THEY CALL IT “FORMOSA”

Just returned from a week-long trip to Taiwan, from January 16-22. Chinese New Year was January 23, so the whole country was high on festive lantern decorations and Buddhist temple visits. I took a slew of photos and decided to put them up in an album on flickr for the world to see. So, see it, world.

CROWD CONTROL: THE POLARIZED SHOPPING CULTURE IN BUSAN, SOUTH KOREA

IF YOU WANT TO BUY AN APPLE in Busan, you have basically two options. You can go to a department store—Lotte Mart, Hyundai, Shinsegae—which are 12-floor goliaths offering everything from Gucci products to a park on the roof. Your other option is a street vendor, a wizened old Korean who will offer often-bruised produce surrounded by flies.

What’s amazing is that, in Busan, the lower classes have banded together to create their own Centum Cities—booming, popular marketplaces that are both mirror images and polar opposites of the luxury department stores.

My latest piece for The Mass Ornament, and my first photo essay. It took me a few weeks to compile all the pictures—there’s about six locations in Busan that I jaunted through to see what they were like. Almost every shot was taken as incognito as possible, just walking and holding the camera by my side (which is why so many shots are profile-oriented instead of landscape/horizontal).

I’ll also put up a link to my Flickr here, for those interested in the shots that didn’t make the cut/anything else I’ve shot over the years.

SEVENS STORIES

RUGBY BOYS FILL the hotel room, laughing and clutching their half-finished beers. Hey, boys: shut up, will ya? Chopper’s lying on one of the hotel beds, no shirt on, under the clean white sheets, and he squints at me. What’s he doing here? It’s all right, Justis tells him. That’s Fraiman, he’s writing something for the Watch. We don’t have to keep anything from him. Over by the corner of the room, Willy leans on a desk and starts to talk, so everyone quiets down.

It’s been proposed that we throw tonight’s game, he says.

Sevens

“The team is mostly rookies now—small-framed kids with guts but no experience. When you see them together, you get the sense that they’ll make a strong team one day, cohesive and well-trained; but now, they just seem young. When we get out of the van and walk towards the Sevens barn, a few of them run ahead; Justis stays behind, walking at his own pace. He’s been team captain since his second year, a title he can boast for only a few more weeks. “Sometimes this makes me feel old,” he mutters, and we enter the barn.”

My (presumably) last feature for the Watch. I’m pretty proud of the narrative style of this one, though the formatting on the website is absolutely incorrect. I don’t expect anyone who reads this blog is too picky, though. Or existent.