High Tech Low Life

High Tech Low Life, the cyberpunk band from Okinawa, Japan, came as somewhat of a surprise to the European scene.

Not just a band, but an entire worldbuilding setting with their own characters and concept. Which is in itself nothing new, as many steampunk bands have done that. But their intent on doing better and saving the future is something done so well, I had to go and investigate.

So I sat down with the guys from High Tech Low Life to find out more about them and the terrible possible futures converging in 2069, which is, let’s face it, not that far away!

Which you can read right behind the piece about their music and concerts I witnessed. Stick with it til the very end, because there is a little giveaway!

Continue reading “High Tech Low Life”

Helcanen on the Road

Helcanen on the Road

Helcanen, a Belgian artist known for her affinity for Japan, returns with a new book, a new and original take on traveling Japan that combines a beautiful vintage style with our modern times.

This first edition of her postcard-sized travel journals takes you on the road in Hyōtan-yama, a neighborhood of Higashiōsaka, Japan.

Not only is it a wonderful tale that takes you along on Helcanen’s voyages, it is also a little treasure trove for those wanting to go there themselves.

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Made in Asia

Made in Asia Brussels Belgium
Visitors at the Made in Asia convention in Brussels, Belgium, March 3 (Hilde Heyvaert)

Made in Asia has over the years become the biggest and most popular Asiamania convention of Belgium. This year it coincided with the last weekend of the February school holiday, giving people ample opportunity to visit.

We visited on Friday and Saturday, the first two days of the event, and so this review is only relevant to these days and not to the final day of Sunday. Continue reading “Made in Asia”

Made in Asia

Made in Asia Brussels Belgium
Visitors at the Made in Asia convention in Brussels, Belgium, March 13 (Hilde Heyveart)

The past couple of years, there had been a lot of critique on Made in Asia: it was overcrowded, hardly any room to move, and especially to sit and relax. After the especially flawed 7th edition of last year, however, the organization finally realized that changes had to be made, and actually went ahead and made them. They clearly based themselves on the lay-out of Japan Expo near Paris, but hey, if it works, then it works. Which it does. Continue reading “Made in Asia”



First a little background: In Japan (there are exceptions, such as Tokyo-based steampunk band Strange Artifact), much like is the case with visual kei, steampunk music compiles a wide variety of genres, unified almost solely by their look.

Unlike Western steampunk bands, they don’t have a set gimmick and steampunk lyrics, but use their look to set themselves as part of the movement while playing their own particular musical genre.

One of those artists is Eri Kitamura, the most recent Japanese artist to have discovered steampunk.

Continue reading “Rinrei”

Rurouni Kenshin

Rurouni Kenshin

Many of us have grown up watching the Samurai X/Kenshin cartoons (anime) on TV. Or read the classic manga. Kenshin is without doubt one of the best known Japanese fictional characters in the Western world, so it was a bit of a surprise that it took until 2012 for there to finally be a movie adaptation. A live-action movie that, when announced, both rejoiced fans and left them skeptical of the venture.

That skepticism turned out to be entirely unnecessary, as Rurouni Kenshin has become, without a doubt, one of the best anime/manga adaptations into a live-action movie ever made.

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Steampunk at Japan Expo

Japan Expo Paris France
Steampunk enthusiasts at Japan Expo, Paris, France, July 5 (Hilde Heyvaert)

Japan Expo is known as _the_ J-culture convention of Europe, and with it’s 15th edition they proved once again why.

For the first time in years the convention was operating without it’s twin Comic Con Paris, and while several people had expressed some worry about this, the event held up fabulously on it’s own. Continue reading “Steampunk at Japan Expo”