Monday, July 25, 2011

Dying of Laughter - Another SMAP Softbank Ad

I know I just posted yesterday, but I accidentally came across this video while trying to repair my Youtube links for the last Softbank Singapore Ad post (see here), and nearly perished from laughter after watching this. It is just TOO GOOD not to share it. Words fail me at this point, but thankfully you can just watch it. Evil One, I know you WILL love this!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

EXILE-D to Hokkaido!

The Samurai has left me all alone to attend a STOOPID conference in Philadelphia for a week. Thank God for my buddies who are stepping in to accompany me during these solo times. Fat Geisha is incredibly blessed and her friends rock!!

So, more about the nefarious plans that The Evil One and I have as mentioned in my last post. EO has discovered to her eternal glee that EXILE will be holding a concert in Sapporo, Hokkaido, this coming Christmas Eve. We have been thinking about travelling together to Japan for quite some time, either to Kyushu or Hokkaido (avoiding those disaster affected regions), and she was especially eager to try to catch a SMAP or EXILE concert if possible. You can imagine her hormones going all haywire when she found out the news and realised that her dreams of pawing Atsushi's tattooed chest and abs are within reach. I was initially worried that she would hyperventilate and faint from all that excitement. I believed that she hadn't come down from all that sexual high since I posted the first EXILE piece (see here) many moons ago.

The Chest of Her Dreams......

While I am also excited about watching EXILE live in concert (although my excitement will never reach EO's levels), I am even more pleased by the prospect of finally visiting Hokkaido, a place which many friends and relatives who visited have praised to the skies. I look forward to my virgin frolicking in a snowy winterscape, possibly trying out skiing, eating super delicious fresh seafood and SNOW CRABS (OMG I am salivating now). And finally, FINALLY, being able to speak Japanese in Japan. Hey, EO, you better brush up your flirting Japanese phrases in case you really get to meet Atsushi one-on-one. I promise I won't interrupt.

For the travel portion of which I am in charge (she's taking care of the tickets), there are a number of options that we can choose from. In view that we are likely to have 7-9 days in the week leading up to Christmas (and EO needs to take off on her business trips after Boxing Day), I am leaning towards going for a one week package tour which should include a ski resort and/or onsen, and then we can extend our stay in Sapporo. I don't fancy taking public transport by ourselves in deep winter. Brrrrrr.....

When I have more details about our Hokkaido plans, I will share more in future posts. Oh, and the Samurai? He is coming with us of course. He is resigned to tagging along for the trip, but bringing ear plugs just in case the two screaming Obasans deafen him.

Below are some of the concert videos to further pump up our heightened expectations. Yooohooo!!

First time I heard "Last Christmas" sang in Japanese. I would if they would perform this again since the concert would be on Christmas Eve. So incredibly sexy. Evil One, you can have Atsushi, I will have Takahiro. 

This is one of our collective favourite songs. Samurai saw the actual lyrics on another video which actually contains a lot of English words (not that we can catch all of it) and remarked that it was a very silly song. But it is so incredibly catchy and has so many hilarious signature dance moves. Even my Sensei can dance to it!

Hmm, very nice song here and I absolutely LOOVE their shirts. Am definitely going to get one!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

One Year On My Japanese Learning Journey

I think I should just change my nickname to Tardy Geisha, instead of Fat Geisha (but it does not mean I have lost any weight, sigh). But here I am again and I have FINALLY - FINALLY!!!!! reached the one year mark in my part-time Japanese Language classes, and ta-dah! am moving on to the Intermediate Level come next Monday. This also means that I will be able to take my first JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) Level 5 in December this year. If I can take any comfort in the mini in-house test I took earlier this week (43/46!), I think  I should be able to pass the JLPT without too much angst, and so long as I keep up with my revision (which is not a given in view of my overwhelming tardiness.)

The crappy thing of course is that since I started learning Japanese, I have not been able to step foot on Japanese soil, no thanks to the 11 March disaster. Hence I have not been able to show off, or rather, er-hem, UTILISE my new-found Japanese skills. (Although now I am plotting some exciting plans with The Evil One, to be discussed further in the next post.)

Despite being surrounded by a ton of girlfriends who are studying the language at the same time with me, AND knowing a number of people who HAVE studied Japanese, I realised that we are not actively practicing with one another, for God knows what reason. In fact, our fave Japanese phrases, if we did in fact use them, are still "Arigato!", "Sumimasen!", "Chotto Matte!", "Mata Raishu!" etc., which HALLO, I was already using prior to starting my lessons. Are we too old, too shy, too afraid, too lazy to use the language on one another? How in the world are we going to improve if we are confined to using it once a week in class?! What is the point of learning a new language then? I can't travel to Japan every other day (much as I would looove to). To my detriment I still prefer to watch Korean dramas to Japanese dramas. (I think my Korean is quite powerful too, thanks to Lee Min Ho.....) I try to listen to more Japanese songs but can only catch random words, without understanding the full meaning of the sentence. Japan Hour on TV is repeating its episodes which is SOOOO boring. ARGH! 

So how? How am I going to become a Japanese language expert? Or at least, learn sufficiently to flirt shamelessly with Kimura-san (should I ever meet him)? I need an immersion programme, immediately. Preferably immersing myself in an onsen full of gorgeous, naked Japanese men, and I can assure you, I will reach Advanced Level in no time at all. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Goriness of 13 Assassins - Movie Review

I am supposed to be studying for my upcoming Japanese test on Monday, which requires me to study an astonishing 21 chapters, and I am choosing to break my blogging duck for July instead to post my reviews on a movie I just watched last night - the 13 Assassins. Of course I also chose to go movie watching so near to my test date in the staunch belief that I was going to be able to practice my にほんご Nihongo (being a Japanese movie and all), but alas, they were speaking in some ancient Japanese structure and I barely caught 10 words, most of which was おもしろい ("interesting/exciting") and たのしかった ("enjoyable") uttered by the psychopathic villain Lord Naritsugu, played  to freaky perfection by SMAP member Goro Inagaki.

The 13 Assassins in full glory - some old men, some very hot men, and one VERY MAD man (Goro in white at the bottom of the picture).

Samurai T had actually watched part of the movie, a remake which was released in Japan last year, on Singapore Airlines' wonderful KrisWorld system during our December holidays to Taiwan. Being the bloodthirsty man that he is, he has been raving about the movie non-stop to me, and when the movie finally reached Singapore shores, he was more than game to re-watch it again with me. The Evil One was also keen to join us, since she had read that Goro had received a Japanese Oscar-equivalent for playing the Naritsugu role - and let me say that he TOTALLY deserved whatever acting accolades he got.

The Evil One and I were prepared for an all-out gore fest since we were amply warned by the Samurai and our mutual friend Z-san, who said Kill Bill was "child's play" compared to the 13 Assassins. So the Evil One quickly went to the toilet beforehand in case she pissed in fear during the show. As it was, the very first scene showed a very long painful scene of a samurai committing hara-kiri or seppuku, i.e. ritual suicide. Although they did not show all the entrails falling out, the expression on the actor's face, as well as the sound effects were sufficient to make me clutch my tummy in fear.

The plot was simple and I doubt it would be spoiling the movie for anyone in telling the whole story. A respected middle-aged Samurai, Shinzaemon, was tasked by Sir Doi, a senior advisor on the Shogun's Council, to assassinate the Shogun's half brother, Lord Naritsugu, a most sadistic and evil man, before he could take his place on the Shogun's Council and wreck havoc on Japan. The audience was quickly made aware of how coldly insane Naritsugu was by flashing back to his multiple crimes, chief of which consisted of a screaming LIMBLESS woman shedding tears of blood whose image would be ingrained in my brain for a long time to come. His insanity was boundless, and Goro made the character even more frightening by being calmly aloof (instead of cackling with mad laughter) as he carried out his nefarious deeds. Thereafter, Shinzaemon gathered his band of brothers and the last hour was just all-out slaughter between the 13 assassins, against Naritsugu's party of 250 (!!!) men in a remote village full of death traps.

Naritsugu was the only one dressed in pristine white throughout the movie, irony being he was the evillest of them all.

The brilliance of the film lay in the execution of the story - laying the groundwork on why Naritsugu must be killed, the bonding and motives of the various Samurai, to the eventual climatic battle unto-death. It was engaging, it was gripping, it was BLOODY. It was funny in parts, too funny especially in the scenes involving the last assassin, Kiga, a mountain hunter-cum-potential mountain spirit, and the cinema broke out into loud guffaws in spite of the serious themes involved. The Evil One and I still had time to admire several hunky Samurai (yums, ronin Hirayama) even as they were being sliced to pieces. Suffice to say, this being an almost one-sided contest, most of the assassins met a glorious (in their warped Samurai mentality) and gory end.

We enjoyed ourselves tremendously, with the Evil One proclaiming it was one of the best movies she had seen in a long time. I wouldn't go that far, since I was never fond of violent movies, but it was a movie that was definitely worth all the time and money you spent on it. Thankfully in spite of my fears, I was too tired to have a nightmare of a limbless woman crying blood emerging in my dreams.

Near the end - the killing fields.