Now, there isn't -- yet -- a subway line that takes me from the Karl Marx Allee directly into Aoyama or Daikanyama. But there are digital lines to the heart of the capital of my heart, and they come in the form of websites.
My favourite blog, Jean Snow's jeansnow.net, is one such line. Whereas a site like Real Tokyo is a catalogue of the kind of Tokyo events I'd be interested in, a listing, Jean Snow is a person, a subject, a cross between an enviable swine and a 'recording angel', experiencing the kind of Tokyo events I wish I were able to see. He moves through them, seeing them for me, photographing everything with his AU mobile phone (the A5302CA model by Casio), often moblogging the stuff in real time, in situ. Many times I've thought 'I wonder what I'd be doing if I were in Tokyo right now?' and turned to jeansnow.net only to find that Jean is actually having my Tokyo afternoon for me: leafing through the new magazines at ABC, checking the Aoyama galleries, spiralling through Spiral, browsing records at Nadiff.
Another Tokyo friend blogging intelligently is Robert Duckworth, CalArts japtopper, Max/MSP composer, and occasional Odradek, whose GlitchSlap Tko may be less lavishly visual than Jean's page, but makes up for it in erudition and the insider perspective Robert's command of Japanese gives him.
It's to Robert that I owe my web find of the month, Doremi No Terebi, an NHK-TV music education show for kids. The website, beautifully illustrated and organised, is an eccentric, playful delight and contains many, many hidden media files, clips of the show itself, which is co-presented by UA, a sort of Japanese Bjork dressed as a scarlet emu. Much of the music is children's songs, or Okinawa folk, or weird clunky organic riffing somewhere between Bruce Haack and Harry Partch, but they also visit (in the Guest clips) buddhist monks or the post-Fluxus avant garde choir led by my current musical hero, Tomomi Adachi.
Because I loved this show so much and spent hours going through all the episodes, I'm going to give you direct links to all the shows. Some of the clips are the same for several episodes, but persist on clicking through them all and you will be rewarded with some amazing stuff:
Show 1 Stone circular reason reason PIRAMI (according to the web translation.)
Show 2 Unusual mushroom dance group.
Show 3 Q-con.
Show 4 Dance troupe Pirami dance to metronomes in the guest spot.
Show 5 Some lovely traditional Japanese flute music.
Show 6 Tomomi Adachi is the guest here!
Show 7 Raw west healthy model + Kakegawa healthy model .
Show 8 Large bucket truth.
Show 9 and so on...
Click the video files in the waterdrops that rise up to the birds when you touch them. (It's a little tricky, but eventually a media file will appear.) I'd recommend you watch them full screen with RealPlayer (click 'Play in RealPlayer' in the popup menu that should appear when you click on part of the embedded player).
Finally, to complete our Virtual Tokyo, it's always nice to keep an eye -- courtesy of the spy cameras of Street Imagination -- on street fashion in tasteful, tony Daikanyama or youthful, zesty Harajuku. I know the girl above is from June, but I just wanted her here.