Blog - October 2012 Archives
October 2012 Archives
.29 India 2012 #4: Decorated trucks
.28 Weekly revue: 2012 week #43 (October 20 to 26)
.26 India 2012 #3: Auto rickshaw
.22 India 2012 #2: Hauz Khas Village
.20 Weekly revue: 2012 week #42 (October 13 to 19)
.19 India 2012 #1: Taj Mahal
.05 Weekly revue: 2012 week #40 (September 29 to October 5)
October 29, 2012
India 2012 #4: Decorated trucks
On October 10, after a 2-night stay in Jaipur, we took a "Volvo bus" to get back to Delhi. It was booked with help from our hotel through the bus system's official site, and we chose one leaving at 2pm, the right time for us, and the site said "Volvo bus+LCD+Pantry". According to the hotel's guy this meant there would be a LCD monitor and a corner with some food, it also cost an extra Rs. 100 for that. We got on the bus: no TV, no food (all buses we took provided a free water bottle though)... so we asked the guys sitting in front of us, they said "yes this is the Volvo LCD Pantry!" Seems like it's normal. :)
On the long way to Delhi I started noticing many orange trucks on the highway. All looked very similar except for different logos on the sides, not just company logos bus also repetitive paintings of cows, lotus flowers, Indian flags, "All India Permit" logos, etc. All trucks have a random selection of these predefined icons.
Also, on the back of almost all trucks are messages like "Blow Horn", "Please Horn", "Keep Distance" to remind the driver behind of Indian trucking manners. Indeed klaxxons are used almost non-stop, to inform that one wants to pass the truck in front, but maybe also to keep each other from falling asleep? Some trucks are also very decorated. This all made it captivating to watch trucks for most of the long way to Delhi.
It was also interesting that bus passengers in India aren't as quiet as the ones in Japan (these can be as quiet as a library). In India people talk a lot! The two guys in front of us even talked non-stop for some 7 hours, until they saw the lights of Delhi and watched in awe.
This ride made me a bit obsessed with these trucks and I ended up getting a T-shirt and a mug cup of them. :) This neat embroidered T-shirt by Play Clan also has a description printed on the inside.
October 28, 2012
Weekly revue: 2012 week #43 (October 20 to 26)
Music event: On Tuesday I met with Don (visiting from New York) and Izumi (Qypthone) and we went to Nakatsuka Takeshi's event "enoteca" at Batica in Ebisu. There were shows, one by Takeshi who played some 3 new songs, including one for an upcoming Xev**us tribute album! Since earlier this year his band has a new drummer, Kaoru, who plays really tight and adds a great new touch to the sound. Also a great band called Senkawos that sounded like post-rock with some psychedelic touch. It was birthday of DJ Takahashi Masaru. We also got to meet Nomoto Karia. :)
Photos: Ginza is full of photo opportunities. There were live models in the windows of Furla, and also cute kittens playing in the street (it was "pedestrian paradise" so no cars around).
Food: - Fried seafood at Sanshūya, Ginza
- Big curry lunch set at Tapir, Ōkubo (eggplant curry, duck & pear curry, sambar, daal, etc.)
- Sunday Bake Shop
Music releases: Ryuichi Sakamoto, Ryoma Takemasa, ...
Playlist: Nomoto Karia (before I knew I'd meet her!), esu-efu, frenesi, Aira Mitsuki, Nosa Reina, hitomitoi
October 26, 2012
India 2012 #3: Auto rickshaw
During our trip we mostly rode auto rickshaws to get around for short distances. The small 3-wheeled vehicles are the best way to get through traffic, and also good to get a feel of a place. The ride is sometimes a bit bumpy and dusty though. Technically they have a meter like taxis, but in all cases for us the drivers first negotiated a fixed price to their advantage. Of course the price is always quite small (between Rs. 20 and 100 for a ride) so it's not really a problem.
Here are some comparisons between rides we had in 3 different cities, with some video.
In Delhi all rides we had were quite simple, just deciding a price, riding and you're done. There was only one exception, when one of our drivers got lost and almost gave up without getting us to destination, but even then a few friendly passersby helped our driver find his way.
In Jaipur things get a bit complicated because most drivers seem to want to get repeating customers, or ones who will hire them for a day. These will get friendly (they can be quite fun too), and might ask you to not pay now but to call them for your next ride. I think I started getting more SMS spam after I gave my number to one of them. :)
Some drivers even surprisingly spoke a bit of French! Obviously they must be getting a lot of French tourists, but I was also surprised by a driver's friend who said he lived in Montreal and could even speak a bit in a québécois accent!
And this is another in Agra on the way from Taj Mahal towards our bus terminal.
October 22, 2012
India 2012 #2: Hauz Khas Village
While in Delhi we stayed in Hauz Khas Village, a young and fashionable but small area which Japanese sometimes refer to as "the Daikanyama of Delhi". There's only one hotel there, The Rose, opened a few years ago by friendly French men. We had a really comfortable stay there, and the staff was really helpful. This location was nice as it's quiet and calm, reminding us a little of Auroville, however note that it's a bit far from the closest station and also from Delhi's touristic attractions.
The area has a lot of restaurants and shops of the higher end, making it also a hangout spot for young and rich people. We found several good shops for interior goods, clothing, old posters and cards, etc. Also we had a nice time at Elma's Bakery (Facebook page), a popular café that would be easy to imagine in Tokyo.
Another great spot was Gelato Roma, a truck sometimes located at the village entrance (but maybe only on weekends?). This was some of the best gelato I've ever had!
Hauz Khas Village is fronted by a large Deer Park, and also just down the street is a heritage site, the tomb of Firoz Shah Tughlaq. Both can make for nice walks.
October 20, 2012
Weekly revue: 2012 week #42 (October 13 to 19)
So I spent all of week #41 in India! It was a great trip and I should be posting bits of it a few more times. :) Meanwhile all my photos are up in a Flickr set.
Last weekend was the return to Japan, so things were a bit calmer than usual.
New music: - I got Nosa Reina's first album, all music written and produced by Takanami K-tarō! This is really a wonderful album, K-taro sound at its best! This sounds very Shibuya-kei, and also newcomer singer Reina's voice is great! I got my tickets to the release party to be held on November 30 at Shinjuku Loft (with shows by Nosa Reina, Takanami K-tarō, Nomiya Maki and Portable Rock!!), can't wait! :)
- Yume to Cosme have released a new single this month in 3" CD format, coming in a tall case like they aren't often seen nowadays. The product looks perfectly authentic, but looking very closely revealed that it's a CD-R, could it all be handmade?! The song is great of course, a danceable track with strings as goes their signature, and this time with a hint of pico-pico synths.
Music release news: De De Mouse (I need to catch up with the other recent releases...!)
This week's video: E-Pak-Sa is back with a brand new single out on iTunes worldwide, and a new video too! :)
October 19, 2012
India 2012 #1: Taj Mahal
For my summer holiday (a bit late at the beginning of October), we went to North India and visited the said "golden triangle" formed of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.
Local friends had recommended us to book a taxi for our trip, but instead we chose to use public transportation as we usually do. Getting to Agra takes 5 hours by car or 2 hours by express train. We had booked train tickets for 6am on Monday, and despite having heard of scammers who try to distract passengers into using a different train company by telling them their train was canceled, when we were approached by one it first sounded real and we got close to being duped.
We boarded our train and got to Agra without trouble, meanwhile enjoying the included breakfast on board. Then we took a prepaid auto rickshaw (Rs. 100) to get to Taj Mahal's gate. We had made a friend at the station but we were able to sit all three in the back of the small-looking three-wheeler. At one point the driver gave short rides to a friend and a policeman, sitting on his sides, so we were 6!
After leaving our luggage in the locker room, securing our backpacks to the metal racks, we bought our tickets (and dodging an "official guide", he was funny though) and went through security (had my mints and gum confiscated). Then we could finally enter the site!
There was a photographer who helped everyone taking their photos in popular poses without asking for anything in return.
The tomb, the main white building of Taj Mahal, was really beautiful, from far away and also up close. It kept getting more blinding as we approached so I ended up putting on my sunglasses. Taj Mahal is all in marble and its walls are decorated in semi-precious stones cut and placed in flower shapes.
While the palace was designed to be entirely symmetric, with the queen's tomb placed in the center, once the king died his tomb was placed next to the queen's, breaking the perfection.
This is a piece from a watch of Titan's Heritage series, inspired by details of Taj Mahal.
October 5, 2012
Weekly revue: 2012 week #40 (September 29 to October 5)
Last weekend was uneventful, with a typhoon even ruining some plans... So here are photos of 3 cats, aka "the three amigos" because they are often found hanging out together. :)
Food: Had some great sanma curry and purple sweet potato curry at Tapir, Shin-Okubo
New music: - Hosaka Akane has a 4th album out now! This one is a homemade CD-R. 10 brand new tracks (one is a remix of "1!2!Sports")! Of course I love it, and I can't wait to see her perform these new songs live. :) This new album should be available on Tokyo Recohan later this month.
- I got Vanilla Beans' new DVD, their first ever live DVD, coinciding with their 5th anniversary! I was at this show last June and it's great to see it again, and even with a much better view! That was really a wonderful set by Vanilla Beans.
After watching the show, I had a look at the music videos included and was totally surprised by a brand new video for a previously unheard song from their new album coming next month! The new album, "Vanilla Beans III" (they love Led Zeppelin), will be entirely backed by a real band, no programming involved, it seems. Should be great!
- Not new music, but I won this Kyary Pamyu Pamyu photo book slip case! Her 4 first limited edition CDs fit just nicely in it .:) This gift was limited to 1000. Thanks Pamyu & Warner!!
Music release news: JOKEMIC, quasimode, Yapani!, Yashiro Aki (produced by Konishi Yasuharu), Nosa Reina (produced by Takanami K-tarō), mi-gu
Playlist: frenesi, Aira Mitsuki, Yucca, Chilly Gonzales, NOMIYA Maki, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
This week's video: Nagoya idol Mizuka's "KIRAxKIRAxKIRAxKIRA" from album "Marshmallow Glitter"