Blog - November 2012 Archives
November 2012 Archives
.25 Weekly revue: 2012 week #47 (November 17 to 23)
.17 Weekly revue: 2012 week #46 (November 10 to 16)
.13 India 2012 #7: Bollywood
.10 Weekly revue: 2012 week #45 (November 3 to 9)
.08 India 2012 #6: Sightseeing in Jaipur
.03 Weekly revue: 2012 week #44 (October 27 to November 2)
.01 India 2012 #5: The Food
November 25, 2012
Weekly revue: 2012 week #47 (November 17 to 23)
Party: Last Saturday was supposed to be a picnic with good friends, but rain turned it into an equally fun home party. Lots of great food!
Music event: "torimatorimae 2012" event at Koenji High, organized by (M)otocompo and also featuring esu-efu (Nomoto Karia and Captain Mirai), umi no te and tenkōsei. (M)otocompo were great as always! I was especially happy to see esu-efu for the first time, as I had been warning to see them since getting their mini-album. The set started at 7pm with "Tokyo wa yoru no 7ji" (Nomoto Karia version), and also included a great cover of Madonna's "Material Girl", along with tracks from their CD. Awesome!
Movie: We went to see Indian film "Sivaji the Boss", to be shown in several theaters in Japan starting December 1 (official site). This was a special showing at Cinemart Roppongi, in "masala style", a term coined in Japan to refer to showings where spectators are encouraged to cheer, talk, be loud, use crackers, even dance, like people do at movie theaters in India. Being used to the quiet showings in Japan it takes some effort to get into this way of watching a movie, but it was sure fun to clap through the dance scenes and applause and shout for the protagonist. :) There was also an appearance by comedian Imoaraizaka-kakarichō who did some Bollywood dancing before the film.
Music release news: Rocketman feat. Cana, Ino Hidefumi (7"), ShibusaShirazu, compilation "Speedking Vol.5"
Playlist: Towa Tei, Nosa Reina, Vanilla Beans, Fantastic Explosion, Pyokn, CTO LAB., Dorian, ...
This week's video: Little Lounge*Little Twinkle "saratto" from album "hvit"
November 17, 2012
Weekly revue: 2012 week #46 (November 10 to 16)
Music events: - Went to Wack Wack Rhythm Band's 20th anniversary part at Aoyama Cay on November 11! That was awesome! WWRB is really a great band that keeps getting better over the years. This was a premium show with special guests Rhymester ("Wack Wack Rhythm Island"!), You The Rock ("Grand Master Fresh"!), Chabe and a bunch of old members, and a DJ set by Konishi Yasuharu. I took several photos up on Flickr here, and hopefully I'll have a report coming soon.
- On Friday before heading to a dinner with a friend at Rose Bakery in Ginza, we dropped by Barney's New York next door where FPM was spinning Rolling Stones tunes (many remixed). Free drinks from Suntory too!
Music release news: Little Lounge*Little Twinkle, erectricmole, spoon+, Kirinji, Panda 1/2
Playlist: hitomitoi, Sally Soul Stew, Scooters, Nosa Reina, Vanilla Beans, Miyauchi Yuri, erectricmole, esu-efu, capsule, Sunahara Yoshinori, Hosaka Akane, frenesi
Panda 1/2 "bokura ga Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte e tabi ni deru riyū"
Little Lounge*Little Twinkle DIY ferris-wheel
You The Rock "Grand Master Fresh Pt.2"
November 13, 2012
India 2012 #7: Bollywood
On our last full day in Delhi, we went to a place called Kingdom of Dreams in Gurgaon, the neighbor state. I had found out about it not long before our trip, by randomly searching for "Bollywood stage show" or similar.
I had tried booking tickets online, but the site seemed to refuse foreign credit cards, and I couldn't reach the listed phone number (later I realized that my cheap mobile phone probably needed a reboot after switching networks when coming back from Jaipur). So we decided to try our luck and just go. We went by metro (it's not possible to go by rickshaw), which we were told should take about an hour. We got there a few minutes late, and I was afraid we might not able to get in as I had read online about people who weren't allowed to enter because they were late, but we had no problem at all!
The show we saw was "Zangoora", it was quite something and really higher than expectations. The stage had large decors that were changed now and then, and also huge high-quality screens at different depths that were able to turn the stage into any scene in an instant. There was also wire action, with people and even boats flying over the audience.
The story was about a gypsy boy named Zangoora and his love story with a princess and gypsy girl, according to the site. It didn't matter much though, because the show went into song and dance every 5 minutes and just watching live Bollywood on stage kept us entertained the whole time. There was a 15-minute break during which we went to buy a local snack.
At the end of the show, some of the cast walked down the alleys and incited the audience to dance with them. I thought they would just shake hands with me but they dragged me on my feet and before I knew it I was dancing Bollywood-style with them, hahaha. :) We had really a great time!
While in Jaipur we also went to a movie theater, and saw the movie "English Vinglish" about an Indian mother who has to go to New York and her efforts to learn English. Thanks to this topic we could understand some of the dialog, and that made it quite an enjoyable film! When a special guest superstar came on the screen the audience reacted wildly. :)
The theater was a nice large one. We caught the last show and got there a few minutes late (we hadn't checked schedules at all before going there, we were just very lucky). We didn't have tickets and the people at the door told us to just go inside and take seats. At the entracte (there's often an "interval" in Indian movies) some guy came to us to collect the money for our tickets. Things seems quite organized for a moment, until during the second part some other guy came to collect money from us again. We thought we had been ripped off, but we just told him that we paid already and he said ok and we weren't bothered again.
At the end of the film exit doors on the opposite side opened, giving right on the backstreet where many rickshaw drivers were waiting. Our hotel was very close and they were charging too much, so we were going to walk but one helpful bicycle rickshaw man took our Rs. 20 offer.
"English Vinglish" trailer
While on the entertainment topic, we also bought 4 DVDs at INA Market in Delhi. Two of them seemed legit in standard DVD boxes ("3 Idiots" and "Superman of Malegaon"), and two others that were in thin sleeves and didn't look very legit. Back home we were able to watch the two legit ones on the computer, though they were in PAL format (when in South India all the DVDs we bought were NTSC). These are also region free, so no problem. As for the two others, they were both DVD-R's, one seems like it was filmed at a theater (very bad quality), and the other was unreadable (blank?).
So as a rule of thumb we learned this time, if it's in a normal looking DVD box in its original wrapping it should be ok (as long as you can use PAL). Don't bother with the rest.
We also watched several Indian movies in the plane (Air India) which were a lot of fun. We liked "Ladies vs Ricky Bahl" and this Facebook-inspired comedy. We also really loved "Quick Gun Murugun" that we watched on our last trip 2 years ago, with a plot about a McDonald's-like chain that sells McDosa.
November 10, 2012
Weekly revue: 2012 week #45 (November 3 to 9)
Outings: Last weekend was spent a bit in the north in Ibaraki.
- On Saturday we went for a drive to Daigomachi and visited the old Uwaoka elementary school that's been changed into a kind of museum with café and restaurant.
- In the evening I got to see a rare matsuri held only once every 3 years, Nukada matsuri has local residents pull large wheeled structures down the main street.
- And on Sunday we went to Mito Art Tower to see the last representation of musical "Fanfare", with music by Miura Kōshi (Kuchiroro) and a band featuring Gondo Tomohiko (pupa) and Murata Shige (Kuchiroro, Cubismo Grafico Five). The story followed a girl who wants to become a singer but can only sing the notes "fa" (F) and "ré" (D). As she grows up her role is interpreted by 4 different actresses, the last being Sakamoto Miu. That was great!
(This is a clip from a previous show.)
Food: - Ramen and gyōza at Conte, Ibaraki
- Tenpura soba at Dabō, Ibaraki
- Sri Lankan dinner at Coji Coji, Mito, Ibaraki
- Dinner with colleagues at sashimi restaurant Uokin in Shibuya
New music: "Vanilla Beans III"! This new album is entirely recorded with a full band, no programming involved. I was skeptic at first, but it turns out pretty good and catchy! The whole album is arranged by two artists who have been involved with Vanilla Beans for a little while, Ōsumi Tomotaka and Tsutsumi Hiroaki, the latter who plays guitar in the band. Also on drums is Higeshiro Ken who has toured with De De Mouse.
Music release news: Aurora Acoustic, fantaholic, Wack Wack Rhythm Band, JiLL-Decoy association, DJ Fumiya, Ryoma Maeda, hitomitoi, Shūnosuke Ishikawa, 9nine, "mune kyun Arpeggio ~ Takayuki Fukumura with Friends"
Playlist: Nosa Reina, hitomitoi, Wack Wack Rhythm Band (seeing them live this weekend!), Groove Unchant, capsule, "uta to Guitar. Piano. kotoba.", Noel & Gallagher
This week's video: DJ Fumiya "HOTCAKE SAMBA feat. BAKUBAKU DOKIN & Tomoko Nagashima from orange pekoe"
November 8, 2012
India 2012 #6: Sightseeing in Jaipur
On Monday October 8, the day we saw Taj Mahal, we took a bus from Agra to Jaipur where we stayed for 2 nights at hotel Arya Niwas. Jaipur is also known as the Pink City as a large part of it has buildings all of a brownish pink color.
On Tuesday we were free and decided to go sightseeing by hiring a car from our hotel. We had first asked for 4 hours but time went fast so we extended the tour to 8 hours (total Rs. 1420). The driver took us in turn to Amber Fort, Jantar Mantar, City Palace, and Hawa Mahal.
Amber Fort: We took an elephant ride up the hill to the entrance (watch the video below) during half of which a guy selling hats kept following us, his price always going down. While visiting the fort, we often ran into a group of monks, and another group of railway company employees. Towards the end we got to see snake charmers. There are also a few shops including a Hot Pink store.
Water Palace: On our way to the next place we did a quick stop to see the Water Palace. Some ladies posed for us, though on this picture they were distracted by a beggar boy who came to bother us. They were also begging for money too.
Jantar Mantar: This is a place that collects various old astronomy instruments, such as a compass, sundials, altimeters, horoscope-related equipment and more. All of these are impressive building-type huge instruments with stairs, and they all have plates saying they were repaired and tested over a hundred years ago. One sundial was said to have 2-second precision..!
City Palace: We had started the day early and it was about lunch time so we were getting a bit hungry, so before entering City Palace we enjoyed a quick papad (Rs. 10) being sold outside by a merchant. The City Palace is still a royal residence to this day, but about half of the property has been turned into a museum. Many walls were beautifully decorated. At a café inside, we watched a musician who used a violin-like instrument with bells added to the arch and his feet.
Hawa Mahal: This one didn't seem on our driver's list, but we asked him to stop so we could visit it. The thin-looking building has many stained glass windows. We climbed to the top by following narrow passages. There were quite a bit of visitors, some who insisted to take photos with us. Indian people seem to enjoy taking photos with unknown foreigners. The mosaic stained glass throughout the building is quite beautiful!
On the way back we asked our driver to stop at a lassi shop. We had read of this place where several shops have the same "Lassiwala" name, although all of these signs were different from the photo in our guide book. Anyway it was good! Lassi is served in a clay cup that's to be thrown away in the large barrel outside when done drinking. Some people were buying several for take out too.
Spending a day with a taxi was a good thing, as it's easy to no problem to ask for stopping somewhere on the way.
November 3, 2012
Weekly revue: 2012 week #44 (October 27 to November 2)
Photo: Last weekend was Koenji Festival, part of which was held an event gathering various mascots (aka "yurukyara"). We had seen the same last year, but this year they had an additional wrestling event where the mascots were placed in a ring and used their special powers to attack the other. This event was really crowded!
Music events: Later on Saturday I was meeting with Don and we had first planned to go to a daytime club event with FPM and Aira Mitsuki, but at the last minute we decided against going to a loud club and do things a bit more quiet. Luckily Shibuya had plenty of events that weekend so we could enjoy free mini-shows of The Aprils (feat. The Lady Spade for one song) and Frenesi, in front of Marui City and Parco respectively. The Aprils even brought their huge panda, and Frenesi's show was just wonderful and attracted a big audience.
Food: - Pho at Chopstick, Koenji
- Curry set at Pakumori, Shibuya
- Coffee at City Country City, Shimokitazawa. Don was impressed with this café that is also a record shop and has a DJ booth to do DJ events. I'm glad I could also see my friend Mizue!
- My favorite drink at Starbucks is Gingerbread Latte, sold only in the Christmas season. This year again it has arrived! Only until December 25... I wish it would stay all year long. It would make me go to Starbucks more often. :)
- South Indian curry at Hotel South Erick, in Yae-chika, Tokyo station. Great spot!
Music release news: Polysics, Wack Wack Rhythm Band (7"), Kushibiki Sayaka Trio (7"), Akane Hosaka, "Shibuya-kei Respect" compilation series, Koizumi Kyoko, Vanilla Beans
Playlist: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Towa Tei, "kimi ni naritai" (Konishi Yasuharu), Pizzicato Five, Recoride, Harvard, Frenesi, Kaseki Cider, Vanilla Beans, ...
This week's video: Vanilla Beans new video clip "Killer Kyu-in". I love Vanilla Beans, have I said that before? :) 3rd album "Vanilla Beans III" coming November 7!
November 1, 2012
India 2012 #5: The Food
Food is always a big motivation for us to travel. While we were in India, most of time we ate local Indian food.
It started from the in-flight meal. As we chose Air India, usual "beef or chicken?" dialog is replaced with "vege or non-vege?". Curry is implied of course. In the train to Agra, we were not even asked that question, it seemed vege meal is the default unless you ask non-vege by yourself.
Once at our hotel's vege restaurant, while queuing to order our food another guest tried to order chicken. Obviously there was no chicken and the guy seemed surprised and asked "why you don't eat chicken?!" and the waiter replied "why do you have to eat chicken? Haha!".
Before heading to India, we did some research about restaurants so we already had a long list, but sometimes we just asked randomly for a recommended place where to eat. Most people are nice and are happy to tell you their favorite.
We mostly ate at middle-class restaurants this time, the price range is about Rs. 100 to 500 for a dish, no too small local joints or vendor food except for papad and a masala popsicle.
Here's a categorized list of where we ate. (NV = non-vege, V = vege)
- North Indian: Park Balluchi (NV)
- South Indian: Gunpowder (NV), Sagar Ratha (V), Nayvedyam (V)
- Tibetan: Yeti (NV)
- Fusion Indian & European: Indian Accent (NV)
- Other: Elma's Bakery (NV), Gelato Roma
- North Indian: Copper Chimney (NV), Hotel Arya Niwas (V)
- Rajasthani: LMB (V)
- Other: Steam (NV), Lassi Wala (one of them?)
Even though this was our second time in India we had not been to high-end restaurant, so we decided to give a try to Indian Accent at the Manor Hotel in Friend's Colony. We had no clue where it is or what it's like, we had just finished shopping in the Mehar Chand market area and took an auto with some big shopping bags. Finally when we made it to the neighborhood with our troublesome driver (it's another story...) we were a bit surprised. Clean! Calm! No horns! No auto!
The hotel itself seemed pretty small but with a nice atmosphere and the restaurant is located in the back of the building. After having an aperitif we were led to the table. Most guests were foreigners but there were Indian people too.
We ordered the chef's non-vege and vege tasting menus with pairing wines. All the food we had wasn't very spicy but it was pretty good with interesting presentations. However the portions were way too big for our average Japanese stomachs so it was really hard to finish all the dishes.
The service was decent. While we were having dessert we asked to call a taxi as we didn't see any auto around the hotel and it came right after we finished payment. It was a good experience after all.
By the way, we never had any upset stomach while in India. We think it's because we always take lactobacillus supplements... but maybe we're just lucky. :)