The Google Street View project in Thailand ran into a spot of trouble a few months back when a Street View worker was accused of being a government spy by villagers in Phrae province, while there are also complaints that the technology records too much information. BK caught up with Chawin Srabour, 25, Street View driver-operator, and Anuchit Jittranakul, 42, who is the program’s manager in Thailand, to get the lowdown on their operation.  
How did you get the job? 
Chawin: I used to be a freelance photographer. I was asked by the Google team if I was passionate about traveling, able to deal with unexpected situations, be observant and fast working—I answered yes and I got the job.
How is the project coming along since its launch in 2011?
Anuchit: Right now, we’ve shot 25 provinces. By the end of the year, we are launching the Street View special collections, which involves the use of a camera backpack to capture areas that cars cannot access.
What’s your biggest concern on the job? 
Chawin: The Street View camera is very expensive and I need to take good care of it. Each operator drives alone. It takes independence and a strong mind. 
How do people react when they see your car? 
Chawin: They’re curious, but mostly in a positive way. Many people ask me who we are and what we are doing. We explain to them that we are promoting tourism, like when we met Burmese troops controlling the border in the Northern provinces. We simply told them that we want to show images of the area so that travelers can be aware of the real situation there. 
How do you handle unexpected events that might pop up?
Anuchit: Our safety is the most important thing; when any of us are in trouble, we stop working, and go and help each other. I am based in Bangkok, and every morning I turn on the GPS tracker to see which car has their device on. If one’s not on, I’ll call them to check if everything is OK or if there’s been an accident. 
Tell us about the infamous spy accusations.
Chawin: They thought our car was suspicious, not knowing that the equipment on top was a camera. We showed them the documents and explained our project to them, saying that we worked with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to promote tourism. We were lucky that the head of Street View was a local and can speak their dialect. This made them more accepting of us. We were asked to confess the truth in front of the monks. We did it and showed our respect to them. We’d been trained on what to say when locals approach us. We are trained to be polite, calm and truthful to villagers; to respect their property. 
What’s your most memorable experience on the job?
Chawin: I drove past a spirit house, the camera captured the location, and then all the power turned off. I don’t know what happened! 


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The latest crop of Japanese restaurants to open in town.

Kaze Fresh Japanese Restaurant 

The buzz: Situated in the Thonglor neighborhood this stylish restaurant is perfect if you’re in the mood for a classic sushi bar menu and vibe. Despite the lack of fusion food, Kaze isn’t boring, thanks to décor that’s fit for a Thonglorite.

The décor: A mix of marble and wood, a painting of Koi carp, warm lights and two floors to choose from: the sushi bar where the chef shows off his skills and the dining room upstairs. 

The food: The highlights are the light battered tempura moriawase (prawns and vegetable, B360), or opt for the set of nine bites comprising fish like otoro, anago, engawa and uni (B3,200). The restaurant uses beef sourced from Kagishima (B450), said to be tastier than the more commonly found wagyu. If you’re still hungry, indulge in some rice topped with foie gras (B550).

The drinks: A standard selection of sake starts from B130 with the recommendations including Ozeki Karatanba (B4,000 for 1.8 liter).

The crowd: A mix of trendy Thais and Japanese expats. 

318 Sukhumvit 55 (between Thonglor Soi 10 and 12), 02-392-3544. Open daily noon-2pm, 5-10:30pm


The buzz: Sen-ryo imports everything from Japan; from its chef to the crockery, and of course nearly every ingredient used to create the traditional dishes on its menu. The attention to detail extends to the water they use to clean the fish and cook their rice, which is cleaned through reverse osmosis. The first Sen-ryo outside of Japan was in Hong Kong and it’s a pretty big deal out there, with customers lining up for lunch.

The décor: Simple, elegant sofa seating along the conveyor belt and the requisite light-colored wooden furnishings. Private rooms are also available.

The food: Mainly classic sushi dishes. Plates placed on the conveyor belt have a chip attached to them to ensure freshness by getting automatically removed from the belt after a certain amount of time. Recommended dishes include the fresh kama toro sushi (tuna cheeks, B350), salmon roe sushi (B280), wagyu beef (B480) and incredibly creamy sea urchin (B780).

The drinks: Sake starts at B240/glass and beers include Asahi Draft (B75), Singha (B125) and Heineken (B90).

The crowd: Mainly Japanese expats from the area.

RG01, Nihonmura Mall, 85 Thonglor Soi 13, 02-712-9688. Open daily 11:30am-2pm and 6-10pm


The buzz: Set on the corner of Thonglor Soi 10, Kaguya serves a mix of contemporary Japanese and French cuisine under the same management team as its next door neighbor, Wine Republic. The hip young crowds should dig the DJ, lengthy cocktail list and one of the most stylish decors on the strip.

The décor: A layered series of screens, from bamboo strips to rods tied into narrow scaffolding, filter warm light through their golden, natural colors. Choose from bar seating under the glowing yellow cloud of light, outdoor sofas, or the vividly colored dining room’s orange and sea green chairs. 

The food: Start off with an aromatic, velvety vanilla soup with seared scallop (B200) followed by red mullet with black olive and lemon (B320) and 56-hour sous-vide wagyu tongue with soy sauce, rosemary and thyme (B420). Aside from the sashimi and sushi bar, Kaguya serves main dishes like grilled king crab’s leg with sautéed mushroom and caramelized leek puree (B1,300) or lamb rack marinated in herbal miso, rosemary foam, kimchi mashed potato and mint ponzu (B1,000).

The drinks: This place takes its drinks very seriously. Cocktails include Gentleman’s Truth (Tanquery gin, Violet, herbal liqueur, citrus, oregano, B320) and the bartender’s own creation’s, such as Panna (Gold Label, Fireball cinnamon whiskey, honey, pineapple juice, B280). Beers include Hoegaarden (B160), Norrebro (B280), Mikkeller (B280) among others. They also have an impressive list of Japanese spirits categorized by taste such as woody, mellow, fruity, peaty and floral from B220-900. 

The crowd: Groups of hip and well-heeled Thonglorites.

The Third Place, 137 Thonglor Soi 10, 02-714-9974. Open Mon-Fri 5:30pm-1am and Sat-Sun 11am-2pm, 5:30pm-1am

Sushi Planet

The buzz: From California to Bangkok, the chain restaurant Sushi Planet has landed in Bangkok, where it serves up its signature fusion rolls from the original venues with tweaks designed to better suit the Thai palate.

The décor: Casual and simple with TV screens tuned to football emphasizing the laid-back atmosphere. 

The food: Contemporary rolls which use lots of spicy mayo, jalapeno and avocado. The recommendations include Oh My God (rolls with spicy shrimp salad, shrimp tempura, salmon and avocado on top, B395) and Big Boss (rolls with shrimp tempura, crab salad and cucumber inside with seared tuna and fried red onion with spicy karashi sauce, B375). You can also sample some light appetizers such as the Japanese ceviche (B355) or drop by on the lunchtime for lunch sets ranging from B195-B290.

The drinks: Asahi draft beer is B99. The Ozeki hot sake is B249 and Berry Mix Sparkling Jelly sake is B250. A selection of wine starts from B120 by glass. 

The crowd: The majority of the customers are Western expats and families from the ‘hood.

Athenee Residence, Soi Ruamrudee, BTS Ploen Chit, 02-168-5214. Open daily 11am-10pm 

Kokoro Hello Japanese 

The buzz: Located in the community mall Rainhill, Kokoro promises a traditional cooking style led by Japanese Chef Mi Chan whose experience spans over four decades.

The décor: Warm and sophisticated, with views over Sukhumvit, the restaurant is divided between a sushi and cocktail bar at the front, and private rooms decorated with traditional paintings out back. 

The food: Besides classic dishes like otoro sushi (B690), uni sushi (B469) and buri kama shioyaki (grilled salted yellowtail cheek, B1,090), the place also recommends their deep broth shabu (B690) for a smooth addition to your meal. You could also opt for the sashimi set (B1,490). And don’t leave without trying the delicious coffee jelly (B100).

The drink: Sake ranges from B320 to B1,800. Beers covers everything from Singha (B80) and Heineken (B90) to Federbrau light (B140). 

The crowd: Thai families and groups of friends seeking convenience and tradition rolled into one sushi joint.

3/F, Rain Hill, Sukhumvit Soi 47, 02-261-7539-40. BTS Phrom Phong/Thong Lo. Open daily 11:30am-10pm

more Japanese restaurants in Bangkok


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After studying in the USA, Peem Wansit Chatikavanij, 25, became a huge fan of lacrosse and wanted to keep playing it when he returned to Thailand. Three years ago, he set up Thai Community Lacrosse (TCL) with the aim of helping kids in the slums of Bangkok play the sport. BK caught up with him as he wrapped up a lacrosse lesson with the elementary students of Wat Klong Teoi Nai School in Klong Toey.

How did Thai Community Lacrosse begin?

In 2011, I was sitting at a coffee shop with my friends. We’d just got back from the States after living there for more than 10 years. We’d played lacrosse there and we talked about bringing it to Thailand. So we set up TCL, an independent non-profit organization to teach lacrosse to slum kids and help them through sport.

What kind of kids are in the program?

Many of them used to sniff glue and some of them used to be in drug gangs. The kids are controlled by the drug dealers who transport the drugs around the slum through the kids.

You must have come across some bad cases?

Yes there is a situation with one fourth grader who used to play with us. His parents are drug addicts and have spent time in jail. One day, he didn’t show up to practice and we found that the reason was his mom had gotten him out of school and forced him to work so she can buy more drugs. We try to help him but it’s a family matter. At the end of the day, this kind of problem is beyond our reach. The school talks to the parents of the kids and suggests our lacrosse program as an after-school activity, but when they get home, it’s a family affair.

What is the toughest challenge teaching these kids?

To make them trust us. The kids have so many random people giving them free stuff at school [as charity] and they never come back. I think they feel unwanted a lot of times. People come and try to be their friends but then they go and they never get to see them again. We tried to gain their trust by practicing three times a week in the first year. We wanted to make them feel like we are always there.

How do you keep in touch with the kids after they leave the lacrosse club?

There are two ways to track the kids. The first is through the school, however we are also trying to develop an alumni of all the previous lacrosse players. Every year, I set up an event for the kids to come and play lacrosse together. Some of them continue their studies while some kids have to work for a living. It’s really up to the kids whether they use the experiences they get from us to change their lives. Many have decided not to get involved with the gangs and have turned into good citizens.

Thai Community Lacrosse,, 02-348-8379


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Gus Theetawit Settachas, 27, is a graphic designer but he also runs a Facebook page with 121,000 likes. Banteuk Khong Tood (“The Diary of a Homo,” is made up of fictional and non-fictional status updates which bring to life, in a few short paragraphs, the lives of gay men in Bangkok.

What did you do before you had your own Facebook page?
I am a user interface designer for tech products. But I have always loved writing since I was in fifth grade. I had my own diary to record my personal life. I also wrote poems and novels for fun. But I don’t take writing seriously. Originally, this page was more like having a journal for myself.
What is the inspiration behind your page?
Before Tood’s Diary, I had created another page posting funny statuses about the flood situation back in 2011. It was fun and personal. A fan of mine shared it on, and that’s how people started to get to know me.
Are your status updates based on true stories?
They are usually real events and situations but I like to play around with words to make it more entertaining. If I make something up, it’s only to protect the people in the story from being recognized by my readers. I am very open, though. I mean, who wouldn’t
be able to guess that I have had my nose done?
How do you meet these people?  
They are my friends. When we hang out, we share stories and that’s what I draw from. But before I post anything related to them,
I call and ask for their permission first.
When do you write, and how often?
I have no rules or limit. I think of something to say in the morning while I am walking on the treadmill and type it on my iPhone, and then I edit and read it again during the day before I post. Usually I post every other day, but if I find something really interesting, I post right away.
Any haters on your page?
Not yet. Most readers are supportive. My fans are mostly working women, gays, teenagers and men who love to read. Some fans are the wives of foreigners who live in Europe! They read my page and translate it for their husbands. I read every comment and I love it when they share my posts. I’m so happy that I can make them laugh.
Any crazy fans?
There is one woman who works in the same building as I do. She kinda stalks me. When I go to the cafeteria, she follows me.
Who is your idol?
Beyonce is my favorite superstar. My mom is my role model.
Why do your readers like you?
I think I can keep them motivated. When I talk about women or gays who have experienced awful dates or did not get treated well, I don’t necessary try to tell that story as a lesson; most of the time, people don’t deserve the bad stuff that happens to them. But people can relate to their own experiences, it might help them cope.


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Newly signed to RS Production subsidiary Garden Music, New Folder are a fresh-faced five-piece that blend pop/bossa/R&B and acapella. BK caught up with members Fai Patthaya Vasanasiri, 22, Tan Taofa Maneeprasopchok, 24, Ozone Satachai Tippawat, 18, and Thurs Panupak Choknakawaro, 18, to talk about their debut single, “Rak Ter Tua Pen Keau” (Too Busy Loving You), which has over 200,000 views on YouTube, and what makes each member so different.

BK: What’s the story behind your debut single?
Fai: This song is positive, fun, creative and easy to listen to. The lyrics are made up of our conversations. We want to introduce the differences that define each of us because we come from different places with different personalities. But once you get to know us, it’s like clicking to open a new folder of friends.
In what ways are you different?
Ozone: I love fashion and I love wearing red. I tone it down a little bit when working with the group. I am into action and sci-fi movies. 
Fai: I love jazz, bossa and folk pop. I am a lot like Tan because we love art. I also love reading and writing poems.
Thurs: I play basketball and rugby and I am a captain of the school team. I am also into working out. I play guitar and drums and love watching comedy movies.
Tan: I am more artistic and dramatic. Fai is very meticulous. Thurs loves to be silly, he is so fun to chill out with.
Ozone: Thurs is very chill. Whenever the others are discussing something and seem to have a problem, Thurs doesn’t feel the pressure at all. He has no idea what is going on.
What do you think of Thai teenagers nowadays?
Tan: When I was a teenager, I was taught to never stand out in a crowd. If I did something different, people would gossip and talk behind my back. Now, teenagers accept and embrace their differences and are not shy to express themselves.
Ozone: Today, teenagers grow up quickly and they are confident in what they do. I think the media is the driving force behind this.
What are your biggest dreams?
Ozone: I want to become a pilot or a racing car driver. I want to make money from music and look after my parents.
Tan: My biggest dream is to perform on Broadway. I also want to travel the world. When I was studying in Chile, I got lost in the forest for a whole day and nobody was there to guide me. After that, I learned that we should do whatever we want because life is too short.
Fai: I’d love to own a nice house in the country and open an art school for children. Art is all around us: writing, drawing, design, music and beyond. I want younger generations to see art is a way of life.  
Thurs: I want to be a magician because I love showing tricks to my friends. But my biggest dream is to be a good father; I want to have a baby in the future.  
Ozone: Thurs always talks about babies and he doesn’t understand why some people don’t buy big cars to fit the whole family and instead buy fancy sport cars!



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Pitipong Pongdam, 
33, freelance fashion stylist for The Magazine Bangkok PostElle MagazineHamburger,Touch Magazine.
Instagram: @p_u_n
What’s hot right now?  
Camouflage prints, sweatpants, sweatshirts, snapback caps, wedges, sneakers, plaid-prints and tartans.
What are the trends this season?  
Grunge rock is making a comeback. From classic 90s bands like Nirvana, top designers like Versace and Saint Laurent are adopting plaid shirts, ripped jeans, combat boots and snapback hats. The colors of the season are red, purple and bright color pieces to make a statement.  
How is fashion changing in Bangkok?
Instagram, Lookbook and bloggers are very influential to young people. They wear what the celebrities are wearing. Their looks and street fashion come from the trends around the world. Brands like Zara, Topshop, and Forever 21 set the trends here because they tap into these international trends.
What direction do you see for the Thai fashion industry?
Young people are embracing ready-to-wear styles from global high street fashion brands, pushing Thai brands to stay competitive. Young people are open to a lot of new things. Trends evolve from our environment, movies, art and so on. Global events can have a big impact on trends; after 9/11, for example, people wore a lot of dark colors. Ready-to-wear allows you to mix and match pieces from previous or present collections.
What do you think about the growth of fashion magazines in Thailand?
Young Thai people get a lot of inspiration from local and international magazines like Cheeze and Nylon. Bloggers are also very influential. The internet delivers new styles really fast. Compared to the street fashion of my generation, where everybody wore Thai designer brands, the trend is shifting towards the high-street as a result of global trends.
It, 19, fashion student
Jumpsuit: Playhound
Clutch: JJ Market
Shoes: Chane
Siri Sirisubjanan, 23, freelance
Top: Uniqlo 
Dress: H&M
Shoes: Nike

"Compared to the street fashion of my generation, where everybody wore Thai designer brands, the trend is shifting towards the high-street."



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Kamonnart Ongwandee, 
22, assistant designer at Greyhound Original, blogger at
Facebook: kamonnart
What’s hot right now?  
Masculine tailoring, black and white, super bold (and old) graphic prints, oversized and rounded shoulders.
What are the trends to watch out for?
Nineties minimalism is a major trend this season, in all aspects of culture like music and film as well as fashion. Austrian-born designer Helmut Lang and Japanese designer Issey Miyake are the driving forces behind this move towards 90s minimalist cool.
How is fashion changing in Bangkok?
The increase of local and international fashion brands mean consumers have more choice and more chance to have fun with what they wear. With local designers up against international brands like Zara and H&M to provide affordable prices, they need to come up with super-creative ideas to keep up. The counterfeit market also makes it hard for local designers to survive; they need to be innovative by creating new textures which can’t be easily copied.  
What do you think about the growth of fashion magazines in Bangkok?  
I think it’s great; locals can enjoy more up-to-date global fashion and lifestyle news. Young people are having more fun dressing up and getting inspired by the global trends. They’re also supporting new artists, including fashion designers, photographers, stylists, make-up artists and so on, meaning there’s more opportunity for anyone interested in working in the fashion industry. But fashion influencers are still limited as young Thai people tend to follow celebrities. I think it would be more fun for people to explore new styles from those who really embrace different tastes.
Who is your fashion icon?
Stella McCartney is my favorite because she only uses faux fur and really connects with nature.
Boripat Singkaew, 23, graphic designer and illustrator
Hat: Siam
Top: Uniquo
Bottoms: Muji
Bag: Siam 
Shoes: Converse
Nadda Kank, 32, advertising freelance
Top: Zara
Skirt: Siam Street shops
Sandals: Siam Street shops
Hat: Jatujak Market

"Young Thai people tend to follow celebrities. I think it would be more fun for people to explore new styles from those who really embrace different tastes."



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Sompobb “Hippo” Kittisaratham, 
24, freelance stylist
Instagram: @hypesompobbk
Facebook: vhptz, hypewrks
What’s hot?
Sportswear, cropped tops and sweatpants.
What are the trends this season?
Bold graphic prints, minimalistic and futuristic designs and transparency.
How is fashion changing in Bangkok?
Bangkok is more cosmopolitan than ever before, and is seeing Thai people become braver and more confident to dress up and express their style. However, celebrities are still the main fashion influencers, with many young Thai people seeing them as inspirations or icons. But there are also other fashion influencers who are known more among smaller groups or subcultures.  
What impact has the growth of fashion magazines had?
I think it’s great but it doesn’t really match the Thai lifestyle. Many people still do not consider buying magazines or stick to just one publication. With so many international magazines coming out in the market, some lack quality and standards. Sometimes the hottest international fashion magazines don’t have the same appeal and soul when it comes to the Thai version. It’s not helping make Thailand appear trendy on the global stage. I think the art and beauty of fashion magazines are still missing here—it’s sad that they are so mass-focused.
Who is your fashion idol?
Late British designer Alexander McQueen is my favorite because he was not concerned with catering to the masses, but created his collections purely from his passion for the arts.
Where is your favorite fashion city?
Tokyo. I like how the Japanese dress up in the streets—whether in Shinjuku or Harajuku, they are so confident to wear what they want. I think dressing up is all about being brave as an expression of one’s self. A lot of Thais tend to worry about what others will think if they wear something different, but Japanese people dress up for themselves. 
Tada, 25, stylist and designer 
Top: Tommy Hilfiger
Bottoms: H&M
Shoes: H&M
BND, 23, designer of Fuxury 

"Dressing up is all about being brave as an expression of one’s self."



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Supakasem “Mile” Chanapas, 25, 
fashion stylist at L’Officiel Thailand

Instagram: @milesupakasem
What’s hot on the streets at the moment?
Sportswear, relaxed trousers, jumpers, snapback hats, sneakers.
What are the trends on the runways?
A hint of punk, rock and grunge, camouflage, chess print, winter floral print, graphic art, polka dots.
How is fashion changing in Bangkok?
On the streets, Thai people are more expressive than ever before: they have their own sense of style and are not afraid to be different. Still, most Thai designers choose celebrities or so-called celebrity friends to present their clothes.
What do you think about the growth of fashion magazines in Thailand?
The fashion magazine industry is opening up to different groups of readers, but it’s harder for each magazine to be original, creative and unique. However, most readers consume style and fashion from Thai actresses and celebrities, often through social networks. A lot of people are still unaware that there are other art and fashion magazines that put the emphasis on individual style.
What’s the impact of the new fashion magazines in Thailand?
Readers now have more options while getting dressed up. They are more adept at mixing high street fashion brands and luxury fashion brands derived from the global fashion trends.
Do you have favorite fashion designers?
I love the sporty, dark, cool and stunningly creative collections by Rick Owen and I adore the fluid volume and unique textures of Damir Doma—his clothes are statement pieces that men and women can adapt to their outfit easily.
Where does your fashion inspiration come from?
Korean street fashion. Koreans are good at matching high fashion brands and street brands. Right now, Korean girls love to wear sporty outfits that still look feminine.
Max, 42, hairdresser
Cap: NYA 
Top: Chaps 
Bottoms: Chaps
Shoes: DM
Suthatip Air, 24, student
Top: Union Mall

"Thai people are more expressive than ever before: they have their own sense of style and are not afraid to be different."



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Natthadej “Strong” Theveethivarak,
21, fashion designer 
Instagram: @alwaysheadstrong
What’s hot?
Oversized sweaters, ripped jeans, sneakers.
What are the trends this season?
Nineties sportswear and kicks, and old-school hip hop and R&B get-ups similar to what TLC or Destiny’s Child wore­—trends that many of us are familiar with from growing up. The trend has also evolved from Alexander Wang, who has been conveying a casual but confident attitude since 2007. The trends have become younger, too, to appeal to Generation Y.
How is fashion changing in Bangkok?
Right now, Thai people are adopting trends from Korean street fashion, which is usually a copy of what the Koreans copy from Japanese or global trends. At the same time, many Thai women dislike wearing oversized clothing, tending to wear party outfits which are too short, too fitted, too sexy and too showy.
What do you think about the growth of fashion magazines in Thailand?
I think Thai people tend to consume fashion and trends, whether it’s food, drinks and mobile phones, through celebrity endorsements in the media. Regarding fashion magazines, I think the market is too broad as readers do not know which magazine to buy or read. It’s important that magazines try to change the attitude of readers and support Thai designers who make clothes that are focused not on mass endorsement by celebrities but rather on original designs.
Who is your fashion icon?
UK fashion designer J.W. Anderson. I was lucky enough to intern with him before I graduated.
Best Jareonthamasuk, 23, makeup artist
Top: Yeti Shop
Bottoms: DIY by Bset
Shoes: Milin
Bag: Aristotle
Knatz, DJ, 
Cap: Stussy
Top: Chap Man
Bottom: APC
Shoes: Jordan
"Thai women dislike wearing oversized clothing, tending to wear party outfits which are too short, too fitted, too sexy and too showy."


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