Blog - June 2005 Archives
June 2005 Archives
.28 End of saku saku as we know it
.26 Ramachandra Borcar
.25 Lambrett Twist
.24 Le bâton musical
.23 Google Maps Tokyo
.20 Rage! / Sugar Sugar Rune
.16 denki biribiri
.14 Yo! Kids
.12 irasshaimase, kanja sama.
.12 Seksu Roba / Groove Room / Shōwa Dance Party
.02 Celebrity blogs
June 28, 2005
End of saku saku as we know it
This week at saku saku is rumored to be the last appearances of Zigorow and Pepper (aka Goigoi)!!! Apparently due to some stolen copyright madness, the popular TV show won't be able to use them anymore!!
Since last week, the guy responsible for the voice of Zigorow has even been doing random apparances on the show (his face always hidden under a Jason mask) for the first time ever, and whenever someone says "black"... Certain prediction of the apocalypse, or worse.
What saku saku will become from next week, no one knows. Will Kaela-chan be left alone on the roof? Fate is supposed to be announced on the show this Friday.
Photo from 毎朝サクサクBLOG.
June 26, 2005
Recently he did the soundtrack for the architecture documentary "Regular or Super - Views on Mies van der Rohe" by Joseph Hillen and Patrick Demers.
The soundtrack is released as Ramachandra Borcar (his real name) and titled "Steel Glass". He will even be playing a live jazz concert on July 9 at the Spectrum, unfortunately a few weeks too early for me to catch it during our summer visit...
Well anyway, this CD goes straight to my list of stuff to buy.
I wonder if Ram is still DJing anywhere regularly? Back in 2000 he was a regular at Jingxi, and also played the Jazz festival together with Fantastic Plastic Machine. What a great show that was!
By the way, I'm in great need of tips on recent good Montreal artists/releases/regular parties, so any info would be greatly appreciated! (Boris? :) Anyone?)
June 25, 2005
"Lambrett Twist" was one song featured on a limited mix tape by Konishi Yasuharu titled "524's World of Twist".
June 24, 2005
Le bâton musical
Well, the "musical baton" is all over the place, and I've now got it twice (from Ted and マイミク muito), so I'll now get done with it!
- Total volume of music files on my computer
11,255 MP3s (and counting)
42 GB (too much!)
I rip all of what I buy to put on my iPod, and rarely delete anything unless disk space gets too tight, which will probably be very soon.
- Song playing right now
- The last CD I bought
- Five songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me
I'm mostly an album listener, as I like to listen to full albums from beginning to end. While maybe I'd be more comfortable (though not less indecisive) with selecting "five albums", here are some individual songs that I'll sometimes add to my "on-the-go playlist" in-between album listens.
- 樋口康雄 「Beep! Beep! Beep!」 (歌＝ヤング101＋シンガーズ・スリー)
Higuchi Yasuo "Beep! Beep! Beep!" (feat. Young 101+Singers Three)
Great song with 70's anime theme-like choirs, from the Astro Boy concept/tribute album "Music For Atom Age" ranging from pop to classical music. I love the lyrics of this song, which talk about running left and right to spread a good news, though exactly what the good news is kept a secret.
This song is produced by Gary Ashiya of ヒゲの未亡人 (La veuve moustachue, with Kishino You-ichi), whose work with Nagisa Yōko I also love.
不思議な気分 So sweet so sweet Far away
Beep! Beep! Beep!
- ピコ 「あのとき」
Pico "ano toki"
More Pico (= Higuchi Yasuo) but I can't help it. While really anything from his 1972 album "ABC Pico First" is fantastic, this opening song also has happy lyrics, or at least sort of.
- 和田アキ子 「心に灯をつけて」
Wada Akiko "kokoro ni hi o tsukete"
Great 1972 R&B track with disco-ish strings I first heard recently on the Konishi Yasuharu-compiled "Free Soul Wada Akiko" . That compilation of groovy old recordings of hers is a source of several of my karaoke regulars, though this song is always missing.
- DJ 440 "Let's Play Bongo!"
This A-side of the vinyl-only "DJ 440's Incredible Mambo Band" release from Readymade International consists of bongo instructions for beginners sampled from an old record and carefully layed over club beats. Since released at the end of 2003, I just can't get enough of it. By pure obsession, I recently hunted down and bought the LP this is based on.
Hear the happy sound of those bongo drums!
If you can tap your toes or clap your hands, you too can play the bongo!
- 電気グルーヴ×スチャダラパー 「聖☆おじさん」
Denki Groove × Scha Dara Parr "Saint ojisan"
Last is the song of the week, the latest DG×SDP single: "Saint ojisan" . A disco-ish rap tune giving some kind of a wink to Ghostbusters ("dare o yobu? Saint ojisan!" ("Who you gonna call? ...")). The album will be out next week and I can't wait!
- 樋口康雄 「Beep! Beep! Beep!」 (歌＝ヤング101＋シンガーズ・スリー)
FiveThree people to whom I'm passing le bâton
These must all have got le bâton a dozen times and be sick of it, and I sure won't blame them if they skip it. Yet this is my attempt to pass it to someone who may have more GBs of music than I do! So far, at least atnb-san surpasses me of a whole 5GB!
(When I started writing this bâton a few days ago anyway...)
June 23, 2005
Google Maps Tokyo
Google Maps now has satellite views of Tokyo! Though street maps aren't there yet, limiting its usefulness, it's a lot of fun to zoom down on places I know.
Here are some locations I found:
- Nishi-Shinjuku (biggest skyscrapers around)
- Shinjuku-gyoen (large park)
- Hachikō, Shibuya
- Tokyo Dome
- Tokyo station
- Hamarikyū (Photos I took there in April)
- Imperial palace
- Tokyo Disney Resort
Since all photos being used aren't so recent, it's fun to notice missing buildings, such as the 1999-built Sumitomo Nakano-sakaue building, missing on the northeast corner of the Nakano-sakaue crossing.
Update 6/23 (17:45):
What's this mess?!
June 20, 2005
Rage! / Sugar Sugar Rune
In their words:
"Shot on a shoestring budget, this spontaneous performance captures Pee and Dave's multiple personalities, until the end where things really start to take off."
... and hell do they! But not as much as when they'll hit Tokyo early next month!
Also listenable now online is the opening theme to "Sugar Sugar Rune", "Chocolat ni muchū", sung by Nomoto Karia and produced by Konishi Yasuharu!
Go here and click the ika (cuttlefish/squid... ok, the white one) and then wait for about 3 minutes... if you can make it through the Morning Musume-ish stuff. :)
The single will be out on August 3rd.
June 16, 2005
For about a month my left leg has been hurting a bit after hours spent sitting at work. The pain seems to be centered in my knee, but propagates up and down my leg.
Since this doesn't seem to be going away, this morning I went to a clinic where they deal with that type of stuff. They took X-rays and verified that there's nothing abnormal with my bones, and the doctor said it may be some problem in the bottom of my spine, though that can only be verified with MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) which may be done next time in about a week.
Meanwhile, I'm getting some physiotherapy, or "rehabilitation" (scary word which to me evokes someone relearning to walk after an operation or accident, but really has a wider meaning than that) as they refer to it, to see if it gets any better, and to at least appease the pain. The treatments I had this morning were interferential current (IFC, in Japanese 干渉波) therapy and microwave heat therapy, 10 minutes each.
When explaining it, the nurse described the sensation as "denki biribiri", an electric tingling (or a good Denki Groove track).
Microwave heat therapy is done by placing large microwave heated "applicators" at proximity of the body. "With a good penetration of the fatty tissue especially the underlying muscular tissue becomes heated. On the other hand there is an additional warming up of the skin and therefore an improvement of the blood flow of deeper lying organs via the cutisvizeral reflex paths." (ref.)
Being in a room containing about 8 of the machines used for this therapy, all in use, most by elderly patients, I noticed that it must require some imagination to place the machine's two arms adequately for a patient's specific needs.
Also, I was surprised to realize that "microwave" translates in Japanese to マイクロ波, of which the "波" kanji literally means "wave" but to me always only ever evoked water waves because of its 水 (water) radical. So now I know that it's also used for microwaves and sinewaves (サイン波).
In Japanese, the word for "microwave" isn't used as commonly as in English, because the microwave oven is commonly called 電子レンジ ("electric oven").
I hope this pain will go away quickly and easily. It's not that it's very painful, but it is to a point where it's at least annoying and I don't want it to last forever.
Maybe I'll go back there on Saturday for more biribiri action. A nurse told me that some elderly people go there as often as everyday!
June 14, 2005
A completely revamped online shop for French label Sonore has just opened!
Sonore releases and carries mostly (though not only!) Japanese music, including a lot of underground, experimental stuff, but also a lot more. The shop ships worldwide from France, at low shipping and handling prices.
Here are some of my personal picks from their great selection:
- Satanicpornocultshop "Zap Meemees" €16
"Surrealist hip hop with a grotesque touch", just out on Sonore
- Himitsu Hakase & The Emperors "Pomade To Gurasan" €21
"Enka crooner with a sturdy rock back-band"
- Plus-tech Squeeze Box "Cartooom!" €21
Hyper sampladelic guitar pop
- Capsule "Sound Furniture" €19
2004 album by the great future-club-pop unit
- Eel "Little Prince" €21
- Jon (Inu) "Kasetto Ban" €16
Jon the singing and organ-playing dog's tape recordings
- V/A "Japanese Independent Music" (Book+CD) €21
The best dictionary of its kind, a handbook I keep nearby
Go and get these while you can (some may be available only in low quantities)! I guess you're not likely to see these at that price elsewhere anytime soon.
I'm proud to say that I did the programming on this new site, so don't be surprised if you recognize bits and pieces from elsewhere. :)
The kids' show (obviously) is MC'd by ri-man (
leader+man? salaryman), a strange sort-of-super-hero in a salaryman suit, and about ten 10-13 year old co-MCs who do the dancing and singing.
Why I think it deserves some mention is that it's absolutely the most repetitive TV show I've ever seen. Everyday, with no exception, they do the exact same thing! They sing and dance on the same three pop songs plus "checchekkori", and maybe there's some random playing with the kids for a minute, and well, that's about all what will fit in their 15 minutes minus the commercial breaks.
The only difference between each day is the kids, since they're always different guests. Probably because most of them are very young, most look like they've never ever seen the show.
Not only they do the exact same thing everyday, but during the replay time which is what I sometimes happen to catch (from 8:30 to 9:00), they play two episodes in a row!
Check that out if you dare having that "Ha-ppy, PIPPIII!!!" opening song stuck in your head all day like I sometimes do. :)
TVK, Tuesday-Friday 18:45-19:00, replay Monday-Tuesday 8:30-9:00
(I wonder if we will ever see Julius on there? :))
I haven't been a fan of his music since the 80's (my first own LP was "Thriller") but, partly out of boredom at work, I had been following the news pretty much everyday since it started over a year ago.
I have to say that I'm happy Michael made it out of that crazy trial. Hopefully he'll be able to keep himself out of that kind of trouble from now on.
Check out these notable quotes on the verdict (through Google to avoid subscription) from Mercury News, which has been one of my favorite sources for MJ news, since they had short and concise reports of daily events.
June 12, 2005
irasshaimase, kanja sama.
Last Friday we went to see the new comedy "いらっしゃいませ、患者さま。" by Hara Takahito.
The title is a difficult one to translate, "kanja" means patient, while "irasshaimase" ("Welcome" as used at companies and shops) and "-sama" (formal title used in business relations, etc.) aren't vocabulary you normally hear in a hospital.
In this film, a hospital with bad reputation and debts is transformed into a money-making machine by putting all focus on "customer satisfaction", such as offering sort of kinky optional services like extended time spent with cute nurses and CT scans together with a nurse on top, in other words, turning it into a kyabakura (lit. "cabaret club")-like business.
Surely, none of the customers have anything to complain about, as long as they're paying, they're enjoying their time at the hospital, some even refusing to leave when the times comes. However when the yakuza to who the hospital owes money decides to get the thing shut down, his illness resurges. Not being able to book himself into another hospital because of his scary status, the kyabakura-hospital's doctors take the opportunity to prove that their establishment isn't worthless by trying to save the life of the bad guy...
A very funny movie of absolute non-sense, its awkward mix of two completely different worlds guarantees a lot of laughs!
Oh, and for sitting in the front row during the accompanying talk show, as there was no other place left for the three of us, I got to see my face on TV for a few seconds today. :)
Btw [ Nick :) ], it was to my surprise that the film features Shinohara Tomoe in two short scenes. She plays an eccentric-looking patient. :)
Seksu Roba / Groove Room / Shōwa Dance Party
A bit late, but I have to at least mention my fun musical outings of last weekend.
Seksu Roba at Roppongi Super Deluxe
On Friday night I met up with Tsugumi, and we went to see a show by her label-mates Seksu Roba.
Seksu Roba is formed of Japanese Lun*na (vocals) and Korean-American Sukho Lee (theremin and synths). They play great electronic tunes, and their unique live performance includes eccentric costumes (designed by Lun*na), a mysterious glass ball percussion device (though a look up close quickly unmystified it), a nunchaku demonstration, live theremin, spacey mondo videos (Ultraman and odd space-themed movies, and also a group of "ninjaerobics beginners" wearing black camisoles and a fluorescent headband (gotta see it to believe it)), and a lot of fun.
I like "LA Freeway", which features highway sounds Sukho Lee manages to play on the theremin!
We left Super Deluxe around 1:30 and walked down Roppongi-dōri to Shibuya Soft, which is about a 15-20 minute walk. On our way we stopped at Hobson's for delicious ice cream, as it's open until 3am on weekends! It was the first time I had Hobson's and it was really good. You can choose to either have a scoop or to blend two flavors of your choice, process which turns them in some kind of soft ice cream, mmm!
"Groove Room" at Shibuya Soft
So we eventually got to Soft, while Konishi Yasuharu was playing, though I hadn't noticed until he waved at me. :) The other DJs were Arai Toshiya and Hashimoto Tōru (Café Après-Midi). The place was quite packed and people seemed to be dancing a lot more than the previous time I went. Staff even had to move away the tables to make more room for dancers.
There I also met atnb-san, whose diary I have been reading for a while and where I often end up when searching the Web for Readymade-related stuff. As he goes to most Konishi-san events lately, I think I'll be seeing him around!
We left past 4:00 and went to have asa-Mac while waiting for the train.
"Shōwa Dance Party Record yose" at Ebisu Tower Café
On Saturday, after spending the afternoon in Kichijōji, I went to Tower Café in Ebisu together with Hase-san and Yumi-chan of solange et delphine to see the talk event about recently released "Moodsville presents Shōwa Dance Party @ Ikenoue Koan".
The event featured all three selectors: Konishi Yasuharu (Readymade), Hirabayashi Shinichi (Moodsville) and Uchikado Hiroshi (Ballroom), and MC Watanabe Yū. Konishi-san looked a bit serious in a shirt and jacket... or so I first thought.
The talk show focused on many aspects of Shōwa Dance Party, the regular event, and also on the selection process and specific tunes.
It seems like the party doesn't only attract the young clubbing crowd, but also actually golden age-ish people living thereabout who come to dance and bring back old memories. Konishi-san said this was the only such instance he knew of in all of Japan, though he had seen similar somewhere in Europe. He says they need carefully choose tunes with a "heard it before" melody, because while young crowd will dance to anything, that's not the case with the elderly.
As time goes by, the younger audience slowly takes up the dance floor and eventually, Uchikado-san, also known as the 脱ぐDJ (undressing DJ), starts baring it all while playing, which he says is to compensate for his poor DJ skills...
The compilation being released on Victor, they had to limit their choice to only songs from Victor's catalogue, which sounds like quite a bit of a constraint. They talked about wishing they could do the same with Columbia, Toshiba EMI, etc. It would be great if the project could end up involving many labels such as the "Techno Kayō" series released in 1999-2000.
I could also pick up the limited bonus CD (only given to people who attended this event!) which features one extra song by Nakao Mie, whose song "tsukiyo ni Bossa Nova" appears on the compilation.
As we remained sat while chatting a bit, Konishi-san passed by on his way out and greeted us. Along with his jacket and shirt, he was wearing bright green Speedo shorts! sasuga!!
June 2, 2005
Ex-Pizzicato Five Nomiya Maki now has a real blog! She says she felt like she needed one as her site's moblog had a maximum length for her own text and didn't allow comments, and she wanted more contact with her fans.
Other celebrity blogs I've been enjoying lately: