750th Post Celebration

Dear readers, I've made it to 750 posts on this here travel blog!  My 500 post anniversary was 2 years 355 days ago.  Here is a super edited down look at the last 6 years on the blog.  There is no way I could include everyone/thing/place even in these150 photos.  Have a scroll-tastic time and i'll see you at the bottom for closing remarks.
I was living in Harlem in 2008.  I had just graduated from FIT 2 years prior and my illustration career was still in it's infancy.  I didn't even know if I could make enough money to support myself and even considered teaching english in Beijing as a backup plan if illustration failed.  Luckily it didn't and i'm not stuck in China teaching english
technology upgrades.  IBM thinkpad T21 to some model of Apple Macbook Pro
Canon pocket camera upgrade too.  the one on the left is what i used in Korea in 2000-1 when I studied there for a year.
The day finally came, I moved to Beijing, China on June 1st 2008.  Bob flew over with me and was there for a month.  I lived with my aunt who was working for the Washington Post and we lived in this weird gated community compound.  Nothing but weirdness would ensue for the next 1.5 years.

Many visitors = many visits to the Great Wall.  That's my cousin there on part of the broken down section of the wall

Peking Duck (Its called Beijing Duck) at Da Dong is maybe my all time favorite thing to eat in Beijing.

I have collected 6 years of bounty from various countries.  I am slowly reclaiming it from my parents attic.  

It's so cheap to get clothes made in China.  This allowed me to learn a little about clothes through lots of trail and error.  Bob and I got some suits made.  Including 3 piece white suits.  We had no idea what we were doing at the time so they are ill fitting, but they were $100

Nana, Angel and Zizzo, my 3 Beijing friends I saw the most.  Angel was my best Beijing friend and from my 2nd day in China she introduced me to everything and all her friends.  Beijing wouldn't have been the same without her.

I visited Japan for the first time.  I stumbled upon these guys in Kyoto at Kiyomizu Dera.  I always thought I would love in Japan and I feel in love with it on this trip and I fell HARD.

Saw the Olympics in Beijing.  I saw Badminton, handball, women's beach volleyball, and track and field in the Bird's Nest.  My aunt procured amazing seats a few rows back so we got to see many events including the women's high jump, and women's high jumpers are all super tall fit Amazon's in their uniforms (aka swimsuits).

My aunt moved back to DC so I got to live in a new place, this Diplomatic compound Qi jia yuan with armed guards where diplomats and offical foreigners live.  So it was kind of weird that Jason Raish, that piece of sh!t was living here.  I had to show my passport every time to get in.

Beijing is totally flat and everyone rides bikes.  It's a crazy ballet of cars and buses and scooters and 3 wheels rickshaws and bikes but it works out.  My favorite activity was riding my bike around new neighborhoods and exploring.

street food only existed in Korea and China really.  The other countries I lived in didn't really have that.  I LOVE street food and this jianbing is one of my favorite chinese street foods.  Everything was so cheap in China for me the American.  It was a foodtastic time.

weirdness in Tianjin, China.  This place had a band that sang to a dj track yet played instruments too it was weird.  Yoon came for some economic conference in Tianjin so I went down and got my first taste of lower level Chinese cities.

A trip to western China where there air is pure.  We met these ethnic minority people who are the last people on earth to use hieroglyphs (but not really normal people don't really use it). 

we were up on top of that thing, the jade dragon snow mountain.  The point we got to was 4,680 meters in elevation.  Everyone felt dizzy.  There were glaciers up there.  You could see the curve of the earth.  

the grossest thing I ate in China.  Here are 2 pigs that some how has had all the meat extracted from them and they have been here for 10 years and in the winter they cut off pieces of this and eat it.  It tasted like it was 10 years old.

I visited Korea I stayed in a "pension" with yoon and his cousins.  We ate tons of shellfish on the grill by the sea.

Winter in Beijing sucks.  It is as cold or colder than new york but completely dry and dirty.  Oh the winter.  This is lake hou hai froze over with people sliding around on chairs (bing che).

chinese new year in china is a thing to behold.  And then you're over it after a week of people randomly setting off fireworks here and there through the night waking you up.  But it's an INSANE number of fireworks and celebrations and merrymaking.

thousands of buddahs carved into the side of this mountain near Da Tong, China

The hanging monastery somewhere near Da Tong 

Chinese breakfast, Xiao long bao steamed mini dumpling things and dou fu nao tofu soup.  Another thing I ate tons of and love so much about Beijing.

my parents came to China to visit.  we went to the repaired section of the wall and they had this slide car thing to get back down the mountain.  They were good sports and I'm glad I got to show them the insanity that is China.

this cost like $1.80.  I ate a lot of this and other various things with rice because it's available everywhere and its like 2 meals and so delicious.  This is gong bao ji ding (kung pao chicken but the real stuff).

I visited Japan again and fell more in love with it.  After I returned from this trip I kicked it into high gear and would not stop until I was able to move to Japan.  4 months later I made a ton of money, got a Japanese student visa and was on my way.  Here is this guy in Nara where the deer are sacred and roam the city as they please.  At the end of the day I saw him behind this place chillin' with the deer still.  The deer whisperer.

Many visitors = many visits to the Ghibli museum.  Who's complaining though?  Its f'ing amazing.

Back in Beijing I spent many days and nights around lake hou hai and xi hai near my house.  The Chinese way of life seems more laid back and about chillin'

One last trip in China to the south.  The Karst limestone mountains pop up around the Li River.

Long Ji, the Dragon's backbone might be the most beautiful thing these eyes have ever seen and they have seen a lot so far.  rice terraced fields hours and hours away by bus, literally in the middle of nowhere.  This is the first trip I took by myself and it was super rewarding doing this alone.

23 hr train ride back to Beijing with this.  Awesome.

moving to new countries a lot isn't always awesome.  sometimes its having to go to the nether regions of the airport after switching vans on the highway somewhere and wondering if you're gonna get kidnapped.  And then them manhandling your suitcase and going through all your panties, shoving some of your possessions in your arms because they refuse to ship them and probably making fun of you the whole time. Yes there are many parts about what i've done for the last 6 years that have sucked but I think the positives have far outweighed the negatives.

Finally made it to Japan, my true life's goal was to live in Tokyo and I was doing it!  One of my favorite things about Japan are the hot baths.  Its so therapeutic 

I went to Design Festa a bunch of times and even got a booth with my old FIT classmate for one of them.  Weirdos, awesome art, and things you just don't understand make this a must see thing if it's happening when you're in Tokyo.

a trip to Kyoto solo to see the fall leaves and boy do they do fall leave well in Japan.

Danger!  I was hit by a taxi while jogging and woke up in the hospital with no memory of that day.  When I finally came to I wanted my computer to email and art director to tell them that I wouldn't be able to have a double page spread done by deadline but when I looked it was already done!  The taxi knocked that memory out.  My skull was fractured.  I had already been living life to the fullest but after this accident I was reminded that you could leave this earth any day and you need to make sure you live life.

I visited Korea again.  I visited many times.  This is when Yoon was living in Incheon working for the city on some kind of world's fair kind of thing that kind of failed.  Ssam bap is one of my fav things to eat in korea.  wrapping stuff up in a variety of green leafy things.

My favorite time on earth is cherry blossom season in Japan, the location could be anywhere but in Japan on a sunny warm saturday like here in Yoyogi park in Tokyo it's a utopian heaven on earth.  everyone is happy, imbibing in drinks, food, and friendship and goodtimes.  rainbows and falling petals.  This is what I'M talking about.

And it's just as awesome at night if you can find a place that it lit up like Maruyama koen in Kyoto!

The Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo.  What a sight to behold.  so many weird things from the sea that you've never seen before.  And the freshest sushi you can get straight off the boat, off the chef's knife, and onto your plate.

The ninja festival in Iga with Fumika.  No explanation needed here.

Tanuki town in Ibaraki ken.  I bought 2 special tanukis and an amazing tanuki ramen bowl.

Me and Fumiko from FIT shared a booth at Design Festa

I studied Japanese 3.5 hours a day 5 days a week for a year to get a student visa to live in Japan.  It kind of sucked.  I mean it had it's moments but when your classmates are 80% chinese highschool grads, 18% koreans, and 2% Spanish or American it kind of sucks.  Marco from Madrid was my best friend in Tokyo.  

Me and Bob finally got to wear our white suits together at Yuri's wedding party.  As you can see they don't fit so great because we didn't know what we were doing 

My mom came to Japan.  She had more fun with the Puri Kura machine than I did

Visited Korea again.  Got deliriously sick, took the wrong bus and ended up in Gyeongju instead of Chongju

Climbed Mt. Fuji.  Beautiful at the top but going down sucks BALLS.  I don't think I would do this again.

Got a DSLR camera, And started down the Canon road, the Canon 40D and 50mm f/1.8 lens.

Saw Sumo wrestling

Ran a half marathon with Fumika's family.

Halloween in Japan is another night of the year where Japanese people allow themselves to break out of their ultra rigid societal shells and have fun and talk to strangers
Japanese food is like the French food of Asia, they really care.  They really CARE!  Not that everyone else doesn't make awesome food but the amount of preparation and care and loving and finest ingredients and standards that goes into the food  is awesome.  
Karaoke in Japan, the land of it's invention is awesome.  China has the huge luxurious halls but Japan brings their performance A game.

Festivals all the time for this and that.  A super fun one is Awa Omori with all the dancers.  More utopian times.

home for Christmas for the first time in 3 years.  met the new newfoundland Brody

we did a Raish family photoshoot in the living room.

my favorite shrine in Kyoto the Fushimi Inari shrine

the snow monkeys in Nagano

Danger!  Earthquake!  Tsunami!  Nuclear Meltdown!  most of the foreigners high tailed it out of Japan after the great earthquake in 2011.  Those who were left behind were faced with a little of this.  Empty store shelves and not knowing if nuclear radiation was going on all around them.  The government didn't really know anything so after a few days I thought it was a good idea to leave myself.  I also had a huge advertising project deadline which in itself was the most stressful project i've ever worked on.  Combine that with the aftershocks and nuclear threat and having to move out of a country at the drop of a hat and you've got the most stressful time of my life thusfar.

I escaped to Korea and stayed with Yoon again.  we went to the DMZ, the border between north and south korea.  You can see the North Korean guards survey your group to see if there is anyone important with you.  I went with state department people so it was a little un-nerving.

the Seoul Motorshow.  I went with all our dude friends so we had a splendid afternoon of oogliing fine performance vehicles.

no direct flights to Barcelona from Seoul so I had a 17 hour layover in Moscow, the same airport that Edward Snowden would later hole up in.  It was freezing and dirty.  They had nothing.  I had to sleep on the floor with all my possessions looped around my body on this filthy carpet.  I paid some insane price for sh!tty food and made it til morning.

Made it to Barcelona, a little earlier than planned because of the earthquake in Japan.  Pimientos de Padron are one of my favorite tapas.  

the big protests in Madrid jumped off when Me and Marco were visiting his hometown.

I finally got the Canon 5D mark II after having seen Salih and Foo's camera's in action I couldn't sleep at night until I too had this power in my hands.

Fisherman's festival in Barcelona

Gaudi's masterpiece cathedral 

the Sant Joan festival in Barcelona.  It's good luck to jump over the fire a certain number of times.

The running of the bulls in Pamplona is the biggest party in spain, all night and day for a week.  I remember none of it.

Costa Brava runs along the coast all the way from above Barcelona to France.  

First had Horchata in Valencia.

Moved to London and rented a room in this ex council house.  Lucy was a big fan of pink as you can see.

Regents canal, one of my favorite places in London.  House boats and occasional boat book stores, boat tea rooms.

The riots came close to our flat.  I was stuck working so couldn't go photograph them.  Probably a good thing

Wilf and Lucy, 2 of my flatmates.

I visited Paris, first impression, it's dangerous.  These gypsies are bad news, don't be fooled!

Kazam the Golden Doodle.  I would end up watching this guy for 2 summer's whilst the family was away.

Lived in an actual house in the 13eme in Paris with my actual Fam (aunt, uncle, cousins)

I don't care if they're street crepes or gourmet crepes at a fancy restaurant, give them to me!  they both have their special place in my heart.

back in London.  Zainib gave me a tour of the BBC where she used to be a news coordinator or something.  Her job is insane and stressful and she is insane.

a glimpse of the telecom fun i've had over the years.  Left to right:  NY phone, 2 chinese phones, japanese phone, spanish phone, London phone, vonage VOIP internet land line phone with my NY cell phone number.  Without this last phone I don't know if I would have made it as an illustrator or made it around the world.  I can call and receive international calls for free all with my new york number.

The coolest river i've been to, the Pitts River museum in Oxford.

flew to NY to collect my Society of Illustrators Stevan Dohanos medal never to return to London.

Met this illustration crew, finally started feeling like an illustrator

I did 3 of these posters, one with cats, dogs, and rabbits for Procter and Gamble's Bounce Bar dryer bar via Leo Burnett Toronto.  I was in the middle of this project when the earthquake in Japan hit.
from the uppermost corner office of the CEO in the flatiron building on Debbie's last day of work there.
trip to Asia for 2 months.  I went for Vivi's wedding.  Everyone wanted to meet the illustrator who made Vivi's wedding board illustration.  It was a good day to be an illustrator. 
cherry blossoms in Mie ken near Fumika's house.  I was lucky that the trip was timed at cherry blossom season (remember its my favorite time on earth)
Went to Seoul to see Yoon, Ivan, and Will before they left Korea to go to their next post.  Yoon's mom has ended up being there a bunch of times I was there and her cooking is the bomb.  She made me lunch a lot of times when Yoon went to work.

back to Beijing.  The drum tower at night.

weirdness club in Chengdu with Will.  These places are so weird because you don't know what's going on or how to read anything (as in the situation not the writing, that's a given).

more Sichuan tourism.  the largest stone buddha in the world in Leshan.  With buddha statues you gotta watch out for the material and sitting, reclining, or standing, etc... when judging the largest buddhas in the world.
I finally got my Yangze river trip.  I did it solo and still knew enough Chinese to talk to peeps a little which was cool.  As you can imagine a lot of awesome stuff and adventures were had.
the most awesome bus ride of my life was like 6 hours and there were no seats left so i had to sit in this seat hovering over the stairs next to the driver.  There was no where to put my feet so they were dangling and I alternated between using every muscle in my toes to lean them on a 2 millimeter out cropping.  I also saw first hand and in super HD the dangers and poor driving in China (and infamously deadly).  I also couldn't sleep like everyone else cuz i was right up by the horn, and in China drivers honk at everything and every time they pass or everytime someone passes them.  
after that bus ride I made the bad mistake of staying in a hotel on a shady street.  It made me paranoid so I ended up sliding the mattress in front of the door so no one could bust in and rob me/rape me/sell me stuff.  Nothing bad happened and in the morning the owner was just sleeping on a cot and just motioned for me to put the key on the desk.  No extortion or crazy hidden fees or anything like I was afraid there would have been.

A few days in Shanghai.  Really enjoyed it this time.  I had a few friends from my school in Tokyo that were back in Shanghai and showed me around so it was a fun time.

Hong Kong for 2 weeks.  I really wanted to move to Hong Kong and this trip was a view into what could have been.  For me it's super inspirational visually.

ride on the top level of the trolleys in HK

bought tea for my mom in HK.  I bought tea from her in a lot of countries.  The good stuff.

A few days in Singapore.  First time having dosas.  Awesomeness.  Norina showed me around cuz she was living there at the time.

Met the crew at Kult, the agency in Singapore i've worked with a bunch of times.

a summer in New York.  I house sat for my old mentor John Nickle.  This is their backyard in Park Slope

I moved to Paris, got an awesome 80s french bike

played a lot of petanque

fixed up the basement level room I lived in

rode my bike around and explored.  Canal St Martin is my favorite neighborhood.

Biarritz, France

Cheese in France is the bomb, especially if you're a cheese lover.  I learned a little about cheeses by trail and error.  This is a cheese plate in Pau, France.  Not pictured, also when to Bordeaux

French class at Alliance Francaise.  It's the best language school I've studied at and I studied 5 languages in each of their countries (chinese, japanese, korean, spanish, french).  Oh look there's Lisa
I started my Parisians series.  I interviewed some, others I just snapped a quick photo on the street before they disappeared.

There were a few big snow days in Paris.  The most fun place looks to be Montmartre if it snows.  People sledding, and sliding

I got super sick, super high fever and had to go to the hospital.  I was prescribed some medicine that the new england journal of medicine says could damage your liver, and tamaflu.  they said we'll get whatever it is with these.  I started urninating tea colored urine which is a symptom on their own box for your liver damage.  I went back the next day and saw a new doctor and he said stop taking that I don't know why they gave that to you and I got better with just tamaflu.

Yoon came for 3 weeks.  We went to Budapest, Hungary.  It's actually party city and you can soak in the hot springs the next day and go back at it again.

We went to Berlin, Germany where the parties go all day and all night all weekend and all the time.  Its insane.  We are old and can't hang like that.  going home at 8am like this is not being a party animal but we tried our best.  Berlin is a huge artist city (but also huge hippie city so minus points) and felt like a place in Europe I could live.

we went to Amsterdam for Queen's Day, a special queens day where she was handing over the crown to her son so now there is a King for the first time in however many generations.  It of course was a giant party.  Van Der Kock showed us around cuz he's dutch.

We went to Van Der Kock's parents house out in the Dutch countryside and had a splendid time.  I also cut half of my thumb nail off with one of those reverse cheese slicing things on a huge round of gouda.  It was super painful but not as painful as having to unwrap the thumb every night and bandage it up again.  This caption is not about the thumb though, its about the fantabulous time we had and the hospitality shown us by Van Der Kock and his parents.

I will miss this corner of Ile de la Cite between Pont des Arts and Pont Neuf.

Bob came for 3 weeks and we went to Madrid.  He experienced this giant half zapatilla at this famous place down the street from Marco's house.  He experienced tons of other yummy spanish food too.

We discovered the hills and streets of Granada, the Spain of your dreams.  We saw the Alhambra and met this awesome jazz band at a bar with a clarinet player. We also went to Seville too and saw Flamenco dancing and music

We went to Rome and walked a million miles a day.  We F'd up big time and didn't get to see the Vatican museum and the Sistine Chapel.  We did get to see St. Peter's cathedral in the Vatican city.  I would get my chance again, but Bob would not.  He's still got time though.  We did get to have the best Cacio e Pepe i've had at Al Bric though and a few other amazing things there.  Cacio e pepe, so simple, spaghetti, pecorino romano cheese, and cracked pepper, it blows my mind.  We tried to make this once and failed.

we made out on the bridges of Venice.  We both wished we were there with girls and not each other.  Venice is like a walking dream.  It looks amazing and I wasn't even bothered by the tourists because of it's maze like structure it's totally easy to find yourself going down some peaceful canal with no tourists or people.  We met some Bianale people because it happened to be at the same time.

We saw Mel get married in the Hamptons.  They rented a huge estate house and for a weekend we partied and the saturday party was a Great Gatsby theme.  The prosseco, wine, liquor, beer and dancing flowed freely.  It was everyone's best weekend of the year.  I met a girl too!

Alpacamania with my mom who has gone crazy and want's to do an alpaca farm when she retires.  I think I've been to 3 farms with her around the area so far.

I saw the 100th tour de France finish on the Champs Elysees.  It was fun working and watching it on TV all summer

Jen came to Paris for 2 weeks.  it was fun and fancy free time.  Tons of wine was consumed and lots of great restaurants were gone to and lots of picnics were had.

we went to Rome for Virginia and Chris's wedding.  We f'd up and did not anticipate having to wait in line for so long outside the Vatican museum so we had to run through the whole museum like in that Jean Luc Goddard movie Band of Outsiders to the Sistine Chapel, look at it for 3 minutes, and then run back to rush to the airport.  We missed the flight but minutes and had to buy another ticket.  We started drinking wine and missed the next flight somehow despite being at the wine bar 50 feet from the gate.  We stayed at a random hard to find hotel out past the airport and had the best pizza we had the whole trip and 5 euro pitchers of very decent wine.  Jen never missed a flight in her life and missed two in one day.  That's what happens when you roll with Jason Raish.  Hhahahahahaha

My Peter Pan days of moving around the world are over.  I moved back to New York

Now our days are filled with Jazz, like at 55 Bar on Christopher street.

I lived out of a suitcase for a few months before I moved in with Kat and Tae in Williamsburg.  Thanks to James Chang and Matty Chunfrani for being so nice to me.

Newfoundland club Christmas tree pull with my mom.  Besides being crazy alpaca lady she is already crazy Newfoundland lady 

Christmas at home (I spent the last year in Paris).  It was great pushing bob into those thorn bushes.  But besides that the xmas cheer was really high that year 

We all went to North Fork on Long Island for Mel's birthday.

the Raish Brother's Meat Bang was the best it's ever been with 11 kinds of meat including bear meat and coq au vin and the addition of gravy.  Next year might be even better.

We went to Greenport and Shelter Island to pick up my new Motobecane French bike from some guy and had a swell weekend.
Shelter Island
Winter in new York in 2013 was horrible.  The worst in the last 20 years for most people's memories.  The polar vortex term had to be invented.  So much snow and sooo cold.  I hate winter.

finally saw the Cherry blossoms in Washington DC

our life is filled with cheese boards now, which is an awesome addition to life.

cherry blossom picnic on Roosevelt Island, the island between manhattan and queens.

We went to Kentucky to the races for Luke and Ellen's wedding.  Went to a burbon distillery, ate Hot Browns, and drank a lot of burbon.
big 24"x36" piece of personal artwork.  It's the house I lived in in Paris
we got a new apartment in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.  It's a beautiful predominantly Italian neighborhood with tree lined blocks of brownstone buildings.  We have the whole second floor of a brownstone.  The place is huge and it's nice making it into a home.  My peter pan tights are now in storage.

moving day.  I threw my back out after carrying a queen sized mattress from Mel's house to the moving van in front of Jen's apartment.  Bob came from Colorado to help move.  I wouldn't have been able to do it without the help of Bob and Steven, who totally did not need to do this.  As you can imagine it sucks moving and really sucks driving and parking a van in the city.
went to the Jazz age lawn party on Governer's Island off of Manhattan.  It's an amazing event where everyone dresses in 1920-30's attire and picnics, and dances the afternoon away to live swing music.  We were even in the New York Times because we were photographed by Bill Cunningham.
I spent another summer in Paris.  I house sat while my family was away for the summer.
Jen came for 2 weeks and we went to Normandy for a week.  This is Mont St. Michel.  We went to Etretat, Deaville, Trouville, Honfleur, Baie d'Ecelgrain, D-Day beaches, and Monet's gardens.
my 5D mark II gave up the ghost in Paris after a torrential rain storm so I got a Canon 6D this time.  Its basically the same as the amazing 5D mark II but with a few little upgrades.  Happy Days again.

Met my parents at the Adirondack Balloon Festival in Glens Falls upstate New York.  One of the reasons I moved back to America was to be able to do things like this with my fam.

What a 6 years it's been hasn't it? Will this blog make it to 1000 posts? If the current trend continues that will take almost 3 years. What will the life of Jason be in 3 years? Well stick with me here on this blog and you'll find out. As I write this I am on a flight to Colorado where me and Bob will make an epic road trip back to New York via Austin, New Orleans, Memphis, Lousiville? Columbus? Cleveland?. So I think this travel blog has a few more travel posts in it before it turns into a crappy domestic life and interior decorating blog. I can't thank enoughthe friends and family that have made these last 6 years possible around the world. Hopefully it's inspired someone to go out and have their own misadventures and given the people who want it an insight into what my world has been. See you on the other side of 1000 posts!


Anonymous said...

Like @ London