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 place...to 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!!


garethcook April 18, 2009 12:20 AM  

"Jamie Oliver's spittle-flecked mong face" - that my friend is pure poetry.

You totally nailed it - that's why I have this instinctive loathing of that ubiquitous no-talent 'geezer'.

Loving your work as ever, and many apologies for not having a record player. Maybe you could persuade your lovely big sister that she needs to get me one as an urgent late birthday gift?

Record Store Day started as a US thing but glad to see it's big in Japan too.

Jonathan April 19, 2009 11:53 PM  

Your blog is great, man. I wish I could write as much on mine as you do on yours. I guess I used to in the earlier days, while I was in Japan and generally more satisfied with my state of life in general. Tsk.

That Piago jingle is really catch. I'm just insane enough that it might end up on my iPod, even. Little blurbs of cute insanity between songs here and there really makes listening to music more exciting. Heh heh.

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