Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Jenna G

The deadline for submission to the NEUDC 2006 Conference is extended to 7th June. So I update this blog to let you know a wonderful piece of drum & bass. :)

Jenna G - In Love (Bingo Beats)

We drum & bass heads have long been waiting for this. Drum & bass featuring a real vocalist. Unusuall for drum & bass, it's quite catchy. So I can recommend this tune for everybody out there. You will be surprised by the fact that this tune is produced by Chase and Status, who produced dancehall drum & bass "Duppy Man", a tune introduced at this blog several months ago".

If you like this tune, why not buy Jenna G's new album For Lost Friends? It is a collection of tunes composed by leading drum & bass producers. "Don't Bury Me" is another recommendation.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Merma Neverdies

(produced by Joan Baixas, performed at Tate Modern on 27th May 2006)

It was a strange experience. I didn't understand anything but did enjoy watching it.

In the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern, five "grotesque" puppets designed by Joan Miro, a surrealist painter, performed an abstract play on a raised square white platform stage (a little bit like a professional wrestling stage) surrounded by standing spectators. It was certainly a play - each actor wearing a grotesque puppet mask cries, screams, dances, runs, stumbles, talks to each other, in an exaggerated way typical for a play. The plot was quite abstract - all I understood was first four puppets were crying because someone apparently close to them was gone. Then that person (another grotesque puppet) suddenly appeared from amid spectators and marched into the stage. The puppets somehow celebrated this. That's it. But my eyes were glued to the view that those grotesque puppets were lively moving, expressing emotions in an intense way, and rubbing up against each other just like children.

The way each puppet is designed in an apparently meaningless way reminded me of a variety of monsters appearing in Spirited Away. The way these puppets were playing around on the stage also reminded me of a bunch of Japanese animation characters that I'd seen when I was a kid in Tokyo. And I found the actress playing this puppet quite good. Plus, when she put off the puppet mask at the end of the play, she turned out to be cute! :)

I don't believe that any single bit of what I wrote above tells you what this puppet show was like. But that's exactly the point. Unexplainable in words. That is art.

Special thanks go to Cheyok for taking me to this event.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Big Mac Index

For those of you who still believe that Japan is the most expensive country to stay, have a look at this year's Big Max Index published by The Economist magazine this week.

McDonald's Big Mac costs 250 yen in Japan. Based on the market exchange rate, 250 yen is 2.23 US dollars, which is MUCH cheaper than the price of Big Mac in the United States (3.10 dollars), in Britain (3.65 dollars), and in EURO countries (3.77 dollars).

It was McDoland's, in my opinion, that triggerd the deflation in the late 1990s in Japan. The term "price destruction" became a buzz word after McDonald's began selling a burger (not Big Mac but the most basic one) for 80 yen (about 0.66 dollars) and other retailers followed the suit. (I know that in terms of macroeconomics, this explanation doesn't make sense. But that's what happened in reality.) The Economist rightly points this out:

since 1995, when the yen was overvalued by 100% according to the Big Mac index, the local price of Japanese burgers has dropped by one-third.

As far as eating out is concerned, you don't need to spend that much money in Japan. If you want to visit Japan but feel deterred by your wrong assumption that staying in Japan is very costly, just go there and experience a different world in the Far East.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


Just in case you're looking forward to reading the second half of Tokyo 2006 series, I apologize for not updating for ages. Ever since I came back to London, I've been doing research almost everyday. I'm already about to finish my fourth year in PhD. The current research project, which began only a month ago, can turn into a paper with which I go on the job market this fall. My supervisor told me to write up a draft by the end of June. I'm trying to do this by the end of this month as the deadline for submitting a paper to the NEUDC Conference at Cornell University this September is 31st May.

So all I can think of these days is research and what to cook for tomorrow's dinner at home (for a good meal, preparation on the previous day such as defrosting meat in the fridge overnight is important). No time for blogging. I hate this. Everytime I enjoy a great trip, I can't write everything down on the blog (see the never-finished Syria 2005)... And I forget what I did, felt, and thought bit by bit. I wish I could write a blog during my journey between my home and school.