Kanye Mixtape and Happy Birthday to Me!!!

5 12 2007

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Kanye’s mixtape cover, photo from HipHopDX; Me and 9th Wonder at his album release show

Twenty-one years ago a beautiful little girl came into this world – it was moi! Your girl is finally legal. I had an awesome b’day party last night to celebrate turning the big 21. Of course I had to have karaoke, another great Japanese invention. For my b’day I will give yall a present. I got my hands on Kanye West’s mixtape a while ago, but I didn’t get a chance to post it. I hope Kanye is doing okay right now. His mother’s unexpected passing must be killing him; he hasn’t updated his blog in a while. Rest in peace Dr. Donda West.
The mixtape entitled The Graduate is WAY better (and longer) than the official Graduation CD. It’s all due to the mixing geniuses of Ohio-born Mick Boogie and Terry Urban not to mention my man, Carolina’s finest, 9th Wonder. This mixtape is SO DOPE. There’s some Nas, Mos Def, Jay-Z, Weezy, Biggie, Busta Rhymes, Lupe, Dr. Dre, Common, Talib Kweli, Ludacris, and Little Brother. Damn, even Patti Labelle? Talkin about pulling out all the stops, Takashi did some new cover art. Here’s a selection of some of my favorite songs. You really are suppose to listen to the tracks back to back. If you want to listen to the whole thing go here. Before you guys pounce on me about illegally downloading and sharing songs I will have you know that Kanye released this mixtape for free and wants people to download it. Make sure you go buy 9th Wonder’s new album and Little Brother’s new album. I’m going to see LB perform on Friday. For my b’day, can y’all get me a Takashi skateboard?

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The King of Pop likes anime?

6 11 2007

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More than a decade before Kanye recreated Akira in his “Stronger” video, the King of Pop featured Tetsuo and other unidentifiable anime characters in one of my favorite music videos of all time, “Scream.” Japan loves the Jacksons. While the verdict is basically unanimous that the space-aged video includes a two second clip of Tetsuo when he discovers he can fly, the other anime clips are hard to name. Some say that a few of the clips are from Zillion and Babel II. They appear really fast so I captured a few screen shots for you to judge.

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FUNimation Web site as prehistoric as its anime

5 11 2007

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Well, I visited FUNimation’s Web site a few weeks ago or at least I thought I did. When I say it was atrocious I really mean it was atrocious. They only had three news stories for the last two months: one of them was that you could buy their crap online and another was that Cartoon Network (a rival station) was playing one of their cartoons on Saturdays. Apparently www.funimation.com is the Web site for FUNimation Productions, A.K.A. the corporate Web site. Oops my bad. Then the Web site for the actual channel should be better right?

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Wrong! What are they doing?

I recently discovered the FUNimation channel at my boyfriend’s house one evening. I think they only provide it for Verizon customers. Besides the obnoxious, repetitive commercials promoting Peach Girl and Suzuka DVDs, I really liked what I saw.

I remember watching classics such as Case Closed in Japanese when I was a kid. FUNimation gives me the chance to discover anime from when I was young and anime I have never seen before such as Baki: The Grappler and the extremely unusual Revolutionary Girl: Uetna. Plus there’s Afro Samurai, Dragon Ball, Kiddy Grade, Hare + Guu, Kodocha, and Negima!

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Takashi Murakami art exhibition and gala in L.A. (Kanye performs!)

31 10 2007

Photo by Eric Nakamura, Giant Robot publisher and editor

I think I would have even endured the L.A. smog just to get a glance at Takashi Murakami’s show opening and gala at The Geffen Contemporary at The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) this past weekend. Saturday the exhibition opened for members only, and Sunday there was a gala for invited guests. Celebrities such as Owen Wilson, Toby McGuire, Cindy Crawford, Serena Willliams and Christina Ricci came out for a glitzy, artsy, sort-of-perverted weekend of fun. On Sunday, Harajuku girls led the way, and Kanye West brought the house down with several musical numbers. It seems like everyone was also stealing each other’s Takashi-inspired placemats.

Takashi is the Japanese artist best known for his colorful “superflat” style. He is the guy behind those limited edition Louis Vuitton bags and Kanye West’s new album cover. MOCA is featuring more than 90 of Takashi’s works (paintings, sculptures, installations and films) both old and new. Included in the exhibition will be a fully operational Louis Vuitton boutique showcasing Takashi’s designs and a huge, metallic, self-portrait sculpture in the form of a Buddha that stands 5,680 mm high. The exhibition will be open to the public from Oct. 29, to Feb. 11. Check out Eric’s blog for a slide show of photos from the exhibit.

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I choose you, Danny Choo!

6 10 2007

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All photos in this post from DannyChoo.com

When it comes to Japan, Danny Choo is the man! LOL But fo real tho, in August, his blog had aprox 9,433,840 page views per month and 48,730 unique daily users per day. His site www.dannychoo.comshows how a blog can become something more than just mindless rants. He turned his into an online community portal. Let’s review…

Danny’s web site features news on anime, technology, Gundam, idols, and a gazillion other aspects of Japanese culture. His site is offered in English and Japanese. Thank you, someone finally understands how to cater to an international audience with a blog. 

Danny’s home page is organized in several different ways. He has news posts on the left and articles/discussions on the right. Writing a blog post takes time. It is just like writing a news story except with a different style. The  left column is for short news that Danny wants to share quickly (such as how well fried chicken goes with ramen) and the right is for when he develops more “in-depth” pieces (which I think makes it easier for the blogger plus this distinction makes it easier for the user to decide what he or she wants to read). He also has links at the top of the page with topics and roll-down sub-categories. 

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Japan International Contents Festival (CoFesta)

3 10 2007

It started with gamers. It will end with educators.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Japan’s CoFesta is a cultural smorgasbord of festivities promoting the best of Japan within a 40-day span. Most of the events are brand-spanking new meaning that their reappearance next year is contingent on this year’s success. I think it would be amazing as a journalist to be able to cover all of these events and present it in a series of articles, videos, photos, blogs, and other pieces. Maybe next year the organizers can make the CoFesta web site more of a hub where people around the world could go to see the latest developments of the events. I think this could greatly benefit an activity whose whole point is to give people around the world a front window to what great things are going on in Japan.

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Kanye West album debuting tomorrow with Takashi Murakami cover!!!

11 09 2007

 

CD cover

Kanye West played hentai (anime porn) on stage during his Graduation listening party at the New World Stages. Is there anything he won’t do? I know I shouldn’t support anybody that uses the devastation of a national tragedy to stage a CD promotion war with a rival MC, but I can’t help it. I’m a sucka for good marketing. I’m also a sucka for good art. Keeping with his Japanese theme, Kanye partnered with legendary Japanese artist Takashi Murakami to create his album cover. This guy is serious business. He is the man behind the Superflat movement, which helped get many Westerners exposed to “Japanese-ness.” His work has been displayed in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin in Paris, and a bunch of other galleries throughout Japan and the world. Many people probably know him for his work for Louis Vuitton. I want to go to the GEISAI festival he throws in Japan.

Read more after the jump!