Today I have the day off, and it’s off again to Shibuya to pick up my new visa. I have my fingers crossed, hoping that it’s going to be for more than a year this time. It’s a nice sunny day today, so it’s also a good excuse to go out and take come pics. Today’s picture (030228) is of a window that I can see from the back of my apartment. The blue window from the other day is right next to it.
Yesterday I had to give some demonstration classes, which is when I give a class to potential students, with all their mothers present. You have to sell the product (the language school I work for), so there is a bit of pressure to do well, and it’s usually not something I really enjoy doing. But for some reason, the two classes I gave yesterday ended up being really fun, and the mothers also seemed to be enjoying themselves. The first class had kids from 3 (2 years and 10 months to be exact) to 5, and they were great.
THE TWO TOWERS finally started playing in Japan last weekend, and I was simply blown away. Wow. Great entertainement. Can’t wait to have the DVD to watch over and over again.
Still listening a lot to all those new albums that were released this week. Of the three, Sketch Show’s TRONICA has become my favorite. I absolutely love Sketch Show’s sound, and it’s something that not many people are doing right now (or at least not that I’m aware of).
For the past 2 weeks I’ve been studying at least 2 hours a day of Japanese. I’m still going strong. I’m about to finish my first kanji textbook, and so I’ll probably buy the second one today. Gotta keep going at this pace if I want to see a noticeable improvement in my Japanese sometime soon. I want to pass the level 2 Japanese proficiency test by the end of the year (level 1 is the highest grade). Wish me luck.
I am totally in love with the character designs and animated shorts that can be found at the Vooz website. Very nicely done. You can find all sorts of fun goodies at the Pucca Club website.
This has been an excellent week for music releases in Japan, with 3 albums that are now in constant rotation on my iPod and iMac.
Fantastic Plastic Machine – TOO – A new album by Tanaka-san, which continues in the same style he’s been using since the release of BEAUTIFUL. I still prefer the FPM of old (the first two albums), but this is still fun music, and has a good beat for when you’re walking to work.
Sweet Robots Against the Machine – RE: TOWA TEI – This is a remix album of the TOWA TEI album, and offers some interesting alternates of the tracks. Still haven’t listened to it much, but I like a lot of what I’ve heard (even though I’m pretty sure I prefer all the original versions).
Sketch Show – TRONICA – A new EP by two ex-members of of the seminal group YMO (whose third member was Ryuchi Sakamoto). This is such a great little CD, and includes two tracks produced by Cornelius. If you haven’t sampled Sketch Show yet, do yourself a favor and check out their full-length AUDIO SPONGE album. A nice mix of smooth electronicism and breezy melodies.
My good friend Jesper wrote an article on Groovisions (creators of Chappie) for the very cool Swedish magazine SUPERLOUNGE, and he also made this cool little movie.
Well, the skirts were fake, but these t-shirts are real.
Bob Sapp is a fighter who has taken Japan by storm. An ex-football player (I think he played in the NFL, as well as the NFL’s European league), he came to Japan and started fighting in various disciplines, like the incredibly popular K-1 and PRIDE tournaments, and has become the most recognized face in Japan because of his embracing the wacky world of Japanese entertainement. You’ll now see him almost once a night on a show, and he’s also taking over the commercials you see between the programs. The picture up top is the cover of his new album, SAPP TIME!, which bares a striking resemblance to a certain gloved one’s seminal album.
A bunch of pics have been doing the rounds lately, you’ve probably seen them, of Japanese women supposedly wearing skirts that have prints of their behinds in underwear. The following site debunks the whole thing.
Also of interest in the blog entry is a link to a page with examples of all the wacky vending machines you can find in Japan. Here’s a direct link to it.
The new Kahimi Karie album that was released last week, TRAPEZISTE, is absolutely terrific. It has a very crazy and cool jazz feel to it. I haven’t been too fond of the last few things she has released (her stuff done with Momus being my favorite), especially the MY SUITOR EP, but this new album is amazing. Can’t stop listening to it.
Kanji are the Chinese characters that the Japanese use in their written language. They’re a bitch to learn. I spent close to 4 hours today studying them. I will be able to read manga by this Summer. I will. Goddamn it.
According to this article, they’re going to open a real Apple store (meaning owned by Apple) in Tokyo’s Ginza area this Fall. This will be the first Apple store outside of the US. It definitely would not have made sense to open it in Akihabara (the purpose of the stores is to showcase to new users), but I think a store in Aoyama would have been a better idea. Still, I look forward to checking the store out. Hopefully Apple will have some new cool gadgets for me to buy by the time the store opens.