Japan

MUSIC - NIPPON GIRLS

Nothing but rad goofy fun on this selection of Japanese hits from 1966 - 70. All female singers, none that I was familiar with. Nonetheless, I love this kind of stuff. Very much defines a time and I find it real easy to close my eyes and time travel.

The tracks:

01  –Mie Nakao  Sharock No.1 00:00
02  –Eiko Shuri  Yé-Yé  02:24
03  –J Girls  Kiiro No Sekai  05:19
04  –Mari Atsumi  Suki Yo Ai Shite  08:18
05  –The Cupids  Bazazz Tengoku  10:48
06  –Miki Obata  Hatsu Koi No Letter  13:26
07  –Kaoru Hibiki  Taiyou Ga Kowai No  16:07
08  –Mie Nakao  Uwasa No Futari  19:11
09  –Aki Izumi  Koi Wa Heart De  23:00
10  –Emy Jackson  Tenshi No Itazura  25:13
11  –Margaret  With Bunnys  Aeba Suki Suki  28:01

Enjoy.

FV

 

 

DEEP DREAM GENERATOR

Lately I've kind of taken in interest in too many things and as a result I'm not getting much done of the things I want to do. Some of it is a function of other obligations and having to get up to speed with software and some of it's just kind of losing focus recently. Maybe it's the heat of the summer but I'm just not making the time for printmaking for example. 

Anyway, while cleaning out my bookmarks recently I found the link to the Deep Dream Generator and started playing with that again. If you don't know what it is, in a nutshell, it's a software program for images that uses algorithms that alter an uploaded image. It's original intent was for computer learning, for AI to detect your friends faces on social media and what not.

People use it creatively now. The software has built in templates you can use or you can combine images to create unusual effects. I wouldn't say it's the greatest thing in the world and it can get gimmicky real quick. However, it is fun and can breathe life into an image that's not so exciting. The shot above is from Kamakura, Japan. Pretty typical tourist type shot of the bird man statues (karasu-tengu) at Kenchoji Temple (建長寺). But a quick run through the software gives it a bit of interest. Kenchoji is a beautiful place to visit if you happen to visit Kamakura.

I linked Deep Dream Generator above if you're interested in playing around with it. As I mentioned, it's a fun tool and the more I think about it, with certain filters could be good reference or inspiration for paintings or drawings if you're in a rut.

FV

 

MUSIC - THE STALIN

From 1983, this is 虫 (Insect) from the legendary Japanese punk band The Stalin. Led by frontman and legend in his own right, Michiro Endo, I got turned onto these guys probably about 15 years ago. Can't say I understand the lyrics much, but it's got as good a punk sound and feel as any band from the west, if not better than many. 

It's funny how western music is so heavily exported, if not forced, on other countries. Here in Japan I meet cats who know all the obscure punk and metal bands from America and England but when I lived in the US, I'd meet very few people who knew Japan, Mexico or many other bands from outside the usual places (US, Europe and Scandinavia). I would of loved these guys when I was a teenager but I never heard of them.

I guess the internet has changed a lot of that and that's definitely a cool thing about it. You can find quite a lot of great stuff like this in any genre really from another era in a another country. That said, I think The Stalin really had punk flowing through their veins. Check out some live footage of them on YouTube sometime. Great live and Endo was an out there character. If you dig punk, these guys gotta be in your collection.

FV

 

03/11/2011

©Reuters

It would be remiss of me not mention today marks seven years since the giant earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown, struck Northern Japan. Tens of thousands of people lost either their lives, families, homes, or communities (or a combination of those).

Today the problems of the Fukushima power plant are still not solved and quite precarious. Children who lost families are coming of age into their teens and families who lost a one or more members still battle demons and depression. Many who lost homes and were put in temporary housing have never had new homes built. Life remains uncertain and any sense of normalcy has not returned for many people who receive little aid in their struggles.

The photo above (I could only find Reuters News as a credit) captures the devastation and the horrific realization of disaster more than any words I can write. Look hard and know there are still people struggling after all this time.

Never forget.

FV