my burogu

How it's going, like.

Sunday, January 28, 2007



So I was at work on Saturday and one of my students was telling me she was going to a Music Videos film festival. "Interesting" I thought, and asked her what videos she would see. OK GO came the reply. Now I remember seeing their 1st video a while back and thought it was brilliant - dancing on treadmills - so when I got home I logged on to youtube for another look and found their another one too. Here you go.....

and here's another one......

And then I found out that they started a competition for people to kind of copy them and improve / interpret them. Here's the winners.
I'm loving their songs too.

Another 'interesting' conversation took place in one of my lessons too. I had a class of 4 ladies - 2 middle aged and 2 about my age - and I was going round at the start of the class asking them how they were - an nice easy started for 10, I thought. Anyway on to lady No 4......
Me:                  "So, how are you today, Kayoko?"
Kayoko-san:   "Well, I'm a bit up and down these days. You see I'm going through the menopause at the moment"
I didn't have a clue what to say to that, so I put the CD on and made 'em do some listening. Shocking.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

2 weeks on the trot

One of the things that I find mildly annoying about living in Japan is not being exposed to the media (it can be a blessing too, I suppose). If you want to know what's going on you, have to actively go out and look for something to do. So this means I probably miss out on some good gigs, club nights and the like, because I haven’t heard about them. On Saturday, however, I actually went looking for something to do. I called into my local record shop to look at some flyers. Amongst them was a night called Godfather at a club called four4 in Shizuoka. I knew the club, but hadn’t been as it usually hosts hip-hop nights. From “reading” the flyer. I could make out one phrase – “Larry Levan”. It was the only words written in English. Sounds interesting, I thought, so we mulled it over over a coffee. I convinced Kayo it made sense and we popped into some womens clothes shop to buy tickets. We headed home for a bit of dinner, wine and little rest.

I’ve been on a soup tip recently so here’s my recipe for winter vegetable soup with a twist of miso.
  1. some carrots,
  2. some cabbage,
  3. an onion,
  4. a couple of cloves of garlic,
  5. some mushrooms
  6. a couple of stock cubes
  7. salt & pepper
  8. a couple of spoons of miso paste
  1. Put some water in a pan and heat it up
  2. Cut up the garlic, carrots, cabbage and onion.
  3. Add the vegetables, stock cubes and salt and pepper to the water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for an hour or so.
  4. Add the mushrooms and miso paste and simmer for about 10 more minutes.
  5. Whack it in a bowl and eat it with some bread and butter.
I love it – it’s super easy, super healthy, very warming and absolutely freeking delicious.

Anyway....back to the night. Before we went to the club we popped into a wicked little bar called honey roast peanuts for a couple of drinks. We’ll be going back there for sure – it was wooden, warm and cozy.
Got to the club about midnight, exchanged our tickets for wristbands dumped our coats and got straight on down. It’s a small and simple place – a little bar at one end and then a reasonably sized dance floor at the other end. It’s got 4 sets of speakers in the corners delivering perfect sound and a big mirror ball in the middle. The music was proper deep and dirty house all night long – Awesome. I danced in my own unique way for an hour or so and worked up a bit of a sweat on the ramjammed dancefloor and needed to rest. There’s no chill out area or any seats at all, but because they gave us wristbands we could go out and come back again. So we took advantage and went back to honey roast peanuts for a drink and some nourishment. We got back to the club about 3 and danced for 2 hours solid. It was meant to finish at 5 and at about 4:50 they played an awesome Fela Kuti track that seemed to last forever. Someone came on the mic to wish the DJ a happy birthday as he was 50 last week, a birthday cake (complete with candles) was brought and they announced that they were staying open for an extra hour. I was absolutely knackered by this stage so I reluctantly left the dancefloor and headed outside and we jumped in a taxi home – via the obligatory combini store for an icecream and some hot lemon calpis. No ramen tonight though :-( But I did't really care since it was a truly fantastic night out.

Shizuoka is cool!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Weekend in Tokyo

How do?

So I went to Tokyo at the weekend. The main reason was to watch the Grand sumo tournament, but needless to say other events were shackled on to both sides of the sumo.


I caught the train down after work using the wonderful senshun jyuhachi kippu - or youth 18 ticket in English. It's a ticket that let's you travel anywhere in Japan on the local trains for one calender day at a price of 2375Yen (about a tenner in English money) - Bargain. Kayo leaves work later than me, and I was on a mission to check out some of the
cool record shops in Shibuya.
They were delightful and I spent a couple of hours listening to tunes and wishing I had a record deck here in Japan. In the end I settled for a couple of cds Four Tet's DJ Kicks and The Loleatta Holloway Anthology.
I spent most of my time in Manhattan records - great shop, and then Kayo was late so I wandered into the Massive HMV and browsed their wonderful floor of dance music.
Not only are the record shops all stocked full of wonderful music but they're all open until 23:00 or midnight. Respect!

Next I met Kayo and we went to an a wicked izakaya to meet her sister (Nao) and friends. Had a delightful night drinking and eating. It wasn't a good night for my Japanese practice, though since all of Nao's friends spoke much better English than I do Japanese. One of the 1st conversations of the night was about the Japanese music scene - Gazoisan was suggesting that most people in Japan were lazy when it comes to music as they all listen to J-pop rubbish. However, I'd just spent the previous 2 hours in those great record shops so had to argue that it's not quite the case. It's true to an extent, like. J-pop is by far and away the No1 music genre in this country, but they've got some tremendous record shops too. I suppose it's just like England after all.

On the way home from the Izakaya at about 3.30 we called in to an ever so convenient convenience store for the extra unnecessary bottle of headache inducing red wine. O-Yasumi Nasai.


So we got up late, had a delightful tandori chicken lunch at a little Indian restaurant in Koenji and then it was off to see fat men in nappies.
On the train to the Sumo, I had the (wonderful?) idea of taking of photo every hour to see how the day progressed. I didn't quite manage to take a photo on the hour every hour - and some of the ones I did take were a bit dull. So here's a general photo blog of our Saturday. The main people featured in the photos are me, Kayo, Tom (my old mate from Nagano) and his girlfriend Hiromi. I'm sure you know who's who.

だから。。。。。A Hungover Kayo on the train to the sumo......

on the way to sumo

We waited outside of the sumo venue and watched some of the wrestlers arrive. Now before the weekend, I must admit that I wasn't really that excited by the sumo. But as soon I arrived their was a fantastic buzz of excitement around the place. There was an old chap stood near us trying to shake the hands of the sumo guys as they walked past - some were happy to oblige - others were stoney faced scary behemoths. Everytime a co-operative wrestler shook his had he had the look of a six year old in toy town. It was very sweet to see such a happy old man. The other thing I must mention is the the smell of their hair wax. Tradition dictates their hair to be styled in a very special knot. The higher up the ranking system you are enables you to have a fancier knot in your hair. They use a special kind if wax to fix it up and it reeks more than one of my my farts. Smelly!

This is us practicing acting like twats before the wrestlers walked by......


And this is us behaving like twats as the wrestlers walked by......


Hiromi (acting?) as the primary school kid....


And down to the real action.....


Check out the titties.....


We found this chap as we wandered around the arena. He seemed happy enough posing for photos with everyone despite his steely glare. So the girls plucked up the courage to ask. Did you know the average sumo wrestler weighs about 150-170kg - or about 25-30 stone in old money.



Swanky hotel desu ne.....


Then it was dinner time in a super cool bar/restaurant in the middle of a book shop in Shibuya. The lovely Mihoko and Hitomi joined us for dinner too


Followed by some more drinks in another super cool bar. Tokyo is definitely very cool. (Unlike Hiromi and me.)


Next we toddled off to a fantastic club called womb to see James Lavelle. It was a wicked club - kind of dark like fabric - but a bit more glam with a HUGE mirrorball in the middle of the grimy dancefloor. It also had a fantastic tiny room hdden away on the top floor. They were playing great tunes all night in there. It felt good to be in a PROPER club again. It's been a while.



More dancing.....

and then it was time for the taxi ride home followed by the ultimate way to finish off the day: A beautiful bowl of boiling miso ramen.

rich miso ramen