Friday, August 17, 2012

Kamo River


The perfect way to end a weekend stay in Kyoto: biking down the river paths until sunset. As we biked up the Kamo River we passed kids and their parents playing in the water, a musician playing the melodica under an echoey bridge, skateboarders, tourists and a kindly old woman who gave us a couple of fans. The relaxing atmosphere and humid weather made it feel like a trip down a bike path in a Midwest summer.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fushimi Inari

We arrived at this famous shrine just around midnight, and to my surprise found it wasn't completely empty. A shinto shrine, Fushimi Inari is lined with hundreds of Toori, Japanese gateways that represent a transition from the profane to the sacred. It was easy to get lost among the labyrinth of orange pillars and a bit eerie in the dark with hardly any one around. The main guest that night were Japanese rhinoceros beetles (カブトムシ), which at 4-5 inches long were flying and constantly crashing into pillars and lights.

We came upon a clearing where this guy was collecting beetles in a garbage bag. He said they were for his kid's friends. Unless his kid had over 100 friends, he was most likely going to be selling them as pets or for gambling (apparently it's a popular sport to have the beetles fight each other).

In attempt to appease the beetles, and honor the beautiful design of the shrine, we recorded this thumb-piano and slide whistle jam and made this pixilation:

Monday, August 13, 2012

No Smoking

In Tokyo, smoking is allowed inside many restaurants and bars but usually not on the streets. Here are some of my favorite no smoking signs.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Yoyogi Park

A couple snapshots from a pleasant day in the park with my old pal Carly Fisher.

Carly enjoying some takoyaki, or fried octopus balls, which I think may be my favorite Japanese street food. In the background are the greasers, a tourist favorite on Saturdays at the park.

I was enjoying seeing this tiny dog trying to ride this tiny bike.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

TBS CG Office Party

Here are a few photos from my mini going away party at TBS. I worked in the CG department for a total of 4 weeks. Everyone in the department was extremely friendly and very patient with me as I tried to learn a little Japanese every few days. I worked in an office with about 9-10 other guys who were all working on projects ranging from title design to motion graphics for the Olympics to crazy openings for TBS dramas.

Kenji (on the left) was my mentor and was a huge help in developing the ideas for the media stairs. Kenji is also a very talented CG artist and was modeling and animating a soccer ball when I left.
Hayato (on the right) is another talented CG artist and was also a great help to me over the month. He was working on some sweet title designs for a TBS drama.

Saito-san is a project manager in the CG department. He took me out for some delicious toriwasa (chicken sashimi).

More general office silliness.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Ueno Park

Last Sunday we wandered out to Ueno Park. I was hoping to find some older architecture, but later found out we were looking in the wrong spots. However, the park itself was a nice surprise. Ueno Park is one of the oldest public parks in Japan and is Tokyo's most popular city park.

The park and neighborhood seemed a little more rough around the edges than other parts of Tokyo. It was the only place I had seen multiple homeless people, who were at the train station and wandering around parts of the park.

We sat down for a few sketches. I'll post some scans up at Cutting Board soon.  Finally put some scans up on Cutting Board.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Jim O'Rourke in Shibuya

Last Sunday we saw the legendary Jim O'Rourke perform a John Cage piece along with an experimental Japanese cello player and pianist. There were no photos or recording allowed, which is a shame because the hall space was quite awesome, a huge open gym-like room with sound proof panels hanging everywhere. The performance was broadcast on NHK.

Afterwards we grabbed some food at an Izakaya, which had one of those little screens at the table that you can order food from.