Japan Does It Better

Japan Does It Better

Smithsonian.com has an interesting article on Japan’s culture of improvement, as in, when they find something they like, they refine it to the point of perfection. The article specifically takes a look at three very American topics, bourbon, jazz, and workwear, and illustrates how some very determined Japanese are transforming them.

In Japan, the ability to perfectly imitate—and even improve upon—the cocktails, cuisine and couture of foreign cultures isn’t limited to American products; there are spectacular French chefs and masterful Neapolitan pizzaioli who are actually Japanese. There’s something about the perspective of the Japanese that allows them to home in on the essential elements of foreign cultures and then perfectly recreate them at home. “What we see in Japan, in a wide range of pursuits, is a focus on mastery,” says Sarah Kovner, who teaches Japanese history at the University of Florida. “It’s true in traditional arts, it’s true of young people who dress up in Harajuku, it’s true of restaurateurs all over Japan.”

(Photo by Raymond Patrick)

Bobby Solomon

April 14, 2014 / By

Sponsored – Tuaca Cocktail Napkin Art Contest

Tuaca Cocktail Napkin Art Contest

Tuaca Liqueur is inviting artists of all backgrounds to share what ignites their creativity, on what is arguably the perfect canvas for serendipitous inspiration.

The idea is simple: Draw, doodle or illustrate whatever it is that inspires you on a cocktail napkin. Then, snap a photo of your creation and upload it to the virtual gallery at TuacaArt.com. One grand prize winner will be awarded $5,000 while 5 contestants will be selected for a $500 prize. Qualified entrants must be 21 years of age or over, reside in the United States and submit their artwork by 4:59pm CT on April 30, 2014.

For complete details and rules or to just check out the gallery, visit TuacaArt.com.

(Napkin image by Kirsten McCrea)

Bobby Solomon

April 14, 2014 / By

‘Gastrotypographicalassemblage’ Finds A New Home at The Culinary Institute of America


Gastrotypographicalassemblage is a a massive 35 feet long by 8.5 feet high installation which combines two of my favorite things, typography and food. Created by Lou Dorfsman in 1966 (along with the help of designer Herb Lubalin) to grace the walls of the CBS building in Manhattan, the piece featured over 1,650 individual letters spelling out culinary terminology and expressions, as well as 65 food-related objects. Unfortunately the art was removed when the building was sold in 1989 though thankfully it was saved by designer Nick Fasciano and Dorfsman himself from remaining in the dumpster.

For the past 25 years though the work has been kept in storage, looking for a new place to reside. Thankfully The Culinary Institute of America has found it a home in it’s Hudson Valley campus. The video below tells he story of Gastrotypographicalassemblage and it’s recreation at the CIA. It’s great to see that such a wonderful piece like this didn’t get lost in the shuffle of time.

Bobby Solomon

April 14, 2014 / By

‘Heads or Tails’ – The tale of a penny by Chris Ware

'Heads or Tails', the tale of a penny by Chris Ware

Chris Ware, one of the finest storytellers of our generation, has a new comic strip over on New York Times that shows the journey of a penny. The story begins in 1929 an ends in our modern time, all the while waxing on about how man believes that they control their own destiny. My favorite part:

“You people think money equals freedom, but life is still always just heads or tails… The thing I’ve never understood is why it can’t always be heads… I mean, if one is always as likely as the other, then what’s the difference? But that’s not the way the universe works, I guess… It eventually comes up tails whether you like it or not…”

Bobby Solomon

April 11, 2014 / By

What does your personal dialect sound like?

Personal Dialect Map

The New York Times has put together a quick, 25 question quiz that’s able to detect where your personal dialect is from (sadly, U.S. only). I’d say I was skeptical before trying it but I have to say that this nailed me perfectly. In between those three cities on the map is where I’m from, Sacramento, California, and you can see my results by clicking here.

Even if you’re not in the U.S. it’s really interesting to go through the questions and see all of the weird words and phrases we use around the country. I think the funniest one is, “What do you call the insect that flies around in the summer and glows in the dark?”

One of the answers is “peenie wallie”.

Bobby Solomon

April 10, 2014 / By