Tag Archives: Whole Foods Market

Young Man Went West #29-D: Winter Trip Facebook Statuses, Unabridged (Pt. 4)

Day 10-11: Lunch w/Justin Todd in L-Mo, then off to the SF w/Casey Cochran. Met up w/Nate Visconti, Jake Sorensen, Jessi Bucey, Sabeen Knows Techno, Kathryn Woodworth, Anna Felver, Matt Felver, and others. Ate, skated, drank. Woke up early to catch a plane to Maui. Left the airport, met a friend, ate free food. Back to Honolulu. . .

Though Christmas had wrapped up and I was getting on a plane on the 27th, I took full advantage of the 26th in terms of seeing people and going places.  My day started with lunch at IHOP with Casey and our good buddy Justin.  Justin is a busy, busy man with like ten jobs and fifty side projects, so he couldn’t stay too long or come with us to our next destination: the City.  Casey and I took BART to San Francisco where we planned to go ice skating in Union Square with some high school friends.  Along the way from the Embarcadero station to Union Square, we met up with Nate.  Each of my friends was glad the other guy wasn’t going to skate either, for neither could/wanted to.

While waiting in a short but slow line for a chai tea latte and cannoli (sad news: they had no cannoli, so I got a random, twisty pastry), Jake and Jessi arrived.  I couldn’t hang out with them just once.  More good news for Casey and Nate: neither Jake nor Jessi were skating either.  That’s okay, my skating friends were still coming.  I was just glad Casey wasn’t going to be hanging by himself outside the rink.

Finally, Sabeen and Anna showed up, as did Anna’s brother, Matt.  The three of them just come from a performance of The Nutcracker.  I would have joined them, but $100 a ticket was a little too steep for a show.  I’ll just YouTube it.

We were nine-people strong with over an hour to kill (our tickets were for a specific timeslot), so we decided to grab some nostalgia-infused burgers at Lori’s Diner, a ’50s-style restaurant.  During our two-block journey there, Anna’s boyfriend and his buddy joined us, so we were a party of twelve going into the poor diner (the extra seat was for Kate, who was joining up with us later).  It actually turned into a party of thirteen because a friend of Anna’s boyfriend’s buddy came along.  The sheer volume of surrounding friends–from as long ago as elementary school to as recent as right then–put a smile on my face.  I was drunk off euphoria.

(Just as a guide, here’s how I group everybody: Casey–elementary-high school; Sabeen, Anna, Kate–high school; Nate, Jake, Jessi–college.  The mixing of friends makes me happy, too.)

With the high school group. Pretty background, pretty company, awkward stance.

As a server, I empathized with our waiter when we asked for split checks.  He was happy to do it, but I drew him a diagram anyway.  I was pretty happy with the diagram, actually, which included a representation of the table and the number of seats around it, the different paying groups numbered and divided by lines, with reference points for orientation, i.e. stairs are on this side, giant airplane to the right, pie shelf to the left, etc.  It was probably the smoothest I’ve paid for a meal in a group that big.

After dinner, we finally took to the rink.  Half of us, anyway.  The ice, however, was crowded with amateurs.  I’m not even sure if what I did was skating or more just standing in a forward motion.  During skate trains and newbie dodging (I imagined I was Han Solo navigating an asteroid field), my friend Juliana finally met up with us.  She’s a friend from college, so it worked out perfectly that those standing on the sideline were Jake, Jessi, and Nate.

On the sidelines. The most attractive poses for Juliana, Casey, Jake, and Jessi.

The sideliners eventually took off for a nearby bar.  After a few more minutes of ice rink traffic jam, I joined them.  Everyone else, determined to skate every minute they paid for, joined in about an hour later.  The bar we ended up in was an Irish pub about half a block from Union Square.  We got a nice little corner with a long booth and were waited on by a crazy, old Irish lady.  I think she liked me.

In pairs and groups, my friends started leaving little by little.  For every friend I reunited with during this trip, I had to say goodbye to all over again.  Eventually, it was just me and Casey driving back to Livermore from the BART station (luckily we got a ride there and didn’t have to take BART).  Okay, it was more Casey driving and me falling asleep in the passenger seat.  That Irish pub had good beer.  I needed all the sleep I could get because I had a 7:40 AM flight to catch the next morning.

For some reason, the cheapest flight back to Honolulu included a three-hour layover in Maui.  Didn’t bother me, though.  For one, I’d never been to Maui, and two, the layover was long enough for me to leave the airport (one of my requirements for having visited a place).  As my days left in Hawaii become fewer–and my off-season tip income gets smaller–the reality of completing my Hawaii bucket list seems further away.  One goal is to visit the five other main islands.  I was determined to leave the airport to check off one-fifth of an item on that bucket list.

I hesitated at the exit gate, not sure where to go, what to see, or if I had enough time to come back and stand at the checkpoint.  But then I left.  Who cares what I’m not sure about?  I couldn’t come this close to another island without leaving the airport.  Bottom line.  I pulled out my laptop and looked on Google Maps for anything nearby.  I was this close to cabbing it to Bubba Gump’s, but that was in the main tourist city of Lahain, which is on the west side.  I was in Kahului on the north side.  Granted, it wouldn’t be too long of a taxi ride, but every minute counted in this layover.  Luckily, something in Kahului part of the map caught my eye: Whole Foods Market.

It took under ten minutes and less than ten dollars to get there by taxi.  I was excited by the prospect of seeing my old friend and coworker An Qi (whom you may remember from YMWW #13) at the Kikka Sushi stand inside.  If she worked here as often as she did in the Honolulu store, I was confident she’s be behind the counter when I arrived.  And she was.

An Qi was pleasantly surprised and a little confused to see me.  She was so excited, she bought me lunch.  It had been a while since I chowed down on the Kikka Sushi lunch special.  We talked for a while outside about her lazy coworkers and how Maui differs from Oahu.  She eventually had to go back inside, so I wandered around the outdoor Maui Mall for a bit.  It was small and empty.  I got bored right away and spent the next half hour on my laptop.

The most exciting part of Maui Mall! Yipee.

Luckily, An Qi convinced her friend to drive me back to the airport at the start of his lunch break.  At first, the guy seemed a little annoyed albeit willing, but by the time we started driving, he became very talkative.  He warmed up as soon as he found out I was a Filipino from the mainland, just like him.  I told him about my current wandering lifestyle and he told me all about his past jobs and relationships, and what ultimately drove him to Maui.  During the last few minutes to the airport, he started telling me about this one flight he was on where the engines failed.  He was sure he was going to die.  I was sure that wasn’t a story you tell somebody while dropping them off at the airport.  If I were anybody else, I’d have probably started freaking out.  Instead, I laughed to myself about the morbid irony of the situation.

I parted ways with my five-minute friend, thanking him profusely for the favor.  I definitely need to return to Maui to get the full experience, but I’m counting this little stop as a visit.  And it was a great end cap to a fantastic trip home.  With almost two weeks of memories and much less money in my account, I was ready to hop on that last plane to Honolulu.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under YMWW Blog

YMWW #14: Fortitude

Friday, January 15, 2010

(Originally posted on Facebook)

**I know this is a quick follow-up to entry #13, but when inspiration hits, you gotta go with it. . .

Though most of my waking life is spent relishing in my odyssey to Hawai’i, I’ll admit there have been times when doubt has clouded the brilliance of my decision. Today was one of those times.

This morning, I had donned one of my new Cal shirts (grey, Walking Bear logo with “UC Berkeley”) and by the time I got to work, was in full Cal Spirit mode. I was singing “Fight for California” to myself when I noticed an ugly shade of red planted in front of the Whole Foods entrance. A young woman was sitting on a bench wearing a red Stanford stanfurd sweatshirt. In front of my store!

I approached her from her left and sat on her right, turning towards her so that the front of my beautiful Berkeley shirt was inches away from her stupid Cardinal face. Point, Bears! However, my sinfully proud internal smile was suddenly humbled by a horrid realization: here sat a stanfurd alumna, waiting for Whole Foods to open because she had the money to shop there. Next to her sat me, a Berkeley alumnus waiting for it to open because that’s where I earn my minimum wage pay. She can’t see that I work there! Imagine the pretentious laughs her anecdote about me would bring at her snooty, alumni wine parties!

The doors opened and I quickly darted into the entrance she didn’t use. Maybe she didn’t see me cover my alma mater’s logo with my pseudo-Asian cook uniform. Maybe she wouldn’t recognize me with a wedge cap on my head. Maybe she didn’t even notice my shirt outside, what with her eyes busy looking down her nose.

My pride swallowed, I started work. Switch on oven fan, check. Heat up deep fryer, check. Turn on grill, check.

Somewhere between making twelve pounds of rice and realizing that I shouldn’t have heated up the deep fryer because I was supposed to change the oil today, I came to terms with this morning’s incident. I’m a cook in a grocery store, so what? I’m doing exactly what I wanted to do! Okay, I kind of hate my job, but still, I made an aimless move to another state, I pay for rent and food with my own money, and I’m exploring what life has to offer outside of the small section of California I called home for twenty-two years. How can I not be happy with myself? How can I not be proud? I went about the rest of my working day happily—and loudly—singing Cal songs (and when I had exhausted those, I started belting out musical numbers fromNewsies).

I’ll get another job shortly (I’ll definitely update you on that), and maybe I’ll move to another state some time down the line. Maybe I’ll make millions by doing what I love. Maybe not. Who knows? All that matters is that I am happy with the decision I made and it’s nothing to be ashamed about. No regrets.

I brought a smile to my own face by making up a story about the stanfurd alum I encountered this morning: She probably traveled down to Shallow Alto to major in pre-med, just like her strict Asians parents wanted. Unable to find success in a passionless career, she quit the game and married an older man for the security (she was, in fact, with an old, grey-haired gentleman). Following his dream for retirement, this geezer moved himself and his little Asian trophy wife to O’ahu. She now works at Lili’uokalani Elementary as the school nurse, coming home to fix her geriatric beau an organic, free-trade dinner.

Go Bears.

PS: If you didn’t click on the “odyssey” link at the beginning of this entry, do so now. It is a very intriguing, and related, article from the New York Times. Thank you to Ate Melanie for showing me this.

While Allison Stokke is not a Roxy model, it is more than appropriate to include her here, decked out in Cal gear.

I know what you’re think and you’re right, it’s hard to believe it took fourteen entries to finally see her on this blog!

GO BEARS!

2 Comments

Filed under YMWW Blog

YMWW #9: Humpday Rumblings

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

(Originally posted on Facebook)

I know! Crazy, right? Another note, only two days later?! Lately, when I find myself in a deep train of though, I begin to plan out how I’d structure it in a blog entry. This is either the start of a narcissistic obsession or a new career path. Anyway, here are my thoughts from today, (kinda) structured for you reading pleasure.

Last Friday, I attempted to take the bus to Bishop Museum because I found out that the cafe inside was hiring someone for food prep. I ended up missing my stop, riding to the end of the line, and giving up to go back home. Now, it wasn’t a big deal to give up on the job pursuit because, well, I already have one. But being a cook for Kikka Sushi in Whole Foods Market just ain’t doing it for me. Here’s my day, five days a week:

-Wake up before 6 AM
-Ride a bike 25 minutes up and down hills to Kahala Mall
-Turn on all the cooking apparatuses (shouldn’t it be “apparati”?)
-Cook rice. A lot of it.
-Prepare soup broths
-Grill meat
-Assemble over thirty different types of teriyaki, curry, and Korean BBQ rice bowls until lunch break
-Enjoy the act of sitting for almost an hour (or leave by noon on Fridays)
-Return to work and talk to the only other English-speaking employee at Kikka while figuring out how to be productive until 4 PM
-Ride home, sometimes after grabbing food and drinks with a friend
-Work out
-Shower, rinse, repeat. . . the whole day over and again

I work hard each day, only to start from the very beginning the next morning. There’s no real sense of accomplishment. And since, as a Kikka Sushi cook, I work in Whole Foods and not for it, I don’t get the discount. On top of that, I am void of much human interaction. My coworkers choose not to and nearly can’t speak English, so they never attempt to talk to me. And I can’t say “Tofu Kung Pao” to them without getting blank stares of incomprehension, so I don’t try either. I work under a giant grill fan with an even bigger noise output, behind a sound-reflecting wall of glass, so I cannot hear the customers on the other side. Even if I could, the mall is too far away from the main tourists spots to attract the world travelers that I oh-so want to talk to. Furthermore, I seldom have time for hanging out or exploring during the weekday, so I am apparently just waiting for the weekends. . . and I never wanted wait-for-the-weekend type job! Hence my failed trek to Bishop Museum.

Now, despite the paragraph of hate the preceded this one, I don’t actually hate each my job. It gives me lots of time to think, an excuse to exercise, and the opportunity to see some good friends. However, when I take a longterm view of what I’m doing, I feel stagnant. My work days aren’t monotonous (it’s a long, non-repetitive to-do list), but they definitely lack progression; I have nothing to strive for. My whole life, I’ve had a long-term goal (make it to the next grade, graduate high school, graduate college); at this point in my life, I have none. I’m just making money, hoping to plan something awesome for the weekend. In lieu of this, I’ve started coming up with goals for which to strive.

My first goal is not actually a goal, but rather an alternative means to my real first goal: find a job in Waikiki. Although this would be a shorter bike ride (and thus, not much of an exercise), I would be able to interact with people all around the world. I’d ideally love to get a front desk job at a hostel, because people who stay at hostels, as opposed to hotels, usually have more interesting stories.

My real first goal: save up enough for a cheap car. I will do this through Kikka or, hopefully, some Waikiki-based job. It will definitely take a while, but it would be well worth it. The traveling and exploring I want to do during the weekends is completely dependent on the schedules of my car-driving friends and family members. I’ve been on this island nearly two months and I’ve barely left the city of Honolulu. My bike can’t take me out of this city. A moped couldn’t do it either. I’m not asking for much, just four wheels and an engine. Maybe some doors.

My second goal: look into writing—or even journalism— classes. I don’t know to what extent I’d want to jump into this, whether it be a single class at Kapiolani Community College or enrolling in a Journalism program at UH, but the more I write in this blog, the more I realize I’d love to do this for a living. (Now, I do not regret for a second majoring in Film Studies. As a general rule, if I am enjoying my current position in life, I cannot regret a single event in the past, since each one had to happen for me to be where I am. More specifically, I loved the Film Studies major, as it taught me so much about my greatest interest. Additionally, I always kept in mind that whatever I did as an undergrad did not necessarily have to dictate my future career.) I can’t for the life of me start writing a story—and by extension, a screenplay—but I can easily spit out personal opinions, descriptions, or ideas about life experiences. Maybe I can be a journalist for National Geographic and travel the world! Or maybe I can be a film reviewer for a newspaper, seeing films for a living! I figure I’m young enough to dream big, yet old enough to do something about it.

Goal three: meet a gorgeous yet surprisingly down-to-Earth and intelligent Roxy model, start a fantastically fun and uncomplicated relationship with her, then, after I make a ton of cash as a Hawaiian journalist, move to New York with her because we both have a zest for life and new experiences. She’ll continue her modeling and novel-writing career while I start a new blog called “Young Man Went East.” Hey, it could happen 😉

She doesn’t know it yet, but she’s been waiting her whole life to run into me.

Leave a comment

Filed under YMWW Blog

YMWW #6: THE PHOTO ISSUE!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

(Originally posted on Facebook)

First of all, let me start off by quoting my good friend Josh Cella (as written on my Wall): go west young man / haven’t you been told / Hawai’i’s full of whiskey, women, and gold

(We’ll soon find out. . . )

Now, welcome to the Photo Issue of YMWW! Following is a collection of photos I took with my Samsung Propel (an affordable slide-open smart phone great for web browsing, messaging, and—obviously—photos) as I explored my new town.  Some photos I took just to send to my friend and make her jealous, while others I took because some things in life need to be photographed.  All, however, were taken with the intention of sharing with you (This blog is constantly in the back of my mind; I now mentally narrate my life as it happens.).

And here. . . we. . . go!

Waikiki Beach

I was aiming to take the most cliche, postcard-worthy photo of Waikiki Beach. I probably should have pointed my Samsung Propel slightly more to the left, but it’s still a nice representation of my ‘hood.

Lifeguard Tower Silhouette

This photo was one of the first I took to make my friend jealous. It turned out better and more postcard-worthy than I thought. Can’t you imagine “Aloha from Waikiki!” scrawled across the upper right portion?

My Workplace

Here is an exterior shot of my workplace: Whole Foods Market at Kahala Mall. Damn, I’ve been meaning to get a picture of me in my uniform. Next time.
Sidenote: Hot women who workout love shopping at Whole Foods.
Addendum: They also love bringing their boyfriends.

Sunrise

I have to wake up so early for work, I am able to watch the sunrise. Here is the morning sun peaking through some trees at Kaimuki Middle School on 18th Ave (from the spot at which I’m getting ready for a little more uphill trekking).

Sunset

Interesting fact: this photo was taken on the same day as the previous photo. I’ve always been up to see the sunset, but now I get to see it settle behind the Pacific Ocean at Waikiki! Those silhouettes in the distance are cruise ships.

The Ocean. . . At Last!

At the time these photos were taken, I had been on the island for about two weeks. This was the first time I actually got around to touching the ocean! I was so determined to find a job (check) and a place to live (check) that I just put off the first thing every visitor does when the arrive. I hadn’t realized how much I loved the ocean until I walked in it again.

Paparazzi

Walking down the main drag of Waikiki around sunset, it looked as though all the Aloha-shirt-wearing tourists became freelance tabloid photographers following around Kate Gosselin. I thought I’d be ironic and take a picture of people taking pictures. Here are two of the more professional photographers who actually had decent cameras and the balls to venture out from the sidewalk.

Matching Couple

This is one of those things you can’t help but take a photo of: a matching Japanese couple. His Aloha shirt and her dress seemed to have been made from the same fabric. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say they were tourists.

Tour Boat

I have to admit, I love tourists. It’s refreshing seeing people whose only aim for that day is to have fun. They also serve as a reminder to how awesome your city is. This is an hour-long tour boat docking on the beach. I should get me that job!

Tourist Market

Here is the entrance to the tourists’ natural habitat: rows of knickknack kiosks and cheap food. I love it! I had to go in!

Coconut Bras and Grass Skirts

These have to be the second most popular Hawaiian tourist purchase behind Aloha shirts. Wouldn’t it be great if the women here wore these all the time? Oh well, I’m fine with the workout outfits is see all the time.

Swami

I have no idea.

Dole Whip

Even though I was nowhere near the Dole Plantation, I still came across my most favorite frozen treat of all time: Dole Whip! You have no idea how happy I was to find this. It is better than heaven in your mouth. It is like heaven died and went up to its own heaven. It’s heaven’s heaven in your mouth.

Now Hiring

As you may know, Zippy’s is everywhere in Hawai’i. Everywhere. It’s a Hawaiian fast food restaurant more widespread here than McDonald’s (but a little less than Starbucks). . . and they’re hiring! I would have grabbed one of those tickets if I didn’t already have a job. But hey, if you’re jobless in California, come join me and become a member of the Zippy’s team! Do it.

HI-Life

I saw this stencil on the wall across the room of the sports bar where I watched the last Cal game (no comment on the game). If you can’t tell, the tree leaves resemble the shapes of the Hawaiian islands. I saw it and was immediately mesmerized. It was like one of those cliche love-at-first-sight moments where our eyes met across a crowded room, but instead of it being the woman of my dreams, it was this. Whatever. Baby steps. Anyway, it gave me a great idea for a tattoo: this design, but with the shape of California as the tree trunk. Maybe I’ll try to fashion roots to resemble my family name, or the shape of the Philippines. Maybe that’s too much. More on that later.

Anyway, I thought I could get away with letting the photos speak for themselves, but I ramble on too much for that to happen. Tell me if I need to edit down these blogs at all. Brevity is key, or so I’m told. In an effort to be ironic, I will NOT end the Photo Issue of YMWW with a Roxy model.

Just kidding. Screw irony.

This may be the same model from last time.

Leave a comment

Filed under YMWW Blog

YMWW #4: Settling In

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

(Originally posted on Facebook)

In my first entry, I talked about how I wasn’t really excited about the move until I got here. That was only part of the story. What I didn’t mention was that while excitement finally hit, apprehension didn’t completely dissolve. One week ago I had arrived, but I was not settled. I have the fortune of staying with family (more about that later), but until I get a job and a place, I’m still in Visitor Mode. I did not come to visit.

Wait, what was that, Anthony-From-Two-Days-Ago? You already got a job?

Yeah, that’s right, Recession, my friend Craigslist and I just joined forces and kicked your ass with a job at Whole Foods Market at Kahala Mall! I’m not sure what my position is called, but I work the Asian food section (Kikka Sushi) in the prepared foods bar in the back of the grocery store. While I don’t make the sushi, I do make everything else: teriyaki meats, Korean barbecue, Chicken Katsu Curry (!), and many other dishes you can throw over a bowl of rice. Oh, and I do soups.

It’s a lot of work with a billion different things to do—and a lot of recipes to learn—but it keeps me busy and brings me money. Believe it or not, I was almost getting tired of having no responsibilities. I couldn’t wander around aimlessly forever (though it is one of my favorite activities). And even though I am on my feet all day, I nearly burn or cut myself constantly, and I still can’t make Chicken Katsu Don, I am grateful that I have something to keep me occupied. Plus, I get to wear a sweet kimono/chef jacket hybrid.

The best part about it, though, is that I’m half of the way to being settled in, and I’m definitely not in Visitor Mode. Having this job has allowed me to look for places to live, and I have a few in mind (one of which expects me to move in on Friday, but I’m still keeping my eye on some other places). Along with getting here, learning how to navigate, finding transportation, and getting a job; finding a place to live is the last piece of the Settling In puzzle, and it’s nearly complete. But, as you all know, I didn’t do it alone.

This is the section where I’d like to thank my family in Hawai’i: my welcoming committee, my tour guides, my landlords, my cooks, my transportation providers, my friends, my security blanket. All rolled into one. I know I loved them and appreciated them already, but that realization hits with full force all the time here. For example, the Hawaii contingent of my family gets together every Sunday for tennis (or not) and dinner at Auntie Judy’s place and a few nights ago, I joined that tradition. And as I stood there playing pool in the backyard with one cousin, while another cousin barbecued steaks to one side of me, aunts and uncles played mahjong on the other, and numerous others were scattered about, it dawned on me how lucky I was to be a part of a tight-knit group in this wonderful place. I know of other people who tried out the “dream move” to Hawai’i, only to get lonely and leave. I’m glad that ain’t me.

So, to Auntie Norma, Uncle Carlos, Uncle Mario, Auntie Judy, Dean, Jill, Jon, Brad, Avery, Ellis, Arden, and Austen: thank you. For everything.

PS: Roxy model!

I know what you’re thinking, but she didn’t ruin that nice family moment. . .

. . . seeing as she’ll be a part of the family some day. What up!

Leave a comment

Filed under YMWW Blog