Thursday, July 27, 2006

elevating the game

korean bboys are unreal.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

farewell asia..

well its my last few hours in shanghai... in half a day i'll be stateside. i guess my trip will never be over, since hiphop and all these experiences will stay with me for a lifetime. i'm going to try to do some last minute stuff before i head out to pudong airport on the bullet train, so i'll do updates soon, and update my past posts with pictures and better text. thanks to everyone that read.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

C.R.E.A.M. : cash rules everything around me.

i expected taipei to be less like china, but it certainly reminds me of china- on the surface at least. it kinda reminds me of guanzhou for some reason, i can't place it- but its a bit cleaner than guangzhou (not saying much) and is overrun by people on scooters.

anyway, i got to experience my first typhoon- maybe i've gone through typhoons while i was in thailand unkowningly- i just remember it flooding a lot when i was really little and the water going up to our knees in the streets. so ok, my first taiwan typhoon. it wasn't all that bad though- people hyped it up too much and it turned out to be pretty weaaak. (i wanted to see people flying off their scooters!)

so taiwan's hiphop culture. i was able to talk to quite a few people- superworkshop shop owner (taiwan's hiphop culture is centered around clothing stores- crews form around the different hiphop clothing stores), yang wei (a taiwanese MC that has been around since the beginning- yangwei means "can't get it up.." haha.), a few bboys, and a few djs. basically there's lots of shit that's happening because of money. back in the day- there were street parties in taiwan, random people would get together and anyone could step up to the mic, people were chilling, people would dance, all outside of these clothing shops. but now, since hiphop caught the eye of the business man... things have been getting shady. for example, the dmc's (annual worldwide dj competition) got bought out by luxy- a large club owned by two ABC's. so this past year the winner of the dmc's was an in-house luxy dj, e-turn- but if you talk to the dj's they all know the guy shouldn't have won. so this just makes all the djs that have skills not want to join the competition- which in turn will prevent taiwan djs from ever having a name on a worldwide level to get people's attention and respect taiwanese hiphop. and that's just one example. it's been harder recently to throw events- many events are sponsored by the government, but the president's son-in-law was involved in a huge insider's trading scandal. as a result, the gov't is being pretty stingy with their funds now which is unfortunate for event organizers. there's a lot more drama, but i'll try to post a more comprehensive post at a later time.

i didn't get to do any sight-seeing while i was in taipei- all work and no play. haha. really though! hai yee was a good host, but he had to take care of his company business- and well sticking around the company was part of my research so it worked out. one day though, he had to show face at a friend's concert- this friend is a very popular pop singer, but also happens to be superhardcore christian. we weren't aware that the concert was a slew of christian bands- so we show up, two non-christians- to a preacher/christian-rock concert. how awkward.

the ENTIRE crowd was singing along, closing their eyes and raising their hands to the sky, clapping to the beat, and saying prayers... while we just looked at each other uncomfortably. we stuck around for about an hour, the bands weren't all that bad- but we really had to get out of there. at least we found out that the church has mad loot to drop on a big FREE concert with pyrotechnics, professional lighting and camera crew, huge stars, and all these freebies they were giving out.

the other days were spent at a large street dance competition/bboy battle. teams from north and south taiwan and japan were competing for $10,000 USD and there was a taiwan b-boy battle also. The world champion expression bboy crew from korea was there to judge, showcase, and battle the winners of the tournament- I got to chill with them for a bit, but unfortunately only their agent could speak english.

one of the members, woo-sung (olive shirt), is considered the person that brought bboying to korea. i got to talk to their agent about korean hiphop and he told me about some of the drama/bullshit going on in korea. john jay, a former bboy now event organizer, isn't very liked by the korean bboys. not sure about the details, but from what i gather he isn't very fair to the bboys and uses them to his benefit. i tried getting in contact with him multiple times while i was in korea- but he responded two weeks after i left. anyway- he's in charge of the armory cup (all asia battle) and battle of the year (BOTY - the biggest international battle). sooo, a lot of the crews are boycotting BOTY... which again negatively affects the image of korean bboy's on an international level... ah money.

i got to see some worthwhile dance groups and a lot of mediocre dance groups. the big problem i see in the places that are just starting out with their hiphop cultures is that the hiphop dancers (when competiting) aren't having fun. they're way too serious- and that detracts from their dancing. have a little fun people, that's the point! a few groups from japan came out to compete- the most interesting of the bunch being space invaders

they were all decked out in some silver aluminum foil space age type shit. and to match the costumes they busted out media sirkus crazy animation style- you don't see this much anymore- but they were dooope and got second place. first place ($10,000 US) was handed over to taiwan's swift lockers- who did their tight locking routine that incorporated stools on wheels.

i was surprised that the other locking group, brothers (taiwan) didn't even make it to the top ten- but i thought their routine was among the best (and they looked like they were having the most fun).

so it was an all work, no play trip. didn't even get to really hit up the night markets or the clubs- but that just means i'll have to go back. thanks again to my boy, hai yee for making me come out to taipei and hooking me up.

anyhow- i'm back in osaka now, but i'm getting ready to leave... i'm going to shanghai on the 19th for two days, then i'm off to LA for my sister's wedding banquet. yes, my hiphop tour is sadly coming to and end.. i regret not keeping a better blog, but that's how i am, i will never forget this year- the people, the places, and the experiences... but now i have a new mission in front of me. medical school!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

taipei what?!

landed in taipei last night. mr. hai yee chen, my boy from summer school like 7 years ago, started up a hiphop entertainment company in taipei. so he's putting me up, showing me around, and introducing me to mad people. word.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


went up to tokyo for the weekend - i was planning to see jazzy jeff and ghostface killah but ended up skipping jazzy jeff (as i've seen him before and i didn't think i had the energy to stay out two nights plus travelling- yes i'm getting old).

before the show- i was looking for a store
(most of the stores in tokyo are not on ground level and are hidden amongst a bunch of other stores on the 2-7th floors) at around 7:40 (everything closes at 8pm). in my frenzy i managed to run (i was walking really fast) into a low metal post (the ones that prevent cars from running up on curbs). my thigh is really sore and now my knee hurts too- oddly enough there is no bruise whatsoever, yet it's really painful and i was limping around- but i still went out to the show. the show was at ageha- a club all the way out in shinkiba, southeast tokyo. i ended up having to pay for a 3000yen (~$28) cab ride since i took the JR route and the last train only ran to tokyo portal, four stations away from the end of the line, shinkiba.

it was a pretty dope show- there was an outside bar with a dancehall dj and a pool. actually the dancehall/reggae spot was the highlight of the show- since inside was just one gigantic open space with hiphop djs playing some good but not great tunes. ghostface came on and killed it- but seeing big rappers is kinda eh... they have a bunch of hypemen on stage singing other people's verses (since he did a bunch of wu-tang songs too). but it was kind of funny- cause when he wanted to speak to the crowd, he got one of the promoters to translate for him. so there was big ass ghostface talking and a skinny japanese guy with a high-pitched voice translating american street slang into japanese.

oh there was also a bunch of K1 fighters chilling at the show- including THE kid yamamoto. i didn't want to accidentally make him spill his drink on himself so i kept a good distance in fear of a beatdown of a lifetime. haha.

unfortunately i left the show about 10 minutes before tim- who i met in shanghai- left. he ended up running into ghostface in shibuya and they ended up hanging out for the night. my phone battery died so he couldn't get into contact with me... ah damn, missed my chance to kick it with ghostface...

Sunday, July 02, 2006

summer sales.

i thought tokyo was crazy when i first got there... but you really have no idea how crazy tokyo is and how many people are in tokyo until you go shopping on the first day of summer sales. it was ridiculous. it took me double the amount of time than usual to walk from one place to another, and there was just people EVERYWHERE.

Friday, June 30, 2006

the night i plan to go out- my bike gets a flat.

i guess it wasn't meant to be?