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I’m traveling to Tokyo, Japan on a business visa! Vincent Castiglia Gallery & tattoo studio Florida, Audain Museum.

la carmina tokyo japan tiktok videos tokyo instagrammer tiktokker

In the dog days of The Collapse, I have some unusually happy news… I’m going to be in Japan for a month, on a business visa! I was invited on a journalism project with the Japanese Embassy, and am delighted to be exploring Tokyo and Tohoku.

As you may know, Japan has essentially returned to “sakoku” (isolationism) since spring 2020. While most countries have re-opened to tourism, the Japanese government is still keeping its doors closed. (Some tourists are technically now allowed in, but there are enormous costs and hurdles: monitor tours, set itineraries, expensive and limited flights, and other restrictions.)

entering japan on business visa, tourist visas application tourism

I used be in Japan every year on average for work, and never imagined that I’d be shut out of the country for several years. I’m thankful for the opportunity to visit on a business / work visa, and will soak up every moment of being back in Tokyo with friends.

And this means… I’ll be back to reporting firsthand on Japanese subcultures and fashion for your pain and pleasure! Please stay tuned to the blog and @LaCarmina on Instagram / Twitter / Facebook to see my 2022 Japan adventures. And please let me know if you have tips for things to see, do and eat in Tokyo — I’ll do my best to check them out for you. (Above two photos by Said Karlsson, hair Lulu K.)

japan pcr test for tourism business visa entry

Rules are changing all the time but as of this post, Japan requires all inbound travelers to have a negative PCR or NAAT test, within 72 hours before flying. The rules are rather complex, as the Japanese government asks for a particular certification to be issued, and only allows certain types of tests.

I was relieved to be in the good hands of Iridia Medical in Vancouver, as they are experts in the process and knew exactly what was needed to enter Japan. I got a Rapid NAAT NEAR Molecular Test, which involved a shallow nasal swab (no discomfort). It only took 15-20 minutes for me to get my result, as the testing is done right there and isn’t sent to a lab. Iridia also provided me with a “Negative Test Result Certificate” as required by the Japanese government. Iridia Medical makes pre-travel testing as easy as can be — thank you for the kind and professional care!

the little book of satanism la carmina lucien greaves author books satanist satanic temple

And a thank you to all of you for your support for my upcoming book! If you missed the news: The Little Book of Satanism: A Guide to Satanic History, Culture & Wisdom will be out right before Halloween, published by Simon & Schuster!

My Satanic guidebook is a historical-cultural look at the development of Satanism through the ages to today. With a foreword by Lucien Greaves of The Satanic Temple, “The Little Book of Satanism” covers the debut of the Devil in Biblical texts and legends, precursor Satanic groups, modern Satanist religions, the Devil in film and music, the Satanic Panic, rituals and holidays, and much more.

My fourth book is now available for preorder via: Amazon | Barnes and Noble |  Chapters/Indigo | Bookshop | other retailers worldwide.

See the book cover, interior, and more info HERE — and thank you for sharing and preordering!

satanic planet t-shirt lucien greaves band satanist reproductive rights tee merch

Before I board my flight to Japan, let me wrap up some of my 2022 photoshoots and travels. I am wearing a Satanic Planet band t-shirt from Shirtkiller — this is the musical group of Lucien Greaves (The Satanic Temple co-founder and spokesperson), Luke Henshaw (Planet B, Sonido de la Frontera), Dave Lombardo (Slayer, Misfits, Suicidal Tendencies, Dead Cross), and Justin Pearson (The Locust, Dead Cross, Swing Kids, Deaf Club).

satanic planet tshirt shirtkiller satan temple shirts merchandise logo

The struggle for justice is ongoing… 100% of band royalty from all Satanic Planet merchandise / clothing at Shirtkiller goes to The Satanic Temple’s Religious Reproductive Rights campaigns.

vincent castiglia tattoo artist blood painter goth metal paintings

Speaking of dark matters… I still have a story from my Florida trip to share. While I was in Miami last March, I swung by Ft Lauderdale to visit Vincent Castiglia Gallery and Custom Tattoo! (Address: 2227 S Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316)

I’ve long admired Vincent’s art, and was delighted to visit him shortly after the opening of his Florida gallery and studio.

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Vincent Castiglia paints entirely in human blood… which is why his powerful, figurative surrealist works are in this signature red rust color! Vincent literally bleeds for his art — he uses his own lifeblood as his medium, sometime mixing it with blood volunteered by clients.

vincent castiglia tattoo studio parlor tattooing art giger

Visitors to Vincent Castiglia’s gallery can also book an appointment at his tattoo studio. With over 22 years of experience, Vincent is renown tattoo artist who works in black and grey — the detailed examples on his walls speak for themselves. He can create a custom tattoo for you in a variety of styles, from realistic to biomechanical.

Vincent Castiglia blood paintings exhibition art

Perhaps Vincent Castiglia’s paintings might make you think of the visions of H. R. Giger. In fact, Vincent was the first American artist to have a solo exhibition at the H. R. Giger Museum, and formed a bond with the Alien visionary himself. (You may remember my pilgrimage to the HR Giger Museum and Bar in Gruyeres a few years.)

Vincent Castiglia band album covers art satanic

Rather fittingly, Vincent’s iron oxide artwork is beloved by heavy metal musicians. His work is seen seen on albums, guitars, and other commissions by bands such as Slayer.

artist Vincent Castiglia the satanic temple exhibit

What a treat to be able to see Vincent’s blood-works up close. Many of his pieces touch upon death, transience, and humanity’s mortal coil (note the caduceus, neurons, and surgical tools in the one above).

morbid macabre art painted in human blood

Vincent had a show at The Satanic Temple headquarters in Salem a few years ago, and he has exhibited works at top galleries worldwide. You can purchase striking prints (like “Feeding,” above) and original artwork on Vincent Castiglia’s site.

vincent castiglia human blood paintings ft lauderdale studio gallery

Vincent designed the interior of his Fort Lauderdale gallery / tattoo studio himself, and it features high ceilings and cathedral arch cut outs.

vincent castiglia blood paintings art gallery

You’ve got to see his blood paintings in person for the full effect — so the next time you’re in Florida, I encourage you to visit Vincent Castiglia Gallery and Tattoo. 

atelier de charlotte long leather boots heels, empire records movie wardrobe

You’re going to be inundated with Japan photos soon… but before I jet to Tokyo, let me share some recent Vancouver shoots.

Does this outfit remind you of Liv Tyler in the 1990s? It’s inspired by the movie Empire Records! Her record store character wears a similar cropped baby blue sweater and plaid skirt combo, with boots.

My Empire Records ensemble is also from Kpop / Kdrama fashion company Fashion Chingu.

empire records cosplay costume style liv tyler character clothing

I accessorized with an Inle Heritage Silk headband from Thread Tales Company. Their handwoven ikat design matches my hair and has a vintage vibe. Thread Tales’ accessories are zero waste (they use off-cuts from their cushion production) and support local artisans.

audain art museum whistler patkau architects entrance

I also had an art adventure at Audain Museum in Whistler, BC. How marvelous is the West Coast modern building, by Patkau Architects?

audain art museum whistler bc photography inside

Audain’s architecture uses wood and glass to let in light, and highlight Whistler’s mountainous surroundings. (Whistler is the famous ski and nature destination, about a 1.5 hour drive north from Vancouver.)

audain museum whistler british columbia architecture modern wood

Audain Art Museum’s dramatic exterior and walkway are excellent for outfit shots. (My new split dye purple-pink hair is by Katya at Kore Salon in Vancouver. BC.)

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I’m holding a Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon tote from the Maje Paris x Sailor Moon collection. As a fan of the Sailor Scouts since childhood, I was pleased to find a designer book bag with a kawaii / anime element.

sailor moon maje paris capsule collab book bag totes

“In the name of The Moon, I’ll punish you!” Here is an Instagram @LaCarmina video of my Sailor Moon x Maje large blue tote bag, which has a Usagi / Serena print and can fit many items (including a bouquet of pink flowers).

maje sailor moon tote bag purse blue usagi print majexsailormoon

I paired my Maje Sailor Moon bag with chunky black leather loafers, and scrunch socks by We Love Colors,

Shop the Maje Paris x Sailor Moon clothing line below:

inside audain museum exhibitions architecture design wood glass

The carvings in the column hint at Audain Art Museum’s goal: to showcase art from British Columbia, particularly from Indigenous creators.

bc native indigenous art museum masks

I was impressed by the displays of intricately carved masks inside. Doesn’t the one on the right look like Michael Jackson?

big dogfish mask audain museum hallway robert davidson artist

At the end of the long hallway, I met the Dogfish — an enormous mask by Haida artist Robert Davidson.

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Don’t let a rainy day keep you from exploring. (Images taken on my new Sony a7 IV mirrorless camera.)

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The native masks and statues at Audain were fascinating — I enjoyed reading about the legends behind the spirits depicted.

Maje Sailor Moon Limited Edition Capsule clothing collaboration collection totes bags

A last look at my new half-and-half split colored hairstyle. More from the Maje x Sailor Moon fashion capsule collection below:

And now, I must finish packing my business visa and documents… as I’m off to Japan! If you have questions about visiting Japan under the current restrictions, or suggestions for things to do in Tokyo, please leave me a note. Add @LaCarmina on Instagram / Twitter / Facebook for a deluge of Japan updates.

And thank you again for supporting / sharing / preordering my upcoming book! Details about The Little Book of Satanism can be found here.

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Studio Allston: Boston art & design boutique hotel review! The Hourly Oyster House, Cambridge seafood restaurant.

studio allston hotel patio mural art restaurant

I’ll admit it feels good to be back in my element this summer: traveling, seeing friends, and experiencing creative food and art wherever I go.

I got to do all of the above during my colorful stay at Studio Allston Hotel in Boston, MA — as well as while dining outdoors at The Hourly Oyster House in nearby Cambridge!

studio allston boston theme hotel, movie screening room

Located in the Allston neighborhood of Boston (west of downtown / the harbor), Studio Allston is a hotel and visual experience rolled into one. The property partnered with 22 local and national artists to fill the spaces with giant murals, modern furniture, and other funky decorative elements.

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Each of the 117 guest rooms is filled with energetic art, but 10 of these are signature suites designed by a different artist. These luxurious rooms have themes that include gaming, runway chic, and cosmos / space.

I was thrilled to have the movie screening themed suite, which is set up with colorful Ligne Roset Togo couches, and a retro-style fridge for drinks and snacks!

boxed water, hotel room wine gifts

The marvelous Studio Allston staff surprised me with wine, postcards, and eco-friendly boxed water in my room.

studio allston hotel rooms suites movie screening party

I couldn’t have imagined a cooler place to stay in: the “Reel Countdown Movie Suite” designed by Cyrille Conan. The 500+ square foot suite includes a king bedroom and separate living area, and industrial film lights that add to the theme.

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The room’s large-screen TV has tons of channels, or you can easily connect your device via Google Chromecast to stream shows.

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I got cozy in the corner seat, and dove into the first three episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney+.

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As you can see, the separate bedroom is also huge and filled with inspiration. 

studio allston hotel review bedroom interior design

The “art head boards” add a lively touch to the modern amenities. My room at Studio Allston had everything I needed for a luxurious stay, including a full-sized bathtub.

studio allston hotel colorful rainbow lobby

The floor-to-ceiling art immersion begins as soon as you enter Studio Allston’s lobby.

vaporwave hotel paintings art decor

Like the rooms, the lobby is gargantuan (one of the benefits of staying outside the compact downtown area). I was into the vaporwave 90s pastel throwback vibe of this lounge area.

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Boston’s edgy Allston neighborhood is filled with contemporary galleries and public art installations, much like this inventive hotel. Studio Allston is also right by Charles River (you can stroll across the bridge to the Harvard Cambridge district), and walking distance from Trader Joe’s (I went several times to stock up! Try the canned dolmades, oven-baked cheese bites, and hard kombucha).

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Studio Allston’s playful spaces encourage you to take part in the fun. There are Instagrammable spots such as these picture frames, and a ping pong table for impromptu games.

colorful elevator studio allston hippest boston hotels

Now that’s a disco elevator if I’ve ever seen one.

neon elevator coolest elevators designs

No space is left un-glammed. Studio Allston lights up its elevator with pink neon, letters and numbers.

studio allston outdoor lounge breakfast

Every morning, Studio Allston serves free breakfast, which you can eat indoors or outside on the deck. There’s also a table of free coffee and tea available at all times for guests.

studio allston art gallery exhibition photography

Studio Allston’s ground level Gallery Space also hosts rotating exhibits. At the time of my stay, there was a long hallway lined with photographer Jay Lamour’s flamboyant portraits.

vaporwave interior design decor statue pastel colors

Can you tell that I felt inspired to #StayOutsideTheFrame, at Studio Allston?

studio allston building exterior hotel outside

Notice the painted van outside… that’s yet another art piece!

Cheers to Studio Allston Hotel (Boston, Massachusetts) for the hip stay. I especially dug the boutique hotel’s themed suites, groovy decor and location — and I think you would too.

harvard faculty club building satanic temple founders met

From Allston, you can take a quick Uber or walk across Charles Bridge to Cambridge, MA. I had the best time moseying around Harvard Square and taking in the ivy-and-brick atmosphere, such as at the Harvard Faculty Club. Stop for an iced tea at Tatte and pop into the Harvard Book Store, Leavitt & Peirce cigar and oddities shop, and Cardullo’s Gourmet Shoppe.

the hourly oyster house seafood restaurant cambridge ma

After a few hours of walking around Cambridge, MA, I was ready for dinner at The Hourly Oyster House in the heart of Harvard Square. The restaurant sits in a classic building and is named after the “hourlies,” or horse-drawn wagons that used to roll past its location on 15 Dunster Street.

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The Hourly Oyster House invites diners to enjoy thoughtfully sourced and playfully prepared seafood and oysters from New England and beyond. The welcoming staff is terrific at explaining the daily catch and shellfish, which can include a tray of freshly-shucked oysters from Massachusetts, Maine, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island.

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I was charmed by the old-school ambiance of The Hourly, including a long bar and stools where you can sit and choose oysters.

hourly oyster house bar craft cocktails drink menu

The old-school bar serves wine and craft cocktails based on traditional recipes, but with modern touches. I’m still savoring my blood orange negroni with gin, Campari and vermouth — and the “Interrobang” with bourbon, apricot, and honey.

the hourly cambridge restaurant dinner food menu

I love to eat fish and seafood, and had a hard time choosing from the list of tantalizing appetizers! I pondered the calamari, lobster bisque, clam chowder, grilled octopus, tuna or fluke crudo… In the end, we went with the blistered shishito peppers, and New England cod cakes (with pickled onion, greens, and remoulade).

The Hourly Oyster House - Menu, prices, restaurant reviews

When it came to the main courses, you couldn’t go wrong with any of the ocean options. Here’s the grilled swordfish with arugula, fingerling potatoes, tomato conserva, and Parmesan. You can taste the high quality of each ingredient, and the fish’s subtle flavors.

dessert, risotto with scallops hourly oyster restaurant boston

The juicy scallops were perfectly seared and came with mushroom risotto, broccolini, parmesan, and lemon for tang. For dessert, go for the mango panna cotta with a superb passionfruit whipped cream.

The Hourly Oyster House is the place to be, if you’re a fish and seafood aficionado like me. Thank you to the staff for the friendly welcome and meal to remember.

the hong kong restaurant cambridge harvard square the satanic temple black mass ritual

While at Harvard Square, I also stopped by The Hong Kong restaurant for a photo. This is where The Satanic Temple’s 2014 Black Mass ended up taking place, as TST was not allowed to enact it at Harvard due to Catholic protestors. (The campus-adjacent Chinese restaurant, however, welcomes all religions!)

Speaking of the Devil… There’s another new episode of our show, “Satanic Show + Tell,” on The Satanic Temple TV. Dr John and I interview Carl Abrahamsson — notorious filmmaker, musician and author in the Satanic tradition. Watch our latest episode to learn about Carl’s friendship with Genesis P-Orridge, how he received a letter from Anton LaVey and was invited to the Black House, and other hellish tales tied to his rare collectibles. (See the trailer here, and watch our show here.)

maje sailor moon purse bag blue tote, emilio pucci oversize pink round sunglasses

And in case you’re wondering, my tote bag is from the Maje x Sailor Moon collection. My pink round oversized sunglasses are by Emilio Pucci. Find more Pucci eyewear below:

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