Liam Wong – After Dark

Liam Wong's After Dark book

We’ve featured Liam Wong previously and now he’s back with a new book called “After Dark”.

After Dark is a one-of-a-kind publication documenting Wong’s nocturnal journeys through the world’s most captivating cities. Following his début monograph, TO:KY:OO, which captured Tokyo’s beauty at night, Wong widens his lens from the city that became his spiritual and photographic muse to Osaka to Kyoto, London to Seoul, Paris and Rome. But he goes still further, seeking the rich tapestries of night-life in the foggy historical streets of his hometown Edinburgh, penetrating the backstreets of the megacity Chongqing, seizing the verticality of Hong Kong from its rooftops.

In classic Liam Wong style, the book has been crafted with a meticulous eye for detail. I particularly like the cinematic feel of the shots and the custom typeface, designed by Toshi Omagari exclusively for the book. 

If you love photography or cinematography, you’ll love After Dark. A crowdfunding project was set up by Volume and met its goal within 48 hours. You can still pledge for a copy here.

How to brew Chinese tea correctly

How to brew Chinese tea right

Forget everything you know about brewing Chinese tea as Goldthread has the inside scoop.

In their video, they look at the “right” way to brew Chinese tea, including the ceremonial process known as gongfu cha:

Gongfu means skill, and cha means tea. It’s a form of Chinese tea service that dates back to the 14th century in Fujian. It places emphasis on the tea’s taste, temperature, and quality.

The ceremony of gongfu cha is a far cry from the American TikToker who made tea in a microwave with a truckload of sugar and milk. If there was a spectrum of tea making, China and the US would be on either side.

Stream the video below.

How to Brew Chinese Tea the Right Way

Tea related: Is tea the new wine?

Black polyglot speaks Japanese, Mandarin, and Arabic

Black polyglot speaks Japanese, Mandarin, and Arabic

Konnichiwa! That’s both a morning greeting in Japanese and one of the few Japanese words I know (the rest are swear words). But for Moses “Mouse” McCormick, that word is a drop in the ocean.

Moses “Mouse” McCormick is a self-taught polyglot and foreign language teacher from the US. His YouTube channel features candid videos where he surprises people who don’t speak English as a first language. The shock is amplified by the fact that Mouse is Black and, thanks to white supremacy, Black people aren’t expected to speak anything but English or “African” (because there are thousands of African languages but people are ignorant. Rant over, back to the show).

In this particular video, How to Speak/Practice a language #98, Mouse speaks a number of languages and seemingly makes some people happy.

Some of the languages he speaks include:

  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Mandarin
  • Cantonese
  • Spanish
  • German
  • Portuguese
  • Vietnamese
  • Twi
  • Somali
  • Arabic
  • Hindi

It does get a little uncomfortable at times. After 5 minutes, he speaks to a man from Egypt who is initially reluctant to reveal where he’s from. But after Mouse explains why he’s asking, he busts out the Arabic and impresses the man.

Most people think that I have a special gift to learn languages. What I’d say that I have most is an open mind, motivation, and patience to learn a language. Using my FLR language learning method, you too can have conversations in different languages as well. If you’d like to really learn a new language, try my FLR language learning course out!

Stream the video below and check out his channel.

How to Speak/Practice a language#98

Fine: the Shanghai cafe that measures 20 square metres

Fine café in Shanghai

What is 20 square metres? It’s 1/357th of a soccer pitch, about 1/267th of an American football field, and less than 1/10th of a tennis court. Now imagine a cafe of that size. And it’s in Shanghai. Then call it Fine.

What is Fine?

Located in the Huashan Lu neighbourhood is a pastry café called Fine 西洋果子店 (literally translated as Fine Western Fruit Shop in English). Despite the misleading name, Fine is part of an “eponymous hospitality chain which runs Japanese retro-style cafés and shops in the city” (thanks to Superfuture for the info).

Brutal wooden minimalism

The rustic style is thanks to local architects Atelier A with a unique concave triangle entrance, adorned with shabby chic painting and dark varnish.

The inside design is much the same, with behind the counter (and the counter itself) full of dark olive kernel wood panelling. For the customer side, it’s all exposed brick and flaking plaster, with suspended lights. It’s like weathered 19th-century apothecary meets brutalism but if someone hated it and went to town on the walls with a pneumatic drill.

Fine’s menu offers a variety of cakes and biscuits, soft drinks and a range of tea options.

Fine’s location

361 Wulumuqi Zhong Lu (Huashan Lu), 200042 Shanghai, China

The surreal animations of Wong Ping

Jungle of desire by Wong Ping

Chinese culture site Goldthread made a video about Wong Ping, an animator from Hong Kong. He’s a 34.4-year-old and started out in broadcasting before founding Wong Ping Animation Lab in 2014.

According to Wong, he stumbled into animation “by chance” while retouching images in his old job. He began creating stories and animations in spurts of boredom and during his free time. He says works within the limitations of his skill and attributes his “lack of ambition” as the reason for short films.

But even if the images are ugly, I want to make sure it’s a beautiful kind of ugly.

Wong Ping

But that hasn’t stopped his work from featuring in places such as the Guggenheim Museum, the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art in Manchester, and the Arts Centre Melbourne. His work depicts the nature and behaviour of humanity in their “repressed obsessions and unfulfilled desires”. Wong’s animations are surreal in style and in the openness of the subject matter – it’s shock and flaw.

Wong says people think his cartoons are ugly because of their perception of animation. But hey, people think brutalism is ugly. He likens himself and his artistic expressionism to that of a comedian. His works are sketches in the comedic sense and finally asks “in the end, is it all just about being funny?”

You can stream the whole interview below and check out Wong Ping’s work on Vimeo.

His ‘Ugly’ Cartoons Made It to the Guggenheim