Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Conversation, Part I

So...the friend-boy and I had an in-depth discussion this past Tuesday. Not really my original intention. I was planning on letting things glide for a handful more months; until I had stuffed so much irritation and frustration and sadness down until I would literally explode.

Okay, I'm not really that irritated. I'm just mildly jealous of his possible obsession with the singer in his band, and vaguely confused as to the status of what we the scheme of relationship "being." As for him, about 98% of our face to face interaction is great. He talks a lot. I listen a lot.

The recent sitch was thus: as before mentioned, I put together a stop-motion video for the friend-boys band. We don't need to go in to how their promotional strategy seems non-existent. Live shows are barely promoted. Website messy. Videos fuzzy with poor sound quality. Anyway...FB had seen my original rough draft, and did not like it. I had some additional images input and he is opposed to too much "visual" when it's a "music" video.

On a side note, I have had a few email and chat interactions with the bands singer. I had gotten the lyrics from her so I could coordinate additional images. I also am the coordinator of the GoGirls Tokyo branch - an organization which helps female musical people network, coordinate performances, etc. She contacted me about some other performance opportunities. Anyway...she seems pleasant and we do a bit of online conversing.

When the video was completed, I posted it to youtube and on the band members facebook walls. FB made no mention of the video to me. Even though he spent 15 hours with me a day after I posted it to him.

That evening happened to be his band practice. Singer asks FB if he saw the video and if he is friends with me. Apparently something ugly occurred...seems he said something that came across to her as: "Apryl? She is nothing. A Nobody. Just some stupid fat American girl, playing around. She doesn't know what she's doing." As a concerned citizen, she emailed me with this info - sort of a word to the wise; this guy isn't such a good friend!

I did nothing with this info for a couple days. Just fumed about it. WTF? Even if he doesn't have some grand romantic illusion, how about treating a friend with respect? More fuming. Time for a "WTF?" email to be sent.

Hm, immediate reply. Says that wasn't "exactly" what he said and he will email again after work. After work, he emails again. Says he did say I was fat - 'cause its reality. But never said I was stupid or nobody. And just said video was "normal," but didn't say he didn't like it. Then says he wants to come over the next night to see me before he goes out of town. Uh...okay...

We arrange that he will come over for dinner the next night which is Monday. Monday comes - he has been asked to work a late shift and they "really really" need him. Fine. He wants to meet Tuesday night. Sure, meet near the station next to my work. Almost time to meet, he emails to say he's running late...can we meet in Shibuya instead. Fine. I'm getting more irritated by the second. I'm pissed that he has nothing to say about me but an insult, and he's going to be late and change locations for his...his what? Apology? Explanation? What?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Review: b Roppongi Hotel

Hm...what can I say on this hotel...the bRoppongi...

  • Comfy beds
  • trendy interior design
  • modern architectural exterior
  • pleasant service
  • easy to locate
  • close to bars/restaurants/clubs
  • those bars/restaurants/clubs you are close to - IN Roppongi!
  • Overpriced - cause it's IN Roppongi
  • You have to walk past rows of loud, forward non-Japanese guys trying to pick up any lady that passes by to get to the hotel
Oh, have to do that to get ANYWHERE in's like a m****r-f*****g walk of shame just to get to the corner!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Review: Roppongi Kaguwa

For those readers who stumble to this blog by way of a search engine when they type in “Japan” or “teach Japan” or “visit Japan” or some numerous other terms…I am going to start tossing in mini-reviews of places I visit that I have found interesting or pleasant – or if they were exceptionally NOT pleasant.

Back in September, I went to a pre-wedding party for Deanne and Maseo, both very nice people, who I previously only knew through their blogs and my comment/email correspondence with them. The party was held in Roppongi – an area of Tokyo known for being infested with, or rather “designed for,” foreigners in Tokyo. (The apartments are bigger – more Western style and crazy expensive. Many Western restaurants have a location there, and many MANY lame nightclubs with ad slogans of “where the celebrities go/See and be seen!” litter the buildings. Really, I see Roppongi, in general, as “Japan-lite” or some sort of zoo…Westerners can go and see “real Japanese” in their “natural habitats” without the dangers of actually going in to the Savannah. Anyway…I digress.)

By the sheer fact that Japan and Tokyo has hundreds of years of history, it goes without saying, that even in Roppongi, there are pockets of interesting Japanese restaurants, clubs, and drinking establishments. One of these interesting places is Roppongi Kaguwa.

The idea of the design of exterior, interior, the show, and food – is to give an impression of Edo-era “red-light” entertainment. Sexy, sensual, but not over-sexed or vulgar. The food is high quality Japanese style, drinks are well balanced. The prices are not excessively high – and when you order a set party type meal plan, you can for only about 1000 yen more, make it “all you can drink.”

The show is a one-hour show – which is composed of about 8 short sketches or scenes. Some scenes are traditional fight or love scenes with performers in kimono. Others are lighthearted “Benny Hill” type skits. And some are sassy burlesque. What is interesting is that out of 30 or so performers; maybe 3 are women, 4 are men, and the rest are “new-half’s” or transvestite/transsexual. And it’s okay to mention that – it is advertised as such! That makes those burlesque routines all the sassier considering that most of those sexy girls…aren’t girls.
Unfortunately photo taking by patrons is not allowed, but they do allow an “after-show” photo of the cast with any special event patrons: birthday, wedding, etc. also, after the show, the performers come visit the audience, and are happy to sit, converse, and have a drink with you – assuming you pay for the drink!

When I went, I enjoyed the group seating, ease of conversing with fellow quests, and the plentiful alcohol. I spent three hours drinking at the pre-wedding party prior to my guest arriving. (His band (?) / the band he’s in (?) – had a live show, so he could not come earlier) He and I proceeded to stay for another performance of the show, and an additional three hours of drinking. This, of course, created in me the need to make some overly effusive claim of undying affection to my date later on…

Highly recommended!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Just What Every Mother Wants to Hear

And no, I do not mean "I got accepted in to law school!" (Although, with my daughter, I will take "I got accepted in to Dental School!" She likes an excuse to wear latex not ask, do not ask!)

This past week-end the friend-boy came over. Upon occasion, he and I watch some educational videos. VERY educational. Language instruction, mayhaps? I like to call them instructional videos, but you can just call them: porn, AV, smut, etc.

It's fun to peruse the categories. What shall we watch today? Amateur? FB: Nah, lighting is never good. Asian? Me: No, no. I don't like the squeaking noises the girls make. Group? FB: We watched that last week. Lesbian: FB: Great!

To my first video selection: FB: She looks too aggressive. No, change.
My second selection: FB: Bad sound quality. Change, please
My third selection: Me: Uh, no. Those outfits are too cheesy.

As you can see, we are connoisseurs - we look long and hard, pun intended, for the best video.

My third selection:

Me: Oh look! It's...
FB: No! Change it! They look too young!
Me: Ee-eh? This is professional porn, these girls are over 18.
FB: Don't care. They are dressed to look young. And they have stuff animal toys in the setting. And themselves look only 19 or 20.
Me: So...they are over 18...
FB: I don't like too young. I don't like if they look any younger than 21. I prefer they look in the middle 20s or something even older is good. So you can change it.
Me: Okay, changed. So, you don't like really young looking girls?
FB: Did not like high school girls when I was high school student. I'm not going to start liking them now.

Wow! As a parent of a pre-teen girl, I can only be extra pleased at such sentiment!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Finished the "draft" of music video

Recently I have been working on a music video for the friend-boys band. Sort of a stop-motion feel. I used 600 separate photos, and timed it to the music, etc. Gonna give this project a days rest...then work on some refining!

Anyway, my goal is a Lo-
Fi style video. Recently, Lo-Fi has been used in terms of music production to describe a specific method to make the music sound of slightly lower quality than the usual standard. This is achieved through degrading the finished audio or using special equipment. Some listeners argue that Lo-Fi is NOT of lower quality, but merely sounds more analog and warmer – much like a vinyl record, rather than the precision of digitally recorded masters and CDs. Lo-Fi is NOT an excuse for the music itself to be of lower quality i.e. bad musicians, horrible vocals.

Regarding Lo-Fi video production, Lo-Fi favors consumer recording devices and a reduced pixel amount than a HD recording. Film and actual video recording may be used rather than a digital image. Very few high-tech effects are used, if at all. Additional imagery is that found naturally occurring, or produced similar to previous years. Some times Lo-Fi productions might be considered “retro” or low tech.

I'd enjoy getting feedback from you!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

My articles!

"A group blog bringing together key thinkers in the realm of online music business."

AND I have two articles published there so far. Am I a "key thinker?" Well, I do think a lot...or am I just daydreaming?

If you have time, please click on my articles and skim them, scan them, digest them, or just use them as background...I'd be delighted with some kindly comments on the musicthinktank site as well!


The Virtual Tour - A way for musicians and other artists to "tour" without actual travel time and expense!

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- How to plan and carry out a multiple venue music tour in your own geographic region.