Friday, March 30, 2007

Hanegi Park

Just as in years past, I must apologize for the delay in making my cherry blossom and Big Walk posts. This year I took so many pictures, I literally dreaded the idea of formatting, uploading and blogging them all. That's why I decided to make a quick slideshow of the photos I took at Hanegi Park on Friday, March 30. This is a major occasion, as it's my first time to post something on YouTube.

Unfortunately, the video format is not flattering to the photos themselves, so my next task is to format, upload and blog my Big Walk posts. Won't that be fun. As I have done in previous years, this post and my Big Walk posts will be dated to reflect the day of the actual photography, not of the blog posts (which are painfully late).

Here are the Hanegi Park photos, to the tune of a little Utada Hikaru.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Tree Worshippers

Excite Japan's hanami season calendar showed yesterday that Rikugien Garden in Komagome was one of Tokyo's first cherry blossom viewing spots to reach full bloom status this year. Apparently everybody and his grandmother -- and grandfather -- checked that same website because Rikugien was packed with hoards of elderly people by the time I got there. And they were all snapping photos of the same monstrous, pink tree.

After I'd had enough seasonal beauty, I took the Yamanote Line back to Shinjuku and then decided to walk the rest of the way home, getting a bunch more nice shots along the way. The peak of the hanami season should happen this weekend, which means this weekend is a prime opportunity for my 3rd Annual Big Walk.

Even though more than 80% of Japanese supposedly follow Shinto and Buddhism, I have photographic evidence that just as many are actually tree worshippers.

Technorati: cherry blossom / sakura

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Soon I'll Be Banging On Trash Cans

Last night's show was as good as I could have hoped. Today, however, I downloaded some system updates for OS X and discovered afterward that I can no longer launch Logic Express (my music software of choice). I can only assume there is some conflicting bit of something-something amid the updates I downloaded, and Logic doesn't like it one bit. I don't know how long it will be before a solution is found, either; Apple is not so friendly about supporting my version of Logic, which pre-dates Apple's acquisition of the Logic brand.

If anybody out there is running OS X 10.4.9 and Logic Express 6.4, let me know if you have had the same trouble. In the meantime, Apple's free pack-in sequencer known as GarageBand has become my new friend. My new, simple, light on features, not as cool as Logic but better than nothing friend.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Rock Show

Next Wednesday, March 21 is the vernal equinox and a national holiday in Japan. In accordance with ancient Japanese custom, I will celebrate by performing electro-pop music at Heaven's Door in Shimokitazawa at around 7:15 PM or so. No, Beck will not actually be there (as far as I'm aware). And no, the guy in the picture is neither myself nor Elvis Costello (as far as I'm aware). Japanese announcement to follow:



First Kitchen Delivers Us From Egg

Japanese fast food trafficker First Kitchen has baffled the world by adding to its menu hamburgers that doesn't contain bacon or egg.

Until now, eating at First Kitchen has been a frustrating experience for people who don't like egg or bacon on their hamburger. I've lived in Japan for more than three and a half years, and I've spent that entire time avoiding First Kitchen's bacon egg burger. I don't believe a hamburger should contain such breakfast-like ingredients. Similar beliefs have stopped me from ever touching a McGriddle. I don't even like saying the word "McGriddle," or typing it for that matter. I'll never type it again.

So now First Kitchen's menu includes a "beef lettuce burger" and an "FK burger." I tried the beef lettuce burger today and found it remarkably egg-free, yet amazingly unremarkable. I don't have any real interest in trying the FK burger, but I am glad they decided on the abbreviation "FK" over the alternative: Japanese youngsters often refer to First Kitchen with the affectionate nickname "Fakkin," knowing full well that it sounds an awful lot like the English word "fucking." I can imagine throngs of customers lining up and placing orders for the "fucking burger set, onegaishimasu."

Technorati: bacon / egg / burger

Sunday, March 04, 2007

I Was Wrong About Britney Spears

I used to have this theory that Britney Spears was a cyborg. Around the time her punctuationally challenged album Oops!...I Did It Again came out, I began to harbor suspicion that no woman who appeared as physically flawless as Britney could possibly be real. She had to be some kind of [voice="Arnold"] cybernetic organism...a learning computer [/voice]. I theorized that, during a live TV interview, someone would accientally spill coffee on her and she'd short-circuit. Or maybe, during a high-speed freeway evasion of the paparazzi, her convertible would overturn and she'd be decapitated, revealing a neck full of sputtering wires and fiber optics. Maybe she'd be eating spinach and her face would suddenly go all droopy like in the movie AI.

Consider Britney's progression since 1999, when she was just a scrawny teen on the cover of a CD that was available only via mail order. She went from "scrawny teen" to "super-hottie" to "freakish cueball" all in the dangerously short period of eight years. And for the majority of those eight years, I was reasonably sure that she would turn out to be some kind of perverse Disney animatron. She showed all the textbook signs, from her perfect physique to her inability to love. Plus, she wasn't really such a good singer. (Have you ever heard a robot sing? Christ, earplugs, please.) She also defended President George W. Bush in archive footage shown in Fahrenheit 9/11. Almost everyone I've ever heard defend Bush has evetually been exposed as a robot.

Anyway, you can imagine my surprise when it turned out that Britney Spears was, in fact, a completely normal human like you or me. No cyborg would leave K-Fed (he has everything a cyborg looks for in a loser). No cyborg would shave her head for no reason (real cyborgs can shed any and all body hair at will, without so much as glancing at a pair of scissors). Not only was I surprised, but I was quite disappointed when I realized that sex robot technology had not progressed nearly as far as Britney had led me to believe.

So Britney, I'm sorry. I'm sorry I went around spreading rumors that you had Sony guts. I'm sorry I criticized my ex-girlfriend for buying your CD on the grounds that "cyborgs in the record industry are the reason there is no good pop music any more." I'm sorry I ever doubted that you were 100% human, and therefore 100% capable of clinical insanity.

Can you ever find it in your heart to forgive me?

Technorati: Britney Spears / cyborg