Right, since I last posted I've been to Xi'an, Beijing, Tokyo, Hakone and am now in Kyoto.
But this shall not turn into a travelling blog of any sort. This for now is a collection of some my favourite bits.
This first one is dedicated to Vanessa:
Yes, Etam lives on. I hadn't seen one in years since the Ealing branch and the Tammy Girl attached closed down. But the apparently recession and taste proof chain charges on in Northern China - Hurrah!
And on that note, Kyoto in Japan boasts this gem...
Wehay! In case you ever wondered where the Japanese buy all their stunning and original accessories the mystery is solved. Claire's Accessories, the crafty buggers.
On a non-shop related note I've been reading a collection of Charlie Brooker's Screen Burns from the start of the noughties and his best suggestion so far? Circa Christmas 2003 he requested we all petition Lemmy from Motorhead to re-release 'Ace of Spades' so the general public could buy it into Christmas Number 1, so undermining the Popstars Christmas single...ring any bells?
And that folks is all for now, so really the title of this was a bit of a misnomer. My sincere apologies.
A totally NYE unrelated post for you today, as I don't feel like revisiting 2009. Out with the old in with the new, like this totally awesome school gate near us.
Design-wise it's amazing. It's a classic example of the Chinese taking something western a little too literally, not understanding the meaning and depth of in this case western idealistic depictions of 'fairy tale lands'. It reminded me of a hotel I passed in Beijing last time I was there. I've tried desperately to find a photo but can't. Essentially the hotel was a pretty basic looking one with some Roman-style pillars, a big marble lobby and gracing the driveway a huge copy of the Trevi Fountain, more normally found in Rome.
The Trevi Fountain -where it's supposed to be, in Rome.
Looking at it from a Western perspective you just go - well, no you can't just copy the Trevi Fountain. The whole point of it is that it's Baroque and has a deep cultural and specifically Italian meaning and history. The new version has no history or meaning it's merely a fake that means nothing to anyone. I've tried to think through the psychology of this many many times as it's something you see repeated throughout China, but so far I've never found any sort of real explanation for it.
The Chinese highlight of this phenomenon by the way has to be 'Window to the World' in Shenzhen. 130 reproductions of famous monuments from around the world, all in one theme park. It's just not the same really is it?
Although over all and especially in the case of the school gate, I bet the kids love it. Maybe we just take ourselves and our cultural history too seriously in the West.