Going Ape!

Since yesterday was one of my birthdays (St. Michael's Day), I decided to treat myself to a box set of Planet of the Apes. It has all five of the movies, Burton's reimagining, and the TV series but it appears that the animated series is NOT included, damn. Coolest of all, it comes in a replica bust of Cornelius; the dozen discs are secured in his back.

This should keep me busy until next National Gorilla Suit Day.
Ploughing the Farm.

We finally booked a venue for our Halloween Party and we'll be returning to last year's locale, the Farm.

I'm feeling in a generous mood, so I have devised a contest for those of you out there.

This is a mural that has been painted on a wall of the Farm. I challenge those of you with Photoshopping skills to alter this scene to one with a Halloweeny theme. I will choose the best entry and send you a prize! I haven't decided what you'll get, but it'll be cool, yet not too bulky to cut down on postage. (Submit it to
aoxoltl atmark hotmail.com)

(Click on it to make it gigantic.)

Good Luck! And may the Spookiest entry win...


This is Jeopardize!

This episode of Jeopardize will feature animals from the EDGE top 100.

Tonight's categories are Pesky Rodents, Rhinoplasty, Siren's song, So Long and Thanks for All the Fish and I've got a Bad Case of Monotreme.

I'll take Pesky Rodents for 200$, Alex.
This arboreal and nocturnal rodent resides on the Japanese islands of Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu and looks like a chipmunk.
What is Chip & Dale?
No, I'm sorry, that is incorrect.
What is the Japanese Dormouse?
That's right. Next choice?

How about Rhinoplasty for 100$?
This Critically endangered coffee-loving Rhinocerous has less than 60 members left.
Hmmm. Coffee Loving? Oh, what is the Javan Rhino?
Refreshing! And your next category is?

So Long for 500$, please.
This previously endangered cetacean that the Chinese believe to be a reincarnated drowned princess has now been rendered extinct.
(Singing) What is "We love the Yangtse River Dolphin..."
Very amusing, you sang that on Porpoise! Hahaha. Next up?

Let's try A Bad Case of Monotreme for 300$
Seeking out that Daily Double, are we? This egg-laying, long-snouted mammal is endangered.
Could it be a Platypus?
Oooh, nice try. Anyone else?
What is the Echidna?
Correct, the Spiny Anteater would also have been accepted.

We have time for one more question before the break, what category would you like?
I'm curious about Siren's Song, Alex, for 200$.
This underwater mammal, originally thought of to be the inspiration for the legend of Mermaids, was ridden by Aquaman in the 50's.
Is it Topo, the octopus?
No. Remember the answer.
How about a Giant Seahorse?
That's not right either. We're looking for a mammal.
It must be Tusky, the walrus.
I'm sorry, that was neither in the form of a question, nor was it correct. Surely you've "herd" of a Sea Cow or a Dugong, gang? Well, that's all the time we have. Watch this commercial message and we'll return later to "Jeopardize!"

For more interesting info on species of Japan, I highly recommend
Rowan Hoopers work published in the Japan Times.

Unfortunately, I could spend weeks on Jeopardize, Endangered Animals. Do what YOU can to help.


Bloody Fantastic!

I'm one of the few in the Blogosphere who actually enjoyed the first Fantastic Four movie. I've seen it since on DVD, shown it to my students and lent it to co-workers. They all agree with me that it's a pretty good flick. So today, I saw the sequel with a shiny Silver Surfer. All the flaws of the first movie are still there, but the good stuff is better! Ben & Johnny's bickering is tremendous, Reed is a little sillier, Doom is more evilish(?), Norrin is just RADDical and Sue Storm gets nekkid again. If I have one qualm about it, I was really distracted by the thickness of the makeup on Alba's mug. They really caked it on with a trowel (almost as much as Ben's!) Ahh, I loved it. Short & Sweet with about 30 minutes less of a running time than the first movie. Stan Lee's cameo was very tongue in cheek, though I don't recall seeing a nod to Kirby in the credits this time.

Recommended. (Now, I expect to hear from all the naysayers out there and maybe a few well-wishers too.)

The Japanese title is ファンタスティック・フォー
(not sure how to pronounce it) and click on the link to go to the site with trailers and games and stuff.
The Fantasti-Car was cool.

This is, of course, the iconic Lee/Kirby comic that started the Surfer craze. Is he Jesus/ a pacifist/ a war-monger/ a bald guy? You be the judge. (Check out Breathless, Reservoir Dogs & Crimson Tide for references to him.)

I didn't buy many goods apart from a Clear File folder and the program, but here are a bunch more FF goodies. The cap looks cool, but not for 2000¥.

This has been sitting on my TV with a several other Marvel character mini models acquired from little capsules. I have some other toys but it's getting late and I don't want to go hunting for them.

Apart from TV commercials, I haven't seen much merchandise in the stores (or UFO Catchers), but click if you want a milk mustache . Alex told me about a Domino's Pizza campaign where you can get spicy hot Torch wings, Thing chicken nuggets, stretchy cheese or Invisible Clear tea. Mmmm.
What the Funk was that?

I'm marking tests today, so I thought I'd check out some of the Echophonyk dude's Podcasts to listen to. (And for no reason other than I feel like it, here are some more Superman Propaganda covers from those happy people at Grand Comic Book Database...

Here is DJ Mokgohan's latest extravaganza. To listen to more of his cool crap, swing on down to his MySpace page and click around.

Good old boy, DJ Mixture has his mellow and mellifluent sounds here and if you are so inclined, you can actually hear him interviewed on live radio!

The Coolest DJ in the World (patent pending) is DJ J-Loop and his MySpace is worth checking out as well.

Though he isn't a DJ, he has become our VJ, so why not check out some of the YouTubes that Nori likes or enjoy some of his original designs.

And of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the Echophonyk homepage so you can surf around and listen to other fine people jockeying their discs.

Stay tuned for news of our next event and of our Halloween Party to be held at an undisclosed mystery location! (In other words, we don't know where it'll be yet...)


Can 'oe Believe it?

Though the title may be smug, the sentiment isn't. Ken Danby collapsed while on a canoeing trip this weekend while vacationing in Algonquin Park and died shortly thereafter. The Order of Canada member often donated his iconic Canadian paintings to charitable causes and made fame with "At the Crease".

Selections of his paintings including this "Face Off" where players of his "Guelph Goodtimers" team posed for this puck confrontation.

His website has a connection to several languages, including Japanese. As seen in "The Kimono", he relished painting beach scenes in exotic locations.

You can buy some t-shirts or reproductions of his work make his famous painting of a goalie as a Wallpaper for your computer, as I just did.


Singing Our Little Hearts Out!

Around two, Alex & I managed to persuade a few of the ladies to join us in Karaoke. These were the participants of the KitKat contest, so perhaps they felt they owed me something.

It was a fun night, and I got to sing my version of "As Time Goes By" among others. The ladies & Alex had a chance to warble a few too.

Afterwards, we wandered over to Hide & Seek, trying to find a venue for Halloween and my pal, Akari was there with some passed out beau.

I split from them, went to Title and then ended the night at Ernie's where I met an Aussie バーママ (Bar-Mama/ Owner of "Cocktail Oz", 022-713-5737) and two Russian lasses. I ended up treating them to breakfast and got home about 8:30 (after falling asleep on the bus again and walking for 25 minutes.)

The next night I went to Haranomachi to meet an old coworker and her friends and I picked up some 江戸豆 (edomame or green bean-flavoured) KitKat for お土産 (omiyage=souvenir.) (I predict the taste will be a little unappetizing.)

Today I went for a long bike ride and found some
北海道ミルク (Hokkaido milk-flavoured) KitKat. It was yummy.

This weekend is a long weekend due to the 秋分の日 (Shubun no hi or Autumnal Equinox) so our SkyPerfect SuperChannel ran a Star Trek weekend in honour of ST:TNG's 20th/ ST:OS 40th anniversary. I caught a few episodes yesterday and today, and it was a very random selection. Most seemed to be those directed by Cast Members with a little tidbit of an interview with them after each episode. Frankly, I could watch the Original Series over and over, but I couldn't really pay attention to the Next Gen.

If anyone would like to participate in a contest to win some ST swag, click here. One prize is a bust of Riker, I would much prefer Counsellor Troi's bust (har-de-har).

Now for a bit of スタートレック vs. スターウォーズ (Star Trek vs. Star Wars) with Japanese subtitles for my local readership.

The KitKat Club.

Not the one featured in Cabaret, but Club Shaft held its first KitKat challenge on Friday night. By some odd quirk of fate, it coincided with the latest Echophonyk event, Shuffle.

The consensus among the patrons who partook in the KitKat taste test, is that the Brandy/Orange was the most delicious. Followed by the Kiwi, the Orange, the Melon and the least favourite was the Chestnut (no surprise there, but one person quite liked it.) Unfortunately, the dance floor started heating up and the wafers began to melt. We did though enjoy ourselves immensely.

The event had about 110 people, a recent record and a few pics now follow...

Maybe next month, we'll have a Pocky challenge!


A BIRD's Eye View.

When I first got here, oh so many moons ago, I lived in a Gaijin House (Hell House) in Tokyo. From time to time, my Housemates (Mark & Dion in particular) & I would go on a ゴミ (gomi) run. That is, wandering the streets on Garbage Collection eve and pilfering whatever goodies we could from the trash heaps. After a few months, we had acquired TVs for a half-dozen of us, as well as various other appliances such as malfunctioning Space Heaters. We could then watch all the channels (6!) in the privacy of our tiny 6X6 tatami mat room and die of carbon monoxide poisoning (Ah, good times.)

In the wee hours of the morn, on one of the innumerable music programs, I first became hooked on Bird. This Kyoto-born gal had alluring eyes and crazy hair and sang J-Pop in a Jazzy fashion often with Bossa Nova undertones.

I have picked up several of her cds in the various used CD shops in the city and every now and then give her a listen. I found this CD 私的パートナー (My Private Partner) in a Tsutaya last night for only 50¥ as well as a Puffy CD I didn't have for the same price. WooHoo! As often happens, her style of music has gone more the way of the Pop than the Jazz but her stuff is still most listenable.

Here is マインドトラベル (Mind Travel) on YouTube. Click around for other tunes.

空の瞳 (Sora no Hitomi)

Confectionary BreakDown.

I've mentioned before about Nestle's KitKat bars tendency to flavourize its snappy stix with exotic tastes. My latest find is キウイ (kiwi) but in the past I've made note of Pineapple and Vanilla Beans.
If you have a few minutes to kill, go to KitKat BreakTown and click around. It's kind of fun to see how seriously they Take a Break. I like the Time Machine to check out old commercials. You'll need to log in to get to the game or see a movie though.

This article talks about the use of キットカツ (kitto katsu loosely translated as "I hope you will win.") as lucky charms to wish each other good luck before taking an exam.

They promote these wafers rather vigourously with over 80 different flavours unique to Japan and recently, KitKats have come packaged with CD singles (Crappy J-Pop Tripe flavour-see below) and a special limited edition double pack of KitKat Crispy Monogatari came bundled with a mini book featuring six short stories, one of which is written by Koji Suzuki, author of the Ring cycle series of books.

Can't elope? Try a Canteloupe flavour instead.
栗 (kuri = chestnut). I'm not fond of chestnuts unless they're roasting over an open fire. We'll see about these.
Brandy & Orange "For a moment of precious indulgence."
Orange & Chocolat.
This one has promise.

Warning do NOT watch this Baby Boo video unless you have a high tolerance for sweets. A diabetic coma may ensue...

Before they caught on, this KitKat commercial is from 1985 starring one of the J-poppers of that time, 宮沢りえ (Miyazawa Rie):

And here's a UK commercial that would be popular with the Japanese crowd. They loves their Thunderbirds!

I'm taking some of these to Shaft tonight to do a taste test with my friends. I'll let you know the verdict tomorrow. So far my favourite has been the Kiwi.


Ago, ago, ago-ago-ago-ago-ago-ago...

顎 or ago is Japanese for JAWS. (Be sure to click that link, you'll be glad you did.) Now go back and hum the post's title using John William's dynamic tune.

Why am I going on about Jaws? Though I'd read of his passing earlier, I didn't bother mentioning it until I discovered that he's Canadian. Percy Rodriguez (June 13th, 1918 – September 6th 2007; age 89) played Commodore Stone in the iconic Court Martial episode of Star Trek TOS. Not only was he the first black actor to portray a Flag Officer on ST, he also broke other barriers by portraying authoritative figures in other series.

But everyone one in Canada (and I'm sure the U.S.) will know him as the voice of the Narrator for the JAWS trailer (amongst other memorable trailers.)

Listen to this trailer and try and tell me that it doesn't bring back your Selachophobia (fear of sharks).

20 years after his retirement, Mr. Rodriguez was urged from his home to provide the narration for The Shark is Still Working trailer, a documentary about the movie.
He's still got it...

We salute you Commodore Stone.
Rick, You've Got to Hide Me!

One of the more memorable Peter Lorre lines whined out by him is from Casablanca when he needs Rick's help to hide him after he's stolen some exit visas. Here's another quote:

Louis: Rick, there are many exit visas sold in this cafe, but we know that you've never sold one. That is the reason we permit you to remain open.
Rick: I thought it was because I let you win at roulette.
Louis: That is another reason.

Fortunately, I don't need to bribe Claude Rains to get an exit visa, but today after a modicum of Red Tape, was granted an extension visa. So Japan will be stuck with me for at least another 3 years...(Lucky them.)

I can't believe I've been here for almost 8 years! So here is the amazing Paul Dooley crooning "As Time Goes By".

I do an acceptable version of this at Karaoke, but I can't hold a candle to him. Ya know, after copying a few pics from the DVD, I think I'll watch it again now!


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