Arts ~ 川久保 玲

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Founder of Comme des Garçons and Dover Street Market, Rei Kawakubo (川久保 玲) is exploring brave new fashion. Avant-garde designs were created to challenge conventional thoughts for an upcoming exhibition.

The themed show displays around 140 pieces of Kawakubo’s womenswear collections from the 1980s to present day. The galleries demonstrate experimental ways to illustrate the space between boundaries. Rei Kawakubo continues to shape the face of global art and fashion with her work.

The Rei Kawakubo / Comme des Garçons: Art of The In-Between exhibition debuts on 04 May 2017 until 04 September 2017 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

 

Arts ~ 村上 隆

Contemporary Tokyo-born artist, Takashi Murakami unveiled a new exhibition, “Learning the Magic of Painting” this week in Paris.

The mixed media works feature pop art blended with Japanese culture from A to Z: anime, Buddha, cartoon characters and dragons to traditional Zen. The bright and cute items span three spaces with colourful psychedelic themes.

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The first floor pays homage to the British painter, Francis Bacon with a series of sensational sculptures. Then there’s a room filled with textured tiles of the artist’s signature skulls. The other space shows over 15 painted handbags accompanied by paintings. For viewers, this will be art on a different level.

Explore the exhibition at the Galerie Perrotin which is on display until 23 December.

 

 

Culture ~ Japan Week 2016

Today starts Japan Week, a promotional event organized by the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) in New York.

Visitors can discover and experience art, crafts, clothing, food, technology and travel in Japanese culture through their five senses at Grand Central Terminal.

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Broadcasting organization, NHK World sharing the scenes of Japan Week. Photo: Niya Sinckler.

Hearing:

Listen to artistic instructions of how to apply Kabuki makeup. Create crafts such as lovely Kinchaku hand purses, beautiful Kaga Yuzen handkerchiefs and cool origami configurations. Win collectible items or a Hatsune Miku concert ticket, Japan’s favourite fictional character who changes the way music is made today.

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Hatsune Miku. Photo: Google.

Sight:

Watch JNTO feature performances from Ishikawa. Participate in kimino fittings, I remember when I wore my first one as seen below. Learn about the traditional symbol of beauty, cherry blossoms or sakura (桜 or 櫻; さくら in Japanese) that bloom every spring. View the beautiful pink petals in Vanderbilt Hall. Guess the cherry blossom blooming date in Hirosaki to win a trip to Japan!

I have been three times Japan already in 2006, 2007 and 2008. It’s truly an amazing country with warm hospitality. Missing my Japanese friends now and memories of karaoke during the weekends. The JNTO Tourism Booth can provide you with information on city highlights, castles, temples, hot springs and festivals across Japan with free maps and brochures in English and Japanese.

Touch:

Venture to the Hokkaido booth to try on traditional clothing from the Ainu, (アイヌ in Japanese) indigenous people from Japan  and understand the natural wonders of the region.

Smell:

The 120 year old company, Kubara Honke is showcasing their Japanese seasonings and locally sourced natural products such as Dashi cooking broth, dressings and tea. Sip on tradition. From there, your nose will wonder over to the delicious or oishii (美味しい/ おいしいin Japanese) offerings.

Taste:

Food and innovative technology combine to provide a traditional cuisine serving of kaiten sushi (conveyor belt sushi). Restaurants will recommend their renowned seafood. Then my favourite place, Mitsuwa Marketplace will be selling Hokkaido ikameshi (rice stuffed squid), corn soup and Tohoku’s local root vegetable, dried gobo. Cosmopolitan items including miso ramen noodles, chocolates and candy are available too. At these stands, visitors will learn why Hokkaido is a major agricultural and culinary center.

Travel:

Delta Airlines, New York’s ever-growing carrier will be offering non-stop flights to Tokyo. Visitors can experience Business Elite Seat and receive vouchers for travel. Additionally, you can learn about JR-EAST, Japan’s largest railway company and the high speed train, shinkansen coming soon to connect Tokyo, Tohoku and Hokkaido.

Japan Week is a collaborative event between JNTO and over 40 exhibitors from New York and Japanese governments, businesses and travel agencies are in attendance. Walk around and find what excites you. Who knows the international television network, NHK World might even interview you. Join now from 10-12 March 2016. Follow the latest updates on Facebook and Twitter. For more information on travel to Japan: www.us.jnto.go.jp

Culture ~ Bar Goto

After devoting a few years at Pegu Club, talented owner Kenta Goto unveiled a new summer destination this week in New York.

The Lower East Side welcomed Bar Goto as a Japanese style cocktail bar accompanied by delicious dishes.

From the moment of arrival, there’s a bouncer checking ID – like you really need it but in we go. Dim lighting and moderate conversations fill the space around the dark furnishings. Bar stools or small tables are the option for seating.

The bar menu consists of quintessential Japanese beers and creative cocktails with an Asian twist including sake, wasabi, shochu and miso. Try the sakura martini or matcha milk punch to cool down. My drink of choice was the watermelon cucumber cooler shown below, a very light and refreshing mix.

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For food, chef Kiyo Shinoki prepares comfort bites such as tasty kobu celery and spiced miso wings. Practice using those chopsticks! Then the okonomiyaki (grilled as you like in English translation) is the highlight of the visit. These savory pancake small plates are offered in five different varieties. My choice was the Fisherman’s (octopus, shrimp and squid) accompanied by ginger and bonito flakes photographed above. To be fair, it was the best I’ve had outside of Tokyo.

If you’re looking for a Friday night lounge, quick drink with a colleague or first date venue, this Japanese restaurant is the place to be. Walk ins are welcome, enjoy!

Address: 245 Eldridge Street bet East Houston and Stanton Street. Tel: 212 475 4411

Film ~ Seven Reasons To See Furious7

Debuting this weekend, Furious 7 brilliantly topped international box offices ringing in $384m according to imdb.com

Directed by Malaysian James Wan, the Fast & Furious franchise came to an end with this amazing adventure packed thriller film.

Creatively the writers were able to tie together each installment by bringing all of the crew together one last time. As an international terrorist’s brother, Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) seeks revenge against the alpha male, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), it’s clear that whenever family is involved there will be action taken.

This time, Brian returns with quick thinking skills, Roman (Tyrese Gibson) with his wit and charm and Tej (Ludacris) rocking the tech skills as  he collaborates with hacking genius, Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel).  What’s more, a Somalian terrorist, Jakande (Djimon Hounsou) joins in to steal a computer program, God’s Eye. Imagine technology being able to globally spot whoever you are and wherever you are within a few minutes. Welcome to the power struggle of the future. Moreover, the seven reasons to see Furious7 as soon as possible.

1. The auto references to V-8 engines, 500+ horsepower and torque.

My favorite five cars from the film include the following: Aston Martin DB9

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Photo Courtesy: Google.

2008 Audi R8

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Photo Courtesy: Google.

1967 Chevrolet Camaro

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Photo Courtesy: Google.

2010 Ferrai 458 Italia

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Photo Courtesy: Google.

and 2014 Maserati Ghibli.

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Photo Courtesy: Google.

2. Leading ladies featured in this film.

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Seen left to right: Lettie (Michelle Rodriguez from Puerto Rico) and Mia, (Jordana Brewster from Panama) promote powerful female roles in an action film series mostly pursued by males. Also this is an opportunity to see and appreciate the escalation of Latinas in cinema.

3. Entertaining music and artists formed the soundtrack.

Tracks by T.I. (love him!!), J. Balvin, a classic MC Hammer, Fito Blanko ❤ and loads by Wiz Khalifa.

Also did anyone notice the sexy and sensual Romeo Santos in a cameo 🙂

4. Filming locations.

What a way to travel for two hours as the film consists of exciting destinations. The producer started with Abu Dhabi to Toronto, Tokyo, Colorado as well as multiple sets in Georgia and California.

5. Eye Candy.

Hobbs played by Dywane Johnson or as most know The Rock. Check out those biceps of strength.

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Hobbs in action. Photo Courtesy: Google.

6. HYPE 😀

There is a massive hype over this film and everyone is talking about it. If you don’t see it, you’ll be missing out on April’s hottest topic for pop culture.

7. Brian O’Connor as Paul Walker.

Saving the best for last to take a moment to remember Paul Walker because he was phenomenal actor and we hope he rests in peace.

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Credit: Hollywood Reporter. Photo Courtesy: BE Images.

As vengeance hits home, are you ready for one last ride?

Music ~ Grimes!

Canadian recording artist, Grimes is exploding from the underground music scene.

At 24, singer-songwriter, Claire Boucher channels her spirit into music using guitar, keyboards and synthesizers along with loop and layering techniques.

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PH: John Londono. MUA: Leslie-Ann Thomson. STYLE: Marilis Cardinal

Going strong for almost four years now, the eclectic style of her music can be described with experimental and electronic vibes. There’s a melodic flow of dream pop with a strong tempo to fill those empty days which I love.

Debuting in 2010 with the album, Geidi Primes. Grimes rose to fame and progressed quickly in the music industry. Currently signed to RocNation, Grimes is gaining more admirers each day. Her Facebook page has over half a million fans. Following that, Twitter consists of more than 200,000 followers. Clearly only awesome music is recognized today. Yesterday, I heard her tune Oblivion playing in a rag & bone store in Soho, NYC.

In 2012 when Visions was introduced, friends in New York, Miami, San Francisco, Rio, London, Paris, Madrid, Milan, Prague and Tokyo were talking to me about this gifted artist. Pitchfork has contributed tremendously to the promotion of Grimes. Also, Grimes directs some of her own videos including my favorite below. Can’t wait to see her at the Governor’s Ball this summer!