Tokyo Art Book Fair 2016

The Zinesmate Tokyo Art Book Fair 2016 starts next week (Sept 16th)and I’m frantically trying to get my books done in time.

I’ve decided to make fewer books this year but I’m enjoying my projects.

Here is a sneak peak at the contents of one of my mamebon (bean-books, so called because of their small size). This book will be 5cmx5cm when finished. This is the screen shot of the photos to be printed.

I really like bees for some reason. I suppose it’s because I now understand how important they are for the environment. Still haven’t gotten over my fear of wasps and hornets. Baby steps. I haven’t seen many bees around my neighbourhood in Tokyo this year. Other years I’ve seen many bees around the hollyhocks and cosmos. This year? Not so much. Occasionally I’d find bees enjoying the lavender I planted.

Anyway, it’s back to work. I’ll post more info on the time and date of the TABF 2016 this weekend.

If you’re going to be at the TABF, drop me a line. I’ll be with Art Byte Critique again this year.

Happy book making!


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When Worlds Collide 2016: Great Times and Great Opportunities

It may seem odd that someone living in Tokyo attends a local Calgary literary festival, but When Worlds Collide (WWC) is a great reason to come to Calgary. If you’re a reader or a writer, the very reasonable Convention fees provide three days of great opportunities. You can meet other readers and authors, attend panels to improve your craft or increase your publishing savvy. You can even pitch your novel! Maybe the best thing about WWC that it how inclusive it is for all types of writing and the feeling is that everyone is welcome. This is a non-profit, volunteer-run festival.


Keynote Speakers: (L-R) Eve Silver, Ian Hamilton, Julie E. Czerneda, Robert Runté, Marty Chan

In truth, the first time I went to WWC was a bit coincidental. I found out that WWC was going to be held while visiting family so I signed up. This year, I arranged my family visit so that I would be on time for WWC. Next year, I’m planning on making a trip just to make sure I’m there for the 7th WWC.

Absinthe pour

Absinthe tasting at the Tyche Books/Steampunk Arts and Science Society social.

In true Calgary spirit, the atmosphere is very friendly. It’s pretty easy to strike up a conversation with someone. Plus if you are a reader or a writer, this is your tribe! Calgary is so lucky to have such a well-organized literary convention full of people doing and sharing what they love.

I’ve enjoyed all the panels I’ve attended but there are a couple of standouts:

And I still have more panels and discussions to check out tomorrow!

This year the Prix Aurora awards are presented at WWC 2016. These are the Science Fiction Writers of Canada Awards





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Lomo Purple and 500 yen Minolta in Amsterdam

Lomo Purple can be fun or it can be frustrating. I’ve been using it super lomo-style with a vintage Minolta I bought for 500 yen. It don’t come with a lens and I bought a 50mm to go with it for 10x that but c’est la vie. I meant to use the Minolta for pinhole work by adapting it with a lot of tape and a canon pinhole lens cap. I don’t always have the patience for pinhole and I love that 50mm lens.

Anyhow, the camera ended up on my Brussels-Amsterdam adventure where I mostly did Ebijiro The Traveling Sushi photos.

It was rainy and gray and a bit chilly in Amsterdam and I think Lomo Purple did a good job of getting that across. Below are some unedited photos I just scanned today (6 months later). I think I like this better than the Lomo redscale.

I think this one is my favorite.

l’m wondering if this is in tokyo

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Eminently Re-watchable

Sometimes you like a movie but you only need to watch it once. And then there are the movies that you watch over and over again. I have two categories of re-watchable movies: laundry movies, things I play while I fold laundry; the stickers, movies where you drop everything to watch and don’t move from your seat. They aren’t always the BEST movies but there’s something that keeps me coming back to these flicks.

Here is my list of re-watchable movies in alphabetical order because I’m feeling OCD today and it saves me from deciding on favorites.

All You Need is Kill (Edge of Tomorrow or Live Die Repeat or whatever title)
I am not a Tom Cruise fan and this movie revived his career I think because he kept dying over and over. I think it was really cathartic for the public after his spate of oddness. Plus Emily Blunt! I love her character. And her arms are my workout goals. This is one of the better treatments of the time-loop trope.

This movie still gives me the heebeejeebees. The tension and suspense in Alien is so well done. And it holds up surprisingly well visually for a movie from 1979. I like the Ripley character but she is not yet the icon she becomes in the second movie.

In this movie, Ripley is just so tough and so focused she really makes me want to up my game. Ripley always makes me want to work harder. This is the movie I watch when I need to refuel on kick-assness. And there were no more movies made in this series after this. 😉

Attack the Block
The idea that a young gang from council flats in London saves the world from aliens is a great concept. Some funny moments and Nick Frost. Try saying “Ron’s weed room” ten times fast. This is the movie I first saw John Boyega. I’m really glad he got such great exposure in the new Star Wars movie. This movie also shows that real tension can be created without major CGI and even using cheesy-looking aliens. It really proves that a movie should be more than the CG.

Cabin in the Woods
It’s gruesome and meta and it totally goes for the over the top ending. But there’s something about taking horror tropes and smartly turning them on their heads that makes this movie rewatchable.

Die Hard
Another movie I like because of Alan Rickman. I almost want Hans to get away with his heist. This is a stick to the seat ignore the laundry movie. I get sucked in every time.

The Easy A
Highschool and teenage life is such a weird time. Someone said it’s a modern reworking of The Scarlet Letter so I avoided it for years. They should have said it’s all about rumors, lies and the hyper-speed of social media. I always want to write a book called “How to Help Others Without Screwing Yourself Over” after I watch this movie. I think this movie should be required viewing for high school students.

Hot Fuzz
It’s a buddy-cop parody movie. I’m not a big fan of buddy-cop movies, but satire of English country life was funny. I enjoyed this movie more with subsequent re watching. Plus Simon Pegg.

Kung Fu Panda
I have probably watched this movie about 200 times. The first time I watched it in the theater and enjoyed it a lot. When it came up on my cable, I DVR’d it and watched it once or twice. Then I had a miscarriage and that movie was on repeated play for about 2 weeks. I’m not sure that I actually watched it each and every time. A lot of it was numbness. But it was the only thing that I could handle. I’m not sure why I’m still able to watch this movie given how I react to other stuff. I suppose “Legend tells of a legendary warriors whose skills were the stuff of legend” is the kind of catchy stuff I like. But I’m also highly amused by this T-shirt I saw 10 years ago that read, “I smell a smelly smell that smells smelly” so take it as you will.

Lord of the Rings Trilogy (extended DVD version)
This is what I watch when I don’t want to talk to humans for days on end. It takes that long to watch it all. My husband who barely tolerates all things geek can actually quote parts of this movie because I’ve played it so many times. It warms my little geek heart when he quotes Theoden’s speech for the ride of the Rohirrim. I nearly fell off my chair the first time he did it. The DVD commentary on this DVDs is also well worth watching. Fascinating!

The Martian
When things are bad, I tell myself I could be stuck on Mars all alone. Actually, I don’t. I will never go into outer space, but I like the visualization and the mantra, solve the problem, then solve the next problem and if you solve enough of them you get to go home. For me, this movie is an ode to creative problem solving.

Monsters Inc.
This was the weekend brunch movie of choice for my husband and I for 4 months. It never got old. Mike Waskowski is funniest when he’s not trying to be funny. Pixar’s attention to detail means their movies never get old. If you get a chance to listen to director’s commentary do it!

The Mummy
I enjoy the balance of humor and horror in this movie. It’s tough to do. I-mo-tep. I-mo-tep (hearing your students chant this 10 years after the movie came out can also be rather alarming but funny) My favorite nugget is how Evelyn always wants to impress the Banbury Scholars. Banbury tales are tall-tales so this is a fun poke at academia. Striving to so hard to be part of the fakery is tragically funny. Oh! and John Hannah! ‘Nuff said there. The sequel is ok but the third installment is a travesty.

Okay, I rather have a secret crush on Simon Pegg. Hmmm… probably not so secret now. I love how this movie celebrates geek culture to the nth degree.

My favorite entry of the James Bond Franchise. I like where the character went in this movie. That feeling of being worn out, chewed up by work and choices really shows in this movie. The cinematography! This movie was such a visual delight for me.

Sense and Sensibility
I love a Regency romance. Emma Thompson manages to make Jane Austen’s novel relevant to modern viewers. The cinematography always makes me want to go to England. Alan Rickman made a great Colonel Christopher Brandon. I think I wouldn’t have given Willoughby a second look with Colonel Brandon around. Then again, I’m not 18 either. I never took to Hugh Grant. His blinkey-face still annoys me.  Eleanor Dashwood always makes me want to be more elegant, gracious and measured in my responses to life’s disappointments.

The September Issue
Ok, not geek, but I really admire the work it takes to make a magazine issue. Also the interviews with Grace Coddington and seeing her style a photo-shoot was really inspiring.

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
I probably love this movie because Christopher Plummer plays a klingon. It has a self-aware humor that I really enjoyed. This movie drives my husband crazy. It’s rather like how I feel when he has the football on for more than one game. But a lot of the humor is that the writing is really self-aware of the characters and their age.

So what are your rewatchable movies? Let me know in the comments below?

Filmography links and data courtesy of IMDb.


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Tunnel Book Test

I’m thinking about taking the serialized story in MaiNichi Mushroom, “The Great Mushroom Detective: The Case of the Golden Mushroom,” and making it into a tunnel book. Here is a test page from the second installment of the story.

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Bromeliad Mini-Location Shoot

One bromeliad terrarium creates photoshoots for four different types of movies.

The shop Bromeliads in Okusawa opened last year. It’s a cute shop selling bromeliads (mainly airplants) and terrarium items such as glass containers, dishes, bits of wood, sand and other emphermera. An airplant doesn’t have a significant root system. It gets moisture and nutrients from it’s leaves.

I’d been popping in since Bromeliads opened and trying to decide what I wanted to get. Today I bought a few things, a glass container, sand, wood and two airplants. I got a butzii, which rather looks like a squid, and a tillandsia which is spiky looking but not really sharp.

It was fun to set up and once I had it all arranged, it really reminded me of a desert for a photo shoot or a movie set. So I went to my little rummage box (or as I will call it from now on my omnium-gatherum) and grabbed some lego minifigures, and other little plastic toys. Finally! My obscure toy-hoarding reaps some rewards. I ended up with the fixings for five different movie genres: Shakespearean drama, zombie-post apocalypse, aliens, creature feature and dragon fantasy.  Check them out below.

I particularly like the salary man alien. I have no idea where I picked it up. If you have other suggestions for mini-photoshoot sets, please comment below. I’d love to hear from you.


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Pop-Up Practice

Thinking of various books to make this summer and I’ve always been interested in making a pop-up book.

I like the challenge of the pop-up and because I didn’t know anything about it I bought a book. There’s a lot of geometry involved which is fine, but I’m finding that just folding the paper in a kind of Tim Gunn make-it-work fashion is getting better results for me.
This is my first test page. Because a pop-up is all about the motion I made it into a small video. Which gave me another challenge. I wanted music but didn’t want to use copyrighted stuff or search for free music. So another test and trial– using GarageBand to make a mini soundtrack. I spent more time trying to figure out how to use the app, but when all is said and done, I think it’s not a bad effort for being all made on my phone.

Without further ado, Octopus Pop-Up:

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