Tokyo Snack Stash #2

I’m eating yesterday’s Italian Curry cup noodle right now and I was right, it’s a mildly spicy tomato sauce with mystery meat and capsicum bits. But tasty enough to eat way too fast at 2am.

I really like that they realized people are gonna drink the soup from the cup and wrapped the whole thing in shrink-wrapping to keep it clean while on the shelves.

Anyway snack stash video #2 is up.

Hello again, Tokyo

First day in Tokyo (2013 edition) went well. The new hotel we’re trying out is well located near Shinjuku station and roomier than the last place I occupied in Ginza โ€” also a single room, although this one could be a double.

We tried to eat at the Go Go Curry branch we loved near the West exit of the station, but it was closed for renovations or something. Ended up eating a substitute beef curry rice in the basement of the Odakyu department store, I think. Good, but not the same.

The next couple of hours were spent walking in circles trying to get our bearings and cross the sprawling station over to the East side, and then trying to understand all the back lanes that have changed. When you use transient shops as mental landmarks, you risk disorientation. The same happens in Singapore.

Finding a place to have a beer wasn’t easy; many of them were fully packed and had to turn us away. We ended up in an English pub that was having a 50% off celebration day (complete with handwritten ‘thank you for coming to celebrate Hub Day’ cards upon leaving), just as crowded as the rest, and standing room only. Tiring, but fun.

Afterwards, on the walk back to the hotel, we saw amateur acts performing on the streets, hawking self-burnt CDs and having a good time. Great to see unsigned musicians out there and going at it. This doesn’t really happen back home. Is it because they need licenses and those aren’t easy to get? I don’t know.

Along the way we discovered two things. Another Go Go Curry branch that is now second on our to-do lists after sushi tomorrow, and an awesome iPhone accessory shop called AppBank. It has tons of high quality cases and decorative add-ons, and upstairs, a large section devoted to LINE merchandise, alongside Puzzle & Dragons books, figurines, collectibles, etc. and also a Tokyo Otaku Mode corner.

The brand power that LINE and P&D have amassed here is extraordinary. A chat app that has convinced me and many I know to part with tens of dollars for non-essential in-app purchases (imagine then, how much Japanese users must spend), and a single mobile game that currently makes $5M a day in revenue from IAP.

On this trip, I’m trying to shoot more video in addition to photos. I’ll have to see about editing something together to remember this trip by at the end of it (we’re celebrating my cousin’s upcoming wedding), but in the meantime, Qwiki has pivoted from a knowledge tool into an app that automatically assembles clips for you, and it’s done an ok job of the first day.

I also did another Family Mart snack run video rundown, because the only video I made the last trip down here was one where I talked to the camera about the stuff I’d bought, and it was fun.

Sent from my iPhone

Omodaka: The Sound of an Electronic Edo

If you like traditional Japanese folk songs (you shall recognize them by the winding female vocals traveling up and down a scale unlike anything else, usually sung by geisha in period films, accompanied by a shamisen) AND ALSO LIKE CHIPTUNES(!) you’ll love the music of Omodaka. Here’s an article from 2010 that I found, which mentions the songs are composed on a variety of devices including a Sony PSP, Nintendo DS, and a Game Boy.

From what I can gather, the group is a vessel for producer Soichi Terada’s experiments and collaborations โ€” most of which feature intriguing art music videos. Check out the one below: it’s trippy as hell.

Later in the day, I was pleased to get a retweet from Terada’s Far East Recordings account (@fareastrecordin), which seems to tweet info about upcoming shows in Japan. I’ll be heading that way soon, so maybe seeing them in the flesh will happen.

The Sanosa album is a collection of singles released over the years, and should be a good place to start. You can listen to it on Spotify in the player below [direct link].

โžŸ Derren Brown’s Apocalypse

British mentalist Derren Brown has done a fair few TV specials, and like the illusionist David Blaine, he started small with entertaining tricks and then started ramping up the scale of his productions, and got a lot of flak for overwrought theatricality and ruining the fun with ever-increasing amounts of required disbelief.

His latest, Apocalypse, isn’t about changing that course, but it’s compelling TV because of how extreme a prank it is, and how it digs a sole man/victim/subject deep into a pop-culture reference we’ve all thought about: a zombie invasion.

The whole show is about convincing one wayward young man that the end of the world has begun, in an effort to shock him into displaying leadership and responsibility. They staged explosions, helicopters, a military hospital for him to wake up in, and more. It’s in two parts on YouTube โ€” I skipped straight to the second last night, which starts with a helpful recap.

Part 1 |ย Part 2ย (videos embedded after the jump)

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