Sunday, 28 February 2010

La Fée Verte

There are some great Absinthe bars in Tokyo, and the Tram Bar in Ebisu is one of the best.

More than 60 different Absinthes to choose from and paraphenalia that could have been pre-loved by Toulouse-Lautrec himself:

Just drip'n'mix:

Japanese for hangover is futsukayoi which means "two-day-drunk".
Absinthe's a three-dayer for sure...

Saturday, 27 February 2010

What are we gonna do now... what are we...

"I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens."
Spike Milligan... who hopefully wasn't around 8 years ago today.

When his friend and fellow Goon Harry Secombe died in 2001 he said, "I'm glad he died before me, I didn't want him to sing at my funeral."
They played a recording of Harry Secombe singing at Spike's memorial service a year later.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Taiyo Magazine (The Sun)

Before I moved up here 5 years ago I always stayed in the same hotel in Shinjuku and got to know another regular who was a photographer. My Japanese was about the same level as his English - terrible - but over a few beers we somehow managed to communicate.

When I checked out of the hotel for the last time before moving in to my own place, the front desk said they had a package for me. It was a gift from Suzuki-san, a really old original copy of a now defunct magazine called Taiyo (The Sun) which he'd mentioned he'd worked for.

It was sort of a Japanese National Geographic and was first published in 1895 with a few breaks in between. The articles had great photography and the ads were even better, but it was a while before I realised the significance of this particular issue. It was from January 1967, the month I was born, which he'd asked me about a year earlier.

Sakanaya-san (Fishmonger)

Reader's Digest families in Japan apparently had just as much fun as Reader's Digest families everywhere else. (coming from one myself...)

43 years ago, this Pana Color TV was twice the price of an average flat-screen today. Note the ultra-modern glass coffe table.

Houses with instant hot water had almost as much fun as ones that read Reader's Digest.

Another TV ad, this time a minimalist approach for a black-and-white from General.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Deep Magazine

You might want to regard your copy of Deep as a rambling old house. Wild yarns going down around the kitchen table, some more reflective philosophising going on in front of an open fire in the lounge, some strange characters getting up to no good in the bathroom and laundry, a few familiar faces to stop and have a quick chat to in the hallway, an attic full of lost treasures, a magical record collection in the basement and all manner of handy little items to be discovered if you want to rifle through all the cupboards. In which case, consider this the floor plan. You can check it out and decide which rooms you want to investigate first, or you can completely ignore it and just wander around and see who you bump into. Just don't piss in our steam iron, OK?

This was the 1995 intro on the contents page of the first ever Deep surf mag from Australia. It wrapped up years ago but had a refreshing contest-bollocks-free format. I still have the first 10 issues at home which include interviews with Rabbit, Jim Banks, Simon Anderson, Wayne Lynch, Ross-Packs-Cones, Shaun Thomson, (Don't-call-me-)Kong, Ian Cairns, Doung "Claw" Warbrick, MR, Cheyne Horan, Mitch Thorson, Nat Young, Bruce Raymond, and even Welsh boy made good Carwyn Williams! Excellent stuff.


Late night at one of four thousand bars in Kabukicho

Hot-flash Pasty? Inter-stellar cigar? Lightsaber snack?

Friday, 19 February 2010

64, 32

I've been alternately hooked and a bit freaked out by this pic, can't decide which.

Welsh Steel Band

Listening to Morcheeba's Fragments of Freedom recently, the half-way steel-band tune gave me a Caribbean hankering so I got on YouTube to see if anyone had upped the steel bands that were on Blue Peter when I was a kid. Sadly not yet, but I think I found something better...

I've no idea who these guys are, but they're awesome, in the original (Eddie Izzard) sense of the word. Apparently they're a Welsh steel band who were part of the pre-game street entertainment before the Rugby World Cup 2007 games that were held in Cardiff. Can't find them anywhere else on YouTube or on the web so if anyone knows who they are... share the wealth!
The clips a bit shaky at the start but stay with it, you'll be nodding your head in no time...

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Ski-Jumping Pairs

With the Winter Olympics in full swing, it might be a good time to reflect on a little-known, unique event in Olympic history; the only time that the demonstration sport chosen by the host nation was dismissed out of hand by the IOC.

This happened at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan when the Japanese Olympic Committee tried to introduce the world to Ski Jumping Pairs. The IOC cited a lack of true international participation, extreme danger to life and limb as well as the two-dimensional nature of the sport as reasons for it's exclusion, but make up your own minds.

Here are some stills that a contact of mine connected to the original bid presentation sent me showing some of the higher-scoring moves.


Suntory museum of art entrance.

Monday, 15 February 2010

The Big Blue

After a long weekend of not being able to see your hand in front of your face... dreams turn to this!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Waiting for the wrecking ball

The Battleship apartment block across the road from where I used to live in Kabukicho. Less than half of the apartments are occupied now but anyone still in there... is probably going down with the ship .

Thanks to Jin-san for the middle pics.

Japan Scottish Highland Games

14-24 to Scotland with only 3 minutes of normal time left and Wales somehow win it 31-24. Incredible stuff. As a tribute to the Scots, who were the better side for most of the game, here's some pics from the Japan Scottish Highland Games a few years back and a link to their website.
Cheapest whisky in Tokyo!

Saturday, 13 February 2010


It's been sleeting then drizzling then sleeting again all day, freezing cold...
the perferct warm-up for Wales v. Scotland tonight.



Thursday, 11 February 2010

Turning Point

For my first bit of bloggage, thought I'd slap up a pic from the 2004 Samoa surf trip. A few months later I was on my way up to Japan to live and life's been very different since. Samoa was a classic trip but a new beginning was on the cards and this blog is basically an attempt to document it. I've got this pic framed up on the wall here at home now and it always brings a smile. Good times.