As one of the volunteer organizers for Pecha Kucha, an informal gathering where creatives talk about 20 different images for 20 seconds, Aiko Yonamine must seek out interesting people to present at the event. (It runs every three months; the next one is Aug. 13.) That's not much of a problem for Aiko, who admittedly doesn't have trouble making new friends. "I swear it's the Okinawan way in me," she said, referring to ichariba chode, an Okinawan saying that means, essentially, though we meet once, we're friends for life. It helps that Aiko typically carries Ume Plum Wine with her most places and offers it to new friends.
As one of the volunteer organizers for Pecha Kucha, an informal gathering where creatives talk about 20 different images for 20 seconds, Aiko Yonamine must seek out interesting people to present at the event. (It runs every three months; the next one is Aug. 13.) That’s not much of a problem for Aiko, who admittedly doesn’t have trouble making new friends. “I swear it’s the Okinawan way in me,” she said, referring to ichariba chode, an Okinawan saying that means, essentially, though we meet once, we’re friends for life. It helps that Aiko typically carries Ume Plum Wine with her most places and offers it to new friends.
Ume Plum Wine
My mom always says, “You need to share your heritage”; she says, “Do not ever forget your heritage.” So I always have a stash with me. I’ll take it to the park or picnics or movies, whatever. Or when I have friends over, or when I go to celebrate something, I crack it open and have a toast. You can drink it like a shot and take the plum and suck on the wine. It's intoxicating. It's sweet and sour. People drink Saki in Japan all the time, but plum wine is one of the understated drinks. It's really good for your health, and Ume is very symbolic in terms of your essence.
I used to go to Restaurant Japan, and the people there would go, “Oh, you should go to Ba Sho or Kihachi, where Anthony Bourdain went.” But Ba Sho is really where Anthony Bourdain should have gone because it's so humble. You walk in and you feel like you're in a hole in the wall in Japan, even though it's not a hole in the wall. They're really inexpensive, and it reminds me of where I come from, Okinawa, Japan. They serve these really interesting dishes; there's this one dish, it's called goya champura— it's bitter melon stir fry. In Okinawa, they'll put eggs, bonito flakes, pork, or if you're vegetarian, tofu on it, and a potato cake. It makes it kind of fishy-tasting, but it's not. It's so good. My grandmother used to make that stuff.
Clintonville Community Market
I’m surprised more people don’t know the co-op exists. I like the fact that the people know you there. They make you feel at home — that's the difference from going to Lucky’s Market and being one of the thousands. I call it my fridge and pantry. I keep my house stocked within the limits of the co-op. And the co-op creates a sense of community too. I meet people there a lot, or I'll go by myself and end up talking to a bunch of people and making new friends. It represents quite a bit to me.
I saw them last year a few times, but not of late. You really have to wear earplugs because it's so loud. They usually play around a solstice or equinox. They play this kind of psychedelic and electronic music, but really loud and tight. They're influenced by bands like Suns and Radiohead, and it takes you away from yourself. The lyrics you can relate to, but the music is so loud you have to listen to the lyrics separately and focus on the music.
I went to an ashram in India a few years back, and it started out with a silence day program. When I got there I was always about being with people, and it didn't really occur to me how uncomfortable I was being alone. Now I'm going through a process called Sadhana, which is putting yourself in uncomfortable situations. I’ve learned I actually like this. I like the way I do things, the way I can go out and then go inward and be alright. I wouldn't know much about Columbus unless I was alone. Being alone in Columbus has been humbling; you learn to love it so much because if you're by yourself you can find the things you like. I never thought I'd get to that point.