Tokyo Blog, Tokyo Story

The blog of Stephen David Smith, Tokyo, Japan 2017

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Washed Out at Liquid Room, Ebisu – Tonight

Just wanted to quickly mention for chillwave and dreampop lovers out there, that Washed Out will be playing at Liquid Room in Ebisu tonight. It’s ¥5,500 in advance, but it looks like tickets on the door will be the same price. i was really thinking about going down myself, but I really am too busy to go. If you do have time, I heartily recommend you go and catch this – starts at 7:30. Full details can be found on Liquid Room’s page for the event.

 

Space Battleship Yamato

Space Battleship Yamato

If you hurry to the cinema in Tokyo now, you can still catch the live action version of the original animation series Space Battleship Yamato. It was released in cinemas around December 1st but will continue throughout January. I’d actually meant to post something about it before Christmas, but forgot, what with the mayhem of celebrations. Not that it’s a big deal though, as I’ve heard negative reviews and, looking at the trailer, it seems like it’s going to be one hell of a cheesy movie! On the other hand though, the design of the Yamato stays roughly the same, adhering the uniquely Japanese tendency in sci-fi to give existing or traditional technology futuristic capabilities. On the bridge of the Yamato is the captain compete with naval uniform and hat, after all, the Yamato was based on the real World War II battleship of the same name. And if you take a look at Galaxy Express 999, you can see an intergalactic steam train. You can also see blimps and propeller planes from a parallel universe in some of the works of Studio Ghibli. This is something I really like about Japanese anime and sci-fi, although I probably won’t be going to see this live action version of Space Battleship Yamato. Steven Tyler has done the soundtrack and it’s full of cheesy rock ballads, which is an immediate fail. Here’s the trailer:

 

WARP20

WARP20

Not only do WARP Records have a new site up, they are also celebrating 20 years of unparalleled excellence as a creative organisation in the form of WARP20. Possibly the only one of it’s kind to combine recording artists, video artists, directors, and visual design under one banner, the organisation from Sheffield UK is holding a series of events and is releasing a beautifully designed box-set of the cream of it’s back-catalogue. The Paris event was held in May, and there will be further events this year in New York, Sheffield, Tokyo and London. The Tokyo event will be held at Makuhari Messe and will feature live performances by Battles, Chris Cunningham, !!! (chk chk chk), Clark, Flying Lotus and others. I’m a big fan of WARP, so I’ll definitely be there. Shame there’s no Aphex Twin though.

 

Live Action Ninja Scroll

Ninja Scroll

Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company are now planning a live action Ninja Scroll to accompany their existing anime adaptation of the epic Akira. He’s looking to get SMAP (a J-Pop all boy singing group) to act in the movie, so it’s looking positive in the sense that he actually wants to cast Japanese actors in the roles of actual Japanese people – seems obvious to most of us I guess, but not to Hollywood’s casting agents it would seem judging by the recently released Dragonball Evolution movie. I’m semi-positive about this, but it still baffles me how they are going to match the provocative, ultra-violent, psychedelic qualities of the 90’s original. Time will tell I guess.

 

Baseball Game

Baseball Game

As part of my continued effort to involve myself in as much of Japanese culture as possible (both traditional and contemporary), I went to my first baseball game last week! I went to a stadium near omotesando in the heart of Tokyo called Jingu Kyuu-Jou, home of the Yakult Swallows, where they took on the Chunichi Dragons from Nagoya – and lost. Still had a good time though. Between bouts of shouting and singing, I found time to snap a few photees, gobble a bowlful of steaming Udon, and knock back 4 draught beers. Especially for the occasion, I was sporting a Yakult Swallows jersey bearing the legendary Aoki’s name across the back – thanks Erica!

 

On Venomous Blowfish, Whale Meat, and Fish Served Twitching

Last night I went to a sushi and sashimi restaurant under the guidance of my fish expert friend Take-san. Whilst there I further expanded my experience of strange and unusual raw things: raw fugu (blowfish – which if you prepare incorrectly causes asphyxiation then death), raw whale meat, raw horse (again), and a fish caught from a huge fish tank that I was sitting right next to, sliced and served so quickly that it was still moving when it reached our table. Now that’s what you call fresh!

 

Cinematic Orchestra Live in Tokyo

Cinematic Orchestra Live in Tokyo

Cinematic Orchestra with DJ Food. I HAVE to go to this event.

 

Live Action Akira!

Akira!

This is bound to be a total disappointment when it finally comes out in 2009, but Warner Brothers have made it official; They will make a live action version of Akira, and they’re going to adapt it from the original manga graphic novel, not from the anime. Actually they’re going to span the story over two films, but production starts right away. The reason I’m not as positive as I could be about this news is the appointment of a fledgeling filmmaker and a debuting screenwriter. The director will be Ruairi Robinson who’s most recent short film you can watch on YouTube or on his website. Personally, I wasn’t keen on the short film. I’m measuring it by the Chris Cunningham yardstick, so this may be a harsh review, but see for yourself. The other very worrying rumour that’s flying about, is that the film might be set in America in a so-called ‘New Manhattan’ instead of the infinitely cooler ‘Neo-Tokyo’. Say it aint so! I hope the film proves me wrong because it would be a great thing to see at the cinema in 2009.