Sunday, August 19

Culture vs. Consumerism

Just in case you didn't know, it's summer here in Tokyo. It has been crazy hot. Last week we reached a new record high temp for Japan; 40.9 degrees Celsius. That is a ridiculous 105.62 degrees Fahrenheit. Not surprisingly, some people died and some went into the hospital. Read all about it HERE. But don't worry my faithful readers, I have been able to survive the heat. I have also managed to live through a couple more small earthquakes. Yeah for me!

Last post I started with a night shot of Shinjuku from my apt. I got a couple requests for some daytime shots. This shot just below is the matching shot to my last post, only this time it's a bright sunny day.

My place has a 270 degree view. It is pretty nice, if I do say so myself. If you look a little more to the left, I can see the limited towers of Ikebukuro.

And if we turn slightly more we get the view of the suburbs of Hoya/Nishi Tokyo. Nishi means in west. We live to the west of central Tokyo. But if you take the train for 30 mins, so start to get to the deeper suburbs. And now you know what it looks like from the 11th floor of my apt. Yippee.

Thanks to all of you how threw your 2 cents in about the "This or That" sneaker question. I could only find the orange Air Max Lights. Which I do like, but I wanted to see the brown 90's in person before deciding. So....I went with option "The Other Thing": Rainbow 6 Vegas. Which may or may not have been part of the reason for the lack of a post last week.

All this shopping and gaming made me feel like a bad person. So I have been trying to get some culture as well. Let's see if I can balance my consumerism with some cultural experience.

Cultural Experience #1.

A couple weeks back I had a chance to go to a Japanese Tea Ceremony. Otherwise known as Sado: "the way of tea". I had no idea what to expect. I thought we would watch some people perform it, learn a bit, and I figure it would be a lot of sitting "seiza style". This is when you sit with your on your knees with your feet tucked under yourself. I was right and wrong. We did have to sit seiza style, but we were also expected to try doing it as well.

The key is moving your hand as fast as you can. As you can see from the pic, she could do it really well. But when she put the cup in front of me, with the green tea powder, and a little water; I couldn't move my hand fast enough to make the tea good.

After my second try, she tasted my attempt and declared it "green juice" not green tea. She didn't really smile about it either. I almost told her her Rolex didn't really match her kimono, but I held my tongue. In addition to my failed and insulted tea, my legs were dying. Seiza style is so hard, like torture. My legs did not recover until a couple of hours. It was a good experience, for sure. I LOVE CULTURE!

Consumerism #1.

So, I have been having a lot of bag related problems on the weekend. During the week, I need to carry a book, magazine, ipod, etc. I got that bag situation covered. But on the weekend, I only want to carry my wallet, sunglasses, and maybe a bottle of water. I wanted something small, but not tiny. Last weekend I finally found what I had been looking for.

For bags I lean away from sports brands; Nike, New Balance, and so on. It would give me too much of a headache trying not to cross brands. Also, camouflage works pretty well so I don't have to be too concerned about color matching.

I used it today, and it worked well. Although one of my friends said it was pretty gay looking. I never got a chance to ask him if it was the dots or the shape. He is a backpack only kinda dude, I won't let one tiny comment scare me away from what looks like a promising relationship.

Cultural Experience #2.

I have an interest in graffiti and how it connects to underground culture and culture in general. I really don't know nearly enough to be able to comment on it intelligently. But I do try to go to exhibits when I can. This show of Barry Mcgee was pretty good. Sadly, I couldn't take any pics inside. Rules! He is also know as Twist, click HERE for some shots of his stuff out in the open. He has been around forever, so he uses a real mix of styles and materials. What I really love is his graphic textures. Here is one shot that I found floating around on the interwebs.

I couldn't figure out where I had see these kinds of patterns before. They had some really warm feelings attached to them. It took a while to come to me, but I realized where I had see them before. I found out they are based on back covers of old sheet music from the 30's and 40's. My Dad had some old music that had these types of patterns on them. It was nice to be able to connect something of today's subculture to my Dad's memory. I wonder where all that old music went to?

Consumerism #2.

If you know this logo, you just might be a brand whore. I am. My girl is.
Come join us. The brand is Goyard. They are an extremely exclusive (<--- read f*cking expensive) luggage maker. They also make wallets, see below.

My girl has been looking forward to owning one of these for years now. We were finally able to make it a reality. That is fun. It is also a nice way to balance out my large purchase of the Xbox last month. Compromise and balance is very important in both relationships and consumerism.

I didn't love the wallet right away. I thought the pattern was classic, but on the boring side. Now I have changed my mind. I like the quietness of it. All signs point to my next wallet coming from Goyard as well. I gotta start saving my pennies! If you have a chance, check them out, they are beautifully made pieces. But good luck finding a shop in your neighborhood. Less than 15 shops worldwide. Now that's what I call brand management. Taking forced exclusivity to a whole new level. They also do bespoke pieces and personalized monograms at your request. Developing.

I hope I found some balance in the ongoing struggle between my arty side and my side that wants to buy everything. Let's get to some music.


#1. M.I.A.'s album finally dropped. I have yet to pick it up. I have been content grabbing stuff of the web. Case in point: this her track "Jimmy"

I swear I heard the original before. I think my CitySis turned me onto some bhangra remixes of this track ages ago. Who knows? Also came across this adorable and heartbreaking snippet of Diplo and M.I.A. in happier times. (They used to be together and now they ain't.)

That shit almost makes me cry every time. I have no idea why. Maybe it's the amazing song. The happiness on their faces. The bittersweetness of it. Here is the track in it's entirety. (Not the proper video, just audio.)

#2. Since we are on a ethnic tip. I found some shit that brought me back to my high school days. I got this awesome mix tape got from some kid in my school. We aways swapped rap tapes and this one day he gave me this tape full of Spanish hip-hop. At the time I played the hell out of it, and then kinda forgot about it. I had now idea it was so good. It was way before I understood what was happening culturally in the music. Click HERE to read all about it. But if you want to hear it click HERE and HERE. A 2 for 1 special. Just call me K-mart. [via Negrophonic]

#3. Not too much to say about this one. It is just a great mix by the South Rakkas recorded live at Fabric. What more needs to be said, really? Lot's of different styles, all of them good. Riddims galore! This shit should make you smile all the way. Love the amazing re-working of a Lily Allen track at 7 minutes. They tear it to shreds and build something fierce. [via Mad Decent]

#4. Nothing to say about this one either. Or, actually, a challenge. See if you can listen to this song without your mood improving. It is one of the most joyful songs I have ever heard. Click HERE to get happy. [via The Fader]

Off to kill me some terrorists.



Anna said...

congratulations on squeezing out a blog post between missions! i had no time to click on any links in this post but will, later in the week...more comments then. p.s. last week the lily allen song "smile" got stuck in my head and then on friday i was waiting for the #1 bus at the top of newbury street and they played it out of the speakers at the best buy (where tower records used to be) and i was very pleased. oh - and an update about my own consumerism: earlier that day on newbury street i purchased my first real pair of heels. ankle boots. HOT.

Lisa said...

LOVE the first picture, and the other clear ones of your views. Fabulous!!

Not exactly "sold" on the EXCLUSIVE wallet...they certainly have their marketing plan fine tuned!!!

Lovely newsy blog...keep up the good work!!

Gretchen said...

the rolex kimono comment gave me the best laugh i've had in about 5 days...sorry about your legs!

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