Thursday, 11 December 2008

Genghis Kong vs. Article

Hello fans!

(and all the rest of you)

I'm afraid this is not going to be much of a post. I promised you a nice newsy update at the end of my last post, but the sad thing is there is not much news to tell. I have been going to school some days, not going to school on others. Doing homework some days, failing to achieve anything productive on others. I've been getting drunk at the weekends, and sometimes accidentally getting drunk on schoolnights too, but apart from a couple of fairly embarrassing/tedious episodes involving me falling asleep on the train home because I was drunk and waking up several hundred miles away from where I had hoped to be, not much of note has happened. I somehow managed to repeat this ridiculous process twice in a single weekend! I 'accidentally' went clubbing in Roppongi on the Friday night: left the club around 3/4am, finally got home at 11.30 (it's usually about an hour, at most). I spent Saturday nursing a brutal hangover, but somehow managed to let myself get talked into going clubbing AGAIN... It was actually a really good club, and the music was awesome (Dubstep an' ting), but yet again I somehow managed to completely fuck up getting home - left the club at 4am, got home around 1pm the next day. D'oh!

So that's about it. Other significant notes about my life:
  • I'm still not smoking - about 2 months, ish? I haven't even bothered keeping track.
  • I'm currently drinking heroic quantities of coffee every day
  • A sort of vaguely-healthy-eating/diet type thing which I had been pursuing has long since fallen by the wayside
  • I've been going to the gym thrice a week (6 times a fortnight) for the last month or two, which is nice
  • I'm falling way behind on Kanji and other homework
  • I've trimmed my moustache into a ridiculous Hulk Hogan/James Hetfield/Leather Dude out of The Village People big gay handlebar
  • I just cut my hair (I don't really know how it looks yet, but I think I might be balding rather disastrously)
Apart from that, natalatagwan to be honest. I've started doing some Christmas shopping. I've got some 'hilarious' (retarded) little nick-nacks to bring home for some of you lucky people. I've also just gone and bought myself my traditional Christmas bottle of Baileys. This has become something of a Christmas tradition of mine over the last few years, and it goes a little like this:
  1. As it approaches Christmas it occurs to me that I secretly quite like Baileys, and it is Christmas after all, so I go and buy myself a bottle of Baileys
  2. I pour myself a nice chilled glass of Baileys and watch Disney's Robin Hood or The Box of Delights or something similar
  3. I enjoy the delicious rich creaminess and wonder why I don't drink Baileys more often
  4. I finish my first Baileys and pour myself another. I gag on the cloying rich creaminess and, beginning to feel rather nauseous, I remember precisely why I don't drink Baileys more often
  5. I force myself to finish a whole bottle of gross, cloying, sickly-sweet Irish muck over a week or so
  6. I find out (too late) how many calories there are in a measure of Baileys and weep, swearing never to drink it again
  7. Until next year
So far, my bottle of Baileys remains untouched in the fridge, so I'm actually quite looking forward to it, but I'm sure within a day or two I will be ruing the day I decided to buy it. At least it's not as expensive here as it is in England.

Incidientally, yes, I have drunk Baileys from a shoe, but no, I don't want to go to a club where people wee on each other, thank you very much.

So anyway, not much going on. But that's not the real reason I wrote this post. The real reson is that one of my friends in Sheffield edits/produces/curates a sort of magazine. I guess you could call it an arts/culture/fashion/music/current affairs/amusing nonsense sort of magazine. It's called Article, presumably because that's what it contains. Anyway, I wrote an article for Article recently, and Article issue 4, featuring my article, has just been printed.

If you are in Sheffield, keep your eyes open for real live hard copies of Article, but for those of you living further afield it can be found online in an eco-friendly version here:
although as I type this, their myspace claims to be undergoing routine maintenance and is inaccessible. Should you have trouble with this one, please seek for the magazine here:

Mine is the cheery piece on suicide on page 26 (page 14 on the pdf because the pages are double-scanned), but you should definitely take a look at the rest of the magazine too because it's usually very entertaining (I haven't read this issue yet).

(Watch this video as you read the top of the third column of my article)

If you enjoyed anything you found written in Article, or even if you didn't, please go and list yourself as a 'fan' of Article magazine on facebook:

The more people sign up as fans, the more they can charge for advertising, the more money they get, the more content goes into the next issue. There's even talk of printing parts of it in colour, which is very exciting.

Now I'm about to something very unpleasant to all of you, but can I assure you that it's not my fault: blame Evil Ronnie for this one (I knew there was a reason his name's 'Evil').

Get ready for the Jingle Bass!!!

I apologise for that. Truly I do.

Much love,
Genghis Claus xxx

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Genghis Kong vs. Arianna Huffington

Dear World,

I have just watched today's edition of The Daily Show with John Stewart (if you don't already watch this programme religiously - or at least cultishly - you really, really ought to. It's the only source of American political news I trust.) On today's edition (December the 3rd; actually yesterday thanks to the 15 hour time difference between me and New York) a lovely lady called Arianna Huffington appeared to promote her new book about blogging. She told me that the key to blogging is spontaneity and not thinking too much about what you write, so here I am, spontaneously not thinking about what I'm writing. Apparently blogging is supposed to be like an intimate conversation, without any of the intimacy (it's so convenient having someone tell me exactly how I'm supposed to act and think - it was getting confusing having to work it out on my own.) So I'm going to try a semi-spontaneous off-the-cuff post, currently having little idea what the actual content of this is going to be.

Because that, apparently, is blogging.

Also, spontaneous stream-of-consciousness blogging rather precludes self-censorship, so if anything unsavoury comes up: sorry, parents.

I have recently been amused by the merry spin Japan puts on alcoholism. Firstly, alcohol is advertised widely, proudly and without 'drink responsibly' tags attached to all the ads. As far as I can tell there are no real regulations to alcohol advertising, and on my way to school I pass many 30-foot-wide billboards extolling the virtues of Japan's many fine beers. Which can, when I am trying not to drink (a frequent struggle) be more than slightly troublesome, although I have to say I feel it more keenly on my way home from school in the evening than on my way to school at 8.30 in the morning (I'm not THAT bad... yet...)

Secondly, there are the wonderful, uplifting messages printed on Japanese beer cans which make the whole idea of getting drunk seems so much more appealing. Asahi Clear have clearly paid someone who can actually speak English to write theirs:
Clear Asahi is brewed with select barley malt, hops and grains by using our pure cultured yeast. Its unique brewing process creates a distinctively bold, clear and smooth taste.

Now that sounds pretty damn tempting, and not at all retarded.

Kirin, thankfully, has no such compunction about asking a genuine English speaker to tell them whether their beer slogans sound retarded or not.
Kirin Tanrei:
Sheer refreshment! Open up the good taste that goes perfectly with good times.
Kirin Green Label:
Green label brings you a comfortable time. The refreshing taste cheers your mind.
Kirin Nodogoshi Nama (their cheapest beer-flavoured brew):
Kirin's brewing technology elaborates the Nodogoshi!
And my personal favourite, on Kirin Strong Seven (that's their tramp-flavoured 7% ABV beer-flavoured beverage):
This hard and clear taste brings you the great feeling. (No messing. No apologies. Hard. Clear. By 'great feeling' I presume they mean 'numb to the outside world')

I honestly didn't think anyone could make super lager sound appealing, but somehow these tricksy Japs have achieved it (nom nom nom).

To continue my discussion of how GOD DAMNED CRAZY these people are, allow me to tell you of the fabulous drink known as 'a Hoppy'.

No doubt you are all familiar with the concept of an alcohol-free beer. They are those mysteriously overpriced, sad-looking bottles of misery that live in the fridges of many nightclubs and are never bought by anyone. They are the social outcasts of the beverages world. Even amongst the alcohol-free clique of drinks, they are shunned. I mean, J2O may be alcohol-free, but compared to low-alcohol lager it's the coolest girl at the party. To offer a badly-thought-out American-high-school analogy, J2O is known to be a geek and a loser, but someone caught low-alcohol lager masturbating in the school toilets 2 years ago, and no-one has spoken to him since. That's how low low-alcohol lager is in the grand hierarchy of drinks.

And yet in Japan there is an alcohol-free beer known as 'Hoppy' which is widely popular. Many bars hang banners outside their premises advertising that they sell Hoppy. Let me tell you now that Japan is not a nation of teetotallers. Their drinking culture differs from ours in many significant ways, but no one could accuse the Japs of not liking a wee drink or two every now and then/every night of the week.

You see, the thing is, 'Hoppy' is an alcohol-free beer, but 'a Hoppy' from a bar is something rather different.

'A Hoppy' (I shit you not) is a chilled bottle of Hoppy alcohol-free beer, served in a chilled glass tankard, with a large chilled measure of Shochu (liquor) stirred into it. Shochu is Japan's rough liquor - it is diatilled from grain or potatoes and fills the role of Vodka in Japanese society. It's only 25%(ish) but has no significant flavouor and is cheap as dirt.

So basically, what I'm getting at is: alcohol-free beer + alcohol = commercial success in Japan.


B... Wha...?

Utterly baffling. What can I say.

Right - school tomorrow, so I shall start signing off.

I shall firstly bring to all of your attentions the 'Get Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" to be Christmas number one!' campaign, which is a serious issue in which I believe very strongly. I urge all of you who read to this join the Facebook group, invite all of your Facebook friends to join the group, and then to actually buy the single (wait until after December 15th otherwise it won't count for Christmas no. 1).

Honestly, I adore this song more than almost any other and I would be utterly beside myself with joy if it were Christmas number 1 this year. I'm not sure if they're actually re-releasing it as a single, but the charts include download sales these days, so if everyone just downloads it from iTunes then it could make it.

Come on people: we can do this!!!

Also, if anyone wants christmas prezzies please give me a shout what Jappy stuff you fancy - if it's cheap enough you might just get your wish! (seriously, this country is DAMN expensive and I'm running out of cash fast, so keep 'em small if you want any chance of getting your wish.)

So there you are. That's it. All that remains is to say that I wrote this post while drunk with absolutely no forethought, and I feel it's possibly one of my better ones, so please COMMENT and give me feedback about how you feel about it.


wait a minute...

I've forgotten what I was about to write,

but don't worry,

it'll come back to me in a moment, I'm sure...



Oh yeah, I remember!

Don't stop believing,
Hold on to that feeeling,
Streetlights, people,
Ah a-ah a-ah a-ah

Love, love, love,
Wood, wood, wood,
X, x, x

PS. Journey at number 1 would be the best Christmas present ever. Don't forget it.

PPS. I'll try to do a more 'newsy' post soon, to let you all know what I'm actually doing with myself. a bit. if any of you actually cares *sob sob*