Jukeboxparables

WT2010 – JAPAN – Day 3 – Odaiba & Shibuya

Posted in Travels by jukeboxparables on March 12, 2010

WT2010 – JAPAN
Day 3 – Odaiba & Shibuya
[On the iPOD] Be Your Own Pet

SLEEEEEEEEEEEEEP IN. No, get up! What to do today! It was time to venture out of Shinjuku, my newly found comfort zone. I decided to jump straight in the deep end, try and make my way to Odaiba which is the bay area of Tokyo about 25min train ride south of Shinjuku, but not without a transfer or something. A friend said you need to catch the monorail. What monorail!? Well with a useless map and no real idea I decided to leg it. Thankfully a JR info attendant spoke broken english, said I needed to go to Osaki and use a machine outside to get my ticket.

Stared blankly at said machine for 2minutes pondering how I would translate it, oh wait the other one over there has an ENGLISH button. WIN! JR Ticket select. What are all these numbers? I stared blankly and then looked around, a sign had corresponding numbers on a map of the railway layout. I figured the they were fares linking to the stations but the stations weren’t in english. A women noticed me staring bemused so she asked in broken english ‘Where would you like to go?’ I said Osaki, she looked it up and bam I had a ticket.

My main goal in Odaiba was Toyota MEGA WEB. From what I knew; a display centre with cool car related stuff. I get off in Osaki, my map is again useless and doesnt even list the bay area as existing. The trip from Shinjuku to Tokyo Teleport Station in Odaiba is supposed to take 25minutes. Osaki was only 10minutes. I was guessing transfer time and I was right, back up to buy another ticket to extend the fair. This time I showed that ticket machine whose boss and was off to the platform in no time. 15minutes later and Im where I need to be.

I knew two things about Odaiba; They used to host a D1 (Local Drift Competition) in the carpark here and it’s home to this Toyota thing. Upon getting off the train theres a huge sign listing all these places to visit and their distance. A museum or two, A shopping centre called “palette town” and a whole lot more. The toyota showroom and design centre was ok. The highlight was you could book this ‘eco ride’ they have a track that runs directly through the building and swerves and goes up a storey or two and then outside and it’s totally automated, you don’t drive the car drives! Apparently this technology and display has been around for years… as I would later find out first hand later on.

I then made my way to the last part of the Toyota MEGA WEB the ‘history garage’. If you like Toyotas or oldschool cars or cars in general bring a change of undies. What would you do if you had 50million dollars? buy a bunch of cool cars? Yeah great. How about build your own ‘town’ (inside?) with decore matching the cars you place inside. A ferrari 256 GTS? Place it in little Italy ofcourse surrounded by roman pillars and streetcarts filled with fresh produce. Into Mustangs and Cadilacs? place them in a western 50’s American bar / mockup petrol station of course!

Like AE86’s? Place them outside Takumi’s Tofu shop! All 4 of them! Including an ex D1 drift coup. The cars sitting around? A Nissan 240z, the original batmobile, Toyota 2000gt, deloreon, porches, blah blah blah on the list goes. I walked further on to find the back section was a store filled floor to roof with service manuals and diecast models of the highest quality of all types of cars. 1000’s of them. Old school memorabilia like tin-pressed car illustraions to used numberplates from the past. This was all utterly mind blowing. It was like being 10yrs old and dreaming up a garage and being in it.

And then I walked downstairs! More diecast toys as well as; Toyota’s actual F1 car, A GT500 car, A LE MANS racer. The Celica GT4 that won the WRC a heap of times. Some of these cars were parked inside the cafe whilst the others were parked outside which I then noticed was themed like an Italian villa in Sicily. It was an outdoor courtyard with a huge fountain in the middle and a driveway that looped it. Brilliant! It’s as if some exec at Toyota decided to build his boyhood dream garage.

I’ve forgotten to mention the rest of Palette town, it continues the ‘villa’ theme indoors (with fake blue sky and all) It was kind of like the DFO in Sydney except 1000x classier and with better stores and about twice as big at least. Fountains inside etc. Some of the stores were generic but others blew my mind!

Theres a huge ferris wheel right there outside the complex also. Walking to the bay-side I noticed the Sceince Museum was a bit of a hike. I noticed what appeared to be a monorail on the map so I walked to find it. Got tickets and got on to find NO DRIVER. Standing at the front of this thing was rather discerning. It runs automatically (just like the cars in the Toyota facility) It’s interesting to note that the station has glass barriers and sliding doors on the actual platform yet the train stops dead perfect (so its doors lineup with the platform doors) every single time.

The Emerging Science building was okay, It has a cool thing on robotics and some hands on life-science stuff it was interactive with displays and speakers (only good for Japanese speakers to listen to though) The simple and nerdy highlight for me was a little simple experiment setup on display. It was apparently alcohol vapour setup on a clear tub somehow. It’s purpose was to highlight radiation. People, especially new age hippies talk about radiation like it was invented by mad scientists; especially when talking microwaved food. The reality is we’re surrounded by radiation every day, we even emit it ourselves. So this display actually CAUGHT the alpha, beta and gamma radiation and made it visible in an eerie smokey way, simple yet cool.

Was getting to 4pm now So I decided to head back with a stop at Shibuya. Theres a statue in the square of the famous station square called Hachiko sqaure. It’s also where that ‘famous’ Intersection is in Shibuya when the lights go green you get a huge displacement of people in all directions. The Hachiko statue is a dog. The story goes; In the 1920’s a professor who taught at Tokyo University kept a small Akita dog called Hachiko, the dog followed his master to the station every morning whilst he went to work. Hachiko would actually return in the afternoon to wait for the professor to come home every day without fail. In 1925 the professor died of a stroke yet little Hachiko would return to the meeting spot every afternoon for 10years until it’s own death. The story touched the locals who built the statue in the little dogs honour. It’s now a popular meeting spot in Shibuya!

I wandered around a bit with the aim of finding a record store called disc union. I instead found one called recofan which I’ve heard is amazing. On the elevator everyone got out on a floor that looked like a book store so I got out too, it was manga/anime/toy haven of course. Robot toys galore! I ALMOST went a little crazy buying some buy refrained and headed to the music store. I was in there for 2hours! They had a used Beatles vinyl section and vinyl in general was a bargain. At record fares in Australia if your after ‘rare’ Japanese pressings of The Beatles LP’s (with Apple label stickers) your looking at like $50 an LP. Here was a wall in front of me, starting from $10 a pop! Oh noes!

9800yen later and I walked out pretty happy. All japanese pressings of everything from The Beatles, The Damned, Gang of Four, Blondie, The Cure and and and and A MINT Japanese pressing of The Smiths strangeways album with stickers for fricken $14! Wow. That’d be like $70 back home I’m going to go broke in this town. They also give you brand new plastic sleeves for free! Got some Ramen on the way home and took some more snaps of the Shibuya Intersection at night. Dead tired!

Note to self; 80shots left on my 4GB photocard! (shooting in L format) geees time to buy another.

MORE PHOTOS OVER AT FLICKR

MORE PHOTOS OVER AT FLICKR

Advertisements

Triple J – Hottest 100 of All Time!

Posted in Music, Random by jukeboxparables on June 14, 2009

Triple J (JJJ) Also known as Australia’s national broadcaster are holding their hottest 100 of all time music poll again. For either the fourth or fifth time depending on how you look at it. Basically every year since 1989 the station has run an end of year “What is the best song of all time poll” In where bands/songs from any era could be chosen. This ran from 1989 to 1991. Joy Division came in at #1 in ’89 and ’90 with “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and Nirvana – “Smells Like Teen Spirit” got #1 in 1991 (Joy Division came in at #2)

In 1993 after a year off the format was changed to a year-in-review hottest 100 in-where people could vote for what they perceived as the best songs of the previous year (singles released in that year)

In 1998 as an almost 10-year Anniversary the ‘all time’ poll happened again. Nirvana – “Smells like Teen Spirit” got #1 whilst Hunters & Collectors – “Throw Your Arms Around Me” was #2.

Check out all the stats here

Anyway, besides what you may think about this poll; It is the Biggest public music poll on the planet (by votes counted) So I don’t see it as a bad thing at all, besides what the whingers out there say.

And It’s being run again, 10years since the last one!

Sure it is hard to vote; How do you vote for songs? By what you think is technically a better song? Or do you just go by what you love the most? It get’s yet more complicated when you start thinking about other people and how they’ll vote. For example; What’s the point of me voting for “INSERT_OBSCURE_SONG” because no one else is sure as hell not going to vote for it. So my vote won’t even show in the 100, I might as well vote my favourite bands hit single right? Well that’s how the line of thought goes I think.

Anyway because I’m usually all over the place musically I’ve decided not to vote in a certain way ie “only the best technical songs” rather I’m going to mix and match and here’s the way my vote is going:

*Note; You get to vote for 10songs in no order*. Get voting here; It’s open to everyone. Yes I’ve added links for viewing pleasure.

#The Beatles – Twist & Shout
#The Temptations – My Girl
#Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart
#David Bowie – Life On Mars?
#Ramones – Blitzkrieg Bop
#Nirvana – Drain You
#Radiohead – Karma Police
#The Smiths – This Charming Man
#At The Drive-In – 198d
#Sonic Youth – Teenage Riot

Yes, Yes It’s oh so hard sometimes. Choosing Nirvana, The Ramones and Sonic Youth’s “best” song was particularly the hardest… I’ve gone with the ‘popular’ Ramones choice likewise Sonic Youth but I’ve chosen Drain You over Teen Spirit… (and a sea of others) So darn hard to decide! :s

Bands just outside the Top10 for me: The Clash, Cap’n Jazz, Gang of Four, Blur, Iggy Pop, Muse, Bloc Party. Oh what a travesty to leave them out!

Voting closes Sunday 28th June 2009 – midnight AEST.

Messages to ET & SETI musings.

Posted in Science by jukeboxparables on April 24, 2009

vla

NewScientist is running a story with the lead; “Why we shouldn’t hide our problems from ET”. In summary director of interstellar message composition at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California. Douglas Vakoch; states that prospective messages to the stars should point out we aren’t perfect, that such messages should also contain our shortcomings and frailties as well as conveying hope and generally just saying “Hi”.

I agree that in the unlikely case of a dialogue being opened between us and another civilization that the Issues facing Earth should not be hidden and the problems we face should be transparent. But this is one step removed from broadcasting them across the galaxy in a one-way advert. Various media of war, poverty, atrocities, crime and hate aren’t exactly good conversation starters with strangers.

Imagine placing an advert on a friendship/dating site along the lines of “Hi, I’m 4.5 billion years old. I enjoy; moonlit strolls along the beach while children starve to death, Croquet and genocide, Hiking whilst destroying natural habitats, Watersports while Nuclear testing. I’m looking for something long-term, someone I can really talk to… about exciting new technologies for military application so as to gain a subversive upper hand on my fellow human beings.” Does that sound like an Ad you’d answer?

My point is, In getting to know someone (or something else) we should strive to apply our unspoken Human tradition of; small steps and common ground first. Because a traditional human greeting is all we’re capable of after all.

I don’t agree with Douglas in that “If we continue to dodge controversy, we risk sending messages that are both brief and boring” I just don’t see how receiving a message from across the vastness of space could be boring.

Though I suppose this is all one big moot point; Basically we’ve been sending signals into space since TV has begun broadcasting. That’s right, everything from news to sports to random television sitcoms are right now beaming across the blackness of space. Something like 60 years of television has created an imaginary ‘globe’ of radiowaves emitting from the earth, light years in diameter passing through countless solar systems.

Of course the further such radiowaves get, the less power they carry. But there has been concentrated broadcasts purposely directed for space.

In February 2008. NASA aimed its eye towards the North Star, 431 light years away. And began playing The Beatles – Across the Universe. Yes, apt indeed.

Besides broadcasts though, us Earthlings do have another presence in Space. Pioneer 10 & 11 and Voyager 1 & 2 carry information (symbolic, mathematical, cultural) physically on the spacecraft themselves. And every second they’re hurtling through space, further and further from home (more on them sometime soon)

If you could have chosen one song to beam into space, what would it be and why? Or what about your thoughts on a default Earth greeting?

You can submit your greeting ideas to SETI because they’re opening their doors and accepting greeting ideas from around the world very soon. The greetings won’t be broadcast (as yet) It seems they’re just testing the waters, gathering data, listening for input.

It’s good that such an initiative has been taken, Perhaps before NASA go attaching Golden Records to things they should conduct some type of Music pole to see what Sounds best represent Earth. But more on that another time.

Blender gallery – rockarchive 10th anniversary exhibit

Posted in Music, Oldschool/Classic Things, Photography by jukeboxparables on March 23, 2009

cobainnap

On Saturday I made a date with Paddington’s Blender gallery because they are hosting rockarchive’s collection of UK based limited music related photography spanning many decades. Hung prints included; David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Nirvana, Johnny Cash, The Beatles, Blondie, The Clash, Sex Pistols, Siouxsie Sioux and many many more. All of the prints are limited releases available for purchase, ouch did I come close. Particular shots of Cobain and Sioux we’re amongst highlights.

It’s the first time the collection is running in Australia, it being based in the UK, It features dozens of portfolios of some of the worlds best music photographers and runs from Friday 20th March until Tuesday 21st April 2009 you can get all the info at either rockarchives website or the Blender gallery.

I was blown away by more than a few of the shots and more importantly the story behind them. I’ve borrowed the photo above as a means to get you all out there to take a look. If I’m infringing copyright please let me know.

I chose that shot because I absolutely love the story behind it. It was taken by and is the copyright of Ed Sirrs and the story behind it reads; The date was 20 Aug 1991.

“The support band had been ignored by an almost empty house, but the place is suddenly capacity rammed and heaving for headliners Sonic Youth. Four feet away from the side of the little stage, oblivious to the monumental racket, the support band’s singer/guitarist (Kurt Cobain) catches a few zzzs on a narrow wooden bench.”

That’s a moment in time. One of my all time favourite bands Nirvana did indeed tour/support Sonic Youth (another of my favourites) during the explosion of the Seattle sound in the late 80’s early 90’s. This photo of Kurt makes him look like a regular guy taking a nap, a roady perhaps? (though how you could fall asleep during the aural assault that is Sonic Youth, I don’t know) a few months on to a year later Nirvana became the biggest band in the world. 3 years later the combined effects of childhood scoliosis / undiagnosed stomach cramps -> various drug addictions / unrelenting & unwanted international media pressure, perhaps all combined to cause Kurt to commit suicide. But here he’s just a regular guy having a nap.

EDIT:: looky what I found. Yes it’s from the same show!