Tuesday, 28 December 2010

trawler//trash (#6)

This belated episode of trawler//trash features fresh, young Tokyo artist Maki Hikita. Maki's almost entirely monochrome work is characterised by flowing, strong lines, startling detail, and her unique take on nature. Only Maki knows the message in each of her pieces, but the sheer intricacy of the detail entices one to speculate as to the hidden meaning in each one. With a strong personal style, Maki's work appears to have the makings of something big. If you like amateur art, and you want to see some of Tokyo's best, check out the link below.

RiFe In JaPaN! (#4)

Those of us who are resident in this megalopolis will agree that Tokyo is full of surprises, both pleasant and nasty. Whilst passing through Shibuya's central Hachiko Square recently, I was presented with the former. Not the first time I've seen this kind of thing in Tokyo, but the steady stream of suited, middle-aged salarymen edging towards the two young ladies and presiding over an internal battle of their instinctive urges and the risk of shame, inevitably ending hugless, drew my attention to the fact that, unlike some of the less aesthetically pleasing, more hairy folk who are often found clasping these boards, these two young ladies were actually quite attractive, and very pleasant (Tokyo Trawler, also enduring such an internal battle, took a picture but didn't get a hug, by the way). 

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Video Interviews, Ikebukuro (#11)

Tokyo Trawler Catch of the Day: Johnny, USA
Artist: The Crazy Ken Band

Tune: Thirty Seven Degrees
Record: Thirty Seven Degrees (2005)

Johnny's essential rating: 3/5

Johnny's Message to the People: "For tonight, everybody, Got Faded Japan, it's all good"

The Interview:

The Tokyo Trawler’s Essential Review:

Johnny told us that this song is "probably the best song you could ever go with", and whilst the Tokyo Trawler can't agree entirely* with that notion*, we can agree that this is an extremely smooth tune. Using the Trawler's slightly limited powers of translation, the Japanese lyrics to this tune appear to be littered* with innuendos*. This playful lyrical content is matched well with the almost cheesy* instrumentals - think the background lobby music in a beachfront hotel on the Copa Cabana - and the somewhat unnerving* laughter towards the back-end* of the song ensures* that you could never take this song too seriously.

Category: A hump 'n grinder

The Tokyo Trawler's message to the people: There's no way you can pick up 37 girls in one night unless you're the mother-fucking super-fly pimp 'n shit.

To download or not to download?? 3/5 (IT'S GOTTA BE DONE)

iTunes available: Yes
: entirely, notion, littered (2), innuendo, cheesy, unnerving, back-end, to ensure

Thirty Seven Degrees URL:

Monday, 6 December 2010

Tokyo Trawler Recommedation #18 (06/12/10)

Artist: Arcade Fire
Tune: Crown of Love
Record: Funeral (2004)
Category: A deep thinker/twilight zoner

Don't you sometimes wonder how your speciality* tomato sauce pasta would taste if you were able to make it in Gordon Ramsay's kitchen, and the man himself were there to guide you (read: swear relentlessly*)? Undoubtedly* of huge talent, with a reputation for innovation* and originality, Arcade Fire appear actually to stick to the basics here, at least lyrically. I mean, this probably isn't the first painful love-poem you've ever heard, but make no mistake*, there is a hell of* a musical feast to be had here - the lead-footed, bassy piano opening, the rich violins, the build up to an almost frantically* angry ending. The recipe's a classic, but it just shows what you can do when you've got all the best tools at your disposal*.

The Tokyo Trawler’s message to the people: Actually recorded in Gordon Ramsay's kitchen. Fact. 

To download or not to download?? 
iTunes available: Yes
勉強のキーワード: speciality (2), relentlessly, undoubtedly, innovation, make no mistake, a hell of (5), frantically, at one's disposal (3)
Crown of Love URL:

RiFe In JaPaN! (#3)

This time, RiFe In JaPan! takes you to the north Tokyo stretch of the Keihin-Tohoku trainline, at 5am on the day before a national holiday. Even after a long night pouring drinks and being overly polite to their w***er of a boss, and then trying their luck and failing with a group of the high school girls on their way home from karaoke all-nighter, I'm sure you can find it in your hearts to forgive these two chaps, especially as they've politely removed their shoes so as not to dirty the velour. Remember, IT'S ALL FOR THE GREATER GOOD!! NI-PPON!! NI-PPON!!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

RiFe In JaPaN! (#2)

Today's RiFe In JaPaN! features a rather curious vending machine spotted somewhere between the Shibuya and Ebisu areas of Tokyo. Those who have ever visited this strange land will be familiar with the plethora of vending machines which dot the streets and line the station platforms, but I'd imagine few of you have ever come across one like this... (also, who the hell is the guy perched on the Boss can on the left?!)

Thanks to extremely loyal reader and defender of the faith, Andy MacKenzie for the photo.

Monday, 8 November 2010

RiFe In JaPaN! (#1)

This is Tokyo Trawler's new series, RiFe In JaPaN!

The aims to bring you, the dear readers, 'crazy Japan', through a simple photograph. Whilst walking around this place, one is often confronted with the weird and wonderful, the bizarre and incomprehensible, stunning and envy-inducing, and the just plain ridiculous. In this series, RiFe In JaPaN! is asking for your contribution. If you have any weird sh*t that you've snapped on your travels (simple mobile phone photos are OK!), go ahead and send it on to tokyotrawler@gmail.com, and we'll put it up! Captions are welcome too!

Being a Brit from the southern neck of the woods, I couldn't help but love this T-shirt. Despite almost certainly being unintentional, the irony is quite irresistible. The unwitting comedians who designed this beauty are perhaps victims of their own state-of-the-art design methods - we all know how close the 'A' and 'S' keys are on the iPhone keyboard!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Tokyo Trawler//special (vol.1): Got Faded Japan Interview

Welcome to the first edition of Tokyo Trawler//special, a new section of the blog which features extended interviews with especially productive Tokyoites, namely bloggers, podcasters, artists, musicians and other weirdos... In contrast to the regular 'Video Interviews', //special will feature an extended interview and questions about the interviewee's activities and work in Japan.

Vol. 1 features Tokyo's Got Faded Japan bloggers, 'zine producers and podcasters, Johnny and Shank. Coming from a skate and BMX background, these US natives have made it their business to dig out the weird, wonderful, and just plain f***ed up news from Japan and the rest of Asia. Never shy of a drink or two, these guys' blog, podcast and 'zine are all full of wit, fun and comment on the darker side of Japanese culture. Well worth a look. Here's the info:

Blog/Main site: www.GotFadedJapan.com
iTunes search: Got Faded Japan

Tokyo Trawler Recommedation #17 (28/10/10)

Artist: The Cure
Tune: Cut Here
Record: Greatest Hits (2001)
Category: Keep the bathroom cabinet locked

Having a distinctive* voice and a distinctive sound, and not becoming engulfed* by cries of "they're songs all sound the same!", is no mean feat*. Well, The Cure have, over the years, mastered the balance, and on Cut Here, they play to their strengths. Whilst both lyrically and vocally, this song is nothing short of being heartfelt* and melancholy*, the playful, almost sugar-coated guitar and keyboard combination refuses, in triumphant*, paradoxical* fashion, to bow to the weight of vocalist Robert Smith's loaded words. A song with a wide-ranging appeal, and spanning* a number of genres, a tale of regret has never tasted this sweet.

The Tokyo Trawler’s message to the people: A perfectly balanced sweet and sour diet. 

To download or not to download?? 
iTunes available: Yes
勉強のキーワード: distinctive, to engulf, no mean feat, heartfelt, melancholy, triumphant, paradoxical, to span (動詞)
Cut Here URL:

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Video Interviews, Ikebukuro (#10)

Tokyo Trawler Catch of the Day: Demian, USA
Artist: The Damage Manual

Tune: Sunset Gun
Record: The Damage Manual (2000)

Demian's essential rating: 5/5

Demian's Message to the People: "Check out TokyoTrawler.com, Dystopiaq.com and TokyoAnaba.com"

The Interview:

The Tokyo Trawler’s Essential Review:

"A mish-mash* of that kind of the electronic, grungy* electronic, analogue syth, digital syth with the rock", is how Demian described this song, and, despite sounding like the kind of crap* you get when you use a free internet translator, it has, upon listening to this tune, proven to be quite an accurate description*. Whilst this is certainly a 'grimy'* number, the layering* and production has the sort of precision* you might expect from something coming out of the so-called 'industrial' genre. With an utterly* infectious* guitar riff, this lyrically dark effort is the sort of song that has clearly influenced younger bands of more mainstream* backgrounds*.

Category: A frowny-faced, head-boppin' street strutter

The Tokyo Trawler's message to the people: A song only fully appreciated when playing air guitar on your spanner.

To download or not to download?? 4/5 (ESSENTIAL)
iTunes available: Yes
mish-mashgrungecrapdescriptiongrimylayerprecisionutterlyinfectious (3)mainstream (2)background (3)

Sunset Gun URL: