Although it was released a couple of years ago, I just came across Nicholas Hogg’s Tokyo novel, which appears to be quite good — I think I’ll pick it up. On the promotional site for the book, there’s also a great short video by Samuel Cockeday, a mesmerizing time-lapse of the city.
The summer may be pretty much at its end, but we at least got two new episodes of Toco Toco TV this week, part of its promised “Summer Special” block, as we await the start of the next season. They both focus on filmmakers, Noboru Iguchi and Yoshihiro Nishimura, working in the indie horror genre, and are both fascinating in how frank each creator is about the difficulties of making indie films in Japan these days, with budgets for non-mainstream fare hard to come by and a fraction of what they used to be. It was also quite nostalgic for me to see Iguchi walking around Ikebukuro, the part of Tokyo where I lived for over 13 years.
Using Perfume to sell Panasonic washing machines (the track used, “Everyday,” is coming out as a b-side single soon). Via Tokyo’s Coolest Sound.
One of my favorite filmmakers, Anne Ferrero (Toco Toco TV, Branching Paths), is part of yet another beautifully produced series of video shorts/documentaries about Japanese culture. Called New Territories, it “aims at shedding more light on Japan’s art scene through the eyes of its local players, including artists, galleries, curators, writers, and more.” The first episode covers the Misako & Rosen gallery.
The season 3 finale of Toco Toco TV is a great one, covering video game/media creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi — and it’s fun seeing my buddy Mark MacDonald show up a few times. I also like how the series has updated the audio cues and typography it uses, it’s a welcomed change. I’m sad though that it’s the season finale — who knows when the next season will start — but at least they tease a summer special at the end of the episode. Let me also mention that the previous episode was quite interesting too, featuring musician Ei Wada.
I’m a huge fan of the Noclip series of documentaries about video games, and the latest one is a 3-part series (part one, part two, part three) covering the rather interesting journey of Final Fantasy XIV, from flop to rebirth. I played the game when it relaunched as A Realm Reborn in 2013, and quite enjoyed it — I stopped playing after a couple of months because I was having issues paying for the subscription (using a US account, but playing in Japan). Having watched the documentary, I now sorta want to play again.
While we anxiously await the release of Cornelius‘s upcoming album (out in Japan on June 28), he’s just a released a new single/video for the track “Sometime / Someplace.” I was listening to Fantasma this afternoon, and I love it as much now as I did back in 1997.
Kinoco Hotel have a 10th album coming out that’s a compilation of past tracks (with one new track), and I just love the covers. Here’s also a great video for the track “Atashi no Sniper (Short Version).” I’ve seen them at least a couple of times live at SuperDeluxe, and they give an awesome show. More details about the album over at Tokyo’s Coolest Sound.
I’m so in love with the video for Towa Tei‘s “Brand New Emo” track, featuring the Mizuhara Sisters. Found via Tokyo’s Coolest Sound.
The latest episode of Toco Toco TV takes a look at media artist Etsuko Ichihara — whose work includes the mix of robotics and tradition pictured in this post. And it looks like the next episode is already heading back to the gamespace, covering game creator Kazutoshi Iida.