Monday, February 25, 2008

Win $50 cash at Japan Photo Guide Blog

I've had Blogs on Japan on my blogroll for several months now, but it was only yesterday that I discovered the man behind it, Evan Pike, has two other blogs. He runs Japan Photo Guide which, as you might expect, is a site dedicated to giving you advice on where, when and how to take great photos in Japan.

Another of his blogs is Japan Daily Photo. Subscribe to his RSS feed and get images like this or this every day in your feed reader.

To promote his photography and his blogs, he has started a contest, the prize is $50 to your PayPal account. There are several ways to enter the contest: writing a blog entry to promote the contest, mentioning his blogs or buying his photos.

So, go on over to Japan Photo Guide and check out some of his photos.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Get Seoul into The Monopoly World Edition

Quick, tell all the Koreans you know. They can get Seoul on to the forthcoming board game "Monopoly Here and Now World Edition", just by voting for it.

Just go to Hasbro's Monopoly Here and Now World Edition site, register your email address and vote for your favourite city.

The 20 pre-selected cities with the highest worldwide votes will make it onto the board. Plus, you will have from February 29 to March 9 2008 to vote on the most nominated Wildcard cities. Only the top two will make it on the board.

Hurry folks, voting ends 28th Feb. They have disabled the leader board, so you are running blind until the results are announced.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Tokyo Players: NY Style Comedy

I just got back from the Punchline comedy night at Pizza Express that I mentioned before. It was an excellent night of stand-up comedy at its best. Mandy Night was wickedly abusive to many members of the audience. The lawyer in the front row certainly got a lot of attention from her and I wish I could have seen the expression on the young lad who was with his parents when she was trying to embarass him with her desire for young men. Tommy Campbell had me spilling my drink with his story about the dog and a condom. Carey (from the Dairy) Marx, with his teddy bear named Parsnip, told some cracking jokes and stories of a seriously non PC nature.

It's only now, after I revisited their website, that I notice that it is run in association with The Comedy Store London which explains why it felt so much like being back in England. That, and the fact that 99% of the audience were expats.

The Japan Times this morning was advertising some more comedy, this time with more of an American flavour. The Tokyo Players are presenting a comedy play entitled "The Plaza Suite" which sounds very good. The newspaper is running a lottery to win a pair of tickets. Just go to this page and use the password "comedy" before Feb 22nd. The shows are on Feb 29th, March 1st and March 2nd at the Akasaka V Theater which is a 3-minute walk from Akasaka Station on the Chiyoda Line. Tickets are ¥4,000 for adults. For more information and bookings, go to

Meanwhile in Korea, not comedy but music, I spotted Mark Russell of Korea Pop Wars has started the Korea Gig Guide so that you can find out what's going on in the Korean live music scene. Well done Mark, it looks as if it's off to a great start with plenty of gigs on the calendar.

He's based the idea on the Tokyo Gig Guide which I had not heard of until now. Another two links to add to the blogroll.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Everyday Koreans

Stafford at the Chosun Bimbo was delighted to have one of his many photos from the Changing of the Guard ceremony accepted by Seoul Selection for inclusion in the 'Everyday Koreans' photo section of their regular newsletter.

Last year I tried for several months taking photos everywhere I could to try to get a great shot for Everyday Koreans. I was happy with this one I took in Yeouido park one lunchtime:

Everyday Koreans. £ Korean office workers taking a nap one lunchtime in Yeouido park
but I was disappointed it was not selected.

Seoul Selection are always looking for new photos, so why not submit you favourite photo of everyday scenes in Korea. Send them to Hank Kim at Seoul Selection with a caption and a brief, one line bio.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Dog delays trains in Japan

This story gave me a great laugh. From Mainichi

Dog strolling along railway tracks brings train to a crawl in Yamanashi

TSURU, Yamanashi -- A dog trotting leisurely along the tracks of the Fuji Kyuko Line here caused a train to slow down to a crawl and delayed services by 15 minutes, much to the amusement of passengers, railway officials said.

Officials said the mixed-bred dog, which resembled a Shiba Ken, appeared on the tracks between Kasei and Akasaka stations on Sunday, and kept walking along the line, even when the train sounded its horn.

The incident caused delays to two trains, but the passengers on board who witnessed the incident did not complain, and appeared amused by the unusual happening.

Officials said that the dog wandered onto the tracks at about 11:20 a.m. on Sunday before the train had reached Kasei Station. The driver sounded the train's horn, but the small canine continued to walk along the tracks leisurely, sparking laughter from passengers.

The dog, which was wearing a collar, walked about 1.2 kilometers from Kasei Station before finally disappearing from the tracks, officials said. The dog's owner remains unknown.

About 150 passengers were on the train at the time, but the railway did not receive a single complaint. Officials said they had to apologize nevertheless.

"It remains a fact that the trains were delayed, and so we have to politely apologize," a railway official said.

Only in Japan. In England you'd be lucky if the driver noticed the dog let alone slowed the train for it.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Comedy in Tokyo and Seoul

As regular readers will know, I enjoy stand up comedy shows, so I am delighted to discover a show on in Tokyo this week, and for Korean readers there is also comedy on in Seoul coming up soon.

Tokyo first :



- The Guardian

"Hilariously demented"
- Edinburgh Evening News


"Superb, the best"
- Time Out

"Had us in stitches all night"
- The Times

"Naughty but funny"
- The Mail


"Never less than a good solid act!"
- The Times

"Campbell was cocky and brilliantly funny and his confidence will surely win him fans at home and in the UK"
- The Daily Mail

Date: Friday 15th February 2008

TICKETS: Y8,500 Includes all you can eat buffet. Or Y6,500 for show only.


Dinner served from 7:30PM and buffet closes at 8:30PM

For Tickets Call: 03 5775 3894.


You can also book direct from web site:

And in Seoul, another British Comedienne :

Professional Stand Up Comedy! Sunday 17th February
Doors open 5:30pm, Show starts at 7:00pm
Kabinett Wine Bar, Itaewon
Happy Hour from 5:30-7:00, all drinks 50% off.

Don't miss British comedian Erica Skeete and American comedian Jimmie Roulette for an outstanding night of comedy. Organised and hosted by BH Productions, Erica Skeete and Jimmie Roulette are being brought over to Korea for a one night only show in Itaewon.

Erica Skeete
Erica Skeete talks about what she encounters and imagines; from being a black, British female in NY, arguing with a blind man, cultural differences, her British and Caribbean heritage, dating, paranoia, to her super helping himself to food in her apartment. Erica’s likeable stage presence allows her to speak the unspeakable in a playful, unpredictable style.
Erica has performed in London's renowned Comedy Store and the Comedy Café. Erica has also opened for Patrice O’Neal at the famous Caroline’s on Broadway and recorded with Missy Elliot for Bad Boy Entertainment.

Jimmie Roulette
When you mention the name Jimmie Roulette, words come to mind such as charismatic, fast paced, energetic—all can be summed up as impressive. He is not a standard comedian, using stereotypical, bottom dollar jokes to get laughs. Roulette's comedy crosses all boundaries—age, race, gender, it has no limits. Whether he’s working with polished material or living in the moment, he is a definite crowd pleaser.

Jimmie has performed on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend and the prestigious HBO Comedy Festival in Las Vegas. He has worked with many of comedy’s favorites like Wanda Sykes, Larry the Cable Guy, Dave Chappelle, and Ron White. He has actually proven that it doesn’t have to make sense…sometimes it’s just funny.

Venue: Kabinett Wine Bar, Itaewon, line 6, exit 2. Go out exit 2, walk for approx. 5 minutes. Kabinett Wine Bar is on your left, on the second floor, next to the Itaewon Hotel and across from the Cheil Building. (Go to for detailed map. Parking available.)

Time: Doors open at 5:30pm, Show starts at 7:00pm. Happy Hour from 5:30-7:00pm, all drinks 50% off. Plus order a small cheese platter and get upgraded to large platter for free. Dinner menu also available.

Tickets: 35,000 won, includes one free drink.

Reservations: by email only at thebhpcompany {AT}

Reservations are recommended. For more information, call 016-695-4624 or 019-802-2474. (No telephone bookings.)