Oh Casual Days

The idea of publishing a magazine like Casual Days first came to me a few years ago, back when I was still running the cafe Casual Poet. Tired of the sort of busy, mindless lives my friends and I were leading, I was determined to create a space where people could escape to; the cafe would also go back to the basics, and promote a slower, more easy-going, earthy and natural way of living, a philosophy that almost certainly goes against the grain of modern life.

Casual Days is in many senses an extension of the larger philosophy of the cafe, who later closed its doors in 2009. Like Casual Poet, Casual Days is not interested in forcing people to buy things (living in the shadow of consumerism, most magazines published today are about selling products); we do, however, want to force people into thinking hard about the world around them, and to experience keenly the force of their seemingly ordinary lives. All the better if we can inspire people to go out and change their lives.



In the first issue of Casual Days, we explore the idea of ‘travel’: our contributors wander the streets of Tokyo, take photographs in Nepal, contemplate life at a beach in Hawaii, get their hearts broken in Paris… these real-life stories converge with the second half, a ‘culture’ section that shows how art, space, music and literature can intersect with the road. Everything eventually links back to the same two age-old questions: Why do we travel? Could it be that we are looking for something?

And why begin with travel? The truth is, traveling is, even until today, a massive privilege. Technology has made leaving one’s country cheap for a lot of people, and yet there are still others who don’t have the chance to encounter landscapes other than those in their own hometown. To be able to hop on a plane or a train or a car and get out of your country to see the world is a hugely meaningful activity. Once you are out there, everything changes a little. Your perceptions shift. You become more sensitive. Little events are magnified. You begin to see a clearer picture of how the world really operates. You are on your own, but you are free. It changes you in a way that can be profound.

In some ways, that is what we tried to do with Casual Poet, and what we hope to do now with Casual Days. Find out more about Casual Days at www.casual-days.com.



VISIT:

At Corner
Seoul, South Korea

At Corner is one of my favourite cafes in Seoul. Although there are many such coffee-houses in the city, each of them offering a quiet space for one to drink tea and gather his or her thoughts, At Corner retains a special spot in my heart for many different reasons. Its interior is an unfussy mix of vintage furniture and second-hand scraps, and its warm and inviting atmosphere is made all the more comforting with its stream of soft, easy music constantly dispensed by an actual, working jukebox. Its tagline is also ‘buy vintage and go green’, so after you tire of quiet contemplation, you can head to the back of the cafe to browse through its collection of beautiful, second-hand toys, records, household items and many more.


SHOP:

Surfing Cowboys
California, USA

Surfing Cowboys seems, at first glance, to be nothing more than a super-cool, super-chill surf shop, but it is actually run by a couple of ex-commercial photographers who are also ‘adventurers and travelers’ who spend their time ‘on the road, zipping around on scooters, and riding the surf’. In 1998 they turned their photo studio into a shop, beginning with a collection of eclectic, soulful furniture and items that they had first intended to decorate their Californian home with. Nowadays they sell vintage surf boards and beautiful furniture from around the world, at the same time selling a dream – a dream for the open road, for the ocean, for the freedom to live however we might wanna live. And in California, everything, include those dreams, seems possible.
 
Used Project
Seoul, South Korea

Most second-hand stores warrant hours and hours of treasure-hunting. Used Project is no exception. The store owner is a cute and sweet ex-graphic designer who now tends to the store full-time. Most of the items here – old records, bags, magazines, shoes, t-shirts, cutlery and all sorts of idiosyncratic stuff – are in great condition. More importantly, Used Project propagates the idea of ‘re-using’ as a way of life. By thinking about used objects in a different light, we can reduce waste, create a better world, and perhaps even become happier ourselves.


READ:

Booday Zine
Taipei, Taiwan

How do we find beauty in the most ordinary things? Booday Zine seems to have the answer. The quarterly magazine, published by Taiwanese lifestyle brand Booday, collects accounts by the company’s own staff and friends, who often offers fresh and quirky perspectives on seemingly mundane everyday experiences: whether it is hiking up a small hill, having a barbecue, or walking a dog, the ordinariness of daily life suddenly seems, through their words and photographs, meaningful and almost… poetic.


WATCH:

Plants + TV
Tokyo, Japan

A TV station dedicated to plants might seem like a crazy idea, but Plants + TV is doing exactly that. This internet television station offers a regular stream of programmes about every aspect of life related to plants: they interview tree experts, go on nature walks, teach you how to cook ‘veggie dishes’, all in the hope of inspiring in people a love for plants, and in turn, a gentle affection for our delicate planet.