Aggretsuko

What do you get when you cross Sanrio with Death MetalAggrestuko!  With the character design by Sanrio, this isn’t just your everyday cutesy anime show.  The show is about the “life” of an anthropomorphic female red panda named Retsuko dealing with everyday work and personal issues ranging from misogynistic boss to dating and her coping mechanism…. karaoking to death metal song 9091-89.

I find this show to be a hilarious take of Japanese office life.  It’s one of those shows that manages to perfectly balance that fine line between something that covers everyday office issues in a comedic light hearted fashion.

San Antonio Coffee Roasters

This month’s Angel’s Cup comes from San Antonio Coffee Roasters with their catchy tagline of “What’s Brewing?”  They even included a nifty sticker which I’ve already stuck onto the coffee canister.  The beans come from Ethiopia’s Yirgacheffe region.  I’ve received beans from this region in the past.

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I can never get enough of the aroma of roasted coffee beans.  This bag is no exception.  There’s a strong berry and nutty aroma followed by whiffs of chocolate.  Putting the beans through the grinder, the espresso powder changed to a much stronger chocolate aroma followed by this lingering sweet smell.

Prepping the latte, my first sip had a flavor explosion of berries, and nuts.  With the second sip, I could feel this thick latte coating my tongue.  After the berries and nuts flavor subsided, I got hints of caramel and chocolate towards the back of the tongue.  As I continued to drink the latte, I got a strong toffee and chocolate aftertaste.  The latte was smooth and was one of the most sippable lattes that I’ve made.

 

If you want to join Angel’s Cup coffee subscription, I’d very much appreciate if you use the my referral ID: CoffeeHunter12050.  Thanks!

Tall Tales

So I stumbled upon a Washington Post article that documented all the false statements Trump has made in the 1st year.  Likewise, they’ve continued to document all the statements made into a nifty graph.  It’s amazing how the President of the United States is able to get away with saying so many false statements with very little repercussions.  To break the 2000 statement mark in one year is amazing yet scary.

Netflix’s Eat Your Words

I randomly stumbled onto this Netflix show called Eat Your Words.  The show recruits random people who have badly criticized the food they ate from multiple restaurants and place these amateurs into a kitchen to cook something for a panel of three judges.  One of the judges would be considered knowledgeable in the type of food these amateurs are cooking.  The amateurs have to score an average of 3 or higher else face the punishment of taking back their “words” on social media and live with their hubris/arrogance.

Honestly, I find this show to be infuriating.

  • I don’t understand why people would critique food badly.  Chefs don’t purposely make food taste bad.  Plus chefs cook food under some pressure situations where they have to serve dozens of people every night.  I think it’s a pretty hard job.  These random people should know better than to criticize the food just because the food didn’t fit their food pallette.  Seriously, if you don’t like the food, just move on without having to rip the food apart. Wise words from a rabbit…
  • I also don’t understand why you need to have a show that turns the table around onto these random people.  At its heart, this is a show that basically takes down people a few notches under the guise of a cooking show.  It’s like the show is trying to elicit a gleeful wicked laugh at the people’s attempt to make a dish in an hour.

I ended up skipping to the very end of every episode to see what scores they got.  Some just barely passed.  And those that didn’t, I got the feeling that they took this all as a joke with very little remorse of the things they wrote.

 

 

Ugly Delicious Again!

So I finished this show and the last episode about dumplings is fantastic.  The guest appearance of Ali Wong at Din Tai Fung was hilarious.

But aside from craving fried chicken, asian dumplings, BBQ, fried rice, pizza and tacos (all of which Chang showcased as a thematic episode), there’s this underlying theme that Chang touches in every episode about “What is American food?”

My friends and I also had this discussion once during an overseas trip.  We came up with only a few food dishes that seemed to be authentically American: Creole/Cajun, Barbeque, and hamburger.  Most of these dishes were derived from other cuisines… but it’s been transformed to become uniquely American.

The show takes this question a step back.  The chefs, food writers, and food critics on the show imply that America embraces these foreign cuisines like Italian, Chinese, French, etc… and then creates a cuisine that is not quite like the original.  When America is talked about as the “melting pot” of the world, the food evolves as the immigrant community becomes assimilated into the ever changing American culture.

Creole/Cajun is a great example of what the show is saying.  Creole food originates from the French settlers in New Orleans in 1690s.  The settlers absorbed the food traditions of other immigrants (Italian, Spanish, African, to name a few) to become what it is today.  Cajun food originates from the Acadian settlers who were transplanted from French Canada in the 1700s.  Although there are differences between Creole and Cajun, the fact that these food cultures absorbed other food culture and traditions is exactly the “melting pot” metaphor of America.  To add even more credence to this melting pot phenomenon, the term “Creole/Cajun” is even synonymous to the Louisiana food region despite their differences.

Perhaps I’m reading a bit too much into the show given the state of our charged political climate, but I think the show is saying that what makes America great is the cultural appropriation of immigrant culture.  What evolves from this appropriation becomes uniquely American yet neither American nor the donating culture.

Icarus

I just finished this Oscar winning documentary called Icarus on Netflix.  I have to say it’s pretty amazing.  It’s a documentary was made predominantly in 2016 about the Russian doping scandal.  The documentary follows a Russian ex-WADA whistleblower, Grigory Rodchenkov, in his quest to expose the state sponsored Russian doping scheme in the Olympics.  The show goes into detail how the Russians in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics circumvented the WADA testing with the help of the FSB (formerly KGB).  The investigations that followed from the exposé led to Russia being banned from Olympics in 2016 Rio Summer Olympics and a partial ban from the recent 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

Although we don’t know truly the full extent of the Russian doping scheme, I have to commend Grigory for his bravery to release these details.  The show ends with Grigory entering the witness protection program.  Hopefully nothing bad will happen to him unlike the recent double agent spy assassination in London.

 

On a side note, does Russia view the doping scheme as a “scandal” or more along the lines of #fakenews?

 

Allegiance – The Musical

Allegiance is this new musical starring George Takei (better known as Mr. Sulu from the original Star Trek).  He’s gained somewhat of a cult following through various forms of social media (Twitter, Facebook).  He provides socio-political commentary via these forms of social media recently with the new Trump administration’s Muslim Ban.  Unfortunately, he also wasn’t spared the recent sexual harassment allegations that has some high profile stars falling from grace.

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Putting all the non-theater/non-musical issues aside,  this musical portrays the struggles of a Japanese Americans during World War 2 and the Japanese internment camps.  In particular, the story revolves around a family and their struggles.  Although probably not without controversy itself, this musical has a number of unique aspects that other musicals so far have not done.

  1. It’s produced by Asian Americans.
  2. It has a predominant Asian American cast.
  3. It puts the Japanese internment and it’s ramifications as a talking point.

The music has a very “classical musical” feel with strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion well represented.  Spoken dialog is interspersed throughout.  The character solos have that aspirational feel.  The company songs have a mix of genres that range from traditional Japanese songs used in festivals to the more modern 1940s swing with respect to the time period.  Honestly, it didn’t hit me with a wow factor like Rent (I actually disliked it initially) or Hamilton (I really loved it).

When watching the musical, I was struck by a number of different themes… some specifically Asian American but others more relevant to the current times.  The first memorable theme occurred near the beginning of the play when the father made an interesting side comment of “not an A student but A minus.”  This totally plays into the stereotypical High Expectation Asian Dad meme.  If you don’t know, Asian parents have a very low tolerance for their children’s academic failure.  Even Chloe Kim’s dad wants her to go to college!  And she won a gold medal at the recent PyeongChang Winter Olympics!

Another theme that stayed with me was the power of the women especially Kei (the female lead) in the internment camps.  Despite Asian culture being a patriarchal society favoring males over females, I find that Asian families nowadays tend to have a power dynamics emanating from the females.  Certainly that was the case in the musical.  And with the recent #MeToo movement and much talk of the disparity between men and women, it made me think that this particular theme holds a pretty significant place as one of the major themes in the musical.  It was Kei who took over as the de facto mother when the real mother died.  It was Kei who tried to keep the peace in the household between her brother and her dad.  It was also Kei who stayed to take care of her grandfather up until the grandfather’s death.  It was also Kei who again tried to patch things with her brother immediately after the war when he returned.  And at the end, it was Kei who also again reached out to try to reconcile with her brother AFTER she had died.  Honestly, modern society gives women way too little credit for the amount of work and amount of shit they have to put up with.

I would recommend watching this musical to think about the different themes that occurred in the 1940s that are still ongoing today: immigration, racism, segregation, civil disobedience, patriotism, family, power of women and forgiveness.