cvxn

I'm Hez. please enjoy my internets!
@Hez on twitter | cvxn on instagram/statigram
stuff I've written for HelloGiggles is here
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5.8?

youngmanhattanite:

Adorable.

We Vancouverites find New Yorkers even cuter when it rains.

theamericanprospect:

Earthquakes bring out the best in people.
thelos:fakingfashion:

lol

dangerghost:

littlebink:

“Hai, hai. We are here, but uh…our boss is not here.”

“So…does that mean you’re open? Should we still come in?”

Six of my friends and I were in Tokyo on vacation when the earthquake hit. We had arrived the previous Saturday and enjoyed a full week of taking in everything we could before seismic waves threw a curve ball. While Tokyo was relatively unaffected—broken glass, closed shops, stopped trains—we woke up Saturday thinking: Now what?

Amidst the periodic aftershocks and emergency sirens with instructions in Japanese, the decision was unanimous. We needed a drink.

Star Bar in Tokyo’s high-end Ginza district was at the top of our wish list. Their bar master, Hisashi Kishi, is a legend. An International Bar Association World Champion by the age of 24, he’s hailed by cocktail aficionados as the best bartender in Japan. As Executive Director for the Nippon Bartenders’ Association, he writes their official handbook recipes. You can say he wrote the book on cocktails—literally.

And there we were at his doorstep. We had originally gone to the nearby Bar High Five, which also appears on many of the “World’s Best Bars” lists. Owner Hidetsugu Ueno actually got his start at Star Bar before going on to open his own place.

The scene there was heartbreaking. Ueno (the sweetest looking man in glasses and natty suspenders) was alone in the bar. The floor was covered in broken glass; the air filled with the overwhelming smell of alcohol.

“We’re so sorry. This is terrible. Are you ok?”

He is “depressed,” he says. He wished he could have made us a drink; we wished so too. He bowed a lot, told us Star Bar was still open, and said that we should “please, enjoy his country tonight.” We walked the 15 minutes or so to Star Bar, still contemplating the chances of him letting us help with the cleanup.


A bronze plaque on a granite pillar welcomes you before you descend the stairs to the basement level.

“Come linger about for awhile,
Gossamers of warmth kindle your heart,
Holding lasting memories of this night.
Celerity, sincerity, and with a smile…”

The bar is minuscule by American standards, but that’s the thing with most in Tokyo. It’s dark and cozy, decorated in rich leather, stained woods, and vintage wallpaper with a soundtrack to match. It’s traditional without being stuffy; old school without a soupçon of kitsch. It’s also completely empty. 

Hesitating in the doorway, we’re greeted by three of the cutest, bow-tie clad Japanese men you can imagine. The one closest to the door explained to us, in rather good English, that the bar master is gone. A second or two of confusion passed while we gauged whether or not they still wanted us to come in before it’s clarified. Apprentice Yamasaki Tsuyoshi will make our drinks in “the boss’s” absence.

Tsuyoshi is quite accomplished in his own right. He worked for over three years before being allowed to even mix a drink. He mentions being especially interested in sherry. Looking online later, I realize that he’s actually a sherry world champion.

Our first round of drinks is semi-bartender’s choice. A few of us asked for specific cocktails, a few named a spirit they enjoy (gin or whiskey). He suggested to me a fresh strawberry cocktail made with rum and “very rare strawberries.” They can’t be bought at the grocery store he says, “only farm.” It’s delicious.

Just as we were ready to order our second round, from around the side of the tall banquette, arrives Kishi himself. Caught up in the moment of being in Tokyo, being in such a renowned bar, sipping one of the most expensive drinks I’ll probably ever have—my excitement was on par with seeing a Beatle. Our next rounds would be prepared by him—his selections, naturally.

As we sipped our second drinks, Kishi arrived tableside with a wooden cutting board and a block of ice. A private demonstration! Japanese bartenders in particular are obsessed with ice. The large slabs of ice they use are frozen slowly over the period of three or four days so they are crystal clear & highly dense. Kishi shined a flashlight through the block.

“No bubbles. Special ice water, very special ice.”

Holding a large knife fashioned out of the same carbon steel used in Japanese swords, he gently tapped the edge through the ice with a mallet.

“Slowly, slowly, slowly. No ice pick.”

He then carved a cube into the shape of a diamond, placed it in a rocks glass, poured vodka over the top, and passed it around the table for us to appreciate.

Ice class over, we enjoyed a round of sidecars, Kishi’s signature cocktail. He prepares it with a hard shake he actually invented: The Infinity Shake. The short figure-eight movements cool the liquid without smashing the ice and watering down the drink. (On a portable DVD player, he showed us video of him and his famous shake featured on a show called Einstein TV.) At that point, the night couldn’t have gotten better.

Every drink we had was superb; they were definitely the best I’ve ever had. A mint-julep arrived in a pewter tumbler and was a refreshing version of the Southern classic. A fresh-fruit cocktail made with sour kumquats was kicky and sweet. My gimlet was impossibly cold—an elegant blend of juniper notes and tart lime. Small snacks were brought to the table, including salted soy nuts and a lovely bite of raspberry cream cheese atop a delicate wafer.

Kishi really is the best of the best. His passion towards the art (and science) of mixology is apparent in the care that he gives to every drink component. His lifelong dedication is emblematic of the Japanese spirit that appreciates even the most elemental aspects of daily life. Simplest luxuries—from a single-stem flower in a vase to a folded cocktail napkin placed next to your glass for a discarded toothpick—are elevated. The commonplace is lifted enough to graze something divine.

And what made everything sweeter was the humility with which they shared their talents. There’s no swagger or bravado to be found. However, that doesn’t mean Star Bar is unaware of its excellence. Kishi’s face beamed as he showed us a magazine with his picture on the cover.

The final drink of the night was the Star Bar take on the Bloody Mary. Freshly juiced tomatoes—passed around the table and admired before being pulverized—Absolut Peppar, a dash of fresh pepper, and a salted rim are a far cry from the spicy brunch-table staple. This one tasted like Summer and awakened sentiments about the afternoon you last enjoyed something so simple and refreshing.

“You are very lucky, because of the earthquake, that you are here tonight. Usually, we are very, very busy. No seats.”

I winced a little inside at Tsuyoshi’s word choice, thinking about the Japanese to the north. A native English speaker would’ve phrased it differently, but I understood what he meant. The whole night felt parenthetical—magically separated from the outside world. We spent an entire evening in an empty bar with a legend who opened his home to us. All seven of us. On a Saturday.

When we walked up the stairs to leave, all three of the young bartenders follow us up to the street. Bow-ties, suspenders and smiles—it made me melt. They waved to us while we walked, at least for a block or two until we turned. I don’t remember if we were even supposed to take that left or just turned so they could walk back inside. I left feeling more in love with Tokyo than ever before. Lucky indeed.

Star Bar Ginza, B1F Sankosha Building, 1-5-13 Ginza, Chuo-ku,Tokyo; (03) 3535-8005 

Bar High Five, 4F No.26 Polestar Building, 7-2-14 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo; (03) 3571-5815

Extend your hand. Donate to the earthquake & tsunami relief today. Or, download The Morning Bender’s Japan Echo EP. All of the proceeds will go to the Japan Society’s Earthquake Relief Fund. 


Reblogged in its entirety because this was fantastic.

thelighthouseisanaccident:

thecamouflage:

Japanese engineering is no joke


homeboys got it going on

thelighthouseisanaccident:

thecamouflage:

Japanese engineering is no joke

homeboys got it going on

toliveanddieinlondon:

This is Hideaki Akaiwa. When the Tsunami hit his home town of Ishinomaki, Hideaki was at work. Realising his wife was trapped in their home, he ignored the advice of professionals, who told him to wait for the army to arrive to provide search and rescue.
Instead he found some scuba gear, jumped in the raging torrent - dodging cars, houses and other debris being dragged around by the powerful current, any of which could have killed him instantly - and navigated the now submerged streets in pitch dark, freezing water until he found his house. Swimming inside, he discovered his wife alive on the upper level with only a small amount of breathing room, and sharing his respirator, pulled her out to safety.
If he had waited for the army, his wife of 20 years would be dead.
Oh, and if that’s not enough badassery for one lifetime, Hideaki realised his mother was also unaccounted for, so jumped back in the water and managed to save her life also. Since then Hideaki enters the water everyday on a one man search and rescue mission, saving countless lives and proving that two natural disasters in a single day, and insurmountable odds can’t stand in the way of love. This man is my hero.

 
お疲れ様でした
Update: Why the fuck would somebody strip out the link to the story? PEOPLE! COME ON!

toliveanddieinlondon:

This is Hideaki Akaiwa. When the Tsunami hit his home town of Ishinomaki, Hideaki was at work. Realising his wife was trapped in their home, he ignored the advice of professionals, who told him to wait for the army to arrive to provide search and rescue.

Instead he found some scuba gear, jumped in the raging torrent - dodging cars, houses and other debris being dragged around by the powerful current, any of which could have killed him instantly - and navigated the now submerged streets in pitch dark, freezing water until he found his house. Swimming inside, he discovered his wife alive on the upper level with only a small amount of breathing room, and sharing his respirator, pulled her out to safety.

If he had waited for the army, his wife of 20 years would be dead.

Oh, and if that’s not enough badassery for one lifetime, Hideaki realised his mother was also unaccounted for, so jumped back in the water and managed to save her life also. Since then Hideaki enters the water everyday on a one man search and rescue mission, saving countless lives and proving that two natural disasters in a single day, and insurmountable odds can’t stand in the way of love. This man is my hero.

お疲れ様でした

Update: Why the fuck would somebody strip out the link to the story? PEOPLE! COME ON!

alexblagg:

This tribute to Japan is simple and smart and sad and lovely all at the same time. Great job, New Yorker cover artist.

Agreed.

alexblagg:

This tribute to Japan is simple and smart and sad and lovely all at the same time. Great job, New Yorker cover artist.

Agreed.

I ♥ Japan shirt from Vancouver’s Blim gallery, designed by artist Lee Hutzulak - $20 (Canadian) - all proceeds go to Red Cross efforts in Japan. Click to order via Etsy.

I ♥ Japan shirt from Vancouver’s Blim gallery, designed by artist Lee Hutzulak - $20 (Canadian) - all proceeds go to Red Cross efforts in Japan. Click to order via Etsy.

From our friends in Tokyo: enough with disaster porn

homeofthevain:

Please everybody, do not refer to CNN, or most American news networks for accurate updates on the development of the situation here. I would suggest Japan’s NHK news network.

Most news networks keep running the same 4 or 5 extreme damage loops focusing on the body count and tragedy. Those are valid points as well, but to repeat them with music and logos is sickening, and now Japan has become the lead star in American news network Natural Disaster Series.

There are also positive developments that keep hope and humanity alive and together. I know everybody loves to hear “the end is near!” And the news media is the food for more subconscious hunger for catastrophe, so we can all witness something that makes history, but in the end it will be just another 24 hour programming run to sell advertising for mortgage refinancing and arthritis medication.

Japan and its people are competent and caring individuals. Restoring order is what they are the best at. I feel most at ease knowing that the professionals and technicians involved are determined with a samurai spirit to manage the disaster at hand.

This life is as real as you want it to be, and it’s worth as much as you are. Enjoy your time in this body, on this planet, that’s all you have!

— Rikki Kasso, Tokyo Undressed

THIS.

jamesurbaniak:

flailure:

In Defense of @thesulk
The above joke sucks. I am not disputing that, but I would like to suggest that maybe it doesn’t suck as bad as you think. First, let me say that I have actually had a conversation with Alec Sulkin on two occasions. We talked about comedy, football, and chasing girls. The topic of his secret hatred of the Japanese never once came up. (The same cannot be said for @robdelaney, however!)
This morning, Al Roker reported that the tsunami hit Pearl Harbor and caused only minimal damage. Alec Sulkin, joke-writer, notes that this bit of good news occurred in a place of historically bad news. Alec thinks to himself, “Wouldn’t it be funny if there was a dimwitted character who didn’t know about the historically bad news, but wanted to give everybody some good news?” Alec writes the above tweet and off it goes. “Oh dear Lord,” he thinks. “That tweet could be taken the wrong way!” Too late, young joke-writer, the tweet has been screenshot and dissected WITHIN 1 MINUTE of you hitting “Tweet.”
Or maybe he’s just an asshole.

The above is by the comedian Jim Hamilton. At first I thought this was a stretch. But it’s definitely the first—if not the only— plausible interpretation I’ve seen of the Sulk’s infamously confounding (and now deleted) tweet. If you assume (as I do) that the Sulk was attempting irony and not just saying point blank “Hooray for the earthquake!” then the Hamilton Hypothesis ascribes to the tweet a logical comedic structure that was previously indiscernible.  And by “a logical comedic structure” I do not mean “humorousness.” It still lacks that.
According to Hamilton, the comedically uninformed speaker’s evocation of the Pearl Harbor of WWII is inadvertent; his primary reference is to the Pearl Harbor of earlier that day that dodged a residual tsunami. One could, I dare say, imagine Peter Griffin committing such a faux pas, comically unaware of the negative connotations of what he sees as a wholly positive reference. Something distasteful resonates and we move to the next joke.  One might even think of (bear with me on this) Basil Fawlty, since the Hamilton Hypothesis makes the tweet not a depraved gloat of retributive savagery but a “don’t mention the war” joke about cultural sensitivities. Does this make the joke less  inappropriate and unfunny? No. Even with discernible intent, it still can’t support the weight of tragedy. The Sulk has come round to that opinion.
Look, I don’t like comparing this tweet to Fawlty Towers any more than you do. My interest here is not in excusing Mr. Sulkin (the internet’s greatest monster), the joke, or anything else. (The lady on Tumblr who kept telling me fuck myself will say I am making excuses because she strongly believes that the Sulk intended no irony whatsoever and was applauding the earthquake as payback for Pearl Harbor. And the joke’s profound lack of clarity makes that opinion not unreasonable.) Of course, the Hamilton Hypothesis does force us to ask how in the hell Mr. Sulkin could think that anybody (aside from the apparent genius Hamilton) would read “Pearl Harbor death toll” as an ironic reference to that day’s Hawaiian tsunami casualties which numbered zero. Until a better theory comes along, I’m going with this one. Mr. Hamilton might be crazy. But the tweet probably made him that way.
I swear I’m almost done with this.

I’m the lady on Tumblr who was telling you to fuck yourself. I was really mad (3 yrs in Japan makes you kind of like the place a bit) and not entirely undrunk, and I apologize for taking it out on you, Mr. Urbaniak. I woke up today and saw that Mr. Sulkin had himself apologized, I retweeted his apology and thanked him, and I deleted most of what I said on Twitter and updated my Tumblr posts to reflect his contrition. I laughed at one of @thesulk’s tweets I saw today that made light of his gaffe, and it made me all the more convinced that this original tweet just needed more time in the joke cooker, but ultimately, I decided against refollowing him. I think racing to “come up with a funny” for an event where people have been all dying and shit is kind of hugely douchey, regardless of what the punch lines end up being. There’s a reason “too soon” is a thing people say… sometimes shit actually is too soon.
I was also mad that it seemed like the whole Favstar crew just closed ranks around their buddy, instead of doing the right thing and maybe, I dunno, stepping up and risking saying “Dude, uncool.” Twitter and Favstar have created their own subcultures and fameballs, and to some degree, they have been self-policing (ie Michael Ian Black’s excellent work against Bing recently). I kept hoping somebody would speak out somehow on behalf of us Internet Average Janes and Joes, and your assertions about Sulkin (that he was “a comedy writer who only tweets jokes” and that he “never replies to anyone”) just stoked my ire by making him sound like an incredibly smug prick and kind of a misanthrope who didn’t give a shit that human beings might be reacting to his words, which didn’t do anything for my interpretation of what already seemed like a mean-spirited tweet.
That being said, I was totally being a hypocrite because I shouldn’t have attacked mean with mean the way I did, but actually I never unfollowed you (I’m sure you wished I would have), and I did tweet a “we cool” message at you. My avatars are the same here and on Twitter, but my username is not, so I guess you might have missed it.
Anyway, I’m sorry. Please don’t fuck yourself, unless it fits your schedule and gives you sincere erotic pleasure. Onwards.

jamesurbaniak:

flailure:

In Defense of @thesulk

The above joke sucks. I am not disputing that, but I would like to suggest that maybe it doesn’t suck as bad as you think. First, let me say that I have actually had a conversation with Alec Sulkin on two occasions. We talked about comedy, football, and chasing girls. The topic of his secret hatred of the Japanese never once came up. (The same cannot be said for @robdelaney, however!)

This morning, Al Roker reported that the tsunami hit Pearl Harbor and caused only minimal damage. Alec Sulkin, joke-writer, notes that this bit of good news occurred in a place of historically bad news. Alec thinks to himself, “Wouldn’t it be funny if there was a dimwitted character who didn’t know about the historically bad news, but wanted to give everybody some good news?” Alec writes the above tweet and off it goes. “Oh dear Lord,” he thinks. “That tweet could be taken the wrong way!” Too late, young joke-writer, the tweet has been screenshot and dissected WITHIN 1 MINUTE of you hitting “Tweet.”

Or maybe he’s just an asshole.

The above is by the comedian Jim Hamilton. At first I thought this was a stretch. But it’s definitely the first—if not the only— plausible interpretation I’ve seen of the Sulk’s infamously confounding (and now deleted) tweet. If you assume (as I do) that the Sulk was attempting irony and not just saying point blank “Hooray for the earthquake!” then the Hamilton Hypothesis ascribes to the tweet a logical comedic structure that was previously indiscernible. And by “a logical comedic structure” I do not mean “humorousness.” It still lacks that.

According to Hamilton, the comedically uninformed speaker’s evocation of the Pearl Harbor of WWII is inadvertent; his primary reference is to the Pearl Harbor of earlier that day that dodged a residual tsunami. One could, I dare say, imagine Peter Griffin committing such a faux pas, comically unaware of the negative connotations of what he sees as a wholly positive reference. Something distasteful resonates and we move to the next joke. One might even think of (bear with me on this) Basil Fawlty, since the Hamilton Hypothesis makes the tweet not a depraved gloat of retributive savagery but a “don’t mention the war” joke about cultural sensitivities. Does this make the joke less inappropriate and unfunny? No. Even with discernible intent, it still can’t support the weight of tragedy. The Sulk has come round to that opinion.

Look, I don’t like comparing this tweet to Fawlty Towers any more than you do. My interest here is not in excusing Mr. Sulkin (the internet’s greatest monster), the joke, or anything else. (The lady on Tumblr who kept telling me fuck myself will say I am making excuses because she strongly believes that the Sulk intended no irony whatsoever and was applauding the earthquake as payback for Pearl Harbor. And the joke’s profound lack of clarity makes that opinion not unreasonable.) Of course, the Hamilton Hypothesis does force us to ask how in the hell Mr. Sulkin could think that anybody (aside from the apparent genius Hamilton) would read “Pearl Harbor death toll” as an ironic reference to that day’s Hawaiian tsunami casualties which numbered zero. Until a better theory comes along, I’m going with this one. Mr. Hamilton might be crazy. But the tweet probably made him that way.

I swear I’m almost done with this.

I’m the lady on Tumblr who was telling you to fuck yourself. I was really mad (3 yrs in Japan makes you kind of like the place a bit) and not entirely undrunk, and I apologize for taking it out on you, Mr. Urbaniak. I woke up today and saw that Mr. Sulkin had himself apologized, I retweeted his apology and thanked him, and I deleted most of what I said on Twitter and updated my Tumblr posts to reflect his contrition. I laughed at one of @thesulk’s tweets I saw today that made light of his gaffe, and it made me all the more convinced that this original tweet just needed more time in the joke cooker, but ultimately, I decided against refollowing him. I think racing to “come up with a funny” for an event where people have been all dying and shit is kind of hugely douchey, regardless of what the punch lines end up being. There’s a reason “too soon” is a thing people say… sometimes shit actually is too soon.

I was also mad that it seemed like the whole Favstar crew just closed ranks around their buddy, instead of doing the right thing and maybe, I dunno, stepping up and risking saying “Dude, uncool.” Twitter and Favstar have created their own subcultures and fameballs, and to some degree, they have been self-policing (ie Michael Ian Black’s excellent work against Bing recently). I kept hoping somebody would speak out somehow on behalf of us Internet Average Janes and Joes, and your assertions about Sulkin (that he was “a comedy writer who only tweets jokes” and that he “never replies to anyone”) just stoked my ire by making him sound like an incredibly smug prick and kind of a misanthrope who didn’t give a shit that human beings might be reacting to his words, which didn’t do anything for my interpretation of what already seemed like a mean-spirited tweet.

That being said, I was totally being a hypocrite because I shouldn’t have attacked mean with mean the way I did, but actually I never unfollowed you (I’m sure you wished I would have), and I did tweet a “we cool” message at you. My avatars are the same here and on Twitter, but my username is not, so I guess you might have missed it.

Anyway, I’m sorry. Please don’t fuck yourself, unless it fits your schedule and gives you sincere erotic pleasure. Onwards.

So, this happened and I’m really glad about it.
We all good now, Urbaniak.

So, this happened and I’m really glad about it.

We all good now, Urbaniak.

ericmortensen:

Yamanote Line, Tokyo by tk21hx

日本♥

ericmortensen:

Yamanote Line, Tokyo by tk21hx

日本♥

MY NEW FEAR: WHAT IF BABY JACKSON IS IN THE RED ZONE?
Also, I am currently in a red zone! Even my folks’ place isn’t as un-orange as I’d like. It’s real, dudes.
PS: Richmond is FUCKED.
PPS: The “Yeah, I know but I LIVE here” tag has never been more appropriate.

MY NEW FEAR: WHAT IF BABY JACKSON IS IN THE RED ZONE?

Also, I am currently in a red zone! Even my folks’ place isn’t as un-orange as I’d like. It’s real, dudes.

PS: Richmond is FUCKED.

PPS: The “Yeah, I know but I LIVE here” tag has never been more appropriate.

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