tetslog archives

Summer 2005

Spring 2005

Fall 2004
Spring 2004



Louis Vuitton facade


Sleeping Commuters


theTets at Horyuji


Image of theTets during Final Review week

(thanks to Daekyung Jo for photo)


Lost in Shibuya


Beer and Dogs Takeover




Stupid Diagram


Photos From Tokyo


Model Images


More Fried Chicken

My new buttmate


Shibuya Map





Fall 2005

January 27, 2006

I just realized that I had been dating everything as '2005' so I've fixed that now. Ooops.

To think that I could escape the cold freezing climate by shipping myself to Japan turned out to completely backfire, finding myself in the middle of some of the coldest temperatures in recent memory. The generally cold, but not frigid to the bones cold, weather in Japan quickly converted to Boston like temperatures and snow. At least I enjoyed the comforts of one of the nicest hotels in Shibuya.

Starting in Tokyo for a few days, I attempted to visit parts that I had not seen yet or at least not during my last stay. Akihabara, the outside of the Imperial Palace, Roppongi Hills, parts near Aoyama and Omotesando, and a day long venture to Yokohama (which included the ramen museum and of course the Yokohama International Passenger Terminal) were the main features. An entire Saturday was spent sitting and listening to discussions and presentation of projects by Keio University architecture students as well as a presentation of our studio projects by our studio instructor, Peter Rowe.

A few days in Kyoto, with trips to Uji (Byoudoin Temple and the Uji Station) and Nara (Horyuji, Yakushiji and Todaiji), concluded my mini-trip to Japan. I should also mention that I had ramen everyday, except for the day spent in panel discussions with Keio University folk.

One of the main discussions during the Keio University symposium centered around different pedagogical techniques and the resulting affects on the projects. Our projects seemed to have a significantly greater amount of depth to the ideas and in the resolution of the concepts in the final design. Perhaps this is because not all of the students are graduate students, meaning the degree of experience varies signficantly. The projects, conceptually headed by a graduate student with the undergraduates working below them, sets up this interesting configuration where one learns from their elder statesman, but perhaps not enough in contributing the final design. On the other hand, we work as individuals, using our classmates for insight in the design and representation of our projects, but not as much in the final production which becomes solely our own work.

Another difference comes in the scope of our projects. Where as we tend to propose radical and distinct concepts in driving the project, the Keio students tended to look only at solving situational problems and to abiding by rules and regulations that don't necessarily fit the aesthetic that wants and needs to be explored. The result is an ad hoc patchwork of solutions rather than an over arching concept that rationalizes all the subsequent moves. In general, our projects, on the other hand, took on a more significant stance and looked to find ways in realizing those goals in its entirety rather than in bits and pieces.

I guess in the end, I was a little bit disappointed in the Keio students projects especially when they are considered one of the more premiere architecture institutions in Japan. I realize that the GSD is perhaps one of the better school in the world, so a comparison between our schools may be unfair, but I some how expected more especially when considering their proximity to the site, the number of folks in each group and amount of time they had in preparing their proposals. Perhaps the expectations of the students is different, or the focus of their work is placed upon other things; regardless, I'm glad to be where I am.

There's a good chance that I'll be a teaching fellow next semester for my Japanese architecture professor, the venerable William Coaldrake. He has written many books on the subject as well as the most scholarly books on Japanese construction techniques that one can find today. Anyway, I'm nervous and excited about the opportunity. Teaching has never really interested me (when people don't understand things that I find completely understandable I get annoyed), so perhaps this opportunity will once and for all define my stance on whether I stay in academia or not.

I've blogged enough for now, so I'll send you off with another U2 song: Running to Stand Still, from the last show of the Rattle and Hum tour.

January 26, 2006

I'm back in Boston, but I don't feel like blogging much, so I'll just show you a few initial pictures from the trip on this next page.

I've also discovered that I've never shared my favorite U2 song, "Where the Streets Have No Name." So, here's a version from the Zootopia bootleg. I guess the hardest part about sharing this song is finding my favorite version of it. This particularly bootleg is from their show in Dublin during the Zoo TV Tour. I'll blog at you all later.

January 11, 2006

Recently I've been listening to a lot of music by the band The Arcade Fire. They are a small Canadian band that plays a wide range of instruments, from string instruments to guitars and drums, that give them both a pop quality but with a heavy indie-rock inspired sound. My interest in them came out of the fact that their song, Wake Up, which I think I've posted on this site before, plays on the PA system just before U2 begins their set. I finally bought their album, Funeral, and can't seem to get enough of it. It's one of those albums that I have to listen to at least once a day. Now I've picked up a few live recordings of the band so I shall share them here:

Why am I blogging? I really need to be working on my 20 page paper for Monumentality and Modernism in Japanese Architecture. I'm on page 10.5 and it's due on Friday. I also have that Building Tech Project looming over my head. Thankfully that's due on Saturday and I've already finished the other paper due for Friday. I loathe writing papers; I spend so much time writing them and the only person who is going to read it is my professor. Don't get me wrong, I don't want anyone else to read what I've written nor would I want to subject them to such torture. Then again, you are reading my blog. If you're curious to find out what my writing is like, imagine this blog with words that have more than one syllable, better sentence structure and a meaning and a purpose.

Anyway, check out The Arcade Fire, they are my current favorite band, besides U2.

January 9, 2006

I have some bad news: the Krispy Kreme on the way to the Costco went out of business. I know, I know, it's tragic, painful. . . so many mixed emotions. In one sense, the Krispy Kreme was bad because it promoted the sprawling economic development that I hate and basically goes against all of my urban design principles. On the other hand, it filled a significant portion of my dietary happiness that I will now have to drive 30 minutes south to Dedham to fulfill my Krispy Kreme Kravings (note the intentional use of the k; i'm so clever).

In other news, I've begun putting together a thesis proposal. I know that in one of my first posts of this fall semester, I mentioned that I would be thinking and writing etc. but alas, I never got around to it until now. I have been thinking about it; thinking about thinking about thesis, but nonetheless thinking about something.

Off to finish paper number 2 of 3!

January 6, 2006

A new year brings a new version of tetslog. well, sort of, not really, just a new address. If you haven't discovered by now, the tetslog has a new home at architets.com. Thanks to Irwin, I was able to get a larger home for the tetslog, which means better images, more songs and more useless rambling by me.

Otherwise, there's not much to report. I've been sleeping in, relaxing, cooking, eating, sleeping some more and otherwise being pretty lazy. I guess I should start working on my final papers; perhaps tomorrow. . .


(Note the version change in tetslog, we're up to version 3! but really only cause of the change in location)

January 4, 2006

Happy New Years!

Well, they finally let us back into school again. The GSD locked us out just before Christmas until yesterday, apparently to keep us from working over the break or something like that. I guess that's a good reason.

I spent New Years wandering around downtown Boston with Becky, her roommates and Johnny's girlfriend Yael. We enjoyed some fireworks over the Commons, lots of Chinese food, dancing in front of the Public Library, some weird ice sculptures in Copley Square, standing in lines at various bars, and finally a midnight champagne toast and more dancing (let's face it, we WERE the party) at one of Becky's friend's friend's apartment on Newbury street.

The final review for my project consisted of a jury of 4 GSD faculty members and two guest reviews from Japan. They didn't say much, but there were some lively discussions by the GSD people. Two of them had spent a considerable amount of time in Tokyo and were familiar with the three sites that people in our studio worked on, so their criticism were particularly insightful.

They seemed to like my project enough, but it was hard to say from the way the review was organized. Normally, each student presents their project, and the panel of reviewers then ask questions and discuss various good and bad points of the individual student's project. However, we presented in groups, with each member of the group presenting their individual portion of the project one after another with a discussion of all the projects after the entire group had presented. Thus, it was difficult to get any pointed criticism on just my project as the criticism fell largely upon the group.

The key to the discussion seemed to rest upon how people would move from one train line to another. Other members of my group struggled more with this aspect because of their stations were more dispersed, while the stations were more or less contained within one area for my scheme. Click on the link to the right to see more images of my final project.

I will be going back to Japan later this month. My studio professor will be presenting our projects to people in Tokyo, and I've been lucky enough to be allowed to tag along for the ride. I get to revisit Shibuya and get lost all over again.

I'm also looking at buying a domain name, so that you will no longer have to type in a weird Harvard.edu address anymore. I'm trying to decide between architets.com and just plain old tetslog.com. If you have any preferences or suggestions please send me an email.

December 8, 2005

Everyday, at about noon o'clock, the sun peers over Gund Hall at just the right angle to reflect light off of the neighboring building's windows so that I can't see anything on my monitor. The direct light hitting the screen makes it too bright for the monitor and I can't do any work my the computer. That's why I'm blogging, because this is much less visually intensive. Otherwise, sitting on the outside hasn't been that bad. It's much cooler, so I'm not uncomfortably warm as I usually seemed to be back in the days underneath the trays.

Final review is in less than two weeks now. Not quite time to count down the hours, but we're getting there. The panic button has not been pushed yet.

Last week, we decided to take it into our own hands and have our own Beer and Dogs in protest of the usual Beer and Dogs event sponsored by the second year Landscape students. We wanted to protest the rising costs of hot dogs, the lack of hot dogs on some weeks, the reduced quality of the hot dogs, and an overall discontent over being charged in order to sponsor a party for themselves at the end of the year. We collected 8 George Foreman Grills (we only used 6 though, two of them were still dirty) for the cooking. A trip to Costco brought us cheap buns and high quality Ballpark Franks for cheap, a trip to Kappy's liquor store gave us 2 cases of PBR and a case of Miller High Life, and 5 dollar Dial-A-Pizzas rounded out our inventory. Total cost was about 100 dollars, we brought in about 180 giving us a profit of about 70-80 dollars; significantly more than the Landscapers make on a normal week. The profits will be donated to the school in some form of way that we haven't quite decided upon yet, but I will keep you posted.

I've had 3 presentations so far this week, and one more on Friday. I'm so tired. . .
Our beer is ready to be bottled, only problem is, we don't have time to clean bottles and then fill them and then cap them. Maybe Friday?

I should also mention the fact that, perhaps another reason why I feel so tired is because I went to another U2 concert on Monday night (before staying up til four preparing for a pinup). We sat to the band's left and a bit to the back; a new perspective on the band that we hadn't experience before. Unfortunately, the crowd in our section was less than enthusiastic, so it was a little bit harder to get into it than when you're only a couple of yards away. On the other hand, it's U2 and I always get excited to hear them live, so I still had a lot of fun.

What impresses me the most about them is how much fun they seem to be having on stage. They really do enjoy playing and performing for people, and it's reflected in the quality of their music. They inspire me to work hard at the things I enjoy doing most, which fortunately or unfortunately, happens to be working on FormZ perspective renderings. Obviously, I'm blogging right now, but when I finish with this, that's what I'll get back to, since I really don't feel like preparing for Friday's transportation presentation. . .

November 18, 2005

I'm building a model; so excited. It's been so long since I've made an architectural model. I made that diagrammatic plexi-glass model earlier this semester, but it was only of existing conditions and not necessarily of my project. This model will really start to demonstrate the kinds of spaces that I hope to create. Large canyons of light with numerous mezzanine levels that provide view corridors and interesting spacial perspectives. The key will be to maintain a certain degree of opacity to the building; I want people to be able to spatially orient themselves, without revealing the entire architectural machinery. The quality of the spaces, the dimensions and the scale of the building in reference to how people move about and perceive and accept the architectural elements will help in defining not only the movement through the station but also in determining how well the experience will be received. Structurally, it's still a bit unstable, so I will have to work on that as well.

Last weekend, I went and saw the movie "Jarhead." It's a film based upon the memoirs of a Marine during the first Gulf War, Operation Desert Storm. The film recounts his experience in boot camp, his training at Camp Pendelton, the monotony of waiting during the initial phase of the war, and then the after effects upon returning home. Movies such as these always beg the question, what is the message? Are the heroics of battle glorified or is it the futility of war that becomes the central issue. This film never answers either, so really what was the point? It's not a Rambo type war/action film, but it never seemed to express a deeper meaning either and certainly the movie never strived to give the audience an enjoyable and feel good mood as the closing credits rolled. Ultimately I think a movie like this attempts to give the audience a taste of what it's like to fight in a war; to try and connect the confusion, anger and sadness a soldier feels. But we can never fully understand what's going on, we're too separated from the realities of war. Only those who have actually been over there like my good friends Brian and Jimmy, whom I hope return home safely.

In the comforts of my studio setting (if you can call it comfortable), I can speak all I want about unnecessary war, terror and violence but I don't do anything about it. It's an all too common problem with being a young liberal with utopian ideals, but without the means of actually doing anything about the problems I complain about. I see a similar parallel as an architecture student with high aspirations to design and produce works of architecture that not only appeals to my aesthetic needs, but more importantly looks to produce environments that appeal to the user's senses and a social obligation towards creating quality spaces for everyone.

I realize I'm rambling and I don't have a strong argument for whatever it is I'm trying to express, but I guess in the end it's about the frustrations of always creating conceptually interesting projects that will never be actualized and to some extent will never be truly viable to begin with, yet combined with a fear to do real work because of the possibility of complete an utter failure; a reality that in school is not such a big issue because we're still learning, but in the professional world could be potentially disastrous. As a mode for experimentation and exploration what we do is still an important exercise in design but I still have my reservations at times.

My family will be visiting me here in Boston for Thanksgiving, so I am looking forward to that. I just went out and bought a turkey. I'm excited for all of the left-overs I will have in my fridge. Hooray! Turkey for a week!

November 7, 2005

Well, the Lakers won last night making them 2-1 on the season. Will this be the last time they hold a winning record? I'm silently optimistic in believing that they will at least make the playoffs this year. I love how just as baseball finishes up, the NBA season starts going.

Nothing new and exciting this week. I have studio to prepare for, but otherwise, it's gonna be a bit slow I think. With six weeks left before the final review, there's a lot for me to do, I just don't know exactly what it is that needs to be done. I'm quite willing to put in the work, but not for things that are unnecessary. I think I'm going to go home now, rest up for a busy day of studio work and desk crits tomorrow. We shall soon discover what it is like to have individual desk crits with Peter Rowe. Exciting stuff.

November 2, 2005

Bloggable: a term that refers to happenings, events, images, and ideas that are worth blogging about because they are funny, interesting and unique. What's an example of something bloggable? Interesting Halloween pictures perhaps? Funny websites I come across are also bloggable. The stuff I usually write about are not technically bloggable, they are just stuff that I've done or thought about. Something that is bloggable generally have no purpose other than to be absurd and amusing. I'll keep working on the definition of bloggable, as it is apparent that the meaning is still very vague, but bloggable moments come up surprisingly often among my group of friends.

Mid-review came and went. I enjoy the mid-reviews more than final reviews, because what the critics say is actually relevant and can be used as a learning tool to continue to improve and enhance a project. A final review, on the other hand, is more of a stupid formality where we get to listen to (often) pretentious critics talk on and on and on. . . in the end, my final project is not going to change and rarely do I find them particularly useful. However, this Mid-Review was somewhat less informative as they've been in the past. It was partially a language barrier, I feel, as we had to guest critics from Japan. It was our hope that they would be able to give a feel for how people in Tokyo would react to the interventions that we propose and to give us some incite as to the viability, strengths and weaknesses in that aspect. As critics, the were not as critical as we had hoped they would be, where at one point we had to specifically as for what the problems our proposals would elicit on the site. Clearly, the issues concerning my solution of having the train station concentrated in the center of the site brings up major circulation issues, and the qualities of the spaces that I'm proposing. We all have development and programming issues as well; what sort of amenities can we propose that would make it a more attractive destination so that Shibuya becomes less of a transfer zone and more of a terminus.

For the next six weeks, I will be working on further development of my scheme. I've also posted some more images of the project. It's all still very diagrammatic at this phase, so I expect it to become more detailed and architectural in scale. I really want to pursue an aspect of transparency and porosity in addition to a more detailed analysis of the urban design implications upon the site. As it is, I feel like this scheme is a very viable scenario for what the train station could be like, now it's a matter of cementing the vision and image of the station, the site and how effectively it will meld with the goals and ambitions of the city and it's constituents.

I've been eating a lot of Mother's Animal cookies recently since Joanne's boyfriend brought me TWO WHOLE PACKAGES of them. How awesome is that? Anyway, if you ever want to donate to theTets, or you want to get on my good side, not that I have a bad side, a package of Mother's Animal cookies would really do the trick. It's a California product, so I can't get them here in Boston, otherwise I'd be eating them all the time. So, perhaps it's best that I can't buy them here. . .

The song of the week is a live version of "Song for the Dumped," by Ben Folds Five, because that is the song that John and I song while at the karaoke bar featured in the movie Lost in Translation. Good times. Enjoy.

October 27, 2005

Your weekly tetslog update:

I have a mid-review on Tuesday and I don't really have much to show. We (as in the Shibuya Group) have put ourselves in the position where we are proposing four different strategies as to how the central station could be reconfigured, and how that would effect future development in the area. Explode, Implode, Vertical String and Horizontal String, are our four methods of reorganizing the various transportation methods in order to improve accessibility, clarity and circulation so that Shibuya once again becomes a marketable development opportunity for all of the cities constituents. All of our methods attempt to improve the open spaces and public realms around the station that will accommodate the needs of everyone from the large corporate entities and departments stores, to the smaller business owners. I have the task of determining the effects of consolidating the train lines in one central location (Implosion). Fun.

I have a bunch of quasi-informative diagrams (I hate diagrams) that vaguely describes the impetus behind an implosive design scheme for the station. My hatred for diagrams stems from the fact that they are not detailed enough while at the same time generate too much vague information to be clearly explained in one drawing that makes it a difficult starting point for specific design work. Generic blobs of color and


hi this is joanne. i'm writing in tetslog. he's perturbed. aw yea!


um, ok? what was I saying? oh right, generic blobs of color and thick dashed lines are nice at one scale, but I run into trouble when converting them into a real architectural language. I guess at the urban design scale, it's easier to be vague, but as I want to become more precise, it's hard to extrapolate the precise details from such drawings.

So we have bubble diagrams and such, but whether that will be enough to explain our "ideas," I have no idea. Certainly much of my frustration stems from being stuck at the urban design scale for so long and my inability to dive into the specifics.I've finished my plexi model, so that it accurately portrays the Shibuya station configuration. It has a sexy new base replacing the chintzy black foam-core feet that used to prop it up.

yup, that's about it for this week.

October 21, 2005

Still struggling with jet lag, I've attempted to organize some of the images of Tokyo for you all to enjoy. There were many to choose from, particularly since we did so many weird things, but I've tried to select a few of the more intriguing scenes.

Motivation for doing work has been low as I struggle not only to re-acclimate myself to the time difference, but also just in terms of studio group work. There just doesn't seem to be a lot to do when the work is divided up amongst four people. I do still need to readjust the plexi-glass model so that it more accurately represents what is really going on in Shibuya station. Having actually seen the site makes things much easier to understand up to the point where the station feels relatively benign. Certainly the haphazard layering of different entities makes for a poor architecture, but in terms of function, it still works.

This does bring up an issue that has been bothering me for a while now, however. Conceptually and factually, the model that I've produced is pretty poor. However, aesthetically the model is very fascinating. People have commented on how nice it looks yada yada yada, but really, in the end, it doesn't tell you much, but people seem to disregard this fact or are willing to overlook the problems with it because it looks so pretty. By making something look good, can I convince people that my project is complex and interesting when it is in fact really dumb and boring? Do we stress aesthetics over concept? I feel like when I have a really strong and solid idea, it should speak for itself regardless of how nice I make it. When I have poor ideas but pretty models and drawings, it should still be a poor project right? Ideally, I should be able to produce quality representations of good ideas (not that I've ever really had good ideas, but I like to pretend sometimes), but sometimes I feel like you can get away with poor projects as long as representations look nice. I guess in the end, architects are suckers for pretty things. . .

October 17, 2005

Well, we made it back from Tokyo safely. I'm still super jet-lagged right now; I've been out of it all day and the early 8:30 A.M. class certainly did not help. Thankfully, the flight was much faster on the way back than on the way there, so I wasn't in the air for as long. Thank you jet stream.

In a nut shell: Japan was awesome. John and I saw bits of Kyoto including Kiyomizudera and my favorite ramen restaurant. Hiroshi Hara's Kyoto Station is both overwhelming and awe inspiring; it's such an enormous structure with so many things going on, it makes your head spin.

A quick two hour ride on the Shinkansen put us in Tokyo where we then made our way to Shibuya to the Shibuya Stay Apartment Hotel. We made the mistake of going to the wrong Shibuya Stay; there's one south of the station and another north of the station. Naturally we walked to the wrong one.

Shibuya is a confusing place. The train station is totally messed up, the surrounding neighborhoods are eclectic and energetic and unique. I'm not sure exactly what we'll be doing, but certainly one of the main issues we will be trying to fix will be the patching up of the divisions created by some of the poor urban developments around the station. Renovation and reorganization of the transportation infrastructure will also be a key issue that will need to be addressed by the ShiBOOYaaaH!! group, which includes my self, Shlomit (shlow-nuts), Natalie (the little one) and James (doesn't have a nickname yet).

We had fun every night while in Tokyo; after a busy day of walking around, meeting city and government officials, we all wanted to relax and enjoy ourselves, so naturally we found ways of keeping ourselves amused. Following our meeting with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, we went to the top floor of the Park Hyatt in Shinjuku, to the bar called the New York bar, featured in the film Lost in Translation. The view from the top made up for the outrageous drink prices. After our presentations to the Keio University students and members of their faculty, we went out for drinks and karaoke. I don't have pictures of that night, but as soon as I get some, I will post them.

We now have lots of work to do as we try to process all the information that we've gleaned from our week in Tokyo. I have put up some images of the model I built for our group that highlights the complex transportation infrastructure at Shibuya station. Four rail/subway companies serving on average 2 million passengers a day, either pass through our terminate in Shibuya station, for a total of 8 different lines. Shinjuku, while being the busiest trains station in Japan, and in the world for that matter with 3.2 million people a day "only" has 7 lines. Plus there are the numerous taxi and bus terminals to deal with and how people get across the busy streets.

The song of the day is: Jetstream, by New Order in honor of the jet stream that helped me get back to Chicago two hours faster than on the way to Tokyo (not that it matters, we still sat on the tarmac for two hours before we could go to Boston, because Logan Intl. was slowed down due to high winds. . .)

October 6, 2005

I have lots to say about the concert as well as the first "review" of the semester, but I'm busy with preparations for leaving, so I can't sit and type any longer. When I get back, I promise I will write in depth reviews of not only my trip to Japan, but also U2 and studio so far.

October 4, 2005

Hours until U2 concert: 18 hours
Days until I go to Tokyo: 3 days

In less than 24 hours, I'll be at the U2 concert. I'm surprised that I'm still able to concentrate on other things; perhaps it's been too recent since I last saw them, and thus don't have the usual anxiety that comes with an impending U2 concert. Or perhaps school work has been too enjoyable that I haven't had a chance to think about other things. They will allow people to start lining up at 8 in the morning, so Mike and I will head down there to get in line in hopes of getting a good spot. Even if we don't get into the circular center area, I want to get a good spot near the front.

The Tokyo trip is fast approaching and preparation for that will begin soon. I will be going to Kyoto first, to visit my relatives before taking the Shinkansen up to Tokyo. I hope I'll have time to do other things besides just looking at our project sites. I'm sure we will; I'll make sure that we do.

Anyway, that's all I have to say right now; I'm busy working on some more diagrams because I don't know how much time I'll have to work tomorrow seeing as I might be in line all day. . .

October 1, 2005

Days until next U2 concert: 3 days
Days until I go to Tokyo: 7

If I started to listen to every single U2 song I have stored onto my computer, I could listen for 8.7 days and not repeat a single song. With less than 3 days until the next U2 concert, I won't have enough time to listen to them all. I would have enough time to listen to all the Vertigo Tour recordings that I own, as well as the Elevation Tour recordings and Zoo T.V. recordings, but nothing earlier than that. I'd better start listening if I want to get through them all before this coming Tuesday.

The scalar shift in thinking has befuddled me so far this semester. The urban designers tend to look at large swaths of land and I'm so used to looking at only the immediate context if any of the site at all. In the Tokyo studio, the site is not just a parcel of land, but rather a large chunk of the city. I'm struggling with seeing beyond just the architectural scale of a site, so I find myself stuck looking at just the Shibuya station itself, it's circulation paths, and the adjacencies to only the station. I'm hoping that the rest of my group will be able to present information that extends beyond just the station area.

Which brings me to another point: What's up with all this group work? I'm not used to working in teams like this except for in structures class and those other required classes, but never in studio. Does working in a group lighten and worsen the work load? In some respects, you want to make the work load even among everyone, but everyone works at a different pace and output level. Some like to show lots of stuff and others prefer to skim down and really put an emphasis on key ideas. Because our group is made up of mostly architecture students (we have one urban designer in our group, but she's off in Ecuador) we tend to be very individualistic and I worry that our resulting efforts will be very convoluted. Perhaps that's a reflection of the site that we are working on (the area around Shibuya is very confusing and erratic), but still, the transition from always working on your own to working in a small group is a little strange to me.

However, I anticipated some initial discomfort; I wanted to take an urban design studio in order to try something new and to explore another part of design. I wanted to feel a little uncomfortable and while it's been different and weird, I think in the end it will make me a better overall designer.

September 27, 2005

Days until next U2 concert: 6.9 days
Days until I go to Tokyo: 11 days

What is it that makes fried food so delicious? Is it the crispiness of the outer skin in contrast with the soft and juicy middle? Is it the guilty pleasure of knowing that what you are eating is so bad for you that you do it anyway? Either way, I love fried food.

Today's New York Times (I've been subscribing to the Sunday Times over the summer and they decided to offer me the daily news for free for a trial period and I'm not one to turn down a free newspaper, unless it's all those free Boston Globes that people hand out near South Station. . . but I digress) had an article questioning whether our diets can really increase or decrease the chances of getting cancer. It has a nice picture of healthy foods, broccoli and fish, sandwiched between a double scoop of ice cream and a fried drum stick, which is really why I read the article, because I for one want to have scientific proof that all the fried foods that I eat are in fact not really hurting me and that not eating vegetables won't decrease my chances of getting cancer. Does that make sense? Poor sentence structure I know, but let's move on to more important matters, such as the fact that as a house warming party Joanne had us all over for another fried chicken party.

This time around we tried both recipes that we've experimented with to see once and for all which one tastes better. However, our experiment was not controlled very well as we used two types of oil: buttery Crisco and vegetable oil. The buttery Crisco, while enjoyed by the A.A., Johnny and I, left a disgusting look on everyone's face, so the use of that pan was quickly discontinued. We used two types of batter, a dry flour based batter and a sticky beer battered formula that was originally used for frying onion rings, but converted for use in frying chicken. My personal favorite is the beer battered version, but I have to say that the flour based recipe has a very nice crispy texture to it, as well as a slight Tabasco sauce kick that is used in marinated the chicken before being floured.

So what is it that makes fried food so delicious? I'm not sure that it's so much the frying that makes it good or if it's because you just love things that are so bad for you. I personally enjoy eating with others, so the fact that because fried food is so good it will attract everyone, I think what makes fried food so delicious is because you get to enjoy it in the company of your best friends.

September 23, 2005

Days until next U2 concert: 11 days
Days until I go to Tokyo: 15 days
Days until next vacation: too long!!!!

tetslog returns to the GSD:

Well, the first week of school is nearly over; people have finished "shopping" for classes. My schedule consists of two urban design courses, my Tokyo urban design studio and a transportation planning and development course. I also have one last Building and Technology course that I have to take and I'm also taking a course on monumentality and modernism in Japanese architecture. The beauty of no longer having to follow the core requirements is that I can now structure my semester the way I want. This semester I have a strong focus on urban design and Japan. Next semester, I'll look to focus on something else, I don't know what yet, but I'm sure that when that time comes, I'll have thought of something, and it will probably have something more architecture related.

We're also supposed to start thinking about thesis projects, which for me won't actually start until next fall, but the GSD tends to think that it's important to get us started on what we want to do now, rather than later. One of the reasons I didn't try for a graduate degree from the University of Idaho was because I wasn't ready to commit to a thesis. I felt unprepared in terms of a designer to venture out into the real working world. I still feel this way, but less so; I'm definitely a little bit smarter, wiser and better at defining problems and explaining my design solutions (clarity is key). However, I still don't know what I want to do a thesis on; I certainly don't want to half-ass a thesis and I feel that it's important to choose a topic of discussion that I feel very committed to and passionate about. So, those are the sorts of things on my mind and on the mind of many of the other MArch1 third year students here at the GSD

I'm almost completely moved into my new pod. It's a little strange because for the first time in two years, I have a desk on the outside, on the trays, under the natural light. Scary. How will I cope without the artificial fluorescent lights that I'm so accustomed to on the underside of the trays? Will my food be more vulnerable? Will the Red Sox be able to win the AL East? Will my roomate ever finish putting together his stupid CD/DVD cabinet from Ikea?


Summer 2005

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Spring 2004 Archive

Fall 2004 Archive

Contact: tetsuo3742@gmail.com


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