So after 2 years of studying Japanese I've finally gotten to go on my year abroad for college, and I'm studying in Tokyo.
I've finally started attending classes in University, so a blog should fill the necessary desire for procrastination. I'm only here a little over 3 weeks, but what a place this is.
The majority of Japanese people I've met are extremely polite and kind, if a little indirect. Once you become friends with them though, they tend to be loose and not at all different from my friends back home, well maybe their alcohol tolerance is a little lower.
Speaking of alcohol, in Japan you can avail of "all you can drink" deals. This begin at about 10 euro for two hours straight of drinking. If this was offered in Ireland, it would send our already ruined economy into further turmoil. But it works here, as Japanese people typically tend to order 3 or so drinks in that time. It doesn't however stop us gaijin ordering 20 or more glasses of Japanese plum wine! It seems all the better to go to an all you can drink in a seedy place like Shinjuku and witness this:
And not much further away, the real life counterpart of Yakuza's fiction town, Kabukichou:
I didn't bring a guitar with me to Japan, and I had been lost without it. But fortunately a Japanese friend brought me to Ochanomizu (which is essentially and musician's heaven, considering it's packed to the brim with all kinds of music store) and I managed to pick up a cheap 80's Japanese Strat. I've arranged some jamming already too, so hopefully I'll get to play a few gigs and see the Tokyo music scene.
Unfortunately I have yet to properly visit Akihabara. I'm not the biggest Anime or Manga fan so it's not much of a priority for me. But I have been trying to get into more manga over here but starting FMA and Bleach. My Japanese reading speed is frustratingly slow, so I get tired after a few pages and throw them down. But I'll stick at it!
Anyway, that's it for now. Hopefully I'll get to write more next time. I saw a traditional Kabuki play yesterday so I might give that it's own blog if anyone is interested.
Oh and there's an insanely high number of beautiful women here.
Just over a week ago I recorded this little ditty to try capture that end of summer nostalgia, that feeling of impending closure to (what should have been) a memorable season. Nah, I didn't think that much into it. I just wrote it and made all of that tripe up afterwards.
I know the first arpeggio sounds a little too like Californication, but the rest is different. Around 2:54 I killed the drums a little too suddenly and I would've liked to record proper melodies but when it came to the lead stuff, I was so sick of the song that I just improvised it. I'm happy with the chord progressions though. If anyone has any feedback, it would be greatly appreciated.
Right, so since I got a recording system for Christmas I am able to start recording my ideas. And since there's quite a few musicians and people who appreciate music around here I thought I'd ask for some advice, comments, ect.
Here's one I made recently:
I know the lead guitar is out of rhythm at times and the drum machines goes a bit weird at the end, but any other advice?
Right, so I started a blog on Blogspot. My first blog is kind of a review of Final Fantasy VII, so if any of your are interested you can check it out or even follow!
So last Wednesday I was sitting in a linguistics exam. I had finished early but I could see others panic stricken, desperately trying to finished the wretched beast of a test. The tension was almost unbearable, but then, out of nowhere, I think "Your face, your ass, what's the difference?". I was suddenly inundated with Duke Nukem quotes. I smiled with nostalgic delight (which may have been confused by some as smugness, given the situation).
I had the urge to replay some old Duke goodness. With my recent purchase of a laptop I thought I'd load my emulators on to it, accompanied by a plethora of ROMs (fear not Superlink, it's legal as I own them on cartridge). Duke Nukem: Zero Hour, now there's a game that stuck out. I hadn't played it since the early 2000's. I used to adore that game, but it may not have aged well. I can barely play most N64 games now, especially shooters, but nostalgia called and I had to load the ROM.
So now it was time to kick ass and chew bubble gum, and I was all out of gum. I was instantly enticed by the game. The music from the title screen on is amazing. There's remixes of old tunes and some new ones too. The one liners were still fresh in my ears, "It ain't no bike but it sure beats the hell out of walking". The graphics are nice and crisp for a N64 game making use of the expansion pak. I've it connect to my 720p TV through HDMI and it looks good. The controls work nicely, although I altered them to work like a modern 2 analogue shooter.
But Duke Nukem is about the wit. And is this game funny. On the first level I was treated to a pun on Turok, "Bolok: Alien Hunter". The game, despite being gratuitously violent, is rather mild when it comes to language. On the old-west stage the developers blame Nintendo on this with a sign, "Dry Town: by order of Ted Nindo". Ahh Duke, you still make me laugh.
This game has certainly stood the test of time and is one of the most compelling games I've played in a long time. I urge you to play it, or "Eat shit and die!".
A few months back I directed my first ever film, a 4 minute short. I thought I'd share it and ask for any advice, questions, ect., from people (although here on the blog as I don't have a youtube account). Whoever uploaded it uploaded it in terrible quality and renamed it, it should be "The Tale of Genji".
Yeah, shocking news. I'll refrain from using puns relating to his work within this post.
It was on SkyNews too.
Right, so with the imminent exams I though I best get practising my compositions. As one part of my exam I'll have to write a composition that'll range from speech to magazine article or even a short story. The shirt story is misleading, we only have an hour and about 3-6 handwritten A4 pages for this section so a true short story would be impossible. I thought I practise the short story as I seldom pick it. With the talent on her I though I'd post it and look for some constructive criticism. I've read some great pieces on here before and really need to improve by June.
The Good, The Bad and The Dead
"Do ya remember the time we went to Hong Kong? We couldn't speak Cantonese but it was alright 'cause we could read the subtitles", reminisced a middle aged man in the passenger seat of a Ford Gran Torino. His innocent, almost childlike expressions clashed with the seriousness of his black suit. The red embroidery on the breast pocket read, "Coyote". His ruffled blonde hair covered most of the left side of his face, but his cheeky grin was still noticeable. "We were never in Hong Kong, you eejit! Have you not learned the difference between film and real life yet?" the driver was beginning to lose his composure. The sweat rolled from his chin down his neck as he desperately tugged at his tie. It was unusual for a man in his line of work, if you could call it that, to get so agitated so easily. He was wearing a similar suit to Coyote's, but his read "Van Cleef". A pedestrian actually mistook them for cast members of "Reservoir Dogs". With a quick glance at his watch he revved the Gran Torino. His frustration could be heard through the deep, unsettling rattle of the engine. All attempts at conversation were now drowned out.
John Callaghan sat in the centre of his not-so-modest sitting room, in his not-so-modest house. It rested at the epicentre of a modern suburb shrouded in dead silence. The only disturbance of peace was the funky soundtrack of "Dirty Harry" (it was his favourite film) and the strong odour of a lasagne lunch. He heard the rattle of a car, a distant movement, and it wasn't coming "Dirty Harry" either. He lowered the volume of the smart-mouthed cop, "You gotta ask yourself one questi…" His ears grew tentative as the hum intensified. His clammy hands began to stick to the leather arms of his chair. He'd been living this "way of life", if you could call it that, for the past seven years. Even at the arrival of friends he became anxious. He tried to dismiss the instance as simply a neighbour arriving home, but he could feel his stomach become easy. The car drew closer, growling through the estate. To John it sounded like the hellish drone of a Stuka dive bomber. As a sun beam reflected across John's left eye the noise came to a halt. He noticed the back-end of a car unknown to him. The brief silence was broken with the click of a car door and the rhythmic sound of shoes on pavement. As always, John feared the worst: death. He was torn by mixed emotions as he heard the footsteps grow closer. For the first time since his divorce he was glad his daughter remained in his ex-wife's custody. But that feeling was miniscule when juxtaposed with his paralysing paranoia.
The door exploded. It hit with such recoil the Van Cleef had to kick it again. Coyote took the lead. Bursting into the sitting room he whipped out a Thompson Machine Gun. "How the hell did he fit that in his jacket", he often puzzled Van Cleef.
It wasn't until Van Cleef entered that John looked up. The sweat now pouring from his brow, he made not attempt to peel his hands from the leather. He realised he was about to get his comeuppance.
Van Cleef glanced quickly around the room. He liked to get to know the people he'd be working with. One item in particular caught his attention. There was a picture of John and a young child resting in a modest black frame above the TV. Coyote interrupted Van Cleef's disgruntled stare, "We can kill him!" Van Cleef kept his strong gaze as he rotated his head towards Coyote, "And why not?" "What do you mean why not? He has a family! You're not just killing a man, but destroying a part of his daughter's life. Would you really commit such a despicable crime?" Coyote's empathy was enough for the two of them. Out of defence Van Cleef's voice rose in volume and harshness, "Who are you to lecture me on morals? Not much longer than 2 weeks ago you massacred an orphanage!" "In all fairness…", began Coyote in a tone of innocent indifference, "It's not like they had a family that cared about them. Besides, you lead all of my missions." Van Cleef efficiently ignored Coyote, "We don't have much time!"
Van Cleef turned to John. The wrinkles around the edges of his eyes grew more prominent. His brow furrowed. "It's not like in the cinema, ehh? Look at you, you're trembling! How pathetic for a man of your stature? Your fear has rendered you incapable of forming some smart-ass remark or threatening retribution of some sort". Van Cleef managed a quick laugh through his sadistic grin, "And stop staring at me as if I have two heads!" Van Cleef withdrew a .44 Magnum from his breast pocket, the most powerful handgun in the world, and blew John's head clean off. I guess it wasn't his lucky day. Coyote's glace of utter disappointment sent a sent a cold shock down Van Cleef's spine. He'd have to try harder to distance himself from his conscience.
That day, John Callaghan was murdered callously in his own home. It was deemed tragic by some. For others, it was a godsend. But one thing was certain; John left the world in a confused state of mind. He was bemused as to why the lone gunman was muttering to himself.
I'm writing my first ever blog! I've seen it as an opportunity for what I like to call "constructive procrastination". I'm to avoid homework whilst practising my English composition skills.
What do you call a film? A movie? A picture? I hate all those words! They're too simple, to plain. Yet seeing as we use them so often we seems to never spare a thought as to their origins. They all mean the exact same thing but come from different cultural backgrounds.
Personally, I use "film" the most. It simply refers to the medium a "film" is recorded on. It doesn't sound as cool as, say, "photograph", but it serves its purpose. Its the most common word in Anglophonic countries, I think.
"Movie" is one word I find particularly annoying. It seems a bit stupid. It basically notes how the picture on the film "move". I hate hearing my niece, self-raised in American tripe, ask "Are we going to see a movie?". No! You're going to see a FILM, damn it!
I don't know if "picture" is used much outside of Ireland. Even I often refer to the cinema as the "pictures". (The Irish word for "cinema" is "an pictúrlann") But I never call a film a picture! 'Cause there's more than one!
I would use "cinema" to denote "films" too if it didn't sound so preposterously pretentious. The problem is it must be pre-fixed. And the phrase "piece of cinema" often comes across as being pathetically pompous. You expect to hear the Art House types using it whilst brooding over a finely brewed coffee and dismissing all high budget films. Don't get me wrong, Art House showings are usually great. I wouldn't get to see half the films I'd want to if it wasn't for them, but most of their following are conceited bigots who refute any Hollywood or large budget film!
I bet I lost most people after the first paragraph. This is so boring but I have to voice these things that bother me, no matter how minute!