grow up, grow right, grow gracefully

September 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

hakone, japan. 2011
Growing Up the Right Way




the expendability of happiness

September 19, 2012 § 1 Comment

val, boo & I. tokyo.

Conversation #01 in my head

Do you mellow as you age?

Is a mellow happiness less intense? Or is it taking the same quantity of happiness and stretching it out like sticky taffy for a long, long time? Sipping the liquified sunshine in your pocket vial to fortify you against the crocodile days. Is that a better move than slamming it back in a shotglass for a momentary high?

How about varying it?

Half in an mind-dizzying burst of ecstasy, half stirred slowly into a pot of earl grey to be tipped out, savoured over afternoons of cream biscuits and wildflowers in glass jars.

Or maybe it doesn’t matter the rate at which one spends happiness. Perhaps it’s who you spend it on.

Yourself. A friend. Family. A loved one. God. A book.

Does that make it too calculated? You’ll end up only wanting to give a slice away when you can get a cake back.

(Some days, I want to sit on these thoughts in my head and squash them.)

I’d say the only way is to constantly fill your tank of happy. If you always know there’s more coming your way, because you know exactly how to get it, you can use it any damn way you please.

And happiness freed holds back on nothing.

カレーライス karē raisu

August 31, 2012 § 2 Comments

In between buying boxes of Tokyo Bananas at the airport last year, I picked up a box of Kiyoken’s Yokohama Curry. It expired before I could cook it, but always had a thing for Japanese packaging and its sweetish curry, so here it is, scanned for keeps.

According to wikipedia, “Western-style curry draws its influence from stews mixed with curry powder, which were popular amongst the British Navy.”  I suppose that explains the figures in western garb below, alongside the traditional kimonos; or perhaps that’s a nod to the American navel base that was there, as shown by the flag.

In any case, thought it quite a feat they combined so many different elements and made it work.

Breaking it down, there are:

  • 4 typesfaces (english, kanji, katakana,  hiragana)
  • 2 patterns flanking the top and bottom of the box
  • A faint skyline of Yokohama’s famous attractions (Chinatown gate, Yokohama Bay Bridge, etc)
  • Feature ribbons
  • Colourful illustration with a decorative border

Usually that’s enough to throw any design into chaos, but the designer showed restraint in the colour palette and allowed the warm curry tones of red, gold and tan to tie things together.

Random trivia to round it up: Guess what’s on the menu for Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force today? Seeing that it’s Friday, curry rice, of course.

[london] broadway market

August 13, 2012 § 1 Comment

If you’re ever feeling blue, a street market is the place to be. It’ll cheer you up in no time. Round the corner and you’ll run into musicians strumming their banjos and blowing into their harmonicas. Hum along as you pick up some mushroom risotto to eat, pipping hot from the pot with freshly grated cheese on the top, or be naughty and start with a spread of cookies and cakes – it’s hard to be a downer in a street of sunlight.

Broadway Market
Sat, 9am – 5pm | site | map

autumn countryside

August 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

I started my bucket list when I was 13. Goal #24 was to visit the English countryside. Maybe it was the diet of Enid Blyton books my sister and I grew up on, maybe it was the Wordsworth poem I read in JC. Whatever it was, it was right. Even a random snap while driving leaves you with fluffy storybook clouds. The English countryside on a sunny day is too pretty to be true.

[london] netil market

March 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

Woke up on a Saturday and the sky said: “Today, to a market you go!” East London,  I was coming for you.

While finding my way to Broadway Market,  I ran into Netil Market. It’s a teeny-tiny market, but an oh-so-charming.  Buntings line the roofs of stores cheerfully and the shopowners are friendly and laid-back. Picked up an ombre midnight blue velvet top and the cream & leather lace-ups, as well as illustrated silk-screened cards and tote (love meeting illustrators in person) which made me a very happy bird.

Netil Market
Sat, 11am-6pm | site | map
13 – 23 Westgate St London Fields  E8 3RL


December 17, 2011 § Leave a comment



waitrose packaging never fails to convince us we need to buy something every time we step in.

Dried porcini mushrooms do make for an excellent risotto though. Can’t take the credit for making it (Shawn’s the one who’s an excellent cook), but definitely can take the credit for licking the plate clean.

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