Tai Ping Shan: street

28 11 2016

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Le Than Thon

30 07 2016

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The Japanese and Korean enclave, which starts by the river and spreads down Le Than Thon, is one of the city’s nicest places to wander, with its bakeries and sushi bars. Small alleyways branch off the main strip, into grids of tiny, self-contained streets, maze-like and filled with tucked-away bars, jazz clubs and cafes. Some of the streets are decorated with paper Japanese lanterns, and others with street art.

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Ainu for dinner tonight?

4 04 2016

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Its always fun to spend a lazy afternoon hanging around in Thonglor. One such day I wandered up past the Thonglor Art Space to 1979 Vinyl and Unknown Pleasures to flick through some vinyl and pick up a local indie CD. I met a friend at the Roots Farmers garden, where an expat childrens’ birthday party was in progress and I sipped kombucha in the onsite bamboo hut by the goats and the chickens and then we headed to the Commons for dinner (see above), followed by pandan yadong (Thai hard liquor) cocktails and Cuban music at Studio Lam. And wandering the backstreets, as the late afternoon heat settled and the sun set over the palm trees, as ever in Bangkok, unearthed a few unexpected sights. There was a hipster bar made from shipping crates, a Korean youth hostel, the cute Okinawan restaurant I always mean to try and a restaurant/bar with an Ainu (indigenous Japanese minority) theme. And valet parking. Very Thonglor.





The mysterious East

1 02 2016

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Heng Fa Chuen is probably the least distinguished station on Hong Kong island’s MTR line. In the four years I have been in the city, I am pretty sure I have never heard anyone mention it. Located in the Eastern stretch of the island, just before the Chai Wan terminus, it is a no-mans land of middle class housing estates and old industrial buildings around a working harbour, overlooked by hills covered in graves.

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But its also home, I discovered this week, to a bizarre “Paradise mall” with faux-Roman interior and “suicide angel” art work. Even more surprising is that a little walk away, about half the way to Chai Wan, hidden away in the port district is one of HK’s cooler stores, from Japanese brand Undercover. Featuring some cool (and I thought, reasonably priced) designer gear, a canopy of lightbulbs and a door made of a photo-collage with eyes cut out crazy style, it provides a hip edge to what is still a quite a rough and ready part of town, with its looming vacant blocks and windowless canyon streets of concrete industrial silos.

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Backstreets of Kagurazaka

12 01 2016

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Yanaka

4 01 2016

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The Eastern suburb of Yanaka has recently become fashionable for its old-skool Shitamachi atmosphere. It is littered with shrines, and its Twentieth century-style shopping streets along the Yanaka Ginza and Hebi Michi (the winding “snake road”) have now been augmented by cafes and galleries as well as, in some places, tourist shops.

We went to find Maruhi, a pocket-sized gallery and cafe located in a 1920s house only to find it closed for the new year, as was the popular SCAI Bathhouse – a contemporary art space located in a repurposed sento.

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Luckily the graveyards with their napping taxi drivers and squawking crows, and Nezu Shrine, one of Tokyo’s most beautiful with its Kyoto-like arcade of red torii arches, were still there.





4 01 2016

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