Thursday, July 18, 2019

The 8 shoe pair minimalist

After I fell in love with the concept of minimalism, I went crazy and minimized my life aggressively. I threw away/ donated a lot of stuff I had, and I reduced my impulsive consumption to unprecedented levels. I felt good, fulfilled and happy!

Over the years, my spontaneous consumption, however seems to have crept up again. While I have had a very strict policy for my clothes and my accessories (e.g. 1 belt, 1 watch, 1 wallet, 1 phone etc.) I realized that I haven't been mindful of my shoe purchases. Slowly and steadily that number has been rising. Last week, I did a count and now I am at a crazy number of - 8 pairs!

This is how the list goes:

I have been trying hard to rationalize and decide on throwing a few of them. The problem really is - shoe marketers have imbibed in my silly brain that I need a different shoe for every activity. Growing up we just had a pair of canvas shoes that could do everything - from climbing, hiking, walking to running and playing all kinds of sports. As a kid I loved playing badminton and table tennis barefoot. I remember in one inter-school tournament I was specifically asked to wear shoes else they would not let me participate. And I distinctly remember how awful I felt playing and losing that match. Not only did shoes make me feel uncomfortable, but also they made me realize that I had no "feel" of the ground! Gone are the days!

With a heavy heart, I have decided to stick to all my pair of shoes, cause well, as of now I can't find a solution to my shoe conundrum.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

The K-pop Uncle

If you haven't figured out by now, let me repeat, I do crazy amounts of business trips. This naturally means I live in crazy number of hotel rooms. Now like every other business traveler, I have  a routine that I follow.

For example, the moment I enter the hotel room, I put all menus, notepads, pens, advertisements, letters etc in a drawer and keep them away till I checkout. I hate clutter. The best hotels are minimalists and do not provide any of this crap. Then I empty my bag and hang up all my clothes. I like to have the false sense of getting "settled".

Anyway, this blog post ain't about that. It's about my new found understanding of East Asian Music. Yeah, one of my morning routines in hotel rooms involves searching for a Music channel on the TV and playing it while I am getting ready for work. Typically, it is either MTV or Channel V. I grew up with MTV. It was "the" music channel for my generation to get to hear the latest music. However, these days I find it more of a reality TV channel and less of a music channel. Maybe because whenever I switch it on, some reality show is going on, and lately I hardly ever have heard music on it.

Channel V still seems to play a bit of music. Anyway for some reason the morning hours (07:00 - 08:00) in most time-zones in Asia seems to have East Asian Music playing. For the ignorant me, East Asian Music mainly consists of these 3 types (don't chide me for inaccuracy and/or ignorance)

K-pop (Korean)
J-pop (Japanese)
C-pop/ Mando-pop/ Canto-pop (Chinese mainly Mandarin or Cantonese)

Of course I don't understand any of the languages. If I try hard enough (sometimes) I can just figure out the language based on their accent/ tones. However almost every music video consists of extremely good looking and overly athletic bunch of girls or guys dancing around and crooning about (what I believe) is - heartache or love (depending on if they are smiling or crying). Being an uncle, of-course I think music when I was growing up was much better. But well that's not the point, every generation thinks so.

Naturally, the curious me, read quite extensively about this East-Asian music phenomenon (strictly for education purposes only). It looks like it's a crazy competitive industry (at-least in Korea) and people compete fiercely and sign away their lives to get those coveted K-pop contracts.

Now just to get you ignorant souls introduced to K-pop, let me show-off my knowledge here. As of now, I know (I can't recognize the band members yet) the following bands:

  • BTS
  • Blackpink
  • Twice
  • Girls Generation
  • Super Junior

Anyway, a blog written by me, about K-pop can't be complete unless I show you guys a video of Conan doing his trademark string dance and pretending to be a K-pop artist. So here it is:

Unfortunately, I can't name any big J-pop or C-pop bands yet. I am working on it. So next time when you meet me, if I happen to be humming a K-pop number, give me an A for trying (to blend in and be cool and young).

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Restroom symbols

So I specialize in admiring restrooms. I have blogged about them time and again, and it seems like they can't stop fascinating me. So here I go with another one.

Rectangular top = Male/ Triangular top = Female
Public restrooms are necessary evils. They are not "design elements" of your building or mall, they are the "required elements". So treat them like one. While I am all for futuristic designs and art, if there is one place where I really hate art is in my restrooms. When nature calls, it doesn't appreciate design, it appreciates efficiency and speed.

I am seeing this new trend of having beautiful and artistic symbols to indicate men and women on restroom doors. If it were an art gallery, I would appreciate. But not while I am rushing to relieve myself. Many a times I am stuck outside staring at restroom doors several times, just anticipating which door should I enter. Imagine the precious moments!

Art does not belong to restroom doors

Besides the traditional male and female symbols (the one with a triangle that indicates a woman), these days I find funny looking hats, dresses and all sorts of symbols that I am expected to interpret. Also, what is this obsession with blue doors for men and pink for women with no other indication whatsoever? What if I can't figure out the color, how am I expected to go in? One time in Japan I was stuck outside a restroom door because the only identification was the Japanese character for Male/ Female. How is a foreigner supposed to know?

And you know the worst offender? One time in a hipster looking restaurant they had a rooster on one door and a cat on another. Go figure!

Go figure!

I think the best rest room doors are where it is written in English - Men/ Gentlemen or better still, they have a picture of a man with a mustache and a beard (like this one I found at the Kerala airport). No confusion whatsoever! If I were to give a "best restroom entrance" award, this toilet would get it for sure.

Men go here - no confusions!