Tokyo Restaurant Review: Kamachiku
In the backstreets of Ueno, Tokyo, there exists a hidden gem. Buried in a tangle of unnamed streets and residential alleyways lies a transcendental udon shop called Kamachiku. Behind a pristine grove of bamboo shoots lies a 100-year old traditional brick warehouse. The historical building has been restored and renovated by famed Japanese architect Kengo Kuma—the visionary builder famously designing the innovative Tokyo 2020 Olympic stadium.
The warehouse turned udon shop is a far less public statement, but nevertheless, inspired turn of form. The central dining room has been carefully crafted inside the walls of the historic warehouse. A modern, primarily glass outer dining room has been built out from the warehouse, in a space next to a picture perfect Japanese garden. A long, single wood dining table fills the main hall, with seating for up to about 14. When sitting at this table, you essentially feel as though you are dining in the garden outside.
Kamachiku’s signature dish are their traditional Japanese wheat flour, udon noodles. Made fresh daily in the traditional Osaka style, the chefs only serve the noodles for as long as the day’s batch lasts. The menu also features a variety of side dishes, including a precisely prepared assorted tempura dish.
Although hidden away, don’t expect to find a seat if you stumble upon Kamachiku on a weekend. As the lines begin to form well before opening at 11:30. It’s best to get there a half an hour early and sit in the row of chairs set up along side the bamboo grove and Japanese garden. You couldn’t wish for a more ideal setting to wait for a fresh meal in such historic, yet modernized surroundings.
2-14-18 Nezu, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
Comedy trio Lonely Island has released a surprise “visual poem” in the style of Beyonce’s “Lemonade.” The object of the trio’s existential affection? The 1988 Oakland A’s super sluggers Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire. The titular “Bash Brothers.” In 2005, Canseco released the bombshell memoir “Juiced” and quintessential tipping point document of the Steroid Era—calling out the names of dozens of major league steroid users. Loosely using the details from the book, Lonely Island reimagines Canseco and McGwire as a peak 80’s comedy duo. Andy Samberg stars as Jose, as Akiva Schaffer brings straight man “Mark” to life. Overtly pumping steroids and weights, chasing babes and hitting bombs. The visual poem features liberal use of autotune and steroid shrinkage jokes, all set to License to Ill era Beastie Boys swagger. An extended playlist of all tracks from the visual poem are already available on Spotify.
The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience feels like a good zone for Netflix originals. It flips a specific, one-off joke, and feeds it enough production budget to give it proper execution. There’s no need for a series, although following a “rap musical” version of the 1989 Oakland A’s does make an appealing pitch. As a pure, out of left field (er, maybe right field in this case?) piece of content, Bash Brothers hits it out of the park for 30 minutes of auto-tuned, 1980’s fever dream nostalgia.
The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience is available to stream on Netflix.
Boy band billboard drive by.
Blaring auto-tuned lemon drops of pop.
Spreading over-produced white noise.
Look at all them leather-clad pretty boys.
Angst over nothingness.
Sales over somethingness.
Bleaching all taste from the streets.
Preaching mediocrity with all the right beats.
You already know what the music video looks like.
Pushing every pixel further out from life.
Same retouched photos of the immediate cute.
Putting synths on blast.
Critical thinking on mute.
Stretching expectations and pin ‘em on a backpack.
Instagramming them to a hashtag laugh track.
Look at the art-directed bad boy glares.
Frosted-tip, mean-mug stares.
Get lost in the artificial sheen.
Who cares if we ever know what they mean.
Read the lyric sheets and grow your knowledge.
Hang around at the uni ten years after college.
Street snaps over street smarts.
Thumbs up and glitter hearts.
Nice sample, who cares where it comes from.
And just like that, the billboard’s gone.
As the next one rolls in.
Next verse, same as the first.
Wash it away with the fat straw bubble tea.
As you wait in this line for two times eternity.
By vending machine’s light.
Vision blurred and mind slurred.
Power-walking someone else’s steps.
Neon high of elevated window lives.
Laughing at the little shadow.
With the backpack and lost time to find.
Call it the curse of Home Alone. As Drake looked to replicate his Game 1 dominance, he made a critical error by sampling a piece of 90s pop culture. On the back of his hoodie, one of his minions had iron transferred the image of Kevin McCallister from the seminal, feel good Macauley Culkin slash Joe Pesci vehicle, Home Alone. With only the word “Kevin??!?!” appearing beneath the image—in a callout to injured MVP Kevin Durant. It appears Drake must secretly be a Warriors fan since Golden State exerted their hardcourt will, pulling off the Game 2 victory in the 6. Post game, sad Drake memes flooded the interwebs. Durant and Play Thompson roamed the hallways afterwards, shrieking echoing taunts through the foundation of the stadium directed at “Aubrey” himself. Durant, hooded and spindle legged, limped through the halls—visualizing the threat of his return haunting the Raptors like the Grim Reaper waiting in the wings. Your time is up Toronto. And Drake, er um Aubrey, there is a tombstone being etched with your visage on it as we speak. How will Drake respond to this trolling backfire? Time will tell which pop cultural reference he will try and twist to his own advantage next. With Durant set for a mid series return, Aubrey better speed things up.
Drake took control of the NBA Finals. Exerting his presence from the sidelines and executing God’s Plan. Transmitting his aura into the prehistoric spirit of the Raptors. While some refer to Drake’s actions as “antics,” the final score left no doubt as to who controls the Finals. It’s Drake. Drake controls these Finals. Not since Spike Lee has their been an uber fan willing to put a franchise on their back and carry it to Larry O’Brien glory. Drake is unstoppable. The lint picking was the shoulder shrug of these Finals. While Drake has yet to insert himself into the lineup, he has inserted himself into the storyline and central intrigue of these Finals. How will Klay Thompson respond? Will Steph’s father or mother step up? With Curry and company busy and tied up with the Raptors on the floor, Drake is free to roam like the spirit animal and “Clever Girl” Velociraptor mascot that he is. It’s like that scene in Jurassic Park where Timmy and Lex are scrambling around a kitchen trying to evade a hungry pack of velociraptors. Only in this version, the raptor picks lint from Timmy’s head and then eats whoever he damn well pleases. Perhaps Draymond Green is the Tyrannosaur in this amber encased metaphor? Only in this version, there is no stopping Drake from ruling Isla Nublar and putting Hotline Bling on blast over the park PA system. Sparing no expense. It’s gonna be electric fence wire bling if the Warriors think they have the pop cultural muscle to step to Drake’s neck-bearded swag. They’re already fenced in.
Our new Nike commercial for Naomi Osaka was covered by Sora News 24. It’s always nice when your work ends up sparking a conversation. Click here to read original article.
Naomi Osaka slams reporters who ask her to speak in Japanese with new Nike commercial
”Osaka has just one word to say in response to all those annoying questions about her ethnicity and her love of katsudon.
Since winning the Australian Open and the U.S. Open against her idol Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka has taken the top-spot in the Women’s Tennis Association rankings, becoming the first Asian to hold the top spot in either men’s or women’s tennis.
Her success has brought her a lot of attention from the media, particularly in Japan, where her love of katsudon (pork cutlet rice bowls) and her half-Haitian, half-Japanese background remains a solid talking point. And one thing Japanese reporters can’t stop themselves from doing is asking her to answer their questions in Japanese.
After shutting down these reporters in the past, Osaka is now returning to address them and all others like them, with a new commercial for Nike. In the ad, she slams back at all the insensitive and impertinent questions that get served to her during interviews, and has just one word to silence them all.”
Take a look at the ad below:
In the clip, Osaka can be seen on the court, showing off her strong playing style as a volley of questions roll by. There’s “Who’s your biggest rival?”, “Are you a hard court specialist?” and “Do you consider yourself Japanese or American?”
Then there are a few questions in Japanese, including “What are you going to buy with your prize money?”, “Can you answer in Japanese?” and “Will you eat katsudon again today?”
How you feel when your love of katsudon comes up every time you’re interviewed.
Then, at the end of the ad, Osaka turns to the camera and has just one thing to say in response to all those questions.
In true Nike style, the clip delivers a strong message at the end: “Don’t change yourself. Change the world.”
It’s a message that fits in nicely with Osaka’s public image, as a woman who continues to do her own thing while drowning out all the stereotypical questions from the media who want to place her in neat, narrow-minded boxes.
And judging from the reaction online in Japan, it’s a message a lot of Japanese people agree with too.
“What a fantastic ad! I hope everyone sees this.”
“Some of the questions in English are annoying but the Japanese questions are even more annoying.”
“Such a great insight into what she has to deal with every day.”
“Japanese reporters need to watch this ad.”
“The Japanese media need to have more respect for her as an elite sportswoman.”
The Nike ad has definitely got everyone talking, and while it takes a different approach to one of her previous ads for Japanese brand Nissin, it’s definitely a step up from the controversial ad that whitewashed her appearance.
It’ll be interesting to see if this new commercial will have any effect on the types of questions reporters plan to throw at Osaka next time she does a round of interviews. Hopefully they’ll reign in the talk about katsudon and her ethnicity, and focus on her contribution to the world of sport, because as the star tennis player has said in the past, regardless of her dining preferences, background, and language ability, “I’m just me.”
(Article by Oona McGee)
Nike Presents: Naomi Osaka - Question Return
In this podcast, Jeff Staple interviews John C. Jay and traces the career steps and creative risks he took at each step. John C. Jay is the former Global Creative Director of Wieden+Kennedy and the current President of Global Creative at Fast Retailing (Uniqlo). This podcast episode is a must listen for anyone interested in creativity, branding or business. I was lucky enough to have John as one of my first mentors in advertising. He always told me “Don’t make an ad. Make art.” It’s an inspiring viewpoint from a self-proclaimed “outsider.” John is drawn to advertising by the talented creators he can collaborate with, but he has always aspired to something beyond advertising. If you’re not familiar with John, he’s well worth googling to trace the influence he’s had on Nike and the creative industry. He is constantly digging for new, undiscovered and overlooked voices. He then cultivates that talent and collaborates with them on the brightest brand stages. This episode is full of inspiration on how to follow your gut, build a powerful network and push your creative career to new heights.
Check out the full episode here.
Below is one of John’s first pieces of work on Nike. It was part of a massive, hyper local New York City basketball campaign that included loads of posters and videos featuring local street legends. It was the first “city attack,” which years later has now become a standard client brief.
Ending Game of Thrones in a way that left all fans emotionally satisfied was always going to be a difficult task. With such a novelistic, open-world approach to story telling, finding the right combination of characters to bring closure to through the right combination of decisions is a 70 odd episode Rubix Cube. Everyone had their own favorite character and passionately demanded either an “epic death” or a role of significance in the final moments. Tying up the loose ends of every last character is more likely possible in a 3000-plus page novel, than in a 6-episode work of prestige television.
I thought the ending “worked.” A couple of nitpicks were that some elements felt rushed and there was no final second twist on par with the infamous Red Wedding episode. The series had trained us to anticipate grisly mis-directions. The ending felt more like a gradual winding down of a finely calibrated clock tower. We got to witness the confrontation the entire series had been leading to between Jon Snow and Daenerys. It may have been a little telegraphed, but there was enough nuance in the performance to portray the complexity and conflict around Jon’s decision. And I liked the iconic gesture of burning down the very symbol of the show itself in the final moments.
Bran on the throne felt like a fair enough move character wise. He was a victim with no real bad blood between any of the major characters. He was a safe choice. His appointment does leave a lot to the imagination to figure out how he will rule. By love or fear? I wonder how he will flex his ruling muscles when the people under him refuse his orders.
We’ve heard that Game of Thrones prequels are in the works, but it seems clear that sequels focusing on the new adventures of the Stark children is another chapter (or series of books) to explore. As with most great shows, the best seasons probably lie somewhere in the middle of the series. During a time when nothing needed to be wrapped into a tidy bow, and the conflict and threat of future retribution was at most tense and dramatic levels. Time will tell how the series ages, but I think the creators found a satisfactory ending to a monumental task for a scripted television show.
As a lifelong Portland Trailblazers fan, playoff success is usually a once a decade luxury. 1992 saw us battling Michael Jordan and the Bulls on their path toward eventual immortality. 2000 saw us on the cusp of returning to the Finals, only to experience one of the most brutal collapses in sport history in the final 12 minutes--rolling out the red carpet for Shaq and Kobe's Lakers to startup their dynasty. The next decade was filled with scandal, catastrophic injury and unending heartbreak.
I'm just going to enjoy this moment. Who knows what happens from here. But the Portland Trailblazers are heading back to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in 19 years. Being a sports fan is a relative experience--and as a Blazermaniac, this moment means something. Because in those moment, the dream is alive in Rip City.
The city of Portland has a long memory. Our basketball heroes (and villains) become local folk heroes that stay engrained in our consciousness. Each season brings another ring around the shared tree trunk of Portlandia. We mark time with the ups and downs of the Blazers. In this moment, we will wax poetic. We'll focus on the rainbow and not the rain. Because in this moment, we are one of four teams left with a chance for glory.
So here's to Dame Lillard, CJ McCollum and our entire band of merry Blazers. It sure has been a long strange trip. Next stop, the Bay to face the seemingly invincible Golden State Warriors to see who rules the West.
Many moons ago, Nike was thinking about producing baseball gear and they brought me in to test their prototypes. I came into campus, took some BP, threw some long toss and gave detailed feedback about how I felt. A couple of weeks later, they’d make some tweaks and we’d do it again. It was a dream gig for a high schooler. After that, I continued pushing my baseball career until I eventually had a major league tryout as a pitcher. A few weeks ago I found myself on a pristine baseball field in rural Japan, shooting an amazing 15-year old female baseball pitcher for a Nike commercial. It was one of those Field of Dreams type moments of nostalgia where you think about the journey and are grateful for all the talented teammates you’ve been lucky to have along the way. Thank you to @atlasfoto for your eye and soul capturing this personal moment of reflection in the middle of our intense work grind. ️
We’re in town prepping for a shoot this week. Yesterday we had a few hours in the morning to roam the streets and look around a little bit. While the air was chilly the skies were blue and the sun was out. Coming from Tokyo, I was struck by how the sunlight seemed more intense or direct in Seoul. It almost felt like a massive spotlight was lighting each street and alley we walked down. It felt like we were walking around a giant, open-world movie set. Even at night, it was interesting to see the types of signs and street lights. Even little alleys that seemed like they didn’t have anything going on were lit and highlighted in cinematic ways. I hope to find more locations that have this kind of illuminated magic to them. It was a very stimulating morning walk that gave my senses lots to feel.
Below are a few moments where the light was doing something special: