Kyoto is a special place to pick up memories and life pieces together and one can always be inspired so much for the understanding of the life. Thinking about exploring the streets of Kyoto on my visit to Japan brings back some great memories of that beautiful city. I thought I would share a series of Kyoto street photos that I took in black and white because sometimes an image just begs to be presented that way.
I love black & white photos (my long-time friends know that I majored in B&W street photography years ago before 'entering' into the colour world). I like the color-blind world. Color- I don’t need it. I just need to take a picture. So in black and white I can get rid of distractions and keep it simple. I have to admit that most of the time they even suck me in and make me walk down memory lane. To a lot of people, many of their memories are best brought back by B&W and so any B&W photo will conjure a general nostalgia.
I’m so nostalgic. Some people might not like it. But that’s my way. Some people understand my pictures, that’s fine. I just miss Kyoto.
(A dying art) Chinese Street Opera In Singapore, Lao Sai Tao Yuan Teochew Opera Troupe 新加坡有上百年历史的老赛桃源潮剧团
Ever since embarked on the photojournalism path, I have developed a deep interest in documenting changes in Singapore and other countries. I devote much effort in capturing other striking images of Singapore society, much of which has since vanished, like, from changing street scenes, vanishing trades, to traditional Chinese Opera and other cultural practices.
When it comes to evoking the mystery and charm of ancient China, few art forms can compare to Chinese opera, with its kaleidoscopic costumes, distinctive falsetto singing punctuated by gongs, and intricate gestures rich with symbolism. Despite serious competition from more modern forms of entertainment, traditional Chinese performance art in the form of Teochew opera continues to persevere in Singapore as a beautiful and timeless craft. One of the few remaining troupes in Singapore, the Lao Sai Tao Yuan (老赛桃源) Teochew Opera Troupe has been performing for more than 150 years, and continues to sustain the art form. Special thanks to Lao Sai Tao Yuan Teochew Opera Troupe, on this occasion — a god’s birthday, celebrated at Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery in Toa Payoh — I am backstage with their crew of opera actors and musicians.
Being a female, I don't have any personal experience with barbershops, however, I wonder how many modern men today visit one. Yes, I know that some shops cater to women, but for the purpose of this photo blog post I'm talking about the barbershop as a male-centric business. A barbershop, by contrast, is a testosterone filled establishment. Barbers are professionals who have accepted the responsibility of the caring for men’s hair and grooming.
In the past, the local neighborhood barber shop used to be the place where men went to discuss news, politics, sports, women and anything else on their minds. Secondly, barbers know men's hair and how to cut it properly and into any style. Thirdly, they can get a shave while they're at it, a close, comfortable shave. Getting a shave at a barber shop is an indulgent experience for any guy, because they know what they're doing. They have the right equipment (you won't find a single disposable plastic razors in sight), know how to moisten the face with a damp, hot towel first and use special moisturizers and lotions that prevent razor burn. After a barber shop shave, a man will somehow feel ready to take on the world.
If you think local barbers = your neighbourhood pakcik who gives you a buzz complete with a smattering of talcum powder, then you are in for an education. It's time to think of barbers as grooming traditionalists and that's what you'll get the moment you step into the Hounds of the Baskervilles (yes, it's actually the title of a crime book novel series authored by Sir Arthur Conan Dooyle, featuring the famous detective Sherlock Homes).
With a polished Victorian gentlemen’s aesthetic straight out of a Sherlock Holmes novel, the aptly-named Hounds of the Baskervilles is Singapore’s first traditional Western barbershop. The decor and service immerses guys in a traditional barbershop experience with a measured attention to detail, from the immaculately coiffed barbers to the handsome vintage furniture the shop is kitted out in.
Tokyo teems with dozens of markets and shopping areas, and sometimes it actually feels like the entire city is a single mega shopping district. When I was in Tokyo, I spent quite a lot of time at Ameyayokocho market, a series of walking shopping streets. The name of the market actually translates to “candy shop alley,” and while you will find some sweets vendors, it’s now turned into an everything alley.
The market is more of an afternoon and night market, so if you go in the morning, most things will be closed and the streets empty. Go in the afternoon or evening, and it’s a completely different story.
The history of Ameyoko is equally fascinating. There used to be a lot of candy stores in the street all perfectly lined up in the early post-war era, thus the name “Ameya-Yokocho”, which literally means ‘candy store alley’. Alternatively, there’s another theory that “Ame” refers to America, thanks to the American army goods that used to be sold here post-World War II.