Picture CIMG0001.jpgPicture CIMG0018.jpgPicture CIMG00191.jpg

Ever since last time, I went through two set-ups… First using a rather diverse array of boxes and furniture, raising the whole thing to a smashing 20 inches from the ground, which did little for mixing posture comfort.

And then last weekend, I spent an hour at Tokyo Hands, picking raw shelf construction units and having pieces cut left and right in order to put together the ultimate DJ-Stand/Book Shelf/Clothes Rack (plans and design: drDave ©2003, patent pending).

Quite amazingly, the neighbours have not yet torn down the wall or nailed a dead rat on the door to protest against our repeated noisy late night romps these past few days. It seems they are either really cool with the noise or completely deaf. Actually, that seems to be a pattern with most places where I live – except of course for the one neighbour who got me a court citation for noise disturbance at night, a few years ago.

In other music news, I got two gigs coming up: I’ll be playing at Bar Tokyo this saturday, the place is just at the crossing, on the 7th floor with a huge bay window… it should definitely be a good party.
Then, I’ll be playing a much smaller venue with Atsushi, at Cafe Idée in Sangenjaya: a mix between a loft and a design lounge, not really huge, but since we got the place for ourselves, it promises to be a good night of fun between friends.


Thanks to Atsushi, truly the nicest bloke ever, I am now in possession of a whole set of mixing equipment including decks and cd-mixer…

Last week at home, we were chatting and I mentioned how I seriously missed being able to play at home and was trying to figure out how to buy second-hand turntables. To which he just told me he was so busy with photography these days that he barely used his and I could borrow them for the time being!

Two days later, he was helping me bring all his equipment to my place. When he asked me if I had an amp to plug all this on, I told him no, but that was more than okay, I’d go buy one the next day. But he just told me to hold on: “As a matter of fact, my friend has one she is not using”, and the following night, he was dropping by with an amplifier!
Not to mention the gift of a precious lump of el hashish, rarer than gold in this beautiful, but quite substance-adverse, country…

あっちゃんどもありがとう!

I’m really lucky to have met friends like Atsushi here…

Anyway, now I am more excited than a japanese schoolgirl in a shibuya shop… Just need to go fetch some speakers and a stand for all that, and we’ll be ready to rock the house…

IMG_2298.jpg

A small anecdote that’s barely worth mentioning given how often this type of crap happen, but anyway:
A few days ago, Mr. David Morales, living legend and most definitely a very talented house dj/producer, was to headline some party at Ruby Skye in SF. Along with him was good friend Frenchy le Freak, representing the local scene.

Scheduled to play around 1am, he of course shows up 20 minutes late, so far, so bad, but nothing to call home about (it seems like starting your set on time is the most debasing thing when you’re a world famous dj). But then, after hanging around a bit, he simply declares the club “sounds like shit” and he won’t be playing there. Then proceeds to hang around the stage, royally ignoring the turntables, as if his mere presence was what people had come for.

Now, I’m no huge fan of Ruby Skye, but one thing is sure: the sound is pretty damn good for a club of this size, in fact, it’s probably among the best sounds you can get in the City. The sound system is more than decent and the room itself, being a former theater, has flawless acoustics…

Finally, after half-an-hour middle-man negotiations between the club manager and Morales’ agent, some kind of agreement was reached and Mr. Big Star Dj headed over to the decks, where he half-heartedly botched a low-quality set in front of a crowd he obviously could not care less about.

Of course, the real issue that night was not sound quality or any such thing: the deal was probably more about acting out some diva caprice on a whim, flex some ego around and, most likely, extort extra cash from a rattled club manager who would probably sooner slit his wrists than having to announce the headliner was a no-show…

This is an all too common story. Ask any club promoter, manager, DJ: they will all have their story about such or such Big Name DJ not showing up at the last minute, asking twice the previously agreed price, or just casually sliding a mix CD in and not touching a knob for the whole set…

And it sucks. Big time. It sucks because it gives a bad name to every dj out there, including the ones who work hard to respect their public and not feed them crap just because they can. It sucks because, of course, such set give a really poor idea of what good House music can be (“is that what a legendary DJ sound like?”). But first and foremost, it sucks because this is the exact opposite of all things House music used to stand for (DJs check their rockstar ego at the door, the vibe is more important than the venue etc).

Anyway, next time some over-hyped super-dj comes playing in your vicinity, you should probably wonder whether you care to see some jaded button-pusher who doesn’t give a fuck about the crowd or the vibe, or if you would not be better off with some obscure but talented local dj who truly cares about the public…

Congrats to Will aka Frenchy le Freak, who made it into this year’s Top 10 DJs for San Francisco

Ranked among the likes of Miguel Migs and Mark Farina, not bad, eh…

For the ones in SF: there’s probably gonna be a bash featuring the 10 of them at the Fillmore sometime next month… worth checking out, especially since, along such master talents, there will be a good diversity of styles from the lesser known but nonetheless brilliant other DJs on the list (and Ellen rocks!).

久しぶりだね!

So now I have even more materials to post about. So much so that I’m only gonna sum up for now and will try to upload a few pix in the near future…

We managed to move in our new flat at the beginning of the month and did not even have to rob a bank or sell any non-vital organ for that. Although we were quite close: we showed up at the real-estate place in the morning with about just enough to pay rent and deposit and transportation for two days… Pretty much had to beg for our meals at friends’ places during three days.

But I guess as usual, in retrospect, it was all in good fun…

I now live in Shin-Nakano (新中野), which is less than a thirty minute walk away from Shinjuku (7 minute by train)… so we can say it’s quite centrally located, and at the same time, the apartment is located in a rather nice little neighborhoud, so I guess we are getting the best of both worlds. I’ll try and take some pix to upload this WE (I know, promises, promises…).

Job is good too, maybe even a little too good: had to eventually start refusing some stuff and even what’s left has been enough to keep me busy most days and nights ever since I got back in Tokyo.

I must use the occasion to mention that I can now add to my ever-growing list of professional activities: Playstation Game Tester!

well, translator would be more accurate, as it is rather about proofreading and heavily rewriting hundreds of text files containing such fascinating snippets as “Life level 1”, “Life level 2”, “tournament of the dragon” etc. more than it is about actually playing the game.

Still: I work as an onsite freelancer (what they call アルバイト, or arubaito, in a very strange recycling of an infamous German word) for a major game company based in Yokohama.

The job in itself is only mildly fascinating, except for the fact the previous translator seemed to have a very loose grasp of both English and French grammar (no comments please), which gives for a lot of hilarious sentences.

Well, I also end up testing each game I worked on for a week or two, and I get paid for it (rather miserably, it must be said).

All in all, it was kinda interesting working there, especially since it was my first time in an authentic 会社 (Kaisha: Japanese corporation… I should probably do a kanji special entry some time)… For it must be pointed out that, even if they are in the business of selling fun to the masses, the company spirit is most definitely your typically austere Japanese work environment. But I will probably work there increasingly less, as I’m way busy enough right now, and the pay is pretty pathetic (I guess there are plenty of avid candidates to choose from for this kind of job, provided you are not too regarding on their native language skills).

Other jobs include doing all kind of computer stuff for two related environmental companies. Tasks are nothing extraordinarily fascinating, but their field (environmental audit and prevention) is interesting.

Tokyo is starting, expectedly, to feel a little bit more like home. It helps that I am now able to understand locals to some level and even sometimes keep a conversation (being drunk or otherwise altered, oddly enough, helps a lot). It’s starting to be cold again, but I think I should be much better prepared for the freezing Tokyoite winter this time around (and we have heaters in our new place)…

My friend Kristy also christened our brand new flat by staying here last week in between two trips… She was coming back from this organic farm near mount Fuji where she volunteered in exchange for food and lodging for about a week, but eventually decided to retreat to some warmer grounds for the time being. The place is cool though, they have a nice little hostel and they even throw big rave parties every once in a while. Definitely a good place to stop at on the way to Mount Fuji… Although I’d probably wait until Spring.

Ok, that should be it for the quarterly update… I’ll try to post some more stuff about life around here tomorrow.

Fresh out the plane after two weeks in Europe.

Yea, sudden contraption in my personal space-time continuum made any update to the logs nigh impossible this month.
Not that I entirely neglected to document any aspect of my eminently fascinating life. In fact, I did write down a lot of stuff in between two jobs and two planes and occasionally took pictures to make sure I remembered where I’d been, just never had a chance to put all that in a neat web format (and my laptop, being technically dependent on the proximity of wall sockets by its non-existent battery life, was unusable in most situations where I could have taken the time).