Blog - August 2004 Archives

August 2004 Archives


Music .30 Where am I?
Music .29 DJ event at Caramill: report
Japan Tokyo .27 Microsoft dancing in the streets: Kōenji Awa-odori 2004
Music .26 Puffy muzak
Music .26 DJ event at Caramill
Technology .24 Bounced spam attack
Art Music Tokyo .22 From party to party
Music .15 Digital Underground
Japan .14 First book and proficiency test
Technology .12 New DVD+RW drive
Technology .11 Castlevania
Japan .09 Salaryman Heroes: Ultraman
Music .08 Wack Wack Rhythm Band
Tokyo .08 Nakameguro awa-odori
Music .07 Comoesta Yaegashi's flea market
Japan Tokyo .06 Insect attack
Japan Music .05 No helmets
Nakano .04 Nabeyoko matsuri in Shin-Nakano
Stage .02 Pippi: The Musical, review
Technology .01 Computer setup pictures

August 30, 2004

Music Where am I?

This picture of the crowd at Usagi-Chang Night Fever vol.0002 now appears on Usagi-Chang Records' Web site.

Can you find me? :)
If not, put your mouse pointer over the picture for the answer.

If the picture doesn't show up in your browser, you can see it here.

Posted on August 30, 2004 at 21:27 | Permalink | Trackback (0) | Comments (3) | Tweet |

August 29, 2004

Music DJ event at Caramill: report

The party at Caramill was a lot of fun last night.
We were only two DJs and had to assure about 6 hours of music (from about 17:30 until past 23:00), which was a bit of a challenge. Still it was a lot of fun!

Though a bit quiet at first, the small shop filled up with people coming to have a drink and chat. Among the guests were Antonin, solange et delphine, composer Nakamura Michihiro and also people from the nearby, recently opened (but already famous) Ballroom Records.

For those who would like to know what I played, here's a partial list (in no specific order).

- Pizzicato Five "ma vie, l'été de vie", "the world is spinning at 45rpm"
- April March "Charlatan", "Mignonette"
- La veuve moustachue (hige no miboujin) "hige no miboujin no kyuujitsu", ...
- Wada Akiko "natsu no yoru no samba"
- Latin Panic! "Latin Panic!", "Cha Cha Cha lesson 1"
- Scooters " The 'ukarete' waccha (Wa-Watusi)", "atashi no Heat Wave (Love Is Like A Heat Wave)"
- Matsudaira Ken "Matsuken Samba (Long Version)", "Matsuken Samba (Readymade Shogun Mix 2004)"
- Miss Hanako to Jump And Jump "sukkyanen"
- Salon Music "Wrapped Up In Duet"
- Nomoto Karia "Amsterdam", "kinō no tsuzuki (tomorrow is just another day)"
- Dahlia "Rental 'dolly PINK' sea anemone (talking)"
- p&art sasanoooha "Superstar", "Pyramid"
- Swimming Mania "Summer Convenience"
- Takanaka Masayoshi "Blue Lagoon", ...
- Fudge feat. Takanaka Masayoshi "Blue Lagoon 2003 -hot summer breeze-"
- Mansfield feat. Yokohama Ken "Car Club '69"
- Milton Banana Trio "Selecao Do Morro/Ave Maria No Morro/Eu Nasci No Morro/Lata D'agua - Laurindo/O Morro Nao Tem Vez/A Voz Do Morro", ...
- pal@pop feat. Chappie "Lv Lk Th Sn"
- Yoshié "Meu mundo é uma bola"
- Wack Wack Rhythm Band "The Spinning Gear"
- Inoue Mutsumi "Our Day Will Come" (feat. Tokyo's Coolest Combo and Minami Yoshitaka)

The next party should be held sometime this fall.

Posted on August 29, 2004 at 16:25 | Permalink | Trackback (0) | Comments (4) | Tweet |

August 27, 2004

Japan Tokyo Microsoft dancing in the streets: Kōenji Awa-odori 2004

Microsoft-renTonight we went to see Awa-odori in Kōenji, as we did exactly one year ago.

Most entertaining this year was to see Microsoft having a go at it! It's not everyday that you see so many IT people shaking it in the streets. One guy apparently had a set of flashing leds on his head.


The lanterns say "Microsoft-ren" (the Microsoft party/group), and you can see the MS logo on their backs (maybe with a bit of imagination).

Some more pictures...

Koenji Awa-odoriKoenji Awa-odoriKoenji Awa-odoriKoenji Awa-odori
Click the thumbnails for larger images.

Posted on August 27, 2004 at 23:43 | Permalink | Trackback (0) | Comments (0) | Tweet |

August 26, 2004

Music Puffy muzak

This morning when entering the building where I work at, the muzak playing in the hall was Puffy's "Asia no junshin".

In the 3 years I've been here, they usually only ever seemed to play the same Beatles and Disney tunes.
I always wish they'd start playing a bit different stuff, for the sake of the poor guards and receptionists who hear the same music all the time (or maybe they like it that way and are even picking the songs themselves?).

Posted on August 26, 2004 at 10:15 | Permalink | Trackback (0) | Comments (4) | Tweet |

Music DJ event at Caramill

CaramillNext Saturday there will be an in-store party at Caramill, a small zakka shop and café located in Kichijōji. The party is organized by Wonder Mall, which has a sub-shop within Caramill.

I've been commissioned to do a short DJ set. Not being a DJ, I'm not too sure what that will end up like. :)
Nevertheless, if you're in Kichijōji on Saturday, please drop by!

Anyone is also invited to bring some records or CDs and play what they like, even if they can't DJ. The event's theme is "end of summer".

2-13-4 Kichijōji-minamichō B01, Musashino-shi, Tokyo (map)
Tel/fax: 0422-76-5495
On Saturday 8/28, from 16:00
Free entrance

Posted on August 26, 2004 at 10:12 | Permalink | Trackback (1) | Comments (6) | Tweet |

August 24, 2004

Technology Bounced spam attack

Since yesterday PM I've received several hundreds of spam emails. Different from the normal stuff, these aren't sent to me but from me, well not really... (and no, my computer isn't all hijacked)

Some spammer is making up fake email addresses and using them in the From field. They're probably sending out tens of thousands of spam emails, and what I receive are error messages from the ones that were sent to unexisting addresses.
If they'd be using always the same alias, I'd just blackhole it, but it's always different. It sure isn't a good idea not to blackhole everything but legit aliases, but at the moment this isn't really an option (I always use a different alias on forms in an attempt to know who leaks me, though this tactic hasn't yet proven being useful).

To top that, right about bed time I got a trackback spam attack from the Russians. I think I'm beginning to agree with Greggman about trackback, more of a plague than any useful.

To all spammers: Get a f(!"#ing life.

Posted on August 24, 2004 at 10:32 | Permalink | Trackback (0) | Comments (2) | Tweet |

August 22, 2004

Art Music Tokyo From party to party

Yesterday I had a rather busy evening...

OK Fred #4 release party

MoblogI met Nicholas D Kent and together we went to the OK Fred #4 release party held at the very nice NTT ICC located inside Tokyo Opera City.
Of those present were Jean and Yuko, Robert (performing as DJ Milquetoast), Midori, Paul, Tokyo Fun Party's Takashi, and of course OK Fred editor Audrey.

Digiki's DJ performance was the evening's highlight for me, he rocked the house with his Powerbook and Kaos pad, mixing Super Mario Bros. with his latest hip hop track. :)
He gave me a precious copy of his anti-mix limited CD-R "You should play this".

I was surprised that the ICC has a vinyl recorder, allowing anyone who brings in their own audio source to record on a special blank 10" vinyl (sold there for ¥1800 I think).

After the event I took the bus back home, and after eating and taking it easy a bit, I was out again for the night!

Usagi-Chang Night Fever vol.0002

I met my friend Miwa in Shinjuku and we went together to Marz, located in Kabuki-chō, where was being held Usagi-Chang Night Fever vol.0002, the [so far] annual party of Usagi-Chang Records.

Things didn't begin too well as they were carding everyone with no exception, and as I often do when going clubbing I had the good idea (<- NOT!) to leave my ID at home, resulting in having to wait an extra half-hour until after everyone else had entered... That really sucked. Then the ones without an ID were being asked their age and birthdate in order and a good answer allowed them inside. How silly...
This was the first time that such a thing happened to me in Tokyo. I have been carded before when I didn't have an ID with me, but I always got an easy "it's ok, try not to forget it next time". Last year at the same party and same location I don't remember any carding going on at all. Anyway.

Once we finally got inside at 12:45, the night started to be fun. The line-up consisted of Strawberry Machine, EeL, Aprils, YMCK, Micro Mach Machine, YMCK once again, macdonald duck eclair, DJ Soju (Club Par Avion), and Sonic Coaster Pop.

AprilsMy favorite live perfomance is still definitely Aprils. They had an impressively huge Gloomy panda come on stage for two songs, with who Imai-kun kept fighting playfully. Of all the Usagi-Chang and related scene, I think Aprils give the best live show, with mostly live instruments (over some back-up beat and synth tracks though).

YMCKAs for my favorite unit that I hadn't yet seen live, it's definitely YMCK! These guys have such a cool sound, sampling old Famicom game music and making original groovy songs with cute girl vocals. Their outfits and performance were great too. My favorite member has to be the guy on the right who played one-handed solos on his tiny keyboard, and also sang into a Famicom controller during vocoder-ish parts (trivia: one of the controllers of the Japanese Famicom contained a microphone.). Singer Midori was also very cute in her unreal game character-ish dress.
I'm so much looking forward to their first album coming out on Usagi-Chang Records in October.

DJ SojuAlso very entertaining was Club Par Avion's DJ Soju. I can't quite recall seeing such a funny DJ, and his set of perfect mixes was great! I therefore strongly recommend to anyone in L.A. to go and check out their events!

Sonic Coaster PopI was very sad to be disappointed by Sonic Coaster Pop, who I was very much looking forward to, as I love their recent album. I wasn't disappointed by the band itself, but by some odd guitarist guest (who was at the right and isn't pictured(!)) who either A) was drunk, B) didn't know the chords too well, C) can't play guitar. As far as I'm concerned the show would have been all so much better without his noisy "accompaniment". I don't know if it was supposed to be funny or what, oh well.

Here are more pictures of the event:

EeLAprilsYMCKYMCKmacdonald duck eclairDJ Soju moving so damn fast!
Click thumbnails for larger pictures. Leave your mouse on the thumbnails for a description.

I bought a cool Aprils T-shirt (¥3990) that's a collaboration with Laundry, and also YMCK's first mini-album "Family Music" (¥500, what a deal!).

Posted on August 22, 2004 at 20:27 | Permalink | Trackback (1) | Comments (13) | Tweet |

August 15, 2004

Music Digital Underground

Digital UndegroundAlthough I'm not much of a hip hop fan, I sure love Digital Underground! It's all about their fun, party sound, groovy beats and funny lyrics.

In the early 90's I started listening to them after buying their album "Sons of the P" randomly because I liked their name and the jacket. I really enjoyed it and soon I got "Sex Packets" and "This is an EP Release", which I loved just as much. I had also seen the comedy "Nothing But Trouble" featuring the group performing a few full songs in the middle of the film.

Recently I had some of their songs stuck in my head, so I digged up "No Nose Job", a greatest hits CD that came out in 2001 and which I had bought then, and have been listening to that. Their old songs still sound very actual to me.
Last night a search brought me to group's mastermind Shock G's Web site (beware, full screen and all Flash) and I had a lot of fun seeing D.U.'s videos for the first time. I especially recommend "Doowutchyalike" and "No Nose Job". (They seemed to be made for real high bandwidth though so they may be better viewed at Yahoo! Launch here. "Humpty Hump Plastic Surgery Protest" also cracks me up!)

Shock G also just released a new solo album titled "Fear of a Mixed Planet", which features Humpty Hump (his big-nosed alter-ego) and Money B on a track or two.

Posted on August 15, 2004 at 20:11 | Permalink | Trackback (0) | Comments (6) | Tweet |

August 14, 2004

Japan First book and proficiency test

長くつ下のピッピToday I finished my first book in Japanese, 「長くつ下のピッピ」 (swe.: Pippi Langstrump, en.: Pippi Longstockings, fr.: Fifi Brindacier) (Amazon). Yeah!
Sure it's a book for kids with furigana over most kanji, but still it's the first time that I had the patience to read a whole book in Japanese.
I'm not much of a book reader in French or English either, and consequently I read quite slowly which usually makes me lack the patience to read a book.

Also, today, I bought the application guide for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. The deadline for applications is September 12.

I'm hesitating between going for level 3 or 2 (there are 4 levels, level 1 being the hardest). The descriptions make it seem like my Japanese may be in-between these two, so I have to choose between a maybe easy level 3 or a probably challenging level 2 (with risk of failing, especially since there may be quite a bit of kanji I don't know).

If I go for level 3, I can still take level 2 next year, and I'll at least have a certificate meanwhile... but I'm wondering whether level 3 is really worth taking. I'm not taking the test as a requirement for a job or school application, just for myself.
Then since failure doesn't matter maybe I should rather go for level 2?


Posted on August 14, 2004 at 21:22 | Permalink | Trackback (0) | Comments (17) | Tweet |

August 12, 2004

Technology New DVD+RW drive

Since I upgraded my computer hardware the other day, my DVD+RW drive (I-O DATA DVR-ABR4P, actually a re-packaged Ricoh MP5240A) refused read or write DVDs (though it could still read CDs). When trying to read a DVD I was getting a message saying to format the disk...
I don't think I had treated the drive badly while upgrading, but anyway the point is that it didn't work anymore. :)

I first went through the FAQs at the maker's site, and also searched the Web for similar cases. I found many forum threads about the same problem with other drives (by other makers such as Sony), saying that they had to get it repaired by the maker.
I contacted support at I-O DATA and after answering a checklist of common causes they quickly told me to ship them the drive.

So I sent it last Friday, and yesterday arrived a brand new drive! Decidedly, the former was probably FUBAR'd. :)
Luckily it was still under the 1-year warranty, since I had bought it around November last year, so it was free! (except for shpping the drive to them, which cost me ¥610) Thanks I-O DATA!

Now I just hope this one will last longer...

Posted on August 12, 2004 at 11:33 | Permalink | Trackback (1) | Comments (0) | Tweet |

August 11, 2004

Technology Castlevania

CastlevaniaYesterday was the release of the 3rd series of Famicom Mini, old Famicom games re-released for the GameBoy Advance.

This time I bought Castlevania (akumajō Dracula in Japanese), which I used to play a lot. In just an hour or two I've already been through half of the game, however I'm certain the last levels will be tougher.

I also wanted to get Kid Icarus (Palthena no kagami) but it was already sold out at Sofmap 2 Shinjuku, so I'll have to wait until a restock or otherwise get it elsewhere.
The thing is I'd like to get it at a Sofmap cause I've got quite a bit of points from old RAM I sold them the other day. (I got about ¥4300 for 256MB+128MB of 133MHz RAM, not bad I think!)

Posted on August 11, 2004 at 12:04 | Permalink | Trackback (0) | Comments (6) | Tweet |

August 9, 2004

Japan Salaryman Heroes: Ultraman

200408094129salarymanhero640.jpgToday I came across this recent series of figures called Salaryman Heroes, featuring Ultraman in a suit and in typical Japanese salaryman situations.

The one I picked up is sitting on a park bench at lunch, eating a bentō and sharing it with the birds (which seem to be actual characters from Ultraman). :)

Crazy stuff!

Maker Popy's Salaryman Heroes page
Other page with better views of the first series

Posted on August 9, 2004 at 20:15 | Permalink | Trackback (0) | Comments (2) | Tweet |

August 8, 2004

Music Wack Wack Rhythm Band

Wack Wack Rhythm BandToday was a free mini-live of Wack Wack Rhythm Band in front of LaForet Harajuku. They played a good set of about 40 minutes I think, including new and old songs.

Wack Wack is certainly one of the grooviest brass bands around. They have a great sound, and they truly seem to all be into it for fun! Not only their albums sound that way but now I can confirm that their live performance is also so.

I'd like to check out a full show of theirs sometime but they mostly seem to be doing all-night events, while I'd prefer to see them in the evening.

Anyway, I strongly recommend both their first album "Weekend Jack" on Trattoria (1998) and their recent self-titled album (2003).
You can hear a recent sample on their Web site in the Feature section, and also samples from "Weekend Jack" at HMV Japan.

Posted on August 8, 2004 at 22:16 | Permalink | Trackback (0) | Comments (1) | Tweet |

Tokyo Nakameguro awa-odori

After going to Kissa Ginza, we walked to Nakameguro where was being held awa-odori. We had no idea that it was going on so it was a surprise.

Nakameguro awa-odoriNakameguro awa-odoriNakameguro awa-odori
Click the thumbnails for larger images.

The festival continues tomorrow.

Posted on August 8, 2004 at 00:07 | Permalink | Trackback (0) | Comments (0) | Tweet |

August 7, 2004

Music Comoesta Yaegashi's flea market

Comoesta YAEGASHI's flea marketTonight we went to Kissa Ginza in Ebisu to check out Comoesta Yaegashi's flea market.

Being sold were only clothes, Comoesta's corner consisting of about a dozen nice shirts, all ¥1000 or less! Sadly no Tokyo Panorama Mambo Boys outfits (which I guess would be more expensive anyway!) but apparently clothes he wore around back then.
I got a nice striped shirt for ¥500. :) Comoesta was also giving away sampler CDs (mixed promo copies of different releases he had to do with) to anyone who bought his stuff. I picked GUT 1+1, a 2 CD compilation from the Güt label.

Also there was Nagisa Yōko I think, and some other people also selling clothing.

Kissa Ginza is a very nice kissaten, open since 1962 but slightly revamped into a trendy bar to accomodate DJing, and is featured in Comoesta's recent book (and at the same time latest album) "Mod East". The mood was very nice and I hope to drop by again.

Posted on August 7, 2004 at 23:50 | Permalink | Trackback (0) | Comments (0) | Tweet |

August 6, 2004

Japan Tokyo Insect attack

Today I went cycling along Shingashi-gawa like I do every now and then during lunch time. While so far it has always been a fun and peaceful ride (also a bit refreshing because of the river's proximity), this time I was confronted by hundreds of dragonflies (fr: libellules, ja: トンボ)!

Dragonflies here seem pretty big, and while they're maybe just peacefully flying around, riding a bike through them makes it look like they're attacking, and I had to keep trying to avoid them. I also had to be careful to keep my mouth shut in order not to gulp down one of the things.

According to the list of 479 insect species of Shingashi-gawa, September seems to be the season for these, so I think I'd rather avoid the area for a little while!

Posted on August 6, 2004 at 13:39 | Permalink | Trackback (0) | Comments (0) | Tweet |

August 5, 2004

Japan Music No helmets

Pas d'onigiri pour Daft Punk
Pas d'onigiri pour Daft Punk

"No onigiri for Daft Punk..."

Posted on August 5, 2004 at 21:25 | Permalink | Trackback (0) | Comments (2) | Tweet |

August 4, 2004

Nakano Nabeyoko matsuri in Shin-Nakano

Here are a few movement pictures (not to say blurry!) from the summer festival on Nabeyoko, next to Shin-Nakano station, to which we went last Saturday.

Nabeyoko matsuriNabeyoko matsuriNabeyoko matsuri
Click the thumbnails for larger images.

Posted on August 4, 2004 at 22:49 | Permalink | Trackback (0) | Comments (0) | Tweet |

August 2, 2004

Stage Pippi: The Musical, review

Pippi: The MusicalYesterday, we went to the Setagaya Public Theatre (located in Sangenjaya) to see "Pippi: The Musical" starring Shinohara Tomoe, a musical adaptation of Pippi Longstocking (who I knew in French as "Fifi Brindacier").
We had bought our tickets early so we had the luck to watch from the third row! There were of course a lot of young kids attending, but none were really noisy throughout, only perhaps a bit towards the end (understandable after almost 2 hours, and especially when hitting the play's most emotional scenes).

The musical was absolutely fantastic!
Tomoe being quite short (shorter than I had imagined) looked perfect in the lead role of 9-year-old Pippi, with the bright orange characteristic hair. She was very lively, climbing around her villa, and never seemed to be getting tired despite all the jumping around. She truly showed the best of the hyper and energetic side of herself.
The play included artifacts such as characters flying around (to complement Pippi's incredible power), and also acrobats and clowns in the circus scene. Also very funny was Pippi's monkey, Mr. Nilson, which was probably remote-controlled since it could move at least its head while left alone, and also her large white horse.

I believe it was my first time seeing a musical live on stage, and it was very entertaining to see the large number of characters (Pippi's neighbors Tommy and Annika, the school's teacher and a few dozen kids, the annoying housewives, the circus staff, the two policemen, and also Pippi's dad and his crew of sailors, and Pippi herself) singing and dancing throughout the play!
I was almost brought to tears about twice during the sadder scenes.

Technically, while I don't know much about the world of stage acting, I was impressed that there was no apparent microphone, just a tiny one barely sticking out of their hair and catching voices very clearly. All acting seemed perfectly in sync with the soundtrack, which sadly wasn't being sold on CD.

Also, having been reading the first book lately, both to refresh my memory and to practice my Japanese, I can tell that the play was mostly along the book's storyline, though the book seems to have a different ending, and some of the chapters were presented in a different order.

I cannot recommend this musical enough to anyone in Tokyo, especially if you're nostalgic of Pippi, and even more if you're a bit of a Shinohara Tomoe fan like I am. :) The ticket's price may perhaps bite (¥8500), but I'm confident you'll end up think it was completely worth it!
(More info at my agenda and on the official site.)

Posted on August 2, 2004 at 14:54 | Permalink | Trackback (0) | Comments (2) | Tweet |

August 1, 2004

Technology Computer setup pictures

Here are a few pictures I took while setting up my new computer. This should be the last computer hardware post in a while. :)

Posted on August 1, 2004 at 13:39 | Permalink | Trackback (0) | Comments (0) | Tweet |

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