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Posts from the ‘Friends’ Category

BAM! – Gow’s birthday live at Lega

It became a tradition for Gow to do a live performance on her birthday. Last year, it was incredibly good but this year it was even better. At some point while watching her, I thought to myself – who is this girl? She can easily give Beyonce run for her money. Not only it was a full 2 hour live performance, it was accompanied with a specially made movie that connected each song into a story and it had a bunch of different dancers – Latin, Indian, hip hop and even pole dancers!! There were other musicians too like Girls’ talk and a team of beat boxers.

BAM live at Lega

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Birthdays in 2012

This year has been extremely busy for me and that is why I haven’t been updating my blog as often as I would have wanted. But now that I have a little bit more time on my hands I can finally sort out through hundreds of photos that I took at various events and post some of them here. This one is about birthday parties that took place this year.

First, there was Shelly’s birthday right after Golden week. It was a beautiful party at an upscale private dining place in Nishi Azabu organized by her agency. There were a DJ and champagne tower and funny games and lots and lots of guests. ^-^

One of the guests was Rola – the current IT model/talent. She was very bubbly and funny and at times silly but that’s what sells in Japan so she was doing a great job.

I took this photo when girls were playing the game “Who knows Shelly the best!” They were getting Shelly dollar every time they answered a question correctly.

This guy won the main prize – a pair of tickets to Disneyland. Nice!

Then, there was Gow’s birthday party/live performance at Ginza Roots. It was also amazing, very posh and so so crowded. Gow has a lot of friends. Whenever we go out together, somebody always stops us on the street to say Hello to her.

Many of her talented friends performed for her that night including Girls’ talk, David, Mathew from Fox TV, beatboxer Kazu and a band of musicians.

Gow sang too – of course she was the best of them all.

 

At parties like this I meet a lot of people that I don’t normally see like Natalie and Clara. We used to work together on various TV shows and modeling jobs..

For my birthday this year I didn’t have any party. I hate throwing parties for myself and I hate asking my friends to do it for me. Instead, I had a romantic date with my husband and it was all I could wish for. It was one of the biggest storms that day with all the TV stations advising people to stay indoors. Instead of taking the advice, we rented a car and drove to the ocean. Crazy I know but it was so damn romantic. The stormy ocean is beautiful, rain is beautiful plus it always rains on my birthday so it was nothing new. ^-^

After spending half a day at the beach, we drove back to the city to Odaiba to watch “Bourne legacy” coz this movie series has a special place in our hearts. We both love it because it takes place in Europe and it is real with old-fashioned phones and logistics and operations – no sci-fi bullshit like virtual screens and immediate satelite access and people who just happen to conveniently know stuff “just because” like in other Hollywood movies. Of course I didn’t like it that much without Matt Damon in it but I enjoyed it anyway.

After the movie, we got back into our car and drove home. Only instead of heading towards the rainbow bridge, my husband stopped in front of Tokyo Nikko hotel where he secretly booked a room with the view to the bay as a surprise to me. I always wanted to stay at that hotel because it has this huge windows overlooking the best of Tokyo’s skyline and my favorite park is right in front of it. I was so happy to finally realize that dream.

The room was amazing. From our balcony I could watch the storm unraveling in the bay. It was breathtaking.

We had champagne and chocolate cake and I got yet another flower bouquet. It was amazing.

In the morning, the bay looked so peaceful after the storm. I woke up early and just sat on the balcony half naked watching the sunset and eating my chocolate cake. ^-^

We had breakfast in my favorite park in front of hotel and then headed home. It was the perfect birthday date.

Last week it was Laura’s birthday. Unfortunately I couldn’t be at her birthday party but I met her a couple of days ago for a private birthday date in Odaiba. I am so happy she loved the dress I gave her. I was having my doubts especially after all the friends I sought advice from confirmed that it wasn’t her style.. A little black dress won’t hurt anyone’s wardrobe even if one prefers to wear color most of the time. ^-^

By the way, these are the pics I took with my new Sony. I absolutely love how sharp they are. I didn’t even use any surface to station my camera on when taking these photos. These are just snaps I took while walking – simply amazing. ^-^

I’m out, please leave a message…

I had a great weekend in the company of my wonderful friends. On Friday, I met a Russian friend from Osaka who came to Tokyo for a job interview. In Japan, you start looking for a job a year before graduation. After receiving an official “promise” of a job, you go back to school for your final year. Don’t know if this system has any advantage but that’s what it is. When you graduate, you already know where you will be working. ^-^

That night was particularly cold in Tokyo. A mixture of hail, snow and rain made it extremely unpleasant to be outside so we were seeking refuge in cafes all evening. It’s funny how you hate being outside when it’s snowing but once you are inside with a cup of hot coffee in your hands, your perspective changes completely and suddenly you are in love with the silent white motion outside.

We were talking about business and opportunities and how it is very challenging to have something of your own in Russia. There are so many barriers for having your own business, so much shit you have to deal with.. I wonder if there will be time when all of the atrocities are gone and you can freely take your chances based on your abilities and not on your relationship with those who abuse their power…

The next day, I met with Sergey, my other Russian friend for a day in Odaiba – my favorite place in Tokyo. We checked a new photo exhibition at Gallery 21 http://www.gallery21-tokyo.com/en/index.html. It’s tiny but free and has a few very powerful works so if you are nearby, go check it out.

After that, we went to the movies to see  “Incredibly loud and extremely close” which was amazingly good. That child should be given every award out there for his outstanding performance.

On our way back home, we also checked one of Seibu’s “Art meets life” exhibitions called Power people by Leslie Kee -a collection of photographs of influential people who became big in Japan. There, we discovered a portrait of Tokyo-based stylist Misha Janette whom I met at Tokyo’s fashion night out last year. There was also a really cool photo-booth that took pics and then automatically uploaded them to the Facebook page. ^-^

In the evening, I met with Gow, Barbie and Shelly in Nihonbashi for dinner. I cherish these moments when my busiest friends’ schedule align and we get the opportunity to meet. ^-^ Sometimes, I just NEED to have girls’ talk to be able to relax and get my positive energy back. Although yesterday our main topic of conversation was Obama care and crooked teeth. ^-^

Today, I met with Gervin – my new friend from Philippines I met at Roberto Cavalli’s opening party last year. He is writing a very successful fashion blog http://jennechrisville.com and is cute as a button. He showed me his secret cafe in Harajuku which was so cozy and beautiful, it’s gonna be my favorite too. Then, we checked MoMA store for useless but nice little artsy things and then drooled a little over Issey Miyake’s origami bags. I am still thinking which one to buy.. It’s so hard to pick a color knowing they can release new ones at any minute.

Before going home, we did our last stop at Uniqlo to stock on Heat-tech because let’s face it – the calendar winter is about to end but it is still so freaking cold outside and it looks like it’s gonna be that way for while.

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: enijeproject.com

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:

http://www.hafufilm.com/

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…^-^

A triple birthday party in Shibuya

A few weeks ago, three of my Russian friends had their birthdays only a few days apart so we decided to celebrate them all together at the same time in a cozy Italian restaurant in Shibuya.

For any restaurant that profits partly on its ambient atmosphere, 8 foreign girls and especially Russian can mean only one thing – lots of noise, so they immediately offered us their VIP room – separated from the rest of the dining hall, dark and gloomy. In normal circumstances I would prefer that but I was with girls who wanted to party so a small dark lonely room just wouldn’t do. ^-^

We picked a big table in the corner of the main room and in return asked for wine to keep coming nonstop. ^-^

I’ve met with the girls on various modeling jobs because remember if you are a young foreign girl or boy living in Tokyo, you can score yourself almost any modeling job you want, from a national Mazda commercial to a 25 meter high billboard on a big Department store. So I’ve met Natalie (on the right) when we both had to portray Greek Goddesses for Sanma’s 50th birthday (big Japanese celebrity comedian). Then, I’ve met Anastasia and Inna on Sma-Station (Japanese variety show hosted by a famous boy band singer) that we did together for a very long time.

The rest of the girls were their friends – all working models. You can probably see all of them in every wedding catalog or magazine out there.

After Italian restaurant, we went to my favorite Spanish bar and had some more wine. They even let us into their wine cellar to make our own selection.

Both, Natalie and Anastasia are experts on wine so it was fun choosing it together. Anastasia even took sommelier classes. ^-^

It was nice drinking with the girls because even after four bottles of wine, none of them lost control. Our conversation did become slightly inappropriate though but that’s a given. ^-^

Last weekend..

Last Saturday, my friend Vincent asked me to help him record his second live performance. He put me in charge of the video and photo shooting for the rehearsal and the official part. I was so proud of myself because it was my first time to deal with unfamiliar video equipment. I managed to set everything up within 5 minutes.

He invited a lot of musicians to accompany him which really enhanced his performance. He did his own versions of “Zombie” and “Lemon tree” – my favorite songs from the end of 90s as well as bunch of original stuff.

When it was over, we had a little after party where I got to meet some of my old friends and drink a really good wine. ^-^

Here is the picture of Vincent’s fans who also came last time. In fact, right after Vincent announced his third performance date, I saw them buying tickets online using their mobile phones. I think he is ready to build an army. ^-^

The next day, I felt like catching a cold so I stayed home and watched DVD the whole day. Recently, I rent everything online so watching an actual DVD is something I didn’t do in three years. ^-^ I rented a movie I so shamelessly happened to miss two years ago. It’s called  “2 days in Paris” and directed by one of my favorite director/actress/singer/songwriter prodigy Julie Delpy.  Her new movie is reminiscent of my generation favorite “Before sunrise” and “Before sunset” sequel only her version is much more bold and stripped from any kind of embellishment that is so typical for any Hollywood movie. This movie is what I call a “lyrical comedy” where things are shown exactly the way they are. I especially loved the scene where a Boyfriend is trying to put a condom on and a Girlfriend is taking her glasses from a night stand, puts them on and tries to help him under the sheets. It’s so funny and so real – I can relate to almost any scene in that movie especially to the arguments about the cultural differences and cries for acceptance. The soundtrack was written by Julie herself and it’s really great too! Watching French movies makes me want to learn French so bad! Three words I learned watching the movie : Soiree, Genial and Arrêt – only a trillion more to go. ^-^

This movie proudly goes into my top ten!

I also must have been slightly depressed on Sunday since I rushed into organizing stuff. I discovered a big bag full of old postcards I purchased at museum gift shops over the years and decided to use them as my toilet decoration. ^-^

I’m going to rotate them every month since I have hundreds more. ^-^ Me and my husband are frighting over whose postcard goes to the wall. For now, it’s six mine and five his. I won! ^-^

Jessica’s wedding after party

A couple of weeks ago I went to Jessica’s wedding after party at a posh club in Ginza. I first met Jessica when we were working together at Sma-station 5. To me she was always a girl with perfect nails – beautiful intricate designs each week. I always adore and respect women who can take care of their nails – something I have neither patience nor desire to spend money for..

We are now both married to our boyfriends back then so I feel connected to her. I was of course thrilled to receive an invitation.

Earlier that week, my Korean friend showed me her pictures from a wedding party she attended wearing beautiful Marc Jacobs dress. Immediately I knew I had to ask if I could borrow it but instead, she gave it to me! It was too big for her and she bought it on sale in LA so it was an easy loss for her and a great find for me! It fits me perfectly!

There were a lot of guests I didn’t know but all very friendly and easy to talk to – they all could speak English.

Traditionally there are always some crazy tequila games and I was asked to participate in one.

Me and tequila are not friends so after I lost – everything went funny including my camera even though I wasn’t the one holding it. ^-^

I mean seriously, after tequila that’s how everything looked to me – I guess me and my Lumix are soulmates because it reflects my mood perfectly. ^-^ I had a lot of fun that night!

Fleurs de musique – Vincent’s first live performance

To be honest, when Vincent sent me an invite to his first live I didn’t know what to think of it because for years that I’ve known him, he never mentioned he can sing. In fact, most of our common friends are singers and he’s never claimed to be one of them till now.  But yes, he can sing and quite beautifully.

Half of the songs were in French – beautiful chanson romances. I particularly liked “Ne me quitte pas” – a very powerful song that I first heard performed by one of my favorite singers Nina Simon. You have to have a lot of character to sing it right and I think Vincent’s performance gave it justice.

I also loved the song called “Tous les cris les SOS”. I didn’t understand the lyrics besides some obvious moments but the way he sang was very emotional and I felt really connected to it.

The second half of the performance was full of surprises. Vincent invited my three favorite girls to sing duets together. At first, he did an impromptu of “Somewhere over the rainbow” and ” 君の知らない物語” with Gow chan. It was the most energizing part of the whole evening! ^-^

Then, he sang an anime song with Laura which was sooo good! They got into characters and had a small fight on stage. That was funny! I have never seen Laura like that. She looked like a 宝塚 girl! ^-^

Then, there were two French songs with Mia who had a very sweet voice. I had no idea! All my friends are so multitalented.. I felt inspired and ashamed at the same time..

Last couple of songs were in Japanese performed together with a Violin player from のだめカンタビレand a harp player who did a nice version of Arai Akino song.

After the performance, we went out to a nice little bar in Shinjuku.

Parallel lines Philips cinema competition

A while back my friend Laura has entered a movie competition hosted by Parallel lines Philips cinema and a movie director Ridley Scott. The competition was an attempt to show that the same story can be told in many different ways.

The story was provided by the competition in a form of 6 fixed lines :

1. What is that?

2. It’s a unicorn

3. Never seen one up close before

4. Beautiful

5. Get away. Get away.

6. I’m sorry

The order of the lines had to remain the same but they could be told in any language. Also, the movie had to be only 3 minutes long.

Parallel lines Philips cinema competition – official entries:

http://www.youtube.com/user/philipscinematv

I have watched almost all the entries (about 300 of them) and I really think that Laura’s movie deserved to be in the top 10. It was dark but beautiful, with good cinematography and so easy on eyes.

Most of the movies that got into the top 10 were made by famous directors with a substantial budget to spend. If the competition was to be fair, it would have had a fixed budget and set of rules that wouldn’t allow the use of professional equipment… But if you see at least a couple of the high budget movies, you would still think that Laura’s low budget movie was of the same if not a higher quality. ^-^

I actually helped her shoot one of the scenes. It was the one where she runs on a narrow Tokyo street and pushes an old lady carrying a grocery bag. The bag falls down and tears apart. The scene had to show that however bad the situation was, the main heroine couldn’t stop. She had to keep running because it was the race against death.

We shoot this scene in Ogikubo, in front of a Chinese restaurant. The street was actually very wide but we had to make it look narrow to fit the brief. The location was perfect for the movie – it had a nice red light about it and the old lady who was so kind to help us was living nearby.

That 3 second scene took us two hours to shoot. This is me and Laura shortly after we were done – exhausted but happy. ^-^

I know the competition is over for her but you can still cast your vote on youtube so if you like the movie, please give it a good rating! ^-^

And you can also take a look at her solo album on itunes. http://itunes.apple.com/jp/album/adeyto-tenshi-no-yuuwaku/id294333108

Dalrae’s birthday BBQ in Omotesando

Last week my friend Dalrae invited me over to her friend’s house in Omotesando for a terrace BBQ birthday party. The place was gorgeous. Many of her friends are foreign bankers who rent really nice real estate in the most posh neighborhoods in Tokyo and this house was no different. The owner also happened to be a very good cook. The entire evening while people were drinking and having fun, poor guy was making food – grilled scallops, tandoori chicken, beefsteaks etc. He never left the BBQ station. In his own words – cooking food on fresh air is the best therapy one can get after a long working week. I want to believe him, only it was +35C outside with almost 100% humidity…The guy was just too nice..

I met some Russian folks from Vladivostok at the party.  As always I asked them to teach me some local slang. After talking to Serezha and Dima about our hometowns, I realized that the words we use on an every day basis are sometimes different depending on the part of Russia you are from. ^-^

Because we are so far away from each other, the values are also different. For example, going to Japan for a person from Vladivostok is the same as going to Finland for a person from St.Petersburg – a casual occurrence. But for each other, it looks like such an exotic destination. It’s also the same for the food we eat and cars we drive. It’s funny.  I could never imagine a Russian who doesn’t know what “Ryazhenka” is..^-^