Cho-Yablog is very quiet recently because I’m quite busy preparing my trip to France. There are no strikes in Japan and I miss these famous french strikes so much that I feel the need to go there. More seriously, I was struggling with my MacBook Pro to install Nicotine (more difficult to install than Windows XP). I gave up and installed SolarSeek that does a great job at crashing. Finally I came back to my PC and SoulSeek. Thank to this guy, I could have an international keyboard with real dead keys. I don’t if the Windows International keyboard layout is patented or what, but it seems that the Apple guy who created the Mac dead keys system never had to use it. Or may be they didn’t know what to do with the option key (just kidding, you can do that: ?ø?©´?ß®¢?¥SÎÍÅÏ?ÔÒ???)
Anyway, another reason for going back in France is to see Costes on french TV. I heard that he will talk about his book on Saturday night.
I’ll try to add some posts during my trip in France but I think that one week without a computer will be a good thing ! I want to fully enjoy Lyon, Provence and of course a bit Paris.
(now I’ll continue in French)
J’ai fait un peu de web surfing ce soir et j’ai trouvé deux interviews intéressantes:
- Sur Eigo Go Go !, un entretien avec Hiroko Govaers, une proche de Terayama qui vit en France.
- Sur Fluctuat.net, un court entretien (les questions sont presques plus longues que les réponses) avec Wakamatsu.
A new KitKat Takagi (Le Patissier) to add to the two previous ones of this series, Passion Fruit and Wine.
Excellente soirée au SuperDeluxe avec des artistes assez différents. Bon, pour être tout à fait honnête, tout n’était pas excellent.
Néanmoins, à côté de valeurs sûres tel que Incapacitants toujours aussi déchaînés ou de Jon (Dog) cette fois en duo, ce fut l’occasion de découvrir Doravideo (le batteur Yoshimitsu Ichiraku) en duo percutant avec Atsuhiro Ito et son “optron”, un néon musical. Doravidéo c’est donc une batterie mais aussi un PC ainsi que de la vidéo. Vous pouvez trouver plus d’information sur le site de Macaroni Records.
Atsuhiro joue également dans un autre duo batterie-optron, logiquement intitulé Optrum. Ce dernier fait un tour en Europe en juin prochain et devrait passer par Paris. A ne pas rater !
Quelques photos (some pictures) :
Fin mars, début de la période du hanami ou des cerisiers en fleur. En fait, une bonne excuse pour être bourré à une heure de l’après-midi.
Hanami est composé de deux kanjis. Le premier signifie “fleur” et le second “voir”. Littéralement, hanami signifie donc “voir les fleurs”. Dans la pratique, il s’agit de boire des bières sous les cerisiers en fleur. Une sorte de beuverie institutionnalisée, avec programmes télévisés, numéros hors-série, bières spéciales pour l’occasion,…
Hana (?), “fleur” donc, est composé de deux radicaux. Celui du haut signifie “herbe/plante” et celui du bas “transformer/changer”. On ne sera pas étonné de retrouver dans le second kanji (?) le radical qui est aussi un kanji et signifie “oeil” (?).
Each time I go on the Processing page, Firefox crashes. Moreover, my wireless connection often becomes very slow. I never experienced such problems with a wireless connected Windows XP laptop. And it’ s not only the mac connection that is slow, all connected computers (not wireless connected) become slow.
And it is not over. My mac didn’ t connect directly at startup. I checked on Internet and did some tuning but it is still a random process: sometimes it connects, sometimes not.
I really wonder if I’m unlucky or if all these stories about Mac that is more stable than Windows are just plain propaganda.
Using a Mac for the first time after a life long of using Windows PCs (and some Linux) is not so easy.
There are first the lack of the right mouse button that I’m used too and I’ve to get used to this “apple” key instead of Ctrl. I wouldn’t have to worry that much if there was no Ctrl key on my MacBook Pro, but there is one. Third thing that is quite annoying is the absence of real dead keys that are so useful on Windows. Instead, you have to use the “option” key with another key and then the letter key you want to be accentuated (only é is easier to obtain). That’s for one bad point.
The second one is with Firefox. I know it’s not an Apple product but if it happens to be some Java on a page, Firefox just freezes… I have to kill it through the Ctrl+Alt+Del equivalent on a Mac. And Safari is not very good, for example it doesn’t display the text formatting options (link, italic, …) on my “write post” page of WordPress. That’s why there are no links in this post…
That’s all for now about the bad points I noticed. The good ones are more hardware oriented. Even if my trial to record a podcast with Garageband was rather successful and easy.
The lighted keyboard is great, the display is wonderful but there is this strange humming noise that some other people have noticed.
Finally I decided to go watch Haze at Shibuya. As I received a call from Apple Store Shibuya last Thursday saying that MacBook Pros were available, I went there too to check if some of these laptops were still available. Thinking that it would be sold out, I was caught by surprise and bought one. But I have to wait until tomorrow for them to change the keyboard to a US layout.
Anyway, Haze was a quite interesting movie, even if I can’t say I understood everything. It was a dramatic change compared to my weekend that was a “francophone” weekend with two events, the French Film Festival and the “Nuit de la Francophonie“.
I watched five french movies and except “Alex” and “Je ne Suis pas Là Pour Etre Aimé”, it was not a great festival. Surprisingly, everything was in Japanese and French only. I say surprisingly because the official website is only in Japanese and English, so I expected that the Festival was aimed to Japanese and English speaking people. I think it shows how bad was the organization of this festival. When you went on the first day the tickets were available to buy, it was impossible to get tickets for several movies. But when we went to see some movies on Sunday, it was possible to buy tickets for a seance that was said to be full on the first day. Moreover, all seances I attended were far from full, especially Alex. Even for Trouble, the theater was not full and despite the presence of Benoît Magimel. May be it’s because of the idea to do the festival at two separate places quite far from each others. The festival was both at Roppongi and at Odaiba. Of course, I was happy it was at Tokyo and not in Yokohama but still, I think they could have room for improvement. May be next year it will be better organized.
By the way, for people in Japan, the excellent movie “Calvaire” has just been released.
It was the day I had to go back to the police station to settle my problem with my licence. Well, it’s far from over. I spent two hours waiting while four policemen were trying to figure out what to do with me. It seems that my problem is hard to solve for them, so hard that they gave up and my case will be transfered to another division. Until now I was dealing with the chiiki division (“regional” division) but from now I’ll deal with the koutsuu division, the transportation/traffic division. It seems more appropriate to me.
Anyway, I’ll have to come again when they call me.
Japanese policemen are very fastidious and they can spend several minutes to figure out how to write a french licence number in the prescribed space for a japanese licence number. After asking one or two colleagues, they will open a book or make a call before even think to write the number.
Because of the time needed for all that, I couldn’t go to see Haze as I planned to do (I got this problem with the police because of a parking violation while seeing a movie…). I hope it will be still shown next week as from tomorrow I’ll see at least one movie a day until sunday, so no time for Haze.
The French Film Festival that has been relocated from Yokohama to Tokyo, so it’s a unique occasion to see some recent french movies. As usual the official website is not well made (they can’t even have a French version) and if you want to see the trailers, you’d better go on the Apple Japan website.
Un pinku très sympathique de Tarou Araki sur Pinku Screen.
Unfortunately, I’ll certainly be in France at this time. I really would have liked to see this exhibition and the related event.
It will take place at Uplink from 5 to 10 April for the exhibition. The event will be the 8 April. More details here (in Japanese).
And now for the long report of Dorkbot #4.
There was a lot of presentations (yes, with slides !) but the most interesting ones were of course when the real thing was presented. I think half of the 5 minutes performances (anybody could participate) were only PowerPoint presentations.
Before, some more “serious” (meaning more time) presenters/artists/musicians presented their works.
For example, the “Human Remote Controller“. I didn’t have time to try it but some did and it’s quite scary/amazing.
The Hori team was very funny. They make products for hardcore gamers that are very funny (or stupid depending on your opinion about video games). They did a jan-ken-pon with all the audience and I won a T-shirt.
What I found very nice with Dorkbot is the opportunity to see some academic research presented in a more relaxed way. Usually, these things are presented in international conferences or in museum/exhibitions.
Then came the live part. A duo computer/drums was generating sounds that were detected by a moving box that was dancing accordingly to the low frequencies rythm. Music was fine (the kind of music that you can hear for hours) and the dancing box very nice. May be they should spend some time on the design that was just ok.
The next live was a crazy guy with a guitar, a drum machine and a lot of energy. It was very impressive even if in my opinion it was a bit beside the point of “doing strange things with electricity”. Of course he was strange but he was still only playing guitar and shooting.
Finally the five minutes performances opened to anyone. Let’s forget about the presentations that lacked of impact.
Better than long explanations, some pictures:
The last presented did a presentation indeed but it was easy to see what he had built thanks to some movies. The product is called Hektor and you can learn about it on the official website. Of course, I would have like to see the device working but I could understand that it was may be not easy to install or bring and not all places want their walls covered of graffitis.
Very nice event and I’m looking forward to the next one. A friend gave me a “wiring” board during the event, so I have to find an idea to make use of it before the next dorkbot.
It was my first Dorkbot and I found the idea very nice. You can see/hear very different things in a relaxed atmosphere. I’ll write a longer report about this fourth Dorkbot Tokyo later.
About my performance, the first real performance ever for me, I was very disappointed. It seems that all the interesting sounds I could manage to have with my devices yesterday during rehearsal were refusing to show up tonight. So I was struggling with the noisy mushroom but the output was just some plain electronic noise and the strawberry theremin was barely audible. And it five minutes, you don’t have much time to do some tuning. May be I was too stressed for doing something good.
Anyway, some pictures. More to come.
Last Friday, I decided to get removed the plastic label attached to my motorbike for illegal parking. I went to the kouban (police box) near the place I illegally parked my motorbike. But I quickly learned that I could have gone in any police station to get it removed. In exchange of the removal of the shameful label, I received a paper for paying the fine at a post office or a bank.
But today, I received a phone call from the police that asked me not to pay the fine and to go to the main police station of Shibuya as soon as possible.
I guessed the police had discovered that I used my motorbike while my dricing licence was expired… I asked why they want to see my and it it was of course about a problem of licence renewal. I had it renewed since the end of January but it was too late.
So now I’m trying to predict what will happen tomorrow when I’ll go to the police station.
Optimistic case: Japanese like you to say “I’m sorry”. If I’m lucky, I will have to say that I’m very sorry, that it won’t happen again and that I’m a stupid gaijin that doesn’t understand a word of Japanese. I still have to pay the fine.
Very optimistic case: By fear of a diplomatic incident with France, everything is cancelled. More seriously, my licence was expired so I can’t have been using my motorbike. So it’s impossible I was illegally parked. No fine to pay, sayonara.
Neither optimistic neither pessimistic case: Well, I was driving without a valid licence and was illegally parked. So, fine is higher, very much higher (it’s already quite high for just being illegally parked). I have to pay a fine that will prevent me to buy a MacBook Pro.
Pessimistic case: Very high fine for the reasons I already stated above. Plus, points are removed from my licence. Next time, I won’t be able to use my licence for a long time…
Worst Case Scenario: Licence cancelling, high fine to pay.
“I can’t believe it” case: Visa cancelling, licence cancelling, high fine to pay.
So what will happen to me ? Answer tomorrow evening.
?? (kinshi) means “ban/prohibition”. In fact the first kanji (?) already means this. It is used in a lot of words related to prohibition. For example, ?? (kinen) that means ” no smoking” . The second kanji (?) means ” halt/stop”. So in this case it is more or less an emphasis on the prohibition.
For example, these two kanji are used in ???? (chuushakinshi) that means ” no parking” and is sometimes abbreviated as ?? (chuukin). I think I’ve learned that now.
In Japan, everything turns green with macha (green tea). Even french “éclairs” and belgian waffles.
Preparing my performance of next wednesday for dorkbot #4, I decided to add an input to my Much_Worm.32 so it will be a bit more interesting.
I had this theremin that I had built some time ago but was not working well. I discovered some mistakes and it is working quite well now, so I decided to use it as an input to the Mush.Worm_32. I put it in a box so that it became a Strawberry Theremin (Ichigomin). More details on fx.stilte.
I went to Akihabara for buying some components and I found a single chip old sound generator built by Texas Intruments in the middle of the 70s, the SN76477N. It is called complex sound generator too and it seems that it can produce very nice sounds quite easily. May I will integrate it in my next project. I think it was in a old noise sound generator too, the Dark Star Chaos.
I like the name of this series of enka records. May be because ultra reminds me of Ultraman and to mix it with enka gives a nostalgic touch.
Anyway, the volume 9 of this series was released on 15 february and for the second time, it is a record of Kaji Meiko. I managed to get a copy at Janis yesterday and already listened to it several times. I will talk more about it in the next Background Noise but I can tell that if you already have the Super Value series record of Kaji Meiko, several songs are on this 9th volume of Ultra Enka.
The new movie of Shinya Tsukamoto (trailer).
The film was presented at Locarno in August 2005. It’s shot with a digital camera and Tsukamoto made the screenplay, producing, editing, shooting and is acting. The music is by Chuu Ishikawa who already wrote the soundtracks of numerous Tsukamoto’s movies. The main actress is Kahori Fujii who was in Tokyo Fist.
Release: 4 March.
May be I’m a bit gullible for not being aware that such things exist. Of course, in the high competitive market of the video for adults in Japan, DVD makers must always find new ways to attract customers. But the basic principle of this DVD is barely new.
The principle of a DVD Players Game (DVDPG) is in fact very simple. It is a bit like these interactive books I used to play when I was a kid (I almost became a killer p?aying too much RPG !).
In this DVD (Sexual Molester Virtual Play Simulation Game: a video, but most of DVDPGs are anime) you must help two guys to be the witnesses on 20 acts of chikan (molesting) in three days (yes, that’s not easy even in Japan) ! You must choose the place and some actions. The difficulty is that you have to avoid a detective that is trying to catch you (there is not much you can do, just do the right choices).
When you progress in the game, you are provided with passwords so that you can stop the game and then start again where you stopped. The game is not an AV (Adult Video) but an erotic video. In fact it is quite poor as it consists mostly of acts of chikan with usually the guy ejaculating on the floor… The image is usually crappy, may be because it’s usually shot outside, without the approval of the people around. Most of the chikan acts are in crowded trains, the “classic” chikan act, but some of them are more original. Such as in a coin laundry (with a very cinematographic scene of coffee cans opening) or in the lineup of OLs (Office Ladies) waiting for buying a bentou (lunch box) !
To be honest the interactivity is low and it’s always disturbing to be in the situation of molesting women. May be that’s why you are not really the “hero” of the game (the molester is always different) but only a witness. Still it’s often very hard to understand how you can be in this situation as the chikan scenes just pop up on the screen. Moreover, the only intercourse scene I watched was with a consenting woman. Anyway, despites these precautions, it is still a quite disturbing game that is obviously trying to avoid being too immoral. I’m quite sure that given how japanese porn treats women, you can find must more disturbing videos??or especially anime).
My company installed a time card reader today for controlling the working time. Well, I didn’t notice any change so I wonder why this machine was installed. May be the government wants to prevent death by overwork (karoushi).
?? means control and is read kanri. The first kanji means “pipe/tube”. It is mainly found in words related to tubes or pipes but can be found in words related to control and management too. The top radical is take (?) that means “bamboo”. The bottom part is not a radical but the kanji (?) means “government/bureaucracy”.
The second kanji (?) means “reason/logic/truth”. It is used for words such as physics, for example.
????is read kanrinin. As the third kanji means “person/people”, it is easy to understand that the three kanjis together means “manager”. It is often used to signify “janitor/caretaker” of the japanese mansions.