Month: October 2008

Great Japanese music video

きみ、thanks for the suggestion of Wolf Ruzu’s Ashita ga aru sa as an easy-to-learn karaoke song. I just found this great video of the song, complete with kanji, romanji and English translation on YouTube. Very perky song!

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Studying for my first karaoke

Next Saturday I am joining three women friends (two from the ceramic studio) for my very first karaoke box. Those who know me can attest to the fact that I am a terrible singer– with no memory of lyrics or melody. So I am studying now.

Here’s my initial song list. Please let me know if you have any other ideas for simple yet womanly songs:

  • Que Sera Sera, Doris Day (Incredibly twisted, few lyrics)
  • Diamonds are Forever, Shirley Bassey (Favorable comparison between diamonds and men, double entendre galoure)
  • I’ve Never Been to Me, Charleene (Sick, and very familiar)
  • (They Long to Be) Close to You, Carpenters
  • Doggie in the Window, Patti Page

Several more challenging songs:

  • Self Control, Laura Brannigan
  • Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Green Day (Token male vocal)
  • She’s Not Me, Madonna (Insane jealousy and delusion)

Any other suggestions?

Tokyo recycling

I just hung up my flattened carton on the clothes line. It makes me reflect on just how complex our reclycing is here. In the apartment building, we separate burnables from plastic (プラ),  paper from cardboard, plastic containers from plastic bottles, and aluminum cans from glass bottles. I still have trouble remembering that for soda bottles you must take off the label and the cap so that the main container goes with “pet” bottles, and the label and cap with plastics.

To recycle milk and juice cartons, we rinse the container, slice it open and hang it on the clothes-line. The apartment building doesn’t have a separate recycling area for this, so we walk it over to the supermarket about 25 yards from the front door. The only other thing missing from Nakano recycling is compost. (Suginami has that!).

I probably should have cut the juice carton with scissors. This is one neat and frugal city m(_ _)m

I’ve been invited to join student show next month

The in-law senseis have invited me to participate in next month’s student ceramic show in Nishi-Ogikubo. I am excited and chotto nervous since I’ve just started. I now have nine flower pots in different stages of production.

Here’s three small pots after applying the glaze on Sunday. Once they are fired a second time, the brown clay will turn black, and the blue-white glaze will be shiny. (See Stage 1 and Stage 2).

Here’s the pre-glaze application that keeps parts of the pots unglazed. I did the designs and used a paint brush to apply the pink solution.

And finally, after three days of careful work, the large flower pot is now formed. It’s 30 centimeters in diameter and 36 centimeters in height. Even after shrinking by 15% in “biscuit firing,” it will be a good-sized pot for my lemon tree.

I am really enjoying learning about ceramics, the comraderie of the studio, and the patience of the in-law senseis!

Favorite new ikemen, Darvish Yu

Enough ugliness. I just discovered a hot new idol, Darvish Yu, pitcher for the Nippon Ham Fighters. Wow! Baseball cannot hold my attention for long, but I am swayed by the combo of this Japanese-Iranian ikemen (イケメン) and the most wonderful baseball team name ever.

Maybe this star pitcher can heal the recent competition between Japan and Iran for the 2 year UN Security Council seat.

Go, Nippon Ham Fighters!

Saipan lemon tree

It’s fall in Tokyo: occasional rain, ginko fruit on the ground (and nuts eaten as bar food), appearance of fall fashion (woolens, baby leg warmers, lots of red-and-black), desserts with chestnuts. And I got this great deal on a Saipan lemon tree with three ripe green lemons (about $12).

I haven’t found much information online about Saipan lemons. I do know that the fruit stays green on the branches (might turn slightly yellow after harvesting), and that it comes from a tiny island owned by the United States that is vying with Guam for Japanese golf tourists.

The friendly plant guy who sold me the Saipan lemon tree urged me to up-pot it as soon as possible. After checking out what’s commercially available, I’ve decided to make my largest flower pot yet at the ceramic studio. Here it is after the first day of shaping: 30 centimeter in diameter, 10 centimeter in height after Day 1. I’ll work on the shape for 3 to 4 days, and it should reach 30 to 40 centimeters tall. (30 centimeters = 1 foot). Large pots are much more difficult to make. Thanks, senseis for your help!

Home security guard (自宅警備員)

My “chotto hen” (sort of strange) sensei Bangin taught me a useful word for someone who stays home too much glued to the internet: Home Security Guard (自宅警備員, jitaku keibi’in). Most of my classmates at the ceramic studio hadn’t heard it before.

自宅警備員 is a replacement for NEET (not in education, employment or training) and the older phrase, 引きこもり(hikikomori), recluses who never leave their rooms. As Bangin explains, a home security guard mostly guards the computer screen, and has less responsibilities than a “home-maker.”

I guess I am a part-time 自宅警備員.

Gira Gira, new TV drama

A new evening soap opera is starting this week, Gira Gira. Can’t wait! The lead is one of my favorite soap stars, Kuranosuke Sasaki (佐々木蔵之介), from Zettai Kareshi (Absolute Boyfriend). The title, Gira Gira (ギラギラ), can be translated as blinding ambition or garish bling. The plot seems to involve a middle-aged family man who enters (or re-enters) the world of male hosts after becoming unemployed. There’s sure to be lots of big-haired young men, seedy politics, and tons of tears.