Friday, May 26, 2006

Oh. My. God. (Part 3,472)

Inappropriate times for the school PA system to switch itself on (part 1):

When you're sat next to the microphone on the phone to LeeJay recounting a recent trip to karaoke- "and the next thing I knew she was trying to put her hands up my shirt".

*Rude-word* *rude-word* *rude-word*
Am now hiding in the computer room unsure as to whether or not said phrase was broadcast or not and really, I don't want to find out. I was only explaining the dangers that lurk in spending time with groups of Japanese women and their bottles of sake...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The rockoning is upon us.

Indeed. Once again Eurovision threw up many surprises. Judging by some of the songs it was positively bulimic, spewing bile everywhere (yes Moldova, I am talking about your "effort"). The winners, however, were the entrants who had garnered immense publicity before the contest. Unfortunately it wasn't because they offended European countries or insulted other artists or had bodyguards removing journalists from press conferences for looking at them. It was in fact because when in costume they resembled Freddy Kreuger on a night out. While Silvia Night was bringing rebellion and spirit to the contest Lordi were being polite and pleasant and not very rock'n'roll at all. The Greek press, realising their precious (as in Gollum-esque) Anna Vissi wouldn't be saved by a Gaultier pirate costume, started spreading rumours that Lordi were Satanists and lobbied the Finnish contingent to have Lordi replaced as national representatives. Perhaps it was this that pushed them into the winning league. Without such publicity last year's Norwegian entrant, the rock group WigWam scored well but didn't reach pole position. But congratulations Finland, winners at last.

Elsewhere in the contest the favourites crashed and burned- Germany came 15th, Malta scored only 1 point (achieving their lowest position ever- worse than when the relatives represented them in the 70s) and Carola crashed at 5th place despite the high probablity of the second coming coinciding with her hitting the high notes at the end. It seems Jesus doesn't love Carola as much as she loves him.

Lordi release the a-rock-alypse with their "Hard Rock Hallelujah!"

Silvia Night in all her glory. The most memorable performance this year.

Saturday, May 20, 2006


Silvia Night tells it like it is after not qualifying for the final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2006. The actress remained in character for the whole contest. She reportedly insulted the Greek nation. She goose-stepped through the second chorus of her performance (bye-bye to the German vote) and squealed the legend, "Oh my God, it's a golden shower" on a live broadcast to 120 million people. And she didn't get through. Her reaction to this was truly in character, and the constant reaction to her proved that Europe still didn't get the joke.

She is truly a modern marvel. Ignore the Greek talking and watch an Icelandic woman continue to insult most of Europe:

Forget Finland and their Freddy Kreuger masks, 2006 was the year of the Night.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Your chance to help...

Every year, in many countries around the world, people are denied basic rights. The rights to express their opinions, the right to make themselves heard, and the right to vote. Often this results in terrible tragedies and fails to bring the necessary results to those who really deserve it.

This year you can help. If you are one of a select 38 countries in Europe, or if you live in Israel, you can make a difference and change the future. Around the world many individuals will have to forego their involvement in an important decision making process that takes place not once, but twice this week. If the result on Thursday is flawed, there is but one more chance on Saturday to reach an appropriate solution.

This year I am one of those people. And I urge you, with all your televoting power to vote for Iceland and to vote for Sweden on Thurday night. Last year was a travesty of humongous proportions with Iceland not making the final and then Sweden losing direct entry to this year's grand final. The Eurovision Song Contest needs you. Silvia Night and Iceland needs you. Carola and Sweden needs you. And on Saturday Texas Lightning and Germany will need you. One extra vote for each of these countries could stop the horror of a boring faux-ethnic ballad or a two-bit by-numbers-euroturd winning the contest. Remember Eimarr Quinn? Remember Dave Benton and Tanel Padar? Remember Marie N.? No. No one does. Let's make it a year to remember. Vote wisely, vote carefully and DON'T VOTE FOR ROMANIA and DON'T VOTE FOR BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA!

And if this hasn't helped you reach your decision, think of the poor weeping children and abandoned puppy dogs. Only voting for Iceland and Sweden and Germany will help them now. If you don't vote for Iceland and Sweden and Germany those poor children will cry harder and longer and those poor puppies will sleep on roadsides forever in fear of bad things that can happen to puppies on roadsides.

Silvia Night for Iceland

Carola for Sweden

Texas Lightning for Germany

One of these three must win. The Eurovision Song Contest semi-final is this Thursday at 8pm (UK time), 9pm (CET) and the Grand-final is on Saturday at 8pm (UK time) and 9pm (CET). USE YOUR VOTE!

PS Japan was really boring last week other than a night in Joyfull with NP and Adam on Thursday and a villa trip to Takebe on Saturday. Nowt else to report...

Monday, May 15, 2006

Golden week part 2.

On Friday Eugene, Yuko and I wandered the streets for 6 hours on our way from Yotsuya to Ochanomizu and then onto Ginza and Shinbashi. This is a Fujiya cake shop. Fujiya is a famous chocolate company in Japan and it has cafes and shops in all big cities. But this one is the only one on the country to sell Peco-chan yaki. Peco chan is the cartoon girl. They make pancake-like cakes in moulds shaped like her head and fill them with custard, chocolate, anko (red-bean paste) and all sorts of other delicious things. Despite the fact that the cake looked rather demonic and creepy, it made me cross-eyed with anticipation... Posted by Picasa

Here Eugene and I are pretending that the funniest thing we can see is not my hairdo. We only had a short time to pretend this as we were soon shoo-ed away from sitting on the temple steps. Posted by Picasa

Another day, another festival. During our walk we saw lots of people carrying various different mikoshi (ornate casks with carrying poles) through the streets. Yuko asked one group what it was about. They replied that they were taking the mikoshi to a nearby temple, but had decided to take the thing into any building they could to spread the festival spirit. And with this drunken logic they entered yet another office block which was no doubt empty for the holiday and attempted to raise the roof with shouts of "oiso".Posted by Picasa

As if it came from a different continent, the architecture of the Russian Orthodox church really stood out in Ochanomizu. It was closed, so we couldn't raid if for lead and gold. Next time I promise! Posted by Picasa

We were meeting Yuko and Eugene's friends and we ate opposite this yaki-niku place which was under the railway arches (our place didn't look so interesting). We had stray cats running between our legs, the shinkansen running on top of the arches, and booze-a-plenty running through our veins. Which explains how we ended up in karaoke again. And possibly also explains how, after karaoke and on the metro back to Yotsuya, I was dancing up and down the carriage in the most obnoxious of fashions singing the choruses (chorum? Chorii? What?) of old Japanese pop songs (TRF we love you!) and trying to get a response from the staid Japanese on their way home. Posted by Picasa

Saturday was a fairly quiet day. I met Jaco and Junko in Ikebukuro for the first real buffet meal I've had in Japan (and ooh, it were gorgeous!). Afterwards we headed back to Jaco's place and on the way I began to understand why the Japanese have to be small and slim... Posted by Picasa

Sunday was the final day of the break, but as my bus wasn't until 9:15pm I had plenty of time. So as the rain cancelled the planned picnic we all went to a restaurant near Shinjuku-gyoen (Shinjuku park) to meet Yuko's friends and eat. After which we wandered the shops and Yuko and Eugene took me to all the best places, specifically the fancy tea shop with all kinds of posh fragrant teas and the chocolate shop in Isetan. Now Isetan is the most expensive department store in Shinjuku and has a chocolate shop to match. It is chilled- a low temperature is permanently maintained. One half of it is a cafe which only admits a limited number of people so as not to raise the temperature and damage the quality of the chocolate. The other half is the shop with retardedly expensive chocs. Which I, of course, had to buy. So favouring the dark chocolate I spent over 1000yen on 100grams of chocolate. Oh dear. And as they wrapped it they put in a little ice pack to keep the chocolate from melting, and I had a two hour countdown to either a) get it in the fridge or b) eat it. Guess which one I chose? You've guessed it. 20 minutes later we're in Starbucks noshing on posh choc and believe me you could tell the difference in the texture and the taste. When I become a squillionaire I shall reinstate Brown Food Friday and will eat only posh choc. Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 12, 2006

Silence isn't Golden...

but last week was. It was Golden week here in Japan and it saw people doing a variety of things. Some people decided to give something back (Nickname Pending went to build houses for orphans in Cambodia, Ashley and Neil did a cycling marathon for charity), some people went back to the land (Adam worked at an organic farm for a week) and others went to the Japanese outback (Bob, Amy and Herb went camping in Shikoku). And me? Oh dear. I went back to the shops.

Having taken the nightbus on Monday night, I arrived in Tokyo on Tuesday morning looking worn-in but slightly startled. I was staying with Eugene and Yuko but for the first two days they weren't going to be there, so I had opportunity for carefree wandering. And despite the weather being not up to much I still managed to wander round the streets for 6 hours (half an hour of it being lost around Shinjuku station). The flower above, another example of a prettier-than-sakura flower, was in Hibiya Park near the Imperial Palace. I then took on Ginza and bought myself a rather expensive toy (because I'm worth it). The evening was spent in a gay bar dancing to dodgy pop music (including the legend "I wanna kiss kiss Jesus bidy and soul") and fending off an over-enthusiatic Vietnamese with the words, "rape, much!" Posted by Picasa

People say the city is limiting and there are no options for outdoor activities. Poppycock! Asides from hours worth of walking you can always go rowing by the expressway... Posted by Picasa

Ooh, look at me getting busy with photoshop... These rather splendid gates are from the other palace- presumably the holiday residence just 20 minutes walk away in Akasaka. And look at the artistic/ autistic (you decide) view through the gate. None of it looks Japanese to me... Posted by Picasa

After another marathon of walking that took in Akasaka/ Roppongi/ Yotsuya and Shinjuku I headed north to Ikebukuro for dinner with Jaco, Junko and her sister Nao-chan (there are more than a couple of Nao-chans in Japan...) and where did we end up? Where else but karaoke. Cover your ears- there's a Mariah Carey revival going on. Oh hang on, it's me that's screeching. Again. Posted by Picasa

This is an example of why I love cities. There are more trains between 8 and 9am here than there are in a day where I live. But then again where I live people respond with a smile and a friendly "Ohayou gozaimasu!" when you greet them in the morning rather a suspicious stare. It's different strokes I guess, but not in a "What'chu talking about Willis?" way. Posted by Picasa

Thursday was another busy day with no particular agenda and as if in honour of this my brain turned to jelly. I didn't want proof of this particularly, but when I met Kay and Charlotte (2 friends visiting from England) we went to a cafe for a chat and I found myself unable to read the katakana on the menu- "shumaashi? What the hell's a shmaashi? ... Oh. It says shumooshi. Smoothie" Given that yesterday I had a conversation with the school caretaker lady about blood types and explained that my parents' blood types didn't match and I had to have a total blood change, all in Japanese, my mind boggles as to why last week I couldn't read the menu. Perhaps it was because of delayed shock from the "rape, much" incident.

Anyway, in an attempt to overcome the shock I met Jaco, Junko and some of their Japanese friends at a famous and rather funky yaki-nikku place in Kichijouji before heading off into the night for another walking marathon. The picture holds a clue as to what I wanted to see. yes, you've guessed it, the Russian Embassy... Posted by Picasa