• DSC_0205
  • September 11 2012
  • Shirakawago
  • WALKING TO WOOLWORTH MIX BY DJ GOWHERE
  • Summer Palace
  • By: Go Katayama
  • Last Days in Beijing (1 of 1)-7
  • june (1 of 1)-2
  • Must be the Shoes

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Hurricane Sandy: The Day After in Dumbo, Brooklyn

After seeing images of massive floods in New York City go around on the web, especially the one with Jane’s Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park completely surrounded by water, I woke up this morning to snap some photos around the Zone A area in Dumbo, Brooklyn. I hope everyone is safe and for the rapid recovery of the MTA and power.

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As of this morning, the Manhattan Bridge was closed off (now it’s open and back and running, yet not many cars can be seen).

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Plymouth Street and Main Street intersection.

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Remaining floods from the night before.

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“Cupcakes”

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“The Aftermath”

Park Closed No Entry – Relieved to see the Carousel still there this morning.

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Minor floods in Dumbo, Brooklyn

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You can see how high the water was at its highest from the night before.

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More damage.

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At the East River Ferry dock. Quiet morning, mostly spectators walking around with cameras like me and dog owners talking their dogs for a walk.

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Hurricane Sandy: New York Goes Dark

Here’s a view from Dumbo, Brooklyn. You can clearly tell that the buildings in the foreground of the photo are all dark.

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Taken at 11:00pm Eastern Time.

ImageIt’s rare to see absolutely no traffic on the Manhattan Bridge.

Japan’s Most Beautiful Villages: Shirakawago

As the title suggests, there should be some beautiful picture of this beautiful village in central Japan in this post: so here it is. Located in the mountainous regions of Gifu Prefecture near Takayama city is the beautiful city of Shirakawago. It’s so beautiful that it’s even listed in one of the 39 Japan’s most beautiful villages alliance(only in Japanese). This post has been long overdue and I apologize for the lack of posting but as my last post suggests, that young people are heading out to Tokyo and the larger cities for better opportunities I still feel that there is so much more that the country side in Japan has to offer. This committee that decides the “beautiful villages” has a nice guideline on how it decides which villages should be on the list. Just because the villages “looks” beautiful doesn’t cut it. For example, the village of Iitate over in Fukushima was chosen for its “madei way” of life which incorporates a self-sufficient life style not relying on technology nor nuclear power(the irony as this village was affected by the recent crisis). But the way people interact and appreciate each other’s presence within the community was also seen as a big part to these guidelines. If you ever get a chance to break away from Tokyo I would highly  recommend hitting up one of the many beautiful villages in Japan.

At the entrance of Ogi Village.

Ogi village. Rice fields and the light green color covers the entire vicinity.

Shirakawago is worldly known for its gasho-zukuri minka homes.

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The narrow road leads you back into the village.

The water is as clear as you can get. You can see all sorts of fish and animals along the water route.

View of Shirakawago from the top of the observatory.

Shirakawago awaits you.

The Misconception of “Tokyo = Japan”

This topic has been on my mind for quite some time especially after living abroad and hearing from my non-Japanese friends talk about their travel experiences in Japan. Especially after the 3.11 crisis, one of the first reactions I noticed was the foreign concern over whether or not Tokyo was affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Second impression was people saying “Oh Tokyo is not affected, phew then everything is cool”. I agree, Tokyo is the capital city; center for Japan’s politics, economy, culture and society and if Tokyo was hit hard by the earthquake and tsunami, the effect on Japan and the entire globe would have been detrimental(hence the nuclear reactors were strategically tucked away in a local environment but we can talk more on this later). But from my experience abroad, besides a small number of Chinese people who have come to  love the flower gardens in Hokkaido, most people will definitely start off in Tokyo and maybe visit Kyoto to see the “ Real Japanese culture” if they have time. I think it’s right to say that most people can’t name another prefecture other than Tokyo or Osaka. From this concept  it is not a mistake for foreigners to think that Tokyo is what Japan is all about. But from this 3.11 crisis and the effect of the Tohoku region to the rest of Japan has taught us that a much more balanced country with resources spread across the entire country is desperately in need.  But domestically speaking, why is everyone moving to Tokyo? This summer I have spent much of my time traveling around the local scenes around Japan and I can clearly see that not only the birth rate in Japan is in decline but it’s even more severe in the regions outside of Tokyo. “The youths have all left and found a new living in Tokyo and Osaka” said one of the shop keepers in Miyazaki prefecture.

This trend of human resources, information technology centering in Tokyo has stopped the development of other areas in Japan. When in times of crisis I can’t stop but to think of how the US has New York as its financial center and Washington DC as the center for politics; China has Shanghai and Beijing … you get my point. But this nuance of “If I go to Tokyo, I can make something/prove something for myself” ideology still exists today especially within the youth. It’s also interesting to note that the flexible and easy passage to Tokyo, making it possible for anyone in Japan to relocate to Tokyo. For a comparison with China, it’s not that easy for a Chinese person living in a third tier city to move into Beijing just because there’s more opportunities in Beijing. You need to have enough money saved up to get by in Beijing. Either way, this crisis has taught us many lessons and this idea of centralizing everything into Tokyo needs to stop now and regional government bodies need to step up. Is another round of Tokyo re-bidding to host the 2020 summer olympics really necessary? I’d prefer seeing Hiroshima and Nagasaki co-host it more than anything. Surprisingly enough I run into people who are surprised that the city or Hiroshima still even exists today…

I don’t know the GDP break up of Korea off the top of my head but Seoul as the financial center and capital could be similar to Japan as its proximity to the North Korean border(DMZ) has always been a concern to many of the Korean specialists that I have come into contact with.

Around Shibuya Station in Tokyo in the afternoon with busy traffic

A platform at JR Shibuya Station

The JR Subway Map at Shibuya Station. Most prefectures surrounding Tokyo have benefited from the proximity to Tokyo and its relatively cheaper real estate.

[DJ GOWHERE] SUMMER IS HERE MIX

Summer is here and we all need some tunage to start up this summer! Check out my newest 30 minute mix which includes 9 new and old tracks of soulful and nu-disco flavors. Please do play in high volume and share it with your rave partners. Enjoy.

1. The Joneses – Summer Groove
2. Louis La Roche – Be Brave
3. Carte Blanche feat. Alexis Taylor – With You
4. Tiger & Woods – Kissmetellme
5. Les Loups – Show U The Luv (Les Loups Rework)
6. Phonat – Love Hits the Fan (Bestrack Remix)
7. His Majesty Andre – Untitled Vinyl
8. Justin Faust- Holdin’ On
9. Rogerseventytwo – Take Me Higher

Check out my other monthly mixes here.

[Photo] Where’s the news about Japan these days?

It’s been 100 plus days since 3.11 and unless you are in Japan, I feel that you rarely hear too much about the aftermath of the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami these days. In China, after a week or two topic of interest quickly switched over to the nuclear reactors in Fukushima. Its’ interesting to see how most of the major foreign media companies spit fired all they want talking about how Fukushima is the next Chernobyl and they ignored how the survivors are dealing with their changed every day life. No one can deny the great amount of hysteria that was caused by the foreign media journalists post 3.11. Foreigners in Japan or “flyjins” were in panic and had no choice but to flee the country believing the words from their media of origin. In Japan, I feel that most Japanese media companies looked up to foreign media outlets in the past. You could find that most articles in Japan would use an US media company to enforce the writer’s point or thesis. But what happened? I have seen stereotypical adjectives come up in pieces that if a writer really understood the complex society of Japan, he/she would never have used; such terms like Ninjas or Kamikaze to describe the Fukushima 50. The greater portion of interest for readers and writers may be over but in reality, Tohoku region is still in ruins today even after 3 months. In a country like Japan, still left in ruins even after this much time, to me, tells the story of how significant this incident really is. Since being back in Japan for a week now I can’t stop but to hear stories about the survivors from the Japanese media; how it has changed Japan as a society and how people interact with one-another. I learned today that over 1,500 children have lost one or both of their parents from the earthquake and tsunami. According to NHK, the government has stated that family members who have not been found past 3 months can be declared dead as opposed to the usual 1 year rule that was applied in Japan. That means family members are rushed to find their beloved ones as reconstruction is carried on at high pace; making it harder for them to find family members. There are days recently that not a single body is found as more than 7,000 people are still missing. In Japan, survivors yearn for their family members body to return back to them even if they know the person is already dead. All I ask is for everyone to take a moment and please think about the survivors and the family members of the victims. Their journey to recovery  has just begun while the aftershocks have yet to end.

By: Go Katayama

Chinese people take a close look at the "Japan Tohoku Earthquake Photo Exhibition" at 798 Art District in Beijing

[Photos] Pollution and Phone Lines around Dawanglu

My last couple days in Beijing reminded me of my very first days when I first arrived to this city exactly a year ago. Dry, hot, and polluted summer in Beijing. Driving back from my usual Wangjing Korean Saturday lunch back into Guomao, I couldn’t stop but to notice the low visibility. Sitting next to the cab driver, I took out my camera for some snap shots out of my window as I passed an electric tower and some phone lines (around Dawanglu). I’m currently back in Japan so I’ll be catching up with my photos from Beijing as a I put up more from Japan.

[Photo] Guomao Bridge and CCTV Tower

It’s interesting to see that people here in China have many ways to keep themselves involved. I spotted a man playing with a batton over some fast paced trance music.

[Beijing Seen] Miami Heat Club in Beijing

The other day, I wanted to get dinner at a local 家常菜, home style Chinese food, restaurant around Sanlitun and learned that the restaurant was no longer there and was replaced by the MIAMI HEAT CLUB. I’m a die hard Bulls fan and I just couldn’t stand that my favorite Chinese food joint was taken over by this club located right by D-Lounge and Salsa Caribe. But this comes to a simple conclusion that NBA does sell in China but will most likely follow the footsteps of OBAMA CLUB in Shanghai.

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