Seiyuu say me

A seiyuu is a voice actor - somone who provides character voices for anime. I just found this out. I also just found out that the seiyuu for the character of Uzumaki Naruto is a woman: Takeuchi Junko. Of course, there's nothing wrong with this, I'm just incredibly surprised. Like way back when I found out Nancy Cartwright was the voice of Bart Simpson. How do they make these sounds?


Last two days were spent engaged in an English camp with a bunch of high school kids. The venue: a strange oil rig like monolith out in the middle of a harbour north of Wakayama in Osaka prefecture. As far as any of us English speakers could make out the place seemed to be an educational establishment centred around the theme of 'oceans' and so it was that, at 9am, I found myself playing the Rizla game with 12 Japanese teenagers in the 'Antarctic Ocean' room. Contrary to my expectations, the room was very warm. And not particularly Antarcticy. It was orange.
The kids were great. I surprised myself by having an extremely good time. There was a treasure hunt with a pirate theme. I attempted to maintain a pirate style demeanour for the duration, saying 'Arrrrhhhh' and 'Me heartys' and such. The kids thought I was insane. In Japan pirates are a little different. I blame One Piece. The white team won the treasure hunt despite having got lost and actually leaving the designated compound for 20 minutes and having absolutely no idea how to get back. I was the leader of the white team.
Day the second and a performance of short play looms. White team rehearses 'Puss in Boots'. I direct. I have a vision. Actors trample upon said vision. My heated diatribe concerning voice projection goes unheaded. I espouse the virtues of Stanislavsky as opposed to a Brechtian approach. The white team choose to ignore me. I tell them they have no hope of joining the RSC and let them get on with it. We perform the play. We win. Scratch that. They perform the play. They win.
Prizes are given out. The white team recieves first prize; a huge bag of sweets and chocolate. I congratulate them. They worked hard. I go to collect my bag from the teachers room. As I go to leave, the white team are all grouped in front of me. They give me a box of Apollo from their prize bag and say 'arigatou'. And I imagine that they have no idea they just created one of my favourite moments in Japan.


No posts for some time and I imagine Moichido's huge readership is on the wane. Busyness, of sorts, has taken me away from the keyboard and perhaps we were all better off for that. For those who care, a brief overview of recent (non)events;

I have a girlfriend. Updating a blog means very little when confronted with this. She's got me scared because I'm almost crazy about her. The cynic in me is weary from searching for signs that the end is nigh. The romantic in me is rejoicing that none seem apparent. The cynic assumes mentioning her existence here will spell the end and blames the romantic. In a moment of uncharacteristic fearsomeness the romantic tells the cynic to 'fuck off' and leaves it at that whilst the rest of me struggles to interpret the rapid-fire Kansai dialect pouring forth from said girlfriend. More drama than Godzilla vs Mothra and it's all in my head and, if I'm not careful, my heart too.

I'm obsessed with Naruto. I know all the character's names. I keep saying 'kage bunshin no jutsu' ('shadow replication technique') whilst biking to work. I've cried at two episodes. The laundry and dishes are piling up. I've watched 83 episodes in five days. When confronted with a difficult task I find myself thinking 'What would Naruto do?'. Sakura-chan keeps appearing in my dreams. I've started to say 'datte bayo' instead of 'desu' in the rare moments I actually speak Japanese.

I'm really into studying Japanese kanji. Kanji is good. Lot's of little picture type things that mean stuff. Difficult with my left-handed brain (strokes go from left to right, also strokes can paralyse and damage the brain) but easier than actually speaking Japanese because they are things you can see and I've always been one of those slow learners who needs images tied to meanings to grasp a concept. I used to have lots of Richard Scarry books.

I've located three bars in Wakayama City that have Guinness on draught.

My Grandad is dying and I'm too far away to speak to him or touch him and everything I know about his rapid decline is relayed by telephone in distressed voices and no one I love has ever died before now so for this latter I guess I'm lucky - but it's hard to think like that right now.


Took a while for me to figure out what I was being told by Shihomi. Something about 'Guitar Wolf' and 'death'. Seems all that rocking got the better of Bass Wolf a.k.a. Billy a.k.a. Hideaki Sekiguchi. Having seen one of his performances the heart attack is no surprise. That he was 38, however, was kind of surprising.
Best of luck in heaven Bass Wolf. Or Hell. Or Meifumadou. Play the Holy See something heavy.



Hanami = cherry blossom viewing = getting ridiculously drunk on sake and assorted lagers and foolishly mismanaging your chopsticks enough to drop one of the only two delicious looking pieces of crab on the floor and then gazing at it longingly for several long moments. And some other stuff besides. Like frisbee and hide-and-seek and climbing trees and gazing at other trees. And returning home to sleep off the rice wine only to be woken by the mysterious presence of my mother's disembodied voice in the darkened room. Somewhat disturbed I finally discovered that my mobile phone has a built in automatic speaker triggered by voice messages.
The cherry blossom at Wakayama Castle park are not as resplendent as they should be at this time of year - it's been unusually mild - but the hint of what is to come is there and it's easy to see how beautiful the Castle grounds will look in just a few more days. Several trees, however, were boasting full glory and it is one of these you see pictured below.

I like Hanami, it's fun, and it seems a much more natural excuse for boozing out of doors than say, baby boar pig racing, which I'd like to claim as an original idea of mine and yet, fascinatingly, it's already a Wakayama-ken institution. If you're not busy on May 3rd and happen to be in the vicinity of Susami Town between 8am and 4pm come see the 25th annual Pig Derby in which, it says here, '3-month old boar pigs will race in a specially made 100 metre track with built in obstacles'. Presumably some of those 'obstacles' might well be the punters signed-up for the 'Pork udon eating contest' which apparently follows the racing. Wouldn't miss this for the world.


April the first, and by way of avoiding any undoubtedly hilarious pranks and capers I remained in bed until well after 2pm. This, however is in truth just my way of justifying another episode of recently acquired supreme laziness in which I lay around the apartment making exhausitive mental lists of all the things I should be doing. I did manage to buy a plant earlier in the week. This was only a scant three weeks in the planning.