Monday, December 15
Sunday, December 7
One thing I miss about my life in Japan would have to be the impromptu, enthusiastic and awesome parties. JETs really know how to throw down! But, why can't I keep partying as if it were 2007 (Miyazaki style) for the rest of life? If I learnt anything in Japan, and it's questionable whether I did, then I learnt how to P A R T Y.
So, I thought I would throw one... First I needed a theme, CHEESE, need a location, MY LIVING ROOM, need music, CHEESE! Oh, what is this? I have the starting of a party here my friend, maybe not a rager, maybe not a carnival, not an orgy of debauchery but a soiree of a more quiet nature.
Some dancing on the couch, some splits performed to pick cardboard off of the floor with one's teeth and a bunch of sing-a-longs later and I realised that 'quiet nature' had gone out the window... it seems that Cheese + Red Wine + Cheesey music = rocket fuel.
It seems that people can throw down in little ol'Blighty, we had a right ol'knees up and then some, and after a hard few weeks of bitter cold, commuting and well... life, what else do you do for fun? Fondue of course!
Thursday, September 25
An award should go to the Virgin Airlines gate attendant in Sydney some months ago for being smart and funny, while making her point, when confronted with a passenger who probably deserved to fly as cargo.
A crowded Virgin flight was cancelled after Virgin's 767s had been withdrawn from service. A single attendant was re-booking a long line of inconvenienced travellers. Suddenly an angry passenger pushed his way to the desk. He slapped his ticket down on the counter and said, 'I HAVE to be on this flight and it HAS to be FIRST CLASS'.
The attendant replied, 'I'm sorry, sir. I'll be happy to try to help you, but I've got to help these people first, and I'm sure we'll be able to work something out.'
The passenger was unimpressed. He asked loudly, so that the passengers behind him could hear, 'DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHO I AM?'
Without hesitating, the attendant smiled and grabbed her public address microphone: 'May I have your attention please, may I have your attention please,' she began - her voice heard clearly throughout the terminal. 'We have a passenger here at Gate 14 WHO DOES NOT KNOW WHO HE IS. If anyone can help him find his identity, please come to Gate 14.'
With the folks behind him in line laughing hysterically, the man glared at the Virgin attendant, gritted his teeth and said, 'F**k you!'
Without flinching, she smiled and said, (I love this bit)......
'I'm sorry, sir, but you'll have to get in line for that too.
Sunday, September 21
Tuesday, September 9
Sunday, September 7
"Are you missing Japan?"
No, I'm spending time laying around in parks. And it's a wonderful past time.
Apart from my mirth filled visit to Holland Park I've spent time lounging about in front of Buckingham Palace whilst watching Liz chase squirrels with her camera and then fail to take a picture when the squirrel literally stands a meter from her nose and watches her for 30 seconds. I listened to Samba, Jazz and Funk Fusion then watched demonstrations of body-popping, Judo and Bushido in Shoreditch Park. I watched the colour of the sky change over the London skyline from the vantage of Primrose Hill. And, I walked the dense wooded areas of Hampstead Heath and found myself in long grasses, again looking at the London skyline (and The Red Arrows flying through the sky) from what I think was Parliment Hill.
Britain, even in a sprawling Megapolis like London, lends itself very well to an aimless wander through idyllic fields to find the shelter of an oak or willow. You don't need an tarpaulin, it doesn't have to be April, sunshine alone is enough of an excuse, yet add in music, alcohol and food and you have a little party... everyone is invited.
And when my longing for Japan does become so great that I'm almost ready to jump on a plane (or flying pig) and head back then perhaps a moment in Holland Parks Kyoto Garden will fill me with enough zen spirit of the four seasons to sate my appetite.
And whilst I know that I could be doing far more productive things, like finding a job, procrastinating in this way seems just as worthwhile... food for the soul if you will.
Wednesday, September 3
This is a Guinness kettle, I think. Yes! I was paying attention.
Here's a boastful vat, to which I say " I drink your Guinness" in a very murderous Daniel Day Lewis way.
Raw, heat, smells!
The black stuff!
The view from the floor outside the Guinness storehouse.
Paul and Paul.
Marion and James.
Bray, here is the walk, from here to that point up on that there hill.
Here, on 'that there hill' , just a few minutes later... all it took was a hop, skip and a jump.
Thursday, August 28
No, because I've been busy. No, because it's been like what? A fucking week! No, because I'm still alive, I have my life ahead of me and no one died, Japan is still there, in my heart of hearts, in my memories, in the smile of every young child... just fucking no! I have time for self indulgence (obviously, I'm blogging to an audience of one), but I have no time for self-pity.
Anyway... this one's called "Are You Missing Japan? No... I'm Watching Comedy." Because, I went to see some comedy tonight! In Holland Park! The poshes place I've ever been to! The houses along the road before we arrived at the theater were huge, pristine white and fricking huge! The event was sponsored by Pimms and called SummerFest and was great. But instead of wittering on about it, I've gone to Youtube and found videos of the comics we saw.
Russel Kane, our compere. There are better clips on youtube, which weren't filmed on camer-phones, but this one is short and has a few of the jokes he told tonight.
Jason Bryne, talked about the strange things that turns his wife on, masturbation, hotel pornography, alcohol fueled debauchery with the misses and other such things. In this clip, he does some magic with a kid... he has range.
Andrew Lawrence, my favourite by a mile. No decent clips on Youtube I'm afraid, but there is this montage from his website, folow this link.
Richard Herring, for me the over enthusiasm of the compere killed this guys act. The compere needed, in my amateurish opinion, to tone it down before this guys acts and not go in full throttle. Still, I did laugh... but I laughed more at this clip of Richard being irritated by a heckler.
Doug Stanhope, made the posh upper middle class audience really very uncomfortable. Many of them left, others just watched in shocked disbelief... I fucking wet myself. This guy's act was soooooooooo offensive, but really funny. I recommend seeing this guy, but don't take your grandmother. Here's a clip.
Sunday, August 24
Summer Sonic was good. Different from the year before, natch, I mean it had a different line up and a whole 12 months had passed in between. But what was most notable was the absence of Marion and Patrick, both of whom swore they would return for more drunken revelry and 'mutual' music education (I'm a music Nazi who demands that everyone see, appreciate and applaud who ever I drag them to see).
This time around my party partners were Liz and Julia, with a few special guest appearances from Patrick Maher, Claire Cassidy, Kate Nottidge and Ellie 'Smile' Lawley, all of whom are good company.
Now onto the important stuff, who did I saw and what did I think of them. OK, let's list them from best to 'not the best'.
- Hot Chip
- Alicia Keys
- Biffy Clyro
- Los Campesinos
- Vampire Weekend
- The Verve
- The Subways
- The Prodidgy
- Bedouin Soundclash
- Xavier Rudd
- The Kills
- Fatboy Slim
Yep, Hot Chip are the best and Fatboy Slim is the worst, the guy came on stage with a banana and pressed play on his CD player and then stood looking toward the crowd for approval... Fatboy, you're the worst!
No Summer Sonic next year, but maybe some Reading Festival, or maybe V Festival, or maybe Glastonbury, maybe Creamfields, maybe Sonnar, maybe Benicasiam, maybe...
Friday, August 8
So, Saturday morning is a no brainer, it's The Wombats followed by Vampire Weekend. Dance dance dance! Whoop! This means I'll miss The Ting Tings but I will probably get to see Polysic as long as they're not on at the same time as Biffy Clyro.
After Biffy it gets trickier, because seeing The Kooks doesn't appeal to me, nor Radwimps, I'm not familiar with Boom Boom Satellites or Devo and have never fully committed to Super Fury Animals.
Then of course the last act again is a no brainer... let the suckers go and see Coldplay, I'll be seeing Fatboy Slim, thank you very much.
Now we're onto Sunday and there's some gold playing today. Again, nice and early for Los Campesinos, followed by Santogold and We Smoke Fags. That should leave time for The Subways, The Fratellis or more likely Hot Chip, a bit of The Prodigy and to finish...
It's a choice between The Verve, Sex Pistols, Paul Weller or Pendulum. It's a difficult choice to make, and far more frustrating than choosing between Justice and Fatboy Slim on Saturday. I have a feeling I will be seeing Pendulum... but only time will tell.
Monday, July 28
There are three pictures here, you can see that right?
These pictures were taken in quick succession whilst being shown around Cape Misaki in Miyazaki. It was a fun little day, saw a lot of horses and made paper from poo, not kidding... paper from poo.
More pictures here.
I mainly used the measure tool, the history brush and the transform tool.
Monday, July 21
Meet M. M is a JET who was foolish enough to give me her mugshot... oh dear oh dear.
I mainly employed the liquefy filter and the healing brush tool.
Saturday, July 19
I called Zoe the other day and after she lightly poked fun at me for something trivial I acted offended and became defensive, but also apologetic. Fast forward to a conversation with Emily Collins and I crack a joke that I think she takes offense to, cue groveling, backtracking and more groveling. She hadn't taken offense at all and then accused me of spending too much time on the Miyazaki JET listserve where people are overly worried about everything that isn't "love", "death" and "taxes". Similarly, Zoe told me that I'd been in Japan to long, and I had become unaccustomed to British humour.
There used to time when I had my priorities straight, I had a sense of humour, a sense of perspective and I wasn't offended at the drop of a hat. Are these overly sensitive Nihongo Nerds and Nippon Apologists rubbing off on me? For the sake of all that is good, I really hope not.
God forbid that I be sarcastic
I don't want to be the type of person that spits their dummy out when someone has the gaul to call them "duck" as an non-gendered term of endearment, or for similarly innocuous offenses. God forbid that I be sarcastic, and say something which isn't meant to be taken seriously (amongst friends who should know me well enough to realise).
I'm really looking forward to getting back to British Humour, there's something uniquely comforting in being amongst people who can laugh at themselves and laugh along with people laughing at them.
I've never heard apathy so condescendingly explained
Let's look at American JETs... god forbid you criticise their government, not even jokingly. They've all had it up to here with 'the hating' and it's 'really not their fault', boo hoo. Putting aside the fact that every American comedian or person with a soapbox makes a living from making fun of their own country... if you, as a non-Northern American try to have a conversation about your world, then be careful, because in JET land, feelings are easily hurt.
I've never met a race of more confused patriots. Patriotism is definitely in their blood, but it clashes with the almost Catholic portioned dose of shame they've inherited from years of questionable foreign policy. And ask any American JET about their foreign governments foreign policy and they all immediately get defensive, "It's not my fault! It's not my fault". Apparently, in the greatest democracy in the world, American citizens don't even have a choice in who they elect to presidency, unless they live in a 'swing state then there's no point in even voting... apparently, I've never heard apathy so condescendingly explained.
Honestly, I don't hate Americans, I'm not 'hating' on you. But please understand that people are going to have an opinion about things that are going on in their world, and they will often share them or want to discuss them with people they perceive as mature enough to field (often not even personal) criticism and discuss it. And not, conversely, go wide-eyed, start the bottom lip quivering and complain that the other countries aren't sharing their toys... you big baby!
Oh well... I guess that's the way it crumbles. Cookie-wise. Maybe after leaving Japan we will all have our sense of humour reinstated.
Friday, July 18
The party atmosphere started in the Kencho of all places, The ChiChi (Governor) was on top form and made everyone laugh and put us all at ease, it's nerve racking having to go and shake a minor celebrities hand.
After my visit to the kencho I hung out with Seth and Vicky, two other JETs who are leaving Japan this year, we got some yoghurt and some macha mocha's, had a good chat about JETs and JET.
Then after some food (a lot of food) it was time for some hijinks, dancing and silliness at The Bar. Said hijinks and silliness was all the more silly from when seen from sober eyes. Chris, Patrick G, Patrick M and Christian freestyled. Patrick C nearly broke his neck doing a handstand and Ted showed his patriotism:
I think that Ted has been working out.
So, I made video for the screen at The Bar, it was for all the leavers, unfortunately it was 3.7gb in size and was impossible to upload.
Good luck to each and every one of you... and to quote Ted (quoting someone else)
"May all your dreams come true, except for one of them, so that you always have something to look forward to"
And lastly, a huge thank you to Kelly, Lauren and Kara who have taken over MAJET from Marion, Patrick and I and who did a great job organising two awesome parties. Thank you.
Sunday, July 6
I've really got into the mythology of the series, and I've loved the arc of the characters this time around. The Doctor has become stronger, and more sure of himself, sometimes this self-assured-ness seems a bit like arrogance and that arrogance isn't always endearing, as we witnessed in the episode Midnight. Donna Noble started the series as a strong and independent woman and is now more thoughtful, kinder and considerate to boot.
Of all the three new companions Rose, Martha and Donna, Donna's story has been the saddest. She's the Temp, we know that her run can't last and the writers have played a clever game in giving making us want her run to last longer than it possibly could. I'm guessing that Donna is meeting her Journeys end tonight, but also proving that she's worth more than she or any of the viewers have suspected.
I may write more on Doctor Who after the series finishes, but for now, let's just enjoy this trailer.
Tuesday, July 1
So more of Mother M, and petulant moody Bond, yosh! I love all that stuff, as long as it's peppered with sex (not between Craig and Judi Dench, yuck) and guns then I'm all for a bit of "inconsolable rage". Angsty, angry Daniel Craig's Bond is certainly the best incarnation since Connery and has rekindled interest in the franchise.
I'm really looking forward to this film (natch) and now have something to take my mind off of my Dark Knight obsessiveness, which admittedly was been getting a tad bit out of hand... I think I've seen every clip of that movie available, the special edition DVD will hold no secrets for me.
Anyway! Bond, yeah? Bit of Bond? Got your Bond fix for the day yeah? Great. See ya.
Monday, June 16
Tuesday, June 10
Number 10: Pen & Teller- The Bible is Bullshit
"There's no way you can get two of everything on a boat!"
My favourite song in primary school had the chorus 'Noah built the Arc, Noah! Noah!', I loved that song. My second favourite song had the chorus 'Rudolf the red nose reindeer'... I loved that song.
Number 9: Milla Jovovich- There Ain't no God for Dogs
This video made some Dog-theists very angry, and I think that Pope Bruno the Obedient has excomunicated Milla's dog, Zom-Zom.
Milla, you're odd, but I loves ya!
Number 8: Catherine Tate
"They don't let lesbians become priests!"
Number 7: Ricky Gervais, Animals "And then I found out the other name for the bible is The Gospel, so it's true"
Number 6: The Professor Brothers: Bible Story
Number 5: Alan Moore, "This could negate science, it could drag us back into the dark ages"
Number 4: Miki, "My name is Miki, and I'm an Atheist"
OK, this girl often sounds like she's reading from a script by Dawkins, but she's hot!
Number 3: Marcus Brigstocke, "Can we have our world back?"
Number 2: Monty Python, Life of Brian, "You're all individuals!"
Life of Brian is so good it gets double space, please enjoy these clips.
Number 1: John Lennon, Imagine
"Imagine all the people living for today", this is such a beautiful song and such a powerful message, and you thought that I was going to choose Dawkins as my top choice.
Tuesday, June 3
Video: Multi-Touch in Windows 7
OK, it does look like a large iPod touch, but iPod Touch's are cool, so in my opinion, this is cool.
Tuesday, May 20
This is my most viewed photo. Yesterday it got a boost of 1,151 views because it was linked from sites like (not safe for work), this and this.
1,151 views in one day! It's not even that revealing a picture, one girl has trousers on and the other isn't embarrassing herself.
Oh well, T.I.J.
Sunday, May 18
My reply to this vlog!
"First off, you look great in that bathing suit, well done.
Wow, who's the audience for this video?
Being ignorant about vaginoplasty doesn't make someone dumb, it just means that they're not as well read as you on a subject that isn't common knowledge.
Also; "construction worker types", wow! How about being a bit more class prejudice... "Who ever you can dredge up to bump uglies with after 17 beers", could you seem anymore judgmental?"
Calpernia [at time of writing] is online responding to all her critics, and I'm hoping that she will reply to mine.
I'm sorry that this video is 14 minutes long, it could have been 3 minutes long and it would have still said the same thing: "When talking to anyone, be considerate, and don't say anything that may upset them."
Which I agree with wholeheartedly... and Calpernia, it's a two way street.
Oh, and beginning the vlog by pretending that you've just been interrupted whilst reading a book, kind of reminds me of this.
Saturday, May 17
Just the other day at a bus stop outside my school and right by a hair dressers I was attacked by an excitable young hair dresser who thought that my leaning away from her and saying "No" was a playful game of 'tag' or 'piggy in the middle'. I actually shrunk away from her because I don't like strange people simply inviting themselves into my hair.
I don't know if this T-shirt is actually needed in English, I've never had an English speaking person just reach up and grab my locks without invitation, in fact most people don't even ask for it. However Japanese people will grab at it before even asking my name, sometimes they simply grab it and then don't even speak to me afterwards.
And that's not even starting on the stupid questions I get asked about them, most of which are plain offensive. Actually Japanese people aren't the only culprit here:
I feel like naming names, so I will; Shiv, a former JET and an otherwise OK guy, likes to make "it's because you're black..." jokes, and "is this a black thing..." jokes, in a very 'I can joke about it because I'm liberal and we're both of colour so we're brothers' sort of way. This is tolerable, it's not as amusing as Shiv thinks it is and betrays how very un-liberal he is more than anything. Well, the other day he casually joked about me not washing my hair for 3 years in front of Alex and Patrick, to which my response was "who wouldn't was their hair for three years? That would be gross"... the question was met with awkward, knowing silence and the subject was changed.
Now let me ask a question, it's a simple one and I think you may be able to answer it: When my hair gets dirty what else would I do but wash it?
I've told people that I wash my hair with sand before now and they've wholeheartedly believed me... honestly, how ignorant/stupid can you be to believe that hair can be washed with sand!? And where would one get sand in the Midlands, so named because it's no where near the coast.
People see dreadlocks and they lose their heads, Japanese people suddenly think it's OK to treat people without consideration and the rest of the world suddenly believe that sand is a solvent and a detergent.
If we're still not on the same page then let me break it down for you.
Friday, May 16
Thursday, May 15
I would be wise not to become
Invested in expectation
It’s always weighted in trepidation
And as often as there’s elation
Where as one leaves a soul enlightened
The other is burdensome and governed
By a record of past excitement
Which soon became present dismay
Interested in nothing but myself
This sphere around me
My health, my wealth, my future
Invested in nothing but myself
My own wellbeing
What I’m seeing
How I’m feeling
Only concerned when it concerns me
What’s in it for me is key
My name on the bottom line
My money, my time
Self-serving, tight fisted
But always ready to
Remind you of it when I am
Wednesday, May 14
The other day I made an address in front of the E.U. Ambassador. I explained that historically speaking, Japanese civilization personifies symbiosis with nature, and therefore places extreme importance on the sanctity of life. For that very reason, we feel extreme anger toward those who rob another of life. We have a culture of repaying a death with a death. I feel proud to have been born into such a culture. I feel that, on the contrary, giving someone life in prison rather than the death penalty no matter how many people they kill I is a dry and coldly logical way of thinking.
A quote from Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama
How about compassionate? Giving someone a chance at redemption is neither cold nor logical, it takes faith in the human spirit, that by itself, given the act that the culprit put in prison, isn't logical at all. Faith that someone can change after a crime of that magnitude isn't logical.
Death for Death, or an Eye for an Eye isn't the Japanese way at all. If it is, should America be expecting some sort of retribution for Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Should killing real beget killing? And is an executioner really better than a murderer, how is one justifiable and the other not?
Execution isn't a punishment, living with guilt, trying to forgive yourself, trying to find forgiveness from those you've injured and attempting to redeem yourself is punishment. Often it's a burden that is never lifted. Execution on the other hand puts fear into you, fear of the unknown, but it's shortlived. And as I don't believe in an after life where people are held accountable for their crimes, it's ultimately unsatisfying.
I feel ambivalent about stories like this, part of me thinks "well, it's Japan, and I really couldn't care less because nothing I say will change the 'proud' Japanese 'civilization'" and another part of me wonders how long it will take for humanity to all be on the same page and wants to do something to bring about change. Stories like this just make me feel impotent.
Monday, April 21
A quick look in my drafts folder reveals this little gem. I'm not sure why I didn't send this but, so much water has passed under that bridge now that I'm kind of glad I didn't bother. Some problems are best ignored it seems.
Please refrain from talking about me behind my back, it's been ten months now of me hearing second hand what you've said to such and such about me. It's become tiresome and it's exhausting.
I don't care to hear your motives, I'm not interested whether it was in my or other peoples best interest. I do not like hearing about myself from other people. I don't think anyone does.
This is not about [DELETED], please don't confuse the two issues. This is about me feeling resentment toward you due to things I've heard second hand over a matter of months said by you about me, from more than one person on more than one occasion.
I do not enjoy feeling that way, I take no pride in the things I've said as a result of hearing something said about me, nor am I pleased that this ill feeling persists. I think that discretion on your part could help the situation and I would urge you to remember that people do talk and that I do have ears and feelings.
I was just asked how to say "Bovine Spongform Encephalopathy" and I told them. I pronounced Bovine... Bow-vine or Boh-vine and then a discussion ensued infront of me questioning my pronounciation, whether it was Bow or Ba, in this discussion it was said I'm pretty sure, that UK pronounciation of Bovine is different to that of American and I often say things wrong? WHAT THE FUCK... That would be like me going to china and telling them that their readings of Kanji are wrong and only the Japanese readings are right. Considering that all I heard on the BBC was BSE this and Mad Cow disease that for about 2 years, it would be suprising if I couldnt say BOVINE correctly...
I woke up in a good mood, and come to school and get wound up straight away, I work in an enviroment where my opinion doesnt seem to mean a thing and I'm tired of just living for the weekends. FACT!
Saturday, April 19
So, Grace from Mydamnchannel loves me! But only in the same way I love her... which is a shame.
I was totally feeling the whole pancake thing, I love Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras (in ol'Blighty we gorge on pancakes before lent).
Buuuuutt... What is going on with the Muzak in the background, it's all a bit Carrey from Sex and The City shoe shopping sequence.
P.S. I love you.
That was in response to this.
Thursday, April 17
From now on I think that I will mainly be doing stuff that you think is uncool. You're so judgmental and opinionated that it borders upon fascism, and I have no qualms with going out of my way to look absurd in your eyes.
Why? Because your opinion, far from meaning nothing to me, is actually held in quite high regard as a windsock that indicates the direction I shouldn't be going in.
- You think reading comics is uncool... I'll be subscribing to everything from Archie to Superman.
- You think that computer games are uncool... I'll be bidding on a Game&Watch in my living with the internet channel on my Wii.
- You think that poetry is uncool... I'll be on the spoken word stage placing awkward pauses in my staccato style speech and wearing a beret .
- You think that films without big explosions, special effects and a script lifted from a comic aren't cool... I'll be sat in front of There Will Be Blood followed with a healthy dose of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest to follow.
- You think that blogging is uncool... need I say more.
And who is the titular YOU? It's you, honestly, it's you... OK, just kidding it's not YOU... but yeah, it is you.
Peace... I'm off to write some fan fiction for Harry Potter.
Wednesday, April 16
Spielberg In 3D
With his studio boss hat on, Steven Spielberg is masterminding a live action version of Japanese Manga classic Ghost in the Shell. Dreamworks has nabbed the rights to the futuristic cartoon cop caper and plans to turn it into a 3D movie with proper actors and everything.
The film will follow the adventures of a top secret unit that specialises in techno crime. First published as a comic in 1989, the series has spawned three anime movies a TV series and a bunch of videogames. "Ghost in the Shell is one of my favorite stories" Spielberg told Variety. "It's a genre that has arrived, and we enthusiastically welcome it to DreamWorks". Either that or he's been watching Saturday morning telly with his kids again.
Is it me, or is everything going Live Action these days? Is it me or is Hollywood pilfering a lot of ideas from Asia these days? Is it me or is every other movie that comes out a comic related film?
No, no Stephen, it's not just you.
I like comics, I love them in fact and have really missed them during my stay here in Japan. Comics are awesome and more power to the creators if they can take their intellectual properties to the massive audience that cinema has. But film is also awesome, and in film stories that can't be told in comics are totally possible.
I was watching a heavily comic influenced film just two days ago, heavily comic influenced but not a LIVE ACTION film of a comic. In fact it's actually based on a Philip K Dick story. Theirs a device in the movie where multiple permutations of the same event are laid over one another and played out at the same time, and considering that 'comic-time' isn't real time (not that film time is either, it's actually the illusion of actual time) then this device is totally cinematic, it can't be repeated in comic, or book without greatly diminishing the effect.
So why aren't more films just being films? Why aren't we seeing more innovations like 'bullet-time' instead of seeing frame for frame recreations of comic books?
I'm hoping that it's just a stage that the industry is going through, I'm hoping that although it's very vogue now to borrow from comics, in a few years time maybe the Hollywood will realise how much of a boon it really is, and how much they could really differentiate film and comics (without the use of gimmicks like 3D) from each other.
Thursday, April 10
Wednesday, April 9
Yokohama was cool, not bitterly cool, but just fresh. The sun was out and the skies were blue but it was still definitely jacket weather. So if it wasn't the heat, then what could explain my uncomfortably sweaty pits?
I went to Yokohama for the Returners Conference, a JET run 3 day business conference for JETs who have come to their senses and realised that "teaching" a bunch of teenagers how to 'repeat after me' isn't the best way to spend their lives. Armed with this revelation JETs take paid holiday, hop on buses, planes and ferries and find themselves in one of the most populated cities in Japan.
'JETs are extremely employable, we just need to communicate this'.
At the conference we're treated to speeches by ex-JETs, recruiters, entrepreneurs and professional thinkers about the state of the employing world and our chances as ex-JETs in finding work out there.
To paraphrase the overarching message of the conference, 'JETs are extremely employable, we just need to communicate this'. I personally don't have a problem with this message, I believe that I would be an asset to any company I'd work for... so considering this staggering self belief then, why was I leaking like a sieve?
a job that is ostensibly only limited by the scope of your own imagination but in reality it is confined by the limits of other peoples
The world, the big wide world, it's an awe inspiring concept isn't it? Endless horizons, blue skies that go on forever, so many comings and so many goings. Yokohama, with it's tall buildings, it's globally influenced architecture, it's port that welcomed ships from the different continents of the planet, the people that walk past you and don't stare! In Yokohama, much like the rest of the world, you're are not special by virtue of the place you were born, the colour of your skin or the languages you speak.
It's exciting, it's amazing, and it's boundless. At the conference I realised how very hamstrung I had been. In a country where I didn't know the language, in a job that is ostensibly only limited by the scope of your own imagination but in reality it is confined by the limits of other peoples lack of imagination. I've learnt and grown a lot working in Japan, but it has been the cloud to my silver lining more often than not.
There are negatives, I suppose, to all aspects of life, but what Yokohama presented to me and what was making me all excited was that I now could see my power to change things, to navigate my own course and find a life that suits me. I felt dwarfed by it, overwhelmed somewhat, but still, as I stood in the shadows of so many skyscrapers, monuments to success, expansion and entrepreneurism, I felt that if one of them would collapse and fall over my head I could survive it. I mean, I had survived two years in Japan, I can do anything, take on all comers.
So, Yokohama was cool, but it ignited something in me. Positivity, self-belief, something... and I had my first interview yesterday and I have my second tomorrow. Let the job hunt begin!
Wednesday, March 26
Where am I at the moment with photography? I just don’t know. I’ve not committed myself to buying a pro or even a semi-pro camera yet and I’ve not found a style either.
My subjects range from portraits to close-ups of mushrooms and flowers, from landscapes to candid shots. I don’t really have a direction; I’m just kind of snap happy at the moment.
Now I don’t want to come across like I’m not enjoying my camera, and I’m loving the results of my picture taking, but I can’t help but feel that if I was to just concentrate on one thing I could be taking really great photo’s.
So, maybe I will take the first step and buy a new camera, research lenses, read a book or two. I’ve been considering taking some evening classes when I return home, perhaps a cooking course as I’m sure that I’ve forgotten how. Not only would an evening class keep me from my old bad habits of cotching in front of the TV all evening and achieving nothing, but I could meet new people.
I looked at a few Saturday Japanese courses and have already decided that that isn’t a bad way of spending a Saturday afternoon. I have no illusions of ever coming back to Japan, no illusion and no motivation either, but learning Japanese at my own pace has been fun if not totally fruitful. So if Saturday is Japanese, perhaps Sunday can be photography.
Hhhmm… and now I’m on this train of thought, I really want to carry on with other things when I get back to England, so as well as the Japanese study I also want to carry on travelling. I don’t want to spend years on the other side of the world, but I don’t want to spend four day weekends drunk in London (again). Instead I could take long trips to some part of Britain or Europe I’ve never seen before. Life is too short for repetition.
So this rant about my lacklustre photography is turning into a bit of an unruly, unfocused, manifesto, seems like my lack of photographic direction is a symptomatic of general lack of direction… screw it, let’s run with it.
My poetry. I was reading through some of the older stuff the yesterday on my way back from a Farewell party and, even though I was pretty drunk at the time, I still think it’s pretty good. So, what to do with that?
Do I just keep writing them compulsively, and keep them hidden away on my Mac and backed up on my hard drive? Or do I, and this is what I was drunkenly day dreaming about… go and perform them… hhmm, ponder.
When considering the complex subject of ME, there is just so much to consider. Navel gazing isn’t easy, and I think that I will need a while longer being self-obsessed, self-involved and introverted before I come to any worthy decision. Luckily “me-time” is my favoutite kind of time.
Hhmmm… maybe self portraits.
Thursday, March 13
5) Superman: Doomsday
When I read the Doomsday story of Superman I must admit that I wasn’t very interested in Superman but was really interested in how the smug bastard finally got his comeuppance. It was a bloody and senseless end for a hero of such stature, and I loved it.
The animated feature length is just as good, getting Superman’s death out of the way quickly and brutally to concentrate on the important business of Superman’s resurrection as a clone controlled by Lex Luthor, and the the real Superman’s recovery and then a Superman VS Superman face off. Oh yeah, this was non-stop geekery to the highest degree. “Go on Supes! Hit him with a car… ooohhhh! In the face! In the face! That can’t feel too good.”
4) Fist of The North Star
What’s more appealing than shirtless men with big bulging biceps, using those biceps to inflict super mutant pain on other shirtless men? Not much, I would argue.
I watched this film with my cousin and was so surprised that I had lived my whole Anime watching career without being introduced to it earlier, this is a classic and needs to be seen by all Manga fans.
3) The Emperor’s New Groove
A film that is as good as it’s title! This film is the reason that Lilo & Stitch isn’t in this list, I just don’t think there can be too many irreverent Disney movies in one top 5.
The main characters of this film are possibly the ugliest leads of any Disney movie, they can hardly be described as cute, by despite their looks they both become incredibly endearing.
A fish out of water, coming of age and buddy movie twisted into an odd tale about an obnoxious Emperor who is cursed into a talking larmar. Excellent film, and a lot of fun.
This is the film that started it all for me, everything about this amazed me, from the cover of the DVD to the coral orchestra over the titles, the explosive start to the philosophic end that made me wonder if all of humanity had the potential of gods, not just destruction, but creation too.
Oh, and there are mutating cyborg arms, monster teddy bears and people having their arms shot off with laser cannons. It’s a movie of many textures.
It’s odd how I keep turning back to this movie, it’s so obscure that no one has heard of it, which is criminal because it is fantastic, fantastical and beautiful.
Dragons, unicorns, witches and heroes that face insurmountable odds and constant threat. I remember the ending seeming dark and hopeless, I really rooted for the unicorn but felt that it was doomed… oh, imagination my elation when the little guy overcame his adversaries and the day was saved.
Wednesday, March 12
So right now, I’m being born, green eyes lighter skin and full head of hair. My eyes soon turn brown, my skin gets darker and my hair does all sorts of things because things can take different shapes in time.
It’s an odd concept, because you have to come to terms with the fact that tomorrow already exists, its here already and its just one collapse of those quantum suppositions away. But of course time has no idea what tomorrow is, time doesn’t section itself into discrete infinite sections, time just is.
We however, we do see time as succession of discrete units, minutes, hours, days, months and years. It’s a structure we understand and we’re happy with. But what happens when you can’t seem to escape yesterday, what if yesterday is continuously overlaid on your today’s and your tomorrows, is it better that we can take a straight line out of our past, best that tomorrow never comes?
In 25 minutes I copy this email from Word into my email program and my finger hovers over the mouse whilst I wonder if I should send it.
55 minutes ago I was happy, I completed my first exam of the year and it went quite well. It wasn’t 55 minutes ago when it happened but its happening now, all time exists at once.
And right now I’m holding my cousin in my arms, she’s crying and I feel empty, I’m not confused, I’m not tearful, I’m numb. She’s crying and she’s pregnant with a baby boy, months from now in her past she conceived, months from now in her future she gives birth to a beautiful son. Right now she’s trying to comprehend death.
Two hours before this I’m laughing at the misfortune of Richard Pryor as he tells the account of him having a heart attack, he describes the pain in a whimsical dramatic style and falls to the ground clutching his chest.
My cousin falls on my shoulder and weeps into it, her new born is placed in her arms and she feels elation, her child is being conceived in love and she doesn’t know.
Richard Pryor falls to the ground with his arm outstretched and my cousin Nick grabs his chest and slumps over the steering wheel of a moving car, I write about it because I feel its cathartic and its been playing on my mind because Saturday is a year since he died. It’s my yesterday but I can’t escape it, its overlaid on my today and my tomorrow.
Richard Pryor falls to the ground clutching his chest and I laugh, I laugh when I organise a gig and its not a success and I laugh on New Years Eve months later, my cousins son laughs and his innocence makes people smile.
Nick falls to his steering wheel clutching his chest and I laugh, I’m laughing at Richard Pryor, at his misfortune, I answer the phone at 3 that morning and I feel numb, I tell my cousin the news and she holds me, I don’t know what to do to comfort her, I still don’t.
In 10 minutes I copy this email from Word into my email program and my finger hovers over the mouse whilst I wonder if I should send it.
I spend over an hour on the phone to an old girlfriend and we talk endlessly about anything just so that we can be talking to each other, in a months time she won’t answer my calls or return my messages. I wonder what’s changed not realising that things can take different shapes in time, emotions included.
And I feel numb, eyes glazed over on the worst come down of my life, people wish me happy birthday and I lay on a towel over the sand under the Spanish sun, Richard Pryor lays on the ground arm outstretched and I laugh.
In 5 minutes I copy this email from Word into my email program and my finger hovers over the mouse whilst I wonder if I should send it. As I do I wonder if this moment already existed before it happened and wonder about the shape of things to come.
In 2 minutes I copy this email from Word into my email program and my finger hovers over the mouse whilst I wonder if I should send it. And Richard Pryor falls to the ground, and Nick slumps over the wheel of a moving car, and people wish me happy birthday, its New Years, my cousin is in labour, I feel numb and I laugh.
I laugh, and I wonder what about the shape of things to come.
Friday, March 7
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