are raised in an Asian household and so far, it’s been true for me. I think I’m between the Asian-ness and acceptance phase.

Now what about the case that the child is adopted? I could only imagine that the realization that you are “different” aka not white is more confusing and troublesome. So what makes someone “Asian” besides their race? Because clearly when you are raised by non-Asian parents and grow up as the only ethnic Asian in your small suburban town, genetic makeup is the only thing that constitutes the label. This documentary explores some of these questions.

Of the cast, I was especially inspired by Fang (Jenni). Despite being an adoptee she is still fluent in both Chinese and English. It’s times like these when I look back at my own childhood and wish that I kept up my Vietnamese studies. Fang goes back to China every year to help at orphanages and the documentary depicts a particularly touching relationship between her and a young Chinese girl with cerebral palsy. All the while, she is looking for the family/ethnic group that left her to be taken into an orphanage.

I think that this documentary goes to show that  it’s never too late to reconnect with the culture you were born into. Reading the bios of the cast on the website, I see many of them have started learning Chinese and traveling to China in their college years. I think it’s important to understand where you come from. It helps you understand your family history and yourself.

I could go on and on about these topics, but I’ll stop here.

Documentaries are starting to become my film genre of choice. I highly recommend this one. It’s available on Netflix and if you check out the website, there may be a screening near you.

The next documentary I plan to watch is Seeking Asian Female. Watch out for a little review of that as well!

Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)

Source: Google Images

Yesterday, I watched this amazing documentary and it left me deeply impressed and craving for some raw fish!

Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a documentary directed by David Gelb and is focused on the 85 year old, world renown sushi chef and restaurant owner Jiro Ono. It’s completely in Japanese with English subtitles.

To be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure what this movie was about. All I knew is that sushi is one of my favorite foods, I find Japanese culture very interesting, and that Tokyo, Japan is on my lists of places I need to visit at least once in my life.

I think I was expecting some sort of biographical pictorial, and in a way this documentary was a biography, but it was also so much more. Some parts of it focus on Jiro’s journey to what he has become, including aspects of his childhood and a heartwarming and cute scene of a reunion of him with his childhood friends. In today’s fast-paced and transient society, it’s hard to form bonds as strong as those between neighborhood friends of 80 years ago. I know even my grandparents make efforts to reconnect with their childhood friends but for me, I barely remember the names of my Kindergarten classmates.

Another focus was on Jiro’s two sons, the older one who is to inherit the restaurant and he younger one who has opened a lower-class mirror of his father’s restaurant. The interaction between the family members and the relationship between father and sons really says something about the family system and structure of Japanese society.

Lastly and what I was looking forward to the most in the documentary was the emphasis on the creation and artistry behind making and serving sushi. Jiro is definitely one of a kind in his skill, expertise, and dedication to the trade. It’s almost like a science to him, as he follows a strict routine to both his life and sushi making. He will not serve anything that does not satisfy his expectations and pays close attention to every detail of the process, even down to the size of the sushi piece in relation to the customer who is being served. His attention to detail was very inspiring!

The documentary’s highest point was its cinematography. Each image was breathtaking and mouthwatering. And I was a huge fan of its romantic/classical music  soundtrack. There’s not really any way to explain the images in words so here are a few moving gifs to help explain my point.

Source: Tumblr

Doesn’t it make you want to eat sushi? I need to get to Masamoto’s ASAP. Masamoto’s is my favorite sushi restaurant near my house. Never mind that, someone fly me to Japan!

Overall, this was an amazing documentary. I cannot say it enough. If you are at all interested in food or Japan, I really recommend it. And maybe if you’re looking for something inspiring to help you find your motivation to reach your goals, this will help too. And what’s even greater is that it’s available for Netflix subscribers. A free, great movie – a must watch!

I guess you could say it was pretty fun… hehe

Sorry, I just had to make that the title.

When it was announced that fun., the band behind hits We Are Young and Some Nights were coming to UD, I was determined to go. It’s not often that a famous and good musician venture to the forgotten state of Delaware. It will not go unsaid that I was not happy with the musical acts that held concerts at UD last year.

On the morning the tickets went on sale, a couple of friends and I woke up before the crack of dawn and found ourselves behind over 100 people already waiting in line for a chance to see the band play at our own convention center. I skipped a class for these tickets. I’d been in college for over a year and that was the first time I skipped a class. This was the real deal.

At last November 5th came! It only made it better that marching band rehearsal was cancelled so we had no worries about rushing around and getting from here to there. And sure, it was a little cold walking for 20 minutes to the venue but it was worth it.

One thing I love about going to concerts is that it forces you to listen to music without distractions. Sometimes it is only after seeing a band play a show that you can really get into their music. And sometimes it’s just the fact that those bands were meant to play live and not be listened to on a recording. Going to concerts is a great way to discover new music and bands.

The openers were Miniature Tigers and Walk The Moon. I thought I had never heard of either of these bands before seeing them, but I did hear good things about them from people whose music opinions I trust. But when Walk The Moon played Anna Sun I definitely recognized the song from hearing it before. I was really impressed by their presence. It was a little difficult to get the crowd going because most of them were just there to see fun. but they did an incredible job. I will definitely be giving these bands another listen.

The time in-between acts was a little lengthy and actually made each act , especially fun. seem too short. About an hour and a half after the first opener, fun. finally took stage. While I am not a huge fan, I am familiar with their music. It’s safe to say that I at least recognized every song that they played and knew at least the chorus.

So apparently, this was fun.’s first time in Delaware and the biggest show that they’ve played. I was surprised at the latter fact. I thought a band with such huge radio hits would have played bigger shows than a college in an unknown state. But we had that in common: that was the biggest concert I’d been to, too! It had all the works: laser lights, fog machine, and confetti. Every other concert that I’ve been to as been either at a bar/club setting or an outdoor setting.

So maybe this is something common for larger venues but I did not feel the same connection between artists and audience that I feel at smaller, intimate venues. There wasn’t a lot of conversation happening. It was just song after song after song and they stopped only once or twice to talk to the audience a bit and tell some stories. Maybe I’m used to the storytelling of The Click Five and Jesse Ruben but I wish there was a little more of that personal interaction happening with fun.

With that being said, their lack of conversation did not take away from their musical ability and performance. Nate Ruess has a stellar voice that did not fail that night. It’s not common today to see “musicians” being able to live up to recordings. Actually, I want to say that I enjoyed fun. much more live than whenever I listen to recordings. There’s just something extra about the sound quality. I love that fun. incorporates horn and string instruments in their music and I was surprised that their pianist Andrew Dost also plays the trumpet. Then again, we learned in one of the few conversations that Andrew wrote a musical in college, so maybe it wasn’t so surprising. After watching them play some of my favorite songs live (mainly The Gambler and All Alone) I really want to learn a few fun. covers on the piano.

My favorite part part of live concerts is when the crowd sings along. There is just something awe-inspiring about it. In this case, 1000s of people sang in unison during a few of their songs. There was a really amazing moment during We Are Young when half of the audience did the “na-nas” and the other half sang the “carry me home tonight” part. It was like a 5000-person choir.

The show ended after 2 hours of non-stop music. It was really sad to see a good portion of the audience leave before the encore performance. Really, have people never been to concerts before? I would be personally offended if I was the performer and noticed that a bunch of people left before the show officially ended.

All in all, this concert was an amazing experience. Concerts are definitely my entertainment medium of choice. If I could go to one every week I would! If only Kyle Patrick would come back from Asia and do some US East Coast shows…