April 28, 2007

Soul vibration

Holes in the air - The Superimposers
Love again - Hird
Cinnamon and cloves - Zoot Sims
We want more !!!! - Soil & "Pimp" Sessions
Winding rhythm - The Baker Brothers
Stop what you're doing - Ben Westbeech
Bungalow - Damon Aaron
P.A.Z. - Antibalas
Afro blue (2007 version ) - Dee Dee Bridgewater
Soul vibration - J-Walk

British pub in Nakano

This evening after work, I decided to try out a fairly new 'British' pub in Nakano for something to eat and a drink or two.

I tried the fish and chips, which was passable (but not a patch on the fresh local catch you get from the English Channel), and a warm vegetable salad, which was pretty good.

On the whole it's not a bad place, and better than some other British-style pubs I've tried in Japan, though being open for less than two months, it still has a shiny, new feel to it. Also, given that it's on the second floor of a brand new buidling, it's always going to be stuggling to recreate the atmosphere you get in a pub that has existed for generations.

April 26, 2007

Artwork by Kids

One of several hoardings of varying levels of imagination and ability painted by elementary school students on display in Nakano-ku.

April 18, 2007

What If We Stopped Paying Taxes?

Hype of Gold - Soil & "Pimp" Sessions
Supercapitalism - Wynton Marsalis
What If We Stopped Paying Taxes - Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
A Wave Crashed On Rocks - Felt
Bungalow - Damon Aaron
1234 - John Arnold featuring Paul Randolph
Come on (Superpimp) - Marden Hill
Stop What You're Doing - Ben Westbeech
Don't Sleep - Lanu
Your Letter - Peven Everett

Restaurant near Kagurazaka

"I'll have the slop special, please." Nah, can't see myself saying that somehow.

An Obsession With Ball-Bearings

One thing I've never really been able to understand in Japan is the degree to which some people are obsessed with pachinko - a kind of bagatelle-like slot machine game. I've never tried it myself, but from what I understand, due to the restrictive Japanese gambling laws, it's not actually legal to use or win cash for this game. So people buy some ball-bearings, which they then feed into the machine in the hope of winning more ball-bearings. Peeking inside a pachinko parlour (as they are called), you can see some of the punters fully focussed on their machine with baskets of ball-bearings on the floor behind them.

Once a session is over, the ball-bearings are exchanged for some token gift, which the punter then takes to a window in a separate building to exchange for cash. Since no cash has been given out as winnings inside the premises, it doesn't fall foul of the law.

You can see people waiting outside the parlours at prior to opening time in the morning, and there are whole channels on satellite TV dedicated to this activity, though quite what the thrill is I don't know.

This picture shows the queue forming outside a newly revamped parlour, everybody wanting to get there on day one.

April 10, 2007

Let that sound out!

Questions - Jesse Sharp's Quintet
Chester's Tongue - The Baker Brothers
Atlantic - Thief
Cuss Cuss - Lloyd Robinson
A.I.E. - Soil & "Pimp" Sessions
Old Soul - Ben Watt featuring Baby Blak
Let That Sound Out! (Gerd's 4 Lux Remix) - Colonel Red & Delgui
Doing It To Death (Part 1) - The JBs
Oh Constance - Marden Hill
The Hunger - Nostalgia 77

April 05, 2007

Shinjuku Gyoen

After yesterday's cold rain, it was a relief to see the sun out again today. At around lunchtime, I decided to wander around Shinjuku Gyoen ~ a huge park in the middle of one of the busiest areas of Toyko. Once you're inside, the distant skyline of tower blocks is the only reminder of where you are.

Despite the heavy rain yesterday, many of the trees were still in bloom and there were thousands of others taking in the atmosphere too.

A group of office workers have a peaceful and scenic lunch break.

I wasn't the only person with a camera! Looking at the people snapping around me today, I think there was several hundred thousand pounds' worth of photographic equipment in the park today.

Close-up of a two-tone blossom.
A carpet of cherry blossom petals.

April 02, 2007

Dog in jeans

Dogs small enough to pop in your handbag are a must-have itme for some Tokyo women, and some dress them up in dog fashions (probably purchased at the shop I snapped sometime last year and posted here).

I think this poor mutt's jeans were a size or two too small as it seemed to have some difficulty walking properly.

Hats! - 11

A newish stripy Kangol number.

Darkest light

Darkest light - The Lafayette Afro-Rock Band
A Street in Bombay - Amancio D'Silva
Sold out - Dalindeo
Dolla bill - Dudley Perkins
Pull up to the bumper - Grace Jones
Highlights - Delgui
Outra Vida - Les Gammas
Hope - Bugge Wesseltoft
Exit Routine - Ras
Tunnel - The Dining Rooms