Japanese people have had a long relationship with cats. More than 1,000 years ago, people in the upper class were already living with cats. Common people also started having pet cats at home several hundred years ago and Japanese people have been involved with cats in a variety of ways since then. There are shrines that worship cats as gods across Japan and cats have also played a part in folk beliefs through the ages. Cats have been loved by Japanese people through the ages.
Yanaka in Tokyo is famous not only for its old world charm, but for its sizable population of friendly stray cats. Of all the sights to see in the cozy, old-fashioned neighborhood Yanaka, one stuck out to me the most: cats, cats everywhere.
Gallery Nekomachi 猫町 is an art space that only has cat-themed works on display. I felt that it was like a spot which would appear in the films of Ghibli. The 15-year old gallery itself is a pleasant place to visit, occupying an old house at the top of a steep set of stairs.
喜爱猫咪的东京 “谷中银座” 商店街，有很多以猫作为吉祥物的店铺，猫迷们走在街上，总会被那些真假猫们牵去了目光。
My Photo Essay on Japan Kyoto UNESCO World Heritage Site's JIshu Shrine《京都地主神社求良缘地》in Special Travel Edition Publication Dated 30 August 2019
A wonderful start to the weekend! My photo essay under pen name 蓝天游 on Kyoto, Japan UNESCO World Heritage Site's Jishu Shrine 地主神社《京都地主神社求良缘地》is published in today's zbNOW/早报现在 Lianhe Zaobao 联合早报 Special Travel Edition ! Thank U so much 感谢、感恩 :)
I’ve started a new painting. I was always trying to figure out something new to try, artistically. And so this circles series. Each circle painting measures 12" x 12".
WHY CIRCLES? The circle is a universal symbol everyone can relate to. Simple yet profound, it symbolizes wholeness, enlightenment, and the universe in all cultures. For us, the circle means connect, create, and celebrate.
When I work in this style, I create the circles spontaneously and decide on their placement in an entirely intuitive manner. I don't pre-plan anything. I then painted in various circles, one color at a time. For instance, first I painted in all the yellow shapes. Then all the orange shapes, then blue, green, etc.
I strive to create a balanced variety of circles and colors. The idea is that the different shapes and placement of colors will cause the viewer's eyes to bounce around the canvas. In this way I seek to create a sense of movement and energy in these funky artworks.
There is beauty in repetition.
For anyone who enjoys the sight of old-fashioned Japanese houses and the rich culture that flourished in the early 1900s, the Nezu residential district of central Tokyo is a wonderful place for a stroll. The joint Takehisa Yumeji and Yayoi Museums are located in two adjacent buildings in a side street near the Tokyo University. Takumi Kano, a Japanese lawyer, established the Yayoi museum in honor of the painter Takahata Kasho. Six years later, the Takehisa Yumeji Museum followed.
A very happy start to a great week! My photo essay under pen name 蓝天游 on Hong Kong's Jao Tsung-I Academy《隐于香港的饶宗颐文化馆》is published today! So happy to see it being featured nationwide in print! Special thanks to Lianhe Zaobao, you have made my day! Thank U so much 感谢 感恩 :)
My Photo Essay on Taiwan Old Streets《台湾老街漫步游》in Special NATAS Travel Edition Publication Dated 2 August 2019
A very happy start to July ! My photo essay under pen name 蓝天游 on Taipei, Taiwan《台湾老街漫步游》is published in Lianhe Zaobao 联合早报 zbNOW/早报现在 special NATAS Travel edition today! So happy to see it being featured nationwide in print! Special thanks to Lianhe Zaobao, you have made my day! Thank U so much 感谢 感恩 :)
Minimalist Bookstore in Tokyo Morioka Shoten - A Single Room with a Single Book 全世界最小的书店，东京 “一册、一室” 森冈书店
The minimalist principle of eliminating everything superfluous. This concept is brilliant. There is one such store in Tokyo since 2015.
All you will find in the tiny bookstore of "a Single Room with a Single Book” Morioka Shoten in the luxury shopping district of Ginza in Tokyo is simply a single room with one table in it, displaying just one book. More precisely, multiple copies of the said title will be there for one week, with a different book coming up in the following week, and so on. The agony of choice is washed away, as Morioka Shoten has made the choice for you.
You must buy the book Morioka Shoten wants to sell you. How refreshingly easy.
This store is tucked away in a little nook in Ginza in Tokyo. I circled it 3 times before almost giving up then I caught sight of a little sign and finally honed in on its location. Gekkoso, a historical art store, is established in 1917 in Ginza, Japan. This quaint art store is more than a hundred year old and they make some of the most iconic art supplies and stationery items. It was one of the original store in Japan to bring wester art supplies into Japan. Their logo is a cute French horn, as a symbol to gather friends in one place.
Once you get in, it is a small but magical place. I am just an amateur artist but the stuff here sure makes you wish that you are a professional artist. The paper, the colours, the sketch books everything is delightful.
The Gekkoso shop has all the watercolor you can imagine. The handmade brush is also worth to invest on. The price isn’t that expensive compared to other designers’ brushes. Of course, I got myself some of the Gekkoso brushes and acrylic paints as memento for the trip.
Think back nine years. In other words, cast your mind back to the faraway year of 2010. Where were you and what were you doing?
When I started That’s Life Capture It! blog in July 2010, I never expected it would be anything more than a hobby (that’s all most blogs were back then). Had you told me back in 2010 that I’d still be chugging along, spewing out posts about the places that capture my attention, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. A lot has changed since those early years, from my own personal experiences to the general landscape (less bloggers, the rise of Instagram and social media overall). Quite candidly, it’s sometimes been more than enough to want to throw in the towel, especially as I still have a full-time career and a half-completed academic course study. But now, with more than 250 posts, thousands of visitors from around the world and countless memorable experiences, I’ve never been more excited and committed to the possibilities that lay ahead. I’m so happy to get to do something I love and call it my passion, and I’m proud of it I’ve built along the way.
My greatest learning has been the importance of accepting myself. Of being proud of what I put out there, of the message I send and of the type of blog I am creating. If you have been along for the whole time you know the blog has taken many turns…some better than others but all with the true intention of creating content that is authentic and organic.
Comparing myself to my fellow travel blogging peers has been a struggle; I am human. But what I have learned is that we are all on our own journey. And while our paths may cross, and often times do, we all have different goals, different passions and different dreams. Each one of us is pursuing happiness. I feel nothing but inspiration and motivation. And so I use that inspiration and motivation to drive me forward. In a saturated “market” of blogging, it is important to stay in my lane; to be true to myself and remain authentic and real. I know that my learning is not done. Almost everyday I learn something new about this journey.
My Photo Essay on Penang's Camera Museum and Singapore's Vintage Cameras Museum《咔嚓！留下恒久的记忆 槟城与狮城的老相机博物馆》Press Publication Dated 1 July 2019
A very happy start to July ! My photo essay under pen name 蓝天游 on Penang's Camera Museum and Singapore's Vintage Cameras Museum《咔嚓！留下恒久的记忆 槟城与狮城的老相机博物馆》is published today! So happy to see it being featured nationwide in print! Special thanks to Lianhe Zaobao, you have made my day! Thank U so much 感谢 感恩 :)
Ginza is perhaps Tokyo’s most prestigious shopping district, known mostly for its high-end department stores, galleries and luxury boutiques. There's no shortage of art galleries in Tokyo, but in upscale old-school Ginza, there's one that goes back, waaaaaaaaay back.
On a recent visit, I happened upon the Okuno Building, a former apartment building that was built in 1930s. The Okuno building has somehow survived not only the ravages of World War II, but also the wrecking balls of development through the boom years thereafter. It is now home to numerous art galleries, shops for artisans and design collectives.
Looking rather like a mini Chungking Mansions in Hong Kong, the Okuno Building stands in complete contrast to its modern Ginza surroundings, almost as if it were a piece of art itself. Unlike restoration or revitalisation projects in Hong Kong, the Okuno building looks and feels basically the same as it did decades ago. There are no fancy makeovers or upgrades. The floorings have been untouched since the building was designed over 80 years ago. The interior matches the exterior perfectly and is wonderfully old, rusty and worn down. Flaking paint, bent railings, deep ruts worn into the concrete floor, it looks more like an abandoned ghost complex than a working building. The art inside is constantly evolving, with many exhibitions lasting mere days, but just walking around in the building is fun in itself. While appearing haunting to enter, I strongly urge you to experience its narrow corridors and short ceilings, poking into gallery after gallery, getting lost in its gloomy corridors and wondering if you are going to fall through the floorboards.
Let me introduce a cherished breakfast experience in Tokyo.
First things first, if you have never been to Yanaka district, just get off the train and go exploring. It is one of those rare gems in a city like Tokyo, an area steeped in history and endowed with countless historic temples; it never seems to garner the same kind of attention like the ‘old-Japan’ seeking tourist hot spot that is Asakusa. But this is what makes it great. Yanaka is Edo. You don’t even need a map, just take a walk down any side street and you are bound to come across a temple with some kind of historic importance. Basically, Yanaka is that wonderful of a topic that it deserves a post all of its own, for another time.
Within the midst of all that history stands the Cafe - Kayaba Coffee.
Kayaba coffee is a fusion of ancient and modern. This traditional coffee house has been running for over 70 years. The building itself is a worth-seeing spot as it was built during the World War I in the so-called “old downtown” of Tokyo. The coffee house has survived the earthquakes and the air raids during the War and exterior remained unchanged to this day. However, the true charm of this cafe is its ability to adapt to modern times. The original owner has closed the place in 2006 but it has been brought to life once more in 2009 with the help of non-profit organisations and the people behind the nearby art gallery SCAI THE BATHHOUSE. While Kayaba coffee house has been renovated, you can feel the retro spirit all over the place, from the original sign post, tatami mats, chairs and coffee cups that have been used for decades. The warm atmosphere will make you feel at home.
I can’t see a thing.
There’s clouds of smoke billowing in every direction. People rushing by me with growling bellies or expensive cameras; and everywhere I turn I smell the essence of Japan.
It’s night time in Tokyo Omoide Yokocho (more commonly known as Piss Alley or Memory Lane), and the place is starting to fill. Every shop is wafting a different delicious smell from their open BBQ’s down the narrow and crowded alley that’s usually filled with locals and tourists from every country. It has its roots in the black market which sprang up in post-war Japan in the late 1940s. It was more famously known as Piss Alley, probably as back in the old days at makeshift black market tent bars, there were no proper toilets, and drunken people just pissed around.
While the entire place actually burnt down in 1999 and was remade into the alley of today, all the decor and the general vibe was deliberately made to feel authentic to the post-war era. I think this would be an awesome setting for a Kung Fu movie of sorts. There’s just something about it; from the old looking decor, the crazy amount of smoke coming from the open flames, the shoulder-to-shoulder people sitting on tiny chairs in tiny restaurants, the lights, the sounds, the smells. Oh god, the smells.
It's chaos. But i love it.
在日本旅行时，我都会去居酒屋喝杯小酒吃串烧，感受一下日本的居酒屋悠哉气氛。沿着东京新宿站西口陆桥，与高楼大厦形成对比，充满昭和复古氛围的长屋，就是Omoide Yokocho （回忆横丁）。横丁在日语里是胡同、小巷的意思，思い出横丁 翻译过来就是“充满回忆的小路”，是不是光听名字就有一种很文艺很浪漫的感觉呢？然而这里之所以出名倒不是文艺，恰恰相反，是因为在这里可以体验到繁华东京最接地气的市井美食。从远处看也非常醒目的个性招牌，是这里的特色之一。回忆横丁都是满满居酒屋店家，共有80几间的餐厅。每家都是小小的，人们肩并肩地坐在吧枱前。当中有17间是串烧店，烟雾弥漫，非常热闹。虽然环境简陋但是价格相对外面的居酒屋要便宜许多，可以算是迷你版和低配版的深夜食堂了。
Finnish Nightmares: A Must-read Social Guide for Anyone (Not just for Finns) 芬兰人的噩梦, 超人气幽默又另类芬兰社交指南 / 漫画集
These are funny books of finnish people. I spotted these little books at a bookstore in Finland and was curious to see what kind of nightmares the Finnish have. After flicking through and realising they are in English and also hilarious I bought them both to take home to Singapore. Apparently, the Finnish Nightmares books have been bestsellers worldwide.
Finnish Nightmares by Karoliina Korhonen, is a collection of comic art detailing the life of finnish Matti, who loves silence and personal space. If someone gets angry or is behaving badly, he wonders what he has done wrong. The idea is interesting, and I like the way the nightmares (universal as they are) are represented. Who of us hasn't felt awkward when someone invades ones space? Who doesn't feel at least a tiny bit of social anxiety when standing in an elevator with a stranger? What about that awkward moment when you accidentally touch the salesperson while collecting your change? Small talk turning into something way serious? That´s when it happens. A finnish awkward moment. And I could go on. These books have made me wonder if I'm maybe a secret Finn? The author says that if you relate to any of the comics you may have a little Matti living inside you. I think I am Matti.
芬兰艺术家Karoliina Korhonen创作了一个漫画系列，取名为“芬兰人的噩梦”（Finnish Nightmares），漫画的主角叫Matti，是一个典型的芬兰人，注重平和、安静的个人生活，尊重人际交往中的个人空间、对待他人的礼貌以及避免不必要的搭讪。
Painting attracts so many people today of all ages. Painting is not just for the professional. Painting can be a pastime or a hobby too; and pursued for the satisfaction of simply trying something one has always wondered whether or not they could do. I think most people like the idea of painting something of beauty and feeling good about being able to say they painted it. Painting as a hobby can be relaxing in a stress filled life. It can be an escape into another world, a world of calm. Anyone can pick painting up as a hobby and enjoy it. One will not find themself dealing with boredom when taking up painting. There are many benefits to the hobby of painting.
Painting tree silhouettes is slightly more challenging than drawing, however I find the experience to be therapeutic and very much worth any effort involved because the end product is striking and beautiful. Something to be proud of every time. Looking upon a gorgeous tree silhouette gives me a feeling of peace. The fact that they are also some of the easiest natural things to recreate makes them one of my favourite subjects to paint.
I love to use acrylics. The canvas size that i usually use is 12 x 18 inches. Acrylics are very forgiving. If you don’t like the way it looks once the paint is dry, paint right on over it. Keep adding layers until you are happy!
As a rule, using black in painting is usually a no no. It creates a hole in your picture when used carelessly. Having said that I love using blackest black for my silhouettes because it slices a striking, intricate and delicate pattern in the paper or canvas that I find beautifully captivating. If you prefer not to use black however, you can always just use a very darkened version of whatever other colors you are using. Although I said that acrylics are forgiving, and they are, however painting a purely black tree on your background is not going to be easy to paint over if you mess up, so proceed with caution.