Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Eve Dinner @ Casablanca


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Christmas is not a holiday here so I was hoping to spend Christmas in a quiet sort of way. On Christmas eve, Xinyi and I didn't do much but lounged in our hotel rooms until it was dinner time. (Check out the things that we did since we got to Casablanca).

Our Christmas eve dinner was Japanese food. Turkey and stuffed meat, foods that are traditionally associated with Christmas, are pretty usual fare in the Maghrebian diet anyway. Moreover, I had a craving for Japanese food.

Kiyotori, one of the two Japanese restaurants in Casablanca, not far from our hotel was our choice. Other than sounding Japanese, Kiyotori does not have any meaning in Japanese. It was also not easy to find the restaurant because it was located in the middle of a inconspicuous and deserted alley. Ridiculous name and location aside, Kiyotori is really a popular restaurant with the hip and up-market crowd because of its pricey exotic fare and lush interior design.

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The menu items @ Kiyotori are the usual culprits on a typical Japanese restaurant menu like teppanyaki, sushi, tenpura, kushiyaki (skewered meat) and sashimi. The missing items are donburi (rice bowls), udon and ramen because perhaps they don't cater to the local tastes. For novelty, the restaurant does have specialty sushi rolls with rather interesting names like dragon roll and anaconda roll.

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To be able to satisfy my craving for sushi while being thousands of miles away from Asia, I think I cannot complain much. Actually, I consider the food @ Kiyotori quite tasty in its own right, especially the dragon roll, which nicely blended the tastes of unagi (eel) and avocado.To compare, I would position the taste of the Kiyotori above Sakae Sushi to somewhere on par with Sushi Tei. Kiyotori gets a small plus over Sushi Tei for the freshness of its seafood, while losing out a little to Sushi Tei for authenticity.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Shadow Divers: The Movie

It seems that I now have to wait for two more years before Shadow Divers will hit the movie theatres. According to IMDB, the show will start production only in 2009 instead 2008 as originally scheduled. Also announced was the change of director from Ridley Scott (Black Hawk Down, Kingdom of Heaven) to Peter Weir (Master and Commander, Dead Poets Society).

There are not many scuba-diving-related literature in popular culture, therefore, I was very thrilled to learn that Shadow Divers will be made into a movie based on a very successful book. The book written by Robert Kurson, is about a real life account of the discovery of an unidentified WW2 U-boat by 2 American technical divers. The book became an instant favorite of mine because the topics are about diving and military history. As Kurson received much collaboration from the 2 divers Chatterton and Kohler themselves, the book was not only rich in the technical aspects and risks in deep wreck diving, but he was also able to accurately portrayed the emotional ups-and-downs and the enormous risks that the protagonists went through during the 7 years that it took to unravel the identity of the sub, during which, some members of their team died and their personal lives were also destroyed.

I'm really eager for the book to be made into a movie. After all, with a captivating story like that, how can the movie not work? Moreover, my expectations of movie adaptation from books were raised after Lord of the Rings. The choice of directors from Ridley Scott to Peter Weir were top-notched. Fox pictures seem ready to throw in a lot of resources to make this movie work.

Personally, I did have some reservations towards Ridley Scott as the director. I felt that he did a average job on Black Hawk Down (the book was so much nicer than the movie). There is a lot more focus on the action than the characters in the movie. So I tend to agree with some reviewers on the net that with Peter Weir coming to the helm of the picture, Shadow Divers will be more emotionally complex in tone similar to the book.