Monday, March 31

New Kicks

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I really like the signage of the Tokyo Metro. It is there for viewing everyday, and I can't say I notice it all the time. But, when I do, I am always impressed with it. It is always the simple things that get messed up. But, luckily not in this case.

insole - air max tech pack 2
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I finally got some new shoes. It seems like forever, but really only about 2 months. Still a long time considering how much I look at, think about, and shop for sneakers. I had been seeing these online and heard that they would be at less spots than the usually Tier 0 releases. Which means its like, Tier -1???

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They are called the, get ready for this...its a long one; Supreme Spider Tech Pack II Air Max One. Say that ten times fast. If you remember I bought an Air Max 90 from the original Tech Pack. They treated me alright, so when I saw these in a nice mix of materials and colors, I set my sites on them.

heel view
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I had been on the hunt for them for about 3 weeks. These and the "Zhu" Nike Air Max 1. But since I couldn't find them, and I am unsure I want to be supporting China at the moment with all the monk bashing, I decided to get the Tech Pack ones instead.

Air Max tech pack
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I love the gum soles. A nice nod to the classic Air Maxes combined with all the newer materials. The subtle safari print on the mud guard is also quite nice. And to top it all off I have loads of t-shirts I can wear with it! I love a happy ending.

Hanami 2008

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Well's that time again: Hanami! (Cherry blossom viewing season) This year was it raining a bit on Sunday, but don't think that stopped people from going out.

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I went to 2 different parks. There were lots of people at both. It never ceases to amaze me how the Japanese love their cherry blossoms. I always get caught up in the celebration.

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If anyone wants more pics of flowers let me know. I get many more.

Until next time.

Thursday, March 20

Man in Tokyo's March Read-a-thon

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I love this guys frown. He is so sick of telling people that no, you can't go this way. "Go around the other way...I mean, how many times do I have to tell you idiots." If you look closely, all of that is clearly stated in his frown. It is if you ask me.

Comment Questions Answered:

This is my current favorite Santogold track. It's "You'll Find A Way", the Switch & Graeme Sinden Remix. It is super. And according to my research the album is hitting stores on April 22. Info via Amazon.

The other question is related to the picture of the stone sculpture I posted last week. It came from a famous temple in Asakusa.

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This kind of shows what the area looks like. I went there a few years ago. It is one of the places that you HAVE to go to as a tourist. I resisted for a long time, but I did finally go. I wonder why I hate touristy places with such vengeance. I really hope to get over this personality foible at some point.

Now that those are out of the way, we can get on with the show. So, I have been reading a lot lately. It is the best way for me to deal with stress of my current project. I used to play video games to take my mind off of the worries, but that produced too much guilt. With books I can at least convince myself I am doing something educational to pass my time.

dont love me
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I picked this promotional copy at second hand bookstore. A nice find for sure. I have a high expectation for Jonathan Lethem's books. Sadly, as good as "You Don't Love Me Yet" is, it did not hit me like his other books have. Still well worth the time I put into it and it did get better and better the more I read. I think I like what he has to say about friendship and relationships in general more than specifically love in the modern world. The comedy of the novel did work well. And his thoughts about copyright and ownership were very interesting as well.

It is clear that Mr. Lethem practices what he preaches because he is giving aways the rights to his story to a lucky film maker. Giving away as in for free. Read all about it HERE. Very cool stuff and ground-breaking too.

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Hari Kunzru is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. He is consistently readable and he was able to make a context (Early 20th Century in India, England, and Africa) interesting and compelling. The ending of "The Impressionist" may not have made me happy, but it was a very interesting work about identity. Specifically the struggle between who you are and who you desire to be. He also wrote a fantastic short story about our relationship with product placement...if taken once step further. Read is HERE.
[via Murketing]

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Let's take a break from all this highfalutin modern literature and get down into the gutter with my man Vachss. I have been on a mission to posses all of his books, and I am getting closer and closer. They are actually kind of hard to find in stores. Therefore, when I visit the US I made a monster order from Amazon and got these 3 older books. All 3 were great. All 3 were dark. All 3 were filled with his particular style of hard-boiled story telling. As always, I recommend anyone to read these books. One word of warning, "Blue Belle" had tons of sex in it. Trying to read on the train became quite a problem. Other than was golden all the way! Oh, and just in case you have not been properly introduced, this is Andrew Vachss.

vachss shot
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Yeah, that is a leather eye-patch. I dare you to ask him about it. I will wait in the other room. Good luck with that. [image via The ZERO]

what is the what
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What a book this was! Holy Crap! So depressing. It took a lot of effort to get through it. My benchmarks of what constitutes a hard life have been stretched significantly. That is not to say the book Dave Eggers "What is the What" is a complete torture to read. I just think you should be prepared to be in a bad mood for a week or so.

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Both of these were superb. "The Road" was a stark and moving a book as I have ever read. It really created a world with through the a sparseness words and images. The world is almost more memorable than the characters. Which is the opposite for "No Country For Old Men". The context matter little, the people and their quirks were way more important. I am in a hurry to read Cormac McCarthy's other books. I have a feeling they will all be good, but all different in their style and techniques.

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William Gibson's last couple books have been amazing. And "Spook Country" is no different. Color me impressed! If you have been sleeping on his last books, wake up and start reading already.

This edition of the Man in Tokyo Read-a-thon is completed. Now it's time to eat up!

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In Japan today we had ourselves a national holiday. Hooray! Sadly it was gross outside. There have been all kinds of signs about the coming of spring, but today was all cold, dark, and rainy. Not the sunny warm Spring I wanted. Booo! My girl was in no mood to re-live any winter fun, so she camped out at home until dinner. We went to our local place and had some tasty dinner. Above was their new Tuna & Avocado dish. Not bad, but I preferred soy sauce to the tarter sauce they provided. But, as you can see...

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...we didn't have many complaints about the food. We ransacked the place. Man, I love me Japanese food. The beer ain't too shabby either.

And lastly today, Earlier in the day I ran out to Shinjuku to pick up a little something I have been contemplating for way to long.

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These are the SHURE SE210 Sound Isolating Earphones. They are worth the pretty penny I dropped on them. They will be getting a work out in the next couple weeks!


Monday, March 17

Kinmokusai & Videos Galore

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These pretty flowers are right outside my apt building. Each spring they are some of the first to blossom. As you can see they are quite beautiful...what you might not know is that they smell very sweet. It is a pleasant to depart and arrive home in the aroma of early spring. Sadly, it also signals the start of my allergies. So....its not all rainbows and happy clouds over here. Speaking of bright colors, enjoy this assault on your eyes.

This is the Crookers remix of ADAM SKY&MARK STEWART hit of last year "We are all Prostitutes". The video looks likes like the song sounds; all random bleeps and weird sounds. The change-up at around 1:45-2:00 is particularly great. After kind of just cycles around and around. [via Discobelle] (WARNING: Slightly disturbing images of some oil like substance coming out of his mouth near the end.)

So I found this video on Discobelle the other day: Huoratron's track "$$ Troopers". And, not for nothing, it's one of the hardest banging beats I have heard in a long while. The breakdown around 1:15 is what dreams are made of. All sharp, fast, and damaging. As I listened all I could think about was the 8-bit, Atari style sounds. So I did a little research and I found out Huoratron makes his beats on two Gameboys.

"Huoratron's key instruments are two hand-held Nintendo Gameboy consoles. The consoles are modified so that they can create more distorted, rough sounds and heavy bass - not the usual feature of Nintendo Gameboys. Using these nearly obsolete pieces of 80's gaming technology, and turning them into full-fledged electronic music composing tools, is the main ingredient behind Huoratron's unique raw sound." [source]

Don't believe me? Check out this other video of him doing a live event.

He is a from Helsinki. This does not surprise me at all. I don't see someone from Vermont doing this stuff. No offence. Oh...and of course he is not only a music maker, he is also an artist. Of course he is. Why are you surprised?

Let's take a break from all this crazy, epileptic inducing nonsense. (WARNING: Simulated scenes of violence, fear, and bleeding. Simulated being the key word here!)

Now some people thought the video for Santogold's "L.E.S. Artistes" is disturbing. And I can't completely disagree, but at the same time, the artistic merit trumps the slight shocking nature of the video. Especially when you consider that they reveal all the tricks of shots. The paint balls, the watermelon, etc. And have I mentioned how ridiculously beautiful this song is. Her voice crackles and spikes it's way through to a powerful chorus. I can't wait till her album drops, I have not heard one bad song from her yet.

And lastly I bring this monster of a track.

Again this comes from the hard working people at Discobelle. This is Buraka Som Sistema's track entitled "Sound of Kuduro" If you didn't know, Kuduro is a style of dance/hip hop music from Angola. It is hardcore, if you ask me. This video features M.I.A. among other big names in the scene. More importantly it shows some of the craziest dancing you will ever see. And by the looks of things, people in Angola just dance their asses anytime there is a video cramera in the place. The little kids get in on the game too. Too good not to post.

Later y'all

Sunday, March 16

Beef & Changes Afoot

I took this picture ages ago. I always had a soft spot for it. I love the impossibility of it, but of course, it is possible. (My skills with Photoshop are not this good.) Maybe you like the pic, maybe not. But no matter what your opinion regarding the photographic merits of the previous picture, I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone who could disagree with this...

I mean...come and yakiniku! Who doesn't want to get down with that? If you don't, maybe we can't be friends. My girl & I had a reason to celebrate last weekend so we went to:

It has to be one of our favorite place to eat cow. We went there for an early dinner on Sunday and had the whole place to ourselves. And let me tell you boy....was it tasty. By pure chance, while we were eating, we got news that my girl's mom was sending us some steak from Osaka. Crazy beef celebrations! We got it on Tuesday and cooked that sh*t up!

And it was mouth-wateringly good. Like caramel; you want to have it kind of melt in your and linger in your mouth. The pic above was just one cut off that hunk of beef. I think there are about 7 more cuts of the same size. We will be eating like a Texan for quite a while over here in Tokyo. And just to finish out this beef extravaganza, we had some nice burgers today.

avacado burger
That one was my girl's avocado burger. I had me this mammoth thing.

Yes, that that little tiny green thing fighting for it's life against the never ending sprawl of beef, cheese, and grease is asparagus. It was a pleasant little addition to the monster burger. We ate at the outdoor cafe on the 3rd floor of the Journal-Standard shop in Shinjuku. It was a great day and a great burger. I was a bit stuffed after though. I need to get my exercise on.

Lastly, this friendly looking guy will serve as a announcement that things are changing over here. I want to post more often, and I want to do it a little bit at a time. So, instead of a monster post once a week (or once every six months) I want to give you little tidbits more often. We shall see how it goes.


Saturday, March 1

Hello again, remember me?

Rather than waste time apologizing and explaining why I have been away for so long, I will simply say this: I traveled some and I have been working on a project that is taking all my free time. And no, the project is not finished yet, but I couldn't let 6 months go by without some blog love. So, let's just move into the goodness that I may or may not be able to still bring into your lives. I will start with an event round up.

My arty picture to start us off was taken in the air over Alaska. I took it coming back from America after a great stay with my family over Thanksgiving. In my many trips back and forth from Japan to the US, I had never seen it so clear, sunny, and beautiful. I took a bunch of pics, enjoy them HERE. Moving on the next event in my event re-cap.

While I was away, I went to the Tokyo Motor Show. It was a blast. Oh and by the way...I like wheel porn. The wheel above is from the newest RS6 from Audi. My dream car, no two ways about it. The wheel below is from one of the many striking Mazada concepts that were shown. Innovative touch to add the color drops onto the rims. It must look interesting when on the move. Although...only from the one angle.

I took many pics of wheels. I like wheels. I like so much that I squatted down to take the pics every time. I hate to squat. It's not that I am old. I just really hate squatting. It may by my most hated position. It's one of the reasons I hate gardening. See, my Dad really loved gardening. And I loved my Dad. I loved to follow his A.D.D. having ass all over the place. From doing this little thing to that other thing he had been meaning to do. But the one thing I could NOT get down with was squatting. (Did you see what I did just then?) He would always lose me when he went to the garden. Cause the last time I checked...all the plants on God's green earth are all low down on the ground. With that family story out of the way. Feel free to check the gallery of wheels at the Tokyo Motor Show HERE.

Oh...I got full pictures to. I won't go through them all, but some are too good to not share. To start us off, we have the future of dump trucks according to Mitsubishi. I like how the future looks!

Lexus coupe
Next we have the half flowing lines and half sharp lines of the Toyota coupe FT-HS. And if you ask me, you can't call a car this interesting looking FT-HS. No matter if it's hybrid or not.

Ferrari 430
Not every car was looking so far into the future. This car is in the here and now and I love it. The color is an interesting choice. On a scale of 1 to 10; 10 being the best color/car match ever, I think this color is only so-so. I think there is a law somewhere that all Ferrari have to be red. I think its ok to break that law sometimes, but not with this specific pearly blue option.

Suzuki X-head
And lastly we have the Suzuki X-Head concept. I am not the biggest truck fan ever, but I like this one. Clever side panels and well proportioned overall. Oh, and if you wait for the turntable to spin a get...wait for it...

x-head girl2
...the Booth Model! They were everywhere. And this one was dressed modestly compared with most. I was expecting this part of the show, but I was still surprised. Even more surprising was the number of guys at the show for only the girls, not the cars. Don't get me wrong, I like girls better than cars, but have these guys never heard of the internet??? It was strange and a little disconcerting. I empathize too I was feeling the uncomfortableness of the women and the shame the guys SHOULD have been feeling for such obvious ogling and fantasizing. On that note! Click HERE to see the whole gallery of my pics for the motor show. And next on our event round-up is a family affair.

Silent Drive01
That there is my brother singing his heart out with his band Silent Drive. They came to Japan on a very short tour (2 shows!) and I was lucky enough to be able to go to one of them. Again, I took way too many pics and I will share only some of them.

silent drive02
I am not sure if this was my brother wiping the sweat of his brow or getting into the "heys" and "hos" of the crowd. I guess it's up the the individual reader to decide. The crowd was interesting. They were totally into every song. If they knew the words...they were singing along. But, during any break in the music they went as quiet as an nerd in a library. But...they did get there crazy on too.

FC five
This was the band FC Five. They were super. They might have been the crowd favorites even though they played early during the days line up. Oh...did I forget to tell you that it was an all day event? It was the "Pump Up the Volume Fest 2008" and it was in Kawasaki, Japan. It was good fun and the headline band was Bane.

It was the first time I had heard them play and they were pretty good. I prefer the more melodic stylings of Silent Drive, but the pure crunchiness and hardness is impressive. The crowd was certainly into them with nothing held back. And now...for my favorite pic of the night.

That there is my brother getting his grin on while avoiding the pig pile on the singer. It got straight up chaotic at the end. Good fun and a great day. For all 100 of my pics, click HERE. I think that is all for the events that have happened. Now let' get to the shoes. I have three to cover.

new balance japanese flag
NO!!! I don't have any big news to announce. It is only that I loved these runners from New Balance JAPAN so much that I had to buy them, even if it is years to early. They were from a pack that was celebrating flags. This is the Japanese flag version just in case you missed it. And yes, the "N" is 3M reflective goodness. All this cuteness for the basement bargain price of ¥3000 ($27). It was too much to pass up. My kid will wear these someday, no matter if its a boy or a girl.

camo morie
Here is a pair I picked up the day after I arrived back in the US. I found these Nike+ Digital Camo Moire's at the Nike Outlet near my house. I paid $40 (¥4400) which I think is a steal. I had been trying to pick up a pair of Moire's since they came out. I heard they were comfortable and, oh mama, are they ever! I wore them for the 2 weeks I was staying in the US and I was happy to do so. (Even though I had to break my self-imposed rule of never wearing the same pair 2 days in a row. Sacrifices have to be made while

nike tongue
I was all ready to drop some serious coin on some shoes while staying in the Boston area. My sister and I even scheduled a whole day around hitting all the spots in Boston area. But on that day, the sneaker-god was not with me, and I could not find anything I liked. But that is the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. On the day before I left, I was finally able to find something I liked at Foot Locker.

air max light back
It's a pair of Nike Air Max Light's. I have seen other colorways I like better, but I like this darker mix with hits of red. And the price was low enough to make it possible. A low low price of $60 (¥6500). They are not special releases, but that doesn't make me like them any less.

air max light side
And there you have it. The Air Max Light is non-existent in Japan. Since they started re-releasing them I have been wanting to get a pair...and now I have one. If you want to know more about the shoes, Sneaker Freaker has a great little article about them.


#1. First off we have the video for the infections track "Beeber" by The Count & Sinden featuring Kid Sister. It is not new by any means...but it is fun and catchy, just like a dance track should be.

[Via Catchdubs]

#2. This is another track that has been making the rounds in various mixes. It is T2's track "Heartbroken" featuring Jodie. This bassline sh*t is going to be the end of me. It is so good. This song gets stuck in my head at least once a week, so fair warning.

#3. And lastly, let's move into the mainstream a bit with a new track from Missy. It is her here is a remix of her newest track "Ching-a-ling" featuring Ciara and Jay Z. The video is nothing but the track is exceptional.

And that folks is all I have for you this post. It is my hope to do this more regularly again. But it may not happen that way. Let's hope it does!