The first band I was ever in played one gig. I was the singer. The previous facts are connected.
Thursday, 23 May 2013
Monday, 20 May 2013
I wrote that I couldn't use my iPod Touch in Linux in my last post.
Here's how I solved it.
1. Install OPlayer Lite on iPod.
2. Connect iPod to computer.
3. Open iPod Documents/OPlayer/Documents
4. Drag and drop files from home/music
5. Files now playable on iPod.
Thanks to this wiki.
Friday, 17 May 2013
I had the joyous experience last month of sitting in the emergency service of the hospital with a feverish toddler. Surprisingly for a Friday night there were no drunks or anything, though I suppose this is to do with it being in suburban Kawasaki.
Thursday, 2 May 2013
Books Read: E.M. Forster - Howard's End
Kazuki Kaneshiro - GO (Japanese)
Manga read: None
Books finished: None
A bit of a crap month for reading anything remotely long. I did read a lot of websites about programming and stuff about teaching English. I also had a few days where I was just completely exhausted and getting to work was a feat in itself.
I am really enjoying both of the books I am reading. Howard's End is a delight, a treasure trove of quotes, and almost the literary forefather to my favourite Saint Etienne album So Tough. It's about London, class, aesthetics, and I could keep raving about it. Even when I disagree with the opinions written within it, I love it.
GO by Kazuki Kaneshiro was on a bookshop table to celebrate the then upcoming new book by Haruki Murakami. It was a table full of authors who inspired and who were inspired by Murakami. GO tells the story of Korean-national boy who changes his official nationality, and thereafter his social structures, from North to South Korean resident in Japan. It is a Bildungsroman and quotes rock classics. It seems like it was written especially for me. Also, it's a lot easier to read than Murakami: there are fewer unusual (or unusual to me) kanji and idioms.
I should hopefully finish both books this month and get two comics done to make up for being slack.
Sunday, 21 April 2013
I think that I have made it plain before that I am not exactly a raving gourmet. I cannot cook very well and find it stressful whenever I try it. However, this year's New Year's Resolution is to learn how to cook. This is for practical reasons:
- Were Princess Prettygood to be incapacitated or whatnot it means that I'd be able to feed the Heir Apparent on more than a handful of biscuits and the fluff off the rug.
- If I learned to cook, Princess Prettygood might not decide to incapacitate me on the occasions I leave wet shoes in the hall, break stuff or otherwise create a trail of devastation in my wake.
So I started reading more recipes and food blogs and such. Which brings me onto the bloody annoyances:
- Ridiculous words instead of plain English
- The term Food Porn
I don't know when it happened but it seems that chocolate stopped being made with cocoa beans and instead uses a strange material called Cacao, which seems to cost twice as much. Either that, or people are just being pretentious, in much the same way that a party becomes a soirée, or a plan to meet becomes a rendezvous. I think if you call cocoa cacao, you ought to call chocolate chocolata.
I think it's time for people to stop using umami as well. I'm all for a love of the Japanese language, but not in English when there is a perfectly decent word available in taste.
To me, food porn means pornography with food in it. It doesn't mean pictures of your dinner. The only way I'm going to be rendered stiff by so-called food porn is by being bored.
If you call it food porn because it leaves you feeling shifty and with a gnawing despair that part of your soul has died, however, then be my guest.
Tuesday, 2 April 2013
Proper Books Read: Adharanand Finn - Running With The Kenyans
E.M. Forster - Howards End
Proper Books Finished: Adharanand Finn - Running With The Kenyans
Manga Read: Kyoko Okazaki - Rock
Naoki Urasawa - 20th Century Boys Volume 3
Manga Finished: Kyoko Okazaki - Rock
Naoki Urasawa - 20th Century Boys Volume 3
I couldn't have read more eclectically this month, considering the amount of music journalism I read in Japanese on the Flipboard app on my phone and other essays here and there.
But I imposed the manga on myself this year so I should write about it.
Rock is mainly great. It has a lot to say about domestic roles and the motivations people have about work and relationships. It is sort of homophobic in that the gay people in the book are portrayed negatively or as silly, though the straight characters are portrayed as outright stupid, lazy or feckless. It's about a model who hates being a model but is forced back to work when her husband's business is sent bankrupt by her scheming lesbian agent/guardian figure. The story is fantastic for about 90% of the book, sort of like a more real-life Tank Girl, but it has a ludicrous ending.
I read volumes 1 and 2 of 20th Century Boys ages ago and enjoyed them. Now the action is ramping up a good bit and is drawing me in with more and more questions about not only the main characters but the minor supporting ones as well. The story centres on a group of 30-somethings in the 1990s who have to stop an apocalyptic cult who are seeking to enslave the world according to a plan dreamed up by the good guys when they were kids. It features major social issues like religious cults, homelessness, life-work balance and so on but it is not contrived even in spite of coming in the middle of an apocalyptic sci-fi comic. It's great and I hope to read more.
Running With The Kenyans inspired me to run more after a snowy, busy February and for that alone it was worth reading. It is also quite philosophical in that there's a lot of ruminating. Finn seems to be aware that his book could have fallen into the trap of becoming a hackneyed story about a white guy travelling to Africa to learn the Kenyan 'secrets' or having noble savages telling him their wisdom but much of it is him running with Kenyans he meets in Iten, the Kenyan capital of running, and realising that even if he ran barefoot and ate ugali, a Kenyan cornmeal food, he still needs to put in the practice and have the motivation to reach his goals. It reminded me of Robert Twigger's Angry White Pyjamas due to the shift in environment and the determination to do well. Recommended for anybody who likes running. It's up my street. I like books about ordinary blokes in unusual settings. If you like that kind of thing, you should read it too.
Sunday, 10 March 2013
Friday, 1 March 2013
Proper books read: Naomi Klein - The Shock Doctrine
Bits of various Japanese poetry ebooks
Manga read: Kyoko Okazaki - Rock: A Club Kids Story (not completed)
Not being practical, I underestimated just how busy I would be in February. I had a lot of time away from work but not many days off work and lots of materials to edit and prepare.
The Shock Doctrine was one of the books I intended to read last year but didn't. If I were to compare it to anything, I suppose I would have to say it does for politics and economics what Rachel Carson's Silent Spring did for the pesticide industry.
The crux of it is that everyone in power is corrupt and seeks profit and that the World Bank and International Monetary Fund are wolves in sheep's clothing. Not really a surprise, but what is surprising is that natural disasters, terror attacks and wars are market leverage opportunities for some of the world's largest corporations and conglomerates.
It is a depressing read until one gets to the concluding chapter which suggests that grassroots movements have the power to take their destiny into their own hands.
Conversely, Rock, so far veers between light and dark and from juvenile to adult. I'll write more about it next month.
The poetry books were a bit tough and not quite what I was looking for but I am still searching for some Japanese poetry that interests me.
Sunday, 3 February 2013
This is really just a note to myself so I can find it later.
Shin Okubo station. Cross street. Take the side street next to Matsumoto Kiyoshi drugstore and on that street there are two halal food shops.
Wednesday, 30 January 2013
Comic books intended: Not Simple by Natsume Ono
Comic books read: Not Simple by Natsume Ono
Comic books finished: Not Simple by Natsume Ono
'Proper' books read: The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
The Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant
1973 Nen no Pinball by Haruki Murakami
'Proper' books finished: The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
The New Year started with almost no reading time, what with children waking at hours even unnatural to me and also my poor attempts at learning to cook this year.
However, I did manage to get through Not Simple by Natsume Ono with nary a pause. The story flowed well and was full of intrigue.
Unusually for a Japanese comic, the story is set mainly in Australia and America and follows the life of Ian, a boy with a troubled past. You know the outcome of the story from the prologue and the book reels you in with the progress of how Ian came to be so ill-fated. If you can find it, and can read it, you should.
The Name of the Rose has been an obsession for me this past week and I feel a bit daft because I had avoided it due to its pretentious reputation. It is a historical whodunnit with semiological references and tons of Latin incantations in the dialogue. That said, it is gripping and is less psychological than it is philosophical. I only read it because it was a bestseller in the 1980s and I needed it as background research into a novel I am working on.
The Kant is something I decided to read due to its influence on Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It's going well but it is both dry and long.
Next month I think I'll be writing about Rock by Kyoko Okazaki but I am prone to changing my mind.