Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Vinyl from the Vault: What Time is It?

Jackpot.

I kid you not, I've been on the prowl for this record since April. What Time is It?, The Time's second album, was released in 1982. After scouring through bin after bin in shop after shop, two copies of this record turned up at Recofan in Shibuya.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sunshine Through the Rain - 尾瀬 (Oze)

An ancient Japanese legend states that mythical foxes, the Kitsune, hold their wedding ceremonies during sunshowers. Thus begins Sunshine Through the Rain, the first sequence from Akira Kurosawa's film Dreams, a collection of vignettes supposedly based on the director's actual dreams.

The story begins with a mother warning her young son against venturing into the woods on the day of a sunshower. The boy willfully disobeys his mother and walks deep into the nearby cedar forest where he happens upon a fox-wedding...


A week ago on Friday night, I boarded the nightbus for Oze, a national park deep in the heart of Honshu, the main island of Japan. The bus arrived in the pitch-black wilderness around 4AM. When the first rays of sun began to break through the mountain peaks, we began our hike up the trail.
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By mid-morning, we had made it over the first hill into the central area of the park, a spectacular marshland surrounded by broad green mountains. The trail consisted of two rows of flat wooden planks that led hikers safely over the soft muddy ground beside tufts of grasses, half-wilt flowers, and groves of trees.
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Along the path, one was subjected to many small wonders: spiderwebs, a myriad of colorful flower petals, and vistas overlooking the wide expanse of the marsh.

Kurosawa's Sunshine Through the Rain weighed heavily on my mind throughout the morning and afternoon. Sparse and beautiful birdsongs could be heard at every curve along the trail. The subtle energy and beauty of the songs seemed to mimic the haunting, hollow flute music of the Kitsune Procession.

In the final sequence of Sunshine Through the Rain, the young boy walks through a lush mountain valley in search of the Kitsune in order to beg them for forgiveness. He has viewed their secret ritual and they are furious. Abandoned by his own family, the boy walks through a flower strewn valley towards a mountain range far off in the distance. The scene is so reminiscent of the sweeping landscape throughout Oze. Many years ago, could Kurosawa himself have witnessed this place with his own eyes?
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___


A link to the full-size slideshow
Part I of Sunshine Through the Rain

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Smashing Pumpkins

Tuesday evening after work, I jumped the train to Shinkiba and made my way to the venue Studio Coast just in time to catch the Smashing Pumpkins.

Wait, can I say that again? I went to see the Smashing Pumpkins.

Whatever your thoughts are of musicians doing their own tribute tours, this was a chance to see Billy Corgan, one of modern rock's most unique and influential artists, live and in action.

While the Pumpkins didn't try too hard to preserve their lineup (Corgan was the only original member on stage), they certainly took pains to recreate the famous Pumpkin's guitar sound. The whole venue was awash with deep distortion, squeeling feedback, and soaring harmonics. I found myself completely lost in their classic songs.

Before nearly getting my ass beaten by an oversized Japanese security guard, I managed to snap three photos with my SLR. Here is the best one, proof of Corgan...

Classic Songs On the Set List:
Ava Adore
Today
Tonight, Tonight
Bullet With Butterfly Wings
1979
Cherub Rock

Classic Songs that the Werewolf wanted to hear:
Quiet
Rocket
Disarm
Soma
Geek USA
Here Is No Why
Zero
Porcelina Of The Vast Oceans
Tales Of A Scotched Earth
X.Y.U.
Hello Kitty Kat
Frail and Bedazzled
Pissant
Perfect

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sitar in Inokashira Park

Today after sunset, I took a stroll through Kichijoji's Inokashira Park. It was a warm and beautiful summer evening. While leisurely walking across the bridge that connects both sides of the pond, I happened upon a young Japanese man playing the sitar.
video
He told me that he studied with a guru in Rajistan, India.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

DJing in Shindaita

I did a half-hour DJ set at Fever in Shindaita this past evening. Here I am cueing up Jesse Johnson.
Earlier today, I was at Enoshima Beach with some friends enjoying the summer vibes. I've never seen so much eye-candy concentrated in one place. It was as if every beautiful girl in Shibuya packed up, donned a bikini, and went out to get some sun.