Trash Picking For A Foreign Language!

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Nujabes spelled backwards is “Hip-Hop-Legend”.







The music of Nujabes, more than any other subject matter, exemplifies what this blog is about.  Now that you mention it, what is this blog about?  Anything or any thing?  I’ll be honest, I’m not trying to use this as some philosophical-psychoanalytical-character-study of myself or the world.  There are already plenty of poorly written blogs, books, and Harpo-Winbag-recommended-pieces-of-firewood-kindling that do that.  All I want to do is show people some cool stuff I think they may like, which they may not have found on their own.

And really; what’s cooler than a Nujabes Hip Hop beat?

A.  Nothing   X  A blog post on Nujabes Hip Hop beats.

B.  Nothing   X   Goku doing a kamehameha while wearing a Nujabes T-shirt

C.  Nothing   X   Goku doing a kamehamhea while wearing a Nujabes T-shirt while listening to the Nujabes Pandora station

D.  Nothing   X   Goku doing a kamehameha while wearing a Nujabes T-shirt while listening to the Nujabes Pandora station while doing a 360 flip over a 20 foot gap on a skateboard that has a Nujabes deck design.

E.  All of the above.

That was a trick question.  A Nujabes Hip Hop beat is like a parabolic equation that is always approaching infinity.  “There is none higher. He sets the microphone on fire.”

The reason his music exemplifies this blog is because of it’s incredible ability to bring together elements of different cultures.  Most people will probably recognize his music from, the similarly-ultra-cool, Samurai Champloo.  The anime, like Nujabe’s music, combines elements of art, storytelling, jazz, hip-hop, and both modern and ancient Japanese culture.

Samurai Gang Sign

As some may know Nujabes is simply Jun Seba spelled in reverse.  Jun Seba is the birth name of the incredible Hip-Hop legend that was born and raised in Tokyo Japan.  In addition to his prolific contributions to Samurai Champloo, Jun Seba was actively engaged with the Japanese and international underground Hip-Hop scene. He collaborated with artists such a Uyama Hiroto, Shingo2, Minmi, Cise Starr, Fat Jon, Terry Calier and Funky DL.  Sadly, and unfortunately for lovers of Hip-Hop,  Jun Seba died in a tragic car accident on February 27, 2010 at the age of 36.  His impact and influence on not only hip-hop, but also artistic expression in general, will forever be felt and remembered.

As a piano player I’ve come to love Nujabes for his signature incorporation of Jazz into his samples.  There is something about pianos, martial arts, and Hip-Hop that hits all the right places in my higher primate brain.  Wu-Tang certainly understood this well.  Below is the full album Nujabes- Modal Soul.  At just over 1 hour the album is a mind blowing masterpiece that takes a strange journey through dreamy-anthem-disco-Gil Scott Heron-like samples.  (There is some coarse language at times but over all it’s a very accessible album.  Fans of any type of music could easily be engaged and given a new-found love of Hip-Hop.)

00:00- 02:51 – Feather (feat. Cise Starr & Akin)
02:52 – 07:49 – Ordinary Joe (feat. Terry Callier)
07:50 – 11:54 – Reflection Eternal
11:55 – 17:24 – Luv (Part 3 featuring Shing02)
17:25 – 21:33 – Music is Mine
21:34 – 24:57 – Eclipse (feat. Substantial)
24:58 – 29:41 – The Sign (feat. Pase Rock)
29:42 – 33:46 – Thank You (feat. Apani B)
33:47 – 39:25 – World’s End Rhapsody
39:26 – 44:06 – Modal Soul (feat. Uyama Hiroto)
44:07 – 48:03 – Flowers
48:04 – 51:02 – Sea of Cloud
51:03 – 54:52 – Light on the Land
54:53 – Horizon

Below is a playlist of some of his top tracks.  I especially like the Spanish guitar sample on the 4th Track: Lady Brown (ft. Cise Starr).  I’ve had this on repeat for pretty much a week.  I’ve actually been using this to test a new way to study Japanese.  When I get bored of doing SRS repetitions I put on the instrumental beats and try to Rap the sentences over the mix.  (In the safety and privacy of my room with the lights off and the blinds down and the door locked of course.)   Something else I recommend doing is finding cool surfing or skateboard videos, mute them, and then play the Nujabes’ beats instead.


Hope everyone is inspired.  I love doing anything artistic to this music.  Writing Kanji becomes like meditation.  Just another piece of JPgomi.


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Street Fighter Meets Marketing Mascots(Fight!)

Question:  What happens when you take Ronald McDonald’s body and infuse it with the psychotic mentality of The Joker and the physically destructive capabilities of a Super Saiyan?

Answer:  Awesomeness happens, that’s what.

Did you ever wish you could play an awesome Street Fighter style video game with your favorite, or perhaps hated, marketing mascots?  I know I have.  What could be better than using these oh-so-nostalgic and beloved characters to kick the advertising S*#! out of each other. ( It’s like Christmas morning for a communist.)  Well thanks to METAJAN that wish has become a reality.  The art in this series depicts what would happen if these meek mascots were taken from the glitz and glam of commercials, billboards, and magazines, then thrown into basic combat training, only to be told they now must fight to the death.

Ronald “The Big Mac” McDonald and The “Greasy Bandit” Hamburgler are throwing down a tag-team “I’m-loving-it-smackdown”.  Meanwhile Colonel “The Kentucky Killer” Sanders is taking names and kickin A#%’s with his secret recipe of 11 finishing moves.

The Big Mac

The Big C

Out of all of the individual characters my favorite is still The Boss from Boss Coffee. I love Boss coffee and the mascot is… well he’s a “Boss”.  That piece of art currently resides as the desktop background of my computer.  And yes, every time I open my computer I do feel like a Boss.

The Boss (not Bruce Springsteen)

I’d love to hear from people on who there favorite characters are, what their ideal team would be, who they wish was in the game, or what match-ups would be the most fun to watch fight.

I’ve included a link to the original article and a link to the METAJAN site.  On the METAJAN site there are characters such as the LEGO figure that weren’t included in the article.

『ストリートファイター』にカーネルサンダースやドナルドやキティちゃんが登場!? 作者にお話を伺ってみたよ! | Pouch[ポーチ].


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Masako Yasumoto – Contemporary dance –










I started this blog off with a link to South Park and now I’m on the topic of contemporary dance.  Weird huh?  What can I say?  I’m into everything.  The real idea behind this blog was to illustrate that you never know where you can learn something.  As the Japanese say, “Everyone is your master.”  This means you can learn from everyone and everything.  As I rummage through wifi-ethernet-garbage I come across things of interest that I hope others might enjoy as well.  So here we are.

If your like me the first time you came across a piece of work like Masako Yasumoto’s, was in a video like this –

I’m 90% sure that’s not her.  I think that’s just a dance enthusiast with a similar style.  One of the best examples of this beautiful art is a video I found of Masako Yasumoto dancing to Shiina Ringo’s (椎名 裕美子) song Poltergeist.  The song is from the album “karuki zamen kuri no hana.”  The reason this video is so great is because every form of art used in its construction is masterfully executed.  As you’ll see the video is enthralling because of not only the music and dancing, but also the film work.  Although I’ve always been a lover of the arts; writing, drawing, and playing music.  I was never that big into dance outside of my typical wedding-crasher-behavior.  That’s not to say I had any less respect for the medium, I was simply never significantly engaged.  However, I know what I like and I like this.

Just another piece of JP gomi.

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America, Route66, and 山下智久

Route 66











Sometimes when your fully entrenched in learning a language you forget to look around once and a while.  “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Beuller  Although I try to keep an open and socially aware mind, I know I’m often guilty of throwing on the Japanese blinders.  In a way this is good because I replace many of the junk-food aspects of American society with cultural and linguistic knowledge.  There is a difference between knowing whats going on in the world and simply tweeting/facebooking/blogging about every tragedy-made-into-a-late-night-talk-show-farce.  Ignoring most of that Noise, its not news, actually gives me a clearer and more stable perspective on the world.  Surprising what happens when you read books huh?  Any way I’m just blabbering now.  The point of all of this is that when you are learning a language to a high degree its easy to forget how great your own country is.  One of the best ways I’ve found to reinvigorate my home grown love, which in turn spurs my global love, is to view my country through the eyes of a foreigner.


It’s fun and you can’t help but think, “Yea that’s right, we done it, word to big bird.”  Maybe some people just call that emotion pride.  But Buddhist teachings warn of the  dangers of pride.  Or was that master Yoda?  Any way here’s a cool show/documentary I found of Tomohisa Yamashita driving a 1980 C-20 Chevy across historic Route 66.  Like all Japanese idols this guy is like horse shit; meaning he’s everywhere.  That was just an old term of speech I thought would fit nicely with the western theme of Americana.  Enjoy! America!

I tried to find a picture that looked least like it would be on a 13 yr old Japanese girls bedroom wall. It was pretty much impossible.


For the record, he actually seemed like a decent dude who legitimately was interested in learning about the world and its people.  Had to clarify because usually I have a hate for all pop idols regardless of nationality.


120513 ルート66.たったひとりのアメリカ.特別編_在线视频观看_土豆网视频 20120513 ルート66 山下智久.


Just another piece of JP gomi.

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Detroit Metal City – デトロイト・メタル・シティ

Johannes Krauser Rocking Out

Every so often a piece of work comes along that blows the ball-hairs off its medium.  Detroit Metal City is one of those pieces of work.  When describing DMC words like raunchy, raw, rude, and destructively intense come to mind.  Yet on the other hand I can’t help but think of the work as delightful, revealing, hilarious, and imaginatively brilliant.  In reality the show is a lot like being tortuously tickled by a bull-whip wielding dominatrix; your being assaulted yet it’s what you’ve always wanted.

When I first discovered DMC I couldn’t ever imagine that such a cartoon could come out of the Japanese scene.  I mean sure Japanese cartoons have been notoriously known for their adult content and visceral depictions of sex and violence for years.  But Detroit Metal City uses those elements in order to tell the story and deliver the message.  It’s the sharp and biting satire that makes this show a stand out hit for me.  Plus like there 社長 says, they are “ファッキンクレージーガイズ。”  So maybe it’s the kick-ass metal music that makes me love this series.


So the subs are in Chinese(and minimal English); so what, big whoop, you want to fight about it? I prefer it like this sometimes because it makes me concentrate on listening and I get to enjoy the movie/show instead of just reading what pops up.  Subs are great for learning and reviewing but, for me at least, they detract from the epic-ness of the movie.  Although there is so much epic-ness in DMC you probably wouldn’t even notice, why take the chance?

Detroit Metal City Live Action Movie in 4 parts:

Where do I even find these things?  Oh yea, the internet.


Detroit Metal City – デトロイト・メタル・シティ Part 1/4


Detroit Metal City Part 2


Detroit Metal City part 3


Detroit Metal City Part 4/4
Just another piece of JP gomi.

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Japanese Travel Show: 世界の果てまでイッテQ!_

Of all the sources of media I use to learn Japanese, 世界の果てまでイッテQ! is my favorite.  The subject of the show is an automatic winner in my book.  Travel!  Who doesn’t like travel?  In a way that is the real root and enjoyment of learning a language.  All the hard work and studying pays off when you get to travel to the motherland and flex your linguistic chops.  Unlike other travel shows, 世界の果てまでイッテQ! has a style that makes it appealing to any audience.  For me it has always been the go to source of Japanese when I’m feeling bored, frustrated, and generally just burnt out on learning a language.

It’s key strengths are:

– Wide demographic appeal

– Plenty of slang and urban-pop-Japanaese

– Extensive topic coverage

– Multiple hosts with varying styles of speech

– Tons of large and brightly colored subtitles

– Language difficulty has something to offer beginners – advanced

– Episode length makes it easy to put on and leave minimizing distractions

– All around a 超面白い show

Below is a link to an 84 video playlist of everything Sekai no hatemade itteQ.  I was going to post individual episodes that I love and discuss a specific learning topic from each, but the playlist is so well put together.  I may still choose to do an individual episode review, but for now enjoy.


Just another piece of JP gomi.

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A Gaijin walks into a bar…

銀座 オーセンティックバー ボルドー Bordeaux カウンター正面

     I think I fell in love with Japanese bars the first time I saw a picture of Golden Gai.  Only 13 or 14 I was too young to drink, but I saw those mini-parallel-universes as the set for the stories of life.  Mystery, pain, suffering, boredom, happiness, good, evil, it seemed to flow with the changing of the patrons.  Once I had a chance to explore this world first hand, it was all over.  I fell hard, deeply and forever in love with chance encounters of life’s supporting cast.  I sat with a splash of meticulously poured scotch, paying prices that would have bought a 5th and an hour of The President’s time back-home. Between words, spaces were filled with dish-water-work and the early morning bird-calls of strangers.  The Allegro-horse-hair-runs of Stephane Grappelli slid from the rim of my glass like a Geisha’s supple lips.  Behind a thousand other doors the story repeated itself, never old, and never knew.

Like the bars themselves these articles are little slices of life.  Short, interesting, and just enough to keep you coming back for more.  Bar-Navi is a great place for me to study Japanese and learn new things.  The selection of bars are as diverse as the people who call themselves regulars.  A short snippet of information and an interesting photo make this site ideal for SRS harvesting or casual reading.  If you don’t like one just move on.  Below I’ve provided the link for the オセンティックバー (Authentic Bar) section.  But on the left hand side you’ll see a yellow header that says カテゴリー (category).  Peruse around and let me know in the comments: 1. Your favorite bar or 2. If you find any particularly interesting or wild bars.

オーセンティックバー – BAR-NAVI(バーナビ)公式ブログ.