Posts tagged ‘traveling’

February 20, 2013

A Young Couple Immediately Got Liberated When They Arrived In San Francisco

February 19th -San Francisco

A young couple from San Diego, Glen and Shoko, took a trip to San Francisco and immediately got liberated as soon as they arrived in the city. After the airplane landed the couple took a train to Mission district. They started walking to an oyster bar to eat some oysters and immediately smelled marijuana. They looked at each other and said, “this city smells like pot!”  Meanwhile they realized how San Diego’s public transportation system is absolutely horrible.


They went to a party and the party happened to be a “Rubik’s cube party.” People dressed in the colors of a  Rubik’s cube.  Some wore fuzzy things around their arms.  Some men wore skirts and some women danced in bras.  They were having blast. Shoko said, “I knew about symbolism in fashion, but I didn’t realize how refreshing it is to see men in skirts till I went to that party. Fashion could be a great way to break fixed thinking.” Meanwhile, Glen started picking basil leaves and wrapping pieces of chocolate with them.  He invented a new recipe for a coming up valentines day.

The next day, they went to UC Berkeley to hear a talk by Ryuichi Sakamoto and other scholars about eco-activism in Japan and the U.S. Post-Fukushima nuclear disaster. They felt a sense of hope because now they knew some very smart and talented people are making moves to push renewable energy even though Japanese politicians are still being useless, inhumane, wussy, delusional and irresponsible about Japanese people getting exposed to radiation and losing their health after Fukushima. Glen and Shoko also found out that UC Berkeley hosted many events so they decided to take advantage of the events to become more educated and cultured. They attended a symposium about Nikola Tesla, watched The Last Reef 3D, saw a multi-media exhibition Silence and saw Ryuichi Sakamoto solo piano recital at night. Glen said, “This makes me wanna live under the bridge on campus and go to these events like everyday.”

They also met new inspiring people at the event including Professor Goto from Fukushima University, a musician Christopher Willits (, a photographer Tomo Saito and their kind friends. After Sakamoto’s concert, they went to a bar with their new friends and talked about music, art, culture, media and activism and fun stuffs. At the bar, Shoko finally learned where Gifu prefecture (a minor prefecture in Japan) was because Tomo was from Gifu.

After the bar, Henrik, a Norwegian tourist, showed up out of nowhere without his shoes on saying, “I need grub! (food)” They ended up hanging out. Henrik highly criticized American water and invited all of them to come to Norway to taste the real water without fluoride in it and the cleanest-tasting vodka.

On Monday Feb 11th, Tommo Vee, San Francisco based artist, invited Glen to join a radio show, Eclectic Dyspepsia ( Glen and Shoko visited the radio station, drank whiskey, played some tunes, and Shoko translated what Glen said to Japanese for no reasons at all.

Glen and Shoko’s adventure in San Francisco continued till Tuesday Feb 12th. They stayed up all night, walked up the highest and steepest hill, stayed at Rainbow Room at Red Victorian in Haight, did some shopping, went to parks, ate oysters and kept getting liberated.

January 23, 2013

Hostel Takeover Helps Downtown To Be A Less Sucky Place To Hang Out For Artists

January 23rd, 2013 -San Diego

IMG_7181 Photo: a painting by Chris Vannoy

A growing art event Hostel Takeover at Hostelling International Downtown San Diego (521 Market Street) has been helping downtown San Diego to be a less sucky place to hang out for local artists. Hostel Takeover has succeeded in not only bringing fresh local art in the area of town that never represented San Diego’s local culture but also bringing local artists who always avoided shopping malls and out-of-touch-with-reality douche bags.

Unfortunately downtown San Diego is known as a place where douche bags hang out. Daniel K. Sellers,  a professor of sociology at University of California San Diego, points out that downtown San Diego has many elements that attract people who are unconsciously trying very hard to look like or act like people from mainstream media. Because they spend so much mental energy trying to conform and assimilate themselves into their perfect image that was planted by mainstream media to enhance the consumption.  They tend to be very delusional, poor at communication, easily manipulated, and having small capacity to interact with new things or concepts. What they do is opposite of what artists do. One of the artists who participated in the event said, “People walk around downtown look like wandering souls without purpose. Looking at hundreds of girls in identical black dress and ugly high heels going to shitty mega clubs makes me so sad. Also someone should tell them a difference between dance moves and humping.”

One of the great things Hostel Takeover offers to artists is an adorable national and international audience. During the last Hostel Takeover on Jan 20th, cute and curious travelers and artists and their friends enjoyed the night together. A surprise of the night was a coincidental guest Haruki Murakami. Mr. Murakami was traveling to write a travel journal with his cameraman Matsumoto. They happened to be staying at room 310 of the hostel. He bought 2 cases of Italian wine for everyone and greatly encouraged traveling, dreaming and always being on the side of eggs not the wall.

(Below are some photos of the art works displayed at the hostel)

November 3, 2012


I was in NYC from 10/20 – 11/1. Thank you NYC friends for hanging out and letting me stay over! It was great to see my friends from Japan, San Diego and of course NYC while I was there. Meeting new people was very positive and exciting too.

I love density, diversity and the energy of NYC. Walking in Central park with beautiful autumn color was pleasing, walking around and riding subway felt great, eating at all kinds of restaurants such as African, Tibetan, French was fabulous, street musicians brightened me and amount of art in the city from street art to high-end art was amazing. I bought George Orwell’s 1984 and Franz Kafka’s The Trial on the street book venders when I was walking Bedford Ave. I ate bagel and read the Onion. I met artists at the high-tech interactive art opening and went to after party at a club blasting Polish pop music on Halloween weekend. I love how I can just walk around and almost always find something interesting in NYC.

Rather randomly coming across Jeremy Geddes exhibition “Exhale” at Jonathan LeVine Gallery was one of the highlights of this trip. (There are some photos of Mr. Geddes’ paintings below) His work is extremely meticulous and sophisticated. In this series, contrast of man-made urban environment and raw soft body is very vividly painted.  I thought his works were not only sophisticated but also very playful because of the concepts and how the buildings and bodies are in midst of radical movements. And most importantly his works made me feel very happy and satisfied. When I walked into the gallery it felt like warm water was filling up my heart and I was in awe for a while. It was very moving, memorable and inspiring experience.

Also, I worked on a film project while I was in NYC. I asked my friends to be in it and took lots of footage. I will share the short film when it’s done. If you are interested, you can watch my video project in NYC  from last year.

And of course the Hurricane Sandy… I had no knowledge that the storm was coming. But after a long night of Halloween parties on Saturday night, people started preparing for the storm. One of the supermarkets in Williamsburg I went with my friends before the storm had a pretty long line outside and also a door guy regulating the line. Subways were shut down prior to the storm, lots of school and businesses were closed and people in zone A had to evacuate.

I walked around the post storm Brooklyn and Manhattan. The area I was staying seemed mostly OK, no power outage, no flooding, no fallen trees. But lower Manhattan was out of power. And I heard about severe damages on different areas. I hope the city recovers quickly and people will be safe and warm.

September 6, 2012

The Skull Shop ガイコツ屋さん





Glen is getting really international lately. He goes to Tijuana on his day-offs and doggedly practice Japanese alone.


The last time he went to Mexico, he brought back 2 souvenir skulls. When I was kindergarten age, actually my dream was to own a skull shop, so this souvenir made me pretty happy. I used to imagine a shop full of real human skulls in my very young head. I don’t really have a desire to be a skull shop owner anymore. But I am still very interested in the concept of death, perception of death, different cultural approach about death, and how to live with death.


And my brother and mom are visiting San Diego right now, so Glen is trying to make the most out of it by practicing Japanese on them. My mom’s English and Glen’s Japanese are probably on the similar level, so they seem to be a good combo. But my brother seems to be apathetic about Glen’s Japanese skill improvement project. He is just acting too cool. It’s a mystery how he got so sassy.


My brother is in California to play some tennis tournaments. The first tournament starts on Friday. I’ve never seen him play as a pro so I’m pretty excited to see him play.





June 4, 2012

Fish, Peace, Osamu Tezuka 魚、平和、手塚治虫

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It had been a long time since the last family vacation, so I went to Hawaii with my family. We woke up early, ate, talked, swam, drank whiskey and slept everyday for 9 days we were in Hawaii. My family is pretty carefree and nice.


Waking up early and swimming in warm clear water in tropical island showed clearly how I over-think all the time, be bothered by small things and live unhealthy life.


When my head becomes really hard and stressed, I will try to remember fishes and sea turtles living for the day underwater.


On Memorial Day, I went to Arizona Memorial where a warship called Arizona sunken by Japaneses attack in the beginning of WWII was preserved just as is.


It’s not really a fun thing to look at, and the place carries a heavy and dark historical atmosphere. I felt it on my skin that the specific time period had a very vivid and strong present of Nazism of Germany, fascism of Italy and militarism of Japan, and regular people lived at the time didn’t have choices but intense tides of the time.


We humans always “self-justify” no matter what kind of awful things we commit. We justify wars. Self-justifying and telling a lie are fundamentally different things. Lying is consciously telling a lie to others. But self-justifying is rather lying to ourselves unconsciously. Lying to ourselves is a dangerous thing. Lying to ourselves, justifying things like wars devastate morality in our society.


I also went to lantern floating festival on the same day. It’s an event for peace and many people release lanterns to the ocean. About 40,000 people were at the event, the beach was full of people, and many lanterns were released to the ocean. It was a serene experience that 40,000 gather “for peace.” It would be wonderful if all the wars to benefit certain politicians, countries and corporations end. I believe it is important for all of us to make an effort to reduce greed.


When I was in Hawaii with my family, I borrowed comic books from my brother. It’s called Buddha, written  by a famous Japanese cartoonist called Osamu Tezuka, and I thought that not burning greed for materials, taking a good look at my own heart and living harmoniously with the earth was a wonderful way to live. Osamu Tezuka is great for telling a deep concepts and a story for regular people through a fun medium manga (comic books) which little kids and people without higher education can read. Thanks Osamu!


April 11, 2012

Bear In Heaven/ Primitive Noyes/ Car Sick

(photo1) Primitive Noyes’ van and lady Jenni

April 4th and 5th were very musical days.


On 4th, My friends and I all hopped into the van and rolled to Casbah San Diego.


Bear In Heaven, Blouse, Doldrums and Primitive Noyes played that night.


As I got buzzed on whiskey, Doldrums played their set that sounded like full of love, 00’s style. (How do you say 2000’s?)


Blouse sounded trendy and 80’s. My friends whom I trust their music taste really liked them and even purchased a vinyl. yes! to the band.


(photo2) Jordan Hammond of Primitive Noyes

Primitive Noyes played 2 short sets in cozy atari lounge. I’m not gonna say anything about this band because they are my friends. (My blog has journalistic integrity! …but yeah I know I have my own brain and ears and stuffs too…) You can download their music for free. They are kind of like Explosions In The Sky. Everyone in this band has big nose and curly hair.


(photo3&4) Bear In Heaven

And Bear In Heaven was great. I like how they have their own sound. That’s what you need to make good art right? Vision? I hope they have a great tour.


Then the next day, I went to The Smell, all-age venue in downtown LA with Primitive Noyes crews. I felt like we were in the car for very long time that day because that’s LA. Seeing Colony was great. They had new songs and sounded great. Glen (drummer of Primitive Noyes) was getting jealous because Colony managed to write new songs in huge and smelly LA while Glen was drinking wine and playing video games in sunny, clean-air San Diego. But Glen too is slowly but surely making progress on his projects like a cow.


And I got car sick. Let’s keep it creative anywhere in the world.


(photos) inside the van.

March 22, 2012

Art Show at Cell Space/ A Mohair Jacket from the Past

I was in San Francisco with my friend Ayari in the last week of February and the first 2 days of March.


I spent lots of time walking around, drawing, painting and partying, and I stayed at my friend Krystal’s place in Mission District.


One of the highlights of the trip was an art show at Cell Space.


Ayari and I were looking for a gallery or shop to put our paintings in the city, but being a part of a group show was even better and funner.


Thanks for your help Tom and Krystal. That became one of my favorite places and time in San Francisco.


And I made a video from the footage after the trip. Music is by Glendon Romett.


We Are Artists

In the mean time, I travel quite a bit and had developed a habit that I buy one thing that I really like in the destination.


This time I bought a set of a vintage jacket and skirt from LA ROSA in Haight area.


Mohair skirt and jacket from 1960s


People at the store seemed to be proud of clothes they have there, and clothes were in good condition. And the massive collection of vintage clothes from the past were creating some sort of symbolic atmosphere that you wouldn’t feel at H&M or Urban Outfitter.

お店の人達はお店にある服達をとても誇りに思っているようで、洋服はとてもいいコンディションでした。巨大な過去からのビンテージの洋服のコレクションは、H&M や Urban Outfitter では感じることのない、ある種の象徴的な雰囲気を作り出していました。

I don’t regularly buy vintage clothes. But I felt like buying, wearing, feeling, looking at vintage clothes is one of the ways to feel the past.


I had a good time, thanks San Francisco.


July 30, 2011

3 trips 3つの旅

3 trips to make me realize I was wrong.

3 trips to breathe outside of the bubble.

3 trips to recognize how unimaginatively small I am.

trips after trips.
I saw people doing their own things.
I went to places where people’s belief systems don’t apply.
so I need to keep my pace.
but I still can’t help thinking too much.


Solo trip 1人旅 5/30 – 6/17

New York City

Primitive Noyes and Colony West Coast Tour
6/23 – 7/2

Santa Cruz: Sub Rosa
Oakland: Harmony House
Seattle: House Party
Olympia: Grandma’s House
Portland: Laughingbook House
San Francisco: Accident and Artifact

Travel with my parents 両親との旅 7/6 – 7/17

Kings Canyon
Angeles vs Mariners
Death Valley
Las Vegas
Hover Dam
Grand Canyon
Horse Shovent
Antelope Canyon
Monument Valley
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Petrified Forest
Meteor Crater
Sedona, Arizona