Archive for the 'Play' Category

Karaoke Time

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

Over the past year we have dragged lots of our guests out to Big Echo to take part in the Japanese pastime of karaoke singing. The ability to have a private room makes it much easier to encourage people to sing and also means that we don’t have to listen to strangers crooning strange Japanese songs. This, however, doesn’t protect us from hearing our friends sing strange foreign songs.

When Geoff visited last year he had taken the time to learn a song in Japanese. I was very impressed. I have been here over a year and only recently managed to get the whole way through an Angela Aki song without stumbling badly over the words. So far I haven’t tried to do this in front of any of my Japanese friends. Though I do sing in Japanese for my language teacher – but then the Japanese version of “Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer” is a bit easier than an Ayumi song. Marty can’t sing Japanese songs. Once he makes a mistake he stops dead and gets completely lost. But still it’s amusing to listen to him try.

At the weekend Tony impressed us by singing the Romanian song “Dragostea Din Tei”. He also managed to find the Holly Dolly song “Dolly Song” but the “lyrics” were only written in katakana and none of us have a hope of reading it that quickly.

It is always good fun but sometimes we spend more time laughing than singing. Andrew’s version of “Take on Me” was probably much more amusing than it was supposed to be. I don’t think he realised that Morton Harket had such a wide range and watching Andrew raise his eyebrows in a vain attempt to hit the high notes certainly made me laugh. I think though that the funniest performance so far has been Norwin’s version of “Wuthering Heights”. I really does have to be seen to be believed.

Too Much Scrabulous

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

You can tell you’ve played too many games of scrabble when … you receive an email from your lawyer and your first thought is, “his surname would be worth a lot of points”.

Wrestle Mania?

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

I asked Marty what I should wear to the WWE Royal Rumble tour. I don’t watch WWE on television – though Marty tries to change that – and I didn’t know what to expect. He suggested tight jeans with either a low cut top or one of his WWE t-shirts. I opted for the low-cut top. And then decided I would need to wear my hair down and full make-up. I think I did fit in. The audience was male dominated, most of them wearing jeans or some sort of droopy trousers. Some were dressed as their favourite WWE Superstar (I called them wrestlers but Marty was quick to correct me) and some women were even wearing kimonos.

The venue was impressive. It’s an aspect of living in a big city that I love – great venues to hold great events. We had seats on the arena floor putting us really close to the action. The seats weren’t tiered and when the crowd jumped to its feet, which happened a lot, I couldn’t see anything but the backs of all the tall people who stood in front of me.

I still don’t know what to make of the whole thing. It’s obviously staged – yet the crowd screamed and yelled with every fake punch. I was close enough to see a lot of the missed punches and kicks. However, they still throw huge men out of the ring and the acrobatics are amazing. It felt like a rock concert crossed with pantomime only the audience was more excited. I assume it’s because they have villains as well as heroes. Imagine how much fun a rock concert could be if the bands you thought sucked got hit over the head with chairs by the bands you thought rocked. O.K. some people would love that – I’m still not sure about the violence part.

Marty seemed to know in advance who would win every match. This puzzled me – why is it still fun if you know? He told me that no titles would change hands because the event wasn’t being televised. For the non-title events he could tell who would win by how the crowd reacted to the performers – apparently there was no way that Umaga was beating Triple H tonight. Or that Ric Flair would be beaten (something about a plot). The crowd went mad when Ric Flair came on. He is nearly 60 years old and he still was able to throw his competitor out of the ring and allow himself to be tossed about.

The crowd was fascinating. There was a little boy sitting close behind me. He yelled and yelled until he couldn’t yell any more. My favourite yell had to be, “you suck, forever and ever and ever … and when I die and I’m in heaven you will still suck”. He was also very cute when he realised that in his excitement he yelled that one of his favourites sucked. He would scream, “Jericho sucks – em no he doesn’t really suck, Y2J, Y2J…”.

I noticed that the losers get cheered as much as the winners. Even when the loser was someone the crowd was booing just minutes before. When I mentioned this to Marty he told me that this might be peculiar to Japan.

I didn’t enjoy watching the two female wrestlers. They were acrobatic and the crowd loved Mickie J but it didn’t have the energy or power that the men had. Some of the male wrestlers, like Jeff Hardy and Chris Jericho, have great charisma and had the audience hanging on every move they made. I really wanted to see a woman that made me think “warrior” and not “playboy bunny”. There is nothing wrong with woman looking like playboy bunnies but I felt that the emphasis on sex appeal stripped away some of their power in this forum. And I’m not saying that the men didn’t look good – Randy Orton was gorgeous – but the emphasis was very much on his skill and not on his beautiful body. Nor did I get the feeling that conventional beauty was a prerequisite for the men.

I can’t imagine this becoming my favourite sport or pastime but I am considering taking Marty to see one of the big American televised events – at least then he wouldn’t be sure who would win.

Lost Time

Saturday, January 5th, 2008

I haven’t got anything done this weekend but I do know where my time went. Marty and I watched Season 3 of Lost. And even when we finished it last night instead of going to sleep I spent hours reading various Lost web-sites to see what the rest of the world thought about the series.

Weekend Trip

Friday, June 1st, 2007

Marty and I are heading down to Nagahama this weekend to visit Simon. Should be fun. It’s also the first time that either of us have travelled on the Nozomi which can apparently reach speeds of up to 300 km/h.

David Bader’s Version Of One Of My Favourite Books

Thursday, August 17th, 2006

The Call of the Wild, Jack London

Alaskan tundra –
a dog finds his inner wolf.
White snow turns yellow.

[One Hundred Great Books in Haiku, David Bader]

Proleek Dolmen

Monday, July 17th, 2006

On the 21st June Tony and I went looking for Proleek Dolmen. Although we had read about this on the Mythical Ireland site and Tony had seen road signs for this in the past we couldn’t find it. I ended up going into the Tourist Information Bureau in Dundalk to get directions and was told that the Dolmen was at the Ballymacscanlon House Hotel. If you do go looking for it you may have to get directions from reception in the hotel as it isn’t clearly sign posted in the hotel grounds.

Proleek Dolmen

I Love Books

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

This has been a great month for books. I bought myself 10 novels for my birthday and Tony took me to a second-hand bookshop sale where I bought another 16 non-fiction books. I only have two of the novels left to read but still have quite a lot of the non-fiction to get through. At the minute my bedside reading list looks like this:

I have been waiting 6 years for Katharine Kerr to release book 12 in her Deverry series and now just need to decide whether a should re-read the first 11 books before reading the new one.

Birthday Bliss

Sunday, July 2nd, 2006

This year I had my most relaxing birthday. Marty took me to the Culloden for the weekend and I got to spend the morning of my birthday at the spa. Marty wasn’t quite sure what a spa was or what sort of treatments he could get but I think after his all over body massage that he’s quite keen to go back!

Skating Mania

Friday, March 10th, 2006

Because of the Winter Olympics and the recent ITV Dancing on Ice show it’s getting harder to find a time to practice on the ice without having to maneuver through a crowd.  But today I managed to pass the ice skating exam I had to miss through illness.  I wasn’t sure that I was going to manage all the elements as I thought that my mohawks were a bit ropey but once my coach told me to stop thinking about it and just do it I had no more problems.