Sometimes, it’s the simple stories that stay with us the longest. Like that of Itsuo Kobayashi, a former Japanese soba chef born in 1962 who has recorded his meals in painstakingly detailed, hand-drawn food diaries of sorts for the past 32 years. In addition to recollections about taste, Kobayashi’s pen has accounted for every last spring onion and grain of rice, for the sheer pleasure of tasting life twice…
 



Itsuo Kobayashi, Untitled (Pop-up Paintings) (2018-19), ink on paper, each piece 9 x 13 x 5 inches. ©Kushino Terrace

©Kushino Terrace

His representation is a gallery called “Kushino Terrace” in Fukuyama, Japan, and they kindly explained a bit more about his life…

It turns out, Kobayashi has been writing about his meals since he was a teen in his bedroom, and it wasn’t until his twenties that he started the first of his now thousand-something drawings. “[He] worked as a chef and at a supply center for school meals in Saitama, northwest Tokyo until he was 46 years old,” they explained, until “[he] began having difficulty walking due to alcoholic neuritis.” Due to the difficulties of his condition, he usually orders take-out or receives meals from his mother – but rather than hinder his imagination, Kobayashi decided to use his time indoors as a means to further stretch his imagination, and cultivate his creative style. “In the blank spaces,” says the gallery, “he adds positive descriptive words about his subjects.”



Itsuo Kobayashi’s artwork at the New York’s 2020 Outsider Art Fair


“In his bedroom at home, in addition to his drawing materials, his bed is surrounded by seashells and crab legs from the seafood he has eaten, as well as by disposable chopsticks, unused condiments that come with packaged meals, and other items.” What we wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall there.

 








Everything is Coming Up Barbie!

 

A Six-Decade Tour of Barbie’s Dreamhouses

From midcentury modern to a Gen-Z collab house, Barbie has kept up with design trends. Found on The New York Times. Here’s the book by Mattel.

via Messy Nessy Chic

A Dog Who Died 100 Years Ago Is Still Getting Stick Gifts On His Memorial



Green-Wood Cemetery in south Brooklyn is home to a number of notable people, ranging from artists and singers to Civil War generals and politicians. However, one tucked-away grave has received far more attention recently than it has in the past.

Rex, a bronze statue of a dog sitting on a stone platform etched with his name, stands among the thousands of angels and obelisks. For well over a century, Rex has stood vigil over his owner’s acreage near the intersection of Sycamore and Greenbough Avenues – and he’s still a very good boy.

Rex is thought to be the dog of John E. Stow, who died in 1884 after being one of the city’s longest-serving fruit merchants. People have been collecting sticks and fallen branches for years in order to leave them at the good boy’s waiting paws.


 

The Tale of Eternal Love: The Two Lovers of Teruel

 


Deep in the heart of Spain, in the picturesque town of Teruel, lies a tale of love and tragedy that has captivated generations.

The Church of San Pedro de Teruel holds within its walls a pair of magnificent tombs, the final resting place of Spain’s own legendary version of “Romeo and Juliet” – the Lovers of Teruel.

Though historical evidence may challenge the authenticity of their remains, the allure of their story continues to draw visitors from far and wide. Join us as we delve into the romantic saga of Diego Martinez Marcilla and Isabel Segura, whose love transcended time and left an indelible mark on Teruel’s cultural heritage.

The Forbidden Love Story

Set in the early 13th century, the tale unfolds in Teruel, where childhood sweethearts Diego Martinez Marcilla and Isabel Segura were separated by the disapproval of Isabel’s wealthy father.

He forbade their union, fearing that Diego’s family’s diminished wealth would tarnish his daughter’s future. In a desperate bid to be together, Diego and Isabel devised a plan: Isabel would persuade her father to grant them five years, during which Diego would seek his fortune elsewhere. Little did they know that this pact would lead to their tragic fate.

A Heartbreaking Reunion

Five years later, Diego returned to Teruel, filled with hope and longing for Isabel. However, unbeknownst to him, Isabel’s father had forced her to marry another man just one day before his arrival.

Devastated, Diego rushed to see Isabel, only to find her bound by the loyalty of her marital vows. In a heart-wrenching scene, he pleaded for a final kiss, but Isabel, torn between love and duty, refused.

Overwhelmed by grief, Diego collapsed at her feet and breathed his last breath. The weight of his sorrow proved unbearable for Isabel, who succumbed to her anguish at Diego’s funeral.

The Legend Lives On

The citizens of Teruel, moved by the tragic love story, insisted that Diego and Isabel be buried together, forever united in death. Centuries later, the discovery of two mummies in the 16th century further fueled the legend.

Although subsequent research has cast doubt on the authenticity of these remains as those of the ill-fated lovers, the ornate mausoleum that houses their alleged resting place continues to attract visitors seeking to immerse themselves in the romance and melancholy of their story.

Designed by Juan de √Āvalos, the tombs depict the eternal embrace of the two lovers, reaching out to each other across the boundaries of life and death.



 Christopher Walken, Robert De Niro, Chuck Aspegren, John Savage and John Cazale on the set of The Deer Hunter, 1978.

Amazing Wildlife Photo by Ateeb Hussain

It was a good day for wildlife photographer Ateeb Hussain, who was at the right place at the right time and captured the action.



This amazing image made the weekly selection for Africa Geographic's ongoing Photographer of the Year competition.

Nature is brutal, but this story has a happy ending. A tawny eagle swooped down and bagged a small jackal pup in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. The mother jackal immediately chased after the eagle, which decided the pup was too heavy, or else was too much of a hassle with the mother chasing along. The jackal rescued the puppy and was able to hide it in a new den. The pup seemed to be unharmed. Still, it was not a good day for any of the three animals in the picture

Meg 2: The Trench - Shanghai International Film Festival

Chinese action star Wu Jing and British action star Jason Statham made an appearance at the Shanghai International Film Festival and gave audiences a sneak peek of the upcoming China-U.S. co-produced sci-fi monster blockbuster "Meg 2: The Trench" at several press events.


Chinese action star Wu Jing and U.K. action star Jason Statham share insights into the making of "Meg 2: The Trench" at a press conference in Shanghai, June 6, 2023. [Photo courtesy of Dark Horse]

Statham explained that the "trench" in the film's title refers to the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the Earth's ocean. He elaborated on how the trench and its breached thermocline contribute to the ominous nature of the movie. As the movie characters go deeper into the ocean, the situation becomes creepier and more sinister. 

Statham also shared his experience of shooting the film underwater, saying, "I think the whole thing is just being able to remain calm while you're underwater and running out of air, which intuitively is not an easy thing to do."

Wu talked about the jaw-dropping helicopter action scenes in the movie. He explained that under normal circumstances, safety protocols must be followed when riding a helicopter. Therefore, during filming, he can let loose and play around more as strict safety measures are in place and insurance coverage is provided. He tried to perform some riskier stunts, but the producer prohibited him from doing so. Despite this, he still expressed his desire to try even more thrilling and exciting helicopter stunts.

Director Ben Wheatley said, "Wu Jing is relentless with his ideas and creativity on set. That's the hardest thing about working with him – trying to keep up with what he's telling me and what he wants to do, and then hopefully trying to get it on the screen."


Chinese action star Wu Jing and U.K. action star Jason Statham pose for a photo on the red carpet at the 25th Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF), which opened on June 9, 2023. [Photo courtesy of SIFF Organizing Committee]

Catherine Ying, the president of CMC Pictures, shared that "Meg 2" will upgrade with new marvel scenes, including an underwater walk and a wonder of the sea at a depth of 7,600 meters, which has never been seen before on screen. The movie also features a world of giant creatures –not only megalodon sharks but also prehistoric monsters such as a giant octopus, amphibians, and other ancient animals from the Cretaceous period.

Ying added that the ocean is as mysterious as outer space, with many unknowns. The original aspiration of this franchise is to explore the ocean and its mysteries, aiming to inspire the curiosity of young people to discover the ocean.

Director Frant Gwo made a surprise appearance at the press conference and revealed a hidden tribute to "Meg 2" in his sci-fi blockbuster "The Wandering Earth 2." He also noted that Wu, who is also the leading actor in "The Wandering Earth 2," had shared his experience of making "Meg 2" with him. Gwo expressed hope that the experience gained could be used to further improve the industrialization of Chinese films in the future.


The cast and crew of "Meg 2: The Trench" pose for a group photo at a press conference in Shanghai, June 6, 2023. [Photo courtesy of Dark Horse]

At the recent Weibo Movie Awards Ceremony and Douyin Movie Wonder Night, which were side events at the film festival, "Meg 2" won "Specially Recommended Film of the Year" and "Most-anticipated Film of the Year," respectively. Directed by Ben Wheatley and produced by China's CMC Pictures and the U.S. media and entertainment conglomerate Warner Bros. Discovery, the film has generated significant buzz among movie fans and promises to be a blockbuster hit when it debuts on Aug. 4.

James Gibbons, president and managing director for the Western Pacific region of Warner Bros. Discovery, praised "Meg 2" as the best demonstration of U.S.-China collaboration. "We are also very excited about working with Chinese talent, Chinese producers, and Chinese partners to take these stories to the world, and there's no greater example."

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