Friday, September 28, 2012

Beat Street Records and Poetry

As I walked past Beat Street Records in Vancouver, I noticed a quote, or a short poem, or something: All that was, will always have been, somehow never again. I wasn't sure what it meant, but it messed up my mind for a moment, just like when you watch Inception for the first time, trying to figure out the layers of the dreams. What was, might be, but won't? Where am I in this thought? After researching, I found out who the artist was behind this poem. His name is Raymond Boisjoly, and he's a visual and text based artist. If art is suppose to make us linger, to inspire, to imagine, or even to confuse, I guess Mr.Boisjoly has succeeded. I saw it, I thought about it, I researched it, and now I'm sharing it!

I decided to include a blurry bike rider just to add a dimension of movement and time.... all that is, will always be, but only for a moment, and then he's gone!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Vancouver's Crow Highway Mural Revisited

A few months back I took some pictures of the Crow Highway Mural but I was unable to get a good clear shot due to cars parked right in front of it. This time, when I saw the lot empty, I jumped out of my bus excitedly to get a worthy image. Although the parking lot was empty, the gate was closed , so I took two images: one from the sidewalk and one through the fence straight on. It's a beautiful old building, and the history behind the mural and the building is quite interesting too (follow this link). Too bad it's so far back from the street view, and too bad there's a parking lot right in front of it...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Where's Waldo...and the ATM?

As I walked through the poorest neighbourhood in Canada, I ran into many ATMs in the oddest places. Some were easy to miss, but none more than this one. The posters surrounding the ATM caught my eye at first, and only as I walked closer to investigate did I notice the ATM buried in the middle. Like any business, isn't the point of an ATM to be as visible as possible?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Number 5 is Alive and Speaking Street Talk

I was walking along the border of Chinatown, DTES and Gastown, and noticed this funny homage to Short Circuit's Number 5 robot. "Sup fu?". Funny. I think this is an entrance into a night club.  I wonder if they play "Who's Johnny?" or "Come and Follow Me" for the closing number?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pekin Chop Suey House in Chinatown

I was walking through Vancouver's Chinatown district and I noticed a faded sign on the side of a building. It reads: Pekin Chop Suey House. It sounds very 1950's American-Chinese, and so it should, as this was the old location of a Chinese restaurant many years ago. The lower half was rebuilt and the core was redone with concrete, leaving the top outer shell original. You can see in the distance the entrance-way into Chinatown from the West side on W.Pender, and the far left corner is just a part of the world's thinnest building.  The sun was just going down behind the downtown buildings, and so the lighting was just right for a westward picture.......

Monday, September 17, 2012

Random Nice Guys Pose and Smile in Osaka

I wasn't even trying to take pictures of these guys, but they happened to walk into my frame, and they decided to smile and pose for me. Nice smile. Nice pose. Thanks guys! Osaka people are very easy going and friendly. 

Just a small side point, but I notice most men in Japan carry around man-bags. Here, unless you're a student or business person, most men walk around with nothing but an iPhone and a pair of sunglasses. The subject of another blog entry.....


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Soccer Mom's of Japan Transport on Bikes

This is a very common sight where ever children are congregated: a fleet of Japanese momma-bikes (aka "Mamachari"). In N.America, it's minivans and SUV's, but in the busy and densely populated cities of Japan, you would get nowhere in such huge vehicles, especially since many places in city have no parking lots. I'll post more pics of these mom's and their bikes in action, but it's not an uncommon sight to see a mom carrying two kids (one up front, one in the back) and groceries and plowing down the sidewalk avoiding pedestrians and vending machines in Tokyo.  I've also noticed, kids don't cry in Japan, at least the ones on the mamachari's. Maybe they're more worried about falling out, or crashing into one of their pre-school mates!! Ride on momma-riders!! Ride on Mamachari's!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Dashboard Reflection Portrait

I'm going to be honest here, this image wasn't planned out. I noticed a cool car dashboard and wanted to take a picture of it, but I couldn't find the right angle to get rid of the relfection (I know, but I didn't have my polarizing filter with me). Then I noticed that I was getting pretty cool reflections of people as they passed by. I caught this guy looking at me wondering what's so interesting about the car, not knowing that I was actually interested in his reflection!! The far right reflection of half a face is my sister, also wondering what on earth her crazy brother is doing......

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Another Distracted Bike Rider in Osaka

Like my previous post concerning the stylish bike texting guy, I notice many distracted bike riders in Japan. I'm surprised there aren't more accidents. This guy is riding on a busy 4-lane road, texting, listening to music with headphones, no helmet (very common in Japan) and only a few fingers on the grips; and he still has time to stare at me taking his picture! How dare he!! Ha ha. I got a good expression!! 

Ride on Osaka!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Coca-Cola Bicycle in Japan

In Japan, I saw lots of oddly branded bicycles, mostly American brands such as Hummer, or this Coca-Cola bike. Obviously Coke didn't build or design this bike. However, since Japanese love American companies, by putting these types of brands on whatever item, sales increase. I've seen really weird cross-market branding in Japan, but this has got to be the oddest. Are you paying attention Pepsi? Maybe you have to kick it up a notch. Perhaps a Honda 'Diet Pepsi' 1000??

A Couple Window Shopping while Bike Doubling in Osaka

As mentioned on previous posts, bike doubling is very common in Japan, although technically illegal. Many don't own cars, and so bikes and public transit is the most efficient and cost effective form of transportation for couples and families. This couple seems to be enjoying themselves as they cruise down a side street full of boutique shops and restaurants. In fact, the girl was eyeing all the clothing stores as they cruised by each one. Window shopping without getting sore feet! Good idea! Ride on Osaka!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Stylish Guy Bike Texting in Osaka

Another archived picture......

Not only was this a narrow street, but it was a busy side street with pedestrians, commercial vehicles and many other cyclists. Besides the texting, notice his hand grip? He's using 3 fingers to push up against his grip!! What the heck? So other than not paying attention, if he had to make an emergency maneuver, what can he do other than fly over his handlebars face first? 

I easily saw him approaching so I was able to frame him into my image, although he had no idea what was going on. Photographically, I like the way the wind blew his jacket open, and I like his cool purple cargo pants and white Birkenstocks. In fact, even his bike was pretty cool, including his blue bike lock. A very stylish yet dangerous guy! Ride on Osaka....but pay attention man!!

1970's Japanese Robot Great Mazinger Portrait Through Glass Window

I know the most famous Japanese anime/manga robots are Gundam and Robotech, but my all time favorite is Great Mazinger! I always thought it was cool how the airplane shuttle flew into the head of the robot to activate it, and how the V-chest shield becomes a throwing weapon!! As a 70's Japanese kid, we all had a die-cast Great Mazinger toy. The first thing we lose is the eject-able fists of course, and eventually we lose the removable V-chest..... I wonder where my Mazinger is? I wonder what a Mazinger is? Who cares. It was a great robot toy!!

I shot through a shop window from the street, and I successfully hid myself from the image. I like the randomness of the light reflection bouncing back into the image. I wonder if there's a name for that effect? Can you help me with this Naki? Colour isolation to make the V-chest stand out!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Jinglish Sign at Guitar Shop in Osaka

I guess you can sort of figure out what they're trying to say. The reflection of the street behind me sort of works within the black of the sign, while I was able to hide myself in the red of the guitar.....making so cool image of the camera-main......

Friday, September 7, 2012

Cute Girl Riding Bike in Osaka

I love taking pictures of people on bikes. I enjoy seeing how people dress while riding, as well as the fact that I love bikes in general. The bike becomes the biggest accessory a person can have on, or be on.  The only problem is it's hard getting a good shot while in motion. I missed the whole top of her head, and just barely got her eyes as she whipped passed me. 

Only after I took the picture did I notice that she had flyers inside her basket, and probably old ones too. Was she that lazy to take them out? Was it her own personal public mobile recycle basket? Not too many public garbage cans in Japan, even though the streets are pretty clean. Sorry. Random thought......

What originally caught my eye was her black stockings with shorts and her checkered top. Only after, I noticed her green hoodie and pink bike matched nicely. Her whole outfit is actually well balanced, with her cream scarf and her brown shoulder bag thrown behind. Ride on cute fashionable girl! Ride on Osaka!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Cool Couple Walking in Osaka

Archived photo....

There's nothing odd about seeing a cool couple walking down a small side street in the entertainment district of Umeda in Osaka. In fact, it's a normal sight. However, like my post from yesterday I took this while out for my early morning jog at 6am!!  By the looks of it, they've finished an all nighter (notice the guy holding what looks like a beer can?) and are on their way home. You can't see it in the picture, but they just didn't have a "just woke up" walk as they approached me. It was more like a late night "ready for bed" walk. I stood there for a while and pretended I was shooting buildings above their heads so they wouldn't wonder why I was taking their picture as they came closer......

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Early Morning Bike Ride in Osaka

 Another archived photo......

I went for an early morning jog near my brother's apartment in the Umeda district of Osaka. I also like taking pictures either late at night or early in the morning. Not many people on the streets except for commercial vehicles. It was an odd sight to see a 'salary man' on a bicycle so early in the morning (6am). My guess is that he isn't on his way to work from home, but leaving a bar he was at all night and going straight to work!! I like the solitude of shooting on the streets so early in the morning, but it was great getting this guy on his bike so early too!! Ride on Salary Man! Ride on Osaka!!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Lonely Bike in Harajuku at Night

Another archived picture......

I love walking around Tokyo at night. During the day, there's always a sea of people, and it's hard to get pictures of objects in isolation. You usually have to stand around for a few minutes for crowds to clear before getting your shot. My favorite places to shoot at night in Tokyo is central Tokyo, Shinjuku, and Harajuku. My favorite subject? Vending machines and bikes!!