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Winter 2012 Anime (via [personal profile] sharona1x2)
Goth: Goths Up Trees
Japan: More On That Fuckin' Sale The freakiest thing about the original photograph is that people from all different life segments shared it on Facebook. People I act with, people I see musicals with, people I goth with... Truly viral, I guess.
Sex: Channel4's UK Sex Survey Results
Tiger&Bunny: Tiger&Bunny CD Tracklisting Yuri has a song!
Weiss Kreuz: [community profile] weisskreuz Whichever site you're on when you click this link, it will take you to the nearest one as it's available on both DW and LJ. I think.

Still packing. We put some furniture outside about five hours ago, decorated with special garbage labels bought from the city hall.

They've already been taken.

Of course, this is great. It means someone's putting our perfectly okay furniture to good use. Plus, this is how we got some of it in the first place. But... what if we put the rest out without paying for the stickers? It's tempting.

One thing I did do today is go with J to meet up with a friend for lunch. I gave her a bag of goth/wool clothing, much of it from Scotland. She's a big fan of Scotland (and the rest of the UK!) as her band often tours there. I made her promise to send me a photo if she wears any of it at a concert. :)

I also sent off my first job application. Funny, when I first started, I was really excited and hopeful that I'd get an interview. By the time I hit 'send' on my e-mail program, I was convinced I'd never even get a reply. Keep your fingers crossed for me, okay?
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Earthquake: 6757 Aftershocks In Japan Since 3/11 The Japan Quake Map will give you more info, should you require it.
My Little Pony: NYTimes Correction And The Story Behind It
Tokyo: First Yamanote Line Station In Forty Years To Be Built [Japanese] It will be between Tamachi and Shinagawa.
UK: Leeds Guide

Here are some reviews of various media I've seen lately.

All of the new Doctor Who

I'm finally up-to-date with Doctor Who -- I figured I should be before I got back to the UK.

Anyway, I liked it (although I prefer the Russell T Davies seasons) and I guess the eleventh doctor isn't so bad, although David Tennant is my preferred doctor of the recent three.

Doctor Who observations, mainly spoilers )

First four or so episodes of Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei.

This is really patchy. Sometimes funny, sometimes horrible and predictable. Love the anime style though. I don't know if I'll keep watching this, what with My Little Pony and Sherlock currently airing.

Speaking of which...

First episode of Sherlock 2012

I don't like this as much as the previous Sherlock series, but I don't know why. Maybe it's because it doesn't have as much interaction between Sherlock and Watson? I still liked it though.


There was a curious mixture of ultra-realism and complete bullshittery. Tintin spoilers )

I'm now applying for jobs in Britain. Does anyone have an address they could lend me as I don't have a flat yet? You'll almost certainly never get anything in the post, but I can't put my Tokyo address on there. Thanks if you can help.

Finally, I think I might need a new mod or co-mod for Weiss Day. It's almost certain I will get a flat and internet as soon as I arrive in Britain, but... maybe not, you know? Let me know.
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Computer Science:
Alan Turing Gets A Stamp
Japan: Red Team Wins Annual NHK Kouhaku Song Contest Sounds amazingly exploitative, but I didn't watch it.
Photography: Empty London on Christmas Day

Since doing the 2011 meme last post, I remembered where I celebrated the new year -- I was at an all-night goth event and afterwards walked across the Rainbow Bridge to take pictures of the first dawn of the year (also known as "hatsu-hinode"). I should also have added "Sayonara no Natsu" to the very short list of songs that remind me of last year. It's the theme from the 2011 Ghibli movie, which means I heard it everywhere and it has a sense of wistfulness that characterises most of their movies.

This year, I went to the last day of Winter Comiket with J, took in an all-you-can-eat buffet at American Oven in Odaiba, then headed to TOHO Cinemas in Fuchuu for a showing of Tintin. By then, it was 11pm and we headed to a nearby shrine (Ookunitama, which just so happens to be one of the biggest in Tokyo) for the first shrine visit of the year (also know as "hatsu-moude").

Afterwards, we got our fortunes for the year. You shake a wooden box, and out comes a wooden stick with a number on it. You tell the shrine maidens your number, pay 100 yen and get your fortune. Mine was dai-kichi, the highest level of good fortune. As we left, we could hear groups of people screaming in delight as some of them, too, got the same fortune.

We were back at 2pm, in time for the first dream of the year ("hatsu-yume"), but J demanded that such a thing as 'hatsu-neko' exist. Well...

Hatsu-bato (初鳩) First pigeon
Hatsu-buro (初風呂) First bath
Hatsu-fuji (初富士) First Mt. Fuji
Hatsu-gama (初釜) First tea ceremony
Hatsu-geshiki (初景色) First scenery
Hatsu-hana (初花) First flower
Hatsu-ichi (初市) First market
Hatsu-kaze (初風) First breeze ( Autumn)
Hatsu-koe (初声) First animal sound
Hatsu-sugata (初姿) First kimono
Hatsi-tori (初鶏) First cock-crowing
Hatsu-uri (初売り) First sales/business
Hatsu-yu (初湯) First bath
Hatsu-zora (初空) First skies

Soon after that we had 'hatsu-jishin', or the first earthquake of the new year. While it didn't cause any damage, it went on for ages and threatened to get worse about half-way through. It didn't, of course, but it did turn out to be a 7.0. No tsunami.

And then I went off to my friends' pizza party after buying a fukubukuro ("lucky dip bag") of Magic: The Gathering stuff. I'll spare you the details.

Anyway, off to watch the new Sherlock.
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BGLT: Best LGBT Movie Characters of 2011 ....Really??
England: Darklands Gothic Club Night (York)
Film: Trailer for Ridley Scott's Prometheus Everything from the way the title appears to the alien spaceship screams a connection to 'Alien'. There isn't, apparently.
Japan: The Yomiuri Shinbun's Top News Stories of 2011 [Japanese]
Photography: The Story Behind The Navy First Kiss
Stage Shows: Samurai 7 Makes A 2012 Comeback If this is anything like the show I saw first time around, it's going to be amazing. If you're in Japan, you should definitely go to see it.
Stage Shows: CODE GEASS STAGE SHOW DO WANT. Here are some cast photos from some random blog. This should be epic. But it's almost four months after I leave Japan. 絶望したぁ~!
Steampunk: Steampunk Photo Gallery
Teaching: Preventing Gender Bullying (via [personal profile] nuraya)
Travel: Surprise: There Are Germs On Planes Just when I'm getting ready to fly back to the UK...
Wikipedia: Wiki: Abe no Seimei I think he's an interesting character, part John Dee, part Merlin. Here's his Wiki page.
Writing: China Mieville on Genre-Blending

Here's a 2011 meme stolen from [personal profile] thedogstar, with some questions deleted because I didn't have anything interesting to say.

1. What did you do in 2011 that you'd never done before?

Performed comedy on stage. I never considered doing anything other than watching previously, but all my favourite shows/books are either sci-fi or comedy, preferably both. It just took me a long time to realise it.

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

This is what I wrote last year:

1. Send out more query letters.
2. Work on my photography.
3. Write more, read more.
4. Gym. Verb left unspecified.
5. Do more Stuff.

I did (1) and sent out more query letters, but that still wasn't very many.
As for (2), I took more photographs, posted them publicly more often and attended a meeting of a local photography club.
(3), I wrote more and I have no idea if I read more. Probably about the same.
(4) was a complete failure. I stopped going after March 11th as I just didn't feel like it anymore.
(5) was the biggest success. I did More Stuff! I performed and attended workshops. I tried stand-up. I volunteered up north and marched in a protest. I've found so many things I want to do in the future.

Here are this years:

1. Get a job.
2. Write more, send more query letters.
3. Do at least one open mike night.
4. Form an improv troupe.
5. Keep doing More Stuff.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?

Less existential angst.

7. What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

March 11th.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Performing as team captain at our final improv performance of 2011 and completing a week of volunteer work in one of the hardest-hit cities in Miyagi prefecture.

11. What were the best things you bought?

Nothing really stands out. I mostly bought tickets to events and workshops rather than physical items.

13. Whose behaviour appalled you?

TEPCO. TEPCO. TEPCO. Everyone at that whole damn company, with the possible exception of Yoshida and those unnamed engineers he oversaw, but he was (probably) part of the problem to begin with.

14. Where did most of your money go?

On theatre and workshops.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?


16. What song will always remind you of 2011?

Covenant's Lightbringer. I listened to it a lot, but it was actually released in October 2010.

After the earthquake, I stopped listening to music entirely for a long time. Since I like industrial and EBM, it was either genuinely depressing or insincerely dark. I've since made a Grooveshark playlist called "Happy But Dark" which features songs that have a dark sound but lighter lyrics. Which are frequently about orcs.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. Happier or sadder?
ii. Thinner or fatter? Thinner.
iii. Richer or poorer? Richer.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Stand-up comedy.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

Well, it's past Christmas now. I spent it with J, playing Magic and eating pizza. We went for our Christmas meal on Christmas Eve and have one more "Christmas" lined up in January, when we're back in the UK.

21. Where did you ring in 2011?

I... I can't remember. I even went back to check and I'd written nothing about it.

24. What was your favourite TV programme?

Ignoring anime and animation (which is not what I think of when someone says "TV programme"), I guess it would have to be Doctor Who and Mock The Week.

Here's the anime I watched:

Love: Deadman Wonderland, Madoka Magica, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Tiger&Bunny.
Awesome: Venture Brothers.
Not Bad: [C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control, Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi, Thundercats.
Whatever: SKET DANCE.
I Don't Know: Ao no Exorcist, X-Men.
Horrendous: I reviewed the first episodes of every single summer anime here. Probably the top three horrendous titles would be MayoChiki!, R-15 and Ro-Kyu-Bu.

"I Don't Know" is a pretty strange category, but it usually means that the series had some really, really great things about it and some terrible things that let it down. "Whatever" means the series was too generic for me to form an opinion.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?


26. What was the best book you read?

Johannes Cabal the Necromancer by Jonathan L. Howard.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I didn't really listen to much new music in 2011. Every time I think of a band, I remember I listened to them first in 2010.

30. What was your favourite film of this year?

Awesome: Captain America, Kokuriko-zaka Kara, Red, Suteki na Kanashibari, Tangled 3D, Thor, The Three Musketeers.
Not Bad: Gantz (1&2), Ghost in the Shell S.A.C. Solid State Society 3D, PotC: On Stranger Tides, X-Men: First Class.
I Don't Know: Cowboys & Aliens, Genji Monogatari: Sennen no Nazo.
Horrendous: Transformers 3.

If you were wondering, both Red and Tangled were released in 2011 in Japan.

31. What did you do on your birthday?

Made garlic toast and tea for lunch, according to my journal. But about a week later, E took me out for crepes and chai in Shibuya. It was all fairly low-key.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

No earthquake and getting a story published.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?


34. What kept you sane?

My Little Pony and beer.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

Everyone at improv.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.

You're going to die. Really. Really-really. And it could happen any day now.
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The Time Person of the Year: The Protestor
2011: Filmography 2011 [Video]
Architecture: Despite Complaints, 'The Cloud' Will Be Built
Art: Hotel Chain Challenges Guests to Steal Artwork
Art: Banksy: Cardinal Sin
Explosions: Daytime Fireworks in Qatar [Video]
Facebook: Reasons We Friend/Defriend People on Facebook
Livejournal: Livejournal Changes
Weiss Kreuz: Weiss Kreuz Drabble Exchange

The new Kanji of the Year (2011) was announced a few weeks ago, just as I mentioned. I previously said that discussion on it was moot because they'd choose 'kizuna' for sure. They did, of course, choose 'kizuna'. Here's an article describing why. They also noted that the two kanji I said they had already "used up" came in second and third.

I've been busy performing and attending workshops these past two weeks.

Theatresports, Shinjuku (December 10th, Saturday)

An improv format where teams 'compete' to spontaneously produce the best type of scene. In this case, they received suggestions from the audience, which were written on little sheets of paper before the show. I was a little disappointed by this, because I was the only audience member not given a pencil, and also the only (visible?) foreigner in attendance. Coincidence...? Anyway, while I was a little sceptical about letting an elementary school group compete against three adult groups, their final scene (helped along by one of the adult groups) was spectacular.

Impro Comedy Workshop (December 13th, Tuesday)

The workshop was listed amongst the English events of the "International Improv Festival" and headed by a teacher from the States, but I found out just a couple of days beforehand it was aimed at Japanese speakers only! I eventually decided I wanted to go despite all this and ended up having a great time. Yes, I had to improvise in Japanese, but since I was getting all the instructions directly in English (which was then translated into Japanese for everyone else), it wasn't as hard as I thought it might be.

Theatresports Student Showcase (December 14th, Wednesday)

This also used the Theatresports format. I headed up the Lesser Pandas, which is the Japanese name for the red panda, although it's also used in English. A little. Being the team leader meant that I spent a lot of time talking to the audience from the stage, getting suggestions, and facing down R who was captain of the other side. We have a great chemistry together because we're basically anime-style rivals. So we had a good time hurling comedic insults at each other, which went down rather well.

For our final scene, we challenged the other team to the best scene encapsulating "courage". I went out in front of the audience and I asked for the name of something that they really wanted. We got the answer "cake" and the scene featured a waiter with sexy hands, a birthday cake and a proposal. Our team won!

Friday Night Magic  (December 16th, Friday)

Card-gaming. I won my first match and lost my next two. I would have won my third if it wasn't for the bizarre way I just kept drawing land and no creatures. Will tweak the deck and return next (this) week.

Trance Masks Workshop (December 17th, Saturday)

I'm not sure how to even begin to explain this. It was run by a famous Japanese improviser -- he literally wrote the book on it (in Japanese). He had a collection of about 16 half-masks made using techniques he learned from a Noh craftsman.

First, you choose one that appeals to you and put it on. He shows you your own face in the mirror and tells you to change your mouth shape to match the mask. You then have to respond by making an 'emotional sound' as loud as possible, while he mirrors your sound to encourage you. He then sets your new character free to interact with other characters in the same sort of "trance" and a whole table full of silly toys from the 100 yen shop.

Well... I'm glad I tried it once. It was interesting, but I probably won't do it again.

Bounenkai (December 17th, Saturday)

Later that day, I went to an end-of-year party in Shibuya. First though, I went round the 109 Tower for the first time(!). I figured I should do it once, right?

Anyway, the party was held in a karaoke-kan and mostly attended by improvisers and stand-ups, which a) made it a lot of fun and b) meant the alcohol flowed freely. Seriously, we were a group of only ten (grew to about 15...) and yet when we arrived they gave us four or five bottles of soda, two large bottles of Suntory whisky and a round of beers!

I vaguely remember singing Velvet Underworld and not being very good at it. I don't think it gets much drunker than that.

I remember standing outside the karaoke-kan and giving these guys riding bikes that were more Akira than Akira the thumbs up. They were returned, of course. 

Pirates of Tokyo Bay (December 18th, Sunday)

I went to see my friends' improv show on Sunday night. It was held at What The Dickens, which is a great British pub in Ebisu. Very difficult to find though! Luckily W called out to me as I passed some of the performers while going in completely the wrong direction.

It also doubled as J's leaving party and a bunch of us from the Other improv group were there too.

And! [profile] kurayamihimitsu and friends were there. Probably the last time I'll see her, but who knows? I hope that isn't the case.

Stand up (December 20th, Tuesday)

I went to the Tokyo Comedy Store Open Mike Night and did a set. Does it matter if it was good or bad? I got up there and did it!

As it happened, I got plenty of laughs and they were with me, not at me. The organiser said 'well done,' and he doesn't say that often. Of course, it'll be long time before I can get to another open mike night.

I went to see Genji Monogatari the other day. It's a very beautiful film, with literally every screencap a perfect picture. The screenplay though? Terrible. It starts with Genji (the hero of the story) getting kind of rapey with Murasaki (the writer of the story) in a beautifully lit, flower-filled forest. Abe no Seimei shows up and summons a few shikigami later. Complete nonsense. But very, very beautiful.

And, for what it's worth, I attended WWE Raw World Tour in Yokohama Area on December 1st, something I completely forgot to mention several posts ago. To my surprise, William Regal was added to the line-up. He's one of my favourites.
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Tokyo Comedy Store Impro Student Show
Venue: Our Space, Shinjuku.
Date: 14th December (Wednesday)
Time: 8:00pm (Doors open) 8.30pm (Show)
Note: Stay after the show to hear me read an extract from my latest short story and mini-performances from my fellow improvisers.

Tokyo Comedy Store Open Mike Night
Venue: Double Tall Cafe, Shibuya.
Date: 20th December (Tuesday)
Time: 8:00pm

It would be awesome if you could come too. Send me an e-mail if you'd like directions or more information. I think everything's up there, but you never know.


Bad Sex in Fiction Award Announced
News: Norway Needs Butter Now


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