Loved Mayor Nutter's plea for philadelphians to have fun but not to act like jackasses.


I'm not a native Philadelphian, but I've been in the area long enough to understand the suffering of its sports fans. Part of the reason why I rooted for the Phillies was to shut up all the crying and whining and defeatist attitude. The other reason is that the Phillies are a bunch of likeable guys. 25 years of championship-less frustration just got released with the Phillies winning the 2008 World Series. Amazingly, the city escaped the celebrations unscathed.

nike af1 x darbotz

Indonesian artist Darbotz produced this video to promote the classic Air Force 1 model's position in the Nike Sportswear division.

Nike AF1 x Darbotz from Randy Rais on Vimeo.

callie shell: obama pics

Beautiful photos of Obama throughout his campaign courtesy of Callie Shell. One week to go peoples!


Video courtesy of Lovely Productions. Kinda like that Aha! video but instead features a guy escaping his corporate advertising poster for a street art love.


typocalypse now

Each font has its own distinctive personality and holds the power to transform a design all by itself. Design pubs spew historical and/or psycho-analytical breakdowns of a particular fonts and font families. There was even a movie on Helvetica. Designers love to play their favorites - some of my former colleagues have even dressed up as fonts for Halloween. Only a graphic designer would come up with something like that. Here's a funny breakdown on fonts courtesy of typocalypse:


Jazzanova feat. Phonte | Look What You're Doin' To Me
Jazzanova feat. Phonte | So Far From Home
De La feat. Blu | Vibrate


Mos Def | Life In Marvelous Times

BoA is a huge Asian pop star from South Korea and she's aiming to test the U.S. market in '09. This single sounds pretty generic but that's pop music for ya.
BoA | Eat You Up

Shout out to my pinoy brethren Babu:
DJ Babu feat MF Doom & Sean Price | The Unexpected

Kanye West | Heartless

Ludacris feat. Common | Do The Right Thang

black, white whatever

Although Hispanics are getting more love due to their sheer numbers, race issues in politics are still often discussed within a black/white scope. Even with this historical presidential election, mainstream media discussions rarely go beyond breaking down polling demographics by race. How about setting numbers aside and examining the issues concerning each group? While it is easy to cry foul, its more effective to force your way into the discussion. For example, why do Asian Americans get left out or shitted on? In part, because they allow it. Sounds simplistic, but there's some truth there.

Back in my freshman year in college, I dormed in a closet sized room with a half-Japanese/half-American from Tokyo. Next door to us was a black football player and his South Jersey hillbilly roomate - they obviously didn't choose each other because that pairing would have made a great reality show. Two strong headed dudes from totally different worlds cooped up in tiny room. Lots of typical race-baiting discussions like "Why do you people use lotion so much?" "I don't know. Why are you white people always serial killers?" So, it wasn't suprising that they agreed to me and my roomate's idea of permanently opening the adjoining door between our rooms. I wanted more space and access to their video games...they wanted more space from each other. So we opened the adjoining door, shoved all 4 beds in one room, and kept the other room open as a 24 hour lounge for music, video games and parties.

There were only 5 percent people of color in this college - and they all seemed to hang out at our lounge. So the hillbilly, perhaps feeling left out or threatened, verbalized his frustration over the constant hiphop controlled by us 24/7. He turns to me and says, "Why do you listen to this black music?? You're not black!" Before I responded, the football player (who affectionately called me his n***a) jumps in, "He aint white either?! Why should he listen to your countrified bullshit?!" As they glared at each other, I interjected, "Yo, I just listen to GOOD music."

Nice spoken-word piece from Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai (from Def Poetry fame) pointing out that race discussions are more than just B&W.

fly aswang

Filipino animation series based on Philippine mythology.

coping & the culture of disclosure

We recently received sad news that my father in-law in Japan was recently diagnosed with liver cancer. Language barriers prevented deep conversations between me and him, but I always felt we had an unspoken bond. One of our shared activities in Japan was watching the Yankees game during breakfast in the morning. He enjoyed American baseball and we would conversate, smile and nod at each other between the plays. I always remembered our first meeting in Philly, when he mentioned to me (through my wife's translation) that I have "kind eyes". He is skinny as a rail, but he always projected a quiet strength to me. This is the strength that makes me believe that he will fight through his illness.

From my limited perspective, it is interesting to learn about cultural differences in cancer treatment and doctor-patient relationships. Historically, Japanese physicians do not disclose cancer diagnoses to patients. Instead, the doctor will inform the patient's family and they will decide if, when, and how much to inform their loved one of their illness. That process was difficult to comprehend as it would lead to ethics charges and lawsuits in the States - and personally, I would want to know every little detail of my diagnosis and treatment. But again, these differing perspectives are largely cultural. Recently, more Japanese physicians are moving towards selective disclosure based on age, psychological stability, decisional capacity, family support. But unlike most western countries, universal disclosure is not the norm yet.

My wife is fairly Americanized and she finds the doctor-patient relationship in Japan to be curious and at times frustrating. Its not common for older Japanese to question the doctor and at times information is left in the dark for patient and family. This is also a by-product of her mother not wanting to know developments if they are discouraging.

In discussing American strategies of full disclosure and pro-active doctor-patient treatment strategies, my mother-in-law suggests that these approaches are shaped by culture. In her view, many Americans have a stronger sense of self, individuality and a strong belief in some sort of religious faith. These characteristics help them face their illness head-on and foster a postitive working relationship with physicians during treatment.

My mother-in-law points out that the Japanese approach places a premium on delivering compassionate medical care. In her opinion, her husband does not have a strong sense of religious faith (she suggests that Buddhism and Shintoism are utilized as a way of life rather than a fervent faith) and his fragile state of mind would not take the disclosure well.

Coming to terms with helping a seriously ill parent is a difficult process - especially if you live on the other side of the world. Initially there is a sense of helplessness and regret. I consoled my wife towards overcoming these feelings by suggesting we can help by providing counsel to her mother over the phone. Let her talk through these stressful times. Its a form of therapy that works for all involved.

cassette closet

Courtesy of Dutch designer Schuur

de la

Ok, this is one of the best mixtapes I've heard in some time. 80 minutes of De La Soul courtesy of DJ Jaycee. De La is one of my all-time favorite groups and they definitely represented hiphop at its creative apex. Definitely took me back to my childhood with their classics. Great read on their impact here.
From The Soul: The Music & Influence of De La Soul

RGB glasses

RGB rainbow glasses designed by Luis Porém. Hollowed out glasses filled with ink. Hope they never leak.

death note "the last name"

I'm not a huge manga/anime fan, but I really enjoy the Death Note series. The story grapples with interpretations of morality as the powers of death gods are given to characters who are disgusted with a decaying society rife with insufficient justice. The story is paced with an incredible sense of suspense while focusing on the cat & mouse mental battle between L and Light.

Viz Pictures brought the second installment - "Death Note 2: The Last Name" to U.S. theaters for a special two night only engagement. I watched the first installment on DVD - so I was particularly interested in seeing how the movie plays to an American audience. Upon entering the theater, I thought I stepped into a high school auditorium. These kids were likely drawn in from the Death Note anime run on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. Many of them sported "L" and Shinigami shirts informing each other that there were more available at "Hot Topic". I chuckled, feeling old as dirt - but thankfully their enthusiasm was more good natured than obnoxious.

There were a few asians who strolled in looking exactly like "L" and "Light" with their teased mop hair. Maybe they thought it was a casting audition for the next movie. Peeped some typical white guy/asian girlfriend couples. Then, the older otakus started filtering in. I hate to perpetuate stereotypes, but most of these guys fit the bill: bifocaled, overweight, couple pony-tails, anime-themed wardrobe, and the fresh-from-my-moms-basement swagger. But all jokes aside, they are genial and incredibly knowledgeable about any aspect of Japanese culture that gets represented in anime or manga. Its always great to see people open to other cultures and if anime is the motivating factor - so be it. Nonetheless it still amazes me when I hear them reciting Japanese names or explaining mythology behind each story.

As the movie began, a big applause surged around me. The casting (even the non-blonde Misa Misa) successfully captured the essence of each character. I especially enjoyed the reverent Iron Chef's Chairman Kaga as Light's dad and the accurate shinigami renderings. "L" seemed to be the most popular - with his anime mannerisms and suger addiction drawing the most favorable reactions.

Even though the original manga prioritized driving morality themes over deep character development (as evidenced by the cold emotional state of lead character Light), each character has managed to develop a following. In the director commentary, Shusuke Kaneko mentions that when he talked to his family about "L" in the movie making process, his young son immediately hopped into his chair with both feet perched on the cushion - just like his favorite character "L". This amazed him and likely motivated a more consciously character driven movie. As a result, the vibe feels more campier than the darker anime series and some depth is lost in condensing the original story.

Still, Death Note: The Last Name manages to carry the original themes and was entertaining throughout. The story is altered a bit in an attempt to strengthen emotional ties between characters and the audience. The director explains his efforts to inject more humanity by bringing his personal experiences and perspective to the adaptation. You can see this as the movie invests more emotional time in the father-son relationship.

Most interestingly, the director talks about the issue of expressing Japanese culture while pursuing universal themes. As a younger director, he pursued communicating themes that translated around the world across all boundaries and cultures. But now, while still recognizing the potential of international markets, he also cherishes the uniqueness of Japanese culture. In admitting that he doesn't fully understand the complexities of his own culture, he is curious to see how exporting a movie like Death Note will translate around the world. Judging by the audience reaction in the theater, not much was lost in translation. But, I was sitting with established fans. With Warner Brothers picking it up and swirling rumors of an American remake - it will be interesting to see how much Death Note will be Americanized, bastardized and received.

To top off the evening, we shared a laugh when spotting a parked car next to ours with the license plate "INUYASHA". Then amazingly we saw a whole white American family noisily expressing their enjoyment of Death Note before piling into that car. Wow, a whole otaku family in jersey!


Photographer Remo Camerota recently published "Graffiti Japan". One of the artists featured in the book is Shizentomotel:

q-tip - move


While waiting in line at the post office earlier this year, I notice one of the postal workers eyeing me up and whipering to his colleague. I checked the "Wanted" signs to see if I resembled any criminals (My wife always begs me to grow my hair and one of her reasons is that many criminals in police sketches share my hairstyle. They look just like you. What if some racist cops pick you up for that? Please grow your hair!) As I approach the counter, the post office guy stares and smiles at me, "For a while there I thought you were Shane Victorino. I was whispering to my buddy that we should ask for an autograph or something..."

Why am I sharing this? I just want to give my props to the 5'7" "Flyin' Hawaiian" Shane Victorino for killin' it in the MLB playoffs. Grand slam off Sabathia in the divisional round and a game-tying homer against the Dodgers to help the Phillies to a 3-1 lead in the NLCS. And isn't Matt Stairs the perfect sports hero for Philly? He looks like every other portly middle aged plumber in South Philly.

lego of relativity

m.c. escher's "relativity" lithograph in lego form

creative (re)creation

Jim Kim's recreates sneaker classics from scratch in Photoshop. Great rendering here:

iphone coasters

poster boy

Poster Boy is an anonymous vandal/artist roaming NYC subways and switching up ads into political art.

filipino foodie

Nice article in The Wall Street Journal on Filipino cuisine. Lots of yummy details and thankfully it goes beyond the typical balut experiences that seems mandatory on any foodie travelogue to the Philippines.

As I've mentioned before, my dad explains the lack of Filipino restaurants in America through the theory that Filipino food is best cooked at home. Why would I pay money for food that I could easily find at a party. We lived in a sizeable Filipino community in Maryland and every weekend had a house party with potluck dishes overcrowding dining tables. Titas that you've never met before would pile food onto your plate chirping "Eat, Eat. Eat!" right after the kiss-on-the-cheek greeting. After making a circuit around the table, your plate resembled a culinary car dump with 15 different foods piled up on top of each other. Nonetheless it was always delicious. Meanwhile, a Filipino restaurant would open up only to close shortly after. Grand opening, grand closing! Perhaps "filipino restaurant" is an oxymoron to pinoys who share my dad's perspective. What are other factors? I've heard that maybe the food is too simplistic, inaccessible or not exotic enough for Americans. Can it be elevated without being bastardized?

As for me? I grew up associating Filipino food with home cooking. But living away from mom's cooking and outside a filipino community makes me more eager to patronize a Filipino restaurant. I was shocked to find a "turo-turo" place nearby and I've tried some fusion and upscale joints in Philly and NYC. When I tell my parents of these places, I can sense the good natured smirks on their faces saying, "You got suckered into paying how much for what?"

monkey waiter

Wow this is bananas (pardon the pun)! Check them out at the Kayabukiya tavern in Tokyo. I would tip them well.


Give me a late pass on this one (I actually discovered this on my iphone). Pandora is a free internet radio site that personalizes stations to your musical tastes. Basically it helps you find new music by suggesting similar music based on your entered favorites. Nice tool to reach out beyond your ipod playlists - even if you hold 20,000 songs.

how big is your carbon footprint?

Take this quiz to calculate how much land area is needed to support your lifestyle. If everyone lived like me, we'd need 4.2 earths to provide enough resources. Oops. My evil category was services - flying to Japan every other year doesn't help.

domo @ target

If you're familiar with Domo-kun - Japanese NHK tv station's mascot - you did a double take upon entering your local U.S. Target store. He's featured all over their '08 Halloween promotions! My favorite Domo-kun personality quirk: he passes gas when nervous or upset.

guido castagnoli

Guido Castagnoli has a nice exhibition at the Sasha Wolf gallery in NYC showcasing his photo series of small town Japan. The color and environment within these photos feel like a step back in time. Most interestingly, the images challenge typical outsider representations of Japan as either mega-metropolis or serenely minimalist.


great blog showcasing the compulsion to doodle on anything anywhere

tetris tiles

tile any room of your house like the classic video game with tetristiles:

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