Amazing paper cut art works by Rob Ryan

I went to see Rob Ryan’s paper cut art works yesterday.  (via @NoriFla Thanks!)

I really liked his fine, crisp but simple work, which has lovely “stories” inside. Sometimes the story is sentimental, sometimes happy, I will never get bored looking at these art. It might be interesting if it becomes animation…like moving pictures.

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They gave me an invitation card too. Amazing!

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Unfortunately yesterday was the last day for the exhibition, but seems he has a shop in Shoreditch. Go see it if you are interested in. I’m gonna visit there too!

Rob Ryan Website

Shun kin at Barbican (2)

Now the main stage, “Shunkin”. It was just fantastic. Probably I can say one of the best stages I’ve ever seen.

The story is based on a novel called “Shunkin sho”, written by Junichiro Tanizaki. It’s a story of a blind shamisen player “Shunkin” and a man who takes care of her, “Sakuke”. On this stage, story goes with the narrator who is recording the story for “NHK” programme in the current Japan, and the man in the narrated story who is visiting the grave of Shunkin and Sasuke, and the old Sasuke who talks about his memory of Shunkin , and the live Shunkin and the young Sasuke, which means four different time and places overlap each other. The stage setting looked quite simple, each scenes were described by the stage properties the actors used, and the lighting, and the images projected on the back of the stage. It might sound complicated to understand…but actually the four different time-lines smoothly crossed over, it was amazingly clear. Or ever rather, it created extremely beautiful and mysterious imagery of mixed world of abstract and reality.

Another favourite part was the main actress Eri Fukatsu and the “Shunkin doll”. The story starts when Shunkin is a child, but instead of using different actresses, they used “Bunraku” style dolls and Fukatsu controlled them. Her voice was cute but high-handed, and together with the doll’s plain face, it created quite mysterious, unique expression which I can’t explain by words. When Shunkin grew up, the dolls got bigger, and finally Fukatsu became Shunkin…and it was my favourite scene. But maybe some of you are going to see it from now, so I don’t write it here…Anyway, throughout the stage, Fukatsu’s aura was just brilliant.

I was so impressed by the director Simon McBurney who projected this Japanese story beautifully, perfectly, on a stage. In Eri Fukatsu’s interview, she explained that he begun the production by having a workshop with the actors, and they discussed about the each scenes from the original novel. She said it took so long to complete everything, but probably this approach reached to a deeper understanding of the original, Simon McBurney added his creativity to it, and then the outcome turned out as such a beautiful, attractive world. The stage has a lot of wonderful “pictures” in it.

I’m interested in his other production. Only the problem is, if my English is enough to understand serious stories without subtitles…

This is a review in the Guardian.

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Shun kin at Barbican (1) Honjo Hidetaro

Okay, the first writing after the re-launch is about the stage “Shun kin” which was performed at Barbican. And this entry is about its pre-show concert by Hidetaro Honjo. I’m afraid I didn’t know his name…but seems he is such a famous Shamisen player. He started it by learning “Nagauta” and “Minyo”. This time, he played some graceful pieces and sang some “Minyo” too. It was very delicate, beautiful tune. There is a lot of different types of Shamisen, but…for example, the powerful sounds of “Tsugaru-shamisen” always gives me energy. And gentle pieces make me remember the cities like Kyoto or Kamakura, and make me miss Japan so much. I wonder why. And I also wonder why its sound is so calm while they play it with a plectrum. This concert, really made me want to go home. This is his website.

onedotzero 2010

I went to see onedotzero as usual…however, I missed “J-star” I used to watch every year! No….but here is a quick report anyway.

The first one was “Sprites”. It was for kids, and the most of the audience was moms and kids! The works were more “cute” type of stuff.

The other one was “Extended Play”. This one was a bit more crazy…but the quality of the images were absolutely amazing! I was feeling really good watching them.

By the way, there were some installation as well, one of them was very very interesting. It uses “grids” on the wall, and by projecting lights and moving images it looks like 3D. Beginning with the starry sky, lights fall, the mountains wave, it was as if I was on a different planet. Quite impressive.

Right, I’m gonna see “J-star” next year again…

My blog has moved.

I haven’t written this blog for long time…but actually I was moving it to a new site. I used to use two different blog service for English version and Japanese version, and it was a bit tiresome to update both of them. So I installed WordPress on my own domain, and installed a multi-language plugin. Now I can edit both at the same time.

The reason why it took so long to re-launch…I moved everything by hand. I had to integrate two sites into one, but also wanted to check the content. Reading the entries one by one, I checked the links and moved all media resource into separate service. The pictures are now on Flickr, the videos are on Youtube…in this way I thought it would be easier to use resources in multiple places.

Anyway, I have 5 years long entries…some of them are extremely embarrassing! Arrogant comments, rubbish complaints…I’m still not sure if I have grown up since then, I feel so hopeless for myself. But one fact is that I have lots of friends and family who always support me, which means my life is happy anyway. This hopeless myself is still a part of me, so I kept all the entries.

On the other hand, one thing I need to learn from myself in the past is its energy to visit lots of places and effort to meet new people…I have been a bit weak recently.

Anyway, I’m going to start writing blog again. Check it out if you have time 🙂

End of job hunting

Thanks to everyone who supported me, I finally got a job! It’s UI design agency in London. I will be UX designer! My money in the bank was going to be zero by the end of August, I was thinking of returning to Japan if I can’t get it. So this is the summary of my job-hunting process:

Oct: Course finished, returned to Japan for a few weeks

Nov: Started a part-time job at Japan Centre while researching the agencies in London, preparing for CV, portfolio, personal website

Feb: Got PSW visa, attended an event about digital video production > got some contacts > had a meeting with them, got some advice, applied for about 10 agencies > fail, attended UX networking events > got some contacts

Mar: Had an interview with one of the agencies I met at the event > fail, arranged a meeting via LinkedIn > was introduced to a recruitment agency > attended a UX networking event > got some contacts, applied for about 10 agencies > fail

Apr: Got some advice regarding CV and portfolio from the people whom I met at the event, had a couple of interview via the recruitment agencies > fail, applied for about 10 agencies > fail

May: Applied for an internship which I found on the internet > start internship

Jun: Had the 5th interview via a recruitment agency > got an offer

Jul: Had the 6th interview via a recruitment agency > got an offer

Well, it might look like the last couple of months were easy, but actually I was doing 4days/w internship + 2 day/w part-time shop assistant + preparing for interviews (+ design assignment) so it was really tough. It’s a bit embarrassing result that I got only 6 interviews after sending CV to nearly 30 agencies, but after all I got three offers. I think after I started the Internship, and after I attended some networking events, it improved efficiency dramatically, I learnt it’s really important to meet people face to face, in order to achieve job-hunting in this country.

So…I really appreciate Syzygy who gave me the first chance! I had been told that they were not looking for Junior…but finally they gave me an offer. Even after I told them I wanted to go to another agency, they were so kind to say “You are welcomed to come back anytime!” They were so nice. Thank you. During the job-hunting, I met loads of people and got loads of helps. Thank you! Sometimes I got some advices like “If you want to stay in the U.K., don’t choose job!” or “Find a partner and marry!” (well…I need a partner though. Introduce someone to me please!), but I was always thinking that there is no point to stay here if I can’t get UX job. Now I’m feeling more comfortable staying in this country for a bit more. Dear my friends in London, I have been a bit “unsocial” girl for a while, but I will get some more time and money, just shout me if there’s any events! And I’m looking for someone who can go for sake-drink to cerebrate.

Alice in Wonderland

Okay, so, Alice. Finally I watched it. Although it was on a small screen and not 3D.

It was rather…unique…Alice. For me, after all, the animation Alice by Disney is a masterpiece, but I wonder which is closer to the original literature. A big problem is, I’m not that into Johnny Depp… I couldn’t understand that face with that makeup…

Well, anyway, maybe I should have watched it as 3D…but well, it must be entertaining without 3D if it’s a good film, no? I liked the costume though. Alice in nice dressed. Cute. Well, is that it? …err…yes.

v.s. Denmark

Although I often say I’m too busy to write blog recently, I’m gonna write this today. Japan vs Denmark. It was such a good game!

I went to a pub to watch it, there were loads of Japanese people (where are they from?). I wonder how many Danish people there were… Anyway, I love watching football at a pub. Actually Japan hadn’t played that well at the World Cup previously…their game was always miserable even whey they won. But this time, against an European country(!), they did really well! I’m so proud of them.

Right, the hero was of course Honda. His first FK was so beautiful, and his assist for the third one was stunning. I was really impressed how he pulled the ball back at that moment. I didn’t know Japan had such a skilled player.

The whole game was like…Denmark possessed the ball for most of the time, but I think defenders did their job pretty well. GK, Kawashima, stopped some good shots and even showed his regret strongly hitting the ground after the PK, although it couldn’t be helped! Good competing mind 🙂 And whenever Denmark played good, there was always Nakazawa(‘s head)… He is such a wonderful defender. So professional.

And Endo, who scored the second one, he used to play for Yokohama Flugels! (A football team which was merged into Yokohama Marinos and disappeared in 1998…and was my favourite team!) He was only 18 years old at that time, and now played in the World Cup and did such a gorgeous FK… was so happy. Almost crying. Well done.

I hope they will do well for the next game too. Samurai Blue. There’s nothing to lose, just go for it!

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Kabuki@Sadler’s Wells

I went to see Kabuki! Ebi-sama! Actually I was in two minds of going to see it, I didn:t have much money, was too busy, didn’t have any image of “Kitsune Tadanobu” by Ebizo…but I’m so happy I could see it.

They performed three scenes “Fushimi-inari” (aka “Torii-mae”), “Michiyuki-Hatsune-no-Tabi” (aka “Yoshino-yama”), and “Kawatsura-Hogen-Yakata-no-Dan” (aka “Shinokiri”), all from “Yoshitsune Senbon-zakura”. It’s a story of the fox “Tadanobu”. I think it was a good selection…I mean, if it was only one of them the story didn’t make sense for the people who don’t know much about Kabuki. But “Torii-mae” shows really Kabuki-ful gorgeous costume and “aragoto” (A special style of acting which is very exaggerated, dynamic and powerful), “Yoshino-yama” features “Buyo” (Japanese style dance) and “Shinokiri” is full of “Keren” (Tricks and stage devices which usually makes audience surprise), definitely beginners can enjoy it. To be honest, one of the things surprised me the most was Ebi-sama’s aura. I must confess I hadn’t seen any of his stages for long time, as I always prefer Nakamura-ya. Ebi-sama has been good at “aragoto” using his big eyes, but this time also dancing was sharp and awesome too, comical “Kitsune-Tadanobu” acting was fun, “Keren” was amazing too! I think the volume of the audience’s cheer proved that they were really fascinated by Ebi-sama. By the way, when he is acting “handsome” Tadanobu, he looked so sexy, like Nizaemon…was it only me feeling that?

Anyway, I was quite happy with it! But my favourite scene in “Shinokiri” which someone shouts “He’s coming!”, it seems most of the audience weren’t tricked because they didn’t understand the meaning of the shout…lol pity.

But it seems the stage was quite successful. Good! Ahhh I want to go back to Japan…

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Internship: Week2

The second week of the internship. It’s still part-time so just 3days a week. In this week, I attended a meeting for brainstorming, did some research for a pitch, and worked on wireframing. Everything goes so quickly. Meetings look so quick, everything is decided so quickly and everything is documented so quickly. Although sometimes I feel like “Shouldn’t it be considered more in detail???” but it seems that setting limit is the way for efficiency. Otherwise, you would keep working on it until it becomes “perfect”…endlessly. I have to get used to this speed…

Also, everyone other than me, designers, developers, seems to create lots of ideas considering a marketing aspect. I need to have a different perspective too. This is “as always”, but in order to speak out my ideas (in English) at a meeting, I definitely need to prepare more than anyone else does. However, it hasn’t worked well so far as everything goes so fast! My biggest problem looks to be speed…at the moment. Ok, maybe I can begin by learning how to use Omnigraffle more efficiently…

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