November 2003 Archives

3 blocks in Ginza

| 2 Comments

appleginza-map.jpg
The Apple Store opened in Ginza today. The lines stretched for three and a half long blocks--a three and a half hour wait. I just gawked at the people standing in line.

appleginza-bob.jpg
UltraBob came all the way from Zushi just to stand in line. He looks very happy here (near the end of the line) at 1:30 pm. I wonder what time he got into the store?

appleginza-leslie.jpg
Leslie has the right idea--capture the crowds from outside the line.

appleginza-guard.jpg
The crowds were extremely well behaved and the guards were mostly for directing traffic to the end of the line and allowing people into the store in batches. You can see a few burly American bouncers in the background. I've no idea why they might have been needed.

Christmas Campaigns

| 3 Comments

Japan is not immune to holiday shopping madness. In fact, it might be worse, as Christmas isn't for kids, but for couples.

Christmas Eve is a big date night and you are a certain loser if you don't have a date that involves presenting an expensive gift, eating roast chicken and going to a love hotel. Choose your own order but all of the above are required for a successful holiday.

So the shops go wild with luxury gifts. And to attract the right demographic, they sure do come up with some wacky campaign names. Here are some I've seen around Tokyo this week:

Hearty Xmas (at Metro M shopping mall)
Lovely Xmas (at Junior Station 109)
Happy Merry Xmas 2003 in LaQua (at LaQua, of course)

and my favorite...

xmashero.jpg

Xmas Hero at 109, a boutique mall for trendy Shibuya youth.

In the dark

| No Comments

creative.jpgTonight when you go to bed, after you turn out the light but before you fall asleep, sit in the dark for a few minutes and take notice of your surroundings. Examine all your senses before you conk out and then see if it brings you creative dreams.

As your eyes adjust to the dark, listen to the world. It's quieter, sure, but what sound there is seems more vivid. Is there traffic in the street outside? Can you hear yourself breathe?

What can you taste? The last swig of beer at the bar? Your lover's lipstick? The toothpaste you used to brush your teeth?

By now your eyes are probably adjusted to the dark. Do you recognize your furniture? How does it look different in the half-light? Look at the silhouette of your hands. Does each finger have the same shape?

Feel around. Are the sheets smooth or textured? What do the buttons on your pajamas feel like? Can you tell what's under the bed? (Beware of monsters.)

Now it's time to drift off to dreamland. As you snuggle under the covers, take a long deep breath. What scents waft through your night? Potpourri? Unwashed pillowcases? Books?

(This exercise is a good way to calm your mind and put yourself back to sleep after waking up from a nightmare...)

Scallion and Bean Sprout Pajong

| 2 Comments

recipe thursdayToday, a Korean recipe from "365 Days' Diet Foods" sent in by alert reader, UltraBob. Pajong is a savory pancake served with a fiery dipping sauce. It makes an exotic side dish to grilled meat or chicken.

Scallion and Bean Sprout Pajong
serves 2
1/2 bundle scallions (nira)
5 cm leek
1/4 carrot
60g bean sprouts
3 Tbsp flour
4 Tbsp water
1 tsp sesame oil

Sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp vinegar
1/2 tsp toubanjan (Korean chili paste)

Cut the scallions to lengths of 5cm, cut the leek along the grain, and cut the carrot thin.

In a bowl, mix the flour and water. Combine the scallions, leek and carrots with the bean sprouts and gently stir into the batter.

In the frying pan, heat sesame oil over medium heat. Spread the vegetables in a thin layer to fill the pan and fry both sides until lightly browned. Remove from pan and cut into wedges.

Whisk the sauce ingredients together and serve as a dipping sauce.

Multipurpose cleaner

| 5 Comments

armpitbrush.jpg
As seen in Yokohama Chinatown.

Midnight ramen

| 1 Comment

ramenstand.jpg
Late-night snacking in Shinjuku.

Where to dine when the trains stop running? Street-side stalls ply their trade into the wee hours. Ramen is Tokyo's favorite apres-bar sustenance.

Greeted in Shibuya

| 5 Comments

Heading down the stairs towards the Hanzomon line at Shibuya, I hear a voice call "Excuse me?" and I turn.

"Are you, uh, Kristine?" asks a young man with short dark hair.

"Kristen. Yes, that's me," I reply, trying to place this stranger in my cast of characters...I run through all the faces I recall, but no match.

"I recognised you from your weblog."

"Really? Freaky!! Wow."

I am nothing if not utterly cool and collected with a huge vocabulary at my disposal when greeted unexpectedly by fans.

Ben, visiting from Gifu-ken, and his friend Yuki were charming and well-spoken. They brightened an already good day. I hope they enjoyed their evening out.

I wonder if other people recognise me from my weblog but don't shout out. Have you ever seen me on the street and not said hello?

Cones in action

| No Comments

cones1.jpg

Construction in our neighborhood has pedestrians routed into the street. The traffic cones are out in full force doing their duty.

cones4.jpg

Cones try to protect the construction workers from nosy, photo snapping onlookers, but not very well.

cones2.jpg

The cone supervisor realigns his charges.

cones3.jpg

Even cones need a break.

Winter blossoms

| No Comments

camilias2.jpg
Between the black asphalt of Kasuga-dori and the wide brick pedestrian walkway, lies a verge planted with large flowering shrubs--Japanese camellias--that begin to bloom around this time of year. The vivid pink blossoms against dark green foliage herald the coming holidays more insistently than any Xmas illumination.

camilias1.jpg

cyclamens.jpgIn the flower shops, cyclamens echo the camillias' palette while the floral newcomers, poinsettias, clash with their deep red leaves.

Sing a song

| No Comments

creative.jpgNothing loosens up the spirit & gets ideas flowing like singing.

It doesn't matter whether you can carry a tune, shatter crystal or have a tin ear, singing increases the oxygen in you blood, and gives both hemispheres of the brain a nice workout, plus it's just plain fun.

So stand up, move around, and belt out a song. Sing loud. Scare the cat, wake up the neighbors. Startle your coworkers in the breakroom. Make your spouse/parents/children wince, or better yet, get them in join in.

Don't sing along with the radio, though--this is YOUR song.

Style it! Sing in a funny voice: do a jazz standard in a punk style, sing a theme song as an aria, rap a hymn, give a lullaby a Latin beat. Or choreograph some movements; you can even use your hairbrush as a microphone.

Not sure what to sing? How about your national anthem? A Christmas carol? The toilet paper song? The Zousan song? So many possibilities...you might have to sing a few.

Afterwards, notice how great you feel?

Fish with Soy-Butter Sauce

| 2 Comments

recipe thursdayLettuce Club is a food magazine for housewives. It's full of recipes focusing on seasonal foods or economical cooking. Today's recipe comes from a recent issue that had a pull out section on fish.

Fish with Soy-Butter Sauce
serves 4

4 filets fresh fish
4 potatoes
1 tomato (sliced for garnish)
1 bunch cress (trimmed for garnish)
1/2 tsp parsley, minced
30 g butter
salt
pepper
flour
oil

Sauce:
3 Tblsp water
2 Tblsp soy sauce
2 Tblsp men-tsuyu*
1 Tblsp lemon juice
2 tsp sugar
pinch powdered ginger


Peel potatoes and cut into bite-sized pieces. Boil until done. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sit aside.

Whisk together the sauce ingredients and set aside.

Sprinkle the fish with salt, pepper, and dust with flour. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a fry pan and cook the fish on both sides. Reduce heat to medium, and add the sauce to the pan, cooking for 2-3 minutes to coat the fish. Remove fish from pan and plate.

Add butter and parsley to the sauce and cook until the butter is melted. Pour the sauce over the fish. Garnish each plate with potatoes, tomato wedges and cress.

*men-tsuyu is a strong, salty soup stock made with dashi, soy sauce, mirin and sugar for noodles. It's available in bottles in Japan, but if you can't find it, try substituting a 2:1:1 mixture of soy, water and mirin (sweet rice wine).

Exceptional people

| 5 Comments

Every foreigner you find happily living in Japan is an exceptional person. Not everyone is likable, but they are definitely out of the ordinary.

Living abroad requires a sense of adventure, a willingness to learn, and either a flexible open mind, or a seriously strong sense of self. Most gaijin living here are also intelligent--dummies need not apply for international assignments. Anyone who comes to Japan without those attributes seems to find their way home as quickly as possible.

Because everyone is interesting, I find myself surrounded by a cast of characters ready-made to populate a comedy: the glamour queen; the frantic freelancer; the party animal; the downtrodden sensei; the struggling artist; an insane business owner; the boy next door; some privileged expats; and the Japanophile.

So when you read in the credits of my first feature, "the characters in this film are fictional and do not represent any person living or dead," please know that it's only partly truthful...

Next Projects

| 3 Comments

Well, no reason to take a breather on the film front; now that Hello Tokyo's done, I've got two fun things lined up.

First is an entry in the Gershwin Showcase for the Vail Film Festival. I've got the idea and I know the music I want. Now I need to write the script and find a cast and crew to shoot it. Anyone want to help? I'm looking for a 30-something salaryman and a housewife for my cast.

The second project is much more involved. John Locke, an indie filmmaker (Sursum Films) sent me a mail on Sunday describing a project he's developing--sort of a serial drama involving a group of creative people. We'd talked about it a few weeks back and I hoped to get involved in the production and post-production.

Sunday's communique included more details and a draft of the first episode, plus this:

"...now here's the pitch. Would you like to not only participate in the production aspects, but also play the role of "Filmmaker"? I think you'd be great at it...and the role will tie in exactly what you do--someone who uses the internet to communicate, is creative, is an indie filmmaker, and who also has a network of creative friends and is motivated to do something. (How's that for YOU in a nutshell?)."

With a pitch like that, how could I say no? The draft script even named the filmmaker Kristen. Expect to see me on-screen as well as appearing in the production credits. I hope "Filmmaker" doesn't have too many lines; I'm crap at memorising. MJ can attest to that.

DF recap

| 1 Comment

play video Design Festa vol 18. 0'50" (5.4 MB MP4)

The weekend was exhausting but exhilarating, too. I sold 3 DVDs, was interviewed three times, and met a lot of people, including a handful of filmmakers and a bunch of new supporters with great marketing ideas and connections.

I learned how to explain my film in one sentence in Japanese: Nihongo wo hanasenai hito no Tokyo no setsumei bideo desu (It's a video that explains Tokyo to people who don't speak Japanese.) But my pitch is a little bit different in English, "This video gives advice on living in Tokyo to newcomers who don't read or speak Japanese." If I continue beyond that, I find myself quoting lines from the video; it's sort of funny.

Thanks to all the friends who stopped by my booth: Julianne, Gregman, Tracey (who watched the booth while I ran off to buy a hat!), Jo, Lisa, Kate, Greg & Yasu, who was so inspired that he's planning a booth for his photography at the next Design Festa. UltraBob gets big credit for burning my DVDs and lending an ear when I needed to vent. Tod deserves a tasty carrot for being my favorite pack mule.

From Booth C-429

| 3 Comments

df18-1.jpg
Here I am, sitting at the iBook, editing a video of the days events.

My booth is sandwiched between customised motorcycles and an art school project that both get a lot more attention than mine. I guess that might be because I'm sitting at a computer and although I do look up and smile from time to time, a woman at a computer is not all that compelling.

But when I put on the videocrown, passersby stopped to figure out where the video was coming from. Sometimes I told them, taking off the crown and showing them the camera. Sometimes I got them to guess. Lots of laughter and smiles and a few interesting conversations.

UltraBob burned 10 DVD-R of the video for me and brought them in the afternoon. Zoupi helped me sell them.

DF18-zoupi.jpg

This morning, I happily filled in the other eye of my daruma--"finish video" is now an accomplished goal!

daruma-2eyes.jpg

Design Festa: Booth C-429

| 1 Comment

Just a quick note as I get ready to run off to Design Festa. I'll be at Booth C-429 today and tomorrow (11 am -7 pm). Please stop by and say hello.

I'll bring back some photos tonight...

You're Invited

| 2 Comments

creative.jpgSometimes it's easier and more fun to be creative if there are other people involved. You can expand on one another's ideas--a creativity jam session.

So this week, I suggest that you plan a creative get-together. It doesn't have to be an elaborate event or a formal party, but invite some friends over to do something creative together. Cooking dinner, making music, writing a story, reading a play aloud, sculpting your poodle, designing a website. Something that a group of people can pitch in their ideas and end up with one final product.

If you're in Tokyo, please mark your calendar for my creative get-together.
postcard-salon.gif

We'll make nengajo, New Year's cards, on Sunday, December 7th in the afternoon. I'll have postcard stock and lots of pens, paint, paper, glue and tidbits available. Afterwards, let's cook dinner together.

If you want to come along to play, e-mail me for more details. Plan to bring your favorite art supplies for making postcards, and/or an ingredient for dinner.

Recipe for Disaster

| 6 Comments

In the theater world, a bad dress rehearsal indicates a great opening night. If that translates to the theater of dressing up and being silly at Design Festa, I'm in for a fantastic show.

Today was one mishap, misadventure and misstep after another: loaned equipment was unloaned, schedules buckled, nothing worked quite the way I'd hoped and some things didn't work at all. It seems like half of what I'd planned for Design Festa fell apart today.

I felt the crushing weight of defeat mashing my mood into the ground. Tod told me I looked nice and I replied that his compliment was a consolation prize, a year's worth of Creamettes macaroni to the losing contestant.

But I'm kinda sorta back on track with a more flexible plan for the weekend and even though the nuts and bolts continue to loosen and drop off from my carefully laid plans, I'll deal with it.

I wonder how many other DF participants are going through the same thing right now?

Videocrown

| 3 Comments

videocrown.jpgMeet the videocrown.

It's constructed of perforated aluminum sheets, 6 strips of dichroic acrylic, 4 short brass tubes, and 38 bolts. A wireless video camera is fixed to the inner front with its lens peeping through one of the perforations.

As I wander around Design Festa, the video will be projected back to my booth.

I've just about finished my costume--a short black and maroon leatherette dress. I'll wear it with my Doc Martens boots and lots of eyeliner. I never did get over my goth phase, though it's pretty well hidden now. But costuming occasions bring it out again and I'm looking forward to playing dress up this weekend.

W00t!

| 10 Comments

It's done. Hello Tokyo is completely edited. No more tweaking for fussing allowed. This morning I finished off the last of the final touches and exported the project with chapter markers. I'll burn the DVD later this week and then send it off for duplication.

I hardly express how totally excited and relieved and elated I am right now. This project has been in the works since last summer and it's been a long, slow road to completion.

And naturally I'm a little nervous about the next phase: marketing and distribution. I hope to work with Caroline Pover at Alexandra Press on that aspect, so I'm sure it won't be as worrying as I think...

I must come up with some cover art tout suite!

Design Festa vol 18

| 4 Comments

I'm excited to be setting up my own booth at Design Festa vol 18 this weekend. Not only will I premiere Hello Tokyo and show some other videos, but I'll also unveil the videocrown, a multimedia artwork for people to interact with. And I will edit a new video based on footage I capture with the crown while I'm there.

I'll be reporting this week on how things are coming along as I countdown to Saturday. Completing the video, building my costume, preparing the laptop for editing, constructing signage--there's a lot left to do!

18ticket_2.jpg
If you're planning to come to see Hello Tokyo, or just to revel in the creative overload of 2000 booths of artists, designers, and performers, you can to save 200 yen if you buy tickets in advance. Only 800 yen for a one-day pass via Ticket PIA (P-code 804-202) or Lawson Ticket (L-code 33337). Entrance is free for children aged 12 and under.

For more details, including directions for getting to Big Site (Ariake near Odaiba), check the Design Festa vol 18 website.

Counting cones

| 1 Comment

Inspired by a recent post on Wirefarm (and Kibo's amusing cones in action page), Tod & I counted traffic cones on our way from Iidabashi station to home.

It's about a 15 minute walk. I guessed we'd see 20-30; Tod estimated 100. We saw 95 cones. Next I counted the cones en route from our house to the coffee shop and grocery store at La Qua. A 10 minute walk--137 cones. They are everywhere...

They were hidden in bushes, tucked into dark alleys, defending bumpers of parked cars, saving parking places. Most of them are just sitting around, piled up next to buildings or guard rails, waiting to be useful.

I never really noticed them much, but now that I'm paying attention, I can't cast a glance anywhere without a bright orange witch's hat appearing.

Calliope waves goodbye to Persephone

| 1 Comment

My sister, Jennifer at Wild Mushrooms, tells an exceptional story about how nature and poetry collaborated spontaneously for a once-in-a-lifetime event during a class she was teaching.

Joking Uncle Marvin

| 2 Comments

My great-uncle Marvin, my mother's uncle, has embraced e-mail like no other 80-something. He loves to send me jokes (usually off-color). This morning's mail included this PG-rated one that made me laugh:

An old man lived alone in the country. He wanted to dig his potato garden but it was very difficult work as the ground was hard. His only son Fred, who used to help him, was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament.

Dear Fred,
I am feeling pretty bad because it looks like I won't be able to plant my potato garden this year. I'm just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. If you were here, all my troubles would be over. I know you would dig the plot for me.
Love, Dad

A few days later the old man received a letter from his son.

Dear Dad,
For heaven's sake Dad, don't dig up that garden, that's where I buried the bodies.
Love, Fred

At 4 am the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left. That same day the old man received another letter from his son.

Dear Dad,
Go ahead and plant the potatoes now. That's the best I could do under the circumstances.
Love, Fred

Shhhh, listen

| 4 Comments

creative.jpg Stop what you're doing now and listen to the world around you for two or three minutes. Go ahead and close your eyes; it's sometimes easier to focus on sounds when you're not distracted by seeing things. But it's fine to leave them open, too..

What do you hear? After a few moments, I'll bet you'll be surprised at all you can hear and describe just from the sounds. What makes the sounds unique? I hear a dog barking but what kind of dog is it? How far away? Is it happy or angry?

At first, I notice the humming of the computers next to my desk but after a few seconds, I realise that it's not just one sound. There's a high-pitched steady whine and a lower hum, plus a deep whirrring. It's man-made music in harmony. If plaid had a sound...

I'm listening carefully as I type this, so I also hear the sound of fingers against keyboard. Sometimes I strike the keys with my fingernails and there's a faint click paired with the sound of plastic pressing against plastic. The spacebar sounds hollower and louder than the other keys. My typing is erratic as I listen a little, type, listen a little more, type, then click with the mouse to correct a typo... The mouse is heavy and its battery door is a little bit loose, so it makes a heavy clap-rattle when I pick it up and move it.

Now the dryer is beeping. Five 1/2 second beeps in something a little flatter than B indicate that it's time to put the laundry away. When I don't get up to do it, it complains with a quick double-beep and I can hear the click of the Off switch opening the circuit.

The door to the veranda is ajar and all throughout my domestic harmonies, there's a descant of traffic noises from the elevated Shuto expressway. Swishes of cars and an occasional delivery truck rushing by a little bit faster than the cars. The traffic is moving smoothly right now. Someone on the local street guns their engine at the light and peels out. A pizza delivery scooter zips past--it sounds like a buzzing bee.

The Marunouchi line runs by every few minutes. First there's the clattering of wheels against tracks echoing in the tunnel, then as it gets nearer the rush of air going past the retaining walls grows louder until it's abreast of my ears, then there's a slight echo as it passes under the cross street. The sound fades away quickly as it heads towards Ikebukuro. A train passes in the other direction--the rumble is deeper and the wheels are squealing, it must be full of commuters.

I like giving my ears center stage of the senses. What did you hear?

Breading Station

| 2 Comments

recipe thursdayLast weekend, we went out and bought a small electric deep fryer. We both love fried foods (who doesn't?), but I'm scared of the hot oil. This fryer is a good compromise.

Our first deep-fried treat was button mushrooms. They were delicious--juicy in the center with a crisp cornmeal coating on the outside.

Whether you're using a deep fryer or a frying pan, good breading is key to crisp and tasty fried foods. So this week's recipe is a procedure for breading--it's called a breading station.

Breading Station
Pan 1: Flour seasoned with plenty of salt and pepper.
Pan 2: Egg with a splash of milk, whisked to an even consistency.
Pan 3: Crumbs, plain or seasoned. Be sure to avoid salting the crumbs as salt makes the hot oil spit.

breadingstation.jpgLightly flour the food to absorb excess moisture. Then coat the floured pieces in the egg wash. Pat on (or roll food in) the crumbs, gently shaking off any excess. Fry at the recommended temperature.

Notes
- Quantities will vary depending on how much food you are breading.
- Substitute cornmeal in Pan 3 for a hard cripsy shell.
- Use one hand for the dry pans and the other for the egg. This keeps your hands from getting too gummed up as you bread.

Robbery in Kasuga

| 2 Comments

It seems that two apartments in our neighborhood were robbed of about $1.5 million dollars of Edo-era gold coins, precious metals and cash. Was it in our building...?

Tod saw a film crew outside our mansion last night, one camera on a tripod pointing towards the front door and another panning across the building. This morning my friend Junko sent a mail asking after us, "I watched the news of a robbery in Bunkyo-ku last night and the apartment seemed to be where you live."

robbery.gifAnd those two clues sent me off in search of news of the robbery. I found an article at Asahi.com in Japanese that seems to point in the right direction. You can click the image for a larger version or read on for a rough translation.

I printed the article and took it downstairs to the front desk to ask if this happened in our building. The blue-jacketed gentlemen who watch over the doors were very interested in the article, but they didn't say it took place here. So I guess the robbery happened to some unlucky neighbor and not to the guy down the hall.

Here's what the newspaper wrote (more or less):

"170 million yen in Edo-era gold coins and other valuables were stolen from an apartment in Kasuga 2-chome, Bunkyo-ku Tokyo. Police are investigating.

"The Tomizaka Investigative Department stated that the 2nd floor apartment is owned by the 53 year old president of a Meguro real estate agency. On 10/31, he discovered that 65 million yen in cash, one Tenpo coin worth 7 million yen, 10 watches with a total value of 50 million yen and 42 million yen in gold as well as some foreign gold coins had been taken from his closet. The apartment directly above on the 3rd floor was also robbed of approximately 2.5 million yen in cash and precious metals.

"Police believe that the thief gained access to the apartment by using the building next door for support as he scaled the space between them and broke the window of the apartments." Asahi Shimbun 11/05

Budgeting

| 4 Comments

It's been quite a while since I put together a plan for replacing computers based on their depreciation cycle. But that's how I spent part of my day today: chasing down inventories and filling in blanks, so that we can draw up a schedule and a budget.

This isn't a necessity but the FCCJ budget review is coming up in December and it would be smart to have a rational strategy rather than guessing how many things might break next year.

So I'm taking it upon myself to detail and review our equipment--about 100 workstations, servers and peripherals. Yoshida-san, the IT manager, and Mr. Yoda, the general manager, are helping me to gather all the necessary data. I'll analyze it, find out replacement costs, and make some recommendations for a five year plan to cycle through all of the hardware.

Although accounting's not my favorite task, I enjoy making plans. I get to exercise my brain in a different way and it's sort of fun, in a bean-counting way.

Name this Caterpillar

| 4 Comments

oita-caterpillar.jpg
Can you identify this caterpillar? It was crawling along the sidewalk in a residential area of Beppu, Oita prefecture when I snapped its photo on October 13. It's quite pretty, but I've no idea what it is.

oita-caterpillar2.jpg The bulbous, bright orange head is unusual so it should be easy enough to ID, but I can't find anything that looks like it or any references on the Internet.

I checked my usual references: What is This Caterpillar?, the USGS Caterpillars of Eastern Forests and closest to home, Fukuoka Butterflies (in Japanese) but I'm stumped.

Nekobukuro Cat's House

| 1 Comment

nekobukuro5.jpg
Nekobukuro is a mini theme park where 20 cats roam free so you can play with them. The walls are fitted out with shelves and boxes that the cats can jump to and walk around on. There's even an overhead plank that spans two rooms for quick escapes and pirate games.

nekobukuro.jpg
When they are ready for catnaps, there's no shortage of places to conk out. In addition to shelves, there is all sorts of soft cat furniture. The cat-shaped TV plays videos of the Nekobukuro Idol Cats while Anpanman narrates with facts and jokes.

nekobukuro4.jpgThere are cats in every size, shape and color you can imagine. Rare breeds, like the wrinkly, hairless Sphinx and giagantic Maine coon, live behind glass but are rotated through the mix. While we were there a yowly little Tonkinese was out of her room and playing with visitors.

Some cats were disdainful or wary, others playful and happy to have a pat. I tried to engage one cat with a feather toy, but it wanted to chase string. Next time, I'll sneak in the laser pointer and see what happens.

This is a clever idea in a country where a kitten costs 120,000 yen and not too many apartments allow pets. I enjoyed interacting with the cats for a little while and the dozen other people, some with cameras and some on dates, seemed to be having fun, too.

Although the rooms are well ventilated, there's a faint scent of litter box. After after 15 minutes, my eyes were itchy. We hadn't really handled the cats as much as observed them, so we didn't need to use the cat-hair lint removers at the door.

Nekobukuro
Location: Tokyu Hands Ikebukuro, 8th floor.
Hours: 10:00 -20:00
Admission: 600 yen (1,000 yen "pair ticket")
See also: Cats Livin', Cat Park, Dog Forest, Dog Town, Ferret Friends at the same website.

Audio engineering

| 5 Comments

Hello Tokyo's audio is the stuff of nightmares. It's a mix of narration recorded in my more-or-less quiet apartment and shots taken on the streets of Tokyo with all the usual traffic and background noises and in restaurants and shops with BGM and chatting customers. I spent days banging my head against my desk trying to make the hiss and hum disappear while keeping my voice intact. No matter what I tried, I ended up sounding like I was at the bottom of a well or in a large metal room.

MJ came over for half a day and got it sorted out for me. MJ is my hero.

She focussed intently on eliminating hiss, blips and imperfections. And it worked; the production is much better off now. She's offered to come over again to help out with mixing the levels and easing remaining sore points.

It's good to have a friend who's trained as an audio engineer, especially when she accepts cookies and lasagne in payment for her services. I think this is the iitomo rate; better ask her real rate if you want her help.

Have a peek at the video's first 2'44" - the title sequence and introduction as re-created in Final Cut and engineered by MJ. The full video will be premiered at Design Festa on November 15th & 16th; I'll post more details soon, but I hope you'll come to the event and say hello.

play video Hello Tokyo title sequence & introduction. 2'44" (6.8 MB MP4)

Recent Comments

  • Robert Parent: I have learned to not let pass the subtle hints read more
  • Jenn(y): This is a good, goal-oriented way to approach the new read more
  • Tracey Northcott (@keitaigoddess): I am such a loser - sent off my cards read more
  • Tracey Northcott (@keitaigoddess): Hi Babe, Haven't seen you in ages it seems. Ash read more
  • https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawlBlcLTfxgMWRgxf2_TuNkGW8AwePJPekQ: Hi Kristen, Tell me about it. Our last (3 month) read more
  • Tracey Northcott (@keitaigoddess): "We deeply apologize to our customers for the heavy burden," read more
  • Carolyn Farwell: Oh the gif you've created is so funny! You have read more
  • Tracey Northcott (@keitaigoddess): I am going to miss you!! read more
  • Eric Smith: Hey Kristen: Met you on a train a couple of read more
  • sar: Hey beautiful !! you have some mad drawing skills ! read more

Archives