Los Angeles’s Hidden Japanese Village

Hidden in a 5,000 sq-ft warehouse in Los Angeles lives the Japanese Cultural Village. Fashion designer Peter Lai is the owner of the space and it holds a tremendous collection of Japanese art, antiques, and design.

Lai was born in Hong Kong and initially went into the family business as a costume designer. But in a bold move, he decided to leave China and move to Los Angeles to pursue fashion, an endeavor in which he was extremely successful. His eccentric and flamboyant designs, inspired by traditional Japanese and Chinese styles, were highly acclaimed and have been worn by Hollywood celebrities.

Not sure on the protocol for visits but regular visits and guided private tours were $15 and $30 respectively and available by appointment only, according to Lai’s Facebook page.

The Secret World of Los Angeles’s Hidden Japanese Village

(via Atlas Obscura)

A Love Letter to Lisbon

Breakwater Studios produced a short film in honour of Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal. Sofia Domingues read the poem “Viajar” by Fernando Pessoa which was really fitting:

Viajar! Perder países!
Ser outro constantemente,
Por a alma não ter raízes
De viver de ver somente!

Não pertencer nem a mim!
Ir em frente, ir a seguir
A ausência de ter um fim,
E da ânsia de o conseguir!

Viajar assim é viagem.
Mas faço-o sem ter de meu
Mais que o sonho da passagem.
O resto é só terra e céu.

This left me feeling a bit emotional as I love Lisbon and I really want to go back this year, providing it’s safe to do so.

Animals on the London Underground

elephant drawing made out of London Underground lines

A really cool site I found while I was digging through Kottke.org’s archives.

Animal’s on the Underground’s backstory:

The animals were discovered by London-based designer, Paul Middlewick in 1988. They’re created using only the lines, stations and junctions of underground railway maps. Paul first spotted the elephant while he was staring at the world famous London Underground map during his daily journey home from work.

The more he looked, the more animals he found and the elephant was quickly joined by many other cute animals including a bat, a cat, a polar bear, several dogs and even a bottlenose whale.

But over time, people have discovered animals on other underground transport systems including the Moscow Metro, the New York Subway, and the Paris Metro.

You can buy a desk jotter and a pack of 3 notebooks from the site to help maintain the site as well as donating to them directly via PayPal.

Sadly, no hippos have been found yet. Stream the site’s featured video below.

Enjoy aerial footage of Moscow in 5K

Moscow in 5K

By now you should be self-isolating/social distancing/flattening the curve. It’s been a struggle for many and one of the biggest things people are missing is going on holiday. But you don’t necessarily have to leave the house to experience another city or country.

TimelabPro is a team of aerial videographers who film different cities around the world using drones. For this one, they stayed close to home and filmed Moscow from above in stunning 5K resolution. The vibrant colours and arresting Soviet architecture are breathtaking to witness, even if the footage is fleeting.

One of the most alluring scenes in the video is of the Worker and Kolkhoz Woman sculpture. It depicts two figures holding a sickle and a hammer over their heads and stands at 78ft tall (24.5m). Vera Mukhina was the sculptor, having initially made it for the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris before it was moved to Moscow. An iconic Communist monument made in archetypal steel and a prime example of socialist realism.

In terms of equipment, TimelabPro used a DJI Inspire 2 to film the footage but buying one will set you back at least £3,059 should you want to try drone videography for yourself. I think once it’s safe to fly again, it’ll be more cost-effective to book a flight to Moscow and experience the city with a standard camera.

Facts and figures about the London Underground

London Underground sign

Back in the day, there was a train journey that had no barriers at either station. My home station eventually changed that but I always wondered what journeys you could make with the potential to just walk right on through without a ticket (I do not endorse this btw).

Who is Geoff Marshall?

Geoff Marshall is a TfL enthusiast and created a page on his website dedicated to London Underground facts and figures. It’s particularly helpful for disabled people as not all stations have escalators or lifts. Also interesting to see how many stations are so close together in terms of journey time. Leicester Square to Covent Garden, for example, takes less than 40 seconds on average.

Check out Geoff’s YouTube channel for more content about TfL.

More Secrets of the DLR

Haarkon's Japan Travel Tips For First-Timers


It’s a (pipe)dream of mine to visit Japan before I die. But money’s too tight to mention and it’s not cheap to go. If it happens, I’d probably need some advice to respect the culture and not come off as too much of a Western ingrate.

Haarkon is the photography project of India Hobson and Magnus Edmondson and they wrote an article giving travel advice for people looking to visit the country. In it, you’ll find stuff on transport, accommodation, language, and general advice. I did find this passage interesting:

There is this huge preconception that Japan is mega expensive and we went bracing ourselves for that. In actual fact we found that it was comparatively cheaper than a lot of places we’d been to; Copenhagen, USA just for a couple. We’d say that it was probably similar to London. 

Similar to London? That’s expensive to me but I guess I don’t earn a great deal and if I did, I wouldn’t have trouble saving up for Japan. That said, a visit can be suitable for any budget so I’ll bear that in mind.

Read the full article on the Haarkon website.

And if that doesn’t suit, here are 10 tips from someone who lives there.

10 Must Know JAPAN Travel Tips No One Talks about ...like POLICE

Concrete Montreal Map is an atlas of the city's brutalist architecture

Concrete Montreal Map

The name Carte Montréal Béton just sounds great on its own. It is, of course, the French name for Concrete Montreal Map, the latest brutalist map from Blue Crow Media.

It’s said that Montreal became a canvas for concrete architecture during the early 20th century, with a peak during Expo 67 which the below Habitat 67 was built for. Designed by Moshe Safdie, it’s a brutalist landmark and one of Canada’s most famous pieces of modern architecture.

Habitat 67, Montreal (not from the map; via jean hambourg on Flickr)

The company have already made maps for major cities such as London, Boston, New York, and Paris. Montreal has an abundance of brutalist buildings and photographer Raphaël Thibodeau brings all 56 of them to life in monochrome.

Australian brutalist fans can rejoice as Concrete Melbourne Map is out later this summer.

Place Desjardins by Société La Haye-Ouellet; Longpré, Marchand, Goudreau; Blouin et Blouin; Gauthier, Guité, Roy; Ouellet et Reeves
Place Desjardins by Société La Haye-Ouellet; Longpré, Marchand, Goudreau; Blouin et Blouin; Gauthier, Guité, Roy; Ouellet et Reeves

(via Wallpaper)

Pizza Pi - the Caribbean’s only “food truck boat"

pizza pi

The U.S. Virgin Islands is a group of islands in the Caribbean and home to an amazing pizza restaurant. But it isn’t on dry land. Pizza Pi is the Caribbean’s only “food truck boat, specially fitted with a commercial kitchen that cranks out New York-style pizzas”.

Based in the Virgin Islands, you can order a Pizza Pi pizza by boat radio, phone, or email, but they don’t do delivery. Instead, you have to collect your pizza in Christmas Cove. That means people on the west of the islands will need to travel a bit.

Sasha and Tara Bouis were the masterminds behind the Pizza Pi but sold the boat to another couple, Heather and Brian Samelson. Despite changing hands, the food remains the same and there haven’t been any complaints so far.

PIZZA PI — The best pizza of the caribbean — Sailing Uma [Step 78]

An empty water park In Dubai made a dope skate park

An Empty Water Park In Dubai Makes A Dope Skateboarding Venue

Imagine having an empty waterpark all to yourself. And when I say empty, I mean without any water. That’s what a group of skateboarders had at their disposal during a maintenance day at Aquaventure Waterpark in Dubai. So that could only mean one thing: an epic session.

You take for granted just how big the chutes are in water parks until they’re drained. The video is pretty short but there are no signs of a longer version (much to the chagrin of some YouTube commenters). This would make the sickest level on Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater though.

Skating an Empty Water Park | Xtreme CollXtion

Blue Crow Media Loves Brutalism

Blue Crow Media are publishers in London who started out making a series of food and drink city guides, before branching out to architectural maps. Their Brutalist maps are now all the rage, covering world cities such as Boston, New York, Paris, and Berlin.

I adore these maps and I hope to get the London map soon. My last few trips to London on the Underground have involved me traipsing through the city looking for as many brutalist buildings as my legs would allow. This map is essential.


Airport Novella - A Comedic Book by Tom Comitta

airport novella

Walking through departures feels like taking steps through a wardrobe into Narnia. You can buy things tax-free and as far as you’re concerned, you’re already on holiday the moment you’re at the gate. At the overpriced newsagents, they sell cheap holiday books. A few hundred pages of drivel containing gaping plot holes, excessive use of adjectives, and poorly constructed characters. But people buy them anyway because who needs a difficult read for a week on a sunny beach? These ideas formed the basis of Tom Comitta’s Airport Novella.

The 48-page book contains four chapters, each one dedicated to a particular gesture: “nodding, shrugging, odd looks, and gasps”. What does that entail? Download a free copy or purchase one to find out (but physical copies are shipped to the US only).

When Joanne the Scammer Visited Britain

When Joanne the Scammer Visited Britain

A very insightful 20-minute documentary on Branden Miller, the man behind Joanne the Scammer, and his journey to Britain for the first time. Getting to see both sides of the Joanne coin makes for interesting viewing and you become more appreciative of the performer as well as the performance. There were wonderful dresses and lots of sightseeing in that classic Joanne style.

UPDATE: It appears the video was cancelled so enjoy this Caucasian tweet and the preview for the documentary that never happened. Iconic!

Joanne The Scammer Takes Britain: Behind Branden Miller's Rise To Fame | Instant Exclusive | INSTANT