Kawasaki Warehouse

Sorry for being MIA, I was in Tokyo for the past week and am slowly uploading my ventures both on Instagram and on here.

One of the most interesting places I went to was not a temple or one of the busy shopping streets or an owl cafe, but a warehouse in the outskirts of Tokyo.

So why was this warehouse so enticing?

Because it had a small replica of the Kowloon Walled City, a dystopian slum with no laws within Hong Kong.

Think of dense, dark underworld of Blade Runner, Dredd, Total Recall, and Neo Seoul from Cloud Atlas. Basically, all things cyberpunk would have found some form of inspiration to build that dystopian future setting we know and love.

The original Kowloon Walled City was demolished in the 90s and a park was built in its place. There were stories about life inside the city and photos, however, to really be in that atmosphere is an entirely different experience.

The Kawasaki Warehouse is actually a 4-storey arcade with the first 2 floors dedicated to a recreation of the Kowloon Walled City.

They even have a broadcast of Chinese aunties talking about visiting it to buy some necessities. If you play the video, you can hear it in the background.

Like the original KWC, there is hardly any light in the corridors.

img_6171

The entrance to KWC through the parking lot.

img_6172

The doors slide open and you enter this eerie walkway. You have to walk across the stones while an ominous music plays in the background and green liquid spills from both walls.

img_6176

The backdrop of the arcade in KWC.

img_6179

They say the buildings were so close to each other that no sunlight entered the city.

img_6181

Meat in the market.

img_6188

On the second floor, there are narrow walkways you walk along to peek into some of the building windows.

img_6191

One such window.

img_6193

True to culture, clothes dangling precariously outside windows.

img_6200

It reads 1 bedroom and 1 living room, 395 sq. ft. for rent at 3800HKD/mo.

img_6202

A prostitute’s home.

img_6203

In KWC, it was not uncommon to find such small rooms and people living in them. Crime was rampant inside.

img_6204img_6205

Upon exiting – photo from the video.

If you were in the Yokohama area, it is worth checking out. I wouldn’t make it a day trip as you only need to spend 1 hour there.

Here is the map:

 

-b.

Advertisements

Cloud Atlas

Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present. And by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future. Sonmi-451:Cloud Atlas

CLOUD_ATLAS_poster_7

Last night, I took a friend to a speakeasy, a getaway of sorts.

Not many people know about my past, and those who do, only know tidbits.

It’s not the immediate past I am concerned about.

Every person has their own belief system. Some call it religion, others call it a soul.

Do you believe in karma?

I do.

The first time I watched Cloud Atlas, I was fascinated with the storyline, how, through the actions of the characters, the decisions they made in every lifetime, shaped their next life.

To me, it was a masterpiece. Critics dubbed it an impossible to film book. But they did it anyways. Some criticized the film as “yellow-facing”, making Caucasians look Asian so they don’t have to hire Asians. But what they missed was that, the characters spanned through ages, genders and race. What they missed was that the Asian actresses were also made to look like other races in the different timelines.

Karma does not discriminate.

There are moments of redemption, just as there are moments of deterioration.

And that’s what the book and film tries to illustrate.

We move through our lifetimes. Each time, we are dealt a different hand. How we choose to live our lives determines the next hand. And with every hand, do we choose to be a better self or do we choose to live a life of pure consumption and excess?

img_5684

People ask me why certain things only seem to happen to me or why I seem to attract an alarming amount of bad luck.

I joke, saying in my past life, I must’ve done some pretty bad deeds.

On the other hand, I would love to know who or what I was in a previous life.

-b.

Steampunk

Growing up, I loved Steampunk because it was a fantasy of living both in the past and in the future.

I was lucky enough to have a close relationship to my maternal grandfather who shared with me the stories of his youth and his time in the service during World War II. And that led me to have a healthy appetite for history.

I remember the first time I went to Disneyland in Orlando, Florida, being in awe of Tomorrowland and Main Street USA, bringing back some retro elements from the 1950s.

There was always a sense of adventure.

I guess that’s why I keep re-watching cult classics like:

20,000 Leagues under the Sea
Cloud Atlas
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
The Mummy I and II
Sky Captain and the Land of Tomorrow
Suckerpunch

And yes, I do imagine what life would be like if we actually did live in a steampunk world, it seems pretty awesome.

I’m also lucky enough to be in Hong Kong, where we have both Ocean Park and Disneyland, two large theme parks.

My favourite is (hands-down) Disneyland even though it is much smaller with more vanilla rides. It is due to the ambience and their strict attention to detail on the most minute things. When you’re in Disney, you do feel like you’re transported to another world.

Over the weekend, I decided to hit up their newest hotel, Explorer’s Lodge. At first, I tried to pinpoint the era, but it had both elements of the late 1890s and 1950s. It reminds me of the opening scene of UP, when Carl and Ellie talk about Paradise Falls when they were kids. It’s also an extension of the Mystic Manor ride in Mystic Point, a dark ride in the park.

img_5774img_5772img_5775img_5776img_5765img_5764img_5757

-b.

Driven

After moving to Hong Kong, I quickly realized how different my viewpoints and opinions were, comparative to the local populace.

The most evident being family and upbringing.

My parents gave up everything in Shanghai to move to Hong Kong back in the day.
And then, they gave up everything they built in Hong Kong to move to Canada when I was born.

To start from zero twice; it’s not easy. They faced language barriers and discrimination, but they endured. For the goal of building a better life.

This meant, they had no time to raise us.

Growing up, my parents were very transparent on our situation and I am always thankful that they were. Rather than trying to shield us and raising us with a silver spoon, they made it a point to inform us we could not have what our peers had. When I was 4 years old, I already knew the world was unfair and we had to do something about it.

To that degree, my parents, my siblings and I have built our relationship on the foundation of improvement. We may see each other once or twice a year, but during those times, we truly value our time together.

When I look at family interactions here – they are highly emotional, the gatherings  frequent and routines micromanaged.

It confuses me.

I did not even tell my parents I was moving to Hong Kong. My mother only found out when she dropped me off at the airport. And when I told her my plan, she threw a box of Ferrero Rocher at my head.

When I first got to Hong Kong, I had very little money, I ate one meal a day and I slept on the floor without a mattress. But I was driven. I remember lining up 3-5 interviews a day for the two weeks I was here, determined to land a job in that timeframe.

Three years later and I can finally accommodate my family when they visit, in a proper bed and a proper home.

img_5224A home is where you can go to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. A place of relaxation, a safe zone. This is mine.
img_5676
Good night.

-b.

And we are back

It’s been a long time since I last wrote a blog.

I keep starting new ones, deleting them and forgetting about them for months.

Not sure if anyone remembers Xanga, but back in the day, I used to have hundreds of followers on my blog that was dedicated to weight loss. In the beginning, it was great…until it wasn’t. I started seeing my photos used by “thinspo” sites and then I started seeing girls starve themselves.

That’s when I deleted my entire blog – 5 years of sharing with the world my life, gone in an instant.

So why am I back?

To be honest, I’m not sure.

Ever since I moved to Hong Kong, I have felt out of place. So I guess, this is where I can vent and make sense of things.

-b.