Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"Stay Faceless", the song I recorded with Lowbrows, is on their MySpace!

The Lowbrows, a well known production duo, consisting of Chaki (a musician and DJ) and Emi (a classically trained musician) are releasing their new CD December 24th (if everything works out) and I recorded a song with them!

The song is called "Stay Faceless", and they just put it up on their MySpace yesterday (Japan time). Go check it out!

Just so you know, yeah it doesn't sound like me, because the pitch was edited a lot, but everything is me, even the "Daft Punk" like vocoder parts. All production by The Lowbrows!

Go show them love on their MySpace and buy their album for Christmas if you are in Japan and love Electro!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Hiroko's wedding!

I really wish I had the energy to do this post justice, but I have had a busy weekend!

I spent all yesterday (yes, this is not as late as the last post!) celebrating the marriage of my friend/old assistant manager Hiroko!

Started the day waking up late and doing laundry to the point of losing track of time and having to make my coworker wait for me, as I missed the train I should have caught to be on time. I caught the next train and made it there fine. We got to the ceremony hall and were happy one of the people there knew me, and helped us sign the guest book in English. Yes! She was a head teacher at another school and aparently was an on the job training person at Chikusa, while I was there, but I didn't recognize her! A while later, Hiroko's friends from Korea came, and I helped them out a bit since they speak NO Japanese. Yes, me, an America, helping with basic Japanese translation, for 2 people from Korea... Wait till the end, it gets better! The ceremony was much shorter than I was used to from American weddings (and being the first wedding I haven't really been a part of!) but Hiroko looked SOOO beautiful in her dress! She and her new husband looked sooo happy by the end of the ceremony!

This is where things were different from American weddings. IMMMEDIATELY after the ceremony, in the same place, the reception began! Lots of good food, and alcohol were consumed and all had a good time! Hiroko changed into a kimono, as did her husband, and both looked excellent!

Everything ended, and I returned home to change clothes and get Sayaka to go to the SECOND party. This is called NIJIKAI and is a party AFTER the reception for friends and coworkers. The ceremony is usually family only, but Hiroko invited her friends from Korea, my cowrker and I, so we all felt very honored to be there! The second party found my manager, head teacher, and staff from the Sakae school there, along with many other people, 120 to be exact! This is the biggest NIJIKAI I have been to (I have been to 5 before this, maybe 5...). It was at the same location as the first NIJIKAI I ever went to so I was looking forward to eating a bit of Chinese food (was still full from the French food from the wedding!). I socialized as much as I could and was ready to join the games every NIJIKAI has.

Now I never win ANYTHING at these. I hardly ever get a chance to compete, and when I have, I lost! Last night was different!

THey were asking a lot of different questions and there were many prizes, like a crab all you can eat, fish all you can eat, and a onsen for couples!

One question comes up and I only caught "Spaingo" which means Spanish. I asked Sayaka what the question was, and she told me "What does the word "AHO" mean in Spanish?" Many people raised their hands, but everyone was wrong. Here is where my High School Spanish classes paid off. I raised my hand, and in Japanese answered "NINIKU!" aka garlic! I was greeted with a CORRECT in Japanese, and everyone cheered for me. Surprised. Yes, here is a black American, at a Japanese wedding, winning a prize for answering a Spanish question. Only in Japan...

I had to choose 1 of 4 cards to see what prize I would get, so I closed my eyes, and got the onsen for couples! I was asked to give a greeting to the couple (only me, talk about on the spot and it was super short, but I made people laugh. I took a picture with the bride and groom as they congratulated me and went back hands in the air to my seat with my prize, but not before the game host asked me who I would take, and I said Sayaka and she stood up and was totally embarassed!

The rest of the night went on, lots of laughs, pictures, and fun and things came to a close. I took so many pictures, I still need to sort through them and upload them. Once I do, I will update this post, or make a new one.

I spent today, getting DJ headphones for my first big event on November 15th 2008, since my previous headphones were too weak for a club setting. I came home and began work on a new song, to celebrate my new purchase. Let's see if I ever finish this one! I have a ton of work in progresses I have yet to release...

Finally a new post! Ganban Night weeekend!

All of this happened 2 weeks ago, but I have been insanely busy since this to write the blog, so here it is! Hope people still remember me!

WHAT a weekend!

This marks my first trip to Tokyo with my new iPod Touch 2G, which replaces my older iPod which replaces a need for friends when I travel alone to Tokyo!

During work on Thursday, I went to the 99 yen shop and bought an eye mask, toothpaste, cotton swabs, and a bath towel. I used the new eye mask on the way to Tokyo (on a bus with only 5 other people) and slept better than I ever have on a bus. I got to Tokyo station around 5:25 and went straight to Akihabara to do what? Find an internet cafĂ© and SLEEP! I did sleep better than usual, but it doesn’t mean it was a lot! After I woke up, I went to a nearby Denny’s to grab some pasta for breakfast and then I ion exwas on my way to meet my friend Norm (who was visiting Japan for 3 weeks!). I call Norm around the time he wanted to be called, and was told he wouldn’t be ready for another 3 hours, so I headed to Shibuya, to just let the time go.

I went straight to Starbucks, sat and waited for a while until Norm showed up. We met near the station and headed to TGIFridays for a slow lunch, with lots of talking and reflecting on his time in Japan. After we ate I wanted to check out the Bape store, where we met a staff member who was born in Hawaii and spoke pretty much fluent English. Him and I convinced Norm to buy his first pair of Bathing Ape shoes! Nice!

As time went on, we did a lot of walking around, then made plans with other friends to go check out a club event in Omote Sando. So we wanted to pre drink, to avoid the expensive club fees for alcohol, so we went to Roppongi, Mistake and a half. Not just for time, but for the whole innocence that even a drug dealer could lose, just for saying the name, let alone going there.

We get there and we are overrun by the myriad of Africans trying to get English speaking foreigners to go to the clubs they goon for. They will run up and walk with you and say, “Want to see beautiful girl?” What guy wouldn’t? But why would any guy want to be lead by an African, in Japan, to see these beautiful girls? Not us. So The first guy that came up, I responded, “We already have beautiful girl, thanks.” This made him try harder, as he was met with similar versions of the same story, until he eventually left. The next guy got, “Do you have any fat girls? Short fat girls?” He stumbled to find words to reply, but came up with nothing but “Do you want to see beautiful girl? Come on, beautiful girl is waiting!” As we walked away he started shouting “Were you mocking me?! Saying you want fat girl, you mocking me!” Yes. I was. The last ones to approach, was the best result. I told them I was Christian… This time there were 3 guys and upon hearing this they surrounded me, one started dry humping me with a few feet between us, and they asked why did I come to Roppongi if I was Christian. I told them I was looking for a church, and they started taunting me about not having a bible and such. I think they got it that I was kidding, and just shook my hand and said to have fun.
While looking for a cheap bar, we got a call from Norm’s friend, saying he would join us for the night and we would meet in Omote-Sando. To save money, I thought it would be a good idea to walk to Shibuya, then OS after that. We saw a sign that said 2km to Shibuya, so we headed in that direction to get there…
50 minutes later we arrived to familiar ground. 2km my ass!
Now the walk to OS is about 15 mins to OS, so we made the walk and waited at McDonalds for friends to arrive. Before we got there though, we saw a guy walking, a rather big, brown monkey. It was so random, we just stopped, stared, and continued on, without mentioning it too much. It got better when we were waiting at McDonalds and the guy with the monkey came by again! Shortly after monkey spotting, Norm’s friend PJ and his girlfriend Lucia showed up! They missed him!
We sat and chatted a bit and headed to the conbini to begin the pre party tradition of pre drinking. I introduced everyone to the world of Strong Chu Hi, and the power hit em half a can into it! We started feelin the swerve when Haruka called to say she was in OS. Haruka is a friend Ryan and I met back during our weekend in Tokyo last time, with her Frenchy Kevin! She was gonna roll with us to the party and meet up with Luke and Tom. She knew how to get to Ever, the club we were going to, and we headed there, after getting more to drink!
We found our way to the club, and it was pretty packed and beautifully decorated. Loads of people were there, and it was just pulsating with electro house, or a live band performance! Crazy! A short time after, we found, err, Tom and Luke found me! They run up, shout Tommy, and I get hugged (and I think kissed) by 2 of my fav underage partiers! It was officially time to party the night away.
Lots of music, alcohol, and dancing later, it was last song and we found ourselves stumbling back to McDonalds. We grabbed quick food, and said our goodbyes.
I was now alone...
Drunk, I headed to Shibuya, then wanted to go to a familiar stop, 3 stops away, to get a 5800 yen hotel. Easy enough right? Of course not in this story! I passed out and woke up 30 minutes later, on the other side of the Yamanote line! I got off the first stop after waking up, stumbled to the gate, to have it beep at me for having a ticket that was 30 yen off. I pay my 30 yen at the gate, and stumble into unfamiliar territory. I wandered the streets for a few minutes (maybe), and made it to a capsule hotel. 1600 yen, for 10 hours and a sento (public bath)? DEAL!
I woke up after setting the alarm, and was shocked to see I was in a capsule hotel! Everything I mentioned was a rough guess at what happened, but I really don’t remember much after getting on the train, just know I woke up in the capsule hotel. So I took a bath, left the hotel, and did some minor alone time in Shibuya. I told everyone when to meet up and everyone (Haruka, Hiro, and Susannah) got there roughly on time. We get there and I thought I lost my ticket to the show! I was panicked, everyone panicked, but alas! It was in my back pocket! Safe! But my friends hated me! Haha! We got alcohol, food, and downed all of the above and made our way to Messe to begin a night of amazing partying for Gan Ban night! We were eventually met by Ryan, Tom, Luke, and another friend Nami. Even more surprised to see some DJs from Tiny (Nagoya’s best DJ crew IMO). We all danced and partied the night away together and it was amazing.
Highlights from the show for me:
Waving to Daruma from Dex Pistols during Justice’s set, and him recognizing me and waving back, with a thumbs up!
Busy P, giving our section 2 cups of Red Bull and vodka!
Busy P, giving just ME a cup full of what I think was rum! He then gave me the funniest look when he saw it was gone in less than 10 seconds!
Being front row for people I thoroughly respect in this industry! Crookers, Basement Jaxx, Boys Noize, Sebastian, Justice, Busy P, and Dex Pistols.
Such an amazing night, but it was waiting to be topped by the next day.
Morning comes, and I stumble to the same capsule hotel for a few hours of sleep and a bath. I made plans to meet with Chaki from The Lowbrows, and do some recording for him. Before this day, I had made and sent recordings from my laptop, of a low quality, but he liked them, but said he wanted some more. So we meet in Shibuya with him and his girlfriend, and take a subway to get to his place. On the way, we run into one of his friends James, who is a foreigner studying at UCLA now, but in Japan for part of a class (I believe). Really cool guy in my book.
We get off the subway, part ways with James, and board a train to Chaki’s house/studio. I was amazed at everything I saw inside of there! Pure awe…admiration…jealousy! I got to meet Emi of Lowbrows and listen to the track I had recorded for previously. It was a lot different than previously heard, but still cool as hell! So Chaki drops the bomb, and tells me to write a rap. Great, but I don’t rap, but for a chance to be on their CD, I sat down and wrote something to music playing. After several takes, we got something that sounded amazing! We played with it over and over and over, until it sounded like something complete. This started at 4PM and it was around 3AM when I woke up from falling asleep while working on the track. Chaki was also tired, but we were both hungry, so we braved typhoon like weather to go to the conbini and grab some food. We got back ate, and were awake, so we played some Playstation 3. Our game for the night (morning), Call of Duty 4!
I already had a ton of respect for Chaki for doing what I want to do, extremely well (he is VERY experienced at DJing and being a musician), but to see him DEMOLISH people in Call of Duty, and laugh and taunt people like a typical American gamer, I had to bow down. One of his friends from Roc Trax was online playing with him and I was laughing at how slow he was moving. So careful and slow, but not getting any kills! It was my first time playing on PS3, so I was horrid, for a bit, but after a while, I was racking up the kills and having him show me respect for how I played. After an hour or so, we called it a night (morning) and we both passed out. I woke up to the alarm on his phone (he was in his room sleeping, I was in the living room, with his phone…haha!) and just sat there thinking of everything I just did this weekend.
Amazing party Friday night, amazing concert, Saturday night, and Sunday recording with one of Japan’s up and coming electro acts. Why me?
It was time for me to head to Tokyo station to catch the bus back home, and I bought some Krispy Kreme for Sayaka and I toe at back in Nagoya. I got on the bus and slept for most of the trip home. The most sleep I got the whole weekend!
As usual, it was GREAT to be back home in familiar, quiet, Nagoya, but it really made me feel like living in Tokyo is going to be great! Next year!

Check out the pictures from the weekend!