vendredi 19 octobre 2007


Recently found an old favourite of mine and decided to buy a new edition and give this as a prize:

Tales from Ovid: Twenty-four Passages from the "Metamorphoses"
Tales from Ovid: Twenty-four Passages from the Ted Hughes Ovid

Faber and Faber 1997-05-05
Sales Rank : 74448

Average Review star
starGreat poetry - but it's not Ovid
stara great and important book

See details at Amazon by G-Tools

Land, sea, air were all there
But not to be trodden, or swum in.
Air was simple darkness.
Everything fluid or vapour, form formless.
Each thing hostile
To every other thing: at every point
Hot fought cold, moist dry, soft hard, and the
Resisted weight.

Crudely putting it--Greek legend sexed up. Intellectually babbling it, a myriad of interesting stories centred on gods, humans, transformations, treachery, rape, violence, pain, love, truth. What we see in everyday life is mirrored in Ovid's Metamorphoses and here, 24 selected writings were translated and brought back to life by Ted Hughes (who won an awards for it).

And all before Darwin came along with his nice big apple setting things into place.

Can't wait to see Jeff's upcoming review on it (BIG HINT).

Welcoming the Yr 4s Christmas hols 07

It's the end of the year and counting on, only one more Yr 5 has not written in this blog (-_-) heh heh...

Taking the opportunity to welcome in the Yr 4s 07 to write in their reviews of CDs, films, books and opening for responses. It can range from popular to classical, controversial to dust-worthy though note the usual entries that should not cover offensive comments on race, religion and othe sensitive issues.

Welcome to Eye Hear You on what you have seen, heard, read and related to you.

vendredi 7 septembre 2007

Culture and dialect in modern day Kyoto

This holiday marked a significant one because I finally managed to sit down and finish up all those library books grrrrr...I swear reading in my third language is harder than I thought.

きょうのできごと スペシャル・エディション
きょうのできごと スペシャル・エディション田中麗奈 妻夫木聡 伊藤歩

レントラックジャパン 2004-08-25
売り上げランキング : 32590

おすすめ平均 star

Amazonで詳しく見る by G-Tools

青空感傷ツアー (河出文庫)
青空感傷ツアー (河出文庫)柴崎 友香

河出書房新社 2005-11
売り上げランキング : 76021

おすすめ平均 star

Amazonで詳しく見る by G-Tools

I re-watched "kyou no dekigoto" and I re-read the above book by Tomoka Shibasaki. Interesting book, with a natural Kansai ben inflection. I loved it. If you are a fan or fetish of Japanese dialects, this book is for you :)

The story, Kyou no dekigoto, is quite similar to Aozora. It depicts the everyday life of a typical University student (in this case, students from Kyoto/Kansai area), and it also shows the normal type of relationships and fights that Japanese youth get into, so it's quite unlike the fluff in drama series. Further more, the writer is from the Kansai area so her books and language are littered with Kansai ben. If you know Kansai ben, each sentence ends off differently from what you would recognise as typical Japanese formal type of writing.

Like most bizarre Japanese novels, this combines an encounter with a whale, a guy who got stuck between two buildings in a narrow hole, a student who got knocked down while buying beer, a bum, uncertain relationships, friendships, haircuts and quarrels in the local zoo...strange but spellbinding. I recommend this book if you're tired of the usual Murakami Ryo/Haruki madness.

I find Kansai ben quite sexy :D or Eroi/iroppoi as it sounds rather direct and top that with a Kansai girl/guy who has drunk one sake too many ie a throaty voice speaking a dialect you'd hear in the mountain side of Kyoto.. and you get a mesmerising effect of both culture and direct earthiness in something as simple as a dialect inflection :)

On the other hand, I need to really get used to Banana's style with regards to her book below:

ハチ公の最後の恋人 (中公文庫)ハチ公の最後の恋人 (中公文庫)
吉本 ばなな

中央公論社 1998-08
売り上げランキング : 94257

Amazonで詳しく見る by G-Tools

I've yet to grasped it :( I liked Kitchen and Tsugumi, very much like Banana's world, but I've yet to grasp the subtle nuances. Some say she writes like a typical high school student. However, I think there's more to her writing than just that. I blame myself for my poor Japanese language :( Gotta try harder at it.

What I find interesting about Banana is that she combines the Japanese culture with Argentinian/Indian stuff mixed with other cultures. So you see a Japanese point of view of different cultures and yet it's rather fresh. Another writer who writes about travelling (albeit more directly) is Mitsuyo Kakuda I think.

This is the same type of feeling I get when I read Somerset Maugham or Rudyard Kipling.

The weekend is approaching and then it's the third term. Minna, gambarou!

samedi 18 août 2007

If There're Seasons...

Hello all and sorry for this extremely late post =p anyway I just attended a musical 'If There're Seasons...'. And i sincerely say i am very very impressed. Before i start on my incoherent rambling, here's the short synopsis from the programme notes.

The winter of dream numbs a lover's pain,
The autumn of dreams lies awake in vain,
The summer of life sings its passing song,
And spring comes again... with courage to hope, and go on.

'If there are seasons I would see snow, but not around here...'

After the painful demise of his girlfriend Jing, Ah Le flies to New York to breathe life into his fading dream of writing music. There he meets and befriends Ah Qiang, a fellow dream hunter from Singapore, who helps him settle right in. It is a difficult period of transition, but Ah Le soon gets a job working at a restaurant.

While on the job he encounters Rose, a struggling actress who fits right in with the boys and a beautiful friendship of battered dreams and ruised lives is born. The winds of fate stir and their lives tumble on. An air of romance lingers wistfully, ,but does an old love really die?

'There are no seasons here, but there is always love...'

Before you start trashing the musical just because it sounds like a soppy love story, watch it. :) it talks about Ah Le, symbol for aspiring young people, who wishes to migrate overseas for own own endeavours (in this case for music, which i thought was very relevant to us). But just like salmon trout that swim miles away only to return back to where they hatched, it's kind of a classic there's-no-place-like-home story. It held special meaning for me also because i have and still am harbouring the thought of going abroad, as many of you too also are i'm sure. There was a depth to the story and the way it was presented that i cannot put to words. Then again, there are many things which i can't put to words =) oh did i mention? there was a gay relationship in this musical xD

The songs featured were written all by local composer and lyricist Liang Wern Fook, many songs which we all know (including THAT certain 细水长流 song which was sung to death at ALL school occassions D:) were actually penned by him! No that was not meant to dissuade you guys from going for the musical. i enjoyed every single minute of it and i recommend this musical strongly as a must-watch. Many many other songs that i know were also sung but i just don't know the title =x

The musical's cast comprised fully of locals, including the band. Brilliant acting and vocals put together made this musical a success. Though the story line is a tad cliche, there was a refreshing feel to it when it is all sung out. What more, with all the songs were mandarin with a few lines of cantonese and 'Marikita!' thrown into it, it gave me a added sense of familiarity and closeness when i listened to those beautiful lines. In fact, i would recommend this musical over phantom.

Though it may be abit pricey, i got stall seats at $48, i think it's quite worth it, what more it's a singapore production and a good one at that! tickets are available at sistic. (gosh now i sound like a tv advert) anyway go for more details! cheers! =)


mardi 24 juillet 2007


This is not meant to be a Time Out-styled review (one of my favourite magazines back in London) but am fresh from listening to British rock and an overdose of fusion the whole weekend.

Went major CD buying last month and got myself the latest Travis CD.

It is good. It is the best.

I'm not kidding and I'm not paid for this but being a fan of Travis for the past umpteen years watching them scale high, bump into Coldplay painfully (and I love Coldplay too), crash and seeing a dark album later surfacing, the latest CD is almost like a breakthrough. You can feel Travis is coming back. Good Scottish rock and alternative sounds, sad lyrics OR happy lyrics, sad sounding. Travis always likes to put the irony back in your life if you find yourself taking yourself a wee bit too seriously :).

Resurrected, blessed and out to convert, with a vengeance and a dagger between its teeth. Here goes..

The Boy With No Name
The Boy With No NameTravis

Average Review
starsA welcome return
starsThis IS rare quality ...
starsAt their best
starsSweet stuff as per usual

See details at Amazon by G-Tools

Selfish Jane is VERY good (plays on the phrase selfish gene) and the youtube video is hilarious and clever. All things British become very hip if you read the lyrics and no amount of topshopping can hold sole claim to the array of British images that are linked in this song. The nice Iggy Pop drum entry.

Everything I love about London and about UK is somehow embodied in this album. You must listen to it to be haunted by it. An excellent break up song too :p

samedi 30 juin 2007


hello i've been rather stagnant, so.. shall try to post something.

i went on "schindler's list"-high after hearing both shimei playing it at strings concert and elizabeth (yes elizabeth yang one year our senior) playing it at VJ strings concert. hence i keyed it in at youtube and found 2 relatively nice videos. (:


the first is by itzhak perlman and the second is by some bing wang concertmistress of los angeles philharmonic.

surprisingly, i preferred the latter, instead of the usual "ITZHAK PERLMAN IS THE BEST!!!!111" (like all the comments in youtube)

personally i felt bingwang's one was more emotionally charged, she played with the sensitivity of a woman, and i liked the way she dwelled on certain notes. itzhak perlman's version was rendered too fast for my liking, it makes all the agony seem almost fleeting, although yes, his phrasing was brilliant.

of course the sound cant really be compared, since the 2nd video was recorded by an amateur.

hmm, what do you all think?

however, i'm sure of one thing. nothing beats shimei's rendition of the charged upward broken chordal passage that leads to the climax of the piece (the one with the D# to E), the speed, the delay, the tone control, or perhaps it's the impact of hearing it live.

p.s: how do you insert the video sample from youtube!

mardi 26 juin 2007

Music and Lyrics :)

Have you watched the film "Music and Lyrics"?

Being a Hugh Grant fan, I couldn't resist the VCD that just got released.

Am now an addict of the song "A Way back into Love".. a nice inspiration for those of you facing block for your new song...

I've been living with a shadow overhead
I've been sleeping with a cloud above my bed
I've been lonely for so long
Trapped in the past, I just can't seem to move on

I've been hiding all my hopes and dreams away
Just in case I ever need em again someday
I've been setting aside time
To clear a little space in the corners of my mind

All I want to do is find a way back into love
I can't make it through without a way back into love
Oh oh oh

I've been watching but the stars refuse to shine
I've been searching but I just don't see the signs
I know that it's out there
There's got to be something for my soul somewhere
I've been looking for someone to shed some light
Not just somebody just to get me throught the night
I could use some direction
And I'm open to your suggestions

All I want to do is find a way back into love
I can't make it through without a way back into love
And if I open my heart again
I guess I'm hoping you'll be there for me in the end
There are moments when I don't know if it's real
Or if anybody feels the way I feel
I need inspiration 
Not just another negotiation

All I want to do is find a way back into love
I can't make it through without a way back into love
And if I open my heart to you
I'm hoping you'll show me what to do
And if you help me to start again
You know that I'll be there for you in the end

Pop goes my heart has that heavy 80s tinge but this song, rox!

*somehow, virgos are all die-hard romantics deep deep in the core of us (goes the same for hard capricorns LOL*

samedi 19 mai 2007

The things films can teach you

After reading Aaron's entry, I will listen to McPhee again, especially Ordinary World and catch all the intervals dutifully. But I like the 'boys in the club' bit, very personal *sniff*.

Recently, I watched two fantastic films, for all you doggie fans out there.

いぬのえいが プレミアム・エディション
いぬのえいが プレミアム・エディション中村獅童 伊東美咲 宮崎あおい


Amazonで詳しく見る by G-Tools

I usually am a cynical person (anyone who watches overloaded British political comedy dramas would) but in all cynical people, there is always a soft spot that time and again, takes over our senses and makes us all human. Justifying my existence, I gave this film a try. It's rather cute, called Inu no eiga (inu is dog, and eiga is film in Japanese). It stars one of my favourite Kabuki actors, Shido Nakamura, amidst his string of horrible love affairs...and a virgo too sigh...but that is just one of the many gems in the film. Good acting aside, the dogs are so cute!!! the opening is a musical bit and stars most of Japanese top actors.

My favourite scene is the last one, where a dog and a girl share their memories together. I just watched and tears kept rolling down. Language barriers can always be broken when common themes of love and simple gestures of showing love to animals are appreciated and celebrated. I remembered when I was in Tokyo, I saw my favourite English sheepdog and my Japanese friend gamely asked the lady if we could hug and take photos with the dog. She said yes (I can't imagine a local person doing that) and we had fun. I felt as though because of a living being that couldn't talk Japanese or English, the barrier was broken in the common love for the animal.

This film just reminded me that human beings may have to be taught how to really live and love life as dogs seem to be having a better perspective of life than us.

The next film was one which I got on my way back from town:

The History Boys [2006] (REGION 1) (NTSC)
The History Boys [2006] (REGION 1) (NTSC)Andrew Dunn George Fenton John Wilson

20th Century Fox 2007-04-17
Sales Rank : 30124

See details at Amazon by G-Tools

This film tells the story of British schoolboys, smart, talented, lively and full of cheek, destined to go to Cambridge and Oxford. Driven by an ambitious History teacher who hails from Oxford, an inspiring but eccentric retiring teacher, a witty female History teacher (my favourite chr!) who claims history is about men and their failures and a lecherous principal, the boys question the meaning of life, learning and whether aiming for the top will bring them happiness.

Many aim for Cambridge and Oxford every year as it is prestigious. Some come out pompous but I have a friend who is still as zany about Stephen Hawking and humble as pie. So it depends. But the film delivers the misconception too that Oxford and Cambridge have everything. Londoners would attest against it.

That aside, the film was witty and if you happen to like English literature, the film is beautifully littered with poems and references to Hardy, Larkin, english history...the type of film that I like, the type of scenery that was nostalgic for me, but the elitism bit reminded me of an article I read today (check Insight pg 10, ST)
about elitism.

Back then, we had no idea how schools were elite, and elite was only known as a modelling agency. Somehow elite popped up since PM mentioned about J Lopez in his elite speech..? What is an elite? So what makes a non-elite?

Poor girl in elite school? If you make the best out of life no matter where you are, it wouldn't make a difference.

It's amazing what films can make you think of.

Music that people have no idea I listen to

Recently in class, there was this particular incident which revealed that people think I only listen to classical music. To which I replied, 'Believe it or not, I don't have anything classical in my ipod. None at all.' So I'm here to share with you two CDs which i play frequently while on the move or when trying to make some sense of numbers. Though they will, in no way, help us in pulling up our mep grades, (unless you're an alien like chunbok who picks out anything in a pop song that repeats thrice and yells, TIHAI! or who embellishes simple harmless melodies with VISTARS, much to the alarm of startled innocent passerbys) I personally think that they make life so much easier to endure, at times.

Promiscuous clothing and suggestive posing aside, this runner-up of American Idol Season 5 has much to offer. Blessed with a versatile voice, she is able to pull off several different styles convincingly; from pop, dance, R&B and especially her signature ballads which even swayed notorious judge Simon Cowell.

If there's one thing that I dislike in this album, it would be the blatantly feministic and sometimes cringe-worthy lyrics: In 'Dangerous', for instance, it reads, 'Dangerous. He’ll steal your heart away, then run and play. He’s dangerous. Protect your heart, he’ll tear it apart.' As admirable as her quest is to warn all females of the dangers of men, perhaps a little subtlety would do some good? Very very frighteningly, one track in the album sounds as if Britney Spears burst into Katharine's recording studio demanding to record a song to save her rapidly fading career. (The song in question is 'Do what you do', so be warned. Here's some evidence in case you're in the mood for GP: cause all the boys in the club wantin me/and all the girls in there tryin be like me) But thankfully, she redeems herself in several other stellar tracks including 'Over it', a solid pop number, 'Home' and 'Ordinary World', both of which are powerful ballads which showcase her voice very effectively. (the latter was destroyed by the above mentioned alien who decided it suited its voice effectively too)

Natasha Bedingfield's latest offering is no doubt an interesting mix, with well crafted lyrics which sometimes requires reading between the lines. Unlike Katharine McPhee, whose voice is rather conventional but beautiful all the same, Natasha Bedingfield's pipes are subjective. To quote one classmate of mine, whom i was trying to get to widen his musical horizon beyond Jay Chou, 'She sounds pissed off.' To me, it's one of the things which sets her apart from the myriad of new female vocalists springing up on the music scene.

The tracks in the album are very cleverly linked with a common thread running through them, the theme of relationships. It begins with a rousing number titled, 'How do you do?' in which she boldly declares, 'If it's weird for girls to give guys flowers/ Then maybe that's a reason to/ You're not climbing up my ivory tower/ So I'm comin' down for you' (this is the said song in which the alien picked out tihais) Following this is the highly amusing single, 'I wanna have your babies' which caused my sister to rant about the inaccurate portrayal of females as desperate beings. There is also very interesting imagery in 'Pirate Bones': 'It's not worth having/ If it's too much to hold/ You can dig so deep/ That's you're left with a hole/ Thirsty in the desert with a bag full of gold/ Don't wanna end up like pirate bones' and one track titled 'Still here' which rips your heart right out and at the same time, displays her competent vocal technique. Interestingly, we can draw comparisons with British pop (Natasha Bedingfield) and American pop (Katharine McPhee).

So there, all you people out there who harbour the misconception that MEP students are all about classical music!

samedi 5 mai 2007

A friend recently lent his Lisa Ono CD to me, Jambalaya - Bossa Americana. Listened to it while doing Math and i realised it is pretty good music for concentration.

Lisa Ono is Japan's most acclaimed Bossa Nova artist. To confess, i'm still not a fan of her voice. I find it a little too husky for my liking. Something clearer would perhaps be nice. My favourite song out of the cd is My Boy cause the lyrics are meaningful and the tune's simple and catchy. Most of the time, i actually prefer the instrumentation over her voice. Still trying to listen more to Jazz and other stuff like that.

Stay All Night's a funky number and i really loved the arrangement. I didnt think her voice was upbeat enough for the tune. The saxophone part is really great though.

Dont think i'll be a convert anytime soon. Came across Yamagata's Be Be my love the other day when i was youtubing around and i fell in love with it. Go hear!


It's a Saturday as I prepare for my class later.

So, has anyone listened to good music lately?

Recently, this song has caught my ears and thanks to Chun Bok, I managed to get a hang of the tune. An old song for most of our readers, I'm sure :)

PromiscuousNelly Furtado

Universal 2006-09-05
Sales Rank : 82209

Average Review star
starExperience Lounge Party Styles!

See details at Amazon by G-Tools

It's interesting how Nelly this time is teaming up with the greats of Timberlake. The song's lyrics are really quite interesting and how it has been crafted. Ingenious. How one can work on a theme of promiscuity and showcasing it so glamourously is something I have to take my hat off to hiphop genres. Still, it got the dancing crowd in a feverish sweat as everybody sang to the words and gyrated furiously.

I was a fan of hers since I got this album a few years ago in London:

Whoa, Nelly!Whoa, Nelly!
Nelly Furtado

Dreamworks 2000-10-24
Sales Rank : 2179
Average Review

See details at Amazon by G-Tools

Think the single that got me hooked was "I'm like a bird", and this ranks as her debut album I think. Remembered playing it in springtime, opening up apartment windows and blasting the entire album to a Sunday morning sleeping Maida Vale community. Yes, that crazy Asian.. haha! Well. :)

I would recommend this, if you are curious of her initial breakthrough.


While the entire world is off to watch spiderman (except me *sniff*), currently I'm reeling from one of my favourite films that I caught two weeks ago:

武士の一分木村拓哉 藤沢周平 山田洋次

松竹 2007-06-01
売り上げランキング : 108

おすすめ平均 star

Amazonで詳しく見る by G-Tools

The writer is called Shuuhei Fujisawa, famous for writing on the everyday life of a typical samurai. The samurai character has been romanticised endlessly and dramatised in Western eyes like The Last Samurai, but much of it has been inaccurate and void of true emotion.

Though am not a Japanese, there is alot about the culture's delicacy that requires a deeper understanding and I only understood this in my final two years in UK, studying at SOAS. Whilst everybody around me in the Western Music world were giving me dubious looks of whether world music was worth the study, I tredged on and tried to fumble with my Japanese, sleeping in libraries reading old kabuki texts and listening to really old music. It also marked a period for me to start reading modern and old Japanese literature, from English and now, fumbling in the vernacular. Fujisawa's novels are difficult for me because of the samurai language (which is like Shakespeare), but to me, beautiful because of the way it was written.

The writer's feel of typical samurais, or in modern day context, civil servants, is something that I can identify with. Obeying your lord, going home at 5pm at dusk, spending time with your family, and yet defending your honour and name when you are called to battle...this is something I feel is necessary as a man, as a person.

Bushi no ichibun or translated roughly as "Part of being a samurai" or internationally known as "love and honour", is the final in a 3-part trilogy of Youji Yamada's film adaptation of F's stories. Yamada is also famous for his period dramas. The first film, Twilight Samurai, won accolades in international film festivals and tells the simple story of a samurai who lost his wife and had to fend for his children and mother. He meets his old friend who seeks to take care of him, the beautiful Rie Miyazawa, only to defend hers and his honour in a final duel.

真田広之 藤沢周平 山田洋次

松竹 2006-11-22
売り上げランキング : 14415

Amazonで詳しく見る by G-Tools

The fighting scenes are natural and very beautifully shot. Very few people would know of this good film as it came out same time as Last Samurai I think, but vs Last Samurai, its recognition around the world showed how people recognised what was real art and truth, vs what Hollywood has been mindlessly dishing out. It is also very touching and made me realise how human the much-feared samurais are (you would if you met a guy who carried two swords at the waist). Not so much sword fighting as realistic sword fighting. If you're into real devel. of characters rather than action, this could be your film.

隠し剣 鬼の爪
隠し剣 鬼の爪永瀬正敏 藤沢周平 山田洋次


Amazonで詳しく見る by G-Tools
The second film, The Hidden Blade, stars a favourite actress of mine, Takako Matsu. It is about a samurai living during the period when Japan was investing in Western warfare and ironically embracing it whilst slowly discarding its traditional Samurai fighting swordsmanship. It also showcased Matsu as the samurai's servant girl sent off in an unhappy marriage to a horrible family who abused her as a maid. The samurai defends her honour by bringing her home to nurse her to health but mibun, or social caste, prevents them from being together (samurais do not mingle with farmers, merchants and least of all, the servant class). Love story aside, the main plot is of how the samurai is sent out to assassinate his good friend arrested for treason and to take revenge on his friend's lord, who took advantage of the wife but tricked her and didn't spare her husband's life. The hidden blade focuses on what was the real true fighting skill that was utilised in the film and the final assissination scene is a classic. A must watch!

This film has the best Japanese film music I have heard so far and its huge waves of orchestral music aptly depicts the rolling mountains seen in the backdrop of the film. Again, Yamada shot it lovingly with abundant countryside scenery of Japan. One of my favourite and most moving of films.

Love and Honour stars the big star, Takuya Kimura, happily married and working as a food taster (for poison) in the shogun courts. An unfortunate poisoning incident has left him blind and his beautiful wife, young and at her wits' end, tries to seek for help from relatives. She meets a lord who remembers her as being beautiful and seeks to help her. All is not what it seems. Again, the idea of the corrupted and rich abusing power is shown when his wife is suspected of having an affair with this powerful lord. The truth as revealed was, being young and powerless, the girl was taken advantage of in return for saving her husband. The lord, instead of helping her husband, does nothing. Kimura as the blind samurai, is also skilled, and challenges the lord to a battle after knowing this. "Do not underestimate a blind man" he says. The ending is very touching when he forgives his wife for everything, knowing that true love's price is actually sacrificing oneself. This being the final of three films, showcases a rather light take on love. However, beneath this, the story is a glorious tale of the underdog seeking revenge against the corrupted. (for more reading on synopsis, check out the above link to Tokyo International Film Feste)

Although such dramatic takes of corruption seem to be few in today's society, there are many cases of these seen in modern day Japan. Feudal law, once a thing of the past, cannot be undersestimated as entirely erased. Such can also be seen in struggling third world countries or even totalitarian or communist states where horror stories of abuse and corruption go on in dare audacity each day.

All these thoughts racing through my mind as I watched this touching film. :)

if you like subtle, slightly sarcastic and yet beautifully humane films, try this. :) Unusual period dramas like this are a gem.

Well, am now a Kimura fan too after watching this fantastic drama called 華麗なる一族, tracing the rise and fall of Kobe's top bank in the 60s. Improved my vocab for Economics Hmm.

華麗なる一族 DVD-BOX
華麗なる一族 DVD-BOX木村拓哉 山崎豊子 鈴木京香

ビクターエンタテインメント 2007-07-06
売り上げランキング : 268

おすすめ平均 star

Amazonで詳しく見る by G-Tools

How was your weekend entertainment? :)