Categories
Meta

Blogging Again?

What’s this, a bunch of new posts that relate to Tokyo/Japan on the site? Are you blogging regularly about that stuff again?

Consider this a result of me spending the weekend digging into the archives, going through hundreds (thousands, really) of posts, and just kinda wanting to do a bit of it again.

Let’s call it nostalgia blogging, maybe?

I see it more as a sort of guest blogging exercise, think “Shark Week.” One of the many surprises I discovered on the site was that I had actually initiated a couple of guest blogging stints on the site back in 2003 — my very good friend (and event-producing partner, as we produced a bunch of design exhibitions during “Swedish Style” in Tokyo together) Jesper Larsson had done a bunch of posts under the “Next Century Modern Blog” banner (Next Century Modern was his production company at the time — and you gotta love that he created some ending credits when they closed shop).

So yeah, it’s just that. Probably.

Categories
Meta

A Day’s Work

I just spent the entire day — over 12 hours — working on my site/blog. That may sound crazy, but it’s been a rather enjoyable experience.

The first half of the day was spent recreating posts that were missing from my archives (as I described in this post). Since then, I’ve been making my way through all of my posts, starting with the very first one in 2002, and re-inserting images/photos that I get from the Wayback Machine. I’ve just reached the end of 2003.

Yes, it’s long work, but the reason I’m still at it is because it’s turned out to be an amazing look back at what I was up to in those days, and how the site evolved and turned into the “design guide” that a lot of people remember, and which led to me eventually starting a career in writing.

The other fascinating thing is that I’m rediscovering things that I’ve done that I had completely forgotten about. Hey, a huge part of my site was a photolog called TB.Grafico — how do you forget that? And I’ve also realized that my Tokyo Boy moblog (oh yeah, short for “mobile blog,” that was a thing back in those days) actually ran on its own blog installation, and so has been basically unavailable online for years, even before I had my server issues (and I do plan on rescuing it once I’m done going through my regular posts). Oh, and I produced an ezine called Geisha, and right now I have no idea how to find any of the issues (at least 9 I think), or if there’s any chance that I’ll be able to dig up any of them.

This entire process is certainly going to take weeks, and I’m happily looking forward to it.

Categories
Meta

Special Edition

As I work at reconstructing my blog — I’m currently in the process of manually re-posting the 3 years of lost posts (2011-2014) thanks to the Wayback Machine — it has me thinking on what I want to do when I go back to older posts and start cleaning them up. I’m referring here to the fact that images didn’t really make the transition from the database I used, and so instead of having “image not found” type messages appear on those posts, on top of removing the code for the image, I’m wondering if it would be interesting to sometimes go and try to find a new image that I could add to that post. My fear though is that it could come off as a bit too “George Lucas’ Special Editions,” as I don’t want to alter what those posts represent.

But as I dig back, and re-read posts here and there, I do find that a lot of them highlight an interesting point in time in Japan’s art & design coverage (from a foreign perspective), and I am finding it a shame that these posts are missing images now — and I think the strength of my blog was always that it was a visually interesting place to visit, more than for what I was writing (which was quite basic).

On a related note, I’m now also thinking that it would be interesting to spend some time revisiting some of the things that I covered in the past, in a “where are they now” kind of way, to see how some of these things have evolved, or wether they (person, thing, or spot) still exist.

Over the years I’d really lost my excitement and interest in blogging (outside of my media consumption Tumblr), and it’s funny to me that revisiting this site’s past is what has re-energized me on that front.

Update (16/08/13): Well, managed to find and re-post pretty much all of the missing posts (the period between my last database backup in 2011 and when I started writing on Tumblr in 2014), except for the period between May 8, 2012 and June 16, 2012, which unfortunately didn’t get covered by the Wayback Machine (in part because of the changes I made to the site at the time I think, getting rid of prominent archive links). It also seems like the Wayback Machine has done a terrific job of keeping images, so although it’s gonna be a hell of a long job, I should be able to rescue most of the images for old posts.

Categories
Art Debaser Design Meta Uncategorized Web

Digging Through the Archives

At long last, my archives are back. Most of them at least.

Some of you may recall that back in early 2014, I had the great misfortune of the web host I was using pulling the rug from under me, which meant that my entire website — which dated back to 2002 — suddenly disappeared.

And I didn’t have proper backups.

Eventually I did find some SQL database backups from 2011, which meant that I could probably eventually try to reconstruct the site, and then do some digging through the Wayback Machine for the missing 3 years. But I was so disgusted with what had happened that I wasn’t looking to self-host something right away, and decided to just use Tumblr, which is what I had set up quickly to keep on writing.

Jump to now.

A friendly poke the other day from my old friend Craig Mod came my way. He mentioned that it was a shame that all those archives of me covering the art & design scene in Tokyo/Japan during the 2000s weren’t available online anymore, and I couldn’t agree more. It was the kick in the ass I needed to just go ahead and finally spend the time required to getting all of this back up and available for everyone. After a post on Facebook to enlist some aid on what to do with that old database, it was another old friend from my Tokyo days (Michael, an ex-AQ staffer who was a pro at wrangling WordPress) who helped me out — I ended up creating a locally-hosted WordPress blog on my laptop, managed to connect to that old database (after a few modifications), and now I’ve taken the step of self-hosting a blog again (using the quick-and-easy WordPress hosting by name.com, which is the company I use for my domain hosting).

So a first step has been done, and it’s what you now see here. As you can see in the sidebar to the right (at least for now, as I imagine I’ll eventually settle on another theme to use), you’ll find full archives of the site, from the very first post on September 4, 2002, going to August 2011, and then the posts from the new Tumblr-hosted site I had from March 2014.

(I actually started writing regularly on the web in 1998, in the form of weekly columns about my life in Tokyo, all coded in HTML, but that content may truly be gone for good.)

Unfortunately, none of the images from those posts made it over — although I may still have some I can manage to add, as I found an old folder with a good amount of them — and I still need to try and find those 3 years of missing posts (as I mentioned, fingers crossed that I’ll be able to find them through the Wayback Machine).

But at least for now, it sure feels good to have a lot of this stuff online again, and I’ve been having a blast going back and randomly reading old posts. It reveals a younger me who is so excited by what he’s experiencing, deliciously naive (in a fun way).

Digital diaries from the Japanese front.

Categories
Events Meta

PK Event on Wednesday

Just like I usually put PauseTalk on hold during August because of the summer slowdown (people tend to go awway on holidays), so does our regular PechaKucha Night series, but on the PK side of things, we are having something just as good this Wednesday (August 24) in the form of a special Heineken-sponsored PK event. It’s part of the Open Design Explorations competition — the winner participates in a project to design a temporary club space at next year’s Milan Design Week — and the even in Tokyo will have finalists presenting their own work (just like in a regular PKN), with one chosen to go to Milan.

It’s going to happen at SuperDeluxe, as always, with the regular start time of 20:20 for the presentations (doors open at 19:00), but with one bonus: Entry will be free, and the beer — Heineken, of course — will be cheaper, at 500 yen. Should be a good time!

Categories
Meta Music

Codex 37

The first episode of the Codex (37) I record in a month (since my data loss) is now up. It’s mostly songs I needed to get back, and then a couple of tracks from that great Nevermind cover album that SPIN magazine released to mark the 20th anniversary of the album.

Categories
Meta

Moving Servers

Just a heads-up about the relative silence here, as well as the offline status of a few of my sub-sites (like Codex and PauseTalk). I’m going to be moving over all of my sites to a new server (same host, but it appears that the server I’m on is quite old and slowly dying, and they want to put me on a newer one). It’s taken time because I’ve had issues trying to backup everything — compounded by apparent spam attacks that were being done through some of my sites, which then got “locked.” I’ve finally backed up everything, and will initiate the move later today. Not sure how long the whole process will take up, but hopefully see you on the other side with everything still working properly.

Categories
Design Meta

Kirimomi

My good friend Ian Lynam recently created a typeface family called Kirimomi for Onitsuka Tiger, based on the company’s history, and available as free downloads. It appears that there have already been over 10,000 downloads of the fonts, and in celebration I’ve decided to change the logo on this site to what you see now, which uses Kirimomi Swash.

Go and do something with them too — “just do it” (oops, that’s another company I think).

Categories
Events Meta

No PauseTalk in August

I already announced it when the last PauseTalk came around, but just a reminder that next week there will be no edition, as I usually skip August — with so many people on holiday, it’s hard to get a good attendance. The next PauseTalk (Vol. 53) will be held on September 5.

Categories
Meta TV

27 Hours

This past weekend I spent more hours than I should really admit watching Fuji TV’s 27-hour comedy marathon (and even recorded the whole thing). It’s no secret that the only Japanese TV I watch is comedy, and this year’s event was hosted by Takeshi Okamura of the duo 99, who has been my favorite comedian ever since I first came to Japan back in 1998. He had a mental breakdown last year and took a break for 6 months or so, and although he’s been back on TV since late last year, this sort of acted as a big comeback. 99 (along with SMAP member Masahiro Nakai) hosted the FNS 27-hour special 7 years ago, and it’s basically sucked since, especially the last couple of years.

I’ll say that overall it wasn’t as good as the one from 7 years ago, but there were still a lot of really fun moments, and since we have it all recorded, we still sometimes watch some of the funnier bits.

People are sometimes surprised when they find out about my love for Japanese comedy — it certainly lightens up any gathering I have with Japanese people, when I bring up the topic. I will admit that I still don’t understand 100% of what is said, which is why I tend to prefer physical comedy, but I still do like a wide variety of comedians.

Recently, when I helped judge the Core77 Design Awards, we had a nice lunch afterwards with all the judges (for our category, Interiors/Installations), and there was a designer from Shiseido who suggested I should do a PechaKucha presentation on Japanese comedians. Maybe I should.