Restaurant review: Harvey’s (2555 Victoria Park Avenue, Scarborough)

2015/03/28

It has been a while since I wrote a restaurant review due to time constraints; indeed, it is not often that a restaurant experience is so exceptional that one is compelled to make review-writing a priority above all else. Furthermore, it is even more exceptional to have such an amazing experience at a fast food restaurant.

Harvey’s has always been known as a great place to get a good burger that is customized to your own preferences. For that reason, I do look for a Harvey’s location in my daily routine as well as when I travel. A special mention is to be given to the location at 2555 Victoria Park Avenue in Scarborough (just north of the 401), where an amazing staff member “Chris” works during many weekday lunch hours (he is the guy wearing glasses). Chris always has a positive attitude while at work and takes every opportunity to provide excellent customer service. Anything he sees that can make a customer’s experience better, he does. Chris is very gentlemanly and well-mannered, his dedication to work is highly visible, and he remains cheerful even when his task on hand is particularly mundane (e.g. sweeping the floor, removing the garbage). Having seen Chris’ excellent work performance on many occasions, I feel he deserves to be recognized through a blog post.

Thank you Chris, you are an employee that every smart employer would be proud to have. Please keep up the great work!

Harvey's on Urbanspoon

Keiko Kitagawa interview article in “Biteki” February 2015 issue (English translation)

2015/03/08

The 2014’s Face That We Want – Welcome Back Keiko Kitagawa

It’s been four and a half years since “Biteki’s” first issue in June of 2010, and this is her first time joining us again since then. Winning first place in the “Best Cosmetics Face of 2014” competition, she’s back again after a long absence! She’s been starring in many movies, and appearing at many public events to promote her various roles in dramas; one of our most beautiful, “now”, icons!

Keiko’s Face: “People who are themselves are beautiful. Confidence is gained with age.”

“It became a complex, wanting to like my own face.”

Returning my gaze, she gives me a benevolent expression. “You’re as beautiful as you believe you are”, Ms. Kitagawa says, with a thoughtful expression on her face. “What I learned when I was modelling, and through portraying various roles on stage, is that you have to have confidence; you can’t hide and be someone else to be truly beautiful. Having nice clothes and makeup doesn’t matter if you don’t have a strong personality. Youth fades, and as you get older you become more grounded and more aware of your self-confidence. I want to cherish the person I know I am inside.”

“I used to think that I looked really stuck up, and that my lips were too full…honestly, I’ve always had a complex about the way my face looks. But now I think, ‘I really love my face!’ And that’s a motto I try to stick to. In the morning, I wash my face with water, and use some moisturizing lotion. Then I do my makeup; I don’t paint on big eyebrows or anything drastic. I use a bit of concealer and brown eye shadow. I like to keep my face natural and simple; I don’t go for an overly-decorated or a rigid skin care routine.”

“As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more self-aware, and also more self-confident. I try not to let old thoughts and old bad habits clutter my lifestyle, and I like to live simply. And I think making those changes has improved my self-confidence even more.”

Maybe these are the reasons she was selected as our “most beautiful face” competition winner; her confidence shines through.

“I’m really happy that I won the ‘most beautiful face’ competition. I’m shocked that so many people think that my face is the most beautiful, but I think my winning is thanks to having taken care of my hair and makeup…and it’s also thanks to everyone who voted for me, of course! I’m surprised that so many women along with men voted for me as well. That makes my win even more satisfying!”

Keiko’s Body: “What is even more important than a woman’s beauty, or what people think of it, is a woman’s health.”

“A well-balanced diet and exercise. How I made adjustments to my lifestyle.”

“One of the best changes I made is that I bought a nice little rice cooker,” she says, with laughing eyes. “I’ve been cooking a lot for myself recently, and have been eating a really balanced diet. I bought a really good kitchen knife and cutting board – so I’ve got a lot of control over the food I eat.”

She eats well; she says she eats 6 meals in a day. Her favorite food is grilled meat that is still slightly pink in the center. She eats a balanced diet with few carbohydrates. She also follows an exercise regimen, and spends 30~40 minutes a day in the gym at the step machine or going jogging, as well as doing stretches before taking her nightly bath. “That’s the secret of my life,” she says, adding, “I really enjoy my work – my work, essentially, is how I have fun. But when I went to Thailand, I realized that I needed to do more to improve my health. Although I’d love to have an eternally glamorous and feminine body like Scarlett Johansen’s, right now my focus is just on good health,” she says, laughing.

Hanging from Ms. Kitagawa’s wrist is a tiny charm, a reminder to her to take care of her body.

Keiko’s Heart: “If your heart and mind are healthy, the rest will fall into place. For the first time, I began to be an actress who believed in herself.”

“I think that I’ve become more and more myself over the years. I hope one day I’ll get to take on a role as a mother character as I get older.”

2014 was “a fulfilling year” says Ms. Kitagawa. Because she was able to control her physical condition and because she had her confidence under control, she says she was able to spear straight ahead without any regrets. As a result, she was able to land roles in a number of hit movies and drama series.

“I noticed that ever since I started to take care of my health, I’ve become much more mindful. This year, I made a big effort to not just work all the time; I’ve been going out to watch Takarazuka shows etc. I love my work, but there’s time that I set aside just for going out and having fun. Otherwise, I noticed that without my ‘me’ time I can’t perform as well. So it’s really an all-around investment.”

She’s unyielding and forward-looking, and that’s a good thing. This year she’ll be playing a number of roles. “The roles I’m portraying are like looking at myself in the mirror”, she says.

“I think now I play roles that are more like myself than ever before. I love playing all the roles I am currently cast for, but I’m looking forward to the time when I get to begin playing motherly-roles!”

In two years she’ll be 30 years old. She has some thoughts about this upcoming stage in her life:

“Many of the women in my generation begin getting married and having babies in their 30s, so there’s a lot more opportunity for me in terms of roles with that background. But I won’t let myself get type-cast; I also want to have fun exploring new and challenging roles. I’m looking ahead to the future with confidence.”

(Images from Maegane, translated by Fandom Services. Paid for by this blog to the benefit of all English-speaking and English-learning Keiko fans).

A quote about certainty

2015/03/07

“More dangerous than ignorance is educated ignorance masquerading as certainty. A brand of ignorance convinced it knows the truth because it has, at length, looked into ONE SIDE of an issue, is a far more dangerous thing than even anti-intellectualism because it appeals to our inner desire for certainty, and so can quickly become viral in nature. Regularly challenge yourself by looking at ideas that run contrary to your own, it’s the only way to combat this disease.” – Jeff Turner, from his Facebook post

Kimoclo full performance, both versions

2015/02/15

These are the full performances by Keiko Kitagawa X Momoiro Clover Z, in relation to the Akumu-chan TV Special. The song is “Saraba, Itoshiki Kanashimitachi yo” (“Farewell, My Dear Sorrows”), the theme song of the Akumu-chan TV drama series.

This is the “idol” version:

This is the “school uniform” version:

Keiko Kitagawa recalls being PGSM Sailor Mars

2015/02/15

During an interview on the Japanese TV talk show “A-Studio” broadcast on 31 January 2014, Keiko Kitagawa recalls her days playing the role of Sailor Mars in live action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, including:

1. Why the Sailor Senshi have to work twice as hard as other Japanese live action superheroes;
2. How a potato got her the role of Sailor Mars;
3. Who among the five PGSM actresses got yelled at the most by Producer/Director Ryuuta Tasaki.

The relevant excerpt of the interview has been fansubbed by Miss Dream and can be viewed here:

WestJet’s reply regarding “free vacation” robo-calls

2015/02/15

I recently received a robo-call claiming to be from WestJet, saying I won a free vacation and asked for information. I informed WestJet Customer Service about this and the following is their reply:

Thank you for contacting us regarding the scam phone calls.

For several years, unscrupulous telemarketers purporting to be from WestJet and other Canadian companies have called random telephone numbers across the country in an effort to sell potentially questionable holiday packages to Mexico. They spoof the real number they are calling from with a more familiar phone number from local area codes to increase the likelihood that the person will answer the phone.

The company names represented on these phone calls have been:

Luxury Getaway Group luxurygetawaygroup.com
Caribbean Sun Trips caribbeansuntrips.com
Caribbean Sun Group caribbeansungroup.net
Global Group Travel (no website available)

WestJet does not use telemarketers or make telemarketing phone calls, nor does it share guests’ private information with third parties for the purposes of telemarketing. The airline is not connected in any way to any of these companies.

WestJet continues to bring this issue forward to various government agencies both in Canada and in Mexico in the hopes of bringing this situation to a close and will report any updates as they become available. In the meantime, Canadians can report these phone calls and other fraudulent activity to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/english/index.html or by calling 1-888-495-8501.

Canadians who are registered on the National Do Not Call List should also report these phone calls to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission through the list operator at http://www.lnnte-dncl.gc.ca or by calling the toll-free number 1-866-580-DNCL (3625). Information such as the date and time of the call, the telemarketer’s name and telephone number, the telephone number that received the call and any additional information that would identify the caller or on whose behalf the call is being made, such as a website, will help the CRTC’s enforcement officers.

We appreciate your patience and continued goodwill towards WestJet.

Keiko Kitagawa’s “100 Loves” from her special supplement in “Seventeen” November 2005 issue (English translation)

2014/12/28

100 Things Keiko Loves!!

We researched the 100 things Keiko loves. From fashion to lifestyle, 19 year old Keiko tells us what she <3’s and more.

Long black hair. That’s what I like these days.

Ira Ishida. He’s so easy to read!

Keigo Higashino‘s “Metamorphosis” or “100 Nights”. I love reading all kinds of mysteries.

ampm. In my case, it’s because they don’t charge ATM fees.

Minnie. She’s so cute!

Tuna mayo rice balls. They’re classic!

Coffee. Especially café mocha from Starbucks! As soon as I pour in my milk, I’m in heaven.

The hour before I go to sleep. You can read something, watch a movie, listen to music – basically, it’s time that I can do whatever I want with.

Italy. I’ve never been but I’d like to go! I want to buy shoes!

All the people I work with!!

The feeling you get when you receive a one-of-a-kind item – I love that. I’m always getting indebted to everyone! (laughs)

Dr Grip. I used to think they were really convenient pens when I would use them while taking tests. (laughs)

My cross. I wear it like a pendant. I think it’s because I went to a mission school for junior high.

The smell of the woods. If they made air freshener with that scent, I’d always buy it. (laughs)

Good taste. I love skirts especially, but I don’t want to miss out on any good styles. Especially ones like Victoria Beckham’s!

I’ve got dark tastes. I love junk foods like pizza. Even though it’s so bad for you, I just love it. (laughs)

Shooting the makeup pages for Seventeen. It shocks me how much makeup can change how your face looks! And how much of a difference your facial expression makes. I like seeing my own face in transition.

Tea. Helps me when I’m tired

“Black Jack”. I have the complete volumes at my parents’ house.

Hanetobi. It’s so funny!

Q-sama! From that new late night show that’s on.

Count Down TV. Especially Tsuimi-chan’s.

Drunk Dragon. I met them at a shoot one time.

Victoria Beckham. She’s the coolest woman!! I love all her different hair styles.

Takako Tokiwa. Even though she’s famous she’s really friendly. I love seeing how she changes from role to role!

Sunglasses. They make your face look so cool. I love the tear drop shaped ones best.

SEVENTEEN. It’s such an important place for people to show their individuality.

Cleaning my face. It’s super refreshing!

Never forgetting your original intentions. That’s something I care about. When I look back on Seventeen, that’s what I always think about.

Sunflowers. Because I was born in the summer, I always remember my grandma dressing me in clothes with sunflower patterns.

Strawberries. So delicious.

The color of the sky. I’ve loved the color of the bright blue sky since I was a kid.

SWORD FISH. I really love it! I always buy it at the L.G. Market when I go.

KATE. An easy brand to use and really excellent!

Rock! In college I was in a rock band!

Bon Jovi. His voice and vocals are so amazing!

David Bowie. I’ve admired his style since I was really little.

Red Chili (Red Hot Chili Peppers). Their base player is super amazing!

Nickelback. I love his voice!

“Shining Boy & Little Randy”. It was so good. It made me cry.

“Calmi Cuori Appassionati”. The book made me happy and sad. The movie was filmed in Florence and was gorgeous. I’ve wanted to travel there ever since.

Fruit tarts. I love it when they’re refreshing and sweet. But because they’re so high in calories, I don’t eat many of them.

Hamburgers. Ever since I was a kid.

Omelette rice. I love it with lots of ketchup!

Swimming. I started when I was three and did it for more than ten years. I recommend it to everyone.

English. It was my favorite subject since middle school. Maybe I just like to speak it more than writing it?

Philosophy. It’s always such a difficult subject, but I love it. Just for the sake of learning new things.

Kobe. Because I used to live there!

Autumn. I love wearing autumn clothes and boots. I love the scenery and fallen leaves.

Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue. I’m always using it.

Beige nails. Anything in a nude shade.

French nails. It makes your hands look so pretty!

Aquariums, because I love fish. I want to buy tropical fish!

Dragon Quest. Dragon Quest 8, I still can’t beat it…

TSUTAYA. Since it ranks all the CDs in order of popularity. I want to try renting from there too!

HMV. Because I auditioned there.

Gatsby Commercials. They’re always so funny (laughs)

ZACC Hair Care. I’m always using their products.

Contrex. It makes your upset stomach feel a lot better, and eliminates constipation.

Cloudy days. I don’t like it when it’s bright and can’t stand it when it’s raining. But somehow I like the atmosphere of a cloudy day.

Boots. Wish I could wear them even in summer!

Potato chips. I could eat them every day!

My bed. Because I’m tired. (laughs)

My phone. Even though I only really talk to one other person, I’m on the phone almost every day.

People who play music. They’re so cool!

Watches. I want to collect watches. I want a Bulgarian one with diamonds.

Shooting lights! They illuminate everything, you can see perfectly!

Trees. I’ve always wanted to live in a place surrounded by trees.

The moment I put your key in the door. I’m finally home after a long day! It’s a great feeling.

TOKYO ROAD. A song by Bon Jovi. It’s from my favorite CD of his!

Eggplant. I love the flavor.

McDonald’s. If I’m going for fast food, I’m going here! I love their burgers.

Laundry day. I love wearing freshly laundered clothes!

The library. I love borrowing books.

Dark places. They’re really calming for some reason. Especially dim coffee shops (laughs)

Deep bass voices. Maybe because I’m a bass myself!

Shopping by myself. Because then I can move through the store as I please.

^_^ Cute!

^-^p  I’m always using this face!

My home. I like to be settled down.

School. It’s a great place to study!

My nose. Because it’s elegant (laughs)

My eyebrows. Because they’re elegant!! (laughs)

Hands. I could study them all day, it’s amazing how much they let you do.

People who always say no in nice or funny ways.

Boombox. Can’t live without it!

All the work I’ve done up until now. With Seventeen and on Sailor Moon.

Peace sign pose. It’s so energetic!

Simplicity. I hate when things are a jumble.

Makeup without eyeliner. I prefer a more natural look

Bangles and anklets. I like it better when there’s not stuff all over my chest.

Drums. I’m in practice!

New Year’s. It’s the time of the year where it most feels like Japan. Especially as you sit back and watch NHK’s “Red and White Singing Competition”.

“8”. Because I was born in August.

Brappers Jeans. They make your legs looks so slim even in denim!

My birth stone. And any yellow-green gems.

Men who wear glasses. Isn’t it just so sexy?!

Brown eye shadow. Depending on how you apply it, it can really change how your face looks, it’s really versatile.

Sweet baked egg. I love it.

A hotdog in my lunchbox. It’s a Kitagawa house classic!

Peppers. I know there’s lots of people who hate them, but they’re so delicious!!

Dear Readers: Hello. I’m Keiko Kitagawa. The staff worked super extra hard on making this book. It took a lot to get together all this information about fashion, makeup, and about myself. So definitely please enjoy. This is Keiko Kitagawa signing off from SEVENTEEN.

(Images from Miss Dream. Translated by Fandom Services, paid for by this blog to the benefit of all English-speaking and English-learning Keiko fans).

A quote about enemies

2014/12/14

“Remember to always separate victims from enemies. No man is your enemy, systems of thought and ideologies that enslave are your enemy. Human beings, even when working for these systems, are victims who need love, understanding and rescue.” – Jeff Turner, from his Facebook post

Keiko Kitagawa interview article in “MORE” October 2014 issue (English translation)

2014/11/03

Cover of the regular edition

Cover of the low price “no gift” edition

In preparation for today’s photo-shoot, a bookshelf with all of Ms. Kitagawa’s favorite publications has been prepared for our perusal. Signaling towards it, she says, “I really love reading, because it leads me to such awakenings”. This is by no means a special collection. These are all her favorite stories that she’s loved since she was a child.

“The charm of it is that you get to use your own imagination to think up the sounds and colours.”

“I have a huge bookcase filled with all of my favorite books that my parents gave me. I started off with books like ‘Little Women’ and ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’, Shinichi Hoshi‘s ‘1001 Short Short Stories’ as well as Jiro Akagawa‘s ‘Three Sisters Investigate’ and ‘Calico Cat Holmes’. I used to have these books flanking each side of my shelf. Although I love music and movies, the charm of books is that you get to use your imagination and think up all the associated sounds and colors. Every day after my homework was done back in elementary school, I used to spend all my time reading in my room; it’s how I lived out all my girlhood fantasies (laughs).

“Back in junior high school I had two precious hours of commuting time to spend reading. My father is also an avid reader, and he used to lend me his books by Ayako Miura and Ayako Sono – we both love really ‘mature’ works.

“When I first read Ayako Miura’s ‘Shiokari Pass’ and learned about that kid’s sacrifice to stop the ‘runaway train’, it was shocking to me…it made me think if I were in the situation, if I would do the same thing. I was really impressionable in my early teens, and that story made a lasting impression on me. For instance, if you read about police organizations and criminals, you’ll understand a little bit about what that life is like…and you can learn about war from reading the works of Toyoko Yamazaki. My profession is to play the roles of others in life; so reading is invaluable to me, because it teaches me how it feels to be in the place of someone else. Reading helps me deeply connect and understand other people.

“Compared to what we had available to us as kids, nowadays there’s a huge range of things to chose from: there’s more to the young adult category than just light romance novels and science fiction.

“Some of my favorite authors are of course Haruki Murakami, Miyuki Miyabe and Takashi Atoda – all authors my parents read too. I’m very nostalgic about the authors I used to read, and the science fiction stuff I used to read as well – but you know, I think I read at a higher age level than I was supposed to. I especially loved Riku Onda‘s ‘The 6th Sayoko’ and ‘Lionheart’ – I read a lot of her works. Another book I love to read is ‘How to Make Delicious Coffee’ by Yuka Murayama. Right now I’m also reading ‘Kiroi Zou’ by Kanako Nishi. Of course, these days I can actually meet the authors I like to read…so that’s a big change.”

Are there any titles that you still love to read, even after your favorite genres and writing styles have evolved?

“I think the world of books is so full that you could never read it all during a lifetime. Since our time here is limited, I don’t want to regret not learning about something that I could have decided to know about. I love learning about human relationships especially. Favorites of mine on that subject are ‘Vitamin F’ and ‘Kiyoshiko’, both written by Kiyoshi Shigematsu and are really incredible. It bothers me to think that some people end up the protagonist of their own tragedies. But I remember reading her work when I was an elementary student, an uncle had recommended it; everyone in her stories is handicapped or struggling in some way, but they’re just trying to get by. It gives you the courage and compassion to live your own life well.”

“Reading was a means for me to fulfill a vague impatience.”

“When I was 17, I didn’t understand the meaning of ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ – it’s one of those books that you have to re-read many times before you begin to unravel it. Every time you read a book, you set a new yardstick for yourself to further your understanding of the thing you’re reading.

“I always think of the pieces I read like a violin. As you live, your skills improve. And so by living, you’re better able to interpret what’s around you. Maybe that’s a poor example, but my point is – if you don’t have knowledge and experience, your perceptions are limited. You have to experience both joy and sadness. I think when you’re a kid you’re like an empty container – There’s so many things you can fill yourself up with to deepen your understanding of the world around you. For me, reading was a way to fulfill a vague impatience I had with not understanding the world around me completely. Reading was my methodology for coping with my impatience.”

And now she’s 28 years old. You can check out more of her thoughts in “how to live as a woman”.

“When I look around at my friends today, they’re married – many of them have kids, some of them already have two kids. I don’t have any goals like that, so I don’t have the experience of marriage or childbirth as a result. There’s a hard balance to be struck between work and women’s happiness, so I prefer to live some parts of my life vicariously through others where I think it’s appropriate to maintain my overall happiness. Books are a way to do that. That’s why I always want to keep on reading books.”

Keiko’s Book Guide (“Navi”)

“I selected these five books because they were turning-points for me: I cherish them!”

“Shiokari Pass” by Ayako Miura: Based on a true story, this book is based on the events of a youth who sacrificed himself to save other passengers. “If it were me in this situation, it makes me think deeply if I’d have done the same things.”

“The 6th Sayoko” by Riku Onda: A third year student named Sayoko is chosen to participate in a high school stage game – a suspense classic. “It makes me remember my youth!”

“How to Make Delicious Coffee” series by Yuka Murayama: From an older cousin, this series depicts the triumphs of falling in love. “I was addited to this series in college. You want to cheer along with the protagonist all along!”

“Vitamin F” by Kiyoshi Shigematsu: Family, father, and others – all of the keywords in this book begin with the letter F. “The characters are so human; the family love and parent-child bonds shown in it draw me in.”

“The Catcher in the Rye” by J. D. Salinger: “Every time I read it, something different about it catches my attention. It changes you every time!”

“I don’t want to regret only having one life, so I want to always keep reading.”

(Images from Itsumo: Keiko Kitagawa and Maegane. Translated by Miss Dream under their “Hire Us!” program. Paid for by this blog to the benefit of all English-speaking and English-learning Keiko fans).

A quote about having an open mind

2014/10/29

“Being proven wrong is a beautiful thing!

Open minds and hearts never resist growth or an expansion of understanding. They delight in being challenged, stretched and made uncomfortable by foreign ideas. They do not eschew books or teachers that make them think, and they certainly do not hide from correction. They run towards challenging, boundary-stretching and thought-reforming things!

Delight in being challenged.

If you ever stop growing, you’ve stopped living.”

– Jeff Turner, from his Facebook post


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 27 other followers