The Senate and People of Rome
Last night my karate school held its annual black belt dinner at a restaurant in Little Italy called S.P.Q.R. Since it was a private event I don't want to go into too much detail, but it was a wonderful time with some great people, and the food was delicious.
I don't spend much time in Little Italy, so I was reminded of what a wonderful and charming neighborhood it is. I worked until about 7:45 p.m. and then took a W train downtown to Canal Street. Canal serves as a border between Little Italy to the north, and Chinatown to the south. Chinatown, however, protrudes into all its surrounding neighborhoods, so the maps actually don't seem so accurate anymore. Chinatown goes well beyond its official borders.
Getting out of the train at Canal Street is always an interesting experience, and it felt especially so last night, as I strolled down the crowded sidewalks wearing my blue blazer with patch that I got a year ago for last year's dinner.
I felt like I was in a movie, dodging all different kinds of people on my way to black belt dinner, looking at all the signs in Chinese and shopowners pulling down their metal gates. I know karate is Japanese, not Chinese, but it's not hard to feel transported to some Asian city when you stroll through Chinatown in New York. The density of people on Canal Street and in Chinatown during the workday has to be among the highest in New York. It's madness, but also very cool.
There's really no Japantown in New York per se, but the East Village (for young, hip Japanese places) and Midtown (for more traditional, Japanese businessman-type places) come close.
As I was running late, I was a man on a mission to get some appetizers before they started switching over to the main course at 8 p.m. I just made it.
Now I've got to get going. At the dinner I accidentally got some butter on my blue blazer because a pat of butter was somehow stuck to my napkin, which I had in my lap. The stain isn't very bad, but I will take the jacket to the dry cleaners anyway. So now I need to drop off my buttery jacket at the cleaners, buy salmon or tilapia from the fish monger, buy a case of seltzer from Beverage World, and then get my fight gear together and head into Manhattan for kumite. More soon.
By the way, the weather in New York is pretty dreary today. It's dark and damp and not very fun at all. On a day like today you've got to dig deep for your inner sunshine.