♫♪  식료품groceries - “Discount Code”

Living in an area that’s not exactly the confluence of different cultures (Northeast Ohio), any attempts to experience something different must be exacted in one of the big cities like Pittsburgh or Columbus. We have a go-to place on the outskirts of Cleveland, unsurprisingly named the Cleveland Asian Market. It’s reasonably close but just far enough to make most of your group drowsy on the drive there. By the time you have arrived, half of you will be stumbling in a rather shabby parking lot, staring at a white Brutalist building adorned with glaring red Chinese characters.

For some reason, the parking lot always looks empty but upon stepping inside, you’ll see a genuine crowd. People of all walks of life, native city-folk and Chinese students from abroad, perusing everything from prickly durian fruit to plastic containers of cold octopus. Just now being aroused from your drowsy sleep to see this, a kind-of weird glee overtakes you. I don’t know where to start, personally.

I won’t pretend to functionally understand Chinese (any variety), Japanese, or Vietnamese so part of the fun in exploring this dusty but voluminous building is deciphering exactly what you’re buying. Some are easy to puzzle out like the oh-so-close to outdated furikake seasoning or dried squid. Others, like the cans of “jelly drink,” leave much to the imagination for better or worse. At least it’s discounted.

If this wasn’t such a serenely peaceful place to be, this would be closer to an ordeal. But there’s just some quaint charm to this little market. Between the generic shopping market playlist from Youtube playing over the loudspeaker and the free Chinese New Year calendars you get at the register (they’re for the year 2015, by the way), there’s something oddly sincere about this place.

It’s hard to tell whether the drowsiness is still from the drive up or being subsumed in the scent of cheap lychee fruit and the whispers of Chinese and Korean throughout the aisles. On a quiet, cold Sunday, there’s no better place to stroll than this market, MIDI soundtrack and all.

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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