"In November 1855, the Great Ansei Earthquake struck the city of Edo (now Tokyo), claiming 7,000 lives and inflicting widespread damage. Within days, a new type of color woodblock print known as namazu-e (lit. "catfish pictures") became popular among the residents of the shaken city. These prints featured depictions of mythical giant catfish (namazu) who, according to popular legend, caused earthquakes by thrashing about in their underground lairs. In addition to providing humor and social commentary, many prints claimed to offer protection from future earthquakes."
Kuroshio Sea HD Video of the world's second largest aquarium tank at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Japan (via). [more inside]
Garra Rufa treatment, video, before and after pics. Fish that will eat you alive and make you healthy, "when you get over the ick factor, the nibbling can have a calming affect". [more inside]
Japanese onsen are now offering fish pedicures, where little flesh eating fishes nibble your toes. It's very youtube-genic, but there's a longer video report here.
Sheets of kombu (kelp) covered with herring roe; big white sacs of octopus roe. Among a biochromatic wealth of mysterious mollusks and other sea invertebrates of unknown nature, I see the weirdest creature I've ever seen. Now, that's a fucking organism. Tom Asakawa looks at it awhile, too. Hoya, or sea pineapple. "Sea pineapple," he says. "Attaches to rocks in the ocean. Tastes something like iodine. Sendai people like it." It looks nothing like a pineapple. It looks like something that could exist only in a purely hallucinatory eco-system. It looks like, I don't know, maybe an otherworldly marital aid of inscrutable purpose for the brides of Satan. "I need to eat that," I say. "I'll see what I can do," Tom says.Nick Tosches visits Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market for Vanity Fair. [previously on mefi]
Japan's National Diet Library Gallery has been mentioned here before, but the Pink Tentacle blog came across some fantastic late Edo period illustrations in the NDL Gallery by Kurimoto Tanshu (栗本丹洲, 1756 - 1834). Apparently he was a doctor, but he seems to be better known for his hundreds of biological illustrations. Many are of sea creatures, but there are also quite a few other plants and animals. ranging from realistic renditions to bizarre creatures. A huge and varied collection, but all are equally fascinating.
With My Special Partner, I can drink my way back to the 7th Millenium BCE for ancient music, and the fish’ll tell me how to get home.
"Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing direction. You change direction, but the sandstorm chases you". Murakami Haruki writes about love, earthquakes and -- in his new novel "Kafka on the Shore" -- mackerel raining from the sky. He is so famous in Japan that he was forced to flee the country, and now the rest of the globe (.pdf file) is fast catching on to his singular vision. More inside.
Tsukiji Fish Market: A Digital Walk-Through. [more]