On This Day In METAL History – October 29th…

30 Oct


It’s already October 30th in Japan now, but it’s hard to believe that it’s already been 38 years since KISS appeared on that TV Halloween special!

Originally posted on Metal Odyssey > Heavy Metal Music Blog:

Kiss - Paul Lynde - Halloween Special 1976 - trading card

Paul Lynde - Halloween Special - 1976 - DVD promo cover pic

On this day in KISSTORY – October 29, 1976 – KISS appeared on The Paul Lynde Halloween Special. Paul Lynde was a very famous American comedian and actor, best known for his television specials and regular appearance on the hit televised game show, Hollywood Squares, where he sat as a regular in the center square. Sadly, Paul Lynde passed away in January of 1982, at the young age of 55. Rest in peace, Paul Lynde.

Meat Loaf "Bat Out Of Hell" large album pic!!

On October 29th, 1977Bat Out of Hell by Meat Loaf entered the Billboard 200 album chart. This iconic studio album of Rock and Hard Rock went on to spend 82 weeks on the Billboard 200 album chart, reaching its peak at #14. Bat Out Of Hell went on to sell 14 million copies in the United States alone. The song composer for this album was the legendary Jim Steinman.

The Who - Its Hard - promo album cover pic - 1982

On this…

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Tokyo is starting to embrace the once despised Halloween train

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When I first came to Japan, Halloween was basically unknown here. A lot has changed in 24 years!

Originally posted on RocketNews24:

TH 3

Back before Halloween became as popular in Japan as it is today, Tokyo expats looking to celebrate the holiday would stage impromptu costume parties on the last car of the JR Yamanote loop line. At the time, though, most Japanese people weren’t familiar with Halloween, and this tended to freak the indigenous locals out, leading Japan Railways to eventually crack down on the festivities.

Things have changed a lot in the last 15 years, though. Tokyo is starting to seriously get into the Halloween spirit, so much so that another rail company, Tokyu, actually held a Halloween costume contest onboard one of its trains, and we went to check it out.

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Don’t turn your back. Don’t look away. And don’t blink.

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Originally posted on RocketNews24:

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Japan continues to show its love for all things “cute“. So, what has about 24,000 retweets and 31,000 favorites on Twitter right now? We’ll give you a hint, it begins with a ‘C’ and end with an ‘AT’. You get three guesses and the first two don’t count.

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Cats trapped in circles!

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Originally posted on RocketNews24:


In a documentary about the making of Spirited Away, director Hayao Miyazaki is shown in his studio explaining how he wants a certain scene to look. When the dragon’s jaws are wrenched open, he says, it should look like a dog clenching its teeth, gums bared. Faced with blank stares at this analogy, he asks the animators if any of them have a dog. “I had a cat once”, offers up one young man. “A cat!” exclaims Miyazaki in despair, before whisking the entire team off to a vet’s surgery to have a closer look at some canine mouths.

Cats and dogs, as we know, are quite different, and one thing that sets them apart is cats’ contrariness. A dog’s reward is pleasing you, while a cat’s reward is pleasing itself. Getting a cat to do what you want, therefore, can be extraordinarily difficult. Unless, that is, you can manage to convince your cat

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The World’s Coolest Neighborhood is in Tokyo

22 Oct

Vogue Magazine has made a list of the “Fifteen Coolest Neighborhoods in the World“.

(It’s here.)

And they ranked a trendy neighborhood in Tokyo as the coolest in the world.

According to Vogue, the fifteen coolest neighborhoods in the world are:

15. Dashanzi, Beijing, China

14. Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany

13. Hackney, London, UK

12. Silver Lake, Los Angeles, USA

11. Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia

10. Zona Rosa & La Condesa, Mexico City, Mexico

9. Wynwood, Miami, USA

8. Brera, Milan, Italy

7. Bushwick, New York City, USA

6. Canal Saint Martin, Paris, France

5. Centro, Sao Paulo, Brazil

4. Tiong Bahru, Singapore

3. Sodermalm, Stockholm, Sweden

2. West Queen West, Toronto, Canada

1. 東京都下北沢 (Shimo-Kitazawa, Tokyo, Japan)

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I have been to Shimo-Kitazawa many times. It’s a nice area, so I was happy to see it listed as the world’s coolest neighborhood.

I don’t read Vogue magazine…I found out about this ranking because it was mentioned on a Japanese TV morning show that I watch.

A picture that I took of a storefront in 下北沢 (Shimo-Kitazawa, Tokyo).

Have you ever been to Shimo-Kitazawa?

The Japanese Empress’ 80th Birthday

20 Oct

Here is a well-written article about the Japanese Empress’ 80th birthday today: http://m.wsj.com/articles/BL-JRTB-18249

Two dozen years

17 Oct

Today is October 17th, 2014. I came to Japan on October 17th, 1990. Twenty-four years ago.

I was born and grew up in America. But I only lived there for twenty years. I’ve lived most of my life in Japan now.

I’m sure you can imagine, Japan was pretty different 24 years ago.
Even Japanese people in their twenties or younger can’t imagine if I tell them what Japan was like when I first came here!

One big change is that there was no internet or cell-phones when I came here.
Everyone, including me, had phone cards for pay-phones in their wallet. If it was announced that a train was running late, suddenly everyone on the platform would line up to use the payphones (that used to be on every train platform) to call their office to tell that they might be late.
Nowadays, people take out their cell-phone to either call or e-mail their employer if the train is late.

Also, train stations didn’t have escalators or elevators like they all do now.
If someone was in a wheelchair, the train station staff would carry his wheelchair up or down the stairs!
When my kids were babies, my wife and I had to carry their strollers up and down the train station stairs when we used the train.

Now, all train stations in Japan have automatic ticket gates and IC cards (I wrote a post here about them).
But when I first came to Japan, every train station…even the big major ones…had staff with hole punchers at the ticket gates.

To enter the train station, commuters would hand their ticket to one of these guys and get the ticket punched and handed back to them.
Then when they exited, these guys collected the tickets…and they’d tell you if you owed more money on your fare.
They were really fast! Especially at busy stations like Tokyo Station or Shinjuku Station!

Punching a ticket

As I said, there were no cell-phones or email in 1990. Nowadays, if the person you’re meeting is running late, you can just call or email their cell-phone. Life wasn’t always like that.
When I first came to Japan, there were chalkboards at every train station that anyone could use to write a message to the person they were waiting for.
There were always messages on them such as “To ____, I went ahead. I’ll wait for you at the restaurant.” or “To_____, you were late so I went home.

These were commonly used in Japan before cell-phones.

I’ve seen a lot of changes in Japan since 1990. I wonder what changes the next decades will bring!


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