Monday, September 22, 2008

Truck – One More Reason to Visit Osaka

There's an ongoing rivalry between Osaka and Tokyo that's similar to the rivalry between NYC and LA in The States. We have yet to visit Osaka, but I just found another good reason to check out the city of Osaka, famous for its comedians and okonomiyaki.

Tokuhiko Kise is a furniture designer who lives, with his wife and daughter, just above the space where he runs his successful furniture company, Truck. This space is where all the design, manufacturing and retail of the furniture takes place. I've only seen catalog photos, but I really appreciate his modern, earthy style. It's just very Japanese. I’d love to see the entire store sometime, and maybe even bring home a souvenir or two.

Art District 798, Beijing

We’re in China (Beijing) for my first time. We’ve covered the city well and I have to say that one of the most interesting and unexpected things we’ve come across has been 798.

798 is an up and coming/already there artist community here in Beijing. Located at the site of a former industrial military factory, it’s big, spanning across several streets, alleys and buildings. We spent an entire afternoon there and only saw about a third of what the district has to offer. Remnants of the old factory buildings and metal structures remain among countless galleries, cafes and retail stores. The art, the transitional feeling of the area, the old and new buildings in the same space, it’s all just very unique and cool. The most striking exhibit we saw was God of Materialism. It was insane and disgusting, but somehow it made perfect sense. It was interesting to see a Chinese artist lashing out at materialism and over consumption in general. The scale of the art was huge; there was no mistaking the message. Other stuff we saw was tamer. I hope we make it back for round two of 798 before we leave.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Three Cups of Tea

I’ll be honest and say that it wasn’t as well written or enjoyable as some other recent reads, but it’s probably more important. This is a great book that really speaks to America’s troubles with terrorism and the handling of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Greg Mortenson’s true story peels back layers, allowing the reader a first hand glimpse and the ability to piece together both reasons how and why terrorism begins as well as possible ways we might more successfully dissolve its intensity in the future. Thought I should put it out there.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008