Tag Archives: japan

Tony Hawk stole my youth

I put on a game I have to review today and, on seeing its intro, was instantly reminded of how brilliant a time I had in Tokyo a couple of months ago. Corruption? Where? But yeah – the simplest of things conjuring up these vivid memories.

Canned, cold coffee (ohmygod it’s so delicious), confusing streets, me realising just how picky an eater I am, nasal girls dressed up  like six-year-olds trying to lure you down alleyways, Hell Boat, me turning down even more food, karaoke, secret smoking areas we walked for four miles (may be an exaggeration) to find, Akihabara being fucking weird – great times. All brought about from a game. Weird.

But it’s nothing compared to Tony Hawk’s. Reading something about it earlier today made me regress to my childhood/youthdom, and I’m still rolling through those formative years in my head right now

That game, along with Pro Evo (and to a lesser extent the Smackdown series), pretty much holds dominion over my youth. Countless days spent playing it with mates, sessions going through the whole night, hilarious new words invented for HORSE, the entire soundtrack being downloaded (very, very slowly on Napster) – it was the background to my adolescence.

And I was never actually that good at it.

It’s no surprise the songs from the first two games are littered about my iPod, picked up independently of each other over the years. They stick with you and they remind you of the game, and the game reminds you of Them Times Everyone Loves. I’m a better person now; I’m less awkward and more comfortable in who I am and what I can and can’t do. But that doesn’t stop part of me from missing Them Times Everyone Loves.

I would need to get better at the game, though.

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Japan or chips

But, of course, it’s the one you’ve all been waiting for. The catch up entry you had started to fear might not be coming – the one that’s going to change your life.

Well, no, that’s a lie. You’re going to get bored reading it. Anyway.

I ate food in Japan, and it confused my tiny northern mind. I am from a town in South Yorkshire. I grew up on chips, pies, gravy, mushy peas, more chips, chip-flavoured ice cream for dessert and pie-flavoured chips. With gravy. Naturally this means my tastebuds are what you would call ‘refined’.

Heading to Japan (I went to Japan etc) I expected to be confused by food. I was not let down. Now I am shit and picky and annoying like that – I don’t like fish and, while I will try lots of things, I don’t actually like a great deal of things.

I am aware of how much this irritates people, but shut up. At least I try stuff.

Anyway, fish. Christ. Japan: stop it with fish. Exchange it for chips. And the seaweed? Well it’s not that bad, but you might as well replace it with chips. All those cow guts and hearts and livers you put in stuff? Swap them for chips, it makes sense. Sake? That’s quite nice actually, but you might as well switch it with chips. Rice is delicious and filling, especially with some good soss on it, but to keep with some kind of theme you should probably switch it with chips.

In fact, swap the entire landmass of Japan with chips.


Those compacted mashed-up fish cakes with the feel and consistency of firm putty? Those were just weird. Swap ‘em with chips.

3 of 14 catch up entries to go.

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And I thought sorry was a British thing

I made a hilarious quip, as I am wont to do, about having been apologised to about 335,824 times after about two hours of being in Japan (did I mention I went to Japan etc etc). Thing is, I don’t think I was that far away from the truth, such is the culture there.

Now, I knew it’s a polite place before I went – I just wasn’t ready for the whole ‘apologise fifteen times and bow twenty’ thing. Oh, you were a little bit in my way causing momentary awkwardness? Okay, it’s perfectly reasonably to bow eighteen times. You forgot to put a glass in my room when you were cleaning it? Okay, just give me the glass, I’ll put it in the room – no need to apol… ah. She won’t give me the glass because she’s too busy bowing and apologising.

Now I’m not one to slate the culture of another place – and that’s not what I’m doing – especially seeing as I’m one of the most uncultured oiks in the world. Just ask anyone who’s spent any real time with me (twice in two blogs, BOOM). I don’t know how the world works and blah de blah.

It’s just strange enough for me to highlight, and it happened enough that I could eke a couple of hundred words out of it to fill the gap here. DOUBLE BOOM.

Still, it does make you feel like you’re the BAWAS every time someone goes so utterly subservient. Like a bawas.

5 of 14 catch up entries to go.

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Tokyo: the definitive review (7/10)

The thing is, I saw pretty much everything in Tokyo that I both expected and didn’t expect to see. I’ve grown up on comics, sci-fi, videogames and whatever else that has Tokyo in it, and it’s all painted a pretty vivid picture of the place. So when I get there and I see much of it is true, from the fact it looks like you’re in Blade Runner some of the time to the way that yes, there are vending machines with girl’s underwear in them – it makes me a wee bit giddy.

Alright, less the crusty keks, but that’s because I’m not a weirdo. Well, I am, just not in that sense.

But then there’s the stuff you don’t think about. There’s the people who, aside from the natural salesmen trying to get you in somewhere to sell you overpriced whatever, are friendly, pleasant and welcoming. There’s the beer, which is good. The language, which is confusing. The food, which is also confusing (WHY DOES IT LOOK AND SMELL LIKE A DOUGHNUT BUT HAVE MEAT IN IT?).

Then there’s the toilets – OH! – the toilets. They are the best things in the world by a long, long way. That potential massive leap towards curing HIV they revealed recently? Bugger all compared to Japanese toilets. You know what I’m talking about, if you’ve ever read anything about Japan.

Anyway, Tokyo is massive, which scares me – as do all massive places. People there get drunk all the time, which is brilliant. The subway didn’t feel dangerous. We went into an area of Shinjuku we were warned was “a bit dodgy at this time of night” only to be confronted with The Least Dodgy Place I Have Ever Been (bar all the titty bars, obviously).

Also there was a random petshop, which was aww well cute sweet etc.

And we saw a Yakuza girlfriend. She had nice tattoos.

Possibly the best city I’ve ever been to, now I think about it, and I have to go again at some point. I’d just have to save up about £3,000,000 for a week’s worth of food and drink. Expensive isn’t the word.


6 of 14 catch up entries left to go.

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Jetlag, apathy and disconnect. Apparently.

I am currently suffering jetlag in a way I have never experienced it before. I am going to put this down to returning to the UK from the east for the first time. Well, not the first time, but returning from the distance I have for the first time.

I went to Japan, you know. Did I mention that? Because I went to Japan. You’ll be getting plenty of catch-up blogs about that. Because I went to Japan.

Anyway, I’m feeling really rather disconnected from anything and everything, though at the same time it’s not like it feels like a dream or anything. If anything, it feels like weird sleep and time-related apathy has set in. There’s the usual depression that sets in when you have to go back to a stinky little hovel of a flat that’s full of as much physical mess as it is emotional…

Oh wait, that’s too whiny. Hmm.

Hopefully sleeping this evening will kill off most of the lagging sensation and mean I can be my usual, happy-go-lucky, optimistic and thoroughly positive self when I return to work for the first time in two weeks tomorrow.

That’s as in I’m going back to work tomorrow for the first time in two weeks, not I’m back in two weeks. I’d be sacked if I tried to have a month off. Much as I’d love having a month off. I WANT A MONTH OFF AND TO BE FLOWN AROUND THE REST OF THE WORLD FOR FREE.

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Eggplant. EGGPLANT.

I was too out of it yesterday to write anything, and I’m too busy now to do anything of substance. Hence, just read this instead:

The incredible tale of Eggplant.

Via Reddit, obvs.

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We’ve nuked them!

I’m not going to go mental again today, as I’ve done it a couple of times about things in the news and it’s going to make my brain explode everywhere. EVERYWHERE. But I must say a couple of things if only to get them out of my head and so I feel better that the handful of morons who read this blog are enlightened in some way (P.S. you are morons because you read this drivel, not because you are stupid in any other way. Please don’t desert me I need you I NEED YOU).

So some bad shit has happened in Japan. I like to hugely understate grave situations. It has lead to instability in some nuclear reactors in a power plant (one power plant, seemingly all tabloid newspapers ever, not ALL THE POWER PLANTS). Obviously the standard human reaction has happened: hear ‘nuclear power’, start crying into your soup about it killing dolphins and irradiating geese, maintain it’s the worst thing the world has ever seen and demand all talk of it stops forever lest the mere mention of nuclear power irradiates your brain.

Now I’m a bit of a hippie. I like the environment quite a lot. I like nature, animals, people not being shit to the world. I’ve even converted over the last couple of years to… *shudder*… organic foodstuffs and (sometimes) ethical clothing. You would therefore assume I dislike nuclear power, as it clearly kills the world. If you’ve been paying attention, you would know I’m about to say you’re wrong.

I was about to do a rant here, but I just saw this image and it says what I want to say:

And the next person to bring up Chernobyl as an example of why we should be mortally terrified of the Japanese situation gets a spot on my hitlist. That was an old reactor even at the time of the accident, it was terribly badly built, had no safety measures to speak of, was running in a nation that had no money (or was at least running out) and so no ability or inclination to keep up maintenance on the facility, was horribly mis-managed and was generally An Accident Waiting To Happen. It was terrible what happened there, no doubt, and that kind of damage could never have been done by a coal or oil-powered plant. But these days that kind of damage can’t be done by a nuclear power plant. It just can’t. Aside from safety improvements (and the whole ‘technology getting better over the last 40-50 years or however long’ thing), they don’t make half the fucking reactor room out of flammable graphite, meaning even if those Japanese reactors did explode they would have nothing to burn on, and so no way for the radiation to be spread over a massive distance and oh I’ve gone cross-eyed with rage again.

Look, just watch this:

And read up here. And here. And if you can’t be bothered listening to things or reading things, kindly shut the fuck up about nuclear power being this massive bogeyman destroying the world.

The second thing that annoyed me was The Daily Mail, but if I go into that I probably will die right now. My eye is twitching.

N.B. A shiny penny for whoever gets the reference in the headline.


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FIFA World Cup 2010 predictions – groups E-F

I would say “like a fine wine this gets better with age” but instead I’ll be more honest with you and say “like a £2.99 bottle of pissy-vinegar-wine this leaves a bad taste in your mouth, fills you with regret and gives you a headache. Oh, and it makes your mouth purple.” Honesty is of course the best policy.

Group E

Netherlands: I’ve never actually been to the Netherlands, which I consider quite odd as it’s cheap to go there and popular with ‘the kids’. It may be down to the fact that I have never been down with said ‘kids’, and because drug dealers and hookers scare me. Ah well. Quarters, possibly semis. Finals, I mean. Definitely not a hooker-related euphemism.

Japan: The Japanese will be galvanised after their rather fortuitous victory over Cameroon earlier today. Buoyed by their lifted spirits and not weighed down by their nation’s understandably-raised expectations the Japanese will make their way through to the second round in battling spirit, befor… GODZIRRA! Definitely not racist.

Cameroon: I have no opinion on Cameroon, mainly because I forgot the country even existed. Errm… out in the group stage?

Denmark: I’m not actually sure if the Danes are actually Danish or English or what, seeing as the adverts for their “favourite” lager claims to be as English as fish and chips or racism and alcohol-fuelled violence. Still, they are legally registered as a different country to England, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. Speaking of doubt: as if Carlsberg is the most popular lager in Denmark. Surely those people have taste?

Group F

Italy: The old men of the tournament, dragging their zimmer frames around. Or is it the ‘average age of 28 team’? Either way, it’s some ridiculous point a dozen commentators and pundits can labour over in coming weeks, as the dirty dirty Italians more or less accidentally make their way to the semis. Though it would be hilarious if they only got to the quarters.

Paraguay: Where the fuck is Chilavert? (*checks Wikipedia*) Ah, retired in 2004, suspended prison sentence in 2006. Good work, one of my favourite keepers of all time. Definitely my favourite fat keeper of all time. I would write ParaGAY (like “you are gay” HAAHHA) off, but look at the other teams in the group.

New Zealand: From a literal perspective I can understand why New Zealand are in the finals: they did enough to qualify, obviously. From a figurative perspective? I do not understand why New Zealand are in the World Cup finals. It’s not even like they’re able to offer the ‘morbid curiosity’ factor the North Koreans bring. Sent home with their heads held half-high, I doubt they’ll be totally humiliated. After all – Ryan Nelsen!

Slovakia: Slovakia – otherwise known as ‘the harsher-sounding Slovenia’ – wouldn’t normally register on my radar. Un/fortunately, I picked them out in the work sweeps, meaning I have to egg them on to win the whole bloody tournament. This will not happen. Still, it might. (it won’t)

Tomorrow is the final two groups, and after that comes the point where I have to think of things to write again, rather than spunking out this nonsense. Though that does mean a lot of you are likely to start reading again, rather than thinking it’s a po-faced analysis of footballing futures and immediately dismissing it out of hand.

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