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So, a couple of weeks ago, Akemi and I watched a documentary about artist Ushio Shinohara and his wife (and fellow artist) Noriko.  Ushio is known for his boxing paintings which involve him donning a pair of boxing gloves, dipping them in paint, and then pummelling out his artistic expression on canvas.

The film, by Zachary Heinzerling, is great and you should definitely check it out on Netflix.  Anyway, it inspired our Bubba – not a boxer but a pug – to do a little artistic pummelling of his own.  With a  little help from Akemi and I…

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The artist double-checks his equipment.

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Sourced from Michael’s and the local Pet View: paints, painting equipment, sponges, doggy socks and booties.

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Akemi spent much of last night, carefully cutting out tiny little circular sponges she then glued to rubber dog booties.

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She chose to go blue – dark and light.

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And set up the mini canvases at a dedicated boxing/painting station.

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The artist was outfitted with the proper equipment.

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Then transferred over to yours truly who would help direct his artistic expression.

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Ready to punch out a masterpiece!

Bubba creates!

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Bubba proudly displays his work.

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Now to get these babies framed.

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A hard-earned rest.

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Here it is!  And it’s a long one, an extended trailer chock full of tiny teasers.

Let’s break it down with a shot by shot analysis!

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An establisher of what we suspect is the Hyperion-8 Maximum Security Facility.

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TWO, THREE, and FOUR presumably entering the prison’s Gen Pop area.  But where’s the rest of the crew?

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Well, here’s ONE!  And he’s got a question: “What is this place?”

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Hey, it’s SIX.  In uniform no less.  Does it say “Varrick” on his name plate?  He responds: “Hyperion-8, Galactic Maximum Security Facility.”  Told ya!  But where are FIVE and the Android?

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An overhead shot of some mystery individuals, THREE among them, being blasted by something.  What’s going on?  Putting together the pieces from the previous promos, a safe guess would be some sort of decontamination?

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Then, a shot of FOUR.  He asks: “”What happened to us?”.  Can we assume that this question follows on the heels of last season’s shocking finale?  How long have they been unconscious?

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Oh crap!  Here’s FIVE, seemingly seeking the safety of the familiar ship’s vents – only to get snagged by someone.

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…pulled back and unceremoniously dumped.  Now who the hell would manhandle our lovable FIVE – and how the hell did they get onboard?

Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 10.34.34 AM“When you can’t trust your friends…”says the voice-over, over a shot of a distrustful-looking THREE flanked by a mysterious individual (who, if you’ve been following the recent Dark Matter developments, recognize as the new ship’s medic, Devon, played by Shaun Sipos)…

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…and a shot of SIX, seemingly matching his gaze.

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“Someone sold us out,”says ONE.  Aha.  The only one who knows the mole’s true identity is TWO.

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FIVE reacts. Well, this makes some sense.  TWO, THREE, and FOUR – the hardened criminals – end up in Gen Pop while ONE and FIVE… Are on their own?

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Someone grabs a unique-looking weapon.  Not your average sidearm.

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“…trust the law…”continues the voice-over and, WHAM, on cue, SIX slams someone up against the wall. A familiar looking someone.  Hey, is that Lieutenant Anders (played by Jeff Teravainen), the rebel in league with The General, who made a surprise appearance flanking SIX in his slow walk down the corridor at the end of season 1?   The two are sporting very similar uniforms.  Food for thought.

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“Why didn’t you tell me?!”SIX demands to know.  And, boy, he looks pissed.  What could he be referring to?  What important piece of information was left out of what discussion?

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Enter another mystery someone (but if you’ve been getting your Dark Matter updates, you’ll recognize the character of Nyx Harper played by Melanie Liburd).

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“…or even trust yourself…”says the voice-over as THREE stares up, a strange green light playing over his left eye.  Looks a little ominous.  And cyborgy!

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“What the hell am I supposed to do?”a clearly frustrated FIVE asks the Android.  Wait!  Not the Android, but the Android’s default projecting – in her trademark red uniform – last scene in the season 1 finale when FIVE deleted her.

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“…trust your instincts,”says the voice-over and we go to a shot of THREE in the great outdoors facing off against someone in a classic quick-draw set-up.

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FOUR steps into the shot, clutching a bo staff, confronting someone.  Practice or something more ominous?

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“So, are we doing this thing?”asks THREE in his prison regs.  FOUR, in the foreground, is listening.

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“You’re damn right we’re doing it,”responds a confident TWO.  Doing what?

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And then, all hell breaks loose.  It looks like a free-for-all in Gen Pop. TWO takes out what appears to be a fellow prisoner.

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The Android grabs someone (we now know to be Chief Inspector Shaddick of the G.A. Serious Crimes Division, played by Franka Potente).

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The prisoners pitch a guard off one of Gen Pop’s upper levels.  The crew of The Raza are clearly a bad influence.

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The Android goes by in a flash – laying the beatdown on multiple opponents, her hair down, her clothing atypical of her formal wear.

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TWO takes someone down, hard, in The Raza corridor.  Are we dealing with another incursion?

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A sword-wielding someone (we can safely assume is Misaki Han, the new Commander of the Royal Guard of Ishida, played by Ellen Wong) faces off against someone while another unidentified individual –  Devon? – stands and watches in the background.

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Can we assume her opponent is none other than the former Ryo Ishida, FOUR?

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Nyx demonstrates some firearm savvy.

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“Am I the only one who found that just a little sexy?”asks THREE, possibly in reference to said skills?  Does this mean Nyx is joining the team?

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TWO swings a look, surprised by something.  The architecture suggests she’s not on The Raza.

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Uh oh.  FIVE is wearing the neural connectors, last seen in Episode 106 when she explored the memories buried in her subconscious.  Are doing a little more cerebral spelunking?

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“Solving the mystery…”says the voice-over as ONE cautiously makes his way down a long, dark tunnel, gun out.

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“…of who you really are…”says the voice-over as a floor panel is removed to reveal an access hatch to an underground chamber.  FOUR, THREE, TWO, and Nyx stare down at us.

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FOUR, gun out, walks the corridors of The Raza.  Another hint that there is someone (or something) unwelcome onboard.

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A quick shot of TWO looking…um…disconcertingly cocky.  What’s up with her?

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“…can cost you…”says the voice-over as we go to a shot of…THREE holding a gun…on FIVE?!   Who should we be questioning in this little scenario?

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“…everything,”concludes the voice-over as we go to a shot of our Android, hooked up to some nasty contraption that appears to burrow into the back of her head.  She trembles, showing apparent discomfort.  What is happening to her?  Is this a prelude to the red Android’s return.  Or the casual-looking Android in the previous shot?

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“Sounds messy,”says TWO in what appears to be that tunnel system we caught a peek at earlier.

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We flash through four labels: “lifesaver” (they are), “murderer” (this too), human (most), superhuman (a couple.

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A shot of FIVE, flanked by the Android, wielding THREE’s big gun, Bubba.  A little sequence I’ve been wanting to do since midway through the show’s first season.

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A couple of unlucky recipients of Bubba’s blast go for a ride.

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Hyperion-8 is rocked by a tremendous explosion.

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More labels: “police” (possibly), “criminal” (certainly), “friend” (hopefully), “enemy” (seemingly).

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“Long time no see,”says a guy who looks like ONE.  But there’s something about the guy…

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Oh, hell, he’s got a gun!

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 And we conclude with the season premiere date: July 1st on Syfy!

Whew!  What do you think?

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Our Toronto Farewell Tour continued last night at Ufficio Restaurant with Melissa O’Neil, Dark Matter’s kick-ass commander, TWO.  On this occasion, decidedly less ass-kick and plenty more discussing and dining was on the agenda.  A few of the dishes we killed –

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Giant Portuguese squid ink arancini, pomodoro & fried basil.

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Potato crema tortellini with smoked ramp butter & cured egg yolk.

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Grilled octopus, fingerling potatoes, romesco, salsa verde.

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Kawaii yo, as the Japanese would say.

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Our meal complete, leftovers in tow, Melissa jumped on her magical bike and rode off into the night.

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“Captain America is weakest.  He has only frisbee.  And the ugliest mask, and he knows it’s ugly – that’s why sometimes he doesn’t wear.”

– Akemi on Captain America

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We’re two weeks away from boarding a plan back to Vancouver.  As you can see, Lulu and Bubba are ready to go…BUT will have to shave a little more weight before they’re deemed flight-worthy.  Despite the fact that we’re cutting down on their meal portions and treats, they remain decidedly chunk-monkeyesque.  I suggested we adopt an alternate weight loss plan: weigh them every morning and whoever’s heaviest doesn’t get to eat that day.  In response to my idea, Bubba game me THIS look:

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NOT impressed.

Speaking of eating, my Goodbye Toronto Tour continues.  On Tuesday night, Akemi and I met up with fellow foodie and Dark Matter Social Media Czar Natalie Cooper for dinner at Piano Piano, home of our favorite pizza in town –

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The Sweet Hornet: mozzarella, fior di latte, soppressata, black olive, honey n’ chilli.

Also two delicious pastas…

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Caccio e Pepe Agnolotti: ricotta, black pepper, parmigiano

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Pillowy potato gnocci with peas and asparagus.

And, for dessert, one of the chocolatiest chocolate desserts I’ve enjoyed in recent memory:

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Triple Coco Barry 70% Chocolate Cake Chocolate Ice Cream: almond, Maldon salt, caramel.

Today, Akemi and I were walking down the street when I heard someone say: “Hey, you’re Joseph Mallozzi.”  My initial reaction was: “Oh, shit.  They re-ran that episode of America’s Most Wanted.”  But no.  It turns out the spotter, Mike, is a longtime Stargate fan and reader/lurker of this blog.  Delighted, I invited him and his co-worker, Lovella, to Soma for a quick chocolate-tasting.  Their after-lunch office meeting could wait…

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Yep, that is one shocking selection!

Full of chocolate and goodwill, Akemi and I headed up to Queen Street West where we picked up some pork butt for tomorrow’s slow-roast…but not before stopping by Nugateau, Toronto’s premiere eclair-only patisserie for some desert…round 2!

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Left = The Mont Tremblant: 70% single origin dark chocolate mousse, whipped praline ganache, hazelnut praline grains (for me!).

Right = Raspberry Rose: whipped raspberry rose ganache and vanilla mascarpone, raspberry rose & lychee compote (for her!).

Our Goodbye Tour continues tonight as we head out with Dark Matter’s TWO, Melissa O’Neil!  Here are a couple of pictures of her cozying up to the enemy in some BTS shots from our season 1 finale:

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Head on over to @DarkMatter_show for all the behind the scenes visuals!

http://www.pianopianotherestaurant.com

http://nugateau.com

http://www.somachocolate.com

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Yesterday, Akemi and I continued our Goodbye Tour by hitting Lamesa Filipino Kitchen with two of our favorite fun new Toronto friends, Ellen and Adam.  Besides being super cute herself, Ellen shares Akemi’s affinity for super cute things so the two of them really hit it off.  As for Adam, he’s incredibly easy-going and down-to-earth. Akemi liked him the instant she met him which, honestly, is a rarity.  It usually takes her a while to arm up to someone but in Adam’s case, she was happily chatting away like they were old friends.

A super lovely couple.

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Akemi and I prepare to feast.

Some of the culinary highlights…

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Lechon Kawali: crispy pork belly, pickled papaya, sawsawan.

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Arroz caldo verde: spinach congee, garlic, grana padano, oyster mushroom.

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Duck Lumpia with sweet potato, cabbage, mustard, and banana ketchup.

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Chicken Adobo: seared chicken thigh, soy vinegar jus, black garlic, chimichurri.

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Yube Leche Flan: purple yam custard, puffed rice, figs.

In case you missed it over on the @DarkMatter_Show twitter feed, I uploaded a bunch of BTS pics from last season’s action:

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I work reception at White Dwarf Technologies.

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The Marauder in pieces.  We remove the front of the cockpit to allow our cameras an easy, unobstructed view of our crew.

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Andy Mikita directs, in the greenhouse and in the White Dwarf lab.

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Wil Wheaton (Alexander Rook) and Melissa O’Neil (TWO) rehearse.

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So, over on alt. Dark Matter twitter account (@DarkMatter_show) I uploaded the above pic, snapped very early on in the show’s first season.  It’s a beautiful set, beautifully lit, with gorgeous playback displays and…a truly awful star field out the front.  The production purchased it from somewhere in the middle east – and it didn’t come cheap.  It was, I was told, a top of the line star field often used in planetarium shows and displays.  Which would have been great – had I been putting on a planetarium show or display.  On camera though, the stars looked terrible – big and bright and oh-so-fake.  Our attempts to dial them down were less than successful and a consultation of the handy guidebook that accompanied the purchase proved equally problematic given that it was entirely in Farsi.  Despite our eventually securing a translation, the damn star field never quite worked and, in the end, the majority of our looks out the window had to be helped along by VFX Supervisor Lawren Bancroft-Wilson and the visual effects department.

When we got our second season pick up, the first thing to go was that pricey star field.  We took a page out of Stargate: Universe’s playbook, replacing it with a simple black curtain studded with tiny lights and tinsel.  At less than a tenth the cost, it looks roughly a thousand times better.

How’s that for behind the scenes trivia?

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Also part of the DarkMatter_show’s twitter feed season 1 flashback were these pics of our cast – back when they were young, oh-so-innocent and, frankly, didn’t know any better.  Jodelle Ferland (FIVE) above, and the boys (Alex Mallri Jr., Roger Cross, and Anthony Lemke) below.

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Anyways, I’ve put a handy little widget in the right sidebar of this blog that will allow you to keep up with the latest twitter developments.  Oh, and before I move on, there was also this –

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First version of the Ferrous Corp guard outfit that was eventually toned down considerably to basic black.

So, hey, amid the prep, post, on-set action, and spinning ideas for season 3, I now have considerably more free time on my hands and have returned to my reading ways.  Here are a couple of recommendations I’m throwing your way:

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Beyond Redemption By Michael R. Fletcher

This title topped the list of author/blogger Terry Ibele’s “Six Amazingly Bizarre Sci-Fi & Fantasy Novels You’ve Never Heard Of” –

https://octotea.wordpress.com/2016/04/16/six-amazingly-bizarre-sci-fi-fantasy-novels-youve-never-heard-of/

Intrigued, I purchased a copy and was absolutely blown away by the most outrageously heinous characters in the most outrageously good fantasy novel I’ve read in recent memory. If you like your fantasy (grim) dark, this is the book for you.

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4 Kids Walk Into A Bank by Matthew Rosenberg, Tyler Boss, and Thomas Mauer

It opens with a D&D dragon-slaying expedition and ends with a diner reveal.  In between, it’s sheer comical, caper-centric, character-driven brilliance.

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At present, my love for this title knows no bounds.  Check it out.

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Turncoat by Alex Paknadel and Artyom Trakhanov

via BOOM! Studios: “300 years since humanity was brutally subjugated by the alien race known simply as the Management. Two years since these invaders abandoned Earth to return to their home world. Following her participation in the brutal massacre of human-alien hybrids left behind by the Management, resistance fighter Marta Gonzalez declines to join the new human government and starts her own private detective agency instead. Gonzalez is forced to confront her own bloody past and acknowledge the fact that the transition from oppression to emancipation is anything but clean.

The latest from Alex Paknadel (Arcadia), one of my favorite comic book writers.

Okay, off to get in a little more reading and a little more season 3 story spinning before tonight’s Game of Thrones premiere.  Who’s watching?

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“Happy Birthday!”I said, handing my girlfriend, Akemi, her presents.  Then, as she reached for them, I pulled them back.  “You’ll have to wait until Monday to open them.”  And I set them aside.

It was a sad cap to a disappointing birthday weekend that saw our planned Saturday Afternoon Picnic Lunch in the Park to Check Out the Cherry Blossoms go the way of that promised Sunday Afternoon Couples Pottery Class.  Now before you criticize, I feel the need to point out that neither missed opportunities were my fault.  Fortune conspired against us.  Or maybe it was the squid ink risotto. Whatever.  One or the other had Akemi waking up feeling nauseous and dizzy Saturday morning, forcing us to cancel our picnic.  In retrospect, it may have worked out for the best.  We’d failed to locate either a picnic basket or sitting blanket and, by all accounts, the cherry blossoms aren’t even in bloom yet.

“Okay,”said Akemi, throwing a quick glance to her birthday gifts before swinging focus to the task at hand – prepping the dogs for our Sunday outing.  “But you have to wrap them for me.”

Damnit!  Next to driving around looking for parking and fielding Candy Crush invitations, there’s nothing I hate more than wrapping presents.  BUT it was her birthday and even convincing her to let me buy her a new iPad to replace her laboring 5+ year old existing model had been a task and a half.  Unlike myself, Akemi is incredibly low maintenance.  She generally refuses to let me buy her anything, preferring instead to wear the same jacket she brought with her from Tokyo seven years ago, the same dilapidated running shoes she’s been sporting for years.  Despite my insistence, my observation that uninformed passersbys might assume I was dating an escaped mental patient, she has stuck to her guns.  Until her iPad starting crashing at which point she knew – it was time.  Time for a NEW iPad.  AND one of those special pencils for scratching up the screen!

I was able to find some wrapping paper in the back of the upstairs closet and put my little used but unquestionably awesome wrapping skills to good use.  And…voila!

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Pretty impressive, no?  Maybe in my twilight years, I’ll retire to Japan and become one of those professional gift-wrappers.

When Monday rolled around, we celebrated by my getting to set for 7:00 a.m. call, but cutting out a little early (Thanks to Ivon covering for me on set!) so I could put the rest of my plan in motion.

Akemi is a big fan of chouquettes.  They’re basically creamless creampuffs studded with sugar granules (that she likes to pick off before eating).  She used to buy them in bunches, ten at a time, at a nearby patisserie until sometime late last year when the chouquettes found themselves off the menu along, apparently, with their then pastry chef.  I checked online and discovered this place –

http://www.thetemperedroom.com

I called in and they were kind enough to satisfy my request for 100 chouquettes.  I picked them up on my way home and then surprised Akemi.  Note her trademark Akemi-esque excitement:

After inhaling a half dozen delicious chouquettes, Akemi changed and then it was off to her favorite sushi restaurant, Yasu, for dinner.   Yasu sources its fish from all over (Hokkaido, Portugal, Vancouver, Greece!) and offers a very Japanese counter-style omakase dining experience.  Omakase basically means “chef’s choice”.  It’s sort of like that time in early high school when a bunch of us went to my friend Nick’s place for a barbecue.  After soliciting our requests, Nick poked his head out to the backyard where his mom was manning the grill and informed her: “We’ve got orders for two medium-rares, two mediums, and one well done!”.  His mother’s voice was shrill and laced with fury: “You’ll take ’em like you get ’em!”.  Nick ambled back to our table and, without missing a beat: “We’ll take ’em like we get ’em, guys!”.  So, yes.  Sort of like that time at Nick’s, except with fish instead of meat, more rice, and a lot less Dungeon & Dragons.

Anyway, some of the culinary highlights of the night:

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Firefly squid (hotaru-ika) – so-called because, well, here they are lighting up Toyama Bay:

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Wild.

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Sea Urchin – one from Hokkaido (left), the other from Boston (right).

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I did the sake pairing and, of the ones I sampled, this – Wandering Poet – was my favorite.  The little blurb on the label reads: “The poet Rihaku would drink a big bottle of sake and write a hundred poems“.  I, on the other hand, could barely string two sentences together by night’s end.

We returned home where I presented Akemi with not one but TWO glorious birthday cards – the first a pop-up card that played the Happy Birthday theme when opened, the second an inflatable green dinosaur card she actually picked up and gave me to give to her in the event I forgot to get one.

She went upstairs, I watched the season finale of Better Call Saul (or, as Akemi refers to it, Better Coleslaw), and then we called it a night on Akemi’s best birthday celebration ever!

Next year, that couples pottery class!

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