Experience Japan Unlayered at Fairmont Pacific Rim

I was in Vancouver this week to see the Japan Unlayered, an exhibition on Japanese Art, Architecture and Culture happening at Fairmont Pacific Rim. The event features brands like MUJI, BEAMS JAPAN, Waketokuyama, ACURA and Sakurai Japanese Tea Experience as well as architecture by Kengo Kuma and designs from Rei Kawakubo (Comme des Garcons) and Yoji Yamamoto.

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Free Hand-rolled Sushi Class by Chef Takayuki Omi

Sushi 660 FINAL flat 50 rev

Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF – 農林水産省) of Japan is encouraging Canadians to get familiar with Japanese food by offering free hand-rolled sushi classes at Nikkei Centre in Burnaby on Sunday November 8th.

MAFF is sponsoring this one day event to promote “healthy and delicious” Japanese cuisine, and Chef Takayuki Omi will show you how easily you can prepare them at home. You will also learn about Japanese food culture and why many of Japanese food is considered so healthy.

chef omiChef Takayuki Omi:

Born in Meguro, Tokyo. After graduating from culinary school in Shizuoka, he worked at Yamaha resort for three years. After spending two years in Toronto’s Ematei Restaurant, he spent thirteen years at Fairmont Royal York as Sushi chef. He moved to west coast in 2011 and currently works at Fairmont Pacific Rim. He also has his own catering company, Taka Catering.



Introduction to Japanese cuisine and culture

Japanese food is well known as heathy food. Chef Omi will introduce the concept of “One soup, three greens” menu, use of Dashi(stock), tools commonly used in Japanese cuisine, and more, along with some demonstration of Japanese cooking.


Hands-on sushi making class

Then he will teach you how to make “Temaki (Hand-rolled) Sushi”, a casual sushi commonly enjoyed in many Japanese homes.

Date: Sunday, November 8th

Location: Nikkei Centre (inside Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre) 6688 Southoaks Crescent, Burnaby, BC

There will be two sessions at 11:00am-12:30pm, and 1:30pm-3:00pm (Choose one)

This is a FREE event open to general public, but you must register as the space is limited.

To register, email yukari@yukaripeerless.ca with names of participants and which session you’d like to take.

Facebook Event Page

Media contact: Yukari Peerless (yukari@yukaripeerless.ca)

#Geekhouse Grand Opening


Some of you might remember that I traveled to Japan with John P. and Cali Lewis from Geek Beat TV two years in a row. Since then, we’ve become pretty good friends, and I’ve been checking out their shows and occasionally join in the chat room. This year, I went to Japan with ANA again when they launched Vancouver-Haneda route, but this time I went without them and I was missing the Geek Beat guys. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to receive an invitation to their Geek House’s grand opening party on August 1st in Dallas, TX. I knew they bought a big building (times bigger than their previous studio and they now have an entire building) and been working so hard on setting it up for the big daySo I flew to Dallas to see it with my own eyes. I arrived at the Geek House around 2pm. The first thing I did was to sign this wall… guest wall #GEEKHOUSE After a few minutes of mingling, Cali and John started Geek Beat Live in the studio situated in the very back of the building. studio I’ve seen their “live” setting many times, but it was neat to see it actually happening in front of me. It was live streamed with “live with a studio audience” setting and I believe this might be the first time they did it like that. Usually we’d be all commenting and chatting on their 24-hour chat room when Geek Beat Live is on, (and of course we had it going on during this livestream so that fans around the world could comment) but it was such a fun experience to participate live. After the show, Cali and John moved out of the studio set and the party started. Philip Nelson performed for us while many fun items (worth over $10,000!) were raffled off. Here are some of the cool features and highlight from the Geek House.

Samsung 78 inch Curved UHD TV

curvedtv The second thing you’ll notice when you enter is the massive 78-inch Samsung CURVED UHD TV. I repeat, this TV has a curved screen!  It’s amazing.

Instacube station

instacube If you post onto Instagram with #Geekhouse hashtag, it will automatically be shown on this Instacube. KreepyKitty photobombing optional.


The entire Geek House is decorated with Geek themed posters, such as these. I’m a HP fan, so the one on the left was my favourite.

UpDesk Central

Geek House was full of UpDesks. These are meant to be used standing up, and as you can see in the photo in Cali’s office, she uses it with a treadmill. (I think I’m too clumsy to do that….I’m sure I’ll trip!) Of course, these desk height is adjustable, so you can use it as a regular desk. It’s big, sturdy (as you can see in the photo on the right), and with a custom cup holderI think I want one myself.

Han Solo

stormtrooper This part of the wall was covered with a cloth and what was underneath was revealed in the middle of the night. It’s Han Solo in carbonite!! Apparently, their first version was punctured by a folklift (Ouch), so this was the second one that was made. We had a friendly Stormtrooper there, too!

KEF Blade speakers

These massive, beautiful loudspeakers are $30,000 KEF Blades. We got to listen to a few different tracks with them. The amazing thing was, there was a nickel standing on top of one of the speakers, and it didn’t even flinch while music was playing. Stunning.

Deep Eddy Vodka

Lovely ladies from Deep Eddy Vodka was pouring cocktails for us all night long! These are all natural flavoured vodka from Austin. I particularly liked the sweet tea one. Mixed with lemonade, it tasted so refreshing, and dangerously smooth. (Unfortunately, this is not a permanent feature at the Geek House. Boo!)


My friends at cheero provided some goodies for the raffle – like their signature battery Danboard Power PlusDanboard Mini or REVOLTECH (on the right).


Perhaps the coolest toy in the Geek House, was the CEA Bots – you can set up an ipad on this bot, and download a software on your other tablet and you can control the bot remotely. There were people from UK “joining” us at the party. So freakin cool!

Daria Musk

daria Highlight of the night was when we had Daria Musk join us on Google Hangout for a special live for us. She is incredibly talented and seemed super friendly. I enjoyed her music very much!

Laser Harp

Steve Thompson came all the way from UK to showcase his laser harp skill! This short clip is where he’s playing Doctor Who theme song. He also brought a special autographed poster for Cali and John from David Tennant, the Doctor Who himself. Cool huh?

Photo credit: Gord McLeod

 Chevy Corvette Stingray

Handsome Chevy Corvette Stingray was on display as well. In fact, they also had two other vehicles- Escalade ESV and Cadillac ELR. What a beautiful car.

There was so much more happening that night I could barely write everything down. We had a fantastic meal, a cake, and a Livid Lobster cocktail, photo shootthen more.

I’d like to thank Cali and John for having me there, and also to the Livid Lobster team for the great night. If you ever find yourself in Dallas, be sure to stop by at the Geek House.

Bravery, Courage and Voice – WDS 2014

“OK, hold the powder in both hands, but in the count of 3, only let go on the right hand. Only right hand, OK? 3, 2, 1!”

With that, millions, no, billions of colourful particles – green, red, purple, pink, yellow -flew into the air and massive rainbow coloured clouds emerged. Everyone was screaming with glee and my friend Mika next to me said, “I’ve always wanted to do this!” in Japanese.


Exhilarated, is the word that comes to mind when I think of this year’s WDS-World Domination Summit. The event is held every year in Portland. OR with Chris Guillebeau as the host. I’ve been following Chris since his first book, Art of Non-Conformity in 2011. He is the leader in “unconventional life”. Last year was my first time at WDS (and I’ve written about it here), and I went back for the second time this year. What is WDS?

WDS is not a business conference nor a social media conference. In my post last year I described that it’s a conference for creative people to get together to inspire people to have an unconventional life. 

At the opening of this year’s WDS, Chris asked us a question- How do we live a remarkable life in a conventional world?

I think that about sums up the theme for WDS. WDS is for the people who want to live a remarkable life, and we also have 3 key values in this community:




Each speaker shared his or her story based on these values.

This was my second year at WDS, and I noticed a little shift in myself. The speakers were fantastic and they all inspired me – but then I felt like I haven’t moved anywhere since last year. I felt a little self conscious. “What have *I* done this year? Did I make ANY difference?”

Among other events and conferences, WDS is extra special for me, as it is a chance for me to see my real good friends – more like my soul mates on unconventional living – Estuko from San Diego and “Eddie” Hori from Tokyo. We found each other online, and it was like we were meant to be friends. We also had a couple new friends from Japan! The WDS Japan Team is growing.

I love this pic of first-timer, Mika. Photo credit: Armosa Studios
I love this pic of first-timer, Mika. Photo credit: Armosa Studios

It was easy to get into “I’m a failure as I didn’t make any progress” type of self-loathing. Instead, I took it as an appropriate kick in my butt. Following are some of the speakers I resonated with:

A.J. Jacobs

I knew his name but wasn’t familiar with his books. Eddie said book The Year of Living Biblically was actually quite popular in Japan. His anecdotes on following the every rule in the bible was very funny (in fact, I bought the book after I heard him speak – and enjoying it tremendously). The part I deeply resonated with him was when he talked about acting his way into a new way of thinking,  rather than thinking his way into a new way of acting. His latest book is about family, and his discovery that most people in this world are connected (mostly as cousins) was fascinating. I have always been interested in Identity and family trees, so I found his talk quite interesting. He is having a giant family reunion next year in New York. I’d like to go!

Jadah Sellner

Jadah is a co-founder of SimpleGreenSmoothies.com. She started her talk with a powerful poem she wrote a decade ago. Excellent public speaker, she pulled the audience into her personal journey of entrepreneurship. She told us about her struggle in her early days, and gave us 3 tips on making our dreams come true:


1: Say your dreams out loud

2: Make imperfect action

3: Let go

I thought all of these are important, but especially #2 resonated with me. Oftentimes, we withhold/sabotage ourselves from doing what we really want “Because we don’t have enough money” “Because the website isn’t ready” “Because I don’t have the business plan yet” etc. I realized I’ve been procrastinating writing a book because I hadn’t had the structure or proposal ready. But thanks to Jadah, I’ve decided to say my dream out loud -That I am going to write a book – and #3- that I am just going to start writing.

I also started checking out her Green Smoothies website and started having green smoothies too. 🙂

Shannon Galpin


Shannon is a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year. She is a rape survivor, and now an activist for women’s rights. Her talk was on how to overcome apathy. She told us about her visit to women’s prison in Kabul- most women there were in there because they were rape victims, (crazy I know) or because they spoke up. I loved her street art initiative to include the people in the art – then no one can ignore it.  “Women’s rights is not a women’s issue” – one of the most memorable quote from this weekend.

Michael Hyatt

Michael is an author and a publisher, but he didn’t talk business. I love when  WDS speakers share their personal stories. Michael’s story begins with his fond childhood memories with his dad, who later turns out to be alcoholic. His personal story about his father and how he promised not to be like him was, heartbreaking. Michael described his father’s life as “Drifting life“. The opposite of that, where people are obsessed with work and success, he calls “Driven Life“. Neither is great. Michael suggests “Designed Life” which he says equals conscious life. I like that a lot, as I’m always trying to be present and have a meaningful life. He also presented these 3 questions we can ask ourselves;

1: How do I want to be remembered?

2: What is important to me?

3:What single brave decision do I need to make today?

We all wrote down our own answers.

Towards the end of his talk Michael asked us one more question, that really resonated with me: “How are you doing with what you’re given?” Life isn’t necessarily fair. I’m a big believer of doing what we can with what we have. Are we making the most of what we are given?

Dee Williams

Photo Credit: Armosa Studios
Photo Credit: Armosa Studios

Dee is the co-owner of Portland Alternative Dwellings (PAD). She started her talk with her childhood story growing up on a farm and pretending like a superhero. After an illness, she decided that she wanted to live a simpler life in nature, and so she built a tiny house. Her house is 84-square foot! She brought her cape (actually a red blanket from Delta airline :)) and taught us that we are all superheroes. She also shared a touching story of losing her neighbour and a friend with us, and how she felt powerless afterwards. Yet, “Simply showing up is a superpower” she said. How true is that. Also loved: “I’m a superhero. I need to pay attention” That is my mantra now.


Her tiny house was on display at the after party. So adorable. Would you like to live in a tiny house?

Elise Blaha Cripe

Elise is a craft blogger. She likes to make things. She said she always had a hard time explaining what she did when people asked that inevitable question “So, what do you do?” She is a creative person, and she likes to make stuff, and she has a blog, and she sells her stuff online….she used to feel awkward about having to explain all this. But eventually she came up with a perfect one-liner. “I make stuff”. 🙂

She shared her challenges in creating things all the time, and this also echoes what Jadah said, but she said to learn our way through failure. Her daughter doesn’t wait to learn all about walking before she starts to walk. She just starts walking, by failing occasionally.

She also encouraged us to share our dreams with others. She had everyone fill out a sticker that said ” I                                    .  I filled mine out. Here’s the proof!

These are just a part of the WDS experience. Each speaker was great, as well as all the attendee stories, WDS Foundation, scholarships, Portland Experience, etc etc…

For me, the key words I heard throughout the weekend was “Bravery” “Courage” and “Voice“. Be brave, Be courageous. And don’t ever lose your voice. That was the message I got from the weekend.

Photo Credit: Armosa Studios

And of course, the after party! WDS is known for its legendary after party. We got to ride in a hot air balloon (was my first time!) and of course, DJ Prashant. I am a huge fan of him, and I know certain WDSer come to the event pretty much to dance to DJ Prashant’s Bollywood tunes. The scene at the beginning of this post happened right in the middle of the after party while we were dancing. I’d never forget it.

Photo credit: Masatake. E. Hori

Thank you Chris, organizing team and ambassadors for making this year’s WDS another great success. Thank you also Armosa Studios for beautiful photos. See you next year!