Agreeably low-key, the first half of my week-end was filled with so much interesting stuff and encounters with cool people, that I went starting this entry convinced we had to be Sunday night already…

Today’s earthquake was easily the strongest I have ever felt in my life. All in all, I don’t think it was much bigger than previous ones, but its epicenter being very close made a difference. Seems it registered an upper 5 (on the Japanese scale) in some areas near Tokyo.

Being on the first floor of my small two-stories apartment building, all books and loose objects safely tucked into their shelves (I learned my lessons from previous times), I didn’t have a lot to feed my imagination on and wasn’t overly worried, past the initial surprise (feeling the earth move when you haven’t even had your first Gin Tonic of the day, will always get you at first). Seeing the importance of train disruptions and reading other blogs afterward, made me realize it didn’t just feel strong: it was strong.

In other news, Friday screening party of Bondi Tsunami at Superdeluxe was a blast!

The movie is very much worth seeing. An interesting mix of edgy MTV-style editing (well, the good sort of MTV-style editing) with typical tongue-in-cheek multi-culti humour, mixed in with long bouts of pure surf psychedelia. Only serious reproach: could have been made a tad shorter. Shooting for a feature-length was, imho, a bit ambitious, as some of the latter scenes tended to lack the tight editing that made the beginning a truly good indy movie.

But overall: good-humoured story-telling, cool music, casual vibe in the club during and after the screening all contributed to an awesome evening.

Hako wrote a really cool entry about Friday night in her Mixi diary, copied here with her permission, for the benefit of non-mixi users. Can’t really be arsed to translate it at the mo, but heartily recommend you put in the reading effort if you have some basic kanji skills: it’s quite funny and an interesting read.

Actually glad we didn’t elect to follow the group to Odaiba for an all-night rave party, despite the promise of cool music and a comfy tent if we needed a rest, I’m quite happy being back in my bed for a long night sleep now. With hoping that I don’t end up flattened by the second floor crashing on me during the night.




♪ー 葉子 ー♪

Useful tidbits of Physics we’ve learned the hard way this week-end:

  • Leave a bottle of bubbly rosé exposed to Tokyo’s Summer temperatures for long enough before opening, and add some ambiance to your party with a lovely geyser fountain. And I do mean a geyser, not a bit of overflow and bubbles… The ceiling just got a nice new finish coat with that one.
  • The combustion point of alleged “deep-frying oil”, as sold by local supermarkets, is way lower than you’d expect.
  • The melting point of the plasticky faux-woodfloor is also lower than the temperature of that bare 150W lightbulb I always keep at foot-tripping level in my bedroom.
  • The only great thing about the Third Law of BBQ Thermodynamics, is that the guarantee of the heaviest rain of the month on the night of your BBQ, is also the assurance that your garden won’t catch on fire, no matter who’s handling the BBQ.
  • Powerbook keyboards like to remain sober. One glass of wine, and they get f4c2ed 4* f6r g66d.
  • The life expectancy of your average shower door is roughly until the next time you stand butt naked, blinded by shampoo and turning your back to the door when it decides to unhinge and fall on you.

Still wondering why I decided to go back to bed and not move until this week-end is over?

I finally caved in and got myself a Mixi account.

I am not exactly a big fan of so-called “Social Networking” software. Overall, services like Friendster, Orkut et al. have always seemed more of an attempt to make up for years of high school unpopularity, than actually trying to establish meaningful connections between people.

Well, that’s a whole other debate altogether, but frankly, the mere idea of “Social Networking” kinda irks me. That pragmatism of friendships that contend to be mixing mutual feelings of appreciation with some sort of social ladder climbing scheme. You no longer have “friends” on miscellaneous degrees of closeness, you have “contacts”, rated on their ability to help you reach your own social goals. Back when I experimented with Friendster, shortly after it was hailed as the dawn of a new digital age of human interactions, things went a bit like:
Step 1: create a semi-anonymous profile with hobbies, likes and dislikes. Mention that you like to play with electronic music production. Watch the level of activity hovering close to zero outside of the friends you already knew before joining.
Step 2: add a mention in passing that you actually release records, organize parties in SF, and mix for some of them. Watch as over a hundred “friends” suddenly pop-in, add you to their contact list, quickly start trying to sell you their own demo mix or grab guest list comps.

If anything, this laughably caricatural episode taught me one thing: never mention in too much of a positive light any of my professional activities outside of purely professional discussions. If we are having a friendly chat in a social context and it turns out I may be able to help you or we may enter in a mutually beneficial partnership, I’ll be the judge of that, but please save me the fucking faux-friendly courtship that wastes everybody’s time and does nothing to convince me of your professional qualities. Yea, I guess I’m not exactly much of a schmoozing PR guy.

This post-dotcom brand of opportunism, along with the equally ridiculous concept that the friends of your friends ought to be cool people (let me tell you something about the friends of my friends: to an overwhelming majority, they are drug-addled, self-centered, alcoholic pricks. I certainly don’t want anything to do with them) is why I can’t wait for this braindead concept to go down the drain.

Why have I joined Mixi then?

A few reasons:
1) I need to practice my Japanese more, and Mixi being 100% Japanese is a good way to force me to read and write regularly.
2) The communities and calendar functions make it an infinitely more useful tool than the “You have 3 millions friends-of-friends” traditional Friendster feature.
3) It’s pretty fucking well done altogether.

And here is my account if you wanna be my friend.

I used to hate weddings; all the Grandmas would poke me and say, “You’re next sonny!”
They stopped doing that when i started to do it to them at funerals.

Picture nordine_masako.jpg My friend Nordine is getting married this Friday.

As you can see in the photo beside, tradition has been duly respected, pre-wedding pictures in traditional outfits included (you should see the one with the katana). Can you sense a certain Watanabe Ken complex? yea, me too…

Anyway, the photo studio probably thought Nordine was sufficiently ridiculous cute manly in his hakama to feature the shot on their portfolio website. Although maybe Masako’s smile may have helped a bit too.

Considering the bride is a flight attendant on JAL, half the wedding guests will consist of Japanese air hostesses. Which makes an invitation to the reception worth at least a couple hundred thousand yens on Tokyo’s black market. But I don’t think I’ll sell mine: much more to be made with hush money paid not to tell a single of the groom’s stories, back in his Roppongi days.

The sharpest among you, dear readers, may have noticed a surge in guest moblogging in recent days.

Indeed, Tracey has joined the powerful ranks of our secret organization, with the established mission to bring a dearly missing element of femininity to these testosterone-drenched pages.

In sticking with the stakhanovist ideals that power this blog, and because no reward shall go undeserved, we promised her a formal introduction as soon as she’d reach the magical threshold of ten posts. Immediately prompting her to deliver, no hold barred, shocking accounts of:

As you can see, the girl means business

As long as she leaves gardening up to me, we should be able to find our marks…

OK, she didn’t solely post photos of stacks of paper and urban street parking: she also posted a mug shot of her charming personal sex-slave assistant.

But well before the fascinating insights into the merciless world of a Tokyo power-exec, or even her interesting tidbits on colourful local customs, there is one major reason you should keep an eye open for her contributions: the off-chance of drunken posting featuring nudity and/or behaviours outlawed in at least 15 US states (and punishable by death in 4 of them).

Giving Tracey a cameraphone and moblogging access is a bit like these tv spots for lavish shower products, featuring people lasciviously soaping themselves while the camera always manage to keep the naughty bits tastefully off-frame: there’s that improbable chance the cameraman might one-day trip and show a nipple… a towel fall off unexpectedly… who knows…

Except here, the chances are much higher and the cameraman more likely to be drunk.

But please let that not distract you in any way from the quality of her more traditional contributions to these pages…

N.B: She also has her own dedicated page, where she might one day tell you more about herself. It’s here. At the moment, it only contains the official press kit excerpts, but will no doubt soon be updated with more personable tidbits.

When doing any academic work requiring a bit more than casual concentration, my choice for musical background invariably veers toward jazz.

House or techno is great coding music, but just takes too much of my attention off; and the kind of classical I can study to, also tends to get on my nerves quickly whenever the studying doesn’t go as smoothly as it should…

On the other hand, old jazz tracks, first half of the century, New-Orleans, Dixie, later French stuff… they just got the perfect mix of bouncy instrumental and subdued beat that helps keeping you in a working groove without turning your nerves into a knot. My playlist currently rotates lots of old no-names Charleston big-bands and swing tracks, along with everything I got by Stephan Grappelli, Django Reinhardt or Sidney Bechet…

As a high-school student in Paris, my buddy Pierre and I used to hang out quite often with local jazz musicians. Pierre’s younger cousin, despite being barely pubescent, was an incredible jazz piano player. Last in a lineage of music nuts, he had been enrolled very early on in the family affair, a band that had once, in typical jazz fashion, spanned over three generations and was now composed of the son-father duo completed by a couple other professional players. Among them was Daniel Bechet, son of Sidney and all around talented drummer.

Of the numerous episodes of strangely anachronistic fun I remember from these days, one particularly stands out:

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Hanami Parties Update

or “Welcome to My weekend, my”

If reading the semi-coherent recollection of a drunken stranger’s week-end is not part of your Monday schedule, feel free to just gawk at photographic evidences, conveniently gathered here and there, including the perfunctory tits shot, courtesy of our dear Tracey…

In a scene telling of the spirit of this week-end, yours truly and three of his drunken groupies were seen yesterday night, fiercely decided to rock out the last train out of Harajuku, the same way they’d been rocking out Yoyogi park all afternoon: with lots of drunken debauchery and deep house beats blaring on a portable sound system.

If that’s not yet doing it for you, picture, if you will: the whitest, skinniest guy this side of Brooklyn, manning the most improbable Japanese ghetto blaster ever seen on the Tokyo metro, while the ladies managed to send the poor few salarymen present into abyss of despair: if even the ever-reliable subservient Japanese female could be spotted pole-dancing in a subway car, who was to tell what would be next. But the most awesome part was definitely the widespread toe-tapping around the car: people seemed to, in fact, kinda like it.

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New Year 2005

Problem with making your New Year’s Card on homemade pre-alpha software is that, if there’s a bug, all your friends will know it…

Well, two days after I had uploaded that last work of art, I realized I had screwed up monumentally somewhere: despite what I thought, the software hadn’t included all the pictures and nearly half my library was omitted. Meaning that many a friend that should have been there, wasn’t. Turns out the algorithm to do all that mosaic computation was a tiny bit more complicated than I originally thought. Which is great, since it’s always fun solving these problems, but also fell on a rather bad timing, since you are usually not expected to spend your days in front of a computer between Christmas and New Year… I will probably write a separate post full of geekerish about the solution, later on.

But nonetheless, we made it: it’s 5:30pm here, still 6 hours to go with this year, and I am proud to introduce the newer, better, bug-free version of my New Year’s Card… this time, you’re all on it (provided I had your picture in the first place).

Happy New Year Everybody!

Update Jan. 2nd 2005: OK, I lied… it was still buggy and missing half the pics… this time it’s for real, go ahead, check the full-size version (huge file warning), you’re there, I promise…

New Year 2005


去年にケイタイで撮った写真でこのNew Year’s Cardを作ったから、あなたの写真はあるんでしょう。探して頑張ってね!

New Year 2005

Après quelques petites difficultés techniques (et une version jolie mais incomplète), voici enfin la version 2.0 GM de mes voeux pour l’année 2005.
Pratiquement toutes les photos ont été prises avec mon keitai durant l’année 2004 et, si je vous ai rencontré suffisamment longtemps pour prendre une photo, vous pourrez retrouver votre visage de star en cherchant bien.

Bonne Année 2005 à tous!

It would appear they have very different standards for ski level in Japan and Canada (not to mention Europe).
That or E. slightly overestimated her skiing skills when she told me she was an ace and would enjoy humiliating me publicly on the slopes.

I guess I should have mentioned the part about learning to ski before I could walk and spending quite a few winters in mountain schools as a kid.