Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lady Gaga レディーガガ Here in Kobe

Although I am not really into her genre of music, I am still impressed that Lady Gaga is performing in Kobe this evening. She is performing at the concert hall (World Kinen Hall)here on Port Island (the barren wasteland I call home). Last night there were huge crowds at the Port Liner station in Sannomiya when I was coming home from work. I realized that the throngs of good looking young women were in line to see a concert, but I didn't know who they were going to see. while waiting to buy my monthly train pass early this morning I saw the "What's Happening Events" calendar sign in the station and saw that Lady Gaga is playing here as part of her Monster Ball Tour.

Here is my little "jlandkev" vlog about it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Let's Eat Snacks

Let's eat Japanese snacks. Many folks who are interested in Japan based blogs and vlogs are more than familiar with the standard food test blog. I wanted everyone to check this one out because it is a little different. This Japanese snack review is done by a well-known and AWESOME Korea-based vlogger, "qiranger."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Kevin's 5 Favorite Podcasts

I commute to work everyday like many , if not most people in japan. I spend a lot of time everyday squished on trains filled with despondent office workers and students. i also have a need to here English since the media I encounter on a daily basis is normally in Japanese.

Like many folks out there, I connect with the world outside of Japan through podcasts. I simply wanted to share with those out there, my top 5 podcasts. the ones I look forward to and am excited to see download each week, or day, in my iTunes tray.

Kevin's Top 5 Fave Podcasts

1. Stuff You Should Know
Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant, two staff writers for the "How Stuff Works" website have a twice weekly podcast where they look at amazing facts and interesting topics on every subject imaginable. They are witty, intelligent and normally leave me laughing out loud on crowded Japanese trains! With How Stuff Works, not only will you learn a lot, but possibly leave your pants wet with urine from laughing so much!

2. Q
5 days a week I listen to this AMAZING arts and culture show from CBC Radio. The host, Jian Ghomeshi is possibly one of the best interviewers I have ever heard. His is intelligent, insightful and knows the global cultural scene like no other.

Here is a recent interview with singer Nora Jones on Q.

3. Diggnation
This weekly tech/culture podcast has hilarious and knowledgeable hosts, Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht taking a funny and informative look at tech and tech culture around the world. This podcast is often booze-fueled and usually has me laughing out loud in inappropriate locations!

4. Seoul Podcast
This is a weekly (not so much these days) podcast created by 3 English teachers based in South Korea. Joe, Stafford and Jennifer give their interesting and often amusing viewpoints on life in South Korea as non-Koreans. They look at history, news and culture and also look at the expat community in South Korea. Often, interesting bloggers and other panelists are on the show. In recent months, the show's three hosts have become busier and have not been producing regular shows. Once weekly, now there are episodes once or twice a month. Since I lived and worked in Korea for more than five years (hence my You Tube name BusanKevin), I am still interested in the goings on there. I have always looked forward to listening to Seoul Podcast each week and hope it becomes a more regular installment once again.

5. Japan Talk
Very well produced and of a very high quality, Japan talk is a weekly roundup of news and interesting stories in Japan. It is produced by the creator of the Japundit website. If you are in any way interested in Japan, this amazing podcast is a must listen.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

You Tube Hiatus Continues and some news

The week is half through and so far so good. No complaints from my end aside from the pain caused by going to the gym for the first time in 6 months.

Looks as if this will probably be the last full on weekend for Hanami in this part of Japan. Most of the cherry trees are in full bloom and many are losing many of the flowers already.

When I see stories about kobe in the English media, they naturally catch my eye. Upon reading his one, I realized that this would never receive any sort of media coverage in North America.

14-year-old girl arrested in Kobe for possessing marijuana
KOBE - A 14-year-old girl was arrested Saturday in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, on suspicion of possessing marijuana, police said Sunday. The third-year junior high school student is suspected of having about 0.09 of a gram of marijuana in the pocket of her school uniform at her home Friday in violation of the Cannabis Control Law, police said.

The student told police that she is acquainted with one of four junior high school students arrested in Kobe in December and January on suspicion of marijuana possession, but said she was given the marijuana involved in the latest case by another junior high school girl in the city.
Japan Today

Although, upon reading this, you might think it strange that there would even be this much coverage about such a small amount of what we North Americans consider a "soft" drug, but in Japan, they don't mess around with drugs of any sort. Much like Korea, if caught with even the smallest amount of an illegal narcotic in japan, you are royally screwed. I would always shake my head when some "numb-nuts" English teacher in Korea would brag about getting his/her hands on weed (this didn't happen very often luckily). I would just inform them that unlike Canada, if caught here, even with a small amount, jail time is a distinct possibility!

A little Korea news....
SMOE won't be hiring this fall, EPIK to take care of it.
From the ever interesting Brian in Jeollanam-do blog.

On a lighter note, I am very much enjoying my little You Tube hiatus. With my work schedule and family life, I have been finding it a little stressful to give my little You Tube community the attention it deserves. I suppose this is mostly since my "little" You Tube community is no longer so little. With more than 5000 subscribers to my You Tube channel, trying to reply to comments, answer as many emails as possible (if they were well thought out questions) and producing content has caused me a little anxiety of late. After a little break I should be back in fighting form and will again, be producing fun content for the peeps who dig my stuff! For the folks who care, and luckily there are a lot of you, hang in there and I will be back soon :)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Hanami 花見 "Cherry Blossom Viewing"

Spring is not just in the air; it has officially arrived. For the past two weekends, people in this part of Japan have been celebrating spring’s arrival by having picnics and parties in local parks. Japanese people enjoy picnics at any point in the year (maybe not Winter), but the most anticipated season is cherry blossom or hanami season. In Japan, cheery blossoms are know as “sakura” 桜 and the act of going out to look at the cherry blossoms and potentially picnic or party in their midst is referred to as “hanami” 花見

Last year was my first opportunity to enjoy Hanami in Japan. I went to several parties and family outings during the few weeks of the cherry blossom season. I was able to enjoy the revelry and more “hard core” drinking around Osaka Castle Park and then the following weekend, spend quiet time having wonderful picnics with my in-laws and wife in different part of the Kansai area.

These are some pictures I snapped of some cherry cheers close to my apartment.

I assume that this weekend may be one of the last weekends for Hanami in this part of Japan. Already, lots of the cherry blossoms have begun to fall off the trees. Next year it will be such a great experience to enjoy this very Japanese tradition with my wife and new little one!