Tokyo, Briefly: Part II

in which I tell you all about everything else we did in Tokyo
By April 2, 2014 photography, travel

Two travel posts in a row? Pat me on the back, and thank the smart-alecky anon who asked if s/he was going to wait another year for these photos to resurface. Joke’s on you! If you missed the first part of this Tokyo segment, click here. Ahem.

And on the third day, we walked ourselves to the point of passing out. We went to a lot of places, but I wasn’t able to take many photos as I was navigating! Somehow, I ended up with almost twice as much pictures as the last post. To be fair, I have photographs of Day 4 and the Tokyo half of Day 5, aka our last day, here, too.

Because we went to so many places, I’ll be briefly describing each part so you kind of know what’s going on. I might as well be helpful, yes? Just a little.

Asakusa & Senso-ji: We had no idea where to go, really, so the previous night, we asked Steph what she thought we could do and she made us a route. We skipped over Tokyo Sky Tree, which we could see from this area anyway. Senso-ji is the oldest temple in Tokyo, and to get there from the station, you enter a gate type thing that’s lined with stalls, kind of like a market. Steph said that it was sort of a tradition to wave the incense smoke from one of the offering places towards you, kind of like welcoming good fortune (for health and wealth~). Asakusa reminded me a little of Kyoto, near the Gion area.

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Tokyo, Briefly: Part I

in which I got lost in translation almost instantaneously
By April 1, 2014 photography, travel

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I’m not feeling particularly chatty these days, so I hope these photos will be enough. “Enough” for what, I’m not sure.

I traveled to Japan again in the last few days of March, right before the sakura started to bloom, this time with my family. We managed to find a few beautiful trees that were budding or mid-bloom, so it was alright. We spent the first half, March 21-25, in Tokyo, which is a place none of us have ever been to before. I was hoping to condense the whole Tokyo leg into one post, but before I knew it, my second edit left me with 45 photos for the first two days alone, so I shall divide the posts for the entire trip into parts; hopefully spanning only 4 posts at the most.

I know I haven’t finished uploading the rest of my last trip, but like I said, I’m not feeling particularly chatty, so I have to pick which stories I want to tell first. Hopefully, that’s O.K. with you. This is what I get for being a procrastinator.

The first thing I want to say about Tokyo is that it is tons more complicated than Osaka. I went in feeling confident about general trip things (i.e. how to navigate, what the train system is like, etc.) only to feel deflated about two minutes later. Osaka’s train lines are pretty straightforward whereas Tokyo’s is kind of like a confusing web. Rides are weirdly cheaper, though, but maybe it’s because it’s easier to walk and bike in Osaka, where it’s not as full of people.

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Be Courageous: #30BraveDays

in which it's a hard parade
By April 1, 2014 good causes, self-improvement

When I was in high school, I was part of a group of girls who met up and talked about God and general self-improvement with a Christian leaning. I mention this now because one thing that my group leader (kind of like our mentor) said that stuck to me was that to make something a habit, you had to keep doing it consecutively for something like 30 days. I think at the time, she was trying to incorporate working out into her own personal routine.

Now, it’s probably not going to work out the same way if you want to be a brave person. Bravery isn’t a tangible action where you can chart your progress with numbers and data, and bravery doesn’t really mean just one thing since we are all driven by different fears. We all react differently, too, and to add to that whole mixed bag of subjectivity, we all also perceive bravery differently.

Still, doing one thing that scares you everyday is going to make you more at ease with facing other difficult things in your life.

Arriane, of Wanderrgirl, just launched this project called #30BraveDays, where she aims to make bravery a habit. So, beginning April 1st—and this isn’t a joke—everyone is invited to do join in and make bravery a habit. I placed a comment on her blog post and said that I wanted to join in but didn’t know if I could commit, but she pushed me (hehe, pleasantly) and now here I am.

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© Arriane Serafico

Like I said, bravery is subjective. You have to do something that you a) have been putting off, b) are a bit terrified of doing, c) need to but aren’t used to, and so on.

For most of the human race, a phone call isn’t a big deal, but I distinctly remember trying to get work when I was a fresh grad and absolutely dreading picking up calls I knew were for business. Did I want the work? Heck yes! But sometimes, fear of a thing is what hinders you from doing something you need or even want to do. I remember all of the phone calls I took and what it felt like to be talking to this person on the other end of the line, trying to concentrate on what they were saying and not thinking about being scared shitless.

Well, funnily enough, I got over that silly fear. I still don’t like talking on the phone or sometimes even talking in person, but I don’t have to pause and take a deep breath anymore, over the scary thought of fumbling over my words or saying something dumb. (A little off-tangent, but: A friend described his propensity to be off on his own as a result of thinking he is misrepresenting himself to other people, and that is exactly how I feel about that.)

So, it made me think that consciously doing something scary and trying to be brave each day in April might actually do my soul some good. Truth time: I do not actually recognize who I’ve become maybe 30% of the time. I’ve written about this strange feeling a few times, but I feel like now’s the time I actually do something about it and get to know myself again, or at least have a deliberate hand in sort of molding who I will become.

Phew.

So, today is the first day. We are more than halfway into the day, and I don’t think I’ve done anything yet that I consider brave. I’ll get to it, though, I promise.

If you’d like to join in, the “mechanics” are pretty simple. Just do one brave thing each day, for thirty days. Arriane encourages posting about it (aptly hashtagged as such: #30BraveDays), but I know that some of you aren’t really active on the internet and, personally, I think that’s fine.

Anyway, if you choose to document it, don’t forget the hashtag, so we can all be encouraged and inspired by one another. I’ll be posting my daily brave things on my Instagram (@presidents) and maybe I’ll do a weekly recap here.

Good luck to everyone who’ll be joining in. I’m a little scared, but I’m pretty excited.

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First time at Maple & a Cupcake with a kick

in which i couldn't say 'no' to free food
By March 17, 2014 food

Sarie invited me to this event at Maple, which turned out to be just a dinner for the both of us! But we got there pretty early, so we tried out this super awesome cupcake, “The Pepper,” at Sonja, which they have in Shangri-la now. Apparently, it is a limited edition flavor that’s a collaboration with Pepper.ph, which you can read about here.

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Basically, it is s freaking awesome cupcake made with Belgian chocolate, cayenne pepper, and locally grown chili from a sustainable farm in Batangas, VL Farms.

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I think they’re available for the month of March, but I hope they reissue (haha) this cupcake some time in the future, because I love spicy chocolate, and this was pretty great.

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Me!

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Sarie and her water, lol.

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Sad at the foodlessness.

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Visual Editions: Where You Are

in which i try to find out where you are
By March 16, 2014 books, design

Just a quick post on one of the most exciting things I have ever gotten my hands on that combines a lot of my favorite things: maps, literature, stories, design, and concept. Visual Editions is a small London-based publisher that appeared on my radar when they released that Jonathan Safran Foer book, Tree of Codes, aka the one that’s full of literal holes.

I’ve been a steady supporter of VE, recently helping fund their Kickstarter campaign for what is bound to be a great edition of Don Quixote, but I’m getting ahead of myself. They just get it, you know? How books can be beautiful, and how the entirety of your message can be furthered by the manipulation of the medium and attention to design. Agh. Yes. I love them, basically.

I haven’t actually had the opportunity to read through this yet, but I couldn’t wait to post these photos. I will probably do a review on my book blog, Book Report, or reintegrate Book Report back into Nothing Spaces. We shall see. For now, I’ll bask in the glorious glow of beautiful books, like this one.

It came to me wrapped up like a present. The white sheet is their receipt. How frakking cute is that.

Visual Editions: Where You Are

Visual Editions: Where You Are

Visual Editions: Where You Are

Visual Editions: Where You Are

Visual Editions: Where You Are

The “book,” is comprised of several stories commissioned from several people, that are displayed and presented as these little booklet things. This reminds me of the format of Stefan Sagmeister’s Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far, which is another one of my favorite books.

Visual Editions: Where You Are

Visual Editions: Where You Are

Visual Editions: Where You Are

Visual Editions: Where You Are

Like I said, a full review will hopefully be up either here or in my book blog. I don’t even remember why I felt like I had to make a different one, but it is what it is.

Where You Are is available on VisualEditions.com for £35.

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Quarterly: Wander Shipment #FAR05

in which i get beautiful things in the mail
By March 11, 2014 finding things

Quarterly FAR05 - Wander - All

Travel-Sized Scratch Off Map // Custom Wander Passport Cover by Rustico // How to be an Explorer of the World by Keri Smith

I’ve posted about Quarterly Co. only once before though I’ve had my fair share of shipments. After my subscription to Bobby Solomon’s package, I canceled after the second shipment because I had been underwhelmed.

I figured I should give it another shot, since I loved the model so much. You subscribe to a notable person who puts together a box for you every three months. It’s pretty fucking cool is what it is. Anyway, after canceling #FOX, I signed up for John Maeda’s (I reached #JMD03 and #JMD04) which was canceled, and also Maud Newton’s, whose run—#NWT01 to #NWT04—I completed.

I stopped subscribing after a while, but I got a $10 off coupon which I put towards the international shipping cost of a sub to Wander. If you order within the United States, shipping is free. Unfortunately for us non-US residents, shipping is $15.

Here’s what’s inside #FAR05. In a nutshell, I like it a lot. However, I feel like it’s pretty pricey for a box, which is why I’m happy that it only happens 4 times a year.

For now, I shall enjoy this box.

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