Sunday, February 25

Ahoy matey

As I have mentioned many times, I lived in New York City for a good portion of my adult life. (8 years if you're askin') I have many memories of this time. This is one of them:


I was walking to work in the East Village around 11am on a sunny spring day. I was thinking deep thoughts when a delivery van drove by me pretty slowly in anticipation of a red light. I didn't really notice him until I heard "Arrr, arrr, arrr" coming out of the driver. That made me look up in a hurry. I only caught a glimpse of what could only be described as a pirate: big beard,captain's hat, big gut, tall black boots, the works. I was shocked. I think might have even stopped walking. But quickly I hurried up to confirm my suspicions and check if he had a parrot on his shoulder. The light changed, but I was able to get one more quick glance and I confirmed that I had seen correctly. A pirate was riding around NYC delivering crap.

I called my brother right away, to report the breaking news about pirates in NYC. He was totally into it. He was all asking if he had an eye-patch or a peg-leg. I think he always had a soft spot for pirates.

Did you all know pirates had a holiday. To be more precise, it is "Talk Like a Pirate Day". OK, so it might not be a nationally recognized day yet, but it's doing a lot better than "Talk Like a Bandit Day".

So what does this all have to do with, in 2007. Well, Nike has been pushing the skulls as of late. I came across these nice samples the other day. I like them a lot.


They are called "Wheatskulls 90s" I like the color combo...but still can't get past the leather toebox. (Me = broken record) But, unless you got eagle eyes, you might be wondering why the name includes "skulls". How about a close up of the mudguard.


It is a nice skull in my opinion. But not quite as nice as the skull I showed in the last post. For those of you who have a short memory, here it is the other colorway.

[source] wanted to see the WHOLE shoe!!! My bad.


And to wrap this skull themed post, we at last arrive to my latest purchase. The ones that stopped me from buy the very nice shoe above. A teaser shot.

I have been shopping at Mita Sneakers for a minute now: let's call it just under a year. I strongly believe it's the best kix spot in Tokyo. They might not get every single Nike, but they have lots of exclusive deals with New Balance and others. Plus it is a big shop in a sketchy old build in the well beaten track of Uruhara. And to top it all off...the shop staff have always been welcoming and helpful.

I even made a friend there a while ago. We exchanged emails a couple times and we chatted every time I went. Nice guy, with good English...which helped a lot. Anyways about a month ago I stopped in and he said he was movin' on up to bigger and better things and he introduced me to my new personal shopping assistant. What my new guy may lack in the English department he more than makes up for in his customer service.

I went there Sunday morning with some bills in my wallet, ready to bring these home with me. Even though their retail price is no joke: ¥18,900 ($155). So I tried them on and told my man to wrap them up for me. He brings over the calculator and shows me ¥17,900. Discount! Score! I was pleased. I said thanks and got my shoes. How can you not LOVE the good customer discount?!?! I knew I had good taste in picking my favorite store.

I like these shoes a lot. I like the badassness of them. All dark and brooding. That blue really pops! But, maybe not as much this.

Love that 3M with the blue laces. I don't imagine I will use the brown laces in there a lot. Maybe I will try some black at some point. So back to my story. After I bought the shoes, I had a bit of time to kill in Ueno, so I checked out some of the other kix shops in the area. I found something that reduced my high a bit. A shop had the same shoes for ¥18,000. So, after all that rejoicing, I got a tiny ¥100 discount. But it's the thought that counts. My thought of being given a "bro discount". I'm keepin' that thought damn it. Click HERE for some nice pics of the other shoes in the pack. The full name of the pack is "skull crossbone / clash". The skulls part of the name is easy to understand. The "clash" part might be harder to explain. Let me try.


I first heard about it HERE. It sounds like a pretty brutal race. It is between Oregon and Washington runners. Held on Nike grounds. And the best part. Well...actually. You can read this from one of their websites.

* The Race: A cross country meet between the best runners in Oregon and Washington to determine the top running state in the Northwest. Washington leads the series 4-2.

* Participants: 160 athletes--top 40 boys and top 40 girls from Oregon and Washington (based on state meet performance)

* Race course: 4.2k course on grass and chip trails around the scenic Nike World Headquarters Campus.

* Start: “Braveheart” style start, with each team on separate starting lines, running directly at each other for the first 100 meters, then merging onto the course.

[source & source]

So that explains the green and blue: state colors. And it also explains the badassness of it. A "Braveheart" style start!!!! Come on...that is bananas! All this talk of running almost wants me to get off my ass and run too. Almost being the operative word.

Later all.

Monday, February 19

Food & Shopping or "How I Spent My Weekend"

I love good food. There is nothing quiet like wrapping your mouth around a tasty morsel of food. We paid a visit to Canoviano Tokyo on Sunday for dinner. We being my girl & her Sis...forever known as S.B. It was S.B.'s birthday in Jan, so we decided to take her out to a fancy dinner.

This was one fancy Italian restuant. We were pampered and taken care of from start to finish. I am usually pretty cavolier about taking pictures. But this was not a place I felt comfortable doing that. Therefore most of the pics have low light and some are downright out of focus. I tried to clean up the pics and remember what each course was. Let's get to the first appetizer.

This was fresh salmon with basil sauce on a pie crust stick. It was delicious. A really nice mix of flavours and textures.

Worst.Pic.Ever. I know, but at the same time....this might have been my favorite thing of the entire night. Before we got any food, the head waiter came over to inquire if there was any food we were allergic to or didn't care for. The first anit-pasta was supposed to have octapus, squid, and scallops. I was eager to eat the scallops but could do without the other two. So the chef whipped up this amazing number for me and my girl. S.B. had the seafood thing, ours looked better. It is layers with fancy corn chips, parmesian cheese, with white fish paste and raw shrimp. It was so good. Some of the best bites of food I have ever tasted!

This was my least favorite. But both of the ladies loved it. I think most people would have liked is just my taste is not very rareified. It was sea urchin pudding topped with nanohana with fritter of soba flour batter with fish egg paste inside. This was all covered with a fish and consome soup broth.

This one made me pretty nervous at first. But, I was sold after the first bite. It was 4 cocoa ravioli stuffed with marscapone cheese and quail meat. They were topped with fried quail eggs and a Kyoto carrot paste sauce. Damn tasty!

Then we got to the main course. It was a worthy end to all of those dishes. It was wild boar cheek meat with a red wine sauce and raddish sorbet. To be clear, the raddish was fresh but frozen. It was melted by the heat of the meat and grilled mixed vegetables. So tender and delicious. Loved it!

Now let's hit some desserts. I was full by this point, but ready to try to squeeze in some sweet stuff. This one was mine. It is a white chocolate crème brûlée with rasberry sorbet. Of course I picked the best one...but I will show you what my dinner partners ordered.

My girl choose this one. It was good too. It was a chocolate soufflé with ginger flavored orange sorbet and chocolate icecream. My girl really liked it. So much so that I only got one bite. Oh well...I wasn't about to share all that much of mine either.

S.B. got this marvoulous looking thing. It was a banana tatin tower with bay leaf icecream. Me and bananas don't like each other so I have can't say if this was good or not. She said it was good, if that means anything to you.

A very enjoyable evening for sure. The chef came out at the end to have a chat. Nice guy, if a bit nervous for a chef. Relax! Anyways, we plan to go again sometime and try the a la carte menu. If you come to Tokyo and you got cash to throw around and you want Italian food, you should check them out.

Today was a train heavy day. I was going all over the place. First I went out to Chiba to visit the outlets. It is stressfull out there for me. I want to...scratch that...I'm desperate to find something when I go out there. There is a lot of pressure becuase it takes so long and the train aint free! I usually find something I like at either Nike, Adidas, or New Balance. Today I was only feeling Nike. My first consideration were these.


I have almost bought these Air Max Ones's before and I almost did again. Almost being the key word. The price was more than right: ¥5600 ($46) But what stopped me was the leather toebox. I like everything else about the shoe, but that. The same thing happened with these...


I love the orange. I love the Safari print on these Oasis Mids. I love that they are Asia exclusives. I love the price: ¥9800 ($8200) But I can't get past that huge expanse of leather out there in the front. Yuck!

Then I ran into the shoe that made me go on a search for an ATM.


Love them! They are a beautiful combination of art and technology. I have been looking to buy them for a while. I have been waiting for the price to drop. And it did...a little. But there were two problems: the price didn't drop enough. Still a steep ¥17,990 ($150) The other problem being that since I already have one third of this "Air U Breathe" pack, if I got another pair...then I would be forced to finish the pack with these beautiful shoes.


And someday I intend to. But right now I can't get wrapped up in that mini project. I will keep waiting for the prices to drop. So I bought two t-shirts and left Chiba. I was sad that I could't find a pair of kix to sink my teeth into today so I decided to head to Ueno to see what was boppin' there.

When I got there, I tried these on.


Love these a lot. I like the ripstop toebox in blue and the orange accents. Nice price too: ¥11,900 ($100) And the best part...


Nice skull. I was almost convinced I had found my Moby Dick of the day. Two problems: my jeans covered the skull making it useless. The other problem being they had some samples of what was coming out next week...and boy does it look the business in person. The online pics don't do it justice.

Hold tight.

Wednesday, February 14

Special day(s) + Tidbits

Happy Valentine's to all you good people out there. I hope you sent some extra strong lovin' to your special someone. Valentine's Day in Japan is a bit different than in the US. After years of busting my ass to get flowers, chocolate, cards, perfume, or jewelry. (...yes, there was one extra special year when I was living it up, high on the hog) After years of working hard on Feb 14th to make it special, now I can just sit back and relax. I just chill out and watch the chocolate roll in. It's very nice...and not. I feel conflicted over not getting my girl anything. But that's the way they do it over here. What can I do?

In Japan they have separated the gift exchanging and broadened it out. Let me break it down for you.

Feb 14th: Girls give chocolates to guys. That "s" is there for a reason: not only should she give chocolate to her boyfriend/husband, but she should give some to her co-workers as well. Maybe not all of them, but girls are expected to give chocolate at least to her boss and close associates. And not just any chocolate...there is a clear premium placed on hand made chocolates. It sounds like a pain in the ass to me...and judging by the chaos in the sweets area at the department store I went to today...a lot of women agree.

A word to the wise to all you men out there...just wait before you start popping the corks.

March 14th aka White Day: Now this is the day men have to give cookies or marshmallows to girls. They must give a return gift to all those lovely ladies who gave them chocolates. I think traditionally men are supposed to give a gift that is more expensive than what they got. It is all very complicated. I have been reduced to making lists of who gave me what so I don't commit a social faux pa.

In closing, it's better and worse: great for romantic couples cause it doubles the lovey days, on the other hand double the heartbreak for the single and looking people. In my mind, the biggest winner is the retail industry: another reason for a sale and a huge increase in foot traffic. All it really does for me, is give me an extra month to shop for a great gift.

Enough of all that, let's get to some tidbits! As I was walking to lunch the other day I was floored by this automotive specimen.

For those people, like me, who couldn't quite place it: it is a Aston Martin DBS. I knew it was an Aston easily, but I originally thought it was a DB6, I was wrong. Either way, it was such a shock to see such a strikingly beautiful car in the midst of all the crap that was clogging up the streets.

I am not a huge fan of classic cars, but sometimes they are such a fresh breath of air. I debated taking pics at that moment, I thought I could grab them when I was coming back from picking up my lunch. This what I saw coming around the corner on my way back to work.

I'm not even a huge fan of Astons. And as much cache as they have for being in the 007 movies. This particular model was only in On Her Majesty's Secret Service with George Lazenby, not my favorite Bond ever. Not by a long shot. Oh well. I liked seeing the car. And it was a pleasure to see on in the flesh. And I'm glad I took the pics when I did.

I ran across this ad on the way to the train the other day. I thought it was just your typical over-hyped perfume advert. A bit more tasteless then most, with the refuge pic and all, but wait, what is that red circle on the ground?

And the black machine?

It is a perfume dispenser. When you press the button under the arrow, the silver nozzle sprays up a shot of perfume. Pretty clever, even if it is kinda useless. Is this a big step forward in the advertising of perfume? Discuss. (Me, I think it is a tiny step, and maybe not even a step forward. The ad and dispenser disappeared pretty quickly.)

That's it for me today. I hope to bring you more goodness soon.

PS. To my girl: Thanks for the delicious morning surprise and just you wait for White Day!

Thursday, February 8

I'm all ears!!!

Hello, hello. Some may say I have spent way too much time focusing on sneakers as of late. I can't really argue with them. But it IS my blog, so I do as I like. But, I do like my readers so I will lay off the kix for a minute. Today is all about music.

Since I have come back from NZ, I have been music more than usual. To be honest, I have been all about podcast. Very, very happy about them. But they turn me on to good stuff, stuff I like so much...I just MUST own it. And I am so technology backwards I am still buying cd's. How utterly 1998 of me....I know. But what can I do? I like owning physical objects sometimes. Ok, here is one of my recent music purchases and what I think about it. Here we go! Oh, more thing. This is in no way cutting edge or the newest of the new. Being in Japan, I cannot live out in front of everyone else. (Like I imagine I used to do when living in NYC! Ha.) This is one of the things that is making my head nod these days.

So yeah...Spank Rock. Who knew I would be into Baltimore hip-hop? But I am. I am pretty into this whole album. It is backpack, indie hip-hop, but this time, they are here to party! I can imagine they are into the same music as I am. Maybe they don't love drum&bass, as much as I do, but they are into it a bit. And, maybe they like the same kind of beats in rap as I do? I say this because, their music just sounds so familiar. New, original, fun, and intelligent, but there is a certain constant flavour running through it that I just know I've heard before. I can only say that they must have heard a lot of the same music as me. Maybe....who knows. One thing is for sure, they have respect for Rick Rubin. Shit, they named a song after him. And anyone who knows me knows I love me some Rick. Him and his big ass beard.

The whole album has this raw feeling. It has the same feeling as mix tape: there is more concern for the party and atmosphere, rather than working for perfection. This song, "Rick Rubin", is an example of this rawness. It is easily one of my top picks from the album. My favorite track is "Touch me". But to be honest, there is no song I don't like on the album. And funnily enough, there is no song that isn't raunchy and riddled with words that would make my Mom blush. Tons of rhymes about sex too. For me, this not a negative, but for some people it might be.

Extra Links:

Click HERE for the video for "Bump". (NSFW)

Click HERE for the video "Baby Rat". (NSFW) It is pretty new, and the song is not on the album. A clever, yet bangin' tribute song to all the young ladies showing their areas getting out of cars as of late. You know, their areas "down there". Enjoy it, but don't say I didn't warn you that it is R-A-U-N-C-Y!

Click HERE for an interview with Spank Rock.

And the last thing I want to share about Spank Rock is that they seem to be pretty hot live. If they come to Tokyo, I will bust my ass to get there to see them. In all the YouTube videos, I think I found a gem. A concert in Brooklyn where they bring out none other than M.I.A. and the crowd shows their love. Neither the sound quality or the cinematography are award winning...but it is still the goodness.

And speaking of M.I.A., one of my favs ever. Here is a new song/video off her next album. It is crazy hot!

I'm lovin' it. I don't know how it can be all sparse but yet so solid and banging!! I can't wait to hear the whole album.

That is all for now. Soon...more music, more sneakers, more strange things in Tokyo, more more more!!!

Monday, February 5

The Callback + Making New Things

Some business to take care of before we get to the regular nonsense. It seems Blogger had some problems last week. It was my first time to have anything go remotely wrong on this blog. Kinda frustrating. I couldn't access the comments and you all couldn't leave comments. I think it has been fixed, if you still have trouble: (Tech talk coming...hit the deck!!!!) try clearing your cache and refreshing the page. That should do it.

When I lived in NYC I talked to my family in Boston a lot. And more often then not, about 2 minutes after saying "good-bye" I would remember something that I just HAD to tell them. This was named "The Callback" and would be almost expected by my family. Today I will be doing a "callback" on the post I made last week.

So there was one element of my shoes I failed to tell all you good people about. The name "Homegrown" has another connotation besides just the hip-hop scene in Holland. It has to do with the something that has made Amsterdam famous all over the world: marijuana. This is made abundantly clear with this cheeky commercial:

So yeah...there you go. And just maybe the leafy print on the shoe just might resemble you know what. Oh well....that is not why I got them. And does it seem strange to anyone else....that they made a TV ad for a shoe that is sold out everywhere? Whatever. I wore them today...and they made me happy. Although the creases in the midsole...after wearing them only 2 times made me less than happy. To say the least. I'll take pics of it another time if still bothers me as much as it does now. I can't take pics at the moment cause we are on time out right now....the shoes and I. One whole day together took a lot out of both of us.

Let's talk about food for a minute before we get back to the shoes. My girl and I had a pretty food-filled usual. It seems all we ever do is eat.'s all good. We both love food. So, this weekend we went to Shinjuku planning to go to one place for lunch, but it was closed for renovations. (Something that happened 3 times over the weekend!!!) Anyways, we ended up at a cafe. They had some tasty pasta. See for yourself:

It was the old stand-by carbonara for me and tomato with mozzarella for her.

Both were delicious. Those rather large servings of pasta plus a salad, dessert, and tea for about $12 US was perfect for lunch. We will have to go there again....we will add it to the rotation.

The other big food adventure for us was making Apple Crisp. Oh mama! It turned out so f-ing good. We had all these apples that were not so good, and I had the brainstorm to make it. Plus we were able to use my girl's Fire King pie dish for the first time. I hesitate to show pics of this online...y'all will be drooling all over your computers. But I can't resist.

That was just coming out of oven. (To be honest...we don't have an oven. We only have THE BEST MICROWAVE EVER!!!! The thing as more buttons and functions than the iMac I'm using to write this. But that is a story for another time. Back to the pie, that is not a pie.) Those dark patches are not burned parts...that is just the cinnamon-sugar doing it's thing. Take a closer look:

After letting it cool and taking pictures and scooping it out....we got to eat it.

A la mode bitch!!! How you like me now?!? Just guess who's dish is whose? And by the tastes better than it looks. We decided we should cook something new once a month. Watch out now!!! I be getting all domestic up in here!

Topic change ahead:

Speaking of making stuff. I have been spending a lot of time over on Nike iD. I have always toyed with the idea of making a shoe just for me...and so after messing around for a long time, I decided to get serious. My first serious effort was with a pair of 180's and took the LEGO logo as inspiration. What do you think?

Side view anyone?

And from the back.

I had wanted to write LEGO on the back, rather than having the Nike Air logo. But the site was not havin' it. Oh well. I'm not loving this one all that much anyways. It was just an experiment.

It is a shame the pics are not of the highest quality. But I couldn't find a better way to capture the image. This second effort is starting to grow on my. I think I like it. There was no clear inspiration for this pair of Air Max 1's, just some colors that I was feeling.

I'm like the combination of the neon yellow with all that black and just a hint of blue. And a mesh toebox is a must.

The silver was inspired by the Air Max 1's - "air u breathe". Although in that is 3M reflective goodness. These Air U Breathe shoes are really growing on me. I wish the price would drop already! Whatever...the reflective material is not provided on the Nike website. Oh well. (There is another way to do ID shoes and I'm working on it. More later.)
One more shot. This time I decided to not use there Nike Air logo.

I like the way that looks. Hmmm....looks like I will have to make some decisions soon.

Ok. That is all for this one. Enjoy your week. Stay tuned.

PS. My fav song on YouTube at the moment:

Lilly Allen - Alfie