So I’ve had to hit the ground running. The Japanese lifestyle and misadventures destroyed me. I also feel bad that my collective members were pushing along our debut events while I gallivanted around Japan. But I’m back and hopefully making up for my absence.
To two major events are about to hit town and they are both being hosted by my favourite gallery space. Bleeding Heart Gallery on Ann street has a heart and as they say “Using our powers for good and not evil”. All the crew at the Paper Cuts Collective are super excited to be working with Bleeding Heart and by the sounds of it, this is only the beginning of zine and DIY love from the gallery.
So the first event is the Triple Zine launch and Exhibition. Running from the 1st-3rd of September, even though our posters may look like the show is only opens between 1-3 the gallery will be open from 9am till late each day. The opening night is Thursday the 2nd September, it all kicks off at 5pm and will feature the Hobo DJs, live art and super special guest straight from the studio to open the event, Steve Towson.
Also founding members of The Paper Cuts Collective, Bianca Rosemarie de Valentino, Matt Limmer and I are launching our blood, sweat and tears to the world in the form of a zines. We’re not just launching our zines to the world. We all have put together an arts show case that has connections to our zines. For more info about our individual zines and arts exhibition check out these links:
It would be rad if you could make it along to both of our debut events. And come and say hi, we’re trying to build a zine/DIY publishing community and for that to happen we need you. We don’t bite, well I plan not to bite anyone. All depends how the nights unfold.
‘No matter where you go, a place is just an empty shell without people to enjoy those places with.’
This final travel post begins and ends from quotes taken from Adam Pasion’s ‘Going Nowhere’ issue one. Adam runs Big Ugly Robot, does a killa comic diary zine called Sundogs and enjoys trying random drinks in vending machines. I saw the Sumo in Nagoya (which I still owe him money for) with and had a good laugh about the types of backpackers that suck.
This final post was intended to be done while in Japan but as things go, was bashed together a nearly a week after I got back.
Seeing girls, skip, dace and sing on the streets for no apparent reason while the male hostess hustle the corners became a regular sight when I tried to find Irregular Rhythm Asylum (Tokyo’s Zine and info shop). It became a mission every time I got off at Shinjuku station. Even though every time I thought I knew the way and exit to leave the station. I guess the 200 or more exists didn’t help the situation. Plus the 3.64 million users per day didn’t help. IRA was one of the many places that felt like home, the home of tons of zines and indie publications, screen printing and a regular sewing group. The home of many genuine and honest people. Stay tuned for an interview with the founder and owner Keisuke Narita. For the time being here’s a link to an interview he did with the Tokyo Art Beat: http://www.tokyoartbeat.com/tablog/entries.en/2009/07/shy-revolutionaries.html
This band makes me laugh plus shoot me, I think I actually like the song. It’s hell catchy!
The Ebisu Muscats are a pornstar J pop band! The song is about eating bananas and letting you eat their mangos… and something to do with high school!
One full on thing about the trip was seeing other Gaijin (foreigners) with their massive bazooka sized cameras. Most tied around their necks and it would be a safe bet that most would have weighed more than their brain mass. Showing no concern for being rude they shove the lens and fire at anyone or anything at any given time. It felt like a zoo at feeding time with all this craziness going on and I’m not sure what’s worse. Sure some of the girls as well as guys are dressed and to impress trust me that temple isn’t going anywhere but do they need another photo to show off on myface?
Like a number of things in Japan, Snoopy is one thing that comes to mind. Pop punk is another major force that is more alive than ever. The shows are so much fun, a little on the expensive side and nearly always extra fees before you even enter, drink tickets and such. One great thing about the pop punk shows, the kids love to have a good time. A lot actually keep records of the number of times they get on stage and crowd surf.
One thing is for certain. Never, no matter what, follow the masses to what looks like public transportation. You’ll end up on a bus heading to a festival or something with a band with a following ten times bigger than U2 called ‘Exile’.
Before my Japan adventures, I spent a solid few months trawling the net and hitting up friends for contacts in Japan that are associated with indie publishers, zinesters and distributors. By the time I left the country I think I had around 16 or so contacts that I planned to met, stay with or trade zines with. One interesting fact that quickly became apparent was that most of the contacts that I made didn’t know each other. So I thought why not bring all these beautiful people together. After a few group emails and some help from Keisuke (IRA) flyers and blogs posts were out and about. Close to 20 people attended. Was a very surreal experience, organising a gathering of like minded people in another country, what a way to conclude my trip. I received a comment that went something along the lines of this. “You’ve been here for a month but have done more for the zine culture than anything I’ve seen in the past ten years”. Now that’s a complement! So we’re now planning on working on a collaborative, bilingual zine to be released in the not to distant future! Here’s the original blog post about the mini zine gathering and below is the rough translation:
Jeremy I come from Australia in the call, rushed “mini Jinsuta Gathering” that was held! Please feel free to come play us. Bring your own gin, distribution / sales are welcome to. This is likely the participants from abroad and which possess. Microcosm Publishing Maximum Rock’n'Roll. Even Jeremy, Microcosm Publishing or volunteer experience or have, Maximum Rock’n'Roll , or interviewing, so people say, I hope you like the jinn came to see him experience.
My final days before departing drew near as I thought back to my initial thoughts of Japan. Remembering the trains filled with zombies glued to their phones. But when the doors open the wall of noise would fill the train. Theme sounds for each station, recorded bird sound effects and echoes from distant platforms. But now, I no longer heard that chaos. It was obvious by that simple fact I was becoming acclimatised.
“You will meet people that will leave more important memories than seeing the Eiffel Tower, on your way to see the Eiffel Tower.” I would know, the person who told me that did so on a train to the Eiffel Tower. – Adam Pasion (Going Nowhere, Issue #1)
There’s so many people that I need to thank and I don’t think this is the place to do so. You know who you are. You fed me, provided a place for me to crash and supported the dream. I thank you all from the bottom of my beer glass. Staples
So the regular blogging hasn’t really gone to plan.. That said Japan has been treating me well, maybe a little too well. I’m not sure where to start as a lot has happened since my last update.
I’ve spent the night under the stars in Nara with my deer and turtle friends that over looked some beautiful temples. Got a tattoo from one of the world’s best artists and went to the Sumo in Nagoya. Over dosed on temples in Kyoto, saw the impacts of the A bomb in Hiroshima and enjoyed hanging out with the alternative and tattoo crew in Osaka
The rain has stopped but the heat is now in full force! A super quick wrap up of my adventures to date.
- Visited Toeil Studios just outside of Kyoto. It was one of the most bizarre experiences to date. Similar to Movie World on the Gold Coast but a lot more filming seems to happen there. From what I could tell, they mainly make B grade ninja and kids shows similar to Power Ranges. The Haunted house was intense! The theme and actors were amazing. This place is a must visit if your in thearea.
- A old hometown friend and I stumbled upon a gorilla Game Boy DJ show. It was by the river in Kyoto. Good times were had but ended by the police around3am.
- Was blown away by the beauty of Studio Ghibli but was horrified with the battle field that is also known as the gift shop.
- Seeing the Sumo was amazing but was slightly tarnished when McDonalds had a major advertising promotion just before the final bout. Why?
- The toy stores are insane. I have no idea how collectors actually save money here. On the topic of collectors. There is no demographic, young to old, female or male they are all into toys, Anime, Manga and skill testers which they call UFO catchers.
- I’ve been to 2 Summer festivals. One in Kyoto and Osaka. The main thing with the festivals is walking down endless streets seeing the same stalls and markets over and over. Really don’t get it. But still enjoyable to a point.
I’m not sure were the time went but I’ve roughly got one week to go. It’s going to be rough leaving this crazy wonderland of bright lights and amazing people.
Week one has come to an end. Making the most out of everyday, I could easily put together a poorly written novel from my adventures to date. I sat next to a loud mouthed American on the flight over. Not afraid to cover everything and anything. You could see the kids losing their innocence right in front of my eyes.
After a couple of mix-ups, I end up at Iidabashi station (Tokyo) and successfully operated the payphone to call Jody a rocking, couch surfer hook-up. (Found via searching for vege and zines). The first of many Rice burgers from Mos Buger was consumed.
Following day we hit up a gig at a 3 level venue call Unit who were celebrating their sixth birthday. Petty dam intense, crowded to the point I simply couldn’t move. Boris was easily the stand out. Walking into a smoked filled, pack venue with a band rocking out. Breathe taking rock moment that felt too good to be true!
The bike culture in Japan is amazing! Everyone rides from oldies to the preppie girls. Bikes may even out number the cars. I’m seriously thinking about getting a bike and shipping it back. The shops a filled with killa bikes.
Seeing Japanese Rockabilly crew dancing in Yoyogi Park with surf rock music blasting in the background was surreal but one of the highlights so far. The big highlight is being immersed with the beautiful DIY, Zine and Anarchist community in Tokyo. I’m currently staying at Tuka’s place in Kunitachi. One extremely generous and amazing human being! He’s currently working on a zine library and recently held a festival live under a bridge. Too many beautiful people to mention here but all the crew at make up the Koenji are totally kick arse!
For a place that’s impossible to be vegan I’ve been eating like a king. One particular standout would be Nagi-Shokudo . It’s actually a vegan restaurant with zines to read and buy in Shibuya.
Wrapping up the week, I went to a gig at Miyashita Park. Now called ‘Nike Park’. The corporate giant has paid a truck load of cash for naming rights and to build a skate park and climbing wall. Issue is the park was occupied by a large community of homeless people. The homeless have mostly been moved but groups of activists have now set up tents. The show was amazing, until the police shut it down.
Random facts for the week:
• Street names don’t exist, so when you get lost and ask randoms on the street, police, taxi drivers and 7/11 workers no one has a clue even if its just around the corner even when you have a photo of the place where you’re staying.
• Bins simply don’t exist but the place is super clean and;