Gallery

Happy Lunar New Year!

This is a special time of year for me, one that we celebrated along with the Gregorian calendar that most American’s celebrate on the 31st of December and 1st of January. For those of you that are new to my blog, my stepfather practically raised me and he was Chinese. Each and every year I would delight in staying up all night with the family (let’s face it, I was a kid and staying up all night and missing school was sort of the best) the delicious foods, bright red envelopes, decorating the house in red, and the wonderful lantern festival at the end.

_i3384597

I remember staring at those as a child and praying my hardest for a better year for my family and for myself. It was a time for reflection, closeness, and joy. Though we weren’t entirely traditional (my stepdad did not believe in the superstitious aspect) which would drive his dad crazy as a traditionalist, always scolding us to not be negative during that time, or go out on certain days, or not cleaning until it was OK to do so─ (because before then, you would sweep out the good luck!) we would still have the get-togethers, have wonderful food and the excitement of new experiences.

And let’s not forget the fun red envelopes we received from the grandparents. We weren’t allowed (much to our disappointment) to open them once we got them, and they often never went to us but to our parents ‘for safe keeping’ but just getting those were a ticket to imagination as we heard stories about how they would ward off evil spirits.

To this day, I still love to celebrate as an adult and while my SO might not understand it (especially since I’m white) it will always be a part of my life.

Wishing you all the Happiest of New Years and may you find wealth, peace, and happiness this new year.

❤ Grey

 

Gallery

Anime Fest 2017 and Hell’s Gate Updates

I made it, I did it, and whew are conventions hard on me! For those that aren’t aware, I am what’s known high-functioning autistic. (Formerly known as Asperger) Large, crowded events really aren’t my thing. But, strangely enough, I love presentations. For reasons even unknown to me, I’ve enjoyed doing presentations since I was a kiddo. Especially when I get to talk about the things I love. Like scary, spooky things that go bump in the night.

:3

After years of CBT, I’m able to make it through walking around but these events have always felt alien to me and extremely uncomfortable. The only way I can truly be happy is behind a camera, or up on stage. Two extremely odd things for most people─ but somehow, I’m one with the goat and much enjoy sitting in high places above people as I talk about my childhood loves.

9dd7c48cc247baa9ac1d019c545fff41--pigmy-goats-im-fabulous

I’ll have con footage up soon, and show all the great people I saw at this year’s event. In all honesty, A-Fest has been one of my all-time favorite shows and still continues to be. It was very well coordinated, and the staff was on top of things and quick to help and answer any questions that I had.

Hell’s Gate

Book two is finally here! Get ready for its October release in a big way. I had a few people at the convention ask when book two would finally be out and I will have an official release date this week. For those that aren’t aware, Hell’s Gate is a series comprised of three books. You can see my interview covering my adventures here:

Suffice it to say, if you like J-Fashion, J-Culture, Urban Legends and Mythology mixed in with adventures, this is your cup of tea. It is what is known as a Dark Fantasy and because of my love for genre-bending, it has horror elements and urban legends.

If you have an affinity for the dark side like me, you can also find my podcasts and my thriller audiobooks/audio-stories on YouTube

Enjoy, my friends and as always, stay creepy. More announcements on HG coming soon.

xoxoxo

─C.A.

Gallery

Hell’s Gate Book One Release – Details

hellsgatebooklettemplate

The day has come! This week is the release of the fabled Hell’s Gate, book one in the series. Book two is scheduled for release in October of this year. 

If you attended Akon28 you probably passed by our booth and saw the pre-order table. Well, it’s finally here and you will be getting that sent out to you next week! For those of you that couldn’t attend, you can still get the pre-order swag. Pre-ordering is opening up today, and will go until tomorrow, June 22nd at 11:59 p.m.

After that, the novel will be available on Amazon and later the audiobook will be available on Audible.

The pre-order will get you:

  1. an artbook/book companion with language details and meanings to help you understand Japanese culture.
  2. A poster designed by me
  3. And of course, the star of the show─ the novel!

To be clear, this is just the pre-order for the specialty items that come with this online offer. (as in orders I take to send off personally) It’s a limited edition order that has to first arrive at my house, and then I sign and send them off.
This is for my own personal calculation so that I know how many specialty items to make. 🙂 If I garner enough interest, then I’ll add it on Amazon as an option.
No payments will be taken at this time, and you will be charged when you order through Amazon for secure payment.

The pre-order is now closed. Thanks to everyone that pre-ordered!

Thanks to everyone that participated in my online twitter campaign. I had a blast interacting with all of you and letting the story grow each day. 🙂

xoxo─

C.A.

 

Gallery

Keto Cheesecake Recipe – And History of Valentine’s Day in Japan

Tired of the same old mug cakes, or keto style cookies or cake? Want to make something fun this Valentine’s Day for your sweetie? Everyone loves cheesecake! My recipe used almond flour for the crust, but you can substitute finely crushed almonds or even use another flour. Just be forewarned, research flours before you use them. The valentine’s day history from Japan is down below!

 

Ingredients: 

Crust:

3 tbsp butter, melted

3/4 cup almond flour (or almond meal)

(**edit I found that 1/4 cup or handful of crushed pecans really enhances the crust**)

Filling:

12 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 egg

1/4 cup Truvia (or erythritol/swerve) whichever you prefer for you alternative sweetener

7 drops of Liquid Stevia

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/4 tsp salt

Toppings:

You can top it however you like. I usually use sugar-free strawberry or raspberry jam, but today I was in the mood to keep them plain! (mostly because I have a picky sweetie that wants to put his own toppings on it. And, well, it was for him.)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and start with combining your melted butter and almond flour. Mix until it is all crumbly but well combined! (here is where you could also add in 1/4 cup of crushed pecans or walnuts in the food processor for added texture)

img_20170213_133404_366

2. Line a muffin tin with paper or silicone cupcake liners. Then press 1-2 tsp of your almond flour mixture into the bottom. Personally, I prefer my crusts a little thicker, so I used 1.5 to 2 teaspoons typically.

3. Bake the crusts for 5-8 mins (depending on how hot your oven gets, you might want to check on them every once in a while) until they are golden brown.

4. To make the cheesecake filling, first beat together the 12 oz of cream cheese with a hand mixer until soft like this:

 

20170213_105018

and then add in 1 egg. Mix to combine.

5. Now add the 1/4 cup Truvia or sweetener of your choice and 7 drops of liquid stevia.

6. Next, add 1 tsp of vanilla extract, the 1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice and 1/4 tsp salt and mix it all together one final time. Make sure you at least get up to medium speed on the hand-mixer so it becomes well blended.

7. Spoon your cheesecake filling into the baked crusts and bake for 20 mins at 350 degrees. My oven normally only takes 18. You will want to make sure that the cheesecakes have risen slightly, yet barely jiggly on the top. A key element here is to make sure that you fill the cupcake liners to the brim! It will puff up, but once it cools they will fall back down.

8. Now let them cool on the counter for at least 10 mins. After that, you can top them if you wish, or leave them plain and place them in the fridge.

9. Let them chill overnight for as long as you can stand! Or, if you are really in a pinch, place them in the freezer for a few minutes.

And viola~ Keto cheese cakes!

These are really great, at only 2.8 of net carbs per cake. They are so rich, you probably can’t handle more than one anyway.

Calories: 175 per cake

9 grams of protein

20170213_110137img_20170213_131133_901

 

So, what is Valentine’s Day like in Japan?

 

Even though this isn’t chocolate, like they do traditionally in Japan it is similar to what they call a handmade love chocolate, or “Honmei-choco”. (in this case maybe Honmei-cheezu? I know, cheesy) In which ladies will go out, buy ingredients and make something sweet for their sweetie! Like this:

japan_fashion_creative_valentines-day_romantic_2012_february_14_couples_honmei_giri_tomo_jibun_chocolate_marshmallow_cute_fumiko-kawa_07

And stuff that you just buy for others (like co-workers or friends) get “Giri-choco” (obligation chocolate) like, this:

japan-chocolate_0

Doesn’t seem so different except the swapping of genders…or does it? There’s a twist!

In Japan there exists something called “White Day” which takes place on March 14th, exactly one month after Valentine’s Day. On White Day men are supposed to give return gifts to women who gifted them chocolates on Valentine’s Day. More often the color of the chocolate is white because of the name of the day. Flowers, candies and other gifts are also popular along with the chocolates. Again, department stores have many advanced reminders with gift displays so men will have no excuse to forget about this special day which is important for women. Hmm, sounds like an excuse for the market to exploit one of the slower days for holidays around that time of the year. ha! White day chocolate typically looks like this:

And there you have it kiddos! The difference between Valentine’s Day in the US and in Japan. I like the idea of equally celebrating both men and women this way with showering your affections on some stranger you have a crush on. (or the love of your life…that works too)

In either case, enjoy Valentine’s Day with your sweetie. I know I will.

65b7562306dc46152aa101842266fcbb

Gallery

We Have a Winner for the New Year Contest – And updates on this week’s shows.

Today was my drawing for the contest winner. Lucky numbers 27 and 13 had it! See below video for more details on what is to come this week.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FCAGreyson%2Fvideos%2F1441125509261958%2F&show_text=0&width=400

On Tuesday, February 14th, I will be releasing my podcast. It will be covering from the west:

Slenderman and NoEnd House

And from the East:

Kisaragi Station

I’ll go into the story, and then muse over the urban legends and their roots. If you’re a fan of the creepy, like me, you won’t want to miss it! Since this week, I’m releasing my podcast on Tuesday, my normal Tuesday comic will be delayed by one week, but will be back on track next Tuesday, the 21st.

I called to a vote last week on which people would want to see, and at just 2 votes higher, the Manga-style comedy comic panel won for next Tuesday. I can’t wait to draw this, it was such a joy to hear from all of you. Thanks for all who voted and congrats on this month’s winner!

Monday’s Japanese Blog Recipe (2/13) – I originally set it for today, but completely spaced that I was doing the drawing today and had to delay it by one day. (sorry guys!)

Have someone that you are going to make valentine’s treats for? Check back in tomorrow as I cover the history of Valentine’s day and White Day in Japan. Two holidays that I celebrate. Stay tuned, kiddos. It’ll be a week full of sugary sweet and creepy delights. ❤

Kimi no wa Movie Review – A Stunning Visual Masterpiece

Kimi no wa releases in the US this April 7th and it is every bit as amazing as everyone has lead on.

94801

Makoto Shinkai has yet again created a beautiful visual masterpiece. If his name sounds familiar, you may know him as the creator of Voices of a Distant Star or She and Her Cat or more recently in 2011 Children Who Chase Lost Voices

 

 

It is my firm belief that anyone can relate to and enjoy this movie, no matter if you are an anime or film fan. I was lucky enough to get a pre-screening and decided to share my experience with all of you.

The story follows the life two young people living in Japan:

Mitsuha from the fictional Japanese countryside town of Itomori.

cr7wp0juiaelmf0

 

And Taki from the large city of Tokyo.

ogl9k0cd1novoienfkq-o

It begins somewhat confusing as you slowly become aware that Mitsuha and Taki have switched lives. The interesting part of the story, was that it didn’t happen every day─ but rather, every so many days. You get to ride along with each individual as they experience the delicate intricacies of each other’s life.

maxresdefault

At first, they both lay out certain (and most definitely hilarious) rules for each other.

(I don’t care who you are, you will lose your shit at these scenes.)

94854

What starts as both people feeling a sort of general annoyance at this life change, gradually turns into an appreciation for each other, and respect for one another’s lives

your_name_2-1200x675

 

kim4

Until one day, Taki stops receiving messages from Mitsuha and begins to only wake to his normal, every day life.

your_name_3-1200x675

Time passes and Taki decides to take a train to the town to discover why Mitsuha has stopped being such an important element in his life.

What he finds, will simply floor you.

3cdc58648332e165fd3819928ef91401b2eb2c8c_hq.gif

Enter the life of Mitsuha and everything that happened within the lost time.

 

Eventually the two find one another again,  working together to prevent one of the biggest tragedies Japan has seen in a long time.

5a1a69d5e58f5e47ea363efbf53d9726kimi-no-nawa-22

It is as eloquent as it is brilliant─ written to pull the heart strings as much as provide you with a hearty laugh. It is one of those films that literally takes you on an emotional roller coaster.

46243837b9296c40137e38465418db49

It’s a story of tolerance, acceptance, and walking in someone else’s shoes. It will sweep you into its magic and make you really feel as if you are part of something larger than yourself.

It’s a story of fate.

kimi-no-na-wa-gif

Do yourself a favor─ Grab a box of tissues, go with your dearest pals or family and experience this amazing film together. I promise you will love it.

39f5ecd4b1da996ad1b49bb857e91608.jpg

 

I give it a huge 5 out of 5 possible stars.

5-star_rating

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are the official trailers, please enjoy!

Official Trailer

English Version Trailer

What’s next?

2/12 Valentine’s Day Japanese Cake Recipe Blog – How to make one for your sweetie in the US. If you don’t understand the difference in Valentine’s Day in Japan and White Day, here’s a little info over both.

Info here:  Valentine’s Day and White Day in Japan – The difference

2/14 Come visit my podcast/audio book page here: https://arisevalhalla.org/podcasts/ for thrills and chills this Valentine’s Day as I talk about internet urban legends Kisaragi Station, Slenderman, and The NoEnd House.

 

 

Weekly Releases and Quick Update Info

So, as most of you have noticed I usually update my comics on Tuesdays. (last week was an exception due to my day job)

But, know that I work diligently each week to bring you laughs, or groaning and shaking of the head.

giphy

What’s in store? Well, as I search for a job that will somehow manage to cover the ever-climbing costs of living in Dallas, I have found my only form of sanity is releasing these comics to all of you.

But, what else?

What else indeed! Last week I ran a poll (which I giggled at myself for only getting 1 vote) But, none-the-less still realized that the one person took time out of their day to click the vote button on Twitter and so I shall make ready the spooky tales that they requested.

winona_ryder

So, in honor of said-mystery-individual, I offer the internet Slenderman in all his glory and fame online─ including his origins, and different variations on this particular Urban Legend.

438fda0f2a921b30787d51c643fa9abf

In addition to this spook-fest, I decided to add a Japanese Urban Legend of my choosing. So, be prepared for a fun-filled audio adventure! I do so adore old radio shows and recording books are something that I simply love. So when combining the two, I like to really put my all into them. These last few shows I’ve done felt a little under-whelming, so

I’m going to make all the sound effects in the new one!

I plan on updating these with images on my YouTube channel as well as adding my own digital art to each. (this girl has a real affinity for the dark side)

giphy-1

Some of my online comics will be dramatic or manga-esque, but most will be for the lulz. So with that, I leave you with this update message:

The creepy audio is coming soon, children, and the Tuesday comic will be up tomorrow as planned.

giphy-2

 

 

Hell’s Gate – Graphic Novel Sneak Peek

Without further adieu, here it is─ a sneak peek of my graphic novel to be released this year. The story will have a manga-like inspiration, however, there will be panels of more American-style panels as well. I have a real love for all comics, and styles. My goal is to create a blending of the two. The first release will be in English, the second in Japanese. I hope you all enjoy this small preview.

hellsgatecoverart

opening-panel-art

panel1hellsgate

panel2hellsgate

panel3hellsgate

 

Much love,

xoxo

─ C

2016, I dub thee The Year of The Turd Part 2

OK, I tell myself. Things haven’t gone well this year. I have a roof over my head, let’s switch gears.

My Brain: Remember that career you always wanted as a police officer? Yes? Yes! Let’s do that.

tumblr_nqw1p4hgrn1u8yw5ao1_250

OPTIMISM!!

determined

 

So I worked hard. Harder than anything that I have ever worked at in my entire life. For a solid 8 weeks, I worked out 5 to 6 days a week, ate right, and lifted weights. I studied an hour a day every day.

Test day arrived. I was happier than a dog rolling in cow caca. I couldn’t believe it. After a solid year of failure, trying to get into other police departments, I finally made it past. I scored a 98/100, passed my PT with flying colors, and got all of my long and grueling paperwork completed. For the first time,  I was seeing the stars align.

large

I envisioned my future, the difference I could make. The change that I could do in my city and helping others. The pride I would take in getting there and the joy in being a part of the community.

…yeah. What a load of─

poop_dragonball Oooo ho hoho~~

Remember how much I like the honesty train? Yeah. Well, ladies and gents, that was my one-way pass to them showing me the door.

They use something called a polygraph test. (pronounced /dʌm/) Well, folks, I’m not good at lying. And I didn’t want to. Remember that lovely ex? The one I told you about? Well, this girl decided last year to try a certain grown plant for the first time in her life, once. That was it!

That was enough.

It disqualified me for an entire year. Smoking the green, once in my whole life, cost me 2 years of disqualification from the time I smoked it last November 2015, until December 2017. As I find this out, my test score gets sent to me via email. I open it, stare at the nearly perfect score and look blankly at this man that just crushed my dreams. I worked for two months, been trying for over a year, and gave up job searching for a while, riding on the tide of hope that by being honest, it would be the best way.

And so, I thanked him─My entire body shaking, tears threatening to spill and smile as I walk woodenly  from the door.

053f8ae49300e958fbd53d184654138d

Everything deflated and I came home and sat. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe what I had caused. I.could.not.believe. that of all things, I decided to do this on my own, effectively ruining my childhood dream in a few puffs of smoke.

I was lost. More than I ever had been in quite some time. For once, I felt I had found my place in the universe. That everything, all that heartache up until that moment, had been worth the pain. And that’s the thing about Asperger. You can’t process anything emotionally. Why you are crying, why you’re upset, how you are feeling about something─ it’s all just a murky mess. And so, I didn’t show an ounce of my feelings to anyone.

4341a2c8b1b770d22c1b66ceb953cdc4

Often, when a crises occurs, I am the first to jump in and do it. I can remember everything and the smallest details, so I do well at work because I can remember what others have to work hard to. Think of it like a photographic memory, but less like Sherlock Holmes. You can visualize the area, the time, the license plates and everything that you did that day.

One of my weirdest and most favorite past times is memorizing license plates, or reflecting on every detail of an area I’ve been.

images

People often mistake us for emotional robots. This is very wrong. It’s not that we are emotionless, but rather, we process more inwardly. We struggle hard with actually putting to words how we feel about a certain situation. If someone were to ask me, ‘how are you feeling about scenario a, b, c’ I would fidget, flush a deep red, and stutter. It takes hours of time to myself to just understand and pick apart what it is my emotions actually are.

And as such, you could imagine what it is like in a household of two people that have autism.

waitbutthatsadog_3ceaa2a816546cd2013e96a02353a321

Enter my life.

My boyfriend has a more severe version of what I do. I can hit a point (usually a few hours later) where I can talk about it and open up. Sometimes, this can take several days. He can’t talk about it at all. Now try to imagine that you have all of these feelings and emotions but feel trapped, constantly disoriented, are a shut-in, and severely depressed. Oh, and did I mention that he’s a Nihilist? He thinks everything and anything is absolutely pointless. Yet, each and every time we talk, I see a small sparkle of hope in him that he still believes there may be some order to the universe.

I’m more agnostic. I see things for what they are, and that things are all coincidental. I’m a huge skeptic, but optimistic in general. I tend to be that annoying co-worker that is giddy and gets excited over dumb things. I’ve had people question me as a genuine person because of how often many things don’t seem to bother me. Yeah, thanks guys. Because I’m not bitching about everything under the sun and generally happy, something is just wrong with me. Well, poop on you too buddy.

What does this have to do with my productivity lately? Um. Everything. Did you read the past two giant paragraphs on my life this year? Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that I still didn’t have a job up until a week ago.

So. Bf doesn’t believe in anything─ check. Freaks out in large crowds─ check. Can’t function at work─check. Believes that he is a burden and mooch─check.

Because I want to respect his family and his privacy, I will not post his name. This next part, took me 72 hours of courage to write. Why? Because it was the lowest point, aside from my childhood (which I’ll get to in a later trauma series), in my life that I have ever experienced.

The love of my life tried to take his own life.

This would have been the second time in my existence I lost someone that meant this much to me by a self-inflicted wound.

At this point, I was working two jobs: One with Uber and one with Amazonflex. Neither of which offers enough money, or time available to take care of two human beings. I was applying to over twenty places a day, trying to find something that would support the two of us so that we could get him and myself on insurance and begin more treatments. But, life had other plans.

godhatesyou

I have finally managed to find work. It pays crap, I do marketing for basically free, and will still have to find a way to freelance and make money─ BUT I have a job. I am able to pay bills, and though we don’t always see eye-to-eye, a boyfriend that cares. We just got two little ratses :3 Alby and Nova. Animals are easier for us to attach to. And so, we fawn over our furry babies, and seek the treatment that we both know he needs. Hurray neurotransmitters! Hurry dopamine and serotonin! Hurray brain thingies! but mostly, hurray rats.

I am convinced at this point that somehow, someway, a past ancestor or my own past life (if such a thing does exist) has fucked up my karma so bad that I am paying for all of their evil deeds combined. Don’t even get me started on my holiday experiences.

xoxo

─ C

Next Podcast and Blog – Japanese vs. Western Mythology and the story of Yuki Onna (the Snow Spirit) and The Snow Queen.

yuki_onna_2_by_northernbanshee-d34i3z5-992x11641

 

Growing up in a ‘non-traditional’ American Houshold

I’m sure most of you read that title and didn’t know what to make of it. And to be fair, what IS a ‘non-traditional’ American household? Well to a lot of people reading this, (and if you assumed like I would have some years ago) you would think I meant a sort of an ‘eclectic’ type living. You would only partially be wrong, but I’ll get to that on a later blog.

Let’s get to the point: My childhood wasn’t what you would think when you look at me. Yes, I’m not the traditional blonde-haired, blue-eyed, etc. ─ but you know I’m a white woman. And for every time that I’ve assumed things about others, you’ve assumed things about me.  To look at me, you probably assumed that I lived in a middle-class household with a few dogs, some siblings, and an easy (somewhat pampered) life. That I graduated from a university on my parent’s budget and that they purchased my fist car for me. Though I could rant on this topic as a whole for quite some time, I’ll spare you the details and wrap this up by saying: you would be dead wrong. Very wrong. No-good, very bad, and just plain wrong.

download

The most common question people like to ask me, is how I got into Japanese and Asian culture. A lot of my work often dabbles in both Eastern and Western philosophies. Why? Because growing up, I got to experience what a lot of families have not. My parents were an inter-racial couple. This was very racy, even in the 90’s.

Let me back-track a bit. My real father (who is a whole other long and complicated story saved for another time) is actually white. Unless, of course you discount the fact that my great-great grandparents were full-blooded Cherokee─ he is as white as they come. Even lives on a plot of land with some recently purchased chickens and his rescue dogs. (My dad’s a real softy for rescues)

What did that mean for me growing up? Well, my maternal grandfather was not at -all- OK with his daughter dating an ‘oriental’. There were MUCH worse things muttered in our household, and during the holidays, but let’s just let me keep those in my head and not yours, hmm?

photo

 

My step-father raised me from the time that I was three years old. My parents had divorced when I was a baby, my mother taking me full-time. I’d love to get into this story, but later, as some very interesting details were discovered by myself after many years of prodding. I immediately accepted my step-father and often still catch myself referring to him as ‘dad’ because to me─ he was.

He was one of the hardest working people I had the pleasure of knowing. He worked long, and often grueling work schedules over-night, would sleep for a few hours, and then attended college. What always amazed me, is how he managed to work a 40 hour work week, school full-time, and still kept a 4.0 grade average. Even during my best semesters and working full-time, I wasn’t able to achieve this. The man was a flipping genius.

Despite those long hours, he always managed to set aside time to dedicate to me, and later both me and my brother after he was born. My mother was a stay at home mom (only after my step-dad told her that he wanted her to stay with us, because damned if my mother wasn’t anything but stubborn on this subject─ she was fiercely independent) and being that she never even graduated from high school (she had me at 17), didn’t have the knowledge to help with my homework. He was especially diligent in teaching me all the things that I struggled with, telling me that I could do anything I set my mind to.

Though my step-dad was a product of a Chinese father, and a white, American mother, we still had somewhat odd traditions than most families at the time. For example, our New Year’s was in February. We still celebrated the American New Year, but our’s was more special. It was about family─ about gathering together, eating special seasonal dumplings or food, and gifts. My eyes would simply sparkle as a child when I was handed those little red envelopes.

9122030b5e5ca36b8b

And nothing, I repeat n.o.t.h.i.n.g. can get me more excited than salted plum, or salted plum flavored anything─ that is my childhood in a bottle. My stepdad would bring these home for me all the time. I loved sour things as a kid, and he would make special trips to the Asian shops to get them. Noodles? Check. Rice cooking all day and me coming home to this? Check. If you combined three of the best smells in the world to me, it would be: cooked rice (especially jasmine), salted plum, and star anise (which smells just like licorice). We would go to real Chinese restaurants near us, with hand-pulled noodles, and perfectly cooked rice.

o

So if you happen upon a little place called Chinatown or Asian Marts across the metroplex, know there is a happy white girl perusing the spoils of local grocers trying to capture her odd little world in an all-American life.

-C