Jason Truesdell : Pursuing My Passions
A life in flux. Soon to be immigrant to Japan. Recently migrated this blog from another platform after many years of neglect (about March 6, 2017). Sorry for the styling and functionality potholes; I am working on cleaning things up and making it usable again.

Finally reached my yuzu guy

September 29, 2005, 11:41 PM

I finally got hold of my source for yuzu juice today. Apparently my previous communications were never received due to some changes in their corporate email systems. I was happy to find out I wasn’t being intentionally ignored. I should have called and pestered them earlier.

I’ve been having trouble getting in touch with them for quite a while. It’s rather frustrating, because I’ve had customers waiting for me to provide quotes for them… grr.

Now I feel a little relief. I hope the rest of it works out.

Lining up things, figuring out balance

September 28, 2005, 11:49 PM

I’m trying to juggle the various competing pressures of my work and I’ve realized my wholesale sales efforts have been inadequate of late, so I’m trying to make sure I spend a bit more time each day focusing on developing new accounts.

Most of my larger existing customers have been seeing good sales results and have been increasing their order amounts, but I need a more substantial client base to get to a level of survival. I’m getting better at what I’m doing, and a fair amount of growth in my sales brokerage end has made me more optimistic, but my available resources are still getting smaller.

I’ve been thinking about doing some side work to help increase my survival chances. But I need to do build up my business at the same time, because my goal isn’t to work for someone else; I want to make my concept work.

I’m not sure how much I’ve said about it on my blog, but one of my objectives as I started plotting my Microsoft exit strategy was to build a restaurant project. I did the math on that and decided it wasn’t going to be the right time for me when I decided I needed to move on from Microsoft, but I did think that doing some work in a restaurant work as I was building my import business would have been valuable experience to work toward that.

So I’ve long considered doing side work, I’ve been kind of torn between the idea of doing some potentially more lucrative but very intellectually draining short term software gigs, and the idea of doing some for me more interesting, but certainly not particularly well-paying, work in restaurants. I do look rather strange when I show my resume to most restaurants, though, so most don’t know what to make of me.

But actually, my first priority should be to generate new wholesale accounts, and my second priority should be to build up my internet sales levels. The jump from where I am now to where I need to be to assure basic survival isn’t that far out of reach.

I’m really happy to have been able to have built the audience I have so far. I think people are really starting to respond to my work to expose people to contemporary Asian style. But like a lot of people who start businesses, I surely underestimated what I needed to start with to get from nowhere to somewhere.

Unwanted waistline expansion

September 26, 2005, 11:20 PM

The last few months I’ve found that my waist has been expanding… I haven’t been jogging as much as I have in the past, and I’m just in a car way too much.

This afternoon, I had a relatively short list of orders to fill and I didn’t need to lug around too many packages. Rather than drive to my office, then to Ballard to drop off packages, I walked the short stretch to my office, took care of things, and after I finished most of what I needed to do at my office, I walked all the way to the Ballard post office, FedEx Kinkos, and the bank. I wandered around a bit, then walked back home.

I got at least an hour of walking in, if not a bit more. I sure needed it. But I need more regular exercise generally speaking… I’ve only jogged a couple of times in the last week.

Stupidly overstuffed

September 24, 2005, 11:22 PM

It’s not been my habit to overeat for the last few years… I tend to indulge in things that, if eaten in excess, are not terribly healthy, but tonight, in spite of not feeling terribly hungry, I managed to eat a little bit more than I would normally consider natural when dining at Bamiyan in Gilman Village. We stayed firmly in the Afghan side of their dual Afghan/Persian menu, and the food was mostly quite well executed and tasty, but the portions were unnaturally large and we ordered too much for three and a half diners.

I kept eating, even though I wasn’t really hungry.

It’s not really my style. I tend to like eating more modest portions of things… six bites or so and I start to become bored of a dish, generally speaking, and would like to move on to something else.

Maybe it’s just stress or nerves, but I just kept nibbling. The food was, after all, still in front of me.

The primary impetus for this adventure was to see Once On This Island, a beautifully staged contemporary musical at the Village Theatre on Front Street in Issaquah, for which a friend of mine was running audio.

I overspent. This isn’t a good time to be self-indulgent. I think my entertainment budget for the next 4 weeks has been busted with today’s and yesterday’s excitement.

Maybe I need to be doing some more sales work…

Somehow I managed to work relatively efficiently

September 23, 2005, 11:41 PM

This afternoon I processed all of my internet orders without too much chaos or distraction, which was a bit surprising, since I often run around a bit. I noticed today that I missed delivery of a bunch of cardboard boxes and packing materials, which probably came yesterday when I was busy debugging SQL code.

Before noon and actually again in the evening, I met up with some other folks who participate in eGullet and Mouthfuls, which are food-focused community sites. It was nice to see some faces associated previously only with online personas. I also got to try Zigzag, is below the Pike Place Market near Procopio Gelato. They have a lot of interesting signature cocktails. I think Sambar remains my favorite drink spot in town, but the peach bitters-enhanced “Trident” was very nice.

This weekend my demo schedule is a little lighter, so I’m going to try to take advantage of that. I am dropping in to a matcha class at Blue Dog in U-District tomorrow, and Sunday I’ll be at Uwajimaya in Bellevue.

Debugging my not-so-labor-saving script, relieved by apples

September 22, 2005, 11:59 PM

I remember when I could be fascinated by solving a computer problem, and I’d happily whittle away hours and hours, usually for the gain of just a few minutes of labor from time to time.

This is not so satisfying now that I am trying to build a business of my own not related to software. However, I let myself spend an insane amount of time debugging some quite simple database code and forms code, meant mostly to save some repetitive data entry work. Had I just done the tedious work, I would have spent far less time overall, but now I have a solution that should benefit me whenever I need to add a batch of similar products.

The good news, though, is that i now have all of the photographs Rob Tilley sent me online at YuzuMura.com, and I have some reusable code that will benefit me when I add other batches of products.

In the afternoon I indulged in eating most of a tremendously large apple given to me by a Nikkei-jin apple farmer on Sunday… it was so flavorful… crisp, lightly acidic, aromatic.


Aki-nasu and nagaimo-dango

September 21, 2005, 11:58 PM

I sent Hiromi these photos from tonight’s dinner and she called it “obaachan no ryouri” or grandma food.

The results were nice, but not flawless..

I was experimenting with making nagaimo dango in soup, and I overruled my initial impulse of making the dango using only wheat flour, nagaimo and a pinch of salt. I thought the texture might be more interesting if I added some katakuriko. This seemed to make the dough very sticky and my experience making gnocchi didn’t provide useful sensory reference points to judge the consistency, so when I boiled the dango, they got a bit chewy.


On previous occasions, I’ve used katakuriko and blends of katakuriko and kuzuko in dango recipes, but I was generally following a recipe that wasn’t terribly temperamental. In this case, I added two unknowns: the nagaimo, and the katakuriko. I think it will take a few experiments to get the ideal texture.

I made one of my favorite variations of hiya-yakko, made with yuzu-kosho, which is a paste made from the ground rind of yuzu and ground chilies, and a splash of Japanese soy sauce. A few years ago I served a very potent yuzu-kosho with some godoufu or another similarly mild side dish, and a knife-tip portion of yuzu kosho. I guess my plating needed some work; in Japan, I have seen similar presentation, and I knew the flavor was quite powerful. But one my guests thought I had mistakenly dropped something on the plate. When I explained the flavoring, they realized that it was the perfect amount for the dish in question, but it was a bit surprising to them. This time, I used a fairly substantial amount; roughly a third to half a teaspon. Actually, my yuzu-kosho has lost a bit of its aroma over time and I only had small amount left. So this amount was just about right, and not overwhelming.


I also made some quickly fried Japanese eggplant, dressed with nothing more than grated ginger, some sesame seeds, and a little Japanese soy sauce. This is one of my absolute favorite ways to serve eggplant, because it is so incredibly simple and flavorful. For this preparation, I usually slice the eggplant for this quarter lengthwise, then halfed crosswise, but I thought this might be a bit too visually repetitive, since I planned to serve another eggplant dish sliced lengthwise. I chose instead to use a rolling cut (mawashi-giri).


I also made some dengaku-nasu, which I nearly lost to neglect. I roasted lengthwise-sliced halves of eggplant, then added a mirin-sugar-miso paste which is a classic topping for broiled tofu, called “dengaku-miso” or “neri-miso.” My dengaku-miso is usually smoother and thicker than it was tonight, so I was a little frustrated that it wanted to slide off of my eggplant. My broiler also cooked a little faster than I expected so I almost over-caramelized the topping.


This was dinner… I added some tsukemono after I set everything out.

I prepared a small delivery to the Women of Color luncheon organized every 3 months or so by Assunta Ng. When I can, I have been providing some promotional giveaways and coupons for a gift bag that they offer to attendees.

Part of the day I was also trying to debug some stored procedures intended to help me quickly add multiple similar items to my online store. Due to various quirky little bugs, it turned out to be more distracting than immediately productive, but I know I need to do this work to simplify my life. I am not quite finished, but I’ve done enough work that it speeds up adding the metadata for the photos I’m putting up right now. Actually, though, I’m kind of debugging the code one addition at a time, so this particular batch may not be finished very quickly.

Preparing to offer photographic prints

September 20, 2005, 11:59 PM

A few weeks ago at Bellevue’s Aki Matsuri event, I met a photographer whose work I think I had seen at Azuma Gallery at some point, but I hadn’t ever committed his name to memory. He has done a number of shoots in Japan, producing some very nice images that manage to evoke Japan without being too conventional or contrived.

I was a little sleepless when I met him, and I rambled on and on a bit, but I suggested I might be able to offer some of his work on YuzuMura.com. Over the last few weeks, we worked out some details, and I got started uploading some of them… I have a lot more work to do…

Tilley 026Tilley 038

Tilley 053Tilley 056

Some days are just busywork

September 19, 2005, 11:59 PM

Until I shipped off today’s internet orders, I didn’t do anything particularly sociable, but after finishing most of my work I stopped at Floating Leaves and chatted a bit with Shiuwen.

Tomorrow I still have some catch-up work to do…

After the demos, satsumaimo

September 18, 2005, 10:20 PM

I guess I didn’t get enough sleep the last few nights… I got up later than I should have, but I needed the sleep.

Today I was a little bit touchy, but managed to have enough charm to sell a moderate amount of matcha latte blend and a bit of dragon beard candy. I think I did better yesterday.

I had lofty ambitions for dinner today, but once I got home, I lost most of my energy, and settled for baked satsumaimo with butter, black and white sesame seeds, salt, and a bit of sliced mellow cheese from Bella Cosa in Wallingford. I think I’ll be sleeping a little early tonight.

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