Quick Review of Tokyo Art Book Fair Ginza Edition 2019

I love, love, love the Tokyo Art Book Fair. It’s a concentration of great ideas and you can almost feel the creative energy emanating from the pages. From March 8th to April 7th, Tokyo Art Book Fair is holding the “Ginza Edition” at Ginza Sony Park. The Zine’s Mate shop is open every day. On weekdays you can buy books from a vending machine and on the weekends, exhibitors replace the vending machine. Each weekend has different exhibitors. I love the vending machine concept. Between the vending machine and new exhibitors every weekend, there’s plenty of motivation to go more than once.

 

I shared a table with Art Byte Critique on the opening weekend. Working with ABC is another reason I love TABF. Throughout the year I enjoy watching my fellow artists’ creations morph from idea to physical object. Then during TABF we get to see people interact with our books and ask questions. ABC also shared the table with artists from England that we have been collaborating with over the last two years. I really admire how they push the idea of book form and their craftsmanship.

 

 

Like every year we’ve been next to great tables and this year is no exception. Our neighbours were Anmoc Books, which is based in Korea, Homspun, a clothing shop in Shibuya, and COS. COS had a beautiful book about structures and folds.

 

 

Anmoc Books had some of the most beautiful photography books I’ve seen. Their craftsmanship for handmade photography books is amazing. We traded a few books.

Taehee Park of Anmoc Books with fellow exhibitor

 

On a personal note, I was really excited to finish Glow in the Dark Pop Out Mushrooms for TABF. The case is covered with polymer clay that glows in the dark and the  hand-drawn and painted concertina. The smaller green book, Pop Out Mushrooms was first shown at Launch Pad Gallery in September in the Reading Between the Lines exhibition.

I also had a new project called Space songs which is based on the electromagnetic and radiation waves translated into sound.

I’m going to take my own advice and check out the vending machine during the week. I’ll update the post with pics from my next visits along with some books.

Organized by the Tokyo Art Book Fair & Ginza Sony Park
When: Mar 8 – Apr 7, 2019 from 10:00 – 20:00
*Mar 8 will be from 17:00 – 21:00.
Where: Ginza Sony Park 5-3-1 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

TRANSIT
Connected via the B9 Exit of Tokyo Metro Ginza Station (Marunouchi Line/Ginza Line/Hibiya Line)
5 min. walk from the Central Exit of JR Yurakucho Station (Yamanote Line/Keihin-Tohoku Line)

Zine’s Mate:  Every day from 10:00-20:00

Vending Machine: Mon – Fri, starting  from 10:00 – 20:00

Blogging Gear: Logicool Keys to Go Bluetooth Keyboad Review

Red version of Logicool Keys to Go at a cafe and used with an iPhone 6plus
Red version of Logicool Keys to Go at a cafe and used with an iPhone 6plus

I’d been looking for a keyboard to use with my iPhone and my iPad. I’m honestly rubbish with the virtual keyboard. I don’t intend to compose epics but I wanted something to do a quick blog post on the go or a quick scene for a project. Being the picky person I am, my dream keyboard needed to be light, qwerty-format, easy on the hands and not weirdly folded. Affordable and accurate figured highly on the list.

During a trip to Bic Camera, I saw the Logicool Keys to Go keyboard. It’s not the smallest keyboard but it’s thin, flat and light. It also comes in black, a nice turquoise and a fablulous red. It’s qwerty-formated without any weird gaps to make it foldable. I quickly looked up user reviews on Amazon.com (because I prefer English reviews) and people sounded happy with it.

Was the search finally over? I tried the display keyboard. The keys felt a bit stiff and my only slight irritation was that the space bar is near the edge of the board and felt awkward at first.  As I write this, I’m no longer having that problem but I’m seated at a table.

I bought the keyboard (it currently seems cheaper online at Bic and Japan than in the store) and charged it up when I got home. It charges via USB quite quickly. It paired easily with my iPad and pairs with a second device if you hold the bluetooth button on the keyboard for two seconds to make it discoverable again.

I like that I can easily highlight, delete and copy text using the keyboard shift and arrow keys. I have the same command key functions I have on a regular keyboard except for command/z (sadly my most used command). It’s also possible to make an em-dash (option/dash) ). What can I say, I’m picky but easily amused.  I’ve been using the app iA Writer and it’s working really well but I’ve used it for texting also.

The keyboard also has function keys: home, language, camera, play and volume. The function key that switches between Keys to Go and the virtual keyboard is really helpful though it’s a habit to develop I think. I spent some puzzling moments wondering why the keyboard wouldn’t pop up when I wanted to text someone after a phone call. Duh… I still had keyboard priority not virtual keyboard. I actually really enjoyed texting with the keyboard instead of the virtual one. My friend appreciated the break from my usual absurdly innaccurate texts.

My keyboard came with a detachable device stand (I have the impression that this is not the case for sales in the US but I’m not sure). It words really well with the iPhone (best in landscape orientation) and is okay with the iPad (which MUST be in landscape orientation, not upright) but that feels a bit tippy.

There is no user manual in the box, just a set up sheet. The user manual is online  and is useful for a quick overview of everything. This link from the support site is specifically about pairing devices.

So far, I like Keys to Go a lot and I’m very happy with the purchase. I feel like this keyboard is the component I’ve been missing and kind of makes my iPad feel a bit obsolete or my iPhone a whole lot more useful.

SPECS:
242 x 6 x 137mm
180 g
Micro USB cable
2.5 hours to full charge
Usage time: each minute of charging gives you 2.5 hours of use (recharging frequency will vary between users)

Short Review of “Japanese Manga, Anime and Games Exhibition” at The National Center of Art Tokyo

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The show is running now until August 31 and tickets are 1000 yen, photography is not allowed on the exhibition.

I have mixed feelings about this show. I’m a manga, anime and game fan and I was really excited to see this show. I saw some favorites like Ghost in the Shell and Detective Conan, and Work by Osamu Tezuka, Final Fantasy and Monster Hunter. I saw some artists I wasn’t familiar with and a bit about 3-D rendering for Grand Tourismo.

I most particularly enjoyed the character development examples and the story boarding for animation.

But this show is also really text heavy and most of the text was in Japanese only. If your reading level is good you will definitely get more out if it. Maybe it was the language barrier, but I felt it had a kind of sterility that the few interactive games didn’t make up for.

If you’re a die-hard fan or otaku, you probably will not find anything new (but who knows). If you’re looking to be educated and expand your knowledge of the field, you need language skills.

Do I regret going? No. I enjoyed the art and the storyboards. I just wasn’t as amazed as I expected. I feel like the show tried to be too broad and maybe lacked depth. Maybe it’s best to say it’s like a primer to the topic.

I’m keen to hear other perspectives of the show. Please let me know what you thought of the exhibition.

Mission Yarnpossible: Calgary

Since my European Yarnpossible missions, the wristwarmers,  and Argie I hadn’t made anything for months. From late March, I’d been working on a writing project and a photography project which took up all my time. In May I went to the Romantic Times Book Lovers’ Conference in New Orleans and visited my family in Canada. It was lots of work and lots of fun. But I was going into maker withdrawal. Making something from yarn is like a kind of meditation for me with the bonus that I have some product to show for my time. Still, I don’t live in Calgary anymore so I don’t know any knitting stores there.

My mom gave me five balls of Sirdar Denim Tweed DK that she found during a cleaning binge. I thought, “Hey great! Free yarn.” But then the yarn sat there, and it just begged to be made into something. But I don’t have a crochet hook. Then I think, “Hey! I could maybe buy some Noro books in English.” Remember that Phildar pattern I liked? Noro Love has a pattern called Aimee that is similar. I know you can order books online, but I’ve been burned too many times before on craft, crochet and knitting books. Just because the picture is great, doesn’t mean that the book is going to work for YOU. I need to hold that book in my hands and check all the patterns and the instructions before I spend my money.

Gina Brown’s
Happily, Gina Brown’s has a great Noro selection and a great selection of Noro pattern books. I also wanted to consult someone because I’d need to adapt it to make it longer and I need advice on the wool. The pattern calls for Kochoran, a wool that Noro discontinued. There is no substitute for talking to experienced staff at a knitting store when it comes to swapping out wool.

diamond_woolI promptly got the Noro Love book and then talked yarn with the staff. She recommended I try Malabrigo Chunky or Diamond alpaca wool.

I loved the feel and colors of Diamond alpaca. I wasn’t sure about my tension, so I bought a ball to try it out. I knew right away I wasn’t going to be my sweater. It was soft, colorful, quick to knit but I forgot how much alpaca sheds. I gave up on the swatch but decided to use up the yarn by making a pair of slippers which would be far from my face in daily life. I took a look at some slipper patterns then decided to try my hand at making my own pattern. Luckily I used just under one ball, plus a contrasting trim to make up the slippers. It took about two days to make them, including start, restarts and shopping. Everything was great but the shedding! I was covered in blue hair. It looked like I was owned by a big blue dog.


Super warm, felted slippers from Estonia
Even super warm, felted slippers from Estonia are no match for chilly ceramic tiles

The idea to make slippers was no doubt was inspired by the glacial temperatures of the ceramic tiles on my parents’ floor. Even my super slippers Ratti and Ratto couldn’t protect me from chills. It turns out that my new alpaca slippers make great inserts for Ratti and Ratto. The extra layer of alpaca is like a massage for my feet.

While shopping at Gina Browns’ I nabbed a fun book, Monkey Around by Patons for knitting or crocheting various kinds of sock monkey toys and accessories. I promptly bought more wool to complement the my recently acquired denim tweed to make a sock monkey cosy. I post about the sock monkey cup holders in next week’s Yarn Addiction Thursday.

Gina Brown’s has lots of lovely fibers in some of my favorite brands, Malabrigo, Noro and Cascade. The staff was lovely and I got lots of great advice. They also showed me a pair of magical knitting needles. Check them out in an upcoming Yarn Addiction Thursday post.

5718 1A Street SW
Calgary, AB T2H 0E8
Phone number
(403) 255-2200
http://ginabrownsnews.blogspot.jp/

Pudding Yarn
I just happened on Pudding Yarn when I took my mom out for lunch on 17th Avenue. We parked the car and right outside was a yarn store I’d never heard of. It’s been there for a while, but I no longer live in Calgary I’m out of touch with shops. It was also perfect timing because I had just decided that the lime green cascade yarn I had for the sock monkey cup was a great contrast color for the slippers but the size just looked too awkward. My attempt at amore delicate edging failed miserably. The woman who worked at Pudding Yarn was helpful and the store has a lot of nice, luxurious yarns. I was able to get a really nice yarn (Phildar, coincidentally) in a lovely deep magenta to trim the slippers.

1516 6 St SW, Calgary AB T2R 0Z8
(403) 244-2996
http://www.puddingyarn.com

It’s interesting how my memory of yarn shops in Calgary has changed, or perhaps knitting in Canada has changed. When I was just starting to knit in high school, most of the patterns were Patons or Beehive with the occassional exotic French patterns. The yarn was ok, but not particularly amazing compared to the wonderful array of colors, textures and materials available today.

Wonder Photo Shop Helps You Finish Your Photos with Fun.

Wondering what to do with that great photo you just took? Check out Wonder Photo Shop in Harajuku.

Wonder Shop is on Meji Dori 1 minute away from Omotesando Crossing.
Wonder Shop is on Meji Dori 1 minute away from Omotesando Crossing.

“I have my print, what next?” is an overlooked challenge in photography. The life cycle of a photo tends to be, print it, frame or album-book it and eventually shove it in a box when it got in the way or toss it. One huge advantage of digital photography is that our boxes full of photos are virtual instead of virtually all over the place. But photos aren’t meant to be forgotten in a shoe-box or on a hard-drive. Digital imaging allows us to be more creative with the format of our final images than ever. Wonder Photo Shop by Fuji Film can help you make your photographs into fabulous objects.

Different rolls of washi tape are hung on the branches of a metal tree for display.
I love this display idea. I wish I had the space (and the tree!) to do this at home.

Whether you uphold the time-honored tradition of scrap-booking or just want to stick your photos in a cute album, Fuji Wondershop has an array of scrapbooks, albums and accents to help you along. They have a nice selection of the Washi tape/ patterned masking tape which is quite popular recently. The tape makes a nice way to attach photographs to albums, books or papers. This tape is more forgiving than glue or stickers and, depending on the surface, generally can be pulled up a couple of times.

Animal photo holders.
Total inspiration for a future polymer clay project!

There are many frames or stands available for displaying photos. My favorite is the animal figure. It is cut in half with magnets attached to the middle. Place one half in front, the other behind and the magnets and animal keeps the photo upright.

Like any modern photo store worth its salt, you can print directly from your smart phone via cable, or bluetooth with a photo printer. An L-sized print is 30 yen and is available fairly quickly.

The shuffle print which looks like a more stylish contact print, might be a great way to show off Instagram prints. If you have more time, you can order large prints or print onto other surfaces. My favorite is making your own smart phone cover. I tried this and will be blogging about it next week.

If you are still loving analog and lomo-style, you can buy mini-instant film (polaroid style) for Fuji Instamax cameras. There is also 35mm film available and some cool 35 mm film cameras. For those with studio aspirations, there is a rental studio on the second floor.

Wonder Photo is for anyone who wants to make easy, nice looking prints but the store definitely continues the women-friendly vibe found in magazines like Joshi Camera. (Joshi Camera has been promoting women-oriented photography and photo-finishing for some time) and Popeye Camera (locations in Jiyugaoka and Minato Mirai). I think Popeye was the first store in Tokyo to target the female photographer market with its selection of camera  gear, paraphernalia, stationery and photo developing. Like Wonder Photo it’s a one-stop film/memory card-to-finishing photo store designed for everyone but very appealing to the female demographic. Universotokyo has a great review of Popeye Camera.

Without stores like Wonder Photo and Popeye you would spend more time hunting down the same items at places like Bic Camera and Ito-ya Stationery then creating. The curation of photo-specific products and stores with specific samples of how they can be used is a welcome, and really fun, addition to living with photography and making it part of your lifestyle.
 Access:
Subway: Fukutoshin Line/ Chiyoda Line. 1 Minute
Exit #7, 1 minute from Jingumae Station. You will be on Meiji Dori. Turn right (in the direction of Shibuya/ away from Omotesando).
JR:(Yamanote Line) 6 minutes
Use main exit (NOT Takeshita Dori exit) and walk down Omotesando towards Aoyama. Turn right at Meiji Dori (landmarks are Tokyo Plaza or Lotteria on the Burgers on the corner). Walk one minute. Shop on the right side of the street.
Car: only paid public parking (not affiliated with the shop) available

FUJIFILM WONDER PHOTO SHOP
150-0001
Tokyo-To, Shibuya-Ku, Jingu Mae 6-29-4
Hours: 11:00-20:00 Every day except Year End/New Year Holidays.
Shop Phone #: 03-6427-9703
Studio Phone #: 03-6427-9709
Fax: 03-6427-9719

〒150-0001 東京都渋谷区神宮前6-29-4 1F&2F [studio]
open 11:00 – 20:00 [年末年始を除き無休]
1F tel 03-6427-9703 [shop]
2F tel 03-6427-9709 [studio] 
fax 03-6427-9719
●東京メトロ千代田線/副都心線「明治神宮前」駅 7番出口から渋谷方面徒歩1分
●JR山手線「原宿」駅から徒歩6分
(お車でお越しの方は、有料駐車場をご利用ください)

In Pursuit of “Wabi Sabi”: Chiaki Horikoshi’s Exhibition

2021 NOTE: this article was posted in 2014 and reviews an event at that time

A multimedia artist and cantaor (flamenco singer), a flamenco dancer, and a tea ceremony practitioner all display their skills on the opening night of an art exhibition. Sounds incongruous, doesn’t it? How does fiery flamenco relate to the placid tea ceremony?

horikoshi-poster_webMultimedia artist Chiaki Horikoshi’s makes this connenction in his exhibition “Wabi Sabi Asobi” held in the lobby of the Park Hotel in Shiodome until May 18th. He paints, does installations, creates ceramics and sings flamenco. He divides his time between Japan and Spain. Horikoshi’s pursuit of the concept of wabi sabi isn’t some kind of cultural jumble sale but ties this eclectic mix together and in the process illuminates the concept of wabi sabi and its emotional range. Wabi sabi is one of the more difficult concepts of Japanese art. In a modern design context it roughly equates to Asian shabby chic. But it has deeper roots. It started as a religious concept in Zen. From that point of view it is about learning to live life as it happens, to engage life rather than passively observe it and avoid unnecessary stressors and distractions. To engage this as a practice, one embraces the imperfection of an object as beauty as opposed to fault, to appreciate the changes age brings. To that end, natural objects or materials have more value as they weather and exhibit change. So let’s examine the elements of this opening night and how they illuminate the concept of wabi sabi.

Sadou, The Tea Ceremony

Horikoshi took the wood door of this chashitsu off his own house.
Horikoshi took the wood door of this chashitsu off his own house.

Here we find the installation portion of the exhibition. Horikoshi constructed a cha-shitsu (a tea room) out of mountain trash—sasa branches, logs, rope and grasses. The idea of the installation was to create a respite from the urban world made from natural materials. Both the installation and the materials are impermanent, satisfying the essence of wabi sabi. Inside the cha-shitsu are the standard tatami mats, tea implements and a kakejiku (hanging scroll) painted by Horikoshi. He created the chawan (tea bowls) as well. The lighting at night was dim and relaxing but during the day, light could stream through the gaps in the leaves.

Fuyuko Kobori and Megumi Harada of the Kobori-Enshu school conducted the ceremony. Harada-san conducted the conversation element of the ceremony. During a tea ceremony one should avoid talking about daily hardships or stress. It’s not a place to talk about work. One talks about the seasons, the weather, art or good memories. Though I was unfamiliar with the few required responses and was unable to follow the topics as closely as I liked, I enjoyed the rhythm and flow of the conversation. Watching Kobori-san immerse herself in the motions of making tea was fascinating. The precision, grace and economy of movement while preparing the tea highlighted the experience of drinking bittersweet macha from exquisite bowls. The elegance of the ceremony complimented the oasis of the cha-shitsu.

Fuyuko Kobori performing sadou.
Fuyuko Kobori performing sadou.

The tea ceremony meets the ideals of wabi sabi through the natural materials, the creation of a room and an experience that allows one to focus on completely on the task at hand. Kobori-san and Harada-san will do many more tea ceremonies, but that moment, at that place will never happen again—wabi sabi. The Flamenco I admit, I was dubious about the flamenco, likely because I have a hard time relating to dance. I also thought flamenco was more about pageantry. I was so wrong.

As cantaor, Horikoshi sang two songs. The first was accompanied by guitar. The music was raw, emotional and seemed complete yet spontaneous. I could see how Horikoshi was immersed in his song and the moment. As the cante ricocheted throughout the central atrium of the hotel lobby, I felt keenly grateful that I was present for this moment, gifted with this song. http://instagram.com/p/m327wWuzJD/ The second cante was accompanied by a percussionist instead of a guitarist. This time, flamenco dancer, Yuri Matusmaru, performed. Her dance–no dress, no fan, just a pair of jeans and a long shirt–was flamenco pared down. This was no practiced routine. A friend of the artists told me the performance was improvised. With the song and the dance I was witnessing the artists’ immersion into their work, creating a singular moment never to be captured again. And so flamenco meets the wabi sabi ideals of transience and investment in the moment. We can see this in the final portion of Yuri Matsumaru’s dance in the video below. http://instagram.com/p/lY1376uzCo/

I’m fortunate to know a flamenco dancer, so I asked her if I was making the right connections. Did I see wabi sabi in flamenco? She explained to me that flamenco is at it’s best when an experienced dancer improvises, passionately engages in a moment never to be captured again. She led me to a concept in flamenco called duende. This is the moment where the “spirit of the dance takes over the dancer.” In Spanish folklore duende is a spirit (like Japanese kami I wonder?) that exists as an artist’s muse. Duende is an interesting concept that I’m just beginning to explore. Like wabi sabi, I may never understand “the” definition. But here is the part I find most interesting: with duende, one doesn’t simply surrender to the muse but battles it. I like this idea because that the artist remains in the equation. One surrenders but still retains control. Like the tea ceremony, you find a balance between owning the rules and following the rules. Duende seems to be on the same wavelength as wabi sabi, but on the other end of the spectrum. The concept of wabi sabi and duende exist on a continuum of artistic expression and immersion into the moment. Sadou exemplifies an immersion into the rhythm or rules and ritual to create a transitory moment of experience and flamenco has an immersion into emotion and self-expression through dance and song to create a different kind of transitory, a one-of-a-kind moment.

Note: Kobori Enshu will hold another tea ceremony on May 11th. There will be several sessions. Chiaki Horikoshi will participate in the evening ceremony and give an artist’s talk. The evening session costs a bit more but also includes sake! You can reserve a spot at http://fuyukokobori.com/category/upcoming-events/.

Revisiting 15 Authors Who Influenced Me Because It’s My Birthday.

It’s weird when you come across things that you wrote a while ago. Reactions fall into two camps, Completely Cringeworthy or Still Resonating. It’s my birthday today and birthdays for me reflection. Usually I make a list of good and bad for the last year and make a list of goals for the next. But I came across an old post from three years ago and I decided to revisit and update it a tiny bit.

My friend, Missy Taylor, tagged me with this challenge to list fifteen authors “who have made some sort of lasting impact on [my] life, from early childhood to now, whether it was to make [me] read, write or both.”

Intriguing. It soon became apparent I had two categories: authors I love, authors who have caused a paradigm shift in the way I see the world. Here is the list sort of in the order I encountered the authors and the their work that influenced me.

Dr. Seuss: I Wish I Had Duck Feet
This is the first book I was able to read to myself and my siblings without help from an adult. The imagination of Seuss, the silliness and weirdly wonderful are a basis for my aesthetic today.

A.A. Milne: Winnie the Pooh
My mom gave me a hardcover. It was lovely. It had nice black and white illustrations. I loved them so much I wanted to color them. I did. Mom was not so happy. Coloring the pictures was my way to interact even more with the characters. Ernest H. Shepard, thank you for the lovely illustrations. I think this is the book that made me want a best friend. Piglet FOREVER!

Roald Dahl: James and the Giant Peach
I read this, then I read everything he wrote. I mean EVERYTHING! Similar to Dr. Seuss, Dahl’s way of seeing the world really affected me. I’m still attracted to the ludicrous and the darkly funny.

Homer: The Iliad and The Odyssey
Greek Mythology and the basis for thousands of plots in the future. And so begins an addiction to classics. I didn’t read the version I linked to, but I did read a rather kid-friendly version. I was a bit shocked to re-read it as an adult and see all the sexy stuff. Nothing wrong with the sexy stuff, it just surprised me that I just missed all that as a kid.

Anne McCaffrey: Dragon Song.
One of the first books I read with a strong, and actually interesting, female character. I don’t count Anne of Greene Gables. She was just way to girly for my tastes. Nancy Drew just seemed way too wealthy to be real. And then there is the McCaffery’s Pern series.

Frank Herbert: Dune
First there was Dune and way after there was Star Wars but that is not the order I experienced them. My first intro to complicated world building. I wanted to be Paul Atreides. Or date him. I think I spent hours trying to move just a single muscle like the Bene Gesserit. And Paul’s challenge of proving he was a human and not an animal by thinking instead of reacting to pain really challenges me to this day.

I also loved Herbert’s The White Plague. Scary book. Never piss off a geneticist who experiments with viruses.

Robert Browning: “My Last Duchess”
Okay, he is a poet, but still… MAJOR influence. This was the first dramatic monologue I encountered. Excellent example of people saying one thing and meaning it, but reality being completely different. I’d experienced that in life but to see it as a literary device blew my mind.

Ray Bradbury: “Sound of Thunder”
This is the story where the butterfly effect comes from. Pick anything by Bradbury. You won’t be disappointed.

Edgar Allen Poe: “The Cask of Amontillado”
Similar to “My Last Duchess” in terms of what is said and what is real. I imagine Poe must have scared himself so much he needed all those drugs just to be able to close his eyes. To be honest, that tv show, The Following, has kind of ruined Poe for me.

Isaac Asimov:
I think I have read everything that he wrote but I did so in my teens and twenties so now I don’t remember specific plots as much as I remember being in awe.

William Shakespeare: Macbeth
Macbeth is my favorite because I think that play is all about choices. It’s what happens if you decide to believe in prophecy instead of making your own decision free and clear. Proof positive that a story that taps into human motivations will always be relevant. Humans are still fascinated with glimpses into their future, but I think that “knowing” your future means you give up the ability to make decisions based on your free will. The knowing influences you to make events fall out differently than you might if it were simply based on your beliefs. I suppose I’ve over simplified this but distill it to the core and I think this is what you get.

Ursula K LeGuin:The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas
Amazing story of choices and prices for our leisure. I’m not so into her other stuff. I never was able to finish The Wizard of Earthsea.

Jane Yolen:
Her fairytale reinventions are intriguing and inspiring. Real proof that a modern storyteller can use the same plot but it is ALL in the way you tell it.

Mary Jo Putney: The Rake
The Rake is a regency romance with a realistically flawed hero. He’s and alcoholic with some serious issues and a believable redemption. This is the first romance book I read where I thought, “I want to write romance!”

Amanda Quick a.k.a Jayne Anne Krentz: Reckless
Hello Regency! I think Reckless was the second regency romance I read after The Rake, then I got hooked on Amanda Quick. Really, I like them all and I read most of her books during a summer in San Diego. I also like how her heroes were never really described in minute detail. I think her heroes and her heroines are not particularly beautiful, but they are beautiful to each other and that is more interesting. Suddenly, historical fiction was fun! I based almost a whole trip to London on visiting places I encountered in her novels.

I’d love to read what the 15 is for others. You don’t have to add commentary, but it would make it much more interesting.

Photos From Narita Express

Sent from my iPad

Heading to the airport on the way to visit my parents in Canada, I decided to play with an app I hardly ever use. The PuddingCamera App uses a variety of film types and retro camera lens types from single lens, twin lens to 4 lens. I think the single lens type is not very interesting. Instagram does a better job for the retro effects but limited to squares and PhotoWizard also does better with the filters but has the ability to crop as you like. I haven’t tried Hipstamatic. I have friends who do great things with it.

What I like about Pudding Camera is this four lens format. The app takes the image in four parts with a bit of gap and overlap. It gives a subtle David Hockney joiners effect that is fun.

I haven’t used this app a lot. When I get something I like, I like it quite a bit but it takes a lot of retakes to get the effect I want.

Would love to hear what other people are playing with for photo apps.

Most Useful Glue Ever!

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Have you ever wished that you could make your own Post-it type notes? Or maybe you wanted to glue something on but still be able to take it off?

I just found a really nice tape-style glue that does the trick. Kokuyo has a product called Dot-liner that comes in two types of glue. It works just like the white-out tape. Drag it along your paper and you get a neat, smooth line. No goop. No spills.

The つめ替え(tsume kae) type allows you to glue items but remove it from the surface and replace it without damaging the surface or the item. The glue remaining on the paper rubs off with without a trace with a finger, unless your finger is dirty.

I’ve been using it for laying out photos and text for a book project I am working on. I’m able to take the workbook with me and work on the go without worrying that things are going to fall out. It’s never been easier to do this.

Tape always looks messy or gets bulky. Stick glue doesn’t always work. Sometimes stick glue gets chunky when applying. It’s also supposed to be “permanent” but I’ve found the stick glue often loses its stickiness. It doesn’t clean off from paper surfaces nicely either.

You can buy it Japan at almost any stationery store or at Amazon Japan. I’ve seen similar stuff on Amazon.com but I think your best bet would be to check a scrap booking place.

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Helping You Navigate the World of Photography and Digital Content Creation: B and H Photo Continues to Impress Me.

Today I was looking for a way to convert my LPL6600 enlarger into a copy stand. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, and since I live in Japan, I definitely don’t want to give any space to one more object with a large footprint.

I expected a difficult web search to reveal all sorts of weird mods requiring extensive use of duct tape and gaffers tape but the solution turns out to be a simple adapter part. My first search revealed the part for $60 (CDN) but I thought I could maybe do a bit better. Amazon.com didn’t turn anything up and then I remembered my holy grail of camera equipment so I typed in the url. And true to expectation, B and H had the same part for twenty dollars less (assuming the Canadian-American currency exchange is still around even).

Here is a link to the magic part in case your curious.

I love B and H Photo. In New York, it’s at the top of my top places to go and thing to do. When I went to New York last year, B and H photo was the only place I made sure I to have a picture taken of me. The store’s selection is pretty thorough for all things camera-y, even obscure camera items. Last year I was able to get a Lee graduated ND filter after not even being able to order one in Tokyo.

But apart from an intriguing inventory, today I found another reason I like B and H in a tab in the website’s menu bar, “Learn In Depth.”  This leads me to the review portion of this post. This menu tab leads to a selection of articles and videos in categories such as photography, video, home computers, subdivided into more categories such as “Lighting Tips”, “Prosumer Gear”, “Printers”. I’m thrilled! A quick browse of the topics on offer shows a site that I can point friends and relatives to when they need more information than I can give. If you really dive in, you can read lots of product announcements, as well. Who doesn’t like product announcements?

While I generally know what I’m looking for when it comes to camera and lenses I like to research equipment even if I’m not in the market at the moment and I love reading product announcements. A regular favorite of mine is http://www.dpreview.com/. But camera-newbie friends have told me that it can be a bit intimidating. With gear in general, it doesn’t take long to get overwhelmed by the selection, and the new product news. I really appreciated the easy to read format of the articles.

In case you wondered, I’m not affiliated with B and H beyond being a happy customer. I’m just sharing a link that I thought you might like or find helpful. Here’s the link once more for good measure!

Feel free to post any links that you like or that help you navigate the world of photography and digital content creation. I always love  learning more. It’s a vast, never-ending field.

Happy creating!

L.

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