Thursday, November 23, 2017

Japanese Fruits: Wild Japanese Fashions in Tokyo


I like to walk around and take photos of beautiful people. Recently, I've been doing that a lot to and from my way to work. I always use my iPhone as it takes great photos!

Here's a few that I have taken in the last week or so. I hope you enjoy them.

Last of the Mohicans?



I saw this guy at Shibuya station at around 9 am and was wowed by his haircut. I wonder if he works at a bank or a credit card company? Nah! Probably not, eh? I stopped him and asked to take his photo. At first he declined, then I showed him some of the awesome photos from my last session of "Osaka Fruits! Wild Japanese Fashions!" taken in Osaka and he thought those were really cool so he said, "OK!" For the photo's composition, I posed him for a brief second along the yellow line for the sight impaired people and standing sideways to really get the feel of a "straight up and down" world. Totally fits his awesome hairdo! (Notice that his pony tail goes down past his elbows!)

Handsome Cartoon Showa Man



I saw this guy at Futakotamagawa station and thought his fashions were so outdated that they are actually cool. He is unforgettable in his "Mr. Magoo" style clothes that looks like he stepped right out of a clothes catalogue from the Showa era - maybe 1965! He's cool because he has his own unique style and is proud of it! Take a close look at his face and his shaved head and hat:


Isn't he cool? He looks like a very nice guy and is proud! Wonderful!



I saw this guy with his girlfriend and she was dressed like something out of a movie! But! She wouldn't let me take her picture (she is hiding behind the pillar). The guy was pretty cool, though and I think his style is pretty typical of what you can see anytime, anywhere in Tokyo today for the fashions of a 25 year old guy who is not a typical company employee.


I saw this girl after the Miss Bikini Universe Japan Contest Thursday 10/4/12 she was standing by the exit door. The photo is not so good because it was extremely dark where I found her (and I don't like to use flash if I can avoid it) but I thought her makeup was quite interesting and unique so it was worth a photo. She looks totally Glam Rock... But, if you asked her, she probably doesn't even know what Glam Rock is!


OK. This isn't exactly a picture of a person... But it used to be. I went to this acupuncturists house the other day and he had this standing in his living room, right in front of the piano. I suppose it could make an interesting conversation piece


This is a photo of Ayumi Maeno an up-and-coming artist here in Tokyo. It was taken at her art exhibition on Saturday, September 15, 2012. Ayumi is quite photogenic and is making a sexy pose for the photo. 


Finally, I saw these two at Futakotamagawa station just last week. I thought the guy's clothes were really cool and fashionable and the girl was cute. They make a great looking couple! The guy said he makes all his own fashions and coordinates them. Wow!

Futakotamaga is the station that I usually use. The couple above and Mr. Magoo were taken at that station so it just goes to show that you don't have to go far away to take great photos and see interesting people and things; they are all around us, in our very own neighborhoods... You just have to open your eyes and smile and say "Hi!"

Have a great weekend!


Osaka Fruit girls.

Also see "The Coolest Businessman in All of Japan! More Fruit Photos!"

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Guys Don't Play With Dolls, Figurines, Gi-Joe or $1250 Punk Barbies

(A blast from the past...)

Playing with dolls is for little girls. Collecting ridiculously expensive dolls is for collectors (preferably rich women or antique dealers). My ex-wife collected porcelain Barbie dolls and some of those were way over $1000 a piece. I'm sure she still has many of them. 

Being a guy, I'm not really into dolls. Funny that. Even when I was a kid I didn't much care for dolls. I remember in the mid-sixties when the first GI-Joe dolls came out, my parents bought me one. I think I liked it when I first saw it. But when I opened the box, I thought, 

"Gee, mom, dad, what am I supposed to do with it?" I didn't really think dressing and undressing a male doll in uniform was all that fun. 

I think I set the GI-Joe on fire in a realistic reenactment of the Battle of the Bulge... I often set my toys on fire when I was a kid.

In the last 20 years or so, playing with dolls has come back into fashion for some guys. Though they won't call them dolls. They are called "figurines." Call them what you want, they are still dolls.

One time, I went to a friends house and in his room, he had all sorts of these figurines lined up at the head of his bedroom wall. They were things like Star Wars' Darth Vader, R2D2, Luke Skywalker, Star Troopers, etc. You get the picture.

He said to me, "Mike! Do you like my figurines? Aren't they cool?" 

I ribbed him back when I said, "Yeah. Real cool. I think I stopped playing with dolls when I was 6 years old."

"They are not dolls! They are figurines!" He protested.

"Yeah. Whatever..."  

That reminds of my second daughter, Sheena. When Sheena was about 6 or 7, Ren & Stimpy was on TV. I loved that cartoon. On Ren & Stimpy, they had a fake commercial for a toy called, "Log." Log was just as the name said it was; it was a piece of wood. Since I watched Ren & Stimpy religiously, my kids watched it too.

Never underestimate the power of TV on a child's mind. That's why it is so bad and dangerous.

WATCH THIS FAKE COMMERCIAL FOR LOG FROM 
THE CARTOON REN & STIMPY



One time, after the commercial for Log came on, my daughter said, "Daddy! I want one!" I was so surprised. "Are you kidding me?" I thought. I decided then, that I should use that opportunity to teach her a lesson about life and about BS on TV.

Soon after it was her birthday so I went to Tokyu Hands Department store and bought a piece of wood that looked like Log, wrapped it up and gave it to her for her birthday. She was so happy to get it. After opening the package, she said to me with wide eyes full of bewilderment, "Daddy? How do you play with it?" I sang the song:

What rolls down stairs
alone or in pairs,
and over your neighbor's dog?
What's great for a snack,
And fits on your back?
It's log, log, log

It's log, it's log,
It's big, it's heavy, it's wood.
It's log, it's log, it's better than bad, it's good."

Everyone wants a log
You're gonna love it, log
Come on and get your log
Everyone needs a log
log log log

*whistle*
LOG FROM BLAMMO 


I think she was so disappointed. Of course, I had also predicted that she would be so I had bought her some other presents that I can't remember.... Funny that... I'm sure that neither can she... But I bet we both remember Log. 

Now there's a new doll in town that's making noise. Well, she's not new. She's old. It's Barbie. But this time, she has tattoos and is, er, well, ostensibly "Punk." Yeah. "Punk" as in "Punk Barbie." How could Barbie be punk, you ask? Well, easy. Just imagine if Paris Hilton decided that she'd go punk for the evening and there you have it... Punk Barbie is about as punk as Lady Gaga or Boy George...

My one word review: "No!"


Punk Barbie is causing a fuss amongst parents who actually think their little snowflake will run out and get a tattoo just because their Barbie doll has them... 

In an article from the New York Daily News some candidates for Parent of the Year were appalled and quoted as saying,

"I'd kill my daughter if she came home with a tattoo," said Tom Gurry, 43, of Rego Park, Queens, who has an 11-year-old.

"Barbie's supposed to be a role model for young girls, right? I don't want my daughter looking up to someone like that."
Another contestant parent said,
"I don't think that's an appropriate toy for a young girl," she said. "You don't want your kids to think tattoos are a good idea at such a young age because they last a lifetime."
Tiffany Newkirk, 51, said her 17-year-old daughter has been pestering her for permission to get tattooed.

Gee... I'd hope that, at 17, Barbie wouldn't be such a great influence on your dumb kids... Hopefully they can get good influences from wholesome things like MTV, American Idol, and their dimwit parents....Can you imagine your five-year-old with an awesome spiderweb on her neck, dragons on her arms, and three nose rings? Kewl!

These same parents who are complaining about Punk Barbie are the types who will complain later on, when their daughter is 16, drops out of school, and really does get tattoos an her neck and face that "...it was all Barbie's fault!" Yeah. Your kids being all f**ked up couldn't possibly be the result of being spoiled to death by idiot parents.   

But why listen to me? Let's hear what a real punk says. What about it Ryan Cooper at About.com Punk Music? Ryan says:

I think it stands to reason that if the Barbie you gave your daughter is the biggest influence on her life, you might need to look more closely at who the parent is. Barbie may be the president, and an astronaut, and a doctor, and a race car driver, but the last time I checked, she's not a mother.
So if she's the primary influence on your daughter's sense of ideals and fashion, you might want to kick her out of her dream house and on to the curb.
Or you could just leave Barbie alone.
And you be the parent instead.
Punk Barbie sold for $50 at retail, but they are all sold out (Go figure!) Now, according to Ryan, they are selling on E-Bay for $100.

So, Ryan, you think that's bad? Hell, in Japan, Punk Barbie is selling for over $1,250.00! (USD!)

¥98,000 Japanese yen is $1252.56 

Hopefully my kids won't have their lifestyles and fashions influenced by Barbie... But then, again, if they can afford more than $1,250 for a Godd*mn doll, then I guess they are adult enough to know what they want to do...


So, I won't say anything, unless, of course, my daughters bring Ken home one day and say they want to get married to him. That's when daddy puts his foot down!

You know why? Guys don't play with dolls.

Ghostroads wins runner-up for “Best Foreign Film” at Lake Charles Film Festival!


映画「ゴーストロード」がアメリカのLake Charles Film Festival で外国映画賞部門で第2位を受賞!Ghostroads wins runner-up for “Best Foreign Film” at Lake Charles Film Festival!


I was so surprised to answer the door last night. The postman had a very heavy package. It was the trophy for runner-up for “Best Foreign Film” at the 2017 Lake Charles Film Festival!

I thank Patrick Bennett and his team of good folks at The Lake Charles Film & Music Festival! http://www.lakecharlesfilmfestival.com/index.html




Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Musicians! Do Not Send DJ's Spotify, Youtube or Soundcloud Links!


Once again, I have received a message from an artist asking me to consider their music for radio airplay. Once again, they sent me a Soundcloud, Youtube or Spotify link and asked me to go to the links and listen to their music, write back to them and tell them what songs I want, and they will send them along.

I won't do that. I don't know any professional DJs or curators who will.

It is good that artists make this effort; well done. But, artists, do not just send DJs only Spotify, Youtube or Soundcloud links, please! Most DJs I know will not respond to you nor will they go to your link.

Why? There is no reason for us to go to the link. We can't play those links on air. So, if we can't play them on air, there's no point in even listening to them. 

If you want us to listen to your music, check out our playlist. If you think your song fits what we play, then put your best foot forward, and send us your fave MP3 or two (Don't send us full album downloads, either - if we want those, we can ask for that later.)

It is an extra process, or step, and a waste of time for DJ's to go to your Soundcloud, Youtube or Spotify link. We don't have time to write back to you or download the tunes using special software. Sorry, but you need to do homework and check our on-air playlist.

Yes, we DJs are lazy (and underpaid). But remember, our listeners will not increase nor decrease whether we play your track or not. I already write to lots of artists and ask for tracks for things I found and like.

Send me those Spotify, Youtube or Soundcloud links, fine, but include a high -quality MP3 of your best track in the mail/message too.

If I listen to the MP3, and like it, I will immediately place it into the music list; I can't do that with a Soundcloud link. I don't have time to write back to you and wait for a response. I'll forget.

FYI: I know other DJs and curators who absolutely hate it when artists ask them to go to an online link and listen.  

Again, today, another artist has asked me to listen to their online music and pick what I like. They wrote: "Here's my Soundcloud or Spotify link. Please listen and then tell me what songs you like and I will send it to you." 

This frustrates me. 

The artist wants me to play their music on the radio in Japan? Great. But it is the artist's duty, not mine, to go to the radio show webpage, look at the playlist and then determine if their music is suitable (You'd be blown away at how many artists send me Heavy Metal or Death Metal - which I never play). 

I don't want to come off as a conceited jerk, but the artists have to make things easier for us. 

To the artist above I actually responded (most DJs won't). Here is what I wrote:

"Here is my radio show link. Please check out the link and the songs that I play. If you think your songs fit, please send me two of your best MP3s. I don't listen to Spotify or Soundcloud as it is a waste of time because I cannot play those on the radio. I know for a fact that most of my DJ friends, who do this job as an occupation, won't listen to Spotify or Soundcloud either. 

I'm not being a jerk. I want to, and always have, supported new artists. But I need for the artist to help me and save all of us time by sending the tunes that they think are the best fit (as MP3 attachments)

Please understand. 

Here is my show: http://www.interfm.co.jp/mrs/ 

Thx, Mike"

Monday, November 6, 2017

Old Japanese Telephone - If You Know What This is... You Are Old (and have visited Japan long ago...)


The other night I went to a small pub near my house named "Nonki." Nonki is what is called a "Izakaya." An Izakaya is basically a Japanese tavern that serves drinks and all sorts of foods. Kind of like what they call "Tapas" in Spanish: Lots of small dishes with many, many taste delights along with beer, booze and hard liquor.

Nonki is run by a nice old guy and his wife. It's actually the wife's place... The husband came in to help after retirement and another kind old lady - who I assumed was the wife's best friend - passed away several years back.

I like "Nonki." "Nonki" basically translates into "carefree." And that it is. Every time I go there I see the same customers from the neighborhood laughing and having fun.




I am assuming that Nonki has been in the neighborhood for 45 years (read on and you'll know why I think that). Nonki used to be a a hundred meters away in a different spot. I had been there a few times 12 years ago or so... Now, it is located on the main shopping street at Futakotamagawa.

Nonki really is a traditional old style drinking establishment. The only time I have ever see other foreigners there was when I went to the wash and saw my reflection in the mirror or when I brought foreign friends there.

I hadn't been to Nonki in years when I decided to visit a while back. As I approached the door, I could hear many people inside laughing and talking and, as I opened the sliding door and looked in, all the patrons looked at the door and saw me standing there.... They all suddenly went silent. You could hear a pin drop - it was like they were immediately frozen stiff - with their mouths open and gaping at the E.T. standing at the door. They looked like they'd seen a ghost.... 

I felt like I had walked back in time to a pub in Kawasaki in 1980! 

It was like that scene from the Blues Brothers when Jake and Elwood went to that high class French restaurant and looked in; the customers were frozen in shock.

Anyway, the reason I write about Nonki, and the reason why I suspect they've been in business for 45 years is their telephone. That's right, their telephone. They still have and use the type of telephone that were prevalent in Japan up until the late 80s. It's a huge pink box with a ¥10 coin slot at the top. 

I think it's a pretty safe bet that this pink public phone is one of the few remaining in Futakotamagawa!

I hadn't seen or used one of these in years.....

So I picked up the receiver and, as I did, the Mama at Nonki smiled at me and brimming with pride she said, "That phone is 45 years old!" I smiled back at her. I was touched... Her expression and her smiling eyes! What a nice, charming lady she is!

Then, I had an inspiration! I pulled a ¥10 coin out of my pocket and inserted it into the slot and entered into a Time machine! Really! Wow! 

It was like going back in time - and for only ¥10! - it was a strange sensation putting my finger into the dial and dialing after all these years... But who would I call? Ah? I'll call myself! 

I have an uncanny memory for numbers... But after I put my finger into the hole to dial, my brain drew a blank suddenly and I couldn't recall my own number! I stopped and had to think for a few seconds. What was it? I suddenly recalled, and, like Back to the Future, I was dialing up my past. It was new and different to actually dial up a number with my finger after all these years.



.... You've seen those memes on Facebook and Twitter that show some old object and they say, "If you know what this is, you are old"? That's what it reminded me of.

It was brilliant taking a trip back into time, if only for a few seconds... Images of the faces of old friends and loving family long gone and passed away - and all the good times and memories they gave me flashed though my mind.... It felt good....

I miss you all and I miss the good times... God bless you all and thank you all for being a part of my life .

.....And thank you pink telephone! For times past and a recent exhilarating experience I will never forget.



NOTES: Oh, Nonki is super cheap and delicious! If you go there, tell them "Mike sent me!" They won't understand as they don't speak a word of English and you'll get nothing for it - but maybe I'll get a free beer or something! ;)

のんき (Nonki)
東京都世田谷区玉川 4-12-1
4-12-1 Tamagawa, Setagaya-Ku, Tokyo
https://www.nikotama-kun.jp/shop/g_nonki/

Tel: 03-3709-2381

Cool & Strange Music Countdown July 27, 2017! Harp Twins, Tearaways, Blaas of Glory, Jive Bunny!


Welcome back to another episode of Cool & Strange Music for July 27, 2017!



Once again, it's time for our monthly dose of Cool & Strange Music.

Today I have some more wild music, this time from the more "funny" side of things. If you like life's finer things: Cute dogs and cats, summertime and doing the twist; The Rolling Stones and Heavy Metal Marching Music - featuring one the world's greatest heavy metal marching bands - then you, my friend and friendette, are in the right place!

First up is said Heavy Metal Marching band. These chaps are from the Netherlands and have taken "turning the amplifier up to 11" to a whole new level; twelve or even thirteen! Their name is Blaas of Glory and they are hot. All across Europe, they've been selling out stadiums, arenas, er, hotel Starlight ballrooms, uh, shopping streets to wild and enthusiastic head-banging audiences. 

Seriously folks, I love Blaas of Glory. See?

Blaas of Glory

This definitely has to be one of my favorite heavy metal acts in the entire history of rock! These guys are fab and they have a great sense of humor and they are awesome musicians. Oh, and their webpage is hilarious! Go there a scroll your mouse over the band member's photos: http://www.blaasofglory.nl/

They've just released their album, "10 Years of Heavy Metal Marching" and it is one of the hottest albums of the year! Today's video is a special treat as it just came out a few days ago! Oh, and of course, they have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/blaasofglory/

#3) Blaas of Glory - Ace of Spades https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmrCx_CA5tc 


Sticking with acts from Europe, next up is a cool remix just in time for summer. They go by the name of Jive Bunny and the Master Mixers. They were introduced to us by alert reader, Koichi Hamada (AKA: Brazzil san). Below is a photo of Jive Bunny.... For what it's worth.

Jive Bunny

Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers throw together a fun mash-up of a bunch of songs that bring the summer and the ocean and dancing outta your speakers. Their bio says, "In 1989, Jive Bunny arrived on the music scene. From their humble surroundings in Rotherham to a global platform, Jive Bunny & The Mastermixers achieved 3 UK number one hit singles and have sold over 15 million records worldwide!"

Wow! OK? Get ready for the Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers and get ready to "Name That Tune!" 

Oh and here's their Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/OfficialJiveBunny/

#2) Jive Bunny And The Mastermixers - That's What I Like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiwGQGIix7U 


Speaking of summer and surfing and Hawaii Five-O.... (Hey! Whatever happened to Jack Lord?) Let's go across the USA to the west coast of California! Today's #1 is a band that brings everything together. Now, if you want a hit on Facebook or the internet, what s the one ingredient that every photo or video must have? That's RIGHT! A cat or a dog licking its balls! This video has them all. These dogs are so cute that they are cuter than a hello kitty lunchbox with a Snoopy and Woodstock thermos in it! 

Oh, the Tearaways also have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheTearawaysUSA/

#1) Tearaways - Naughty Dog….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOHeBrzW-lQ

BONUS TRACK! And today we have a special present for you! Since our first track today was Heavy Metal marching music, I have another surprise for you! It's called "Harp Rock." Rock music done on a harp! This track features Camille and Kennerly, two identical twins who are awesome goddesses of rock, er, harp. 

Their Facebook bio says: "Young harpists Camille and Kennerly Kitt, known as the HARP TWINS, have achieved extraordinary success by taking Electric Harps and acoustic Concert Grand Harps to unprecedented levels and smashing boundaries between different genres of music. The duo has amassed over 1 million fans across their social media sites and over 58 million views on their YouTube music videos, easily making Camille and Kennerly the most followed and recognizable harp duo in the world. As actors, The Kitt Twins have appeared in commercials, TV shows, and three feature films - two of which also feature the twins performing on their harps."

Is this cool and strange, or what? And their Facebook page has over 600,000 Likes! Holy shit! https://www.facebook.com/CamilleandKennerly/

BONUS TRACK! Harp Twins - Camille and Kennerly - Paint It Black


Wow! I'm in love for the first time this week!

Well, that’s it for today! Hope you have a great rest of the week and hope you stay Cool and Strange! 

See more Cool & Strange Music countdowns here: http://robot55.jp/?s=cool+%26+strange+music 

Last week's Cool & Strange Music: Cool & Strange Music Countdown June 20, 2017! Pinksideofthemoon, Japanese Led Zeppelin, Miami Dade County Police! https://modernmarketingjapan.blogspot.jp/2017/06/cool-strange-music-countdown-june-20.html

And if you like new music and alternative artists check out the weekly Top 3 here: http://robot55.jp/?s=Top+3+videos

—————————– 
About Mike in Tokyo Rogers: 

Mike has been a professional music/TV/radio/anime-related program producer in Japan since the eighties. He began in the music business in 1977 as lead vocalist with the legendary Los Angeles Punk Band, “The Rotters” (Sit on My Face Stevie Nix.). As a university student, he was assistant to the legendary Rodney Bingenheimer (Rodney on the ROQ – KROQ Los Angeles from 1980 ~ 1981.) 

Mike was the first and only foreigner in Japanese history to become the General Manager of a major Japanese broadcasting station (TV Tokyo owned InterFM). Has produced a few smash hit programs (some real losers, too!) and several of Tokyo’s highest rated and most famous radio programs. A recent hit program was “The TV Show” (Set Program with “Ninja Slayer”) which, between April – Oct. 2015, garnered over 10 million viewers. He is currently producing and hosting “WTF?” the hugely popular Sunday live show on InterFM 89.7. 

And his life’s dream is his just completed full-length motion picture, “Ghostroads – A Japanese Rock and Roll Ghost Story”which will be released by a major Japanese motion picture company and in theaters all across Japan in Autumn 2017. (See trailer here: https://vimeo.com/210533272) … Oh, and he likes to write about himself in the third person!)

Ghostroads - A Japanese Rock n Roll Ghost Story Trailer... Coming to a theater near you soon! HP: http://ghostroads.jp/








Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Photos of Tokyo Skyline


The other day I went to Apple HQ in Japan. It is on the 40th floor of the Mori Building skyscraper in Roppongi.

I love going there because you can almost get a 360 view of Tokyo.


I remember when I first came to Tokyo about 35 years ago.....



I worked in Shinjuku at the 55 floor Mitsui building (it's in that grouping of big buildings in the middle there)...


From that building too, you could see every direction from the center of Tokyo... 


I thought two things: 1) Japan has lots of earthquakes but they build the high skyscrapers. And 2) Tokyo is the only city in the world where you can see buildings all the way to the horizon no matter which direction you look at it.

Amazing.





Japanese Fruits: Wild Japanese Fashions in Tokyo

I like to walk around and take photos of beautiful people. Recently, I've been doing that a lot to and from my way to work. I always us...