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News Archives - December 2005

: (Weather!) Part XIII

December 28 2005

Unlucky thirteen...

Regular Pants readers (and search engine webcrawlers) might have noticed that it's been a few weeks since my last NHK 10 weather translation update. Depending on exactly how regularly you read this site, some of you may have thought "Adam's being a lazy bastard again - he'll probably just sneak the old updates in quietly & backdate the timestamps...".

If you were one of the people thinking like this, congratulations. This means you know me pretty well, because there's a reason why when I say "updated weekly" on this site, the word weekly is normally in quotation marks. Unfortunately though, the absence of any new weather updates is not due to my laziness for once, but for reasons beyond my control...

Shortly after my last update, NHK management made a decision to change the presentation format of the NHK 10 weather broadcasts, which means that the cutesy little animations and oddball weather creatures are no longer shown as part of the forecasts. I'm quite disappointed by this decision, not just because it was fun to watch (and fun to re-create/re-interpret for the site), but it's also disappointing because the NHK 10 weather forecasts now look like every single other homogenous TV weather forecast shown anywhere in the world.

Another part of the disappointment comes from the somewhat prophetic linkage in my last update. It took me three months to do it, but in update #12 I finally found out the presenters' names and linked to their bios. I kinda skimmed over it the first time but now, on second glance Takao Takeda's bio (although brief) made reference to the impending apocalyptic decision.

Included below is a quoted paragraph from Wikipedia Japan for those of you without East-Asian language support in your browser...:

Putting on my ambitious translation cap for one last time (sniff), the paragraph basically explains that Takeda-san joined the NHK News 10 team in March 2002, then it goes on to say that his forecasts have a unique direction/production in that it features characters such as the "Winter General". I would have to assume the General is the wavy-moustached blue face guy who can be seen in many of my previous updates. The article continues, saying that this new format has not ranked high in the popularity ratings yet (well, versus other shows in the same timeslot).

The final sentence is the key one, however...: as far as I can tell, it says that there are rumours this style of presentation will be "discontinued", however the article notes that people are starting to notice the format and ratings are climbing.

So there you have it; the rumours were true & NHK eventually did pull the plug. NHK is Japan's only public broadcaster and is under a lot of pressure due to various scandals at the moment, so hopefully if they get more funding they may attempt this format again in the new year.

I still watch the NHK News 10 broadcast whenever I can (for other reasons), but this means the end of the Pants weather updates for the moment. While the website may now be strangely devoid of regular Japanese content, I'm currently very close to buying every Mayuko Takata book listed on Amazon Japan so I may post some reviews on the site in the near future. :)

: "Alas poor Doogs! I knew him, Horatio"

December 7 2005

The first (and possibly last) time Shakespeare is quoted here on Pants...; it suggests I may be literate.

If you notice the forum is decidedly free of trollish behavior in this fine month of December, it's because resident troll Doogs apparently is having a little holiday. While it's not exactly clear exactly what Doogs (pictured right) is having a holiday from, the only thing the Pants research team have concluded is that at least he won't be on World Of Warcraft during this time...

If the rumours are to be believed, he will be spending the next month on the east coast of Amreica, home of the typo & that incredibly stupid president. I should've mentioned this to him before he left, but I hope for his sake he didn't pack any clothes but filled his suitcase with lots of Juicy Fruit instead. This way, wherever he goes, the entire trip would be filled with people asking "Are you chewing goom?". That would kick ass!

Another fellow Adelaidian, Vanz™, hopped on a plane today as well, only she was going to Melbourne for the big Foof concert. Maybe I should've told her about their Thebby gig...?

: (Weather!) Part XII

December 7 2005

Welcome to week 12 of the Pants Japanese weather translations... Although the normal weekly weather updates would feature animations of creatures doing stuff, a change in this week's broadcast meant that there would be no animations. Preparing animations takes up about half my time in my weekly update workflow, so after twelve weeks it's like the guys & gals at NHK News 10 granted me a little holiday for my continued efforts and dodgy commentary.

Rather than taking the smart option and using this spare time to do something "constructive" like start my own business, finish my tax return (cough) or organise more stuff for here, stupid old me took just as long (if not longer) to prepare this update compared to previous updates...

I don't know why I spend my time doing these updates when I clearly have much better things to be working on (poor, neglected PantsCorp specifically), but I've dug myself into a hole...
It's like I'm being crushed under my own self-imposed deadlines! :(

  • 1. Welcome
    This week the weather forecast was presented outside the studio for a change, with the pair reporting from the feet of Tokyo Tower.

    The structure is basically the Japanese equivalent of the Eiffel Tower (only slightly larger), and it is the tallest structure in Tokyo. According to Wiki, it's the world's highest self-supporting iron tower.

    The reason for the outside broadcast was to show viewers the beautiful Christmas decorations set up around the base of the tower. Lots of fairy lights strewn around everywhere, plenty of large wire sculptures & a giant Christmas tree covered with thousands of little blue lights & ornaments...

    On top of that, the entire scene was accompanied by some musicians playing Tears In Heaven by GRAMMY® Award-winner Eric Clapton. The whole segment felt very relaxing and festive, this vibe even spreading to the newsdesk - Yumiko Udo was bubblier & more excited than normal, even veteran anchor Hirokazu Sakamaki displayed a coy smile as he threw to the weather report.

  • 2. Formal Introduction
    As I mentioned in the intro, the OB meant that there weren't any studio-based graphics for this forecast, which means no stupid animatics from the Pants animated-GIF slave labour camp. I will still cover the weather (briefly) in the next panel, but rather than bludge this update I decided it was time to get the research team to find out the names of our two weather presenters.

    Since the translations began I've become the world's #1 source for info on the lovely Yumiko Udo, yet it's taken 12 whole weeks for me to find out the names of the anchors who present the weather which I blatantly steal each week.

    It was actually quite a challenging task I must say, but my self-taught translation skills are slowly developing. Thanks to my persistent Goo-ing I have about 90-95% confidence in my findings: the lady on the left is Chiaki Kamakura and the guy is Takao Takeda.

    Kamakura has been with the NHK network for a few years now and is starting to build a decent resume for herself, although not as impressive as Yumiko Udo's. Takeda-san on the other hand appears to be well-established in his field (despite the sparse details I can find on him from Google/Goo), and he even has a spot in the Wikipedia...! Nice...

  • 3. Business As Usual
    Thanks to a giant map and some oversized magnets, we discover that China is being invaded again by the old robotic blue-faced guy while a second blue guy on horseback is being chased away by a swarm of bats.

    Suggested activities for tomorrow include holding two pieces of wood while wearing a saucepan as a hat, and crying uncontrollably at your kitchen table as your pet parrot looks on in amazement. Good stuff...!

: Minty Fresh

December 2 2005

Last Wednesday, I was lucky enough to go to the Foo Fighters concert at the Thebby with the normal group of lads. Although to clarify, the group was normal, but the actual lads themselves are definitely abnormal.

The Foof originally intended to skip Adelaide on their Australian In Your Honor tour but they (much like The Hives back in October) decided that good old SA shouldn't miss out on the action. We were very happy they changed their plans, and so were the other 2000 people that were there at the Thebby that night.

The supporting act:
Before I start talking about the support act, I'm going to spend a moment here to explain why the Foo Fighters are champs. Even though it would be an hour or more till they actually got on stage, Dave Grohl & the guys obviously wanted to make sure the crowd had a good time from the moment they entered the theatre.

Just as we got into the building, a nearby Port Power fan got all excited & wet himself (his hair) because he spotted the Cornes brothers ahead of us in the line. A giggly elderly man was (by request, I assume) getting tickled by one of the security staff, and I was randomly pulled aside for explosives testing, just like at NinchCON! Exciting pre-show entertainment for everyone...!

I won't go as far as to suggest Dave Grohl reads Pants (unlike Shakira, Yumiko Udo, Richard Branson & Burt Reynolds), but it makes you wonder if this is more than a simple coincidence...

Alrighty, on to the actual support act now. To put it simply, they were crap.
I would go so far as to say they are now the worst supporting act I've seen all year, worse than End Of Fashion (who didn't even show up to support Gomez), and worse than the nameless support act at the NinchCON 2005 roadtrip earlier this year.

To be fair, musically they weren't as bad as the horrible Ninch support act, but the reason why I've labelled them as the worst is not because of them so much as the audience. At Ninch, the support act was crap and the crowd let them know, booing and hurling abuse (and/or bottles) at the stage. At the Thebby, the crowd (half of which I swear have never been to a concert before) were actually applauding the support act. Jesus, don't encourage them; get them off the stage!

The only reason I'll mention their name (The Nation Blue) here on the site is so that when they eventually Google themselves, their egos will deflate a little when they find out that Pants didn't like their set or the fact that the commercial-radio-listening majority of that night's Thebby crowd can't tell the difference between good music and a Crazy Frog mobile phone ringtone. :/

The intermission:
The mid-show intermission music was mostly Jane's Addiction, and I remember the post-show music being the "not entirely stoned but we're almost there"-era Dandy Warhols, circa 2003.

The main event:
The Foo Fighters put on a good show. I have known this for a long time now, having witnessed their fantastic show at the 2003 Big Day Out as well as having heard recordings of at least 20 live Foof shows from around the globe. Wednesday's show at the Thebby was great and was in their typical style, but the audience wasn't the typical crowd I was used to seeing.

As I mentioned in the opening paragraphs, the Foof weren't originally planning to do a show in Adelaide. One of the local commercial radio stations, Nova, helped start a petition that gained over 6,000 signatures & was probably the biggest contributing factor for the Foof's SA visit. As much as I hate Nova (for other reasons) I am glad the petition worked, but I wasn't the only one who didn't like the crowds that night. Kids were running about everywhere, the mosh area was dead, and the crowd couldn't clap anywhere near in-tempo. They were very generous with their sloppy clapping though, inappropriately applauding the supporting act and the roadies, and they went absolutely crazy with applause when the crew were doing lighting checks on stage. Idiots...

If you ignore the crowd (and the fact that the people in the seated areas of the Thebby insisted on standing for the entire show, grrr), the rest of the show was quite enjoyable. The Foo Fighters have a very strong back catalogue of songs and I was hoping that most of the show would focus on their earlier stuff, but it was the "In Your Honor tour" so the show was biased towards their newer material. I'm still getting used to the new album but I don't think it beats their other ones.

They began with a string of songs from the new album, but started to play more of the old-school stuff as the night went on. Every couple of songs the band would play some bridging interlude music while Dave Grohl (Mr. Charisma) would talk to the audience. Dave, the hardest working moustache in the industry, sporting his lamb-chop sideburns and his mop hair, is a very entertaining guy. Throughout the show he shared stories about wet jeans, his infamous 2003 visit to a Queensland jailhouse and he also reflected back on the last time he was in Adelaide.

He said that because we asked for (not demanded) an Adelaide show, he'd treat us to some songs that they rarely play live anymore. Instead of the typical "You guys are the best crowd ever!" bullshit you normally get at most concerts, Dave actually meant what he said to us. Considering the large number of live Foof recordings I have in my collection (cough), it was fantastic to hear songs I've never heard live before, such as Up In Arms, M.I.A. and Big Me.

Hearing those songs played negated any 'meh'-ness of some of the new songs, plus there were plenty of other great tunes in the 2 hour show. If I had to pick song highlights there would be a few...: Hey, Johnny Park!, My Hero & Stacked Actors were all great ones mid-show, and Monkey Wrench to close the main set. Returning in the encore was Everlong performed in almost complete darkness, then drummer Taylor Hawkins switched with Dave to sing Cold Day In The Sun, before One By One became the last song of the encore. Only a couple song highlights... :)

Despite all the Nova kiddies & the fact that I never really made proper use of that nice squishy seat that was reserved for me, I just have to look at the song highlights list above to see that it was a really enjoyable show. As an added bonus I got to see Dave Grohl work his magic on a drum kit in the encore, plus I also bumped into Limpy from the forum after the show.

Considering how hard it was for so many people to get tickets to the show, I should thank the dude who scored one for me (you know who you are - widening the corridors & adding more lanes...). Cheers dude! Anyway, I'm very happy I went to this show, definitely one of the top three shows I've been to this year...

There's more where that came from...: Return to the News Archives index.