this is THE SHOES


Last night I had the pleasure of seeing this is THE SHOES perform at Copper Owl in Victoria. I worked with Sabrina in Vancouver and the last time I saw her and Jereme perform was probably two years ago. It was fantastic hearing how their sound has grown and developed into a fierce, howling, train-chugging-down-the-tracks unstoppable blues force. After a night of drinking beer and talking music, we took some time this grey morning to snap photos in front of Big Blue, their trusty touring van. That beast has been to PEI and back!

Check out their music and upcoming tour dates here– they’re off on another tour in February!





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Bitterly cold, dropping below zero when the sun set.

Buying a $9 scarf in a train station and waddling around in three sweaters and a headband all the time.

Visiting the shopping district at night, filled with giant department store-sized buildings whose halls were lined with stalls selling clothing ranging in price from $15-$90. Some of the buildings wouldn’t let me in, and the other buildings I went in were mostly empty and the stall vendors were preoccupied with sorting through giant trash bags filled with clothing.

Drinking mochas and editing Japan photos in Coffee Smith, located on a really nice shopping street, shades of Robson in Vancouver.

The countless ads for plastic surgery lining the walls of metro stations in wealthier areas. I heard that 1 in 5 women in Seoul has had some form of plastic surgery.

Walking for hours along the “urban stream” that runs through the city. Originally used by women to do washing, and then lined with shanties in the 1960s, the stream was covered with a highway and then uncovered and turned into a park.

Stopping at a little grocery store every night and buying two pomegranates.

Meeting up with Alex and talking about nothing but Japan.

Eating grilled meat and kimchi stew with Alex. At that place my phone fell out of backpack (not even that far!) and the screen cracked. I became just like the girls on Gallery Girls.

Learning Alex knew a lot about K-Pop so every time I saw an ad I would yell WHO IS THAT and she would tell me all about them. Her favourite boy group is Super Junior.

The strange weather where the clouds were flat and heavy and the air had that strange dense quality to it. Later that evening I told some South African girls that it had been “trying to snow” and they thought that was the funniest phrase ever. “How can it be trying?!”

Watching the MNET Asian Music Awards with Mr. Lee, the guy who ran the hostel I was staying at, and another girl that also worked there. Mr. Lee’s funny dog snuggling up to me and I getting to see all the music stars Alex had taught me about that day. The girl watching with me loved Super Junior too, and Mr. Lee teased her about how her favourite member had to join the army (because of Korea’s mandatory service) and there was a “comedy fat option” member, who they had eating a basket of bread.

I liked Seoul a lot but I was really antsy to get to Vietnam.










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Alex in Seoul


Alex is a model/writer/photographer/fashion icon from Seattle who was working in Seoul while I was there. I met her through Anja, who took some pretty amazing portraits of Alex in Portland. Anja insisted that Alex and I would get along and she was absolutely correct. After we had established that I liked taking photos of people and that she liked to pose, our day was pretty much set. We visited some tourist sites, green and red and cream wooden palaces, ate BBQ sitting on the floor around a charcoal grill, and Alex demonstrated her love for K-Pop during a visit to a neighbourhood idol shop. Girl is legit– back in Seattle she hosted JK POP, a Japanese and Korean pop music dance night.

We ended the day at dusk in the presence of a monument dedicated to the man who created hangul, the Korean alphabet. The air was still and heavy and hinted at snow. I believe it actually did snow, a few days later, and that strange tense feeling of the impending weather revisited me while reading Alex’s blog entries about the frigid Seoul temperatures.

Alex writes about her life in Japan and posts her lovely photography on her blog. I’m crossing my fingers that Alex and I will cross paths on the streets of Tokyo sometime in the near future– the dream!






















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Busan, Korea


Spending time with Nina and her crew in Busan, basically pretending I lived there, eating poms and mikans in my little apartment at night and watching Laguna Beach and hearing the rooster crow from the courtyard.

Eating BBQ at the place across the street and flicking the tab off the soju lid.

Drinking soju and wanting to die from the brutal hangover the next day.

Making fun of everything and making Danielle crack up in her cute way.

Going out with all the expats and wearing fake glasses, because why not?

Dancing to ABBA in every single cab we took.

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Jagalchi Market (part 3)










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Jagalchi Market (part 2)


From my journal:

On the other side of the hostel is an absolutely incredible fish market, with pretty much everything you can imagine in it. It’s alternately disgusting, fascinating and totally engrossing. The worst thing I saw was a lady with a nail on a stick exploding fish eyeballs, that was about the only thing that really made me gag. I feel bad for the live octopus in the buckets, you know those guys are super smart and they are probably just running math equations in their heads to pass the time. Most of the stalls are run by really old ladies in kerchiefs, bundled up in many layers. They’re cute but look like they’ve had a hard life. I couldn’t imagine being up to my elbows in fish juice every day. 

The other day I was determined to eat at one of the little stalls in the market. I marched up to the first lady that gave me a warm smile and talked $10 off an already expensive meal. I sat down and watched as she grabbed wriggling snake-like fish that looked like eels but seemed closer to lampreys and skinned and filleted them right then and there. Then she tossed them in a skillet, added onions and scallions, and fried it up with a fiery red sauce. She placed this on a heater on the table in front of me and added a few plates of raw vegetables and lettuce leaves. It was tasty but boiling hot and quite spicy, so I could hardly get a feel for the flavour of the fish. An interesting experience to be sure, but my last, I think.






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Jagalchi Market, Busan, Korea







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This kitten is living with me now. Her name is Finch. She is a ferocious cuddler and never stops purring. She also seems to be into posing, at least for now. I’m hoping to start balancing cute objects on her head soon.







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The Cottage Garden


If you ever have the pleasure of visiting Kevin and Ian at their delightful home, known as “The Cottage”, then chances are you will get a tour of Kevin’s incredible garden. Having witnessed Kevin’s green thumb over the years– I remember when he lived in a small one bedroom apartment and grew a jungle’s worth of tomatoes in his sunny living room– I was excited to see what he could do with an actual plot of land.

With summer’s end drawing nearer, much of the garden has been harvested, but an abundance of cherry tomatoes are still choking the greenhouse. (Did I mention the greenhouse that they built out of old window frames? Seriously.) Kevin filled a bag with tomatoes for me, but I finished it before I even left.



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Jeremy and Kaleigh



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