Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fever Dream

Thursday, August 23rd, minutes before 9pm

Sydney from Sydney taps me on the shoulder and warns me about the barback. "He takes your drink from you before you're finished" he says. I thank him, but quietly make a note of where my drink is. I am drinking vegetable juice. Maybe there's Vodka in it, but you can't tell because veggie juice masks those things. I was wondering if I was drunk yet, and I see that barback walking in my direction. He has a stack of pint glasses about 6 feet tall in his hand. I become embarrassed to keep my drink because he has walked all the way over here with that giant stack. How heavy it must be, I thought, as he slipped the glass under the bottom of the stack. My juice fell to the floor. I began feeling hot and thirsty when Sydney from Sydney scares me from behind. "So Toby", he says in a hoarse voice, "you don't even notice El Diablo anymore, do ya?" I answered, "No."

Sometime between Saturday and Sunday

I'm making out with Nicolas Cage's second cousin at a wedding shower party for my dad. I can't keep my mind on the kiss because I'm wondering if this whole Nick Cage-second-cousin-thing is some kind of lie.

Last Night

I'm laying on a bench when I feel something fuzzy brush the back of the hand that's hanging just an inch from the ground. I open my eyes and I see a little monkey. I don't do anything. I'm not scared of it, so I don't get up, but I'm not impressed with it, so I don't try to grab it. I decide that it is a bit ugly and I hope it goes away. It doesn't. Instead, this monkey climbs onto my bench and lies on the curve of my back. I almost thought it was cute, but then I stuck to the initial judgment that it is ugly and I hope it goes away.

Night sweats are shit!
Earaches are shit!
Cough drops are shit!
Japanese over-the-counter pain relievers are shit!
Mitsuya Cider is shit!
Sensitive temples are shit!
Bacteria is shit!
TV Links is shit!
Throat spray is shit!
Celsius is shit!
People's blogs are shit!
Emergency rooms are shit!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Nihongo wo benkyo shimasho

JLPT Application deadline: September 11, 2007
JLPT Test Date: Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007

I've lived in Japan for a year now. I finished the Clair Language books, beginning level. I think that with 15 weeks of study time, perhaps I have a chance of passing the level 3 JLPT. This will be my new obsession over the next couple of months.

Level 4
727 vocabulary words
103 kanji
124 grammar points
21 expressions

I will spend 4 weeks studying this information.
Per week:
182 vocab
26 kanji
31 grammar points
5 expressions

Level 3
682 vocab words
181 kanji
118 grammar points
11 expressions

I will spend 10 weeks studying this information.
Per week:
70 vocab words
19 kanji
12 grammar points
2 expressions

Week 1 begins this Monday.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Rockin' that Big Ass Fuji Rock

July 27th, 28th, and 29th was FUJI ROCK....and it rockkkkked. The only other multiple music festival that I've seen before with camping is Coachella in California. But I'll have to say that once again, Japan has improved yet another of my favorite activities---summer-music-love-camping.

Fuji Rock is a bit of a misnomer, as it was held at the Naeba Ski Resort over in Niigata prefecture (which prefers to be called Jishin Central), and not by Fuji-san! Well, Niigata is on the north-west coast of Japan, so it wasn't really that far. A 45 min Shink ride to Tokyo, then another 1:15 hour ride to the camp site.

Here is my friend, Leonie and I, about to enter the festival for the first time. The weather was perfect, and by perfect, I mean a little too hot to where you can wrap your head in a cold-soaked towel and feel like it's just 75 degrees out. On Sunday, clouds came in and out, occasionally dropping some rain on us during some of the sets. I was fine because I had my good friend, Heineken, not too far away from me.

The Red Marquee the 3rd smallest stage where some of the smaller bands played. Here is the line-up for this stage.

We made some fuckin' noise.

This is Blonde Redhead. They played the songs I wanted to play, and I wanna buy the new album.

I must say, though, that my all time favorite show was The Cure.
They kicked ass! Robert Smith may be 50 whatever these days, but he's still got that same Robert Smith charm. Besides that, I've never seen them live before, so I'm used to the recordings they made 20 years ago....but they play so much better now than they used to, which made listening to Disintegration, Let's go to bed, Just like Heaven, The Forest, The Walk, Lovesong, Never Enough, Close to Me, HotHotHot, Pictures of you, Facination St., Lullaby, A night like this, so much better than I've ever heard them before. By the way, yes....they played all those songs. Amazing, I know.

I was in a trance that brought me back to feeling like a 16 year old angst-ster. It was truly my highlight.

The Chemical Brothers were also pretty fucking awesome. I like their new shit. I took a lil bits of video that i might put up later.

Some other honorable mentions are as follows:
Kaiser Chiefs were surprisingly good, and were very good with the crowd. Fun.

I also really enjoyed Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra.

Mika sucked ass.

Deerhoof was cute.

Electrelane were good musically, but not so good with the crowd. I wish they were more bad ass.

Iggy was fucked up, but that's why we love him. He reminded me of Ozzy if he took his FACE-OFF and replaced it with Skeletor. That's not saying that I don't respect the dude. His encore was a repeat of his 1st song which riled up the crowd--I wanna be your Dog. I like that song, so I didn't mind. He called a bunch of people up on the stage to dance around with him...then got a little paranoid when trying to get them back down.

The Beastie Boys were alright. I've seen them have better shows. Too short.

!!! was pretty good. I'd download their musik if only !!! was searchable on limewire:)

The Shins played the songs I wanted them to. But they didn't seem to be very good with the crowd either. But I guess that's how scensters are supposed to be. Too hip to be cool.

Joss Stone reminded me of Rachel. She kind of looked like her, and had that way of singing. Most of you don't know her, but there's nothing else i can compare it to.
I thought her back-up vocalists were much better singers than her, but old black ladies don't sell here in Japan, I suppose.

I bought a YoLeYoLe CD. Ya, they are soft and hippy. But she sings Japanese very clearly and slowly, to where I could actually understand parts of her songs. So it is hippy, maybe, but good Japanese practice. So shut up already, gosh!

On Saturday night, I went to see Space Cowboy and Simian Mobile Disco with Aine and Ross. They were good, we danced, and after the others went to sleep, I wandered around alone checking out the party people, waiting till 2:30am for Justice to play, which was introduced to me not long ago by Davey. They were good. I also saw a bit of Teenage Bad Girl, but soon got too tired, especially knowing that the campsite is a 20 min. walk away uphill.

I was sad to have missed Juliette Lewis' band. But Ross said that she didn't get naked onstage like she usually does, so there you go.

Even though i didn't make Groove Armada, I did have that "shakin' that ass" song in my head during their set.

I called this the sausage lolly. The things these people do with sausages.

This is dinosaur thigh. But seriously, how do they get the meat peices that big?

After you pass through the birth canal, you come to a strange and fantastic place.

The festival at night is very pretty. So many pretty, bright things to look at. It reminded me of Electric Daisy Carnival. Janine and Kenny, you know what I'm talking about, like shiny and acidic.

They had a massage booth. Genius.

They had a nice Alpine river to go to when you needed to be cooled. Although there was a rope that said, "do not cross".

The campground was a golf course. A very beautiful green grassy bed.

One of the dozens of recycling centers. As I've said before, Kirei means both beautiful and clean. In Japan, they are the same. Everyone is very conscious of their trash.

Brilliant! These next few are some photos of the Nihonjin enjoying themselves.

I asked this guy if I could buy his shirt. Just kidding....i wasn't drunk enough to be that big of a douchebag, yet.

And the players......

Leonie, Anne, Me, Aine, Ross

Look at all of our cups. Quite frankly, I thought there'd be more.
Louise, Melissa, and Michelle

Michelle and her J-boy, Mori
Louise and Amir

It was a blast.....thanks goes to Spongebob. Ya, know what I'm talkin' about.....