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Friday, April 07, 2006

Podcast Fever

When packing my bags for Wales, I rather cleverly forgot to include my external hard-drive, which happens to house all my music. Now, this could have been a major problem, were it not for ...podcasts. What a bloody brilliant idea they are, and what with backup like http://music.podshow.com/ available I have no doubt we're going to see an explosion in this form of media.

Mind you, it's not all good. There is some real cack out there. Take for example one podcast I listened to this morning: an american trumpet player with a 5-minute winge about how miserable he is touring Japan by himself. What doesn't help is that his podcasts are done without any editing - he just phones his podcast server on his mobile and leaves a message which is then automatically added to the feed - all very clever, but the crackly signal and the background noise of Fukuoka station was more than a little distracting. Then there's Japanese 101 or whatever it's called, which allegedly is going to help me learn Japanese. 12 minutes of some complete twat, I mean, think of the most stereotypically cheesy American DJ with less brain matter than someone who is in the advanced stages of turning into a single-celled earthworm, 12 minutes of this prat patronising his japanese co-presenter who then has to pretend to be amused by his dreadful jokes (if you's like a personal demo you'll find the mp3 here). Then there was "So Lost in Tokyo". I can't even begin to describe how happy I am to not be this person. The feed is here.

One Podcast I have grown to like is Podgy's Tokyo Talk. It's mostly just (pretty mellow) music, with a bit of news thrown in here and there, but I like his voice - he doesn't use Lazy English (i.e. he's British). Nice background listening. Another favourite was the series done by Ricky Gervais, starring the bald-headed Karl Pilkington - this podcast, promoted by the Guardian, really did podcasting a huge favour by making headlines worldwide through becoming the most doewnloaded podcast ever. Unfortunately it costs ya to download the new series though, and as a penniless student (actually, I have 4.77 in the bank) I can't afford such luxuries.

My favourites by far though are those made available by BBC Radio 4. Start the Week, Broadcasting House, From Our Own Correspondent and Digital Planet are now available - sadly not Home Truths, or - dare I say it - The Archers! Oh, that'll be the day, listening to Eddie Grundy on my iPod, being found out by Clarie Love after she discovers him constructing a brewery in the cow shed. ...Hhm, the Afternoon Play would be nice too, the most excellent dramas ever broadcast.

Anyway, whilst listening to hours of podcasts today, I came one step closer to completing my deep bed. Having finished clearing the trees and what-not yesterday, today I located all the boards necessary to keep the soil in, measured and cut them to size, made a load of steaks to keep them in place, and finally, having got the rotavator going, gave the whole are a good going over. Hopefully tomorrow I can get it finished, and then move on to other tasks, such as bramble-bashing (hurray!).

I also did quite a bit of thinking about my April Fools joke, in which I claimed that *Cough* was pregnant - a joke that unsettled several mumblers. It did make me laugh though when one of my coursemates admitted that he and another friend (who apparently goes by the name of *sneeze* - a relation of *cough* perhaps?) had been thoroughly taken in by it, and spent quite a while debating whether they should offer congratulations or commiserations! They did finally twig, and were indeed made to feel like good and proper April Fools, as is the whole point of the custom. It's no good telling people that spaghetti grows on trees anymore. Nonetheless, I do feel sorry to have caused a few people that I know personally more than a little angst and embarrasment. Still, at least *cough's* parents didn't see it! Which reminds me, half of her family have spent more than 7 years in the UK, thus their English is more or less perfect. I'm going to have to keep very quiet about TGW when there! The condoms, the endless sexual innuendo, they'd be shocked. But re. censorship, I must not give in to its evil curse! I am not living in China or Singapore god damn it!

RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Oh I do like that pushing-an-elephant-up-the-stairs song by REM. Tis rather groovy. takes me back to when OH JOSEPH WILL YOU JUST SHUT UP ABOUT YOUR BLOODY HISTORY! NO MATTER WHAT THE SUBJECT YOU ALWAYS SEEM TO HAVE SOME STORY TUCKED AWAY THAT WE'VE ALL HEARD A MILLION TIMES BEFORE, WHETHER IT'S RUSSIAN PROSTITUTES IN ISTANBUL OR THE TIME YOU SAW A TRAIN WITH 40 JAPANESE TOURISTS ON BOARD BLOWN FROM ITS TRACKS BY A GALE!!

Well I didn't say you had to listen did I?

Gosh, I'm in a militant mood tonight.

It does worry me a bit though, constantly delving back into the past. I think it's bad for my health, a bit narcissistic, you know?

Caw blimey though, really looking forward to being back in Japan. But I'm not sure why, it's in such a mess. Reading the daily news headlines that emerge from the place is enough to make anyone want to avoid it. Mind you, I was thinking, if I was to subscribe to a couple of newsfeeds published by two British papers, say, the Guardian and the Sun, would I get the same depressing picture of a country falling apart at the seams that I get from the Japanese papers I subscribe to? I must do that in the summer (too busy at the mo for such a study).

Every week when we finish our Contemporary Japanese Culture seminar we're asked if there's any more questions. Without exception, the question that has always been brought to my lips by the prior debate has been "Why do I want to go back there?", to which our tutor replies (without fail), "I don't know".

Well, this doesn't worry me too much at the mo. I'm just glad I no longer have the idealistic picture that I had before I started this course and before I went back woth my eyes open a little woder last year. At least I'm prepared for dissapointment.

Anyway, I need to go and wee, and do some study I suppose (arrggh!)

TTFN as a wise sage once told me. I had to ask them 3 times what it meant, but I've finally managed to move it into my long-term memory.

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