With a vague promise to support more women
in the workplace as one of the key points of pushing an economic recovery, the reality is much more bleak for working women in Japan. Yesterday, while delivering a speech on the importance of supporting working mothers, Ayaka Shiomura, a member of the Tokyo government assembly was heckled
, with jeers from other lawmakers demanding to know why she hadn't gotten married, and demanding to know if she was able to bear children
. The Liberal Democratic Party has so far refused to reprimand the members responsible, and while members of Shiomura's party point out that Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe (with his own history of outright sexism
) was evidently laughing
as Shiomura at first laughed in disbelief, then was quickly reduced to tears
(Japanese link, no English subtitles).
is one of the three interactive features
that are part of the Tsunagari display at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, simply known as the Miraikan, in Tokyo. Geo-Cosmos consists of OLED
squares configured a 6m (~19.7 ft) diameter spherical display of over 10 million pixels, which can map out clouds as captured by weather satellites
, the expanding effects of the March 11 earthquake in Japan
(Audience video), or pretty much anything you want to see on a spherical display
You might want to check out this video primer
first, just to get the idea, or you might just want to dive in and zoom, zoom, zoom into the Tokyo Tower Gigapixel Panorama
A recent trend in the ultra-fashion-conscious world of Tokyo teen girls: B-Style
, or "black lifestyle", that is, emulating the black women in rap videos. In the video you will see Japanese girls with weaves and incredibly dark tans to mimic black skin. Rebellious rejection of convention
, or weird sideways racism (one girl says: "when we do it it looks vulgar, but not on the black women")?
Yesterday, July 29, 2012, saw a massive antinuclear protest, attended by young and old alike, in Tokyo. This video
, and this one
, too, (both well-edited and featuring English subtitles) bring you right into the center of the action, to get a feel for the energy that the movement is steadily gaining.
Pascal Ken, after taking several trips to Japan between 2007 and 2011, took some beautiful, dreamlike infrared photos of Tokyo
I prepared for my first-ever trip to Japan, this summer, almost entirely by immersing myself in the work of Haruki Murakami. This turned out to be a horrible idea.
For his cover article
on the novelist Haruki Murakami, Sam Anderson visited some key places from Murakami’s life and work.
The Fierce Imagination of Haruki Murakami
. [more inside]
Fukushima Dai-ichi status and potential outcomes
The Oil Drum has begun posting daily threads
about the Japanese nuclear plant event. As during the last energy crisis
, the comments there tend to have a good signal-to-noise ratio.
Preliminary magnitude 7.9 off Honshu at 05:46 UTC
The Pacific Ring of Fire has been living up to its name lately. BBC flash reporting a Tsunami Alert has been issued.
Localfilter: Today in Tokyo
, legislation passed
that will further restrict manga and animation "glorifying or exaggerating illegal sexual acts." Ten of the biggest comics companies are protesting the Tokyo International Anime Fair
, sponsored by the city, responding that a focus on their mode of expression is unfair. Blogger Dan Kanemitsu reports.
Tokyo drifts ...
cat2525jp has a neat YouTube channel of voyages through Tokyo transit systems, set to electronica. They include timelapse (e.g. Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line
), and the lovely mirror effect "Tokyo Sky Drive" series (e.g. 1 2
), and povs of high-tech automated parking systems with bowing attendants
is a fairly new nightclub in Tokyo. It's only open Sunday through Thursday night and they close at midnight. The room only holds 50 people. Nevertheless, the place attracts top-flight talent; Jeff Mills, Derrick May, Claude Young, Prosumer, and Shed have all performed. What's the gimmick? Every party is streamed live.
(from mnml ssgs
) [more inside]
The three annoying train monsters shown in the poster are Nesshii (the sleeping monster), Asshii (the leg-crossing monster), and Shinbunshii (the newspaper-reading monster). Tokyo Subway Manner Posters, '76-'82
Taxi top lights
, called andon
(行灯) in Japanese after the Edo-era wood
lanterns, come in a variety of shapes and colors
. Although originally
used in the mid-1950s to discourage robberies, andon
are now used as company logos
or to advertise
So, there's a Japanese artistic concept called a Thomasson
In short, they are "defunct
to someone's property
and aesthetically maintained
But a more nuanced
involves artist Akasegawa
, baseball player Gary Thomasson
and a whole generation of Japanese kids who wandered around Tokyo,
looking for architectural abnormalities.
Now that the book has found its way to English
, American readers are submitting some pretty fascinating discoveries of their own
. [more inside]
Stray Cats in Tokyo
as seen by professional photographers. [more inside]
Behold the N Building
, a new structure in a Tokyo shopping district that at first glance looks kind of like a giant Tetris screen until you realize that the fancy geometric design on its facade isn't merely ornamental: It's code—QR code
, to be exact. What that code allows passersby to do is quite unique. [via
] [more inside]
"Nisan didn’t mean to fall in love with Nemutan. Their first encounter -- at a comic-book convention that Nisan’s gaming friends dragged him to in Tokyo -- was serendipitous. Nisan was wandering aimlessly around the crowded exhibition hall when he suddenly found himself staring into Nemutan’s bright blue eyes... 'I’ve experienced so many amazing things because of her,' Nisan told me, rubbing Nemutan’s leg warmly. 'She has really changed my life.' Nemutan doesn’t really have a leg. She’s a stuffed pillowcase
— a 2-D depiction of a character, Nemu, from an X-rated version of a PC video game called Da Capo." The New York Times' Lisa Katayama on "2-D lovers" in Japan, the latest outgrowth of otaku
Newly jobless and homeless former members of the Japanese upper or upper-middle class are turning to a distinctly 21st century version of the flophouse, the net room
: a tiny cubicle, rented by the day, with that all-important feature... an internet connection and a computer. [more inside]
points us to the trailer
of Ramen Girl
, starring Brittany Murphy
as a American who decides to learn how to make the perfect bowl of ramen noodles (what?!?!) after she is dumped by her boyfriend in Tokyo. Tampopo
this isn't. [more inside]
浄閑寺—Jokanji, the "Throw Away" Temple "From the street, it looks like many other Tokyo temples, but behind the new main building is an old cemetery that has one particular point of interest, a crypt and monument to twenty-five thousand prostitutes interred there."
Paradise: The Gardens of Tokyo
. A collection of amazing photographs of Japanese gardens as taken by Tim Porter. [more inside]
There is a small but very dedicated and enthusiastic group of people around the world making music with Nintendo Game Boys and other cheap electronic gadgetry. While many of them are consciously fitting their low-bit sonics into relatively straightforward and predictable dance-oriented forms, some others are taking a rather more whimsical and less predictable approach. One such favorite of mine is the utterly charming, Tokyo-based henna dress
. Then there's her alter ego, beta dress
. Then there's her 3rd alter ego, CAMEBOY (of GGG)
. [more inside]
Some amazing photos
of the storm sewer system in Tokyo. (Further reading
artist Jun-Pierre Shiozawa
visited the Tokyo National Museum
recently to view da Vinci
which created protests in Italy
when the Uffizi Gallery
lent this artwork to Japan. Shiozawa then created a fantastic "manga review
" of the experience for Tokyo Art Beat
. You can see the steps Shiozawa made to create his manga review on Shiozawa's Flickr
account or blog
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
Hisaharu Motoda’s “Neo-Ruins
” series of lithographs depict the cityscape of a post-apocalyptic Tokyo, where familiar streets lie deserted, the buildings are crumbling and weeds grow from the broken pavement. More here
(Japanese for 'a point in time') is a "new literary site collecting stories of personal, singular experiences in Tokyo." If you've visited Tokyo, please consider sharing a part of your Tokyo experience at hitotoki.org. If you plan to visit Japan
, please peruse what will be an interesting collection of personal stories of life in Tokyo
In America, some rang in 2007 by watching (a propped-up) Dick Clark
rockin' the Eve away alongside Ryan Seacrest & his crush (yeah, right)
, Christina Aguilera. Ho hum. Japanese television on the other hand? Well, my friends... television viewers in Tokyo enjoyed this little extravaganza (It's SFW, they're wearing bodysuits.) Yokatta koto!
Quicktime VR photos of Tokyo
- large drains
- etc. The nav is mainly in Japanese but the "VR List" link, lower right, seems to be the main index.
is an insightful, well-written blog dedicated to Japanese culture, books, current affairs, news, sex, random images and observations of life, as seen through the eyes of an English expat living in Tokyo.
is a place
in the Ikebokuro neighborhood of Tokyo where people without pets can pay 500 yen to hang out with cats
Harajuku Street Style.
Oh those crazy cool Japanese kids! The streets of Harajuku
are as much a fashion playground as they are an exhibit of Why You Should Never Pair White Boots with Gold Chains
. This is, of course, in line with the existing weirdness of the brilliant Katamari Damacy
, mayonnaise-and-squid pizza
, and the "no caption required" homoerotic dating sim "le, Tatemasu!"
The G-Cans Project
is a massive project, begun 12 years ago, to build infrastructure for preventing overflow of the major rivers and waterways spidering the city (A serious problem for Tokyo during rainy-season and typhoon season). The underground waterway is the largest in the world and sports five 32m diameter, 65m deep concrete containment silos which are connected by 64 kilometers of tunnel sitting 50 meters beneath the surface.
The whole system is powered by 14000 horsepower turbines which can pump 200 tons of water a second into the large outlying edogawa river.
Gorgeous images of night-time urban Japan (Japanese titles, English alt tags, 1024x768 images available). Includes: sleeping bullet trains
, Tokyo Harbour tunnel
, tail lights
, Narita airport
, Mount Fuji
, Tokyo Disneyland (1
), and many more.
Home is where the heart is.
Karl Taro Greenfeld, journalist and author of Speed Tribes
, among others, has a nostalgic piece in Time Asia (Aug. '03) recounting his heady youth in Tokyo alongside his thoughts on his ailing Japanese grandmother.
: Great vacant night cityscapes of Osaka and Tokyo.