Saturday, August 13, 2016

Ginza 2016 Day 1

Today was such a good Ginza day. I washed rice and steamed rice, sold corn and shucked corn and grilled corn, scraped out chicken grease and caramelized teriyaki sugar from a giant wok, and rode the chicken juice cart to the dumpster. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

We are Maamiff

Melodie and I recently discovered that we are a pair of Instagram cats called Maamiff. I am Brown Cat (Michan) and she is White Cat (Fuchan).

One of our many favorite ways to correspond is via cat captions. It's like a constant game of "caption this" which turns out to be incredibly easy when you speak Cat. Here are some of my recent favorites. Sometimes their captions are also very fitting as well.

This one was particularly delightful to me since I actually did have a stye when they posted this one. 

And also like me and Melodie, Brown Cat and White Cat are always together, and Brown Cat seeks out more attention. They also have excellent taste in food.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Who's the one that loves to play?

(Hi Tiana)

I just love the movie Inside Out. I've watched it 3 times in its entirety, and parts of it several other times between falling asleep on planes.

I cry every time -- every time when Bing Bong realizes that Riley doesn't need him anymore, when Bing Bong sacrifices himself, when Sadness helps Bing Bong feel better unknowingly, when Joy realizes the purpose of Sadness, when all of Riley's islands crumble beneath her, and when they all rebuild and her memories come back as more multi-colored and complex.

I cry when I feel like I'm 11 years old, learning about the world and being forced to change. I want my islands to stay the same forever and for Bing Bong to fly me to the moon on his song-powered rainbow wagon.

But I guess if Disney wanted me to learn a lesson, it's this -- that we can grow more islands without losing the original ones, that more colors are good colors, and that Bing Bong's always got your back.

Who's your friend who likes to play?
Bing Bong, Bing Bong
His rocket makes you yell "Hooray!"
Bing Bong, Bing Bong
Who's the best in every way, and wants to sing this song to say
Bing Bong, Bing Bong!

Also, that it's OK to cry.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Fourth of July 2016

This past weekend was one of the most weekend-y weekends I've had in a long time. A bunch of Mark's friends came into town, coupled with a nice string of other events, and it turned out to the loveliest of lovely weekends.

On Friday, Tyler's band, Tyler Imbrey and the Ghost Review, played the opening set at House of Blues. They were really good! I see their inspiration as Counting Crows x Dave Matthews Band, though I haven't confirmed that with the actual members. The best part to me was how much fun they were having -- they were clearly loving their own pieces and the stage time. It's fun to watch other people have fun.

Saturday morning, I had another morning swim date with Glen. We went to the Ping Tom pool, and by the time we got there and got checked in there were only 20 minutes of lap swim time left but we crammed in a few laps so it was worth it. Then we went to Spoke & Bird for a nice outdoor cafe brunch. I'm waiting for the rest of the South Loop to catch up to its cuteness.

Then Melodie had people over to grill, and we did our usual of a feast fit for 20 people for a party of...less than 20 people. We had pork ribs, chicken wings, pork bratwurst, portobello mushrooms, purple onions, slaw, pea mash a la Melodie, watermelon, berries, and strawberry rhubarb pie by Rachel. We are good at winning summer.

After that, Rachel and I headed to meet Tiana at Summer Dance where they were teaching Two Step. It's the easiest dance in the world, and the sun and slow instructions made it kind of boring, so...

Cut to Magic Berry tasting! We've been talking about eating magic berries to see the difference it makes in the taste of stuff for over 2 years, so we finally got the berries to try it. It makes everything sour taste sweet, so we tasted lemons and limes and oranges and watermelon and cheese and apple cider vinegar and berries...I think I ate 4 lemons. They tasted like candy.

I thought about a nap, but then I remembered a greater mission we had for the Fourth weekend -- to write our hit summer single Summer Flame, a song about finding your summer love by the grill. Rachel and I scrubbed up a few lyrics we'd started earlier in the week and had a not-so-bad-if-i-say-so-myself song in about 2 hours. She plays the guitar, I play the lentil jar, and we both sing. Here are the lyrics:

Summer Flame <-- click to play
by Rachel and Alexa

Verse 1
Ooh girl, when I saw you by the grill
I got a summer chill
watchin' you as I flip burgers

Ooh girl, I'll have to take a pill
to cool this summer grill
My corn cob's on the burner

Hey bae, you're my summer flame
and I don't want this light to go out
May-bay, you make me go insane
you've sparked the match of love, no doubt
Cray cray, you've got my head all dizzy
making me turn cirlces on the ro-ti-sserie
You --- my summer flame

Verse 2
Ooh girl, I saw you from afar
Checkin' out my burger char
and you got out of the pool

Ooh girl, you walked up to the bar
super smokin' hot you are
Like hot peppers, make me drool

Hey bae, you're my summer flame
and I don't want this light to go out
May-bay, you make me go insane
you've sparked the match of love, no doubt
Cray cray, you've got my head all dizzy
making me turn cirlces on the ro-ti-sserie
You --- my summer flame

And the rest of the weekend after that doesn't even matter. Happy Fourth of July, everyone!

Monday, February 1, 2016

2015: A very delayed Year in Review

2015 was the Year of Taiko, the Year of Mark, and the Year of Change. I have a wide range of feelings on the year, but I know it's a year I won't want to forget it. So I better at least make a list, 12 months+ later.

For New Year's Eve, I basically threw a party for my friend's friend's friends and parents on accident. There was a gingerbread house that no one wanted to decorate and kept falling apart, and then midnight happened and I was upset like a small child. But it all ended well when I burned the gingerbread house a few days later. 

It's fun to fill February with too many occasions: anniversaries, birthdays, Valentine's Day, and President's Day which nobody celebrates. My favorite February moment was when cherry blossoms came knocking on my door with a Mark. He gave them to me because I told him I wanted to go to Japan for cherry blossom season, but I wasn't sure if it would happen. So I had cherry blossom season in February in my living room. Insert lots of starry-eyed emoticons here.

In March, I left for a long trip to Asia for work that brought me to Japan right in the heart of sakura season. The cherry blossoms were a sign! Walking through Shinjuku Park full of cherry blossoms and silly picture-takers was possibly one of the most wonderful moments of my life. I remember whispering to myself, "This is why I'm here..." And my little friends agreed.

I visited Nagoya for the first time where I sampled all of the local specialties: kishimen, miso oden, azuki toast, hitsumabushi, and my favorite -- tebasaki! Every time I told one of my Japanese colleagues that I loved Sekai No Yamachan to eat tebasaki, they laughed really hard. I think it's like telling an American that you just love KFC. But they're just so crispy and good.

Here I am with the shachihoko, watchman of Nagoya.

I also went to my first cat cafe, which kind of felt like a cat brothel. They were bored and over-loved. Luckily, the trip in November gave me a better experience.

I tried going to see the Toyota factory but failed. I was 5 minutes late. Japanese people. I did get to see the exhibit center and some robots and cars there, which was pretty cool.

I had a bajillion course meal at Atsuta Horaiken which was absolutely amazing. Every course was basically an entire I ate everything of every course, of course. I don't know if I'd be able to make it to that restaurant on my own, so I will treasure this memory dearly.

And speaking of expensive food I might not have again, here's a delicious sushi dinner. That uni is from Hokkaido and completely unlike anything I've ever tasted anywhere. So fresh! I want to go to Hokkaido.

My favorite night in Nagoya was when I went to a local Okinawan izakaya that a friend recommended called Urizun. It was pretty close to the train station where I was working, and I just went after working. I sat down and took a really long time deciphering the menu and flipping through pictures, then I just decided to ask my neighbors what they were having. They were having some of the Okinawa soba which like ramen, umibudo, and "nomi hondai" or all-you-can-drink. We had a good time speaking choppy English and Japanese back and forth, and at one point we got the whole bar to cheer with us. Eri and Keita, that was a fun night.  I'd like to see you again.

I visited Osaka for less than 1 day and had the most delicious bowl of curry udon ever. It was SO hot and rich and delicious. That was definitely worth burning my tongue.

My last day in Japan, I got to go out to dinner with my Japan team where I kind of confessed my love for them. I meant it though when I said that all of my friends know them by name and they make me proud to work for our company. And then there was some scary monster that came out every so often to hang out with the diners. I'm still not sure the whole story behind him.

I ended up adding a leg of the trip to go to Taiwan. I got to participate in focus groups, which was a new and fun experience for me. It also was a funny experience to go between Japanese, Chinese, and English to get it done. I think I'd be a good moderator.

The trip was last minute, but I ended up seeing a good number of people there by chance. Donald and Hubert from my Austin life were there the same night, leaving the next day. We had an all you can eat hot pot for about $10 each. We were stuffed.

I also got to see Gan Ba and Gan Ma, Xiao Yu and Scott and Tang Yuan to-be. We had Taiwanese breakfast, went to the post office, stopped by the market, and then looked at photos and ate fruit back at their place. I think the most surprising thing was how delicious that fan tuan was. So good.

Last stop was Korea for the first time. I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting, but it didn't quite meet my expectations. I think I expected it to be more hustle and bustle like Tokyo, but instead I got big wide streets with lots and lots of traffic. Lots of traffic. I spent most of my time being toted around in car and I fell asleep a lot. When the toting was done though, I did get to enjoy a very nice meal that delighted me with many tiny things, including this tiny mousse of salmon and ikura. Like a tiny crunchy and creamy bite of the ocean!

And then I finally got to go home.

In May, Mark and I rode the Hogwart Express aka Amtrak to St. Louis for a 3rd grade friends grown up reunion. We hung out with Rachel and her girls Sydney and Sabrina, and Sam and Susan came from Austin also. There was a lot of chasing the girls around (exhausting) and home hanging out. The gem of the trip is this photo where we reenacted my 3rd grade birthday party.

Then Joy came to visit! We went to our favorite Cellar Door Provisions.

Melodie is engaged officially. 2 days later, I figure out this means I'll have to move. Mom showed us her nostrils in excitement.

We went home to Texas to visit the family and eat a lot of food.

This year, we shifted our annual Rachel visit to July and did non-Lollapalooza activities. With Rachel's influence to not-be lazy, we packed our 3 days together full of fun activities. There was a lot of walking and 30 Rock, which proves that you can do a lot out of the house and still manage to watch a lot of TV.

I have a confession. I skipped taiko practice. Instead, I went to the Taylor Swift concert for free, and it was awesome. Melodie was right when she said I need to have my priorities straight.

The concert was awesome, and I only cried a couple times throughout the night. Whatever genius thought of programming a thousand light-up bracelets to sync up with the music and your seating area -- I'm convinced you've changed stadium concerts forever. I ended up watching the concert by myself when all of my coworkers bailed, but I had a fantastic time singing with my 60,000 BFFS and Taylor. We just get each other.

In August, I played taiko. We had a show just about every weekend -- exhausting but my summer is full of memories. Melodie's birthday weekend, we played a collaboration with a fine arts collective called MOZAWA. Taiko only had a small role in the show, and it was more experimental than I usually prefer, but in the end it grew on me. I still wouldn't have wanted to watch it as a spectator (Sorry, Mark).

Ginza is one of my favorite events of the year. Leading up to this Ginza, I volunteered to help the temple straighten out and organize some of their inventory and purchasing processes. I don't think there were a lot of big changes this year, but possibly there were some shifts to be more detailed. Either way, I'm glad I got to know the temple members better and work with them more closely. It's interesting that almost everything I do in my life right now is somewhat grassroots and in an attempt to put some changes in effect in a system that's been working off of tradition only. All of that is to say, I volunteered because I really love the community at the temple and what they do for Ho Etsu and also for me personally. I just really look up to a lot of them. Here is where I'd gush about Kiku, but I'll just leave it at that.

As far as performances for Ginza, we debuted our new original piece called Rotations that we played together with MBT Taiko. It was a ton of fun because we'd learned it together just the 2 weeks before, and we got so excited that we played it at turbo speed. But we survived and everyone was happy. Mark's brother Tim happened to come to visit him during Ginza weekend again, so he was delighted yet again with more Ginza and more Ho Etsu. Don't worry, Tim -- I put it on Mark's calendar so he knows to warn you next time.

At the end of Ginza weekend, I stayed late to help clean up. It's incredible that the temple has been putting on this festival for more than 60 years completely by volunteers. Why? Because they want to continue the tradition and spread joy. And the smell of teriyaki chicken grilling on homemade grills.

The first weekend of September, Mark and I went to Denver to attend one of his best friend's weddings. We went a couple days early to do some exploring and hang out together and with Tyler and Amber's families. Their families seemed actually close which I found to be interesting. What was even stranger was when we all sat around and joked around someone's uncle who had enjoyed Denver's specialties a lot during his stay.

My favorite part of the wedding was dancing -- both dancing with Mark and watching Mark dance with Tyler's mom. She was so happy.

The following weekends were taiko, taiko, and more taiko, in preparation for our big concert ROTATIONS. There were also some weekends of pointless postering which I'm sure led to 0 ticket sales. We won't be doing that again.

Finally on October 3-4, our year long vision of ROTATIONS came to life. We first started talking about ROTATIONS in February of 2014, 18 months before our actual concert date. I volunteered to lead the project management of our concert which I lamented on and off over the 18 months. I remember telling Mark the first week that I met him that I needed to step up and volunteer to manage the project. Funnily enough, it was in the top level of a really gross club called Castle which was closed by the time our concert happened. Anyways, by concert weekend, what was done was done and everyone was really happy -- I was relieved.

Our concert started with Traveler, which begins with Tiana and me playing clave back and forth and walking towards the center of the stage. I was so charged with emotions -- happy, excited, nervous -- I started tearing up as soon as we started walking out. We'd been working on it for so long and this was it! People were in the audience! Some people we don't even know how they found out! Then I focused back in and played the concert.

Concert weekend was good. Everyone got along, no major major mishaps, the music was well-received, parents came to both nights, my friends and coworker friends came, On Ensemble was amazingly cool, we had good food, we had silly moments, we toasted our achievements...and then it was over. We had dinner after our last show, and we spent a good 30 minutes at least standing outside because no one wanted to go home. How could the concert be over after so much preparation?  The only thing I kept thinking over and over again was, "We did it!" We presented a great concert, composed and learned original pieces, brought together our group with an awesome world music taiko quartet, promoted the concert enough so that even strangers came, and all of it without hating each other.

Finally, we went home and then nobody wanted to see each other for the next 3 months.

As soon as concert season ended, it was straight into high work mode. I was excited about practice times being open, but I filled them with work things instead. I'm adding this to "lessons learned" in 2016, to be more protective of my personal time.

But, I do get to go to a lot of cool places where I've met a lot of cool people for work. I went to Taiwan, Korea, and then Japan this time. Highlights:

This trip was in preparation for the new Shop opening in December. I finally got to meet people I'd been talking to for a few months on the project, and the Chinglish game in Taiwan is pretty strong. By the end of the trip, we got into a pretty good rhythm of them speaking Chinese to me and me speaking English to them. It's the most efficient and comfortable communication for everyone.

I spent a lot of time doing computer work during this trip, and I wish I had spent more time exploring, whether it was for personal or work. I did go on a couple adventures though, one of them was a quick hike up Elephant Trail which is just next to Taipei 101. On the way up, I met an older couple taking photos and I offered to help them take a picture. They heard my ABC accent, and soon we were buddies because they used to live in Lombard and moved to LA to be warmer. They would be in Taiwan for 2 weeks. We took some photos together.

I also got to see my godparents which was fun. I know they love me because they walked around and let me choose soup for every course - appetizer, main, and dessert. They showed me lots of photos of Tang Yuan who is a real boy now.

One day, my Korean colleagues and friends will find this blog and know my secret: I don't like Korea that much. Granted, my experience is limited but it just hasn't been that great.  My associations are mainly of unending traffic and more traffic. Plus, I haven't been to North Korea and maybe it's really great there.

I made the mistake of saying that I really enjoy kimbap, and then my coworker kept buying me kimbap to eat. Once he even bought me a kimbap with American cheese into it -- luckily I had just bought myself food so I didn't have to explain cheddar hump to him. There's no way he would have ever understood.

I got to observe focus groups while I was there, which was pretty fun (minus the sweltering room). Focus groups are very interesting because sometimes what they say is totally expected, and then other times they bring up things you've never thought of. My biggest cultural takeaway was the discussion around what "nosh" or "kansig" means as a category. Apparently this is different than snack and different than meal, but also a very distinct category. But not really. But kind of. Well, it's important is what we mean.

The best day in Korea was when I got to meet up with Jay, Dave's girlfriend. She took me to Itaewon to walk around and then to Gyunyridan for lunch. We had one of the cutest meals I've ever had. It wasn't very filling, but I was willing to exchange full for cute. I mean, look how cute it is.

Finally, I made it to Japan where Mark met up with me. It was such a relief to see a welcome face! And he looked so fresh walking off a 2-stop international flight. I'm not sure how that happened, but I was delighted and giggled the whole (long) taxi ride to our hotel.

In Osaka, I attended some awkward meetings along with a Shop grand opening on the same day. That was an interesting mix of dynamics, so what I'll highlight instead was the really delicious bowl of udon that I had. They rolled out the noodles from a big block right there, and then they yelled a bunch of things and dunked them into boiling water. Then you choose your toppings, extra pieces of tempura, and top it all off at the end. Apparently this concept when introduced to Taipei 101 also caused quite a stir to regular operations because of the long lines.

The gem of this trip for me was the concert I attended with Mihoko, Jun-san, and Mark. We went to watch my friend Yoko perform at a jazz club. She's originally from Osaka but has lived in Chicago now for 20+ years when she moved to learn more about jazz and ended up never leaving. She's got an amazing and contagious spirit and a world full of passion. Everyone who meets Yoko loves her. On top of that, she really knows how to work a room. I'm not sure what she was saying, but the audience's reaction clearly said that she is in fact a hilarious and captivating performer as much as she is in person. Jun-san loved her, which pleased me as well.

What also stands out for me is how special and rare the meeting of this group of people was. Jun-san, my dear beloved work uncle; Mihoko, my adventurous teammate; Mark, my honey who flew all the way from Chicago to just be with me -- all coming together to watch Yoko play a concert the one night that she happens to be in Osaka for the year. What are the chances! I hope that this memory forever sparkles in my memory.

From Osaka, I had a quick stop in Nagoya, and then it was off to Tokyo. In Tokyo, we got to meet up with Mark's friend who moved there a few months ago, Ran. That was fun to see him and especially convenient since he's fluent in Japanese so he could show us around and help me confuse the waiter because the English menu and Japanese menu had conflicting messaging. We went to a Okinawan izakaya, followed by another izakaya stop on the way home. The next night we went to Roppongi Hills but we didn't stop anywhere. We just walked very determinedly in a circle. I thought that was strange and a waste of time, but I'm remembering it now as a story so I guess it was a success.

I took a couple extra days just to spend with Mark, versus ignoring him all day and then coming back to see how much TV he had watched. Most everything was a quest for food as usual, so it was eating event + walking and looking at things + eating event + walking and looking at things. The best walking we did was when we walked in a literal circle looking for soft serve. It was the best soft serve we had on the trip though. After that, we switched our goals to pudding.

Oh we saw a robot too. His name is Asimo and he can jump on one leg. I have to admit that I tried really hard to remember some facts from the museum, but I can't remember any. There's a robot seal that helps autistic kids feel emotional connections.

The last night, we followed the Instagram posts to a pretty hidden curry spot called Cari Rio. We started out like normal people and ordered 1 curry each, and then one delicious thing led to another and we ended up ordering 6 in total. We learned that Mark really loves keema curry, the ground meat kind. We also learned that "dry curry" means fried rice. I'm sure that they were a bit shocked at how much we ordered and ate, but I tried to explain that it was our last night in Japan and it was just so good. I think he got the idea.

Things I loved about this trip: Having Mark all to myself, so I could be the selfish cat that I really am. And there was so much sushi to be had at the same time. I was a happy cat.
Things I want to do for next time: I want to research a bit more to give the in-between-eating-walking some more direction. And also a fancy dinner spot and be unapologetic for not being able to communicate in their language. And, better about turning off work things when it's play time. Better yet, make the vacation completely separate from a work agenda.

From Japan, I went straight home to Texas for Thanksgiving. This was my first Thanksgiving without Melodie ever, so it was kind of strange. Melodie was in Asia with Eric and his family having what we call her "land cruise" experience of hotels and hotel lounges. It sounded pretty fantastic.

We spent Thanksgiving with Charity and her family. I fell asleep there just like I did at everyone's house from being jetlagged. Her son Joshua called us a "pu tao" or grape a lot, success stories of Mom's Chinese teaching. I can't remember much else about Thanksgiving because I was falling asleep the rest of the time.

I spent 1.5 weeks back in Chicago, and then it was time to leave for Taiwan again. The mission this time was to open a new Shop for the popcorn people. I like to refer to this event as my boss's birthday party because the ultimate goal is to make him happy.

Melodie always reminds me that everything I do just helps me build up my library of stories. She's right, as she always is, and I came away from this trip with a lot of stories. And when I needed some extra support, Eric happened to be in Taipei also so we'd text about cats and cat cafes and pretend dinner plans that both of us knew we couldn't keep. But it made me feel better anyway.

The days were full of work-related things, hotel breakfasts, dou hua, sushi trains, and making a lot of new LINE friends. LINE is such a funny app that absolutely everyone has. Your contact information consists of your email, your phone number, and your LINE ID (which is sometimes your phone number and you should just expect people to find you that way).

Momotaro NYE (it is now July 1 and I started this post on February 1). 

Momotaro is a wonderful restaurant and delivers on making you feel special. 

The end, by Alexa of halfway through 2016. Should really work on that goal to blog more regularly.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

AT in STL: Forever Friends

Some things never change.

And some things do.

AT in TW: Formosa Hospitality

The first time I went to Taiwan a few years ago, my godfather asked me on the first day, "How do you feel about Taiwan?"

"It's not so different from China." Spoken like a true white person.

On the last day of the week we spent there, I made sure to tell him that I was very wrong about what I'd said before. Because Taiwan is clean and orderly, and the people are friendly and hospitable. Sorry, China. I'm sure some of you are great.

On this trip, I went to Taiwan with two colleagues from Japan. We will call them M and K for ease of conversation. M has always lived in Japan and has excellent English, and K grew up in Korea but she is Japanese and Chinese by heritage. K's English is good, but not as good as her other languages. So between the 3 of us, we spoke a mix of Japanese, English, and Chinese in various orders:

A: English -> M: English to Japanese -> K understands
K Chinese -> A Chinese to English -> M understands
M English -> A: English to Chinese -> K understands
K Japanese -> M Japanese to English -> A understands

and so forth.

Anyway, despite our varied backgrounds, we all agreed that Taiwanese people are very hospitable and it seems like they genuinely want to talk to you. And they have a lot to say. 

From the day I arrived, I eyed a 大餅 "da bing" stand that was across from my hotel. I thought about it every day until I finally went to go check it out. The pieces they served were MASSIVE though, so I asked if she could sell me a smaller piece. She didn't even pick up her head and snarled a terse, "No. Cannot." So I just got a giant piece of 大餅, but I only got one variety instead of two.

When I realized that I was in Taiwan and this giant piece of bread cost me pennies, I went back and got the other variety (pumpkin). When she saw that I'd come back, she launched into a monologue about how this was a company policy to only sell huge pieces of bread and that it made sense because if they sold smaller pieces then people would buy smaller pieces and then they would have smaller profit and that the company has changed a lot and it used to be different and now the owner says that...

I didn't actually understand most of what she was saying between the street noises and her Taiwanese accent and my poor comprehension, but I got the general idea. I couldn't help but thinking, "Could I have that bread now?..." as I pretended to understand, nodding and staring at her missing teeth. She just needed someone to talk to. I just needed that piece of bread. 

On my last night in Taiwan, I left M and K and got into a taxi. In one simple sentence, I asked the taxi to take me to the hotel and the name. "Where are you from?" he asked. "Your Chinese doesn't sound like you're from here." 

I explained to him that I'm an ABC and apologized for my Chinese being so bad (this is my best conversation in Chinese). He said it wasn't bad, but it sounded like I just don't use it very often. I told him that he's right.

When I told him that my parents are from Taiwan, he warmed up a lot. "Welcome home! Oh it's so good you came home." This is a reaction I get a lot from Taiwanese people. They seem glad that I've come to my senses and returned to my true homeland, a place I'd never visited. Still, I do feel connected and I'm glad they'll still consider me their people.
The nice taxi - you can go into any convenience store and have them call a taxi for you.
We made arrangements for him to pick me up from my hotel in the morning (early flight), and then he gave me his card and told me to call him if I needed any help getting around. He got off work later and he could accompany me to one of the night markets if I wanted to go eat. This would be creepy in a different context, but he was genuinely concerned for my well-being.

His concern for my well-being continued in the morning. 

"Did you get breakfast?"
"No, I didn't."
"You can ask the hotel to make you a breakfast! Did you ask the hotel to make you a breakfast?"
"No, I didn't ask."
"Because you didn't know you could ask? Do you want to ask now?"
"No, it's okay. I think I'll be fine."
"Well...okay...I guess you'll know for next time...You're sure you're okay?"
"Yeah, I'll be fine! No problem!"
"Okay...guess you'll have to eat breakfast in the airport..."

Skipping meals is not an option. In fact, skipping meals between meals is not an option. When I was with my colleagues, the host Taiwan office kept bringing us giant snacks in case we were hungry. We weren't hungry, but the snacks were always welcomed.
Egg scallion pancake, the size of my hand and folded over several times.
Just a GIANT fried chicken quarter on top of everything.
I had to save room for the best part of Taiwan - Taiwanese breakfast! That rice stick on the left was actually the most surprising. So good.

It's a little island country filled with little people with big hearts. Who walk around the park hitting themselves to strengthen their meridians. I guess they are my mother's people, after all.