August 22, 2009


Oh dear, it looks like it's been a good 3 months or so since the last post... :(

If anyone is still out there, I will get around to doing a proper post soon, honest...

In the meantime, here are two videos about gyoza (gyoza being very delicious Chinese dumpling-things). I find them both almost as catchy as I find gyoza delicious. Gyo-gyo-gyo-gyoooooza!

I am hungry now :(


May 29, 2009


Oops, looks like my plan to keep a journal of my golden week activities didn't quite come to fruition. Probably because I ended up not doing anything remotely interesting, and it rained. Oh well!

I have been doing remotely interesting things since golden week though, including going to numerous parties, playing guitar at a session thingy in a town called Tsu (great name, I think) and general hanging I do have a social life! Honest!!

I also went with a couple of friends to a weekend long rawk festival on the beach at Mikawa-Toba, near Toyohashi (which is kind of near Nagoya) which was a lot of fun...but it rained. Oh how it rained. In fact on Saturday it did nothing but rain, hard.

I have some photos on Facebook but I'm not sure how to show them to regular internet folk without e-mailing them individually and I'm too lazy to work it out. Can someone tell me?

I got to hang out with rock stars last Friday when some members of US band The Graves Brothers Deluxe came to Nagoya to play a show with two Japanese guitarists and I somehow ended up drinking with them until early the next morning. Get me and my showbiz connections. On the right we see the impressive coiffure of Kawabata-san from Japanese band Acid Mothers Temple. And someone called Yoko, who fell asleep and who I didn't get much of a chance to speak to. Sorry Yoko.

On sunday I am thinking of going to Tokyo for the day. A friend of mine told me about this rather delightful museum. I'm definitely getting t-shirts!!

I see from their access page that there's a restaurant right across the road...I'll bet they do a brisk trade!


May 2, 2009

Golden Week Day 1

I've been enjoying a belated easter thanks to my lovely sister Nicola, who sent me lots of chocolate. Thanks Nic!

She also graciously enclosed a card, the envelope of which I have scanned for posterity's sake and posted left. It may look like a Beat Happening album cover drawn by a borderline psychotic but it is in fact my sister's hand-rendering of my immediate family. Either way I'm very touched and I'm sure she'll be honored to know that it will now live on in digital form. Thanks again Nic, and I particularly like Dad's Simon Cowell-style trouser action.

Today was the first day of Golden Week, i.e. three public hoildays, i.e. I'm off work until next Thursday. I spent it by sleeping until roughly midday, then going out and about, first to a Golden Week record fair in Kanayama. I went to the same thing last year so if you can be arsed looking up my posts from last May I probably wrote something about it then. If you're interested in record fairs in Kanayama, that is. Which you're not.

After several hours of "digging" I went to a second-hand bicycle shop and after several hours banter/rambling with the lovely proprieter got a new (old) bike. It beats the creaky-momochari-with-flat-tire-that-I'm-too-lazy-to-get-repaired that I've had until now hands down (it has gears! gears!) so tomorrow I think I'd quite like to go a-cycling somewhere. I just don't really know where yet. Or what kind of time I'll be able to drag my sorry carcass out of bed. Still, watch this space.

In fact (and NOT because I have nothing better to do...honest) I'm quite tempted to give you all a day-by-day account of my Golden Week goings-on. So stay tuned and I'll see you again tomorrow!!!!!!

My dad is holding a sponsored "moonlight stroll" through the streets of Oxford in memory of my mum and in order to raise funds for her hospice (which is run as a charity). Should anyone be so lovely as to want to sponsor him (it's a very worthy cause!), go here:

Go on, I'll give a you hug if you do. (geographical location permitting)


April 12, 2009

Can't think of a title

Thanks for your comments! (((hugs)))

I went to a spring festival in Kakuozan (a part of Nagoya) on Sunday. Lots of stalls featuring homemade arts and crafts and such, and one featuring the frankly baffling Orepanda (オレパンダー, see left). Those ears are stuck to his head with suction cups, which I found oddly impressive. His website (Japanese) lists such details as his "special moves" ("Panda-blade", "Orepanda-vacuum" etc). Once again I shall leave you, the humble reader, to draw your own conclusions. Thx to Eiko for letting me steal her picture.

A nice man came round from NHK (Japan's main broadcasting company) the other weekend to explain that I have to pay them a small amount each month for the priviledge of having a TV (I finally got round to buying one last December), not unlike the TV Licensing system in the UK (but NHK have commercials! What am I paying for???). So I thought I'd better actually make use of the thing, and subsequently I've been watching more TV. However, for some reason I often wind up watching home shopping (Japan has QVC as it turns out)...there's just something incredibly relaxing about it, and since everyone speaks quite deliberately and there's no background noise the presenters are often easy to understand (and kinda cute as it happens).

Also, I've been watching an inexplicably large amount of UK comedy panel shows (Mock the Week, Would I Lie to You? etc.) and the like on the Interweb. Unfortunately a lot of the news items and such that are discussed are way over my head (Gordon Brown? Who he??) and there still seems to be a distressing amount of national interest in and discussion of Big Brother, which I didn't give a rat's arse about when I lived in the UK and I certainly don't now that I live on the other side of the planet. Many other facets of UK celebrity culture elude me as well...I recall having to ask my family who Kerry Katona was while I was in the UK. But, if I remember correctly, that was part of the reason I wanted to leave the UK in the first get away from the Big Brothers, the Jamie Olivers, the Simon Cowells etc. etc. and to just go somewhere where the mass media can't really effect me because I don't understand it. At least out here I can filter my English-language cultural intake...I'm generally informed about the stuff that's worth watching by my lovely family and UK friends, and it surfaces online or on DVD eventually...and I'm in much less danger of having Jamie Oliver's spittle-flecked mong face rammed down my throat by some Sainsbury's commercial. Win win!

Having said that, as a somewhat inevitable result of my re-kindling of UK TV viewing, I find myself completely, passionately mystified as to why Tara Palmer-bloody-Tompkinson keeps getting TV work. She's appeared in several things I watched recently, and...she's just shit. So, maybe we are all born to be water-cooler TV critics on some fundamental level.

Flight of the Conchords has been a recent favorite as well. I learnt to play "Bret You've Got it Going On" on guitar. Because I'm slightly sad. OK, not slightly, very. Gotta love those jazz chords though.

As some of you may know, I spent February in the UK. I came back to find that my local supermarket had changed name to Piago, and that they have a Piago "theme song" that they play often over the in-store PA, in between bursts of the incredibly heinous muzak Japanese supermarkets seem to favor (and I mean heinous. Surely the point of in-store music is to enhance the shopping experience, not to send the customers fleeing to the doors in terror, as I often feel like doing whenever a shotgun suicide-inducingly bad elevator-music version of, I don't know, "Sweet Child of Mine" or something starts spewing from the speakers??).

Anyway, the Piago song is very jolly and catchy and I find myself smiling everytime it comes on. Possibly because there is something wrong with my head. Anyway, you can hear a snatch of it on this commericial. Everybody! Kokoro-no-pia-pia-pi-a-gohhhh...sing damn you!

April 18th is Record Store day (worldwide? they have it in Japan and the UK, I know that much). So go buy records you swine!!


April 7, 2009

Crap Fact 'o' the Day

VW camper vans and Mini Coopers are apparently very popular with the retro hipster crowd here, despite the fact that they're a bit shit and keep breaking down all the time (the cars, not the retro hipster crowd).

By the way, is "Beetle Bus" commonly accepted nomenclature? It is here, anyway. I certainly hadn't heard it until a friend was explaining their popularity. I thought she was talking about Magical Mystery Tour or something until she drew me a picture.

While we're on the theme of Crap ___ 'o' the Day, Crap Album Cover 'o' the Day ("crap" in this case meaning more "lo-fi" than "bad") goes to Jap group Kabemimi for their new CD-R opus Yokujou Shita Inu (Desired Dog), see right, which somehow manages to be simultaneously cute, funny and downright creepy. Like a fair amount of Japanese culture, in fact.


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