2012 the Year in Review - part one

2012 the year in review, part 1.  This year this isn't a "best of" post necessarily, it's reviewing the year so that doesn't mean the best photos can be used everytime, the photos here try to summarize the year.  I only lived in 2 countries this year (5 last year) but travelled to many.  2012 saw me in USA, Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and France.  Major cities I travelled to were NYC, DC, Syracuse, Bethany Beach, Ithaca and the Finger Lakes, Tokyo, Osaka, Yokkaichi, Nagoya, Kyoto, Seoul, Cheongju, Jeonju, Daegu, Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, Chengdu, Leshan, Chongqing, Yichang, Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris, Bordeaux, Biarritz, and Pau.  I started off 2012 in NYC for 3 months due to an unexpected derailing in December.  This ended up being ok in the end because i had to be in my home country to apply for the French artist's visa, and the time I allotted for that process was definitely not enough so it worked out that i had to be in NYC for 3 months.  I got my French carte competences et talents in the nick of time right before I left for a 2 month Asia travel extravaganza.  I went to vivi's wedding in Tokyo, cherry blossom action all over Japan and then on to Korea to see Yoon, Ivan, and Will before their post in Seoul was over.  I fell in love with Korea again and then flew over to China for a little reunion with Beijing and Shanghai and also did the Yangtze river cruise and saw Sichuan finally.  Next was 3 weeks in Hong Kong and a few days in Singapore before heading back to NYC for the summer to recuperate and get ready to move to Paris.  I moved to France and spent the last 4 months of 2012 in Paris and the rest is history.  It is impossible to sum up my action packed year in just 75 photos but here is my attempt.

actually 2012 started with me blowing on a noise maker as loud as i could in Syracuse, NY at Thaler's wedding.

Bob in NYC! and little would be know this wouldn't be the last time i saw him in 2012.  We had fun, something that bob rarely allows himself in his own life.  Karaoke, beers, meat.

the de-railing meant that I was in NYC to spend some quality time with my pal Van Der Kock and get into some rediculous adventures as usual.  some were bad, some where good, most involved a lot of alchohol, all laughs in the end.

I lived in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for the first time for 3 months.  south willy burg off the j,m,z. with Matt (that skinny greasy italian) and josh and max the choco lab.  i was hipster-a-fied for 3 months.  willyburg is cool with me

I went upstate to see my parents and dogs a few times, which is more times than in the last 3.5 years.

my first nationally circulated magazine cover for Discover Magazine.

my first New York Times job.  now that i've achieved this i have vindicated myself as an illustrator.  

the de-railing meant that i got to actually make illustrator friends!  Illustration is a freelance, work at home, lonely occupation so it was cool to make some illustrator friends.

Finally got a tripod which i used all throughout my asia trip

the many many hours procuring the necessary documents to apply for the French artist's visa aka carte competences et talents.  for me it was even more difficult because i had to do things like get police reports from Beijing and Tokyo along with a new york state and FBI report.  The Beijing police report proved to be especially difficult to get.

Took a 2 month trip to Asia, first stop tokyo and Tsukiji Fish market for that stuff i love (uni, ikura, o-toro, etc...)

exploring tokyo and this time around something was different than when i lived here.  I felt calmer and more at ease.  maybe it was because i didn't have anything to prove anymore and i had already gotten enough japan experience under my belt to feel comfortable?  maybe i'm just older?  this is an amazing hidden cafe in the north corner of shibuya.

i got my back washed by another man in 2012 at a bathhouse.  this guy did it.  i don't even know him.  everyone was naked.  and in japan that's ok

Vivi's wedding.  I illustrated her "wedding board"  these girls like my illustration skills.  it was good to be an illustrator on this day.  also i got this hair in 2012 which has done more for me than you think, it's been the conversation starter with many strangers and friends alike.  hey it even got my back washed by a stranger.

Osaka with vivi and eisuke.  this robata-ya was cool.  people keep asking me where it is and i keep forgetting to ask vivi.  I saw masako's parents too.

cherry blossom party in Osaka along the river.  This was the hidden agenda behind my trip to Japan.  April in Japan is the most magical place on earth for me

cherry blossoms at night in Kyoto.  the stuff dreams are made of.  Also got to see all the other amazing stuff of dreams that is in Kyoto.

Cherry blossom festival in Mie near fumika's house.  Got to see her and her family, my japanese family.  these cherry blossom photos truly are worth a thousand words.

got a new 50mm f/1.8 II lens in Tokyo.  i had one before but gave it to Ai before i left japan in 2011.  For me this one is perfect for shooting people on the street because i can be a safe enough distance back.

fashion snaps in harajuku, see with the 50mm lens i'm far enough away that this lolita girl can't punch me in the face that easily.

Cherry blossoms in Tokyo along the meguro river, no i can't get enough of this stuff, its magic

next was seoul, south korea.  ssam bap, i can't get enough of this stuff either, it might be my favorite korean food, and even favorite food period.

yoon's mom was in korea the same time i was again, she's awesome.  we went on a road trip with her, my first time travelling around korea and not just staying in Seoul.  Yoon, Will, and Ivan were all at the end of their 2 year posts in Seoul so i got to see them on last time in the land of soju.  i think i saw them a total of 3 times while they were there.  

summer bbq with the embassy crew and korean friends.  I've been to korea a bunch of times over the last few years but this time was different, like in japan, maybe i'm different.  I had a great time with my american friends but also with my korean korean friends and saw the fun times along the han river in the spring and love korea again now.

my return to beijing, the place where i started my whole living abroad journey.  It hasn't changed except now its super hard to get taxis.

I upgraded the blog to 1000px photos now instead of 800px!  I always wanted to go to sichuan province in china and finally did.  I went to meet Will in chengdu.  here we are at a bizarre club but which is normal to chinese people.  this is what i love about china, you never know what you're gonna get

i wanted to see this guy in Leshan for a long time now too.

in the spirit of checking things off my list that i didn't get to do when i lived in china for 1.5 years i did the yangtze river cruise.  3 days on the river and you can see a million interesting things.

the worst bus ride of my life.  a full bus meant i had to sit in this seat that's not a seat and super dangerous for 5 hrs to Wuhan.

followed by my worst decision of the trip staying in this super shady "hotel" at the end of this prostitution street in Wuhan.

what happened to me this year?  I now love shanghai too when before i hated it.  having friends in shanghai this time around helped a lot.  my two former classmates from my japanese school in tokyo

rode the chinese bullet train and saw that in china at least, you get what you pay for.  you don't want to see photos of the stewardesses on the normal chinese trains.  this photo might as well represent the many many planes, trains, buses, boats, and bikes that i've ridden on this year.  my 3 weeks in China probably accounted for over half of it.

i spent 3 weeks in Hong Kong because I wanted to see if i really wanted to try and move there.  people always ask me, why hong kong?  and here is my pictoral answer.  look at hong kong.  it speaks to me, it looks crazy.  there are millions of hidden gems to be found.  it's like new york chinatown on crack.  it's the original and nyc's is watered down with 99% water.  the whole city is alive.

buses, trams, taxis, people all making it work.  i can't believe i didn't get to ride the tram the first time i went to hong kong.  this time i rode it a bunch of times.  on a nice day with the windows open i don't know a better way to get around Hong Kong island than at the top of a double decker tram above the crowds.

first time on the mid-levels escalators.  i came back here many more times.  i love this area and the views, especially at night.

had a suit made out of some expensive ralph lauren wool/cashmere fabric that Eisuke gave me in japan cuz he sells the stuff.  i learned a little about fabric.  went to northern hong kong to try to by some different fabrics to have some other clothes made but didn't know what i was doing and i'm also picky and i also have no future visionary skills when it comes to looking at a little fabric swatch so i ended up with nothing.

add a new country to my visited list, Singapore (its actually a city and a country all rolled into one).  i saw the folks at Kult, an agency in Singapore that i've worked with many times and have done my best work for because they let me do whatever i want.  Singapore is a crazy mix of chinese, malaysians, indians.  Ok Part 2 of my 2012 review including more new york and my new city of paris coming up next!