Thursday, 26 March 2015

Caroline vs. Apolis Market Bags

Emily's LA Apolis Market Bag

I admired this Los Angeles grocery bag from Cupcakes and Cashmere's Emily when she posted about it back in January, but didn't really think too much about it - I thought it was cute, but didn't see the point of buying an LA branded item when I have zero ties to the city.  Fast forward to last week, when I saw news that Vancouver favourite Old Faithful Shop opened up in Toronto, and is selling the Toronto version of these bad boys!  Turns out these bags are produced by Apolis as part of their Bangladesh Project, which helps empower women in Bangladesh through employment and education.

Toronto Market Bags at Old Faithful Shop, Toronto

I'd love to get my hands one of these Toronto Market Bags next time I'm in town.  There are a total of 131 partners selling versions of this bag world-wide; click through to see if one of them is in a location near and dear to you!



Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Caroline vs. Kafka on the Shore

The last few months I was living in Ottawa, I got really into reading on public transit.  I used to just zone out and play with my phone, but toting an actual book around made my commutes so much more fulfilling.  Now that I'm in Tokyo my commute times have increased dramatically, so I have way more time to read.

I recently purchased my first book by Haruki Murakami (the Foreign Books floor at chain bookstore Kinokuniya is the place of dreams), and blasted through the 514 pages.  There were a few different story lines that didn't all converge until almost the end of the book, which I'm told is a very Japanese style of writing.  I'd also heard Murakami is a fabulous writer, and this book made me believe it.  It was long and mysterious and at times fantastical, and I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone looking for a new style of storytelling (though be warned - there is some graphic imagery).

Here are some of my favourite passages...

And once the storm is over you won't remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive.  You won't even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over.  But one thing is certain.  When you come out of the storm you won't be the same person who walked in.  That's what this storm's all about. (p.5)
Anyway, my point is that it's really hard for people to live their lives alone. (p.49)
Whether you're smart or dumb, can read or can't, whether you've got a shadow or not, once the time comes, everybody passes on. (p.65)
And by the way, the term 'gender' was originally used to indicate grammatical gender.  My feeling is that the word 'sex' is more accurate in terms of indicating physical sexual difference.  Using 'gender' here is incorrect.  To put a linguistic fine point upon it. (p.235)
Nakata wasn't at all sure what he meant, but went ahead and took the bus as far as Shinjuku.  But when he got there he was overwhelmed.  The massive station was jammed with people, and he had trouble moving through the crowds. (p.243)
I search for the right words.  First of all I look for the boy named Crow, but he's nowhere to be found.  I'm left to choose them on my own, and that takes time. (p.325)
Anyone who falls in love is searching for the missing pieces of themselves.  So anyone who's in love gets sad when they think of their lover.  It's like stepping back inside a room you have fond memories of, one you haven't seen in a long time. (p.389)
I try not to think about it.  The more you think about illusions, the more they'll swell up and take on form.  And no longer be an illusion. (p.503-4)



Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Caroline vs. Einstein's Riddle

Albert Einstein by Arthur Sasse, 14 March 1951

Have you guys heard of Einstein's Riddle?  He wrote it in the 19th century, and believed 98% of people couldn't solve it.  It's pure logic though, so it's not impossible...

I took a crack at it this afternoon, and though I did need a little nudge from Google (if you're really stuck this site lays out the solution well), I eventually ended up with the correct answer.  I used stickies to lay out the hints so I could move them around, but a spreadsheet might have worked a little better.  Will you guys give it a try?  Let me know how you do!


There are 5 houses in 5 different colour.  In each house lives a person with a different nationality.  The 5 owners drink a certain type of beverage, smoke a certain brand of cigar, and keep a certain pet.  No owners have the same pet, smoke the same brand of cigar, or drink the same beverage.
The question is: Who owns the fish?

-The Brit lives in the red house.
-The Swede keeps dogs as pets.
-The Dane drinks tea.
-The green house is on the left of the white house.
-The green homeowner drinks coffee.
-The person who smokes Pall Mall rears birds.
-The owner of the yellow house smokes Dunhill.
-The man living in the centre house drinks milk.
-The Norwegian lives in the first house.
-The man who smokes Blend lives next to the one who keeps cats.
-The man who keeps the horse lives next to the man who smokes Dunhill.
-The owner who smokes Bluemaster drinks beer.
-The German smokes Prince.
-The Norwegian lives next to the blue house.
-The man who smokes Blend has a neighbour who drinks water.


Good luck!



Thursday, 19 March 2015

Caroline vs. "Brutal"

A while back I tweeted about a comic I found, about brutalist architecture in Toronto.  I was initially drawn to it because of the first panel featuring the infamous Robarts Library, where I spent A LOT of time as an undergrad at U of T.  It really does look like a giant concrete turkey (or peacock, depending who you ask).

Robarts has kind of a bad rap on campus because of its imposing architecture and because it is the place miserable students congregate to pull all-nighters. Many students choose to study at smaller college libraries instead (I was partial to Trinity's Graham Library and Vic's E.J. Pratt Library). Looking back now, however, I realize how spoiled I was to have such an immense collection of books (as well as access to the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library) at my fingertips. And while the giant turkey looming over the intersection of St. George and Harbord/Hoskin was certainly the butt of many jokes, it is an important part of the university's - and the city's - architectural history.

Toronto has a rough time holding onto heritage structures and landmarks (most people will know about the demolition of Stollery's, and the upcoming redevelopment of Honest Ed's), and brutalist architecture is on the chopping block as well.  The demolition of mid-century modern and brutalist buildings is a problem across Canada, mostly because they are seen as being not old enough to be historical, but also not modern enough to be relevant.  The comic (by David Oxley and Mark Foo) gives the reader a short history lesson on politics and brutalist architecture, with a topping of suspense.  I loved that the centrepiece of the story was the existence of these brutalist buildings, and the danger they are in as Toronto continues to develop - plus, I'm a sucker for Toronto-centric art.

Find the rest of the comic on Imgur.



PS: Undergrad anthem "Robarts Mansion," and a ranking of all the floors at Robarts.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Caroline vs. Holiday Snaps

Hello, friends!

Life has been a little crazy lately, and my days have had no real routine (which I hate).  Clem is on a two month break from school, so the two of us have been gallivanting around Tokyo and other parts of Asia.  We got back last week from two weeks in Hong Kong and the Philippines, and tomorrow we're off for a weekend in Kyoto.  Until I can go back to some sort of structure, sift through photos, and put words together for an actual post, the best way to follow my adventures is on Instagram.  Here are some of my favourite moments captured on my phone over the past few weeks.

Visited the National Art Center, Tokyo a few weekends back.  My inner (okay, outer) cat lady fell in love with this piece in a temporary exhibition of modern Asian art.
San Francisco's Blue Bottle Coffee opened up near my apartment in February (a second location closer to the centre of the city opened up this week too).  Swung by one morning for a fresh cup of joe and a waffle.
The Metropolitan Government Building in Tokyo's Shinjuku district has two observation decks.  Bonus: they're free!
Late afternoon sun over Roppongi in the middle of February.
In Hong Kong!
The Hong Kong skyline at night, from the Kowloon Public Pier.
Visited the flower market in Victoria Park on the eve of Chinese New Year.  It was packed!
Afternoon snack with friends in Kowloon City.
Sunset from White Beach on Boracay, in the Philippines.