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10.20.2017

The term “well traveled” doesn’t have as much weight as it used to. In the 1950s and 1960s flying was a luxury people would get dressed up for, and in 2017 small children are flying alone and navigating the airport with the help of a flight attendant or other airline employee. It’s almost more surprising to meet someone who hasn’t left their country than someone who has. From road trips in the ’90s to backpacking gap years in South East Asia, vacation trends are always changing. Cruising is one of those trends and it’s making a comeback: cruises are no longer just for kitschy honeymooners and buffet enthusiasts. There are cruises for people who just want to drink without the prospect of ruining their lives (there’s no cell signal at sea), and then there are luxury cruises. These are the ones offering around-the-world cruises, even though you don’t literally sail around the world. Occasionally you might not touch land for three or four days, but most mornings you wake up in an exciting new location. Cruise lines offer tours, excursions, and everything from the food to the wine to the water sports equipment is included. Six month itineraries are popping up across different cruise lines as society’s crave for experiences (rather than material objects) increases. Will around the world cruises be the next big travel trend? Before you let the glamorous idea of “around-the-world” sweep you away, keep in mind that you’d be at sea for 4+ months. Here are the most important questions to ask yourself before making the commitment: Do you like boats? Water?This one is obvious. Fortunately most cruise ships have stabilizers these days so you won’t get seasick. Do you like buffets and/or fine dining?This is how you’ll be eating, so if you like to maintain a strict diet, you might find it difficult. However, most people say that food is one of the highlights of a typical cruise experience (a good cruise experience, that is). Food is an important selling point on luxury cruises as the majority of meals are eaten on board. Usually cruise lines work with experienced and/or known chefs to keep everyone happy. And it’s not just the fine dining that that cruises are known for- they have very generous alcohol policies like unlimited beer and wine at meals. And if that’s not enough for you, you can purchase pre-priced drink packages to cover things like cocktails and premium spirits. Do you like convenience?You probably said yes to this because who doesn’t like convenience? With all your belongings in, what essentially is a hotel on water, you the stress of carrying your suitcases from hotel to hotel is eliminated. An experienced cruise goer once called it “mindless travel” as she could relax without having to worry about planning or timing everything correctly- everything had been taken care of for her. Do you like confined spaces?Yes, the cruise ship is like a traveling hotel, but you should prepare for it to feel like a pretty small hotel. As most people spend the majority of their time outside their rooms, you can expect the cabins to be “space efficient”. The public spaces however are more than accommodating. If you do start feeling claustrophobic you can always go for a run around the deck! (Side note: speaking of running, it’s not uncommon for cruise ships to have underwhelming gym facilities… keep this in mind if you can’t stand the thought of abandoning your workout routine). Is seeing a city enough for you, or do you need to experience it?This is a pro and a con, depending on how you see it. This kind of trip allows you to see dozens of cities in a relatively short amount of time which goes back to the convenience factor. But what if you can’t see everything you want in just one day? Now it’s time to decide what’s more important to you- the quantity of destinations or the quality of time spent in each. Some people consider cruises to be like “previews”, so they know which cities are worth going back to. Conversely, one of the great aspects of cruising is that traveling by boat allows you access to parts of a country that aren’t so convenient to get to otherwise, such as the pink beaches of Esperance- an hour and a half away from Perth by flight or over 7 hours away by car. Assuming you have no problem with traveling by boat, can spend at least $60,000 per person, and can answer three out of the remaining four questions with a solid yes, then you’re probably ready to contact a travel agent. Happy sailing!   

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10.18.2017

Berlin is one of Europe’s most vibrant cities, and one of the best cities to get lost in. The capital of Germany has something for everyone, no matter what your interests are. Having a bird’s eye view of the city is one of the best ways we can think of to start or end your trip. It’s great to have a basic understanding of the city before you get lost in it, and alternatively it’s a lovely way to reflect on your experiences before you leave. Here are our favorite places to see the entire city at once. Berlin TV TowerThe tallest building in Germany is the TV Tower, where you can reach the top by elevator at only 6 meters per second. Built in the 1960’s, the shape of the tower was inspired by the Sputnik satellites launched by the Soviet Union in the 1950’s. Rather than wait in line (which can take an hour) to see the view, we recommend you skip the queue and dine at the 207 meters high Sphere restaurant which rotates a full 360 degrees in one hour. Experiencing the rotating views as you relax and dine is a truly unique experience. The Reichstag DomeWhile audio guides are boring and thus typically ignored, the one offered at the Reichstag Dome is more interesting than you’d expect! It is worth your while to get the full experience of this architectural marvel. It’s full of history- be sure to get a of the rest of the building when Parliament isn’t sitting. Give yourself at least an hour for this, and pro tip: you might want to hold the railings as you walk up the spiral walkway, the views into the building below make some people a little uneasy at first. To avoid the queue, you can book for free in advance on the German government website. The Berlin Victory ColumnTo get to the top you’ll have to walk up many narrow steps, but it’s worth it (don’t worry there are resting spots along the way). The view is incredible and is well deserved after making the effort to get up there to see it. The Victory Column is of the best and well earned views of the city and is only a mere 3 euros. Pro tip: be careful getting there - you’ll have to cross a very busy traffic circle to get there. PanoramapunktCentrally located in Potsdamer Platz is Europe’s fastest elevator- 24 floors in 20 seconds (surprise: there’s a 25th floor but you have to take the stairs). Once you’re up there, there is a lot of great information to read while you stroll and admire the view. There is an open air exhibit showing you how Berlin has evolved over the years. This is a particularly great spot as you can see all of the most famous landmarks and at half the height of the TV Tower, this is an altogether different experience. Humboldthain Flak TowerThis WWII bunker might not be the first place one would look for a view of the skyline, but it is arguably the best place in Berlin to watch the sun set. It’s somewhat hidden from plain sight but that just adds to the vibe. There are great tour companies operating there with very enthusiastic guides who make this experience very enjoyable even if you’re not a history buff. It’s right next to the S-bahn and there are lots of picnic tables in the well maintained park that surrounds the tower- lovely for a peaceful break from the city. If you’re looking for a hidden gem (and don’t mind more stairs), this is the place for you. TeufelsbergWhile there is an 8 euro fee, keep in mind that this is an abandoned Cold War building that’s decently maintained (well, better than you’d expect it to be) by the talented artists who use the space. If you like street art, this should be up there with East Side Gallery. Considering how underrated the view is, seeing as this manmade hill is the highest point of elevation in the city, it’s definitely worth it. If the weather is bad, however, you might want to reconsider depending on your priorities. The art is always changing though, so even if you do go on a less than ideal day, you can go again and not feel like it’s repetitive. Bonus: The WeltballonWeather permitting, this hot air balloon is a unique way to take in the city. If you’ve never been to Berlin, this is a great first day activity as it’s conveniently located next to Checkpoint Charlie and will help you get the lay of the land quickly. Most of us don’t ride in hot air balloons on a daily basis, so when the weather is nice this is definitely a fun and cool way to see Berlin. Just keep in mind that it’s always recommended to check ahead of time to see if it’s operating, especially if it’s cloudy or windy that day.  

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10.16.2017

Tom Petty has become a household name thanks to his vast catalog of hits, and as the unfortunate trend goes, artists always seem to garner more popularity after death. Yet not many are aware of the fact that the way in which he navigated the cesspool known as the music business is crucial to the evolution of the industry, and how we understand it in 2017. So, before the next person tells you how Tom Petty changed their life (even though they haven’t bought a Tom Petty album since the ’80s), here are some things over which his influence still remains. The Rift Between The Record Companies And ArtistsIt seems like we’re constantly hearing about legal processes over artists’ rights; remember Taylor Swift and Spotify? The beginning of the schism on sharing music over the internet with Metallica and Napster? Well, first came Tom Petty and the war on $1, back in 1981. That’s right, Tom Petty was so against a $1 price hike that was going to be imposed on one of his albums by his record company (from $8.98 to $9.98) that he debated not even releasing said album (Hard Promises). The record label eventually backed down and didn’t increase the price. Even more extreme was prior to the $1 controversy, Tom Petty declared bankruptcy so his record label could drop him, so that he could subsequently sign with them again but under better terms. There has always been a perpetual battle with record companies and artists (Spinal Tap, anyone?) about artistic control. Very few people have it these days, and Tom Petty had always been an advocate for it. For him, having full artistic control wasn’t just about having the last word over the final cut, it was about the way artists are treated by management. Artists are treated all too often as commodities than creators. Think about Prince’s legal battles to own his own music (you’d think this would be common sense, but not in the music licensing world), and more recently Kesha who cannot release work under any other label than the one whose founder sexually and psychologically abused her. Looking back on it, Tom Petty’s dispute with his label for wanting to charge his fans one more dollar was considerably iconic. Artists Against Artists: Copyright Infringement And The LawAnother unfortunate trend (depending on what side you’re on) for decades has been artists suing each other (John Lennon, Coldplay, Radiohead, Beyonce, and Jay-Z have all been sued) over the copyright infringement of music and/or lyrics. This is a tricky subject as it’s realistically possible for one artist to “rip off” another artist without even knowing it. It’s easy to hear a song somewhere, and months later when you go to write a song, write something uncannily similar and think it was your own creation. Since Tom Petty was the unassuming type, when people were a little too “inspired” by his music he didn’t ignite spiteful legal battles. Instead, in reference to the striking similarities between 1989’s I Won’t Back Down and Sam Smith’s Stay With Me, Petty basically said quite casually that these things happen. He has been credited as a writer on Smith’s hit song, but didn’t hold a grudge. As many ’70’s rockers can attest to ( *cough*, Led Zeppelin, *cough*), “borrowing” riffs and taking “inspiration” here and there was actually pretty typical in the blues- the genre which these musicians grew up with (ask Chuck Berry’s people - everyone from The Beatles to Bob Dylan admit to stealing from him). Perhaps it’s a generational perspective, as Tom Petty grew up with the blues and cited blues rooted bands like The Rolling Stones as inspirational, but he didn’t treat the lifting of his work by others as blatant and calculated theft (even if it was). When The Strokes had no qualms about admitting the fact that they took the beginning of American Girl for their song Last Nite, Tom Petty laughed. They were honest about it, after all. Rather than list all of the songs that could arguably have been ripped off of Tom Petty’s  songs, may we suggest that you go explore his catalogue yourself. There will be many “hey, I know this song!” moments, and some occasional “this reminds me of….”, but most of all the ties between his style and the style of today’s music will be self evident.  

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10.12.2017

“Farm to table” or “farm to fork” refers to part of a growing global movement promoting local food that is particularly popular in New York City. It means that restaurants buy their ingredients directly from the producer, typically somewhere local so that the ingredients are truly fresh. The term doesn’t refer strictly to a farm, it could be about wine from a local vineyard or a jam that has been bought at a farmer’s market. Eating local is all about knowing where your food comes from and whose hands it has been in. Why does the physical proximity of your food matter? Food that has to be shipped from far away not only has significantly diminished nutritional value, but more often than not it is lacking in flavor as well, since produce needs to be picked well before it is ripe so that it doesn’t rot during the transportation process. Furthermore, people are growing more and more concerned about the disappearance of small, family owned operations. With big business getting bigger and bigger, people increasingly want to support small businesses like “mom and pop” stores when they can as our country was built upon entrepreneurial spirit. Finally, locally sourced food also has a lower carbon footprint, because the CO2 emissions deriving from transport are significantly reduced. In addition to the social movement aspect of farm to fork dining, since many raw ingredients are seasonal, menus are constantly evolving. And this is kind of exciting, because it sparks culinary creativity and you can go to the same restaurant multiple times and never expect to experience the same exact flavors. Following is a brief list of places to start your journey of locally procured flavor combinations concocted by chefs who inherently understand that a dish is only as good as its ingredients. Blenheim, West VillageBlenheim is a Michelin starred restaurant whose owners own and operate their own farm in the Catskills. The land dates back to the 1700s, and had been used as a farm in the past, although it had been inoperative in recent years until owners Morten (who previously worked in design) and Min renovated it. They raise rare heritage breed pigs, Icelandic lamb, and even the restaurants furniture is handcrafted. The menu is heavy on different kinds greens that they’ve grown at their farm so don’t be disappointed if it looks like your waiter just gave you a plate of garden trimmings - the innovative combinations, hand raised meats and bottomless brunch will do the trick to satisfy you. This small restaurant with a modern feel and barn motifs is a youthful gem! Blue Hill, Greenwich VillageExecutive chef Dan Barber is a Michelin-starred multiple James Beard Award winner, was appointed by Obama to serve on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sports and Nutrition and that’s not all - he was named one of Time’s 100 most influential people in 2009. Blue Hill owns a farm in the Berkshires which was in operation from the 1860s to the1960s prior to recent refurbishment, and two restaurants. The main one, off of Washington Square Park, offers a more-than-tasting menu called the “farmer’s feast” showcasing that week’s harvest. But if you prefer a little mystery you can head 30 miles out of the city to Blue Hill at Stone Barns where there is no menu. You simply must trust the chef. As enthralling as this all sounds, be prepared to wait: you can only book a month in advance at the Washington Square Park location and 60 days in advance at Stone Barns. Alternatively, you can get on the waiting list, or stop by their cafe and grain bar at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture next time you happen to be in Pocantico Hills (which also requires a reservation, by the way). ABC KitchenABC Kitchen is one of the three Jean-Georges restaurants curated by ABC Carpet & Home. For those of you don’t know who Jean-Georges is, he is one of the most famous chefs in the world and probably the most famous and influential one in New York. Needless to say, he’s a culinary visionary, an expert at creating restaurants which combine the architecture, design, and ambience to perfectly compliment his extraordinary creations. The focus of ABC Kitchen is to be sustainable all around. Not only do they not use produce that has been treated with pesticides and other chemicals, but even the wine, spices, and other pantry items are fair trade and organic. Jean-Georges’ ethos is about moving towards sustainability, and not just in terms of food apparently, he is very involved with every aspect of a restaurant he works with, even the interior of the restaurant features reclaimed, found, and recycled materials. The menu features classics like line caught tuna and pork confit, however, the use of micro greens from the rooftop garden (obviously), spice, and citrus, adds a bright and modern twist from the renowned French chef. Gentleman Farmer, Lower East SideWhile this restaurant looks like a hole in the wall (it is), don’t be put off: the food is absolutely fantastic. This cozy restaurant is run by a husband and wife duo who are passionate about the food and wine that they serve. Karim trained in Northern France and his wife Beverly is an enthusiastic sommelier, this is truly a family restaurant. The style is definitely French with a twist- the curried snails being a good example of the twist. The menu features a lot of game: ostrich steak, boar chop, braised rabbit. However, the bison tartare is probably the dish they are best known for. You already know that all of the establishments on this list procure their ingredients locally, but the game served at Gentleman Farmer is “beyond organic”, as the couple calls it. The meat is carefully curated from small farms that they have sought out, and cooked to perfection. If trying new meat (or game in general) is your thing, this restaurant is a must, and considering the size (it’s basically a hallway) - so aren't reservations. If you go early you have a good chance of being able to get a table, and failing that, there is also a location in Brooklyn.  PRINT, Hell’s KitchenIt’s easy to see why this restaurant is so popular with locals and filled with return customers - the menu is updated daily and they even have an in-house forager. Their motto is “if its grown in the region, we eat it in season”. Purely from a sustainability perspective, they are particularly good at substantiating how much the farm-to-table concept is flourishing. In certain parts of the year, PRINT procures 90% of ingredients from traceable, local sources. They even have protocol agreements with each individual farm or purveyor that they work with to assure the quality; and the ingredients that need to be sourced from further away are prioritized by traceability. Even though the menu is constantly being updated, you can almost always expect warm bread with ricotta upon being seated. The goat cheese gnocchi and short ribs are popular dinner choices, and the brunch menu has a wide variety outside of what you’d already expect for breakfast food. You can expect recycled and repurposed materials in the modern yet elegant dining room, and The Press Lounge on the rooftop is not to be missed- fortunately you can take your drink with you!   

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10.10.2017

There is a beautiful place in Milan devoted to art and design, but it is neither a museum nor a gallery. We are talking about the Taschen Store in central via Meravigli, covering an area of 120 square meters over two floors just a short walk from the Duomo, which opened a couple of years ago as the very first Taschen store in Italy. The special thing about it is that it does not just showcase Taschen’s world famous illustrated books, but also the talent of the artists and designers that contributed to enriching the space, whose atmosphere is perfectly and harmoniously consistent with the publisher’s style. The large glass-top cabinets that house Taschen’s Collector’s Editions and Art Editions and custom bookshelves on the ground floor, have all been designed by Marc Newson, a long-time collaborator whose work spans a broad range of disciplines, from airplanes and cars to furniture, clothes and, in 2014, the creative team at Apple. Artist Jonas Wood has designed a terrazzo flooring delineating shimmering Californian flora and fauna in blues, greens, and yellows. A spiraling staircase by Salvatore Licitra connects the ground and first floor in a gradation of colors, with an alcove intended for quiet reading, and wall art from Graphic Thought Facility which gives the vibrant bookworms of the pop-up store a new, golden incarnation. The store also celebrates Italian design from the 1950s with pieces from the personal collection of Benedikt Taschen. An imposing chandelier on the ground floor is a Gio Ponti design commissioned by the Hotel Parco dei Principe. On the first floor, a 1954 lamp by Flavio Poli for Archimede Seguso illuminates the exhibition space, which houses temporary design and art exhibitions. 

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According to the most recent studies, we spend more than four hours a day on our smartphones: that is well over one whole day every week! Using the social media, and particularly instantly sharing private and public content, is our most frequent activity. Yet which risks hide behind this constant log-ins, registrations and releasing personal data and information? These are some of the issues that Pietro Calorio and Pietro Jarre, respectively the founders of Sloweb and eMemory, had to deal upon setting the goal of safeguarding the users without scaremongering, but instead fostering a responsible use of information technologies and devices, the Web and Internet application in general. How? Through information and education, and by constantly fighting against the improper use of the Web and promoting an ethical and respectful attitude towards people’s privacy and private time. We had a long and interesting chat with them. SJ: Privacy is one of the main concerns raised in public debates around the Web. Which solutions is the Sloweb movement recommending? Pietro Calorio: To fight against any improper public or private use of the Internet and the Web, Sloweb promotes courses, meetings and publications whose aim is that of raising awareness, offering a set of useful tools to help people understand what happens to the content and information released on the Web and how to protect their privacy - because after all they are the only custodians of their own privacy.We aim to fix the root cause of the issues, fighting for common rights in terms of personal data at digital heritage: the right to delete, to have full ownership, to select and reduce the quantity of personal data available online. Basically, we fight for an “ecological use of digital data”. SJ: What do you exactly mean by “ecological use of digital data”?Pietro Jarre: The idea is to reduce the consumeristic use of digital data cause by an irresponsible use of digital technologies.  As if often happens, the problem is not the intrinsic nature of the technology, but the way that we use it – or rather the way that the business models of the main industry actors induce us to use it.Using digital tools has become a sort of social coercion: not owning and carrying with you a smartphone all the time is deemed unconceivable, let alone not being familiar with the Internet. At the same time, the massive use of the social media has made the act of sharing compulsive and more urgent than the nature of the shared content itself: as soon as we get in touch with some data or a piece of information – no matter if it’s reliable or not – we proceed to sharing it even before analyzing, investigating or selecting it. Hence, in a way we waist our own and everybody else’s time, and the digital experience ends up filling every single moment of our life, even down times and waitsSJ: What are the negative consequences of this phenomenon?Pietro Jarre: The consequences are under our eyes: we entrust our memory to digital tools and devices. And it’s not just about avoiding to memorize telephone numbers, it’s about our personal memories – images, feelings, notes and opinions – often instantly shared on the social media with a significant loss of privacy and intimacy and without even allowing ourselves the time to process and elaborate events, to find a way to turn them into relevant storytelling.The same behavioral model that pushes us to execute a quick set of actions in order to buy, consume and accept conditions ends up being applied to our lives. What we need to do instead is affirm our own right to slow reflection, and begin to take advantage of technology rather than being exploited by it. Regaining possession of our time is the real challenge that we need to take up in the future, and we at Sloweb believe that the way to do this is raising awareness, promoting public discussion, make some room for reflection; in other words, giving birth to an opinion and action movement.The ecological use of digital data prompts the reduction of sterile data and the emerging of the fertile ones, allowing for a better employment of our time and of the digital spaceSJ: How does this happen in practical terms?Pietro C:  Sloweb gathers individuals, companies, professionals and organizations willing to practically help web through activities such as training courses on digital awareness and IT security, services aimed to protect and enhance digital assets, solutions to improve internet access for everyone, initiatives to promote full transparency around T&C and internet contracts in general, battles against dependencies and compulsive use of digital devices, and promotion of responsive and participatory behaviours in software development.Of course, members engaged in developing web platforms are also committed to comply with our principles in terms of personal data safeguarding and transparency. SJ: Still, digital tools and services can be a great resource when it comes to memory preserving.Pietro J: They certainly are, and based on this idea I created eMemory, a digital platform devoted to safeguarding and enhancing memories, emotions, personal and collective histories. My aim was to offer a different user experience, in a calmer and safer environment – a place where they could organize and preserve their own memories, and everything that they need to keep track of concerning their families and their jobs. SJ: How does it work?Pietro J: eMemory allows you to collect, select, arrange and store data and documents, turning them into stories to be shared, passed down or simply preservedSJ: So sharing is not necessarily wrong.Pietro J: Of course not, provided that it is done with a reason, and as the result of a reflection. Every eMemory’s core code has been written trying not to push or put pressure on the user. Every function has been studied to allow him/her to make relevant long-term actions and choices rather than instant outpourings. Although some of the classic features of the social media are included, they do not represent the service’s reason for being. eMemory was not born for sharing and socializing, but it may be used for that too. The same concept is behind the storing part: you may store every sort of things in your attic, but eMemory invites you to be more essential, to select, to clear your mind so that you will find a better way to tell your own story. The advantage for the user is the opportunity to tell your story in many different ways, thus discovering your own richness and complexity. SJ: Which are the specific aspects connected with privacy that you worked on in order to make eMemory a truly “ethical” service?Pietro J: Everyone’s will is clear and expressed: you can’t get more ethical than this. The ownership of the data is exclusively in the hands of the user. Our terms and conditions are very transparent; Pietro Calorio has done a fabulous job in adopting strict definitions, short and clear sentences. We even developed a game to help our users self-test their understanding of the T&Cs. Finally, the ownership of the platform is well spread - a necessary (but not sufficient) pre-condition for independence and transparency. We already have 30 shareholders, in the future we aim to 30 thousand.   

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There is a lot we don’t know about our oceans - we’ve only explored less than 5% of them. What we do know is that they are critical to life as we know it, and that it is not a neverending resource. The ocean plays a critical role in controlling the climate, weather patterns, absorbing man made CO2, and practically immeasurable economic value (think jobs, tourism, food, medicines made from marine resources, etc.) in addition to providing half of the world’s oxygen. If that isn’t of the utmost importance, you might as well say that cows don’t moo and that grass isn’t green. What’s Going On?Right now there are over 400 “dead zones” (areas where oxygen levels are so low, life cannot be supported). Occasionally this happens naturally, but the biggest dead zones have been found near bodies of water contaminated with lots of agricultural chemicals. Furthermore, there is so much plastic in the ocean that pieces have even been found in the arctic just 1,000 miles away from the North Pole; this kind of pollution affects the whole food chain as plastics absorb toxins. Plastic has even been found in the fish that we eat! Considering how much of the world has a diet dependent on fish, we should be concerned. It’s not just litter that is destroying the ocean: increased CO2 emissions are causing the ocean to acidify which has a domino like effect on marine life.  Ocean Cleanup: Cleaning From The Top DownOne company is trying to clean up our ocean - notably what is known as The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an area extremely saturated with microplastics. To put this in perspective, the UN recently had its first ever Ocean Conference where it was stated that if nothing is done, plastic could outweigh fish by 2050.The Ocean Cleanup aims to cleanse 50% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 5 years. Founded by 23-year-old Boyan Slat, this project would use energy neutral floating screens to act as a filter as the currents move the debris around. Once the plastic has been trapped, it can be recycled into other products that the company would sell, the goal being that the entire concept will be self-sustaining. The downside? There are 5 garbage patches in the ocean… Is it possible to clean up the entire ocean before it’s too late? Super Coral: Assisted Evolution From The Bottom UpA number of scientists such as Ruth Gates in Hawaii and Verena Schoepf in Australia, are currently working on a bottom up solution: “super coral”. Coral reefs sustain 25% of all marine life. While 25% doesn’t sound like a lot - did you know that there are approximately 18,000 known species of fish? - one billion people rely on fish as their main source of protein. Knowing that, it is safe to say that coral reefs are vitally important. There have been three huge bleaching events in the past couple of years due to increased water temperatures (caused by the growth of CO2 emissions that the ocean absorbs). However, scientists are looking to the coral that has survived for answers. These corals with apparently stronger genes than others, will be experimented on under different water conditions and then bred together. Essentially scientists are trying to speed up evolution to try to save and regrow what coral we have left. While this concept is still in early stages, it is geared towards the future. What can be likened to genetic modification isn’t a miracle cure, however. Coral reefs are an efficient ecosystem with almost no waste as everything is “recycled” by means of symbiotic relationships with the life dependent on the reef. This could prove to be tricky but it is essential that we do whatever we can to protect that which we depend on for survival.  

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10.06.2017

In Meguro ward, Tokyo, lies the quiet neighbourhood of Yakumo, a name which literally means “eight clouds” and in fact represents a retreat from the noise of the city. A place in particular will make you feel on cloud nine – excuse the pun. This place is Yakumo Saryō, a teahouse featuring a unique atmosphere that combines sumptuous tradition and minimalistic modernity. Behind this concept is the creative mind of Shinichiro Ogata, the Japanese designer who conceived everything from the interiors to the tableware to offer a consistent and authentic Japanese experience. The food itself is something to be experienced with all five senses, either in the restaurant hall or in the tearoom. There is a different menu for each meal, breakfast, lunch, tea and supper. At breakfast, in the tearoom, you can taste kayu rice porridge and white rice paired with roasted tea, seasonal ingredients, dried fish and miso soup. On the lunch menu you will find kaiseki, the traditional Japanese multi-course meal, using only the finest ingredients of the season. At dinnertime – please note that to preserve the quiet atmosphere of the place, dinner is by invitation only, so you need to be introduced by someone in order to reserve - the warm light diffused by the noren (the curtain hung at the entrance) beckons to enter and spend the evening in a relaxing ambience. A meal that should not be overlooked is the afternoon tea, served with seasonal, handmade wagashi sweets, such as nut-based or azuki-based treats, or rice crackers coated in brown sugar. The sweets are also pretty and make the perfect gift. The salon, furbished in an exquisitely traditional Japanese style, is the venue for rotating exhibitions, like the Matsuzaki Urushi lacquerware exhibition, which will close on November 25.  

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10.03.2017

Mid-Autumn Kangen Matsuri (October 4)Hie Shrine in Akasaka is the venue of a number of traditional performance, including gagaku, ceremonial music, bugaku, dance music, and Sannō-taiko (drums), underneath the moonlight, in a magical journey through space and time to the world described in the Man’yōshū poetry collection. Japan Umeshu Matsuri in Tokyo (October 6-9)At Yushima Tenman-gū Shrine you can savour umeshu from all over Japan in the charming ambience of downtown Tokyo. You will find all sorts of plum wine from Hokkaidō to Okinawa, with a brandy finishing or even matcha-flavoured. When you purchase the ticket, either in advance or the same day, you will receive a token for umeshu tasting. 18th Tokyo Yosakoi within Fukuro Matsuri (October 7-8)The festival is expected to bring together some 250,000 people, with more than 100 dancing teams competing for the Tokyo City Governor’s Prize. Each team will perform in different venues, such as Ikebukuro Nishiguchi Park, Otsuka Kitaguchi Station square, Sugamo Station square and Mejiro Station square, each with an original dance. After the award ceremony, all the participants will dance to “Hifumi”, Tokyo Yosakoi’s original song as part as the special programme for Fukuro Festiva’s 50th Anniversary. All the vibrant colours of the costumes will be a feast for the eyes. And if you get hungry, you can stop at one of the thirty stands. Kawagoe Matsuri (October 14-15)The history of Kawagoe Festival begins when the customs and refinement of Edo reached the land across the Shingashi River, north west of the capital. Kawagoe Festival consists of the Reitaisai festival held at Hikawa Shrine, immediately followed by Jinkōsai festival and Float Event. Jinkōsai festival started in 1648 by demand of the reigning Kawagoe clan lord Nobutsuna Matsudaira Izunokami, who offered religious artifacts, such as a portable shrine, a lion mask and taiko drums to Hikawa Shrine. The festival has been designated as an Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property, and the Float Event is also registered in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. 

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10.02.2017

Air pollution, global warming, indiscriminate exploitation of water resources, uncontrolled urbanization: all of this is already under our eyes, but the consequences are not yet fully visible. Not for long, though, because according to the forecasts of experts and scientists, in the course of this and the next century many legendary places on our planet - places we take for granted because they have always existed in recent human history - are seriously at risk to be wiped off the face of the Earth. If we were to find a less negative spin on this sad reality, we might say that the time to visit them is now, so here’s a small list of places you should absolutely see before it's too late. The Great Chinese Wall Strange as it sounds, this incredible man-made landmark over 2,000 years old and nearly 7,000 kilometers long is in serious danger and likely to fade in the next 100 years. Why is that? Because of the natural erosion derived from constant exposure to winds and rains, but also due to the thousands of tourists who walk along it every day, and even to the horrible but apparently widespread habit of stealing bricks to build houses. The SeychellesOne of the most globally popular honeymoon destination, these beautiful islands in the Indian Ocean off the Kenya coast, with their turquoise waters and exotic postcard-perfect landscapes, are bound to sink into the sea over the next fifty years or so. And not because of the hordes of newlyweds who flock to their beaches, but because of climate changes, which cause drought and the rising of sea levels, with the consequent erosion of the coasts and the progressive destruction of the coral reef. The Great Barrier Reef And speaking of coral reefs, even the largest and most beautiful one in the world, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, which extends for 2,300 kilometers off the coast of Queensland, is largely defunct. This natural wonder and its inhabitants have been severely affected by rising water temperatures, and although coral whitening is a natural phenomenon, global warming is deemed guilty of dramatically worsening the situationThe Madagascar ForestThe cute lemurs of Madagascar, who are among the characters of a famous series of animated films, are among the victims of deforestation that is destroying the lush vegetation of Madgascar. Already threatened by illegal hunting and poaching, in recent years the animals of the symbol of the biodiversity of this land are also losing their natural habitat because of the trading of precious woods and the transformation of large forest areas into rice fields. The same Madagascar forest is likely to extinguish largely over the next 35 years. The Dead SeaIncredible as it may seem, the Dead Sea is destined to disappear. Famous for its super salty water gifted with many beneficial properties, the Dead Sea receives water almost exclusively from the Jordan River. But if Israel and Jordan should continue to exploit the biblical river’s waters as much as they are doing today, its level is set to go down to drying. On top of that, water evaporation, accelerated by climate changes, is yet another threat to this huge salted lake. The MaldivesIf you have postponed your long-awaited trip to Maldives, it is advisable to arrange it within the next century. This island state whose tiny islets are only 1,5 meters above the ocean is facing several problems: in addition to risking being submerged over the next hundred years, it has to deal with rubbish mountains and with the pollution derived from the excessive use of diesel for lighting, despite the virtual abundance of solar energy available.  

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09.29.2017

If you haven’t yet ventured to the cinema to see Darren Aronofsky’s latest mind bending and controversial film Mother!, and especially if you are not familiar with the director’s work, here is what you should know before going in to the theater (no worries: this article contains no spoilers). 1. If you don’t know Aronofsky by name, the film he is probably most known for is the passionate, disturbing and beautiful Black Swan. Centered on a ballerina, this film garnered some critique for its most graphic scenes. Black Swan has been described partially as a horror, but it’s not the kind of horror with axe murderers; the scenes noted as disturbing have the effect on a viewer like nails on a chalkboard - but even more amplified. The film most known for having this effect on the audience is Requiem for a Dream, Aronofsky’s second film that portrays the lives of heroin addicts, devoid of any sense of humanity. More mainstream, however, is The Wrestler- also well received by critics and also intensely showing the characters’ psychological agony, but less unsettling visually. 2. Going in to an Aronofsky film, you should be ready to completely submerge yourself into the world on screen and commit to the journey of emotional explorations that comes with it. As unsettling as some may find his films, the beauty is in the way Aronofsky destroys a character’s psyche, while giving the viewer a calculated image of the raw, inner workings of a damaged mind of his own creation. 3. Aronofsky’s films can be difficult to watch at times- and not only due to the graphic nature of certain scenes. The deep character development and intensity with which each actor takes on their role locks the viewer into the world that is being presented to them. Critics of Aronofsky say that he is trying too hard to create something profound, and only coming off as over the top. That may be true, but his ability to evoke profound emotions within the viewer is impressive. He is completely uncompromising in his vision and that is something to respect whether or not you actually like his vision. 4. The common theme of his films is that of a person pushing themselves to extremes to become the best that they can. Aronofsky agonizingly portrays the passion and insanity of the characters’ mind. The cinematography is of course stunning, but even for people that don’t study a film in that way, and as unsettled as a one might feel, the beauty is in the profound way in which someone has just been transported into the warped psyche of someone else. 5. Do not let the reviews spoil Mother! for you and enjoy the film! 

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09.27.2017

Quoi, vous ne mangez pas de viande? This is an old refrain every vegetarian has heard at least a million times upon ordering at a regular Parisian restaurant or bistro. Not any more, though: these days, going meat-free in the city of foie gras and boeuf bourguigon is not such a big deal. Quite the opposite, actually: from sophisticated gourmet restaurants to counter-only little places, fast foods and street carts, the options for vegetarians and even vegans are exciting and diverse. Here’s our little selection just to give you an idea of how much things have changed. Gentle GourmetEstablished in 2009 in the Bastille area, Gentle Gourmet aims to offer an incomparable experience of vegan haute cuisine by combining the finesse of French gastronomy with an ethical and ecological dimension, all the while preserving that of pleasure. If you wish to try some astonishing vegan versions of classic French dishes and desserts in a sophisticated ambience, this is just the right place for you. Le Potager de CharlotteMother Charlotte and sons David and Adrien: this is the family/team behind le Potager de Charlotte, a cozy vegan restaurant not far from Gare du Nord whose ambition is offering a savory and hearty cuisine without meat, fish and dairy products. Mission impossible? Not really. The food here is creative, beautiful to look at, and delicious. The ingredients are 95% organic and preferably local. 42 Degrés42 Celsius degree is the maximum temperature that can be employed in vegan cuisine in order to preserve all the food’s nutritional properties perfectly intact. 42 Degrés, in the Poissonière area, specializes in raw “bistronomie”, a mix of bistro food and haute cuisine, naturally vegan and healthy. Go for Sunday brunch and you’ll be able to sample a huge variety of dishes from the buffet. SoyaJust a stone's throw from the beautiful Canal St. Martin, this post-industrial-style restaurant with three large windows and an open kitchen is housed inside the spaces of a former atelier and serves vegetarian cuisine (90% vegetable) based on organic products. Veget’HallesThis simple and cozy vegan and vegetarian place near Les Halles offers a mix of French recipes, street food-style delicacies and international dishes based on seasonal ingredients, along with organic fresh juices and desserts. Order the set lunch menu to try a little bit of everything. 

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09.25.2017

Chicago is mostly known for its architecture, deep dish pizza, sports teams and “The Magnificent Mile”. Yet there is more to the Windy City than the Navy Pier and the other typical tourist spot: the lesser known South Side, albeit often portrayed as a gang fueled death trap, has plenty of treasures to offer, especially in the Hyde Park neighborhood. Home to the beautiful University of Chicago campus and to a diverse community full of culture and history, Hyde Park has some truly remarkable places and attractions to be discovered, so if you have a day to spare on your next trip to Chicago, be sure not to miss a day in the neighborhood – it is easily accessible from downtown. The Most Important Meal Of The DayValois is a South Side staple, and not because it's Obama’s favorite diner in Hyde Park. It’s your average cash only cafeteria-style diner, but the typical comfort food speaks for itself. You can still expect to wait in line to order and find a table - Chicagoans have been loyally going there long before Obama was in the news. Beyond The Swiss Jolly BallThere aren’t enough words to describe how phenomenal the museums in Chicago are. The Art Institute and The Field Museum are world class, and the Shedd Aquarium is always a hit with tourists. One of Chicago’s biggest attractions is the Museum of Science and Industry. It’s right in Hyde Park next to Lakeshore Drive and Promontory Point (the most underrated view of the skyline can be seen here!). The interactivity of this museum is what makes it so great, but it’s not just for kids. The most memorable permanent exhibits are the chick hatchery where you can watch baby chickens hatch right before your eyes and the unmistakable Swiss Jolly Ball. What is a “Swiss Jolly Ball”? It’s the world’s largest pinball made out of scrap metal depicting the Swiss landscape- it’s something you can only appreciate by seeing it for yourself. 57th StreetIn the heart of the UofC campus is the renowned Robie House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, arguably the most influential American architect. The Robie House is revered due to its unique architectural style; it is considered to be the prime example of the first purely American architectural style - the Prairie School. Fortunately, it is right around the corner from Medici on 57th Street. This restaurant is a UofC staple with typical American food, but the hidden gem on the menu is the Orzata float: a classic ice cream float made special with the addition of orgeat syrup. Just down the street is 57th Street Books, with small doorway popping out of the sidewalk and a few steps down, this little shop invites you into a cozy space that is beloved by the community. An Ode To Harold’sAny good article that mentions food in the South Side isn't complete until fried chicken has been covered. Hands down, the best fried chicken is from a local chain called Harold's. People will even go as far as to debate which individual location is the best. (Please note that the writer of this article is admittedly biased towards Harold’s, specifically the one on 53rd.)  

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09.22.2017

A man who is tired of London is tired of life - or maybe he just needs a little day trip out of the city to be reminded of how much beauty, art and amazing natural landscapes southern England has to offer. Here’s a bunch of places we truly love that are just a short drive or train journey from the capital. Osea IslandThis private tidal island on the Blackwater Estuary in Essex, now a luxurious buen retiro and hip weekend destination, has a very fascinating story. Traditionally a retreat for alcoholics - from the “home for inebriates” it housed in the beginning of the 20th century to the detox clinic which hosted Amy Winehouse one century later – more recently it became home to music recording studios. The available accomodations include period cottages, apartments and two villas. It’s a two-hour car journey from central London. Alfriston, East SussexThis 800 inhabitant village in Cuckmere Valley is mostly known for its Clergy House, a Medieval timber-framed house with a thatched roof, a pretty cottage garden and orchard, property of the National Trust. Further amenities include three old pubs and a classic 'village green' - a huge lawn scattered with benches where you can sit and contemplate the comforting landscape. It’s 80 about miles from central London, or you can get there by train in about 1hr 15mins. The Henry Moore FoundationIf you’re looking for a unique experience, you might consider enjoying the view of Henry Moore’s giant sculptures by surrounded by a landscape of green rolling hills in Hertfordshire, barely one hour and a half by car from London. The Foundation is housed inside Moore’s studios and family home, with around 15,000 objects on display including sculptures, maquettes, drawings, prints, tapestries and textiles. St.Albans21 miles north of London, this beautiful cathedral city of Roman foundation is a not-to-be-missed classic day-trip destination. The main attraction include the majestic Cathedral whose architecture blends many different period architectural styles, the Museum displaying beautiful objects from the Roman City of Verulamium, the Roman Theater and the traditional street market dating back to the 9th century.  New ForestThis amazing place is just a two-hour car journey south of London and yet it looks like an entirely different world. Once the hunting ground of William the Conqueror, this ancient woodland offers southern England’s most intact natural scenery, a mosaic of ancient and ornamental woodland with wild ponies roaming freely, open heather-covered heaths, rivers and valley mires, a coastline of mudflats and saltmarshes, pretty historic villages and breathtaking cycling and walking routes.  

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09.20.2017

Among the many archaeological treasures of Greece, the remains of the Macedonian kingdom are certainly not the best known, perhaps because they are not on the classic tourist routes, yet they are gifted with a truly extraordinary charm that definitely deserves the trip to Thessaloniki and its surroundings. When in 1977 Greek archaeologist Manolis Andronikos found the tomb of Philip II of Macedonia and its perfectly preserved treasures, it was immediately clear to everyone that this was a discovery of priceless value. The excavations around the village of Vergina, 75 kilometers away from Thessaloniki and in the ancient city of Aigai, capital of the Kingdom of Macedonia, had begun already at the end of the 19th century, but so far nothing so surprising had emerged. The tomb of Philip II, along with other hypogeum-like tombs with vaulted ceilings and a monumental façade, were found beneath an artificial hill, protected by a clump of earth and tombstone fragments. But what struck the archaeologists at that time and still leaves visitors speechless is their miraculously intact nature, in addition to the beauty of the grave goods found inside them and currently on display in the adjoined museum. In particular, the tomb identified as that of Philip II, a key figure in the history of ancient Greece and the father of Alexander the Great, assassinated in 336 BC, contained several objects made of gold, silver and bronze, including magnificent crowns and precious diadems, a shimmer and a shield, in addition to the remains of a coat-of-arms and five tiny ivory sculpted faces presumably depicting members of the royal family. Even more surprisingly, there were also two perfectly preserved gold-plated urns containing the cremated remains of a man and a woman, supposedly Philip II and his second wife Cleopatra - or, according to an alternative theory, Philip III Arrhidaeus, brother-in-law of Alexander the Great, and his wife Eurydice. The royal tombs, together with the monumental palace - one of the most striking buildings of classical Greece - the theater, the shrines of Eukleia and the Mother of Gods, the walls and the necropolis make the remains of Aigai one of the most important archaeological sites European, unsurprisingly designated UNESCO World Heritage List.  

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Divided among Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei and surrounded by the South China Sea, Borneo is the third largest island in the world and the largest in Asia, and above all home to a 140 million years old rainforest ranking among the most species-rich places on the planet. Yet, although everything suggests that this unique and amazing place is an inestimable resource for the whole planet, the destruction of the Borneo forests has gone largely unnoticed and remains off the radar of most people.  But of course not for the people of Malaysian Borneo, who have been fighting for years to defend forests, sustainable livelihoods, and human rights. Indigenous communities in Sarawak have been struggling ever since the logging companies started rolling in and taking people’s land out from under them. Since then, palm oil proliferation, mega-dams, mining and wildlife poaching have caused devastation to this land. In the late 1980s, the people of Sarawak made world headlines when they staged a series of blockades in resistance to logging companies who were illegally encroaching on their lands. International observers came to bear witness to the gassing and mass arrest of protestors. Among them was Joe Lamb, a Berkeley-based writer, activist, and arborist who travelled up-river to the village of Uma Bawang to propose that Berkeley and Uma Bawang become sister cities. That was the very first step toward the foundation of The Borneo Project, an organization created with the aim of bringing international attention and support to community-led efforts, and out of the belief that preserving the rainforest is a moral duty and a necessary act for the future of humanity itself. Since its founding, the project has trained dozens of indigenous activists in community mapping, enabling communities to map areas of ancestral land claims and win legal cases and negotiations, supporting paralegal education and mobile legal aid clinics that have helped over 200 longhouse communities hold off destructive logging and industrial plantations. “Apart from the devastation of biodiversity”, says Fiona McAlpine, Communications and Media Manager of The Borneo Project, “the loss of land comes hand in hand with a loss of culture for the people who have been living in, relying on and protecting these forests for millennia. Sadly, the human story is often forgotten in these debates, which is why we strive to amplify indigenous voices”.   To put together the resources needed to launch an international campaign from the village level, the organization mobilizes support in the Bay Area with the aim of strengthening existing campaigns on the ground, relying on a surprising number of people in the Bay Area who are super engaged with the issues (academics at Berkeley, ex-Peace Corps who were stationed in Sarawak, climate justice gurus, etc.). “On a practical level”, says Fiona, “we listen carefully to the needs on the ground by keeping communications channels open and elevating voices from the grassroots, rather than ever speaking on someone’s behalf. We create opportunities for indigenous leaders to attend international meetings and forge alliances with other indigenous struggles around the world”.  One of the most successful campaigns that The Borneo Project supported so far was defeating the Baram Dam in 2016, which was the result of an enormous grassroots campaign that went on for many years. With two dams already built, communities displaced and dramatic environmental and social consequence, things truly reached breaking-point. Through picket resistance and strategically placed blockades that would pop up whenever they were removed, people resisted until the dam plans were shelved and land rights were restored. 

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09.15.2017

After a long research and authentication work among private collectors, studios and production houses, Prop Store, one of the world’s leading vendors of film props, costumes and memorabilia based in London and Los Angeles announced a major auction scheduled for September 26. The 600 objects under the limelight all belong to crucial moments in the history of film and TV of the last 60 years, a veritable treasure trove for every collector and film enthusiast – provided that they have deep enough pockets to afford the insane prices of these covetable memorabilia.   Among the most famous pieces are, Marty McFly’s legendary self-lacing Nike snealkers from Back to the Future – Part II, Indiana Jones’ bullwhip from Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, Data’s trench coat with patches from The Goonies, a tunic from the 1960s Star Trek tv series, the Joker's costume from Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman and the jumpsuit worn by Bill Murray’s character Venkman in Ghostbusters. The auction is scheduled for 12 o’ clock on September 26 in London, but bids can be placed over the phone or online as well.   

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09.13.2017

Up until a few years ago it might have sounded like a form of culinary extravaganza, but today fermentation is literally ubiquitous: from the kitchens of the world’s greatest restaurants, where it definitely seems to have overshadowed molecular gastronomy, to the homes of cooking and self-production enthusiasts, from magazines to food blogs. In short, the situation is getting out of hand, yet on the other hand among the many food trends of recent years, that of fermentation is undoubtedly the most reasonable. First of all because fermented food is extremely healthy: the microorganisms it contains are detoxifying and promote the balance of the intestinal flora, a virtue that contributes both to strengthening the immune system and to improving the mood thanks to the production of serotonin, one of the so-called "happiness hormones", by the digestive system. Secondly, because fermentation is a perfectly natural process that humanity has used for thousands of years to preserve food, as well as the basis of staple foods such as bread, cheese and yogurt - but also beer and wine. The term "fermentation" actually comes from the Latin word fervere (bubbling), referring to the must during the preparation of the wine. There are several types of fermentation - the one used for wine, for instance, is the alcoholic fermentation, in which the sugar of the must turns into alcohol and carbon dioxide - but the most widespread one is lactic fermentation, which is obtained by immersing the vegetables in water and salt - or more simply in their own liquids extracted through compression - in a jar. The process consists in the transformation of sugars and vegetable starch into lactic acid (which gives the fermented foods its unmistakable acidic flavor) through the action of bacteria. And although this may sound somewhat dangerous, it is in fact an infallible preservation system, because when acidity reaches a certain value, the bacterial proliferation stops and the environment in the jar reaches a stability that may last for years. Kimchi and the Korean art of food preservationOne of the most popular fermented foods today is Korean kimchi, a typical dish of Chinese cabbage leaves pickled in a mix of herbs and spices including onions, radish, red chili pepper, garlic, ginger, horseradish, dry fish and soy sauce.Although kimchi has only recently become a worldwide hit and cult food, in its homeland it has been popular for thousands of years, and it is so widespread and rooted in the Korean culture that there are hundreds of recipes - one for every small village or even family.Its origins date back to about 3,000 years ago when it started out as a food conservation technique based on the use of salt, particularly for vegetables that were scarce during the winter. With time, however, this practice gave birth to a proper recipe thanks to the addition of other ingredients, such as the spices to which kimchi owes its very special flavor.But kimchi is also the symbol of Korean gastronomy, a sort of sacred food whose preparation resembles a veritable ritual: traditionally, families used to gather to prepare it during the Fall, awaiting the most favorable weather conditions. The process lasted several days and ended with the digging of the jars used for conservation. Sandor Katz And The Fermentation RevivalSince he published his book Wild Fermentation in 2003, food author and DIY activist Sandor Katz has been promoting fermentation and its virtues through publications, workshops and interviews. Defined “one of the unlikely rock stars of the American food scene” by The New York Times has called it, Sandor is a retired policy wonk: after leaving native New York City in 1993 he moved to the rural community of Cannon County, Tennessee, where his enthusiasm for this ancient food preservation technique was prompted by the discovery of an old crock buried in the barn that he used to ferment cabbages and make sauerkraut. Sandor has been living with HIV since the 1980s and considers fermented foods to be an important part of his healing.  

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09.13.2017

Matsutake is an exquisitely Japanese ingredient mentioned in the Man’yoshū and Kokinwakashū anthologies of Japanese poetry, whose distinctive scent has made it famous worldwide. Matsutake mushrooms grow in red pine forests, as well as in forests were conifers are predominant. They appear at the end of August in cooler areas, whereas at warmer latitudes such as Kyūshū, you may have to wait until November. Matsutake cannot be grown artificially, which makes it rare and precious. They must be harvested before the cap opens completely, otherwise the scent and flavour will dissolve. Here is a list of restaurants where you can enjoy this wonderful seasonal ingredient paired with a glass of Japanese sake. Wakuta (Ginza)Wakuta’s autumn special is hamo eel and matsutake, a delicacy scrupulously prepared with the last eels of the season and the early mushrooms, served in a eel bone and konbu broth, seasoned with sake and soy sauce. Mao (Ginza)Located at only a three-minute walk from Ginza Station, Mao offers Japanese traditional food prepared with the freshest ingredients from Tsukiji Market. In autumn you can taste matsutake mushrooms steamed in earthenware pots (dobinmushi), in a friendly ambience, where you can relax and make yourself at home. Matsukawa (Roppongi)At Matsukawa, meticulously selected ingredients, remarkable preparation and pure Japanese style combine with the casual ambience of a counter bar, where you can savour grilled beef, with fragrant matsutake, mountain yam and gingko, in a set dinner menu or à la carte. Kikunoi (Akasaka)This restaurant is renowned for the richness of its ingredients, especially the vegetables, grown in and around Kyoto, where the chain is headquartered. The speciality is dobinmushi with matsutake and hamo eel from Awaji Island, served in a delicate Kyoto style soup. If you are sitting at the counter, you can observe the skilfulness of the kitchen staff preparing the quintessence of Kyoto’s culinary heritage. All the dishes are available in the set dinner menu. Gatō (Aoyama)It is a modern restaurant, with counter seats and carefully selected ingredients, which include Kuroge beef and freshly caught fish. Dobimushi is a speciality, prepared with ingredients that vary from season to season. Autumn is the undisputed apogee of matsutake soup, served in small earthenware pots

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09.11.2017

Among the many traces left in Sardinia by the Nuragic civilization, that ruled on the island between the Bronze Age and the 2nd century BC, the megalithic constructions to which it owes its name (and whose function still remains uncertain) certainly are the most famous. Nevertheless, besides the Nuraghs, the island is scattered with plenty of other fascinating and perhaps even more mysterious remains, such as the enigmatic Temples of Holy Water and the sandstone Statues of the Giants. To discover some of these treasures, you need to get off the most popular tourist routes and head to the western part of the island, and particularly to the province of Oristano and the peninsula of Sinis, where the inland is scattered with exceptional archaeological sites and the coastline is dotted with bays and beaches of pristine beauty.  The Nuragic Shrine of Santa CristinaOn the basaltic plateau of Abbasanta, in the province of Oristano, at the end of the nineteenth century Sardinian archaeologist Giovanni Spano discovered one of the first "sacred wells" ever found on the island. Built around the 11th century BC, this deep hole surrounded by a fence and preceded by a trapezoidal hall is one of the best-preserved, almost intact examples of its kind. Its original function is uncertain, but it presumably hosted cults and ceremonies devoted to water, the Mother Goddess and femininity, or, according to a less widespread theory, served as an astronomical observatory. The fact remains that this hypogeal construction appears to the eyes of a contemporary observer as something truly extraordinary, and even more fascinating because it is wrapped up in mystery. Nearby are also some Nuraghs and the village church of Santa Cristina, to which the site owes its name. The Giants of Mont'e PramaIt was the year 1974 when, in the fields at the foot of Mont'e Prama’s hill, not far from the Cabras pond on the Sinis peninsula, some farmers accidentally came across what would turn out to be the most important archeological discovery of the late 20th century in the Mediterranean. It was a burial ground dating back to the 8th century B.C. above which over 5,000 arenaceous limestone sculptural fragments were scattered, which were later reconstituted through a long restoration process and turned out to be part of some huge statues, around two meters high, and carved out of unique blocks that could weigh up to 400 kilos from a local quarry. Buried underground for 2,800 years, the "Giants" were partially rebuilt and turned out to be boxers, archers and warriors - and most likely the oldest in-the-round statues in the Mediterranean Basin, part of a funerary monument of unrivalled majesty in Italy. While the excavations in the site continue revealing new surprises on a daily basis, the reconstructed statues can now be admired at the Civic Archaeological Museum of Cabras, where they are housed inside a special room enriched by multimedia technology, and at the Archaeological Museum of CagliariThe Sand and Quartz Beaches In addition to its fascinating archaeological sites, this part of Sardinia also offers beaches of unmatched natural beauty. The coast of the Sinis peninsula houses some of the most beautiful quartz beaches of the island, particularly Is Arutas, Mari Ermi and Maimoni, characterized by pebbles resembling rice grains in the shades of white, pink, green and silver and washed by a crystal-clear sea. This peculiarity is the result of a natural process that took hundreds of millions of years, the gradual erosion of the granite rocks of which the coast was originally formed, of which quartz represents the very heart. Mari Ermi is a gently sloping two-and-a-half-mile-long beach along the Cabras coast, enclosed by sand dunes and sheltered by a large pond populated with pink flamingos. Just in front is the small island of Mal di Ventre, also dotted with magnificent beaches.A little further south, the Is Arutas "twin" beach has a deep seabed, clear waters and a truly remarkable marine fauna - the ideal combination for snorkeling. Further south you will find another quartz beach, Maimoni, near the archaeological excavations of Tharros, an ancient Phoenician city founded on a pre-existing Nuragic settlement.Maimoni is a a wonderful two-kilometer beach loved by surf enthusiasts and it can be reached via a long dirt road immersed in the Mediterranean scrub and ending on a small promontory; it owes its name to the Sardinian and Phoenician god of water and rain. Among the other famous beaches of the area are those of Sa Mesa Longa, in the northern of the peninsula, and that of San Giovanni di Sinis, in the south. Sa Mesa Longa, the "long table", is a large yellow beach with a pink shore and dark rocks facing it. San Giovanni di Sinis, near Tharros, is one of the most renowned beaches in Sardinia; it owes its name to an early Christian church and it is a strip of white sand and rocks dominated by an impressive Spanish tower. 

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09.07.2017

Jacopo Cinti is a young Italian creative professional based in London. As a long-time expat, we asked him to tell us about his vision of London and to give us a few insider tips for discovering some of the most exciting and authentic corners of the city. SJ: Tell us something about yourself in a few words.JC: My name is Jacopo Maria and I am a creative who specialises in luxury and high-end goods communication. Currently, I am the Art Director at MR PORTER, the men’s style destination which is now part of the Yoox Net-A-Porter Group.When I moved to London five years ago, I realised that no one could pronounce my name properly here (my name has been interpreted in many different ways – such as ‘Giacobbi’ or ‘Giakolo’) so I decided to opt for the simple version, ‘Jay’. I am so used to being called this, that when I go home and my mum calls me by my full Italian name it takes me a little while to get used to it again.  SJ: Why did you choose to live in London? Would you do it again?JC: I have lived in various different cities, but London is special. I love the hustle and bustle of this vast, multicultural hub, and the fact that you can find every type of food, go to any type of concert or visit the most incredible museums and galleries over the weekend. And when you crave a plate of homemade lasagna, you can take a flight back to Italy in less than two hours. SJ: You live in the Old Street area. Can you talk about your neighborhood and how it has changed over the last 15 years?JC: I lived in Old Street when I first moved to London in the late Nineties. It was a different neighbourhood back then, and I remember telling people at the time that I lived in Shoreditch and the reaction I received then, compared to now are very different.Now the EC1 area has had a resurgence and has become gentrified, with independent coffee shops on every corner (my favourite is FIX 126 on Curtain Road). It still has an edge though, otherwise it wouldn’t attract such a vast array of people every Saturday. SJ: How much has the city in general changed, for the better or for the worse?JC: The city of London, like most capitals, is constantly changing. Every time I go to New York, I am astonished by the way the city has changed and the same thing happens in London. Certain neighbourhoods that were off-limits a decade ago, are now trendy and hip. Places like Dalston, Stoke Newington, New Cross, Crystal Palace are now the places to live. SJ: Tell us three things to convince us to move to London tomorrow.JC: The food: you can find a variety of different foods in this city – my favourite is ‘La Famiglia’ in Chelsea. The art: I suggest a visit to the Barbican Centre where you can always find a diverse range of exhibitions from fashion, lifestyle, design and architecture. And if you’re into sports, you can play any sport in London. I currently participate in crossfit classes, my local centre is called 3 Aces CrossFitSJ: Can you give us some insider tip of unusual things to do, see, emerging districts yet to be discovered, restaurants or local?JC: If you want to discover some amazing independent shops, I suggest heading to Redchurch Street in East London where you will find a variety of different restaurants, bars, homeware and lifestyle stores.If you need an energy boost, I suggest a coffee stop at Allpress Espresso Bar, and if you have Italian food nostalgia, head to Burro e Salvia for a takeaway portion of ravioli or tortellini. If you need more tips, I suggest heading to the MR PORTER’s Style Council where you will find insider restaurant, bar and hotel tips from the world’s most stylish men. Illustration by Joe McKendry

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 Furniture, fabrics, wallpaper, carpeting and sculptures: your talent certainly is multifaceted. Yet you started out as an art and design student. Can you mention a few of your favourite artists and designers in history?AH: That’s a long, long list. So many Renaissance heroes, among them Francesco di Giorgio Martini, Mantegna, Giulio Romano; architects like Borromini, Vanbrugh, Robert Adam, Ledoux and Sir John Soane; artists like Blake, Fuseli (master of the erotic hairstyle!) Sickert and Vuillard. I’m completely obsessed - and, I have to confess, very much less interested in people working today, which is not something one should ever admit! Your father David Hicks is acknowledged as one of the most important interior designers of the late twentieth century. Did you ever feel overwhelmed by such an extraordinary legacy? AH: Not exactly overwhelmed but he’s of course always been a huge presence in my life, only scarcely less so since his death 19 years ago. I worked for him briefly and rather unsatisfactorily, which didn’t really help. As a child I was very much ‘taught’ by him - to look at everything with a critical and interested eye, to learn historical styles and origins (in museums and collections as well as architectural periods) and to draw. I remember clearly his attempts at teaching me perspective, on a yacht in Greece, and how to draw trees, in a field in England. Since he died I’ve bolstered his reputation as much as I can, and exploited his legacy through ‘David Hicks by Ashley Hicks’ collections of wallpaper, fabric and carpet, while at the same time creating interiors and products in a style very much my own and determinedly opposed to his. I like to make comfortable, relaxing, complex interiors that are quiet suggestions of mood; his rooms were typically bold, formal, graphic and simple exercises in achieving a perfect photogenic interior. At the end of the day, I like to do things that would annoy him, but I’m still the first to recognise that he was an absolute genius.Which are the projects in your career that you are particularly proud of?AH: The most recent, usually. Like the ones I have made for Fuorisalone, Milan, in collaboration with Cabana magazine: a group of my ‘Mini-Totem’ sculptures in bright Renaissance colours for the panelled living room of a Renaissance house, the Casa degli Atellani; and a room setting featuring Corian objects I designed - obelisks and a desk - with a ‘faux collector’s cabinet’ (my own photos of museum treasures made up into a faux display case, printed with overlaid reflections of Versailles) and a pair of canvas screens that I painted with giant tulips ‘en grisaille’.What do you think of top-notch designers that collaborate with mass-market brands?AH: I happily consider partnerships with high, middle and low-end brands. Considering isn’t committing, but I’m convinced there’s space for all kinds of product in the same portfolio and the same design hand can be employed on both the most luxurious and the most simple collections without harming either. The depth and quality of craftsmanship, the value of materials used and, of course, the quantity produced all differentiate very clearly the different price-points and distribution so that none will compromise the others. The so-called ‘starchitects’ are celebrated while still living and often sanctified upon their death, to the point that whatever they do, create and design is considered a work of genius. Does such thing as a starchitect even exist?AH: The main differences between the very eminent architects of today and those of the past few centuries are their global reach, an inevitable result of global media and markets, and their presence in the popular imagination. Otherwise they are not really so very different from historical figures like Mansard, James Wyatt, Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright. All of them were seen as both troublingly innovative and brilliant geniuses in their own times, too. People will always need to believe in geniuses and never want to accept that there are in fact very fine degrees of difference of talent and skill that separate the ‘great’ from the ‘ordinary’. That’s life! You grew up in Oxfordshire and still spend a lot of time there. What is so special about this county?AH: Honestly the thing I love most about Oxfordshire (apart from it being my lifelong home!) is that it is so close to London! It takes little more than an hour to get to the West End, while still being ‘real countryside’ - albeit with a touch of commuter belt! I’m an inveterate tourist wherever I am and love to visit everything, from little Ewelme Church next to us (with its amazing alabaster tomb of the Duchess of Suffolk, Chaucer’s granddaughter, carved in 1470 with two effigies of the good lady, in life on top, dead and decaying below) to Burne-Jones’ stunningly beautiful ‘Briar Rose’ paintings in the Saloon at Buscot Park; from the staggering baroque grandeur of Blenheim Palace to the intimate and extraordinary jumble of ethnographic treasures in the mysterious Pitt-Rivers Museum, Oxford.You have a lifelong relationship with London: what do you love most about your hometown and which places are you particularly fond of?AH: I’m endlessly fascinated by history, and London has such complex layers of it that I’m with Dr Johnson and never yet ‘tired of life’. I covered my kitchen wall with a huge map of the city in 1862 (very little has changed, streetwise, apart from the embankments along the Thames), marking my home in Albany, Piccadilly, with a red square so that I can plan where I want to go by walking, which I love to do. I love to wander from the Courtauld Gallery in Somerset House, via Sir John Soane’s Museum to the British Museum, popping into churches as I go, or along the river to Tate Modern; or to the Queen’s Gallery and on to Tate Britain, passing through Lutyens housing estates in Victoria. I love Nash’s Regency triumphs and Hawksmoor’s City churches, the grandeur of Kent’s Horseguards and the Dutch oddity of Hans Town, the gleaming modernity of Foster’s Gherkin and the elegance of Georgian Spitalfields. I love London. 

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09.05.2017

Tokyo is commonly associated with contemporary art, whereas Kyoto is considered as the cradle of traditional arts and crafts. The on-going “Contemporary Art Special Zone – Ultra Kyoto” project is aimed at transforming vacant public housing facilities in sparsely populated areas, former factories and other unused spaces into contemporary art exhibition halls and galleries, in collaboration with historical temples. Here are a few tips for a contemporary art tour in Kyoto. Kō-an Glass Tea HouseBuilt by Tokujin Yoshioka to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sister city partnership between Kyoto and Firenze, the Kō-an Glass Tea House is currently displayed on the Shogunzuka Seiryuden observation deck in the sacred grounds of Shōren-in, a Tendai temple which has been designated an Important Cultural Property. Shogunzuka Seiryuden is dedicated to the Blue Fudō Myō-ō, one of Japan’s three great Fudō Myō-ō, the protective deities of Esoteric Buddhism. Tokujin Yoshioka’s work is designed to integrate the space of a transparent tearoom with the surrounding nature. The Kō-an Glass Tea House will be on display until 10th September 2017; afterwards, the glass structure will embark on a travelling exhibition all around Japan and abroad. Shōju-inShōju-in is a temple belonging to the Mount Kōya Shingon Buddhism, built before the year 800. The principal deity is the eleven-headed Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy, and the seated statue of Fudō Myō-ō sculpted by Kaikei in the Kamakura Period (1185–1333) has been designated an Important Cultural Property. Until 18th September, Shōju-in is the venue of a large-scale festival featuring wind chimes from the 47 Japanese prefectures. Wind chimes are thought to be amulets against misfortune and it is common belief that nothing bad can happen to those who stand on the sacred grounds in the range of their sound. Its guest hall is noted for its heart-shaped window and its colourful 160 decorative ceiling paintings, depicting flowers and landscapes of Japan, as well as the seasonal representation of maiko dancers and the traditional allegories of the four cardinal directions: the Azure Dragon of the East, the White Tiger of the West, the Vermillion Bird of the South and the Black Turtle of the North. You may reach the Shōju-in grounds by bus from Uji Station in about an hour.  Forever Museum of Contemporary ArtThe Museum opened last June at Gion Kobu Kaburenjō theater, a well-known hub of traditional culture, with the “Yayoi Kusama: My Soul Forever” pre-opening exhibition, featuring Kusama’s works which make up the bulk of the permanent collection (until October 29).Built in 1913 and designated tangible cultural asset as representative of Japanese architecture, the Yasaka Club – the part of the theater which houses the museum - was turned into a contemporary art museum with a new art space displaying about 700 artworks collected over the last 30 years. The spaces are partitioned in an exquisitely traditional Japanese fashion, with sliding doors covered in thick decorated paper. The works of art are installed at a lower position than normally seen in contemporary art museums. This allows the viewer to enjoy the exhibition while seated on the tatami flooring. Finally, the ever-changing colours of the Japanese garden contribute to the fascination of the Museum. 

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09.04.2017

Water and land, narrow alleys and magnificent palaces, ancient and avant-garde architecture, wild islands and overcrowded corners: Venice's most authentic beauty arises from an incomparable set of subtle and precarious balances. Yet to discover it you need to get off the beaten path, away from the packed bridges and the crowded squares, hand in hand with someone who knows the city inside and out. We asked Daniela Cominotto, Venetian-born and a licensed tourist guide of the city of Venice, to take us on a virtual journey through some of the floating city’s hidden gems. 1. San Giorgio Maggiore BasilicaSan Giorgio Maggiore IslandSitting on the islet in front of the basin of San Marco, this great masterpiece by Andrea Palladio is also worth visiting to enjoy a unique and spectacular view over the city from the top of the tower, accessible by elevator. 2. Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari BasilicaCampo dei Frari, San PoloWith its Gothic bulk, the largest church in Venice holds priceless masterpieces, including the famous triptych of the Madonna and the Saints by Giovanni Bellini, the only statue by Raphael in Venice and Titian’s Assunta altarpiece. 3. Scuola Grande di San Rocco Campo San Rocco, San PoloBorn in the Fifteenth century as a brotherhood of wealthy citizens devoted to charitable works, the last Scuola Grande which managed to survive the fall of the Venetian Republic is home to the famous and beautiful cycle of paintings by Tintoretto with episodes from the Old and New Testaments. 4. The Contarini dal Bovolo StaircaseSan MarcoThis little hidden gem in the heart of Venice, housed inside the late gothic building of the same name, is the most famous spiral staircase in the city, 26 meters high. From its vaults you can admire some of the most beautiful domes of Venice. 5. Squero Tramontin DorsoduroAt this historic yard where gondolas have been born ever since 1884 you will have the opportunity to discover the secrets (although maybe not all of them) behind the construction of these typical Venetian boats, exported all over the world and still made using traditional techniques and materials. 

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08.31.2017

To Todd Selby, change is vital in order to grow as an artist. His 2008 project The Selby, offering an insider’s view of creative individuals in their personal spaces with an artist’s eye for detail, was just the starting point of a career marked by uninterrupted creative evolution. Theselby.com is a point of reference in the world of photography and art direction. Please tell us in a few words about your first steps into this world.TS: The Selby.com started out as my personal art project. It was a way for me to communicate directly to people through my photography. Before I started the website I was relying on magazines so this totally changed the game for me creatively speakingThe balance between people and places is one of the signatures of your work. Did you ever consider them separately and find discrepancies?TS: My work is very much about people and the spaces they inhabit so it’s really rare that I would photograph them outside of their homes or that I shoot homes without people in them.  We loved the part of your bio about your diverse previous work experiences, including ‘Japanese clothing designer'. Is this all true? TS: Yes, I’ve done a lot of different jobs. I’ve dabbled in designing clothing. I sold quite a few different clothing lines in Japan, most often at United Arrows. These included a line of designer bandanas, and a project called American Royalty that was huge, a series of one of a kind T-shirts that you could never wash. Do you consider yourself a ‘MultiPotential’ individual, i.e. a person with a lot of (and sometimes too many) interests both in private and work life? TS: I never heard of MultiPotential but most of all I consider myself a really lucky person that I get to pursue my creative interests. I think as a creative person in order to keep growing you have to change, so it’s only natural to leverage my work in photography and extend it to filmmaking, books, drawing etc. Whatever you create has a very intense and sensitive use of color. Do you think this is an important aspect of your visual messages? TS: I think color is critical to my work. I’ve always been attracted to bright pastels and watercolors. I’m definitely not a minimalist! How do you manage the balance between your creative approach - your signature - and the needs and requests of the companies you work for?TS: I developed a work flow that has been really great for me. Often times I’m busy with commissioned work, but as soon as I’m done with those jobs I move on as quickly as possible to my personal work. I always have a huge list of things that I want to do in my own time so it’s always pretty busy.  What is the most inspiring city in the world for your profession and for you as a man?TS: The most inspiring city in the world for me right now is Tokyo. When I go there it never ceases to amaze me, I love the level at which people operate and the awesome things that are going on. We know that you have a big passion for Mexican food, can you recommend a few Mexican restaurants in NYC or LA?TS: I’m obsessed with a Mexican restaurant called Casablanca in Venice Beach. It’s a Casablanca (the movie) themed Mexican restaurant, it’s filled with movie collectibles and has a one of a kind atmosphere. The margaritas from the “Tequila Express” cart and the homemade tortillas are amazing. To be honest I don’t eat Mexican food in New York City I never really had any that compares to what you get in California. Do you have any upcoming new book project planned? Can you give us a little preview?TS: Right now my focus is on my first museum solo show, it’s up until the end of October 2017 at the Daelim Museum in SeoulWhat is going to happen in the next future? TS: My plan is to keep progressing and changing what I do constantly, so there’s no telling what I’ll get up to! 

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08.29.2017

Suppose you are in Tokyo, perhaps on a business trip. Suppose you are alone and hungry, but you are having a hard time booking a table. Counter bars will satiate you with taste and elegance. Katō Beef (Ginza)It is a restaurant specialised in Yamagata beef, which owner Mr Katō selected after carefully studying all the possible types of beef from each and every area of Japan. The shop is famous for its juicy Hamburg steaks and corned beef prepared with lean, gelatine-rich parts that melt in the mouth. You can sit at the counter and enjoy a tasty meat dinner. Tempura Kondō (Ginza)The owner of the restaurant is famed chef Fumio Kondō, who could be described as the master of tempura, which he prepares with the finest ingredients, dipped in a thin layer of batter and deep-fried, paying great attention to the colour and fragrance of the final dish. Everything happens behind the counter, before your eyes. The chef will be thrilled to tell you about the origin of the ingredients and the recipe. Vino Hirata (Azabu-jūban)It is an Italian restaurant whose concept is simple dishes prepared with seasonal ingredients and no further explanation needed. You will be invited to sit at the counter, laid with luncheon mats, where you can relax and savour the food, while chatting with the staff. As the name suggests, the shop is famous for its wide array of Italian wines that adds up to 150 brands. Masa’s Kitchen (Ebisu)When thinking of Chinese cuisine, one pictures a large meal laid out in small dishes. However, at Masa’s Kitchen you can have authentic Chinese delicacies in reasonable amounts’, seated at the counter and provided with stylish white tableware. Shaoxing rice wine, aged for 10 or 20 years, is an ideal pairing. While enjoying the food, you can observe the chef’s mastery in handling knives, cutting and chopping, in the open kitchen behind the counter. Le Japon (Shibuya)It is a French restaurant with a Japanese touch to it. Here you can sit at the counter and have a solo dinner, prepared with the freshest ingredients supplied by a farm in Mishima, which the chef got to know while still an apprentice at Hakone’s Auberge au Mirador. The vegetables are grown without the use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers, and you can certainly taste their pristine quality. The rice comes from Iwaki, where the chef was born. Kuikiri Hirayama (Ginza)Opened in Shōnan in 2009, this Michelin-starred restaurant offers the opportunity to sample each and every item listed in the menu. In 2014 it relocated to Ginza, but the motto has not changed: seasonal ingredients supplied every day and excellent junmai sake supplied directly by the sake makers. 

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08.28.2017

In the Caribbean breakfast and dinner are usually on par, and are defiantly not seen as a light affair. Caribbean cuisine in general is highly indicative of the blends of a variety of cultures such as African, Amerindian, Creole, French and Spanish when it comes to breakfast there is no exception of this fact. Many of the most renowned Caribbean cuisine dishes were indeed created for the consumption at breakfast time. These hearty breakfast dishes from Ackee and Saltfish to Doubles, Curry and Johnny cakes are one of the most satisfying ways to begin the day. The classic Jamaican breakfast tends to be savory and includes a wide variety of different dishes. The most iconic dishes of this sea, sand and sun island is ackee & salt fish and is also consider the national dish of the island. Ackee is a local fruit that when cooked has a similar consistency to scrambled eggs. The salt fish usually has to be soaked overnight to eliminate the salt concentration and is then sautéed with the ackee fruit along within onions, peppers, tomatoes and spices. Typically, this dish is garnished with bacon and can be served alongside fried plantain or dumplings. No Jamaican breakfast would be complete without some fried foods such as Johnny Cakes. These tasty delights are fluffy fried dumplings that almost resembling a tough sweet fried bread. Across the Caribbean Sea in Trinidad and Tobago, where breakfast is also seen as a big affair, they too indulge in a variety of dishes influenced by multicultural elements. Here, curry, which people often associate with lunch or dinner, is the hero ingredient for breakfast. Doubles gets their name from their sandwich-like appearance and are made from two baras (flat fried bread) filled with curry and chickpeas.  

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08.24.2017

In your radio program The Urbanist you deal with everything that concerns what makes cities work. Can you give us a few examples of virtuous cities in the world?AT: Because cities are competing for talent and global status, most are making attempts at improving quality of life for their citizens. What city doesn’t have a cycling plan or aims to devise a greener city? But some cities are moving faster than others and providing benchmarks for the rest to beat. Copenhagen and the Nordic capitals are the best at getting people out of their cars but are also engineering their cities for green space and a sense of shared responsibility. Tokyo is aided by a society in which people just take care of the urban environment and where social trust is high – put nice flowers outside your office and nobody will steal them. And Vienna has worked hard to protect its independent retailers and city living for all. SJ: The impression we get from the media, politics and the public discourse, is that immigration is the main issue in the big cities across Europe. Is it truly so?AT: Monocle has its HQ in London, a truly global city that wants – and needs – to stay that way; it voted resolutely to stay in Europe during the Brexit referendum. It’s one of those strange things that cities, where most migration happens, tend to be relaxed about the issue while smaller towns with almost no migration are more concerned with the debate. Of course we need to make sure that migrants become part of the city’s life – and that’s a two-way responsibility. But in London, for example, it’s not where you came from but what you do that marks you out. And Londoners seem to like this richness – it makes my day coming to work and being surrounded by people whose life stories are different to mine. What’s great is when you see how all these disparate people can unite, whether to fight back against terror or just hang out together in the park on a summer’s day. SJ: What is your first memory of London and does it clash with your current idea of the city?AT: I grew up in a town about 50km from London and remember coming to the city as a child with my parents to go to the museums or see the lights at Christmas. London seemed exciting and glamorous. By the time I was a teenager I was heading into the city to buy magazines and clothes. It was a place of dreams. Now it’s my home but it’s a city that can still amaze me and make me feel thrilled to be living here. SJ: The map of London’s hottest neighborhoods has changed a lot over the last 20 years. The process is always the same: low-rent areas attract a young and bohemian crowd, they become trendy, rents and house prices rise, and gentrification changes the face of the place. How can we break this cycle or change it for the best?AT: It’s a problem that worries lots of people. How do you ensure that local people don’t get edged out of newly cool neighborhoods? How can you make sure that the hardware store is not priced out by rent increases? Well, you can introduce price controls and ensure that any housing project retains an element for affordable rent but you cannot just stop gentrification. It’s too powerful a tide and your best hope is to direct it; to control its wilder ambitions. In London over the past 20 years there has been a flip that has seen the east become the home of every cool new bar, club and restaurant. The price of property has soared too – but you could not have stopped this. Cities have to change and I think many of these changes have made the area better for the majority. SJ: Which are the happening neighborhoods in London now? AT: It’s still a boom time for London and that means that young people looking for a new home are changing every quarter of affordable London as they arrive and open shops and places to eat. Peckham and Brixton in south London are on the rise. In the east of the city Dalston and Hackney are still thriving. Pockets of central London are changing too – Bloomsbury’s Lamb’s Conduit Street has transformed in recent years. SJ: The Monocle Guide to Better Living is a treasure trove of great things and places that can make life better on all levels. Which are Andrew Tuck’s everyday strategies and secrets to better living?AT: Go out, meet people, make the most of where you live. I am lucky that I have ended up living in the centre of London and can get to most places on foot or by bicycle and that means that the city never seems a difficult place to navigate. SJ: Can you please name 3 of your favorite cities in the world, apart from London? AT: Beirut, for the people and a way of living that, at its best, is nicely care free. Rio de Janeiro for the modernist architecture, that rich greenery and life lived outdoors. And Sydney, a city where the way of life on a sunny day cannot be beaten.  

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08.21.2017

Origins of alcoholic drinks are usually quite blurred, and in the case of vodka there is no exception to who the true inventor was. However, the word vodka today and in the past will always be synonymously associated with the Russian Empire. Despite the boozy battle of the Polish who tried to take claim the spirits origin, the word vodka comes from the Russian word voda, which means “little water”- confirming the doubts that its origins were indeed Russian. Often referred to as the ‘neutral tasteless spirit’, its body is mainly composed of water and ethanol with added notes of impurities and flavorings. Made through a distillation process of fermenting substances such as grains, potatoes and even fruits and sugar, vodka has long been considered on of the most loved and versatile spirits in the world. Beyond its versatility to be drunk straight on the rocks or also used as the main ingredient in popular cocktails, the divine benefit of drinking vodka is that its leaves no alcoholic smell on your body after consumption. Here are five classic vodka cocktails that will add a splash of flavor and zest to your vodka love affair- all the recipes are taken from the official archive of the IBA.  Moscow Mule The Moscow Mule is known for its simple and refreshing taste along with being a great entry level cocktail to enter the vodka-drinking playground.How to make it:  4.5 cl Vodka12 cl Ginger beer0.5 cl Lime juice, fresh1 slice lime in a highball glassCombine the vodka and ginger beer, add limejuice and garnish with a lime slice. Black Russian Created and crafted in the beginning of the Cold War, the Black Russian’s dark and mysterious composition was highly appropriate for the time.How to make it: 5 cl Vodka2 cl Coffee liqueurPour the ingredients into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice cubes and stir gently.Note: for White Russian, float fresh cream on top and stir gently. Bloody MaryInvented by Fernand Petiot in the 1920s, this well-known hangover remedy cocktail was named after Queen Mary I of England. It features the perfect balance of heavy vegetable used to settle the stomach, salt to replenish the lost electrolytes and alcohol to relieve head and body aches.How to make it: 4.5 cl Vodka9 cl Tomato juice1.5 cl Lemon juice2 to 3 dashes of Worcestershire SauceTabascoCelery saltPepperPour all ingredients into highball glass and stir gently. Garnish with celery and lemon wedge (optional). Screwdriver One of the first vodka cocktails ever created, this cocktail got its name from the American oil workers who discreetly added vodka to their orange juice while working jobs. Lacking a spoon to stir the drink, these workers replaced it with a screwdriver.How to make it: 5 cl Vodka10 cl Orange juicePour all ingredients into a highball glass filled with ice. Stir gently. Garnish with an orange slice. Sex on the beach As interesting as it name suggests, this cheeky cocktail has an interesting tail of its own. Created by a bartender in Florida in the 1980s during a competition amongst bartenders on who could sell the most peach schnapps, it was nameless until its inventor thought of the reasons why people come to Florida during spring break and resided at the conclusion of two things- the beach and sex.  4 cl Vodka2 cl Peach schnapps4 cl Cranberry juice 4 cl Orange juiceBuild all ingredients in a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with orange slice.  

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08.18.2017

Pools operating at night have become increasingly popular in Tokyo. People can swim, sip a cocktail on the poolside or enjoy a DJ set, against the dreamy backdrop of Tokyo’s night sky. Tokyo Prince Hotel Garden PoolMuch of the charm is owed to the outstanding location, with a marvellous view of Tokyo Tower. It is open from 6 pm to 9 pm, with differently coloured illuminations every night and Tokyo Tower in the background.  ANA InterContinental Hotel TokyoThe outdoor pool located on the fourth floor of the ANA InterContinental Hotel in Roppongi is an oasis you would never expect within the city, with plenty of facilities. It is open until 7 pm throughout the year, except for summer, when closing time is postponed to 9 pm. Hotel New OtaniWhen the sun goes down and the DJ gets behind their turntables and mixer, the pool acquires a totally different, resort-like ambience. Swimwear is allowed in the restaurant overlooking the pool, but you can also enjoy your drink on the poolside. Hotel East 21Located not too far from Tokyo Metro Tōyōchō Station, the hotel is noted for its luxurious pool area, designed to resemble the garden of a stately home. In addition to a 40m-long lap pool, you can choose whether to take a dip in the main pool or in the Jacuzzi, or just sit comfortably at the Garden Café. To be honest, this pool does not qualify as a night-time pool facility, since it closes at 6 pm. However, it is worth a try. Shinagawa Prince HotelThe outdoor pool on the third floor gives guests the impression they are in some exotic holiday destination far from the city. Open from 10 am to 9 pm, it has a night-time zone starting from 5 pm. You forgot your swimwear? No problem. You can always rent one from the hotel.