Thursday, 9 November 2017

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Tucked In

I stripped the sheets off the bed earlier during my proactive cleaning session. But after a night-out, coming home slightly drunk and disheveled, I'm tired and want to sleep.

Of course, I will begrudgingly need to make the bed first. But what's that? Some annoying drunk Brazilian guy won't move off the sheet-less mattress. I don't have time for this nonsense, no sir. Sleep is the name, and making the bed first is the bed. I'm making the bed, oh yes, and if you won't move, then that's your problem mister.

Slightly lumpier than usual

Is that some sort of reverse memory foam pillow? Oh wait...


This year in Pictures:

Zip, up or down?

At Shinjuku Loft: Halloween Ball

Guess the artwork

Crew meet up at 109

DBZ mania

Shinjuku Loft

Hello Children

Get a hold of yourself man

Was not worth the free "Halloween flavour" Mintia

Nomihoudai in Shibuya

Shibuya Scramble

Shibuya Scramble

Snow white and the seven drag queens

Tenga. Hilarious.

The next day at the Halloween dodgeball tournament:

Our team "Dodge of the Dead"

I only managed to convince one person I had eye tattoos on my shoulders


I had an awesome Birthday!

If you're wondering why I cut the middle out,
it's bcause I watched a video on Youtube
about how to cut a cake the mathematically "correct way"

We celebrated with our new "tradition" that begun last year, baking a carrot cake (my absolute favourite!!), we used Okinawan sugar for an extra kick (our personal twist), and again, it was awesome.

It was so good, that we actually baked a second cake for when some mates came round for a 'lil dinner party.

We also baked a massive cottage pie and a bunch of risotto to go with, including a vegan portion for Freddy 💚

Motoko was nice enough to take this one,
I'm sad she's not in it
(she is my most photogenic friend after all!)

I'm not sure what Matt might have originally been planning to get me, but I forced him to get us tickets to see Beck live at the famous Budokan. He seemed rather relived that I chose the gift on his behalf, as I reckon he was pretty unsure. Tickets to do something fun, is always better than an item you might not use.

Beck was.... INCREDIBLE. Beck is one of my favourite artists of all time. Midnight Vultures was one of the first albums I bought, and I still love it to this day. So when he played Mixed Business (which in no one is an emotional song), I was so overwhelmed with nostalgia and joy that I started uncontrollably crying.

Then, because it is an emotional song, very beautiful, and again, one of my favourites and very nostalgic, I started balling again for Lost Cause (which carried through the next song which was the stunning "Blue Moon"). I couldn't control myself! Matt was pretty shocked by my response, but luckily thought it was sweet and not as insane as it felt.

Did I mention that I love Beck? Like... a lot though?

The Budokan is an incredible Venue

I have seen Beck live before. It was at Fuji rock last year. I was drunk and hyper, I was in the mosh pit and had forced myself as far to the front as possible, I was dancing and singing and it was over in a flash.

This time, I knew I wanted to enjoy it in a different way. We chose sitting tickets instead of mosh pit, and were luckily at the front middle of upper circle, so had a great view. I loved every moment of it.

Here's the setlist:

  1. Play Video
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  15. Play Video
  16. Play Video
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  18. Play Video
Ok, I was a little bummed that Sex Laws wasn't played because I was in the mood... but really, what a great line-up!

And now to add a negative note. The support act... Cornelius.

I had never heard of Cornelius, but I understood that the band, with famous front man Keigo Oyamada has had a long celebrated musical career in Japan. My friend explained this to me before we saw them play live at Fuji Rock this summer.

I was entirely unimpressed then, as I was again this time. So mediocre, so pretentious. So desperate to sound original, ironically derivative of Beck. These were my thoughts the first time. I was willing to give them a second chance.

When I watched them at Fuji rock it was with my sister, who was equally underwhelmed, this time, with Matt, who also shared this sentiment.

Lyrically, Cornelius sounds like the rambles of someone with a severe case of OCD who forgot to take their medicine. (repetitive, categorical lines).

Their music is boring, I know that's quite childish to say... but its the best way I can describe them. I mean, some of the songs would work well as background music to washing dishes, or to doing things where you have to focus on anything else.. but being sat and made to acknowledge it was somewhat painful. Possibly because I was so excited to see Beck, that being made to sit through their set felt like time was slowing down and delaying, as a form of punishment. Some of the songs are so dull, and the musicians so uncharismatic whilst on stage, that live heart monitors were installed on-set to assure the audience that the band members are actually still alive.

It was necessary for each member of the band Cornelius to have a
light-up heart monitors next to them to ensure the audience they were still alive. 
Pretty cool visuals though. I guess they had to find a way to distract us from the poor performance.

One last thing I would like to point out is that at the Budokan, the standing audience was actually divided by section. Seriously, how crap would that be to buy a standing ticket to see Beck at the Budokan (12,000 yen), and find out you are in section "F", standing at the back-right, nowhere near to the stage, with a terrible view.

We were pretty shocked to see the standing area was divided into sections
"Section F" -AKA bad luck of the draw

Thursday, 26 October 2017


I just read a fantastic quote by Thomas Jefferson:

"I am not an advocate for frequent chance in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."

Whoa man...preach. I feel like this could be applied to so many things, but given the backwards legislation surrounding US gun control and how infuriating and devastating things seem to be at the moment, why not apply it to that?

OK, glad we got super deep about politics there. Well anyway, back to scorpion.

I've been having really intense dreams lately. Something about body temperature and season change.

Matt woke me up in the middle of the night because I was flailing about and yelling "scorpion" over and over. I mean, that is a little odd right?

I do remember the dream though, the plot is too long and not interesting enough to get into full detail, but in the last part I was losing a fight to a large flying scorpion, it was pretty terrifying.

So yea, you could say I was getting into the "Halloween spirit", if that were a thing. Now that Halloween has become so popular in Japan, I'm gonna go ahead and say, "yes, it is".

Ok, good talk. Oh wow, how relevant is this:

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Gimme some slack....line

Hey ho!

On Saturday I volunteered at the Gibbon Slackline Global City Balance Challenge! This was an event running alongside the 8th Nippon Open Slacklines Championship.

Tokyo was taking part in a global competition to beat the world record of number of people to balance on a slackline for 10 seconds (individually over the course of a day, not all-together at the same time!). Unfortunately, as most of the people who gave it a go were small children with no interest in the challenge, but excited by the prospect of climbing all over the slackline like something from a jungle-gym, and also, because we were really unfortunate with the weather (facing an oncoming typhoon), we didn't quite reach the 800-people target we had aimed for. Instead, we got somewhere between 500 and 600 people, which was still pretty respectable, especially when compared to some of the other scores.

Although waking up very early on a Saturday and spending all day out in the rain gave me a horrible cold - leading me to spend the next two days in bed, I would still say it was totally worth it! I learnt how to slackline! (if only for 10 seconds), and spent the whole day teaching others to do the same. Also, I practiced speaking Japanese all-day, and spoke to dozens of different people. I could understand the group meetings, the instructions for setting up in the morning and packing up in the evening. It was one of the very few experiences I've had here of working alongside people my own age, and I truly felt like one of the team. No one was patronizing me or constantly trying to translate for me, I was given an equal workload and was treated with equal expectations. It was wonderful, and I felt I was able to rise to the occasion and challenge myself because of this. I also got to take home an awesome T-shirt, so now I have something to remember the experience by!

Matt was helping volunteer too, he was asked to translate for the Brazilian slacklining champion Pedro, who ultimately won the competition. With an abundance of confidence, Pedro didn't really need much help, so Matt ended up working at the balance challenge too.

The team

I always thought Slacklining was a lame hipster sport, but now that I've taken part in this event I realize its a really wonderful form of exercise. It takes so much focus, balance and discipline. It is definitely something that is much harder than it looks, and is very addictive! I seriously have a lot of respect for those that can make it look easy. Standing on a slackline for a few seconds is very difficult and many failed in attempting to do so. I am really impressed by those that can take this sport to the next step and do complicated gymnastics routines whilst balanced on a slackline.

The finals competition can be seen here. This is a 6 hour video, so you might want to skip to the "good parts":

My friend Chris who works for Life Style Inc., a 360 video company was filming the event - I will try to track down what he filmed...I'm sure it will be worth watching. Hopefully I may feature in it!!

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Pixel Art Park @ 3331 Arts Chiyoda

I went to Pixel Art Park,  a festival for "creators of indiegames, apps, music, hand-made items, illustrations, balloon art, sculptures...etc.", to come together and showcase their work. 

The most interesting thing about this small and underwhelming event was the venue: 3331 Arts Chiyoda, a former junior high school turned art gallery.

Having worked at a variety of different high school for two years here in Japan, I am very aware that most of them have the exact same architectural design. No matter where you are, all the school classrooms are identical, with wooden sliding doors, blackboards, a podium at the front, and the same wooden desks and chairs. The school hallways typically have classrooms lined up on one side, and windows on the other. Generally, most schools have squat toilets, making them easier for students to clean with a mop at the end of the day - because of course, it is the students who are expected to clean up the school (and clean up their acts! Damn it child!). Also, each school has an area for children to change their shoes upon arrival and an indoor sports gym with basketball hoops and colorful lines marked out on the floor.

I am not sure where this cookie-cutter design for Japanese high school originated, but it is certainly ubiquitous throughout the country. To me, this is why 331 Arts Chiyoda is such an interested venue, a commonplace Japanese high school, something drenched in familiarly and nostalgia, converted into something entirely different. Features from the school have been kept in their original state, and new structures, signs and works of art have been constructed around them.

331 doesn't just hold art exhibitions, but also quirky events (like Pixel Art Park), workshops, performances, and even yoga classes. The place is certainly unique and is worth checking out, especially for those interested in transformed structures or whatever that type of thing is typically classified as.

Here's some picpic piccies of the event and the venue:

This was actually my favourite stall at the event. I bought a pixel keyring version of Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring". 

Another one from Joeeeeeeeee: