November 7, 2011 § 1 Comment
March 15, 2011 § Leave a comment
It’s March Break in the city and I couldn’t help but wonder about what I’ll be doing when my school breaks for good at the end of next month. As hallway conversations fade from midterms and exams to interviews and job offers, it’s clear that we’re swiftly approaching the next chapter of our lives. But what do we do next? I’m always flattered when people tell me that they have no idea how I manage to juggle school, work and life but my rationale for my unorthodox work ethic is easily summed up in one word: passion. When I was in high school my favourite English teacher used to drill us with pages of famous and sometimes not so famous speeches.
While I may not remember anything about computing integrals in calculus, I’ve always remembered a speech by Martin Luther King that emphasized the importance of being passionate about what you do. Though not verbatim, I find myself referencing the street sweeper to friends who haven’t quite figured out where their life is heading. If you find yourself in that boat and need a little bit of motivation to get you on the right foot, don’t listen to me, hear from the man himself. Here’s the transcript from MLK’s speech at a Philadelphia high school in 1967. Enjoy.
I want to ask you a question, and that is: What is your life’s blueprint?
Whenever a building is constructed, you usually have an architect who draws a blueprint, and that blueprint serves as the pattern, as the guide, and a building is not well erected without a good, solid blueprint.
Now each of you is in the process of building the structure of your lives, and the question is whether you have a proper, a solid and a sound blueprint.
I want to suggest some of the things that should begin your life’s blueprint. Number one in your life’s blueprint, should be a deep belief in your own dignity, your worth and your own somebodiness. Don’t allow anybody to make you feel that you’re nobody. Always feel that you count. Always feel that you have worth, and always feel that your life has ultimate significance.
Secondly, in your life’s blueprint you must have as the basic principle the determination to achieve excellence in your various fields of endeavor. You’re going to be deciding as the days, as the years unfold what you will do in life — what your life’s work will be. Set out to do it well.
And I say to you, my young friends, doors are opening to you–doors of opportunities that were not open to your mothers and your fathers — and the great challenge facing you is to be ready to face these doors as they open.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, the great essayist, said in a lecture in 1871, “If a man can write a better book or preach a better sermon or make a better mousetrap than his neighbor, even if he builds his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door.”
This hasn’t always been true — but it will become increasingly true, and so I would urge you to study hard, to burn the midnight oil; I would say to you, don’t drop out of school. I understand all the sociological reasons, but I urge you that in spite of your economic plight, in spite of the situation that you’re forced to live in — stay in school.
And when you discover what you will be in your life, set out to do it as if God Almighty called you at this particular moment in history to do it. Don’t just set out to do a good job. Set out to do such a good job that the living, the dead or the unborn couldn’t do it any better.
If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like Leontyne Price sings before the Metropolitan Opera. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well. If you can’t be a pine at the top of the hill, be a shrub in the valley. Be be the best little shrub on the side of the hill.
Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.
March 10, 2011 § 2 Comments
I never actually posted about the time the lovely folks over at Guu invited the Scion Canada Team over for a mid-day Nomikai. Glo, Ste, Dibs and I quickly accepted and found ourselves alone in the cozy wood-decorated venue with a open view of the buzz behind the counter just hours before the line up started (actually the line had already started when we arrive but the doors weren’t open for business, the open at 5pm). Guu is my home away from my Japanese home, bringing back the authentic sights, sounds and ambiance that I’ve only seen in the land of the rising sun. The food is delicious giving comfort food new meaning. It’s also the only place in Toronto that serves up cassis oolong – a cocktail unlike any others made with a blend of cassis liqueur and unsweetened oolong tea. From the individual bathrooms blasting old school Japanese karaoke tracks to the tiny cube windows that reiterate that you’re not in your typical Japanese Canadian restaurant, it was no surprise that the interior designer was none other than my good friend Bennett Lo of Dialogue 38.
Masaru-san is the head chef and fits the profile of a handsome star of a Japanese drama. He just informed me that the second location of Guu (in what used to be a BK on Bloor/Bathurst) is just about ready to open but is waiting on their liquor license (a key component of an izakaya).
I had a feeling that the izakaya invasion was on the horizon and I’m thrilled to see Toronto doing what it’s always done best, welcoming diversity with open arms and extreme patience while waiting for tables.
If you haven’t been yet then I’d strongly suggest that you give it a try, if only for the experience. I’d also recommend being adventurous with the daily menu offerings and try the natto if you aren’t afraid of fermented soy beans that may remind you of a runny nose. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Thanks to Masaru-san and the rest of the Guu family for another lovely meal and making our tummies feel “Guuuuuuud” .
February 18, 2011 § Leave a comment
February 14, 2011 § Leave a comment
I hope it ends in love.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
November 11, 2010 § Leave a comment
Whenever I’m on the subway, train or just walking around the city I always have my iPod on. Just like theme music, I’ve associated certain neighbourhoods, trends and styles to certain songs. I thought I’d share them with you…enjoy.
SONG: Nothing to Worry About by Peter Bjorn and John
Reminds me of: Sundays at Harajuku – Rock-a-billy kids (or shall I say men?)
SONG: Hollaback Girl by Gwen Stefani
Reminds me of: Girls in Shibuya 109 and in Harajuku – and the picture taking at the start is like every photograph I’ve taken here…except it should’ve been “Cheeeeessseeee-u” instead of “super kawaii”
SONG: I Kiss Your Lips by Tokyo Ghetto Pussy
Reminds me of: the boys who line the “conbinis” (convenience stores) looking at anime porn and bikini model magazines
SONG: Bigger by Backstreet Boys
Reminds me of: Akhibara Maid Cafe – this video also has a lot of good imagery from life in Japan. Ramen shops, karaokes, cabs, Roppongi Hills, the guy in the PJs, Asakusa etc… great song too!
SONG: 2012 by Jay Sean with Nicki Minaj
Reminds me of: Partying in Tokyo – maybe not 2012 but definitely partying til 6 am in the morning!
SONG: Check it Out by Nicki Minaj & Will.i.Am
Reminds me of: My xB – okay well maybe it’s not entirely Japanese but I’m digging Nicki’s body suit. The suited audience reminds me of the Salary Men and Career Ladies you see in throngs on the train all dressed in similar suits, bags and shoes.
SONG: I Bruise Easily by Natasha Beddingfield
Reminds me of: Hostess Bars in Kabuki-cho and the girls who take 2 hours to get ready in the morning
SONG: Round, Round by Far*East Movement
Reminds me of: Drift Culture & Race Queens – even though I know this song was shot in an LA Garage and the Shibuya crossing was re-created!
SONG: Roboto by Styx
Reminds me of: Oh come on, as if you don’t think of this song when you think about Japan!
SONG: Love Letter from Japan by The Bird & The Bee
Reminds me of: Sega Joyopolis and all of the other arcades and sticker picture areas filled with Japanese school boys in uniform!
SONG: Intergalactic by Beastie Boys
Reminds me of: Commuting, Power Rangers fight scenes, and the general nonsensical things that take place daily in Tokyo
SONG: Read my Mind by The Killers
Reminds me of: my hood – with cameos from Gachapin, << that’s right he’s got almost one million followers, the tiny little school kids and the back streets of the suburbs, this video is not only one of my favourites but is also one of my favourite songs too!