2 Girls. 1 World. A Whole Lot to See


Matsuri Memento Mori

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Dance Macabre

Staying true to my definition of and commitment to “travel,” The Husband and I headed out last night to kick off one crazy busy weekend.

It was worth it.

My friend Jim Doran was in his first ever solo art show and I just had to go. He’s not only a good friend but his art work is totally amazing and awe-inspiring. More on that later.

I’ve never really been to a gallery show outside of work before. When I taught at the community college I would attend the gallery events during the day but it’s always been a culture I felt uncomfortable in. I’m not going to make any blanket statements about the art community, but if you’ve every gone and felt out of place you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Well, I’m not letting “uncomfortable” prevent me front doing things any longer. Life’s just too short to worry about it.

So I looked up restaurants by the gallery and found Matsuri. Located in the Federeal Hill area of Baltimore, it’s been voted the best Japanese Restaurant by City Paper, CITYPEEK & Baltimore magazine every year.

We HAD to go.

I called to see if they recommended reservations which they did and when I arrived I knew why.

The place is SMALL. I’m talking tiny. Not in an off-putting way but in a ‘quaint, you know this place makes great food cause they’ve been in business for 15 years in this hole in the wall‘ type of way.

I mean that totally as a compliment. I happen to like “hole in wall” type of places.

When we arrived they showed us to our table.

Bill at Matsuri’s

The Husband hates when I take photos, so he made the best face when I pulled out the camera to snap that shot with the glass behind him.

While we studied the menu for fun rolls to try the waitress asked if we wanted an appetizer. I ordered the seaweed salad as usual.

Seaweed Salad

And The Husband got the crabstick salad…

Crabstick Salad

…which was surprisingly tasty. It was full of cucumber and imitation crab topped with crunchy bits and mixed with a spicy mayo. Not heavy as I expected but actually quit refreshing.

We ended up ordering 5 rolls to split. The Husband went with the spicy combo that came with a spicy California roll, a spicy tuna roll, and a spicy shrimp roll. I found 2, ummmm, more adventure things to try.

Sushi at Matsuri

The one on the left is mango shrimp roll topped with spicy salmon, cilantro and crisp lotus root. The one of the right was a deep fried avocado, shrimp roll topped with crab meat and eel sauce.

Everything was AMAZING! Really there is no other word needed to describe it. We left with full, satisfied tummies.

On the way out a nice man noticed I was taking a photo of the sign and asked if he could take one of us.

Us outside of Matsuri

Yup, that me, wearing a dress! Jen will be proud. I rarely dress up.

Off to the gallery we went. It was just a few block walk and now I regretted my decision to wear heels instead of my default flip-flops. But we made it and there was Jim’s name on the wall.

Jim Doran – Memento Mori

So happy for him! I get a fuzzy feeling when people do/create/achieve things. I’m happy and proud and awed by them all at the same time.

And Jim’s work is worth some awe.

The Body Is a Temple

Here’s the press release for his show.

Jim Doran’s objects reflect his fascination with the sea, the macabre, the divine and the metaphysical. His tiny dioramas from paper cutouts, pen & ink drawings and recycled packaging become tiny theaters where giant narratives unfold.  Doran explores the concept that there are many worlds: the world we live in, the world each of us carries around inside ourselves and even a mystical “Land of the Dead.” He places his ideas inside of found objects, which gives them their own purpose and mission.  By working in a small scale, he is able to recycle containers and packaging, giving them a second life of their own.  In spite of the dark subject matter, the work is optimistic and joyful and you can truly see the spirited fun that went into the making.  Doran finds it comforting to explore mortality in his work…it reminds him to live more fully, love the people around him and gives him hope that, when they finally pack him away in the ground, the stories will go on.

In a way, Jim’s artwork and my blogging share a common goal. Maybe that’s why I like them so much.

Here are a few of my favorites.

The Apprentice of Dr. F

Frida My Love


Dance Macabre

To see more of Jim’s art work check out his site here.

The Husband loved them too. His face in this shot is priceless.

Bill awed

He walked through the exhibit like that almost the entire time.


Jim shot this picture of me taking pictures of his work.

Taking Photos

I asked him before hand if it would be ok to share them on the blog.

Here we are with the artist.

Roni, Jim, Bill

I love that Jim and I are being the goofballs because it’s normally Bill who acts like a dork in photos.

We ended our night with a cone from McDs and a stroll through Barnes and Nobel.


Two of our favorite things to do.

Oh! And you may not be wondering, but I’m going to tell you anyway… Matsuri is Japanese for festival and ‪Memento Mori‬ is Latin for “Remember your mortality.”

Seems fitting, doesn’t it?

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There are 4 comments so far. Join in on the conversation.


    September 8, 2012

    Roni...I'm SO enjoying these glimpses into your life. After following your food/weight loss blogs, it's just so much fun to see this side of you and to get to kinda travel vicariously to all the neat places you're going. Seeing Bill was quite the treat. I love how when I look at your faces, I can see Ryan in you both. It's so cool. And you look beautiful in a dress! So glad you had a great night. Reply


    September 9, 2012

    Your friend has such a creative mind. Reply


    September 9, 2012

    A great write up of a great evening. :) Reply


    September 9, 2012

    I am also enjoying this site. I love that you emphasize local travel as well. Your dinner looks incredibly delicious. It is so fun to try new restaurants. Jim's artwork is so unique and interesting. Just the type of art show I would enjoy attending. I love your dress. You look very nice. Reply