Shimbashi Ice-Walkers

MJG Japan, People / Culture Leave a Comment

I saw something cool while passing through Shimbashi station last week on my way to work. Two suited older foreigners, a guy and a woman, were unloading big blocks of ice from white polystyrene crates outside the JR exit, then tying them up with string. I figured it was some kind of art thing, and I like art, and had time before my next class, so decided to join the small crowd of onlookers and see what would happen next. After they got done tying, the woman and some J-helpers gathered around to help the guy hoist his ice onto his back. After it was hoisted, he took off walking. Then the woman followed, dragging hers. I guess it was …

Japanese Manga

MJG Japan, Manga / Anime / Cosplay 1 Comment

I started reading some Japanese manga recently. Here’s a photo of the ones I’ve read so far: Here’s a rough breakdown of their content: Crows- A blonde kid with super fighting powers turns up at the Crows school and starts kicking everybody’s asses because they get in his way. One-Piece- A kid with special powers (GUM-U GUM-U Mr. Fantastic-style stretchy body, allowing for GUM-U GUM-U rocket punch and etc..) wants to become the Pirate King, and kicks everyone’s asses because they get in his way. Naruto- A ninja kid with special powers (he’s got strong magic maybe) acts like an idiot and starts kicking people’s asses because they get in his way. There’s obviously a pattern, but then it’s probably …

The Golden Compass

MJG Book / Movie Reviews Leave a Comment

Garbage. I’d heard from various reports that this movie wasn’t good, so my expectations were already lowered, but still it completely underwhelmed. It had none of the dread of the book. None of the ominous thick sense of foreboding. It was by the numbers, over-lit, over clean, overly orchestrated garbage. What a shame. The book is amazing. The book evokes real emotion. I don’t remember precisely, but in the book I feel we follow Lyra fairly exclusively. It is the world from her point of her view. And so- it is a world full of mystery, intrigue, deception, and also with black terror and evil deeds. The movie is scatter-shot. The bad guys are carbon copies. The bad deeds are …

The West Wing

MJG Book / Movie Reviews Leave a Comment

I got done a few days ago watching my way through the whole of the West Wing. That’s 7 seasons, 22-24 episodes per season, 45-ish minutes per episode, so some 160 episodes, some 100-odd hours of TV. That’s a lot of TV time. Imagine if I’d been writing all that time?! Anyway- I really enjoyed it. It was like being with the crew of the Next Generation’s Enterprise again. The West Wing is the ship, the staff are the crew, and the adventures come to them in the same way the Enterprise went to the adventures. Politics, action, even military stuff, bad guys, tensions, a soap-opera edge with love interests and character development, with a liberal/enlightened world-view throughout. Of course …

Into the Wild

MJG Book / Movie Reviews Leave a Comment

I first heard about the book ‘Into the Wild’ from my Global Issues teacher, when I was taking a Gap Year in a US high school back in 1999. She said I reminded her of the main character- Christopher McCandless. At the time I didn’t know what that meant. I didn’t know anything about Christopher McCandless. I wondered why she compared me to him, generally I thought it was a positive thing- she said he was a bright young guy who sucked the marrow out of life- but there was an edge to it that I didn’t quite understand. I respected her though, her class was probably the most eye-opening class I ever took, so the comment stayed with me. …