Sunday, April 29, 2012

Audio | The Haçienda Oiso Music Festival

This weekend, we kicked off Golden Week (and summertime!) with the Haçienda Oiso Music Festival, in the beachside city of Oiso, about two hours south of Tokyo.

The festival headlined ex-Joy Division and New Order bassist Peter Hook, along with The Charlatans, The Whip, and an array of DJs including my friends. Haçienda Festival took place poolside at The Prince Hotel, with a beautiful beach backdrop, and offered a few different outdoor and indoor stages. I was lucky to be able to attend both days and explore the backstage area, but all the fun took place on the dance floors, and beachside sipping on drinks.

I love any opportunity to take trips and attend concerts, and the whole journey was rather epic, from the long train rides to the endless dancing until our feet hurt. I'm happy for my HMS Control friends, who had the chance to perform as part of this festival, and who playfully entertained the crowd (and had their own little onstage party). My highlights included most DJ sets, a Peter Hook rendition of "Love Will Tear Us Apart", smuggled bottles, as well as a rather intriguing dance performance by Bez.

The weekend was filled to the brim with dancing, sun, palm trees, blue skies, cocktails of all sorts, friends, tee-shirts, and great music. It was hot, it was tiring, but it's one of my most memorable weekends in Japan.

The best kind, thank you Haçienda!

Day 1: My hair was unusually fluffy

Peter Hook's equipment, backstage
Day 2: Tokaido line + iced coffee

Bacardi Mojitos on the Tokaido line.
Hey, it's a long trip.

We finally made it to the beach!

Poolside and beachside

Pure beach bliss (and a background hunk)

Mike and the box of HMS tee-shirts

Backstage boozing (Orangina was spiked)

The boys of HMS Control: Matthew, Jake and Mike

These Charming Men (I'll never get tired of this caption)

Mike having a blast onstage

Groupie much? Thanks for the tee-shirt!

Tom of the 9/11s, dancing the day away

My sunglasses, and a beautiful chest

Pole dancing was part of the festival

By the end of Day 2, my hair was questionable

Pools, beach, palm trees, summertime.

Jake and Mike. My sunnies got passed around.
Skateboarders, hello.

I like watching skateboarders and winking
Sleepy at Oiso station, dreading a two-hour train journey

Re-energized at Shibuya station

The night ended with pizza and Geordie Shore

Many thanks to Haçienda and to all my friends!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Japanese Business Cards

In Japan, meishi 名刺 (business cards) are very important, and the exchange is more ritualistic and formal than other places in the world. The vast majority of Japanese people own a business card, relating to their company or work, and sometimes on a personal instance.

Meishi are presented and exchanged upon meeting new business acquaintances. They should be kept in a case, to avoid damage, as it would show a sign of thoughtlessness. When presenting a card, it should be held with both hands, while giving a brief introduction of your name and affiliation.

When receiving meishi, you should also use both hands, and never cover the name on the card. You are then expected to read the card over, then thank the person, and bow. You should then file the meishi in your case, or if you're sitting a table having a meeting, the card should be placed on top of your case, or on the table in front of you if you have received several meishi.

Those etiquette guidelines all sound so simple and obvious when you have lived in Japan for a bit, but it can get confusing when it's your first time. The way I explained it is very straightforward, but it goes beyond that, as the rank of the presenter plays a big part in where the card should be placed on the table and such. When following etiquette, it's best to stick to the simple guidelines and not get too stressed out.

I had some fun, blog-related mini meishi made by Moo, a great card design company Sophia recommended. They may not look very professional but they're well, very cute and playful.

Monday, April 23, 2012

I made Yakisoba

I like this bowl. 

Yakisoba is a delicious Japanese dish, made of fried noodles and vegetables, and any meat or fish you like. It's very easy to make, not to mention cheap. Surprisingly, the ingredients only cost me a total of ¥400, so if you are broke in Japan, make yakisoba and you won't feel so deprived.

Yakisoba is typically served at summer festivals, where rows of colourful stalls serve the spicy dish. It always reminds me of summer and those peaceful Shikoku nights, where my friend taught me how to make it.

Here is my own version, it's very simple.


- clove of garlic
- small onion
- shredded cabbage
- carrots (sliced)
- bean sprouts
- mushrooms

[I simply bought a bag of those mixed vegetables, shhhh]

- tofu (cubed)

[I don't eat so much meat, but you can put beef or chicken. Another version I love is with shrimp or octopus.]

- soba (buckwheat flour) or egg noodles
- yakisoba sauce (you can recognize it as it's dark brown and also used for pork cutlets and is a variant of Worcestershire sauce, sweetened)

Just stir fry everything together on medium heat, and garnish with ginger. Typically, yakisoba is topped with mayonnaise and seaweed powder, but I didn't use them.

Eat it!!

I hope my Japanese friends would approve of my version.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tokyo April

April in Tokyo has brought all sorts of randomness, with extreme weather changes, friends (as well as sakura) coming and going, a perfect balance between work and play (both very hard), and lots of found little gems in this city that makes my head spin, but that I simply adore so much. 

Here are some April bits and pieces.

I was a model for a magazine photo shoot,
posing as Sofia Coppola. I was shy but it was fun.

Chocolate cookie crumble + pudding,
have you tried it? Maybe only in Japan.

The 9/11s took me for burgers + all you can drink.

Avocado burger at JS Burger café, not bad at all.

Chicken cutlet curry at 5am, Coco Ichibanya.
Keeping it classy, as always.

Trump House, Shibuya.
A baroque dream land.

More Trump House,  I like the red glow.

The best boom box in the world

Rob Judges rocking the streets of Shibuya
at 5:35 am
Sunday brunch:
iced coffee and raspberry oatmeal galette
This month you can get this cute iPhone pouch
if you buy a bottle of green tea

Sorry Suvi I mistakenly kept your
photos... please come back soon!
I think this photo perfectly captures a typical
Tokyo early morning, post-partying. Can you spot me?
(thanks, Misa!)

I worked the door at Trump but got a bit bored
A typical deadline week night: my beloved Macbook
and a salmon bento from the local shop

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Fashimi + Lost in Translation

Horsing Around

What happens when you mix foodie blogger Sophia of Fashimi and Vivian from Lost in Translation in Tokyo for a week?

Answer: gourmet indulgences, shopping, cocktails, nail polish, playfulness, Easter eggs, green tea, onigiri,  train rides, sleep overs, burgers, pizza, coloured tights and 6am ramen, a race through the Park Hyatt's cocktail list, and other antics I prefer not to mention.

Although Sophia sadly went back to Tokyo last Sunday and we've now both been sick with stomach aches (see aforementioned food adventures perhaps?), it was the best holiday frenzy two girls could hope for, and it was difficult to wake up at 6am all week, with the reminders that it was the time we would usually go to bed while she visited.

Pure Tokyo madness.

Click to view her gorgeous photos of her Tokyo diaries, part 1 and part 2.

I miss you Sophia!! xx

Tokyo Events: CONTROL No. 5

Tonight, my friends Mike, Matthew and Jake of HMS Control (or the Control Boys, as I like to call them) are throwing the fifth edition of their ever excellent acidhouse/Madchester party, Control. The venue is Trump House in Shibuya, which is cozier (read: more fun and snug) than its sister venue Trump Room.

Control is one of my favourite Tokyo parties, as the music is always brilliant, the crowd fun and snazzy, and the party has an overall playful vibe with highly danceable tracks and smiley face stickers everywhere.

The DJ line-up is splendid as usual: tonight features special guests Taar (Rock Trax/Feed) and George from up-and-coming Tokyo band Mop of Head, alongside HMS Control, who never fail to disappoint with their Manchester sounds. Other artists to look forward to include French boys Horse Is Not Mobileset, fellow Canadian Bryan (the) Butcher, and my dear friend and talented artist Rob Judges.

It's Saturday night, it's springtime, put on your dancing shoes and head out to Control for a high-energy little all-nighter.

I'm still debating about where I'll sport my smiley face sticker. Shoulders?

Photos by Jacob Hodgkinson

Trump House (map)
From 10:00 pm