Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ricky Roma Wins!

I'm very happy to report that Ricky Roma (Justin Berti) won a very tight contest in the Mr. Latin category of the Harlequin modeling contest!

He has already commenced his duties as "Mr. Latin", and I know that he's already been to a couple of events to help promote the Harlequin brand.

I'd like to thank everyone who voted on his behalf, and I'm sure that Ricky will second the "thanks" if he ever happens upon this post.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

A long, long night at Takadanobaba station

This poor guy missed several trains, and I'd be willing to bet that he didn't make it home that night. I was on the evening's final train headed to Honkawagoe, and I nudged him as I walked by, but he was out cold. After this train there were only a few more left, and even money says that fellow passengers left him sitting right where he was.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Robert Glasper Trio

If you don't listen to much jazz, you need to start doing so now. The Robert Glasper Trio is in Tokyo at the moment, and as you probably won't have a chance to see them perform at the Cotton Club this time around, you should make it a point to get your hands on In My Element.

Yong-nam and I went to watch the trio (Glasper on piano, Vicente Archer on bass, and Damion Reid on drums) tonight along with our good friends Dave and Hisae. It was a playful, euphoric experience that, without a doubt, won me over as a lifelong fan. I've just now downloaded Glasper's first album, Canvas, from iTunes and plan to pipe it through the living room system for the next several weeks to come.

Can't wait for the third album which Robert mentioned will drop in July 2009!

Check here for Glasper's MySpace page.

By the way, Robert Glasper was very gracious and signed autographs and took photos with anyone who asked. That definitely ain't normal.


Friday, April 10, 2009

I found the colonel!

He's in Jingu Stadium near the center field entrance.

[If you don't know what I'm talking about, please listen to this podcast.]


Thursday, April 02, 2009

JR Finally Bans Smoking on Tokyo Train Station Platforms

As of yesterday, smoking was completely banned on the platforms of JR train stations in and around Tokyo, Japan.

Many will remember that up until two days ago, anyone could light up in open-air smoking sections on many JR station platforms. If you happened to be in the train car that stopped directly adjacent to the smoking section, and had a little help from the wind, it was not uncommon for the smoke to blow inside the train. It was just lovely.

But those days are finally gone, and another small step has been taken to divorce Japan from its "smoker's paradise" moniker.

Japan's largest tobacco company, JT, which is partially owned by the government's Finance Ministry, has enjoyed a snail-paced assault on its profit model over the years by anti-smoking regulators.

Some have argued that this latest move is not big enough and took way too long to materialize, but I'm actually quite content with these small victories. It seems to me that this will further load the debate in non-smokers' favor as smoking becomes increasingly demonized in Japan.