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Thursday, August 7, 2014


Surprise, surprise! Another two-parter! It never really occurred to me how many photos I've taken throughout this trip. I'd rather split a blog post in two parts rather than drown all of you in one massive photo dump. Plus, it's a lot more organized this way I would think. 

Our fifth day in San Francisco was probably the funniest one. We headed on over to Berkeley first to check out UC Berkeley's wonderful campus, peruse along record and thrift stores, and eat wonderful, delicious, and unforgettable food. 

UC Berkeley's campus is absolutely stunning! Every building looked like an important Government headquarter-like area but it's where classes are held! Tiff and I kept thinking that the Math Building was some sort of City Hall. The nature around the campus as well was pretty. The large trees and the growing vegetation reminded me a whole ton of Muir Woods. 

There are only two things in this world that popped into my head when I thought of this sculpture. A fat doughnut and the Death Star. Funny thing, when we left Berkeley there were these Asian tourists taking pictures of said sculpture. A little blonde boy passed by on his bike and they all wanted photos with him instead.

There was a small creek running through the campus, so Tiff went down and recorded something. I don't know what it was, but whatever it is, it's probably something really cool. :)

Tiffanie's also been making AMAZING vlogs for this trip. I can't even call it a vlog because of how well made it is. She's basically making music videos that are so cool. Watch Day 1 & 2 on her channel, right over HERE.

We walked around the campus a bit to see what it was like. Afterwards we walked towards where the shops/life area was. Berkeley is the epitome of college-town. With almost every store it would say "Berkeley Books" or "Berkeley Printing Press". Everything about the town catered to it's students. 

It was cool going through back alleyways. I felt like a movie character running away from Russian Sleeper Agents. 

  Our first objective of the day! Amber told us about Rasputin Music and seeing as how Tiffanie and Nikki are such music lovers, we had to go. I for one listen to whatever makes me feel good but damn, this store had everything. I loved the whole vintage feel of the place. 

One thing that surprised me so much about these Vinyls were the fact that I thought they'd be bloody expensive. I was wrong the minute I picked up one and it was priced for $11. I mean, yeah of course there are the rare first edition vinyls, but for the vast majority it was all extremely affordable. Now if only I get a Crosley record player in my hands...hehehe. 

I thought it was charming how the walls were completely decked out in Vinyls as well. 

At this point, Tiffanie and Amber were busy looking for classical Sinatra and Original Sound Track Vinyls; so, I went ahead and did an impromptu shoot with Nikki. 


Nikki's such an inspiration to me when it comes to my art and photography. You can follow her instagram (@nikkimaruyama), read her blog HERE, and watch her vlogs, HERE

There was an elderly Japanese man singing songs as he looked through vinyls. I didn't want to take a picture of him so obviously, so I opted for a creeper-to-the-back shot. 

Was so tempted to get this. My girl Ingrid, and her Lights Out album. Then again, I do have her tiny CD already. Ugh, she's so talented!! 

The one cool thing about Rasputin Music is their International section. I was pretty surprised to find their small, but interesting selections on the Philippines. I saw this record and the cover drew me to it. The pink balloons against the white walls. The fashion choices of the men and women of Manila back then. If I remember correctly the songs in this vinyl were from the early 70s.

Shonen Knife! Gotta love some old school Japanese Rock. 

And of course, The Beatles were everywhere! 

I love the cover to this one. 

Aerial shot of the entire place. The vinyl section was actually in the basement! 

After looking through and through, we got pretty hungry so off we went to KoJa! 

KoJa is KOrean-JApanese shortened. It's fusion cuisine and even with that, you can still taste the Japanese flavors in the food along with the Korean. Their most famous item on the menu are the Kojas, which essentially is a piece of meat, veggies, and a wonton crisp sandwiched between garlic rice buns. 

I ordered the Braised Pork Koja because hey, anything that has Braised Pork in it is sold for me. 

We arrived at the right time because immediately after we ordered, a huge table cleared up for the four of us and people began packing in. 

The menus were all electronic and what's cool was that they were actually featured on the Food Network! Scenes in which they were in played throughout. It was cool seeing their faces on the screen, then looking back behind the counter, actually seeing them prepare the food. 

and all of a sudden we looked and saw Nikki's little brother sitting behind us.  Just kidding, this man looked so much like Nikki's little brother, just a few years older. 

Amber had the Kamikaze Fries which were freaking bomb. It was loaded with Kimchi, Gochujjang, Korean Beef, Japanese Mayo. In short, DELICIOUS. 


Tiffanie and Nikki both bought Cal Fries! A smaller version of the Kamikaze Fries, just without the Kimchi or the Korean Beef. 

Once our energy and life bars had been replenished, we went to Mars. Mars is probably the only Thrift Store that I had ever been to that screamed Vintage. Everything in it was sorted by decade and it was like walking in a time machine. I loved seeing the campiest and cheesiest of 80s prom wear, to the most peculiar 20s flapper dresses. Unfortunately, we had to check in our bags as photography was prohibited.

Ambassador of Tourism, Nikki Maruyama, welcomes you to the city of Berkeley!

CREAM! We tried them back at Walnut Creek, but Amber tells us the original one is pictured above. Basically, CREAM is an ice cream shop that serves ice cream in homemade cookies in sandwich form. Is it tasty? You bet. 

 Berkeley Fashionistas. 

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for Japantown!


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