Madison Beer Life Support Tour

After waiting seven years, Madison released her album Life Support in 2021.. .Although the album has had mixed responses from critics, it’s clear from watching the 23 year old live that there Is more to her than just a social media personality. The star gave a personal, yet melodramatic performance full of heartbreak and some sexuality, that was truly adored by her largely teenage fanbase.

The singer’s set design included an LED frame to allow the singer to be transported across the stage. For the first song BABY, Madison leaned forward in the frame and was backed by two dancers who were wearing similar tight bustier style lace outfits.

The lighting was neon blues and pinks that sometimes made it hard to see the singer. And there was plenty of drama from the projected imagery, some of it using video footage form her songs, and printed lyrics that were shown as diary entries.  Most of the songs came from her major album release, Life Support. The opening number was BABY, which had the crowd belting out the sexually confident lyrics. Stained glass was so powerful, and the singer came into her own on that track, really exuding a rock -star stage presence. Another major track was the moving ‘Reckless’. How could you be so Reckless with my heart? The singer cried , yet as the song reached its finale she was more vengeful, inviting the audience to sing the line ‘I hope you both go to hell.’

What else? There was the futuristic sounding ‘Follow the White Rabbit’; the singer performed it with a rabbit ear gesture. The song ‘Boyshit’, surely one of her best, was near the end. There were so many perfect moments: the songs from the album that mean so much to her fans were all breathlessly belted out by the crowd. They are mostly three minutes or less – here the signer used a background track instead of her band; there was no doubting the signer’s power and vocal range. The concert finished with a beautiful eruption of white confetti. And then the signer was gone, but she lighted the audience by coming out on stage to dance along to Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now.

We are witnessing a genuine new talent.

QUEENS SKATE DINE BOWL – why I love it

A short video I made showining ice-skating rink at Queensway

Get your Skates on!

The Skating rink at Queens is a funky and cool place, partly because it brings out everyone from dating couples, young people, kids, and elders. Although there is an image of skating and bowling as being a bit downmarket, it’s not really the case in the Queens skate dine bowl.

The location helps give it some class. Next to Queensway tube, West London, the area is next to some of the biggest consulates, as well as nearby Kensington Palace. The venue does get some idiots, mainly rough kids from some of the housing estates. On the other hand, you will see many young Chinese women, and Asians of other countries (something to do with ice-skating being seen as an acceptable past time). Have a look at the video, and you’ll see what I mean.

Booking a session

The website tells you that you need to pre-book, so that you can guarantee a slot. It’s not something that was a problem for me, and I did it using the website. Over 12’s pay 11.50 per hour, plus skate hire. I noticed many of the more experienced skaters had come with their own skates.

What’s on the menu?

It’s burgers, wings, and other comfort food. The company has partnered up with Meat Liquor to serve burgers, wings and Mac & cheese. It must be said that this is miles away from the kind of cardboard junk food that we can all remember eating on visits to the leisure centre after a swim in the community pool.

Can I have a drink?

Yes, most definitely. The bar serves some impressive-sounding cocktails, such as ‘Fallen Angelita’ and ‘New Cross Negroni’, you will find milkshakes and craft beer as well. Everything has been done with the utmost care and attention to detail. You could quite happily come here just for a drink, not using the ice-rink or bowling alleys.

Final Verdict

Queens Skate is a fantastic venue. The design, particularly the neon-lit ice-rink, is something I haven’t seen anywhere else. Staff are trained to help nervous skaters, you can book lessons and there are DJs playing some nights. I can’t think of a better activity to do in London during the holidays, so take my advice and book a session.

Rob in Japan’s Guide to Kumamoto

On the Southern island of Kyushu,Kumamoto is a city in Japan. It’s mostly rural and there are many beautiful sights to visit. Most people who have heard about the city know about the Kumamoto Bear, a mascot created to draw tourists to the region when the Shinkansen opened in 2010.

This loveable character has been seen countless times, thanks to free licensing rights that mean the image can be used as long as it promotes the area, and in fact the bear is the most popular mascot in Japan.

Some souvenirs from Kumamoto Prefecture.

You can buy all kinds of snacks for souvenirs in the shops. As it is for other cities, everything is impressively packaged and the service is first class, as you would expect.

Mount Kinbo

The mountain in Kumamoto is an extinct caldera volcano; it still smokes but does not erupt. It’s perfect for a day of sightseeing!

Kumamoto Castle

Considered to be one of three most important castles in Japan. In truth, it looks the same as any castle you will find all over Japan.

Food

Kumamoto is famous for ramen. It’s not as greasy as Hokkaido ramen, and includes sliced garlic and sesame oil.

Kumamoto Ramen

Getting there

Fly to Fukuoka, the largest city in the region, and travel by bus or train to Kumamoto.

Drive my Car Review

How the film diverges from the book, whilst keeping some things the same.

Published as part of a short story collection, Drive My Car is one of Murakami’s finest short stories. But it’s not particularly dramatic, strange, or interesting. Nothing would suggest that it would make a particularly cinematic film. But here we are, with  the most critically acclaimed  Imternational film of the year, and now the winner of Best Foreign Film.

The short story

Taking the title of the short story form a Beatles story, the main character is another Murakami proxy. He’s introduced as a widower, and his wife is mentioned as being someone he was in love with but perhaps thtere were things about him that he never understood. Then there is an actor who had an affair with the wife right up until she died. Finally, the third main character is the driver. These characters appear in the same form in the film, more or less. But the film adds several characters who don’t exist in the book. Instead of the book’s limited dramatis personae environment, the film goes for a more expanisive cast that is closer to the previous works of the firector rather than the Murakami story.

The wife is wonderfully played in the film; a mixture of eroticism, sadness and strength by Reika Kirishima. We see that she loves her husband very much. And we know this before the scene where the main character accidentally finds her making love with another man. Yet the film  makes this revelation somehow boring and not as surprising as it should have been; leaving us to wonder if the man had always believed that his partner was unfaithful.

Both book and film make it clear that the main character was waiting for his wife to explain her infidelity, but she dies the same evening. I thought that the film hinted that her death was a suicide, but  later we’re told that she had a cerebral heamorrhage. This could have been caused by a blunt object to the head – yet the film never looks at the possibility of her being murdered, or that it could have been a suicide. The absence of the wife is a massive part of the book. Yet the character in the film shows less regret than we would believe possible for one who has lost their partner of twenty years.

The book largely uses conversations between the driver and director to reveal what happened when he struck up a  friendship with the actor his wife had an affair with. These are some of the best parts of the story – tense, exciting, and we don’t know where the story will turn next. Yet these conversations aren’t even used in the film. It’s an example of why Murakami has always presented such a challenge to directors adapting his works for the screen. The character’s internal monologues in the first person are what gives the writing its power – but this is difficult to translate to a visual medium.

The actor is presented as a rather timid man who is attractive to the women without having any strong characteristics. He’s more of a threat in the book and his outbreaks of violence are easier to accept, especially as they are grounded in alcoholism.

I can’t say that this film has done a bad job of adapting the story. In some ways it’s very original – it borrows some details from other stories in the same collection and it works. A lot of the stories that the wife tells him come from Scheherazade in the same collection – and Hamaguchi manages to interpolate these within the story of Drive my Car without losing the cohesion of the narrative.

Yet it doesn’t have the mysterious Murakami quality you get from reading the book. What the film does have that the book doesn’t – is a powerful scene where the actor/director is comforted by a Korean-signing actress who tells him to carry on living, it could and should have been the ending. Yet the film ends with the driver now living on Korea but driving Yusuke’s red Saab. It’s an oddly flat ending that really lacks an emotional catharsis that the film had led us to expect. The film has found favour with critics who found something more in the film than I did. It’s said to show another side of Japan, and is even being touted as a tourist advertisement. Yet the film shows very few famous landmarks that we would expect to see. Perhaps this is inevitable from a film that wants to focus on the banal reality at the expanse of any wonder. Yet it’s an oddly cold, uninvolving film, and it’s not been a success in Japan, with people largely ignoring it for bigger homegrown films such as Demonslayer.

Planning the Perfect trip to Japan

The Most Beautiful Things to Do in Japan While You Are on Your Holiday!

Years of travel and study would be required to fully comprehend the Japanese people’s culture.

In this article, I’d like to assist you in deciding what should not be missed on a trip to Japan in order to fully immerse yourself in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Here are some of the things to do in Japan, in no particular order:

1. Attend A Matsuri

Matsuri, or Japanese festivals (generally Shinto), can be found in all cities of Japan and are very common as they mark the various changes in the climate, or pay homage to a historical, cultural anniversary, or may indicate a rite of passage (like the age of majority), or they can still represent a popular or Shintoist belief.

These are always colorful and cheerful parties that take over the city and involve a large number of people. During Matsuri, you can often find stalls of traditional food and sweets in the city, filling the festive streets with their delectable aroma.

 2. Sleep In A Ryokan

The Ryokan are traditional Japanese hotels where the rooms with tatami floors have a table in the center where you can eat sitting on a pillow and where the futon, the Japanese bed that is placed on the tatami at night, is stored in the closet (by the maid )

https://www.booking.com/region/jp/mount-fuji.html?

3. See Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji is not just any mountain; it is the highest peak in Japan (3776 m) and is considered sacred by the Japanese.

Those who want to admire the view and take some nice photos can hike up to the fifth Kawaguchiko station, which is 2305 meters above sea level, and then take the bus back.

According to a Japanese proverb, “Whoever climbs Mount Fuji once in a lifetime is wise; who climbs it twice is a fool.”

4. Go To A Maid Cafe 

Entering one of these coffee shops is an all-Japanese experience to try.

These establishments are mostly found in Akihabara, and the waitresses, dressed in Victorian attire, are there to serve the customer in all aspects, thus impersonating the role of the devoted “maid” who will not fail to surprise you with a few touches of “magic,” thanks to the almost enchanted atmosphere of the internal environment.

https://en.japantravel.com/tokyo/maidreamin-maid-cafe-in-akihabara/21398

5. Attend A Sumo Meeting

Sumo is Japan’s national sport, and I am confident that witnessing a match of this hand-to-hand combat dating back to the 6th century will be an adventure to remember.

The Sumo Tournaments, also known as hon-basho, are held only in the odd months, six times a year, and last 15 days. A meeting can be held in Tokyo in January, May, and September, as well as in Osaka in March, Nagoya in July, and Fukuoka in November.https://trulytokyo.com/how-to-buy-tickets-for-a-tokyo-sumo-match/

6. Going To An Onsen

Onsen is Japanese for “thermal spring,” and the country has over 3000 of them. The Japanese bathing tradition dates back to ancient times and has almost sacred significance.

After a long day at work, the Japanese prefer to relax in a hot tub, especially if it is a thermal spring, which has even more beneficial effects on body and mind.

https://dogo.jp/en/

7. Attend A Geisha / Maiko Show

The geisha (or geiko, in the Kyoto dialect) is one of many images that come to mind when we think of Japan, as it embodies Japanese beauty and art, with precious kimonos, elegant and precise gestures, musicality, traditional ceremonies and dances.

The geisha is an artist with various skills (singing, music, conversation, etc.) whose job it is to entertain clients in tearooms called ochaya in the evenings.https://www.insidekyoto.com/kyoto-geisha

8. Visit The Most Beautiful Hotels 

Japan is a very beautiful country and there are a lot of places to stay while you are on vacation.

Please see below some of the most comfortable hotels to stay: 

  1. Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Kyoto
  2. The Okura,https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/hotel/japan/park-hyatt-tokyo/tyoph?src=corp_lclb_gmb_seo_tyoph Tokyo
  3. Park Hyatt Tokyo
  4. Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo
  5. Conrad Tokyo
  6. Tokyo Station Hotel
  7. Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo
  8. Aman Tokyo
  9. Hoshinoya Tokyo

9. Going To A Neko Cafe 

If you miss your pets that have been left at home, or if you simply adore cats and want to spoil someone, you can visit a Neko Cafe (or in Japanese neko kissa), where a feline colony awaits you in one of the many cafes scattered throughout Japan.https://www.kanpai-japan.com/travel-guide/neko-cafe-cat-experience

10. Go To A Love Hotel

Confidentiality is well known in Japan, but contrary to popular belief, the Japanese are not cold, despite the fact that it is impolite to show effusions in public. In fact, the Japanese are just as passionate as the Westerners in private, but they prefer to show it away from prying eyes.

Love hotels, which can be simple or themed, are popular in Japan. Sometimes, they can be booked for as short a period as 1 hour. But to make the most of it, you should spend a night in one of the adult love hotels. Baths, sex toys and pornographic films come as standard. Not to mention condoms, of course.https://www.agoda.com/hotel-fine-garden-matsuyama-free-parking-adult-only/hotel/matsuyama-jp.html?cid=1844104

How Battle Royale became the ultimate Japanese teen film

Films about teenagers make up the bulk of Japanese cinema in the nineties, The period between puberty and adulthood is even more romanticised than in America. Yet at the end of the century one film came out that was to change the face of Japanese cinema and bring about new Asian influence in American cinema.

Battle Royale managed to subvert the typical high school film by giving the youngsters a panoply of weapons. The idea of children turning feral goes back to `lord of the Flies’ in literature, but ‘Battle Royale’ was more shocking in showing the teenagers still wearing their school uniforms while massacring each other.

Directed by Fukasu, battle Royale turned out to be the last film of a director best known in the west for directing ‘Battles Without Honor and Humanity’. HE managed to achieve a film that was far more successful than he could ever have imagined. Certainly, it was helped by having a great starring role from Takeshi Kitano, and a very charismatic cast of actors.

The violence was incredibly well-choreographed, stylish and sometimes beautiful, and it was set to the backdrop of the standards of classical music. By the time it came to be released in the US, fears of the film inciting another school shooting were enough for it to be delayed indefinitely, and when it was finally released, people were watching the Hunger Games, sometimes not aware of how much that film had borrowed from Battle Royale.

Yet it’s Battle Royale that has had a much stronger cultural legacy, with the film as highly regarded now as it was on its first release in the year 2000.

British Women the ugliest in the world?

A dating coach famously announced that he didn’t consider British Women to be worth dating, based mainly on their looks and attitudes. His name is Richard Ruina, although for the purposes of this article it doesn’t really matter.

On the other hand, a number of people (British, it must be said) leapt to their defence, calling the guru a dick, asshole, and misogynist. I don’t have the right to criticise anyone, least of all when it comes to appearances. But I can see how some might consider women who are overweight, sport tattoos, and are badly dressed, as being unattractive.

So what’s the truth of the matter? The fact is, there are some stunners (at the top end) and a lot of average women in between, and then the ‘mingers’ (british slang for unattractive) making up a large group at the bottom.

Women on a night out in Liverpool, a city in the north of England.

It’s the last group that are responsible for the low opinion held for British women in the UK. The women seen on holidays in Spain and Greece, for example, acting like hooligans or ‘ladettes’ according to some British tabloids. The majority of British women are not like this at all. In fact, there is a rich phenotype made up of mixed races in many English women, which is why you will find it quite difficult to identify a British woman from women from other countries in Europe.

Still, if you’re a man from England, you’ll probably have some complaints about British women being cold, too demanding, difficult to please. As a result, you’ll probably enjoy dating women from other countries who visit here. And that doesn’t mean you think British women are ugly, just that it’s good to have some new experiences.

British Airways Flight Review

British Airways Flight review

Journey –  LHR to Manchester. I had a travel voucher from British Airways from a cancelled flight, so I decided to use it for a trip to Manchester. Rather than having to take the train, I wanted to try flying instead. I had booked through BA.com. This allowed me the option of selecting my seat for an extra £5 each way. It wasn’t something I wanted to do

Check in

I was issued a paper ticket through one of the self-service machines at Heathrow Terminal 5, and did not need to wait at the check-in line as I was only taking hand-luggage on board.

Security: there was an extra-long line for the security, partly due to it being half term. We were told several times that we couldn’t have liquids in our hand- luggage. After bagging my aftershave and toothpaste, I was surprised that my luggage was cordoned off. Apparently it was because I had a can of deodorant inside, I hadn’t thought that this would be problem.

At the gates: When it was time to board, we were led to an airport shuttle which drove up to the runway.

Getting on board: Boarding was done at the front of the plane.

Seating: I hadn’t booked my seat in advance. However, I had a middle row seat in between aisle and window. It was right at the back and definitely the worst seat on the airplane. The seat itself was a black leather upholstered airplane seat, so it was comfortable enough.

On board food service: no hot food was served to economy. However, we were given mineral water and a Kellogs cereal bar. It was better than nothing.

Cabin Crew – staff were talking at the back as I entered. However, they were happy to help with my enquiry about newspapers and magazines.

Anything else – the flight had some turbulence as the plane was not able to reach the correct height.

Arrival time – we arrived in Manchester 30 minutes later than scheduled. It was frustrating to say the least. Disembarking was very straightforward

Final comments

If I need to travel to Manchester at short notice, I think I’ll be more likely to take the train or bus. Taking the plane will be not much different in terms of the time spent travelling, especially when you include the time spent at the airport.

The end of the Korean wave

If the Korean wave, (known as Hallyu) began in the mid nineties, then it ended on February 2020, when Parasite became the first foreign film to win the academy for best film. The idea of Korean culture as something new and exciting was fading, but for a while it was the newest cultural force, with Korea leading the way when it came to innovative film, fashion and music.

the word ‘Hallyu’ refers to the spread Korean culture throughout Asia

It was quite different in the eighties. The country that everyone talked about was Japan. Japan was cool. Everyone said so. You didn’t need to have ever been to Japan to have an idea of what Japan was about. Sushi, Geisha, manga cartoons. These were well-known. And they didn’t need the Japanese government to help promote them. With Korea, it wasn’t until after the end of the country’s dictatorship that the country opened up. And by 1995, the government was funding Korean movies. An even bigger revolution was occurring in television. Sandglass was the first major TV drama with mass appeal. not just in Korea, but in other countries. Ministers realised that they could sell Korea (specifically its technology) through TV dramas that were shown across Asia. The spread of Korea had not quite reached beyond the Pacific Rim just yet.

Parasite won Best Picture in 2020, showing that Korean culture had become a global phenomenon.

By the 2000s, the music form Korea was catching on too. What was a beguiling me of techno, rap and electronica was being called “k-pop.” And then with Youtube, it was possible for this music to break through the language barrier and start to gain much wider appeal. Certainly, the internet helped to share Korean music to fans all over the world. But it’s likely that it would have taken off anyway, even without Youtube, which gave Psy’s Gangnam Style the most watched Korean music video.

Psy’s Gangnam Style broke the billion views on Youtube.

As the likes of Girls Generation, Super Junior and Big Bang were making a lot of noise in Asia, people were realising that Korea was in many ways the new country to discover. Korean restaurants were spreading fast, and kimchi became a new superfood. Again, this was no accident. the government deliberately promoted it. And for a while, it was exciting. You couldn’t move for Korean restaurants in London, even if they were churning out the same familiar food. And yet by 2017, it was starting to look as if Korean culture was losing it’s edge. BTS, Twice, Big Bang. the top Korean k-pop groups were now polished, slick, more professional than ever before, but people were criticising the methods involved in the manufacture of these acts.

One of the best K-pop groups and most original, 2NE1 have now broken up.

Was there any different about BTS that was distinctive from Super Junior? OR Big Bang? Red Velvet were just an updated version of 2NE1. The films were no longer breaking artistic ground. Meanwhile, people were using the prefix ‘K’ to describe anything that was from Korea, in attempt to sell its novelty. There was k-drama. then it was k-bbq. And K-make-up. All of it was beginning to grow tiresome. Was the only thing these products had going for them was that they were Korean? Maybe not, but it felt as though people felt they could make more money if people thought they were buying something Korean.

Everything from Korea now comes with the prefix ‘K”, in case we weren’t aware that Korea produces cosmetics, or kimchi.

Meanwhile, Japanese culture was quietly carrying on. It didn’t need an army of fans to sell its culture abroad, or government ministers to prop up its film industry. And however hard the Korean tourist board tries to sell Korean culture abroad, it’s Japan that is the first country non-Asians want to visit when they travel to the continent. No amount of B.T.S. videos are going to change that.

She’s on a working holiday!

The joys of the Asian girl on a working holiday visa in UK

Every year, some 2000 working holiday visas are granted to people aged up to 30 in some of the east Asian countries such as South Korea and Japan. The majority are here for enjoying a break from the often hectic lives they have in their own countries. Some come to learn English. Others might be here for work. The good news is that most are single and up for a good time.

But you need to know a few things so that you can make the most of the situation. A girl I met recently is on a two year working holiday in London. Sakura is in her late twenties, and she is over here to enjoy London. As well as working in the Japan Centre https://www.japancentre.com/en, Sakura also has a second job in a restaurant. Sakura* is as a good an example of the many Japanese and Korean girls who come to London.

They won’t have the best English, so bear that in mind when you come to approach them. And they will be changing jobs, moving around, perhaps doing some studying at the same time. It’s common for most girls to stay with with a ‘host’ family to help them settle in, for the first few months, and quite possibly the length of their stay. So bear that in mind too, because in these situations it’s going to be hard for you to be able turn up at the host family’s house, however much you want to have sex

It’s good to be realistic, so that you can make things easy for both of you.Let’s say you’re lucky enough to meet a nice girl from Japan and you’re both into each other. You become a couple. Then her 2 years’ are up. You try the long distance relationship and it fails. You could have spent that time getting with all the other girls you ignored when you wanted to be with her exclusively. Sometimes, it works, and a lot of girls who have a working holiday will return, especially if she likes you a lot. But bear in mind that it could go either way.

Another thing you will find is that these women have only a very basic idea of what life in the UK is actually like, because there is not much connection with the UK and their own countries. It’s hard for girls to come here and know how to make money , when the pound is an unfamiliar quantity – also they won’t really know how much money they will need until they actually live here.

Working holiday girls are easy?

Its not as though all girls on a working holiday are sluts, but some are going to be quite open to the idea of sleeping with a foreigner. You may have a good chance if you live in a nice area of London where she’s going to want to spend time in. Notting Hill (because of the film) and Camden (no idea why), are two of the places you are guaranteed to find Asian girls. Don’t go thinking they are going to sleep with you just because you gave them directions to the mall or told them which side of the escalator to go on. They won’t make it that easy for you. Most of the girls on a working holiday are fairly serious, and may only want a relationship, if they even want anything from you at all. And if I’m being honest, I’ve wasted a lot of time taking girls out to the sights of London, when I would have preferred to have taken them to a hotel.

If you’re looking to have sex with a girl on a working holiday, go for it. Although my experience is that quite a few girls from Japan are a bit shy and it will take a long time to warm them up to the idea. Or it could be simply that they don’t find me attractive. If you are a bit awkward at talking to girls cold, you can try some dating services. Japan Cupid https://www.japancupid.com is only worth it if you pay the membership, but you can find one or two Japanese girls who are living abroad. Otherwise, you might be lucky to find a Japanese girl who somehow has decided she is going to find the love of her life on Tinder https://www.reddit.com/r/Tinder/comments/ta3t7o/what_is_it_with_japanese_girls_and_photos_from/

So in a nutshell, meeting an Asian girl on a working holiday can be a great opportunity if you are patient and able to deal with them wanting to do stuff you consider boring. But you risk becoming attached to the same girl for too much of your time, and most of the women on a working holiday are quite boring. So there you have it guys. here’s a video on the subject as well.

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