Weighing in at MINISO’s new Vancouver, BC Operation

21 Aug

aaeaaqaaaaaaaalzaaaajgu3ngzkmgnilwyzmtetndg4ni1hmju3lwm1nza2zty4yme1nqBy Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

On August 11th, The Vancouver Sun revealed that the Chinese-Japanese retailer MINISO is setting up shop on Granville Street, with more operations to follow. A week later, I was in town to attend a concert and happened to walk by it on my way to my hotel. My weekend visit to this metropolis was much-needed since home is a tiny town, with hardly any operation offering quality dollar store valued goods I am regularly after. As I entered the doors, the cheerful energy from the staff and vibrant colours in the variety of products found throughout impressed me.

At first, I thought I was walking into a business filled with products for ladies. Health and beauty products were the first items I saw. A bit of wandering around had me discovering items I can use for my travelling office and sojourns into the wilderness. The space is not all that huge (even though it measured 4900 square feet). I thought I was walking into a LEGO store given its style of decor. I bought myself a 11-piece Swiss Army Knife for a fantastic price of $4.95.

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Sarik Andreasyan’s Guardians to Hit Shelves Sept and Dec 5th

17 Aug

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

The Guardians are coming. No, we are not talking about the Guardians of the Galaxy. Instead, a Russian-based team of superheroes will appear at Wal-Mart on September 5, 2017! This film is landing in America courtesy of Shout! Factory and will debut as a DVD first, and a Blu-ray on December 5th. Both will feature the English dub and original audio track (Russian), but at time of press, an official trailer by this distribution company is not available yet.

No reason is given for the delay of the higher definition version. When considering some of the stylistic effects work seen in the trailer, the wait for the latter will be worthwhile.

Part of this film’s appeal is in how it makes use of all the visual tropes known to represent the symbolic history of Russia. The Guardians is Sarik Andreasyan’s (American Heist) answer to the X-men. Although this group is similar to the Winter Guard (both have feature a were-bear as part of the team), this movie is by no means a carbon copy. A few people may look at Kahn as this film’s version of the Winter Soldier (Captain America).

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Examining the Juke Joints with Danger Boys: Punks in Osaka, a Preview

15 Aug

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By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Murahachibu and Zuno Keisatsu are two Japanese punk rock bands who helped form the punk rock music scene during the 70’s. Although the former shifted focus, and the other remain, to consider how their sound evolved to what is heard today, trying to discover what works and exists to music listeners interested in this part of the world has been described by some music journalists as hard to penetrate. The live music scene, according to a 2014 article in the Japan Times, is “notoriously difficult to penetrate. What’s there is said to be tucked away in the basements and upper floors of anonymous buildings, often in seedy parts of town, where the neighbours will be less likely to raise complaints against noise and loitering, with websites that update schedules only a few days before the actual events and that rarely link to any of the artists performing, live venues are like a hidden world open only to those who know the secret handshake.”

Seattle-based pseudo-punk band Tennis Pro entered this realm when they hit the road less travelled to gain recognition in their documentary Big in Japan (2014), but to penetrate Japan’s current scene within a world buried in another one is just as tough to uncover. Enter Danger Boys: Punks in Osaka, a documentary by Nick Romi (director) which is set to release December 11, 2017. This video can be pre-ordered at foreverunholystore.bigcartel.com and early birds will get a limited edition poster for a fantastic price of $10. This video will also be available on select streaming video services on the same day.

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Wind Up Geek’s J-Music Quick Fix – August 13, 2017

13 Aug

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By James Robert Shaw (The Wind up Geek)

The Back Horn

The Back Horn will be hosting a special live concert to celebrate the release of their upcoming 2-CD greatest hits album, Best of the Back Horn II, and their 20 years as a band. This special concert will be by invitation only and will be held at the intimate venue where the Back Horn had their first paid gig, 下北沢SHELTER (Shimokitazawa Shelter) in Kitazawa, Setagaya, Tokyo. Fans will be able to win an invitation via lottery through two ways:

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