Immigration Office

So, as mentioned in Tokyo Boy, I had to go to the new immigration offices in Shinagawa to pick up a multiple re-entry permit. Now, I’ve already written a few times about the hell that is the immigration office in Japan. Even worse is the fact that they’ve now closed all the regional offices (I used to go the Shibuya one). They’ve combined everything in one new center, which you unfortunately have to reach by bus. Well, it actually ended up being smoother than I thought. As I got to the Shinagawa station, there were English signs pointing to the bus that I needed to take. As for the stop, it was pretty easy to notice as it was the one where all the foreigners got off (and there were quite a few of us). The center itself is very spatious and modern, which made for a nice change. Everything is properly indicated, there are way more counters for all the sections, and the seats were comfortable. The wait also wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. All in all, it went very smoothly, which is quite shocking in itself.

Listening to “Embroidered Purse (Shanxi Folk Song)” from the album Orchestral Adaptations from Beautiful Chinese Folk Songs by the Central Philharmonic.

Ikko Tanaka

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I really want to go see the Ikko Tanaka Restrospective taking place at the Museum of Contemporary Art. I believe he’s the one that created the Muji logo, among many other things. Here’s what REALTOKYO says:

The first full-scale retrospective of the post-war master designer’s work since his death last year. Tanaka Ikko created dignified graphic works that reflect Western design yet retain traditional Japanese aesthetic sensibility. There are over 500 works on exhibit, including his art direction for SAISON, Loft and the Seibu Group and posters for Salvatore Ferragamo and Issey Miyake, but personally I found his uncommissioned graphic works that “fill (him) with an overwhelming sense of shame, like being seen undressed” particularly interesting. The exhibition design also happens to be by Ando Tadao, who was a friend of Mr. Tanaka’s before his death.

Design Cities

I was just at Junkudo, checking out some magazines, and picked up the latest issue of the North American version of SHONEN JUMP. I was in the travel book section and found these absolutely beautiful books that looked at London and Paris (more cities are coming, they mentioned Barcelona and Amsterdam) from a design perspective. The design of the books themselves is gorgeous, as well as all the photography. Even though I’m not planning on going to those cities anytime soon (but London would be nice sometime next year), I want to get these books just to admire the pictures and read the descriptions. The title was something like LONDON STYLE or LONDON DESIGN, but I can’t quite remember, and a few searches with Google and on Amazon didn’t turn anything up. I’ll go again tomorrow to get the titles, and hopefully links to the publisher so that you can get a better idea of what they look like. I hope they end up making one for Tokyo.

Listening to “Motor City Popp” from the album Golden Hour by Mansfield.

Ellis on the Move

On his weblog Die Puny Humans, comic creator Warren Ellis‘ (TRANSMETROPOLITAN, ORBITER, PLANETARY) is talking a lot about mobility of late. Seems he’s looking into getting a picture-enabled mobile phone, and transforming the site into something that reflects the greater mobility and road documentation he wants to exercise. Mentioning this site, it looks like he might try multiple streams, like I do with my various blogs on this page (Nej, Tokyo Boy, and TB.Grafico). He’s actually been moblogging for years with a Handspring device, but it’s time to upgrade, and mobile phones are where it’s at right now.

As far as his work goes, he’s got a few interesting books that have recently been released which I’ll include in my next order with Amazon Japan. Stuff like the latest TRANSMETROPOLITAN trade (DIRGE), ORBITER (a graphic novel illustrated by Colleen Doran), and SWITCHBLADE HONEY (taking the piss out of Star Trek). In the serialized side of things (which I don’t pick up, I’m strictly into graphic novels and trade paperbacks), starting this month is TOKYO STORM WARMING, which he describes as “a gentle piss-take of the giant robot genre played straight.” He’s also 8 issues into GLOBAL FREQUENCY. Lots of good stuff to read.

24

On Friday of this week I will be participating in a 24 hour global moblog event organised by Raphael Grignani, who runs the moblog Daily Hellsinki. The thing goes from July 4th at 8 am to July 5th at 8 am. The page where the whole thing will appear is still being tested, so I’ll post the link on Friday when the whole thing starts (and because of time zones, it is us Tokyoites who lead the way). My section will basically look like what you usually see here in TB except that I’ll probably be a lot more active. Should be fun.

Grocery

I just got back from the grocery store, our local Seiyu, and picked up some good stuff to eat, including the beer that you see posted in TB. Earlier today I went to Hanamasa (a sort of outlet shop where they sell things in big quantities mostly for restaurants), where I usually pick up meat, vegetables, milk, stuff like that. Tonight I brought home some yakitori (only 60 yen a stick), sushi, fried chicken and tempura, udon, and lots more that I’m getting ready to eat. Sure, it’s not ramen, but it’s still pretty good!

iTunes is now playing “Go Go Dancer” from the album Made In USA by Pizzicato Five.

iTrip

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I’m planning on ordering the iTrip before I head for my holidays back home in Canada in August. As you can see in the above image, it slides on the top of your iPod, and then lets you transmit music through any FM radio. I want this so that I can listen to some good tunes when I drive around (which I’m so looking forward to doing, haven’t been behind the wheel of a car in 2 and a half years). I used to have a huge tape collection, which I only used in the car, but I got rid of it before coming back to Japan.

Isaac Adamson

Has anyone read one of Isaac Adamson’s novels? He has a new one out, called DREAMING PACHINKO (after TOKYO SUCKERPUNCH and HOKKAIDO POPSICLE), which I’m thinking of ordering. I’ve read at least two reviews of his books in TIME ASIA (the most recent one appearing a few weeks ago), and they were both positive, describing the books as lots of fun. I would be curious to get some other opinions though.

I’m also thinking of ordering a box set of the first four Harry Potter books. They’ve got a set at Amazon Japan for only 2400 yen, which is pretty cheap. On top of the trip to Canada, I might also be heading out on a small weekend trip very soon (thanks to Yuko’s mom), and I want some light reading for that.

Kung-Logging

The Kung-Log program is actually quite nice. For one thing, it lets you have a bigger space to write your entries. Even better, you write everything offline (yes, I have a permanent fiber optic connection to the Internet, but still) and are able to save all the things you write as drafts, which you can then post whenever you need. This means that it’s easier to take the time and write longer entries and such. I don’t know if it’s really going to affect the way I write on the site, but it just might. Up until now, I wrote most of the entries in a pop-up window, which wasn’t ideal for writing something substantial. Then again, the stuff I do here is mostly pointing out happenings, and using my photoblog to share my pics. But I like to think that this site is constantly evolving, and look forward to seeing what it will look like, in content as well as visually, a few months from now.

Presently listening to: “777” from the album 777 by Crazy Ken Band. A big thanks to Patrick for the albums he recently ripped and uploaded for me. You are my musical savior.