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October 24, 2009 5:23 AM   Subscribe

Flying Panties?!? The closing credits for Episode 2 of "Sora no Otoshimono"("Heaven's Lost Property", about a 'fallen angel' of standard 'Anime Girl' variety: big eyes, big boobs plus big wings). (clip is as SFW as women's underwear without the women can be)
posted by wendell (105 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
What.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:33 AM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sora = sky
no = possessive/adjectival modifier
Otosu = cause/allow to fall
mono = thing(s)

fpp = weak

anyhoo, when I was in Japan it was always cool turning in stuff I found with a quick & cool "sumimasen, otoshimono desu" to the train dude.
posted by mokuba at 5:33 AM on October 24, 2009


Just what.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:33 AM on October 24, 2009


Er.
posted by jquinby at 5:39 AM on October 24, 2009


As Wittgenstein used to say, "Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent."
posted by hexatron at 5:45 AM on October 24, 2009 [13 favorites]


That's why he used to spell it out in flying underwear.
posted by Dumsnill at 5:47 AM on October 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Sorely needs the WTFJapan tag.
posted by Skeptic at 5:59 AM on October 24, 2009


Everyone else in the world is sort of chugging along the same track, and Japan's just like "HEY GUYS WE'RE GOING OVER THIS WAY SEE YA."
posted by lucidium at 6:02 AM on October 24, 2009 [21 favorites]


I'm a little concerned about the direction that the remake of The Birds is taking.
posted by panboi at 6:06 AM on October 24, 2009 [9 favorites]


They are making their annual migration to the vending machine.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:07 AM on October 24, 2009 [20 favorites]


So how about the treaty of Westphalia? Positive or negative development?
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:08 AM on October 24, 2009


I was all, like, 'meh', until the panties all lite the farts up and went jet at the end.....

and thus you see the sentence I never imagined I would post on the internet
posted by HuronBob at 6:08 AM on October 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


And, I'm going to Meta with a suggestion that Wendell not be allowed to post ANYTHING on a Saturday morning until all of us have indicated that we've either, 1. had our coffee, or 2. are still drunk from the night before.... 'cuz otherwise, this stuff is a bit strange....
posted by HuronBob at 6:10 AM on October 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Remember when American nerds used to be all like, "Nobody understands us! You should totally take The Dark Knight Returns seriously as literature. You would if this were Japan! People totally take comics and animation seriously there, as the fine art that it is." Ha, good times.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:10 AM on October 24, 2009 [6 favorites]


I don't think Japan is particularly weird.

OK, example, they invented that show where people have to jump through cutouts in walls or get dunked in water. That is not weird, that is awesome.
posted by kathrineg at 6:16 AM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Great, now that song is going to be stuck in my head all day. Thanks a lot, Wendell!
posted by JeffK at 6:18 AM on October 24, 2009


The proper nomenclature for a flock of panties is a 'bunch'. "Look!" cried Wendell, "the panties are beginning to bunch over Mefiville."
posted by kuujjuarapik at 6:23 AM on October 24, 2009 [8 favorites]


I liked the parts with the flying panties!
posted by soundofsuburbia at 6:25 AM on October 24, 2009


New to anime, wendell?

Yeah, maybe a little over the top. But if there were flying panties, wouldn't you like them to have afterburners and be able to blow the doors of an SR-71?

Weird and wonderful in its own way (no panties), the second xxxHolic ED, with the two little soulless demon girls, Maru and Moro, rocking a torch song on air guitar with a cabbit as their drummer.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 6:30 AM on October 24, 2009


That is not weird peanut butter, that is awesome chocolate.

You know where I'm going with this.
posted by slimepuppy at 6:33 AM on October 24, 2009


Not really!
posted by kathrineg at 6:36 AM on October 24, 2009


Reese's cups? Can we go there?
posted by clerestory at 6:40 AM on October 24, 2009


Okay, my partner's birthday was Thursday. He got a Reese's cup on Thursday as a treat and put it on the dining room table. He hasn't touched it or eaten it since. It's staring at me. Is it fair game, or does it still fall under Birthday Special Rules? If I ask him for it, he'll say yes, but he's asleep right now.
posted by kathrineg at 6:48 AM on October 24, 2009


I'm personally getting tired of the whole "ha ha them Japans is stone loco" artificial otherness alienation thing after seeing (and, to be honest appreciating) decade after decade of it. But y'know what? Then they go and animate -- using piles of computer and video equipment, hour after hour of animator and artist time -- a flock of underpants birds. How am I or is any rational being not supposed to say "LOL WTF JAPAN" in response?

It's not a Japanese thing, really. If the Swedish had done this, I'd be forced at the point of that craziness raygun to say "LOL BØRK BØRK SWEDEN." It's just that this kind of low-grade surrealism comes boiling out of Japan constantly.
posted by majick at 6:56 AM on October 24, 2009 [7 favorites]


"Birthday Special Rules?"

Also: candy is Birthday Special for way more than two days. We're talking something like a week, minimum, here.
posted by majick at 6:58 AM on October 24, 2009


majick: "How am I or is any rational being not supposed to say "LOL WTF JAPAN" in response?"

Well, Japan is a country, and the people who created this are not an entire country. So...
posted by kathrineg at 7:05 AM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


majick: "Also: candy is Birthday Special for way more than two days. We're talking something like a week, minimum, here."

So should I even ask? I know he'll say yes even if he still wants it. Further complicating this conundrum, the present I bought him hasn't arrived yet. Does that extend Birthday Time?
posted by kathrineg at 7:08 AM on October 24, 2009


What, the panties don't fly in the countries y'all live in? That's fuckin weird.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:17 AM on October 24, 2009


Well, Japan is a country, and the people who created this are not an entire country. So...

Yes, but the scary part is that there's a substantial enough flying panties subculture to justify this high-production-value anime.

In Japan.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:22 AM on October 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


"Well, Japan is a country..."

On which, on casual inspection, seems to constantly be seeping weirdness at a rate higher than other comparable nations. Like I said, "LOL JAPAN" is getting pretty old. It was getting pretty old back in the 1980s. Yet the per-capita production of surreality is still at an all-time high.

"So should I even ask? I know he'll say yes even if he still wants it."

No. Of course he'll say yes, but that's not him actually abrogating the Birthday Specialness. That's just him being nice. Birthday Specialness can't be dispelled by fiat, only the passage of time.

The candy is not fair game until some time before you un-magnet a birthday card from the refrigerator, but after Tuesday.
posted by majick at 7:23 AM on October 24, 2009


I found this to be quite strange, but cute.
posted by omegar at 7:38 AM on October 24, 2009


Flying panties are not strange. Flying Bras? That would be crazy. Unless they shaped, smoothed, supported and lifted with perfectly placed padding and comfortable straps, sizes 32B-40DD. That would be great.
posted by digsrus at 7:40 AM on October 24, 2009


Say what you will, that is some great animation - they must have used some sort of flock-simulation algorithm. Somehow it's comforting that they weren't all hand drawn.
posted by phrontist at 7:47 AM on October 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


What, the panties don't fly in the countries y'all live in?

People like to believe they've been stolen from the washing line by fetishists, but they've actually just migrated south for the winter.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:48 AM on October 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


... which is why all Canadians, kilt-wearing or not, must go regimental when the weather is the most bitterly cold.

We really fucked up on NAFTA, didn't we?
posted by maudlin at 8:03 AM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I really hate "wacky Japan" stuff, but sometimes, you know, real flying panties.
posted by betweenthebars at 8:06 AM on October 24, 2009 [12 favorites]


My favorite part was the chemtrails.
posted by Sailormom at 8:07 AM on October 24, 2009


I always wonder how conversations go at the animation studio:

Scenario A:
Director: Ok, so here, we're going to draw panties. Flying like birds. In a flock.
Animators: We going to draw... panties flying like birds? Um. Ok. Here, let me have a drink first.

Scenario B:
Director: Ok, so here, we're going to draw panties. Flying like birds. In a flock
Animators: I've been waiting for this! Ok, we'll put them in formation, and then they'll land, and rest... etc.

These scenarios flow through my head whenever I see something completely mindbreakingly weird in animation.
posted by yeloson at 8:17 AM on October 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


I really hate "wacky Japan" stuff

Why? Why can't we have fun with cultural differences this hilarious?
posted by phrontist at 8:18 AM on October 24, 2009


99 Luftpanties.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:22 AM on October 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


IT MAKES ME SØ MAD WITH THE DANISH/NØRWEGIAN UMLAUTS PRETENDING TÅ BE SWEDISH!11!ELØEVEM1!!"
posted by Dumsnill at 8:23 AM on October 24, 2009


'I really hate "wacky Japan" stuff'

Why? Why can't we have fun with cultural differences this hilarious?


Hell, try to explain to the average Japanese kid that "Yeah, Americans wear shoes inside the house."

or

"Yeah, their panties. Totally don't fly at all. They just sit there drying on the line, waiting to be stolen."
posted by sebastienbailard at 8:34 AM on October 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Hell, try to explain to the average Japanese kid that "Yeah, Americans wear shoes inside the house."

Indeed. Not to mention: "And they carry guns around! Anyone can carry a GUN around!"
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:49 AM on October 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


majick: "I'm personally getting tired of the whole "ha ha them Japans is stone loco" artificial otherness alienation thing after seeing (and, to be honest appreciating) decade after decade of it. But y'know what? Then they go and animate -- using piles of computer and video equipment, hour after hour of animator and artist time -- a flock of underpants birds. How am I or is any rational being not supposed to say "LOL WTF JAPAN" in response?"

Exactly. Nothing against Japan, but they measure weirdness on a different scale than most other countries I know. I mean, where else could you get girls to sing a paean to underpants: pantsu (NSFW, panty-clad, potentially under-age anime girls and a melody that will stick in your brain and cause you to chant "pantsu, pantsu" at the worst possible moments).
posted by PontifexPrimus at 8:54 AM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Everyone else in the world is sort of chugging along the same track, and Japan's just like "HEY GUYS WE'RE GOING OVER THIS WAY SEE YA."

Most of the rest of the world doesn't have an economic superpower to fund the education and technical details of putting their local weirdness out where everyone can see it. I'm sure America looks pretty crazy to Japan, Turkey, South Africa and Peru.
posted by DU at 9:05 AM on October 24, 2009


Anime makeup
posted by KokuRyu at 9:07 AM on October 24, 2009


I don't like "wacky Japan" stuff because very often people look at weird otaku things as if they represent Japan - I don't think pillow-daters represent Japan any more than furries represent the US.
posted by betweenthebars at 9:26 AM on October 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


Is this something I would have to have a fetish about to understand?
posted by zarq at 9:26 AM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm almost afraid to ask, but what does the 'ED' stand for in the clip's title?

I assume it's not "Erectile Dysfunction"
posted by zarq at 9:28 AM on October 24, 2009


Birthday Special Rules Candy

My personal rule is that if it's the last or only helping of a birthday gift or treat, you gotta ask first. :)
posted by zarq at 9:31 AM on October 24, 2009


I don't like "wacky Japan" stuff because very often people look at weird otaku things as if they represent Japan - I don't think pillow-daters represent Japan any more than furries represent the US.

They're both pathological outgrowths that reflect and respond to deep underlaying stresses in J/West. society, maybe?

Pantsu, Pantsu! (Damn you PontifexPrimus!)

I was going to say something about the role of women in J. society and the sexualization of pre/adolescent girls ...

Pantsu, Pantsu!
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:42 AM on October 24, 2009


where else could you get girls to sing a paean to underpants

WTF?

"These panties are so cute I wish you could see them,
Unlike my everyday panties that you keep trying to see,
You know Suzuki's panties aren't like those boys wear,
And Ichigo's panties aren't like those worn by little kids,
Tiny panties are the way of love,
Hidden treasures seem more exciting,
Ah, whether plain white or fancy,
Red, black, polka-dotted or striped,
It's all about panties."

posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:46 AM on October 24, 2009


I was going to say something about the role of women in J. society and the sexualization of pre/adolescent girls ...

Because wherever you're from, women enjoy equal status with men, and pre/adolescent girls are never sexualized.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:56 AM on October 24, 2009 [6 favorites]


You know, these people almost took over the world.

/shudder
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:26 AM on October 24, 2009


Instead, the USA took over the world!

/shudder
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:31 AM on October 24, 2009 [10 favorites]


at least we can wear shoes indoors.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:37 AM on October 24, 2009


I really don't like the direction this conversation is taking. Japanese people are people. They are weird, like people everywhere. Unless you have some sort of great sociological point to make, these weird generalizations about Japanese society are not cool.
posted by kathrineg at 10:40 AM on October 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Baby_Balrog: "at least we can wear shoes indoors."

Yuck. My shoes have never made it past my foyer. I only wish I had the wherewithal to have little booties just for the bathroom.
posted by kathrineg at 10:41 AM on October 24, 2009


I have to say, I sympathize with both sides of the WTF Japan argument. On the one hand, I don't see any difference in saying WTF Japan than I do in saying WTF Sweden. On the other hand, since my particular cultural heritage is western European, certain aspect of Japanese culture are going to trigger than response more frequently than Swedish culture, and it may be my responsibility not to present that in a way that is racist.

My most recent experience of that phenomena (and I'd love to find out what's being sold here) doesn't imply (to me) that the Japanese are somehow weirder than any other culture, but that I'm being exposed to things very different than what's common to me.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 10:52 AM on October 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


at least we can wear shoes indoors.

Growing up in rural Canada, I always thought that was just something they did in TV shows, like never closing the front door or working in huge office buildings. You people live like animals.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:09 AM on October 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't see any difference in saying WTF Japan than I do in saying WTF Sweden. On the other hand, since my particular cultural heritage is western European, certain aspect of Japanese culture are going to trigger than response more frequently than Swedish culture, and it may be my responsibility not to present that in a way that is racist.

I agree, I just thought it was silly to bring in gentle mocking of Sweden, since I cannot imagine any Swedish (or Norwegian or Danish) metafiltarian being genuinely offended by that kind of thing.
posted by Dumsnill at 11:18 AM on October 24, 2009


these weird generalizations about Japanese society are not cool

I agree.

Tiny panties are the way of love. Obviously, this thread needs more tiny panties.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:28 AM on October 24, 2009


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posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 11:43 AM on October 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


The world is a strange place. Let's keep it that way.
posted by SPrintF at 12:13 PM on October 24, 2009


I had hoped this wouldn't degenerate into "WTF Japan", but I guess it was inevitable. As an animation maven who was the perfect age when Astro Boy first hit American TV, I am a fan of some Japanese Anime, appreciating the beautifully done animation, and especially enjoying some of the weirder, wackier stuff (FLCL, Tokyo Pig) but have never liked the more 'pervy' tendencies of a lot of what's out there. This clip seemed like it was All Of The Above... beautiful, weird and pervy. The entire first episode of "Sora no Otoshimono" is on YouTube (unauthorized) and my curiosity got the better of me and I checked it out... not recommended. The male hero was introduced with a gag about waking up with 'morning wood', then a professor character was seen lecturing about how seeking out unknown phenomena was like looking up a woman's dress, in a good way. When the 'angel' fell to earth, she declared herself servant to the boy who found her and was able to make any wish of his come true, leading to the 5967th repeat of the cliched "be careful what you wish for" storyline. So the flying panties were, in many ways, the show's best moment.

This also prompted me to check out a rundown of the new Anime of the season, with several promising and many more cringeworthy offerings, ranging from "Trapeze", about a neurologist/psychoanalyst who's crazier than his patients (that might make a good live-action HBO show), to a 'remake' of Disney's Stitch, Anime-style. And then there's "Armed Librarians" (intriguing title), in which the 'books' are stone tablets housing souls of the dead, there's a sub-class of people called 'meat', some of whom are human bombs (Meatbombs?) and the Library Director is a powerful psychic who also distracts everybody with her cleavage... sigh...

On the other hand, there's a Hollywood feature film coming out soon in which Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson plays The Tooth Fairy. WTF Hollywood?!?
posted by wendell at 12:24 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is strange in Japan too. Otherwise the producers would not have decided to go with this imagery. They wanted to go with something weird.

In fact, I think the perceptions of weird in the U.S. and in Japan are not that different. It's just that some people in Japan are a little more willing to push it a little further, and other people aren't as likely to point and go STRANGE.

Perceptions of weirdness are likely to be a lot more extreme when two cultures are only a little different than when they are lots different. There is no WTFMAORI tag, is there?
posted by JHarris at 12:39 PM on October 24, 2009


3. profit!!!
posted by mr vino at 12:47 PM on October 24, 2009


I thought this was going to be about Blackbelt Jones...

"Son of a bitch threw panties at my face?"
posted by Never teh Bride at 12:47 PM on October 24, 2009


Also: wendell is pretty much on the money.

I have been kind of iffy on anime in general, but quite enthusiastic about it in particular. Stuff by Osamu Tezuka, for example, are wonderfulawesome. Rumiko Takahashi, post Urusei Yatsura, considerably less so.

Cowboy Bebop, yes. Naruto, oh no. Irresponsible Captain Tylor, heaven. Yu Yu Hakusho, hell.

The proportion of great to crap, I notice, may be around 90%. Didn't someone write a law about that somewhere?
posted by JHarris at 12:49 PM on October 24, 2009


Er, should be the proportion of crap to great. Dammit.
posted by JHarris at 12:50 PM on October 24, 2009


So should I even ask? I know he'll say yes even if he still wants it.

Unless they've run out of Reese's cups in New York, GO BUY YER OWN. You live in New York, for God's sake. Can't you call your neighborhood candy delivery service or go downstairs and get a Reese's cup at 2AM or something?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:58 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


(and I'd love to find out what's being sold here)

Anabuki Construction Company. It's been going around the nets for a while now; the thing with the giant balls is a tanuki, which are commonly depicted with comically large testicles.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:06 PM on October 24, 2009


This FPP was exactly as advertised. Of all the videos I've seen this past hour of flying panties, this one is easily the best.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:07 PM on October 24, 2009


I'm almost afraid to ask, but what does the 'ED' stand for in the clip's title?

posted by zarq at 12:28 PM on October 24


ED in anime communities refers to the EnDing sequence/theme/credits of a show, so basically what this video is.

Also, OP would refer to the OPening sequence.

The more you know!
posted by shoebox at 1:15 PM on October 24, 2009


ROU_X: I've heard of tanuki and (Pom Poko) so that wasn't the big surprise. It was the whole combination. Any translation of the text floating around?
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 1:20 PM on October 24, 2009


Putting aside the LOLWTFJAPAN childishness, this video clip is actually a dead-on perfect parody of the cheap wholesome nostalgia schmaltz that infests mainstream (ie: non-anime otaku) Japanese media. It's got the wistful country music, beautiful circle-of-life nature scenes, exotic global locales, not-so-understated preachiness of universal humanity despite our differences we all still live under the same sky blah blah blah. The video clip would be so picture-perfect mass-media daytime TV safe, were it not for the fact that instead of a flock of doves/geese/whatever, it's a supersonic underwear fleet.

It's just misfits vs. mainstream.
posted by PsychoKick at 1:25 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Any translation of the text floating around?

I lost the links but googling for anabuki commercial should get you to it
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:36 PM on October 24, 2009


I'd say something like Pom Poko is truly strange (and wonderful), because it's an honest representation of folk tale creatures from a culture that's different from our own. The flying panties are supposed to be silly in any culture, so they don't rank quite as high on the WTFmeter.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:14 PM on October 24, 2009


It's just that some people in Japan are a little more willing to push it a little further, and other people aren't as likely to point and go STRANGE.

Out of curiosity, how do the Japanese react to something like Dog the Bounty Hunter?
posted by mannequito at 2:21 PM on October 24, 2009


Mr. F works with folks who were doing some stuff on that Tooth Fairy/ The Rock movie. He said it was the most unnerving two days of his work week, all that tutu on the conform station's monitors every time he turned around.

As for the panties and the reactions of animators, though: My old housemate was a CG modeler and came home during Beowulf post one night, somewhat high and all excited, looking for veterinary textbook references.

For pig anus. Because, FFS, he really needed to get the pig anus model just right.

He's not Japanese. It's endemic to the profession.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 2:42 PM on October 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


The more you know!

Thanks, shoebox! :)
posted by zarq at 3:34 PM on October 24, 2009


So when exactly IS Panty Season?
posted by Ron Thanagar at 3:42 PM on October 24, 2009


. . . Because, FFS, he really needed to get the pig anus model just right.

Having seen Beowulf, I can attest that that was certainly pig anus.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:05 PM on October 24, 2009


Bird thongs.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:09 PM on October 24, 2009


anabuki commercial
Thanks. Now all I have to do is figure out if the construction company is into building expanding chests, or if it's just what they dream about.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 4:13 PM on October 24, 2009


Metafilter: Really needed to get the pig anus model just right.
posted by The Whelk at 5:17 PM on October 24, 2009


You want real flying panties? Visit tornado Alley.

But you'll also get flying houses, cars, people, animals, trees, fences, trailers ...
posted by bwg at 6:01 PM on October 24, 2009


This is an ad, but that doesn't matter. This is probably my favorite WTF Japan clip, but in a way that I am totally supportive of them.

The best part is the awesome electric guitar solo the bear plays on the acoustic guitar.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:06 PM on October 24, 2009


I'd like to see this mashed up with Duckmen VI. Warning: Gross as hell, especially if you find hunting distasteful or hygiene essential to your lifestyle.

The EIT page it was from, in case you want some context/comment reading.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:12 PM on October 24, 2009


That was beautiful.
posted by Iron Rat at 7:34 PM on October 24, 2009


I really don't like the direction this conversation is taking. Japanese people are people. They are weird, like people everywhere. Unless you have some sort of great sociological point to make, these weird generalizations about Japanese society are not cool.

Ah.

I assert that Japanese society puts huge stresses on its people, and this often leads to great distress and odd behavior. As a major facet of this, women and girls in Japanese society run into a bit more sexism than women and girls in W. Society, mediagenic if uncharacteristic examples being: {groping-free subway cars, 'loli', harem anime, 'office ladies' vs. a chance at being an executive, the recent practice of selling used panties, and the free-range panties currently under discussion}, all of which makes for great breathless media coverage and anecdote here in the West. Not that the West is perfect, if you would like to tu quoque. But it would seem to be that there is some degree of difference between the various cultures. I don't mean for this to slam the Japanese people, but I think they might be happier if they were to set up their culture along more egalitarian lines.

What are your thoughts?

Also: Pantsu Pantsu!
posted by sebastienbailard at 7:50 PM on October 24, 2009


"This is an ad, but that doesn't matter. This is probably my favorite WTF Japan clip, but in a way that I am totally supportive of them.

The best part is the awesome electric guitar solo the bear plays on the acoustic guitar."

That... was totally the best thing I've seen today. Whatever the heck it was. Thanks, mccarty.tim!
posted by Kevin Street at 9:30 PM on October 24, 2009


I can't believe I gave my panties to a geek.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:01 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


mccarty.tim: "This is an ad, but that doesn't matter. This is probably my favorite WTF Japan clip, but in a way that I am totally supportive of them.

The best part is the awesome electric guitar solo the bear plays on the acoustic guitar.
"

I'm fairly certain that the best part was the second fake-out nipple zoom.
posted by minifigs at 4:07 AM on October 25, 2009


mccarty.tim: "This is probably my favorite (YT: Kokoro Scan ココロスキャン ENGLISH SUBTITLE 英語字幕 KARAOKE in desc.) "

Oh, SEGA, what will we do with you?
posted by subbes at 8:21 AM on October 25, 2009


Not that the West is perfect, if you would like to tu quoque. But it would seem to be that there is some degree of difference between the various cultures. I don't mean for this to slam the Japanese people, but I think they might be happier if they were to set up their culture along more egalitarian lines.

What are your thoughts?


Good intentions and all that, but the superficial similarity of Japan to Western nations means that many assume that the same egalitarian measures that worked in the West will automatically work in Japan too. Many of Japan's social institutions that seem similar on the surface to Western ones have significantly different power dynamics underneath.

You mentioned sexism, which is actually a perfect example. For instance, so much of Western feminism relies on and is developed from the tenant that "traditional housewife = unpaid slave labor". This tenant simply does not exist and is not true in Japan, because the traditional Japanese housewife controls every single cent/yen in the family. The working husband turns over his entire paycheck to her, and it is by her discretion and judgment that he gets a weekly allowance in the exact same way the children do. (Don't underestimate the implications this has for Confucian-based societies...) In such a situation, isn't it really the working husband who's the slave, not the housewife?

And if this fundamental Western assumption is inapplicable to Japan, then what of other ones? Could it be that the reason why despite decades of Western attention and effort, the Japanese people are still reluctant to enact many supposedly essential Western-style egalitarian measures because they're based on and developed around Western assumptions that, in Japan, are simply incorrect?

I too find Japanophiles and fanboys incredibly annoying whenever they hide behind the whole "it's a different culture" excuse, but it's really quite true. There are so many other subtle yet incredibly meaningful differences that fly in the face of Western ideas about Japan, which is still little more than a collection of superficial assumptions and inaccurate fetishes (honestly, it really creeps me out how even many good-intentioned Western feminists have bought into the "submissive helpless Japanese woman" fetish). There's been so little real inter-cultural understanding; the situation is still very not much different than 80's with its auto industry scares and Blade-Runner stereotypes. We just call it LOLWTFJAPAN instead.

This got a bit ranty and perhaps a bit unintentionally inflammatory, and I apologize. But I've run into too many well-meaning people who say that "Japan needs more equality", but are even more clueless about the social situation there than an uncommitted dilettante like me. It's as boneheaded as trying to "win the hearts and minds" of the Middle East nations through military efforts.
posted by PsychoKick at 11:17 AM on October 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


This got a bit ranty and perhaps a bit unintentionally inflammatory, and I apologize.

No, you've made some good points you got there, so I don't accept your apology. I've read an astounding quantity of scanlated manga, but don't understand so much of the basic culture, so I'm still at the LOLWTFJAPAN stage, really.

Can you recommend any light novels, biographies, or accessible scholarly books, local and expatriate, that do a decent job of explaining the real japan™?
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:19 PM on October 25, 2009


honestly, it really creeps me out how even many good-intentioned Western feminists have bought into the "submissive helpless Japanese woman" fetish

This ties in very neatly into the script of "woman as victim", which appears to me to be one way modern scholarly feminism to develop and use power. Mind you, I'm not enough of a bastard to say that in the recent 'burning witches in India thread', but it's one of the hammers in the toolbox, and when wielded, everything looks like a nail.

This is very helpful in the case of nails {widow burning, voting rights, birth control and anti abortion/punishing women for sex laws, lesbian marriage disallowment, the lack of free day care, equal pay for equal work, etc (I could go on all day).} and not very helpful in the case of not-nails.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:42 PM on October 25, 2009


Can you recommend any light novels, biographies, or accessible scholarly books, local and expatriate, that do a decent job of explaining the real japan™?

In all honesty, I don't think I can. Hate to sound like such a negative nelly, but I think part of the problem is the idea that there are books and media can really explain [insert culture here]. By necessity they gloss over and strip out so many details, and knowing those details is probably necessary to know the real culture, whatever that means. I'm not saying they're worthless, but at best they're just an introduction.

Granted, I'm not an expert on Japan, just familiar enough to get annoyed at common mistakes, mainly because I made those mistakes too.

/ For what it's worth, I did enjoy the book "Angry White Pyjamas".
posted by PsychoKick at 2:52 PM on October 25, 2009


It won't tell you anything about the modern day country, but if you're looking for some understanding of the where Japanese culture came from a good place to start is the films of Yasujirō Ozu, many of which are now available in Criterion restorations.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:01 PM on October 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Can you recommend any light novels, biographies, or accessible scholarly books, local and expatriate, that do a decent job of explaining the real japan™?

Hirokazu Kore'eda makes smart, warm, wonderful contemporary movies about Japan. He's a humanist and disciple of Ozu, and, at least for me, his movies signify all that is descent and humane about Japan and the Japanese outlook on life.

I particularly like Maborosi (I used to live near Wajima on the Noto Peninsula where the film takes place).
posted by KokuRyu at 7:45 PM on October 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


In all honesty, I don't think I can. Hate to sound like such a negative nelly, but I think part of the problem is the idea that there are books and media can really explain [insert culture here]. By necessity they gloss over and strip out so many details, and knowing those details is probably necessary to know the real culture, whatever that means. I'm not saying they're worthless, but at best they're just an introduction.

Indeed -- unless you try reading things by Japanese in Japanese, the vast majority of readily-accessible, English-language material is either historically dated or too superficial to give you even a basic idea of Japanese social dynamics.

Regarding the video: FWIW, I've spent most of my adult life immersed in the Japanese language and culture, and I've lived in Japan for a while. I don't bat an eye at the multi-story sex shops, strange-to-Westerners commercials, or unusual Engrish. This, however, made me go "何これ?!" ("WTF?!").

Then again, manga/anime subculture in Japan is quite fragmented, fans can be quite zealous, and this particular work is at least nominally targeted at sex-starved teenagers and young adults, so having flying underwear isn't really that odd.

I will say that this was a genius move on the part of AIC -- it got a lot of people on both sides of the Pacific talking about the anime. What more could a company ask for in terms of free marketing?
posted by armage at 8:07 PM on October 25, 2009


Cannot agree nearly enough on the "everything written about Japan in a book is almost completely no longer true." One thing that becomes clear over time as one lives in Japan (while able to speak the language to some usable extent) is that, as far as comedy is concerned, irony as used in English almost literally does not exist in Japan. As a result, comedy tends quite strongly towards the silly and weird.

Of course, there's also the matter of a different overall national aesthetic of what is and is not appropriate (c.f. the infamous crying appliances in instruction manuals, in the line drawings showing things you must never do under any circumstances).
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:55 PM on October 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


While I greatly enjoy WTFJapan-tagged posts, I have to agree with all the globalists upthread; any culture has WTF written all over it and the only reason we have WTFJapan is that Japan is big and rich enough to have high production values for its weirdness. Being married to a Hungarian, for instance, has given me an infinite number of WTFHungary moments; their animated folk tales are every bit as weird and wonderful as anything Japan ever turned out.
posted by Michael Roberts at 7:52 AM on October 26, 2009


France used to be a foreign country; if you read "The Discovery of France" you can learn about sheperds roaming about on stilts, families that hibernated, and thousands of defacto little city states, each presided by a priest-cum-mayor. 'Frenchness' and the Parisian French dialect was basically imposed upon France by Paris, along the major stagecouch routes and then spreading out into the hills.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occitan_language#Usage_in_France

Culottes! Culottes!
posted by sebastienbailard at 3:34 PM on October 27, 2009


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