Tag Archives: MUJI

Brooklyn/Manhattan Adventure

This weekend my sister came to visit me. The issue always ensues when someone comes to visit, “what do you want to do this weekend?” As luck would have it, I have been amassing a list of things to do on dates. However, since I haven’t had luck going on dates, I figured I could use these restaurants/sites as things to do with Kyra.

After having spent the previous night in Williamsburg, eating at Diviera Drive, checking out the grand opening of Muji and meeting up with my co-worker Alyssa to grab drinks at Surf Bar, we decided to go back the next day, Saturday (yesterday) to do a deeper dive.

Though I have been to that part of Brooklyn several times for various reasons, Kyra has only seen bits and pieces. We started on the outskirts at a place called Loosie’s Cafe. I’d read about Loosie’s in Hogwarts: A History… er… Brooklyn Magazine.

IMG_7408Loosie’s Cafe

Upon getting there, the place was exactly what I was expecting; chill hipster vibes with minimalist modern furniture and cool art painted right on the wall. The section we were in was out back and had a cool glass ceiling (not that kind) with fake (or real?) vines along the top which let the perfect amount of sunlight in.

The food we had was pricy, but great. The only negative was that service was really slow. I mean, not that we were in a rush, but every part of the process felt like it was taking forever. Once we were done eating, we made our way down Berry Street, under the Williamsburg Bridge, to Metropolitan Ave.

FullSizeRenderKyra and I by the water with the Manhattan skyline

From there, we made our way down to the water to get a good pic of us with the Manhattan skyline in the background. After chilling by the waterfront for a bit. we began our journey as we criss-crossed up and down each of the streets like aisles in a grocery store. There was no real game-plan except to stop into a shop if we thought it was interesting.

Eventually, after several zig-zags, we found ourselves at the crafts fair. I had been there a few weeks ago, but Kyra hadn’t, so we went in. The place is filled with cool merch, ranging from clothing to cookies to jewelry, with a little bit of everything in between.

We spent a short amount of time checking out the “artisanal” this and the “organic” that and the “cage free, cruelty free, vegan” who-gives-a-fuck. after that we eventually made our way over to Rough Trade; one of my favorite record/book stores in the city.

Rough trade is essentially a warehouse space with shipping containers that make up parts of the structure. There’s even table tennis and a music venue in the back. They’re also always playing some obscure band that I end up obsessing over for a while.

It feels like what would happen if Boston based Newbury Comics and California based Amoeba Music had a baby in Williamsburg. In any case, we only stayed for a short while before eventually getting to Brooklyn Industries.

Brooklyn Industries is a store I’d been into a while ago but hadn’t been to since. Upon entering, I forgot how cool it was/is. The store is filled with cool graphic tees, button up shirts, pants, jackets and hats all made (I’d assume) in Brooklyn.

Despite the fact that I already have a wardrobe full of stuff that I don’t wear, or at least not all of it, I wanted to buy the entire men’s section. There was this one jacket that I totally don’t need, but was perfect for me. Luckily, most of the stuff was kind of pricy, or at least for what I’m used to paying, so that kept me away from making any ‘rash purchases.

After stopping in one more store, we made our way back to the L where we rode it to 6th Ave, transferred to the (2) and took that to 72nd Street where we stopped in to Gray’s Papaya. Gray’s is a well known Manhattan hot dog spot and staple of the classic film, You’ve Got Mail (see this post for more).

IMG_7407The little park between Amsterdam Ave and Broadway

We crossed the street and stopped in so Kyra could get a hot dog and a papaya drink. We then crossed back to the mid-section of sidewalk that splits Amsterdam Ave and Broadway where we grabbed a seat on this quite little bar… thing. It was very nice and peaceful as the cool early fall air surrounded us.

After she was done, we headed North on Amsterdam to Cafe Lalo, another site from YGM. I purposely didn’t get food at Gray’s so that I could get food at Lalo. The cafe is this quaint and feels very Parisian. I wanted all of the desserts in the glass behind the counter. Instead I got a sandwich and we ate and talked and enjoyed the evening.

IMG_7410Cafe Lalo

After lazily making my way through this late lunch, early dinner, we headed out into the city. I had forgotten that we’d discussed checking out the 91st Street Garden (another site from YGM), so instead we headed East an eventually cut through Central Park, afterwards heading North on Lex to 86th Street where we got on the (5) and took it back to Brooklyn.

There was one more spot on our to-do list, Butter & Scotch. I had found out about B & S by accident while doing a bit of Google mapping. Being that it’s right off the Franklin Ave stop, it’s super close to where I live, thus making it a great final destination for a short commute home afterwards.

IMG_7413Butter & Scotch

As a -seemingly- queer/femm bar, it feels very out of place amongst the more “hood” vibes of the surrounding establishments. That said, this small [word] joint was really cool. On one of the walls they were projecting Disney’s 1997 classic Hercules (which Kyra and I later watched once back at my apartment).

On top of that they were playing some really great and eclectic tunes. Kyra had noticed that they woman -roughly our age- one stool over to my right had some really cool tattoos. I commented on them which lead to us conversing on and off throughout the night.

I found out that my new single-serving-friend (see Fight Club), Erica, is a hair stylist and is in town for Fashion Week. While we were chatting, Kyra sipped her cocktail, which looked delicious, and I had my beer. We shared a brownie Sunday which was divine.

Right before we left, I told Erica I was due for a haircut and that if she wanted to make some cash while in town (apparently you don’t get paid to work Fashion Week, go figure), that she could cut my hair. I gave her my number and headed on my way. If only I was that confident with straight girls. I doubt she’ll call but either way, it was nice to make a friend.

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Japan – Day 15: Tokyo – Day 9

Saturday – April 22, 2017

Today was our last day in Japan. I basically wanted to use it to tie up any loose ends and see any of the things I hadn’t gotten around to. Though it was sad, I was ready for the trip to be over. Not for any negative reasons, but simply because it was time.

Stationary Cafe

I started my day by going to the Stationary Cafe. It had been on my list of places to eat breakfast and, being that I am a stationary nerd, I thought it might be cool. It took me a bit long to actually find the place because I kept screwing up the directions, but I eventually found it.

IMG_6853Stationary Cafe

When I saw the menu, it seemed very sparse so I ordered the only thing that looked good, a pancake. However, when I got my order, I was a bit shocked. The picture had clearly mislead me because what I got was not a pancake. Instead it was this tiny, somewhat expensive thing of custard or whatever. Angry, I ate it quickly, paid and left.

Miraikan Museum (Again)

Next I made my way back to the Miraikan Museum. Though I had been there yesterday, I had wanted to check out the Disney Exhibit but knew I wouldn’t have enough time to enjoy it. I ended up getting that at noon and was able really stroll through and look at every piece.

IMG_6796Digital globe at the Miraikan Museum

The exhibit focused on the art of Disney. Starting with the first cartoons in the late 1920s and ending with their most recent film, Moana. The exhibit had everything from concept art, storyboards, background paintings and original sketches from the most well known cartoons and feature films.

As I made my way through the exhibit, the somewhat bad mood I had been in from my shitty breakfast melted away. I kept singing the music from the various movies to myself and I suddenly had the urge to watch them all.

IMG_6879Entrance to The Art of Disney: The Magic of Animation exhibit

I don’t know if it was the link to my childhood, the powerful imagery or the subconscious awareness that this was the last day of the trip, but I started to tear up. I got through the rest of the exhibit and, as I expected, exited through the gift shop. Well technically no. I was led to the line that led to the gift shop.

I decided to skip it and moved on to the rest of the museum. I retraced my steps from yesterday to see if there was anything Dan an I missed. Now that I was on fresh feet and legs it was much easier to navigate. I soon found myself on the floor with the cafe, and since breakfast was a fail, I decided to get lunch.

IMG_6875Honda Uni-Cub

After eating I took one more pass before stopping in the main gallery of the first floor to lie on the benches provided and look up at the globe hanging from the ceiling above. I used the time to chill and figure out a game plan for the rest of the day.

After I’d figured everything out, I made my way back to the room to drop some stuff off, then headed to Shinjuku Loft. It was 16:00, when the show was supposed to start and I wanted to see what time the band I was going for was on. I was told not till 20:50 so I took the time to do a bit more exploring.

I forgot to add that there was a section where for 500 Yen you could test ride a Honda Uni-Cub, like the ones featured in the OK Go music video for the song I Won’t Let You Down.

Uniqlo Move + Muji

I made my way to Uniqlo Move, a concept store that had been set up a few weeks prior to my arrival. I wanted to see what it was all about and how, if at all, it differed from the Uniqlo stores I’d been to in the states.

As usual, I got lost trying to find it and had to resolve to a montage of walking in all the wrong places before asking for directions. When I did eventually arrive I was/am pretty sure I was in just a regular Uniqlo. Oh well.

I decide to see if there was a Muji nearby to kill a bit of time in. I found that there was indeed one near me and started to head in that direction. As I did however, what had started as a sprinkle was beginning to turn to rain. On top of that I was pretty sure I was, once again headed in the wrong direction.

I stopped into a ubiquitous Family Mart to keep dry and reassess my situation. On top of that, I took the opportunity to buy a clear umbrella, something that I’d wanted to get but not frivolously, only if I needed one organically. As it turned out, I needed one organically.

I then made my way to Muji. I walked around for a bit and saw that it was 17:30. My new plan was to be at Shinjuku Loft for 19:00 so I could watch a few bands before settling in for the main event. Thus I decided to head back to the room again to blog my day so far and chill for the hour and a half before I would set back out to the Loft.

Shinjuku Loft

We got into the Shinjuku Loft no problem and when we arrived there was a band in the middle of their set. I moved right to the front to watch. They were a fairly heavy punk band and were really high energy. At one point they did a cover of Rebel Yell by Billy Idol and later they covered Fight For Your Right by The Beastie Boys. Towards the end of the set the guitarist/lead singer stripped down to his leather underwear.

IMG_6888The 5.6.7.8’s at Shinjuku Loft

The second band we saw was another trio only these guys were a bit older. They were dressed up in suits and had nice hats on. They were a bit more surf punk and somewhat rockabilly. I really liked them and at one point the bassist did this thing where he used one hand to mim revving a motorcycle and the other, on his bass, to make the “revving sound. It was pretty cool.

The third band we saw was a bit more punk, however they too got did some rockabilly stuff. They covered Somethin’ Else by Eddie Cochran and ended with a cover of the Sex Pistols cover of My Way by Frank Sinatra.

Next was the piece de resistance, the reason I had come to the show, something I never thought would actually be able to happen. As if it were fate, for our last night in Japan The 5.6.7.8’s were playing! I’ve wanted to see them in concert ever since I hear about them but to see them in Japan, that was the best of the best.

Because there were too many bands, they played a relatively short set. However, with the exception of one, every song they played, I knew and basically were all the ones I wanted to hear. All in all a solid end to our trip.

 

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Japan + Design

I’ve know about the redesign of Narita Airport’s Terminal 3 for a year or so now. However, since making the firm decision that next summer I will be taking a trip to Japan, it was recently re-introduced into my brain.

The terminal has a very clean and straightforward “running track” design. The signage is clear and large; regardless of what language you speak you can easily figure out where to go. It is very reminiscent of an IKEA.

While looking at various pictures, articles and videos about Terminal 3, I found that a company called MUJI did all of the interior design for the airport. So now they are my new favorite furniture/design company… at least for the moment.

While Googling where there were MUJI stores in the US, I came across a store called Loyal Supply Co. Not only do they apparently carry some of their products, but they are located in Somerville, the city in which I currently reside.

img_4916Loyal Supply Co.

I say this all the time but sometimes it’s fun to be a tourist in your own town. Had I not looked up this other store I might have never know that this place exists despite the fact that it is right in Union Square.

It is a very small boutique with super hipster-y curated goods. Most of the stuff is knick-knacks and things that no one really needs, like $15 bars of artisanal soap. However, like Black Ink, there is a lot of cool stuff in there; definitely good for a goodie bag for mom or a girlfriend.

—Upcoming things

October: The Voyage of Time

Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life) brings us what promises to be a mind bending drama/documentary about the universe.

November: Woman

cicicicicWoman album art

Justice is coming out with their third studio album.

Arrival – movie comes out; could be good.

December: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

I’m very excited for this to come out.

Passengers – movie comes out; also could be good

I feel like I’m forgetting something but I always feel that way. If I think of it or figure it out, I’ll add it later.

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