Category Archives: Beauty


In college, I learned that there are no original stories, or at least no original story lines. It’s all been written before, just garnished differently. Pretty Woman is Cinderella, ET is Jesus with the whole death/resurrection/ascension business. The sexy boots and flying bicycles aren’t fooling anyone. (Or are they? Both those movies did really well at box offices. Yeah, I was an English Lit major, big surprise.)

romeo and juliet

Example 1: Boy meets girl, everyone lives happily ever after…in fairy tales.

Example 2: Boy meets girl, boy turns out to be a douche canoe and girl finally leaves him after he destroys her physically and emotionally but she survives because women are super-heroines…in every Oprah-recommended book I’ve ever read.

Example 3: Boy meets girl, it takes some effort but they find a way to compromise so they don’t kill each other…if they’re lucky. This story hasn’t ended yet.

Example 4: Boy meets girl, girl wisely runs for the hills. It could happen. As a species, we’re still evolving. And that would be original. Also a very short book.

Coming from the (supposed) land where free thought and action are (supposedly) good things, I had always thought ‘original’ was a good thing. Anyone from Pittsburgh can tell you that the Original is THE place for hot dogs and fries.

The O

And there’s the Colonel’s original recipe fried chicken, an icon of American culture. (Did you know the Colonel came up with the recipe in 1940? I wonder if that was part of the war effort. Perhaps he planned to firebomb Tokyo with buckets of greasy bird and win the war by hardening everyone’s arteries.)

bucket of chicken

Unfortunately, the word ‘original’ has caught on here, with everyone scrambling to come up with something new and thereby attract more customers. (“No, you may NOT replace the tomato sauce on my pizza with mayonnaise!”) Wasabi in a tuna sandwich. (Ugh.) Tartar sauce on a cheeseburger. (Gag.) Cabbage in a chimichanga. (Choke.) Raw, fatty beef topped with uni, the buttery, orange-colored sex organs of sea urchins. (There isn’t a word for the sound this makes me make. I tried to include a picture. You can google it if you really want to know. I don’t recommend it. *HORK! There it is. That’s close enough. It’s the sound the cats make when they’re trying to bring up hairballs.)

So while we’re on the subject of hairballs and what constitutes ‘original’ and what constitutes ‘gross’, I put the question to you, gentle reader. Nyan Puffs¬† are original, for sure, but are they gross?

three puffs hobby frame

*Credit for that word goes to my BFF, Scratchy.

Only in Japan

One of Japan’s ever-so-clever solutions to never having enough space for things is the parking elevator. There are two more parking spaces UNDER this car, and this gizmo is the elevator control.


I sat on a bench today and watched a man drive his car out of the lowest of the three, then return to the gizmo and lower the top level back down to ground level. It was pretty cool.

Then the man got in his car and started to drive away.

He left his keys in the gizmo.

I thought about running after his car yelling and waving my arms, but then wondered how long it would take someone to call the police and report the lunatic foreign lady terrorizing the neighborhood.

Then I realized nobody would steal the keys anyway. What possible use would they be to someone who wasn’t renting one of those parking spaces?

The US is the only place I know of where theft is about taking stuff rather than needing stuff.

While I was lost in that reverie, I heard someone call, “Eda!” and looked up to see a woman in a lovely white silk kimono. It took me a minute to register Nakamura-san from the dojo. I’m used to seeing her in sweats.

When I passed by again an hour later, the keys were still there.

The balance between the expected and the unexpected is one of the things that give life its spice.