Blog - April 2009 Archives

April 2009 Archives


Music Stage .25 Elohim live report
Music Stage .18 Toy music reunion vol.2: report
Photo Tokyo .05 Sakura #3: Nakano, Shinjuku
Photo Tokyo .04 Sakura #2: Asagaya-jūtaku
Photo Tokyo .04 Sakura #1: Hamamatsuchō
Japan Technology .02 Richard Simpson's Smile revealed
Technology .01 I am Richard Simpson.

April 25, 2009

Music Stage Elohim live report

On Tuesday this week I went to see Elohim, the recent unit of Arichika Masumi (T.V. Jesus). I had seen him on stage only once before at a TV recording for Pizzicato Five's tribute album on which he sings "la guerre est finie" ("sensō wa owatta"). I knew that T.V. Jesus had disbanded at the end of the 90's, but only recently I learned that he's been active with this new band Elohim, which really has been around for some 5 years.

The show was held at 7th Floor in Shibuya. It was my first time there, although I've often been to O-nest located in the same building. 7th Floor was more like a restaurant/café, all seated, with a nice stage with a red velvet curtain behind it.

小田切大First on stage was singer-songwriter Odagiri Dai, who is from a band called Shinjuku Folk, but lately performs solo. He was accompanied with piano only, performed by Shibata Gorō. He gave an entertaining show. I like his song "Oil" that can be heard on his website.

Next was Elohim! The band is formed of singer Arichika Masumi, guitarist Kubota Haruo (Pearl Brothers, Girl Girl Girl), along with Tsurugi Masaki on piano and accordion (he originally played in Arichika's band Variete in the 80's), bassist Yokoyama Hidenori (The Thrill) and Kuroda Makiko on percussions. Their sound and image had influences from French chanson and glam rock. The show consisted of original songs and also some covers of influential songs, all sung with Japanese lyrics.

Here's the set list taken from the blog post by Azumi who has been going to almost every show and from who I first heard of Elohim when I met her through friend Naoto at an Arcorhyme show last year.

Set list: Divine (ディヴァイン) / 20th Century Blues (二十世紀ブルース) / aijin - L'amant (愛人-ラマン) / soshite, ima wa... (そして、今は・・・) (Gilbert Bécaud cover?) / Neon Lights (Kraftwerk cover) / nami no nai umi (波の無い海) / manatsu no Zombie (真夏のゾンビ) / tomoshibi (灯) / kimi, odoru toki (君、踊るとき) / totte totte torimakure (撮って撮って撮りまくれ) / ai no sanka (愛の酸化) / Screamin' Peanut Vendor

Encore: Alabama Song (cover) / La bohème (Charles Aznavour cover) / Harlequin (アルルカン)

The whole show was captivating, all musicians had a lot of talent, and Arichika had great charisma. He also talked quite a bit between the songs. I was also really happy to see guitarist Kubota Haruo, I think for the first time, he's a famous figure of Shibuya-kei.

エロヒムDuring the whole show I had been resisting to take photos, afraid to bother the other spectators who watched quietly, but when came the last song, "Harlequin", a favorite that was written by Konishi Yasuharu (originally heard on mini-album "onna no miyako"), I decided it was the time. I was really happy to hear this song live.

Another great moment was "La bohème" in the encore when he called back Odagiri Dai and also his pianist, although they hadn't rehearsed. The two pianists even sat at the same piano and played the song together with great effect and provoking quite a bit of laughter.

An unexpected surprise was a live CD of Elohim sold at the show, titled "elohim live recordings at Theater X". I was quite sure that they didn't have any CD out. I thought I'd look it up later at a record shop, but turned out that it seems not to have yet been officially released... so now I regret a bit not getting it when I could. Those interested, keep an eye on the agenda.

Oh, and on the way out, Azumi kindly introduced me to Arichika Masumi who was standing by the bar. He was a really nice guy! I'll be looking forward to catch Elohim live again.

Larger sizes and more photos at Flickr

Posted on April 25, 2009 at 15:10 | Permalink | Trackback (0) | Comments (2) | Tweet |

April 18, 2009

Music Stage Toy music reunion vol.2: report

Last weekend on Saturday I went to Enban in Kōenji for an event called 「おもちゃ音楽、再び全員集合!!」 (translates to something like "toy music reunion again"). Enban was transformed into a big playground, with tables everywhere filled with toys. There was nowhere to sit, and even almost no room at all for spectators.

I went there mainly to see Hosaka Akane who I'm a big fan of, it was the first time I got to see her live this year. I was also very curious about the event's theme. I was hoping to find some nostalgic toys, which I didn't, but I found a lot of fun ones that I had never seen. There was no stage of sort, each "band" had their toys up on a separate table and they played in turn without set changes.

First up was Shibata & Asuna, one of who did the MC for the event, speaking through a voice-changing tape player. They sampled and looped toys while one played guitar and sometimes sang.

Shibata & AsunaShibata & AsunaToys

Next was yuki kaneko who sat in a corner where I couldn't quite see. His set was the most ambient-ish of the event, it made me feel a bit sleepy.

yuki kaneko

Next was Thomas, a guy who came all the way from Mie prefecture. I think he's an organizer for the event. His set was fun and playful, playing with a sampler while doing a story with squeeky chickens, and playing a pianica using a balloon for air source. You can view his chicken stories and other works on YouTube.


Hosaka Akane then performed as a special unit just for the day, together with DJ Peaky (her collaborator in side-project Kawashima Circulation Bus Line). Many toys were used, including the familiar blue bird Peckpee, and other bird-shaped flutes, a pianica and more. You'd expect her to play some songs from her album, but her entire set consisted of special songs for this toy set! Most songs were themed on a specific toy (or two). I wonder if we'll ever hear these again.

HOSAKA Akane w/ DJ PeakyHOSAKA Akane w/ DJ PeakyHOSAKA Akane

Last up was unit OPQ who came dressed like fast food employees. Part of their set was a bicycle wheel didn't spin but instead was used to make some violin-like sounds.


At the end, all toy musicians did a jam session together. The audience were given whistle candies to participate, but I couldn't manage much with mine other than eating it.

Shibata & Asuna, Thomas, OCQThomas, Shibata & Asuna, HOSAKA AkaneOCQ, Shibata & AsunaThomas, Shibata & Asuna, OCQ

Larger sizes and more photos at Flickr

Posted on April 18, 2009 at 01:20 | Permalink | Trackback (0) | Comments (3) | Tweet |

April 5, 2009

Photo Tokyo Sakura #3: Nakano, Shinjuku

Here are more sakura photos taken in Nakano and Shinjuku. Unfortunately it has started to look like the sakura season is almost over..!


1, 2. Momijiyama-kōen, Nakano
3. Shinjuku Chūō-kōen (Park Hyatt in background)
4. Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings


5. Today's cat, in Nakano
6. Spotted in Shinjuku, this rock says "danger"... It's unclear whether the rock itself is dangerous (just move it?), or the corner, or the bush...

Your own interpretations of the dangerous corner are more than welcome!

Larger sizes and more photos at Flickr

Posted on April 5, 2009 at 20:07 | Permalink | Trackback (0) | Comments (0) | Tweet |

April 4, 2009

Photo Tokyo Sakura #2: Asagaya-jūtaku

Today we went to hanami in Asagaya-jūtaku, a nice residential area that's been set to be demolished and rebuilt into taller buildings. The demolition was first set to happen a year or two ago, but it has been postponed and so far the area remains as is, although most people have moved out already.

We were lucky to have great weather! We sat in the same park as two years ago and had a nice time eating while watching the flowered trees. There were quite a bit of people of all ages doing the same thing. One apartment nearby was used for selling bentō (unfortunately sold out) and muffins.


When we were done eating, we went for a walk along the nearby river, which was more crowded with lines of people on their blue sheets.


A very nice neighborhood!


What? Not enough cats? Ok, here you go!


Larger sizes and more photos at Flickr

Posted on April 4, 2009 at 22:02 | Permalink | Trackback (0) | Comments (0) | Tweet |

Photo Tokyo Sakura #1: Hamamatsuchō

Sakura (cherry blossoms) season is here! We're very close to reaching "mankai" (full bloom). These were taken yesterday by Toshiba building in Hamamatsuchō.


Bonus candid shot of salarymen chilling in the sun —


And last weekend in Nakano, when sakura were still a bit shy —


Today, I'm off to a hanami (sakura appreciation) outing, so I'll probably have more photos to share. :)

Larger sizes and more photos at Flickr

Posted on April 4, 2009 at 09:18 | Permalink | Trackback (0) | Comments (0) | Tweet |

April 2, 2009

Japan Technology Richard Simpson's Smile revealed

Yesterday was April Fools', and a friendly relation of a partner company at work had the idea to use me on a page they set up for the day, spoofing another web site.

My spot was very small, and I wonder if anyone even noticed it at all. They provided some "RSS 1.0", "RSS 2.0" and "RSS 3.0" links that looked like they would lead to a news feed, but instead they linked to a page with "Richard Simpson's Smile" in three different versions. :)


Well that was a lot of fun, anyway it brought a lot of laughter at the office at the least. :)

(You can click each screenshot to view a larger size in a new window.)

Posted on April 2, 2009 at 23:53 | Permalink | Trackback (0) | Comments (0) | Tweet |

April 1, 2009

Technology I am Richard Simpson.

Looks like popular web magazine Gigazine has bought Trend GyaO. Oh, and it looks like they're early supporters of the new news feed standard RSS 3.0!

Check this page, and be sure to click the "RSS 1.0", "RSS 2.0" and "RSS 3.0" links on the right-hand side. :)

Even if you don't care, just go!

トレンドGyaOがGigazineに買取されたようですが、それよりも、早くもRSS 3.0を対応しているようです!(世界初?)

(右手のRSS 1.0、RSS 2.0とRSS 3.0をすべてクリックしてね!)


Posted on April 1, 2009 at 08:50 | Permalink | Trackback (0) | Comments (2) | Tweet |

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