Monday, July 29, 2013

The Bento Boxes Continue

Thought I would have given up making up Bento lunches by now?  Not so!  I am still going full force ahead - spending between thirty minutes to an hour per evening putting together an array of tasty treats for my next day's lunch.  Here is a look at the last few weeks of Bento Boxes:

Cucumbers, carrots, and Goddess salad dressing.  Red pepper hearts, seaweed rice crackers, walnuts, and crasins.  Home-made vegetable soup.

Steamed broccoli, tomatoes, and red peppers.  Carrot sticks, more red peppers and tomatoes, and salad dressing for dipping.

Red peppers, steamed broccoli, cucumber slices and tomatoes.  Carrots, seaweed rice crackers, tomatoes, and dressing for dipping.  Dragon fruit for dessert.

Red peppers, carrots, dressing, cucumbers, and broccoli.

Black beans, chocolate tomato and yellow pepper shish kebab, mashed sweet potatoes, and curried carrots.  Walnuts and strawberries for dessert.

Israeli cous-cous with yellow peppers, carrot sticks, radishes, and chocolate tomatoes.  Crasins, date balls, and kiwi for dessert.

Chickpea salad with mint and currents, salad with dressing, cucumbers, carrots, and a free-range hard boiled egg.  Cinnamon-raisin peanut better, crasins, and walnuts.

Salad with dressing, edamame, a hard boiled egg, carrots, and cucumber.  Chickpea salad with currents and mint, Japanese rice crackers , tomatoes, and walnuts.

An apple, walnuts, craisins, Japanese rice crackers, Onigiri filled with tuna, and edamame.

A proud and self-respecting apple.  Radishes, yellow pepper, chocolate tomatoes, and Israeli cous-cous salad.  Craisins, date balls, and peanut butter.

Walnuts, chickpea salad with currents and mint, and dark chocolate squares.  A hard boiled egg, carrots, and salad dressing.  A jar of lettuce on the side.

Salad, dressing, carrots, red peppers, and a free-range egg.  Brown rice coconut crackers, dark chocolate squares, cinnamon-raisin peanut butter, almonds, and crasins.  An apple on the side.

Date balls, kiwi, almonds, and craisins.  Chocolate tomatoes, carrot sticks, and basil hummus.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Onion Cellar Presents: Legendary Japanese Noise Rockers Zeni Geva Invade Saigon!



The Onion Cellar presents...

28/7/2013 - 19:30
Darts Club – 224A Pasteur - HCMC

Presale: 150K VND (available NOW from DARTS CLUB – open everyday from 6PM ‘til late)
Doors: 200K VND

*All ticket purchases include 1 FREE DRINK at the show



Before it became hip and trendy to like bands from Japan there were a handful of artists from this country pushing the sonic envelope, de-constructing and then re-building ‘music’ and were, in general, part of a new vanguard of noise makers. One such pioneering group of innovators is ZENI GEVA (roughly translated as ‘someone who would do anything to get money’), whose current line-up includes Kazuyuki Kishino (guitars, vocals, Kaoss-pad) – one of Japan’s most well-known ‘noise terrorists’ alongside Merzbow and Keiji Haino; and Tatsuya Yoshida (drums, Kaoss-pad) – ‘master drummer of the Japanese underground’.


One of Japan's more eccentric and intriguing extreme music exports ever since the late '80s and the '90s, self-professed progressive hardcore duo ZENI GEVA fuses elements of death metal, hardcore, industrial music, noise rock, progressive rock and avant-garde music, gaining no small underground recognition in the process while getting described as ‘Motorhead meets King Crimson’ and recording/collaborating with the legendary studio engineer Steve Albini (who has been producing records for all sorts of luminaries of alternative music: Nirvana, Pixies, MONO, Neurosis, Slint, Shannon Wright, Melt-Banana, etc). 

In 2009, second original drummer Tatsuya Yoshida (who was part of ZENI GEVA in 1989/1990 and contributed to their debut album “Maximum Money Monster”) came back and brought with him even more complexity and hyper energy. As they continue to create and innovate, ZENI GEVA remains in the forefront of this still-emerging global scene of underground outfits.


KK NULL (real name : Kazuyuki Kishino) is one of the top names in Japanese noise music and in a larger context, one of the great cult artists in experimental music since the early 80′s.

In 1981 KK NULL studied at Butoh dancer Min Tanaka’s ‘Mai-Juku’ workshop and started his career by performing guitar improvisations in the clubs of Tokyo. He continued by collaborating with Merzbow for two years, and joining the band YBO2 (with Masashi Kitamura, chief editer of Fool’s Mate magazine and Tatsuya Yoshida, drummer of RUINS) and various other projects of the underground scene.

In the early 90′s he gained world-wide recognition as the mastermind, guitarist and singer of the progressive hardcore band ZENI GEVA.

After playing the guitar as his main instrument for nearly thirty years, KK NULL has gradually moved towards a more electronic approach. He has concentrated his efforts on exploring the outer territories of electronica, creating intense clashing waves of noise, structured electro-acoustic ambience, broken down rhythms, scattered pitch sculptures (for installations), droning isolationist material which could be described as ‘cosmic noise maximal/minimalism’.

                                         RUINS ALONE (JAPAN)

A one-man performance that has to be seen to be believed.

Without a doubt, Tatsuya Yoshida has been one of the most important drummers of the Japanese music scene since the final decades of the 20th century, having spearheaded at least a half dozen of that country's most important groups. Perhaps best-known among these would be RUINS: this group's unique basic instrumentation of drums and bass was no less than a palace revolt against the established role of the rhythm section. 

RUINS plays a unique form of manic and twisted progressive rock. Bandleader/drummer/singer Yoshida credits such diverse influences as progressive rock stalwarts Magma, Pink Floyd, Gong, King Crimson, Yes, classical composers like Chopin, and traditional throat singing from Tuva. Though these influences often come through in the RUINS sound, there is no mistaking RUINS for anyone else. Many RUINS compositions employ odd time signatures, sudden tempo changes, and passages of heavily processed noise. Vocals are meant to be nonsensical (and that's how they sound) and are usually improvised, as are portions of the songs. The overall sound is chaotic yet precise, noisy yet harmonious, catchy yet repelling, frenetic yet disciplined.

After the departure of fourth bassist Hisashi Sasaki, Tatsuya Yoshida forged on with RUINS as a solo act, performing live as RUINS ALONE and releasing the album Alone in 2011. RUINS ALONE has no bassist - Yoshida samples and synthesises sounds to accompany his ballistic drumming and singing, using elements of everything from sheer noise to disco and pop. 



COCC is a Saigon-based indie/psych-rock trio whose amazing debut album “6 Giờ” (2011) deserves much much more recognition. Here is what they have to say about themselves:

“Phuc started a band with his friends to play cover tunes from Smashing Pumpkins, Tool, Beatles, and whatever they can do to satisfy his thirst for Rock ‘n’ Roll. Called themselves "Hero in Danger", how arrogant? Everyone except for Phuc, all left to better greener grass, Phuc got pissed and wrote a bunch of original songs. Cuong and Quoc somehow walked into a wrong meeting and got 'con' into the band playing bass and drum for Phuc. They got pissed and called the band ‘COCC’, how appropriate? Anyway, with no money, they decided to record their songs with a laptop and used the toilet as a recording studio. To make the short story shorter, COCC has a new CD out and playing live shows around Saigon, Vietnam. Ok support your local Vietnamese band.” 



A Japanese band in modern day Saigon. 5 musicians – 3 males, 2 females. Instruments: guitar,
saxophone, cello, keyboard/vocals, drums. Influences: the guitar player’s main influences are hardcore punk and ska hardcore, the saxophonist’s: swing jazz, the cellist’s: the Japanese singer-songwriter KAN, the keyboardist/singer’s: anarcho punk and a legion of riff-oriented bands – Captain Beyond, The Stooges, Merciful Fate, the drummer’s: all jazz giants, also – John Cage.

What could possibly be the end result of such meeting of minds and musical influences and instruments? We don’t really know – this is going to be the debut performance of this (super)group consisting of regular figures in the Japanese music scene in Saigon. One thing for sure, whether playing free jazz in the clubs of Koenji or unleashing endless sonic attacks of weird-out psychedelic dubstep-influenced noises at Café Oto and other venues across east London, or, indeed, gradually building up a whole scene of music in Saigon (whose focal point is none other than the superb Darts Club) - you could always count on Japanese musicians everywhere and anywhere for eye-opening surprises and shocks (after all, just look at the headliners of this show). In STRIPED COBRA’s own words: “We don’t play relaxing music”. 


And for those in Hanoi....

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Come to Daddy 6: Live Electronic Music in Saigon

electronic music :: live visuals :: ninja robots


Date: 20 July 2013
Time: 9pm
Venue: YOKO - 22A Nguyễn Thị Diệu, Ward 6, Dist 3 
 Hồ Chí Minh city.
Entrance: damn cheap at 50.000 VND! and free for students with ID


Lo and behold! From the farthest reaches of the galaxy and the unnamed frontiers of the mediascape returns... COME TO DADDY !!!

Now on its 6th edition this July, COME TO DADDY veterans DAISUKE TANABE and JASE NGUYEN are joined by fellow sonic space ninjas YOSI HORIKAWA, MIKE BERKLEY and NGUYEN HONG GIANG in glorious tandem with warrior witchdoctors of visual voodoo PHAN VU LINH, CRAZY MONKEY and PAKI to unleash fantastic waves of grandisonant shurikens and experimental 3D-mapping kung fu. Poster design and collateral damage by robot shadow fighter LE NGOC SON.

COME TO DADDY 6 is part 1 of 2 of the TYO>MNL>SGN platform of collabs and performances. Organised by iLL in HCMC, with partners Green Papaya Art Projects and SABAW/Fete de la WSK in Manila. Kindly supported by Japan Foundation, with the Goethe Institut HCMC and Blue Circle. Special thanks to iKnow.

>> Limited edition t-shirts, buttons and artist merch on sale at the event!!! <<


* Yosi Horikawa (JP)

* Daisuke Tanabe (JP)

* Mike Berkley (AU)

* Jase Nguyen (VN)

* Nguyen Hong Giang (VN)


* Phan Vu Linh (VN)

* Crazy Monkey (VN)



Thursday, July 11, 2013

Clustering Gems

"The world is illumined by an intolerable lustre of light" - George William Russell

Friday, July 5, 2013

My Latest Obsession: Bento

Ok, it's official.  I'm obsessed with Bento.  It started with a mission to find a cute lunch box to take to my new school and has turned into something else entirely.  In the past week, I have amassed an absurdly large collection of bento accessories: boxes, decorations, cutters, etc.

This addiction is currently not very time-efficient, but I'm sure the process will become more streamlined as I get used to preparing my meals for work.  I put these together the night before and store them in the fridge over night.  The boxes patiently sit in my air-conditioned office during the morning and are room temp and tasty by the time I dig in.  So far everything has held up well and tasted delicious! 

Here is a look at what I have been nibbling on for lunch this week with a Box-by-Box Analysis:


Salad with lettuce, cucumber and radish (edamame and  dressing on the side).  
Chickpeas tossed with lemon juice, currants, and mint  (craisins and walnuts on the side).
  Dessert Quinoa (quinoa + chopped almonds topped with coconut and sweetened with agave nectar) and kiwi.



Heart-shaped curried carrots, salted radishes, and leftover chickpea salad.
  Lettuce topped with cucumber, seaweed, and red peppers (dressing on the side).  
Dessert Onigiri (brown rice, currants, and coconut sweetened with agave nectar and pressed into a traditional onigiri shape) along with craisins and walnuts.



Kiwi and dragon fruit.  
Sweet potato mash, black beans and squash, cucumber and radish salad topped with bunny-shaped red pepper.  
Two dessert brown-rice balls wrapped in chick and bunny foil, craisins, walnuts and a white rabbit candy.



Apple and Chocolate Almond Butter.  
Baigan Bharta (mashed eggplant), cucumber slices, red pepper slices, along with black beans and squash.  Strawberries, craisins, one walnut.


Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Museum of Glass: Tacoma, Washington

While visiting Seattle, we took a day-trip down to Tacoma to visit the Museum of Glass.

An azure sky, benevolent clouds, and the soggy stench of papermill awaited us in this coastal burgh plopped in the southern reaches of the Puget Sound.

Upon entering, we headed directly to the Hot Shop (located inside the building's conical protuberance) to watch live glass-blowing and listen to running commentary by glass experts. Molten glass and fiery furnaces!

Not quite as thrilling as a monster truck rally, but watching artists mold liquid glass into priceless artifacts is invigorating in a certain way.

The final product of the live session we watched: a glass amber (complete with prehistoric insects trapped inside).

We then entered the main exhibition area and fell into museum mode -  a blissful condition marked by sweaty palms, dilated eyes, lightness of being, silent consideration, and aesthetic enchantment.

Outside we walked through Dale Chihuly's public installation (lining the walls of a freeway overpass).

All in all, it was a glassy day in Tacoma.