Posts tagged photography

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Before I left Philly, we took a short road trip down to Baltimore to visit Tim Wu. When we got there, the first thing we did was get some Korean BBQ at 1:30 AM at Honey Pig. We don't do so well with alcohol, so we only had 1 bottle of Soju between the 5 of us. Despite having to sleep on the floor with only substandard air conditioning, I ended up sleeping quite well that night.

The next day, we went fishing and crabbing. Unfortunately, this was not a success. With the exception of Dan Wu's fish, we did not catch anything despite spending nearly 5 hours.

Dan Wu's catch

As Tim and I took a walk around Fort Smallwood Park, we found a beach and an approximately 7-year-old kid that told us we could find clams by digging into the sand with our feet. Desperate to catch anything, I heeded his advice and waded into Chesapeake Bay and attuned myself to the sensations of my feet. At first, I thought that they were nothing more than smooth rocks, but after 5 minutes or so, I took a dive and had my first clam. Within the next half hour, I had about a dozen more.

As you can see in the title picture, I ended up steaming those clams and eating them with butter. They were a bit sandy, but otherwise, they were great. After descaling and cleaning the fish, I steamed him or her, too, for maybe 6 ounces of meat? All told, we got 1 solid meal for a single person for 5 hours of effort from 7 people. It's probably the most Paleo thing that I've ever made since I not only cooked but also caught those clams by hand. It doesn't look like we'd survive in Paleolithic times, though, with our fishing skills.

Steamed fish

Since we couldn't catch enough to eat, we ended our fishing trip with some crab cakes from G & M. Usually, I think of crab cakes as pretty poor value propositions since they tend to be small without much crab meat. Here, I was proven wrong as these crab cakes were huge and full of protein. I don't think any of us left hungry. Finally, we had a nice romantic walk along the harbor. Well, in my brother's case, it was more of a Poké Walk.

Friends at the harbor. Photo Credits: Masato Sugeno

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Long time no post.

I am sharing the recipe I should not be sharing... the ramen recipe. Many Japanese chefs keep their own ramen recipe a secret from society. They guard it well, only sharing it to the inheritance of their resturant. Therefore, it is hard to find a legitimate one floating around the vast world of internet.Try looking ramen recipes up, you will only find about 5 types, which they differ very slightly.

Being in America, decent ramen was so hard to come by. I still remember the flavor, the texture, and the aroma of the ramen I had in Japan. It was around 2006 summer when my mom, sister, and I were walking back from visiting family graves. We were starving. We stumble across a small ramen shop underneath the bridge with about 5 seats. And that is still easliy the best ramen I ever had.

And yes, since then, I am picky with my ramen. Other ramen shops in Philly does not satisfy at all.

My journey began in January 2015, I made my ramen with the help of Phil. With countless trials and mistakes, I am 90% close to the ramen I dreamt of: the real shoyu ramen (soysauce ramen).

In Japan, most ramen shop only specialize in one of the four flavors; shoyu, tonkotsu, miso, and shio (salt). I use shoyu ramen as a basis of how good a ramen shop is. If a shop cannot make shoyu ramen, then they cannot make ramen. Period.

To make ramen, it consists of two types of broth. Dashi and Tare. Dashi is the stock broth you make without any salt content. Tare is the sauce that determines the flavor of the soup.

Let's get to it.


  • 5 old hens
  • 300 g Leek (white part)
  • 1 bunch of scallion (white part)
  • 15 g Katsuobushi*
  • 120 g Ginger with skin
  • 57 g Dried shiitake mushroom
  • 57 g Dried kelp (japanese grade)


  • 1 old hen
  • 2 cups Light soy sauce (NOT LOW SODIUM)
  • 1 cup sake
  • 1/2 mirin
  • 1 pack of bacon
  • 15 g Katsuobushi


  • 2 lbs of pork belly
  • 1 stalk of ginger
  • 1 leek and the green part that you cut off for the Dashi
  • 1 tbs of hondashi**
  • 1/2 of soy sauce dark**
  • Water


  • 1 cup of the chashu broth
  • Eggs


  • 300 g Bread flour
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon and 1/8 teaspoon of Kansui (potassium carbonate and sodium bi carbonate solution)

*Katsuobushi is dried shaved mackerel. I use the dark shaved one which is only found in Japan as of now...

** This measurement is not finalized. I eye them out


  1. Fill about 80% of the 16 quart pot with water and heat it to 170 degrees
  2. Add the dried kelp and shiitake mushroom then turn off heat. Cover the pot
  3. Leave them in for 2 hours
  4. Discard the kelp, then add ginger, hens, leeks, scallions, katsuobushi. Cover the pot
  5. Simmer at the lowest heat your stove has for about 12 to 15 hours


  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Roast the old hen in an oven safe sauce pan until it is brown and crisp
  3. Add the soy sauce, bacon, sake, mirin, and katsuobushi and simmer at the lowest heat setting on top of the stove. We are infusing the flavor, not cooking it
  4. Simmer for about 30 minutes then leave the ingredients for about 2 hours


  1. Tie the pork belly into a circle
  2. Heat oven to 350 degrees
  3. Sear the pork belly in a dutch oven until all sides are brown
  4. Add the leak and ginger, cook it for a bit, then add water until it covers the meat
  5. Add soy sauce and hondashi. Cover the pot and cook it in oven for 2 hours minimum, 5 hours max. We are infusing the flavor into the meat. Do not cook this too long or else the pork belly will not maintain it's shape


  1. Boil water until it is hard boiling
  2. Poke a hole on the bottom fat side of the egg. This will let the air out while cooking
  3. Add the egg all at once into the water and cook it for 6 minutes and 15 seconds FLAT
  4. Peal eggs in cold water immediately
  5. Use the broth you made from the chashu. Marinate the eggs, in a seperate bowl, covering the top with a paper towel, in fridge overnight


  1. Mix the kansui and water
  2. Add to flour and knead
  3. Use pasta maker

To combine: I use about 3:1 ratio of Dashi to Tare. I think I pour less Tare to reduce the sodium but that should be about right. I add the Tare first then dilute it with Dashi

Garnish: I use Japanese pickled bamboo, sweet corn, sauteed onions, scallion, and nori (dried seaweed)

Picture below is my Version 3.0. The picture on the top is my version 5.0.


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By grace, I ended up find a job much more quickly than I expected. While staring into the emptiness of my summer, I received an email from the math department recruiting instructors and teaching assistants for the Center for Talented Youth (CTY). I had some reservations about applying for a position that would require me to pack my bags and travel 7 hours the very next day, but besides the burden of making last minute travel plans, I didn't have any other conflicts. Luckily, I'm that guy that never has any plans, so disappearing for 3 weeks posed no problems for me at all. Thus, I went ahead and applied. I got the job as a teaching assistant for a cryptology course. I accepted the offer, which turned out to be a great decision.

Traveling to Saratoga by Amtrak proved to be rather uneventful. Besides some trouble with my ID card, orientation went off without a hitch. I really ended up falling in love with the town of Saratoga and Skidmore College. I have no idea about the academics at Skidmore, but let's talk about the gym. For a small college of less than 3,000 students, they have 4 platforms. That's double the number that the University of Pennsylvania has despite having nearly 25,000 students. Moreover, while the dining hall wasn't great, it was more than adequate for my needs. With an all-you-can-eat buffet 3 times per day, gains were made. In Saratoga, I finally achieved my goal of cleaning 2 plates (225 pounds). It did come at the cost of gaining 6 pounds, so I probably need to cut a bit now that I'm back in Philly.

Lake George at then end of our hike

Now, on the instructional side, being a teaching assistant wasn't too much work. There were 7 hours of class per day, 5 days per week. I had to attend all those hours except for 2 per week, so it ended up being 33 hours per week in the classroom. For a teaching assistant, most of that time is spent taking notes on classroom activity and assisting students with worksheets and projects. For 8 of the hours in the evening, I had to manage the classroom by myself, but most of that time was monitoring activities. I did end up giving two lectures, which provided a nice change of pace.

Now, the students in my class ranged in age from 12 to 16. Classroom management and discipline was easily the most difficult part. Eventually, I just learned to tolerate some amount of noise and distraction as long as the students got their work done. Another difficulty was scaling lectures to the wide range of abilities. I usually try to present the math in a pretty general manner, which means a lot of variables and symbols. In this way, once you solve a problem once, you've solved them all. This made some of the younger students uncomfortable, however. I suppose from their perspective math is all about numbers. I did provide numerical examples, but I guess that I could have focused more on this.

In the end, I actually learned a lot, too. I've already mentioned a couple things about classroom management and pedagogy, but some of the material was actually new to me. In particular, I found it especially cool that the cracking of the Enigma involves a clever application of the symmetric group from abstract algebra.

Another view of Lake George

Of course, the best part of this little adventure was the people. Everyone that I met was really interesting. People came from a variety of backgrounds, but we were all united by the camaraderie of teaching together. I had a ton of fun going to bars, hiking, playing tennis and soccer, and sharing meals with everyone. Thanks to all the staff for making it a great time.

Finally, the location of the camp made it ideal for stopping by and seeing some old friends in NYC on the way back. We were able to hike the Kaaterskill Falls and go for a little swim. NYC ended up just being one long Pokéwalk thanks to Pokémon Go.

The Kaaterskill Falls. Photo credits: Ahodges7 from Wikipedia

By the way, my days in Philly are numbered, and it's likely I won't be making too many trips back here from Seattle. Therefore, you should reach out to me if you want to get together before I leave.

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The RCF retreat was on my birthday. I was asked by few 'why aren't you celebrating your birthday like a normal person?' and I answered 'it is just another day passing by.'Some looked at me perplexed, many were repulsed by my peculiar reponse. Yet, I stood there, keeping my own thoughts to myself.

I wasn't concerned at all about how they viewed me at that time. Or maybe I was...

When PDan and PJohn asked me to help out at retreat, I was filled with joy. I am absolutely delighted when I have the chance to serve. Never have I thought I will be serving at a college ministry. For all these days, I was hindered with this dragging thought of incompetence that I was not 'spiritually' ready to serve this growing community. I felt as if my immaturity may hurt it in someway. However, I need to be reminded that I am competent through Him.

Nevertheless, that day was my birthday. The world told me to go out and bask in my own glory. But I questioned (not out loud), why would I bask in something imperfect? I rather glorify God who is perfect and sovereign. And that, to me, is by serving the body of Christ.

It was a blessing to serve the college ministry this year.

I am excited to see all of the college students grow in Christ.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the event.

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My name is Masato Sugeno aka theBADchef. I am currently suffering from quarter life crisis; therefore, I decided to make a blog post about my mundane life. I am a pharmacist, which means I am not trained in giving you advice about your pet hamster, solving all prior authorizations, and why your doctor did not give you refills on your xanax. And no, your medication does not come with a side order of large fries.

My interests include cooking, photography, and serving Christ.

I will be posting pictures and my kitchen works. Stay tuned...

Here is a sample of Philly. If you want raw pictures, let me know.


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