30 November, 2006

soundtrack of my life...

Been memed by j-ster & as i have my brand spanking new ipod with me & a computer handy, thought i would take up the gauntlet...

Here goes....

What does next year have in store for me?
Shoot the Singer - Pavement

What's my love life like?
With or Without You - U2 (hmm...kind of does sum it up!!)

What do I say when life gets hard?
Lurgee - Radiohead

What do u think of on waking up?
Lush 3-5 - Orbital

What song will I dance to at my wedding?
Something I can Never Have - Nine Inch Nails (is my ipod making a comment on my chances to actually have a wedding?!)

What do you want as a career?
What's that Light? - Bugskull

Your favourite saying?
Planet - Supercar

Favourite place?
Cream of Gold - Pavement

What do you think of your parents?
サラウンド - クラムボン (Surround - Crammbon)

What's your Pornstar name?
Homesick - The Cure

Where would you go on a first date?
Smile - Telepopmusik (guess this is more what i'd DO on the first date!!)

Drug of choice?
Ask - the Smiths (hehehe...)

Describe Yourself
Scar Tissue - Red Hot Chili Peppers (not sure if i like this answer...)

What is the thing i like doing most?
Are You Gonna Be My Girl? - Jet (guess that means i like boys picking me up...not far wrong..)

What is my state of mind like at the moment?
Rodney Yates - David Holmes (song title doesn't fit, but the music does...mellow & spaced..)

How will I die?
Nothing Came Out - Moldy Peaches (will i die of constipation? ew!!)

adventures in kyushu

NOTE TO READERS: i don't have my wire to connect the camera to the computer so can't put my photos up...will try & do it next week or at the weekend...

mad words - 'freight train'

let me tell you about my adventures in kyushu.
are you sitting comfortably? then i'll begin...

well, it started with a huge hangover. not a good beginning to the weekend.
luckily, i'd been a bit more organised earlier in the week & had sent my suitcase down by takkyubin - so i didn't have to pack much.

did have a good night making the hangover though. L's brother was over from england, so in honour that, we went to
Buttu Trick Bar in Shibuya, then to karaoke, and then to gas panic.
got home at stupid o'clock & forgot to drink my usual bottle of aquarius. so saturday morning was very slow & painful.
and because of the slowness, i didn't really look at the clock when i was getting ready. and because of my fuzzy head, i didn't really factor in the travel time to the airport.
then, i had a sudden awakening...'OH F**K!!! it takes an hour to the airport & my flight is in 70 minutes'
did manage to get to the airport just in time.
Luckily, i was using
ANA's SKIP service. it's a true ticketless service because i just used my mileage card & went directly to security, waved my card over an electronic reader thingy, went to the gate & waved my card over another thingy; got a little receipt (which acts as a boarding pass) and got on the plane.
so i made my flight in a fog of panic & hangover. i'm glad i don't have heart trouble, because i think the stress may have killed me...

the flight itself was pretty uneventful - except for the wonderful view of mount fuji. very impressive.

after a couple of trains, i made it to iizuka (飯塚) in fukuoka prefecture.
it was once the centre of kyushu's mining industry, but they've pretty much all closed down now, so it kind of had a neglected feeling about it. reminded me of home...

heard a funny story though...
when the miners got drunk, they tended to have fights (as drunken men have a tendency to do..)
but iizuka drunk miners were rumoured to have knives in one hand and sticks of dynamite in the other. can't imagine the hangovers...wake up in the morning, feeling like crap & with no arms...

in the evening, i met up with Mooney & the rest of Mad Words and headed over to the event space. it was an interesting place - weird for a jug band concert though - kind of a nice cafe with big glass windows. arrived just to see the first act - a guy i had seen before at the yokohama jug band festival. he does this song where everyone dances like an elephant - don't ask, just accept it!!
then it was time for Mad Words. and as expected it was great - i spent the whole time smiling. the 'leader' tetsu does funny little magic tricks between songs & interacts with the audience a lot, which is really fun to watch & join in with. great performers, all of them.

after that, we all went drinking together; the musicians, the people who organised the event & some fans. it was a great evening - we ate motsu nabe (もつ鍋), a kyushu specialty, which could be translated as 'offal hotpot'. however, i prefer not to translate it & pretend ignorance to what i am eating...
it actually tasted ok, but that was because of the miso, veggies & spicy sauce it's cooked in. the motsu itself didn't taste of much & really don't know why people choose to eat it - it's kind of like meaty rubber. suppose it harkens back to old times when people didn't waste any bit of an animal...
not the most wonderful of dishes, but not quite as bad as i had imagined...

somehow, by the end of the night i had invited myself along to the next night's show in kurume (久留米)....
and sang karaoke (AGAIN) in a weird little snack bar, with a master who insisted accompanying everyone on electric guitar - even if he didn't know the song. definitely one of the more surreal moments of the weekend...

and then it was sunday...
started the day with a stinking hangover - see a pattern emerging here?!
then proceeded to travel to kurume with Mooney & co. man, was that torture!!!
hangovers & cars should NOT be mixed.
anyway, we finally arrived in kurume - in the south-west of fukuoka prefecture after a tortuous hour on the road.
slept for a few hours & woke up feeling a lot more human & ready for food. if you say 'kurume' to japanese people, quite a few of them will say 'ramen' (a lot of others will say 'WHY?', but that's a whole different story...)
anyway...before i get completely side-tracked...
i had to sample some of the local fare and tonkotsu ramen (豚骨ラーメン) is nice and oily - prefect hangover food. had a side order of gyoza too just to completely kill the hangover...
definitely hit the spot...

and the it was time for music...
it was a very fun evening - first up was a 'Peter, Paul & Mary' cover band; very folky but kind of sweat.
the next up was a local jug band. they very fun & very energetic.
and finally Mad Words again.
by this point, the crowd had worked themselves up into a little drunken frnezy & were very vocal in their support.
and for some completely bizarre reason, there was someone wearing a plastic horse's head. have absolutely no idea why - definitely another bizarre moment of the weekend...

and then, as quickly as it had begun, it was all over.
and off i headed to the station, ready to head up to hakata in order to start work on monday.

and there ended my kyushu weekend adventure...fuelled by alcohol, music & smiles. it was a wonderful little escape to places new.

21 November, 2006

deal or steal?

'rumble' - link wray

so, things have been good lately. heading into the crispy season, as i like to call it.
The air's crispy, the ground's kind of crispy & even some of the food is crispy.

couple of weeks ago, discovered the deal of the century...well, i think it is anyway.
i have yet to get my bill so i am no 100% sure - but don't think i screwed up the japanese THAT much.
so what was the deal?
well, i got an ipod nano & a brand new mobile phone for FREE!!!!
had read about the deal, and thought it must be too good to be true. how can a company benefit from giving away an ipod?
so, i toddled along to the softbank store to find out more.
and yes, there was a catch...i had to sign up for a new price plan.
but the new price plan was cheaper than my old plan!
AND i get to send mail & call other softbank people (formerly known as vodafone, which was known as j-phone) for *FREE*!
and considering most my friends use softbank, i was onto a win-win thing.
have found one little sneaky thing so far, the information about this is only in japanese.
but i really don't know where the catch is.
guess softbank is worried about keeping customers or soemthing...but they have kept me.
Oh yeah!

On other exciting news, am off to fukuoka on saturday for a work + fun combo.
going to see Mooney & his band Mad Words in Shin-Iizuka. that should be a fun night & am looking forward to getting away from everything for a little while.
then i spend the whole of next week working in Hakata - the gateway to kyushu. nice city & friendly people.

so, yeah, life is good right now.

09 November, 2006

.autumn skies.

'the revolution will be streaming' - saxon shore

it's that time of year again...autumn.
love it. think of all the seasons, this one is my favourite here.
english autumns are nasty & evil & just a long wet prelude to an even longer & darker winter.
but japanese ones? lovely!
there's that nip in the air, the pure blues skies, the vivid colours & excellent food.
love it!

and one of the things i like most is that fuji comes back to us.
from mid-april to about now, mount fuji disappears into a mist of smog & heat haze.
but around now, she (always thought of fuji as female...) comes back in all her glory.
had my first glimpse of a snow-covered fuji yesterday morning on the train into work.
then, had an awesome view of her last night when the sun was setting - see the photo i took with my keitai last night (fuji's lurking on the right hand side...)

don't know why, but i always feel better if i see fuji in the morning. and luckily, during the autumn/winter season, i can see fuji most mornings from the train on my way to work.

but you know the sad thing? every morning, i look out of the window, hoping for my daily glimpse, and i am the only one looking. everyone else is absorbed in their books/games/newspapers/etc.
i find that incredibly sad, but it also satisfies me....because i am alone in my 'fuji admiration society'. it's like fuji just belongs to me!