Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from January, 2011

New Year, Old Customs 新年、舊俗

To the 1.3 billion ethnic Chinese living around the globe – roughly a fifth of the world’s population – the Lunar New Year is the mother of all celebrations. Cantonese people take things up a few notches and, over the centuries, have developed a suite of regimented festivities that render the Twelve Days of Christmas dull by comparison.

In Hong Kong, the sanctuary where Cantonese customs are preserved and refined, our new year tradition is a combination of Christmas (the customs of exchanging gifts and putting up a decorated tree in the living room), Thanksgiving (the all-important family dinner no matter how busy or far away we are), Halloween (the get-out-of-jail-free-card for children to gorge on unlimited candy) and, of course, the Gregorian calendar New Year (the sense of renewal that compels us to draw up a list of resolutions)... _______________________ Read the rest of this essay in No City for Slow Men, available at major bookstores in Hong Kong and at Blacksmith Books.

Hotel Review: Suiboku Ski Lofts 酒店點評: 水墨

The rumbling Greyhound bus slowed as it glided down Hirafu-zaka Street drowned in the streetlights’ amber. 
The wiry bus driver announced my stop in sotto voce before the hydraulic door opened in front of a six-story industrial block. With a suitcase in one hand and a ski bag in the other, I stood before a dark cast-iron entrance hidden between concrete beams and steel planks. 
Austere even for a villains’ hideout in a Bond film, the monochromatic edifice was a visual anomaly in bustling Niseko (二世古), Asia’s most popular ski resort. The hotel concierge in a charcoal-gray suit extended a placid welcome and handed me a key chain, thereon etched my room number: Loft 7.

Completed 15 months ago just in time for the 2010 ski season, Suiboku (水墨) set out to challenge conventional wisdom in ski resort lodging. The name, which literally means water and ink in kanji, refers to the dark and light shading of the traditional Chinese brush painting technique adopted by Muromachi Japan in the 14th …