This was taken just before we were about to walk up the Brooklyn Bridge. H E L L O Brooklyn!

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Shepard Fairey "May Day" at Deitch gallery (Soho/Chinatown) NYC

When you see art pieces like these after having waited for 45 minutes in a line of art lovers (bourgeosis or underground,) you'd be relieved that the wait was worthwhile.

Even before this exhibition was open up to the public in the evening, fanatics of underground grafitti artist Shepard Fairey had lined up for his 'on demand' prints of icons from as early as 8pm. The Obey Giant website had rescheduled the time for lining up from mid afternoon to as early as 1pm. Poor out of towners were probably disappointed when they discovered that the limited prints were already gone. Prints sold for as little as $30, yet varied depending on the icon figure. You could imagine that these limited prints were soon to be sold on ebay for $300 and more.

Many would recognise Fairey for his painting of Obama with the word 'HOPE,' which played a significant role in the Presidential race of 2009. Yet, Fairey has an interesting biography to his artistic inspiration. His art is rooted in his earlier years as a skate board graphic designer and illustrator. What started off as a pure accident, that is "Andre the giant and the posse" is now "OBEY" Fairey's clothing line pulsating with unique underground graphic design Tees.

"...the Andre The Giant sticker was just a spontaneous, happy accident. I was teaching a friend how to make stencils in the summer of 1989, and I looked for a picture to use in the newsppaper, and there jsut hppened to be an ad for wrestling with Andre The Giant and I told him that he should make a stencil of it. He said "Nah, I'm not making a stencil of that, that's stupid"' but I thought it was funny so I made the stencil and I made a few stickers and the group of guys I was hanging out with always called each other the Posse, and it was sort of appropriated from hip-hop slang - Public Enemy, NWA and Ice-T were all using all the word." (FORMAT MAGAZINE: 2008)
Interestingly enough, the motivation and spirit behind OBEY is Existentialist philosopher- Heidegger's concept of Phenomenology, which is a complicated philosophical theory that my good years in university had taught me. Unfortunately, those years are far away and I can't remember what the hell it's about.

Referring to the OBEY GIANT website, which provides more detail on OBEY and the significant relationship with phenomenology, Fairey states:
 "The first aim of phenomenology is to reawaken a sense of wonder about one’s environment...

...The sticker has no meaning but exists only to cause people to react, to contemplate and search for meaning in the sticker. 
Bearing in mind that Obey has no meaning.
...Many stickers have been peeled down by people who were annoyed by them, considering them as an eye sore and an act of petty vandalism, which is ironic considering the number of commercial graphic images everyone in American society is assaulted with daily......The Giant sticker seems mostly to be embraced by those who are (or at least want to be seem to be) rebellious.  Even though these people may not know the meaning of the sticker, they enjoy its slight disruptive underground quality and wish to antiestablishment/societal convention..."

I find this explanation for OBEY intriguing not only because I too was affected by the power of the "OBEY" image, which is what phenomenology is all about, but it asks everyone to ask themselves questions about the reality they live in where words, images, commercialism and cultural mindsets transform our way of experiencing our surroundings. Our senses are tuned from a very early age from how we are brought up to think and to how we experience different forms of realia.

Personally, the OBEY capitalised word (in white over red) on the one hand encourages my mind to immediately zap onto an authoritian figure making me feel victimised to merely starring at it. Yet, on the other hand, as I know there is no practical meaning behind the word, but to astound people, I feel more than pleased with myself knowing that it did work. I starred at it and succumbed to his big font, but there is no punishment or crime that I've committed. I may have even chucked : )

The same can be said of Andre the Giant image, which is more of an image that strucks me as something from Orwell's 1984's "big brother" icon. We are constantly being watched by Andre. This stencil can be found anywhere in the world that has graffiti. What originally had been born from underground skate boarding culture is now something framed and idolised in various prestigious art galleries.

Here are a couple of photographs I took of the opening at Wooster street and the crazy gatherings of art students, carators, hipsters, skateboarders, art lovers, A-listers, and motor bikers.

There in the middle of this road was the opening of Fairey's exhibition in a Soho gallery, which sits nicely with a wall filled with underground grafitti art. Here, people were either queuing up to see the exhibition, jamming outside on the streets with trendy friends, sitting on their thousands of bucks worth of low rider motorbikes or leaning on a "too much spray paint" wall with a ghetto blaster at hand.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Recycling: Not just Japan, but almost everywhere

So I've just arrived back from Japan where recycling is like a religious practice. In my guest house we had bins seperated by glass, cans, aluminium and rubbish. The rubbish section included plastics and even yucky molded food. Despite the fact that we had already seperated the rubbish in the kitchen, these bags had to go into another ;combustible 燃えるゴミ or non-combustible 燃えないゴミ.
So normal rubbish went to the combustible bins and the rest went into non-combustible bins.

Thinking that Japan was ahead of London time I just discovered how much of a twit I am. Good ol' wikipedia can never fail when it comes to trivial information as it states, 
Woodbury, New Jersey was the first city in the entire United States to mandate recycling.[7] Led by Rose Rowan[8]in the early 1970s, the idea of towing a "recycling" trailer behind a waste management vehicle to enable the collection of trash and recyclable material at the same time emerged. Other towns and cities soon followed suit, and today many cities in the U.S. make recycling a requirement.
Then it says of Japan,
Massive government promotion campaigns were carried out in World War II in every country involved in the war, urging citizens to donate metals and conserve fibre, as a matter of significant patriotic importance. Resource conservation programs established during the war were continued in some countries without an abundance of natural resources, such as Japan, after the war ended.

Well well, what is there to say about London? Pathetic! Far behind from NY or Japan on the whole. Fix up London seriously!! My family wasn't going crazy over recycling because it wasn't enforced like these cities.  Let's hope the government does something about it for the betterment of UK-ites.


Cleaning my new apartment with Erik on the Upper East Side (as you do,) recycling became a very important issue (to me.) Turns out that I have to seperate things here too, BUT, the seperation of goods are different and a little bit easier. It's mix paper (including cardboard) together and beverage cartons, bottles, cans, metal & foil into another. I suppose the plastic and the disgusting stuff can be stuffed up together. More technical stuff like furniture, electric goods or metals obviously require further seperation processes. As of now, I'm dealing with boxes from bed, bath and beyond and Ikea so that will be an easy situation to solve - SHOVE IT IN Together! LOL

Oh another thing - when recycling the bags have to be transparent. Off to the shops I go! Here is the NYC's sanitation characters. Encouraging and cute, no?

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Manhattan Skyline isn't far from Brooklyn AT ALL!!

Click on the photo and check out Manhattan skyline on top of my head!

COSMO Magazine (UK VERSion) $5.99!??! DISGRACEFUL

Such a disgrace!! This mag would be less than two pounds in England. $5.99 in Brooklyn? Atrocious!!
(Well it pays to be stylish as the British oh muhaw haw haw haaaa)

Carmine's Pizzeria: Williamsburg Best Pizzeria

I love Pizza! Trust me I love Pizza so much.
I've been eating it since forever and I regard it as one of my favourite foods, even if it's not the most healthiest thing on the menu.  To my delight I think I found the best pizzeria or best pizza I have ever eaten in my life. Last week, I ordered a 12 inch Lasagna Pie. (meatballs, ricotta, mozzarella) pizza, where I could only destroy half  of it in one sitting. (The other half was completed with the lover in the morn that is the odd habit of the American; "to eat cold pizza for breakfast" yet I persisted the 1/2 be microwaved before consumption. HOWEVER  that is not the pizza that took my breathe away. It was the 'Philly Cheese Steak Pizza" that did it. It was sooooooooooooo delicious. It had orange cheese, onion and cooked steak all over. It was mega oily, but I couldn't stop eating. I'm such a fool for not taking a photograph, but you would have thought it was a desert with all of it's illuminating orange cheese-iness. We ordered a slice each and it was probably the size of a 1/3 of the 12 inch. We had no problems annihilating it.

Fauxhemian - The New word for 'Hipster'

This is a glimspe of Bedford Avenue, which is a long stripe filled with various bars, cafes and restaurants from all over the planet. However, within this collosal of cultural diversity there comes the people that consists of mainly 'le hipster.' These are the trendy musicians or university kids that funk up their look with vintage wear and the dirty 'I'm an art student' assemble. They look like they've spent a whole night in dark hole designing their outfit and spent the rest of the morning writing up twelve songs on their guitar in solitude with a cigarette sitting on their lip. They had no opportunity to take a shower either (or for the last two weeks.)

In fact these 'hipsters' come together in one area like a university campus, which Williamsburg has become and as a Londoner you'd think I'd be used to this market audience, but NO! I've been away from this fake 'wannabe' attitude for two years and I kinda liked it. I was sick of the trivial bullshit that came out of the mouth.
Anyway, to the point - Urban dictionary has introduced a new word for 'Hipster' which is Fauxhemian. The site has noted some interested definitions for the fauxhemian including:
"Dressing in bohemian clothes when, in fact, you are a millionaire." or "wealthy people and places that carry a pretense of artistic sophistication. Fauxhemians think they are artsy, when really they are more fartsy, as their great wealth and comfortable lifestyles keep them from authentic expression, familiarity with the street, and any real impetus to truly oppose the system (since they still benefit too much from it)."

People jogging in Central Park... at night?

Having just made an agreement on a one bedroom apartment on the Upper East side, we decided to have a walk in the area that we were soon to consider home. At 6-7pm I was absolutely amazed at the swam of NewYorkers jogging at night along this Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. NICE!!!!

Monday, 5 April 2010

Brooklyn FOOD FOOD FOOD!! Week One


By Nassau Station on the L line there is a load of Polish restaurants and bars. In fact walking along this area allows you to hear the Polish dialect. Blintzes were amazing. It's like a pancake filled with hot sour cream. Really fatty but I couldn't help myself.
Apologises for the demonic look here but this Indian cuisine restaurant had some dim lit lovin' going on for April 4th's Sunday. We got there around 9pm and the whole of Bedford Avenue was filled with hipsters enjoying the last night of the long weekend. Anyway, to get to the point, we ordered a mango lassi and it was filled to the top. Probably the best $2.95 mango lassi I've spent. Mango lassis are amazing no matter where you order them and living in Tokyo gives you more access to Indian curries than ever, but this lassi really did beat those from the land of the rising Sun.

LOKAL is a Mediterranean restaurant that also appeals to the fauxhemian (hipster.) Food was pricey, but Erik was pleased with the Turkey’s Efes Pilsner beer in conjunction with his Caesar salad and meatball casserole. 
Enid's is a great place to check out the hipsters or 'fauxhemians' of Williamsburg. I had an asparagus quesadilla which had more than enough sour cream for all four pieces.

Erik is munching on a green vegetable. This comes with pickles. What is it? A bitter bloody mary. It was disgusting in my opinion, but Erik killed only 20% of it and started complaining as he attempted to water it down.

 Nothing special here. Just your average Chinese take away in Brooklyn. I'm trying to show off my outfit actually.
Bloody hell! How much butter do you need? Not forgetting the maple syrup. This was my first attempt at American breakfast and unfortunatly, it was in a low end breakfast place. So much oil in everything and no love was added to the breakfast, however I enjoyed the waffle. PLUS I can make better eggs.

I've moved to NY

I apologise. I never took the time to post something before I arrived in NYC. I didn’t have the time given all the planning I had to do. I’ve been living in Japan for two years and the move to America was tiring. It was consuming me with the long list of people I had to say goodbye to on top of the final work I had to complete at my current job. Packing away all the things in my room into two pieces of luggage and four parcel boxes was also just as hard.

It all started from June 2009 when I first met my boyfriend by a club in one of Tokyo’s trendiest areas for the cool and younger generations, Shibuya. Already American he proposed we move over to the US as soon as I was done with my job and I took up the challenge. I encouraged him to leave Japan earlier where he started looking for the perfect job in New York. His love for the country had dwindled yet for me, it had only grown, but with the little time left I had in my contract I made the most of it. Three months and a half has passed and I am here yet I come with nothing but a tourist visa *coz I'm a Brit* and some money in hope that something amazing will happen.

To be continued...

Monday, 13 October 2008

Sunday, 12 October 2008

October Update

October 12th
Sitting in Star Bucks: Kamiooka station

I’ve just had Japanese class in Bandobashi. I was half an hour late, but I got my money’s worth. I pay 500 yen for 3 month’s worth of classes, which includes a one hour and a half of teaching on Sunday’s. Starts at 1.30pm, which isn’t too shabby. Now, I’m finally attending to my blog. I’ve been neglecting it recently as I haven’t had the time nor the patience to sit down and get down to typing.

Since the new term has begun, and ever since the summer holidays have ended, I’ve been studying Japanese every day during work and after. I got myself hyped up for the JLPT (Japanese Level Proficiency Test) level 3 exam. My qualification in SOAS has already got me covered for level 3 and level 2, but, for my own security and peace of mind, I’ve decided to do the level 3 irrespectively.

This way I can re-learn the things I didn’t understand and make sure I perfect them. Other foreigners I’ve met in Japan are preparing for the level 2 exam, which is apparently so hard that even a native Japanese speaker has difficulty passing it. That’s very encouraging! In fact, I’ve met someone who is revising for the 3rd time as she has failed the level 2 exam twice. Good on her for keeping at it and getting on with painful Japanese.

Overall, I feel a little bit closer to the Japanese language compared to before as I’ve forced myself to study everyday even if it is merely for an hour starring at a page of grammar or revising ONE form of grammar only. Studying Japanese grammar and vocabulary can become a tedious chore, so recently, I’ve lost a little motivation, yet I know that within a month I’ll be going crazy making sure I’ve learn enough to do a mock-exam. So be prepared for when I go incognito just before December approaches.

Afterwards, I get to enjoy my Christmas in the love of friends and parents back in my city, my lovely London, which I miss very much. I’ve bought my ticket and decided to lift off from Narita airport on Thursday December18th., which means I get more out of my money by spending a couple of hours extra in my city. But, what’s even more better is that I arrive in England on the same day that I launched : )


So my summer holiday was good. My friend Chia was happy to let me stay with her and her family in Tsuruoka, Yamagata ken, for a week. I enjoyed it very much. Much of the time, I had to communicate in Japanese, but even small words made a difference. I could listen to their Japanese and learn casual words and phrases, which got me thinking about moving in with a family or committing myself to a Japanese home stay.

I had my first experience of an Onsen, which was very interesting. All these Japanese women butt naked in the same Onsen made me feel nervous. I suppose being here, as a foreigner or outsider, made me feel slightly embarrassed. Back home I’m quite the exhibitionist, but here, I was RATHER shy.

We went to the beach and I got stung by a jellyfish : ( Besides that it was nice to be out in the hot sun and despite the fact that the water was shallow and the rocks were sharp beneath my feet, I was pleased to be swimming (more like doggy paddle-ling) away in Japanese waters. It was a very exotic scene I must admit. I got to savour the favour. Hmmm… Salty!

An aquarium, summer festival-ing, a fireworks display, book reading, traditional Japanese food eating, lots of sleep, and Beijing Olympic watching were the many activities that I got myself involved in during my week in Tsuruoka. The family were absolutely lovely. They were so welcoming to me and I think I should get them many things from England for their courteousness and warm welcoming. Probably some of the friendliest Japanese people I’ve met so far.

More pictures available here:
After that I headed off to Hakodate. I had a hotel room to myself, which made night times a lonely place. Although I only stayed there for 3 days, by the 3rd night I was out drinking, which was cool. Majid and his girlfriend showed me around the town, which being in Hokkaido, was very Western. There were a lot of churches and European buildings to be seen. So much, that at some points, I would think to myself, ‘If I really wanted to see this, I could just go back to England!’ The tourism was sky high since it was summer season, yet unfortunately, it was rainy and cloudy, which made going out a bit of a problem. Nonetheless, we still got to see the hot spots like the Hakodate mountain, which apparently is the 6th best view in the world and indeed, it is definitely top. Despite the crowd, it was spectacular to see such a beautiful view of looking down at a small city lit up at night. The periphery of Hakodate and what it had in it was such a great delight.

More pictures available here:

Next was Sapporo, the big city. I stayed in my first hostel. I had received good reviews from a friend as well as other websites about how family-like this place was, yet, this wasn’t the case. Being alone again, I was left feeling vacant. I had limited internet connection, clothes, a mobile phone and a Japan guidebook to keep me entertained. The people and those other travellers who stayed in the hostel weren’t so friendly besides one guy (with beautiful green eyes) who probably had more life then the rest. I had a contact, Ben from Kent, in Sapporo at the time so I was able to meet him and get to know his friends all of whom I got on really well with. If I could express Sapporo, it would be ‘Western Japan.’ It wasn’t hard to get around with so many English sign posts everywhere.

Given the history of Hokkaido, being another port for foreign import and export, it had so much Western influence. The buildings were European in style and many monuments were famous because of its Western connection. I hung around the large department store area in Sapporo station, which was very very big. So many clothes stores! It was absolutely fun looking around and checking out the style, but my feet stopped loving the sights after the 6th floor. I didn’t buy much since I was on a budget, but yes style in Hokkaido isn’t as hot as the stuff back in Tokyo, which isn’t any big surprise. Also in Hokkaido, I realised that there were less foreigners around despite the Western scenery. There was also the skanky part of Sapporo called Sukino, a bit like the back streets of Soho, except this place was larger. Love hotels, and general dirtiness was surfacing at night. Terrible… damn filthy! Disgusting filthy!

More pictures available here:

Friday, 26 September 2008

Hisashiburi or 'Long time no see'

Hey Everyone,
I want to apologise for leaving out the past couple of months. I've had to live Japan as oppose to noting everything down. I've decided to select some photos, which has highlighted the greats things in the past months.

Kyoto: June
I came to Kyoto with my mum and it was the first time I had used the Shinkansen. These bullet trains are so fast and comfy.
Unfortunately, we went when the weather was horrible so we spent most of the time touring around with an umbrella over our head. We were lucky at least that there was one day of sightseeing with hot heat and sun, which was the day we went to Gion.

Gion is famous for it's geishas.

(Me showcasing some Yokohama Car)

JULY: Japan is about geting close to nature so there are so many hiking trials, moutain climbs, beaches, beautiful views and aquariums around! Here I'm showing off the lovely coral behind me.

JULY: Here, I'm enroute to climbing Mount Takao. Ok, we're not talking about literally moutain climbing but walking around and around in circles until we get to the top. There were various paths to take from the widest, steepest, most dangerous or most boring.

I took the steepest and most interesting one. It was the closest to nature given that little ponds and rivers were accessible. There were also lots of greenery, cedar tree paths, and tree root to walk over.

When hiking in Japan, you have to bear in mind that the weather is very humid so you have to deal with annoying mosquitos surrounding you. Plus, you have to keep up with the path as there is no turning back once you are already half way through your journey. Many pensioners enjoy the moutain climb and probably had done the same path 10 times when you're just trying it for the first time.

The Japanese are very fond of being fit particulary towards the late stages of life, which is why ther are so many 'genki' old men and women climbing moutains and hiking all over Japan.

I've moved to NY

I've moved to NY
I have certainly moved to New York City