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Showing posts with the label Guest Blog

Utterly Bored with Everything - Resigning from Blogging?

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I apologize for the relative lack of updates recently. I think the interview with Quentin S. Crisp contained all of my thoughts on everything; consequently I've been content to leave it at that. And, moving to Japan has taken up most of my time.

NTV7 The Breakfast Show is good for health

In order to thank me for that Playboy bunny I sent him for his birthday, Swifty has allowed me to publicize my TV appearance on his blog! Well, this is my first TV appearance so I suppose you can watch it just to see me embarass myself. But hey, at least I embarassed myself on national TV!=. -_- That just sounds so wrong. Date: Monday, March 12 Time: I'll arrive in the studio at 8.30am, so it will probably start at 9am or later. Channel : NTV7 Duration: 10 minutes Venue: Television Dress code: Pyjamas, or nothing at all (hey, you don't call it Breakfast Show for nothing) And Swifty, please, please, please help me record this. I know asking a movie director to record an insignificant TV appearance is a little too much, but then I'll just send you another Playboy bunny to repay you back lor okay? Or maybe one of those people watching the TV naked...

An Interview With Quentin S. Crisp

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I've talked about Quentin S. Crisp before - he's one of my favorite living writers. His 'demented fiction' is unrivalled for its poetic quality and general, um, dementedness, and I suspect it won't be long before he has a major mainstream breakthrough - not that there's anything particularly 'mainstream' about him, but his stories and novels are certainly of world-class quality. Anyway, I sat down with him recently to discuss his writing, his favorite films, pop music, the meaning of Mishima's death, the real reason why most people study Japanese, and other relevant topics. Suffice it to say that this is probably the most important thing I have yet posted to this site, and it certainly touches on more or less everything Swifty and I have put up here at some point. It is thus mandatory reading . Apart from that, it's probably the last substantial thing I'll post for a while, time constraints being what they are. Read on and learn more.

Unfair treatment of a certain guest blogger who shall remain anonymous

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Swifty has a photo on this blog. (Well, okay, it’s his blog so it’s fair.) Justin has a photo on this blog. (Well, okay, he is a permanent guest blogger so it’s fair too.) Swifty-chan has a photo (PHOTOS!) on this blog. (Well, okay, it’s fair because she is a guest blogger related to Swifty and has very cute cheeks.) Spongebob Squarepants has a photo on this blog. (What do you mean he is not a guest blogger?) Has anybody thought of *MY* feelings? Oh no, let Justin get the last piece of pie (Justin: You said you were on a diet and food made you cry!), let Swifty see Dalai Lama (Swifty: You were thousand of miles away. How could…how can…what the…?!?!), let Swifty-chan get the big teddy bears (Swifty-chan: Put the sponge down, May Zhee, put the sponge down), what do *I* get? HAH? A small little May Zhee under every sedulous post I make. Well I don’t care anymore! No Swifty, Justin or Swifty-chan was hurt in the production of this blog post. However the same cannot be said for S

May Zhee's Review

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Swifty’s blog is all about reviews right? So indubitably, I, the honorable guest blogger, have to do my part in reviewing something too. Let’s see…what should I review? Music? Books? Movies? Me? I know! Today, I shall review…

Hello! This is May Zhee guest-blogging from Swifty’s suitcase in India!

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It’s implausibly cramped in here but I want to pretend like I’m thin and petite hence I will not grumble at all about my squashed face. Betcha didn’t know May Zhee could type with her breasts! Okay too much info. Anyway, one of the good things that come out of being callously treated like a tomato all the way to India is…I get to broadcast to you what Swifty has inside his suitcase, which I am deigning to do in munificent amounts. *cue evil Powerpuff Girls music* Hey, dude, no one asked you to stuff the hot girl in a suitcase! Question is, are you ready for it? Can you handle the truth? Are you up for it? Can you take it? Will you still want to know what’s inside if I keep doing this? Ahem. Swifty keeps skeletons in his suitcase. *horror* And all this while you thought skeletons lived in closets. *horror, consternation, trepidation, nausea (you, not me)* Funny thing though, all the skeletons seem to be holding laptops, just like me, and getting their faces squashed by another s

Crystal Kay - Call Me Miss

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One of the advantages of getting heavily into J-Pop is that, almost unconsciously, I've started to appreciate and enjoy musical genres I once scorned. When I was a teenager, anything remotely pop or commercial was anathema to me, and R&B was the worst of the worst. R&B was irritating screaming melismatic female voices, moronic beats, grating lyrics. R&B was something listened to by people I held in contempt. If you said your favorite music was R&B, I probably wouldn't like much else about you, either, and if you had of given me Crystal Kay's 2006 second album Call Me Miss as recently as five years ago, I probably would have spat in your face.

Koda Kumi - Black Cherry

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I have my problems with Koda Kumi. Apart from her lacking a certain...how to put this tactfully, star quality (i.e. if she wasn't famous already...) and relying on an obvious gimmick (feigned sluttiness), I've come around to much of her music, even if it struck me as undistinguished at first. The production is often good, befitting an Avex artist; and KK is talented, even if the hooks sometimes take a while to sink in. She tried out for Morning Musume and was rejected, yet that actually reflects well on her: no one in H!P can really sing like her; their voices need to be massed together to achieve any real resonance or tone. But KK is more than capable of carrying a track, and her voice is distinctive.

Judy and Mary

Listened to their entire discography over the course of like six hours. Think I just found my new favorite band. Can't be bothered to write an in-depth entry. Just...wow. As much 'ink jizz' as a site like Pitchfork expends over a band like Deerhoof , you wonder what they'd make of JAM or ( the previously discussed on this site ) Ego Wrappin'. I mean, 'Judy is a Tank Girl'? Just brilliant... Get Warp or The Power Source if you want to hear Japanese music completely overstepping national bounds and stacking up against anything on a world stage.

Craig Reviews Junichi Tanizaki's Naomi

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On my recommendation, Craig of Your Opinion Doesn't Count has just read and provided a three-part review of Tanizaki's Naomi , analogizing the novel to the idol world. His interpretation is highly original and provocative, and there's definitely some kind of graduate-paper potential in there somewhere about idol-continuity in Japanese culture over the course of the twentieth century. Was Tanizaki a proto-wota?

Junichiro Tanizaki - Seven Japanese Tales

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" Here, the exploration...leads into a tangle of relationships as bizarre and unhealthy as those of Tanizaki's earlier novel , The Key," -from the introduction by translator Howard Hibbett "Unhealthy" is an apt word to describe the fictional world of Jun'ichiro Tanizaki. Although now accepted as a pillar of modern Japanese literature largely on the basis of his re-translation of Genji and the sprawling novel The Makioka Sisters , Tanizaki's early work was better known for its aesthetic obsessions and outre subject matter - a typical Tanizaki story would concern something like stealing a girl's used handkerchief and licking it, or the joys of prostitution in China (John Updike memorably called him 'the most masculine writer of the 20th century'). Compared to Mishima, who dealt with characters at least as fucked up, Tanizaki's protagonists are far less self-conscious, less guilty or conflicted - where a Mishima character would anal

Ayumi Hamasaki - Secret

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For me, the height of Ayumi Hamasaki's career was the 2002/2003 Rainbow / I Am... era. On those two albums, Ayu and Max Matsuura forged an original and intensely modern sound, one that combined the futuristic gloss and production of electronic dance music with the grind and guitar base of hard rock, all leavened with strong pop flourishes that somehow sounded more ambitious than any of Ayu's previous material (which had been good, to be honest, if a bit sugary and conventional). Appellations like 'dancy metal-pop' or 'club-core with solos' sound ridiculous, but accurately describe the albums' innovative fusions. And they were albums, too, with transitions and spaced-out interludes to bridge the more disparate songs. Because of the unified production, a straight up club track like 'Connected' could segue easily into the driving rock of 'Evolution', and the whole thing felt seamless. For a while, Ayumi Hamasaki really did feel like the

Yasunari Kawabata - The Master of Go

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Yasunari Kawabata is a writer I admire immensely. Although perhaps slightly limited in his range of themes and stories, he has a truly world-class sense of technical perfection and stylistic beauty, and the best of his novels and stories ( Snow Country and Beauty and Sadness are my favorites, with the excellent Palm of the Hand Stories perhaps being his masterwork) are so satisfying and haunting as to make him unquestionably deserving of his Nobel Prize. Someone (can't remember the source) compared reading a Kurt Vonnegut book to eating an ice cream cone, and if that's true, then a Kawabata book is more like a high-quality Italian gelato - cold, perhaps, but exquisite, and best when served in small portions. At one point I pretty much blindly accepted him as a god; and while after much consideration I've decided Mishima at least equals him, he's still up there for me as one of the masters.

Justin Reviews 'Sukeban Deka: Kôdo nêmu = Asamiya Saki'

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Sukeban Deka スケバン刑事 コードネーム=麻宮サキ , I'm disappointed in you.

D.B. Weiss - Lucky Wander Boy

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I picked up Lucky Wander Boy (Swifty: Official website of the book here ) on a recent trip, mainly on the strength of its premise but without any real expectations, since the book is about, among other things, video games. A 'gaming novel' is not a prospect that would seem especially earmarked for greatness, and so D.B. Weiss's debut came as a welcome surprise: while perhaps not great in any real sense, this is certainly a very good book*, with more-than-capable prose and much trenchant humor.

Sifow's Blog and Me

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UPDATED (April 27, 2014): It's been 8 years since this blog post was written by Justin. Since then, Sifow had announced her indefinite hiatus in 2008. I'm not sure whether she still sings, but as of April 2014, after her hiatus, she moved to this new(er) blog , where she still updates quite often. I've written about my future girlfriend's music before , now to take a look at something equally influential, equally interesting, something everyone reading this should be well-familiar with: blogging .

Yukio Mishima - The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea

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I can't be bothered to review this in any real depth, so I'll just excerpt parts of it and laugh at them. Much like the previous review, you're pretty much aboard the train at this point or you're not. Despite overseas acclaim (it was even made into an English movie starring Kris Kristofferson ...what the fuck? ), this novel, about a doomed romance between a sailor and a widow offset by evil kids, probably isn't one of Mishima's major works. It feels almost like a novella or really long short story, something that could have gone in one of the collections Acts of Worship or Death in Midsummer (discussed here )

The Short Fiction of Yukio Mishima

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Mishima is a writer associated with scale and grand gestures. Apart from his colorful life and the obviously theatrical nature of his public suicide, his novels are full of, to put it bluntly, action - in a 'literary fiction' genre often filled with tepid introspection and obsessive minimalism, that Mishima's books are full of swordfighting, arson, suicide, and desperate tragedy is definitely part of his appeal. Although his writing is capable of great subtlety, restraint, and delicate beauty, these qualities usually form one half of a chiaroscuric contrast, shadowing the dense psychological monologues and eruptions of violence.

Onyanko Club

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I'll be honest: most everything I know about Japanese music has come as a result of the tireless efforts of Taka . If it wasn't for his more-euphony-than-James-Joyce command of the English language and his unquenchable passion for "80' electorical dance sounds", I'd probably still be listening exclusively to mid-90's NYC metallic hardcore (Orange 9MM, Helmet, Quicksand, etc.).

Jorge Luis Borges - Labyrinths

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Enough has been said and written about Jorge Luis Borges that you don't need to take it from me. Whatever I can possibly say about Borges's writing will automatically be swept under in the mass of history and commentary attached to him; in the same way that I'd hesitate to directly review Joyce, Faulkner, Nabokov, or Proust, (except perhaps to offer the heresy of a negative critique) so Borges presents something of a problem: writing this review almost feels superfluous; you probably already know and love his writing. Or maybe not; maybe I'm being falsely modest; maybe this review will be the one that convinces you to run out and buy his books as soon as possible .I hope so, since this is the only reason I'm writing it: to whore out Borges so he can give you the same intensely beautiful mindfuck he just gave me.