"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 subculture.
It's not your grandfather's Bazooka Joe. The ol' reliable chewing-gum icon gets hipsterized and multicultified, with a new DJ buddy and an African-American nerd sidekick. The classic pink mouth-filling wad in the goofy wrapper has also been reformulated, apparently. Note that it's not the first time Joe has tried to be down with teh youth, with decidedly mixed results. Next up for Bazooka Janes in Japan: gum that enhances your bustline. (Bazooka Joe previously chewed over here.)
John Coltrane. Thelonious Monk. Hank Mobley. Lennie Tristano. Blue Note. Impulse. Riverside... In other words: jazz. Now three fans in Japan -- a country that has always appreciated America's gift to music even more than the US itself -- have created The Jazz Discography Project, a bare-bones, open-source, astonishingly exhaustive database of the hippest sounds on the planet. For aficionados, just reading an ASCII entry for long out-of-print stuff like A Message from Garcia, featuring a young and then-unknown musician named Bill Evans who would later reinvent his instrument, is thrilling.