Tag Archives: Japan

Tsunami Harley

Tsunami Harely to be preserved at Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee

Tsunami HarleyAt the beginning of this month, a 2004 Harley-Davidson FXSTB Softail Night Train washed up on the shores of Graham Island, British Columbia. What made this remarkable was that it was owned by Ikuo Yokoyama, who lives in Japan. The bike was washed out to sea amidst the tsunami that hit Japan back in March 2011.
Canadian Peter Mark discovered the Harley at low tide more than a year after the disaster, along with some other contents of a cargo container and it made headlines the world over. Now, after Harley-Davidson have offered to repatriate the bike, Yokoyama has politely declined and requested the bike be preserved in the Harley-Davidson Museum in honour of those who lost their lives or have been forever changed by the disaster.
Yokoyama is still trying to piece together his life after the tragic event and is currently in temporary housing in Miyagi Prefecture.

“It is truly amazing that my Harley-Davidson motorcycle was recovered in Canada after drifting for more than a year,” Yokoyama said, “I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciation to Peter Mark, the finder of my motorcycle. Due to circumstances caused by the disaster, I have been so far unable to visit him in Canada to convey my gratitude.

“Since the motorcycle was recovered, I have discussed with many people about what to do with it. I would be delighted if it could be preserved in its current condition and exhibited to the many visitors to the Harley-Davidson Museum as a memorial to a tragedy that claimed thousands of lives. I am very grateful to Harley-Davidson for offering me an opportunity to visit the museum, and I would like to do that when things have calmed down. At the same time, I would like to meet Peter, who recovered my motorcycle, to express my gratitude. Finally, I would like to thank all people around the world once again for their wholehearted support of the areas hit by the earthquake and Tsunami. I would like to ask them to help convey messages from the Japanese people about the tragedy of the Great East Japan Earthquake, which was a disaster of historic proportions.”

A truly remarkable sentiment, I think…

Sony Unveils Waterproof Walkman

Sony Walkman NWD-W253The new Sony Walkman NWD-W253 is this nice looking waterproof effort. It has a 4GB capacity giving in the region of 12 hours worth of tunes. It’s all bundled up in the headphones which will connect directly to your PC. Sony’s target market is those that pursue outdoor sports activities.

The product uses Sony’s ZAPPIN technology that enables the fast-forwarding of tracks audibly. When you hear the track you want, you push the relative button and it will automatically navigate to the start of the song.

Sharp Adding TV with Blu-ray recorder – built in

The Sharp Corporation have announced that it will be adding eight new models of its DX range of LED AQUOS TV’s and they will have Blu-ray disc recorders built in.
These are to be released primarily to the Japanese market at first, but fingers crossed it won’t be long before they reach our high streets. And I suppose you’d better cross your toes that the price is going to be within reach!

Cherry Blossom Forecast

The Japan Weather Association has released information about this years Cherry Blossom Season. Every spring, Japan turns into a glorious spectacle of pink and white and the Japanese people (who don’t need an excuse to party), will be out in their droves to party (Hanami) beneath the Sakura.

Below are the ‘estimated’ best times for cherry blossom viewing in their respective areas. Of course, none of these dates are guaranteed – they are just for guidelines…
[from Japan-Guide.com]

Hanami goes back a long way, it’s said to have begun at around the Nara Period [奈良時代, Nara jidai] (AD 710 to 794) when the Chinese had a lot to do with what was ‘cool’. People enjoyed viewing flowers, but mostly the blossoms of ume were most popular. By the Heian Period [平安時代, Heian jidai] (AD 794 to 1185) it was sakura that had become the in-thing.

Hanami, or flower viewing, is still massively popular in Japan. Each Spring, people swarm to the trees to grab a place beneath the blossom, to drink sake and beer and eat bento in an age old tradition of watching the cherry blossoms and to enjoy the company of friends.

Best Viewing Times for Sakura, Spring 2010:
Tokyo March 30 to April 8
Kyoto April 2 to 11
Kagoshima March 31 to April 8
Kumamoto March 27 to April 4
Fukuoka March 26 to April 4
Hiroshima March 31 to April 8
Nara April 3 to 12
Osaka April 2 to 11
Nagoya March 31 to 9
Yokohama March 30 to April 8
Kanazawa April 8 to 16
Nagano April 17 to 25
Sendai April 15 to 23
Hakodate May 6 to 13
Sapporo May 8 to 15

Life Size Gundam Almost Done!

::via Yahoo! Japan::

The 18m life size replica of a Gundam has had it’s head put on!
The Mecha is scheduled for completion in July ready for the 30th anniversary of the anime. Located on the artificial island of Odaiba in Tokyo, the giant robot will be open to the public at the Shiokaze Park. There are to be 3 phases of the anniversary. This phase is the “Real G” phase, August sees the “Feel G” phase with the Gundam Big Expo, and it’s topped off with the “Soul G” phase which is to be a music festival type event.


Original link Yahoo! Japan using Google Translate with 6 videos to watch (make sure you have Silverlight installed).

New Japanese DVD Releases for 2009

Good news! The UK based Third Window Films will be releasing a veritable feast of Japanese movies on DVD in 2009. On browsing the catalogue it looks like they will be focusing on the Indie market with titles such as ‘Turtles are Surprisingly Fast Swimmers‘, ‘Fine, Totally Fine‘ and ‘Funuke: Show Some Love You Losers!‘ but it all kicks off on January the 12th with ‘Memories of Matsuko‘ and ‘Kamikaze Girls‘ – one of my favourite Japanese films, which just happens to star Anna Tsuchiya.

Kamikaze Girls
Kamikaze Girls
Tsuchiya stars as a hard-as-nails biker chick, Shirayuri Ichiko who has a permanent snarl on her face, however when she meets (clashes) with the girly Momoko (Fukada Kyoko) who is totally hung up on bonnets and France in the 18th Century, she agrees to tag along to search for a renowned embroiderer. This surreal comedy has pretty much everything any straight dude will deny he enjoys … so pre-order your copy now!

Third Window is a relatively new distribution company, set up in 2005 with an eye to bring Far Eastern cinema to Western audiences. It concentrates mainly on Indie and Cult film but also features releases from well established directors.

CouchSurfed at these coordinates:

Yesterday saw the first couchsurfer I have been able to put up since becoming a member back in May of 2007. As I’ve spent a lot of time travelling myself, I’ve never been around to host anyone. However, luckily I was available at short notice for a German engineering student that was coming to Sweden to write a thesis.
Samuel had just flown for 23 hours, Japan to Sweden via a few stop points, and was shattered by the time he got to the apartment. His time in Japan was six months, and he had enough information about the place to get me hankering for Spring to come early.
After a good nights rest I showed him around town, you know – all the useful places like a tree house hotel and where IKEA was situated, and then I dropped him off at his house where he will be staying for the next six months or so whilst he writes his thesis.
Not only did he have plenty of great information about Japan, he also introduced me to something called geocaching. This looks like a lot of fun and I have a suspicion that Janne will be up for it too as it seems a lot like his favourite show: The Amazing Race …

Touring Japan

I’ve finally committed (mentally) to the vacation of a lifetime and will hopefully begin my Japan Tour in Spring next year. I’ve been saving a little cash and I hope to have enough by Spring to hit Nippon with a plan to tour as much as possible in 3 – 4 weeks. Anyone that has toured/visited Japan please send me any useful information/tips so that I can plan my trip a little better.

Donating to LoLyfe.com will help me purchase travel items from my Amazon Wish List. Please consider it, I’m poor you know…

Mount Fuji
Mount Fuji

I’m hoping to write a travel journal of sorts whilst I’m there. I’ll accompany this with a video and plenty of photos too.

Oriental City

Back in June, Oriental City closed its doors for the last time. No amount of intervention from local Chinese groups, celebrities (Ian Wright) and petitions could stop the then Mayor of London stopping the demolition of the centre to build yet another B&Q.
I received an email today from my friends at the Koreana Restaurant to let me know that their Food Court counter has reopened, this time they’ve made it a take away/restaurant in Harrow. Show your support by visiting them and have some pork with Kimchi – it’s bloody brilliant.

Where: Koreana, 32 Headstone Drive, Harrow HA3 5QH

Tell ‘em a LoLyfe sent ya…

The Oriental City Supermarket relocated to a new location near Whiteley’s in Queensway, Bayswater.*

The amazing Hamazaki Bakery is now at 82 Totteridge Lane.*

All eyes are now on Wing Yip near Staples Corner where a new Chinese Centre is being developed. A building with 4 floors are planned. The finished project will include a Chinese restaurant, a Chinese bakery, and many other services.

*sourced from Wikipedia

Chewie, lock in the auxiliary power!

I’m definitely caught in a tractor beam. After Monday’s session with the ‘social’ – (I have no idea why they call themselves the social, they’re anything but…) I found myself at a loss. I couldn’t get any inspiration to write, the internet had lost it’s charm and there was nothing on TV to take my mind off how frustrated I was. I tried reading but ended up 10 pages in and realised I hadn’t actually read anything. By bed time I was so desperate to shut off that I doubled up on a dose of sleepers and crawled into my stink pit.
At 9 a.m. I awoke with a tongue the size of Io and just as angry. I cooled it off with a slurp of flat coke, pointed Percy at the porcelain and staggered back into bed.
I’m ashamed to say that I did not wake for the second time until gone 7 p.m. At no point did I wake up during the time in between, I just flat out slept the whole day.
After a breakfast of Ramen and boiled eggs I sat on the sofa and slipped a couple of DVDs in to watch. The first of which was Nightmare Detective, a truly wiggy out film if ever I’ve seen one! I’ll attempt to write a review when I can find the momentum.
The second film was Sakuran. And I have to admit something shameful here, I only watched this film because of Anna Tsuchiya playing the lead roll. I saw here in a flick last year called Kamikaze Girls and kinda fell for her in a typical geeky way. I then discovered that she was actually a singer and after checking out her music was delighted to find she was a bit of a Rock-Chick and sang the title music to one of my favourite Anime’s – Nana.
Anyway, the film was one of those beautifully crafted, awesome to look at Art Pictures. Not only that but there were a lot of boobies in it too.
Based in a brothel during the time of the Samurai, the story is based around a girl that is sold to the madam and quickly becomes the ‘it girl’.
The thing that stands out most in this film is the colour red. It’s used to a remarkable level and makes the couple of hours a real treat. The music is interesting too, it’s a more modern take on show tunes with a large dose of jazz mixed in.
Anyway, check it out, it’s worth the trouble to hunt it down.


Steampunk at Heart

I think not having a schedule now that my presence at Jobbcentrum is no longer required, has given my body a chance to reboot. This might be an excuse for being utterly lazy though, but I’m definitely resting a little more and I think it’s helping my creative juices flow a little easier.
That being said, I’ve done nothing creative for two days… why? I’ll tell ya…

I usually refrain from chatting Manga and Anime on the site because I know my regular readers aren’t all that interested in it. But every now and then a Manga or Anime will pop up and I’ll be addicted for life.
My introduction to it all was completely by mistake when I was a wee pup. I was standing with Dad in the Chinese take away and noticed a Chinese comic sitting amongst the newspapers. Obviously I couldn’t read it but the artwork hooked me in and from then on I had more than just an interest in things from the Orient…
This lead to an interest in Manga, which was easier to get hold of than Chinese comics.
Fast Forward >> Akira appears in selected art house cinemas and then on VHS. Hooked.
Fast Forward >> Dark Horse, Viz (US) and other comics publishers get in on the act … Hooked deeper.
Now: You can’t move for Manga or Anime influence. Not that you would know if you hadn’t a clue what either was.

On a message board this weekend I came across a reference to the following Anime series':

PlayAsia | YesAsia | Official Site | Wikipedia
Burst Angel
PlayAsia | YesAsia | Official Site | Wikipedia
Dōjin Work
PlayAsia | YesAsia | Official Site | Wikipedia
Last Exile
PlayAsia | YesAsia | Official Site | Wikipedia

Yes Asia

As I mentioned, I usually don’t chat too much about this kind of stuff, however – these Anime are so cool in their own ways that they deserve some props.

Blood+ s a long and character driven story about demon vampires. There’s more to it than just that of course and it succeeds on so many levels that you’d be hard pressed to dismiss it just because of the content. At the end of this series I was pretty moved… which is quite cool considering it’s a ‘cartoon’.

Burst Angel started in an awesome way. Anything that has scantily clad chicks with big guns always goes down well (!) and this definitely lives up to it’s blurbs. However, towards the end of the series it starts to slacken off and the animation becomes quite awful. It’s been described as a train wreck but this is harsh, it’s enjoyable. An offering by the enormously talented Gonzo peeps.

Dōjin Work is a laugh a minute. Comedy Anime isn’t my thing, however this is superb. The story follows a young girl trying to be an entrepreneur in whatever she can think of. Step up her best mate who draws comics for a living.

[Dōjin is a term used for creator owned, published and sold comics/manga.]

The episodes are only 15 minutes long but are bloody funny. Well worth a watch.

Finally, tonight I’ve just started watching Last Exile. A Steampunk anime of amazing quality and style. I’m two episodes in and I’m totally blown away. It’s just awesome! Another offering from the Gonzo Studio.

Last Exile
Last Exile

I hope that by reading this I might tempt a few people to chance a watch at some anime. It’s worth the effort and you’ll be thoroughly entertained too… go on, you know you want to …

Sunday May 27th, 2007

The Internet connection I’m poaching finally comes back up today and I’m able to catch up on about 300 emails, unfortunately about 299 of them are spam. Same with the comments on the site.
Not having access to the internet is a weird thing. Once the Windows Updates have done their thing and my Podcasts have downloaded I look at the screen and can’t think of anything to do. So I just shut it down again and watch the Grand Prix.

Totally out of character for me, I’m ill all this week (!). But that doesn’t stop me going to the British Museum to see the ‘Way of Tea’ show on Friday.
The Japanese Tea Ceremony (茶道, chadō) is heavily influenced by Buddhism. The tea was originally brought to Japan from China by a Buddhist monk named Eichu. The tea plants are planted and in spring when the leaves fall to the ground they are gathered up and dried until around November. Then the leaves are ground into a bright green powder and mixed with hot water to form a drink of a yoghurt-like consistence. The learning of the ceremony is never ending. A student remains a student for the whole of their lives, always learning, always becoming more refined in the serving of tea to an honoured guest.
The museum have created a small chashitsu in the Japanese Galleries. The construction, traditionally made with no nails, resembled an actual chashitsu but was a lot smaller. Just 3 tatami mats, a small pot for boiling the water and that’s your lot. A volunteer is made comfortable and the last part of the ceremony is performed. The actual ceremony can last up to 4 hours, the demonstration here lasted around half an hour.
The beautifully choreographed event was mind blowing. Your mind is totally taken away from your surroundings as you’re enveloped into the wonderment that ensues. Graceful movements with amazing precision are performed until the bowl of tea is presented, but not before having a sweet biscuit. The tea itself is apparently quite bitter. The short but insightful event left me wanting more, but with the tea costing about £10 for 40g I’ll have to wait a while. Or travel to Japan of course…

Thursday May 17th, 2007

After getting about 3 hours sleep because I can’t put Hurakami’s – The Wind Up Bird Chronicle down, I spend from 9 a.m. until 1 (ish) looking after Gran. Dad takes Ma and Aunty Mal through to Willesdon to a clinic for blood tests and they stop there for a spot of lunch. When they get back I volunteer Dad to run Russ, Mo and me to Brent Cross so that I can hit the Apple Store.
When I ordered iPod I didn’t notice that it wasn’t supplied with a docking station. This isn’t a big deal really but for the money the thing costs you’d think they’d throw it in the bundle. I already have a dock for a 3G iPod, so knowing that Apple make adapters for later generations of iPod to fit, I walk into the Apple Store thinking that it’ll be easy enough picking one up.
The adapter packs on the shelf have every type of adapter except for a 30gb 5G iPod. Typical. I have a chat with the dude who sold me my rather excellent sennheiser earbuds and he, and I quote, “… can’t believe there aren’t any there! Hang on a sec, I’ll check in back.” With that he’s off through the doors that probably hide an extraordinary amount of coolness and I wait for him to come back.
Ten minutes later he comes though the doors and walks up to me holding his hand out for me to shake. I instinctively take his hand and notice immediately that he has palmed something to me.
“Good luck mate!” he says as I look into my hand to see an adapter.
“Er-” I begin but he cut’s me short,
“No charge” and he winks at me.

Free stuff from the Apple Store = cool.

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Friday August 4th, 2006

Broken record time again…
I manage to get about 2 hours sleep before I wake up and can’t get back to sleep again. This makes my running total: 6 hours sleep in the last 6 days. I feel like shite. I tried to dope up at 2 a.m. with painkillers and sleepers, and whilst I know that this is not a sensible thing to do, when you get six days into an insomnia bout – see if you give a flying fuck about being sensible.
The pill cocktail doesn’t work; it just makes me feel as though I’m floating 3 feet above the bed, so I try a method that my physio Fredrik suggested to me. I grab my iPod and put the audio book version of the paperback I’m reading at the moment (Kafka On The Shore by Haruki Murakami), and try to send myself asleep by listening to it. At 7 a.m. I’m over halfway through the book and I know I have to get up.

I get an email from Com Hem telling me that my phone line should be fixed… 7 days without a telephone is, I think, completely unacceptable. Com Hem acts as if this is quite normal, offering no apology whatsoever. I’m totally appalled with the service I’ve had from this company and intend on seeking some sort of compensation… at some point… whenever.
Something that I feel I need to share though is a comment made by their customer service department when I started really complaining,
“Haven’t you got a mobile?”

My afternoon is spent trying to put the feelings of vertigo down on paper – it’s quite difficult. In fact I spend so much time on it that when I’m finally at a stage to sit back and read what I’ve done, it doesn’t make any sense… at all… whether this is because I’ve been over thinking it, or just that I can’t bloody write – I’m not sure. Well, I’ve got an inkling.

The Writers Handbook 2007 was released today. Anyone wishing to send me a gift can hit my wishlist at Amazon and click away… I’d appreciate it – I’m broke… Amazon says it’s “an indispensable companion for everyone in the writing profession.” We both know I need it…

I decide to take the evening off from the InterWub, IMing, email, blog, mySpace… computer… and hit the sofa to watch some TV. There’s a re-run of yesterday’s Yankees game, and then the Boston game’s on. I’ve also got a good DVD to watch, ‘Haunted Highway‘ (aka Death Ride). Check out the trailer…

In case you didn’t read the post from earlier on, my phone’s finally working – so as I’m not online tonight you can call me… if you want… anyone..?

Not dope…

I gotta get some stronger sleeping pills.

I watched a great little flick last night – ‘Initial D‘, a Chinese/Japanese collaboration based on the pretty awesome Manga of the same name. One of my favourite HK Actors, Anthony Wong, starred in it too which helped the film immensly. Imagine ‘The Fast and the Furious’ with acting. When it finished, I wasn’t tired at all, so I slapped another flick in to watch called ‘My Kung Fu Sweetheart‘, which was a bit pants.
Seeing as though I’d had a long day anyway, and add to the fact that I’d been to the gym as well, I felt relaxed enough to head for the sack. I downed a couple of sleepers, picked up a book [currently reading: Dance, Dance, Dance by Haruki Murakami] lit a jostic and settled in. It was about 2 a.m. when I shut the lights off, in hope more than anything else. Luckily, I drifted off.
I awoke with a desperate need for the loo. I did the deed, got back into bed and lay there for a bit. It was light outside and I assumed it was late on in the morning. I turned over to look at the time – 4.15 a.m.
With nothing better to do I hit the bleed for some feed, plough through nearly a months worth of RSS Feeds that I’ve totally ignored, then browse various interwub outlets for stuff I can’t afford.

Man Without Fear

… not me, Daredevil.
For years I’ve been using a web site for research, general info and continuity of the Daredevil comics. I don’t know why I’ve never registered at the site, maybe my built in aversion to web communities has something to do with it. But Janos told me something a while back that’s kind of stuck with me, he said:
“Dude, you got no mates, making friends with someone on the internet is your last chance!”
Joke. What he actually said was,
“They don’t know you, they can’t see you, what have you got to be afraid of?”
“I’m not afraid, it just weirds me out!”
“I dunno, it just does …”
I think the thing that didn’t help me very much was taking the plunge and joining a community for Japanese culture. Being a massive fan of Manga, Anime and Japanese film for about twenty five years – I thought it might be cool to actually speak and get to know some Japanese people. This totally back fired when I started to get ‘Smiles’ sent from the community site I signed up to. On checking, I noticed that by signing up I’d also enrolled in some kind of internet meeting place that didn’t offer the services I was after. Not only that, none of the ‘smiles’ I was getting was from anyone remotely oriental! That freaked me out. What was I supposed to do? I couldn’t reply to theses women, not even to say -“Thanks, but no thanks”, which Janos didn’t understand either. So I ended up ignoring it. I don’t get as many smiles now, but hey, who needs ‘em right?
But now, I can see what he meant. So, I’ve carefully chosen a community that if they send me anything at all, it will be geek news on the latest comic I love.

I’d suggest that if you like comics and like Daredevil, like me, go check out Man Without Fear .com, and if you like it – sign up. Go on, what are you afraid of?