Dark Horizon

January 18, 2015

I recently read a copy of Brian Reyes’ outrageous book, Dark Horizon, which he describes as “a vulgar yet playful book of insults”. It’s a spoof of the popular English textbook series, New Horizon, which has been read in Japanese public school since 1965. Here’s how Brian describes it:

I thought about the characters from New Horizon, and what they would be like 10 years later if they fell on hard times. In my version of the book, the character Mike is homeless, Emi is a prostitute and good ol’ Ann Green sensei is a suicidal hostess. They have rude conversations and Japanese can learn some very rude English insults. I included Romaji in the book, so it works well for English speakers to learn naughty Japanese phrases too!

A3_Chapter 7 En and JaA2_Chapter 3 Color

It’s a hilarious, irreverent read. You can get it in Amazon and lots of Japanese shops.

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Halloween in Tokyo 2010

October 8, 2010

The popularity of Halloween seems to be snowballing each year in Japan. Although this phenomenon is largely thanks to opportunistic sellers of pumpkin-based novelty tat, I don’t mind- I’m fully in favour of any festival where you don’t have to buy any presents, it’s acceptable to dress up as a gorilla and get drunk, and women wear raunchy Wonderwoman costumes.

If you want to see some eye-poppingly inventive costumes, I highly recommend checking out the Halloween parade at Kawasaki’s Citadella area on Sunday the 31st. Some of the more incredible costumes could only have been made by professional prosthetic make-up artists. The parade itself is more like a deranged gay Mari-Gras than a family festival, and involves a horde of hedonistic costumed revellers staggering after floats blasting out psychedelic trance music, to the bemusement of passing Sunday shoppers.
Here are some pics from a previous year.

The festivities kick off at 14:30, but if you want to enter the costume competition, you have to register for 12:30. (Although, I wouldn’t bother registering unless you’ve got some help from the Jim Henson creature workshop).
After the parade everybody hits nearby Club Citta for a big after party, with drinking and dancing, from 16:30.

Also that Sunday night is Wild Mood Swings, a free Halloween DJ party in Shibuya, from 7-midnight in Club Echo (which is at the end of Center Gai, on the left). I thoroughly recommend this (since I’m one of the DJs!) Come along to Shibuya Echo and dance like the re-animated corpse of Michael Jackson.

Meanwhile, Metropolis magazine have their annual Halloween Glitterball costume party, Double Trouble, in Vanity Lounge and Bar on Thursday 29th.
On Saturday the 30th, pretty much every club in Tokyo has a Halloween event, including Ageha, Womb, and Air, among others.

Also worth popping into, are some bars and restaurants that are creepy and ghoulish all year round. Here’s a list below:
Vampire Cafe, a bloodsucker-themed eaterie in Ginza.
Alcatraz ER, a bizarre place, styled like haunted prison hospital, in Shibuya.
3 Bozu Paradise, Yokohama’s Frankenstein restaurant.
Halloween, in Yokohama, a small bar where it’s Halloween every day.

If you’re looking for some daytime Halloween hi-jinks, there are the usual festivities going on at Tokyo Disneyand. And if you fancy a particularly weird day out, you can visit Yumenoshima Tropical Greenhouse Dome, a botanical garden on Tokyo’s Yume no Shima (Dream Island), where you can see and touch 50 giant pumpkins weighing up to 100kg, if that’s the sort of thing you’re into. Apparently, on opening day, they had a contest to see who could spit pumpkin seeds the furthest, and an event in which people were raced down a hill by rolling giant pumpkins (like Indiana Jones at the beginning of “Raiders of the Lost Ark”). Sounds like my kind of place!


Parties!

March 25, 2010

Thanks to everyone who came to the “Wild Mood Swings” shindig I put together, (not least all my ace mates who did a top-notch job of DJing!) And the usual apologies to anyone I trampled while dancing, puked on, or offended in an attempt to be affable!
The enigmatic, blue-haired Leanne of “The Fashionate Traveller came along and gave us a nice write-up. Cheers, Leanne! Come along again, sweetie!

Another party worth coming to is Farm party Vol.2, at Asagaya Gamuso on 4/17 from 7pm, organized by Craig of Tokyo Gig Guide and my good pals Abikyokan, and featuring lots of diverse and wicked live music courtesy of Abikyokan, Belgium Internet (UK), Akane Hosaka, LIVING ASTRO, and Eri Makino, with Craig Eee and yours truly spinning a few tunes.

Get all the details at Tokyo Gig Guide!.


Jackson Five Bar

March 15, 2010

The other day I stumbled upon a Jackson Five-themed bar in Nakano, Tokyo. Groovy!

Perhaps the bar was named to commemorate the famous quintet’s epic 1979 concert in nearby Nakano Sun Plaza.
Unfortunately, the proprietors don’t stick too rigidly to the concept, as you can see from the sign: “we play trance, reggae, and hip-hop”. I don’t remember hearing any trance anthems by the Jackson Five!
However, the drinks are all four hundred yen during happy hour (from 6-9pm) which is fantastically cheap, and they’ve got a dartboard, so who’s complaining.

Jackson Five Bar:

東京都中野区中野5-67-12 SKビル B1F
Tel:03-3387-0230
More info (in Japanese) with a map: Jackson Five Bar

By coincidence, this week I also discovered Japan’s very own domestic answer to the Jackson Five, called “Finger 5”, who were great. Fronted by a pint-sized, bespectacled boy (who looks like a girl), and accompanied by his younger sister (who looks like a boy), and backed up by their three gangling teenage brothers, Okinawa’s Finger 5 made catchy bubblegum pop in the early seventies and had several smash hit singles (and even made four movies!) until an unsuccessful bid to crack America, combined with the inevitable onset of puberty and broken voices, put an end to their short-lived stardom.
Disappointingly, they all went on to lead normal lives, and didn’t become eccentric recluses, with pet monkeys and merry-go-rounds in their back gardens.
Check ’em out in action:


Land of the Rising Sunburn and Suntory Whiskey

July 22, 2009

Monday was “Ocean Day” in Japan, which means that the rainy season is officially over, and the summer has begun! Also on Monday it started raining for the first time in weeks and hasn’t stopped since.
All across the land there are beach bar and beer garden owners shaking their fists at the sky.
But they needn’t worry, because before long I’ll be showing up and emptying my wallet. (Unless they’ve got cheap all-you-can-drink-deals, in which case they’re truly buggered.)
Yes, summer is a always a great time for al-fresco beer-imbibing, wherever you are (except Saudi Arabia, where it’s punishable by several months in prison.)
All across Japan, department stores and hotels cover their roofs with tables, call them beer gardens, and let people go there and get pissed-up for not much money. A particular favourite of mine is the Kudan Kaikan in Kudanshita, on Tokyo’s Hanzomon line, (and that has nothing to do with the fact that the waitresses are dressed as playboy bunnies, honest.)

About an hour south of Tokyo is the Shonan beach area (where I used to live, an hour on the Odakyu line from Shinjuku) where you can sit back and sup beers and watch the sun set over the ocean, while people let off fireworks. Enoshima beach, while dirty and overcrowded, is a favourite destination of mine (and this has nothing to do with the fact that the beach is teeming with nubile college girls in bikinis, honest.)

If you despise the beach boozing because your beer gets warm in the sweltering summer heat, never fear- I’ve just learned (from Japanprobe) of an amazing new innovation which will solve your problem. An enterprising company has started selling beer mugs carved from ice, and you can buy them online for 580 yen. They last an hour in the sun, apparently.

And if you want to avoid the heat altogether, you can always pop into Ginza’s Ice Bar to cool down. It’s entirely full of ice, and is cold enough to freeze your nipples off.
I might go there, myself- it’ll be nice to stop sweating for the first time since May.


I Love KY

June 24, 2009

I know the Japanese are notoriously sexually liberated, but I wasn’t expecting to see signs like these in a supermarket!


Jamaiican Fest 2009

May 11, 2009

This weekend I went to the Jamaiican festival in Tokyo’s Yoyogi park, featuring a live Reggae Soundsystem, live painting, stalls selling Jamaiican jewelry and garments, and lots of food stalls (with long queues). I ate jerk chicken and drank Red Stripe and Hemp beer. It was fun but the expected haze of marijuana smoke was conspicuously absent! Here are some photos taken by my mate, Frank.

While I’m on the subject of Jamaiica, I’ve discovered an entertaining blog by a Japanese girl in Jamaiica. That must be one hell of a culture clash! But the girl seems streetwise and well equipped to deal with any problems over there. Here’s a typical extract:

A man who comes up and says “You come here for big anaconda,eh?” Do you find him appealing? He is just mocking you. So whenever someone says this to me, I stare at his crotch, put my hand on my hip and say “Im dead or wha? Mi no see notten between yu leg! Though mi see dem big one inna Japan” and walk away. This anaconda talk is not a come on. It’s funny though.

Check out the link here: Weh Miss Chin Seh?