Friday, October 31, 2008

Swan's Japanese Horror Reviews 41: ID

(review 41: ID)

So here we have the new review of ID, a very confusing but fun film to watch. I also announce the winner of the upcoming review (but if you are here on this page I'm sure you can see to the right which one the winner is hah). I also brought myself back into the review for parts of it, as it seemed that a majority of people missed me (lol). So, let me know what you guys think of this one, and if this is how you want things to run. I think it's a fair compromise on format.

Happy Halloween everyone! Have a ghoulishly scary day (is that too cheesy...)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Cure 4:13 Dream

So once class got out today, I sped my way over to the nearest Best Buy to pick up The Cure's brand new album: 4:13 Dream. How is it? AWESOME. A great record that has pop (the only one), beauty (underneath the stars), and pure madness (it's over). I think I like this one a bit better then their last album from 2004, and I can't wait for the supposed 'dark album' to be released next year.

(The Cure play a new track 'The Reasons Why' in Rome)

The Cure rules. Seriously. Robert Smith is the man. Oh yeah, also when I was at Best Buy I picked up a new j-horror dvd called 'ID.' It was only 10 bucks, and it looks interesting. So that one might be reviewed soon. The poll is nearly closed, so if you haven't voted yet make sure to get in there and let your voice be heard!

Ok, before I have to go to work I'm going to continue to listen to this new Cure album. Next up, the new Depeche Mode album in the spring!!!


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Weekend Update!

Hey everybody! As the weekend winds down and it's time to start another week of school (already into week 9 of the semester!) I'll just go over some brief updates to close out the weekend:

(Tokyo Jennie and myself in the dorm)

1. Tokyo Jennie! A good friend of mine whom lived in the same dorm as me and appeared in countless Tokyo Swan episodes, Tokyo Jennie, has also recently started her own blog. Jennie in Japan: She is also trying to get back to Japan next year, so I think there should be some really good content on there. She's been a great friend so I encourage you keep on an eye on her blog!

2. Dreamcast! This weekend I had some extra time on my hands so I popped in my Japanese copy of Shenmue. I'm trying to play through the game without using a guide, and I'm really happy with how much I understand in the game 船員の集まる場所は知りませんか。 Such an epic and amazing game, I'm at the part where you are looking for Charly.

(me in dobuita where shenmue took place. This became one of my most popular Tokyo Swan episodes)

I also had some time to play the import title 'comic party.' This was originally an 18+ pc game that later got ported to the dreamcast (with the hentai bits removed). You play as an aspiring manga artist and you can select how many pages your comic will be, if it will be in color, the price of the final product, and some other interesting elements that adds some cool strategy and simulation to the game. I initally got into Comic Party with the anime released by The( then) Right Stuf Int. here in the states, and the manga from tokyopop was also quality.

3. Clothes shopping! So I just got back from buying some new shirts and pants to wear as it starts to get colder. It should come to no surprise that all of the shirts were brown (my favorite color) and I even bought a pair of those skinny jeans. We'll see how it goes haha, but I think it all looks pretty balling.

Ok, well that's all from me! Hope everyone has been enjoying the fall weather wherever you may be, and that everyone gets everything they need for Halloween taken care of. Speaking of which, I'm still not sure what my plans are for that...


Friday, October 24, 2008

Tokyo Swan: Unseen Swan 6

(Tokyo Swan: Unseen Swan 6)

So here's the sixth episode in the Tokyo Swan: Unseen Swan series. All of these clips come from the first 10 episodes, so it's pretty crazy to reflect and look back on these. Man I looked so young (Those keeping track will see the current facial hair is a developing beard). I shot the opening for this one last weekend, and I had a bit of a cold, but it turned out ok I guess. This one has some good stuff, the 'popper' who danced to a classic chrono trigger track, some shots of Keio university, some clips of Tokyo Jennie and Kris, and more.

Right now, I have just one more Unseen Swan episode put together, but I'll have to go through the video vaults one more time to see if I missed any (worthwhile) footage. And what do I do after the last unseen swan? I guess either pump out more reviews or move on to a new journey back to japan series... hmm, I need to think that idea out. Next up is a new review for Halloween, and then we'll see how things go in November. As for me right now, I'm going back to watching some tenchi, and then the pick up artist is on tv heh.



Midterms are done! Hurray! Man, that is great to be finished with those. Not sure how I did on my stats one, but I guess I'll find out soon enough. Right now, I'm just those are all finished. It will be finals time before I even know it....

I went home this weekend to pick up some winter stuff, it's already getting pretty cold. When I was in Tokyo last year it rarely snowed and even when it was at its coldest it didn't compare at all to a normal Michigan winter.

I'm rewatching some of the third Tenchi Muyo ova series at the moment. Tenchi Muyo was an anime I got into when the series first ran on tv here around 2000 or so. In my personal collection, I have the original Muyo boxset, the universe boxset, all three movies, the mihoshi/pretty samy special dvd, gxp, and the third ova series. Never picked up tenchi in tokyo... I don't know, I guess that one never did much for me. Can't really recommend the gxp series. Really, when it comes to Tenchi the original 2 ova series and the three movies are probably the best of the bunch but to each his own. The manga released by Viz was also quite nice.

The thid ova series was something I was really looking forward to. The last series has ended with so many unanswered questions so I was curious to see where the creators would take the new episodes. And while it started with some promise (and lots of flashbacks) it takes some really questionable side turns and goes off on strange tangents while taking away the central focus of the show: Tenchi and the girls.

Why am I watching Tenchi now? Good question. I just wanted to revist the first episode in the third ova series where Tenchi is walking around in the rain thinking about all of his encounters with the various women in his life. Having grown up with the tenchi series in a sense, it's interesting to see the characters in a more mature light. Although, I suppose if you wanted truly reflective Tenchi then the third movie would be the best bet. That one is probably my favorite in the entire series.

(my copy of the import tenchi muyo rpg on the super famicom)

If I had more time I would play more of the import tenchi muyo rpg game for my super famicom, as that looks pretty good. Ok, well that's enough Tenchi talk for tonight. Think I'll upload a new unseen swan and call it a day. See you next time.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Deconstructing Rodger

Hey gang! Hope everyone is doing well out there, as for me this week has been all about midterms! I’m feeling a bit better from the cold I was battling over the weekend, and I’m halfway through the school week already now, but things have been a bit hectic. Just one more stats midterm on Thursday to deal with (oh yeah, math is certainly not my thing).

I’ve got the next Unseen Swan ready to release this weekend, and I’ve started work on the next review. The review after that will be the one that wins the current poll on here, and right now things seem to be in a dead heat!

I’m kind of curious what you guys want to see as content on here? Is there anything in particular you’d like me to blog about? Besides school work this week, I’ve watched a few good Woody Allen movies. 1997’s “Deconstructing Harry” is a masterpiece, one of my favorite films I have seen from Woody. Yeah I know haha, it’s nowhere near Japanese horror but it’s good to have some balance in life.

You might have noticed on the side that I’ve included a link to which is a site run from my friend Kevin whom I met in Japan (Tokyo Swan fans should remember him from some of the episodes!). Kevin is a great guy and a truly inspirational fellow, he taught me how to eat healthier and he was very dedicated to keeping himself in the best shape possible. We had some good times in Japan, and he also has a lot of Japan related posts on his site that are well worth checking out. So check out his site, he’s a great guy!

(kevin and myself at the dorm in Japan on my 21st birthday)

Time to head out to work here soon, and then once I get back I’ll work on some Japanese homework. Is anybody else watching ‘The Real Jaleel’ on nick at night with the guy who played Urkle hosting family matters? Classic.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Now Playing: Doukoku Soshite (saturn)

Doukoku Soshite
Release: 1998
From: Data East
Genre: Visual Novel/Adventure

Hey everybody so I thought another fun thing I could do on this blog would be to talk about some of the video games that I occasionaly have time to play when I'm not dealing with school/work/applying to work in Japan/making videos. Lately, I've had some time to sit down and play 'Doukoku soshite' an import text adventure game from data east in Japan. If you are hip to the world of these adventure games, you'll probably recognise the name as it's one of the more famous ones on the saturn, and after playing it for a while I can sure see why! The presentation and story are both top notch, and it really drags you into the moody atmosphere of the game.

(check out the intro and some opening footage from the game!)

While a lot of these visual novel type games are all about anime girls and falling in love, this one mixes things up with a really creepy and mysterious story. The game starts and you're on a bus returning from graduation practice earlier in the day. The bus is driving through a forest late at night, and the main chracter finds himself lost in thought. Thankfully, a classmate is there with him to keep him company. The bus stops and you're surprised to see your teacher enter as well as a really creepy looking man. Before you know it, all you remember are flashing lights and the squeeling of tires... there's been an accident!

You wake up and there's a girl screaming in pain, but is it a dream? The next thing you know, you're in this mysterious mansion, and the game becomes kind of a point and click adventure where you have to find clues and use different items to solve puzzles. Along the way, you meet more characters that were both on the bus and not...

This is a fantastic game with a great moody story and wonderful artwork. Of course, being entirely in Japanese, if you don't know the language fairly well prepared to be destroyed by an onslaught of kanji. But if you can read the story, I think you'll find something really enjoyable! Now if only I had more time to play it...


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Japan Advertisements

Hey gang! Still playing around with setting up this blog, but so far I'm liking it haha. I've signed up for an adsense account, so that means if you guys click on the ads I might actually make some money off this! That would be pretty sweet, some more cash to buy Japanese horror films perhaps haha. See, in that case everyone wins! But yeah, it looks like the ads should all be related to the contents of this site, so looks like some cool Japan related links that might be worth checking out.

In other words, I have mid terms all next week and I'm currently sick. Good thing I already did my last review, as my voice is going from completely gone in one second, to very low the next. Time to take a nap or something. Anyways, remember to click the ads and vote in the new poll! Also, there might be a contest coming up soon once more people come over here... and feel free to sign up and post some comments here!!


Review Poll!

Hey gang, hope everyone's weekend is off to a fine start. I've added a poll just over on the right for viewers to vote on an upcoming review! Voting will close on Halloween so get your vote in and be heard.... this upcoming review will be decided by YOU!!

Here is some basic information about the four choices I have listed:

Uzumaki (2000): Based on the manga of Junji Ito. A small town in Japan is plauged by strange spirals.

Tomie (1999): Also from the manga artist Junji Ito. This is the first in a series about a girl who just will not die.

M.P.D. Pyscho (2000): Directed by Takashi Miike of audition and ichi the killer fame, this is actually a short mini series about a multiple personality detective.

Dead Waves (2005): A Japanese TV crew get in over their heads with ghosts.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Horror Reviews Format

Hey everybody. So, I've brought back the Japanese horror reviews on youtube and the first two new installments have each already generated a lot of buzz and people seem to be in agreement that they are glad I am doing them again. What is not in agreement is the format haha. I've made a conscious decision not to appear in the horror reviews anymore, but quite a few youtube users miss the old way.

I'll be honest, earlier this year the last few reviews I did were done with totally no enthusiasm and no desire at all. This was due to the difficulty of producing both the reviews and the tokyo swan show on a weekly basis as well as trying to juggle school and a social life. I felt that the reviews needed to change, and if I brought them back the format would have to be different to both keep improving, and maybe more importantly keep myself interested in them and allow for myself to become excited in the reviews again.

(The new review for Noriko's Dinner Table)

This might seem strange, but I was worried that the reviews were being seen more as a platform for myself then a showcase of what in many cases were amazing pieces of art that people should truly purchase and enjoy. I slowly started to appear less and less in the reviews, substituting footage from the films, until finally when I brought them back and I didn't appear in the videos at all. I liken this to Woody Allen not wanting to make funny movies anymore. Sure, it made him famous, but he wanted to try new things and keep himself interested in what he was working on. Of course, the public was not ready for this and there was backlash. This of course was documented in a number of his works, and it's something I feel a strong connection with. I just want to make professional well thought out reviews that get people excited about the films. This called for scipting the new reviews to avoid all of the embarassing stuttering and 'ya knows' from the old videos, and making something that I felt showcased what was really important: the film.

But still, many people want me back in the videos, which is flattering, so I'm debating with myself as if to allow some sort of compromise and appear perhaps even briefly in the reviews. Personally, I think there's enough of me in the unseen swan videos (which are entirely self indulgent, please don't think I view them as anything other then that). So that having been said, I'm throwing around the idea of filming the next review ('the neighbor # 13') with a few shots of me thrown in. Nothing is set in stone yet, but I guess it's worth trying. Still, if anyone wants to further comment on the reviews then please feel free to do so! I'm open to suggestions, but at the end of the day I do have somewhat of a firm belief that if I'm not personally enjoying the work, then I won't do it. I mean, it's not like I get paid for this stuff, I do it out of the passion I feel for these films and the satisfaction of helping others become aware of such movies. So yeah, sound off on the reviews and let me know what's up!

Welcome to the Swan Pond

Hey gang, Swan here. Well what do you know, I have decided to jump on the blog bandwagon in an attempt to provide another form of contact between myself and the viewers of my work on youtube. I think this should prove to be interesting, I still get so many emails every day from people all over the globe.... and I'm not even in Japan anymore! So, perhaps this could provide a nice medium in which to further communicate with everyone as well as providing general updates to what's going on not only on the video side of things, but also on my personal life.

I think it would be fair to go over some goals to kick things off. What do I wish to gain with starting a blog? Like I said, I think being able to share a little bit more and be able to provide another means of connection between myself and my viewers (over 2,300 loyal! nice!) would be great. I'm hoping I can talk about issues going on amongst the videos, as well as just personal things because a lot of people are interested in how I'm doing personally now that I've returned home from Japan. I'd like to also use this as some sort of documentation as to my journey to getting back to Japan with the English teaching job I'm applying for.

So overall, I hope this proves to be enjoyable and perhaps even insightful for those interested. Who knows, maybe people might learn a thing or two about the guy behind the videos. Some Japanese posts might also be interesting too. もし日本語を書いたらいい練習だと思う。もちろん僕の日本語はぺらぺらじゃないですが将来、上手になりたいんよ。今、日本語が読めない人たちは「スワンさんは日本語で何を書いている」って言っているのではないだろうか。ごめんね。

So enjoy the blog, and see you next time.