michael lambe's scrapbook

little irish jackhammer

  • Deep Kyoto’s original purpose was to introduce bars, cafes and restaurants of character. However, its purview has expanded way beyond that over the last year or so, to encompass art, books, photography, music, dance, poetry, conservation, environmentalism and now with the controversy over the Kyoto Aquarium  – protest! I still post quite a lots of places to sit and eat and drink in though, so let’s take a look at them first!

    Bars:
    Alphabet Ave.
    Tadg’s Irish Bar and Restaurant
    BAR F.S.N.
    Sake Bar Asakura
    Cafes:
    Quarirengue
    Blues Cafe Ball’n’Chain
    月と六ペンス
    Restaurants:
    Guest House Cono (posh)
    Apollo (izakaya style Japanese food)
    Thilaga Indian Restaurant
    海と空 (Okinawan)
    Sharma Indian Restaurant
    Vege-Cafe Kanna (natural food in a machiya setting)
    Kerala Indian Restaurant (the best Indian restaurant in Kyoto)
    Asahi Suisan (sea food)
    Second House ShichijoNishinotoinTen (pasta and cake in a Taisho era bank building)
    Soba no Mi Yoshimura (soba so good!)

    Here’s the rest! (or at least as much as I have time for…)

    Art:
    Daniel Kelly
    Sarah Brayer
    Pictures & Video from オトエホン-21
    Dreamtime @ The Kampo Museum
    The Glorious Art of José Benitez Sanchez
    An Interview with Mara Alper
    Nihonga
    Saiundo Traditional Art Supply Shop
    Books:
    John Dougill’s “Kyoto: A Cultural History”
    京町家の再生 – Machiya Revival in Kyoto
    Heian Jingu’s cherry blossoms & Yasunari Kawabata’s “The Old Capital”
    The Time Out Shortlist Kyoto
    The Ultimate Japanese Phrasebook
    Yoko Danno’s “Songs and Stories of the Kojiki”
    One Hundred Poets on Mount Ogura, One Poem Each
    Kyoto Journal #74 The Silk Roads (links to sneak previews)
    Kyoto Journal #75: “Biodiversity” – Essential Reading for COP10
    Conservation & Environment:

    Kyoto Journal #75: “Biodiversity” – Essential Reading for COP10
    The People I Met at COP10
    COP10 – History is Made!
    People Together for Mt. Ogura – The Poets’ Mountain
    One Hundred Poets on Mount Ogura, One Poem Each
    京町家の再生 – Machiya Revival in Kyoto
    Culture & Tradition:
    A Kyoto Christmas
    Autumn Colours at Kinkakuji & Ryoanji
    KIRISHITAN KYOTO
    Rokudo-Mairi & The Haunted Candy Shop
    Ryokan Pleasures & Possibilities
    Takigi Noh (Noh by Firelight)
    Ikkyū
    Japanese Noh Theatre
    Cherry Blossoms at Heian Jingu
    Tengu
    Kimono Old & New
    Music:
    ぼーぼーず @ Urbanguild (rock!)
    Udonya Mentei & Yoshida Koichi @ Bar Hawkwind (folk)
    Kris Roche (up and coming singer/songwriter)
    Okuda Satoko/Viva Sherry 1 & 2 & 3 (jazz pop diva)
    Yugao @ Urbanguild (shakuhachi!)
    Get on the Mat!
    Yugao @ Zac Baran (Spain!)
    raw elements (popular local band)
    Morphic Jukebox @ Jittoku (folk rock funsters)
    Miimo @ JunKroom (dub electronica)
    Yuya Ohta @ Modern Times (happening young fella)
    elements (the massively popular local band play their final show as a full band)
    The Wild Cards at Tadg’s
    Singing & Dancing Round the Table @ Irish Pub Gnome (Irish Folk)
    Resonance 2010 – the best event this year!
    Deep Kyoto & JunKroom Present: Voices for Umekoji ~ 梅小路公園の声 – the best event next year!
    Photography:

    Doomed Rooster by John Ashburne

    John Ashburne
    Chris McCooey
    Paul Crouse
    Jeffrey Friedl
    Frédéric Devos
    John Einarsen
    Stewart Wachs
    Ken Rodgers
    Poetry:
    Irish Haiku
    Two Poems by Amano Tadashi
    “A Lively Evening” by Murayama Kaita
    One Hundred Poets on Mount Ogura, One Poem Each
    A Hokku of Yosa Buson
    Introducing Keiji Minato
    Songs and Stories of the Kojiki retold by Yoko Danno
    Kyoto International Poetry Society
    Protest!
    Deep Kyoto & JunKroom Present: Voices for Umekoji ~ 梅小路公園の声
    Raw Feelings for a Fish Tank (Chris Rowthorn writing in Kansai Scene)
    Fury at Kyoto Aquarium Plan (my piece for Japan Today)
    Why you can’t read my KVG article on the Kyoto Aquarium online…
    Our Protest Against the Kyoto Aquarium at Kiyomizudera
    Think Outside The Tank (a selection of local opinions)
    Others:
    Somushi (Korean tea shop)
    Club World (I actually went to a club)

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  • Something very bad has happened to Deep Kyoto. If you try to look at it there’s a page of code you have to scroll through to get to the home page. But what’s worse (for me) is I can’t access admin – when I try I just get code. If anyone out there in the interwebs or blogosphere (or whatever) has a clue why or what or (mainly) how to fix it I’d be much obliged.

    And because that alone would be a pretty hopeless blog post I’ll add this video for Mewby. Maybe the best rendition of Stand By Me ever?

    Coming soon: Mewby’s Kitchen.

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  • robert-doisneau

    I went to see the Robert Doisneau exhibition at the Kyoto Station Art Gallery today and it made me want to live in Paris AND become a black and white photographer. Robert Doisneau really knew how to wait for the perfect moment and he knew where to wait too. Pure genius. Every picture is a fascinating character study of a person, or place, or relationship… or dog. Wonderful stuff. I was sorely tempted to invest in the book of the exhibition but didn’t have ¥10,000 on me. Probably a good thing. I’ve got too many books as it is. Anyway, I recommend seeing it if you’re in Kyoto. It continues until February 22nd and you can find it on the 7th floor of the Isetan building.

    This month sees Deep Kyoto‘s debut column in Kyoto Visitors Guide. I’m hoping some of those 15,000 a month readers will be interested enough to come back and check out my site. Anyway, I’m getting name recognition and the editor has agreed to do a monthly guest column for Deep Kyoto in return so everyone’s a winner.

    kvg-dk-1

    A short while ago, another Kyoto blogger Ted Taylor, told me about a music event at TakuTaku, a pretty famous live music venue I’ve been meaning to check out for ages. You can read about TakuTaku here. The event was Soul Flower Mononoke Summit and their guest Ainu musician Oki. Soul Flower Mononoke Summit is an acoustic offshoot of rock band Soul Flower Union developed after the Great Hanshin Earthquake. At that time SFU decided to help keep people’s spirits up by playing for them in the streets, and because they were in the streets they swapped their electric guitars for Okinawan sanshin and supplemented them with old-fashioned chindon style street-band percussion. They are obviously very popular in Kyoto, TakuTaku was packed, and everyone (young, old, families, babies…) seemed to know the songs, singing along, swaying, dancing, waving their hands in the air… A great night with good community feeling. Many thanks to Ted for letting me know about that one. You can read more about the gig and specifically Oki’s performance on his blog here. Here is a video.

    If you like that there’s another one here.

    The Animal Rescue Site

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  • Take a look at this page. Notice anything missing? Any glaring spaces? Gaping holes?

    The ads have gone. And not by choice. Yesterday I received a mail from Google Adsense that read like this:

    Hello Michael Lambe,

    While going through our records recently, we found that your AdSense
    account has posed a significant risk to our AdWords advertisers. Since
    keeping your account in our publisher network may financially damage
    our advertisers in the future, we have decided to disable your account.

    Please understand that we consider this a necessary step to protect the
    interests of both our advertisers and our other AdSense publishers. We
    realise the inconvenience that this may cause you and we thank you in
    advance for your understanding and cooperation.

    If you have any questions about your account or the actions that we
    have taken, please do not reply to this email. You can find more
    information by visiting

    https://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/answer.py?answer=57153&hl=en_GB.

    Yours sincerely,

    The Google AdSense Team

    So that was a bit upsetting. Not just because of the lack of information as to why my humble sites are such a threat but well…you see the timing couldn’t be worse. For months now the adsense program has been producing very little because my blog at Deep Kyoto simply isn’t getting enough visitors (you need A LOT). However, from February excerpts from my blog are going to be published monthly in Kyoto Visitors Guide (readership 15,000) so I was expecting something of a surge of interest and along with it some actual income. With only a couple days to go, suddenly the source of said projected income is denied me.

    Now you can appeal this decision, so I did immediately – in a panic (never the best way to do things) but having done so I received no confirmation email from adsense that they received my appeal. When this happens you are supposed to resend your appeal – perhaps you haven’t written your email address correctly? So I did. Double checked my email address.

    Nothing.

    I wonder if they got it? I don’t want to send too many appeals – there’s a danger of annoying them by being overly spammer-like. But anyway I learned on this site that only 1% (ONE PER CENT!) of appeals actually succeed. The likely reason for the disabling of my account is illegitimate ad-clicks (i.e. someone deliberately clicking on all the ads in order to gain ad revenue – or to deliberately get me blacklisted from the adsense system)… and the onus is on me to prove I or someone connected to me am not responsible. Very difficult to prove really… So it doesn’t look good. Of course there are alternatives to adsense but I feel like someone summarily expelled from school or dishonourably discharged from the army… DISHONOURED. I want another chance to prove myself and clear my good name. So I shall wait another 24 hours and then appeal again in a less panicky sort of way. Ho hum.

    And if that falls on deaf ears (blind eyes?)… you may be seeing a new ad-system on these pages soon.

    Update: Haven’t found a good alternative yet but until I do, I shall fill the space with pro bono ads like the one below.

    The Breast Cancer Site

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  • I just tried out this GenderAnalyzer thingy. It uses artificial intelligence to find out if a blog is written by a man or a woman and apparently it usually works pretty well. So I tapped in urls for both this blog and for deepkyoto and do you know, in both cases, I’m a lass. Who would have thunk it? I wonder what criteria they are using to judge one’s gender by. Perhaps I need to write more about football and erm… cars?

    Anyway, we just had a glorious three day weekend so here’s what I’ve been up to…

    Friday

    Fine wine and cake at Bocca del Vino. If you want to treat yourself or someone else to something reet posh – this is the place for you.  I spent over 20,000 and I don’t regret a single yen. Here’s a picture of some very very luscious cake:

    After that we moved onto Joao for some Halloween frolics…
    BubbleShare: Share photosFind great Clip Art Images.

    And finally onto Kisui where Setchan was being a cheeky monkey:
    BubbleShare: Share photosPlay some Online Games.

    Saturday

    Lovely weather so we had a picnic by the river and cycled up to Kamigamo where I prayed for some luck in regards to (ahem!) future endeavours. When I got home I discovered two very exciting (yet entirely unconnected) emails from magazine editors who had discovered Deep Kyoto and want to work with me. I’ll let you know more about that as and when it develops.
    BubbleShare: Share photosFind great Clip Art Images.

    Sunday

    Went to a bar called Ringo where they play Beatles hits ALL THE TIME. Weirdly, I enjoyed it. I also finally managed to finish this: In Search of… Vinyl.

    Monday

    A return trip to Kobe. Took in China Town, Ijinkan and Harbourland. I also managed to remember where Piccolo is. Kageyama-san introduced me to this rock bar – a “Deep Kobe” institution – the last time I was in Kobe. This time the master of the joint was completely wasted, so much so he fell asleep standing up and could not be awoken. Fortunately he has some very honest customers who left their money with him when they left… Most funtertaining.
    BubbleShare: Share photosFind great Clip Art Images.

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  • This month’s message from Hozouji left me feeling singularly unimpressed.

    人生は
    うれしさ半分
    かなしさ半分

    jinsei ha
    ureshisa hanbun
    kanashisa hanbun

    life is
    half happiness
    half sadness

    “So what?” I ask myself. Big deal. Well, it’s little things that make me happy. Things like this list of useful veggie links on Seika University’s website, with this little baby right at the top:

    Deep Kyoto – Excellent local info including listing of vegetarian restaurants and import foodstores, more restaurants here, very valuable source LINK

    And even more so, this:

    …in terms of really getting into Kyoto, you still can’t beat material that’s lovingly hand-crafted at the personal level. One of the most helpful Kyoto resources for residents and visitors is Michael Lambe’s wonderfully informative blog, aptly named Deep Kyoto (www.deepkyoto.com) “…introducing those good places and people that make up the modern city. The primary focus of the blog is on cafes, bars and restaurants of character. … All reviews are of places I personally have visited and taken a shine to, and include opening hours, plenty of photographs, and super clear directions.” (Particularly useful for anyone looking for vegetarian specialities, and really relaxed places to hang out…). Link to Kyoto Journal

    Hell, yeah! I’m loving Kyoto Journal right now!

    Having said all that though, I expect it’s little things that make me unhappy too… Hmmm…

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  • The problem with blogging is that unless you are an anonymous blogger and the peeps that read you are total strangers, there is no way you can write about the really juicy stuff that happens to you day by day because if you did you’d land yourself in a whole heap of shit with a whole lot of people. If I were to tell you about the really nice chap I met today IN ANY DETAIL AT ALL  (as to why I met him for instance and what we talked about) I would be getting it in the neck from several quarters. Again, if I were to tell you anything about the two hour phone conversation I had this evening in distressingly difficult Japanese, I would get it in the neck from a whole set of different directions. Neither am I at liberty to tell you that much about the really fun stuff either – there’d be hell to pay. I guess what I’m saying is it’s difficult to COMPLAIN and WHINGE when I want to, or indeed to BRAG and GLOAT on other occasions and get away with it. So instead I talk about the news. Or rather I link to other people talking about the news far more proficiently than I ever could.

    But believe me behind the scenes in mikeylambeland – total madness.

    Anyway, until I have grown and nurtured a nice, safe life (with nothing but mutual respect and understanding on all sides) that I can actually talk about publicly, here is Charlie Stross’s take on the current financial crisis and the Bush administration’s ridiculous answer to it. Of everything I’ve read he puts it most succinctly: SHIBBOLETHS

    And here is yet another clip from the Daily Show, showing in awesome clarity the Bush administration’s use of fear as a tool to manipulate the masses.

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  • I’m in a book! Or rather Deep Kyoto is. Old Lado buddy Masaya Kanzaki writes:

    I know an editor at 実務教育出版, and I told her about Deep Kyoto a while ago. She liked it, and so she included the link to Deep Kyoto in their new book called ネットの英語技術 with a short introduction.

    http://www.jitsumu.co.jp/books_navi/toeic/net_eigo/index.html

    …I’m promoting Deep Kyoto, you see? I like the way you describe restaurants and bars, and your photos are good too. I want more people to visit Deep Kyoto.

    Wow, eh? Thanks Masaya!

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  • One of my many New Year’s resolutions (drink less, exercise, save money, meditate, translate poems, be a good boy…) is to make Deep Kyoto profitable. For a long time now I’ve been reading Yaro Starak‘s tips on how to be a successful blogger. Basically he seems to have two key ideas: one being pillar articles and the other being marketing through increased internet presence. Pillar articles are basically posts of valuable information that people will continue to want to read long after they are written. Deep Kyoto is basically a series of reviews of good places in Kyoto so almost every post is a “pillar article” of value (which is partly why I came up with the idea in the first place). However, I haven’t really done any marketing up till now and that is undoubtedly why no-one is reading it. All that is about to change. I’ve come up with one idea for increasing my web-presence and yesterday I started to put it into action.

    I’ve written previously on bookcrossing. The idea is you leave books you have read and finished with, out “in the wild” for other people to read and then they write their impressions on the bookcrossing site – and then they re-release them. My idea is a pretty simple one – I register myself on the bookcrossing site as “deepkyoto”, with a brief description of the blog on the profile page. I then place my own bespoke deepkyoto bookplates inside the bookcover along with the bookcrossing id number. In addition, I am leaving the books in places I have already reviewed so each book’s “release notes” contain a link back to a deepkyoto review. Why, it’s almost like a treasure hunt. I have plenty of books I don’t need anymore so I think I can continue to promote myself this way over a fairly wide area. Yesterday I left books at Long Island Cafe and Kyoto Prefectural Information Center. I wonder where they end up and how successful this little strategy will be?

    Another key to successful blogging is of course regular postage and to that end there is a fresh review up today on !-style pottery. Enjoy!

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  • Welcome to the new blog. Why a new blog? Well, for one thing the URL is a lot simpler. But mainly because whereas BLOGGER owned the last site – this one is all mine and cannot be taken away from me. Why WordPress? Because my good friend Rik Abel told me to, and he knows about these things. It has better “functionality” apparently, but I haven’t gotten to grips with that yet seeing as I’m a stupid Luddite. (He often tells me that too). One thing I have noticed though, is the Archives button on the header there. Click on that and you can find your way around the blog either by seeing what catches your eye in the tag cloud, or in the list of categories. I haven’t finished tagging and categorising yet (only managed a 157 posts so far!) but I am basically organising it so that categories are more general (movies, poetry etc) and tags are more specific (007, Yeats etc). Also, people I talk about regularly should be able to see their own name in the tag cloud and click on that for a trip down memory lane. I’m a bit embarrassed about the size of Philippe’s tag though. I need to see more people.

    And for the first post here on mikeylambe.com I present for your delectation and delight the final video from Banya’s performance at Gojo Guesthouse Cafe last week. Enjoy!

    [kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/DM8PpMe9bGc" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

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