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The World's Most Dangerous Room

Three and a half years after the most devastating nuclear accident in a generation, Fukushima Daiichi is still in crisis. Some 6,000 workers, somehow going about their jobs despite the suffocating gear they must wear for hours at a time, struggle to contain the damage. So much radiation still pulses inside the crippled reactor cores that no one has been able to get close enough to survey the full extent of the destruction.
posted by Chrysostom on Aug 24, 2014 - 64 comments

Last Call

A Buddhist monk confronts Japan’s suicide culture. A profile of a monk who provides therapy to suicidal and depressed people in Japan, but is not himself suicidal.
posted by viggorlijah on Aug 6, 2014 - 26 comments

Between dreams & reality

Satoshi Kon - Editing Space & Time A short video on Vimeo which explains the editing techniques of the late anime director Satoshi Kon used in his works by Tony Zhou. [more inside]
posted by chrono_rabbit on Jul 26, 2014 - 8 comments

considering & rethinking bathrooms

Why the modern bathroom is a wasteful, unhealthy design (The Guardian):
"Piped water may be the greatest convenience ever known but our sewage systems and bathrooms are a disaster" [more inside]
posted by flex on Jul 22, 2014 - 181 comments

García Márquez and Kurosawa.

In October 1990, Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez visited Tokyo during the shooting of Akira Kurosawa’s penultimate feature, Rhapsody in August. García Márquez, who spent some years in Bogota as a film critic before penning landmark novels such as One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera, spoke with Kurosawa for over six hours on a number of subjects.
posted by shakespeherian on Jul 19, 2014 - 8 comments

Japanese design magazine, circa 1902

Shin-Bijutsukai, The new monthly magazine of various designs by the famous artists of to-day, 1902. View gallery of selected pages; download full PDF.
posted by not_the_water on Jul 15, 2014 - 6 comments

"Staying alive became my full-time occupation."

I Am The Eggplant: This American Life tells the bizarre story of one man's unwitting stint on the Japanese reality show Susunu! Denpa Shōnen. [more inside]
posted by We had a deal, Kyle on Jul 13, 2014 - 30 comments

while my guitar not-so-gently weeps

Weeping, wailing Japanese politician inspires copycat guitarist to dizzying heights of emotional expression.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jul 12, 2014 - 27 comments

For a moment the darkness is lighted

Didn't get enough fireworks on the Fourth? Got fogged out? US holidays irrelevant anyway? "長岡花火大会2012年2日間の総集編 Fireworks the most beautiful in the japan" is 30 minutes of HD fireworks from the Nagaoka fireworks festival, one of several fireworks festivals in Japan. It has two segments, one each from the first and second night of the fireworks. According to Japan Guide, "both nights feature two straight hours of fireworks...The show's finale covers nearly two kilometers of the riverbank and is the widest span of fireworks in the world." [more inside]
posted by wintersweet on Jul 11, 2014 - 5 comments

Cheesy Feet

Fondue slippers, that is all.
posted by arcticseal on Jul 3, 2014 - 21 comments

Rely on SSRI and say 'hi-ho' in the coffee shop

Susumu Hirasawa is a Japanese musician who has been doing electronic composition since 1972. [more inside]
posted by Librarypt on Jul 3, 2014 - 11 comments

Unrelenting Swearword Missionary

Chris Broad bought up a bunch of copies of a Japanese book called 正しいFUCKの使い方 (How to Use "Fuck" Correctly) and proceeded to introduce it to some locals.
posted by gman on Jun 23, 2014 - 58 comments

The jeers started when she began talking about men doing their share

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).
posted by Ghidorah on Jun 20, 2014 - 82 comments

National Greatness

Francis Fukuyama on 'The End of History?' twenty-five years later: "liberal democracy still doesn't have any real competitors," but to get there... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 15, 2014 - 29 comments

Throwback Thursday: Japanese kids dancing to classic house music

Japanese kids house dancing (SLYT) Does exactly what it says on the tin.
posted by Unicorn on the cob on Jun 5, 2014 - 9 comments

SAN値さがるぞぉぉぉぉー!

Yamada Gouki (山田剛毅), aka goking, has been illustrating creatures from the Cthulhu Mythos and similar horrors in an ukiyo-e style: Cyaegha, Igolnaku, The Thing That Plays with Fate, Cthonian, Byakhee, and would like to wish you a very Merry Fishmas from Innsmouth. You can find more illustrations on his Twitter or his blog, 2D6. [more inside]
posted by 23 on May 29, 2014 - 11 comments

Animated mouse shown to destroy cels when exposed to Ecstasy.

Disney Studios censors Miyazaki collection, pulls Studio Ghibli compilation. "On Your Mark" a video directed by Hiyao Miyazaki, and produced between early January and late May, 1995 by a team of over fifty animators at Studio Ghibli, in cooperation with other studios, is being censored from the upcoming 13-disc "Collected Works of Director Hayao Miyazaki" collection. Disney is also stopping shipments of a 2005 Ghibli Shorts collection, which features the video, along 22 other shorts that Studio Ghibli produced over the course of decades. The rationale?! Nineteen years after the video's release, one of the members of the band that did the music for the video has been arrested, along with a female acquaintance, after police found MDMA at his home. The musician was arrested Saturday, but has not been charged or convicted, as yet. Both he and the woman he was arrested with claim to be innocent.
posted by markkraft on May 21, 2014 - 73 comments

Japan ... in 7 minutes

Have you ever wanted to visit Japan? Enjoy this tranquil video journey. ありがとう! [more inside]
posted by taro sato on May 4, 2014 - 13 comments

Hold me tight

Valley of Dolls
Eleven years ago, Ayano Tsukimi returned to her home in Nagoro. Confronted with constant departures, she has populated the village with dolls, each representing a former villager. Around 350 of the giant dolls now reside in and around Nagoro, replacing those that died or abandoned the village years ago.

In a recent documentary titled The Valley Of Dolls, Fritz Schumann explores Tsukimi's world, highlighting the time and artistry that goes into making the figures, and explaining her motivations. In it we're shown around a local school, once filled with children and teachers, that now houses dozens of dolls, sitting statically, waiting for class to begin.

posted by infini on May 3, 2014 - 13 comments

Continue petting it assiduously.

How to Make Thin Hamster (SLYT)
posted by overeducated_alligator on Apr 29, 2014 - 48 comments

Geo-cosmos, an interactive globe in 10 million pixels

Geo-Cosmos 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.
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 27, 2014 - 5 comments

Hashima Island: in 1974 the coal ran out, but the ghosts remained

A few miles off the coast of Japan lies "Battleship Island," or Gunkanjima (軍艦島), the Japanese nickname for Hashima Island, due to its resemblance to the Japanese Tosa battleship. The island was formerly a densely populated coal mining town, purchased by Mitsubishi in 1890, but by the 1960s the coal was running out, and in 1974 the island was quickly vacated as Mitsubishi offered residents jobs elsewhere. Now, the island is an urban explorer's dream, though the island is not completely open to the public for tours. Last year, Google trekker walked the island, providing a virtual tour of the island. And if the roughly 40 year old ruins aren't foreboding enough, Bryan James put together a Chrome experiment called Hashima Island: Forgotten World, based on the Google maps tour of the site.
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 21, 2014 - 15 comments

How Japan copied American culture and made it better.

There’s something about the perspective of the Japanese that allows them to home in on the essential elements of foreign cultures and then perfectly recreate them at home. "Part of what’s going on is simply the globalization of taste, culture, cuisine and the way that, in the modern world, you can get almost anything everywhere. But Japanese Americana is more than that. There’s a special way that the Japanese sensibility has focused on what is great, distinctive and worthy of protection in American culture, even when Americans have not realized the same thing."
posted by bitmage on Apr 13, 2014 - 67 comments

Building hope

Shigeru Ban’s Pritzker win proves that building hope is finally in vogue
The architecture world has a new laureate, and he builds in cardboard. Japan’s Shigeru Ban was named this week as the winner of the Pritzker Prize, an annual award that is often called architecture’s Nobel – and his win sends a clear and timely message. Social change, sustainability and improving the lives of the many: This is what matters now to the world of architecture. With Ban’s Pritzker, the global design elite is marking that shift.
Take a Tour of Pritzker Winner Shigeru Ban's Paper Tube Structures [more inside]
posted by infini on Mar 31, 2014 - 9 comments

Have a Nice Day

World Order take us on a tour of Akihabara. World Order release yet another fabulous video. Previously. Previouslier.
posted by arcticseal on Mar 25, 2014 - 8 comments

Clogs and windmills and tulips oh my

"Picture the scene: you’re on Family Feud (US) or Family Fortunes (UK), and the oily host summons you to go head-to-head with a member of the opposing family. “Hands on the buzzers, please. Top eight answers in this round. We asked 100 people…to name something associated with Holland.”

Suppress lewd thoughts of red-light districts, window brothels, and sex clubs—this is a family show—and quick, the buzzer!

[...]

And that, in essence, is Huis ten Bosch, a $3bn theme park answer to a quiz show question nobody asked."
posted by MartinWisse on Mar 15, 2014 - 26 comments

Nyalan and Deshi

These cats are the "image characters" (mascots) for Jalan, a travel site in Japan. Stars of many adverts, the older cat is "Nyalan" ("nya" is "meow" in Japanese), and his apprentice is "Deshi." They also have their "own" Twitter account and more pictures are on the Jalan Facebook profile. And yet more pictures.
posted by Wordshore on Feb 25, 2014 - 27 comments

Just when you thought it was safe to feed the bunnies.

Herd of rabbits in soft pursuit of woman on Japan's Okunoshima Island. [more inside]
posted by ActingTheGoat on Feb 18, 2014 - 66 comments

Paper Haiku

How to make handmade Japanese scroll paper.
(Many other traditional artisans at Gucci Japan)
posted by growabrain on Feb 8, 2014 - 19 comments

【電音道-DEN ON DO-】 is A Japanese woman's bride practice

Japanese Techno Girl Love
posted by empath on Jan 30, 2014 - 24 comments

Just for a second, honestly

Japanese folklore and horror stories are known for their psychologically terrifying ghosts and monsters that prey on the minds and bodies of humans. But there’s also a lighter side to Japanese folklore, where bumbling spirits cause only mild annoyance, actually enhance your daily life, and otherwise generally botch the whole job of haunting mankind and teaching vague moral lessons about treating your parents with respect and such. 8 Hilariously Nonthreatening Monsters from Japanese Folklore
posted by timshel on Jan 28, 2014 - 44 comments

NINTENDO COMPANY JAPAN

The beforemario blog showcases the toys and games Nintendo created in the period from the mid 1960s to the early 1980s, including: Nintendo Popeye Trump cards, Nintendo Love Tester, Nintendo Ultra Hand, Nintendo Disney Baseball Board, Nintendo Companion, Nintendo Mamaberica baby stroller, Nintendo Monster Copy, Nintendo Bee Hive Game and Nintendo Mister Magician Coin & Stick. Full list.
posted by timshel on Jan 22, 2014 - 19 comments

Japanese Ghost Stories and Weird Tales

10 Famous Japanese Ghost Stories: ten short kaidan translated by Zack Davisson and posted along with many others at Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai. [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Jan 21, 2014 - 18 comments

I'm a pretty big deal in Japan.

You might not know me, but I’m famous. Don’t feel bad. Until recently, I didn’t know I was famous either, and most days, even now, it’s hard to tell.
posted by graventy on Jan 12, 2014 - 64 comments

Yank of the Yalu

The First Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) was notable for having the first confrontation between ironclad ships with modern weaponry, at the Battle of the Yalu River. And the presence of foreign advisors among the Chinese fleet, like German Captain von Hannecken and American Captain Philo Norton McGiffin [same text with some embellishment, Google Books links to Collier's article and Real Soldiers of Fortune], who later wrote The Battle of the Yalu for Century Magazine. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 8, 2014 - 5 comments

Monitoring the raindrops that keep falling on your head from space

The successor to the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), the NASA/JAXA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) spacecraft is preparing for launch at the Japanese Tanegashima Space Center. GPM will be the newest international Precipitation Measurement Mission and will be the core observatory of the GPM Constellation. The two sensors on-board GPM are the GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) and the Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR). The GPM/DPR team has produced a fantastic anime about the DPR instrument. [more inside]
posted by Rob Rockets on Jan 8, 2014 - 6 comments

Birth of an island

Lava flow connects new islet with Nishinoshima island A new islet formed by volcanic activity in late November in the Ogasawara island chain far south of Tokyo (halfway to Guam) has now grown and connected to neighboring Nishinoshima island. Spectacular footage of magma eruptions. [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Dec 26, 2013 - 17 comments

World Order - Last Dance

World Order's latest, "Last Dance", starts with a shot of TEPCO corporate headquarters. Also making apperances are the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), anti-nuclear protesters outside METI, and the Ministry of Finance. [more inside]
posted by needled on Dec 24, 2013 - 4 comments

"We are open even during air-raid drills"

Japanese Film Posters in the Prewar Period: Part 1
Japanese Film Posters in the Prewar Period: Part 2
Japanese Film Theaters in the Prewar Period: Part 1 Asakusa, Tokyo
Japanese Film Theaters in the Prewar Period: Part 2 Ginza/Yurakucho/Hibiya, Tokyo
Japanese Film Theaters in the Prewar Period: Part 3 Shinjuku/Shibuya/Kanda/Roppongi, Tokyo
posted by timshel on Dec 19, 2013 - 4 comments

Bare Necessity

Glass Box Public Toilet with a Garden
posted by maggieb on Dec 19, 2013 - 42 comments

SMS Is Passe

Japan and other Asian countries have moved from SMS to smart phone messaging apps, with great success for all.
posted by reenum on Dec 18, 2013 - 91 comments

The dark powers

In the last few weeks, extensive evidence has emerged that Japanese show business is saturated with the yakuza’s influence. Police records and sources, along with testimony from current and former yakuza members, have revealed that many powerful Japanese talent agencies and production companies are not simply fronts for the yakuza—they are the yakuza.

Yakuza Goes Hollywood – Jake Adelstein reports on recent attempts to remove the yakuza from the entertainment industry
posted by timshel on Dec 14, 2013 - 18 comments

メインヒロインのおばあちゃんだよ! (It's Grandma main heroine!)

Cookie Clicker + video sharing site NicoNico Douga (Wikipedia article) (English user guides for the pre-English site) + Vocaloid = Grandma's GIFT 3D Model of cursor appears courtesy of Bowlroll.net. Music taken from the video GIFT, recorded using GUMI. Vocaloids previously.
posted by Going To Maine on Dec 13, 2013 - 18 comments

So smart it's stupid

Unbrella is everything bad about umbrellas, improved. Once you see its innovations (dry side out when closed, water repelled away from you as you close it, stands on its own) you'll wonder like I did why no one thought of this decades ago. [more inside]
posted by mathowie on Dec 5, 2013 - 53 comments

“Storm from a clear sky”

Researchers have located a sunken World War II Imperial Japanese submarine on the ocean floor off the coast of Hawaii. [more inside]
posted by bryon on Dec 3, 2013 - 33 comments

It's all about the pre-blowjob trash talk.

Orgasm Wars is a Japanese game show in which a gay man tries to force a straight man to orgasm. (Link is to Huffpo Article, and relatively sfw. Video within the link, not so much.) [more inside]
posted by emperor.seamus on Nov 22, 2013 - 85 comments

Spoiler: It's largely cultural

Why Japanese Web Design Is So… Different... If you've ever visited a Japanese website, it's a little like time traveling back to 1998. Randomwire explains some of the reasons why.
posted by SansPoint on Nov 12, 2013 - 80 comments

Apparently there are a lot of video games based on this novel

On Megami Tensei:
Based on the Japanese horror novel series by Aya Nishitani, this one’s about a student computer genius, who’s also the reincarnation of an ancient Japanese deity, who uses his giant clunky 80s mainframe to summon up some horrifying devils. This involves some not-bad animation of a well-endowed teacher’s frilly brassiere heaving up and down as she becomes the conduit for horrifying monsters from another dimension to invade our world. Then giant piles of red goop start crushing students and a big blue hairy devil named Loki fights our student computer genius hero, who fights back with his reincarnated girlfriend and his magic sword and his pet devil animal throughout several alternate universes.
let's anime presents: The Top Ten Least essential OVA (anime) of the 80s. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 3, 2013 - 35 comments

No sex please, we're Japanese

Young people in Japan are increasingly abstaining from romantic relationships and sex. The media refers to this phenomenon as sekkusu shinai shokogun, or "celibacy syndrome". [more inside]
posted by acb on Oct 20, 2013 - 109 comments

Back Streets of the Internet

Back Streets of the Internet [YT] - A short film from W+K Tokyo
posted by Mchelly on Oct 8, 2013 - 9 comments

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