One of the consequence of the posh European boarding school education I received, along with a natural caution toward catholic priests and a deep-rooted aversion for ties and other imposed uniforms, is that I spent an insanely high amount of time studying languages that were obviously not intended for me to speak (otherwise the Almighty, in his infinite wisdom and great powers, would have had me born somewhat closer to Rome, or the Acropolis, a few milleniums earlier).

While the quantity and diversity of languages placed upon our little heads already sounded like a lot to us enlightened worldly junior citizens, it would have sounded like sheer madness to your average Texan, to whom “foreign language” abilities merely means understanding people without a twang. And while most Americans are quick to point out the possible use of Spanish to order your domesticity around in the Land of Opportunity, I must admit it’s becoming harder by the day to find such use to say, ancient Greek or Latin. It’s a shame too, since at the rate things are going in the US, legal slavery should probably be amended back into the constitution soon enough, and I’ve always fancied living in a patrician mansion surrounded by domesticated exotic felines and nubile servants to whom I would quite naturally speak Greek or Latin exclusively…

Anyway, yea, the point of learning languages: well, I clearly remember that, every year, each teacher would devote an entire class to convincing us of the well-founded interest of whatever language they were teaching. Of course, nobody really cared, and in the end, the fact that German was bound to “become the universal language within the economical behemoth that the European Union would unavoidably become by the year 1990”, was completely overshadowed by the fact that our young Bavarian teacher sported a pair of mammary glands seemingly capable of sustaining Switzerland’s chocolate milk production for the next decade… ah Frau Serin, how we missed the way you bent forward to rectify that misplaced umlaut on our notebook… especially when your successor, Frau Wagner, turned out to be some kind of hairy troll straight from the Black Forest, whose love for that oxymoron called German Poetry might have been forgivable, if not for her near-complete deafness and ensuing strident level of speech.
Ich weeeeeeiiiss nicht was soll es bedeeeeeuten, daß ich so traaaauurig bin, ein Märchen aus alten Zeiten, das kommt mir nicht aus dem Siiiiiinnnn

Our Greek teacher was this adorably effeminate dandy, whose perpetuation of certain stereotypes, linking this brave antique civilization of fierce warriors with an inclination for the love that dares not speak its name, ought to have been outlawed by the cliché police… He was certainly more entertaining as a teacher than his predecessor, a former catholic nun who, incidentally, was also a doctor in comparative literature, studying parallels in the work of French poet Gérard de Nerval and Japanese author Junichiro Tanizaki. Was she a riot or what.

All these people all had very elaborate arguments on the philological use of these two essential root languages and assured us that learning any other Indo-European languages in the future would be laughably easy (damn, I’m sure glad I picked Japanese, the one language furthest removed from that language group).

But let’s be serious, the reason why we endured endless hours of declensions, vocabulary lists and grammar nitpicking, was certainly not some kind of hypothetical career move involving the ability to read Cicero or Plato in its original text…

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Picture IMGP2415_1.sized.jpg Did you know that “quantum vortices have been observed in alkali Bose-Einstein condensates that seem strikingly close to those exhibited by traditional anisotropic superfluid such as 3He” ?

Neither did I.

And quite frankly I wish I still did not.

Anyway, last Sunday was party time in Yoyogi. Despite a last minute downgrade of the weather forecast, we decided to go through with it and make the best of it (we already had the sound equipment ready and figured it made little sense to cancel at that point).
The weather was indeed far from ideal and not so engaging for an outdoor party, but thankfully remained dry most of the day.

After the usual organizational bloopers without which a party is not worth being called a party, we eventually got everything set-up in our back-up spot, a few hundred feet from the original spot, which had turned out to be already claimed by rather stingy fellows. We then proceeded to get the party started and act as if the ominous grey skies above us were on their way out.

As it turned out, Park Security has much less patience for any form of amplified music as we had hoped (hopes based on previous experience, but then again: one should never rely on occasional lapses of lenience from the gods). After being shut twice, trying to wait it out (the park’s security supposedly goes off-duty at 4), we did what we should have done from the beginning and moved to the outskirts of the park… roughly 20 feet from the “official” park entrance, and just in front of a sign strictly forbidding the use of any amplified music instrument within the park.

The new spot turned out to be much more welcoming and, beside a small and courteous visit from the police a bit later (they only gave us a small warning and asked us to keep it down), we were able to crank the music up for good and until the end of the day. Of course, rain started falling in the meantime, and the temperature, which had not been so high to start with, fell even lower along with the night.

By this description, those who weren’t there might draw a rather horrendous picture of that afternoon… but actually, it turned out to be a kick ass party in the end:
Rain did not stop us and before the first serious drops had even touched the ground, we had wrapped everything (including the dj) in transparent plastic sheet. With a few people seating under the surrounding trees and the rest keeping their position on the exposed dancefloor, it nearly seemed like nobody had noticed the rain.
It’s always nice to see a group of people getting together and dancing in the middle of nowhere. But when that group of people keeps dancing until the very end, completely oblivious to a rain that goes from drizzling to pouring and back, believe me, it does make your day!
I would not trade 5,000 people in a club in California or Ibiza for the couple dozen people who shook their ass under the rain until the very last record on Sunday…

We have just uploaded a few pictures and some really neat movies, go check them out here and don’t hesitate to leave comments! (Update 2006: Gallery removed)

Also, chances are high that we will do it again. Although this time we will probably opt for a more sound-friendly location (still outdoors, of course). July would be the month, no day has been fixed yet. If you wanna be kept informed about our future parties, just add your name and email there (we promise we won’t use it for anything else!).

Ok, time to go back to quantum vortices… you might not hear too much from me until next month, but if everything goes according to the plan, and once I’ll have gotten school out of the way, I might even have cool stories and pix from Europe to put here.

Remember this party I’m playing at tomorrow?

Well, Frenchy sent an email on the Mailing List to promote it and because one of the DJ is a resident at Buddha Bar in Paris, we mentioned:

Come early as some Buddha Bar CDs will be given out,
compliments of the Buddha Bar, Paris.

Guess what we received this afternoon:

Hey,

How can I ever get my hands on some Buddha Bar CD compilations!

I’ve turned sooooooo many people onto the series…… But not
everywhere I shop has them. Hey it can’t hurt to ask, right?

DTour Inc.
[address]

Respect,
danny tenaglia  🙂

Yes, apparently, not only is Danny on our mailing list, but he also actually reads these emails (he’s probably the only one who still does). And he is into Buddha Bar Compilations.

02fluid-buddha.jpgHow to get a procrastinating egotistic fucker to get off his lazy ass and finally get the plane tix he’s been supposed to purchase for the past three weeks?

Easy: put him down as one of the headliners for some random gig in a new club, print the flyers, then let him know about it.

… leaving for SF on Wednesday.

… playing there on Thursday… more dates to come.

Because my last entry on Japan might have sounded overly negative, and also because the tone of the last few weeks is dangerously edging toward serious and mature stuff, here is something to bring back the balance on both counts.

Although on some level, this might read as yet another episode of Wretchedly Altered Dave’s Comical Adventures in Magic Tokyo, it is also a heartwarming testimony to a people’s confounding sense of honesty underlined by the epic struggle of a man with the evil power of pharmaceutical-grade narcoleptics. A modern tale of hope and pride, if you will.
This is what I will be solemnly citing in answer to the usual insipid inquiry regarding my inspirations for coming to this country. Of course, I couldn’t have cared less about this when I bought my plane ticket, but I sure ain’t telling people the truth about coming here to complete my lifelong collection of worn Japanese schoolgirls uniforms.

Anyway, this all happened about two weeks ago. I know this is no longer fresh news, but, as you might recall, I have been quite busy lately ensuring that I did not have to find a spot for my tent in Yoyogi koen. And after the move, NTT persisted in taking more than ten days to move an ADSL account that had been created in three days, thus ensuring my internet activities were limited to the most essential stuff (which oddly enough, does not include ranting on this page).

This actually happened right after we had found a place at the last minute and gotten approved by the owner: all that was left to do was bring the cash and sign the lease, on Saturday morning, and move in the following day.
On Friday evening, I had planned to go play a few records at Bar Tokyo with Miss Kate, which seemed like a great occasion to celebrate at the same time. Lease-signing meeting time was 10:30 in Ueno: that gave me ample time to get back home with the first train, take a quick shower, maybe even a post-disco nap and then head over to the agency with Nordine and Yoshiko (who had been enrolled as our personal scribe). NOTHING wrong with this plan, right?
Oh yea… one important detail: a conjunction of factors such as daily ATM withdrawal limit, the scarcity of ATM accepting foreign cards in this city and the presence of one such bank, open 24h, in Roppongi, had caused me to stop on the way there to withdraw the last leg of the rent/deposit/gift money we were supposed to bring in the day after.

So it was half past midnight, I had about 60,000 yens in cash on me, and I was heading toward some seedy bar for the night.

Despite serious efforts and a mind-blowing sense of timing (do I hear “valentine’s day breakup”, anybody?), I still drew enough pity from the wonderful ladies in my life (well, the ones I had not just broken up with) to get my share of the chocolate lovefest that is Valentine’s day in Japan.

A quick look at the war chest gives:

  • 2 boxes of assorted chocolate
  • 5 chocolate bunnies
  • 3 Japanese confection cake
  • 1 king-size Toblerone
  • 8 “chocolate rocks” from Europe (Suchard: lov’em!)
  • 2 French dry sausages (not really a Valentine’s present, but Sarah brought me some food from Paris)

    Good news is that I won’t be starving this week. Bad news is that nobody has come up yet with a healthy diet based essentially on chocolate (and dry sausages).