Monday, April 30

Shopping, Sneakers & Donuts

I caught the Obey Giant vs WK Interact show last weekend. I would love to show you some pics from inside the gallery, but they had tons of signs up prohibiting cameras. Not that all the other people were obeying the rules...but I am not a boat rocker. So long story short, I got no pics.

It was a decent show. I have always been partial to WK Interact as compared to Sheppard Fairey. As much as I love me some Andre the Giant. I remember seeing both of their work all over NYC when I lived there. But it was WK Interact's work that drew my eye every time. Plus, I met the guy one time. He was trying to sell his t-shirts to the store I worked at. It was one of the few arguments I lost with the owner of the shop...and we didn't end up stocking his stuff. That must have been 7 years ago. It hasn't seemed to have hurt his career much. Found a great clip of his work he did for Nike a while ago. The music is pretty damn rollin too!

[stumbled across at slamXhype]

That same day in Shibuya I bumped into this guy rockin his shit so hard I thought he was gonna hurt somebody!

Loving his look. Respect! I try to rock my gear like that, but I'm not in his league at all. I can't quite pull off the tongue outside the jeans maneuver. I'll keep practicing and maybe someday! As they say, "Practice makes perfect!" Speaking of rocking gear...I often I talk about shopping and crap that I buy. (Actually I am about to again very soon.) But before we get into that...I just gotta show you this little pamphlet for a department store credit card I picked up today.

That's right. This confirms it. You ARE what you buy! And not in any ironic Barbara Kruger kinda way either. As soon as I read this I was sure I had seen one of her prints with that same text, but with a completely different message. But the closest I could find was this.


I guess my memory got mixed up...or my internet search skills are on the fritz again.

And that leads us nicely into my latest purchase! (Irony intended or not??? You decide.) As you remember the hint for my latest shoes was...

Sorry JB...your guess of underoos was a bit off the mark. "Hold Tight" is the call of pirate radio.

These shoes were designed by Ben Drury. They were part of "Air u Breathe" pack of last year.

Words from the designer himself:

Like most of my personal work, this design is inspired by the pirate radio scene in London. The shouts are instantly recognizable to the pirate aficionado. "Hold Tight!" barked out as if on a fairground ride, instruct and assure the silent listeners and live callers, who soak up London's unique listening experience. Calling out to all points, north, south, east, west, (my four favorite places) - the signal is strong, quality assurance filters through the airwaves, into the consciousness of the capital: Hold Tight - ON AIR.


Love the inspiration for these. I passed on them when they first dropped and I regretted it like crazy. Then I kept waiting for them to pop up again...hopefully with the price dropped. But no dice. After basically giving up...I was looking around Asbee in Shibuya of all places. (Like The Athlete's Foot in the US) And there they were, waiting for me!

After about a 10 seconds thinking about it...I tried them on and told the nervous sales lady to wrap them up for me. I was and am pleased. I love the details. The perforated leather and quality materials. The insoles with the antennas are fantastic as are the radio waves on the heel.

I am already debating about playing with the laces. I think I could go simple with a black or a dark grey. Or I could go big and throw some color in there. Any color would go with the slick colorways. And EVERYTHING matches reflective 3M!

With this purchase I have 2/3 of the pack. I will hopefully pick up the missing shoe in the next week or so. I was holding off...cause I would never be able to live with an uncomplete pack. But, now that I have the one that I thought was impossible to find, I can pick up the last one. Developing.

Here in Japan this week is Golden Week. If you are too lazy to click on the link...Golden Week is a string of 5 holidays within 7 days. It is like X-mas week in the US. A week off for almost everyone. And that means tons of people everywhere. But that is besides the point. What is important to me is that I have a 9 day break from work! Nice. Sadly 2 of those days will be taken up with a funeral. ( come cancer never takes a holiday?!?) But besides that, I will be maxin and relaxin with my girl.

And lastly before I go. I give you a glimpse into life in Tokyo.

Yes...that is a mad long, totally snakey line in front of Krispy Creme donuts. It opened about 2 months ago. It is the first in all of Japan. Everytime I walk past this place in Shinjuku it is the same. The photo above was taken on a Monday a few weeks ago. Monday is a day when most people should be at work...not waiting for donuts! On that day they had a sign out front stating the approximate wait time: 1 hour 30 mins. And just in case you don't believe me that it is always like this. This next photo was taken today.

I knew it was going to be bigger...cause it is Golden Week. But even I was surprised by the insanity. Here is the sign that posts the wait time.

That's right! 2 hours and 10 mins. That is a long ass time to be standing in the hot sun for fucking donuts. Even if they are good. Please, take a look at how long this line is.

It goes on across the entire bridge! And people kept joining it. "Hmmmm...should we go to a movie today...or stand in line for donuts???" Lines are nothing new for me, but this one is just ridiculous.

Spend your time wisely out there.

PS. Relating to a post a couple weeks back. Click HERE for a great article on fixed bikes from the NY Times.

Monday, April 23

Music & More

Met this friendly fellow while walking in my neighborhood the other day. Such a sweet dog. Not a bark or a whimper...but he is DYING for some lovin'. Something else that made me whip out my phone was this.

That's a big cone y'all. What else can be said....really.

And now for something completely different.

I have been on a CD buying bonanza as of late. I haven't been buying music all that much these days...compared to when I lived in NYC. In those days it was at least 1 or 2 albums a week. Since I moved to Japan, it is way less. Most of the time the time that is...

Lilly Allen first. Before her album dropped I heard a bunch of her singles here and there on the WWW. I was liking them but not really sure I would buy the album till I heard this one.

Lilly Allen - Alfie

My favorite track by far. The rest of the album is good and enjoyable. But that song is where it's at for me. In this age of single song downloads, complete albums are a rarity...but this one manages it. The same can not be said about the Rhymefest album. It is close to complete...but there are a couple songs I skip every single time. But 3 bad tracks on a 16 track album is not bad at all. I don't regret the purchase at all. The good songs on here are REALLY good. For example:

Rhymefest - Fever

I love how he seems to bounce and skim over that deep beat. It is my fav on the album right now. The video ain't worth getting excited about, but the song is!

After much hype and promotion the Timbaland album finally drop a couple weeks ago. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd say it's so so. A couple of hot bangers, a bunch of decent stuff, and a few crapsters in there. This is an album that works well with some iTunes editing. Sadly for people in the US, it seems the best track was a bonus track for Asia and Europe only. Here it is. [audio only]

Timbaland & M.I.A. - Come Around

I'm not disappointed by the album. I just feel like he is kinda all over the place...and not in a good way. But I still love those good tracks. Easily worth the junk tracks. Seriously...who likes R&B anyway??? There is no kinda "all over the place" atmosphere on the Redman album. It is focused to the extreme: all East Coast joints one after another. If it catches you in that mood, it's perfect. If is a tad monotonous. And one other sad thing, the 1st single is the best track on the album, which is always a bit dissapointing.

Redman - Put It Down

But any hip-hop album that can combines good slamin' beats with insults and jokes by Redman is all good in my book.

I also picked up some mixed tapes. The Junglist Now! has some good old jungle tracks on it. But damn!!! One key point for mixed tapes is to showcase the ability of the DJ, right? Not so much here. This has to be the worst mixed tape ever in that department: beats not matching, tracks dropping in and out almost at random, abrupt change in BPM or style.'s got them all. BUT...the tracks themselves stand up to the non-stop assult they recieve.

The I LUV Baile album is very different...the DJ can actually mix! And who doesn't love some Baile Funk! I need more. For more info on Baile...which...if no one told you, is the music of the future, click HERE, HERE, or HERE.

And on this post rolls on with yet another non sequitur.

There is a holiday in Japan coming on May 5th which is Koinobori or Children's day or Boy's day...depending who you ask. It's mostly for the boys. And the main element I can gather is that you fly carp flags everywhere. Like this thing

Why am I talking about a kid's holiday when I don't have any kids you ask. Here is why.


A sneaker is the reason, of course! Loved these when I saw the sample up in MITA a couple weeks ago. They are Nike 360's as part of the Koinobori pack. They are hands down the best in the pack. I tried them on and they looked pretty dope. But the price and the brightness of the 3M all over was more than I could handle. In addition to that, I have my eyes on some future releases that I need to remain faithful to. That being said, I did pick up something else over the weekend which will be revealed soon.

Hold Tight

(ps. That there's a hint to what I bought last weekend.)

Monday, April 16

Fish Analysis

This is a recent conversation I had with my City Sis. It's such goodness, it needs its own post. More stuff will come later...but for now, enjoy the banter.

city sis: I'm sending you a photo that a co-worker came across yesterday as she was prepping for a talk
and looking for images of "analysis"
and we were working next to each other
at an ice cream shop, actually
after work
me: ok....quite the set up you got there.
city sis: and she was like, "oh, i found a good one."
and i looked
me: i can't wait to see this photo...with the longest intro ever!
city sis: OH MY GOD
she was like..."does this say analysis to you?"

me: no
except that he is really checking out that fish
that's where your analysis is
city sis: that picture is actually called "fish analysis"
me: nice
city sis: it's very funny , as far as today's concerns with taxonomy
me: am i stupid or not...
...cause, i cant understand the shirt
city sis: i want you to know about taxonomy
the SHIRT!!!
oh my god
it's for people who LOVE going TUBING
me: ahhhhhh!!!!!!
city sis: i know!!!
me: awesome!
city sis: he just assumes that people will know that
it is all SO specific
me: he totally does
city sis: it's TIME specific, because it is a reference to that "brain on drugs" commercial
me: and those moustaches are so NOT ironical, right?!
city sis: it's just so specific
i know!
and that guy is just really checking out his fish
me: and btw, who the fuck knows about tubing ???
he is focused on that fish alright
city sis: i just LOVE every single god damned thing about this photograph
including the bumper sticker on the boat...with the heart
me: he has totally forgotten about the cig in his mouth
city sis: i KNOW
me: now that is a nice bumbersticker!
city sis: they are just totally doing their thing
me: and whoever took this picture was like "man...that's a nice fish....let me just snap a pic. Mike will be so pleased later."
city sis: lol
me: and you just know...that the total for those sunglasses is under $11.99
city sis: for both!
for sure!
me: no doubt about it and their wind swept hair!
it's all shower and go
city sis: they are both just so blissfully unaware of things like...research projects, google, the future, research assistants, final cut pro, laptops, wikipedia, deadlines.
I just love them both so much
I just want to go there and be with them
me: for sure
to be honest, im having a hard time not looking at the pic
city sis: i KNOW
me: i don't want it to end
city sis: i KNOW
me: and since its a doesn't
city sis: i KNOW
me: it is satisfying and leaves you wanting more
city sis: i just want to go there john
can't i just go there?
me: no
city sis: i'll gut the fish
me: you can NOT go
city sis: i'll swab the decks
me: nope
you will never be there
city sis: DAMN
me: do you think they thought about what to wear in the morning?
city sis: NO they did NOT
you know what?
everything about it is so gorgeous
even his stomach
me: it is. it's ripe!
city sis: his tummy is round and plump with the pure satisfaction of life
me: and my man Phil is just so happy for Mike. Phil just wants to have himself a closer look at the beaut of a fish
city sis: i know
me: no jealousy
city sis: every moment is unfolding just as they pretty much expected it to
me: right. but...
city sis: can you IMAGINE
what they say???
their voices???
their colloquialism's???
me: don't you think there is just a hint of concern in mike examination of said fish
i can imagine what they would say....but i cant hear it
city sis: maybe it JUST occurred to him that he has not, as of yet, hugged his boat today?
me: lol
no no
that can't be it
city sis: lol
i have to fucking work
i'm sorry
me: i think Mike figured it was one type of fish, but....
city sis: this is way too much fun
me: turned out to be a different species
city sis: oh really?
i have to go look again

me: yeah..."this is not a blue trout.."
city sis: i think Phil is talking
me: "it might be i guess..ahhh, well it could be...uhhh.....a rainbow trout, no?
me: yeah...Phil is confirming Mike's suspicions.
city sis: TAKE A LOOK
me: yeah, you're right. Mike is mumbling because of the smoke.
city sis: i want this photograph blown up and turned into wallpaper for my den
yeah that's how he always talks
cuz he always has a smoke
me: and Phil is all...."you got that right mike....that is sure a rainbow trout"
city sis: oh my god
me: mike is always right
city sis: they know each other and the routines of their lives so well, they're practically telepathic
yeah yeah!
me: you can just tell
city sis: Mike always knows Phil is always just a step behind.
me: Mike's got the prettier wife....the bigger truck
city sis: LOL
oh my goodness
you are so right
he is also fucking Phil's daughter
me: WHAT?!?!
no he is NOT!
city sis: oh no
i feel terrible
me: this is no Jerry Springer show!!!
city sis: i disrespected the photo
i feel sick
me: just cause he is NOT fucking Phil's daughter, doesn't me is hasn't thought about it a hundred times
city sis: lol!
me: but...mike is to much of a man's man to disrespect Phil...even if Phil is a little dopey sometimes
don't feel bad sis, its ok
you were just taking a stab in the dark
city sis: are they brothers in law?
me: hmmm
now that's a good question
i don't think so
they met in high school
city sis: john his blue drawstring shorts are so beautiful they make me want to cry
me: they are amazing
in high school, Phil was always mike's wing man
city sis: yes
oh my goodness!!!
if my co-worker got this pic on flickr....
me: lol
city sis: brb!!!!!!!!!!!!
me: i don't know if i could handle more
city sis: she's not online. nothin' doin'.
i need to work anyway
me: to be honest, I'm scared to see what the third man looks like....
city sis: LOL
fine, we won't try to find more pics if you don't want to
me: i just know its Gary, the 3rd wheel
city sis: he's kind of skeevy
me: Phil wishes it could just be him and Mike on the boat
city sis: Gary is a little off
me: Gary always makes those jokes
city sis: i know
he makes everyone a little nervous
well, everyone but Mike
me: right city sis: everyone but Phil...
me: right
Mike thinks Gary is alright and so....Phil has to agree
city sis: Mike knows that Gary's father was a nutjob
me: lol, exactly!
Mike kinda feels sorry for the Gary. But Phil has no sympathy for the guy.
me: I'd bet he said it THAT DAY!!!!!
city sis: just FEELS right
oh that special, special day
me: on the day this picture was taken mike was complaining about the town mechanic, "that guy must a been some kinda nutjob putting that new alternator in that piece a shit Chevy!"
city sis: you're going to make me weep
me: "and the guy who runs the wrecker....he's no trophy winner either."
city sis: well, I MUST work. But remember...the very same sun shines over us.
me: that it does

Monday, April 9


What do I spy with my little eye?

That's my man Nick Nack, for those of you not up on your Bond trivia. Much more info can be found HERE, if you wish. (You can also find the screen shot that whoever made this sticker grabbed for their own purposes.) I found this sticker in Aoyama. When I saw it I couldn't help but smile. I hadn't thought of that little guy in forever. Getting me to smile = picture worthy. I was out in that area last weekend. I was hitting all the hot stores over there: Reed Space:Tokyo, the new Undefeated, Atmos, among many others. During my travles came across this.

Cool looking building. But take a closer look at the sign.

I hate to break it to you T.H.C., if you have to state that you are a "hipster" ain't. Thems are the rules. I didn't make'em, but I don't break'em. But fret not: I have uncovered a possible new rule that looks to be up for a vote here in Tokyo. He is a hint.

More than a year ago, I started to come across this and that about fixed-gear bikes. It was new to me. So I did a little research and it looked like a cool, simple, back to basics kinda thing. What makes these bikes different is that they have no free wheel, therefore no coasting. From what I read, it requires a totally different style of riding. I almost wrote about it at the time but I let it pass because I was not a rider of them. I didn't not feel right biting another person's passion. And then...BANG! They exploded. As far as I can tell the main supporters were the hardcore messengers in NYC, Seattle, and in Tokyo. But of course they had been onto them since way back. And so it was the Godfather of streetwear: Hiroshi Fujiwara who brought them into the world of hipsters. A year ago or two ago a tiny percentage of people knew about this type of track bike. And now...

And the "Yea's" have it! The new rule states: Stores that are down, must display a fixed-gear bike out in front.

These pic were taken over the last 3-4 weeks. All the cool stores have adapted this rule with gusto. And don't get me wrong....I got no hate. I think they look amazing. I have always had a soft spot for bikes, since my BMX days of yore. Combine that with the bright colors and the hipster cache...whats not to love? The streetwear scene has embraced them rapidly: click HERE for some gorgeous new bikes built in collaboration with Trackstar and Dave's Quality Meat. (collaboration info via Razor Apple)

Topic change:

If you didn't know...I like jackets as much as I like sneakers and t-shirts. They are a vital part of an outfit, and you ignore them at your own peril. I have been struggling to find a jacket that called out to me recently. I came across THIS and got pretty excited. I dragged my girl across Tokyo to check what was going on with these North Face trench coats. After a slow start, I tried on 3 or 4 before I found the one for me. The tans washed me out and the lack of buttons bored me to tears. Then I tried this one.

Yeah, I bought it. It was some serious scratch. But it fits so many situations and occasions: jeans, suits, Spring, Fall, etc. And because it's made of Gore-tex, it's rain and wind proof but still breathable. It has lots of details that I love: the purple lining and check out the buttons.

These kind of details make me happy. Who knows why? I'm also happy to be getting my grown man on. It's been hard to find pieces that straddle the line between a young and old man. At some point I have to stop wearing t-shirts and jeans exclusively. But, I'm not done yet with the clothes and kix I love. Actually, it's has been a minute since I have gotten excited about a shoe. They keep putting out stuff I can't get with. But these...these are speaking my language.


If these look as good in person as they do in the pics, they will be bringing their pink soles into my closet. (Did you catch that??? The pun with the pink: pink, a reference to being "gay"...and then I combined that with the idea of "in the closet"!!! Genius.)


ps. Thanks for all the great comments. Keep'em coming!

Sunday, April 1

On the run.

This is a shot from Shinagawa Station in Tokyo. I took it just before 9AM on a weekday a couple weeks back. In my opinion, it is one of the 7 Wonders of Tokyo. In that station, there is a long covered hallway that runs for about 100 Meters. It is FULL of people walking from the station to the many office buildings in the area. To be in the midst of that crowd is just amazing: so many people, so quiet, so orderly. The picture doesn't quite capture the feeling, but it was the best I could do. The next time I wake up at the ass-crack of dawn, I will try again. Speaking of getting up early, that is what I have been doing for the last couple weeks. I am taking my big lumbering body for a run 3 times a week. Not so fun, but I have found some interesting things along the roads and alleyways around my apartment.

I found this creepy thing at a elementary school. Yeah, if that thing was my school when I was a kid, I would have never gone. Ever. To be honest I haven't run that way since that one morning. I think I'm scared of it. It is by far the most frightening thing I have seen yet. I don't often bump into scary things, but one thing I have seen a lot of is...

...vending machines. They are everywhere. I have become so used to seeing them, they tend to fade into the background. But seriously....they are can be found in every shape and size.

There are even skinny ones. That one didn't have much selection. But most are not so limited. And to make things interesting...

...sometimes they travel in packs. They sell a grand variety of drinks, both cold and hot: soda, juice, coffee, tea, anything you could possible want. In that tribe they even had an ice cream machine! Besides offering refreshments on every block, they light up your way at night.

Those are the good guys, but sometimes you come across the rebel gangs.

The cigarettes selling ones. Trying to tempt all those wholesome Japanese youths. Actually, when I first visited Japan 8 years ago, you could find cigarette and beer vending machines everywhere. In the last few years, since a new law was past and enforced, they are becoming harder to find. And some of the newer high-tech ones you need to have an ID. But of course...if you are an underage kid, you can still get your smokes if you're clever enough. Besides, I have NEVER once seen someone get carded trying to buy beer or smokes. On my morning runs I have found some pretty rare vending machines.

I had to take a closer look at this one. It looked all old and busted, next to those discarded TVs and microwaves. But, to my surprise, it still worked.

That's right, a battery vending machine. For those times, when you just NEED to get your remote control to work!! And last but not least, I give you the most unusual vending machine yet...

Did you figure out what it is for? A hint: it would come in handy late at night.

It is a condom vending machine! I'm all for using protection, but I do have one question. How do they decide where to put these? Do they take a poll? Do the monitor bedroom activity in a certain area? It is a question I will most likely go to the grave not knowing the answer. Oh well.

I live in a residential area, close to Shinjuku, but by no means a rich area. Anyways, I have run into some killer cars as I have explored my area. Exhibit 1.

Yes folks, it is a Ferrari 550 Maranello sitting on some decent aftermarket wheels. Yellow might just be the perfect color for this car. Without the bright color, the car might just slip by without getting the proper respect. Gorgeous car. It looked to be sitting in a one car showroom. It stopped me in my jogging shoes to be sure. This did too...Exhibit 2.

I believe it is an Aston Martin V12 Vanquish. Dope looking car...crappy reflective pic. It was also sitting in a tiny one room dealership. At least this one looked like a regular dealership: signs, prices, cardboard cutouts, etc. By the way, the price is ¥19,800,000. ($168,000...give or take a bit) And then, just as I was ending my run one day last week, I had to catch my breath as I ogled this monster.

That's right, it's the new Toyota FJ Cruiser. Not super rare or expensive, just good. It's the first time I have seen one in the flesh. I remember when I saw the concept a couple years ago and fell in love it. I can't believe how close the production model is compared to those first drawings.

And contrary to what the Digable Planets might say, this thing is phatter than a '94 Land Cruiser. (Is this the best track the Digable Planets ever made?? Discuss.)

Topic Change:

As I stated a couple weeks ago, spring is in the air here. And for Japanese that means one thing hanami. Hanami is the celebration of cherry blossom viewing. You would not believe what a big deal is made out of this short period of time. After the flowers bloom, the first rain storm effectively ends the season. So, it is all about getting while the getting is good. Never one to shirk from our we went, twice actually. Off with every other person in Japan, and their cousins, to look at the pretty flowers.

Of course there are different varieties of cherry blossoms. Above we have the pink kind, and below the white ones. Those are scientific classifications, I assure you.

There are basically two ways of viewing the flowers: walking through a park and taking pictures of every flower or having a picnic under the trees. Last year we only did the walk through and found it to be lacking. So this year, we stocked up...

...and had ourselves a picnic. We had a nice time both times we went. One word of warning though, these parks fill up fast.

Wake up early and stake out a good spot, and a short time later you will be surrounded. People just end up getting closer and closer. Soon, they arepractically on each other's blankets and picking at your neighbor's bento. Oh well...that's what we get for living in the city. For the most part, I like hanami. And this year, I discovered another thing I like about picnics in the park...

...sneaker photo shoots! I had a blast trying to take some nice pics. Here are some of my favs. First: keeping things on the down low.

An extreme close-up of my Air Max 1 from the Evolution pack.

And my most artistic shot ever.

And then on the other picnic date I rocked a different pair.

My Air Max 390/90s from the "One Time Only" pack from the front.

One more from the side so you can see the infrared color within the air.

And lastly from the back.

If any of you poor souls have worked your way through ALL of that crap, I will reward you with a teaser of my latest purchase. Shockingly, they are NOT shoes!

More on that soon. Maybe next time.

Last, but far from HERE to hear the best Dizzee Rascal track ever. (slightly NSFW lyrics) It is off his new album. Act fast...the mp3 will be taken down soon I'm sure.