I thought I'd post this link about ramen from Japanzine before the month is over. Ramen was a Chinese dish that has evolved into a Japnese standard. For the record my favorite type is Miso or anything spicy.
Toyo Univeristy is holding its yearly Bunkasai (cultural festival) from Friday this week until Tuesday next week. Monday is a national holiday (Culture Day), so I have a 5 day weekend. I was planning on using some frequent flyer miles and go to Korea, but I figured that there were plenty of things I could/should be doing like preparing for the Japanese Proficeincy Test, planning my Winter Vacation trip to Egypt (my friend Michael, formerly of Barcelona, just moved to Cairo), and start working on my research paper on Junichiro Tanizaki. But it's not going to be all work and no play there's a Halloween Party and a wedding party this weekend, and I hope to see Kill Bill and visit the new Contemporary Art Museum in Roppongi Hills Complex--so lots of weblogs coming up.
Here's a description of a typical Bunkasai, however I won't go to this one and I didn't go last year, but I've bee to some before and they can be fun, but I see my students enough-I need a break.
From the middle of October to the beginning of
November, school festivals will be held at universities
across the nation. School festivals or "bunkasai" are
big yearly events aimed at revitalizing each university
and their interaction with people of the wider
community. At some universities, the school festival
also coincides with ?open campus? days for prospective
Students belonging to university faculties and circles
will have been preparing many months in advance for
this event. In general, bunkasai feature many events
and displays including open stands, games, films, live
musical performances, talk shows by famous TV
personalities and inter-campus beauty contests. The
festival will welcome many visitors, both young and
old to the campus, making for a great atmosphere.
They were preparing booths for the festival when I left the campus today.
.... and my friend Timo will have his annual party. Here are some pictures from last year. If you look in the corner of the first picture on the first page you will see an enormous gaijin in a gray sweater wearing a plastic bald hair piece and glasses (it is a costume of a famous Japanese comedian named Kato chan). I'll try to take some photos of this year's event as well.
I've been seeing these posters all over campus at Toyo, and I'm surprised that they're putting on a production of an obscure contemporary English play. I doubt that most of my students know who Kafka is or what a dick is in English.
Former sufferers of the shut-in condition known as "hikikomori" make their way around Shikoku along an 88-temple route in Tokushima Prefecture as part of a rehabilitation program.
Hikikomori is a condition specific to Japan, where people, usually males refuse to leave their homes and often their rooms. It differs from agrophobia in that they are not afraid of open spces, but rather contact with other people. Apparently, parents are part of the problem by allowing their sons to withdraw from society and thinking that they'll grow out of it. There was a kid like this at one of the junior high schools I worked at, I never saw him until graduation day, he hadn't been to school in a couple of years, but he got to graduate with his class. I guess that's social promotion for you-school is mandatory until high school.
The jury's still out on The Jeevas' new album Cowboys and Indians. There's a few cool tunes, but it isn't exactly what I had expected, but who knows it might grow on me. I think I heard the first album 1,2,3,4 at a cafe and thought about checking them out. It seemed to me that-that particular album had a sort of Kinks/Creation feel to it. There's definitely a retro feel to this one as well, as the lead singer, Crispian Mills, used to be in Kula Shaker, which I seem to remember not doing much for me. This album is mostly songs about war, and I am little chagrined by the CCR cover "Have You Ever Seen The Rain."
I am happier with the 21 Singles by The Jesus And Mary Chain selection, it really reminds me of my high school/college days. I was inspired to get this CD after reading an interview with Sofia Coppola who said that she had been listening to the The Jesus And Mary Chain a lot lately (incidently I am looking forward to seeing her new movie Lost In Translation-no connection to my choice of site name). I guess I should get Pyschocandy and Darklands on CD, but I don't think it's worth it to get any of the other albums, since they're mostly uneven. However, they've all got some cool songs on them, hence the need to get the singles. I am particularly in love with "Sometimes Always" which features the lovely vocal stylings of Hope Sandoval formerly of the under-rated Mazzy Star.