Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Party Peoples

Welcome to the real Tokyo party. While most foreigners get suckered by the Roppongi hustle into the usual dives like Gas Panic and 911, I head to the city's youthful heart, Shibuya, where hipster meets cool underground hip hop. Here are my three favorite clubs in Tokyo:

1. Aoyama Hachi - This three-level night club is host to a monthly Jazzy Sport event called Escapade which is one of the hottest parties in town. Packed from wall to wall the two dance floors each have their own DJ who offer up the finest in jazz, hip hop, and home-grown Japanese hip hop. If you're in the mood just to chill head to the top floor lounge and grab a cocktail while relaxing on the plush couches. With libations, dancing AND lounging Hachi is easily my favorite place to hang on a Friday or Saturday night.

2. JZ Brat - Ultra-posh and located in a five star hotel the JZ Brat jazz club has an array of events happening every month from live performances to DJs spinning records. When I head there for hip hop parties I enjoy the eclectic mix of people who come out to play, including, hardcore hip hop heads rockin' kangols, trendy socialites in designer wear, reggae heads in dreads and jazz-tap dancers clacking away on the floor. At JZ Brat you'll find nothing but people ready to feel the hot beats pumping out the speakers and forget their weekday office nightmares. And with a large bar area and an attentive staff its not hard to wet your lips with a Cassis Orange or a dry Martini. Chic atmosphere, friendly crowd and cool music JZ Brat is a must when in Tokyo.

3. Neo - Affiliated with Club Asia and a few doors down from the legendary Club Harlem, nothing says lounge more than Neo. Unlike a lot of the cramped bars and clubs in Tokyo, Neo brings a more open feel with its high ceiling and lighting that projects a heavenly sky above. The walls are lined with cushioned benches and there is an arrangement of tables in the back where you can sit, chill, talk and view people vibing out to the music on the spacious floor. When I'm at Neo I like to meander my way to the comfy couches upstairs above the bar and checkout the view of the club below. With cocktail in hand its a great place to talk story with your posse or spit game to the beautiful people sitting next to you. Though this is generally the place to be for a mellow night out with your peeps make sure to check the schedule before going because Neo also hosts a wide range to events every month.

Other Noteworthy Clubs

Ageha - Down near the Tokyo Bay waterfront this is probably the biggest club in Tokyo. Ageha takes up about two warehouses and boasts 3 to 4 dance floors, an outside deck with a pool and food vendors serving up hot noodles for late night munchies. Expensive and far from downtown but worth the effort.

Unit - Another large club (by Japanese standards) with plenty of room for dancing and a stage for live performances. Connected to the club is a late night eatery to satisfy your cravings.

The Room - An old standby for me down in Shibuya. Small and a little hard to find (especially if your drunk) but loads of fun. The Room brings in bumpin' DJs every week that will have you getting your swerve-on until sunrise.

Family - The best part of this club is probably the fact that its so small! When I saw Jeru the Damaja perform here the walls were literally dripping with sweat and the records kept slipping. The high energy crowd made Jeru's show the best live performance I've ever seen.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006


After watching Miami Ink , the television show which chronicles the daily activities of a Miami based tattoo shop, I was reminded of the ridiculous number of haoles who decorate their bodies with Asian inspired tattoos. It seemed like every white person who set foot in the shop wanted either dragons, cherry blossoms or Asian characters permanently inked on themselves. Its particularly frustrating for me, being of Asian descent and born in the Year of the Dragon, since I have always thought about getting such a tattoo to commemorate the year of my birth. However, I am now completely hesitant on getting a dragon done because I don't want to look like all those other meat-head frat boys dumb-fucks who do it to follow some sort of trend. I think its even more lame when those Pabst-drinking-rednecks can't even be original and get something like "love" (愛) or "power" (力) placed on their shoulder. Just because your culture is bland and boring doesn't mean you have to steal ours pendejos!

(However, for some comic relief regarding Asian tattoos on Anglos checkout this article! HAhahaha!)


Monday, February 20, 2006

Wack-Ass Sheriff In Town

Checkout this article from hiphopmusic.com regarding the proposed ban of hip hop in Las Vegas nightclubs. Weak sauce Mr. Sheriff.

Labels: ,

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Go For Broke

A few years ago when the game Medal of Honor was released my friends mockingly referred to it as Kill The Japs. After seeing advertisements for the game I understood what my friends were talking about and I worried about the message being given to young gamers. Though I do not know the intricacies of this particular game, it seemed clear that the primary objective was to go to war with Japan and kill Japanese. Don't get me wrong here. I am not trying to deny the historical fact that Japan and America squared off in the Pacific during World War II. What I feared was that this game, along with films such as Pearl Harbor which had been released the year before, would create a renewed hostility toward people of Asian ancestry - a hostility that seems to resurface in America every so many years. In the wake of September 11th and with the heavy sense of national pride permeating throughout the country, I did not want to see a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans.

But after reflecting a little more about these Pacific war themed games and movies, what concerned me the most was that they would over shadow the great accomplishments of Asian Americans during that time. In the Philippines, for example, Filipino soldiers fought bravely alongside American forces to help liberate Japanese P.O.W. camps. And in Europe the 100th Battallion/ 442nd Regimental Combat Team, comprised entirely of Japanese Americans, took on German forces while becoming the most highly decorated unit in United States military history. However, by playing such games as Medal of Honor one would never know about these heroic World War II events involving people of Asian descent.

So my question tonight is why not games about the 442nd or the Filipino soldiers? In fact, I just recently saw a new game from the Call of Duty line called Big Red One which seems to follow the efforts of another legendary fighting unit during the war. What makes it so hard to create a game where true red-blooded Americans have Asian faces instead of white ones? Why not a remake of 1951's Go For Broke which told the story of the 442nd? How could a movie about proving your loyalty - your worth - to a country that has imprisoned your family not appeal to audiences? I thought Americans loved the underdog story?

To be fair, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that last year's World War II film The Great Raid paid tribute to the efforts of Filipinos during the raid of the Cabanatuan P.O.W. camp. However, as one viewer commented on Amazon.com, the advertising made the movie seem like a testosterone filled "'rah rah' flag waving fest." Its a shame that the true story behind this film did not take center stage during promotion and gain the attention that it deserved.

But the fact remains that America has trouble acknowledging that those who die in battle for this country are not just white good 'ol boys. It incenses me that much of our society forgets that in recent wars minorities have lost a disproportionate number their soldiers in combat. And for what? I have trouble at times seeing how we benefited from these ultimate sacrifices. Not only do these efforts get bypassed in history lessons but our communities, instead of receiving compensation, are smacked with some of the highest unemployment rates and incarceration rates in the country (but that's another story for another day). So besides paying homage to these Asian soldiers via movies, games and textbooks, I guess I'm simply asking America, as the popular hip hop saying goes, to "Recognize muthaf*#kers!"

Labels: ,

Monday, February 13, 2006

In The Mix - February 2006

In honor of Valentine's Day here's what's playing in the iPod this month.

1. Give It To Ya - Pete Rock feat. Little Brother
2. It's A Love Thing - Pete Rock feat. C.L. Smooth
3. Miss Risin' Sun - DJ Beat feat Bootie Brown from The Pharcyde
4. Lovin' It - Little Brother feat. Joe Scudda
5. Realize - Suiken, Bird & Dev Large
6. The Panties - Mos Def
7. Oasis - Loop Junktion
8. To All of You - RJD2
9. True Love - One Be Lo feat. Decompoze
10. There For you - Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley


Saturday, February 11, 2006

R.I.P. J Dilla

J Dilla (a.k.a. Jay Dee)

For more see the Stones Throw website.


Thursday, February 09, 2006

Cooler than the other side of the pillow...

With the 2006 Torino Olympics around the corner I gotta give it up to the most famous hapa in The Games, Apolo Anton Ono. The half Japanese phenom will be gunning for more Gold in his event, speed skating. がんばってよ!

And for those of you who would like to see what I came across when I Google Image searched Ono, check out this jackass.

The caption read, "Apollo Ono Impression."


Sunday, February 05, 2006

Extra Large Hapa

Congratulations to the Steelers' all-time leading wide receiver and hapa stud, Hines Ward, for winning the Super Bowl XL MVP award. Ward finished the game with 5 receptions for a 123 yards. Number 86 caught a crucial touchdown pass in the fourth quarter on a reverse receiver pass from Antwaan Randle El. Big Ups!

Other notable APIs playing in the game included Steelers' strong safety Troy Polamalu, Steelers' defensive lineman Kimo von Oelhoffen and Seahawk's linebacker Lofa Tatupu (who is also hapa I think - can anyone check to see if he's Latino?). Way to represent.


Thursday, February 02, 2006

Oh Snap!

I would OFFICIALLY like to thank the Chinese government for sticking it to "the man" recently. The man in this case being the makers of Memoirs of a Geisha. The New York Times reported today that the Chinese government canceled the showing of the Memoirs due to concerns that the film would create even more anti-Japanese sentiment in the country. The government feared that the public would be angered by seeing Chinese actresses portray geishas, whom some Chinese, according to the Times, see as prostitutes. After reading today's article the decision to use Chinese actresses in the movie all made sense. As I pointed out in my previous posting, box office sales were of primary concern in the making of the movie and certainly not cultural authenticity or sensitivity. By using Chinese stars Ziyi Zhang and Michelle Yeoh as a draw, the movie's makers hoped to pack theaters in China, a country with a gi-normous market of over a billion consumers. Officials at Sony Pictures in Los Angeles, who planned to distribute the film in China, said they were disappointed by the decision. No shit?!! Ha! Deserves them right. Instead of increasing sales the decision to use Zhang and Yeoh actually ended up biting the filmmakers in the ass since the stars' roles in the film caused the cancellation in China. Finally, I would also like to give a very special thanks to all the hustlers running the streets of Beijing and Shanghai who are reportedly selling bootleg copies of the film for a dollar. Thanks for rubbing in an extra little "fuck you" to Sony, Columbia Pictures, Steven Spielberg and Rob Marshall.

Labels: ,