Fashions in the Sky Fantasy Show Sat. Nov. 21 @ The Empire Rooftop Bar

Event: Fashions in the Sky Fantasy Show Sat. Nov. 21 @ The Empire Rooftop Bar, sponsored by Eric Vega & Fantasia Veneziana.

73150010

Beauty and glitter

Getting hot in here

Getting hot in here

Spirikal’s bottom line: This is by far the most erotic, carnivalesque fashion show I’ve ever seen. Although I can’t imagine anyone parading around the city in one of these outfits, the colorful, shimmering costumes and exotic beauty on display at the Empire Rooftop made for a fantastic evening.

Spirikal and Dira Ve

Spirikal and Dira Ve

15-11-22-20-41-42-431_deco

 

Review: My friend Dira Ve sent me an invite to the fashion show at the Rooftop Bar at the Empire Hotel by Lincoln Center. With one glance of the beautiful women scantily dressed on the flyer, I was game. Knowing that it’s always best to turn up with company, I decided to enlist my friend Brent as my wingman, who happily agreed on this sortie.

Red devils

Red devils

If you haven’t heard of the Empire Hotel, you should know that loads of social groups, companies and associations frequently host events here. It’s a great venue with two bars, a balcony (with smoking area), and surprising amount of space. The rule of thumb is that some thing is always going on here. And funnily enough, I was just here recently during the week of Halloween for the Eurocircle Masquerade Party; however, it was a galpal of mine who had first brought me to an iclubnyc event at the Empire.

15-11-22-09-10-42-768_deco

The fantasy fashion show was open to the public and everyone (well almost) got a buy-one-get-one-free drink ticket, which came in handy for a second glass of dry Proseco. But the dude at the door forgot to give a ticket to my wingman. Well at least he apologized.

15-11-22-20-36-09-767_deco

From chatting with the organizers, photographers and guests, I also learned that they advertised this event on several social media outlets including: meetup.com and Facebook. Surprisingly, although there was a decent turnout, I expected more people to show up.

Also, to my surprise they held the show in the indoor terrace, which may sound like an oxymoron, but they lighting was atrocious. The darkness seemed to suck any light away. That was a shame because many of my shots came out dark, despite bringing a better quality camera. They eventually brought out another lamp, but somehow it wasn’t positioned correctly.

73150022

73150018

The women modeling the fantasy costumes, on the other hand, did not disappoint. With Brent on one end and I with the other photographers in front, I thought this would make for some good snapshots. I eventually moved to the rear by my friend to get some better pictures. As the models approached, the flashes of light from the cameras bounced off their wings and accentuated the dazzling sparkles on their outfits. It was breathe-taking to watch them parade towards you draped in brilliant, vibrant colors.

73150003

Like many of the event-goers, the models and photographers alike all hold day jobs. It’s easy to think they all work exclusively in the industry; however, many of them are teachers, computer programmers or nine-to-fivers. These events to them are a second lifestyle. Some looking to break in to the industry and others do this as hobby to escape from the doldrums of work.

Busty and beautiful

Busty and beautiful

73150014Following the show, we mingled and posed for some pics with the models and organizers. The ladies networked with the photographers, while I handed out all my cards. Hopefully, I get an invite to another show soon. After the models went back to change, I walked over to main area of the lounge, where people were dancing and mingling. For us, a change of scenery was on our radar as we grabbed our coats and took off in the night in search of a nightcap.

 

73150016

Where do you think you’re going, young lady?

 

IMAG4875

 

Review: Harney & Sons Fifth Anniversary Store Party Mon. Nov. 16, 2015

Event: Harney & Sons Fifth Year Store Party & Tasting with 20% off all loose teas and candles, but who’s going to really care about the latter!

What to choose?

Spoiled for choice

Spirikal’s bottom line. If tea is your thing, then this would have been right up your alley. With 20% all loose tea, free scones and tea & bourbon flavored cocktail, there was little not to like; however, the event was crowded and it took a while to sample the teas. Certain members of staff seemed a bit overwhelmed by the amount of people and became almost terse with customers.

Sampling teas

Sampling teas

Review:  Although I’ve known Harney & Sons for a long while, having visited the shop in SoHo for tea & scones with clotted cream and from the annual Coffee & Tea festival in New York, this was the first store event that I found about. What I didn’t know is that H&S often holds in-store events and promotions, including tea demonstrations and classes, according to some of the guests I bumped into. Suddenly, I felt strangely left out. After all, I got their invite for this gig by E-mail so what happened with the others?

You starin' at my cocktails?

You starin’ at my cocktails?

A Soho blend

A Soho blend

The venue seems fitting for events open to the public, but this one became incredibly crowded with tea goers queuing up to sample their two-flights at a time. I know you can’t rush a good cupper, but I waited almost 20 min to taste my two samples. Plus, there was an absence of crowd control so guests weren’t sure where the line began and ended. Ah well, at least I got my tea in the end.

The Tea Map

The Tea Map

15-11-16-19-13-55-718_deco

Many of the customers chose the more exotic,  herby varieties of tea, but there were many high quality classic ones to enjoy, including my favorites: Darjeeling and dark CTC Assam. Others tried the smokier Lapsang Shouchong from Taiwan and China or the slightly bitter but delicious Gemaicha from Japan. There were some barky teas, and one that smelled of potpourri but tasted of bland hot water.

Meet me at the tea bar

Meet me at the tea bar

In the shops’s rear,the customers sampled H&S’ famous vanilla scones and some others with cheddar cheese, but we all know that a proper scone needs a dollop of clotted cream and jam, or at the very least some softened butter. Unsuprisingly, with nothing to spread, they were a bit on the dry side.

The cocktail was an interesting mix of Early Grey and bourbon. Although I’m not a huge fan of bourbon, the cocktail was refreshing without being over-perfumy with the alcohol. I enjoyed it nevertheless, even if the bourbon and tea competed a bit.

Throughout the event, I chatted with many people including someone I had met once before at a reception at the French Consulate. I was suprised by how many people turned up, and I think from H&S’ point of view, this was a great success. It just goes to show the knuckleheads who organized the Coffee (but no tea) Expo at the Armory that New Yorkers like their tea as well.

IMAG4801

Tea paraphernallia

The manager and most of the staff were really nice, but a couple of them seemed almost hostile when I introduced myself and asked if I could take a couple shots for my blog. Honestly, that was a first for me. In fact, the guy serving cocktails flatly said, “I really don’t care”, when I asked to take some pictures of the drinks. Thinking I got off the wrong foot with him, I tried to be as charming as possible, but it took a while before he came around. I’m not sure what I said to get that reaction, but I’ll have to work on introducing myself.

On my way out, I bought some Assam and Gemaicha with a twenty percent discount. I wasn’t complaining.

 

 

Review: Dorothée Selz Food Art Closing Reception at the French Cheese Board Thurs. Nov. 12, 2015

Event: Dorothée Selz food art closing reception at the French Cheese Board

15-11-15-13-24-05-189_deco

With Artist Dorothée Selz & Julien Garrec of the French Cheese Board and the gang

Spirkal’s bottom line: A really inspiring exhibition with a wild foodie twist from an amazing artist, Dorothée Selz, who is probably one of the most charming people I met in a long time. I’d never enjoyed eating the artwork (yes, I said “Eating”!) so much. In fact, it was my first time! The buzz was fantastic.  If you have never been to the French Cheese Board, you really must go, but after their next and final pop-up cheese sale in December, next month. The FCB will relocate to SoHo with an entirely new concept. I promise that I’ll follow up with you once I’ve got more info.

IMAG4722

Review: After a shit day at work, I jumped on the subway and headed to the French Cheese Board just south of Bryant Park. My mate Julien Garrec, who works for the FCB had kindly sent me an invite and also introduced me to Dorothée. Along the walls were photos of previous expos and installations dating back to the 1970s. One of the coolest things I saw wassome photos of a bizarre canabal feast installation pop restaurant in Düsseldorf, where she collaborated with another artist. The ground floor this installation was a canabal mannequin who literally made a meal of himself. The second floor was an avant-garde pop up restaurant open to the public. I kept thinking about how cool it would have been in post-war Germany with so much creativity buzzing around everywhere.

Spirikal with Julien and Dorothée

Julien, Dorothée and Spirikal

Dorothée has displayed her food art in many different countries and at prestigious museums, including one of the favorites, the Tate Museum in London. The FCB also displayed some of her beautiful almost Asian-like interrior designs with twisted arche and draping colors, which reminded me of a Jain temple I had once seen before in India.

15-11-15-13-46-45-977_deco

Two incredibly charming individuals eating the cheese and fruit skewers from a sugar coated papier-mâché sculpture.

IMAG4743

Glass in hand and ready to mingle

The buzz was really nice with so many people sampling the delights on offer, it was easy to struke up a conversation with just about anyone. From the getgo, I met three charming, lovely ladies picking sticks of cheese, grapes and strawberries from the sugar-coated sculptures.

Cheese display of art or vice versa?

Cheese display of art or vice versa?

IMAG4716

Soft, creamy goat cheeses

There were numerous French expats, at the event, who were either working for internships or chasing their dreams in New York City. There were even some PR from,  D’Artagnan, the French gourmet purveyor of foie gras, delicious terrines more, who I recently ran into at the Best of France festival in Times Square.

IMAG4718

Riched, salted butter and comté

IMAG4713

Disturbingly beautiful and utterly delicious

The back table spread was French classic to the core, with soft creamy brie-like cheeses, semi-aged Mimolette – the Rolls Royces of sharp cheeses, Bleu d’Auvergne and semi-aged Comté, accompanied by slices of Dorothées multicolored olive or walnut breads.

IMAG4715

Mimolette, je t’aime!

 

Normally, I wouldn’t touch anything so blatantly artificially dyed, but these were so delicious. To be honest, the vivid-looking bread just added to the whole experience.

With china white cylanders of soft, tangy goat cheese and fresh grapes and bite-sized cut hard cheeses. The contrasts of soft, sharp, acidic, sweet and savory kept us hooked at the table. After jumping two or three pant sizes, I had to break away from the table or I would have died of gluttony.

My only wish is that they were selling some of the cheese that evening. I was hoping to buy some mimolette for friends I was going to visit up in Connecticut the next day. Ah well, another time perhaps.

Not for sale ;_;

Not for sale ;_;

I think I understood Dorothée Selz and this exhibit of edible art because food should be fun and eaten for its own enjoyment. The laughter and coziness of the reception made us all feel a bit tingly inside. As one of my favorite food writers Brillat Savarin wrote in The Physiology of Taste, is that as pleasures in life come and go, the pleasure of the table will never leave us. While heading back on the train ride home, I closed my eyes and smiled. This feeling will never leave me. Merci FCB, Julien and Dorothée.

IMAG4758

15-11-15-13-33-13-130_deco

 

IMAG4756

What next for the French Cheese Board

 

 

Review: Fashion & Humanitarian Benefits Awards show in Harlem Nov. 7 2015

Event: International Humanitarian Benefit Awards & Fashion Show @ the Harlem Commonwealth Council presented by Daryl Miles.15-11-16-17-03-02-188_deco

15-11-11-21-53-08-138_deco

Spirikal’s bottom line. It’s hard to connect the words heart-warming and innovative to a fashion show, but the people who put on this show are amazing individuals who have gone through so much and dedicated their lives. The creations the designers displayed were imaginative and actually very well done.

Hanging out with the Harlem gang

Spirikal and Brenda with the Harlem gang

Review:  My friend and model Dira Vetold me about this charity / fashion show event so I decided to check it out for Wherenyc. The location was at community center near 125th Street. When I arrived, I was greeted by the organizer Daryl who showed around.

Yadira in a new ensemble

Dira in a new ensemble

Busty and beautiful

Busty and beautiful

The lobby had an open bar, and there were models everywhere getting ready for the show. I ran into some familar faces including: Model Brenda Monks and Sofia Davis from Fashion Avenue News. I had a feeling she would be there since her mag has organized several similar fashion shows including DMochelle and the annual Fashion on the Hudson.

Looking spectacular

Looking spectacular

Everyone was incredibly nice and had so many interesting stories to tell, including one woman, ME Singletary, who has worked on several charitable causes with the United Nations such as supplying books to Malawi, which had endured a ten-year civil war. Her organization is also active on the domestic front providing youngtsers in New York with creative outlets and keeping them away from gangs and crime. Daryl did a great job getting so many people together for this event, considering he told me that this is the first show he’s put on since 15 years!

15-11-11-21-48-02-433_deco

Elegant style

Other side entertainment including a singer from Ghana who performed is American Ashanti and Dario Mohr, an artist auctioning off his impressive works of art.

Artist Dario Mohr

Artist Dario Mohr

15-11-10-00-18-35-667_deco

Looking suave

My only gripes were that the show started incredibly late. They could have done the speeches earlier as planned because it pushed everything back. Also, they lighting was horrid, which was an absolute nightmare to take pictures.  I should have brought a better camera!  The music could also have been better arranged. At one point, the music even briefly stopped during the fashion show, treating us to an awkward moment of silence. Finally, perhaps I’m nitpicking but the spelled hors d’œuvres wrong on the invite. As a French teacher, I would have given my students hell for that. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the whole evening meeting the guests and schmoozing with the designers and models.

 

IMG_3940

Psychadelic motif and cool attitude

15-11-11-21-38-44-853_deco

Classy and sheer elegance

The fashions weren’t always to everyone’s taste, but many were creative and well put together. In comparison to Uomo and Privé‘s fashion shows, I think this one was one of my favorites. I’m really looking forward to seeing another show by Daryl.

15-11-11-21-29-10-400_deco

Brenda struts her stuff

After the ending dessert reception, I hailed a cab and headed for a drink date by Lincoln Center.

Review: Edible Escape @ Dumbo Nov. 5, 2015

Event: Edible Escape 2015 foodie expo Thurs. Nov. 5, 2015

15-11-06-20-37-44-984_deco

Edible Escape 2015

Spirikal’s bottom line: Edible Escape foodie event never disappoint its guests with good food and spirits, all done with passion, knowledge and heart. In spite of the rain, turnout was huge, and the space this year in Brooklyn offered New Yorkers a change of scenery in trendy Dumbo. With so much to sample and people to meet, what was there not to like?

IMAG4225

Pulled beef sliders were a revelation.

Review: I almost arrived late because of work, but I managed to get there just before 7pm after nearly getting lost. The bouncers at the Brooklyn location this year scruplously checked IDs and controlled the crowd lining up to get in. Unfortuately, my date canceled last minute, but I donated my extra ticket to some lucky geezer.

15-11-06-20-26-25-011_deco

Wine, gnocchi and a big smile

This years event featured a lot more variety. My first stop was the wine. I had had a shit day and needed the odd glass or two of red vino. The expo’s wine merchants had a lot Chardonnay, which I don’t particulary fancy, but the dry, red wine from Wölffer Estate on offer was a welcome treat. After refueling, it was time for some food.

IMAG4221

I stopped to get a pulled beef slider with homemade pickles.  Gosh that was good. While so many places serve dry, salty pulled pork or beef sandwiches, these were a revelation. Moisty, well-seasoned and incredible tender, they just melted in my mouth.

Pan-roasted gnocchi, wild mushrooms and kale beurre blanc

Hotel Vermont served what I think was the dish of the day: panfried gnocchi with sautéed wild mushrooms and a kale beurre blanc, which brought a welcomed acidity to the creamy gnocchi.  They also had a maple and sage flavored cocktail really clever because it wasn’t sweet. I, for one, hate really sweet drinks, but here, you just got that hint of sage and slight lingering maple flavor. With a nice clean finish, the cocktail was a perfect palette cleanser. Yummy.

Glowing cocktails with maple and sage.

Glowing cocktails with maple and sage.

Vin du Maroc?

Vin du Maroc?

I next visited Moroccan wine merchants Ouled Thaleb, who offered visitors red Sauvignon, Chardonnay or a rosé. Ichose the red, which was beautifully made and almost tasted like a deep Syrah. If I were making a classic French dish like œufs en meurette, I think this dry wine, with its full body and spicy endnotes, would do nicely.  After chatting with the wine purveyors, I went to try some soul food at the Brooklyn Commune stand.

There were other stalls with Venezualan arepas – which is an open faced pita with avocado purée and some with chicken. Really good.

15-11-06-20-34-14-466_deco

15-11-06-20-42-58-935_deco

Bittersweet NYC

There were two Indian stalls, Mukti’s Kitchen showcasing spices and the other traditional Indian sweets from Bittersweet NYC. I’m a big fan of besan ladhoos, but although these looked pretty, the texture was wrong. Normally, a besan ladhoo should have a sandy-like texture, almost like a sablée biscuit, which disolves in your mouth; however, these were strangely chewy and had some very hard silver-pearl decorative candy on top. Well, so much for not cracking my fillings. I decided to check out the other stuff.

Besides wine and beer and the maple-sage cocktails, I sampled an interesting buckwheat-like whisky from Sullivan County in the Catskills  – which techniquely can’t be called whisky because of its ingredients. I have to say that it’s not to everyone’s liking. It had a sort pancake taste and a deeply warming sensation. It’s the kind of distilled liquor that makes you think. I had to confess it grew on me the more I sipped it.

15-11-06-20-29-57-125_deco

Sullivan County Distillery

In the need of another palette cleanser, I checked Segura Viudas the next-door Cava distributor, who had rosé and brut sparkling wine, I tried the rosé, but for me, it was far too sweet.

15-11-06-20-32-17-047_deco

Cava

I hunted some more food after four drinks, and I came across Red Star serving an experimental Southeast Asian duck crostini with a Sirracha-esque sauce. The crostini was delicious, but the grilled duck was too dry. I thought the sauced would have added some needed moisture, but it almosted overpowered everything. It was a good idea, but its execution let it down a bit.

IMAG4271

Spicy, duck crostinis

I ended my eating adventure with chocolate truffles from the Le Soleil d’Or, Cayman Islands. Although I didn’t win the two-ticket trip give-away, I had only happy memories of the sights, tastes and aromas that lingered with me on my way home.

Decadent chocolate truffles

Decadent chocolate truffles

 

 

Review: Okinawan Food Talk and Tasting @ Japan Society: Tues. Nov 3, 2015

Event: Explore Okinawan Art, Cusine & Culture from the RyuKyu Islands, The event was part of series on Okinawa at The Japan Society, For info on this series, click hereIMAG4196

Spirikal’s bottom line: A really delightful and informative evening with guest speakers from Okinawa, who talked about karate, traditional textiles aka Bingata and the health properties of Okinawan cuisine. A reception followed with beautifully prepared Okinawan-style bento boxes, imported beer and a delicious, refreshing cocktail with Awamori, an Okinawan distilled liquor. Guests each got a bag of goodies to take home, courtesy of the Okinawa Prefectural Government.

IMAG4209

         Our bento box of Okinawan delights!

Review: I’m really grateful that the Japan Society continues to host so many interesting after hours foodie-oriented events, which always teach me a lot about Japanese culture and gastronomy. For this evening, I brought along my dear aunt as pay back for taking me to a Hungarian concert at the Alice Tully hall last week.

When I arrived, I was feeling really hungry, and thank god the guest speakers and Q&A didn’t go to long. I still remember when David Bouley nearly ruined his own event on Kaiseki cuisine by talking over two hours about frickin’ kuzu!  The reception afterward was reduced to 30 minutes because of his kuzu rant. Yeah, I was pretty pissed off.  Anyway, back to the review.

with Dr. Shou

with Dr. Shou in the middle, can you believe  she’s 83???

It was interesting to hear about the karate and bingata traditions of Japan’s Okinawan prefecture, most of us were famished and dying to eat the food and wash it down with a cocktail or two. Interestingly, although Okinawa is one of Japanese poorest prefectures, it’s cuisine, lifestyle and climate all contribute to its amazing longevity. To this day, even with the presence of Western fastfood, Okinawa still has the largest population of centanarians in the world.

Awamori and sochu

Awamori and sochu

Okinawan cuisine draws influence from Japan, Taiwan, China and Southeast Asia. One of main staples of the Okinawan regimen is pork and green and yellow veggies. Along with seaweed, or as the panel preferred to called ‘sea vegetables’, Okinawans have a wonderful variety of nutritious food. Dr. Hiroko Shou, the expert of nutrition explained that pork can be healthy, if it’s cooked properly by boiling it with lots of water. I’ve made this dish before at home, using my favorite cut, pork belly, which fatty and delicious, especially when it’s braised in a sweet tare sauce.

Each guest got a beautifully prepared bento box and unlimited quantities of Okinawan drinks. God I love Japanese hospitality! Check out this menu.

Bingata roll: A colorful, square salmon maki with cucumber and turmeric-tinted rice, representing the vibrant patterns of bingata textiles
Rafute: Braised pork belly simmered in soy sauce, awamori liquor, and Okinawan brown sugar
Jimami tofu: A sweet and savory tofu dish seasoned with peanut butter and sweet potato starch
Goya chanpuru: Okinawa’s signature stir-fry, made with egg, tofu, and the exotic green goya, or “bitter melon”
Mozuku: A healthy seaweed treat that has a mild flavor and is loaded with nutrients

Hey, hurry up with my drink!

Hey, hurry up with my drink!

Okinawan beer: A light, crisp beer brewed in Okinawa, which is perfect for the islands’ tropical climate
Sanpin tea: A floral green tea similar to jasmine, Sanpin is the most popular variety of tea in Okinawa
Shikwasa juice: Made from the shikwasa citrus fruit, this juice has a pleasant balance of sweet and tart notes
Awamori Cocktail: Cocktail made from Okinawa’s distinctive awamori liquor, which has a smooth, deep flavor

Awamori cocktails

Awamori cocktails

The Japanese also eat goya, which my people call ‘kerela’ a sort bitter melon that is packed with vitamin C. Whereas, Indians shave off the bitter green nubs on the outside and fry the kerela beyond recognitions, the Okinawans keep it intact, hence preserving its nutrients. The sweet sauce, fluffy egg.and bitterness of the  the Goya chanpuru makes a very interesting contrast on the palette.

My favorite was the cocktail with Awamori and orange juice. It was surprisingly refreshing and not too sweet, which meant no headache for me. We chatted with Dr. Shou and some of the other guests, before my aunt and I stumbled over to Soba Totto for a sake nightcap.

Yeah, I had sweet piggy dreams that night.

Piggy!

 

Review: Rinsed Halloween Don’t Sleep Warehouse Party in Williamsburg Sat. Oct.31, 2015

Event: Rinsed Halloween ‘Don’t Sleep’ Party

15-11-01-13-56-18-825_deco

Spirikal’s bottom line: After a near two-month hiatus, Rinsed hosted another great dance party, with killer house DJs spinning all night.  Definitely, worth the ticket price. Despite the crowds, there was no real mayhem. Just lots of dancing and happy people.

15-11-01-14-03-03-155_deco

Review: It was my all-things-house-music buddy, Ian, who had introduced me to Rinsed last year. Since then Rinsed has hosted over a half dozen dance parties in ‘secret-until-the-day-of-spots’ and at Le Bain, which I vow never to return after a nasty encounter with a stupid bouncer, who I call The Crow. Anyway I digress.

15-11-01-14-21-44-146_deco

Ian, Tenzin and I arrived to enjoy the open bar vodka specials, only realize that there were three warehouse parties on that street alone with people lining up at the doors. When we realized we were in the wrong queue, we quickly clambered to the next one just down the street. Why don’t they make a passport stamp – charge you let’s say $40 and give you pass to all three parties? That might be a good idea.

15-11-01-13-44-01-843_deco

Inside, there were two main dance areas, two bars and a garden space of poorly constructed statues that seemed to topple over at the slightest breath of air. I personally liked one of the smaller of the two dance spaces. The freakish Joker-looking DJ was blasting out some serious beats, occasionally turning it down when the cops showed up.  Although I don’t smoke weed, the place reeked of it, which the NYPD probably thought they hit a goldmine. The party carried on as the cops cruised to another party.

The larger dance space was also cool, but it was really way too crowded and people began to push their way through. My Hamletesque costume, which I bought at Party City in the Village, was surprisingly durable, in spite of the scuffs and snags.

15-11-01-14-09-57-748_deco

 

15-11-01-14-15-48-276_deco

The crowd was huge. It seems that Rinsed has reached iconic status for an underground dance scene. The costumes varied from the most creative I have ever seen to the you’re-not-really-wearing-a-costume-are-you designs. The audience varied from young 20-somethings to not-so-young-but-still-need-to-party grownups. At times, it got really hot because of the swelling party size. Around 3am, we decided it was time to head out. We had danced for hours, with the beats of night still going boom-boom-boom in our heads on the journey home.

15-11-01-14-36-44-607_deco

Review: Commemoration of the Sino-Japanese War @ the Taipei Cultural Center

Cover Photo: The Taiwanese ambassador with WWII veterans ©WhereNYC

Bottom line: It was a very interesting reception with a generous supply of wine and food. I found the upstairs photo exhibit very moving, but I had a problem with the original “Anti-Japanese War” title on the invite.

A rare photo of Mott Street in Chinatown NYC circa 1938 on display at the Taiwan Cultural Center.

A rare photo of Mott Street in Chinatown NYC circa 1938 on display at the Taiwan Cultural Center.

With the Taiwanese ambassador

With the Taiwanese ambassador ©WhereNYC

Review: After a long work week, I was in the need of something cultural. I headed to the de-facto Taiwanese (ROC) consulate or better known as TPECC to check out their exhibit, film screening and reception to commemorate the end of the Sino-Japanese war. On the whole, it was a very evening, with some very moving speeches, hommage to Second World War veterans, some of whom were present, and meeting some of the local city councilmen and state senators who joined the ceremony. I got to chat with the ROC ambassador and toured the photo exhibit.

Veterans and military servicemen paid tribute

Veterans and military servicemen paid tribute ©WhereNYC

I had only one issue, and it was kind of a big one. The original title “The 70th anniversary of the victory of the Anti-Japanese War and Taiwan Retrocession”, which seemed extreme to me. Indeed,   I know about the war atrocities of the Imperial government and army inflicted on its victims from neighboring countries and POWs, but Japan today is a far different nation, and although it has ‘informal diplomatic ties’ with Taiwan, many Japanese are highly sympathetic to the Taiwanese people in the face of the Beijing who has over 2,000 missiles pointed at it. Personally, I was a little annoyed by this as I have family in Japan, but at least the staff had more tact than some of the other organizers.

Good turnout. The place was packed

Good turnout. The place was packed

When I asked who decided on this title, they apologized saying it was error, but one staffer did say the Chinese-American community who helped organize the event, chose the “Anti-Japanese” name. TPEC subsequently changed the name so not to sound offensive. Ironically, the caterer Norikoh Sushi served the guests Japanese fare: teka maki, yakisoba, gyoza and edamame along with one or two Taiwanese dishes. Interesting.

Guests enjoyed a mix of Japanese and Taiwanese cuisine

Guests enjoyed a mix of Japanese and Taiwanese cuisine

Norikoh Sushi

Norikoh Sushi

Delicous 'Taiwanese-style' pork buns. Yummy

Delicious ‘Taiwanese-style’ pork buns. Yummy

Japanese gyoza

Japanese gyoza

In future TPECC should also invite some Japanese guests from either the Japanese Consulate or from the Japan Society or the Japan Foundation. I think it’d be more fitting to carry a tone of reconciliation and mutual understanding. After all, it is the 21st century, and both Taiwan and Japan are democracies.

Having heard the lectures, mingled with the guests and filled on food and booze, it was time to go. Until next time of course.