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imovie 11 rocks!

I have finally found time to play with iMovie 11 – an apple software that allows you to make movies in a matter of seconds. It has this exciting new feature called movie trailer that helps you create your very own Hollywood style trailers. I’ve used some footage from my Christmas trip back home to make a sample! So without further ado I present you “Christmas at home” a movie by tokyoholic. ^-^

You can also watch a better quality version directly on youtube! ^-^

New year eve in Sapporo

For New Year’s eve, I went to Sapporo, Hokkaido to experience a traditional Japanese celebration, not the kind that is shown on TV with the visit to the shrine and everything but the real, simple one, in front of TV at a big table full of food surrounded by friends and family. ^-^

I started the day by exploring the snowy city – there were very little people and even less cars. After walking about the center, I went up the hills to see the Olympic ski park and enjoy a nice panoramic view all the way down to the Japanese sea.

It was the first time for me to see sand machines which in Sapporo are located on every corner. If the road gets slippery, all you have to do is put your feet through the hole at the bottom of this machine and get the soles covered in sand. In Russia, we also use sand for snowy roads but instead of convenient vending sand machines, we have heavy tractors spreading the sand early each morning.

After that, I went shopping at a local fish market. Although Japan and Russia catch the same fish, we cook it different ways. I bought tons of smoked, pate-ed, marinated in vinegar and sun dried salmon, crab and herring to bring home as omiyage and that was the first time my family actually ate everything. My mom used to complain about nori, wasabi, yokan and ryokucha I always brought from Japan but this time she seemed to agree on fish. ^-^

In the evening, we celebrated the beginning of a new year by eating tasty Japanese delicacies (crabs, sashimi, seafood nabe etc.) and watching Kouhaku music battle on TV. Last time I watched that show was exactly 10 years ago. It was my first New year in Japan and at that time I was celebrating it in Kobe at my friend’s family house.  I remember clearly every artist that was performing because they were announced and explained to me by my Japanese friend as if they were national heroes. The funny thing is, 10 years past and there are still the same artists performing for Kouhaku with the minor exception of Morning musume turning into AKB48.  ^-^

The next morning, we had a traditional Japanese 1st of January meal called O-sechi. It is a big lacquered box that contains 3 levels of festive food, each having various meanings of luck, prosperity and health. You can read more about it here:

Level 1 – seafood and vegetables

Level 2 – seafood and meat

This level 3 was my favorite – seafood, vegetables and desert. Those little tangerines are actually egg yolks. They were amazingly delicious!

It takes a lot of time to prepare o-sechi ryori. Traditionally, they were made in advance so the women wouldn’t have to cook while others celebrate but nowadays people get tired of eating the same food for several days so poor mothers and wives are back to the kitchen the very same day. Luckily, now they can buy o-sechi and spare themselves a lot of time. ^-^

On the second of January, I once again packed my bags and took a plane back home to celebrate the New Year – Russian style. ^-^ Stay tuned!

Love is in the air

A quick post on my brand new Macbook Air! I bought it a month ago but didn’t want to blog about it till I give it a try. So, here are my finds:

  • It’s small and slim enough to carry in any of my Marc by Marc Jacobs bags and although it’s still kinda heavy for every day carry-on, I had no troubles bringing it back home to Russia or to the small trips that I took before and after. ^-^
  • It’s fast – I keep it on at all times so whenever I open it, it starts working right away and I really mean it – RIGHT AWAY! If I switch it off and then on again, it will take about 10 seconds to load but hello it is still a big over-achievement in comparison to ANY window PC or other Macs.
  • Yes, I really don’t need a DVD-ROM. I was kinda freaking out about losing this option – as you know Macbook Air doesn’t come with one but as it turns out, I long ago stopped using it without even realizing it. I store all my data on virtual servers, watch or rent movies online, buy music online, buy software and books online. Ah..DVD what? Never heard… Is it something vintage?
  • What else? Ah, the trackpad. Now here it gets tricky. I don’t like it. It’s too sensitive in comparison to my previous Macbook.. I had a little accident a few weeks ago when it stopped working. The reason was a hand cream that got transferred onto the surface from my hands. Later on, I realized hand cream is not the only hazard – the trackpad stops working whenever my fingers are cold or too dry or too sweaty.. I have to clean it almost every other day for it to work smoothly.. I don’t really mind doing it at home but when I travel it gets a bit too complicated.. Does anyone else have similar troubles?
  • The speed of performance doesn’t go down with the decreased amount of storage space. My old Macbook was hardly working when my photos and videos folder exceeded the amount of 150GB. Macbook air can work with no free space available as fast as it would if it was empty. Therefore, all my media opens and loads in a second. A pretty big thing for such a small computer. That is actually the reason why I went to all the trouble of changing my computers at the busiest time of the year.
  • It has SD card slot! Yay! Ok, not a new thing – most of the nowadays computers come with one but I was using a 2 year old Macbook before and it didn’t have one so I am thrilled to finally throw away my SD card adapter. Bye!
  • It doesn’t get hot, plus the battery is quite good. My old Macbook was getting hot and loud when it was tired – a good heating device for cold winter evenings but a really horrible nightmare during summer. I couldn’t use it on my lap.. Now, the problem is solved! Thank you, Apple! ^-^

I am also very excited about a new iLife upgrade but I haven’t started using it yet. I am in the process of sorting all my photos and videos now the old fashioned way – in a folder because adding and deleting pictures directly in iPhoto can really mess with it’s head. But once I am done, I’m gonna transfer everything into iLife software and tag all the faces and extract all the footage of just me from all the videos I ever took – yeah, you can now do it automatically and yeah, how narcissistic of me, hehe.


Genez gigs at Las Chicas and Vanity

Happy New Year everyone! I have been traveling like crazy lately, 6 flights in one week so writing a blog has been the last thing on my mind but here I am and I have a lot to catch up on. First things first – here is my report on two of Genez live performances in December.

The first one took place at a very chic bar in Aoyama called Las Chicas. Gow and Michael performed for the Charity event dedicated to raise funds for Ghana children. Thanks to the organizer – David, his uncle Pop and others the school construction is almost completed.

You can check more details about fundraiser here:

Besides Genez, there were also performers from Africa, plus David himself sang a couple of his original songs. The whole event was filmed by Lara Perez Takagi and Megumi Nishikura – young film directors from the US who are making a documentary on the lives and identity problems of mixed kids in Japan. The film is called “Hafu” which means “half” and you can watch a preview here:

They were filming African band performance when everyone including me started dancing in front of the stage which got us all into the movie as accidental extras, hehe. ^-^

Then I discovered the best organic Shea butter soap sold in the lobby.. If I happen to find that shop’s business card in the pile of junk that is my room, I’ll post it here. ^-^

Then, Gow had her biggest event of the year 2010 – “Music shower” at Roppongi’s one and only “Vanity”.

She had dancers and live band and a brand new music video, plus she looked absolutely amazing. I really hope they will release an album this year.

Surprisingly, there were an awful lot of Russians there. Either Pop has invited his whole model agency in or Gow has a lot of friends called Natasha…^-^