Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

How to be brave at karaoke

“I hate it!” is what a lot of people say about karaoke, but it’s one of the most popular things to do in Tokyo after dinner with friends.

Although it’s a predominantly Asian pastime, I think if you did a survey on who loves or hates karaoke, you could probably end up with a 50-50 result and it doesn’t matter where you come from.

But since you’re reading this, you are probably swaying on whether or not to grab that mike and let it rip. You’ve maybe even sat in on a couple of sessions but you’ve resisted singing at all costs.

It’s easier for me to embrace karaoke since I’m Asian and it’s everywhere, but I’ve had to climb over my own hurdles of fear and embarrassment in the beginning. Perhaps I’ve shed a lot of self-consciousness over such things since my awkward teenage years, but I’ve come a long way from being a shy lass to a thick-skinned woman.

So, here’s some advice on how to be brave at karaoke:

Choose familiar songs. It could be a really old tune by The Carpenters or The Beatles, but if you can remember the music and some of the words, you’ve won half the battle. Don’t select cool, new songs because they are really hard to sing. Would you rather look stupid over a rap song or go slightly off-key with an old classic? The choice is obvious.

Have a few drinks. I always hear these stories about people who used to be so reluctant to sing at karaoke, but once they down a few shots, they’re turn into a karaoke animal. Liquid courage is your friend.

Partner up. This will take your shyness away by at least 80 per cent because if you don’t know the words, you can hide your uncertainty behind someone else’s voice. Nobody really knows who flubbed which lines when two people take over the mike. It’s also fun to sing with a buddy.

Laugh at yourself. Though some people are truly good at carrying a tune, most folks are mediocre (like you), so don’t worry too much about not getting it completely right. Joking while you’re singing is fun, but like most things that make you laugh, you can’t plan the punch line. Just go with the flow and relax.

What are you waiting for? Just do it.

Photos: b-chan’s world, stuartbuchanan, Loop’s San

Sumidagawa Hanabi


Originally uploaded by hakluyt.

Tonight will see 22,000 fireworks launched over the Sumida River in Tokyo. The festivities go from 19:10 until 20:30. Get more info at the website.
Which is your favourite spot for the fireworks?

Pecha Kucha


Last weekend I have been to the great SuperDeluxe club to attend the evening session of Pecha Kucha University Vol.1, a cooperation between the regular Pecha Kucha Night (organised by Klein Dytham Architecture) and Temple University. It was a very interesting night with so much input that I needed some time to get things in my brain in order to write about it. The overall topic of this first Pecha Kucha University was “Youth and Imaginative Labour: East Asia and Beyond”. There were in the fashion of the Pecha Kucha Night several speakers and every one of them had the time of 20 slides à 20 seconds (6min40sec) to present their idea, paper, research, whatever in connection to that topic. Most talked about various efforts to earn money with the internet, some were representing their favourite niche of youthculture and I didn’t really see the connection to the term “labour” all the time. But who cares, most of the prestentations were quite interesting and some very entertaining – like the one by a guy who was costumed as Goku from Dragonball. He came with a dancing crew of mostly male (!) cosplayers dressed in “moe” style who performed their dance two times – because of the great response from the audience… But there were also informative and rather academic lectures, all held by students from abroad (mostly Korea and HongKong). I wonder why there were no Japanese speakers?! Because the speech had to be hold in English, I guess.. the old problem.
After those presentations followed the screening of the fantastic movie Avalon, introduced by THE guru in the field of Japanese cinema, Donald Richie.
And as if all that wasn’t input enough there was a HipHop afterparty hosted by Zulu Nation Japan, with a Spoken Word performance by Marcellus Nealy and live painting by Rinpa Eshidan. I strongly recommend to have a look at their website – their work is amazing and they are something like “youtube celebrities” with one of their videos been watched more than 2 MILLION times.

As I said, this was Pecha Kucha University, not the regular Pecha Kucha Night, which is about architecture and design. If you are interested in that, going to SuperDeluxe club should be your plan for tonight, when young designers, architects and so on meet there again for another round of Pecha Kucha. And for all those of you who are not in Tokyo: Pecha Kucha Night has spread all over the world and you can attend it in more than 80 cities! All of upcoming events are listed on their website.

French woman behind Miss. Universe Japan!?

Sad news has been crossing the nation for the past two days with the politician’s suicide and death of popular Japanese singer, there was a bright light with the news of the winning Miss. Universe. As probably already known, 2007’s Miss. Universe was Japanese woman aged 20, Riyo Mori. Last year was Kurara Chibana coming first runner-up, and this year was the winner!! Not only two of these ladies, but also five years ago, there was a Japanese lady was also chosen in the top 5. What is the success of Japanese women being so popular (!?) in the Miss. Universe?


There might be many factors that have resulted in the success of Japanese women’s winning. I am not a big fan of watching Miss. Universe, but as much as I have known, there have been dramatic changes for whom to be chosen for Top 5 or Top 10. It is not only the physical beauty, but also intelligence, charismatic character, and communication ability has been so crucial. Japanese contestants have been changing into ladies with having all of these qualities as well as having extra point being exotic.

I remember watching Miss. Universe when I was in junior high school and I always felt funny how Japanese contestants wore old fashioned dresses when all other contestants wore sexy, but appearing dress. Not only that, when I saw it then, Japanese contestant couldn’t speak English. However, Riyo Mori and Kurara Chibana both speak some English as well as they are capable of speaking several other languages.


Such success of these recent Japanese contestants has been possible with great sponsors who teach manners, healthy diet, what to read and how to exercises. According to Japanese media, there is a French woman who is behind such Japanese success story for the past ten years. Not much information of this lady is out there, but this French woman has been crucial for Japanese Miss Universe contestants to be set in the right path for the winning many prices for especially for the past five years.

Photos and some info from Miss Universe Official HP.


Ariake Colosseum Parking

Just some advice if you are thinking of driving to an event at the Ariake Colosseum.
DON’T park in the nearby 24H Times parking lot. It is utter chaos after each event there.
We should know as it’s right outside our window! All the cars in the picture are waiting to get out and for some reason it takes each car a couple of minutes to get through the single barrier.
Even now, 40 minutes later, there are still more than 10 cars in the queue.
Use the parking lot near Lawsons, or just save yourself the money and park at Lawsons! (Just buy something in there to keep them happy…)

Tokyo Bay Fireworks

Tokyo Bay Fireworks
Tonight saw the Tokyo Wan Hanabi Taikai (東京湾花火大会). 12,000 fireworks were launched from the edge of Tokyo Bay, Chuo-ku, over the space of 1 hour and 20 minutes in easily the best fireworks display I’ve ever seen. The fireworks in England don’t come close!
The shapes and colours were stunning: apples, fans, smiling faces, love hearts….
I took a few photos from our apartment window. See the rest here.


Speed Wagon Podcast.

Ozawa kun and Jun Itoda are podcasting here. I first saw these two on Enta No Kamisama. Unfortunately, I haven’t heard a single, “Amaaai” yet. I doubt I will. Anyway, two funny guys with a podcast. The iTunes link to the actual podcast.

Beeeeeep. Beeeeeeeep. Beeeeeeeep.

Disappearing For a Few Days.

Apparently, my laptop is ill and needs a bit of tender loving care. I leave you with links to one of my favorite shows CoCo Rico’s Miracle type (ココリコ ミラクル タイプ). It airs on Wednesday nights from 10 on Fuji TV. My favorite would have to be the 夢のない男, Ambitious, or Dreamless Man. This guy is great. He goes on these fast, long, uninterrupted monologues that sucks the joy from everyone’s life. Brilliance. How the actor memorizes these monologues is beyond me. Granted, there are times where they have 80 takes on one scene. Anyway, check out CoCo Rico’s Miracle Type next Wednesday night at 10 on Fuji TV.


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No Longer an Outpost.

Cafe do Craque Propels Tachikawa City into the Limelight – Okay, that is a blatant lie.

F1 > soccer/metric football. That’s right, futbol will always be second fiddle to the one true sport; F1. No use arguing, that’s the way it is. Now, thanks to Cafe do Craque, i’ll hopefully find others who share my love – No heckling from the peanut gallery! Anyway, Cafe do Craque gets my money on July 16th for the French Grand Prix.

Cafe do Craque: Menu Highlights:

  • ペペロンチーネ :: たっぷりニンニクと唐辛子の定番パスタ
  • ペンネアラビアータ :: 長時間煮込んだピリ辛ソースをペンネにからめました
  • レッドカレー :: ココナッツミルクたっぷりのカレー。この辛さはやみつき。
  • コロナ エクストラ
  • ロングアイランドアイスティー !!!!!!!!!!

The drinks menu is long.

Cafe do Craque: Schedule.

Okay, okay they show more metric football than F1, but that still doesn’t make soccer > F1. /me is in denial. Oh, and, if you live in or around Tachikawa and would like to join me on July 16th, let me know.

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Not Michael Jordan.

Michael Jackson popped in on SMAP during practice the other day. It was scary. Michael could only say, “Thank you. I love you. Thank you.” No dancing or singing. HE did find the LED’s on the huge screen entertaining. I think he was baked. Anyway, MJ made an appearance. It looks like he is doing the whirlwind tour along with signing a contract. /me cries for the children.

NHK’s Salaryman NEO

Ota Takashi describes Salaryman NEO as, “Detailed parodies of ‘salarymen’ and
‘salarywomen’,” and, “…it has something in common to the Monty Python.” The amazing thing is, it is produced by NHK. So, set your recording device of choice. (You Beta users need to join the 21st century. I suggest this.) Salaryman NEO airs on NHK Tuesdays from 11:00 PM. Enjoy.

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