26 December 2007


I have been a little scarce as of late; my final week in New York before the holidays was a crazy one... lots of stuff happened not limited to work (which was stressful in itself). I hope everybody had a lovely holiday. When I'm visiting my family, I tend to lay low and get into everything analogue; I play my upright piano from childhood, type on my father's old typewriter and listen to vinyl on my mother's record player. I'm taking a slight break now to share this though:

Elle Girl Tokyo

Last month, a man stopped me on the street asking if he could take my photo for "a magazine." Little did I know at the time that it was for Elle Girl Tokyo! Each month they feature a different city, and December's is New York. exciting. It pretty much looks to me like a twee version of The Sartorialist.

Elle Girl Tokyo

They update with one girl a day. I wonder if this is only on the web site, or if they put it in the paper version? Babelfish turned up with quite the hilarious translation, which I'm hoping to have corrected by some of my Japanese friends.

Inserting favorite music in ipod, her who is in the midst of shopping. Under P coat of grey original T shirt of local radio bureau. Collecting the bottoms with the black denim and the sneaker, the pop street style completes! You observe, to also small article errand such as hand made muffler and tear drop sunglasses.

I think I'm more excited about this than I should be. _

13 December 2007


Last night I bought the Tokyo edition of the Time Out guide. In it, I read about one of the most exciting things to look forward to: a bar called Kagaya.

Apparently the owner of the bar is a ham. He has patrons pick a drink and country, and then disappears behind a curtain. He emerges dressed in a costume relating to the drink and country (although I'm wondering how a frog costume relates to the U.S., as mentioned in this blog entry). The cups make noises and move, and the owner performs puppet shows.

I read that bar guests have the option of dressing up as frogs and giant teddy bears as well. A travel section of Guardian calls it "part bar, part puppet show... one-man-cabaret of a dining experience." Here are some other things that people have to say:

The eccentric waiter soon re-appeared minus the frog costume, as if nothing had happened, to take our food orders. There was no conventional menu to be seen, but rather a deranged puppet show involving a teddy bear demonstrating how delicious the food was.

The hyperactive host kept popping behind his magic curtain and bringing us games and toys to play with. Table football, balloons, electronic games, and monkey costumes. I was grinning like a stoned toddler all night.

To be able to regress to the level of a brainless five-year-old while chugging beer is enormously liberating.

[from here]

...a 5-foot-5 fluorescent-green frog came bounding out of the closet and leaping across the room. The human jumping bean came as quite a shock, but it was just the beginning. With each round, we pushed the envelope a little further-kung fu master from China, Cossack dancer from Russia-until Mark finally threw in the towel with Sri Lanka.

[from here]

I hear there's a karaoke machine, too. Upon telling Amber about this place, she said "I'm afraid you're never going to come back, Johanna." Who knows _

[photos from seliberry & elswedgio]

04 December 2007

The Cripplebush Ghost Tour

A few weeks ago, I was waiting for a bus. It was a weekend, so I had to endure longer-than-usual wait times. I started looking at everything around me to make it go faster. When I looked to my left, I saw this:


It reads: "A Ghost Lives Here. To learn about who this place was named after, text the 4-digit code below to the following phone number." The little caption to the right of the written-in code says "A little neighborhood history brought to your cell phone by Cripplebush Ghost Tour." Naturally I text messaged the code to the phone number. Seconds later, I got this text message (For the record, I was standing somewhere on Driggs Avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.):

Edmund Driggs. Last President of the Village of Williamsburgh before it became part of the City of Brooklyn in 1855. Died 1891.

Two thoughts ran through my head:

1. There must be more of these, hence the code written in marker, and
2. This must have been one hell of a boring brief (maybe something like "help raise awareness among Brooklyn residents of the history behind the neighborhoods"), if there was one.

And look what they did! How neat! I wanted to run home immediately to look this thing up and find the rest of the stickers. And here it is, the Cripplebush Ghost Tour. It's pretty much what I thought: it teaches us about the people behind the names of the streets, parks and other landmarks that Williamsburg and Greenpoint residents walk by all the time. Here is what the web site has to say about it...

Nicholas Bayard and John Lorimer Graham never met in real life, but their ghosts meet everyday as the streets named after them intersect in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. All around us are streets and public spaces named after local landowners, real estate speculators, politicians, artists, and activists - people we aspire to be, people we forgot long ago. What does it mean to be surrounded by all these names, these stories, these ghosts?

The Cripplebush Ghost Tour leads participants through the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Greenpoint by the names of their landmarks. Who was Edmund Driggs of Driggs Avenue? Patrick McCarren of McCarren Park Pool? Harry Van Arsdale Jr. of Harry Van Arsdale High School? Through both guided and self-guided experiences, participants directly engage with local history, explore spaces in new ways, and interact with friends and strangers in an area originally called "Cripplebush" for the dense thickets that once dominated the landscape.

At one point there was a guided tour as well, with chalk trails leading to the different stickers:

There is also a Google Map showing where all the stickers are. Neat neat neat. There is a section on the web site with all the ghosts and snippets about them, in case people don't get to experience the campaign in its true form. I imagine this is most interesting to those who are familiar with these streets and places.

The Cripplebush Ghost Tour was inspired by the Yellow Arrow project, which will make sense to those who are familiar with it. You know, now that I read through the entire site, I'm not sure there was a brief. This seems like it could have been organized and put together by a group of people who just felt like it... and that's even cooler.
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