Global Cities Week Banner Ads

I mentioned the upcoming PechaKucha Global Cities Week event last week, and now we have some banners ads to share (also designed by Ian), in a variety of colors and sizes. If you’d like help spread the word on the event, you can download them here — and you can point to thefront page of the PechaKucha website, which will get updated later today with more info.

And don’t forget that PechaKucha Night Vol. 88 happens this Wednesday at SuperDeluxe from 20:20 (doors open at 19:00).

Sleeping Dog

I recently got an Apple TV — mostly to easily stream videos to the TV, but me and my wife have also discovered the joys of streaming music through it, which for us is the first time we have a “stereo” in our home (the speakers on our Sharp Aquos sound quite nice). One of my favorite things to do with it though as been to watch videos from Vimeo. It’s such a great experience, considering that most of them are in HD, and it truly feels like I’m having my own little film fests at home every day. I used to really miss the Resfest, since back in the day it was one of the only places where you could really see interesting short films, but not anymore.

Anothing thing is that watching all these shorts has really been inspiring me to try and do some little video projects. I remember being excited when I got my iPhone 4 in part because of the HD video it could record, but I never ended up using it. I’ve decided to start by doing little clips, based on this post I found on Vimeo, that suggests little projects you can do. First up, and the easiest, is to do clips for the “1 Minute” group (no editing, no camera movements, natural sounds). My first video, “Sleeping Dog,” is of course of my dog being pretty much oblivious to anything around him (it’s on YouTube too).

Global Cities Week

We’ve just officially announced details for our upcoming PechaKucha Global Cities Week, and I really hope you will all be able to find a PechaKucha Night in your city that you can attend — and dig the great logo design by my main man Ian Lynam. The event in Tokyo will happen on Thursday, February 23 (note that it’s not on the regular Wednesday), and we’re currently on the hunt for some great presenters — if you’d like to take part with a topic that relates to our dear Tokyo, get in touch!

In the meantime, this month’s PechaKucha Night (Vol. 88) is happening next week (Wednesday, January 25, at SuperDeluxe), and it looks like it’s going to be a great night of presentations, with quite a few friends and fellow PauseTalkers participating. And speaking of PauseTalk, the first edition of 2012 is coming up, with Vol. 57 set for Monday, February 6.

Codex 44

A new episode of the Codex is up (44), and again, unfortunately there’s a bit of static that pops up when I talk (even though I tested things before recording and it was fine). Losing patience with Nicecast, and I may have to find yet another solution.

Also, please note that Codex now has its own Facebook page, and is on Twitter (@codex_podcast), so two more ways to be updated when new episodes are released.

Tweeting Kohaku 2011

Pretty much since I’ve been in Japan I’ve had the same tradition on New Year’s Eve — we get some nice food from the depachika (department store basement, always Seibu in our case), some booze, and watch the various TV specials, flipping around, and after midnight we go to a local shrine to wish for a good year. The big traditional show airs on NHK — the state network — and it’s called Kohaku Uta Gassen. It’s described as a song battle between a “Red” team (women) and “White” team (men), but the real goal here is to finish off the year with all of Japan’s most popular performers. It’s cheesy as all hell, but it can still be fun to watch for the spectacle of it. A couple of years ago I started drunkenly tweeting while watching it — I was dueling with Patrick Macias, who was in town that year — and it’s now become sort of a tradition.

Below is the entire tweet stream I did this past Saturday — the show runs from 19:15 to 23:45. As silly as it is, I post it here because a few people have told me they had fun reading it even when they watched the show later (either recorded, or when it aired the following day on NHK in the US). You need to start from the bottom, and work yourself up.

  • At the shrine. instagr.am/p/dMc9Q/
  • Happy 2012, everyone! yfrog.com/obt81bqj
  • Damn, now wife has it on the Johnny’s NYE countdown concert. #ipreferredkohaku
  • Shit, got 15 minutes, need to finish up my fucking soba!
  • And Red (women) wins! #kohaku It’s usually White.
  • NHK just guaranteed a million freeze frames by offering up a crotch shot of one of the AKB girls. #kohaku
  • Most. Unnatural. Waving. Ever. #kohaku
  • SMAP knows how to pander to the audience and get their votes. #kohaku
  • This song definitely rests on a Beatles hook. #kohaku
  • Why do they still let Nakai sing… Ouch… #kohaku
  • Now who’s the jokester who made Kusanagi wear that ridiculous fur thing? #kohaku
  • I do believe we have a winner for “hair of the night.” #kohaku
  • Sachiko Kobayashi’s plastic surgeon-ed face freaks me out. #kohaku
  • Nope, no yakuza ties whatsoever. #kohaku
  • Now they have everyone in EXILE doing jazz hands. #kohaku
  • My only wish when watching EXILE perform is that Takashi Okamura somehow pops up. #kohaku
  • Based on the number of replies I’m now getting, it feels like I’m currently the last man standing in the #kohaku marathon. #imnumberone #not
  • It’s not a #kohaku without the inclusion of a bubble machine somewhere in there.
  • 2012 is about an hour away…
  • Going to have to eat the soba soon, but so not hungry. But hey, sometimes, you just gotta eat your fucking soba!
  • Is this what happens when enka goes disco? #kohaku
  • Unbelievable that people actually still scream “Kiyoshi” at the chorus when he sings. #kohaku
  • Mariachi fever, baby! #kohaku
  • Seiko sure has a puffy face. #kohaku
  • @cpalmieri: Kimura Takuya’s hair stylist channeling late 90′s Meg Ryan #NHK??
    Retweeted by Jean Snow
  • Yeah, that’s absolutely Groovisions’ work. Looks cool, would love to have that as motion background. #kohaku
  • Wow, I think the background animation is by Groovisions. #kohaku
  • Junko Koshino kinda… scares me. #kohaku
  • The background decor always has me thinking it’s the bottom of the Eiffel Tower. #kohaku
  • The person who composed this next song is credited as QQ. #kohaku
  • Arashi performance, powered by augmented reality. #kohaku
  • @Johnny_Strategy: Kids extremely confused about akiko wada’s sexuality ?? #kohaku
    Retweeted by Jean Snow
  • @cpalmieri: OK, Setsuden is officially over 😛 #NHK??
    Retweeted by Jean Snow
  • Akiko Wada’s got a voice, that’s for sure. #kohaku
  • Losing it right now watching Haranishi try to eat nabe with his bare hands. #waratteikenai
  • Again, Waratte Ikenai counters #kohaku’s earthquake/tsunami sentimentality with hadaka geinin (naked comedians).
  • Oops, I did my “Sunglasses at Night” joke too soon. #kohaku
  • The camera panned to the Arashi boys watching on the sidelines, and they could barely hold their laughing. #kohaku
  • She’s like the Michael Bay of #kohaku.
  • Told ya! In the mouth of a dragon, yo! #kohaku
  • I just know she’s going to transform into something. I know it. #kohaku
  • Well, time to find out what kind of crazy contraption will back up Sachiko! #kohaku
  • Wife is upset because she says the Japanese subs at the bottom of the screen are odd. #kohaku
  • So, is she going to find a way to insert “Japan” or “Japanese” in every song? #kohaku
  • The K-pop girls have definitely been out-legged now. #kohaku
  • This is not your parents #kohaku.
  • “Something about my cool, Japanese guy.” #kohaku
  • Is this her idea of a Ray Charles impersonation? #kohaku
  • “I wear my pearl glasses at night, so I can, so I can…” #kohaku
  • OK, Gaga time. #kohaku
  • Jackie Chan! #kohaku
  • Lady Gaga is up after this dude in the glittery purple suit is finished. Can she possibly upstage him? #kohaku
  • And from thoughts of Sendai, we switch to Waratte Ikenai, only to be greeted by Matsumoto’s bare ass, and his dick in a bag. #kohaku
  • One of these girls has so much makeup on that it looks like a mask. #kohaku
  • Props to the Arashi dude who’s actually playing the piano. #kohaku
  • “(why?) why?” #kohaku
  • Dude, wearing a fur collar is not very cool or hip. #kohaku
  • Korean boys join the party too. #kohaku
  • That was one hell of a crazy rotating camera shot around Kumi Koda. #kohaku
  • God do I hate J-pop ballads… (Well, I hate pretty much all ballads, to be fair.) #kohaku
  • clap #kohaku
  • Every time I see Yuzu, I can’t help but think of Kuzu (Miyasako and Gussan), the parody group from the old Wannai TV show. #kohaku
  • For those waiting for Gaga, she’s up in about 7 spots. #kohaku
  • Go, go, Go Hiromi! #kohaku
  • Rather, I should say that I appreciate that they are more womanly, instead of girly (like in J-pop groups). #kohaku
  • I will say that I’m not opposed to the fact that all of these K-pop girl groups show a lot of leg. #kohaku
  • “I’m Genie for your dream.” #kohaku
  • The Korea invasion continues, next up Girls Generation. #kohaku
  • Things you don’t do: Wear a suit jacket with the sleeves ripped off, with a fedora-like hat. #kohaku #tokio
  • Next up, TOKIO, the “uncles” of Johnny’s Jimusho. #kohaku
  • I do like their dancing, goes well with the music. Surprisingly, my wife has gotten into them lately, and does their dance around the house.
  • Perfume time! #kohaku
  • Whenever an earnest singer hits the stage, my wife has me switch the channel. Fair enough. #kohaku
  • Bottom of my TV screen: la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la #kohaku
  • They are pretty sexy, I’ll give ‘em that. #kohaku
  • KARA in da hizzah, ass shake and all. #kohaku
  • Fujiwara in that pink uniform with the skirt and hat really kills me. #waratteikenai
  • The next big decision: Grab another beer, or switch to wine? Call 1-800-DRINKUP and vote now! #kohaku
  • In the news, so many people send New Year messages through mobile that it clogs up the system, so providers asking to not do it.
  • NHK news time now. Will be back shortly with more exciting coverage. #kohaku
  • From 2channel, a new metric measure: 1 Hyde = 156cm. #kohaku
  • I know there’s good intentions behind this montage and song, but the sentimentality is bringing me down. #kohaku
  • For the record, I have been told that the NYC group is named after the names of the 3 boys (Nakayma, Yamada, and Chinen). #kohaku
  • The dress the announcer is wearing now has a certain fish-like quality to it. #kohaku (Jean Snow’s fashion minute.)
  • Love the back dancers too. #kohaku
  • Oh, this is a great song. #kohaku
  • It’s a funky dress, but looks a bit odd while playing an acoustic guitar. #kohaku
  • I was just thinking I’d never seen Shiina Ringo on #kohaku, and it’s indeed her first appearance.
  • Shiina Ringo! #kohaku
  • Just learned that “blues” in Japanese is “buruusu.” And that’s one to grow on. #kohaku
  • How could you not be OUT after that.
  • Oh man, awesome Naomi and Kurosawa collaboration, doing Gaga on Waratte Ikenai.
  • The new women’s soccer team uniform is purple with a pink stripe? Hmmm… #kohaku
  • “Calling the fallen angel. Rolling on cold asphalt.” #kohaku
  • L’Arc En Ciel are still a thing? #kohaku
  • Prepared some chicken rice for my dog, so that he could partake in good food tonight too, but he’s upset because it’s too hot.
  • That’s a big-ass flower arrangement. Big. Ass. #kohaku
  • The 80s-like drama parody on Waratte Ikenai is making it hard to go back to #kohaku.
  • Had to switch channel again because wife hates Pornograffiti. “Kao kirai.” #kohaku
  • I’m trying to find a good insult for the current costume being worn, but I think it speaks for itself. #kohaku
  • The Arashi leader obviously had first pick of pants color. #kohaku
  • Time for another beer.
  • I’ll say this, all these colors look great on HDTV. #kohaku
  • I’m trying to understand the current enka singers hair. There’s something about that hair… #kohaku
  • The AKB 48 girls in the background strategy is being used again. #kohaku
  • Rasera, rasera, rase, rase, rasera… #kohaku
  • Saburo Kitajima is apparently going to appear, which makes no fucking sense. The guy looks like he could in a KItano film. #kohaku.
  • The question is, how many enka singers are going to make it to air this year, following the new “Yakuza ties” law. #kohaku
  • Super famous Japanese actress in her 60s now in an SM suit, bullying the boys on Waratte Ikenai. Priceless.
  • @clairtanaka: @jeansnow my six year-old just ran from the room: “I don’t enjoy this and I hate this!” #kohaku
    Retweeted by Jean Snow
  • Waratte Ikenai channel flip. OUT. Hahahahaha… #kohaku
  • Although having them dance with Papaya Suzuki and his ossan dancers is kinda… weird. #kohaku
  • How do you make enka more palatable to the young uns? By having AKB 48 girls dance in the background. #kohaku
  • They should just stick with the techno beat and skip the chorus. #kohaku
  • OK, so right now there’s a band called AAA. #kohaku
  • Is there anything more boring than the typical J-pop ballad? I don’t think so. #kohaku
  • Oh man, the Matsumoto pic is the best.
  • Switched to Waratte Ikenai for a sec. I’m totally OUT. #kohaku
  • A song about “trying hard” from a band called Funky Monkey Babies feels odd. #kohaku
  • What the hell happened to Kusanagi’s hair? #kohaku
  • Goofy fucked up! #kohaku
  • I can’t say anything too nasty about Arashi, or my wife will get upset. #kohaku
  • It does come off as forced here though, especially with the awkward lip-syncing. #kohaku
  • OK, I will not say anything bad about the little kids. “Maru Maru” has its charm. #kohaku
  • Who says there’s no class system in Japan — it’s even color coordinated. #kohaku
  • Does the medley as a thing still even exist in the West? #kohaku
  • Holy fuck, that’s a lot of girls on one stage. #kohaku
  • I wonder if it’s only in Japan that they put the lyrics on screen, so you can sing along karaoke style. #kohaku
  • They are going to perform as 210 people. #kohaku
  • AKB time. #kohaku
  • Back now for… Flumpool. (No other comment necessary.) #kohaku
  • Wife dislikes Angela Aki so much that we had to change the channel. #kohaku
  • Oh, it’s the Japanese Tina Fey (Angela Aki). #kohaku
  • I love NYC too much to be able to watch this group with a straight face. #kohaku
  • I don’t really get why 3 effeminate boys equals NYC. Maybe I’m not supposed to. #kohaku
  • Oh, next up is the group of 3 Japanese idols called — for no reason whatsoever — NYC! “We are city boys.” No, you’re not. #kohaku
  • I could have done without those close-ups of Ayumi Hamasaki’s face. #kohaku
  • D’oh, thought it was starting at 19:30, but it started 5 minutes ago. #kohaku
  • As to why I suggested you unfollow me, it’s because you should expect a stream of drunken tweets tonight. A lot.
  • You know, everyone has their tradition, I have mine, and it makes me happy — and that’s what counts, no? #adecadeplusandgoing
  • As to why I never go out on NYE, I guess I’d just rather spend it at home with my wife and dog, and I like our shrine visit after midnight.
  • To be clear, the show I really like is Waratte Ikenai (with Downtown), but we tape that, and watch #kohaku live, along with channel flipping
  • And if you don’t know what I mean by #kohaku, here you go: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C5%8Dha… Kinda looking forward to Gaga, actually.
  • Got my food/booze, gonna wash up, and then don’t you know, it’s gonna be #kohaku time, and you know what that means (time to unfollow me).

2012

I’ve made it a habit of kicking off the new year with a post that tries to address what I’m looking at in terms of the coming year, and I’ve used it over the past couple of years to announce some personal projects — both thelaunch of SNOW Magazine in 2010, and then the closure of the site in 2011. This year I don’t really have anything specific to announce yet, so this is going to be a short list of things that I have on my mind and wishes for 2012 — a state of my union, if you will.

The biggest change I think that I’ve experienced over the past year is that I’ve fully transitioned into working full-time on PechaKucha. My role as Executive Director sees me doing so many interesting things in relation to the PK community and network, and it’s one that I relish — I so enjoy the fact that I’m constantly in contact with people from all over the world who are producing PechaKucha Nights in our 460+ cities. 2012 is going to be an even bigger year for PK, with lots of cool things already in the works, and I can’t wait to share them with you all.

Something that also relates to PK is that I have it in my mind to organize something that would be gaming-related — to quench my thirst for doing something in that world, since it’s been quite a while since my days as a writer for Wired‘s Game|Life and the Arcade Mania book. I’m hoping to team up with some friends on this, and we’ll see how it goes. Expect it in the second half of the year though.

And speaking of Arcade Mania, there may be some developments with that this year, but nothing that I can talk about or promise for now — stay tuned.

On the SNOW Magazine front, when I closed the site I said that it was actually going on “hiatus,” and by that I meant that I would still love do something with that again, but that I just don’t feel like a regularly updated website works. I’d love to maybe do it as an irregular magazine on iPad, but since I want to keep this all indie and not have to depend on anyone (and can’t pay anyone), that means me trying to do it myself, which is a lot of work — the release of Mag+ for singles did give me hope that it might be doable.

Codex, my music podcast, has been back for a few weeks now, and I look forward to getting back on a regular schedule with it this year, now that I’ve found a setup that works for me (for recording a show live while using Spotify as my music source). Over the next few days (maybe even today), I’ll release two episodes with my favorite music of the past year. And my other obsession, magazines, will continue to be covered over at The Magaziner. I wasn’t able to do a magazine-related event like I did in 2010 (the SNOW Magazine Cafe), but I hope that this year I can produce or participate in some cool new magazine projects.

PauseTalk also continues its run — 2012 will see it celebrate a 6th anniversary — and I have a few PT-related developments in mind as well, but I’d rather have them more concrete before I share them.

This past year has also seen more active — in a physical sense — than ever, both in terms of cycling (with the occasional bike commute to go work at the Klein Dytham architecture office in Ebisu) and with me and my wife’s mountain trekking lifestyle. On the bike front, I’ve slowed down a bit with the cold weather, and also because I’m really hankering to get a regular sized bike (not the foldable BD-1 that I’ve been using). As far as the mountains go, we’ve been adding bits and pieces to our equipment every month (since we can’t afford to spend much), and next up on our want list are sleeping bags and a tent. I also need to post photos from the last two snow treks we did over the past couple of week in Nagano.

The last thing that I’d like to see happen this year (at least for now) is that I would like to try and write some longer pieces, something a bit more thought-out than my regular posts. I don’t quite know what I’d like to write about — and hey, maybe I could try fiction for a change — but it’s something that I certainly have on my wishlist of things I want to do in 2012.

So there you have it, a few reflections as we transition from one year to another — here’s to an amazing 2012!