Rob Raish reporting for duty

I was just invited to join as a author of this blog because I plan on being a big part of this trip and I am hoping to join the bro in all of his locations atleast once. I will be spending the first month in China with the bro and am loking foward to eating bacon. My goal for china is to eat atleast 5 things wrapped in bacon because bacon is delicious and I have not had in 5 years or so. I also need to get a fly suit for obvious reasons. I am not sure what I am suposed to write in this blog, but the only thing I have done concerning the trip is I found my passport. It was pretty exciting finding it and realizing that this is going to be the time of life and it is awesome that I get to share it with my bro.

My current location

I am here in harlem for the next 3 months. 136th and broadway. I took these photos from my desk window. i guess these make it makes it look better than it really is. Where I live now is the "little DR" (little dominican republic). Here are some word associations: garbage, hair salons/barber shops(3 per block average), cats, bodegas, chicken bones(everywhere! even in our hallways), chinese food delivery guys, door to door church of something guys, etc... none of this is shown in these pictures though. I will have to capture some harlem goodness before i go.

Cameras, good ol' stainless steel tanks

on the left is what i had when i studied abroad in korea in 2001. the compact flash card based powershot s300. it was state of the art, 2 megapixel shot 20 fps movies up to 30 seconds and was a stainless steel sherman tank, a real rugged trooper. only problem was it was still a little too big to carry in your pocket without feeling like you had a little bowling ball in your pocket. Kevin McCallister in Home Alone 2 (played by McCully Culkin) could have thrown this off the top of the roof instead of a brick to knock out the wet bandits. on the right is what i will be taking this year to China. the SD1000, 7 megapixel, 30 fps movies. this is also stainless steel and hopefully it will be a rugged little humvee or something smaller than a sherman tank. this one is small enough carry in pocket without it looking like i ate too many cheeseburgers and have really fat upper thighs.


so i assumed handball was just the good ol' handball that you play on the courts when you slap a little ball off a wall. I looked it up though and olympic handball (european handball) looks like this, not that! Now im a little more excited to see handball at the olympics. **UPDATE** they had cheerleaders too which was a nice bonus!

Olympic Tickets!!!!

My aunt was able to secure tickets to these olympic events.

> men's javelin
> women's high jump
> men's 800 meters
> women's 1500 meters
> men's 5000 meters
> women's 4x400 relay
> men's 4x400 relay

I was able to secure 7 tickets to of all things, HANDBALL, pretty impressive right? The most expensive handball tickets money can buy were $9. On the US purchasing site there was only archery, weightlifting, and handball tickets left. By the time i went to check out, all the archery and then weightlifting tickets were sold out! So now i'm stuck with handball. Oh well, i'm happy as long as i get to see some kind of olympic magic, even if its handball. **UPDATE** My aunt also got Women's Beach Volley ball tickets. My friends had an extra badmitton ticket so i got to see that too. The bird's nest stadium was amazing. Handball and beach volley ball had cheerleaders which was a plus. It was a pretty amazing time

What about Bob?

My brother bob will be flying out to Beijing with me and staying for the first month. This will be a momentous occasion because "Bob" is a vegetarian but has decided in order to get the full cultural experience to participate in the consumption of meat. Bob admits that meat is in fact delicious and he will be tickled pink the first time he gets to bite into a suculant, juicy, protein rich, morsel of Peking Duck and not be anemic for a month. I used to give bob a hard time about being vegetarian but after like 5 yrs of him keeping it up i've realized that hes not going back. So it wont be as fun as if i tricked him like once everyday we were in china into eating meat because he didnt know what he was eating. Me and bob are planning on getting custom tailored white suits (cuz their so cheap there!) with matching white fedoras and possibly the white wingtips i've always wanted. We would then wear these around and get beaten up very badly but not before we had some laughs! **UPDATE** Bob says he plans on visiting me in all of my long term destinations, Japan and Korea also! The Bob will not fade away after China, The memory of sweet, savory, nourishing Asian meat will haunt him and he will be back for more!
**UPDATE** We did get those white 3 piece suits made with matching custom made white shoes, we just havent been in the same place at the same time yet to wear them because they were completed after bob had left china already. Bob did cream in his pants after eating Peking duck, especially the skin dipped in sugar. Bob most looks forward to eating Miso Katsu when he visits Japan in June.


This is just a primer. You will be seeing a lot of this guy. Bob is my brother. His real name is Rob/Robert/watever but i call him bob because he hates it. This is a pic from bob's undergrad in math graduation from SUNY Albany. bob would never agree to pose for a photo like this or the many others that i have convinced him to do if left to his own devices. Bob is now pursuing his masters in math at albany. **UPDATE** Bob went on to persue his PHD in some other kind of math at Albany and now is switching schools to some school in Colorado to get a PHD in Math Education. I know i know, Bob is the smart one and i am the artist, what a family. Bob is a Vegetarian. Bob and I work so well together maybe because he is the calm nerdy one that injects common sense and self control into me while i'm the crazy, retard who injects a little fun into bobs life. Our friend melissa once said that bob is so square that it comes around full circle to the point where he's actually so cool. So true. You can see my illustration homage to bob here The Book of Bob
**UPDATE** Bob came with me to China for the first month. He is coming to Japan in June for 3 weeks. Fun will be had, lots of Yen will be spent.

Where are you gonna live?

The reason i'm going to China instead of Japan(where i REALLY wanna go) (**UPDATE** China totally surprised me and I love China now) is because my aunt is posted there as a journalist for a newspaper for 5 years and is living in a pretty sweet townhouse in an expat community in Beijing. **UPDATE** she will only be there through January so I will have to find an apartment or something for the last 5 months of my China adventure** She said I could come live with her and my cousin. At the complex there is an indoor and outdoor pool, and even a skatepark! I think i might start skating again. It's called the "Beijing Riviera" (their website for more amazing pics). After seeing this website and realizing that I have been getting enough steady freelance work to actually do this crazy adventure I said i'm outta here! Now i'm sure that these photos are fluffed up and might not even be real but a guy can dream right? In the fall my aunt was talking of moving to an apartment in the heart of beijing which would be a better cultural experience than living with a bunch of foreigners in a gated community. I wanna get to the down and dirty china! When I'm in Japan and Korea i have no idea where i will live. Anyone want to help me out with some info? **UPDATE** The Beijing Riviera was a nice gated community and was not China at all, which is why it's not so bad that things worked out they way they did because I wouldn't have gotten to experience real china life if I kept living there. After the riviera we moved to a diplomatic compound across from the Beijing Friendship store on JianguomenWai Dajie for about 6 weeks. I lived there solo because my aunt moved back to the US. It was a pretty sweet and excessively large place for 1 person. The tenants were diplomats and other important people and then there was me. After that I got an apartment in the old part of Beijing with my friend Nana. It was a great experience living in an Old part of town.

But do you speak Chinese/Japanese/Korean/Spanish/French?

Nope! I speak some Korean from when i studied abroad there in 2001. It's been like 7 yrs and I have forgotten so much of it. I am studying Chinese via Pimsleur audio mp3s on my Ipod and Chinese class at F.I.T.(which was pretty useless cuz it was basically just a course fulfilling easy class) . I guess I have to learn Japanese while in china (Didn't happen), maybe take Chinese class and Japanese class. I am ok with not speaking these languages because it makes it more like an adventure. I actually love how im being tossed into these countries with no idea what going on or where i am. **UPDATE** I learned enough Mandarin in China to be able to do what i needed to do and have super basic conversations. I am a fool and should have taken classes for the whole time I was there instead of only 3 months. All that free time did allow me to live a stress free life but China is taking over the world and it would be nice to be able to speak decent Mandarin now. I took Japanese class in Tokyo 3.5 hrs a day 5 days a week and have forgotten most of my Chinese. I learned enough to be able to have simple conversations. -5/30/11 **UPDATE** I was in Seoul for a month and started remembering some Korean and forgetting other languages. I am now taking Spanish class 2 hrs a day 5 days a week for a month then might cut back to 3 days a week. I have already forgotten a lot of my Japanese :( -5/30/11

But What are you gonna do about work?

I am a freelance illustrator (my website) which allows me to be able to relocate to China/Japan/Korea for a few years.

Freelance Illustrators get to sit at home in their boxers and work.
and I don’t have to meet clients in person, all communication is done pretty much through email and sometimes by phone. Final artwork is FTP’d or emailed. I am moving my 917 new york cell phone number over to vonage so art directors, etc... will be able to call that number and get me in China/Japan/Hong Kong?/etc..., the magic of VOIP! . I’ll also have a Chinese/Japanese/Etc... cell phone which will get forwarded calls from my vonage line when i'm out of the house. Slightly more detailed info on this phone thing in this post "What if i miss Jason So much, how can my sonic love rays reach him"? I'm having my checks sent to my parents house and they will deposit them into my bank. The fact that I'm able to still make U.S. dollars is pretty awesome. **UPDATE** I just got an illustration agent, a representative, a rep. This will also help me continue getting work when I am over seas. A rep handles the billing and invoicing and marketing and promotion, basically she gets me work. She can also do things like tell clients how awesome I am where if I said it I would sound like and A-Hole. If clients don't pay up she can also say "Give us our mother lovin' money or else you gone git it"!! If i tried that they would just laugh and put me on hold so they could go tell some other people at the office to come and laugh at me on the phone. She is great and hopefully we can make some magic happen! **UPDATE** The rep didn't work out so I am back running a solo outfit.

Why are you doing this?

For the experience. I'm not so concerned about gold, hit points, special weapons, spells, defeating the demi-ogre, etc.... I am just looking for some worldly experience. (see diagram above). I studied abroad in Korea in 2000-02 and it was an amazing time. Korea hosted the world cup, it was insane, and I was an energetic 21 yr old with no responsibilities but going to Korean class once a day. Now i'm a tired 27 yr old and I know i'm not going to have a repeat of spring break everyday for 1 year like when i was in korea but that's ok. Since I can remember I wanted to get out of the little town I grew up in. I wanted to go to New York. Now that i've been here for 7 years I'm ready for something new. I feel like i'll be back in NYC to stay someday but I would be a fool not to take the opportunities that are in front of me now.

You're doing what!!!?? aka what's your plan

I’m moving to China/Japan/Korea. My first stop is Beijing, China. I ship out june 1st, 2008 and plan on staying there for 1 year. After that I plan on living in Tokyo, Japan for 1 year. This will be a little harder because they have a pretty tough visa policy. After that I plan on a year in Seoul, South Korea(I can't believe how many people ask, "you're gonna live in North or South Korea"?). Thats the tenative plan. Who knows whats gonna happen though. I might be totally destroyed after a year in China. Of course I'm gonna go to a bunch of other places for little vacations here and there like: Hong Kong, Shanghai, maybe Mongolia, who knows where else. If anyone has any buddies that are dying to hang out with me that are living somewhere cool in asia, especially at any of my destinations let me know! I will be a little short in the buddies dept. for a while when i get over there. My flight to beijing is like 16 hrs and is on China Air, it turns out it is a "no meal" flight. Can you believe that! i picture the flight looking something like this. EDIT: the flight did have a meal, I don't know about Korea now, maybe Hong Kong? I love that place. I haven't set foot on US soil for almost 2 years now. Most things are going according to plan so far - 5/13/10. EDIT: Korea is not going to happen because i've already lived there for a year in 2001-2 so i just stayed for a month in April 2011. I have now started on my European campaign including Barcelona, 3 months, London for 5 months, and Paris for 3 months to a year if i can get an artists visa. I still have dreams of Hong Kong though. - 5/30/11