Happy New Year 2012

Happy New Year everyone! I didn’t update this blog that often last year, but…I want to write a bit more…I will try.

So, the review of 2011.

[It was…tough] Of course one of the big incident in 2011 was the earthquake, but even before that, I had experienced my cousin’s death. I can’t believe it’s been one year already…January last year was all about crying and feeling lonely….and then when I almost got recovered, the earthquake. It was quite heart-breaking time and the moment I could see both good/bad aspects of Japan, as well as the aspects I love and hate.

[Worked…a lot!] Regarding the work, I think it was a good year. Well, of course there was a lot of failure too, especially working with Japanese client was very very challenging for me and struggled a lot as I didn’t know how to behave in the cultural difference. However, that means I learned a lot too. It was the year of learning as an interaction designer.

So…2012 should be…

[Slower…] I feel like I have been working sooooo hard in recent years….maybe I can be a bit more slower this year and look around. Finally I’m feeling like I’m getting used to the life in London, so need to enjoy!

[Meet people] Now I want to do it more, but not with the feeling of “career opportunity obligation”. I want to enjoy going out more, and want to laugh more with everyone.

[Better private life! again] Actually this is something I couldn’t really achieve last year…I always spend too much energy for the work, not for the private life! But last year I spent more time for cooking, started going to the gym, joined Sanshin-kai, restarted watching football…(I support Liverpool now! Yey!) , maybe I should spend even more time for these things. I’m gonna listen to more music, watch more films, visit more exhibitions!

So, let’s make a wonderful 2012 together everyone 🙂

onedotzero 2011 – wavelength

I can’t believe it’s been one year already…I went to see onedotzero this year too. It was the first time to see wavelength though.

wavelength is a collection of music video. Motion graphics are really interesting as I can enjoy them as long as 1) I like both graphics and music or 2) Graphics is good and music is ok or 3) Music is good but graphics is ummm….which means I could enjoy almost whole 1.5hrs.

So here are my favourites…

“Happy Camper – Born With A Bothered Mind (featuring Bouke Zoete)”

This was my favourite music and graphics. Sad smiles but looks so cute!

“WOODKID – Iron”

This was the “high quality!” I liked the expression of the animals in this video. I suggest to switch it to 1080p…but of course, it’s got lots of noise on youtube…omz.

Porter Robinson // SPITFIRE (CAPTURE THE CAN)

This could be a bit too ordinary pattern…but still looked cool.

To be continued to Extended Play

Anniversary of the end of the war

Although I tend to forget about this while in the U.K., 15th of August is the anniversary of the end of the war in Japan (as it’s the day the emperor announced Japan’s surrender). This day always makes me think of lots of things.

Of course, it’s the day to prey the soul of all the Japanese who had to die because of the war may rest in peace.

And, as Japanese, it’s the day to send sincere apology to all the countries and the people whom Japan had caused terrible pain and suffer, and prey the soul of the victims may rest in peace.

And it’s the day to appreciate all my friends who say they like Japan, even after all these horrible history.

And it’s the day to say thank you to my grandparents who survived the painful time and raised my parents.

Thanks to them, I got enough education, and now having a wonderful life, sharing smiles and joy with my friends of lots of different races and nationalities, in the country which Japan was fighting against.

…isn’t it amazing, people were killing each other before, but now loving each other?

And it’s the day to wish, this amazing thing I’m experiencing now will happen to the people who’s still suffering by violence somewhere on this planet.

I wish everyone in the world will be able to live in peace, without racism or war.

I know it may sound such a commonplace expression, but it’s the anniversary, why not?

15th of August is the important day, Japan should never forget.

Barlingen International Folkdance Festival (1)

I can’t believe this is 1month ago already…It’s about my trip to Germany. Our Shishimai website also updated more detailed stories and pictures, check it out!

As I hadn’t performed Shishimai since I came to London, I was so looking forward to joining them in Germany this time! I was thinking of joining them in Frankfurt as the members flied to there, but decided to go to Stuttgart and meet them in Balingen as the flight was not early in the morning…well, I mean, more efficient.

It was the first time for me to go to Germany! It was only a few hours from Heathrow to Stuttgart. I love living in Europe 🙂 I spent a few hours in Stuttgart before taking a train to Balingen, walked around the park near to the station, and had a lunch at a cafe. The chicken and fruits salad (as a waiter recommended) was really testy…a bit salty taste, but made me almost order beer.

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Taking a train to Balingen, I was quite impressed by train systems in Germany (so different from England…). Accurate, planned schedule on planned platform, although I can’t understand German at all, it was more smooth than traveling in England. The sky was clean, the train running along rivers and woods was so comfortable.

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I walked from Balingen station to the hotel as it looked quite close. Oh, I found a poster of the festival!

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Waiting at the hotel….finally I reunited with the Japan team! It’s been for a while since I last met them…well, as I hadn’t joined them for a few years and I hadn’t met the members from the Shrine before, most of them were someone I met at the first time actually…After checking in, we went to a clubhouse where we had a wonderful dinner! Oh wow German foods are so yummy…beer was good too…they played some music for us, and everyone danced together, it was fascinating first day already.

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13 Assassins

I want to write about Germany too, but this one is first maybe.

The film “13 assassins” was released in the U.K., I finally went to see it. To be honest, I was not very keen on Miike Takashi’s films…although I haven’t watched many of them, I don’t like too much violence, and had heard that people usually leave cinema in the middle of stories. But the trailer looked awesome, I really wanted to watch it.

Well, I think I should say it was brilliant. It’s a story about 13 assassins who attempt to assassinate an evil lord who repeats brutal behaviour to people. The first 30mins explains how evil the lord is, and the scenes to describe it are actually, tough to look at. Even when it doesn’t show painful images directly, still its sound, actors face, make you feel “awwww….” If you really don’t like it, probably you shouldn’t watch this film…However, I guess all these scenes make audience think “Right, you can kill this evil guy”, when the assassins trapped the lord, I was feeling like “Yes, kill them all!!!”.

One of the interesting points about this movie was the lord “Naritsugu”, played by a member of Japanese boys band (!) SMAP. As I read some reviews saying he was fascinating, I was really looking forward to him. Well, I thought his acting was not THAT good compared to the other better skilled actors, but still was quite impressed how he did it. Believe me, this is not a type of role that SMAP usually does and brutally killing people with his handsome face was shocking, when he was enjoying people’s death his eyes looked totally insane… Oh no Goro-chan…you usually look so gentle but…awwww…ok yes, he was brilliant.

All of the 13 assassins were so cool, and my favourite was Yamada Takayuki! Actually he was the reason why I wanted to watch this film. I always love his eyes shining deeply inside of them…and this time he did samurai! I didin’t know he could do such a “masculine” type of role….he was too cool…(sigh) even compared to the other “good-looking” actors, his presence was really strong. And Ihara Tsuyoshi! I’ve been a fan of him since I watched the theatre “Blood gets in your eyes”, his sword action is always so dynamic. You can see a great highlight of his action in the last half of this film, don’t miss it! … well it’s impossible to miss such a cool combat scene… Yakusho Koji, who played the leader of the 13, and Matsukata Hiroki were quietly refined, and Ichimura Masaki who acted as a samurai who fought to protect the lord, knowing he was evil, was also quite powerful. It looked so thrilling when he faced against Yakusho Koji… I think the director, Miike is so good at creating “tension”.

In general, I really liked rather classical way of shooting/direction, like, Japanese rooms which are quietly lighted with candles looked beautiful. On the other hand, the scenes which used CG looked a bit too much, it looked so unrealistic compared to other realistic scenes… Anyway, for someone like me who likes Samurai films really enjoyed it. Sword fighting was cool, the way samurai behaved looked cool as well. It was worth being patient with the violent scenes…The sound is so great too, so I recommend to watch it in cinema. By the way, MIike’s next samurai film, the main cast is Ebizo! And Eita! And the music is Sakamoto Ryuichi! Oh wow…I can’t miss it… but I heard some people left the theatre at Cannes…oh dear…but look at this clip…how can I miss it???

Tron Legacy

When I went back to Japan, I went to see Tron. Although I saw it as 3D, it didn’t look 3D at all and instead only Japanese subtitles looked like 3D. Was it because of the theatre I went? Or is 3D something like this?

Anyway, the film was really good. I actually wanted to see it just because the music was done by Daft Punk, but I enjoyed more. The graphic was absolutely fantastic, flying “discs”, numbers of lines of lights, vehicles appearing from the air at the perfect timing for the actor’s action…just so cool. The scene Daft Punk’s “Derezzed” played was almost perfect.

The story was rather typical “What is digital, what is analog, what is human, what is computer…” kind of story, but I assume, compared with the original which was released in 1982, its meaning and the way of enjoying it should be different. Though, it sometimes talkes a bit about “zen” philosophy which made me think a little. I want to see this film again too. I was totally fascinated by that beautiful digital world…

The Social Network

It’s a while ago, but I went to see “The Social Network”. It was much better than I thought. I expected something like a typical “success story of Mark Zuckerberg” which sounds a bit boring, but I enjoyed the direction which mixes the time line and its speedy story-telling. It was a casual watch.

Although I have no idea what the real Mark Zuckerberg is like, I liked his ability of coding…err, no, vitality. How he plans what he wants to do in his brain and quickly wires it up looked really cool…is it geeky impression? He is absolutely intelligent, but probably that results in his behaviour which looks rather arrogant…even communication with his best friend, his (unintentional) attitude resulted in making a gap little by little…these story was quite interesting. I guess he is innocent, in a sense.Well, I don’t know how much non-fictional the film is though.

Anyway, it taught me that any brilliant idea is simply worthless unless you can realize it in this world, I thought this film shows the power of realization. I want to see it again carefully.

Cousin’s death

I’m not sure if I can write this well…but in order to step forward, I decided to post this. It will be a bit long story.

My cousin has passed away by a bike accident on the other day. Thank you for everyone who sent me kind words, and I apologize I haven’t been able to respond. The shock was too strong. He was the same age as I am. When we were kids, me, he, his two years older brother, and my brother used to play together at my grandparent’s house in Fukuoka. Playing cards, chasing butterflies, swimming, singing, dancing, waiting for Santa Claus, sometimes fighting…While there are lots of children who don’t have any relatives in countryside in this modern society, our child-food was absolutely amazing. We were happy, we grew up together like brothers. He was a clever guy, was good at math and computer, but also was really into music. He played the piano very well, and played the base guitar in a band, and was chasing his dream to be a professional while doing a part-time job. As I was also chasing my dream staying abroad, I was supporting his dream too. I believed that his dream would come true in the future.

After we became adults, we didn’t have many chances to catch up, though he used to send me email saying “come to our gig!” He was always surrounded with his friends, he was really a cool guitarist. His friends used to be surprised and tell me “Are you his cousin? Wow, you guys are such close family!” which used to make me feel proud. After I came to London, I couldn’t meet him at all…but I had never felt like we were apart. It didn’t matter, we were always family. When I heard he had passed away, I felt as if someone hit my head with a hammer. That can’t be true. It must be a lie. After I tweeted, my head was totally messed up. Unfortunately I couldn’t go back to Japan, I had to face the reality continuing the normal life. Although my colleague kindly asked me if I wanted to take some rests, being rather scared of loneliness at home, I went to the studio everyday. Fortunately …or unfortunately, it’s been extremely busy these days, I could forget about the incident while I was working. However, I couldn’t concentrate, misheard English a lot, felt exhausted everyday after work. Once leaving the studio, remembering of him and loads of memories, I couldn’t help but go home crying on the tube. I think, usually in this kind of situation, family gather and prepare for funeral, cry together and then accept the reality little by little. For me, I couldn’t find a place to release my emotion, I was feeling like suffocated….well, I am still feeling like suffocated.

The amount of our memory is not something I can go through only for a week or so, everyday, remembering new ones, I cry.  I thought I would be able to see him anytime. Even when we become old men and an old women, I thought we would be just stay as family. I can’t believe he is no longer there when I next go back to Japan. But…he would say “Why are you still crying?” if I keep crying, I decided to step forward. Although I’m feeling so bad being unable to attend his funeral, if he can listen to my words now…I just want to say “Thank you”. Thank you for the fun, exciting, happy memories. You did really well. Please rest in peace.

Happy New Year 2011

Happy new year, everyone.

Although Heathrow airport destroyed part of my holiday before Xmas, I could finally go to Japan and spend the new year there. For those I had to cancel the appointments, I’m sincerely sorry about that. For those I could meet, thank you for your time and it was a fantastic moment! I went for a drink, onsen trip, movie, a dinner at China town, had osechi, toshikoshi-soba, saw kohaku, heard the sound of joya-no-kane, saw ekiden, and went for new year sale…it was such a rich 1 week.

Now, this is a review of 2010.

[Tough year] In my blog post last year, I wrote “2010 will be a tough year too.” It was, indeed. The first half was really hard, I was really driven to a corner physically, mentally (and financially) because of job hunting. After getting a job, I spent all my energy to catch up. For the whole year, I was feeling stomachache.

[Achieved the goal!] However, my biggest goal for 2010…job-hunting, was quite successful! Having experienced the job-hunting in Japan 10 years ago, I was expecting that I had to compromise at some point…but I didn’t this time at all. I’m 100% happy with the result. So 2011 will be…

[More learning as UX] I’m not gonna write the detail here, but I want to gain more experience as UX designer, as well as using my own ideas a lot.

[Better private life] I did nothing other than job-hunting last year :'(, I want to have better private life this year.

  • (Finally) finish the project with my friend!
  • Want to travel more! (I might go to Germany in May…)
  • Start something new! (Probably Kyudo…or aromatherapy!)
  • Watch more movies! Listen to more music! Visit more museums!

[Healthier life] I was not really fit last year, it was not good for my mental health either. This year I should do some exercise regularly, cook well considering nutritional balance, and keep myself healthy!

Hope I can spend happy time with you too everyone 🙂

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