Back to the Codex

Time to rock.

It would be fair for you to have forgotten that I usually produce an almost-weekly podcast calledCodex, in which I play some of my favorite tracks of the moment. I’ve produced 60 episodes since November of 2010, and you’ll find every single one of them — along with the complete track listings —here.

Codex, where art thou?

Episode 60 was released on August 1, and I was in fact planning on taking a break, mostly because I was heading back home to Canada for some holidays.

Then four months passed.

I always planned on getting back to it, but for some reason or another, I just never got around to it.

I’ve gotten around to it.

Last night I poured some wine, put on the headphones, and recorded episode 61 of the Codex. Let’s call it the start of a new season, and you can expect another “regular” run for the foreseeable future.

As Viv Albertine sings, “I Want More.”


Bond, Jean Bond

I’m a giant Bond nerd, I truly am.

Not only did I buy the new 50th anniversary blu-ray collection that includes all 22 films so far (as well as a slot to add in Skyfall), but before that I owned all of the previously released blu-rays (11 films), as well as the entire series on DVD, and way before that the entire series on VHS.

I kinda like these movies.

You can imagine how excited I am to see Skyfall — yes, it’s been released pretty much all over the world except Japan, which has its premiere in just under a week, on December 1. Despite the wait, we at least had Toho Cinemas in Roppongi Hills that has been showing every film in the series, leading up to the release of Skyfall. I caught You Only Live Twice — I so wanted to see this movie in a theater in Japan — and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, my favorite Bond film.

Since I often get asked about my favorite Bond films, I wrote this post on Facebook a week or two ago, listing my top 5.

Imagine my suprise and absolute joy when one night I received a message from my friend David Macklem — a web designer based in Japan — who, unsollicited, created the amazing image you see at the top of this post.


Meanwhile, the countdown continues, Skyfall opens here in 6 days…


PechaKucha x ArchiAid

Thanks for giving.

We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here in Japan, but quite a few people were in a giving mood last night for our special “PechaKucha x ArchiAid” event, held at our regular PK home here in Tokyo,SuperDeluxe. The event brought together architects to share projects that they’ve been working on under the ArchiAid umbrella, as part of reconstruction efforts in Tohoku.

Couldn’t be there? We’ll be sharing all of the presentations online, and even though the vast majority of them were done in Japanese, we hope to eventually add subtitles.

And people gave.

The goal of the event was not just to showcase projects, but also to raise money for ArchiAid projects, and more specifically the “Core House” project, which you can hear more about in this presentationfrom last month’s Tokyo Designers Week event by Atelier Bow-Wow‘s Yoshiharu Tsukamoto — he did an updated version of the presentation last night in English, and that should be available online very soon.

As is the PechaKucha tradition, we had fun too, especially with our donation boxes — and a big thanks to Kerensa Purvis, who has been volunteering for us over the past couple of months, for creating these.

We’ll have more to share soon, but if you’re willing, please know that you can also donate directly to ArchiAid by PayPal from our Inspire Japan site.

Thanks for giving.


LA Game Space

A space. For games.

There are a lot of terrific Kickstarter projects that deserve your attention, and I would need daily posts to describe all of the ones I find interesting. I would like to highlight one in particular though, and it’s for the LA Game Space.

My friend Daniel Rehn is behind the project — along with Adam Robezzoli — and if funded, it promises to be a truly fantastic space.

Here’s the gist:

“LA Game Space is a nonprofit, interdisciplinary center for art, design, and research. Our upcoming space will explore the potential and expand the possibilities of video games through residencies, exhibitions, research labs, speaker series, and workshops.”

There are of course tons of rewards for various levels of contributions, but that’s not really the reason you should think about backing this. It’s a project that anyone who loves and breathes the world of video games should want to see happen.

Read more about the project here, and think about kicking in.


Dog and iPad

A boy, his dog, and his iPad.

The illustration above was produced by my very good friend Luis Mendo, who is currently in town working with me on PechaKucha-related projects. It was done earlier this year to accompany an article I wrote for an independent magazine, but because of delays in the release of the issue, the article has been canned. I didn’t want the lovely image to go to waste, so I include it here (with permission from everyone involved).

Meet me, resting comfortably on my dog Confiture, using my favorite device.

I’d also like to point out that the image represented is not so far off from a typical Saturday or Sunday morning at the Snow household. You have seen my dog, right?

Again, big thanks to Luis for sharing the image — which was commissioned by the magazine editor, not me, and so it was a very pleasant surprise when I first saw it.

As for the article, if I recall, it was about the special retro-ized Mad Men issue of Newsweek that came out earlier this year — more specifically, the iPad edition.



The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.

Not too long ago I wrote about how cyberpunk was occupying my current mindspace, and it continues to do so. Strangely enough, on the day I wrote that post I found out about Cypher, a new text adventure game with a cyberpunk setting.

Imagine my joy.

I’ve been gaming all my life, and some of the fondest memories I have of early electronic entertainment is the series of text adventures released by Infocom. Zork, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I was all over these games, and I loved them as much for the incredible world I would access through simple text commands, as I did for the fantastic packaging, filled with “feelies.”

Who could forget H2G2‘s Peril Sensitive Sunglasses.

Cypher — an independently produced PC/Mac text adventure game by The Cabrera Brothers — not only plays like a pure text-based game, it does so through a lovely interface that incorporate the “terminal” in which you write, and graphic representations of the items that you collect in the game. On top of this, the various editions of the games that you can buy all include a terrific set of digital“feelies.”

The game can be purchased directly from the Cabrera Brothers’ website, and I recommend you do so.

Also, for the first time in what feels like forever, I’m avidly following a currently airing anime series — some of you may remember that I used to write a monthly column on anime for the now defunct Tokyo Q, which was in fact my first paid writing gig. Recommended by my friend Jon Swanson, Psycho-Passis set in a Blade Runner/cyberpunk-ish world, in which cops chase down people who show the “probability” of committing crimes. I’m three episodes in, and loving it so far.

He never saw Molly again.


TDW 2012

What a week.

This was certainly the busiest design week I’ve ever had, and I barely even saw anything. All the work was of course because of the very big — and very successful — PechaKucha Night we produced as part of Tokyo Designers Week 2012. This was then followed by a mini PK session the following night at SuperDeluxe‘s 10th anniversary party, which was a hell of a lot of fun — once the presentations were over, it was time to finally let loose.

It was interesting to take in design week this way. I of course have covered it many times over the years as a writer, and although I don’t really do that anymore, my “On Design” column for The Japan Times this month was an intro to the event (and instead of the regular long column on the side, it was the feature article on the page, taking up the entire upper half), and I always grab the opportunity to check in on some of the events, to find things I can cover in future columns.

I did get to attend the opening party for DesignTide, and although I had a limited amount of time to see the booths — I had to check in on our venue for the PKN that same night — I did find a few things I’ll likely cover in “On Design,” and it was good to see a few friends as well.

As far as that big PKN goes, we’ve already started sharing presentations online, and more will be added over the coming days.

Oh, and wait till you see our brand spanking new PechaKucha website, which launches soon…