LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: Japan is giving away unwanted houses

Tokyo – VIJAY SHAH via LUCY DAYMAN and Culture Trip

While finding a home at even an average price is next to impossible in the big cities of much of the developed world (London, New York etc., I’m looking at you), Japan is making things a least a little bit easier for aspiring homeowners. Over there in the Far East, they are practically giving away abandoned houses for free, according to travel and culture site Culture Trip.

Some towns in Japan have started doling out residences for free, and in the very nature of town-hall bureaucracy, have divided the types of homes they are distributing into two categories.

 

The first category covers vacant homes, or akiya in Japanese. These are houses that have been abandoned, left vacant and are usually in dilapidated condition. Currently on the islands there are over eight million properties nationwide being abandoned to the elements, with concentrations of akiya predominant in large cities like Tokyo, according to a 2013 government report. About a quarter still have owner-landlords who do not bother to sell up or maintain their properties. Due to culture and superstitions, many of these properties have been left unwanted due to suicides, murders and other deaths occurring in them, which puts off local househunters uncomfortable with the lingering presence of an unfortunate soul’s passing. Demographics also play a part in the glut of unwanted homes Japan is facing, with the expensive cost of living putting off young families from moving away from their parents or rented accommodation and also Japan’s rapidly ageing population.

Unable to sell to locals, many town councils are now forced to give akiya away for free to stop them attracting drug addicts, squatters and wild animals, and to hold back urban decay. Some towns have started offering subsidies to attract potential homeowners. They now also offer online ‘akiya banks’, a sort of Gumtree for busted-up housing, with prices started from zero yen (yes that’s 0円! – bargain!!).

The second category of Japanese housing ‘on the house’ (well, technically heavily subsidised, but still very cheap) is found exclusively in the town of Okutama, on Tokyo’s western fringes. Okutama has unveiled a cheap rent to own housing scheme geared towards young families priced out of the Tokyo metropolitan market. For a monthly rent of 50,000 yen (£345), families can rent a whole house, which will pass to their ownership after a period of 22 years. There is no need to take out a mortgage or pricey housing loans, and the daily commute to Tokyo is only 1 hour and forty-five minutes (one-way). The Okutama houses are all brand-new, well-built and fully fitted, but you must be under the age of 43 and have junior school-age children.

If you do have money to splash, then fear not, you can buy an entire island off the coast of the Mie Prefecture, near Osaka, for less than the cost of an average 1-2 bedroom home in London. Now to learn Japanese, develop a taste for sushi and wave sayonara to your local overheated housing market!

SOURCES:

Sherrie Bachell/Facebook.

“Japan is Giving Away Abandoned Homes for Free” – Lucy Dayman, culture trip/The Culture Trip Ltd (8 November 2018) https://theculturetrip.com/asia/japan/articles/japan-is-giving-away-abandoned-homes-for-free/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=link_japanhomes&fbclid=IwAR3t9mf53U8TQHNsly6w5rPVXUa2oG2Wvl_xg3oOAledtuNURT34SzI_Udo

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Japanese architecture” – Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_architecture

 

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TULSA CHILD KILLING: Killer mother was ‘trying to save’ her children from abusive father

Tulsa – VIJAY SHAH via STEPHEN SORACE, Associated Press and Fox News

An American woman who shot dead her own son and tried to kill her two daughters claimed that she did it to free them from their abusive father, according to a report published in Fox News today.

Amy Leann Hall, from Tulsa, the capital of Oklahoma state, gunned down her son Kayson Toliver, aged 18. He was hit with a bullet to the head while he was sleeping at his mother’s home early on the morning of Thursday, 1st November, according to police statements. Hall also shot at her daughters in the same fashion, but they survived their injuries, with one managing to escape. Police came to the property thirty-five miles outside Tulsa, and found Toliver deceased. The mother was arrested, and claimed she carried out the shootings to protect her children from their violent father, according to an affidavit issued by the Okmulgee County Sheriff’s Office.

 

One of the two daughters, aged 16, is still in hospital in a critical condition, Fox News stated. The other daughter, aged 14, managed to escape her mother and hid crying in a bathroom, she later told her mother she was ‘okay’ before somehow managing to get the murder weapon, a pistol, from Hall, the article stated. Hall fled the scene and sped down local roads at 100 mph before police pulled her over, according to FOX 23 Tulsa, a local media outlet. She was arrested on the scene, and police are currently piecing together a motive for the killings.

Police stated that they had received callouts in the past to the family home over ‘domestic incidents’. Hall and the children’s father had separated two years ago and were engaged in a fierce custody battle over the children. She had applied to obtain sole custody of her family, but the father had attempted to overturn that application, stating that Hall was ‘mentally unstable’ and was ‘psychologically abusive’ to her offspring.

The deceased son was remembered as an excellent student and top level American football player for his school team at Beggs High School in Tulsa. “He was a very likeable young man,” head football coach David Tenison told the World. “He had a good heart, good spirit. His smile was infectious. It just infected everyone around him. He made you want to smile.”

Hall is now charged with a single count of first-degree murder, and two counts of shooting with an intention to kill and is currently on bail. She told police that after killing her children, she had intended to take her own life. The case continues.

SOURCES:

Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984

Chris 🇺🇸, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/Chris_1791

Fox News, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/FoxNews

“Mom claims she fatally shot son, injured 2 daughters to ‘save’ them from abusive dad, authorities say” – Stephen Sorace & Associated Press, Fox News/FOX News Network, LLC. (3 November 2018) https://www.foxnews.com/us/mom-claims-she-fatally-shot-son-injured-2-daughters-to-save-them-from-abusive-dad-authorities-say?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:Demo arrest, handcuffed.jpg” – Smallman12q and Oregon Department of Transportation, Wikimedia Commons (18 August 2009) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Demo_arrest,_handcuffed.jpg

BA FLIGHT: Indian family allegedly discriminated against, made to leave plane due to crying child

New Delhi – VIJAY SHAH via ALIX CULBERTSON and Sky News

The UK national air carrier British Airways (BA) has been accused of racism after a family hailing from India was evicted from a flight after a child in their group would not stop crying, reported Sky News.

The child’s father claims he was subjected to ‘humiliation and racist behaviour’ and Indians are demanding a boycott of the airline, according to the report.

 

The father, AP Pathak, a civil servant, was travelling with his family from London City Airport to Berlin on the 23rd July, 2018, was placing his three-year-old son in a special child seat when the infant began to cry. Pathak’s wife began consoling the child. It was at that point that Pathak alleged a cabin crew member approached them and threatened to throw the child out of one of the plane’s windows while directly scolding the little boy.

The crew member then returned a second time where he also said the family would be ‘offloaded’ if the child refused to stop crying. The response of the unnamed crew member was said to have left the Pathaks ‘petrified’, Sky News reported.

The plane was then returned to the terminal, where security officers boarded it. The Pathaks were approached and were forced to give up their boarding passes. Another family, also Indian, were also relieved of their passes. Both families were then marched off the aircraft.

In a complaint letter about the flight written to India’s aviation minister, Suresh Prabhu, the father also claimed that the same crew member also made racial comments about ‘bloody’ Indians.

Representatives of BA have claimed the Pathaks were repeatedly asked to sit their son down and fasten his seatbelt for safety reasons, otherwise the plane would not have been able to take off.

The controversy has made headlines in the media in India, where many have urged Indians to stay away from BA. Some critics on social media described the treatment of the two families as ‘shameful’. A small number though said that BA was right in their decision to remove the Pathaks, with one saying “I don’t feel bad about this at all, we Indians don’t respect or value our Indian resources, be it trains or airplanes, this is good learning for us”. Another, identified as Khushi tweeted: “Indian parents start howling too when kids start howling – three-year-olds outside India are taught how to behave socially.”

SOURCES:

Shere Singh/Facebook.

“Indian family thrown off British Airways flight over ‘crying child’ ” – Alix Culbertson, Sky News/Sky UK (9 August 2018) https://news.sky.com/story/indian-family-thrown-off-british-airways-flight-over-crying-child-11466706

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Condor Airplane on Grey Concrete Airport · Free Stock Photo” – Pixabay via Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/condor-airplane-on-grey-concrete-airport-163792/

BERMONDSEY CARNIVAL: With a Latin American twist

London – VIJAY SHAH

If you like family days out and happen to be south of the river in London this Saturday, there is a cool dance festival just waiting to be visited, completely free of charge. The Bermondsey Carnival, being held at the Southwark Park this Saturday, 30th June 2018, is the perfect family fun in the sun session, with a summery mix of dance, music, events for adults and children and its own funfair.

South London is home to many vibrant Latin American communities, with Londoners from Brazil and Colombia forming the majority of them. This year, the Bermondsey Carnival will honour local South American communities by taking on a Latino/a theme, with performances from the Abba Gold Girls, the singer-songwriter Mancie Baker and a Salute to Sinatra from Louis Hoover, the original star of the Broadway show.

 

There will also be dance workshops (including a children’s dance tent for the little ones to practice their samba and Fortnite emote dances) and fun activities such as making masks, alongside food and drinks stalls. Look out for the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’, a massive jumble boot sale’ hosted by local residents, and the Plaza Latina with its South American music, food and dance, the Plaza is new for 2018.

The Create and Play Zone
An assortment of talented artists, performers and designers providing a multitude of engaging things to do

Nest Box and Mask Making Workshops with Café Gallery
Crafty Beasts Making Workshops with Time & Talents
Totally Wild Foraging Adventure walks running throughout the day (12.30pm – 1.30pm – 2.30pm – 3.30pm)
Jumping Bean Stories and Rhyme Tent (12.15pm – 1.15pm – 2.30pm – 3.30pm – 4.30pm)
Make Theatre with London Bubble Theatre. Turn yourself into a story gatherer, a story teller, a character creator or a history maker In the beautiful Bubble Yurt throughout the day from: 12pm to 4pm.

SE16 DANCE Tent hosted by the Movement Factory.
Come and take part in an exclusive range of free dance workshops running throughout the day. No previous dance experience necessary

SE16 Dance Tent Workshops Times
12.00 to 12.30: Musical Mayhem- Musical Theatre
12.30 to 13.15: The Movement Factory- Street Dance
13.15 to 13.40: Kinetika Bloco
Performances Times

13.40 to 14.00- Kinetika Bloco
14.00 to 14.25 – Musical Mayhem
14.25 to 14.30 – Ellz & Sharz
14.30 to 14.40 – Hazel
14.40 to 14.50 – The Mia Dancers
14.50 to 14.55 – Jerdy
14.55 to 15.00 -Ellie
15.00 to 15.05 – Gawz
15.05 to 15.10 – Double Twist Dance Co.
15.10 to 15.30 – Southwark Gymnastics
15.30 to 15.40 – DHK Shortman
16.00 to 16.45 – DHK Shortman / Dance Hall
16.45 to 17.30 – The Movement Factory

The festival is being organised by Southwark Council, along with Bermondsey Beat and The Friends of Southwark Park.

Sat 30th June, 12pm- 8pm: Bermondsey Carnival
Southwark Park, Gomm Rd, SE16 2TX

SOURCES:

Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984

Super London, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/SuperLNDN

Skint London Mag, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/SkintLondon

“Top Skint picks for the Weekend!” – Skint London (29 June 2018) http://www.skintlondon.com/top-skint-picks-for-the-weekend-48/

“Bermondsey Carnival 2018” – WISE16.CO.UK https://www.wise16.co.uk/free-bermondsey-carnival-2018-at-southwark-park/

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Samba procession @ Carnival De Cuba, London 2008” – jf 1234, Flickr (29 June 2008) https://www.flickr.com/photos/kde-head/2622435786

VOTES FOR WOMEN WEEKEND: London museum marks key democratic milestone

London – VIJAY SHAH via sources

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of British women winning the right to vote in elections, the Museum of London is hosting the Votes for Women Weekend from today in honour of women’s suffrage, featuring various participatory activities for people of all ages, the magazine Skint London writes.

The event, which is being held over two days from 3-4 February, 2018 and is free entry, promises to be an immersive and fun experience celebrating this key milestone in universal suffrage, when women over the age of thirty finally won the right to help choose who governs us, after a long struggle.

 

Votes for Women Weekend will feature lots of performances, photography, workshops, poetry and other things to do. Visitors can take part in a re-enactment of a suffragette rally, which also has a trip through history to the present day, and a two-hour long ‘banner-thon’ where they can create their own digital banners in collaboration with the charity Digital Drama’s 100 Banners projects. The banners will be taken on a march to the UK parliament.

Herstory fans can also learn about how the early 20th-century police used photography to capture suffragette activities undercover, and even play suffragette-inspired games in an Edwardian living room, including one called ‘Pank-a-squith’, a board game said to be have conceived by the Suffragettes themselves.

There will also be a spoken poetry jam and a chance to discover stories about inspirational women and girls, as well as learning about significant participants in the struggle to gain women the vote, such as Millicent Fawcett and Sophia Duleep Singh.

British women received the right to vote on the 6th of February, 1918, after a long struggle by early women’s activists, known as the Suffragettes, who first planned their protests in the drawing rooms of Victorian Britain, before eventually taking to rallies, civil disobedience protests, and in some cases, even getting into trouble with the law.

SOURCES:

Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984

Super London, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/SuperLNDN

Skint London Mag, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/SkintLondon

“Top Skint picks for the Weekend!” – Skint London (2 February 2018) http://www.skintlondon.com/top-skint-picks-for-the-weekend-30/

“Votes for Women weekend” – Museum of London https://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/museum-london/whats-on/votes-women-weekend?id=154608

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:Suffragettes, England, 1908.JPG” – The New York Times photo archive via Mr. Gustafson, Wikimedia Commons (21 October 2007) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Suffragettes,_England,_1908.JPG

ALWAYS IN OUR HEARTS: Remembering Baa

Today’s post is in honour of a very special and unique member of my family, who sadly passed from this world on the 2nd of February, 2014. Although we were not related in blood, she was the closest I ever had to a grandmother. She was a shining light in my life and her kindness, hospitality and devotion to family, friends and God will always be a beacon of inspiration to me. As she and part of my immediate family are Gujarati, we called her by the Gujarati word ‘Baa’ which means ‘grandma’.

(c) A. Shah
(c) A. Shah

Baa was born in Bukoba, a small town in Tanganyika (now Tanzania) in 1934. She got married to our grandfather in India and they settled in both that country and east Africa before emigrating to the UK in 1967, purchasing a house in Forest Gate, east London where she lived for several decades before her untimely departure. Together they had five children, four sons and a daughter, whom Baa helped support through many jobs in local factories. She was very welcoming and highly social, always inviting people from far and wide into her home, regardless of space. She loved shopping and watching Indian TV serials and had an impeccable taste in sarees (Indian dress) and boasted an impressive collection of them, as well as bangles. Like her husband (our grandfather), she was very pious and we would often go with them to the temple and celebrate festivals together.

The first time I met her was around 1997-1998 when I was out food shopping with my Mum at the Tesco in Green Street, Upton Park, not far from where she used to live. I remember being a bit nervous at first, but her smile and kindness soon endeared me to her. Over the years, Baa would often invite us to her home for dinners and family get-togethers. I remember often going around hers and she would always let me take a Coke can from the kitchen cupboard and also offer snacks and rotis. She always asked about my wellbeing, school and day-to-day life and I would help her with housework and shopping.

Sadly, after a few years, I left home due to some problems and lost contact with her and our grandfather, whom we called ‘Dada’. In 2009, she sustained a fall outside a hospital while visiting Dada there and from then on her health began to decline.

The last time I saw her was two days before her passing. She was very ill, unable to speak and move much and it shattered my heart to see her in that state. I went straight into the kitchen, the same kitchen where I and Baa would sit down for a cup of masala tea and a chat, and broke down in front of my aunt and mother. She sought solace in devotional songs because perhaps she knew God was going to call her soon. The one she was listening to when I saw her I have added below. It is the Gayatri mantra, which brings one closer to God in their hour of need.

Her funeral was held the following Friday at a local crematorium. As befitting the great person that she was, Baa received a beautiful and poignant send-off, with 300 guests attending a special service where her grandchildren read special eulogies for her, admiring her tenacity in the face of ill health and difficulty, including a time when she bravely fought off a mugger who tried to steal her necklace. Twelve pure white doves were released in her memory and just like how our families were brought together on this day, the doves flew as one flock into the trees, carrying Baa’s spirit with them. The recent bad weather and snow failed to show up that day, and instead bright sunlight trickled into the service hall, so that even it seemed that God was shining down on Baa and receiving her in His divine grace.

It has been a very sad and difficult time, but I and my siblings consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have benefitted from her care and wisdom. She always made a home from home and loved and adored her grandchildren.

Baa, you will always be in our hearts. We miss you and love you, forever and always.

બા, તમે હંમેશા અમારા હૃદયમાં હશે. અમે કાયમ અને હંમેશા તમે ચૂકી છે અને તમને પ્રેમ.

Many thanks to sister Anjali for creating the photo montage for this memorial.

DIWALI 2014: Festive family photos

Yesterday, on Diwali day itself, I was able to spend time with my family at my mother’s house. It was a beautiful and magical occasion of enjoyment with some of the most special people in my life. There was lots of hugs and smiles as we greeted each other “Happy Diwali”. Mum treated me to a dish of her very delicious vegetarian chilli-con-carne and tasty Indian sweets. We had a quiz game on my brother’s PS4 (out of five players, I came top with a final score of 4,000 points) and later went around the house lighting diyas (lamps) in honour of the festival of lights.

Prompted by a blogging friend who saw my previous post on this year’s HEM selection of animated images on the theme of Diwali and suggested I post up pictures of the event, I here present a gallery of photos of Diwali in the Shah household. Many, many thanks to Anjali and Arjun for contributing pictures to this gallery, and to Suraj, who offered me a chance to take some pictures after he had lit some candles on the mantelpiece.

You can find full-resolution versions of the images in this gallery on the Half-Eaten Mind. Just look out for the square moving Flickr icon on the top of this page. Once you’re on the Flickr site, search for the “Diwali 2014/2070” album. Images refined and watermarked with piZap.

May thousands of lamps light up your life
with endless happiness, richness, health & wealth forever
wishing you and your family a very
“HAPPY DIWALI“

diwali64
ADDITIONAL SOURCE:
“[*Deepavali*] Happy Diwali Messages In English 2014 *[Msgs*]” – Happy Diwali/Happy Diwali 2014 Wishesms http://www.happydiwali2014wishesms.org/2014/09/deepavali-happy-diwali-messages-in-english-2014.html

BIRTHDAY SPECIAL: Vijay turns 30

Say R.I.P. to your amazing twenties

As you enter your boring thirties

Say goodbye to your crazy ways

Say hello to monotonous days

Bid adieu to irresponsibility

As you strive towards accountability

Don’t worry, I am just fooling around

Don’t let this rhyme bring you down

You will have the best time at thirty

So chill out, relax and take it easy

Happy 30th birthday

(c) MyNiceProfile.com

Yesterday, Saturday 4th October 2014, I officially kissed my eventful years of being a twenty-something goodbye and said “Oh hi…er…Hello” to my third decade and thirtieth year of milling around on this green, green planet. Needless to say, while you cannot have a cat in hell’s chance of stopping the advances of age, it still was a bit of shock to me. I am actually going to be 30. Thirty!!. That’s a big chunky number. Part of me was telling myself that now I’ve reached the big Three-Zero, maturity and reflection on life was the name of the game, then there was a part of me that felt almost geriatric. Fair enough that I already got my first few white hairs some years back and being tall brings some aches and pains, but this morning I woke up with some noticeable leg cramps. I’m surprised I wasn’t dreaming of dusty suitcases from trips to the hospital, long post office queues and those god-awful 50+ life insurance adverts that infest daytime TV. But thirty is hardly old-age pensioner. It is a decade that will hopefully bring big changes into my life. Marriage, settling down and starting a family, being hired into a better-paid position (hopefully in the media), moving into my first flat,…and many smaller milestones that will turn when and whether. Being thirty is a transition point, a halfway house between the carefree and carelessness of youth and the responsibility, organisation and enhanced maturity of older adulthood.

My thirtieth birthday was a small and private affair with family, with of course many well wishes from friends and acquaintances new and old, and special greetings messages from the extended family in Mauritius. On Friday night (the 3rd of October) I visited my mother, who is recovering from a recent leg operation, to see how she was doing and to have a special dinner with the family. We ordered the food from a local takeaway and I made sure to get my favourite. A lamb doner kebab. This one was tasty but did reek of onions. Sadly there was no cake but I got lots of dosh and a gift box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates, and most importantly the love and best wishes of my family together. My 5-year-old niece even pulled out a little gift from her jacket pocket as she came to hug me and wish me a happy birthday in advance. The gift was a small blue toy car. She must have chosen it especially for me. Once I get a decent-sized place of my own to live in, her toy auto is going on the mantelpiece or shelf. I then went with my niece and my sister to her place, where I spent a short while with her and her husband, before heading off to my home.

Come the big day I was as happy as Larry. I don’t know who Larry is, but I was feeling great. On Facebook, I arranged with my brothers to go to the nearby Westfield Stratford City shopping centre to go bowling and then later, the cinema. It started off a bit crazy though. My brother didn’t have his phone with him as it was in a repair shop having its speaker fixed. He had been having no end of problems with that phone. While chatting to him on Facebook, I had also forgotten to say to him exactly where we were going to meet up as Stratford is  a big place. Cue me waiting like a bum at the area’s bus station for one and a half hours wondering where the hell my brother was. He had been dropped off by car and was also planning to get some clothes shopping in, with the money he received for his own birthday, which falls one week before mine. After frantically Whatsapp messaging my other siblings to try to get to the bottom of this missing persons inquiry, I decided to head up the short walk across the glass-sided bridge to the Westfield shopping district. I started hunting around the nearby clothes shops to see if I could spot the missing brother. No luck. I scanned the crowds, hoping for a glimpse of him. Nah, not happening. Then something told me to head to the Vue cinema that sits on the third floor of the shopping mall. I thought it unlikely he would be there, but I took a chance anyway. Long story short, once I arrived at the picture house, I saw my brother on the balcony of the cinema’s courtyard. He had borrowed another shopper’s phone and was calling home. At the same time as I saw him, one of my sisters messaged me to say where he was. A very strange and almost psychic experience I think. Thankfully we was reunited and went to the bowling alley. All Star Lanes, which is based a very short walk from the cinema, is basically a bowling alley for all ages. It also has an American diner-themed cocktail and milkshake bar with a restaurant serving typical diner food. We booked our lane for the two of us (my other brother was sorting out transport to arrive later to watch the movie). Unfortunately we were told by reception that there would be a twenty minute wait before the lane would be free to use and they armed with a buzzer that looked like an oversized car alarm key. Me and bro decided to kill time by going to the clothes shops. We visited adidas, Topman while my brother tried to find a hoodie he liked. We saw a lot of cool and ridiculous stuff. Ridiculous in both price and aesthetic appeal. Sadly brother could not find the hoodie he wanted. The buzzer apparently went off, but I felt and heard nothing, though I was holding it in my hand to the point my palms were sweaty and probably fusing with the plastic. 

(c) gifovea.tumblr.com via Giphy

We reported back to All Stars and because we had missed the buzz, we had to wait another ten minutes. Me and little brother went to the milkshake bar and ordered a shake each. He ordered vanilla, I got one flavoured with Oreos, in keeping with the American theme. Well mainly really because I have a primal weakness for Oreo-flavoured milky beverages. It was delicious. I was even scooping out the cookie dough like sludge from the bottom of the glass with my straw and eating it because, blimey, it was THAT good. Me and little bro had the third lane from the left and while he was a bowling veteran, this embarrassingly was my first time. I even had to figure out which fingers went into which holes in the ball. I had fortunately played enough bowling of the virtual variety that that experience helped me pick the real thing very quickly. Although little bro triumphed over me, beating my score of 74 points with his haul of 96, we both managed to do I think around three strikes combined, with myself demolishing all the pins on my third go on the lane. It was quite stuffy in the alley though and not even the ice-cold shake could cool me down, but it was a brilliant time.

We sauntered around some more outlets selling designer garments. This time we hit up the Nike Shop and admired their sportswear, their mind-boggling array of trainers, including a ‘trophy case’ display of them pinned to a wall. We saw lurid pink ones, technologically-advanced ones, stylish ones and even ones with holograms and ones that were fitted in material that looked like the metallic skins of bluebottle flies. I saw a few Nike brand basketballs lying around and was tempted to dribble like the great Shaquille and score a triple-pointer. But being booted kicking and screaming (haha, booted) out of Nike by security is not the best way to remember your 30th birthday.

Towards the end of the night, my other brother finally arrived after catching a train from further east and we had booked our tickets. The film we got into was “A Walk Among The Tombstones” starring Liam Neeson. Obviously as it’s a new film, I don’t want to give away any spoilers. I will say that he plays a washed-out former policeman. Divorced and trying to stay sober, he operates as a private detective. A drug trafficker calls on his services to help locate the kidnappers who took his wife. If you are planning to see this film, keep an eye for TJ. He’s hilarious.

My thirtieth birthday may not have been as monumental as other peoples’, but it was a tight family affair. It put a smile on my face and joy in my heart. Reading the many social media messages from my friends and family, plus the texts and calls was the real icing on my birthday cake. Thank you to everyone who made it special. You all made my thirties much, much sweeter.

P.S. For the Half-Eaten Mind’s regular readers on WordPress who were wondering what happened to my usual Saturday article, now you know why!!

Here is a small selection of pictures from my birthday:-

Photo 1: A birthday ‘e-card’ made by my cousin Vipul using some of my Facebook pictures. The theme he ran with was ‘shisha’. One of my hobbies, although it’s been a while since I made an acquantaince with a hookah (stupid snigger). If you’re wondering, my usual flavour is double apple, but I’ve done everything colour in the flavour rainbow, from chocolate to melon.
Photo 2: The toy sports car (Cadillac…Lambo?) gifted to me by my niece Shaniya.
Photo 3: An ‘old chap’ greeting card given by my sister and her family. She just loves to call me ‘grandpa’ now *rolls eyes* *laughs*. I really like the vintage look though, even if it makes me feel a smidgen dessicated.
Photo 4: Another greeting card from my Mum and siblings. Nice blue metallic finish that matches well with Shaniya’s car in Photo 2. I’m seeing stars!!
Photos 5 and 6: Some night time pictures I took of the buildings at Westfield Centre in Stratford City as we waited for my other brother to arrive. The shopping centre does look amazing at dusk.
ADDITIONAL SOURCES:
“30th Birthday Poems” – WishesMessages.com/Valuetivity http://wishesmessages.com/30th-birthday-poems/
IMAGE CREDITS:
“LOOP ANIMATED GIF” – gifovea.tumblr.com via Giphy http://giphy.com/gifs/5BKL0c6zQYWYg
“Happy Birthday 30th” – MyNiceProfile.com http://www.myniceprofile.com/happy-birthday-123299.html
piZap http://pizap.com/
The Half-Eaten Mind/Vijay Shah, Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/110818734@N02

PHOTO MOMENT: Stratford, Shoreditch Boxpark and Fady Elsayed

with Anjali Shah (photographer & contributor)

On the 26th May 2014, which was a Bank Holiday Monday, the Half-Eaten Mind along with a select crew of family visited the Shoreditch Boxpark, off Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, London E2, to attend the ‘Busk in the Box‘ music concert compered by DJ Hussain. The event is normally held at this venue about every weekend, but not withstanding the great music on offer, we came especially for my youngest sister Anjali, who wanted to meet her idol, the film actor Fady Elsayed, star of the epic inner-city film “My Brother the Devil” about two British Arab brothers and their struggles with drugs, poverty and sexuality.

The gig played host to a lineup of young and unknown songsters from as far away as Leicester and Brighton , who arrived at this intimate gig to perform at one of London’s more leftfield shopping centres, a collection of pop-up shops that are all the rage in hip alternative London – along with a DJ set playing a footstomping run of house music and dubstep during the breaks between musicians. We stayed from 1-3 pm soaking up the sounds of young undiscovered pop/R&B talents before visiting a local chicken shop serving its clientele the most generous portions of chips and wings this side of the Bow Flyover.

My two sisters particularly enjoyed speaking with Fady about his career and getting photos taken with him and the younger one was also exceptionally lucky to receive a special gift from the thespian, an actual script taken from the film, complete with pen marks and dog ears.

This Photo Moment consists of the work of two budding photographers in our family, myself and Anjali. In addition to the Busk in the Box event I also took some pictures of the Stratford Broadway area while waiting for a bus into Tower Hamlets and some locales near the venue. My sister did many locales there as well.

SHOREDITCH BOXPARK: www.boxpark.co.uk/

#BUSKTHEBOX: http://www.boxpark.co.uk/event/buskthebox5/

FADY ELSAYED @ TWITTER: https://twitter.com/iFadyElsayed

FADY ELSAYED @ INSTAGRAM: http://instagram.com/ifadyelsayed

 

The 44 Broadway building in Stratford, London. This was taken while I was waiting for my sister to arrive to go to Shoreditch.

The front entrance of the Stratford Shopping Centre with the Samuel Gurney memorial obelisk in Stratford Broadway, London. I took this picture while waiting for a bus into Tower Hamlets.

The sign of the Cafe in the Courtyard, a business near the Stratford town hall in London.

A trio of traditional red phoneboxes next to the town hall building in Stratford.

The entrance sign of the Shoreditch Boxpark, an alternative style shopping mall off Bethnal Green Road.

Niketown billboard – Magista

Modern tower block in Bethnal Green.

Eighties poster designed by Josh Stika. Seen on the first level of Boxpark near where we were attending the concert.

My family enjoying the music. We also got to see “My Brother the Devil” film actor Fady Elsayed.

Performance at Hussain’s Busk in the Box by singer James.

Performance at the Busk in the Box concert by singer Leanne.

Promo leaflet handed out by Leanne to me and my brother Suraj after her performance finished.

Hype on The End flyer for a nightclub event handed out by James.

The back of the Hype on The End leaflet featuring a crown logo belonging to Minikingz. This was probably the record label or company behind the rave.

The script sample given by actor Fady Elsayed to my sister Anjali as a gift. She is a very big fan of his.

‘ Create-Attack ‘ trainers and spiders display found outside Niketown store at Boxpark.

Levy Safes Co. Locksmiths street art.

Padlocks or in this case ‘love locks’ affixed to a mesh fence just outside the Boxpark. A tradition exported from continental Europe. I took this picture as we were leaving the concert to get some food to eat and collect my niece.

You dirty rat: Street art on archways along Sclater Street, Bethnal Green.

A motley crew of stickers, street art and regular graffiti leading towards Bethnal Green Road.

My mum and sister with Fady Elsayed for a photo opportunity. Photo by Anjali Shah.

Fady with Anjali. Photo by Anjali Shah.

A shipping crate with the BoxPark Busk in the Park logos and details. Photo by Anjali Shah.

The entrance to Niketown at Boxpark. By Anjali Shah.

‘Dare to Own the Street’ another of Nike’s legendary advertising at their Shoreditch outlet.

Hussain’s House DJ set with the obligatory hashtag for Twitterers. Much of the musical magic emanated from here. By Anjali Shah.

The Falafelicious café where my brother got some chips before we settled down for the concert.

Footwear display by Nike. Just keep photographing it. By Anjali Shah.

WHERE WE SNAPPED:

Next to the Town Hall, The Broadway, Stratford, E15, London, England, UK.

Shoreditch BOXPARK, Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, E2, London, England, UK.

 

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