Categories
Meta

Where to Find Me

Every month or so, Warren Ellis puts out a post on his site in which he explains where you can find him on the web and elsewhere — sort of a monthly updated FAQ on what he’s up to — and I figure I should do one as well, since I’m sure that someone who has just arrived to my site for the first time might have trouble understanding what exactly I’m up to these days.

First off, this week saw the launch of my latest project, The Magaziner, a new site that will cover the growing push of magazine into the digital world — something I’ve been covering here for a couple of months now, but realized it made more sense to create a proper space for it. It is also accompanied by a Twitter account, which I’m now using for my magazine-related tweets, and has a Facebook fan page too.

Last month I also launched a new weekly music podcast I call Codex. It’s usually me playing a selection of 10 tracks, but I’ll have the occasional themed shows (like the next one), guest episodes (soon), and I’m also going to start adding what I call the Codex Coda, short guest mixes. You can download all previous episodes here and subscribe to an RSS feed — it’s in the iTunes Store too.

Radio OK FRED is the long-running music podcast series I do with Editions OK FRED‘s Yoshi Tsujimura and Audrey Fondecave, and although it’s been on yet another extended break (apologies for that), it still pops up every once in a while, and I’m hoping we’ll be able to make 1 or 2 new episodes this month.

Then there’s PauseTalk, my monthly creative talk event that takes place at Cafe Pause here in Ikebukuro. We’re on a bit of a break this month and the next (due to the holiday slowdown), and so the next edition will take place February 7. If you’ve never been there, it’s a very casual salon-like atmosphere, where a bunch of “creatives” basically get together and discuss topics that affect us, share projects, ask for advice, etc.

SNOW Magazine is the natural extension that was launched at the start of the year for all of the Tokyo/Japan-related art/design/culture coverage I used to do on this blog for many, many years. Although most of the content is provided by me, it does include the occasional guest columns and feature. SNOW also has a presence on Facebook and Twitter.

That means that this place, JeanSnow.net, is again a hub for all of my activities, so don’t come looking for Japan-related news, really. I’m on Twitter as well — where some say I actually tweet too much — and of course Facebook.

On the book side of things, while I’ll remind you that my previous contributions — Arcade Mania and Tokyolife — make for great holiday gifts, next up will be the release early next year of the fifth editions of The Rough Guides to Tokyo and Japan.

And although it doesn’t get updated as much as I’d like, my little gaming corner — simply called GAME — still features a host of games that I like a lot. I’ll try and get back to adding a few each month.

The PLAY series, where I would spin virtual discs at Cafe Pause every once in a while, is also on hiatus, and I think it has pretty much been taken over by Codex. I actually want to occasionally record some live Codex shows from the cafe.

You can also still catch my monthly design column for The Japan Times, “On Design,” which is published on the last Thursday of every month. It focuses on product design, and each one usually has me recommending five new items. I also contributed two items to the Japan Timesholiday gift guide piece, which was published today.

And even though I don’t really contribute anything in the written sense, I would say that I’m a “spiritual” contributor to N√©ojaponisme, David Marx‘s web journal that covers social and cultural aspects of Japan, which explains my editor-at-large title. Although the site has slowed down a bit this year in terms of new content, expect a bunch of great year-end reflections to appear later this month.

I’m also a proud member of Luis Mendo’s Goodfellas Network, and more specifically part of the GOOD Inc. Japan team. If you’re looking for a terrific group of people to work on a magazine-related project (print or digital), then please get in touch.

Last, but CERTAINLY not least, I continue my work as Executive Director of PechaKucha, where my role is mostly behind-the-scenes, but I also provide a public face through the PechaKucha Daily blog, and on Twitter. Local PKN organizers from around the world are the people I mostly deal with, but do feel free to get in touch if you have any questions regarding all things PechaKucha, whether it’s about holding a one-off PK event, starting a regular PKN series in your city, or anything else you may have on your mind. Since the organization is run as a non-profit, sponsorship enquiries and collaborations are also VERY welcome!

So there you have it, and if all of this wasn’t enough, do feel free to email me with any question you may have.

Categories
Games

TGS 2010, From 8 to 4

Most people think of me — and with reason — as someone who is tied to the art and design world, and so often don’t really understand why I tweet so much about gaming-related topics, or why I hang out with so many people who work in the gaming industry. It’s no secret that gaming is in fact one of my absolute obsessions, one that has been a part of my life since the very early days of the medium (from the Atari 2600, Intellivision, and Vic-20 of the 70-80s to the very latest consoles, with a lot of coins spent in arcade cabinets throughout). More recently (in 2008), I covered the industry for close to a year as a contributing editor on Wired‘s Game|Life blog, and I also co-authored a book with Kotaku‘s Brian Ashcraft on the world of Japanese game centers called, appropriately enough, Arcade Mania. There’s also my little “Game” site, which admittedly I don’t update as much as I’d like to, but is still a good place to check out games that I’ve really enjoyed.

Throughout this time, I’ve made a lot of good friends on both sides of the industry (on the development/publishing side, as well as on the press side), and these friendships have continued despite my “moving on” (i.e. again, working more in the arts/design side of things, and my involvement with PechaKucha). One of my favorite regular outings are almost weekly lunches I have with CheapyD (the founder of mega gaming deals site Cheap Ass Gamer) and the crew from game localization company 8-4 (John Ricciardi, Mark MacDonald, Hiroko Minamoto et al.), which often includes some of their visiting friends (a lot of EGM/1UP alums). I should also mention that 8-4 are getting ready to launch a new podcast called 8-4 PLAY (it should be up later tonight) for the 1UP network, and I will probably be popping up as a guest occasionally.

But this brings me to what I really wanted to talk about in this post, and that’s this year’s edition of the Tokyo Game Show. As many of you know, I missed last year’s edition because of my spine injury, and so was quite looking forward to it this year, not just for the games, but also to see all of the people who come to Tokyo for the show. This was also the first time in quite a few years that I didn’t have to work during the show (I did get an offer to cover it, but I just had time to go on one day), which made for a much more relaxed and enjoyable experience, with lots of great parties (CheapyD and Weekend Confirmed‘s Garnett Lee’s birthday bash on Saturday, 8-4’s big pre-TGS party on Tuesday, and then last night with Microsoft’s press party, followed by the always amazing industry drink-up at Ootaru in Nakameguro, pictured above and below).

As for the show, I’ll start by saying that it does feel like there were more interesting game announcements than last year (which was pretty lackluster in terms of news), but walking around the show floor you couldn’t help but feel that there were less booths and less people (even if I was there on a business day, which is closed off to the public). I was getting the same reaction from a lot of people, and so this is definitely not just coming from me.

I didn’t play that many games — I’m usually happy just walking around and seeing what’s on offer — but did at least get to try a few. As I’m a rather big fan of racing games, I was quite happy to try out both MotorStorm 3 (or MotorStorm: Apocalypse, as it’s known in the West) and Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, and had an absolute blast playing both. One of the games I’ve been looking forward to the most this fall is Fable 3 (I have terrific memories of playing Fable 2), and playing the demo just confirmed what I already expected (i.e. it’s going to be right up my alley).

But the game that really surprised me was El Shaddai — and yes, this game is indeed named after one of the Judaic names used for the “God Almighty.” The visuals are a joy throughout — very stylish and unique, in the same way that games like Ico and Shadow of the Colossus pushed the boundaries of what an action/adventure game can look like — but especially stand out during the 2D side-scrolling sections, with stunning backgrounds that use color and shadow to great effect. This game has suddenly become one of my most anticipated titles for the coming year.

Categories
Meta

1000 Articles to Read

Just posted the 1000th post on the PechaKucha Daily blog — that’s a lot of posts. Sure, there were a few up there before I started, but I must be responsible for at least 99% of them. If you didn’t know, yeah, that’s one of the things that I do as part of my PechaKucha duties, trying to keep a lookout on happenings across the 300+ cities that host PKNs worldwide.

Categories
Meta

Where Hast Thou Been?

Don’t you just hate posts that refer to the lack of posts on a blog? Oh well, such is what you must deal with on occasion, as your humble blogger feels the need to assure everyone that it “ain’t dead yet.”

I’m coming off what has a been quite a project — it’s no secret that I’m a contributor to the upcoming updates to The Rough Guide to Tokyo and Japan, set to come out in early 2011. I still have a bit of follow-up work to do, but the bulk of it was handed in the other day, and so suddenly I have a bit more breathing room.

Throughout this I continue with my work for PechaKucha — for those who don’t know, part of what I do there is update the PechaKucha Daily blog, but I do a lot of stuff on the administrative side of things as well. And without going into details, I can tell you that I’m lining up a lot of interesting things for PK this year, and I can’t wait to see it come to fruition, and be able to share it with everyone.

Part of this involves the fact that this year I’ve associated myself with Amsterdam-based art director Luis Mendo, a good friend I’ve mentioned on this blog a few times, and who I met just last year when he came to Japan for a 3-month “inspirational retreat.” Luis runs his own company, GOOD Inc., for which he pulls help from the Goodfellas Network, an amazing collection of potential collaborators who work in pretty much all fields. Not only am I a “Goodfella” — both professionally and personally, me thinks — but me, Luis, and graphic designer and artist Hiyoko Imai have formed a Japan branch of GOOD Inc. Our expertise is magazine-related production, so do get in touch if you are interested in working with us. And yes, we are currently developing something PK-related (which is how this paragraph came about).

Other than that, SNOW Magazine continues at a fine pace, and if you missed it, here’s a media kit we recently put together for the site — it includes details about advertising on the site, both pricing and placement, as well as a few reasons on why you might want to do so. I’m of course very excited about the upcoming “SNOW Magazine Cafe” event as well, and have already gotten lots of amazing contributions — imagine my surprise when the first email I received after announcing it came from The New York Times Magazine! If you’d like to participate, please get in touch. Oh, and there’s a great collaboration with the site Poolga coming too.

I think that’s enough for now. Yes, I’ve got my hands in other things — of course — and I’ll try to cover more of it here in the days/weeks to come. For all you Radio OK Fred fans, a bit of good news: me, Ay2, and Yoshi are getting together next Wednesday to record a new episode, so expect that to be online very soon (very likely on that day).

Categories
Events Meta Photography

PechaKucha Control Center

Here I am, acting all serious and shit at the “control center” this past Saturday for the big “Global PechaKucha Night for Haiti” — in the foreground you see the back of the head of Mark Dytham, and my PechaKucha colleague Tomoko. The photo is courtesy of Arvin Panwar — more photos from that night here.

Categories
Events

PechaKucha for Haiti

Just a note to let everyone know about the global “PechaKucha for Haiti” event happening today. You’ll be able to watch a live stream of the entire thing from the front page of the PechaKucha website. There are also local events happening around the world — the Tokyo one is at SuperDeluxe, doors open at 16:20, and the entire global event kicks off at 17:00.

Categories
Events Music

Mammal at PKN Tokyo

Following its debut at the recent TAB 5th anniversary party, Mammal — the band/dance unit composed of Ian Lynam and Mari Kojima — returns for another performance, this time during the upcoming PechaKucha Night in Tokyo Vol. 67, which happens December 2 at SuperDeluxe.