Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring is here! Or is it?

Yesterday was 春分の日, also known as the Vernal Equinox. It is the day that marks Spring as having officially arrived. (But in Japan, there was some other day earlier this year that supposedly signified that. I call BS.) For those of you in the US, today is the Vernal Equinox. According to my brother, it's "hot as balls" over there, whereas over here it is pretty damn cold. I woke up this morning to a couple inches of snow on the ground! An annoying surprise. Thankfully, the sun came out a bit and melted some of the snow. Hopefully it'll melt further; slush isn't very safe.

This weekend was pretty nice, pretty busy. I went to the movies on Saturday and saw Time (In Time?). It wasn't groundbreaking, or even great, but I enjoyed it. And it was interesting seeing Justin Timberlake in an almost-action-star role. The few scenes where he gets into a scuffle were cool; but they didn't make too much sense for the character. Why would someone like him be so skilled at taking out multiple guys with weapons? 'Cause he grew up in the ghetto? Eh, I don't buy it. But that's just me nit-picking; those scenes made the movie more exciting.

The movie had a theme of valuing time; not just as their form of currency (tangible value), but also how you make use of what little time you have left. The underlying theme was about class warfare; the 1% benefiting from the expense of the 99%, if you will. "For a few to be immortal, many must die." The movie really made me think about how I've been spending my time, and how I want to spend my time. This brings me to a new hobby:

I just bought an electric guitar! Actually, I got it a few months ago, but I haven't updated my blog in a while, so as far as you guys know, I just got it. It was mad cheap, so it doesn't have the best sound (same can be said with the amp), but it will do for now. I've been learning chords and some simple songs. Eventually, when I get better, I want to replace it with a higher-quality guitar. Perhaps I'll just pick up a decent acoustic guitar rather than replace my electric. That way, I'll have the option to switch between guitars as I switch between playing various genres of music.

Speaking of music, I went to a concert on Sunday! It was a benefit concert for Northeastern Japan. I got to see Monkey Majik perform 6 songs on stage! 5 of which I knew! Monkey Majik is a band based in Sendai (just an hour away!) whose four members are composed of two Japanese guys and two Canadian guys (brothers). One of the Canadian guys was once an ALT, just like I am. After he ended his English teaching job, he started Monkey Majik. After some changing of band members and the introduction of his brother, the band has risen to great success. At the concert, they were the first band to play after the opening act; they got great response (they're arguably one of the most popular musicians in the region).

After Monkey Majik was 西野カナ (Nishino Kana). She is an up and coming pop star; my students bought her album last year when it was released. Mad cute and really popular. Her songs were decent, but I hadn't listened to her before, so I can't say too much. Except that her backup dancers were hottttttt.

There was another guest after her. Naoto something. Some weird name. Really quirky guy. His facial hair/appearance really throws you off for what his personality and singing style would be; basically picture Brad Pitt's character from Fight Club singing like Justin Bieber. Just didn't make sense.

After him was Ai (stylized AI or A.I.), who is a quarter Italian, was born in LA. Really cool, and great artist. I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of what her genre of music was; her poster gave an impression of dance pop (like Koda Kumi), but it was actually hip-hop and R&B. Again, awesome backup dancers; but this time doing hip-hop rather than pop-style dancing.

The equinoxes are holidays in Japan. So, on my day off, I drove an hour and a half to visit a friend, with guitar in tow. He's got mad skill, so he showed me some sweet tricks and techniques that I will be trying out. It was really fun jamming with him, and I got a great idea for a music video project that I want him and another friend to help me with. We grabbed some ramen for lunch and some tapas with two more friends that night. It was too bad that we all have work today, otherwise we could have enjoyed the wine and drink selection. A little pricey, but definitely a good date spot. If only people didn't smoke in places where food was served.

Word of the Day: 異常気象 「いじょうきしょう」 "ijou kishou," which means "abnormal weather."

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