There was a Tokyo Ghoul exhibition in Shinjuku Station

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Tokyo Ghoul has a small exhibition of fan-art in Shinjuku Station. I’m all about bringing art, culture and science to the masses, but man, I think my elitist dementia is bringing out my ranty side. I’m bothered by that people see a fancy frame and boom, everybody starts paying attention. Ooh, it’s got a fancy frame, so it’s art? I like art!

Oh, please! There’s a reason why there’s you can make a difference between a book and literature.  But I digress. I don’t wanna be one of those assholes who froths and says “FAN-ART BAD!!!”, since I’ve worked in a science museum and my job was to make science as accessible and fun to everybody, children and adults alike. God knows we need to stand against anti-intellectualism since we will head into a very dark age if we start normalizing quackery such as homeopathy and “University of Life” kind of shit.

These fan-art people sure do get a whole lot attention, but I know my good buddy tvk is making some great stuff, but to get attention in this world where everybody’s starving for the Next Big Thing™  but struggle to actually find quality content. Like, let’s think about it! When we go to an image aggregator, how much time to we spend on a picture or a funny gif? Not much, right? How many times to we return for the same user for different content? If we are really bored, then we go through our favorites and see the same content once more, but that’s rare. Even rarer, for my case at least, is going through somebody’s imgur content page for more stuff.

Now, the same thing might be for writing and music as well. If something is finally phenomenally good, catches the attention of some bored yokel at the right time with the right keywords, then you might get a buzz going on as a single artist. But as a starting person, then it’ll take a whole lot of time and leg work to get your work outside. Like they say, if the mountain doesn’t come to Mohammad, then the Mohammad will come to the mountain.

How does this tie together with Tokyo Ghoul Fan Art Exhibition? It has Recognition and Loyal Fan Base already, so no wonder these people would stop and gawk at this. I bet this would get the same attention even without the fancy frames, but it sure did get my attention as a person who doesn’t dig Tokyo Ghoul. But for the fans, it was seeing their favorite characters in the middle of Shinjuku, so their heart melted and they are ready to open their wallets for the Next Big Drop™ of Tokyo Ghoul.

This idea of recognition is what I used back in my science days as well. Kids don’t know about atoms, but they know about Legos. A piece is just a piece, but may pieces will create something different. Just like atoms, you know? There’s a whole lot of psychological dimensions into learning and attention grabbing and unfortunately our human brains aren’t as sophisticated as we would like to think. There’s this book called Thinking, Fast and Slow, which deals with how people think and why people fall for these parlor tricks of the mind. Framing as such is one of these tricks – you can serve a piece of information in many ways, but the observer will receive it in many different ways. It’s like a computer reading code from line 0 to line thousand, reading meticulously every single line and doing exactly as it says. If the code is perfect, it’ll execute. If not, then it will bug out. Our brains are seriously buggy and exploitable, but at least it doesn’t BSOD on us.

Marketing and mass media is actually a very delicate science and there’s a reason why PR companies reap massive profits from a simple press release or tweet. Being a youtuber is way more than just making great videos, being an artist is way more than making great pics and being a musician (that I identify as right now) is way more than pressing buttons on a synth. There’s a whole lot of analyzing and communication to be done during all this. That’s why people band up, as there’s strength in numbers and that’s what I’m also going for once I get like 5 songs up in my soundcloud. I’m actually hella excited to make some music here in Tokyo, as there’s whole lotta energy to be used here.

Too long, didn’t read summary: exciting things are ahead!!

 

 

Estonia and Japan

Tomorrow’s 23rd of June, the Victory Day for Estonia.  It was 99 years ago during the War of Independence when Estonians and Latvians defeated the German Landeswehr. This day is celebrated with a military parade in the day with our dear president Kersti Kaljulaid saluting each and every military branch. Well, that’s so much about the military history. Most of Estonians are actually waiting for the night to come, as the next day is Jaanipäev, the summer solstice, and that’s celebrated with lighting a bonfire, staying up all night (which is really easy as it’s literally 4 hours long) and copious amounts of grilling and drinking.

You’d think if it’s 23rd of June, then the night would be nice, warm, and dry. But unfortunately, it seems that this year too it will be rainy and it’ll dip all the way to 7 degrees Celsius in the night, so better make that bonfire a big one.

Times like these make me wanna be in Estonia, you know? I miss being in the cold and in the rain and with my friends. I am doing the exact same crap I usually did back in Estonia too – go to work, come back and play something. Well, now that I am living with my wife, then I actually do go outside every once and a while and have fun. Plus I got like  ridiculous amounts of money every month even though I’m making a bit better than the minimum. Plus me and my wife are really frugal, so instead of buying dumb shit all the time, we save loads of money and then spend it all doing dumb shit together, like trying to win a hand spinner from an UFO catcher. Which we finally did, by the way!

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This is what peak performance looks like, fellas.

I mean, it’s fucking great to finally not worry about money. They say money can’t buy you happiness, but that’s absolute nonsense. I like how everybody’s so orderly and how they value teamwork and co-operation over the individual. My mother-in-law said all this law and order is all superficial and they’d be ready to stab you in the back the moment you let your guard down. But let me tell you, I’d have a thin ice of civilization over the deep sea of chaos rather than dipping your toes into the water all the time as a reminder.

I think I can do way better in Japan once I get some N-level (N1 or N2) credentials. I can do way better once I get some friends as well. It’s just like my co-worker and mad scientist genius said about emigrating: “If you just go somewhere and come back, you’ll soon realize people are all the same everywhere. If you wanna go to Japan and live there,  make yourself a part of the community rather than getting into work-home-work cycle. Become an even better Japanese than the Japanese themselves.”

I think he’s got the right idea. It’s too bad that I got this shift-work job that I can’t really make plans too much ahead or make even a week-to-week commitment. But I do have this great little synthesizer and an internet connection, so I really looking forward to making a band or at least find some peeps to make music together here in Tokyo.

Ah, shit I forgot I was supposed to write a little bit more about the Estonians and Japanese. Anyway, my big idea is that Estonians and Japanese share the same genealogical and cultural heritage, as it’s super easy for Estonians to assimilate into the Japanese culture. Our languages have the same pronunciation, we are both hella seclusive with isolationist tendencies and we both go into this autistic frenzy when things are done in the way that they aren’t supposed to be. Plus we both can enjoy a good dose of poop jokes (christ allmighty I think I can write like a 2000-word feature article about poop jokes after a year of living in Japan. Seriously, it’s the biggest source of humor over here. If you ever wanna make a Japanese laugh, just make some fart and shitting noises and watch them crack right up. Go like “buri-buri-buri” and you’ll be their best friend forever.)

Anyway, it’s great over here, but now it’s time for something more. More cash, more wisdom, more glitz and glamour.

Takao-zan

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I had some friends over from Estonia and since they are active people, they suggested to go and climb Takao-zan at the end of Chuo line. Of course I agreed. I love mountains. My wife on the other hand has never done sports or anything and she gets tired quickly, so she had some reservations. We agreed to walk slowly and take as many conveniences as we can. Like this ropeway.

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It was nervewrecking experience, as you just sit there and hope the wind won’t rock you too hard, but once you get past the idea of falling then you can enjoy the ride. At some points the floor came too close to my feet, so I had to do some crunches.P1190707

The way to the top was beautiful and since we took the route with the ropeway, then the shortest route took us past the monkey garden and temples. The monkey garden gave me some serious Planet of the Apes vibes as you see these apes and you know that nothing has really changed. P1190729

Like look at this Diogenes. Is this what we could’ve been a millennia ago? P1190789

The route we took was peppered with all sorts of holy and sacred things. Like this tree that looks like an octopus. P1190849

Temples! So many temples all the way to the top! P1190846.JPG

Shrines! With foxes! P1190863

And finally the top itself. Man, think, so many mountains and what secrets these rolling hills hide. If you happen to be in a mood for a walk, then Takao-zan is the place to go.

When you gotta finish the parking spot but you forgot to bring the last pole

“Takeshi, what happened to the pole?”
“Boss, it’s gonna be great! You can ride your bike home, park it here and crack open a cold one as soon as you get off the bike!”
“Like a vending machine?”
“Yeah, but it’s gonna be better. It’s gonna be free!”

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Free as in Beer.
Beer Fridge
Musashino, Mid-May 2017

Not all Karaoke is created equal, or why DAM is better than JOYSOUND

That’s right fellas. It’s time to sperg out on karaoke software. Now when you go to a karaoke as much as I do, you will notice that some places have shitty videos, even shittier backing tracks and it smells like pee all the time and the fucking airconditioning doesn’t work. You will notice a name on the karaoke machine. It says JOYSOUND, doesn’t it?!

Now, I know the pee smell and air conditioning isn’t really the machine maker’s fault, but here’s what’s wrong with JOYSOUND anyway:

  • JOYSOUND videos are generic as shit and they don’t even match the songs!! You can sing a french song and it’ll show you Genericsville, USA
  • If they aren’t generic as shit, then beware when you sing GUNDAM songs: the background scenes are filled with spoilers! I am in the middle of watching Turn A Gundam and when I sang the Turn A theme, it started all nice and dandy and then all the sudden it shows the last boss of the series (a 52-episodes!) and who lives and who dies!! Man was I pissed or what!!!!! It’s not only TURN A but other GUNDAM and anime songs as well.
  • Cheapest CGI animation you have ever seen outside of Kids Youtube. Trust me, they really dropped the ball on the video department, as licensed videos are rare.
  • The BGM is as cheap and plasticky as it can get. They even skimp on the god-damn backing vocals!!
  • Karaoke timing sucks balls and comes in either too early or too late.
  • The tablet you choose songs from is hard to navigate and unresponsive.
  • JOYSOUND using karaoke bars are more expensive too!
  • Although I gotta admit, JOYSOUND has a better ranking system than DAM.

DAM has none of these problems. The videos are, while also generic, but they usually fall in with the theme of the song and are actually quite fun in their campy production values. They pull in the singer to the world of the music and allow your partner to have a giggle while waiting their turn. Also more licensed videos, backing track from the song itself rather than a royalty-free radio-safe reproduction. Finally DAM has  a calorie counter after every song.

DAM does come with their own problem though – their advertisements are so frigging loud. The solution to the problem is to turn off the volume every time there’s a gap (annoying) or just keep on singing till you drop. And if I’m on free-time, you bet your ass I will be singing 7 hours stopping only for a soft-drink and a pee every once and a while.

So what can I say? If you see JOYSOUND, just know you can do and deserve better. My wife of course says JOYSOUND has their own merits, but I will stick to my guns and have my better backing tracks and non-spoiler videos, thank you very much.

Musashino Picnic

I think there’s a lot of common between Japan and Estonia. Here’s something to riddle about:

You are planning a city-wide picnic and it’s going to be the best thing ever. You gonna have a walking tour around the town, you are gonna have bands, speeches and fair and it’s gonna be the best day ever. You have posters out a month before the event and everybody’s invited. What is the weather going to be like?

A) Sunny and warm.
B) A bit cloudy, but enjoyable.
C) Raining cats and dogs.

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Yup. The answer is C.

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At least this girl on the ad is pretty cute!!!

Please Don’t Do the Bad Thing in Japan #3 – steal laundry and coins from a coin laundry shop!!!!

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Now stealing laundry is something low. Imagine you are washing your underwear and shirts and socks and somebody comes and steals a sock just before you get back to the coin laundry shop. Take the whole pair while you’re at it, you jerk!

Then you notice one of the pads from your bras is also missing. Grr!