February 27, 2011

Organizing Books

Today I spent a whole day restacking and repacking my books into my small bookshelf.  I actually have 2 other places to hide books, but those two are helplessly full.
For several piles of books, I only had 2 rows of shelves.
 The remaining 3 rows are already taken: this is "crafts and knitting books" row.
 And art books and picture books row.
 And this area is dedicated to urban design/planning/architectural books.  Some very technical, like planning laws.  Others, the magazine that I used to work for.
 Found some treasures berried under the piles.  Lee Bailey had been my inspiration growing up.
 Left is a book by a Japanese water-color painter, Goro Sasaki.  I love his work so much.  Right hand side are the books that went into a recycle bin.
 Wow, this classic.  Jane Jacobs is like Mother Theresa to urban planners.
 These two books.  Both are essays introducing the authors' favorite items and books.  Left by a magazine editor (male), right by a fashion stylist.  I used to love both, but somehow, I cannot find the right book inspiring anymore.  Too materialistic and pre-historic.  I think we are in a new world now.

The rest of the day, I was experimenting with iPhone apps and online tools to organize my books.

My Library
I tried this app first. The same guy developed iBookshelf and I don't know which is better.  iBookshelf is cheaper and looks a little better.
It took me a while to get a good handle on this app.
(1) Japanese books have 2 barcodes on top of each other, and the app recognize both but only the top one is valid.
(2) You can't cancel what you are doing.  You just have to follow through and delete the wrong uploads later.
(3) You have to change the setting (at System Setting) to automatically save the uploads, otherwise the app crashes sometimes.
But this app is good because you can access to the data online, email it to your computer.  I used the emailed file to upload to other online tools.

今日は本をオーガナイズするためのiPhone Appsやオンラインツールを発掘してみました。散々探したあげく、一番良かったのはMy LibraryもしくはiBookshelf。両方とも同じ人が開発したようで、私はMy Libraryを使いましたが、iBookshelfの方が安く見た目は良いようです。こつを掴むまでに少し時間がかかりました。

The next step was online book organizers.  I had been using LibraryThing but I couldn't find a way to upload Kindle books, and I don't like the interface that much.  I ended up trying 3 tools.

Has the most data sources.  You can upload any kinds of books in any languages.
Interface is a little hard to navigate.
Help is difficult to use.
Can't use ASIN codes, thus can't upload Kindle books

Great interface, very easy to connect with Amazon.com
Upload function is difficult to use
Help is nonexistent
You can't export your books unless you invite friends and do everything that Shelfari requires, which is too much

Simple and easy to navigate interface
Works with Japanese books!
File (booklist) upload is easy to use
Cannot connect with Amazon

All in all, for a Japanese, I think Goodreads is the best.  Perhaps if you live in the States and read only English books, Shelfari may be a good option.








February 20, 2011

G Tokyo

G Tokyo art event : http://www.gtokyo-art.com/#/op/
I went to an art exhibition in a neighborhood at Roppongi Hills called G Tokyo.  No idea what "G" stands for, but this is an exhibition of up and coming artists both Japanese and others.  Found a couple of unique talents such as Djordje Ozbolt, who was originally from Yugoslavia. (linked here)
His work look like this, for example:
Photo courtesy of Primeira Avenida: http://primeiraavenida.blogspot.com/2008/11/djordje-ozbolt-at-303-gallery.html
Obviously, he already has a big fan base, for there are blog articles about his work, everywhere.  I wanted to buy his book, but too expensive.  Can't wait to see more in the near future!

One of the featured artists was Hisashi Tenmyouya.  He uses traditional Japanese paints, a genre pretty common in the Japanese fine arts world.  I was completely fascinated by his subjects, texture of the paints, and the colors on black backgrounds.
Courtesy the artist and Mizuma Art Gallery and G Tokyo website - pls visit here http://www.gtokyo-art.com/mizumaartgallery.html
Last but not least, Kei Imazu had a very small lovely painting exhibited as a part of Bombay Sapphire funded collection.  The one exhibited there cannot be found online, but her work look like this:

Photo from this blog, and courtesy of the artis and Yamamot Gendai gallery. http://maborosi.yasumina.com/
All in all, it was a great fun!

After that, I strolled around the neighborhood and bought some flowers at my favorite florist.  The shop was literally full of gorgeous hyacinths, so naturally, a few bunches accompanied me home.

 A new season is close...
But it's still cold outside, so we need something for our tummies... like a divine hot chocolate.

On another topic, this guy and I have been bumping into each other quite often.  I have been wanting to ask a permission to take a photo, and today, I found him left alone outside a grocer.
Don't you think a grey short haired dog is the coolest, most fashionable thing?
He also has this very strange and funny expression... definitely something complex is going on in his head.

February 19, 2011

The best profession in the world

The best way to experience music is to be there on stage with the orchestra. Your whole body resonates with  drums and cellos and trumpets. To experience this, being a conductor beats anything else. I imagine, once you experience it, being on a stage, it's irrevocably addictive and you would do anything in the world to do it again.

Today was the last day of a series of Beethoven Symphony concerts (link to the project site - in Japanese). The event was to play from the 1st to the 9th in four installment, spanning for 2 weeks. It was a magical experience, almost like a journey with the orchestra.

When the chorus hit the highest note, my eyes burned and my heart pounded. My very first "live" 9th. I am incredibly lucky that the first time listening to it live was this occasion. Amazing, amazing.

My seat for 4 evenings was in front rows 3rd floor balcony, which means I was practically sitting right above the stage. The sound felt so textured that I could almost touch it with my hands and tongue.

I'm no expert nor critic, but his symphonies seemed to progress as more pieces were produced. The 1st and 2nd being a little bit nervous, a lot of reference to his predecessors. By the 3rd, he gained confidence and the quality jumped. From the 4th to the 6th, he had more ideas than he could put together as one symphony. Unique melodies after another. The 7th and 8th, he became an expert, skillful master, that he could almost compose an entire symphony with his eyes closed. And I found these two a bit boring.
The 9th, the last piece, came to a completely different stage. Like the Beatles' Abby Road. It was like a music fell from the heaven.

My mind still continues to journey with thoughts on Beethoven, it's hard to return to where I physically am.

February 18, 2011

Inspire Me

This image of a restaurant had hit me like a lightening.  This is how I want my house to look like.  The warm color pallet, aged beech color timber, glass and steel, a combination of small lighting...

I found a nice (very old ) apartment where the owner is willing to pay for the refurbishment expenses.  The apartment is on a rooftop, and has large planters.  But I am in the middle of "discovering myself" and "looking around what to do next" phase, I can't make my mind up whether to commit to live in Tokyo just yet.

( I can't remember where I found this photo - I tried to track it back but the site address is gibberish.  I am sorry, it's from the below link.  No intention of violating a copy right.
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_CKEgxIRqxv0/TTW5CS_kL-I/AAAAAAAAENM/_S6D_2JZb_s/s1600/gusto.jpg  )

February 14, 2011

être aux anges

An angel came to me this afternoon with some chocolates wrapped inside it.
Happy Valentines' Day!

Skip my heartbeat


The series of snow-infested days is keeping me very happy. In fact, over-the-top happy.

Ice cold air brushing my fingertips. Snow flakes. Evening strolls. Moonlight on the ground covered with snow. Long evenings. Quiet, deafeningly quiet midnights. Steams from hot drinks.
These things make my heart skip.

Writing this now suddenly reflected an image of a pack of wolves strolling in a snowy woods in the dark.
Perhaps, I had been one of them in my past lives. Or, maybe it's my after life.
No wonder I am a devoted dog person, and I love Jacob.

When the temperature starts to drop, a bell in high above starts to sound, first very subtle, then stronger and stronger. The bell sounds crisp when the air is frozen. The bell is singing, "be aware, something is going to happen. Be aware, the gods are chanting. A happiness is coming."

Snow is like magic powder, like sprinkles of small happiness.

(I have a theory of temperature and human creativity, but I won't go into that today.)

February 06, 2011

The Young Victoria

The Young Victoria [Blu-ray]
An amazingly romantic, beautiful movie.  Emily Blunt, who played the mean co-worker in the Devil Wears Prada, was very charming and serene.  She successfully portrayed a new Victoria, naive but strong and wise.
I had always been wondering what kind of a queen Victoria was, for it was one of the most prosperous time of the English history.  In my school history books, I remember learning many things about the Elizabeth, but not much about Victoria... Most of the descriptions about her era were dedicated to Industrial Evolution and all that had happened during the period, non politically.
Another reason for watching this film is the gorgeous dresses and the interior decoration.  Makes me want to watch it again.
I love this green dress!
Movie Synopsis


You can't believe I actually went out for running/walking this afternoon.   I walked most of the time, but I probably ran for about half a mile, which is quite extraordinary for me.
But I am not stupid as to overdo the thing I am not used to.  I just want to fit into a pair of jeans sleeping in my closet.  I bought a slightly smaller size (I can wear it but it's a bit tight) some many years ago, intending to loose some weight.  There was a time I unhealthily went thinner (from my chronic disease), but now that my health is better, my weight went back up again.
Anyway, I just want to be fit, I don't want to be thin.  I think those guys who like to marry to thin, fragile women are either DB-inclined or insecure, unless the women are pretty extraordinary. (I know YOU are pretty extraordinary, so please don't be offended.)

OK, I went completely derailed.
I am so happy because I dug up some yarn and started a few projects.  Starting new projects is indeed an inspiring, creative act, pushes me to be imaginative and flexible.
The gray tweed yarn (Beaverslide Dry Goods) has been in my closet for a long time, and I finally found a perfect pattern for it.  It is going to be this blanket when it's done.
There was a feature article on antique blankets in a magazine I borrowed from a library, as well as on a blog by my beloved-knitter/designer Jared Hood (who designed the above UMARO blanket).  What I desperately in need is a beautiful blanket.  One cannot have enough blankets in her house.

Another project is a shawl, called Daybreak, only this time, I am making it with two blue colored yarns.  The ball in the front is actually dark navy, not bright blue.  I don't know when it's going to be completed, but I know it will look great.
It's pretty curious that this Daybreak is also designed by another male knitter from Holland, Stephen West.
Last of all, I am still knitting this mittens.  It's still on the needles because I don't love doing colorwork that much.  I just in need of a good and lovely pair of mittens.

On another topic, I am reading a book called "I just want to take cooler pictures!" (in Japanese), and learned a few new (but basic) tricks.  I never fully understood the use of zoom lens until now.  It's fun.

(Sorry about the "Buy at Amazon!" button.  I hate it, I only wanted to display the cover photo, but they don't allow it.)

February 05, 2011

Photo Shoot

My father is selling these iPhone accessories as sort of a side business, going back and forth between Shenzhen and Tokyo.  Most of the stuffs are for techy guys so not fun, but I found some really cute ones among the jumbles!
I am trying to help him by utilizing my photo shooting skill, which I have developed over the past few years taking YARN and food photos.  You never know which experience will come handy!
But of course, I don't have a light reflection board nor professional macro lens, so there are limitations.  But I guess it's ok.  It's for my dad anyway.
Whether the result is good or bad, I love sparklee things and it was totally fun!