Kanye has a bit of the rice-chaser in him. His album cover for Graduation has a manga-style. He vies for Japanese style makers A Bathing Ape and Honeyee. He rocks the Murakami gear. And his original Stronger vid has anime-esque design. Fine, okay. But what's better? A mashup between Kanye's STRONGER + the classic anime AKIRA, created by Kanye's Flashing Lights video editor Derrick Lee. (Watch here at Kanye's blog, or under the cut).
Who puts the most money into brain research? Advertising companies and marketing people (NY Times). Really. They pay good money to find out how our brains work and how they can manipulate our little grey cells until we buy, buy, buy into their campaigns and products. Oh, they are good. They are real good.
Shock is a common technique used to sell us on wares; termed "shockvetisments" by Trend Hunter. Shocking ads -- print, TV, online, guerilla marketing -- are often disturbing and controversial, from gratuitous sex (like France's AIDS awareness campaign in pic), graphic violence, to uncomfortable topics.
The shock! The horror! They do their job, though, they do their job. After all, there's no such thing as bad publicity.
The Top 50 Most Controversial Ads (Shocking!) compiled by Trend Hunter @ www.trendhunter.com.
Asian stereotypes of delicate, submissive women? Canadian rapper MASIA ONE ain't gonna have it. This Singapore-born, Vancouver-raised, Torontonian has been dealing with stereotypes ever since she started. One, because she's a female rapper. And two, because she's an Asian female rapper. But she ain't gonna have it.
Masia One reportedly became hooked on hip-hop after stumbling across a Public Enemy tape in a market in Singapore. Since then, she's been throwing down rhymes and mixing beats like it's nobody's business.
With catchy, hit-making singles like "Split Second Time," "Halfway Through The City," and "Return of the B-Girl," Masia One's spits no-hold-back, socially-conscious lyrics.
In 2003, Masia One became the first female rapper to be nominated for "Best Rap Video" in Much Music's Video Awards.
Her second album, Pulau (The Islands), is set for a spring 2008 release under Masia One's own label, The M1 Group. So keep your eyes and ears out for this force of nature.Posted by Michelle D. | March 30, 2008 | Comments (0)
It is a rare sight to see a hotdog stand in Tokyo, let alone Japan. Which is odd, seeing that competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi of Japan has won the world record for downing hot dogs for nearly six years in a row.
Yet on the corner of Burrard and Smithe streets in downtown Vancouver, you'll find the JAPA DOG hot dog stand. The genius behind Japa Dog is smiling sensation Noriki Tamura, who used to be an ad salesman in Tokyo up until 3 years ago when he immigrated to Vancouver with his wife. He knows his hotdogs, after apprenticing at a traditional hot dog stand for a few months upon arrival. His red "Japadog" chef's hat? Rocks.
What makes Japa Dog hotdogs special are its Japanese fusion creations. Check out the "Japastyle Menu": Terimayo; Misomayo; and Oroshi ("grated"). The Terimayo satiates a craving with its all-beef hot dog smothered in Japanese soy mayo, thick teriyaki sauce, sauteed onions, and a generous sprinkling of nori (seaweed flakes). The Misomayo features a turkey hot dog dressed with miso-mayo, sesame sauce, and kaiware (bitter daikon sprouts that have a wasabi-hot "kick"). The Oroshi is a bratwurst frank loaded with special soy sauce, green onions, and grated daikon. Oh, shut up! It's all so gooood.
What's not to love? Especially when the website states, Japa Dog has "three perkily perfect versions." Japlish Forever!
More than 317,000 people from 41 countries, cities and territories participated in condom-maker Durex's 9th SEXUAL WELLBEING GLOBAL SURVEY on sexual attitudes and behaviour. The friskiest? Greece topped the poll with an average of 138 romps a year. In 2nd place were the Croatians with an average of 134 times a year, followed by those in Serbia and Montenegro who average 128 times.
Who have the least active sex lives globally? -- Asians, with 9 countries and territories from the region making up the bottom 10. Japan was at the bottom of the list (!), with an average of 45 times annually which is less than the global average of 103. Singapore ranked 2nd-last with 73. Indians (75), Indonesians (77), Hong Kong residents (78), Malaysians (83), Vietnamese (87), Taiwanese (88), China (96 times a year), and Thais (97 times a year) were the other Asians ranked as having the lowest libido.
Why? Durex theorizes that the stress of living in fast-paced Asia, home to some of the world's fastest-growing economies, could be the reason why people have sex less often. (Although it's also been said Asian countries have the highest rate of one-night-stands because of the fast-paced lifestyle).
Or maybe they were too polite to aim to high and instead answered demurely -- you know, to let the other countries shine.
Yeah, yeah, James Lovelock was featured recently (here) -- the scientist who scoffs at all the recycling and carbon-cutting, because he says it's too late. But it doesn't mean we shouldn't do what we can to help Mother Earth out...such as:
EARTH HOUR at 8:00pm on Saturday, March 29, when people around the world will join together to turn out their lights to take a stand against climate change. Earth Hour was started by the World Wildlife Fund last year in Sydney, Australia. Organizers there say 2.2 million people and 2,100 businesses turned off their lights for one hour on March 31, 2007, reducing the city's energy consumption by 10.2%.
Many landmarks around the world will be turning out their lights for Earth Hour, including the Golden Gate Bridge; Sydney Opera House; CN Tower, Niagara Falls; Olympic Flag (Vancouver); and more. And if you're in Toronto, Nelly Furtado will headline a free, unplugged concert in Nathan Phillips Square in honour of Earth Hour.
Sign up HERE for Earth Hour today if you plan to participate. By signing up, you are sending a strong message to governments around the world that you want action against climate change.
STEP 1: Sign up at earthhourus.org
STEP 2: Turn off your lights on Saturday, March 29, 8:00pm
STEP 3: Encourage your friends, family and colleagues to participate.
STEP 4: Don't stop at Earth Hour - make every hour Earth Hour!
Living in a media-addicted world where TV and magazines still present whiteness as the predominant benchmark for desire, it's not surprising to hear Asian Canadian (and American) men talk about their dream of (or brag about) dating a white woman.
Media has come a long way since the 80's and 90's, but just in case you haven't gotten over that secret obsession, or just refuse to give up despite all the rejection, you can still buy the book: How to Date a White Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men. Seriously, there's only four copies left on Amazon.com
Read the sample of truly funny "reader testimonials" here -- obviously fake viral marketing that was later removed form Amazon.com. Posted by Alden | March 28, 2008 | Comments (2)
Ever since yellow-centric blogger Angry Asian Man noted this bizarre book (it's gotta be a joke, right?) -- "How To Date A White Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men" by one Adam Quan -- it's generated some of the most hilarious, gut-busting comments in Amazon this side of the western blogosphere ...
(Apologies for the overload on Hello Kitty posts -- suck it up, willya?)
Despite the fact you may claim to hate Hello Kitty (oh no you didn't), she is a source of wonderment for those who grew up with her and for those who were forced to like her because someone they love likes her. It's okay, that's love!
But if you still feel Hello Kitty is the bane of your existence, you can't say no to the cult-status of the HELLO KITTY VIBRATOR. The pink "shoulder massager" was born 10 years ago for an innocent service (tense, sore muscles -- oh my!) but it soon became a tool in the titillating sense when the vibrations lent the "shoulder massager" to become a sex toy. They don't call it the pink world for nothing, honey.
The once elusive Hello Kitty Vibrator has now been reborn on the Sanrio Japan website (here) for a mere 1000 yen (+-$12.00), and in a myriad of colour choices too (black, lavender, red, alongside the original pink). How's that for a stocking stuffer? No pun intended.
(SOURCE: Hello Kitty Hell) -- PHOTOS under the cut
For those of you lamenting the fact that you've "conformed" and succumbed to the marketing pressure of buying an iPod, here's a way to re-discover your individuality...by giving in to marketing pressure but at a cheaper cost. *shrug* it happens.
EMOTIBLES, candy-coloured charms that clip to iPods (and other styles of) earbuds/headphones, are the brainchild of Kate and Jonathan Curtis Hall.
They're what Hello Kitty's MSN emoticons probably look like: simple, expressive and of course, kawaii. In the tradition of what Japanese companies like Sanrio have done in the past, which is stick a cute character on any boring surface imaginable, Emotibles are successfully mixing our affinity for 'Net geek-chic + Japanese design + iPods + our overriding need to be individualized.
So if you feel the need to zone out, but still want people to know you're feeling "starry-eyed", "stressed," "aliented," "frisky," or "befuddled", check out the Emotibles website here, where they list 2,484 different expressions to choose from.Posted by Shaena K. | March 27, 2008 | Comments (0)
Bias exists, let's face it. While hoards of people with mental fatigue decide to go the route of big mainstream media, there are a select few whose ennui over the gloss decide to head over to public radio and independent or left-of-centre sources such as U.K's The Guardian. It's at The Guardian where well-respected independent British scientist JAMES LOVELOCK was featured @ www.guardian.co.uk. He's like a British David Suzuki, here's why:
"In 1965 executives at Shell wanted to know what the world would look like in the year 2000. They consulted a range of experts, who speculated about fusion-powered hovercrafts and 'all sorts of fanciful technological stuff'. When the oil company asked the scientist James Lovelock, he predicted that the main problem in 2000 would be the environment. 'It will be worsening then to such an extent that it will seriously affect their business,' he said.
"And of course," Lovelock says, with a smile 43 years later, "that's almost exactly what's happened."
Tags: Current Events
Shut up! We know Tokidoki's Italian creator Simone Legno adores all things kawaii, so it's an obvious collaboration to have Tokidoki join forces with the Queen of Kawaii -- Hello Kitty. TOKIDOKI for HELLO KITTY features Japan's global ambassador for all things kawaii, Hello Kitty getting the high-stylin' treatment. Can you hear all the girly girls out there giggling their way to the stores now?
Alas, the girls are Japanese...for Tokidoki for Hello Kitty products are only available in Japan at the moment. Launched in February 2008, Tokidoki for Hello Kitty will eventually be available on www.tokidoki.it, www.sanrio.com, and select US stores...soon enough.
However, for those who just can't wait...the Tokidoki for Hello Kitty necklace is available online for $45 US @ shop.tokidoki.it.
Ureshii!! (aka. Yay!)
In the DIY universe, Japanese import fabrics (both vintage and modern) are used as a fine ingredient in making crafts just right. You can find them used in Ladysmith, B.C.-based PURPLE FLOWER DESIGNS in some of her custom, one of a kind or limited edition handmade items. No two items are alike -- very important for the Gap generation where you'll be walking down the street and see at least one joker wearing the same shirt as you...very annoying (but at least the person has good taste).
The designer's whimsical pouches and handbags, wristlets and satchels are made from the prettiest floral and patterned fabrics. Watch out, you just might be bombarded with gals wanting to know were you got your Purple Flower Design designs.
Vegas. Gambling. Money. Aw, man, not another Vegas film? Yeah, but it's about brilliant math geeks playing the game. 21 stars Jim Sturgess (Across the Universe), Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth (Blue Crush), and Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix), and will be released March 28, 2008.
21 is based on Bringing Down the House, the best-selling book by Ben Mezrich, about the true story of a group of gifted MIT students who headed to Vegas every weekend to count cards and employ an intricate system of signals to beat the casinos. (Damn, should've stayed in Kumon!)
Now, there are grumblings about 21 's casting -- controversy! The main characters in the book were mostly Asian Americans in real life (the character Jason Lewis is based on Jeff Ma; and Jason Fisher is based on Mike Aponte). Now, Jim Sturgess doesn't look Asian to me. It doesn't matter that he might be described as having "almond-shaped eyes".
You guessed it, studio execs cast mostly white characters (alongside Aaron Yoo and Liza Lapira). Ben Mezrich, the author of the book, has stated that the scheme worked because a young white man betting large amounts of money would have stood out, while a young Asian (or other minority) would be less conspicuous. Meh, what do you expect from Hollywood? After all, it's about the money game.
JENS LEKMAN might make you wish you were a virgin again, and that every day was sunny. That's the kind of effect this baby-faced Swede will have on you.
The 27-year-old indie pop star has been making sweet, fresh music since 2000, but in just seven years, Lekman has recorded an astounding 11 EPs and three albums! His sound ranges from soft acoustic ballads, like "The Cold Swedish Winter" off When I Said I Wanted to Be Your Dog, to uplifting, melodic pop adventures, like "Maple Leaves" off Oh You're So Silent Jens.Posted by Michelle D. | March 26, 2008 | Comments (0)
This, to our right, is the official logo of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
Well, with all the recent violence in Tibet between the Tibetan monks and the Chinese securities forces, some people have decided to poke a little fun at the Chinese Government by parodying said Olympic logo.
After the cut are a couple of examples, as well as a YouTube video.
Warning: These images and video may be offensive/disturbing to some readers.
Jealously rages...turns out the most buttery, melty, chocolate-y, heavenly pastry in Tokyo has landed in North America. In Los Angeles. Los Angeles! Why, oh, why? They don't eat buttery, chocolate-y treats down there, do they? They're supposed to be eating wheat grass and sushi.
If you are lucky enough, visit the St-Marc Cafe in some neighborhood called Canoga Park for their CHOCO-CRO (chocolate croissant). It is the sh*t. No lie. Then again maybe it won't translate well or they bake it all wrong (after all, transient folks will tell you KFC, Diet Coke, and filet-o-fish taste damn well better in Japan than home), but if it's the same Choco-Cro you can find in the St-Marc's around Tokyo-town (Harajuku and Shibuya have bustling venues), then roll on that freeway and buy a dozen...for us. Trust, the Choco-Cro is a more potent aphrodisiac than whatever they say works.
Every person introduced to the Choco-Cro first brushes if off since it looks like a ghetto piece of pastry...but after the first bite as the warm, flaky pastry fills your tastebuds, and as the bittersweet chocolate oozes onto your tongue in a burst of sweet delight...well, shut up, you'll be whimpering like the rest of us Choco-Cro fans. There's other flavours too, but stick with the original. Bonus: The St-Marc doggy mascot's name is Chococro-kun. Cute!
Unless you heed the advice of Chinese doctors who have warned how unhealthy it is to attempt some of the acrobatic sexual positions shown in steamy scenes between Lust, Caution actors Tang Wei and Tony Leung Chiu Wai.
"Most of the sexual manoeuvres in Lust, Caution are in abnormal body positions," said Yu Zao, a deputy director at a women's hospital in Guangdong. "Only women with comparatively flexible bodies that have gymnastics or yoga experience are able to perform them. For average people to blindly copy them could lead to unnecessary physical harm."
Of course, lately, the boom in yoga has made people more limber, so, go ahead, test it out. The emergency room has seen everything anyways...
Swastikas can be funny? Yes, insists 74-year-old American cartoonist Sam Gross. His new book WE HAVE WAYS OF MAKING YOU LAUGH: 120 FUNNY SWASTIKA CARTOONS (Schuster & Schuster, March 2008) uses the swastika as the focus of jokes. The goal was both to take the power out of the swastika and also to be funny, he said.
During a radio interview with Q, Gross said the idea for the book came from a news story about vandalism where a boy in suburban New York drew swastikas on garage doors. Gross realized: "The symbol is held in such awe and terror. I just got so angry that I decided to have fun with it."
One cartoon shows a vandal who has just painted a swastika on a wall and a dog saying, "Try scent marking. It's nicer."
The swastika has been around for thousands of years, primarily in Hindu culture (and the reverse swastika is used as a symbol to denote a temple on maps in Asia), but has since been associated with Hitler and the Holocaust. Not surprisingly, people have accused Gross of trivializing the Holocaust in his latest drawings, but he says: "I'm not trivializing the Holocaust. I'm trivializing the swastika. The swastika is not the Holocaust. The swastika is a symbol." Hmm, you decide.
Goldfish crackers. Yum. Goldfish earrings. Cute! Adorn your ears with adorable kissing goldfish earrings (in pic) from THE TINY FIG, where the Vancouver-based crafter says she "specializes in making all things cute" with "sweet figments of the imagination".
Get up on it, until the end of March, The Tiny Fig has a special offer...SALE. All phone charms regularly priced at $8 are on sale for $6 until April 01, 2008.
See? You don't need to go all the way to Japan for cuteness. Check out The Tiny Fig at her Etsy shop, here. You'll find happy blue cloud earrings, cubed bunny phone charms, burnt toast charms, bread buddy stickers, colourful felt fortune cookies, and more.Posted by Tamiko | March 25, 2008 | Comments (1)
Jaman sounds like jamon, which means "ham" (this was learned after watching the Spanish film Jamon, Jamon -- Javier and Penelope!). Totally irrelevant, but something that came to mind...
JAMAN is not a deli meat, but rather a destination for people to discover, enjoy and review movies from around the world. According to its creed: "Jaman's Internet community is pioneering the social aspects of independent and international media. Having curated and assembled one of the world's largest online libraries of feature films and documentaries, Jaman provides filmmakers and studios a secure way to distribute and market films worldwide."
Schema knows Jaman has the goods since Vancouver's own (L.A-based) filmmaker Yu Gu's short THE NOTHING PILL will be shown only until April 3rd as a continuation of the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (SFIAAF) . The Nothing Pill streams the story of a scientist who develops a "nothing pill" as an antidote to loneliness in a dying world. According to Jaman: The Nothing Pill's "themes of memory and technology are smashed together in this moody, absorbing futuristic short film."
Throughout the inaugural season of America's Best Dance Crew, the (mostly) Asian crews JabbaWockeeZ and Kaba Modern have been the two most consistently-praised groups in the show -- Jabba with their smooth b-boy moves and playful creativity, and Kaba with their signature isolations and intricate choreography. Week after week, they thrilled the judges and the crowd (and the viewers at home) alike, prompting many to predict (including us here at Schema) a (mostly) all-Asian showdown in the finale. Alas, it was not meant to be.
In last Thursday's penultimate episode, many of us were shocked (shocked!) to find out that Boston's Status Quo was the top vote-getter, leaving Jabba and Kaba to duke it out in a dance-off for the berth in the final, and when the dust settled after a fierce battle, JabbaWockeeZ prevailed (and deservingly so, in our humble opinion). Like Angry Asian Man pointed out, this felt like a real championship match-up with both crews delivering electrifying performances, especially given Status Quo's lackluster effort that preceded.
Now, many bloggers and conspiracy theorists have been crying foul, speculating that MTV rigged the result because they didn't want the finale to be too "Asian" or because they wanted it to be an East vs. West showdown. Well, before we get all too cynical: As Simon Cowell would say, if this were purely a dance competition, there would be no question as to who should be competing next week. However, let's all remember that these shows remain, to a large degree, a popularity contest. Y'all remember Taylor Hicks, no?
Voting lines are staying open all the way up to the beginning of the live finale, so be sure to cast your vote to make JabbaWockeeZ America's Best Dance Crew!
Fafi would be a cute name for a poodle. It also sounds like the way the Japanese pronounce "fluffy". It is better known, of course, as the pen name for French graffiti artist FAFI. The Paris-based Fafi is known for her images of sexy and liberated girls in a blend of graffiti and fine art. Does the fine art part make it legit? *shrug* Just asking.
Fafi designs have covered toys, shirts, handbags, and showcased in collaborations with Adidas, LeSportsac, and now MAC cosmetics. The Fafi + MAC collection features the colourful world of the Fafinettes: Ermine, Eriko, and Monoka. Is "Fafinette" code for Gwen's Harajuku Girls? After all, MAC key artist Victor Cembellin has said: "Fafi creates really adorable Japanimation anime characters and this collaboration combines animation and creativity. It's sexy and playful, and we want to encourage that idea of not taking yourself or makeup too seriously."
The Fafinettes personas have life! Ermine is a French DJ who lives in NYC; Eriko hails from Japan but loves Paris; and Monoka loves Tokyo's technology-driven culture, drinking shochu and collecting 1950s-era French erotica.
The limited-edition FAFI for MAC collection is now available wherever MAC cosmetics are sold.
Artists, and poets in particular, are oft accused of trading in and profiting from pain. (Or to steal an old quote from an unnamed Irish band: Every poet is a thief / All kill for inspiration / and sing about their grief.)
Whether there are more elegies and requiems than joyful poems remains to be seen, but what to make of THE SPLINTERED FACE: TSUNAMI POEMS, just released by Hanging Loose Press? How to capture the utter natural and human devastation wrought by the sea without exploiting that grief and tragedy?
Indran Amirthanayagam may be more suited than most to write that book. A poet and American diplomat, Amirthanayagam was born in what is now Sri Lanka and currently resides in Vancouver. He lived in Maryland on December 26, 2004 and watched the tsunami's devastation on Sri Lanka from afar. That experience fueled a desire to both map his birth country's "splintered face" and chart its possible rebirth.
Indran Amirthanayagam launches The Splintered Face: Tsunami Poems
April 16, 2008 | 7:30 pm | Alma van Dusen and Peter Kaye room | Vancouver Public Library
Partial proceeds from the book will be donated towards tsunami relief.
Happy Easter! Whether you celebrate it with Christian affiliations or not, we hope you receive enough mini eggs to last you through the spring. History-wise, it's very cool that Easter is derived from the Germanic goddess of spring (Eostre).
For some, Easter means a long weekend and a whole lot of watching the chirping bunny in those Cadbury commercials. Whatever Easter means to you, enjoy these cute Easter cupcakes (like these pink bunnies by Bakerella). They should make you smile through the weekend.
More: Easter cupcake pics under the cut -- smile!Posted by Tamiko | March 23, 2008 | Comments (1)
You don't have to be bespectacled to be listening to public radio, fool. Especially when all things kawaii is featured. As it did on Public Radio International (PRI)'s Peabody Award-winning Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen, the guide to what's happening in pop culture and the arts. As stated: "Each week, Kurt Andersen introduces you to the people who are creating and shaping our culture." Indeed.
The episode on March 14, 2008 (listen @ studio360) investigated all things cute: Big Eyes + Gary Cross + Hello Kawaii + Hate Cute. Hate cute? Nooo. The Hello Kawaii section showcased Japanese artist Murakami Takashi. Yes, his designs are cute, but his insight into why they are cute...well, that deserves some attention.
Murakami curated an exhibition in New York titled Little Boy; this is his take on kawaii: "When I looked into the history of the a-bomb, I learned that the bombs were named Little Boy and Fat Man. I thought they were highly symbolic. I thought they exemplified current Japanese culture and otaku culture. That's how Japan is now. We're like children. We are completely oblivious to politics. We don't ponder the place of Japan in the world or our places in Japanese society. We think only about the cute, having fun, seeking what we like. That custom has been ingrained in the Japanese." It is argued that kawaii has lead the Japanese towards infantile behaviour and complacency.
It makes sense, especially if you've ever lived or visited Japan. One word: Daaaamn.Posted by Tamiko | March 23, 2008 | Comments (0)
It won't do to dream of caramel, to think of cinnamon, and long for you...(Suzanne Vega's Caramel).
Caramel first premiered at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. The story revolves around the daily lives of 5 modern, Lebanese women tackling love, tradition, sexuality, aging, duty, and desire. The film has been applauded for focusing on universal issues, rather than political issues within Lebanan.
A kind of Beauty Shop in its own right, Caramel refers to the hair removal method (sugaring) used in the Middle East where a caramel substance made from heating sugar, water, and lemon juice, adheres and yanks off pesky unwanted body hair. Ouch.
According to Labaki, Caramel symbolizes the "idea of sweet and salt, sweet and sour" which permeate everyday relations that can be sticky but ultimately bonds the characters together.Posted by Tamiko | March 22, 2008 | Comments (0)
On the way to Whistler from Vancouver, you'll pass by the little town of Pemberton. It doesn't make a bleep on the drive to a world-class resort such as Whistler, but on July 25-27, 2008 Pemberton will turn into the Glastonbury of North America.
Why? Live Nation will host the 3-day PEMBERTON MUSIC FESTIVAL, where acts like Coldplay, Jay-Z, Death Cab for Cutie, Tom Petty, Tragically Hip, Nine Inch Nails, DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist, The Flaming Lips, Metric, Sam Roberts, and more will headline over 50 acts.
In Canada? Hell yeah, and expect Pemberton Festival to become an annual affair, even with its pricey 3-day passes at $239.50 plus service charge (PS: you can't buy a ticket for a single day).
More: Pemberton Festival website: http://www.pembertonfestival.comPosted by Tamiko | March 22, 2008 | Comments (0)
Get ready for a whole new wave of the British invasion, but this time, for the trendsetting bunch. Straight from the UK comes the infamous TOPSHOP brand, appearing exclusively to Canada at Holt Renfrew. Topshop is basically UK's version of Sweden's H&M and Spain's Zara. With stores across Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Asia, it's high time Topshop made its way to O-Canada.
The Kate Moss TOPSHOP collection features old skool style (Grecian & '30s and '50s inspired flowing frocks) with a distinctly "destination" look -- all girly, bright, and summer-y.
Best of all, Topshop prides itself on selling high style for lower prices, where most garments retail under $200, and many retail for under $100. Better still, the clothes aren't made exclusively for Kate Moss-sized women. So be prepared to fight off scours of stylish ladies to get a piece of the boho-chic action. Maybe wear some pointy stilettos. Meow!
You take a blue robot cat without ears or a tail, give him a plate of dorayaki (red bean cakes), and have the Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura proclaim him (or the person in the blue robot cat suit, voiced by a seasoned anime actress) the "anime ambassador" of Japan with these words: "Doraemon, I hope you will travel around the world as an anime ambassador to deepen people's understanding of Japan so they will become friends with Japan." Hee.
The unusual government post was created to promote anime around the world. The popular character DORAEMON, the anime ambassador was granted his post as part of Japan's effort to "harness the power of pop culture in diplomacy". This is alongside the International Manga Award formed in 2007 by manga lover and former foreign minister Taro Aso, who called it the "Nobel Prize" of manga.
Now they'll have to create another post for Japanese porn -- now that would harness the "power of diplomacy." It's almost a cultural icon around the world after all. You know...don't lie.
Feel like screaming a little this weekend? Then head to a theatre for SHUTTER. The American remake -- by Japanese director Masayuki Ochiai -- of this Thai horror will be hitting theatres on Friday, March 21.
Shutter stars Joshua Jackson (yes, from Dawson's Creek) and Rachael Taylor; they play newlyweds living in Japan. One night, the couple is involved in a car accident that leaves a local girl dead. Afterwards, they start to see strange white blurs in their photos, which leads them to believe that the blurs are spirit photos of the dead girl seeking vengeance.
The American remake of Shutter stays pretty close to the original plot, except the 2004 version took place in Bangkok.
American remakes of Asian horror movies, like The Ring, The Grudge, and The Eye, have done a fine job at scaring audiences so far, even though the originals are better in the sublety of their creepy, skin-crawling way...it's always what you don't see in the originals.
For the past month, STUFF WHITE PEOPLE LIKE has been provoking a bevy of comments - positive and negative - and making people generally think about themselves and their practices in relation to cultural stereotypes. Meanwhile, those of us with a sense of humor are just laughing uproariously in the process.
The author, who was recently featured in the LA Times discussing the site, has seen a huge traffic spike in the past couple of weeks as people come to gawk at the fuss. While the posts on the site itself is hilarious in unpacking those seemingly-inexplicable things that white people like (supposedly), here's a word of warning: the post comments are equally addictive, as many chime in to cite their own examples in misguided attempts to prove the author wrong, while proving him completely right in their ruffled indignation.
His writing riffs off the objective tone of anthropological departments past, but delicately balances detachment with taking-the-piss-out incredulity, to make you wonder if he's really serious - or if that's just you.
If you live in the Americas, you may not have heard of LEONA LEWIS, but if you live in the U.K., the 22-year-old singing pop-R&B sensation is hardly a fresh face.
This fiery Brit was the winner of the third season of The X Factor (which is like American Idol), and quickly broke a world record with her debut single, "A Moment Like This," which was downloaded 50 thousand times in 30 minutes.
Last year, her power ballad single, "Bleeding Love" was the biggest selling single in the U.K., and her debut album, Spirit, has been the fastest selling debut album in the U.K. Take a listen, and you'll know why.
Hear "Bleeding Love" and a sample of Lewis' other singles on her MySpace page.Posted by Michelle D. | March 18, 2008 | Comments (0)
Brush up on the national anthems of the world with HATSUNE MIKU, a cho kawaii character issued by Yamaha as part of the Vocaloid Character Vocal series. Vocaloid, a singing synthesizer application software, lets you synthesize singing by typing in lyrics and melody.
Hatsune Miku's voice samples Japanese voice actress Fujita Saki -- high-pitched enough for the saliva glands of otakus everywhere to go into overdrive. It is, however, charming in that Hello Kitty way when you hear Hatsune Miku sing the national anthems of France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, the UK, and the USA in her bubbly Japanese-accented way (listen here). The lyrics are exported into Japanese syllables, giving the national anthems a cheery anime sound (eg. "Godu Saybu za Kween"). Oh man, it's so precious.Posted by Tamiko | March 17, 2008 | Comments (1)
The incomparable MARGARET CHO is coming back to the boob tube! THE CHO SHOW, a seven-episode, reality-sitcom starring the comedienne-actress-writer-activist has been added to VH1's 2008 spring/summer lineup.
This is very exciting news for Cho fans, since it has been 13 years since the cancellation of Cho's last show. In 1994, Cho busted onto TV in the sitcom All American Girl. However, shortly after, that show was given the boot when Cho and the network just couldn't seen eye-to-eye.
Now, after years of bringing her no-hold-back comedy to the stage, Cho is returning to TV on her own terms. There has been little say of what The Cho Show will be specifically about, but press for the show sounds as if it will be centred on Cho's struggles between her irreverent lifestyle, the industry, and her traditional Korean parents.
Watch out for The Cho Show this summer on VH1!Posted by Michelle D. | March 15, 2008 | Comments (0)
No time to visit MOMA in NYC? No bother, you can enjoy the Museum of Modern Art's first online exhibit -- COLOR CHART: REINVENTING COLOR, 1950 to TODAY -- which features 44 artists, as part of the exhibition that features 90 works of art. The MOMA exhibition is on view from March 2 through May 12, 2008.
About: "Color Chart: Reinventing Color, 1950 to Today takes as its point of departure the commercial color chart, an item that openly attests to the status of paint as mass-produced and standardized. Midway through the 20th century, long-held convictions regarding the spiritual aspects and scientific properties of color gave way to an acceptance and embrace of color as a commercial product...
Color Chart exhibition includes masterpieces by such internationally renowned artists as Gerhard Richter. Color Chart also explores lesser-known dimensions of the work of great artists such as Andy Warhol, John Chamberlain, and Sherrie Levine. Finally, the exhibition introduces American audiences to work by artists who have remained unfamiliar in the United States despite great success in Europe, such as Giulio Paolini, Andre Cadere, and Francois Morellet."Posted by Tamiko | March 14, 2008 | Comments (0)
Only 19 years old, JUSTIN NOZUKA sounds way beyond his years with his soulful guitar-slinging bluesy folk. You'll want to put his song "Be Back Soon" (listen @ here at radio3.cbc.ca) on repeat. Trust.
Half Japanese, half American Justin Nozuka was born in New York and grew up in Toronto. Raised by a single mother, Justin was the sixth of seven children (!!) -- one of his siblings is Canadian R&B sensation George. He's already performed with Crowded House, Ziggy Marley, Sam Roberts, and Xavier Rudd; and currently nominated for New Artist of the Year for the 2008 Junos in April.
Facts (or fictions?) on esteemed writer WAYSON CHOY: He was born in 1939 and spent his early childhood in Vancouver's Chinatown. He wanted to be a cowboy when he grew up. He has studied under literary luminaries Earle Birney and Carole Shields. He taught English for many years before publishing his first novel, The Jade Peony, in 1995. He discovered he was adopted at the age of 56, during the publicity tour for The Jade Peony. His subsequent memoir, Paper Shadows: A Chinatown Childhood, was nominated for the GG’s. A third book, All That Matters, won the Trillium Book Award and was nominated for the Giller. He nearly died while writing this novel, and spent 11 days in a coma. He may, in fact, be invincible. He was named a member of the Order of Canada in 2005.
I think it's good to be between cultures. All the bananas, Oreos, coconuts, whatever the cultural label: If you can survive being between both worlds, you can pick the best of all worlds, even if they try to impose the worst. -- Wayson ChoyPosted by nikki reimer | March 12, 2008 | Comments (0)
It would've happened eventually. *sigh* a bit of a blasphemy, but the cult Japanese anime film AKIRA is set to be made into a live-action Hollywood blockbuster courtesy of Leonardo diCaprio's production company and Warner Brothers.
Akira started off in 1988 as a manga and then as an animated film by creator Katsuhiro Otomo. The story is set in a neon-lit futuristic post-nuclear war "New Tokyo" in 2019 where a teen biker gang member is subjected to a government experiment which unleashes his latent powers. The gang's leader must find a way to stop the destruction. Dun, dun, dun.
In the live-action version, Akira will be set in "New Manhattan," a city rebuilt after 31 years. The story will be told over two films that will cover 3 volumes that unfold the story of a governmental genetic project. The first film is slated to be released in the summer of 2009.Posted by Tamiko | March 11, 2008 | Comments (0)
For those in need of a theme park experience that's more sacred than saccarine, there's Vietnam's Suoi Tien Cultural Theme Park, where all things Buddhist reign supreme.
Featuring such next-life-like delights as the Heavenly Palace Hanging Bridge, the Bodhi Tree Stilted Communal House, and the Giant Dragon Underground Aquarium, Suoi Tien actually sounds remarkably less tacky than its Christian counterpart. And, yup, there are rides!
Apparently you too can score --and have Long Love (see package) -- in bed by using the brand of condoms named after soccer star DAVID BECKHAM. Or not. Certain someones are doing their best to try with these condoms, which now sell more than any other condom brand in China.
The condoms are not endorsed by Beckham himself, and his Chinese fans are actively trying to ban the marketing of them--in their eyes the packaging disrespects the L.A. Galaxy soccer player. Aww.Posted by Tamiko | March 9, 2008 | Comments (2)
For those of you who haven't paid much attention to the CBC's Radio Canada International (RCI) in years, here is a reason why you might want to: Radio Canada International's new web series, EMBRACING CANADA, is now online.
The program follows two newly immigrated families, the Singhs and the Mizaouis, as RCI captures their journey as new immigrants to Canada.
For twenty exclusive weekly episodes on rciviva.ca, you can watch the Singhs, from Mumbai, India, and the Mizaouis, from Casablanca, Morocco settle into their new Canadian lives in Vancouver and Montreal respectively.
The only reality web television series in the world to document the immigration experience, Embracing Canada shines a unique and sometimes surprising perspective on Canada through the eyes of newcomers.
More: Go to rciviva.ca and click on Embracing Canada to view the series.Posted by Anu | March 8, 2008 | Comments (0)
International Women's Day (IWD) -- which should actually be every day -- is celebrated annually on March 8th. Celebrations around the world honour women with thousands of events held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate their achievements.
Canada's theme for International Women's Day / International Women's Week 2008 is Strong Women, Strong World, which makes clear, when we empower women, we secure a brighter future for everyone. (source)
Do your bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding!
One of the hottest events at CITY OF BHANGRA 2008 is the afterparty... starring MALKIT SINGH. The popular Punjabi Bhangra singer will be bringing his most famous songs, "Tootak Tootak Tootiyan," "Gur Nalo Ishq Mita," and "Chal Hun," to Vancouver's Storyeum venue for one of the hottest tickets of the season.
Since the first batch of tickets were sold out immediately within a day, the City of Bhangra organizers has released one more batch of $100 VIP tickets. If you're one of those lucky ones that get a ticket, get ready for a night of insane partying!Posted by Michelle D. | March 7, 2008 | Comments (0)
First up, the name is good: Jennifer 8. Lee. Like the movie? The native New Yorker--(she lives in Harlem, about four blocks away from her parents, on which she self proclaims is "so Chinese!") -- is the metro reporter for The New York Times, and author of THE FORTUNE COOKIE CHRONICLES: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food (Twelve, 2008), which explores how Chinese food is...all-American? The book is due out March 2008.
About: "There are more Chinese restaurants in America than McDonalds, Burger Kings, and Wendys combined. The Fortune Cookie Chronicles is for anyone who has ever wondered who is General Tso and why are we eating his chicken; why Jews eat Chinese food on Christmas; and who really invented the fortune cookie. New York Times reporter, Jennifer 8. Lee, solves enduring mysteries of Chinese cuisine through a mix of in-depth research and entertaining personal anecdotes"
Ever go into an art gallery and feel like you just don't "get it"? Well, what if that was the point of the entire exhibit? The beauty of Toronto-native, Australian-based ROLANDE SOULIERE's exhibition Materiality and Otherness is that her art installations are all about personal interpretation:
"I'm not sure if it's a message I'm actually delivering (or) more of an experience, an experience the viewer that is," (source)
The interesting dialogue she has created between the different social and cultural worlds we occupy and the concurrent globalizing of our world reflects Souliere's diverse background. Her art represents her First Nations heritage, incorporating traditional Anishinabe mythology into the dialogue, but this mixes with her University-educated, contemporary, readymade-Dadaist style (you know, those artists who would sign urinals and call it art?).Posted by Shaena K. | March 6, 2008 | Comments (0)
Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill installments might have had some kick-ass fight scenes and no-hold-back violence, but those films have got nothing against CHOCOLATE.
Chocolate tells the story of an autistic girl, who picks up her martial arts skills through what she sees on TV and the Muay thai boxing school next door. After learning of her ailing mother's debts, the girl, played by newcomer Nicharee "Jeeja" Vismistanada, goes collecting, and in the process, runs into criminal gangs, the Japanese mafia, and her father.
Directed by Prachya Pinkaew, the director of 2003's Ong Bak, Chocolate takes viewers on a whirlwind adventure. Translation: this chick kicks ass!
The film premiered in Thailand on Feb. 6, 2008. There is no word yet on a North American release.
Mumbai: Formerly Bombay. The commercial and entertainment centre of India and home of Bollywood, Mumbai is the most populous city in India, and possibly the world.
Black: (adjective) The colour black; dressed in black; characterized by the absence of light; sinister or evil; supernatural; calamitous.
BOMBAY BLACK: A poisonous drug made from a mixture of shoe polish and hashish. An award-winning, seductive romance by Bombay-born, Vancouver-based Anosh Irani that explores the universal themes of lust, love, betrayal and revenge.
Irani began the play with an image of a blind man watching a beautiful woman dancing. This singularly sinister and erotic image would eventually become the play that asks: Are you in the mood to do something dangerous?
Special Performance: Talk Back
Tuesday, March 11, 2008| 7:30pm
Stay for a post-show chat with the cast and crew.
Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Rawi Hage, lived through 9 years of the Lebanese civil war before immigrating to Canada in 1992. His first novel, Deniro's Game, nominated for the Giller Prize and Governor General Award (among many others) tells of the struggles of two young men during the Lebanese war, as they wrestle with their options of crime, war, escape, life and death.Posted by Shaena K. | March 3, 2008 | Comments (0)
Osaka, Japan is famous for its cuisine--takoyaki and okonomiyaki to name a few choice dishes. Osaka people are not only known for their love of food, but also for their humour and quirky personalities wholeheartedly expressed in popular comedic and musical genres. The boys behind the comedy duo Downtown (watch them in action here) prove this point, as does Shonen Knife with their eclectic beats.
Yet out of the bustle of "loud" Osaka has arisen EGO WRAPPIN', a southful, smooth nu-jazz band. The two main members, Yoshie Nakano (vocals) and Masaki Mori (guitarist) blend together a sensual sound that has converted many towards their sound that blends nu-jazz with rock, reggae and pop.
Take a listen...you will be hooked (videos under the cut)...and as they say, it don't matter if you don't understand Japanese.