Monday, November 30, 2009

not in my japanese backyard

the scene in ginowan city, okinawa, on november 8, 2009.

from japan press-weekly:
Over 21,000 people in Okinawa protested on Sunday to demand the removal of the US bases from the prefecture, criticizing the plan to only relocate the Futenma US air base from its current location of Ginowan City to the Henoko district of Nago City, also in Okinawa.
during the protest, "dozens of armed u.s. troops on board rafts landed on the coast off the usmc camp schwab in the henoko district of nago city and deployed into the woods during an attack exercise. ashitomi hiroshi, head of the nago council against the construction of the u.s. on-sea heliport, said angrily, “is this their response to the determination of participants in the 11/8 rally? how arrogantly provocative they are!”

the convention center housing the disney on classic venue is the blue-green roofed building in the background, just right of center.

big in japan

ian simpson, part of this years disney on classic cast traveling japan for two months, time warps back to the 80's with a faux music video.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

big band japan

most japanese hotel rooms have a small, wooden console next to the bed (or in between the beds) with push button controls for the room lights, for lights underneath the console that serve as a night light, for a clock and alarm, for air conditioning levels, and then, in a slim row all to themselves, four or five buttons that each provide different types of music, playing from what sounds like my father's first hi-fi.

generally, one button is strictly news, reported in japanese. one is japanese pop music, maybe from the 80's. one is classical or easy listening. and in the hotel meitetsu in hamamamatsu, there's a button that plays only big band jazz music from the 30's and 40's. no commercials, no interruption.

as we were getting ready for bed tonight, listening to benny goodman, or artie shaw, or woody herman, rob said "this music makes me so happy. if you can find me this music, i'd be so happy."

and suddenly, this new york times article couldn't have been timed any better.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

quote of the day

"They recently made a porn movie about Sarah Palin, and the same adult actress – Lisa Anne – played me in a porn parody of '30 Rock.' And weirdly, of the three of us, Lisa Anne knows the most about foreign policy."
– tina fey


how many democrats touted as possible presidential / political candidates have their own shows on cnn or msnbc?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

from beginning to end

i've said it before on this blog: i just don't take the time anymore to listen to an album all the way through. what's even more rare is taking the time to listen to a new album all the way through...two times in a row.

Friday, November 6, 2009

not all good news out of ny-23

think the brewing republican civil war that bubbled to the surface in new york's 23 congressional district ended positively for democrats on tuesday? you'd be right on most counts.

except this one:
“(New York Senate) Republicans who might have been supportive (of Marriage Equality) in the past might have been spooked,” (Senate president pro tempore Malcolm) Smith said, by the recent battle over the 23rd Congressional District in upstate New York. The state’s Conservative Party pressured the Republican candidate, Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, a moderate, to withdraw, partly because she supports same-sex marriage.
new york governor david patterson is vowing to include gay marriage on the agenda of an extraordinary session he is calling for next tuesday.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

matsui, matsui, matsui!

new york and japan celebrating...about the same thing.


this is beginning to happen more and more frequently: i look at a sign in japan (so long as it's written in katakana - the japanese characters used for transcription of english words) and i can make out what it says fairly quickly.

i am to the point where nine times out of ten (okay, maybe eight) i can look at the word and decipher it. but today, as i was walking back to shinjuku from shibuya, i rounded a corner, saw:
and immediately thought of my friend tim booth. tim's been having some stiff neck trouble lately, not to mention some issues with a torn rotator cuff. it was the neck pain that made me think of him when i saw the sign.

it says, literally, ka-i-ro-pu-ra-coo-te-i-coo. chiropractic. it's not a word i've ever seen in japanese before, and it was a sudden, unexpected joy today – not to see the word and decipher it, but to see it and think immediately of telling my friend tim there is a chiropractor near our hotel.

it's the simple things.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

they say you shouldn't apologize...

...or start a blog post with "i know i haven't posted anything in a while," but i know i haven't.

there are many reasons, not the least of which is i've been distracted and busy – both in excellent ways. besides, i'm in japan and the most commonly used word is probably sumimasen ("i'm sorry.")

i'm lucky enough to get to spend another two months in what now seems like a second home, and my friend jen zappola – part of the disney on classic 2009 company – is keeping a charming blog called jen in japan. best of all, her videos have that "first timer's" view of this beautiful country and culture. jen constantly reminds me why i love it here so much.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

the men of d.o.c. - nagoya

this year's disney on classic tour of japan includes a group of five men who are featured in a series of photos taken in each city or venue the tour appears. (more photos here.)

(from left to right, tony clements, tim ewing, brian runbeck, ian simpson, & tim booth.)