So this is how you get things done…

So, this is what happens when I tell Yoko, our Marketing Assistant, that we need some food shots of our tableware.  She goes to the yummiest Japanese restaurants in the area, orders a chirashi-don and sweetly asks if they can put it in her special bowl.  And if you’ve eve met Yoko, you would know why people say yes to her.  Totally cute and sweet.  That’s how you get things done.  A little bit of savvy, a dash of ballsy and a whole lot of sweetness and smarts.  She took the picture at the restaurant and then photoshopped the restaurant part out to get this.  Nice job, Yoko!  My only complaint is How come you didn’t bring us back any?? 🙂  Thanks to Josho Restaurant in Somerset, NJ for the beautiful food!

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Big Hero 6 and Why I Shouldn’t Give Up My Day Job

I did not know very much about this movie at all before seeing it with Bob and our girls this past weekend and it’s probably a good thing, too, since no preconceived notions and expectations usually equals a more enjoyable experience.  And since, I’m far from being a professional movie critic (although I did ace a couple of film appreciation classes in college, thank you very much), I will refrain from trying to dissect the elements of this fun movie.  Oops, if I call it a “fun” movie, does that mean I just reviewed it?

I must admit I was a little distracted by the visual elements throughout the movie.  This fictional futuristic fusion city of San Fransokyo is a hybrid of San Francisco and Tokyo.  It’s a much grander version of many urban areas with Japanese enclave communities – San Francisco’s Japantown, Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo, NYC’s East Village, Vancouver’s Japantown, for instance, just to name a few.  The architecture, the people, the signage all made for a very interesting place which I would probably highly rate on Tripadviser.  For “A Tour of ‘San Fransokyo,’ the Hybrid City Disney Built for Big Hero 6,” click on the image below.

A Tour of 'San Fransokyo,' the Hybrid City Disney Built for Big Hero 6

So, as I said, I was a bit distracted with all the fun elements of this city – the Lucky Cat cafe that had cute maneki neko images dotted throughout including a noren at the entrance, the daruma that I spotted in Hiro’s room, the donabe that looked very much like one we carry that held the cash prizes for Bot Fight winners, and the aforementioned fusion architecture and signage.

I was watching this movie, trying to keep from bawling over the storyline while simultaneously trying to keep from giggling at my youngest who actually IS bawling, and the recurring thought in my mind was, this would be a great city for selling Miya Company products!

This is a type of disease, by the way, that I can only describe as an occupational hazard – I’m not enjoying the storyline as deeply as I could because I’m lost in thinking I’d love to sell Aunt Cass some mugs for her cafe!  This is the same disorder that compels Bob and me (and many of our friends and family members) to instinctively look at the underside of dishes and bowls in almost any retail store and Japanese restaurant to see if it one of ours.

I can’t wait for the movie to come out on DVD just so I can pause it to see all the details of the different elements!

big hero 6

Big Hero 6 Movie Screenshot Aunt Cass Maya Rudolph

In any case, I loved that there was a mix of girls/boys as superheroes!  Loved that my girls could see there were female engineers/scientists/brainiacs!  Loved that they could also kick butt!  Loved that creativity was encouraged and celebrated over bot fighting!  So, yes, Big Hero 6 is a Must See!

As in, I must see it again because I lied, I was actually bawling as much as my 7-year-old and the sound of our combined sniffling kept me from hearing a lot of the movie…

For actual reviews of Big Hero 6, check out Rotten Tomatoes.

Spaceship Earth, Anoles and Selfies

Made my way to sunny Florida a couple of days ago.  I left my home in New Jersey at 5:15 in the morning in 30 degree weather to get to Newark for a flight to sunny Florida!  Florida promised 85 degree days and meetings with customers.  Both of which could either end in warmth and joy or overheating and sweating…  But fear not, as I have much confidence in our beautiful selection of products and our service that it could only go well.

But customer meetings aside, I managed to spend some time at Epcot Center and specifically at the Japan Pavillion.  This place is so fun.  Just walking around the Pavillion gates was great, enjoying the smell of something being fried – could it be potato-fry? ebi-fry? tempura? some sort of tako-yaki??  Whatever it was, it smelled so good.

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If you’ve ever been to the Japan Pavillion at Epcot Center, you must have visited Mitsukoshi, the famous Japanese department store outpost, filled with almost everything Japanese that you can imagine.  Hello Kitty?  check.  Transformers? check.  Pocky? check.  Kimono?  check.  Umbrella shaped like a samurai sword?  Well, yes, they have this and I must say, I definitely could not have imagined that but there it is!  Kinda cool.

And of course, Miya tableware…  What can we say?  Mitsukoshi has good taste.

I knew I would get some great backdrops for pictures and instead of taking a bunch of selfies (because no one needs to see that and grown women sound weird saying “selfie”) I thought I would use my cute Little Red Riding Hood figurines to help me make things a little more interesting.  I’ve been carrying these around with me lately.  So while I’m too grown to use the word, “selfie,” I seem to have no issue carrying around little figurines to photograph for my amusement.   I don’t understand it either, don’t worry.

DSC00079So here’s Little Red sketching Spaceship Earth.  She could get stepped on at any minute as it was a particularly crowded October day oustide Mitsukoshi but she’s an artist and she doesn’t mind suffering.

DSC00084Here she is calling out to someone with Spaceship Earth behind her.  Who’s she calling?

DSC00088She’s calling the little lizard by the gate.  Apparently this is called an anole and they are chameleon-like.  Can you see it?  Red spotted it right away and wanted to play.  If I were her, I would have run screaming the other way considering I am only slightly larger than the anole but Red’s a bit daring.  She’s wearing this very showy red hoodie in 85 degree weather after all.

That anole, by the way, must be so used to people, living in Disney World, that he did not even budge as I took a gazillion pictures of it.  Squirrels in the city are sometimes like that.  They sometimes eyeball you and size you up and you just know that if they could talk, they’d say, “You talking to me?  Are YOU talking to ME??!!”  Tough city De Niro squirrels.  Scary things – right up there with those creepy city pigeons…

I had to drive 3 hours to Boca Raton that night so I finally packed up my camera, my figurines, channeled my inner tween and took a selfie before I left!  Next stop – Morikami Museum!

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Crepes!

Crepes!

What do you do on a snow day after a long day of sledding? It’s a family crepe party! We’re still working on our plating… But the crepe will be wrapped and then really, how it tastes is the only thing that counts! Strawberries, bananas, nutella, and sour cream mixed with a little sugar on top of crepes hot off the pan. That’s good stuff. Looking for more crepe filling recipes!

Post-Thanksgiving Post

It’s been a while since we posted anything on our blog!

The old saying about the cobbler’s children having no shoes is how I would describe our dishes at home.  We basically had the most mismatched group of bowls and plates one can imagine.  Why?  Because we bring home the samples, the leftover items from broken sets and the discontinued pieces that have been sitting around for years.  When Bob and I got married, I wanted to register for china but apparently, that would have been akin to Mr. Toyota buying a Mini Cooper to tool around town.

So for Thanksgiving, we decided to bring home some actual pieces that were not discontinued or mismatched so that we can show them off!  We spend so much time figuring out which pieces we want to add to our product lines, imagining what would go well in them and how great they would look together.   But then, we don’t really get to appreciate them until we’ve discontinued them and taken some pieces home.

So here are some of our current products being utilized in real life….

IMG_3842Our 9-year old daughter’s Deviled Eggs that she put on one of our Omakase spoons.   Not perfect but she’s 9!  Master Chef Junior, here she comes!

 

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Brie En Croute with raspberries on a Sendan Tokusa plate.  As you can see, I have not mastered the art of plating beautifully!

 

IMG_3845Cranberry Sauce still steaming in our Blue Post 5.25″ Bowl.

 

IMG_3847Some more Omakase items – Large White Serving Bowls.  (The Kimbap is from my mom –  in her own foil tray.  Apparently, she did not get the memo about using a Miya piece!  I mean, thank you Mom!)

 

IMG_3849Another shot of the Blue Post bowl and also the Sendan Tokusa serving bowl holding  Sweet Potato Mash (paleo style!)

Of course, we meant to take more pictures or our plates and bowls but it’s hard to keep a hungry bunch waiting while we try to line up the dishes and find the right lighting.  Luckily, there are a couple more holidays coming up where we stuff ourselves like there’s no tomorrow to show off some other pieces.

We hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday feast too.  Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

CPR AED Training for the Staff at Miya

Our fearless leader, Bob, had a pretty frightening experience a couple of weeks back.  He regularly plays basketball at an open gym in our town with other guys in the neighborhood.  It was business as usual a couple of weeks ago when one of the guys collapsed just five minutes into a game.

Most of the guys didn’t know what to do.  They pulled out their phones to call 911 but this guy needed help.  He wasn’t breathing.

Luckily, one of Bob’s friends knew CPR.  He quickly grabbed the AED (Automated External Defibrillator) and got to work.  He administered CPR for 15 minutes until the paramedics came.  Bob felt helpless while this was happening but he was impressed with his friend’s quick thinking and action.  The paramedics thought that Bob’s friend saved this guy’s life.

So when we decided that we would put Health and Wellness as one of our company’s core values, Bob called his friend, Bob Stickel, at LifeSavers Inc.  LifeSavers is a training center with classes in CPR, Defibrillation, and First Aid.   Because health and wellness becomes rather useless if you’re dead.

They sent one of their wonderful trainers, Maryann, to our office and we all participated in a CPR AED training session.  Now we are all certified to administer CPR.  And we have an AED in our office just in case.  Knock on wood that we never need to but we should all be ready if we do.

Thank you LifeSavers!

cpr

Masako Stewart

tada

updated March 2015: Don’t forget to check out the instructional video on our YouTube Channel!

We recently posted this picture of a hollowed out egg covered in origami paper that my mother-in-law, Masako, made for Easter.  It seems there are a few folks out there that wanted to get the instructions on how to do this.

We tried recording the steps for our YouTube channel but it came out to more than 15 minutes.  No one is going to want to sit through that!  Although, it is sweet to watch Bob with his mom.  So we will edit that version and have it for you shortly.

In the meantime, here are step by step directions with images for you to try.  You can always watch the video too to supplement!

Materials:

Eggs (White, Large eggs are best)
Small scratch awl (screwdriver with a point)
3 Bowls (preferably all from Miya) – one to catch the egg innards, one small one to hold glue solution and one to hold gloss varnish
Glue Solution – glue diluted with water (1:1 ratio).  Elmer’s Glue is fine.
Origami Paper (15cm / 6″ square is best.  Again, preferably from Miya…)
2 Brushes – one for the glue and one larger one for coating the egg with varnish gloss
Centimeter/Inch ruler (Take care to note when we use inches and cms for measuring!)
Pencil
Scissors
Dura Clear Gloss Varnish (or similar) for coating

Steps:

1. Take a small scratch awl and tap carefully on the end of the egg.  You want to hit hard enough to punch a hole but not too hard that the whole shell will break.  It’s a fine line….  Tap, tap on it a few times and it should do the trick.

taptap     egghole

2.  Tap the other side of the egg as well.  Make the 2nd hole a little larger.

3.  Hold your egg over a bowl and blow into the first hole.  If the egg is not coming out easily, take your scratch awl and make the bottom hole a little larger.

loloegg
even a 5-year old can do it!

4.  After you have blown out all of the egg, take a small square of tissue paper (Kleenex) and place over the hole.  Brush the glue solution onto the tissue over the egg and brush till it is smoothed out.  You can use more glue solution to help make it smooth if necessary.  Do the other end as well.

bobglue

5.  While the glue is drying, you can measure out the origami paper.  Use the white side of the paper.  Measure out 9cm from the edge on both sides, mark a line and then cut along the line so that the paper now measures 9cm x 15 cm.

cut1cut2

6.  Fold the paper in half lengthwise with the white on the outside.  Your paper now measures 4.5cm x 15 cm.

7.  Measure 1 cm from the folded edge and make a straight line across the length of the paper.  Draw lightly as it will show through the final product if it is too dark.

8.  Measure 2 cm from the other side (open edge) and make a straight line across the length of the paper.

1cm-line      2cm-line

2lines

9.  Measure and mark 1/4″ increments along the line that is 1 cm from the folded end.  Make similar 1/4″ increment marks along the 2cm line.

1-4increments-1     1-4increments-2

10.  You will make 1/4″ incremental marks on the open edge as well but you have to start 1/8″ in.  So first mark 1/8″ from the corner and then make 1/4″ incremental marks from there.

1-8inchstart     1-8inchstart-1-4increment

11.  Connect the 1/4″ marks from the bottom edge line, starting at the 1/8″ start mark and connect them to the 1/4″ marks on the line above it.  They will slant slightly.

1-8inchstartslantline     slantline

12.  Then connect the rest of the 1/4″ marks so that you complete triangles.  It should look like this:

1-4increments-triangles

13.  Connect the 1/4″ marks from the 1cm line to the 1/4″ marks on the 2cm line

1-4increments-triangleslines

14.  Cut along the vertical and slanted lines.  Make sure your paper is still folded in half so that you don’t have to repeat all this measuring, marking and cutting on the other side.

cutting

When you are done cutting and unfold your paper, it should look like this:

finishcut

15.  Brush some glue solution on one side of the hollowed egg.  Place that side on the middle of your paper.  Make sure that the tips of the paper (or “teeth”) reach the top and bottom of the egg where you originally made holes.

masakoglueegg-1     masakoglueegg-2

16.  Brush glue on the rest of the egg and wrap the paper gently around it.  If the paper is too long, simply cut off the extra paper.  Overlapping on the side of the egg will make the final product bumpy.  No one likes a bumpy egg.

17.  Place more glue on the egg and attach each “tooth” of the paper one by one.  You may have to tug gently at the paper in order to get it on smoothly.  You can overlap the teeth slightly on top of each other.  You want all the points to attach to the top of the egg.  Brush on more glue if necessary.   Then do the other side.

masakoglueegg-3     masakoglueteeth

18.  When you are finished gluing down your teeth, use the side of a pencil to gently smooth out any bumps.  You may want to add a bit more glue solution to make the paper more pliable.

masakopencilsmooth

19.  Place your smooth egg on a baker’s rack of a basket to dry.  You don’t want to place it on a flat surface or the glue might make it stick and then you will have to do this all over again and there will be much sadness.

20.  After the glue is dry, use your larger brush for the varnish gloss.  You may need to coat this 2 – 3 times to get it as shiny as you’d like!

duraclear

Enjoy your pretty eggs!

Here’s a quick view of the paper template:

template

With the leftover egg yolk and whites, make some yummy tamagoyaki!  My friend, Arvind, recommends this video for that:  Japanese Omelette