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My First Nocturne

Nocturne: Art at Night in Halifax

For me this event was about expression, accessibility and community. Halifax came to life on Saturday night like no other night. The atmosphere for me was reminiscent of Japanese matsuri where everyone comes together to celebrate their community. This event wasn’t just celebrating community but was celebrating the creative community and making it accessible and fun. Nocturne runs from 6pm to midnight and allows you to visit art galleries and museums for free. Not only do galleries and museums open up their doors so you can see their regular exhibits there are added elements to make your experience a fantastic one. Some of the museums had DJs playing while you roamed the exhibit halls, others had pop-up art presentations for you to enjoy. Many of the places we visited offered interactive aspects. The NSCAD School of Extended Studies allowed you to make a poster and on the waterfront we ran into a singer songwriter playing while passersby were encouraged to draw on the benches while you listened.

Nocturne was an incredible time with great exhibits and performances all over the city. There were a lot more things that I wanted to see and do but didn’t get a chance to. There is always next year!

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Gates of Sojourn II @ Public Gardens

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Double Happiness Dim Sum by Jeremy Tsang

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Samba Nova: Brazilian percussion group

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Fair Winds; Safe Return by Ryan Josey

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Dartmouth from the Halifax Waterfront

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Doraemon by Tomoko

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Inspirational scribbles by Me

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Giant Game of Pong by Derek Riley

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Night Shift and Art is…? @NSCAD School of Extended Studies

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Peacework at Canadian Museum of Immigration

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Fire Show at Halifax Circus

My Weekend

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you all got your fill of turkey and all the fixin’s and aren’t too sick of turkey leftovers yet. I contemplated buying a turkey and cooking one for myself but ended up opting for a quiet turkey dinner at Le Bistro by Liz with a friend. I saved myself a lot of pain and regret by doing that because even though I was quite stuffed, I didn’t have the option of serving myself seconds (which I always do).

Turkey Dinner

Le Bistro Turkey Dinner

Lemon Parfait Pie

Lemon Parfait Pie

The other part of my weekend (that wasn’t work related) was a low key night out with a friend from Fredericton. The plan was to go to The Seahorse one last time before it moved to Gottingen but at the last minute on my Facebook feed appeared a post from The Steady Swagger (Whiskeybillie band from Montreal) saying that they were playing in Halifax that night. Stand up bass and lyrics about rum beat The Seahorse hands down. They were playing at a place called Open Mic House which I had never been to or heard of before that night. My friend arrived before me and was very confused about the venue, “it looks like someones house, I’ll wait for you outside.” Once I arrived I realized that it wasn’t just a clever name and that Open Mic House was, in fact, a house that also doubled as a venue on Mondays and some Saturday nights. When I walked inside I soon realized that this was one of many room rentals I looked at on Halifax kijiji. If I were just a little bit younger and didn’t have a job that required me to get up at 5am, I would love to live in this place. The quaint venue made for a much more intimate and enjoyable show than if it had been at a pub or bar. Most of the folks there seemed to already know each other but were very welcoming which made me love this place even more. The stage was set up in the living room and as for seating, well, you just sat wherever there was room. On the floor, on the sofa, in the doorway. I have a feeling I will become a regular at Open Mic House.

Because this is a share house, drinks were not available for purchase so we went across the street to Lion & Bright which I had been wanting to check out for a while. This place is a cafe by day and bar by night. Wide open concept with amazing architectural design esthetic. It felt like a bar you might find in a larger city which was just the place I had been longing for since moving back from Japan last year.

Thanks to this little night out on Agricola I finally found Local Source, a market/catering business with a focus on seasonal/local produce, grain-fed, free-range meats and sustainable seafood. I plan to do most of my grocery shopping there from now on. I don’t mind paying a little extra for my produce and meats when I know where it’s coming from and what is/is not in it.

Outfit for a night out

Outfit for a night out

Old timey piano playin'

Old timey piano playin’

Open Mic House

Open Mic House

The Steady Swagger from Montreal

The Steady Swagger from Montreal

Lion and Bright

Strangers at Lion & Bright

Coffee bar area of Lion and Bright

Coffee bar area of Lion & Bright

Change is Inevitable

Change is Inevitable

*Looking at most of these pictures, I’ve realized that I need to upgrade to a new phone.

Beautiful City

Painted traffic boxes are all over Halifax and I’ve made it a point to take a picture of each one I find. The city of Halifax accepts submissions from artists wishing to participate and beautify these otherwise ugly electrical boxes. Click here for more information on submissions or the participating artists.

Here are just a few of the ones that I cross paths with on the regular.

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Halifax Shopping Centre

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Quinpool Road

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Robie Street

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Joseph Howe Drive, my favorite one

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Oak Street

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The side view

Robie Street

Robie Street

Sweater Weather

September 23 was the fall equinox but it wasn’t until today that it actually felt like fall. For me, it isn’t fall until the leaves are crunching beneath my feet and the air smells of damp foliage.

I had a beautiful walk home from my second job thanks to myself for spending my bus fare on tea but I’m so happy that it worked out that way. I was able to take in the slow color changes that are happening right now and breathe in the fresh, crisp fall air and fall more in love with my city.

Fall Colors

Fall Colors

The young momiji (Japanese maple) that are planted in many front yards here in Halifax are already changing and becoming the deep red that I love so much. I think I’ll pay a birthday visit to the public gardens this weekend to see if the ginko are also changing colors. Maybe I’ll even treat myself to a gelato from Humani-T Cafe, I hear they have a seasonal Pumpkin Pie gelato. Yum!

I need this t-shirt

I need this t-shirt!

Beautiful Halifax

Beautiful Halifax

Looking at this photo I think I should start carrying my actual camera around with me.

Food trucks. This is probably the best thing about living in Halifax. This past Thursday was The Coast‘s Food Truck Party and even though I was exhausted from working this week, there was no way that I would be missing it.

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Welcome!

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My kind of party

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Waiting…

It was only $2 to get in and there were about 20 food trucks to choose from. I took my time and looked around a bit before deciding on the infamous K-dog from The Food Wolf and some spicy cajun fries from FoodStruck Cantina. I’ve heard one of my favorite local New Brunswick bands The Motorleague rave about The Food Wolf everytime they have a show in Halifax and I finally learned what was with all the praise. K-dogs are the most amazing hot dog I’ve ever had, hands down!

So, what is a K-dog? The ‘K’ stands for Korean (I assume) because the locally sourced dog which is bigger than your average is topped with a spicy Korean mayo, kimchi, green onion and sesame seeds. I love me some kimchi but I never thought of putting it on a hot dog but it’s probably the best place for kimchi aside from samgyeopsal (grilled pork belly).

K-dog

K-dog is the best dog.

The cajun fries I got weren’t much to write home about but the sauce that came with them, the smoked oyster sauce was phenomenal! Next time I grab something from FoodStruck Cantina, I think I’ll choose something more exciting than fries.

Happy Food Truck Party!

Happy Food Truck Party!

My pictures don’t really show it but there were a lot of people at this event but that being said I only waited in line for 10 minutes for my K-dog and maybe 15 minutes for the fries. The folks in front of me at the FoodStruck Cantina line were complaining about the line, the line which they had only been waiting in for maybe 10 minutes and ended up leaving. A 15 minute queue is nothing compared to the lines I waited in at similar events I attended in Tokyo.

Thank you Tokyo for blessing me with an abundance of patience for food lines!

Halifax Things

So I’ve noticed a few things since moving to Halifax:

1. Always be prepared for any type of weather. The weather here changes frequently throughout the day so I always make sure to have a few things on my person at any given time (sunglasses, umbrella, an extra layer). For me, I have to carry even more clothing and accessories than the average Haligonian because I leave the house at 5:30am when it’s dark and chilly, enter the outside world again at noon when it’s sunny and warm, quickly retreat to my second job only to return to a day that is practically over and the sun is setting and the temperature is lowering.

2. Samosas are massive! I took the following picture at Humani-T Cafe on Young Street when I moved here and at the time I thought, “Jesus, now that’s a big samosa!” I assumed this (pardon the pun) massive discovery was limited to this particular cafe until I started working at Steve-O-Renos and I discovered that we also carry them and so do some convenience stores.

Face Samosa

Face Samosa

In the picture below you will find a Halifax born Staff of Life samosa on the right and on the left is a samosa all the way from Fredericton, New Brunswick. Apparently in Halifax samosas aren’t just a snack, they’re a meal. They are THREE TIMES the size of the ones I’m used to. Why, Halifax? I mean, I’m not complaining because they taste amazing, I just don’t understand why they’re so big!

Does bigger mean better?

Does bigger mean better?

3. Morning Glory muffins are a thing. I had never even heard of these until I started working at the cafe but now I see them EVERYWHERE. Ours are a white/whole wheat flour blend with carrot, zucchini, raisins and sunflower seeds. They’re very, very dense.

Morning Glory

Morning Glory

4. Breakfast. Halifax indulges me in my love for breakfast by offering a lot of all-day breakfast deals and has shown me new breakfast options. Huevos rancheros seem to be offered at most places that have a breakfast menu and from what I can tell (I haven’t actually tried them yet) they are basically a breakfast tortilla minus bacon add avocado, salsa and beans. What I have yet to find is a decently priced, fancy-ish brunch place that serves cocktails for/with brunch. I like to feel like a fancy alcoholic sometimes and have fancy drinks with my brunch.

I can’t wait to find out what other little surprises Halifax has to offer.

Weekends Are Special

It’s a very rainy Sunday evening here in Halifax, the perfect ending to an amazing weekend. It doesn’t get much better than a chilled Sunday evening snuggled up in bed with some hot tea, the internet and the sound of the rain outside for inspiration.

Perhaps it’s because everything is still new and exciting but I realized this weekend that I’m in love. I’m in love with Halifax. That’s right, I’ve falling in love with yet another city. I remember when I realized I was head over heels for Tokyo, I think it was sometime in 2008 after the initial shock wore off and I started to feel somewhat comfortable within the city. With Montreal it was more of a love-at-first-sight moment in 2003 when I went there for the first time for Warped Tour.

The weekend was pretty exciting, there was a lot going on. The best part was getting to see my special someone after two weeks apart. I am starting to learn that absence really does make the heart grow fonder. I don’t think that your feelings change while you’re away from each other, I think that what makes you feel closer to your partner after some time away is the intense feelings of appreciation for the time that you do get to spend together.

We saw and did a lot over the few days that we had. Oktoberfest was on Saturday which was fun but not as disorderly as the last Oktoberfest I attended in Yokohama where I ended up with a shopping basket on my head. We made a surprise trip to a local convenience store to check out the arcade at the back of the store. It’s called Halifax Vintage Arcades and it’s got everything from Robocop to pinball machines. The owner switches them up periodically to keep his customers happy and he also rents the games out. What a great idea for a party!

On our way back from all the fun we had gamin’, we stumbled upon a set up for a really cute backyard wedding. We were nosy and had a look around while the girls were setting up. I love the idea of a backyard wedding.

Gamin'

Gamin’

Backyard Wedding

Backyard Wedding

Sunday was what I believe to be the last installment of the Switch Halifax event series for the 2014 season. Think ‘street party’ but with less dancing. This time Agricola was closed to traffic and businesses were offering deals on food and drinks and residents were out on the sidewalk selling off books, clothing and other things they no longer had a use for. I could have bought a lot more but I think the books I chose were prime. I’ve already read The Book of Negroes but it was so good I couldn’t pass up the opportunity of owning it myself (for $2) and being able to re-read it whenever I want to. I’ve heard good things about The Time Traveler’s Wife and Never Let Me Go so I’m excited to get into both of those.

Books!

Books!

We got a little hungry from the walk and were happy to stumble upon Gus’ Pub which is home to what I’ve been told is the best burger in the city, Ace Burger. Maybe it’s because I haven’t had a burger in such a long time but I was thoroughly impressed with Ace. I can’t say just yet if it’s the best burger in Halifax as I’ve yet to try the others but it has set the bar high, real high. Judging by the picture, it doesn’t look like much but believe me it’s delish! It seems the focus for Ace Burger is on flavor, not the presentation or all the bells and whistles that comes with gourmet burgers.

Ace Burger

Ace Burger

Early birthday cake!

Early birthday cake! It’s handmade with <3

Grabbin' a caffeine fix

Grabbin’ a caffeine fix

Pretty awesome local coffee

Pretty awesome local coffee

Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest

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Best house in the Neighborhood

I’m starting my second job this week so depending on how I feel by Friday, this coming weekend might be one of relaxation and reading which I wouldn’t be too upset about. I haven’t given myself anytime to read lately and I’m dying to get into my new books!

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