Monday, March 29, 2010

Soil and "Pimp" Sessions

Soil and "Pimp" Sessions is a Japanese jazz band that I've taken quite a liking to. I first learned about them when they released a single with Shina Ringo called "カリソメ乙女" (Karisome Otome) back in 2006. They have had a number of videos on YouTube which I enjoyed, but I just couldn't get my hands on one of their albums. It doesn't look like they have a distributor in the U.S. and none of the record stores I visited in Japan stocked them either.

So you can imagine my surprise and delight when iTunes started carrying their albums around November of last year. The U.S. iTunes store even. I've since stocked up bought 20 or so songs of theirs and have yet to be disappointed. The best I can tell, the U.S. iTunes store is selling all of their albums.

To top it all off, Shina Ringo's latest album, 三文ゴシップ (sanmon gossip) not only includes the 2006 Karisome Otome single, but includes another awesome collaboration with Soil and Pimp Sessions: マヤカシ優男 (Mayakashi Yasaotoko). There isn't a video for it, but you can preview the song on YouTube. Don't worry, the lyrics for this song are all in English.

Even though they are a Japanese band, since it is jazz, most of the songs have no lyrics. That said, What few words there are do tend to be English. Which makes them a very approachable band to international audiences. In fact, right now they are in the middle of a European Tour. They have a live show schedule on their web site; I know I'll be watching to see when they come to San Francisco.

Back in California

Well, we're back in California and getting settled in. I had a month off to get moved out of our place in Tokyo and moved into our new place in Mountain View. It has been a hectic month but the last few days have been relaxing. That said, I'm ready to get back to work.

Anyway, I've got a whole backlog of things I've been meaning to blog about so hopefully I'll be a little more frequent with the updates for a while.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

No place like home

Well, I've wrapped up my time here in Tokyo and preparing to move back to California. Barring a few small obstacles -- like just noticing that our passports had expired and frantically visiting the U.S. Embassy to get new ones -- we should be back in the U.S. by this time next week.

My coworkers gave me a nice farewell party which was quite fun. I'm not sure why, but I got pretty choked up on my last day at the office. I'm sure part of it was the relief of finally going home, but a lot of it was that I really liked my coworkers. They were the best part of working in Japan.

This past week I've had more time and finally gotten a chance to see more of the neighborhood where we have been living. It is actually a pretty nice area. It is a shame that it took over 2 years before I could actually enjoy it. Nonetheless I'm really looking forward to going home.