Reflecting on my travel to Japan, part 1

I’ve finally fulfilled my biggest dream and  between March and April this year I flew to the land of sakura, anime, AKB48, sake and wasabi, to spend there almost three weeks. In general it was no spontaneous ,last-minute sort of deal, which would be built around visiting those few places that pop up on the first page of Google, after writing down ‘Japan things to see’. After buying the plane ticket (more than a half a year beforehand), the real fun began, as I wanted to pick the most interesting spots to catch a glimpse of. The temples like Fushimi Inari or Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto (which first impressed me in an animated form – through anime Lucky Star), or the memorial plate  of my favorite Japanese singer – late Yutaka Ozaki, in Shibuya, Tokyo were on my trip’s must-see list from the very beginning, but the rest of the itinerary was a real dilemma. It turned out my knowledge about Japan was mostly based on countless watched anime titles, movies and TV series, and dozens or hundreds of pop and rock bands I listen to. For the next few months, I had to learn a bit more about what Japan is all about, when it comes monuments, and otherwise. Continue reading →

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Refleksyjnie o mojej podróży do Japonii, cz. 1

Na przełomie marca i kwietnia spełniłem swoje największe marzenie i poleciałem na prawie 3 tygodnie do Kraju Kwitnącej Wiśni, anime, AKB48, sake i wasabi. Generalnie nie była to spontaniczna wizyta, opierająca się wyłącznie na zwiedzeniu kilku miejsc, które pojawiają się na pierwszej stronie Google po wpisaniu hasła ‘Japan things to see’. Po zakupieniu biletu na samolot (z ponad półrocznym wyprzedzeniem), zaczęła się prawdziwa zabawa z wyszukaniem najciekawszych lokalizacji do odwiedzenia. Świątynie Fushimi Inari i Kiyomizu-dera (która zaimponowała mi po raz pierwszy w wersji animowanej – anime Lucky Star) w Kioto, czy tabliczka upamiętniająca mojego ulubionego Japońskiego piosenkarza, Yutakę Ozakiego w dzielnicy Shibuya w Tokio miały od samego początku zapewnione miejsca  w moim planie podróży, jednak cała reszta była wielką niewiadomą. Moja wiedza o Japonii głównie opierała się na niezliczonych obejrzanych tytułów anime, filmów i seriali oraz dziesiątkach przesłuchanych zespołów popowych i rockowych. Przez kolejne kilka miesięcy zacząłem się douczać o tym, co tak naprawdę warto zwiedzić. Continue reading →

Twice is Sending You a Signal

More and more kpop groups which I’ve been fond of retired lately – Wonder Girls (still can’t get over this one), 4Minute, SISTAR or 2NE1. The giants like Girls’ Generation or BIG BANG may still be around, but I don’t think they’ll stay around very much longer. The entertainment industry is a very vicious place, and new bands pop off straight away to fill the void left by their sunbaes.
In less than two years, Twice has become one of the main forces of the Korean pop. Starting with Like Ooh Ahh, through ubiquitous Cheer Up, TT and Knock Knock, the girlband continues to make a hit after hit, enjoys commercial success and observes great view numbers on Youtube. Twice quickly cemented their position at the forefront of the kpop phenomenon, and now the girls are back with the new single, Signal. So, does it live up to the hype? Continue reading →

Babes Never Die

My top 5 Scotland-related things are: Frankie Boyle, Nazareth, Trainspotting, the accent, and most recently, Honeyblood. The band initially came up on my radar when I heard their first self-titled album, and I immediately fell in love. Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait very long for the follow-up record. The rocking duo composed of Stina Tweeddale and Cat Myers returned with a Babes Never Die CD in November last year (I took my sweet time writing this).. Continue reading →

Visiting Yutaka Ozaki in Shibuya, Tokyo

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Even by itself, my recent trip to Japan had a very special meaning to me. But there were also several crucial objectives planned way beforehand to be ticked off from the bucket list – some were related to cuisine, others to culture, history, nature or entertainment. However, one of the places I visited had also spiritual significance of sorts. While the stopover there lasted maybe 20 minutes, it was a very emotional moment, and it left a powerful impression on me. Located relatively close to Shibuya Station, I paid a visit to a memorial plate of Yutaka Ozaki, late rebellious singer of the 1980s, whose music and charisma actually hugely contributed to my interest in Japan, and he was among the main reasons for my travel there. Continue reading →

Cha-cha-cha-changes

Years ago, the first Polish president- internet meme Aleksander Kwasniewski, encouraged one of the ministers at that time to kiss the Polish ground, upon getting off the airplane. The poor guy eagerly did what he had been told, which was immediately met with heavy disparagement and people assumed it was an act of mockery of the Pope John Paul II.

After over 10 hours of flight I arrived at the Tokyo – Narita International Airport, and although I don’t have any desire to kiss the ground, I feel like a huge burden has been lifted off my chest. Continue reading →

Cha-cha-cha-changes

 

Niegdyś pierwszy polski prezydent-internetowy meme Aleksander Kwaśniewski, zachęcił Marka Siwca do ucałowania ziemi kaliskiej po wylądowaniu,  a ten ochoczo uczynił jak mu powiedziano, co zostało uznane za szydzenie z JPII. Dotarłem po 10 godzinach lotu na lotnisko Tokio-Narita, i chociaż całować ziemi nie zamierzam, to pojawiła się wielka ulga. Continue reading →

Lovely Summer Chan – LSC, the best Japanese album of 2016

I’ve been listening to random songs on Youtube and that was when I came upon this song by Lovely Summer Chan (ラブリーサマーちゃん), called 202. Soothing vocals, mellow music vibe, and a colorful music video immediately won me over. Quick Google check, and I had pre-ordered the limited edition album, LSC. Few weeks later, I was already a huge fan. By the end of 2016, the CD which got released in early November became the most listened to album on my playlist. Continue reading →

Winona Babelicious Ryder

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Winona Ryder quickly rose to become one of the biggest movie names back in the late 80s/ early 90s. Her collaborations with Tim Burton – Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands were enormous hits, Heathers became a high school comedy classic, and The Age of Innocence and Little Women got Ryder Academy Award nominations. Not only is she incredibly talented, but she used to be incredibly hot as well (to be honest she still is) – if I were several years older she’d totally has been among my childhood crushes in the 90s. Those adorable eyes and a lovely smile are exceptional. Continue reading →

Kitchen war zone – broccoli gyros salad

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My culinary spirit has been growing in strength these days. I mean I suck at food preparation because in general I rarely do any cooking, as by the time I get back from work the dinner’s are mostly ready and all I need to do is just dig in. Every now and then however it’s good to make something yourself and get that sense of accomplishment (not too often though, I’m fine with someone else doing the cooking as a rule). Today I decided to give a try to a variation on gyros salad that my friend made for a small house party some time ago. Continue reading →