Naka-Meguro

Went to Naka-Meguro today to meet up with Jason and do a bit of walking around. We had lunch at the Organic Cafe, where I could partake in the sizeable (a rare thing for a trendy spot I find) and tasty Triple-Decker Sandwhich. We then walked around a bit, checking out Cow Books, which exhibits an interesting design sense, what with scrolling text all around the store, and a comfortable and well lit table in the middle of the store. The selection was a bit pricy though (old edition of THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE going for 8000 yen), so nothing I really cared to pick up. After some more walking around, checking out all the interesting street art (look for that in the next few daily pics on the site), we went to Chano-ma, a nice little cafe/bar perfectly hidden (no sign, even on the building listing) on the 6th floor of a building. The place would make for a better visit at night, with a great view of the city, and a bit of subtle lighting.

We then seperated, as Jason had to go to work, and I stopped in Shibuya on the way back. I checked out the magazine floor of Tower Records, and picked up an interesting little London/Tokyo free zine (except that they were charging 300 yen for it, so not really free) called EXPOSURE. I haven’t had a chance to read through it yet, but it has lots of interesting design stuff. Then it was off to Parco, where they had a big sale of foreign books at the Parco Book Center (P-BC), in their Logos Gallery. Picked up two French graphic novels by Jiro Taniguchi from a series called LE JOURNAL DE MON PERE. It seems to tell the story of a boy growing up in Japan during the fifties or sixties. I look forward to reading them, and they were a steal at 1000 yen each.

A good day.

OPi8.com

The OPi8 site has just relaunched with a brand new design, and it looks really nice. Everything is not done yet, as there are still error messages here and there, so I’ll still wait a bit until I restart doing my Tokyo Boy blog, which hopefully will be soon.

Fey and the Sky Lounge

Had a great outing last night with Jason in Harajuku/Aoyama. We first checked out Fey, which is pictured in today’s pic. I really enjoyed this place. I has a very modern design, with appropriate music to let you relax. The food menu is also quite good, and amazingly affordable (basically everything under or around 1000 yen). We had some really tasty rice meals, accompanied by glasses of shochu (a sort of Japanese liquor) which came with a huge spheric ice cube (well, sphere). It’s not on my list of places to check out regularly. We then went to the Sky Lounge, which is part of the Las Chicas complex, just in front of the Sputnik Pad. The decor is a mix of various Asian things, which ecclectic furniture, and a very comfy velvet sofa. Great place to relax and talk.

I’m now really excited by some new project that I think me and Jason are going to be able to start. I don’t want to say too much now, but let’s just say that it would involve a regular contribution to a print publication. More on everything as (or if) it evolves.

Tokyo Boy

I haven’t made a Tokyo Boy update at the OPi8 site in at least 2 weeks, and although I was planning on putting a new up the other day, I see that there seems to be quite a few errors at the site. I know that the people that run the site were planning on doing a redesign of the site, so this could have something to do with it. I guess I’ll take a break from TB for now, and just focus on the daily pics I put here, maybe adding more commentary to the pics, like I did at the OPi8 site.

Also, I’ve been thinking about creating a new section to the site which would basically be reviews of the cool bars, cafes and shops that I visit here in Tokyo. I think it could be useful for people that come to Tokyo and don’t really know what to check out when it comes to drinking outings. I’ll also ask my regular transgression (I used to send out a mailing list describing my outings called TOKYO TRANSGRESSIONS, and we sort of started refering to our outings as “transgressions”) partner, Jason.

Lastly, since I released the last issue of GEISHA in the middle of December, I’m not quite ready for a new issue yet. If I feel inspired I might get to work on a new issue in a week or so, and if not, look for the next issue to be up for the beginning of February. Again, a big thanks to Warren Ellis who keeps plugging the new issues as they get released.

Ramen Madness

OK, now I’m really getting upset. I’ve been trying to go to one of my favorite ramen shops here in Ikebukuro for 3 days now and I’m constantly confronted with insane lines of people. This is just nuts! We usually make it a habit of going for a bowl of ramen on the first of the year, and this time there was only one shop open (Komen, my favorite shop) and we would certainly have had to wait at least an hour (lots of emphasis on the “at least”). Today all the shops were open (except one, Santouka), but we were just not up to waiting in line in the amazingly cold weather that we’re having right now (it’s 0 right now, and I woke up to a thin coat of snow, which you’ll see later in today’s pic).

All I want is a tasty bowl of steaming ramen. Is that too much to ask? I’m crossing my fingers for tomorrow, although I can’t see it getting much better on a Saturday.

Ganguro

gang7

GANGURO “look” is to have dyed blonde or brown hair, plucked eyebrows, tan skin, mini-skirt, cool shoes, “ganguro gal” are the brownskin girls, “gonguro gal” are the more deep brownskin, “Yamanba gal” is silver or white or brown hair, brown or hard-drown face, heavy makeup or panda makeup.

I’m just happy that we don’t see them much anymore. They used to be everywhere maybe 3 years ago.

The New Year!

It’s now 2003 in Japan! Came back not too long ago from Gokokuji, a pretty big and famous buddhist temple not too far from where I live. It was a nice walk. The temple itself was built by one of the Tokugawa shoguns in honor of his mother. There was a huge lineup of people, most of them being people in their twenties. I guess that’s what you have to expect at around 1:30 am.

Going to the temple after midnight to pray for a good year is something I’ve done every year I’ve been in Japan. I also had some soba before midnight, which is also traditional. Watched a good part of the big Kohaku show on NHK, which is something like 40 years old I think, and includes all the top performers of the year for a battle of the sexes. Also watched my favorite comedians, 99, ring in the New Year with one of them, Takashi Okamura, jumping in a huge tower of fire. It was nuts.

Here’s hoping for a great year!

Zelda

The past few days have all been about the new Zelda game, THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: KAZE NO TAKUTO, for me. Just released about 2 weeks ago in Japan (only next March in North America), I got it as a Christmas gift for Yuko, and I am just so incredibly amazed by this game. Beautiful, just beautiful. Makes me love my GameCube even more (and I already like it quite a bit). It’s also playing a very educational role for me as I’m playing along with my electronic dictionary by my side to translate the words I’m having trouble with. But you know what, I’m actually doing pretty well with all the dialogue (and there’s a lot of it), which is a very welcome surprise. Guess I’m getting better at this language than I thought. I still have a long way to go, but this is a welcome new level of ability that I didn’t know I had in me.

OK, now I must get back to the game…

Mary Timony

dreammachineI found this great little short starring Mary Timony, from the band Helium. Shot on 16mm, it’s called DREAM MACHINE, and it tells the story of a shy Japanese boy who meets up with a sad singer at a karaoke bar. The soundtrack, all by Timony, is also really good. The following is a direct link to the file (a 50MB download).