Sunday, December 13, 2009

Damage, Inc.

Some places I have stumbled across, that have slightly confused, unfortunate names:

Unrelated to the above pictures, I haven't posted anything for a little while because I have become rather distracted by Monster. Originally a manga comic book, it was later turned in to a 74 episode anime series. I know, even the word 'anime' is enough to put me off something at the best of times, but it is almost unfair/insulting to call Monster just another anime. It really is one of the best series of any kind that I have watched. Admittedly i haven't seen it all yet, but so far it is bloody incredible. There are surgeons, creepy detectives, orphanages, conspiracies, alcoholics, murders, allsorts of things! All set against the backdrop of the Berlin Wall coming down. If anyone is vaugely interested then you can watch it online for free here.

Just in case anyone does watch it, I don't want to say anything about it that might spoil some of the "WTF" or "NOOOOOOOOOO" moments that are in store. The only way I can think of summing it up is that it is something like the halfway point between Spiral (the darker than dark French crime drama TV series) and 100 Bullets (perhaps the best/most intricately woven long running comic ever made).

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Crush Them All

The kanji next to the two words in English say "tabehoudai", literally meaning: eat as much as you would like to. The Japanese way of using English never fails to make me smile.

Friday, November 13, 2009

From Beyond

I lost my camera in Osaka, then it mysteriously reappeared with this picture on it. Osaka really is a pretty crazy place.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Company I Can Get

[please be aware that this post comes with an advanced nerd warning]

Say hello to
one of my new friends, and the best bike in the whole world, Masayume. (that's pronounced: MassaYuMeh). We go on many adventures together.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Waiting for the Snake Assassin

The last 2 or 3 times I have been somewhere that Lightning Bolt were playing, I haven't even bothered to watch them. It just got too difficult/frustrating/painful, being crushed and elbowed in the face by people. Well luckily, I spotted that LB had decided to come and play some shows in Japan, at nice small venues too. I went along and surprised the Brians (they were quite shocked), and a jolly good time was had by all. Maybe 100 people or so, all rocking out, but without falling on Brian's drums or breaking Brian's bass pedals and such.

Dracula Mountain was a very nice birthday present indeed.
Thanks Brians.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Village Green

"Wow, Graeme. That looks lovely! Is that in one of Kyoto's many beautiful temples and shrines that the city is so famous for?"

Well no actually. This is one of the THREE parks in Kyoto Eki (the main station in Kyoto). Yes, the station. Kyoto station has 3 parks, 2 markets, a few hotels, a cinema, a theatre, a museum, 2 department stores, maybe a thousand shops and several hundred eateries. It might have more than that in there too, but I have gotten lost in there on 3 separate occasions so I can only confirm what I have witnessed with my own senses.

Oh, you can catch a train in there as well.


Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey

Here are some pictures from my trip to Arashiyama Monkey Park. This place is great. It is a pretty harsh climb up some serious hills for a wee while (especially in the pointless Kyoto summer heat), but once at the top it is very much worth it. Nice view, nice monkeys. My favourite thing is that there is an enclosure for the humans rather than the monkeys.

This is a monkey getting ready to charge at my flatmate, Ryo.

Me feeding a monkey some tasty banana.

Me trying to feed a baby monkey, but the adult one kept swooping in and stealing everything.

The mortified Japanese children who were nearby were shrieking "CHI-CHAN!!!" One of the little girls cried and tried to punch the adult monkey. Thankfully the fence was there to prevent the monkey in question from destroying her.

I did look at a monkey in the eye, and I held a monkey's hand for a short while. It was a good day.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Maggot Brain

Just before I left England, Adam bought me a cd of Funkadelic Live at Meadwbrook, Rochester, Michigan 1971. It turns out that it has possibly the greatest display of guitar playing ever committed to tape, which is a bloody good companion to have when you are travelling halfway round the world to go and live in a place where you don't understand anyone, and they don't understand you. The first 2 tracks on this cd have helped to make this difficult transition slightly more pleasant. In fact, they are pretty much all I listened to exclusively for about 3 - 4 weeks, and I suggest if you have any interest in music whatsoever that they are essential listening.

The first track is something that never fully appeared on any Funkadelic record but was a regular part of their live set. The second track is a rendition of
'Maggot Brain', the power of which can not be conveyed by mere words.

Download here: "Hey kid, you like music? Well you're gonna love this."

Something I did not long after arriving involved this sign:

More on that to follow.