Category Archives: Personal

Big Four, Part 1

There were too many gigs to specify and put on the post title, hence a “big four” reference came to mind. There was no intent to be definitive at all using it, and sure, it is a slight overreach, but, see, I just saw these giants of Japanese modern instrumental rock for the last quarter of 2016, in my immediate neighbourhood: Mono, World’s End Girlfriend, te’, and toe.

I’ll start with Mono -a band I’ve already seen twice- and toe, another band I’ve seen once before, and they also chose a Shanghai show that falls on my birthday.

toe
December 1, 2016
Mao Livehouse

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2015: Instagram Edition

Obviously, blogging was pushed far back in the shelf of priorities this 2015. Instagram has taken over the diary role, despite being blocked in China. Wechat, too, though less thought was put in curating content there.

#shanghai

A photo posted by @wrongboy on


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SH Music Festivals 2015: @JAM KAWAII POP FES

jam shanghai

Photo source from the official event site here.

@JAM was a Japanese idol event held last June 28, at the QSW Culture Center, where I had zero chance to take out the camera and shoot the concert.

So, why am I going at all?

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Biking In and Around Shanghai

The break to the nine-month blogging hiatus is going to be about what has become a regular, semi-daily routine for me: biking.

My first bike here was an Oyama folding bike, which I bought on my first year. The justification in getting one boiled down to why-not, because-I-can, and this-is-China-bikes-are-everywhere. I chose a folding bike mainly because of my apartment situation (fourth floor, no elevator). Yes, I can park the thing somewhere else relatively safe, but it will surely stick out all black and shiny, among its rusty, dilapidated cohorts. Several years and apartments later, I decided to not have anything to do with it -and biking- after an accident. Yes, it didn’t really go far, and the most excitement I had with it was going around, scouting photo opportunities during Chinese New Year festivities, and riding the Huangpu River ferry from Pudong to a stop around The Bund.

I swore off bikes for a time, until when I had to use one to ride a bike trail with a group around Yangshuo (read about it here) late June, last year. Riding almost non-stop for 6 hours had me crawling for my bed -since I could not stand on two feet- at the hostel right after, but the realization that I had enough stamina to go through this means one thing for the solo-traveller self: I may not have the knees or footing to trek mountains, but maybe, just maybe, I’m a competent-enough biker.

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The 2014 Music List

Not much music of interest that came out the earlier half of 2014 has maintained a position on my list (except for my top pick), but, once I sat down with the goal of knowing what I may have been missing out on, which I did around the last quarter, I discovered remarkable stuff I am sure will stay in memory for a significant amount of time. As expected, the list is dominated by Japanese acts.

5. Suiyobi no Campanella – Watashi wo Onigashima ni Tsurete tte

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FEATURED VIDEO: Suiyobi no Campanella – インカ

At most times, the accompanying dance music of Suiyobi no Campanella will be sweeping, wide-scaped, contemplative, much like what we’ve heard of from acts like Lamb, but then a voice comes in that raps, does spoken word, and the same voice would attempt to sing, the sort of singing that needs some getting used to. The tone reeks of the tongue-in-cheek, the carefree, and once you’ve seen the music videos (here, here, here), the live performances, you’d witness the frontwoman, KOUMAI, just goof off, with the music tethering her before she gets off-rail. Suiyobi no Campanella came out with their fifth album late 2014, and having also had the chance to listen to their earlier material, it is apparent that if taken separately, the elements that comprise the signature sound of the group would be imperfect, indistinct from what influenced it, but taken as a whole, it just becomes mesmerizing. Easily, the most hypnotic artist/record I listened to last year.

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