ARTS: 12-15-18 Pinkmas at the Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco

The happy crowd at the Museum of Ice Cream (2018)

The happy crowd at the Museum of Ice Cream (2018)

Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC) debuted in 2016 not as a traditional museum describing the history of ice cream but as a place to “inspire the world through imagination and connection.” Touted as being Instagram-worthy, many social media sites depict photos of joyous faces playing, laughing, and posing in glamourous clothes amidst life-sized gummy bears, unicorns, and cherries. According to the official website, each exhibition is meant to appeal to the five senses and allow one to indulge and connect to one another. From the signature sprinkle pool to the mysterious mint jungle, there are team members who set the stage and try to encourage one to be creative and “let loose.”

The Entrance to the Museum of Ice Cream (2018)

The entrance to the Museum of Ice Cream at the old bank building near Union Square, San Francisco (2018)

During my visit with a few geeky friends, we went to the special Pinkmas event (November 23, 2018 to January 6, 2019). We were greeted by a forest of pink and white Christmas trees and urged to take part in a Pinkmas carol (basically, an altered version of the traditional Christmas song). Afterwards, we were invited to explore, try the Cherrylicious ice cream, and take photos of the exhibits and props that were set up. Continue reading

ARTS: 12-16-16 teamLab exhibit: Living Digital Space & Future Parks at the PACE gallery

After seeing our acquaintance’s bedazzled photos on Instagram, I went with Taki to explore a futuristic exhibit of art by teamLab, an art collective made up of artists, engineers, programmers, CG animators, mathematicians, and architects originally based in Tokyo, Japan. They now have offices in Singapore and Shanghai. The group focuses on creating their digital art to “expand art” beyond the 2-D form and to change the relationships among people, who view the artwork (see their Concept page for more information).

At the PACE art + technology gallery in Menlo Park, CA, they presented the “Living Digital Space & Future Parks” exhibit from February 6 to December 18, 2016. The exhibit consisted of twenty digital art installations, specifically the Crystal Universe, Black Waves in Infinity, Black Waves, Flowers and People; Ever Blossoming Life II, Flowers and People – A Whole Year per Hour, Crows are Chased and the Crows are Destined to be Chased as Well; Cold Life, Universe of Water Particles, and Flower and Corpse Glitch Set of 12.

What stood out to me while looking at the installations was how they appealed to your senses and presence. For example, in Flowers and People, the artwork is rendered in real time by a computer program. Depending on the proximity of a person to the installation, the flowers bud, grow, bloom, and wither away. This interaction with the artwork is quite appealing.

PACE exhibit Living Digital Space & Future Parks

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A Study of Cats at a Cat Café


Imagine yourself lounging in an easy chair, trying to relax from a busy day. A curious feline jumps down onto the couch next to you and pads his way toward you purring. Stirring with curiosity, you reach out tentatively. The cat sniffs at your hand and licks it. A smile beams on your face and gently you stroke his head behind the ears. The cat purrs appreciatively and lays down enjoying the tactile sensation. An hour goes by swiftly but all worries slip away with the company of a feline.


Cat Walk

Cat cafés are not new. With the perfect ambiance and environment, one could pay for an hour to play, observe, or enjoy a beverage in the company of cats. The first cat café, Cat Flower Garden (貓花園), originated from Taipei, Taiwan in 1998 (see the Taipei Cat Café blog for reviews). This first introduction to Japanese tourists became the fuel that started the trend in Japan. Continue reading

Travels in Belgium and Arts: Hergé Museum in Louvain-la-Neuve (June 8, 2014)


In the quiet university town of Louvain-la-Neuve, there hiding is a unique museum dedicated to Hergé and his comic works. It’s a short train ride from Brussels (about 30 minutes) through the countryside.

Upon one’s arrival to Louvain-la-Neuve, one can follow the signs to the Hergé Museum—a quick walk away. As one nears the museum, one can see the montage of Tintin gazing out at sea from The Crab with the Golden Claws adventure. The museum itself is unique; its shape is a reminder of a moored ship. Inside, it is like stepping into the world of Hergé’s characters.


Who is Hergé? The artist himself was born as Georges Rémi (May 22, 1907-March 3, 1983) and the creator of several works, such as Totor, Jo, Zette, and Jocko and Quick and Flupke.


Of his many works, the most popular is The Adventures of Tintin. Having grown up with the Tintin television cartoons produced by Ellipse (France) and Nelvana (Canada); and the comics, I became engrossed with the stories of Tintin and his friends. I came to know of each story and character by heart having reread and re-watched them multiple times. Continue reading

ARTS: Cupertino Cherry Blossom Festival (Japanese)

Hosted on April 25-26, 2015 in Cupertino, CA

The 32nd annual Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival was hosted this past weekend to celebrate the long-standing friendship with Cupertino’s sister city, Toyokawa, Japan and the Japanese culture. The festival had many cultural displays of the fine, classical arts and live entertainment in the outdoor amphitheater.

Of the cultural displays, visitors have ample opportunity to peruse the many outstanding collections of embroidery, origami, calligraphy, bonsai, ikebana, and kimekomi dolls.

Origami dragon

Origami dragon

Origami (the art of paper folding) dates from the Edo period (1603–1868). It was used for both ceremonial and recreational purposes. In 1797, the first book of written instructions for origami was called Sembazuru Orikata (or “thousand crane folding) by Akisato Rito. The book was an inspiration for Sadako Sasaki from the 1950s who folded 1,000 cranes for world peace.



Bonsai (the art of minature trees and plants) originated from China but is a major aspect of Japanese culture.

Birds of paradise arrangement (ikebana)

Birds of paradise arrangement (ikebana)

The art of ikebana (flower arrangement) has over 500 years of history behind it. Similar to much of Japanese culture, ikebana emphasizes nature and the ability to express beauty and human emotion in a single piece. Often times, it is “like a poem or painting made of flowers” (Ikenobo Ikebana Society).

Tale of Genji dolls (kimekomi dolls)

Tale of Genji dolls (kimekomi dolls)

The kimekomi doll-making technique was created during the Genbun period (1736-1741) in Kyoto at the Kami-Kamo Shrine by Tadashige Takahash. He carved the figures from willow wood and clothed the dolls with leftover fabric from the robes of the Shinto priests. His technique would be passed onto the future generations and further perfected by Mataro Kanabayashi I, whose technique is used today (Mataro doll craft). Continue reading

Seville, Andalucía: Port to the New World

Visited June 22-23, 2011. Seville is located in the Andalucía region of Spain.

Seville, Spain

Seville, Spain

Attraction Checklist:

  • Flamenco Show at El Palacio Andaluz (June 22)
  • La Catedral de Sevilla (also called Catedral y Giralda) (June 23)
  • Corpus Christi Procession (held on a Thursday after Trinity Sunday) (June 23)
  • Plaza Nueva (June 23)
  • Palacio Arzobispal (June 23)
  • Alcázar de Seville (June 23)
  • Plaza de España (June 23)
  • Murallas (June 23)
  • Basílica Macarena (June 23)

June 22, 2011

Monument to Christopher Columbus, Seville, Spain

Monument to Christopher Columbus, Seville, Spain

After a long day’s drive, we arrived in Seville—the capital and largest city of Andalucía and province of Seville— along the Guadalquivir River. Our bus took us through the city past the bull ring and ornately decorated buildings and into the heart of the city. Seville was founded by the Romans who called it “Hispalis” and later taken over by the Moors who called it “Isbilya.” As a result, the city contains evidence of several cultures as noted by the architecture. In the past, Seville was an important port of departure and commercial when the New World was discovered in 1492 and through the 16th century. At this high point of Spanish history, many people from Flanders, France, Italy, and other European countries would pass through this port and further influence the culture, especially during the Renaissance period. During the 17th century, renowned painters, such as Diego Velazquez, Bartolome Esteban, and Juan de Valdes Leal, were born in Seville and whose masterpieces would be inspirational to the rest of the world. Continue reading

Pamplona, Navarre

Visited June 15, 2011. Pamplona is located in the Navarre region.

Attraction Checklist:

  • La Plaza del Toros
  • Hotel de Perla

Pamplona (or Iruña) was founded by the Vascons and later established as a Roman settlement by General Gnaeus Pompey Magnus, who gave the city its name, “Pompaelo” or “Pamplona,” in 75 B.C.E. The city became the capital of the Navarre kingdom when Iñigo Arista became king after fighting the Moors and Visigoths in 824. After the last great king, Sancho III, passed away, the Navarre kingdom began to lose its influence and control over its territory. By the 1500s, Navarre became part of the Spanish kingdom. Continue reading

TRAVEL: Shanghai World Expo 2010

Visited June 12, 2010. The expo opened from May 1 to October 31, 2010.

Netherlands Pavilion

Netherlands Pavilion

“Better City, Better Life” is the theme of China’s World Expo that ran from May 1 to October 31,2010 in Shanghai. Located along both banks of the Huangpu River, the expo site covers 5.28 square km and is an eye-catching sight when one enters Shanghai city. The expo alone hosted pavilions for 250 participating countries and international organizations. Over 73 million visitors have explored the pavilions—the largest attendance in world expo history thus far. Continue reading