My photo in the Royal Academy of Arts

MJG Architecture, Japan 3 Comments

Two of my Tokyo architecture photos are currently on display in the Royal Academy of Arts, in London. They are part of an exhibition entitled Weird, Wacky and Wonderful in the Architecture space. That is pretty cool. I was contacted a month or so back about the exhibition- with regard to this funky Gundam building in Shibuya: It’s actually part of a local college for architecture. I went to the Gundam building ages ago, when I was into photographing odd buildings just as much as I was into shooting haikyo. You can see more photos of it here. The Royal …

Pros / Cons of Life in Japan #1 Walking

MJG Japan, Pro / Con 28 Comments

City-walking is both an art and a science. As any seasoned city-walker knows (I’m looking at you, New York), success depends on an endless stream of complex crowd-motion algorithms executed with the balletic grace of Neo slow-dodging bullets. Like a persistent spermatazoa wriggling for the egg, we city-walkers waggle, chicane, and drive our way through the crowds of human dreck that litter our path. However in Japan, more specifically in Tokyo, all those fancy commutation computations may be rendered inert by a single oblivious breed. CON? THE WALK-IN-FRONTER Everybody knows there are two (or more) lanes on the sidewalk, just …

Vanilla Ice Second & more Japangrish

MJG Japan, Japangrish Leave a Comment

Perhaps you’ve always wondered. Perhaps you used to protest to your friends until they branded you the group’s uncool pariah- “No, but listen, a Vanilla Ice comeback really WOULD be awesome.” At which point you probably broke into song: “Alright, stop, collaborate and listen-“ I recommend you listen to Ice himself while reading the rest of this post. Ice on? Alright, let’s get down to it. What would a Vanilla Ice comeback look like? Japan has come up with an answer. Was this intended as a sequel to the actual Vanilla Ice? Who knows. Perhaps an inducement for all Vanilla …

Hackman Gachapon

MJG Japan, Toys / Games Leave a Comment

You can buy odd things in a Gachapon. Perhaps attention too often goes to the wadded-up knicker-vending machines (so sought-after these days), and not often enough to those cute little machines sitting so innocently right at your kids’ eye level. In the past I’ve experimented and come up with the rear end of a fire truck and a piece of railway bridge. So we are incentivised to buy more. Then I glimpsed these little beggars. They cannot be for kids. They are some kind of post-ironic jab at uber-too-cool-for-school hipsters, phone donglies that scream ‘I listen to Tragically Hip’ while …

Orange Injection Candy

MJG Food / Drink, Japan

Drugs designed for kids often taste like candy. I remember getting to love the taste of the cold remedy Sudafed, and looking forward to taking it- lovely goopy syrupy sugar. If I could’ve chugged it freestyle, I very well might have (and actually did once, when my sister and I sat under the kitchen table around 6 years old and sampled the delicacies of the medicine cabinet). Now one Japanese candy company has picked up on this trend, turned the tables, and started marketing candy as a drug. The Japanese says- Syringe Water Candy. I saw this delicacy when I …

Japan’s sexy Coca Cola

MJG Food / Drink, Japan 5 Comments

It’s not often this site gets sexy. Occasionally you’ll get your dabblings in Coppertone bikini girls or your Girls Generation Cheetos, but never explicitly sexy. Here though we’ll get explicit. We’ll get sexy. If you’re a minor, avert your gaze. Everyone else, buckle up and batten down, cos here we go: Phew, somebody get a dehumidifier in here, it is steaming UP. OK, so maybe that picture is a little deceptive. It looks a lot like a regular convenience store shelf, packed with delicious nutritious soft drinks. From right to left we see Coke, CC Lemon, Oolong tea, and Japanese …

Girl’s Generation Cheetos

MJG Food / Drink, Japan, People / Culture 12 Comments

Girls Generation is a big news 9-member pop group from South Korea. They are currently breaking into Japan and other Asian countries in a major way. This can be seen in their cute same-looking legs gracing the covers of many product ads, from cookies to Cheetos. Girls Generation prep for launch. My favorite is probably, um, the leader? 9 different flavors of same though, really. Girls Generation = sexy, young, vibrant. Cheetos= not. Cheetos – serious taste-having cheese. With 1 collectible card. It’s an odd branding exercise. If they’d carved each individual Cheeto into the shape of one of the …

Pros / Cons of Life in Japan #2 Fighting

MJG Japan, Pro / Con 9 Comments

Fighting in real-life is pretty dumb. You’ve gotta be a drunk or some kind of psycho to go around initiating fights with real people, though there are doubtless plenty of both. I remember being yelled out countless proposals to fight while walking pub-to-club on the night-streets of Bolton, UK, as though they were casual invitations to dance. There was the same pulse-quickening excitement, flushed faces, the same hopeful anticipation. I’m sure it happens every night still. It’s strange, but then some people just like to fight, like Begby in Trainspotting (though more accurately he just liked to glass people in …

Sweet Tomato Jello

MJG Food / Drink, Japan 10 Comments

Tomatoes are the great pretenders; spies who ply both sides of the aisle like double-edged moles in a John le Carre novel. One day they’re cropping up as vegetables, hidden amidst a salad, getting all the juicy low-down on what the peas are really up to with the carrots, and the next they’re in bed (are they gay? bisexual? I didn’t say it here first) with peaches and pomegranates, squeezing out seeds seductively and acting all sweet. Trust the Japanese to capitalize on that. So you think you’re sexy, tomato? Also earthy? Ha ha, f%*k you, into the jello cup …

Ice-Flock Gulls @ Kizuna Anthology

MJG Books, Featured Story, Japan, Writing Leave a Comment

Kizuna: Fiction for Japan is a charity anthology of 75 stories from authors all around the world, with all proceeds going to benefit the orphans of the disaster-stricken Tohoku area, through the charity Smile Kids Japan. It includes a story by me- The Ice-Flock Storks of Soroya – one by Michael Moorcock, and 73 others ranging across all genres- Horror, humor, human drama, science fiction, fantasy, absurdist, bizarro, weird, new wave, bugpunk, Cthulhu, Sherlock Holmes, historical fiction, and more. Purchase At the moment it’s available only on ebook- here are the links: – Kizuna: Fiction for Japan > US – …