Sunday, 30 November 2008

Short Movie Review! - Be Kind Rewind + Theater Kino

Hmmm, well I didn't post last night because... I just plain forgot. Not sure what was going on there, but I'm reasonably sure it won't happen again. This Sunday then, via Monday.

On Sunday I went to Theater Kino in Sapporo, and I don't know why I haven't been there before because it's a real arthouse cinema. Tiny, covered in a bewildering array of posters, serving cake as a snack and fitted into a building completely unsuited to housing a cinema. In this case it looks and smells like a functional 1980s municipal office block, but up on the 2nd floor, looking initially like just another office, is Theater Kino.

I've already fallen in love with Theater Kino because they had a ridiculous offer to promote their movie. We went to see the Michel Gondry movie Be Kind Rewind, in which VHS tapes play a major part - and we could get a third off the ticket price by bringing along our own VHS of a movie with a happy ending and writing about why we liked it. That's the kind of hare-brained scheme I can really get behind. Yuki only had a few VHS tapes though, so I went with The Shawshank Redemption and she had that Ed Norton / Ben Stiller religious romcom. Good enough.


That's the pretty awesome American movie poster for Be Kind Rewind up there. Sadly the Japanese movie poster is a lacklustre photoshop montage:


I mean, I understand why they want the characters in some of the costumes from the movie but... Jack Black doesn't even have a moustache in this flick. Is there something added to the poster by adding a - frankly half-hearted - moustache to Jack Black as scrap-heap Robocop? He's already scrap-heap Robocop!

Anyway, the movie was great. I hadn't really read any reviews, but in what little I did read people were generally unimpressed so my expectations weren't high (although my hopes were). I mean I recently rewatched Eternal Sunshine and holy crap that's a nigh on perfect movie. The Science of Sleep is a wonderful movie too, so I had my fingers crossed.

Although the set up and the cast prime you for a pretty straight American comedy movie I think this is fairly clear proof that Michel Gondry can't make a straight comedy movie. When he does try the broad humour and emphatic punchlines necessary for a multiplex crowd-pleaser he just doesn't pull it off. Those are the weakest bits of the movie, and luckily as the movie progresses there are less and less of them. In the first 20 minutes Jack Black grates a little, but after a while he beds into the movie really well and I just pure enjoyed the movie for most of its running time.

Mos Def was good too. I mention specifically this because when I read one blogger mention bad comic timing I immediately thought of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which was another fantastically inventive comedy movie starring Mos Def that was undone by poor timing both from the directors and the cast. In Hitchhiker's... Mos Def was especially guilty of missing beats and flubbing the punchlines, but here he plays it much straighter and gives a better comedy performance as a result.

It ain't a masterpiece, and it's worse than the other two Gondry movies that I mentioned, and it's a little hokey and cheesy at times, but it's really, really good.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Short Movie Review! - Gone Baby Gone

Tonight Matthew, I'm gonna talk about a movie.


Gone Baby Gone was the directorial debut from Ben "Ben Affleck" Affleck, adapted from a book that I'm almost certain was better than the movie, but which gave the movie enough spine to stand up pretty well. It's a kidnapping story set in a poor Boston neighbourhood that works remarkably well when it's trying to be "gritty" and "real", mostly thanks to some fine, blunt acting from the cast. Although the plot is good, Affleck's handling of the denouement and the unravelling of the story's threads is just plain clumsy. Black and white flashbacks, voice overs of relevant lines from earlier in the movie... most Law & Order episodes are more subtle. However it stands up for me, on two accounts: 1) there's a really nicely handled ethical dilemma at the heart of it, and 2) there's some awesome swearing.

Seriously, I'm disappointed to find that IMDB didn't have memorable quotes from the bit where Casey Affleck tells the bartender to "make me a martini you fat fucking retard", or the bit where the cop interviewing him calls him "a fresh prick" (one of my favourite cop insults). It does have the bit where Affleck tells a kid to get out of the road and the kid tells him to go fuck his mother though, that's something.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Pachinko Palace

I hate pachinko parlours. Look at this one (and please do click, for soul crushing enormity):


There aren't even any windows at ground level, I can only imagine the horror that lurks inside.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Hokkaido No. 5

Double posting today, as in both here and on Loom, because I'm pleased with how this came out:



I used a neat little hack to make youtube stream in a slightly better quality, I hope it worked.

Also, I guess this is another opportunity to shout out for Loom, which is the... what do you call it? Artblog? Create-o-sphere? that I post on every week, along with people called Ben, Paul, Renee and Juan. Music, videos, drawings, whatever - I create something and upload it every Thursday, so have a look.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

More Goon Goodness

From The Goon #30, which as a series makes me love comics so much:


And the punchline:


Ah, funnies.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Countdown to Alex making a tit of himself!

Hey! These arrived today:


Yes, they're snowboard boots. I know they look like those special "Critter Stomping" boots you can get, but I assure you that these are snowboarding boots. I probably could stomp critters pretty good with them though.

And what this means is that I'm edging ever closer to actually going snowboarding again. And heaven forfend, actually taking it pretty seriously. It will end in tears, though whether they will be mine or yours, and whether they will be of joy or of woe - remains to be seen.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Monday via Monday No. 2

Today we went to Otaru with Conrad and Yuki, then back in Sapporo we checked out the omiyage:


The little green balls are marimo, which is the spherical algae that grows in like only three places in the world. I was under the impression that you couldn't buy real marimo balls, but this shop had two types marked: "We are imitations." and the far more sinister "We live." pictured above. Then I finally, finally got to go on the Norbessa ferris wheel (Sapporo has a ferris wheel on top of a building of course). It was chilly but not too bad, and the view was awesome:


And that, plus lots and lots and lots of eating and drinking and singing and dancing was my awesome weekend that made me feel happy, lucky and tired. Good night!

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Sunday via Monday No. 2

This Sunday post is brought to you by Alex, Monday, the grace of the blogger date function, the letters S, B and the number 7.

Having stayed up all night Saturday, my weekend continued apace when Conrad and Yoko arrived from Tokyo. We did a few sights and some Ramen and some catching up, then for dinner we went out to Sapporo Bier Garten, the Genghis Khan / Jingiskan beer hall by the beer museum. Here are Conrad and Yoko, sure, sure, they look like nice people, but I draw your attention to the fishtank Conrad got:


I'm pretty sure that in the time of Genghis Khan, that would have been an actual human skull. Seriously, later on he drowned an otter in there. I have no idea where he got the otter from, but it was awesome.

The beer garden involves eating lots of lamb and drinking beer, but more than that it involves a lot of inhaling lamb. It's two floors, each a big banquet hall full of lots of Hokkaido-shaped hot plates giving off great gouts of meat-smoke. Holy moly that smell's gonna take some time to come out of my clothes, and I probably breathed in about two and a half sheep. This photo captures some of the smoke in the air:


After that karaoke for the second day in a row, which is always awesome with Conrad, and then onto Precious Hall. Precious Hall, which is probably my favourite club in the world, was made even more awesome than usual because it was the 5th Birthday of Synapse, a great electronic promotions company in Sapporo and Ryuta, the organiser, had laid on free food (and a free make-up corner) for everyone. This time I didn't stay until the first train, but I was never gonna be able to post after that.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Saturday via Monday No. 2

This Saturday post comes beamed back through time on laser-beams of love because on Saturday night I went to watch Katsuhiko play live, then hit a karaoke box until 6am and came home in this sort of weather:


I've said it before and I'll say it again, staying out all night is infinitely cooler if you can walk out into a blizzard at the end of it. Earlier between the club and the karaoke I also received proof that Ben Cheng is a bad-ass:


In a sub-zero blizzard most people will opt for the hot rice-balls to warm them up, Ben picked the ice lolly. Man's man.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Incongruous Background Music

As I mentioned before soup curry restaurants always have either reggae, Indian, or Indo-reggae themed decor, and play music to match. The shop I go to most often (because it's two minutes from my appartment and has the best vegetables I've found) has somewhat mixed furnishings, but plays a good mix of classic reggae and sometimes even British ska like the Specials, the Beat and Madness.

Tonight though, they mixed it up a bit, dropping Shampoo's Trouble in there amongst the reggae rhythms. I know Shampoo were bigger here than they were anywhere else in the world, but still, it almost made me spit-take my curry all over my book.

I was, however, the only person in the restaurant and they were about to close, so maybe they were just cutting loose from the repressive straight-jacket of soup-curry-reggae.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Back with the white stuff

Yeah, like I said it snowed:


Last night it was all powdery and dreamy and lovely. It made me happy to remember what this city is like in the winter, which is cold and clear and white and peaceful. Today I remembered the other side of winter in this city, when last night's snowfall was stomped to slush and then froze into ice in the "minus-holy-fucking-shit" temperatures. My whole neighbourhood is a gleaming icy deathtrap right now, but I instantly remembered the shuffling, furrow-browed gait that is required and I was ok.


Snow, mmmm.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Super Chample! Go, Aichi, Go!

Hey, it started snowing here properly tonight! You know how I know? I was standing in the lobby at work staring out of the window going "Wow! It's snowing! That's awesome!" and everyone else was muttering "Shutupshutupshutup" under their breath. That's how I know. I may have mentioned it before, Sapporo snow is a delight for me, but if you grew up here and every winter you have to change your tyres, tie up and support your trees and spend countless hours shovelling snow out of the way of your front door, you probably feel a different way.

Anyhow, not the point of todays post. I've been reading about Strictly Come Dancing and how John Sergeant was going to ruin it all and - gasp! - possibly cast some doubt on the legitimacy of a reality TV's shows ability to accurately determine the best dancer in a group of famous folks, and I just want to say "Blah, blah, blah." Feel free to take your paltry Western dance shows and cram 'em up your cram hole, because now, I got Super Chample:

video

Sorry about the super sketchy filmed from TV video, that's exactly what I did last night because I couldn't find any decent streaming videos online. This dance-off went on for probably around ten minutes and it's part of the B-Boy dance competition. All Area won last week, but this week they were whupped by the E-X-Men. I think they're saying that Aichi guy has the Guiness world record for headspins, and I mean how can you top that? After I stopped filming he pulled another spin that was just insane.

The show also started with this junior high boy girl duo called Respect or something, that I love because they pull the poses and faces when they're dancing, but as soon as they're interviewed they start mumbling and smiling nervously like embarrassed teens. Which of course is what they are.

Conclusion: Super Chample - fuck yeah. Snow - fuck yeah. Goodnight.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Creepy

This post is a bit tricky for me, because much as I can't help it mostly, and I am kind of an asshole, I don't like just making fun of people because of their interests and hobbies. I'm clearly a geek, I love comic books and weird music and all kinds of crazy shit, but this post... it just had to be made. I'm sorry, and I'm trying not to be too harsh.

The girl who lived in my appartment before me collected the infamous Super Dollfie Dolls. You know, the creepy ones:


And she got a catalogue delivered every couple of months. So now I get a catalogue delivered every couple of months, and it never fails to creep me out because it's... very creepy:


The doe eyed, slightly retarded looking kid dolls are creepy, as are the terrifyingly arrogant looking aryan dolls:


And the really worrying hyper-sexualized schoolgirl / maid warriors are really creepy:


These have a cult, geek following here, they're not mainstream popular but they do cost a lot of money, and are made in limited editions so that certain models immediately rocket in price for collectors. They're collected by girls and boys, and by plenty of what I would imagine are very fine people. But, and let me try and put this as nicely as I can - I find them creepy:


So, for the girl who lived here before me - I'm sorry to be taking the catalogue you had delivered for your hobby and somewhat making fun of it. This is what happens when you post on your blog every single fucking day and you've recently invested in a scanner. However, for most other people... creepy right?

Like, really creepy.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Items

Among today's finds:


I've seen the Big Issue Japan a couple of times but never in Sapporo. Japan has a big homeless problem in general, but not so much in Hokkaido - it's just too cold to survive the winter living outdoors up here. Down where Andy lives in hot, hot Fukuoka though, I've seen so many people sleeping rough along the river; and a while back I read this article about those living hand to mouth in Osaka. I can't read it at all, but it's interesting to flick through.


Colo Galita are my favourite chocolate snack things in Japan. Let my take your tongue on a journey... with my words. They're little biscuit cups filled with chocolate and ensconced in the middle of the chocolate is a nugget of caramel. They're crunchy and chocolatey and sweet all at once and thus I love them. And now double chocolate Colo Galita? I say thee yay.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Winter Trainers

I got new trainers today:


No, wait! I didn't just by these because I'm developing an alarming "Sneaker Habit" (although several people today did take one look and say "More sneakers?"). These shoes were primarily a pragmatic purchase, because they're Winter Sneakers. They're not real leather they're some kind of waterproof pleather; the tongue is sewn into the shoe with extra panels to make it waterproof and snow resistant; and they have ruthless looking grips on the bottom too for snowy and icy weather. Pretty much designed for a Sapporo winter y'know.

Now I'm curious as to whether these shoes are available outside Japan. All the big sneaker companies make them, basically a rugged snow-ready version of one of their other shoes, but mostly they're only made up to 28cm which is the standard Japanese upper size limit. I really dug the New Balance and Vans ones, but they didn't stretch to 30cm. Converse miraculously did, so that's what I got, and they're tagged with Converse Japan labels. Last year I emailed Vans to ask if I could get their snow sneakers in my size and they didn't seem to know what I was talking about, so I have to figure that this is another one of those lines of awesome shit that is made by the Japanese arms of western companies, only for Japan.

And hopefully I'll fall on my ass less this winter.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Boys! Are you old enough to wear Lees?

Well?


Click on the image below to get the full, educational story. Complete with ass-zoom!


And for the record, yes, I do own a pair of Lee jeans.


Friday, 14 November 2008

Coffee Inna Can

Of course in Japan canned coffee is really popular. Vending machines are everywhere and in summer you can get cold canned coffee, in winter you can get hot canned coffee. Conventional wisdom amongst westerners is that coffee in a can tastes shit - but conventional wisdom is wrong.

It tastes shit only most of the time. Sometimes it tastes alright. Y'know, ok I mean.

My choice at the moment is Fire: Africa, which I buy a can of on the way to work every day. I also quite like most of the Itoen line, which are sold at the vending machine right outside where I work, especially when they're heated up for winter. Sadly my other options right outside my building are Georgia, which is Coke's stake in the market and which I don't like much.

Which makes it even more galling to find this:



Click through and check it out, there's a whole story line played out over the course of 4 or 5 commercials. But, much as I hate to disagree with Coop, it isn't damn fine coffee.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Sapporo Food: Yonoji


S'UPDATE! March 31st 2012

I should really dig through these old posts more because places close down or move and I'd hate to mislead anyone as to the real 'state of play' 'on the ground' 'in sapporo' 'as it were'. Yonoji actually closed down in M's Place a while ago. It became a kind of online cake shop for a while perhaps (when I searched for it) and I just found a new address, which I think might just be the original address, but I'll check it out.

UPDATE! I checked it out, it was just the original address. No Yonoji anymore.

Anyway, point being, sadly this place isn't there anymore. I loved it, and I miss it.

- - - ORIGINAL BLOG POST FOLLOWS! - - -


If I'm really honest, my favourite restaurant in Sapporo is Kitchen Yonoji+Jr. That's a little shameful considering that this is Japan and there's so much great Japanese food here, and so many great local specialties and so on - but my favourite food in the world is the American hamburger, and Yonoji is perhaps the best in Sapporo:


That little one on the left is, I think, almost a kind of joke because their regular hamburgers (described in the menu as Deluxxx Killer Burgers) are so fucking big. That plate of food on the right is too much for any standard human to eat and feel comfortable afterwards. In fact for some people, the burgers and portions of fries are possibly too big, detracting from their overall enjoyment of the meal, but I'm usually ok. I generally don't order the fries when I go there, just the burger and I'd advise you to do the same because the temptation to fill up on fries is always there, and you'll miss out on savouring the burger if you do that. The bread is great, the meat is great and the sauces and relishes - particularly the homemade tomato sauce and the teriyaki sauce - are phenomenal. My recommendations are the "F40" cheese burger and the "Top of a Top" teriyaki burger, both of which I could probably live on for the rest of my life.

Actually Yonoji's concept is that the owners have travelled all around the world, so they serve bits of food from all over the place. There's Greek and Italian and whatever on the menu, maps on the wall and on the tables of international cities, that sort of thing. It's a nice idea, but to be honest it's wasted on me because I have no interest in eating anything other than their burgers. I've seen other people eat different things off the menu and they seemed to enjoy them, but I can't voice an opinion myself.

Their other concept is that the couple who own it bring their dog (sometimes two dogs) to the store with them. Is that a concept? Having a dog in the shop? I'm not sure, it's a cute dog though.

Yonoji used to be way out in the sticks and a bugger to get to, but this year they moved into the city centre. It's still hidden away pretty well though. Walk along Tanuki Koji, heading west until you get to the end of the 6th block (6 Chome). At the pedestrian crossing look to your right and you'll see a shabby, but well lit building called M's Place on the other side of the road that you're about to cross. It's the same place that has the Gaijin Bar (still a terrible name) and Cam Cam, the pan-asian place (which has great food too). Yonoji is up on the 1st (2nd, you get the idea) floor, on your right after you go up the stairs. They're closed on Sundays, and seriously, though Hamburger Risa is more authentic, I reckon these are the best burgers in Sapporo.



Wednesday, 12 November 2008

When fashion disasters are redeemed by insanity

If you absolutely have to wear a mesh-backed trucker cap... please let it be this one:


Japan: solving sartorial problems in ways you never dared imagine.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Oh, George Lucas... shame on you.

Recently advertised on TV: Star Wars, Darth Vader pachinko. I'm pretty vocally of the opinion that pachinko parlours are a special kind of hell on earth, where each shiny metal ball sucks a tiny part of the player's soul down into a pit of endless misery. They look so shiny and colourful, but once you get inside they sound like an infinite-car pile-up where every car is playing the worst techno music in the world slightly out of synch with one another; and they smell like the bottom of an industrial chimney.

I know that big western companies use pachinko to advertise their wares but really, go to the Sankyo website and check out the ads that are currently airing on Japanese TV for this shit and you too may well shake your head and wonder at whether George Lucas really signs off on every Starwars product.

It's somewhat lacking in class.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Snowboard Shopping on a Monday

You know what I'm going to do? God help me I'm going to go snowboarding this year. Like, more than once. I decided that since I love snow so much, I have to find a new way to worship at its altar, and that way will be painful and expensive.

Because of course if I'm gonna be serious I need the gear and that ain't cheap. I'm pretty sure I can do it financially, but just finding stuff in my size here is proving really difficult. Today I trekked around a bunch of places with some success, but plenty of frustration. Boots in my size? Just utterly impossible to find here. The clothes I should be ok for though.

One of the places we went to was the Ario shopping mall, because someone told someone that there was a snowboarding shop there. There wasn't but still we had fun. Ario was really quiet because it was monday, but there were still a few people:


I found some snow-sneakers in my size but couldn't bring myself to buy them... I'm splashing out so much on the snowboard gear I need to pinch a lot of pennies I reckon. Tara however, found THE WORLD'S GREATEST SHOES!


Do they work?


Kind of!

On our way back to town we had to take a tunnel under a railway line. I'd like to think I'm not superstitious, but the gaping maw, the orange glow and the roar of machinery that greeted our approach did somewhat make me think of the entrance to hell. Olivia and Tara had to hold hands:


Also fun was that we popped into the other Evisu store in Sapporo, the one I didn't get my jeans from, while I was wearing my fancy Evisu jeans. The woman working there talked to me about them, and at one point thanked me for buying them, which was a little odd as I got them a few months ago now. Pleasant though!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

The World of Golden Eggs part 2

Another reason Golden Eggs was in my head was this:



So I guess it's hit the mainstream here.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Man vs. Machine: The Road to Victory

Yet again this Saturday post arrives in the Sunday mail, but this time alcohol is not to blame. Just take a look at this picture:


What does that look like to you? I tell you what it looks like to me... Victory. That, my friends is a Creative Zen Touch MP3 player - verging on obsolete - but given new life by a hard fought battle between me and Mother Technology. To Yuki, by the way it looks like a cassette player, but what does she know?

Technology: created by us to serve our every need. And yet now technology is widely acknowledged to be our greatest foe; and scuttlebutt on the grapevine names it as the agent of our eventual demise.

My MP3 player wouldn't work with Windows VISTA basically, and I was getting sick of the music that was on there so I resolved to fix it - or kill it in the attempt. Last week I almost accomplished the latter, leaving it crippled and useless for every purpose bar "paperweight". Then last night I had the showdown to end all showdowns, bringing it back to life, into the modern age and thus saving myself from having to buy an ipod.

What I did was update the firmware on the device so that it became PFS (plays for sure) enabled and Vista can recognise it as something other than a rock. You know what firmware is? I don't! I have no clue - I'm pretty sure it runs on good karma and well wishes and what I did last night was some kind of mystic incantation that has left some sort of net-God in possesion of three fifths of my soul.

What I did was this: I had to use Yuki's computer as it wasn't Vista and I deleted all the drivers and creative stuff off her computer. Then I deleted every Windows Media thing I could, then I deleted all the USB root hubs, then a box appeared on the screen saying "to complete firmware upgrade you must fight a bear". I clicked "yes" and the screen of the MP3 player lit up really bright, projecting a life-sized image of a bear onto the wall. Like a cheap sci-fi movie the bear stepped out of the wall, except it was all shimmery and blue like it was made of light, and it came towards me. It swung one of those big paws at me, but I ducked under it and slugged it in the gut. I punched it so hard that it exploded into pocky, dessert pocky to be precise, I ate all the pocky and the firmware upgraded.

Of course in doing this I also fucked up Yuki's internet so I couldn't post this last night, you know how it is.

Friday, 7 November 2008

The World of Golden Eggs

The World of Golden Eggs is an MTV Japan animated shorts series, that's really pretty funny. It's filtered into my conciousness by virtue of being featured heavily on displays in shops like HMV and Village Vanguard here. It caught my eye, I tracked it down and lo and behold...

video

... I can post it illegally on my blog. Of course if the rights owners have a problem with this then just email me, I'll take it down, but really they shouldn't. You can't download it here, you can't buy it in English speaking countries, and this is the same clip I saw a million times on instore TVs.

Each show is about ten minutes, half of which is devoted to an ongoing surreal high school story, and the other half of which is a separate, more hit-or-miss sketch. The subtitles are pretty interesting in that they're part of the show from the start. They only run over the high school bits though, and while they're kind of off sometimes, they get across the feel of the sketchy, random dialogue very nicely. I hope they're legible on this tiny screen, or that you can embiggen it somehow...

I think that Golden Eggs would cross over pretty nicely for a Western audience, but I've been wrong about these things before. A lot of the humour comes from the voice talent, and they'd really have to nail that, but stranger things have happened - I'd like to see someone give it a shot.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

A Brief Geek-Out

Last week I rambled about a new gacha-gacha machine I found dispensing adorable versions of people from the Marvel Universe. Of course I went back there and now I'm the proud owner of "The Cutest Herald of Galactus":


And look, now I gots a scanner it's easy for me to show you how many you can collect (click for embiggening):


If you think I'm going back there to pump 300 yen a shot in until I get a secret one... you're absolutely right.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Obama

Just a quick post today. I'm overjoyed that Obama won, I hope it's a good sign for the future, and I hope that things in Britain will turn around so that I'm not reading shit like this:

Brown and Cameron in Obama Clash

...and actually wishing I was an American right now. Seriously that "first of a new generation of world leaders" line from Cameron makes my flesh crawl.

But putting that aside, America - well done. I'm off to find some right wing blogs and bathe in schadenfreude.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Joys of the Victorian Age

You bozos think we're living the cushy life here in the 21st century huh? Well let me tell you they had it all sorted back in the 1880s. Take a look for yourself if you don't believe me:




Now look me in the eye and tell me that doesn't seem like luxury. Soap! Now there's a Yankee Notion if ever there was one.

This post, by the way, is one way of saying that I've invested in a scanner over here. Using it is something of a lottery since all the software is in Japanese and most of it won't display at all. It all comes up as question marks, which means I'm often clicking randomly on pop-up boxes with the options "???? (???) (E)", "??? (T)", and "???? (S)". I'm getting images off it though, and that's all that counts. It let me take these scans from an old book of Victorian era US engraved plates that I've had forever, and which I now fully intend to start strip-mining for ideas.

Also, it snowed for the first time in Sapporo today. Not enough to take a picture of but still... oh yeah.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Field Recordings 3 - Don Quixote

Don Quixote is a... goods store chain in Japan. It's pretty tricky to describe, it's not a department store, it's more like a general store on crack. They sell almost everything, and it's really hard to find anything, and it's crowded and noisy so I thought It'd be fun to wander around it with a microphone and record the sound.

I'm not sure whether I should use the correct spelling of Don Quixote by the way. It's always in katakana phonetics here, Don Kihote, so that seems more natural somehow.

Anyhow here's the sound of Don Quixote in Sapporo, five floors of joy:



And you can download the MP3, should you so wish, here.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Singing in a Mall

Y'know, I don't think it's a shopping mall in Japan unless someone's singing to people:


I went to a huge Jusqo mall today. It was big.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Q: Rock music? A: Rock Music

Chris sent me an mp3 of the first track off the Fucked Up album. It:s so good, that I can't even bring myself to download it illegally, I'm hoping I can actually track down a copy this weekend. And of course that made me listen to nothing but beautiful rock music for the last few days, and of course that is good for the soul like you don't even know.

That track's called Son the Father, and I can' find a video of it, but here's an infamous recent TV appearance by them on MTV Canada where the presenters seem to have been shipped in from the early nineties. The actual music here doesn't come across very well, but what the hell huh?:



And then here's Cows with Mine and Organized Meat. Mine has possibly the greatest lyrics of any song ever: "If you can lay eyes on it - it's mine! it's mine! / if you can walk upon it - it's mine! it's mine!" and later on "if you can latch on to it - it's mine! it's mine! / if you can eat or screw it - it's mine! it's mine!"



And then here's the Blood Brothers with one of the best album openers ever.



Doesn't that feel better? It does to me.