Archive for the ‘Strange’ Category

Who is the iPhone Girl (or iPhonegirl as she’s known as online)?

September 2, 2008 Leave a comment

The iPhone Girl or iPhonegirl as she’s sometimes known has generated over 20 million searches on Google’s Chinese servers alone.

Who is she and why is she so famous?

Somehow, her picture was found on an iPhone bought by a customer from Kingston upon Hull in the UK going by the Mac Rumours handle of markm49uk. He apparently debated for a few days whether or not it was ethical to post her (rather cute) face online, but in the end put up for everyone to see.

It turns out that she is one of the 270000 employees of FOXCONN the Chinese factory that assembles the majority of Apple, Dell and HP computers.

Eventually, they found out who she was and she has been given some time off to avoid the press which have been hounding her since her name was released.

The good news is:

“She is definitely not fired,” an unidentified representative from Foxconn’s factory in Shenzhen, southern China, told the newspaper Xiandai Kuaibao who called the event, “a beautiful mistake”.

Thank goodness for that.

If I knew I was going to get some more pictures of her, I’d probably buy myself an iPhone, she’s very cute… although, probably only about 15!

Oh well. I guess I’ll just have to wait until DoCoMo starts selling them.

Categories: Strange, Technology Tags: , ,

Trying to keep my bloody desktop clean

June 25, 2008 Leave a comment

I’ve been thinking of ways to clean my desktop but none come close to IBM UK’s top three suggested method of cleaning your desktops. And they should know. They’re IBM.

 Funny Video 1

Funny Video 2

Funny Video 3


Galapagos on YouTube!


Galapagos is a band I’ve been listening to since about 1995. I’d just started learning Japanese at the time and was beginning to make some Japanese friends.

I started taking them out to clubs and live gigs and was showing them around as if we (westerners) had invented to concept of “live”.

Was I in for a surprise. One girl, I forget her name now, came over the next day after a bunch of us went out for a night in Coventry. She handed me a tape and said, “If you liked that stuff last night, you’ll love this.”

I was totally taken aback by what I heard. I never imagined that the Japanese could take a mixture of 80’s British punk, Adam and the Ants, generic rock and pop, mash in some pentatonic guitar riffs ala Shamisen and laser-glam it up for the nineties. Added to the era of Japan being the highly stressed economic king of the world, a client base with practically unlimited budget and a guaranteed profit, the Japanese post-bubble laser-punk scene gave rise to one of the most ridiculously outrageous fashion statements since Ziggy meets the National Front. We’re talking excess, taken to excess in a way only the uber-wealthy and highly-strung nation of Japan could manage or afford.

Every aspect of their work was over-the-top. The tempo, the changes in tempo, the number of beats per bar, the raving, maniacal lyrics and let’s not forget, the stupendous makeup and hairstyles du jour!

The band, to me seemed to typify the boundless wealth and exuberance of the 1990s fuck the world and then we die attitude.

I played that tape long after the girl went back to Japan and if I could, I’d love to say a heartfelt thank you to her for giving me an experience to remember. I remember almost crying when the tape chewed itself to oblivion in my overpriced cassette deck, and thinking that I’d never hear them again.

Of course, that was before knowing that I was going to come to Japan in 1999.

On arriving in Japan, I immediately started scouring the shops for the band’s CDs but of course, nobody had ever heard of the band and every time I’d gone to Kobe or Osaka, I’d prepared by printing out a list of some of the best secondhand CD shops in the region. I visited most on the list but none had them in stock. In the end I gave up.

I found sketchy details that suggested they’d split up in the mid nineties: The were a victim of the Japanese consumers’ fickle appetite for change and Great New Things (TM).

Then, lo and behold, one day when I visited a local CD shop in my neighbouring Toyooka, the only sizable town near Kinosaki, I found it completely by chance! One copy of Down By Law in pristine condition nestled in the oldies box. It cost me about 80p and three years!

Galapagos, Down By Law - front cover

Galapagos, Down By Law - back cover

Galapagos – Down By Law, 1990.

The owner of the shop had no idea it was even there.

Now, this in itself is only minor news. But a few years later, 2001 if I remember correctly, I was walking through the streets of Sapporo. The temperature was somewhere in the region of -12 degrees Celsius, typical January weather for that part of Japan. I glanced up from my feet for a moment and caught sight of a second hand CD shop.

Now bear in mind that I’d not been looking for any second hand CDs for a long time and had passed dozens of second hand CD shops in the meantime. This one was no different and I walked on by.

But I got the strangest feeling. I had to stop walking. I felt I was being pulled back to the shop.
I thought, “I wonder…” I went into the shop and asked sheepishly “You don’t happen to have Honey Pie by Galapagos, do you?”

Of course he’d never heard of the band but duly checked on the computer anyway. Finally he laughed and said, “Wow. We have a copy that came in in 1995!”

Galapagos, Honey Pie - front cover

Galapagos, Honey Pie - front cover

Galapagos, Honey Pie - back cover

Galapagos, Honey Pie - back cover

Galapagos – Honey Pie, 1993

I’m writing this curiously, spuriously, oscuriously blog entry today because, in searching for info on Galapagos, I came across these absolute Gems on YouTube!

Seriously, I had no idea the lead singer was so hot! And What a hairstyle!

Categories: 2) Music & Film, 3) Life, Japan, Strange Tags:

Colonel Sanders, Akihabara Style.

April 28, 2008 Leave a comment

 I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found the sometimes controversial statues of Colonel Sanders somewhat tasteless. In Japan, however they are still commonplace.


Still, Akihabara tends to be the great equaliser, where the hikikomori (the literally hidden substrata of disaffected Japanese youth that shun society) those who rarely leave their home can dress up as commandos, galyords, Anime War Lords or French maids and enjoy a nice day out in the sun.

Colonel Sanders got the Akiba treatment this weekend, in a sweet, Akihabara style publicity stunt.


I must say, he looks a extremely cute, for a 60 year old man with a bad temper.

Categories: 3) Life, Japan, Strange Tags: ,

Excessive Packaging!!!

April 22, 2008 Leave a comment

I know that shipping a product with inadequate packaging can be damaging. I’ve done it myself only to have the items all banged up at the destination. But this is starting to get ridiculous.

We got this substantial box in the post:

A substantial box arrives in the post

Expecting a book or something, we opened it and got quite a surprise.

Say, that\'s a nice little package!

It was a free sample of cosmetics. Oh happy day!

What a waste!

A box this size for a tiny little vial of oil. I’m amazed we have any trees left at all!

The unpackaged article
Couldn’t they just bubble wrap it?

How can we be responsible parents and explain the concepts of ecology vursus wastefulness when random boxes like this come through the post?

PPR, Packaging to Product Ratio
I’ve decided to create a new ratio to account for this, I’ll call it PPR, or Packaging to Product Ratio.

If we want to be pseudo-scientific about all this, we can further categorise this ratio:

  • PPR/V – The ratio of package to product by mass.
  • PPR/M – The ratio of package to product by volume.
  • PPR/C – The ratio of package to product by cost.
    • This one’s a little tricky to measure in the home
  • PPR/D – The ratio of package to product by damage to the environment.
    • Again, a little difficult to quantify without a research lab and a team of investigators.

Since I can’t accurately judge the weight of the packaging from the photo and don’t have the collagen:Vitamin C ratio of the oil in memory right now, I’m going to be lazy and just do PPR/V

Packaging : 36cm x 24cm x 8cm = 6912cc.

Product : Vitamin C enriched essential oil : 5cc

PPR/V = 1382 : 1

Categories: 3) Life, Japan, Strange Tags:

Three Years of Searching Over

August 5, 2007 Leave a comment

I cycled into Akihabara for the first time in… I’ll have to check my blog… a long time, anyway. I was on my way home and was cycling past a second hand hifi shop when I got the strangest feeling…
I immediately remembered what had happened to me in Sapporo with a CD I’d been searching for for three years and getting a tingly feeling when I walked past a second hand CD shop, so I parked the bike and dashed in in anticipation.

Bang! There it was, sitting on the shelf waiting, the B&W HTM2 centre speaker I’d given up looking for about three years ago!

B&W HTM4S (old HTM2).

Now that’s just freaky – 3 years of searching, over.

Categories: AV, Strange Tags: ,

Another Cursed Day!

February 17, 2006 Leave a comment

I got to school this morning and lo and behold, the mouse on my Mac had totally died!

That’s three Macs afflicted in the space of 12 hours! A Cube, a G4 Powerbook and now my Mac Mini!

It was the start of a second bizarre day!

A complete reinstall of the driver software for said mouse brought it back to working order.

Then, I got back home to the apartment and the lift broke down! It stopped on the fifth floor for no apparent reason. The other lift was similarly stuck on the fifth floor and refused several attempts to move. Against better judgment, I persisted pressing the door close and ninth floor buttons and the lift capitulated after couple of minutes (by which time I could have walked).

Further strangeness ensued with the washing machine: A regular load of washing refused to wash, instead showing “E51”, which translates to “Call the blokes in the blue overalls!”

Unplugging it and plugging it back in reset it and it now seems to be none the worse for wear.

Let’s hope this is the end of it!

Categories: Strange