Atami no Sousakan

I’m not a big fan of Japanese dramas in general, but there are the occasional series that I like to follow, usually something that my wife has been really enjoying. I would include Trick and Jikou Keisatsu in that bunch, and now Atami no Sousakan. Atami is a new Twin Peaks-ish mystery produced by the same crew behind Jikou Keisatsu, sharing the same black humor, and Jo Odagiri as a star, as well some of the supporting cast (it also includes Kill Bill‘s Chiyaki Kuriyama). It’s pretty interesting so far (episode 4 just aired, of a planned 8) and my wife has been especially obsessing over it, to the point where she’s even examining screen grabs for clues or oddities (the images above show that a passport that has been issued in 2008 includes stamps for 2007). It airs Friday nights at 23:15 on TV Asahi.

Commenting, The Next Step

A while back I announced that I would be removing the commenting system on this site, instead inviting readers to contribute comments either through Twitter or Facebook. The result? I can’t say that the number of “replies” I get on Twitter has noticeably increased much, but since it’s not like this site was getting a huge amount of comments anyway, the biggest thing to come out of this is that at least I don’t have to deal with any spam or “requests for moderation.” In fact, since I don’t feel that SNOW Magazine gets a huge number of comments either, I think I’m going to switch and do the same thing there from September.

Let me also thank everyone who entered the Graniph contest this past month. I’m currently compiling all the entries/artist suggestions we received (from comments, yes, but also through email and Twitter), and winners will be contacted soon. Please note that a new contest will start in September.

Dripping

Is it hot enough for you? In what is turning out to be the most uncomfortable summer yet since my arrival in Japan over ten years ago — and yes, that’s even compared to me lying on my back with a broken spine last summer — I’m just trying to make it until the end.

To be honest, I’ve never much liked summer. I don’t particularly like winter either. Me, I just don’t like extremes, autumn (my preference) and spring are my seasons, and so September can’t come quickly enough.

In the meantime, me and my wife both work in our sun room — which is the only room in our house with A/C — desk-to-desk, with usually at least one fan gently doing its thing. My dog Confiture pretty much sticks with us too, although he’ll occasionally go into his cage in the kitchen as the hard plastic bottom seems to be cool for him.

What does this mean in terms of productivity? Well, shit gets done, as it needs to be, but I’ve noticed that even just a short trek outside for a few errands drains me. Yes, I am the living embodiment of my family name.

Despite all this, I’m very happy to report that I’m back on the running kick, something I hadn’t seriously gotten back to since my back injury last year. Evenings are thankfully relatively cool, and so I tend to go out for a run around 22:00. Previously I always used the Runkeeper iPhone app to keep track of my runs, but this time I’ve been trying out Adidas’ new miCoach app, and I’m loving it. What I mostly like about it is that not only does it keep track of your performance, but it actually coaches you along the way, telling you what pace you should be following based on the running program you’ve picked, prompting you when you go too fast or too slow. So far so good, I did my four runs this past week, and I’m running better and longer than I ever have.

So here’s to getting through another two weeks or so of hardcore summer weather, and making the best out of it (i.e. doing my best to avoid it).

Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential

I just posted something about the new book Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential on SNOW Magazine, but wanted to mention it here too. It’s Brian Ashcraft’s follow-up to Arcade Mania, to which I contributed, and I can assure you that fans of AM will absolutely love Confidential too. It’s done in the same style and was edited by Andrew Lee, who had a hand in all of the recent “pop culture” guides from Kodansha International, including AM, The Otaku Encyclopedia, and Matt Alt‘s Yokai Attack and Ninja Attack.

The book is now out everywhere — here are links to Amazon US and Amazon Japan. Oh, and the contributor of the book, Shoko Ueda? That’s Brian’s wife who, you know, was an actual schoolgirl, so you know it’s legit.

SNOW Magazine Cafe Blog

Yesterday I launched a special blog for the SNOW Magazine Cafe. For those of you who are unable to attend the event here in Tokyo, that’s where you’ll find more details about the show — I’ll be posting stuff throughout the month, including photos and the like. Today I revealed the list of participating titles (in the main part of the show), 33 in all. Note that you can subscribe to a feed as well.

Where’s That Camera Again?

Remember that long post I wrote at the end of June in which I talked about me getting back into photography? Well, it appears that my wife’s love for her camera has meant that I’m still not anywhere close to getting a chance to play around with it. Guess it means I’ll need to be a bit more patient, or just pull the trigger and get a camera of my own (which I doubt will happen).

PauseTalk Vol. 43

Here’s a little peek at Monday’s PauseTalk Vol. 43, courtesy of Martin Holtkamp. As I said before, we didn’t have a huge attendance (lower than recent editions), but it was still a fun evening. I unfortunately didn’t prepare an attendance sheet this time, so I’m afraid I won’t be able to list names. The next PauseTalk (Vol. 44) should happen September 6.

But What Does it Look Like?

Apologies to everyone waiting to see and read more about what the SNOW Magazine Cafe looks like. A bit slammed with work right now, but I’ll be posting stuff soon enough, hopefully by this weekend. Really happy with how it all turned out, although was expecting a bigger turnout for the PauseTalk/opening on Monday — maybe the heat scared everyone away. Some great magazine-related talk was had though, something I wouldn’t mind seeing more of in future editions.

PSFK on Future of Health

I’m a big fan of what Piers has been doing over the years at PSFK — both with the site, but also through the reports and talk events he organizes — and just wanted to give a heads-up to their latest project, a special report for Unicef on the future of health. As Piers tells it, it’s a “200 page report that not only describes the critical trends that are bringing healthcare to the many across the world but also has over 40 ideas for UNICEF based on the report from creative agencies like Wieden + Kennedy, Great Works, Cunning, Night Agency & Story Worldwide.”

PauseTalk Tonight

Well, that, and more importantly, we’re having our little gathering to officially kick off the SNOW Magazine Cafe. As I wrote before, there will be a PauseTalk session, but I’ll keep it relatively short, so please come on by even if you’re not into that sort of gathering. So tonight (Monday, August 2), from 19:00 (until 23:00) at Cafe Pause in Ikebukuro, with cheap drinks available. Hope to see many of you there!