Friday, July 30, 2010

"The game, Mrs. Hudson, is on!"

"I'm not a psychopath, I'm a high-functioning sociopath; do your research."

My world has become suddenly Sherlock once again. I have always loved my Conan Doyle since I was a whee li'll lad. Heck, I still remember the first Holmes stories I read were abridged Dutch versions of The Adventure of the Speckled Band and The Man with the Twisted Lip, having bought (yes, bought, not borrowed) them at the local library. Heck, The Complete Sherlock Holmes was the first book I bought with my own money in my life. I have really been reading the stories for way too much time. Suffice to say the Canon has made some impact on my life.

So whenever something Holmesian pops up, my eyes and ears will automatically light up. Even if I know better than to expect much of it. Last year's Sherlock Holmes was certainly entertaining in its own right, but somehow didn't feel Holmesian enough. Such was the feeling both me and a friend had after discussing the movie here.

So I was careful in not trying to expect to much of BBC's mini-series Sherlock. While the concept of Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd 21st Century itself is something which would frighten away many a fan, the fact Steven Moffat (of Doctor Who fame) was writing the show managed to plant seeds of hope in my mind. From which would sprout big trees. Very big trees. But still, I tried to keep those expectations in check.

Which in hindsight was totally unnecessary. Because Sherlock was amazingly fun. While concepts of Sherlock Holmes using a cellphone or Watson being a (recent) Afghanistan veteran who manages a blog might sound like bad ideas, they actually work. Brilliantly.

The pilot episode, A Study in Pink, was based on Holmes' debut, A Study in Scarlet, and brings the detective and the doctor together in 2010 for the same reasons as in the original stories: the rent. And the rest of the episode also remains surprisingly loyal to the original stories, while still keeping it modern (like how Holmes deduces facts about Watsons brother not from his watch, but from his cellphone). Add in some awesome canon references (like the ambigious location of Watson's war wound or an early introduction of... M), the slightest hint of Doctor Who and you have everything for an excellent Sherlock Holmes (IN THE FUTURE) series.

Bonus points for the Heavy Rain-esque pop-up texts, that show Holmes' train of thought (and some other points of interest). From a gamers viewpoint it was both surprising as well as recognizable. Seeing text pop up everytime you select see stuff is normal in games, but in television? It does keep the show more streamlined, as it allows the writers to incorporate more information in the series without actually having to spell everything out in text. Well, actually, they do actually spell everything out in text now, but at least that kind of information doesn't have to be woven into dialogue or special shots anymore. And that's cool with me.

Sherlock Holmes, I welcome thee into the 21st century.

Monday, July 19, 2010


"They say a dream takes only a second or so, and yet in that second a man can live a lifetime. He can suffer and die, and who's to say which is the greater reality: the one we know or the one in dreams"
"The Twilight Zone: Perchance to Dream"

Lack of life posts (as opposed to detective novel posts) is mostly due to a lack of time to write stuff. The last few weeks, my room has often been been transformed to a workstation because of upcoming deadlines. Strangely enough, my room is regarded as a ideal place to study and/or hang out, which means people actually hang out here to study. In single private workstation mode though, my room is less accessible for people to enter. Or sit. Or stuff.

Note that friends actually cite the fact I have videogames (exhibit a and b) and manga (exhibit c, d and e) in my room as a reason to think my room is ideal for studying. Wut.

Things that have kept me busy:
  • 江戸川乱歩 (1960).「探偵小説の定義と分類」『江戸川乱歩全集26』光文社
  • Chesterton, G.K. 1901. “A Defense of Detective Stories”. In: The Defendant. Project Gutenburg (
  • Grella, G. (1970). 'Murder and manners: The Formal detective Novel'. In: Novel A Forum on Fiction, 4:1, 30-48
  • 長谷部史親 (2007). 欧米推理小説翻訳史.双葉社
  • 笠井潔(2002). 探偵小説論1.東京創元社
  • Kawana、S. (2007). 'With Rhyme and Reason: Yokomizo Seishi's Postwar Murder Mysteries'. In:Comparative Literature, 44: 1-2
  • Knight, S. (2004). Crime Fiction 1800-2000 – Detection , Death, Diversity. New York: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Omori、 K. (2003). Detecting Japanese Vernacular Modernism. Shinseinen Magazine and the Development of the Tantei Shosetsu Genre, 1920-1931. Dissertation (The Ohio State university)
  • Nakajima、K. (1962) 'Detective Fiction in Japan'. In:Japan Quarterly, 9:1, 50-56
  • Rzepka, C. (2005) Detective Fiction. United Kingdom: Polity Press
  • Sakai, C. (1987). Histoire de la Litterature Populaire Japanoise – Faits et perspectives 1900-1980. Paris: L'Harmattan.
  • Scaggs、J. (2005) Crime Fiction. United Kingdom: Routledge
  • Silver, M. (2008). Purloined Letters – Cultural Borrowing and Japanese Crime Literature. United States of America: University of Hawai'i Press.
  • 高柳太一 (2002). 探偵小説の理論 -形式化とデータベースー (修士炉論文)
  • 高柳太一、中尾健二(2002).探偵小説についての試論ー物語とデータベースー
Yeah... I have a paper to hand in this month.

And between the last life post and this one stuff has probably, definitely happened, but I can't really remember them. In chronological order at any rate. Which was kinda what I wanted to avoid by writing a blog. Of course, the flaw in that plan I didn't see was I had to be semi-deligent in writing for that to work.

But in very random order:

We lost the World Cup finals! Again! I was interviewed by a local television channel regarding the Netherlands-Japan match a long time ago. And the interview was... typically Japanese television. I guess. In hindsight, the NHK interview _was_ strange, being so normal and serious. In this interview, we decided through janken that Netherlands would win from Japan. Which we did. And the other part of the interview was about why the hell I was Asian and not Caucasian (the fact that the interviewer ran _past_ me towards a French man, thinking he was the Dutch person he was supposed to interview made resulted in some funny television, but still...). The interview is something which should never ever find its way to Youtube.

Yamakasa matsuri! A matsuri involving carrying idols (and Doraemon, as seen above) around shrines. In the rain. Well, that's not really an obligatory part of the matsuri, but seeing as it's held in July, which is tsuyu season... And as a teacher here said: the thing you always see at Japanese matsuri are men's asses.

And earlier this month was the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. Which I think I failed because somehow I can't concentrate on listening exercises. Even if I paid money myself to listen to the excercise. The grammar and vocabulary is easy though and N1 isn't that different from the former 一級, it's mostly in form (the type of questions). And South-Korean study books for the JLPT are awesome. I had bought some Japanese and English language books to study, but the one I borrowed from a friend was really good, with tons of questions in the new format.

Obligatory food section:

It's black ramen! Well, you can't see the ramen, but it's black. Just like the soup. Strangely tasty, but I wouldn't want to eat it every week. It's sorta like tonkotsu ramen, but something strange has been added in (squid's ink?) to give it a very particular taste. The gyouza there though are _unbelievable_. Cheap, big and very good.

It's Thai food! Randomly saying I want to eat Thai food before we went to the movies resulted in a frantic web search and a succesful hit. I should say I want to eat x or y food randomly more often. This was the daily lunch set, which was of course spicy. Though nobody regarded it as spicy, as a friend had to specifically ask the chef to make the day lunch spicy. Which was nuts, as it was spicy already~

And in the no pictures section: Japanese pizza's are strange. Sausages, potatoes and the like as pizza toppings? Wha... what?! Oh, and July is perfect for BBQ's <3

Slightly more than a month before I return? Heck, I'll have to surive my exams and papers first.