Monday, September 30, 2013

Sony QX10 Camera

I was looking for a new camera to replace my old Canon PowerShot S5IS. Since I got the iPhone 4S I was mostly using the smartphone to take pictures and movies because it was providing a better quality (actually, same quality for the pictures [8 megapixels or 3264 x 2448] but much better for the movies: Canon shots 640 x 480 in mjpeg while the iPhone does 1920 x 1080 in H.264) and was more convenient since it's smaller, lighter and always at hand. I was using the Canon mostly for events like film festivals where I needed to use a zoom for presentations and press conferences (the Canon has a zoom of 12x optical plus 4x digital for a total of 48x, while the iPhone 4S has only a 5x digital zoom). However, the iPhone (equipped with an Olloclip 3-in-1) also has a better macro capability.

Any recent compact point-and-shoot would have been better than the Canon, but since I am a sucker for gadgets, I was quite intrigued when Sony announced their “Smartphone Attachable Lens-Style Camera.” If it is a camera in its own right it can also be considered as a smartphone accessory, just adding to the capability of the phone while remaining compact and handy. It was quite promising. I read all the articles about the upcoming products and felt that this would be the perfect replacement for the Canon PowerShot S5IS. Maybe I was wrong?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

La Bible (1): L'ancien Testament en manga

“De la création du monde à la mort du Christ, redécouvrez le texte le plus lu au monde dans une version manga complète et riche. "que la lumière soit...". Dieu créa le monde par ces simples mots, avant de faire l'homme puis la femme. Ayant prospéré avec le temps, l'humanité oublia à plusieurs reprises la gloire de Dieu et devint orgueilleuse. Alors Dieu décida de détruire les hommes... avant de leur envoyer son fils pour racheter leurs fautes...” [ Résumé de la série sur le site de l'éditeur ]

De la création du monde à la naissance du Christ... « que la lumière soit... ». Dieu créa le monde par ces simples mots, avant de faire l'homme puis la femme. Ayant prospéré avec le temps, l'humanité oublia ensuite la gloire de Dieu et devint orgueilleuse. Alors Dieu décida de détruire les Hommes... Le texte le plus lu au monde raconté en manga !“ [ Texte de la couverture arrière ]

Continuez après le saut de page >>

L'image du mer-fleurie (2013-09-25)

Campanule à feuilles larges (Campanula Latifolia), au Jardin Botanique le 18 juin '13
Great Bellflower (Campanula Latifolia) at the Botanical Garden, on June 18th '13
Campanula latifolia

Monday, September 23, 2013

The week in review (2013-09-23)

Domestic log -- It was again a busy couple of weeks for me. First, I had two separate sessions of union training (union rep and health & security at work). Going back to class is more tiring than working, I can tell you. I was going back home even more exhausted than usual, so I didn't write much during that time. I wrote only one comment (which demanded lots of research, so it took me quite a while and it's a little longer than usual [2000 words] but I am quite happy with it) about Barefoot Gen (in french). I'll try to catch up on my writing, but unfortunately my pile of books to read keeps growing faster than I can write about them!

We're definitely having an early autumn this year. Already by mid-september the temperature had drop to 10~12˚C and leaves had started falling from the trees! And I could see (or hear) flights of geese going south. It definitely bodes ill for the season... Now autumn is here and it shows (although the temperature has warmed up a little). It is sunny today, but days tend to be rather dull and cloudy lately. To add to the gloomy atmosphere, two friends of my father died in the last week.

“Oh my God! It's full of kittens!” An alternate version of 2001 Space Odyssey? No: my backyard in the last couple of weeks! Two separate litters of kittens roam in the backyard. I had a scare when, one day, they all disappeared (I was dismayed: who had stolen my kittens?! It was a hard blow to take after the unexpected departure of my beloved Spotty) but they were all back the next day. I don't know what happened but I was glad to see them back (actually it was to be expected because mothers tend to move their kittens after a while for security reasons, so it could happen again; although the shed is providing them shelter and there's always food). If they are still around next month I am planning to adopt one of them, whose shown us great interest and affection...

Besides all that, we keep watching British period drama on TV (finishing Copper and Foyle's War, only one episode left to the first season of The Bletchley Circle, but season four of Downton Abbey is just starting) and enjoying the beautiful crops of our garden!

Press review -- Lately the news have been dominated by two stories: Apple releasing new products (iPhones 5s and 5c, iOS 7) and lots of discussions on the charter of Quebec values. I could say a lot on this subject, but I'll try to be brief.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

L'image du mer-fleurie (2013-09-18)

Production de l'automne '13: fleurs, raisins et concombre
Crop of Fall '13: flowers, grapes and cucumber
Crop of Fall '13
Faute de #!&%* de belles patates, on a aussi eut beaucoup de fleurs (certaines comestibles), des tomates en masses, des framboises, de la bette à carde et des fines herbes variées (Tout ça dans moins de dix mètres carrés)...

Monday, September 16, 2013

Gen d'Hiroshima, vol. 1

“Dans le Japon en guerre contre les États-Unis, le jeune Gen Nakaoka et sa famille survivent, tant bien que mal, entre la faim et les persécutions dues au pacifisme militant du père, dans une ville curieusement épargnée par les bombardements. Jusqu'au matin du 6 août 1945, lorsque l'enfer nucléaire se déchaîne soudain sur Hiroshima...” [Texte de la couverture arrière]

“Dans l'univers du manga, Gen d'Hiroshima occupe une place à part, celle d'une oeuvre classique mais mystérieuse, quasi mythique. En effet, trente ans après sa parution au Japon, elle reste largement méconnue du public francophone. Avec ce récit, Keiji Nakazawa ne prétend pas faire un travail d'historien; il prend même quelques libertés comme de faire figurer Einstein en train de fabriquer la bombe. C'est en tant que témoin ayant survécu au feu nucléaire qu'il a créé une oeuvre dont lui-même reconnaît le caractère à 80% autobiographique.”

“Le plus grand respect de l'oeuvre originale a présidé à l'édition de Gen d'Hiroshima, tant dans la première édition qu'en a proposé Vertige Graphic que dans cette édition à format réduit. Ainsi, le sens de lecture japonais a été conservé, afin de garder la conception graphique de l'auteur. Les panneaux ou bandeaux comportant des inscriptions sont restitués tels quels et traduits en note. De même, la forme des bulles originales a été sauvegardée, en dépit des pro­blèmes posés par des bulles verticales dans lesquelles un texte plutôt horizontal doit être inséré. Cette réédition en plus petit format ne nuit nullement à la qualité de l'oeuvre, puisqu'elle se rapproche du format dans lequel Gen a été originellement publié au Japon.”

“Ce premier volume est accompagné de l'intro­duction qu'Art Spiegelman, le célèbre auteur de Maus, avait rédigée pour la version américaine, qui montre bien l'impact considérable de Gen d'Hiroshima lors de sa première parution en Occident.” [ Texte de l'Avant-propos de l'éditeur ]

Continuez après le saut de page >>

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

L'image du mer-fleurie (2013-09-11)

Belle-de-nuit (Mirabilis Jalapa) prise dans mon jardin lundi (9 septembre)
Four-O'Clock (Mirabilis Jalapa) taken in my garden monday (september 9th)
Mirabilis Jalapa

Monday, September 09, 2013

The Ice Wanderer and other stories

“Lost in the Great North, two men are saved by the appearance of an old hunter who divulges a strange legend to them... [“The Ice Wanderer”] Surrounded by wolves and fighting for their survival, two explorers head for Alaska to bury their companion... [“White Wilderness”] A marine biologist begins a quest to find the mythical graveyard of whales” [“Return to the Sea”].

“In total six shorts with as many stories of men confronted by savage nature which is sometimes cruel, sometimes forgiving but always vast. Through tales filled with respect for animal life, this splendid collection, which lies at the crossroads of poetry and adventure, shows master storyimager Taniguchi at his awardwinning best.”

[Text from the publisher's website]

The week in review (2013-09-09)

On the home front, there's nothing really new. The Montreal World Film Festival has ended and I saw the last of the Japanese movies (I've seen them all save for the shorts). All in all it was a satisfactory experience. Now I have to write about those movies (and maybe do an overview of the festival). Although, the next couple of weeks, I'll be busy getting some union training. And right now (while writing this and doing the laundry) I am waiting for a plumber to come repair a leaky hot-water tap in the bathtub (I couldn't get a firm appointment, so he *might* come before the end of the day).

In the press realm, there an awful lot of technological news lately probably due to Apple imminent new products announcement. Sony also announced a very interesting 'Lens-Style' set of digital cameras working as smartphone accessories. And Miyazaki announced (again) his retirement. You can check this week's scrap-linking right after the jump:


Haikasoru is Viz Media's imprint dedicated to bringing Japanese science fiction to the english-speaking world. They publish japanese literary works--whether they are award-winners, classics, or new work by the hottest young writers--“featuring the action of anime and the thoughtfulness of the best speculative fiction” (from space opera to dark fantasy to hard science). So far, they have published over thirty titles.

I was recently reminded of the existence of this collection because one of its titles, The Future Is Japanese, is featuring a short story that just won the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Short Story at LoneStarCon 3, in San Antonio, Texas. The short story is "Mono no Aware” by Chinese-American science fiction writer Ken Liu. It “tells the tale of the last Japanese survivor aboard an American space habitat after an asteroid has destroyed the Earth. This is the second story for which Ken Liu has won a Hugo Award”.

The Future Is Japanese, “edited by Nick Mamatas and Masumi Washington, is an anthology collecting science fiction from, and about, Japan, by some of the world’s best genre writers” (Pat Cadigan, Toh EnJoe, Project Itoh, Hideyuki Kikuchi, Ken Liu, David Moles, Issui Ogawa, Felicity Savage, Ekaterina Sedia, Bruce Sterling, Rachel Swirsky, TOBI Hirotaka, Catherynne M. Valente). Published in May 2012, it is available from most major North American book retailers (and an eBook edition is also available for the Amazon Kindle, Apple’s iBooks Store, the Barnes & Noble’s Nook Books Store, and the Sony Reader™ Store).

The Future Is Japanese. San Francisco, Haikasoru, 2012. 365 pages, 5 1/4 x 8 in., $14.99 USA / $17.99 CAN / £9.99 UK (iTunes & Kindle eBook: $8.99 USA), ISBN: 978-1-4215-4223-2.

(Source: Haikasoru's press release)

[ Traduire ]

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Taniguchi in english

It is clear by now that Jiro Tanigichi is one of my favourite mangaka. Most of his work has been published in french by various publishers (mostly Casterman and Kana), but there's still only a few titles available in english and all (mostly) from the same publisher: Fanfare/Ponent Mon.

In fact, Fanfare/Ponent Mon is not really one publisher but two small publishers, from United Kingdom and Spain, working together “to bring quality storytelling in the comic medium”. So small that Fanfare is actually a one-person company, where Stephen Robson is owner, publisher, and editor (see his interview on Manga Worth Reading)! According to their website, they focused at the beginning mostly “on the French and Japanese alternative scene through Frédéric Boilet´s "Nouvelle Manga" movement” but are now widening their interest, although always selecting and publishing the best original works they can find.

It is certainly true for their selection of Taniguchi's titles:

Distant neighbourhood (vol. 1 and vol. 2)
The Ice Wanderer
The quest for the missing girl
Summit of the Gods (so far vol. 1, vol. 2, vol. 3, vol. 4 of 5)
The time of Botchan (so far vol. 1, vol. 2, vol. 3, vol. 4 of 10)
The walking man
A Zoo in winter

This selection represents indeed the best of Taniguchi. Their latest release is the fourth volume in the superb Summit of the Gods manga series (£14.99 / $25.00 US, ISBN 9788492444632).

So far, I've talked and commented mostly on the french edition of Taniguchi's manga, but I also want to comment on the english books and I will--as soon as I get my hands on more of them (I have already a few of them but I'd like to have more than one volume of a series in order to have a better idea of the story before commenting on it).

[ Traduire ]

Nouveaux Taniguchi

Ces dernières semaines j'ai découvert en bouquinant que deux nouveaux titres de Jirō Taniguchi étaient paru cette année.

Trouble is my business avait pourtant été annoncé par Kana dès octobre de l'an dernier. Il s'agit encore une fois de la publication d'un oeuvre de jeunesse, parue dans les années '80. Trouble is my business ( 事件屋稼業 / Jiken-ya kagyō / lit. “profession des incidents” ), écrit par Natsuo SEKIKAWA (Au temps de Botchan) et illustré par Jirō Taniguchi, est un manga seinen policier inspiré des films noirs américains. Il a été pré-publié en feuilletons dans plusieurs magazines entre 1979 et 1994 (principalement dans l'hebdomadaire Manga Goraku de Nihon Bungeisha et Manga Gang de Futabasha) avant d'être compilé en volumes d'abord en 1981, dans une édition révisée en 1989 et une édition définitive en 1996. La collection “Made In” de Kana (Dargaud) nous l'offre en six volumes dont les trois premiers sont déjà disponibles (le vol. 1 en février, le vol. 2 en mai et le vol. 3 en août 2013). Le volume quatre paraitra en novembre.

La série est décrite ainsi sur le site de Kana: “Jotaro Fukamachi est un détective privé et a la réputation de fin limier. Plutôt pingre, il se montre souvent intéressé. D’un autre côté, il a des principes auxquels il se tient. Le principal étant de « tenir toujours une promesse ». Du coup, il lui arrive de s’investir dans des affaires qui ne lui rapportent rien. À travers les affaires de disparitions, d’enquêtes de proximité, il fait face aux côtés sombres de l’être humain. Pourtant, il ne perd pas son humour et sa confiance en l’humanité.”

Les enquêtes du limier ( 猟犬探偵 / Ryōken tantei / lit. “détective de chien de chasse”) est quant à lui un manga récent, originalement publié en 2011-2012. Basé sur le roman de Itsura Inami St Mary no ribbon ( セント・メリーのリボン / Sento Merī no ribon / lit. “Ruban de Sainte-Marie”), ce manga est publié en deux volumes dans la collection Sakka de Casterman: Chien d’aveugle (paru en mars) et Pur-sang en cavale (paru en juin).

Le premier volume est décrit comme suit sur le site de Casterman: “Dans une région montagneuse de la province japonaise, Taku Ryûmon vit en reclus dans son immense domaine en compagnie de son fidèle compagnon, le chien Joe. Passionné de chasse, il gagne sa vie en tant que détective privé spécialisé dans la recherche de chiens de chasse perdus ou volés. Toutefois, sa rencontre avec des membres de la mafia l’amènera à traiter un nouveau type d’affaire. Engagé pour retrouver le chien guide d’une jeune fille aveugle, il découvrira l’entrainement et la relation unique qui lie ces chiens et leurs maitres. A l’issue de cette enquête, il aidera une famille démunie à obtenir un précieux chien guide d’aveugle, le beau labrador noir Mary.”

Je commenterai ces volumes dès que j'aurai eu le temps de les lire (et ma pile de manga à lire qui est déjà pas mal haute...)

[ Translate ]

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

L'image du mer-fleurie (2013-09-04)

L'image du mer-fleurie continuera pour l'automne (et peut-être l'hiver aussi), histoire d'égailler le milieu de nos semaines mornes...

Ici, une Belle de Jour (Ipomoea purpurea aussi appelée volubilis, ipomée ou liseron bleu en français et Morning Glory en anglais) photographiée hier (3 septembre) dans mon jardin.

Belle de jour / Morning Glory

[ Translate ]