July, 2020

July has been a good month — well, as good of a month as it can be in a global pandemic. There was a lot less languishing at home, which I am very happy about.

This month has seen record-breaking heatwaves in Toronto. It’s been over 30 degrees Celsius almost every single day, which made me very grateful to have air conditioning in my own home for the first time  since moving out.

We poked our heads out for walks around the block or at the nearby park, and I made sure to take my camera every time we did. I took a lot of pictures of the local bunnies, but I also tried to find anything interesting along the way.

We stopped at the historical village of Unvionville this month, a very pretty oasis of old-tyme Canada in the middle of suburban wasteland. There is a huge Chinese community throughout this entire area, so it’s simultaneously strange and unsurprising to see bubble tea shops and Chinese restaurants lining the streets of this little pocket of Canadiana. 

I also got to print one of my photos on canvas, and for this I used this photo of Himeji Castle from the last trip. This photo has been edited beyond recognition, but I am rather happy with it now. The lighting wasn’t ideal, but seeing cherry blossoms in full bloom for the first time (at such a scale, no less) makes it a pretty special memory for me.

Speaking of Japan…believe it or not, we bought tickets to Japan in late February on an insane sale. Back then we figured the pandemic was mostly contained in China and would surely blow over by November…an assumption that clearly did not age well. After many months in denial, this month I finally gave up hope, and that’s okay! At least I now have inner peace…as well as some Delta Airlines credit I could use until 2022.

Kakimayo: oysters bits and mushrooms smothered by condiment and cheese
Shirataki tonjiru. very light and refreshing for what’s supposed to be pork miso soup.

This month was also good because we got to eat out for the first time. Ontario had a good month of decreasing Covid numbers, and restaurants were allowed to open patios (and even indoor dining near the end of the month). We had some Japanese bar food on the patio of Kinka Izakaya. The menu was certainly a lot shorter than it used to be, but everything still tasted great.

Later on in the month we also indulged in some comfort food at Smash Kitchen. I had a beef brisket grilled cheese that was definitely enough to feed two people, plus a fish taco that did not skimp on fish. While certainly tasty at first, the grilled cheese definitely overstayed its welcome — it was just too much comfort for me to handle!

It was good to have dates again, as our outings have always revolved around places to eat. However, while the restaurants are now open, there is now a moral layer to the decision on whether or not to eat out. These activities are increasing the risks to ourselves, and by extension our family and co-workers.

Part of the appeal of going out is finding extra treats along the way. We grabbed this match parfait after the izakaya lunch.
On a side note, we made homemade dumpling this month. Chives and chicken fillings — yummy!

Everyone has their own definition of acceptable risk when it comes to the pandemic, and these differences of opinion have led to a lot of frictions in daily life around the world. There are a lot of pandemic-related things I won’t miss, and this is right up there.

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