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Saturday, January 21, 2017

SIMPLE GOURMET MEALS ON MY LANAI AT 15 CRAIGSIDE

For the next few days my postings will feature cuisine and travel, for 15 Craigside later today goes to the new International Marketplace to have lunch at the new Roy's, curiously enough, called Eating House 1849.  Then tomorrow, I'm off to the Big Island to join my Stanford freshman roommate and his friends on their volcano adventure.

On Thursday I had lunch with Mark Glick, who for five years headed the State Energy Office, but has moved to a position with the University of Hawaii.  We now share a suite in the Pacific Ocean Science and Technology Building on the Manoa Campus.  We are at Orchids.  When I worked for the U.S. Senate in DC I promised myself to have a lunch at the beach once/week when I returned, and I've largely been able to do that over the past third of a century.

Today I'll just focus on what is becoming my favorite place to eat:  my 15 Craigside lanai.  I have an herb and citrus garden which bountifully enhances my cocktails and salads:


In particular, my two calamansi trees have provided mystery and fertility.  I keep one inside the apartment, as it is in its fruitful period:


The other I placed on the lanai to interact with bees, for the flowers are in bloom and the fragrance is delicately wonderful:


I'm taking a huge chance, for the marauding parakeets continue to fly around.  These calamansi have provided intrigue and the Chinese Swallowtail Butterfly:
Here are two Japanese meals I've recently enjoyed.  That's a taruzake, which has that cedar odor, and Gifu rice is said to be #3 in Japan:



I tend to indulge in Japanese wagyu beef monthly.  No, that's not a misprint.  That steak cost $92/pound.  The chutoro sashimi was also somewhat pricey.


Then I had an artichoke night.  Many of you don't know how to eat this vegetable, so I'll provide details.  Here with radicchio (looks like red cabbage, but costs several times more--Pliny the elder claimed they purified the blood and was an aid for insomniacs), belgian endive (a connoisseur's lettuce), ikura caviar (salmon eggs), Castello Blue Cheese and Bugles (serves as the cone for the cheese and caviar--makes it tastier and crisper if first fried in butter).  A Stanford Chardonnay, Midori cocktail and hot sake.


First, you boil the artichoke for around half an hour.  You can't really overcook it, although slightly al dente is best.  When ready, hot, cold or cool, peel those petals.  The first few are inedible, but soon the bottom part begins to have small amounts of flesh, which can be dipped into either liquid butter or mayonnaise.  Eventually you run out of petals and are faced with needles:


This is the difficult stage.  Use a knife to cut or scrape off those needles, ending up with:


The more elegant technique would be to slice into quarters and dip into the sauce.  However, I merely bit off chunks:


The artichoke at this point has the texture of hasu (lotus) and they taste somewhat similar.

Finally, my spaghetti with salad normally comes from 15C dining room takeout.  However, I add ingredients and upgrade the dish.  The downside is that the noodle is always overcooked.  Typically I slice 5-10 cloves of garlic and fry them in olive oil.  Then I add a tablespoon of butter and cook the spaghetti, adding onions, topped with basil:



Imagine, also, of being enveloped by the setting sun:


Tomorrow, Roy Yamaguchi's Eating House 1849.

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Friday, January 20, 2017

WHICH IS THE HARDEST UNIVERSITY TO BE ACCEPTED?

This was a recent question in QUORA.  First of all, here is the popular knowledge:


Well, in a way, this was a trick question, because the person who responded to Quora said that Deep Springs College (DSC) was the most difficult.  Turns out he was wrong.  Most interesting place to study for two years, where no tuition is charged, and half go on to receive a doctorate at the top schools, but my calculations show that annually, only 200 or so apply for 14 slots, meaning an average acceptance of 7%.  Also in the century or so of existence, I don't recognize even one distinguished alumni.  They might begin to admit females next year.

In 2015 Alice Lloyd College (ALC) and Stanford tied at 5%.  ALC is a smallish Kentucky university which, like DSC above, requires that you work in some way, stressing leadership, responsibility and service. However, in 2016, ALC dropped to #6 at 7.1%.  #10 is the College of the Ozarks at 8.3%, right behind the Naval Academy, but ahead of Juilliard.  Ozarks is 1% black.
Further, Education Corner last year had the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia the lowest at 4.9%, with Stanford at 5.1% and Harvard at 6%.  Scanning further down the list, I see at #33 Mississippi Valley State University, a 91% black campus, at 16.2%, behind the University of California Berkeley 16%, but ahead of the US Air Force Academy 16.6%.  #40 is Rust College at 17.6%, #45 Williams College (Forbes has Williams at #2 to Stanford #1 as Best Universities) and #89 California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo.


Internationally, Rajat, from India, put Stanford at 4.7% and Harvard at 5.1%, but the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) as low as 0.5%.  Another site had IIT at 2%, with Japan's eight national universities at 1%.  Ah, but Icy Wang, somehow linked to China, indicated that China's universities are the toughest to gain entrance.  He (she?) said that the Beijing (formerly known as Peking) University School of Management has an acceptance rate of 0.0003%.  For Tsinghua or Beijing University, the rate is somewhere between 0.04% to 1%.
For your interest, here are universities that have a 100% acceptance rate.  Another open enrollment list.  There are 4,726 colleges in the USA, although online options are escalating.  U.S. post high school enrollment actually has declined for five consecutive years and will continue this drop for the next two decades.   


I find some of the following surprising;
In China, only 20% of of high school graduates get enrolled in some form of  higher education.  By 2050, this percentage is projected to increase to 50.  

Apparently, then, the top universities in China are the most difficult to gain acceptance.  Next, the best Japanese universities, followed by India.  Stanford?  No comparison to Beijing (Peking) University, Tokyo University or most of the India Institutes of Technology (there are 23, and seven of them are rated #1-#7 in the country, although another list has the University of Delhi as #1).

Finally, what are top world universities?  There are various sources, but the Shanghai Ranking first appeared in 2003, and is generally considered to be the most followed:
  • #1    Harvard
  • #2    Stanford
  • #3    California at Berkeley
  • #4    Cambridge
  • #5    MIT
  • #6    Princeton
  • #7    Oxford
  • #8    CalTech
  • #9    Columbia
  • #10  Chicago
15 of the top 20 are from the USA.  Others of note:
  • #20  Tokyo University
  • #32  Kyoto University
  • #46  University of Paris
  • #58  Tsinghua University
  • #71  Peking University
  • #87  Moscow State University
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Thursday, January 19, 2017

MY NOSTALGIC WALK THROUGH KAKAAKO

This is part two of my holiday unagi lunch and stroll I reported on Tuesday.  Nadine Kam, coincidentally, yesterday featured a full article in the Crave section of the Star-Advertiser on dinnertime at Beniya.

Me, I left the Waikiki Yokocho basement on Monday (scroll down to my Tuesday posting), intending to just walk home to 15 Craigside, at my age, a major adventure.  But I felt nostalgic, so strolled through my home village of Kakaako where I grew up.  I took the ocean path, first to Waikiki Beach:


Then, turning 180 degrees, my view in the Ewa direction towards Kakaako:


I walked by Hilton Hawaiian Village, and, here, rested a while:


Then through Ala Moana Beach Park along the canal, where I noticed a dozen baobab trees, this one with Ala Moana Shopping Center in the background;


A picturesque scene along the canal:


You'd never recognize the Ewa-Makai (southwest) corner of the shopping center.  Park Lane, the $1 billion luxury condo will accept its first occupants in April.  A Black-Crown Night Heron also was curious about these apartments:


There are a few units still for sale, but the price ranges from $4 million to $10 million.  Location!  Location!  Location!

Then, a lagoon at the west end where I went Samoan crabbing:


Skye Manuel, not me, and this is his Hawaii record of 7 pounds 7 ounces.  Turning around, the new Waiea, into which Nobu's recently re-located.  Still a few units open, from $2 million to $35 million:


I continued walking to Kewalo Basin at the Ewa end, which was my site for sayori, or half-beak (the beak is on the bottom).  In my days, there were these Japanese-type fishing boats moored here.  We chummed the waters with bread, and the exciting moment came when the school showed up.  

We used long bamboo poles with a line, small lead and 1/4-inch hook on which was squeezed a small amount of bread.  Satori, about a foot long, and at most weighing three-quarters of a pound, was a good-eating fish.

To be avoided was the needlefish, which could get up to a yard long.  No one ate it.

There were no retail stores in this part of Kakaako then.    There was the Red and White Kamaboko factory at Pohukaina and Ahui.  But it's gone, and, across the street was my home.


That building next to the telephone pole sits over the duplex where I lived from birth to 16.  On the above map (you need to click on it to read the details), my house was next to the initial A in Ala Moana - Kakaako.  The neighborhood has totally changed, but there are still flowers and fruits on this block:


A five-minute walk to my elementary school, Pohukaina, which is no longer there:


At one time a 650-foot high sky rise (418 feet is now the max height) was proposed for this site, 690 Pohukaina Street.  The latest plans show a lower high-rise with an elementary school.

Another ten-minute walk to Central Intermediate School which is still there, but now called Central Middle School:


In all my elementary and intermediate periods I walked barefeet to school.  With all the shards of glass and other dangers, it's a wonderment that we somehow survived.  Shoes, though, were required for McKinley High School.  


Then I arrived at where my life began:  I was born at 8:11PM on 6 September 1940 at Queen's Hospital.  Yes, I was legitimate, and the doctor was Richard Sakimoto, according to my birth certificate:


As I walked up Nuuanu Avenue, I saw a #4 bus coming, so, with my Bus Pass, I decided to pass on the quarter mile uphill climb.

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