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little irish jackhammer

  • Mario sent me this info on an Intyatyambo event he and some other ex-Lado people have organized up in Tokyo. Looks like it will be a fun night in a good cause so if you are up in Tokyo at the time check it out. Unfortunately I can’t make it myself. I got that work thing going on…

    Here’s the details from Mario (下に日本語の説明も書いてあります):

    This email is an invitation for all to come out to
    What the Dickens on Tuesday, November 13th for a
    charity concert to raise money for AIDS orphans in
    Africa.
    
    Intyatyambo Community Project (ICP), a registered NPO
    in Cape Town, South Africa, is an orphanage for
    children whose parents are dying or have died of AIDS.
    Tokyo’s own Udo Bartsch, who is currently living in
    Cape Town, is volunteering his time and money at the
    moment to create a better living environment for these
    unfortunate children. Check out their website:
    www.capekids.org
    
    Door opens a 19:00.
    
    Entrance fee is 2,000 yen, all of which will go to
    ICP.
    
    There will be a band over from England, Ernest, which
    will be donating its time and talent to help raise
    money and awareness. Check out their website:
    http://www.myspace.com/ernestband
    
    There will also be other bands and live acts, as well
    as a raffle where you could win an i-pod or other cool
    prizes.
    
    Tell your friends. Tell your family. The more people
    who come, the more money raised, the better the
    children’s life can be.
    
    As Winston Churchill once said: There is no finer
    investment for any community than putting milk into
    babies.
    
    Please email this invitation to as many people as you
    know. And then ask them to do the same!
    
    Any questions, comments or concerns, please contact
    Mario Leto, Paul Church, Daniel Moran or Eiko Nonaka
    at the email addresses at the bottom of this email.
    
    皆さん
    
    13日に恵比寿のWhat
    The
    Dickensで南アフリカのAIDS孤児のためにお金を集めるチャリテー
    を行うのでみなさんに参加してほしいと思います。
    
    インチャチャンボコミューニティプロジェクト(NPC)は南アフリカ
    に登録{とうろく}されるNPOです。NPCはAIDSでご両親を亡くした
    孤児のための孤児院です。東京のUdo Bartsch今南アフリカに住んで
    いてその 子供たちのためにお金と時間をボランティアしてもっと
    良い居住環境を作ろうとしています。
    
    イベントは7pmからです。
    
    にゅうじょうりょうは2000円です。
    
    このイベントではイギリスからライブをするため来日するErnest
    というバンドがお金を募ったり認識を高めたりするため彼らの時間
    と才能をボランティアしてライブをします。
    
    ほかのバンドとパフォーマーもあるし素敵な賞品が当たるくじも
    あります。達に知らせてください。家族にも知らせてください。
    いっぱい人が来ればいっぱいお金が出来て子供たちはもっといい
    生活出来るようになります。
    
    このコンサートのことを周りの人にメールしてください。
    その人に同じことを頼んで下さい。
    
    もし質問やコメントがあれば是非下のメールアドレスでマリオやポール
    やダニエルやえいこに気軽にメール送ってください:
    
    marioalfonso@yahoo.com
    
    pmchurch@hotmail.com
    
    danielmoran@hotmail.com
    
    eikononaka@hotmail.com

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  • I just spent three boozetastic days in Tokyo catching up with various legendary characters and damaging my liver/bank balance (eh Tony? eh?) Got back yesterday thoroughly macarooned and fell into bed at 7 in the evening. Anyway, those of you I managed to see – twas brillig! We must do it again! But not for a while… I’m not as young as I used to be. Below are the legends of Lado: John Motteshead, Greg Ionson, My Clam, the Messiah and Tony Dani after a night at the Mermaid in Akasaka Mitsuke (Tokyo’s most authentic British pub). After that Tony and I wandered off into Roppongi… and the less said about that the better…


    And here I am with my old Fukushima friends Paul Sparks and Chris Cotter. Very good to see you all. Very good indeed.

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  • On Sunday Paul took me to a very nice beer bar in Kagurazaka named “Bitter”. Kagurazaka itself, is well worth a visit if you happen to be in Tokyo, full as it is with nice little, shops, restaurants and dinky little bars. And if you happen to be in Kagurazaka, then “Bitter” is certainly worth a visit. Check out the spacious wooden interior!

    Although the main speciality is Belgian beer, they also have over 70 varities of British and German beers. Bar snacks and meals are also available. And I believe they have some occasional Japanese micro-brews on tap too. Sunday being our lucky day we were able to enjoy a couple of pints of delicious Harvest Moon Brown Ale fresh from the cask.

    Ready to serve: sisters Teruko and Mayumi. This bar has a very cosy atmosphere. RECOMMENDED.
    Opening hours are 5:00 PM – 2:00 AM with no cover charge or extra tax. Closed on Saturdays and National Holidays. For a map, click here:Beer Bar Bitter Map, then go to the bottom of that page and click on the map again for a clearer image.

    *** **** **** **** ***

    Here’s a couple of interesting links before I sign off for today. First off, Japanese clothing company Uniqlo are launching a new world-wide recycling scheme. Once you’re done with your Uniqlo clothes you can take them back to any Uniqlo store for reprocessing, or if still in good nick they will be sent on to refugee camps and such. Marvellous. Bravo Uniqlo!Also, this article I read a few days back shook me to my Irish roots. It seems that the Irish, Scots, Welsh and English are all pretty much the same when studied genetically and it is theorised that the whole bit about one lot being descended from Celts and the other from Anglo-Saxons is simply not true. We are in fact all descended from an earlier base stock upon which later invaders (Celts, Angles, Vikings etc) were but a light and spicy seasoning. It’s a fascinating article, especially the bit about English being spoken in England before the Romans arrived.

    Here’s an amusing video from the Oval Office:

    [kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/1vxaiw03YIg" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

    And here’s another of Joe Strummer, this time with the Mescaleros singing “Coma Girl”:

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

    LINKS FOR THIS POST:Beer Bar Bitter/Kagurazaka/Kagurazaka Restaurants/Genetic Roots of British Isles/Uniqlo Recycling Scheme

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  • Now I’m back in Kyoto and here’s a further update on Saturday night’s beer tasting party. (Scores were out of twenty).

    1st >>> Harvest Moon Brown Ale (Chiba), 14.1 average score
    2nd >>> Sagami Kolsch (Kanagawa), 13.6 (lower mean average)
    3rd >>> Harvest Moon Schwarz (Chiba), 13.6

    So, as these are the top-three tasting beers in Japan, you might want to track them down. Here’s a nice pint of Harvest Moon Brown Ale. Goes down smooth like liquid toffee.

    Here’s a short video from the party finale:

    And apropos of nothing there’s an excellent video of London’s Burning up here.

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  • Greetings from Chez Sparks. Last night was a very merry occasion, here in Ichigaya. 44 different Japanese beers, were tasted and adjudicated upon, taste test competitions held and (particularly enjoyable) quizzes were quizzed. And the elected favorite beer for 2007 (drum-roll please)…

    Harvest Moon Brown Ale !!

    That`s a very tasty micro-brew from Chiba prefecture which Paul and I will be renewing our aquaintance with a little later at Mayumi’s bar where she has it (wonder of wonders!) on tap.

    Here is a very intense Clash performing I Fought The Law. Almost as good as Beretta.

    [kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/16u0wwCfoJ4" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

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  • So I got married at the weekend and this is my new wife:

    I’M JUST KIDDIN’!

    Mario and Shiori (finally) got married and don’t they make a super photogenic couple?
    Me and my hairless friend.
    Some archaic western ritual:

    Feed:
    A bunch of people getting snap-happy:
    The true professional: Mr. David Kleyn with his hawk-like eye.
    Midori caught the bouquet.
    And was abashed.

    A lovely day for everyone there I think.
    Thanks to Paul Sparks for putting me up over the weekend and introducing me to the delights of “Deuce Bigelow 2″ and also to Dan Warriner for taking me to a bar full of transvestites.

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  • Anyone see Japan play Australia last night? I tuned in for the last (and most important) 15 minutes and what a funny game eh? I especially liked the scenes after the match of the delighted dancing Aussie fans and the speechless Japanese. Today, at school, I kept accidentally dropping the name “Australia” into different contexts. Tee-hee.

    Last week, (Monday June 5th) Hyon Joo, Yu Gyong and I went up to Hiezan and had a lovely day. Here’s a picture of me looking gay among the poppies at the Hiezan Garden Museum.

    I’ve been meaning to get up to Hiezan for the last two years but have somehow never managed it – until now. Anyway, last week the weather was perfect. You can see more pictures of flowers and temples and other recent stuff (sakura and so forth) if you click to my Flickr site here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/46253270@N00/sets/72157594164482825/

    As it turns out that’ll be the last Monday I have off for a while as there’s been a major upheaval at my main place of work. Leilani has had to quit her full-time job so she can go home to New Zealand and look after her sick mum. As a result, my hours have increased from 12 to 19 a week… and though I’m a lot busier, it does mean a big increase in my monthly wage. And I still finish no later than 2 o’clock (and sometimes 12). It’s a shame to see Leilani go but good news for my bank balance.

    Here are some pictures you won’t see on my Flickr site of Paul Spark’s 10th Beer tasting party held last Saturday at his Tokyo pad. Once again Mr. Sparks excelled himself, getting all the beers, keeping us all fed and well imbibed and funtertaining us with his impossible quizzes. Sadly he was so busy running in and out of the kitchen I didn’t get any pictures of HIM. Still, thanks for another good night Paul!

    Below, left to right: Graham Chave, My Clam, and Chris Cotter.
    We’s tasting the beers, innit.
    Graham looking coy…

    True Chave comes out and finds new uses for chocolate “Pocky” sticks.

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  • Beautiful day today, bright, sunny, warm… The hills were a shimmering green, the sky a perfect blue, and as the day cooled into night you could hear the frogs chorally burping in the rice paddies that they (the Japanese – not the frogs) somehow manage to squeeze in between office blocks and fast food restaurants.

    This week, as the students have to face their mid-term tests next week, we (the eikaiwa teachers) are giving them “jishu” or “self-study” time during our classes – which basically means they can do what they want. Every time I announce this in class, I am greeted by a round of applause. It’s great for me because I don’t have to prepare a thing and I can just wander round the class chatting with any students who don’t feel like studying anything. Some of the third years told me this morning, that I was a dead-ringer for Super Mario and were really pleased when I said “Mama Mia!” I had a look in the mirror later and found myself seeing myself through their eyes: “Yes, my eyes are big and round! My nose is prominent!” I may have been here too long…

    Anyway, today’s interesting links are this: http://tokyoblog.livejournal.com/ – I actually stayed in this place! It was many moons ago though, 1998 or 9 maybe, with a young gentleman, a roving player in fact, by the name of Jonathan Bond. Key memories for me are the porn video being played over the reception desk (such a novel use for a bicycle!) and the constant reverberations of burps, farts and snores throughout the night from the capsules about me.
    Oh happy days of youth!

    And this: http://www.firstsecondbooks.net/LCtrailer/QTlrg.html – Trailers for books! What a great idea!

    And this is something we can all relate to: http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail152.html
    …up to a point.

    And Kumar sent me this: http://board.spawn.com/forums/showthread.php?t=209328&page=1&pp=35 … and it scared me.

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  • Luka (The Alan Quatermain of Kyoto)


    So some time ago I was sitting in Pagode (http://www.h3.dion.ne.jp/~pagode/ – a very nice bar on Kiyamachi with a superb view and not enough customers) chatting with Luka (the Alan Quartermain of Kyoto) and Luka said he was going to a free music festival in Tokyo and I said “What kind of music is that then?” and he said “Who cares? It’s free.” And then I said “Right… er, can I come?” and he said “Sure, why not?” So around 5 o’clock last Saturday morning, myself and 7 other characters I barely knew (then) piled into a van and drove to Tokyo. The music festival turned out to be Earth Day at Yoyogi Koen (http://www.earthday-tokyo.org/2006/message.html) and I had a top weekend all round seeing old friends, enjoying the festival atmosphere and of course LIVE MUSIC… Of course there was a rich assortment of hippies, idealists and pure wackos there to be appreciated too, like these guys: http://www.retired.jp/ who I actually quite liked because they gave me some sunflower seeds, and were super enthusiastic about it, and then there was another chap in a penguin suit representing a vegetarian organisation that seemed suspiciously religious so I said “So is your organisation… religious?” and he said “No! No! It’s not religious at all! Nothing to do with religion!No!” And I said “Who’s this Supreme Master Ching Hai then?” To which the penguin advised me to check out this suspiciously religious website: http://www.godsdirectcontact.org.tw/eng1/index.htm (featuring a fantastically unremarkable anecdotes section). I said thank you and then immediately went and had some takoyaki.
    (Learn about Takoyaki here: http://web-japan.org/nipponia/nipponia14/whata02.html)

    (Learn how to make it here: http://www.bento.com/tr-tako.html)

    (Learn about “Gimme Gimme Octopus” here: http://blogfiles.wfmu.org/LG/Octopus/Music_Video.mp4 – Thanks Bridgie!)

    Anyway, about the music, I have to say the best thing about this kind of event is that you have a chance to sample all kinds of music that you wouldn’t normally listen to, and expand your horizons blah blah blah… I have to say that, but sadly I’m an old bore who sticks with what he knows, so I saw Love Psychedelico (http://www.lovepsychedelico.net/english/pro/index.html -not to be confused with Love Psychedelica) who were fairly pleasant and whose singer, Kumi, has an infectiously minx-like smile; Razoku (http://www.razoku.ne.nu/) who played some nice guitar funk and had the crowd kicking; Bonnie Pink who I like a lot ( see how cute she is on the “So Wonderful” video here: http://www.bonniepink.jp/); and finally UA. Previously all I knew about UA was that she was a funny looking actress on an intriguing DVD I watched a while back: 水の女 DVD (http://www.hmvjapan.jp/product/detail.asp?sku=1998510). She was the last to perform on Sunday and there was a long wait between acts during which some drunken twats got all rambunctious and one old drunken twat got a little bit too back to nature and started waving his wee skinny lad around. Then UA skipped pixy-like on stage and started singing and everyone stood there in the rain and shut up and just listened in pure awe. What an amazing voice! At first I thought “Hmmph! A bit arty for me…” but her music gradually started affecting parts of me I didn’t know I had. Finally she sang this song about how the sun was going down this one time, and it was getting dark and gloomy and the crows were gathering in the trees and about how she had this somewhat unnerving presentiment of doom so she went to see an old fortune-telling lady and the old fortune-telling lady said “Don’t worry dear. You’ll be fine”. Which sounds fairly dumb when I write it but when she sings it… she has an ancient soul I reckon. http://www.jvcmusic.co.jp/ua/uauaua/index.html I might even spend some money buying her CDs.

    After that, one of the highlights of the weekend for me was meeting up with Takako and Reiko who I used to teach way back when they were high school students in Fukushima. Takako is off to Belgium soon to pursue her dancing career and also to be with her new Belgium boyfriend (lucky sod) and Reiko is working away at her art and you can check out her gallery here: http://www.mmp-n.com/~vitamin/vcm/kamiyama/gallery.html (I like the lion). It’s always very refreshing to talk with those girls because they seem so clear minded in their pursuit of their dreams… even if it that means not always taking the easier path… Kind of inspiring.

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