Back in America!

•February 17, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Here I am, back in America after 40 days, which is roughly 1.5 months.

Where did I go? My itinerary went something like this:

Day 1: Land in HK at night, spent night in HK.

Day 2: Train to Canton (4 hours), spent night in Canton.

Day 3: Train to HK, spent night in HK.

Day 4: Plane ride to Japan, with Beijing stopover. Arrived in Tokyo, spent night in Tokyo.

Day 5 – Day 9: Sightsee & slept in Tokyo.

Day 10: Sightsee in Tokyo, overnight bus to Osaka (about 8 hours)

Day 11: Arrived to Osaka early morn, spent night in Osaka.

Day 12: Sightsee in Osaka, train to Kyoto (about 1 hour), spent night in Kyoto.

Day 13 – Day 15: Sightsee in Kyoto, slept in Kyoto.

Day 16: Early train to Nara (about 1 hour) for Wakayama Festival, stayed the night in Nara.

Day 17: Early train back to Kyoto, spent night in Kyoto.

Day 18: Sightsee in Kyoto, overnight bus to Tokyo.

Day 19: Arrived in Tokyo, immediately took train to Hakone. (about 3 hours) Stayed the night in an onsen.

Day 20: Train back to Tokyo, stayed night in Tokyo.

Day 21: Sightsee in Tokyo, stayed night in Tokyo.

Day 22: Departure back to Hong Kong, Arrived in HK at night.

Day 23 – Day 40: “Relax” in Hong Kong

Day 41: Departure back to New York, America.

Day 42: So completely jetlagged…

What makes China, China?

•October 27, 2010 • Leave a Comment

A multitude of thoughts regarding the state of China has been brewing in my brain for a while –  the speed of China’s growth, the Cultural Revolution, the destruction of vernacular architecture, the construction of “vernacular architecture,” foreign tourism, local tourism, Arts and Crafts, the Chinese people, the Chinese government, and the list goes on and on.

The source of these topics is the brainstorm in an attempt to answer this question – What makes China, China?

 

I have graduated from Architecture school (undergrad) for a year now. Through my travels in Europe and Asia, I’ve noticed most countries are extremely proud of their culture. They celebrate their nation’s Arts – the French are in love with their language, and refuse to speak English even though they’re fluent, the Austrians have their Viennese waltz and hold balls every winter. But the one culture that really stands out to me are the Japanese – They celebrate everything – be it their elaborate tea ceremony, the training of geisha, even their oddball otaku and anime culture.

And I couldn’t help but wonder – what do WE (the Chinese) celebrate? I think perhaps the only thing we are most proud of are our dim sum restaurants! This is particularly disheartening because I think we had so much going for us – our paper cutting, our calligraphy, our operas, and much more, but most importantly, our architecture! (but, of course!)

I am extremely envious of the Japanese being so proud of their country. I wish all Chinese people can understand the value of what they already have. I have never really explored the mentality of the Chinese people regarding their take on their own culture (so I could be getting all frustrated for nothing) but just based on what’s going on in China, they all seem too eager to adopt other styles as oppose to exploring their own past and evolve it into new Chinese identity. At the moment, we don’t have an identity – we are merely copying the past, and regurgitating it to satisfy foreign tourism. This is such a shame.

I would like to raise awareness of our own culture – spread the love. But first, I’d need to educate myself in it, really well. Does anyone know of any programs, preferably in China/HK/Taiwan that would teach traditional Chinese architecture/history? I would love to have some kind of first hand experience as well. While I would really like to travel into the country side to see older vernacular architecture, my limited Chinese skill has made me hesitant – and it’d be great to meet like minded people striving for the same thing. Or maybe I just need to do a lot more research. Is there anything you would suggest for me to further the endeavor?

I found this awesome blog by Wencheng Yan. Take a look!

http://www.chinesevernaculararchitecture.com/

VIVA ESPANA!!!!!

•July 11, 2010 • Leave a Comment

VIVA ESPANA!!!!!!

woooooo! What an AWESOME DAY!!! World Cup 2010 has officially ended with Spain coming out as the Champion!!! Scoring the one goal in Netherlands goal in extra time at the 116th minute. I was in a pub named I believe, McKenna’s? on 14th Street between 7th and 8th. Everyone there was rooting for Spain because we were ALL the spillovers who wanted to go into LA NACIONAL across the street!

My friend and I arrived at 1:00pm, thinking we should be okay… boy were we WRONG! The line was huge! And people were beginning to cheer and sing. Already felt like a win to me!

Then headed over McKenna’s … ’cause we had to go SOMEWHERE to watch the game!

ESPANA!!!! WOOOOOOO!!!!!

After the win, EVERYONE in ALL the pubs on that block spilled into the road, ‘causing a road block! HOW AWESOME!!! 3 police cars, I think? And subsequent cars were all doing U turns to get back out. Cars that do pass honk in support. It was absolutely amazing! VIVA ESPANA!!!

Paul was right!!!

FIFA World Cup 2010

•June 27, 2010 • Leave a Comment

FIFA World Cup 2010!!! I’m absolutely OBSESSED!!!

The Wonders of a little Sunshine!

•April 25, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Brooklyn Botanic Garden (Saturday mornings are free!)

Yesterday was a gorgeous day for a visit to the wonderful garden. The lilacs are currently in bloom, and its scent, as described by a passing man in the garden, “is like crack.” And indeed it is. My friend and I went around the small hill of lilac bushes and sniffed almost every branch while wearing a doofus looking smile on our faces. Ahhh… that’s the smell of spring. Nature’s free aromatherapy. Everything was at peace. Although the euphoric experience might have been contributed by the Claritin I took in the morning.

Continue reading ‘The Wonders of a little Sunshine!’

Hand-made Notebook!

•February 26, 2010 • Leave a Comment

My 2nd hand-made notebook! It all originated from the fact that I thought it was absolutely ridiculous for me to pay $10 for a calendar/planner I can print myself… c’mon… I did go to 5 years of architecture school. I can surely make my own damn calendar right? Then I thought, might as well combine the planner and my sketchbook together. And viola! Here it is!

The first couple of pages are the calendar of 2010. Then after the initial pages, the rest are all recycled readings from college classes. So you get all these architectural writings on the back of each page. Quartered the 8.5 x 11 paper, and used some SOBO to glue them together. I added a sleeve on the front to put loose paper and such, the rubber band is a hair tie I found lying on my floor!   “work ./- LESS”  is the name of my product “label” ! This is definitely an improvement from my 1st hand-made notebook which I made about 3 months ago. While it’s still alive, the pages are beginning to fall apart. But I will attribute that to my rigorous use of it!

As for the photograph… I was trying to make a light tent, and I used my notebook as the subject. The photo’s too bright actually… but too lazy to retake it!

NYC – Snowman of PEACE

•February 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

All the weather predictions for The Blizzard of 2010 in New York City went up in smokes. The public schools here were so paranoid about the snow storm that they canceled all classes yesterday. Snow Day for all, even for me. So at the end, what did we get? Snow/Ice mixture in the morning until 12 noon, then a sudden showing of a real Snow Storm with Strong Gusting Winds for a good 2-1/2 hours, then back to Snow & Rain. Talk about anti-climatic. We totaled to around 4 inches.

In any case, one must make a Snow Day into good use; a snow fight needs to be fought, and a snow man needs to be built! And both we did! We had an intense snow fight on the dangerous grounds in the Park of Bryant until our battle was interrupted by a higher authority deeming our activity too dangerous for the helpless civilians passing through. Folly I say, well,  more like Folly, I THOUGHT. At the end, for the sake of the innocents, we decided to called a truce and allowed the higher authority to have his way.

To commemorate this decision to place our desire to hold war against each other aside, we decided to build a Snow Man of Peace.

Do you see how serene the snow man is? He looks very zen. He’s asian, as you can see from his eyes….

Gotta say, we were pretty damn good. But alas… our sculpture did not last long. An unknown army sneaked up on us, and we were forced to surrender our location. Their captain took our prized possessions – the snowman, and the snowballs. As we were kicked out from our own land in shame, I was able to capture their leader’s heinous defilement of our sculpture! She placed a snow-turd on our peaceful snowman!!!! We shall avenge the snowman’s honor!!!!