Archive for August, 2005

PechaKuchaNight Vol.26

26 Tonight I’m headed out to SuperDeluxe for PechaKuchaNight Vol.26, this month’s number of what is the probably the best regularly occurring art/architecture/design event in town.

PechaKuchaNight is a sort of “open mike” opportunity for designers, architects, artists, etc., to give short “20×20” presentations about their current or past projects. “20×20” because each presenter (supposedly) is limited to showing a maximum of 20 images, and limited to talking about each image for a maximum of 20 seconds.

If you want an idea of what to expect, see the list of presenters from last month and from a couple of months back.

It starts at 20:20pm. For directions, see the map (日本語 | English) at the SuperDeluxe site. Or see the SuperDeluxe listing at the Tokyo Art Beat site.

Japanese Podcasts.

I managed to find a few Japanese feeds. The first one is for learning. Kanda Podsayings:

Kanda Podsayings is series of very short 30-second daily podcasts in Japanese about business tips and strategies. All the recordings are quotations of key phrases from a free daily newsletter, Kanda Goroku 365 Nichi (365 Days of Kanda’s sayings), published by Mr. Masanori Kanda who sells more than 1,000,000 copies to Japan-based professionals, especially small business owners and entrepreneurs.

This is the feed: RSS

Hopefully, the Nippon Voice Blog will also prove to be helpful study tool. This week they are talking about umeboshi

Umeboshi is one of the best-known of Japanese pickles. Ume(Japanese apricot) is dried to preserve it. It is really salty and sour.
this site is intoroducing the episode about a Umeboshi or a pickled Umeboshi.
Please enjoy yourself.

Here is the feed: RSS

This last one is for pure entertainment purposes: Cinema Gyao. As the name suggests, this podcasts is focused on cinema in Japan. The podcast I am currently listening to is about Initial D. GaGa seems to be involved. Get the feed here: RSS.

Enjoy, ladies and gents.

PetLiveTV webcam at AM/PM

PetLiveTV I’d love to have a pet at home, but it’s not allowed in the apartment I live in (or in most rental apartments in Tokyo). But today I discovered something almost as good: An AM/PM near my office that has an Appoint’s kiosk with access to the So-net PetLiveTV webcam site.

So, if you live in Tokyo, you can now walk into many AM/PM stores, head over to the Appoint’s kiosk, and watch (via a webcam) cute little animals cavorting about. As long as your idea of cute little animals is ferrets, meerkats, chameleons, and hamsters, and as long as you are satisfied with watching them cavort about in cages — instead of, say, their natural habitat.

Better yet: If you have an AU (KDDI) mobile phone, you can (for a small fee) view PetLive from your mobile.


Some state-of-the-art coplay action.

[WP: Cosplay]

こどもの城 (Children’s Castle)

Kodomo no shiro I’m not sure that I would say Tokyo is a particularly great city for families with kids, but there is a least one really outstanding place for kids here: kodomo no shiro (National Children’s Castle – こどもの城) in Aoyama. (The photo at the right is a view from just inside the front door, looking out.)

Kodomo no shiro is (for lack of a better description) a sort of “activity center” for children (from infants on up through middle-school age). I have been taking my daughter, Satori, there once a month or so for the last four years now. It is one of her favorite places to spend time. She’s seven years old, and likes even it more now then ever. When we go there, we usually stay for 4 or 5 hours, and she never gets bored there.

It is located right on Aoyama-dori, about a 10-minute walk from either the Shibuya JR station or from the Omotesando subway station. It’s relatively inexpensive (the entrance fee is 400 yen for children, 500 yen for adults). And you can easily spend the whole day there. You may have to — your children won’t be in a big hurry to leave once they get there.

If you want more details about exactly what there is to do at kodomo no shiro, read on.

Yuki visits the 2005 Aichi Expo

This is not strictly Tokyo (in fact it’s in a different prefecture) but Japan is hosting the World Expo this year in Aichi Prefecture.

Yuki of visits the Aichi Expo and does a wonderful review of the expo with lots of great photos.

If you can’t visit Japan or the Expo, at least take a look at Yuki’s review and photos. Aichi Expo 2005 Review

Koizumi loses

At just before 2pm today, Prime Minister Koizumi and his party, the LDP (自民党 – jimintou) suffered a very big loss in the upper house of parliament here: A set of postal-service privatization bills that Koizumi had been personally championing was soundly rejected by a vote of 125 to 108. The TV new stations are saying that more than 20 members of the LDP itself voted against the bills. The outcome of the vote was not a terrifically big surprise. Based on comments from senior members of the LDP that were broadcast last night and this morning, they already knew before today that they didn’t have enough votes to win passage of the bills.

The real significance of it all is that prior to the vote, Koizumi had threatened that if it didn’t pass, he would dissolve the lower house of parliament and call an early election. The threat seems to have been (at least in part) an attempt to cow the rebellious members of the LDP into voting for the bill. Apparently, up until this afternoon, senior LDP members who had a pretty good idea of how the vote was going to turn out had been pleading with Koizumi to retract the statement about calling new elections. But he didn’t. And now he’s got to make good on his word.

iTunes Music Store (iTMS) Japan.

This is the unofficial What is the iTMS Japan Missing post.

1: The Clash
2: New Order
3: More than one song from Joy Division, please.
4: The The
5: Midnight Oil
6: Interpol
7: Bauhaus
8: X (The L.A. band.)
9: Oingo Boing
10: The Supreme Beings of Leisure

Has the iTMS “done it” for you? No? What’s missing?

60th Anniversary of Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima

At 8:15am on August 6, 1945, the United States of America dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, in western Japan, instantly killing tens of thousands of children, women, and men living there, and leaving tens of thousands more maimed and poisoned by radiation.

Quinlan and Dr. Dave both blogged about Hiroshima today. If you know of others, please add a comment with a link.

The Wikipedia has an extensive Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki article. If you take time to read it, you might also want to read the Bombing of Tokyo in World War II article, which details the bombing campaign against Tokyo during the war (part of a campaign that resulted in the some 500,000 people being killed throughout Japan, and another 8 million being left homeless).

The article includes some details about the so-called “Great Tokyo Air Raid”: the March 10, 1945 firebombing of Tokyo, which killed more than 100,000 people in a single night.

The U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey would later write that during the March 10 firebombing of Tokyo “probably more persons lost their lives by fire at [sic] Tokyo in a six-hour period than at any time in the history of man.”

Last March, Masaru Fujimoto wrote a couple of related articles for the Japan Times: ‘Scorched and boiled and baked to death’ about the Great Tokyo Air Raid, and ‘The executioner of Tokyo’, about Gen. Curtis E. LeMay, the man who commanded the bombing campaigns.

New Art Seen

train Image

For reviews about contemporary art in Tokyo, check out Monty DiPietro’s New Art Seen column in the Japan Times.

Here’s a list of links to online copies of some of the more recent columns:

Monty takes nice pictures, too. The image above is one of his original photographs.

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