Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bye Bye Kitty, hello delicious bento box

This weekend was a pretty good one. Saturday I went to a drawing class at a studio in Dumbo with my Debra, the model was excellent. That was the first live model drawing class in quite a few years. I wish we could have stayed longer but we had to leave early for a birthday dinner with friends.

Next stop, our friends, Linda and Ben's, apartment in Chelsea where she did a bit of DIY remodeling to her kitchen and living room. Linda laid mini subway tiles in her kitchen, they look really sleek. After a short stop at Linda's place we took a cab down to Chinatown to a duck dinner at Peking Duck House. It was tasty but I'm not a duck person really, it's a little fatty, kinda how I feel about the delicious pork medallions in ramen. If your a duck person this is the place to go.

On Sunday I met my friend Adriana, of Saru-Saru, to see the "Bye Bye Kitty Between Heaven and Hell" show at the Japan Society. The show was a split, some truly breath-taking work and some meh work. Manabu Ikeda and Tomoko Kashiki were my two favorites from the show. Tomoko's paintings were ethereal and I loved her subtle use of texture. Manubu's work will blow anyone's mind, he does cross-hatching in über tiny strokes to make a small world filled with secrets.

Of course after a Japanese art show we had to go have lunch at a Japanese restaurant, we went to Sobaya, who make their soba fresh on the premises. Adriana had the Tonkatsu don and I had the lunch set bento box, lots of yuminess to be had. Two more stops to make our Nipon experience complete. First Panya bakery, which is self explanatory, I got a cream puff and some white milk bread to take home, plus a curry pan for my partner. Then we headed upstairs to Sunrise mart the Japanese supermarket, I just needed sushi rice but of course I a left with a bunch of treats including the tiniest yam pound cake ever, it was more like a ounce cake. Then home.

Photography- Japan 10 days before the quake

Yesterday I finally finished editing my analog photography portfolio that I shot in Japan, still working on the digital portion but that's going to take a bit more time. So please go and take a spin on my website, here's the link to the Japan pics.
And here is a little preview.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Tokyo Day 10: The last Good half-day-Jiyugaoka

My last day in Tokyo had started like every other day, slowly, especially since I still thought I had another two weeks and a half. So I got up took all my bedding threw it in the wash and hung it out to dry with my futons which were airing out. I called Sakura house to replace one of my futons because it was moldy smelling and I had only been there 10 days. I skyped with Debra, had breakfast, took a shower, made plans with Jen to get a drink in Shinjuku that night, and blogged.

I finally left the apartment around 1pm and headed into Jiyugaoka to have lunch at Ikanika and wonder taking photos. I studied the google street view of the area and screenshot the local map and headed for my train station. With my newly acquired Suica card I didn't have to figure how much to Jiyugaoka just swipe my card and away I went. I took the Tokyu Toyoko line four stops.

I headed off towards Ikanika cafe, on my walk I saw so many cute shops, lovely residences, and many plum blossoms still in bloom. After a fifteen minute walk I found the cafe. Set in a beautiful little house, Ikanika, was empty when I arrived at 2pm but the proprietor was happy to see me. I changed into the appropriate grass slippers after I removed my boots and picked a rough-hewn table near the window. Behind the window there was a beautiful Japanese garden. each little space in the cafe was special, there was a small sofa with coffee table in one corner and in the opposite corner there was another little wooden table for two with schoolroom chairs. The cafe had a small display of zakka for sale near the open kitchen which I faced. I watched the proprietor prepare my meal which I picked, a lunch set consisted of a dandelion salad, creamy soup and homemade bread. The meal was served beautifully on a linen cloth on a little wooden tray. It was all delicious. After my meal I set off to take pics of the residential neighborhood and check out the lovely stores. About ten minutes after setting off and taking picture of what seemed like kumquats 2:45pm rolled around, and well you know the rest. Because I want this to be a positive post that's the end of my day as far as this post is concerned. The next 48 hours weren't the best so all I will say is that I was glad to hang out with my new friend Jen in her lovely home, in Nerima, and we had a lovely Korean barbecue for dinner. I'm sad I left early but it was the best decision for me at the time.

- Posted by misskitty1970

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Please Help Japan


A few people have asked me if I knew where they can donate to help Japan so I've just collected a few links as to some of the more trustworthy places to donate.
The areas where the earthquake and Tsunami hit the hardest is in desperate need of help, if you can make a donation to help out that would be really awesome. Obviously, I understand if your finances are super tight because you are unemployed and making ends meet can be very difficult. If you are in Japan you can even donate food, clothing and other supplies necessary.

Here's a list:

Second Harvest Japan

The American Red Cross
The Japan Red Cross has posted on their website to please donate through your local Red Cross or if you go on their website you can get the info for the banks that will take direct transfers for donations.
Japan Society
Charity Navigator- pretty cool site on which charities are contributing all their funds to the Japan relief and their affiliations.

Concert for Japan

There are many art gallery's having shows that will donate at least a portion of the sales to Japan relief, plus lots of the craft community is donating a portion of their sales too.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Back & Forth: Leaving Tokyo behind and Immersing myself in NYC Culture

Takashi Homma

I have one more Tokyo entry but I am saving it for when I get my film back from Chelsea Photographic Services on Friday. So I decided I should start writing about what I have been doing since I got back from Tokyo. SO aside from crying and trying to get my money back for some things like my Japan Rail Pass that I couldn't use, I've done a few neat things. I made use of my NY Art Beat Iphone app and made a list of shows I want to see. The first two shows I've seen on my list were two photography shows, one is closed now, "Minor Cropping May Occur", at the Lombard-Fried Projects gallery, it was really amazing. It was group show with 13 photographers from New York, Europe, and Japan. Most of the shots were of everyday life, just captured in the moment, but a few were definitely staged. Photographers included, Mike Brodie (AKA The Polaroid Kid), JH Engstrom, Carl Johan De Geer, Janine Gordon, Nick Haymes, Hiromix, Takashi Homma, Kitajima Keizo, Motoyuki Daifu, Walter Pfeiffer, Jacob Aue Sobol, Nick Waplington, Rona Yefman. Motoyuki Daifu, a 25 year old Japanese photographer is by far my favorite from this group and Takashi Homma is kinda neck in neck with him for me, I know he's like a super amazing photographers and has received all sorts of accolades.

Motoyuki Daifu

Motoyuki Daifu

JH Engstrom

JH Engstrom

Nick Haymes

Takashi Homma

In the middle of the week we went to see my friend Joseph Burke play as Obfusc at the Cake Shop. I love Joe's music, lovely ambient electronic music which he made even better by showing 8mm footage from his family reels that he edited to go with his music.
Next when the temps went up in NYC we tried out our new roof deck and grill while we sampled my partner's freshly brewed Triple Belgian beer, yum! No weekend is complete without brunch so Debra and I headed into Williamsburg to have a tasty meal at Egg.

Jannese Rojas

Yesterday, I took advantage of the sunny skies and headed into Chelsea to pick up my Tokyo film and view another photography show at the Anna Kustera gallery of Swiss photographer Karlheinz Weinberger. The show, Karlheinz Weinberger, Halbstarke to Bikers, in Color" was lacking even though the subject matter was truly inspiring. Swiss teens and bikers, in their homemade fashions acting tough and proud of themselves, plus soft gay porn which he started as a semi-pro gig for a gay magazine.

Karlheinz Weinberger

Karlheinz Weinberger

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tokyo Day 9: Clothing, housewares, and Zakka, OH MY! Nakameguro & Shinjuku

I don't want to take away form the seriousness of the events happening in Japan so I struggled with this post. In light of all that I experienced the last couple of days while in Tokyo I felt that I should remind myself of how much I love Japan and not to think of it as the scary place that almost killed me. With that said my heart goes out to all those who have suffered tremendous loss and those who survived at the epicenter of the disasters who now have to carry on and start a new life with heavy hearts. So here's my last day full good day before the earthquake and all the wonderful things I experienced. I will have one more post about the last happy events before the quake too coming up.

I started my day with a trip to Shinjuku to Odakaya one of my favorite fabric and crafting stores. The store is super easy to get to because it's right outside of the East exit at Shinjuku Station, near the Studio Alta building. Odakaya has two buildings, one consisting of 5 floors of fabrics and the other 7 floors of all sorts of crafting supplies, from felting to knitting to pattern books.

After my excursion through a crafters fantasy land I picked up lunch from the 7 Eleven and headed home to drop off my finds and eat. When I was satisfied, I grabbed my cameras and set off to the other side of the Meguro river for some more Nakameguro exploring. I found a slew of tiny stores mostly vintage clothing and housewares and some zakka stores. The buildings and small stores hidden from the main roads were wonderful to photograph and some of the popular places were a also a delight.
Before crossing over the river there were just everyday scenes of Nakameguro in the back streets of my immediate neighborhood and the main commerce street.

This was a great restaurant near the train station.

After crossing the river I found this store which I had scene on google street view before traveling to Tokyo I originally thought it was a restaurant but it was a men's clothing boutique called, VASE, they also carried handmade jewelry and handpainted bags for women, plus all sorts of cute little housewares. There was also, Tokyo Lampoon, a women's vintage clothing store.

If you walk along the river towards the train tracks and pass under them you will come to this Izakaya, which I wanted to try but didn't get a chance because nature had other plans for me. Anywho, if you make a left on this street and walk until you reach another underpass you will see a large ugly red brick building in front of you, this houses a few vintage stores and a cute Zakka store. Here you'll find, Attic Antiques, SIIGE, USA Sundance, Loop, and a few other places,one of the vintage stores had only wares associated with airlines and travel, plus they had a super cute dog working there.

After checking out the stores I came across I lovely cafe/bar called Square Hedges just past the underpass about two blocks. The proprietor, Marie, is a Japanese woman who speaks perfect English and her friend Chel from Arizona hangs out there all the time. They make a delicious Green Tea Latte. Upstairs she rents out to an Aussie, a New Yorker, and I think a guy from California and they have a bike shop/bar. They have total hipster bikes and at night it dubs as a bar.

Getting There: Take the Tokyu Toyoko line to Nakameguro, to cross the river- when coming out of the station cross the street to the opposite side of the station, then turn left and then make the first right and keep walking you will cross the river in about 5 mins.

VASE: 1-7-7 Kamimeguro, Meguro

More addresses to come.