Friday, April 30, 2010

Melt-Banana Redux

Here's the Photobucket version of the Melt-Banana video. I'm just testing to see which has the higher quality. Both have that guy's head in the way, though.

Melt-Banana at Shelter Shimokitazawa, April 29, 2010

This is a short video I made the other night at the MxBx show. I'm going to post a review of the happening later. Things are kind of in flux right now so I don't have as much time as I'd like or the ability to concentrate. Sorry! But enjoy the jittery video!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Iceland's Volcano Strands Hundreds in Narita Airport

Wow, that's some volcano if its effects are reaching all the way across the world from Europe to Asia. There are rumors the Icelandic government plans to parachute Bjork into the volcano to calm it with her music, but while Bjork is impervious to temperatures beyond 1,160 degrees Celsius (2,120 degrees Fahrenheit), there's some concern as to whether or not the volcano will be able to hear her through the bulky breathing apparatus she must wear.

Meanwhile, I know it's no fun being stranded at an airport for days. Sakura Hotel & Hostel of Tokyo reports some of their guests from France have had to extend their stay; these are the lucky ones, because the Sakura people are just incredible and they plan a lot of activities for visitors. Even so, I know these weary travelers simply want to go home.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Yoshida Eri Brings Her Knuckleball to the United States...

Remember Eri? She's the girl who plays professional baseball in Japan. Well, she used to play professional baseball in Japan. Now she's joining the Chico Outlaws of the Golden Baseball League. Yoshida Eri was the first woman to play professional ball in Japan, but not the first in the United States, of course. She's no publicity freak either; last winter, she threw 4 2/3 innings of shut out ball against Team Canada.

Her official signing ceremony takes place April 13th here in Japan. Here's wishing Yoshida Eri the best of luck as she embarks on this exciting new phase in her baseball career!

Monday, April 5, 2010

The First Japanese Mother in Space!

There's really no overestimating the importance of the mother to the Japanese family unit. While this is no doubt true of every country, I've met more mothers on a one-on-one basis here in Japan than I have anywhere else so I 've come to appreciate the unrelenting work they do to keep their households running smoothly. They're usually the ones with all the hands-on duty, whether they're shufu (homemakers/housewives) or kaishain (company employees). It's up in the morning to make breakfast and bento (lunchboxes) for everyone, then work and more work, maybe a quick English lesson, a trip to the supermarket and dinner for kids and husbands-- if any of them get home in time.

Discipline, finances, planning trips, taking charge of their children's educations. These are the things left in their care. I doubt many (if any) of the positive aspects of Japanese society would exist without Japanese mothers. And do they complain?

Well, yeah, constantly.

Occasionally, Japanese mothers even go into space to operate robotic arms and inspect space shuttle heat-shielding tiles for damage. Aerospace engineer Yamazaki Naoko is just the second Japanese woman to travel into space and here's hoping she has a safe, productive journey. The Mainichi Daily News says this about her:

Her role will be one that affects the success or failure of the entire mission.

That's true in space or here in Japan, whether the mission is delivering supplies to the International Space Station or producing functioning, contributing adults who are a benefit to their communities. What an amazing person. What amazing people I've met and taught and talked to since I've been here. The Japanese mother. I stand in awe and open admiration.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Melt-Banana at Earthdom in Shin-Okubo

I went looking on YouTube for some video of the MxBx show I attended at Earthdom in Tokyo's Shin-Okubo section, but found this instead. I'm not sure when it occured, but I do know from Yasuko's clothing it isn't the show I went to. I don't think I've ever seen her wearing anything other than her white hoodie.

Judging from this video and the show I was at, Melt-Banana's Earthdom gigs are insane. I was there September 30, 2007 (has it really been almost three years?), and bodies packed the venue. The action in front of the stage was insane. I tried to take photos, but even near the back people jostled my arms and pounded my body. I came away hobbled, suffering from intense back pain, leaning on my umbrella like sick old man.

My advice is, if you're young and energetic and ever in Tokyo with the chance to see Melt-Banana live, try to go to a show at Earthdom. If you're an oldster like me, with a body ravaged by years of chemical abuse, then catch Melt-Banana at Shibuya O-Nest.