Blog - July 2005 Archives
July 2005 Archives
.17 Gato de la casa del sol
.16 Mitama matsuri
.15 Thunderbird hiccup
.11 Aprils release party
.10 USB card readers
.10 Rainy night in Shibuya
.10 Chromee: Oh!
.09 FedEx? Yeah right.
.04 Enter Vincent
.03 Muteq at Star Pine's Cafe
.02 Error when posting comment/entry
July 17, 2005
Gato de la casa del sol
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Neighborhood cat, always sitting on this fence next to a mansion called Casa del sol. It was either upset or striking a pose, as it made this face everytime I took a picture.
Update (2005/7/18 11:39): Morphed version, sorry!
July 16, 2005
Yesterday we went to Mitama matsuri at Yasukuni shrine (first time I see a shrine's Web site with a 3D Flash intro). The large festival has maybe a hundred of food and game stalls, on-going dance and other attractions, and 29000 lanterns. It was the first time I went to a matsuri this year, and also the first time I went to the large war memorial shrine which often makes controversial news headlines because of the prime minister's stubborn visits which anger China and South Korea.
Pictured 蛇女 (snake girl) freaked out the audience by putting a chain into her nose and out from her mouth, attaching it to a water bucket and then lifting it a good meter. Later she bit off and ate the tail of a live [garden] snake. She kept encouraging audience to take pictures and put them on their blogs, so here we go!
This last one is of another guy who showed off his treasured "plastonic"-ized real human body slice.
We could technically stay in the freak show tent for a while, but it was so hot and packed in there that we really couldn't stand it more than a few minutes. On my way out, I bought derisha sui-tosu's recently out photo book 「デリシャスウィートスのコケット画報」 which includes a CD.
July 15, 2005
Sorry for the boring post. Just recording this little Thunderbird problem I had and the way I solved it.
The other day, after moving a message to a mail folder, going to that mail folder made Thunderbird use 100% of the CPU until I killed it from the task manager.
Otherwise, so far so good with this wonderful software.
July 11, 2005
Aprils release party
Hazel Nuts Chocolate
My friend Miwa and I got there half-an-hour after the event's start, but just in time to catch Hazel Nuts Chocolate. Yuppa-chan was very cute and sang songs from her first album and also a few from her upcoming album, "Cute", which she announced will be out on September 14. She was accompanied by guitar, keyboard and drums. It was the first time I saw a full live set of hers, and I really enjoyed it, what a fun and lively personality!
To me she seems to have quite a bit in common with Mizumori Ado, as she sings happy, sometimes childish songs, and she also draws. Her voice also maybe sounds somewhat similar. While singing one song, she performed live drawing which she then said she'd sell for ¥200 (the price she paid for the board).
By the way the set had 6 monitors (3 pairs of sync'd dual-screens), and she said the second from the right was her TV from home. :)
I've seen YMCK live several times, but this time was the first time that I could clearly hear their live vocals, though sung over the backtrack that includes the recorded vocals. Also, it was the first time that I saw them doing live solos! Nakamura seemed to be using some kind of sampler, while Yokemura used some small controller-like device that played sort of arpeggios. The sound reminded me of some electronics thing my dad had built into a broken radio when I was little, though it was in no way controllable like Yokemura's was.
Well I'm still not too fond of him, while I still enjoy the visuals and the live bass. Even though I'm not a fan and have only ever heard his songs live, this was the third time I saw him and I'm getting to know his songs. This time I thought he did look better than the previous times, as he wore nerdy glasses which I preferred to his usual looks. He took them off in the end though.
Interesting stats: Putting the tag "nerd" on this picture in Flickr, so far it's got over 6 times the hits of my other pictures from this show!
Before the band got on stage, "Space Dream Bathroom"'s opening theme (feat. YMCK) was played. Then Aprils got on stage, and front members Imai Kentarō and Iguchi Miho picked up their phaser guns from the two monitors above their head, a hilarious stunt.
I was glad to see Toku at the drums again. Last time I saw Aprils, at YMCK's album release party, he was being replaced by another drummer, but he really isn't a replaceable part of the band.
They proceeded to play most songs from the great new album, and also a few of their previous hits, such as "Astro", and "Lum no Love Song" feat. Henachoco's Yuppa-chan. My favorite new songs are maybe "ki-re-me-ki Moon Diver", "sekai o koete" (feat. tetrapletrap-F) and also "Time After Time".
For the encore, their huge Gloomy Panda (designed by Mori Chack) got up on the small stage! What a surprise! Of course he couldn't manage not to hit the monitor above his head. The first time everyone went "ahhhhh!!!!" as the monitor went spinning, but after it had survived once, people just laughed when it got smacked again.
Last played was the great "Time After Time", its video is included on the album's limited edition.
When the show was over and the band had disappeared, the album's ending theme played as credits showed up on the screens. Then was played a short flashback clip of each song, which I really liked as it reminded of all of the show's good moments.
Oh, btw [William], at the end of this month, it will be Aprils and YMCK's turn to head to Taiwan for a festival.
July 10, 2005
USB card readers
A while ago I needed a USB MemoryStick card reader and I had found this nice series by Sanwa Supply.
Now a few days ago my digital camera's port died (the connector has fallen inside the camera! and even when succeeding to plug the cable into it, nothing happens) and I then needed a SD card reader, so I went and bought another one of the same series.
Pretty much the cheapest on the market (about ¥1000 each), the ADR-xxUL series are also quite small and the USB plug folds in so that it's really compact when not in use (6cm2 x 1cm).
Rainy night in Shibuya
Taken at 7:09pm on 7/9.
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Last night I went with Tsugumi to Vice Japan's 1st Anniversary Party at Shibuya Womb. It was my first time at Womb, an impressive club with a large 3-story cubic room holding a giant mirrorball (comparing it to stuff I measured it to be about 2m!), where Ishino Takkyū (Denki Groove) spins regularly.
We didn't go there to celebrate the Vice anniversary though, but rather to see Montrealers Chromeo who were performing in Japan for the very first time! After about 2 hours of hard house and such stuff, Chromeo came on with their super cool set. It seemed strange to fit them in the middle of that event, but them being signed to Vice Recordings in the U.S. explains it.
The guys seemed in good shape despite the long flight, and proved to be great entertainers — inserting "Tokyo" throughout their songs ("Me and my man on a plane / Fly away to
a better place Tokyo!"), Dave 1 having the audience respond "Oh!" whenever he said "Chromee?", and P-Thugg filling-in with "Chrome~o in Toky~o" talkbox adlibs.
They played a good bunch of songs from their album: "Woman Friend", "She'z N Control", "Rage!" (video), "Destination: Overdrive", "Needy Girl" (video), "Me & My Man", etc., and as an encore the great "Mercury Tears".
As I expected to see some Escalator people in the crowd (Escalator Shop has been really pushing Chromeo, and is the best source in town for all their 12"'s), I witnessed Chabe (Cubismo Grafico) who passed between us during Chromeo's set with a big grin on his face.
After Chromeo finished playing around 2:30, we didn't stay around much longer. On our way out we were given Vice T-shirts, a special anniversary present, which made the entrance fee of ¥1500 seem even more ridiculous than it already was. Thanks to Vice for bringing Chromeo to the big city! Oh, I can't wait for another album!
To those who have yet to check out Chromeo, I recommend first watching their EPK in the audio/video section of their site to get a good idea what they're all about!
Update (2005/7/11 10:10): Chabe's Chromeo picture and review.
July 9, 2005
FedEx? Yeah right.
Just got a rather strange phone call to my mobile phone, saying it's some Michelle Miller at FedEx in California, and asking for my work email address in order to provide me with tracking number and package contents before dispatching some package. What the..?
Is that some headhunter trick to confirm personal details or such? They're really after me lately...
July 4, 2005
His name is Vincent Shirai, and he's from the Dutch and Belgian border. While it's unclear whether he's actually Dutch or Belgian, he may have been named after Van Gogh therefore he'd be Dutch.
On the show's set, he looks quite a bit smaller than Zigorow did, however his hat takes up a lot of screen space and is also his first weapon, "tsuba cutter!!". It seems to me like his nose and eyes are hidden inside of his hat, but Kaela said that what I thought was his moustache is in fact his eyes, so who knows. :) Kaela seems to already be sort of used to him, as she puts her hand in his mouth and plays with his feet, as she used to do with Zigorow.
Also, Vincent's voice has no effect applied on, so it doesn't sound anywhere as strange as Zigorow's did.
While I'm not used to this new guy, I must say that I'm not really disappointed of the character change, it may make the show a bit fresh. He does look somewhat strange though and it will take some getting-used-to.
Some remaining concerns: no space segment (will there be one later?), no replacement for Pepper/Goikenban/Goigoi (though his voice is present).
July 3, 2005
Muteq at Star Pine's Cafe
On Friday night we headed to Kichijōji Star Pine's Cafe for the event Muteq (nothing to do with Montreal Mutek btw), featuring PINE*am, Fantastic Explosion, New Castle, Vasallo Crab75 and Hot fun in the funny face.
We got there around midnight as the show was starting. New Castle was doing a mini-live, the two guys playing and singing. They gave me a really great first impression! Their live sound was very techno-pop with somewhat of a pico-pico sound, and lots of nostalgic-sounding bits. Actually I was told that most of the songs they played were covers of old Japanese hits, figures!
I ended up picking up their first EP, "New Castle no e.p.", produced by Hair's Ai Satteaux and out on his Aquarius label.
New Castle has a monthly event called "shu-shu!" at Shibuya Soft every first Wednesday.
I had first got a taste of Vasallo Crab75 at Japan Live (recent live report), and indeed they give a pretty good show. They have a very tight and perfect sound, and also sing in flawless English. They reminded me of U.S. and Canadian indie rock bands I used to see in the late 90's.
Hot fun in the funny face
As sort of transpires in their name, they're a kind of summer party band and gave a fun show. They do sound very mainstream though, sort of pop/R&B. It was probably because of the setup at Star Pine's, but they sounded quite noisy and unequal to me (some instruments being much too soft, and the guy's mic too loud), but their personality shined through and the audience was in party mode.
Then PINE*am took the stage, for the first time in Japan in 2 years (last time was I think at Usagi-chang Night Fever!! vol.0001)! They were wearing the same matching outfits they wore on G4 "Attack of the Show" with the fluffy wrist bands, and gave a great show, playing many songs covering their whole discography. As a bonus they played "Get A Choco", my favorite song from the new album! They spoke of their recent U.S. tour in a mix of Japanese and English.
Towards the end, Tsugumi's bass started producing uncontrollable noise and they stopped the last song after the first chorus. "It's rock!!" Yup! :)
Next, they're off to the U.S. again in August for an east coast tour and also several dates in California. Don't miss them!
Fantastic Explosion sure lived up to their name. I had never seen them live before and had no idea what to expect. I already owned their latest album "Return of Fantastic Explosion" though, which I love. Their infectuous club sound and energy immediately got most of the audience dancing, but as soon as they got on stage I was already laughing at their kind of secret agent looks with their matching logo T-shirts.
The show is more performance than anything else, the songs being sync'd with video made up of B-movie clips, old Japanese commercials, and 60's-Batman-ish spinning titles. Nagata Kazunao (Transonic, ex-Enban) played electronics (beeps, bleeps and samples), Yoshida Tetsuto jumped around and punched a cymbal with bare hands, while the 3rd guy (not too sure who he is) grooved in front of some device.
You can listen to a sound clip of "Chocolate" here at Musical Taste.
July 2, 2005
While watching the series, for a while I thought that komaneko really stood for 困った猫 (the troubled cat), because of all the bad luck that hits him, but in the end it's obvious that it's "koma" as in film-frame. :)
Error when posting comment/entry
Update (2005/7/9 11:30): My host upgraded DBD::mysql to 3.0001_3 and this fixed the problem. What a relief!
Update (2005/7/5 16:05): I wasn't the only one: "CPanel Updates Breaking Movable Type Installations"
I hope that either my hosting can downgrade the Perl modules, or that SixApart will issue a patch soon.
There seems to be some problem with MovableType, giving a 500 error when posting long comments or when I'm trying to save an entry... In my error log I get an error saying "Premature end of script headers". The strange thing is that this doesn't happen when posting short comments (up to about 600 bytes), weird.
Probably something up with my hosting and I'm having them look into that. Hopefully the issue will resolve soon.
Meanwhile, please know that even if you get an error when posting a comment, it's been saved anyway, and if it doesn't show up right away, it will when I rebuild.