Coming back to North America has been eye-opening in the fact that I’m taking two weeks to travel to the East Coast for the first time in my memory (I did supposedly go to Florida when I was young but I definitely don’t remember any of it). I’m relaxing at my friend’s place in DC, after spending a couple of days in TO, and on my way to Boston and NYC afterwards.

One purpose of my trip is to get a feel of every city, as every city’s got their own feel, own identity, and different styles of art, that arise as a product of its environment and people. I want to find out what makes their music THEIR music, and how it’s birthed. So here are a few observations from my travels so far:
Greek Town in Toronto


  • Unbelieveably multi-cultural. My friend Loulee says it’s the world’s 2nd most multicultural city in the world. I don’t doubt it. Where Vancouver is basically half Chinese, Toronto gives me the impression that there is no one culture that dominates
  • Toronto has a much more urban feel than Vancouver, and the influence of Hip-Hop, R&B, Rap is stronger.
  • Where Vancouver has a Chinatown (actually, it’s called Richmond), Toronto has many different neighbourhoods that are very ethnically strong. In the picture above, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” was filmed in the restaurant
  • Finally figured out where Jarvis Church got his name. I’m not surprised that he has all these influences b/c TO’s got it all…

Ivan at the White House

    Washington, DC:

  • This is city has way too many non-civilians! Oh wait, this is the captial…okay, it does remind me of Beijing…
  • This city feels sterile, at least in Arlington, and the West side of DC.
  • I figure a heck of a lot of people here in DC are Christian, and heavily engrained into this city’s psyche.
  • The neat thing about DC is the abundance of amazing gospel music available. Obviously, having a lot of african-americans in this city help spur the market for this genre of music. I had a chance to chat with two african-american sisters who were shopping for Gospel music albums. They were definitely very helpful in pointing me towards the better gospel music out today. Too cool.
  • Drinks at McDonald’s are wayyyyy too big. I ordered a medium, and I don’t think I’ve seen a medium milkshake that big before. Perhaps that explains why I see so many extremely overweight people here…