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a visit to UC Berkeley

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Rashomon (1950)

"In a Grove" (by Ryunosuke Akutagawa) has always been the murder mystery that has stumped me since I read it in high school. It's a story about a samurai who was killed in a grove. But the narration of what happened that led to the warrior's death was provided by seven people: a woodcutter, a priest, the samurai's wife, the samurai's mother-in-law, a bounty hunter, the infamous bandit, and the late samurai himself (through a spirit medium). They were providing testimony in court. As an avid reader of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys stories, I was prepared to put the puzzle pieces together as I read the short story. However, the accounts by the four characters were so filled with inconsistencies and conflicting bits of information that it was difficult to sift through what is truth and what is designed to keep the character's reputation intact. What was consistent in their testimonies though were:
                  (1) the samurai was killed                   (…

Walking from China to Italy and back to San Francisco in one afternoon

San Francisco is such a cosmopolitan city. It's like putting miniatures of different countries in close proximity with each other. For instance, after our visit to the Museum of African Diaspora, we proceeded to walk to the Dragon Gate, Chinatown's southern entrance. The sun was still high up in the summer sky and we found the gate crowded by tourists taking souvenir photos. In fact, our photo was taken by a guy who thought that we were tourists too. Well, we were tourists for the day...

Two Chinese guardian lions were seated in front of the gate. I'm always happy to these stone statues because they look happy... particularly this lioness, who appeared to be playing with a lion cub. 

As if we hadn't seen enough lions yet, Anna located a third sculpture just outside a shop. This one's more like the adult Simba; it's on display along with statues of pandas and of the infamous wise monkeys.

The length of Grant Street felt like a movie set standing in for a Chinese…

at the Museum of African Diaspora

Barbara was telling me that my library card can be used to get free access to several museums in the Bay Area. I decided that I wanted to see my options, so one weekend, I checked out the available passes and zeroed in on the Museum of African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco. It piqued my curiosity because I've seen how different African art is from African-American art at the de Young Museum
The exhibit currently on display was called "After the Thrill is Gone", which attempted to use fashion as an instrument of discourse about politics and culture in present-day South Africa. The artists in this exhibit were young, born after apartheid. The question was (to me): what thrill faded away? 

My lack of cultural education came to the front when I saw the pieces of the exhibit. I didn't have anything profound to say about the installations. I didn't have a deep interpretation about them neither. What I had, instead, were questions.
There was a sculpture of a disem…

Nature walk around the Lafayette Reservoir

I was in desperate need of a walk. Thankfully, Biboy and Barbara were planning on walking in Lafayette so I joined them o their morning walk. What I didn't know was that we were going to walk around the Lafayette Reservoir, an emergency source of water for the East Bay area. back in the 1930s. It became a recreational area in the 1960s, which has allowed the public (and their leashed dogs) access to the walking trails. 

The walking trail we followed was the 4-km long paved path that sat on the lake's immediate periphery. The trail provided access to the water; there were several docks where we could possible launch watercraft like kayaks and rowboats. However, there were no swimmers in the reservoir. The water looked like it had a lot of algae. Biboy spotted a fish and we spotted people fishing from paddle boats.  

The wildlife we saw during our walk included bees and birds. We spotted wild turkey and a great blue heron close to the water. The bees, on the other hand, were bu…

On Strawberry Hill

Deep inside the Golden Gate Park, there's a spot that I have been raring to see since I visited in January with Anna and Vernon: Strawberry Hill. It's situated in the middle of Stow Lake. This lake is man-made, just like Caliraya

However, Stow Lake is most certainly smaller than Caliraya. At one point, Strawberry Hill is accessible through a stone bridge across a narrow part of Stow Lake. We thought that this spot was a good place for a photo op, along with the other visitors... 



Across the bridge, we were met by a dirt path. We followed it initially. But then the weather became a lot colder; the fog settled lower (covering the middle of the tall trees in the area); and we had started layering up. So we retreated even before we saw the tourist attractions of the hill. Oh well, there's always a next time. I'll come back to see what promises to be picturesque places.
In the meantime, my siblings took the opportunity for photos. Yes, they chose a tree and climbed up.


We…

Rochie's 2018 birthday celebration :)

Well, my birthday this year is extra special because this is the first time in 13 or so years when my family was complete. Last year, only Daddy and Anna were present (with the rest of our extended family, of course)... and it's the first time that we were able to do a joint celebration. Also, I was celebrating my birthday in California... another first. 
Anyway, I wasn't planning on doing anything but to review for the driver's knowledge exam. But the siblings had other plans. Anna treated Mommy, Daddy, and me to merienda at Chowking (Seafood City) where we had halo-halo and black gulaman. 

Then at home, Biboy and Barbara brought cheesecake complete with birthday candles! Before my birthday, they already took Anna and me out to dinner at Sol Food, so this was actually part three of my birthday party. I guess my birthday will always be over-celebrated.

But this time, my siblings took charge of my birthday celebration. I am very thankful that they took the time and the eff…