michael lambe's scrapbook

little irish jackhammer

  • Miriam Chandrika posted this on facebook a couple of days ago and it’s been buzzing round my head ever since. Then I put it on the youtube jukebox at Alphabet Avenue the other night and everybody started dancing. Slick sounds! And all for a good cause too: Gulf Aid.

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  • You really ought to see this.

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  • I had a pretty packed schedule this weekend – most of which will end up on  Deep Kyoto at some point no doubt. First on Friday night, I went to Tadg’s to see The Wildcards play some sweet string sounds. (click the link for a video)

    Then on Saturday I went to a writer’s event organized by Kyoto Journal. Rebecca Otowa talked about her book “At Home in Japan: A Foreign Woman’s Journey of Discovery”. (click on the thumbnail for a better look)

    …and Andy Couturier talked about his book “A Different Kind of Luxury: Japanese Lessons in Simple Living and Inner Abundance”
    Ken said something at the event about how hearing a writer read and talk about their own work opens up aspects of it you hadn’t encountered before. Very true…
    After that, I got a haircut.

    On Sunday, I saw Viva Sherry play at Kaburenjo (video coming soon here).

    Then I went to a Freedom Flotilla protest on Sanjo bridge.

    Then, it was back to Tadg’s for a nice vegan supper of Tuscan Bean Stew. Yum.

    And then we went home and watched Stand By Me. Though I’ve seen it many times, it never get’s old.

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  • More than a journal this site has become an occasional scrapbook of everything that doesn’t fit elsewhere. Here are some assorted scraps and odds and ends that don’t fit in other places or that I haven’t had time to post lately…

    That there, is a very famous cherry tree in Maruyama Park. I was there two weeks ago at my school’s cherry blossom viewing party. Now, after having been back at school for but a week and a half – it seems like a million years ago. This next one is a pic of me and Mr. Yamashita. He was a very nice teacher to work with but sadly I don’t get to teach with him this year…

    It was extraordinarily cold that night so I drank hot sake to keep warm. I drank a lot of hot sake to keep warm. Hence the beaming red face.

    The blossoms have been particularly tenacious this year, there are still some blossoms peeking out between the leaves even now. When you get cherry blossom and green leaves together it’s called hazakura. “Ha” is 葉 meaning “leaf” and the sakura part is 桜 meaning “cherry blossom”. Don’t say you never learn anything around here.

    This next scrap is a preamble to a piece I put up on Deep Kyoto last night… I wrote and then decided it didn’t fit on Deep Kyoto so I’m sticking it here instead. I think it fits quite nicely in here, in my scrapbook…

    Why Mewby likes Curry

    There was a time when Mewby didn’t like curry. Or she thought she didn’t, because all she knew was Japanese curry – which is hardly representative. To be honest, as it invariably contains meat, I’ve never actually eaten the Japanese variety myself.

    A serving of Japanese curry.

    However, I have to say it doesn’t look very appetizing.

    So I sympathised.

    “But,” I told her, “Indian curry, real Indian curry, is something else altogether.”

    She didn’t believe me. For her curry held no appeal.

    But I was determined to teach her the truth about curry – real Indian curry – a life without which was barely a life lived at all – so I persisted, and finally, she caved, albeit reluctantly, as she’s not too keen on spicy food in general. One night I took her to the Indian restaurant just off Hyakumanben, asked them to go easy on the spice and she gave it a whirl. It was a taste revelation.

    And now she is a true believer. Or perhaps addict would be a better word. Because after I moved away from north Kyoto and no longer lived close by that fine Indian establishment, she still had curry cravings but nowhere to sate them. Until she found Thilaga that is. About which you can read more here

    Finally,

    …some music. Some time ago I was in Cafe Kocsi and they were playing some music and I thought to myself “That’s nice” so I asked a waiter what it was. He came back with the CD, so I thanked him, made a note on a piece of paper, lost the paper and promptly forgot all about it. Until the next time I was in Cafe Kocsi – when exactly the same thing happened again. I think this happened three times (that I remember) before I finally resolved to order the album off amazon. It’s Yael Naïm. I’ve been listening to her a lot lately. And she’s lovely.

    Buy Yael Naim on amazon, amazon.co.jp, and amazon.co.uk.

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  • Frankly, I’m charmed.

    You can download it here.

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    In no particular order…

    1. I work with good people. Stirling people. They are not only fun to hang out with but they work hard and are keen to share ideas and to help each other out. They are totally awesome.

    2. The school generally treats us pretty well. We all get our own computers for example. And the pay is pretty good. And then I get a twice yearly bonus on top of that. Just like a regular Japanese employee! This is the first time I’ve experienced this in 12 years of living and working in Japan. That’s awesome.

    3. My students are friendly and interested in their subject. I cannot even begin to tell you how awesome that is.

    4. I can get to work by bicycle in ten minutes from my house. (You see I live in an awesome area).

    5. I work a long day and I’m really busy but it’s fulfilling. I actually look forward to getting to work in the morning. Even Monday mornings! And I have a lot of opportunity to think and create and do a good job. I really enjoy that.  Being paid to make stuff is awesome.

    6. I have a free period at the end of the day, four days out of five. I go into the gym with a couple of my fellow teachers and they show me how to use the machines and are now teaching me kick boxing too. And they are all nice and encouraging about it too. This job is good for my health and… it’s like I’m getting paid to train! How awesome is that?

    7. Yesterday I learned that on top of the two weeks we get off at Xmas and the two we get off in the spring, we will be getting two months off in the summer – and (!) we have a two week autumn break!

    Awesome.

    Apropos of nothing, here are some pictures from a fun night we had out at Gnome at the weekend. Felicity Greenland and Tomoko Saito conducted a singalong style workshop of British and Irish songs. And sing we did! Here are the two musicians:
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    Here are (villainous) Ted and Mewby:
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    David and Yuki:
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    Myself and Mewby too:
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    Why Ted kept pointing at me and singing “Dirty Old Man” instead of “Town” I have no idea… There’s a video of a nice Gaelic song Siúil a Rúin up on Deep Kyoto here.

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  • Last Friday, Ted Taylor and I met up at Sarasa Kayuukoji for some old timey jazz and oishii beers. That’s a nice cafe with some very tasty nibbles of which we ordered …way too much.

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    We were there to see Sweet Strings… which turns out to be not one band but a label for a mixed co-operative of players who combine and recombine in many different formats under separate band names. It turned out to be a very nice mellow start to our Golden Week. Here’s comrade Ted toasting May Day:

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    My first month at my new job being over, I needed a break. Though I’m enjoying the job, I’m crazy busy every day, so knowing I had the next few days off meant the beers were going down very well – maybe too well (hints of sheepish ruefulness). Anyway, here’s one of many videos I took that night: Tiny Mookie and Hot Society.

    I won’t be able to post anything on Deep Kyoto for a while as someone (or something) has hacked it and inserted something nasty that prevents me from logging in. Actually, I’m thinking about making some big changes to the site once I wrest back control so…stay tuned.

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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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  • I found this Julie Fowlis song by chance earlier this week and can’t stop listening to it. Absolutely lovely. Bit hard to sing along to though.

    Wonder what it means?

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  • Hello. I hope you all had a lovely Easter with lots of eggy goodness. Today a delightful young chap from NTT came round and reconnected me to the interwomb with a nice new fibre-optic umbilical. I feel whole again. Lots of things have been going on. I’ve moved to a new place with mostly good aspects (spacious! convenient! 10 minutes from work!), and one slight drawback (the teeniness of the kitchen). I’ve had my bank account raided and emptied by Mr Tsujii of the National Health insurance bureaucracy (which was a wee bit scary till I actually went to see him and he was quite reasonable in his own way and everything turned out nice again…). I’ve started a new job where I have to bow to the school at the gates when I’m leaving and entering (which perversley I kind of like) and everyone gets their own computer (wow!) and the students are shy but very nice… I’ve attended a couple of entertaining hanami parties (pictures latertoo tired now). I’ve watched the Doctor Who Easter special “Planet of the Dead” and thoroughly enjoyed it and think they should have brought that Bionic Eastenders lass on fulltime (but I expect her fee is in direct proportion to her levels of hottyness and so they can’t afford her). And last night I went to see Donal Lunny at TakuTaku with Mewby and Ted Taylor. If you don’t know who Donal Lunny is – go away. I expect Ted will be blogging about the show later as he was taking notes last night (did he find a better word than thwack I wonder?) but I’m going to add my two-pennyworth anyway. Here’s my review:

    It was really good. Why weren’t you there?

    Now I want to make my brother-in-law jealous with the picture below. I also put a nice video up on Deep Kyoto here. Here’s the picture

    (left to right: Miu Takahashi, Ted Axl Taylor, Donal Lunny and Michael Lambe).imgp0555

    Many thanks to Mr. Lunny for taking a moment from the endless signage to have his picture taken with a bunch of strangers (such a nice man!), thanks to Miu for the lend of the camera (such a nice girl!), and thanks to Ted for the beer (he’s quite nice too).

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