Zelda

The past few days have all been about the new Zelda game, THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: KAZE NO TAKUTO, for me. Just released about 2 weeks ago in Japan (only next March in North America), I got it as a Christmas gift for Yuko, and I am just so incredibly amazed by this game. Beautiful, just beautiful. Makes me love my GameCube even more (and I already like it quite a bit). It’s also playing a very educational role for me as I’m playing along with my electronic dictionary by my side to translate the words I’m having trouble with. But you know what, I’m actually doing pretty well with all the dialogue (and there’s a lot of it), which is a very welcome surprise. Guess I’m getting better at this language than I thought. I still have a long way to go, but this is a welcome new level of ability that I didn’t know I had in me.

OK, now I must get back to the game…

Mary Timony

dreammachineI found this great little short starring Mary Timony, from the band Helium. Shot on 16mm, it’s called DREAM MACHINE, and it tells the story of a shy Japanese boy who meets up with a sad singer at a karaoke bar. The soundtrack, all by Timony, is also really good. The following is a direct link to the file (a 50MB download).

Anger Over Ramen

One of the TV channels will be showing a 5-hour special that will take a look at the 99 best ramen shops in Japan on New Year’s Eve, and it seems that the network has been swamped by complaints over the show. I guess that they feel that something like that isn’t really appropriate for the last evening of the year, that something more “special” should be schedules. Go figure. I’ll probably be watching parts of it, hoping that quite a few of my favorite Ikebukuro ramen shops make it in the top 10 again.

Last night was quite the feast. We went to the food floor at Seibu (the second biggest department store in the world – the biggest one, Tobu, is right next to it) and bought a whole bunch of goodies, and it ended up being all French food (from a nice shop from Alsace in France). Chicken stuffed with vegetables, somekind of potatoe mix with meat and cheese (maybe patates dauphinoises), cheese, bread, wine, oh my… One day later and my stomach is still full!

Chicken

I was definitely a happy camper last night. Last year I didn’t have any chicken or turkey around Christmas time (as all the restaurants that offer Xmas meals are so damn expensive), but last night the wonderful Lele cooked us a delicious roast chicken (I didn’t even know you could buy a whole chicken in Japan, at least I’ve never seen one in any grocery store), with stuffing (rice based instead of bread, which ended up being more fitting since we are in Japan after all) and gravy. Oh yeah, that’s what Christmas is all about.

Today is Christmas day, and it’s business as usual for everyone except me. All the people I know are working. I might go do some shopping later on today. I’m thinking of going to one of the big department store food floors (all big department stores in Japan have a huge food floor, usually in the basement, where you can find all sorts of delicious goodies to bring home at a reasonable price – you can end up eating stuff that would usually cost you much more in a regular restaurant). I’m thinking some tasty tonkatsu (fried pork) from Maisen, along with some cheese (probably Saint-Andr?, my brand of choice), and I’ll polish it off with that bottle of Christmas sparkling wine I got from a student this year.

Merry Christmas.

Readymade

Well, last Friday night was the big Readymade Festival at Yellow in Nishi-Azabu, and I have to say that I think I won’t be going back to Yellow. The music was great, as well as all the performances (especially Karia Nomoto, and the burlesque show by Romantica), but the place was soooo packed that it just made it to hard to dance and have fun. The place also doesn’t have that many places to sit down, so when you get tired from all the dancing (or rather trying to dance), you end up having to stand up in a corner. I’ve been dancing before to DJ clubs, but never saw anything so packed (even compared to the other times I had been to Yellow), and the kids were really annoying me. Maybe I’m just getting old, but that’s fine. I prefer the intimate setting of a place like the Organ Bar, where it feels like you’re dancing in someone’s bedroom (and your favorite DJ just happens to be there).

I didn’t get around to making my TB log, so I’ll get to that tomorrow.

Walkabout

fa20021204mdaHad a very nice day yesterday. Started out by getting up very early (well, 10, which is early for me) to meet up with a friend in Harajuku. We wanted to walk around and check out a few places, of course always keeping an eye out for anything unexpected that might be interesting. We started out with a visit to the Watari-Um Museum in Aoyama for the Henry Darger exhibit, which was absolutely amazing. Do follow the link to the article from the JAPAN TIMES. Darger was sort of a shut-in who died at 80, after which they discovered in his apartment a 23 000 page manuscript telling a single story, as well as 300 illustrations of the story. The exhibit had some of these images, and it was just amazing. Do try to see this if it comes to a museum near you. We then grabbed lunch at Sign, which included a visit to the tiny gallery in their basement (an art installation that included nice sounds created especially for the exhibit). Walking around we found this beautiful design/furniture shop called C?bone. We then quickly checked the URBANLENZ video installation, which had you sit down in a room on the 5th floor of a building on real grass… Then it was a quick look at some art and props from the Roman Polanski’s CQ film. Jason then had to go to work, and I continued my walkabout by heading out to Ebisu, a place I’ve only been to once or twice. I was there to meet another friend, and had a few hours on my hands, so I walked around looking for anything interesting. I spend a good 45 minutes in a used English book shop called Good Day. I picked up 3 books: A GUIDE TO FOOD BUYING IN JAPAN (I’m really developping an obsession for food), NUMBER9DREAM (a novel by David Mitchell taking place in Tokyo of which I remembered reading a good review a while back in the Asian edition of TIME magazine), and ONE SHOT, ONE BEER (a graphic novel that was actually signed by the writer). I then kept on walking, reaching Daikanyama, and then Shibuya (unintentionally – I had to take the train back to Ebisu in order to meet my friend in time). Meeting Charlie at the station, we headed to his place, where he showed me the wonder that is the new Zelda game for the GameCube. Then it was off to a place for some frozen margaritas.

A full day indeed.