Medicom Toy Exhibition

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I’m a sucker for Bearbrick/Kubrick toys. Don’t think I’ll have time to check out this Medicom thing, but I have to say that charging 300 yen doesn’t sound right.

Medicom Toy, makers of BE@RBRICK and KUBRICK and promoters of the idea that toys are art, will be showing their BABEKUB CITY lineup, made in collaboration with popular apparel brands. (TAB)

It starts today at the Parco Museum, and ends July 4.

Getting to Know NK

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Oh, I would so love to attend this — damn my schedule!

Although North Korea is geographically close to Japan it’s a far country full of mysteries. How does a girl get into the “Group for Pleasure”, and who is it that came up with Mr. Kim’s funky hairstyle? And what about his rumored relationship with Princess Tenko? OK, these are probably not the most essential questions concerning North Korea, and one should rather try and find out the truth behind issues such as kidnappings of Japanese citizens, nuclear tests or 6-nation talks. Bruce Cumings, who is most trustworthy as an intellectual familiar with the recent history of the Korean Peninsula and East Asia in general, will surely give answers to questions like the above. No, not the ones about girls’ dance groups and hairstyles! Or, maybe even those too? Any idea Mr. Cumings? (REALTOKYO)

More info here. It takes place at Temple University, July 7 at 19:30 (RSVP recommended).

Just Gimme Indie Rock!

I just took a huge night walk to cool myself down, and cause I just felt like moving, and ended up in the whereabouts of Otsuka (or maybe further, not sure). To keep me going, I was listening to one of my new favorite finds on my iPod, the CBC Radio 3’s recently launched podcast (they’ve done 3 shows now).

What I’m really digging about this podcast (apart from the kick I’m getting that the host is none other than The Smugglers‘ Grant Lawrence) is that it covers the Canadian indie scene, something I’ve been pretty much out of touch with even since moving to Japan. My musical roots definitely lie in the indie rock world — back in the day I had some shows on university radio (first, The Jean Snow Show, don’t you know, and then later The Codex), and if you’re lucky enough, you might find a bootleg recording of my power chord opus, “Ode to Data” (but that’s just between you and me). When you listen to Radio OK Fred, I think you’ll probably notice that side of me come out, which I think makes for an interesting counter to my co-hosts musical choices.

So these podcasts have me thinking indie rock, and I’m starting to think that I might like to bring back my old Codex radio show. Add to this that I’ve been wanting to get a recording adapter for my iPod in order to do some Momus-style audio blogging, and I think I might have the makings of some sort of new podcast thingie. Stay tuned.

This Week in Magazines

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  • The latest issue of BRUTUS (573) has a cover feature on ceramic containers/bowls, and the people that love them (and collect them — you should see some of the insane collections that are pictured in the article, often taking over entire homes).
  • PEN (155) dedicates its new issue to design in Brazil. It’s an attractive feature, and one that certainly makes you wish it would be easy (and cheap) to hop on a flight to Sao Paolo and see some of the things covered first-hand!
  • SWITCH (July, Vol. 23 No. 7) couldn’t really hold my interest this month with their huge feature (takes up most of the issue) on the Japanese rock band Mr. Children. Also, their advertorials are getting a bit out of hand. There are huge sections sponsored by (dedicated to) Pocari Sweat, Nissin Cup Noodle, and Microsoft (for Windows XP). Later in the issue you then get a rather long article on the recent unveiling of the Xbox 360, that stinks of sponsorship. It also doesn’t really fit with the type of content you usually find in the magazine.
  • The bulk of the new IDEA (311) is dedicated to stunning examples of CD cover art (often in the form of collections), under the banner “Sound Cosmography.”
  • This month’s TITLE (August) is all about Star Wars, pretty much from cover to cover.

Update: Relating to my comments on the latest issue of SWITCH, Marxy is on the case.

Writers of the Moment

A call-out to all my great readers: Who would you say is the “it” Japanese writer of the moment? I’m trying to find out who would be an interesting writer to profile. You can email me, or leave a comment.