More companion robots! Another in a series (see PARO
, previously) of healing toys for Japan's rapidly greying population
, Yumel the Healing Partner
from Tomy. Like some kind of unholy cross between a Cabbage Patch Kid and Teddy Ruxpin, you can see a promotional clip of the doll here
, or read a list of translated stock phrases
(thank you Harper's). Also, an interesting article from the Economist about WHY
the Japanese love robots so. (Hint: it's Shinto)
Comedy duo, Ramenz
(ラーメンズ), aka Kobayashi Kentaro and Katagiri Jin, also known as the Japanese versions of Mac and PC
, have recently done a number of shorts collectively called "The Japanese Tradition." Apparently, these tongue-in-cheek pseudo-instructional vids about famous aspects of Japanese culture (Tea
, and Relationships
) have been fooling a lot of non-natives into thinking they are actual guides. (YouTube, each approx 4-6 min).
[youtube] Anyone who's ever been to Tokyo or any other big city on Earth knows how hard it is to navigate crowded, narrow sidewalks, especially when you have to "take a dump."
Metafilter's own flapjax at midnite
by an English language Japanese webzine named gyaku
. Check out flapjax's generous contributions to mefi music here
. Do yourself a favor and listen.
An illustrated edition of the Ise Monogatari
, review of translation
). Yeah, yeah, it's in Japanese, but just keep hitting the forward button (the leftmost of the two on the right, red/brown rather than blue/green) and you'll find lots of pretty pictures. I can't improve on the descriptions by Matt of No-sword
, where I found it, so I'll just quote him: "Behold our hero maxin' and relaxin'
at his writing-desk, looking like he just got hired as a middle manager at his dad's lighter-flint concern! Thrill to the famous scene where he is visited by the Pineapple of Golden Week Past
! Laugh as he is mistaken for a member of Aerosmith
! Wonder why everyone is just sitting around smiling contentedly when the building is obviously on fire
of the present which became famous
completely by the movie "Abashiri extra area
" is in the modern building rebuilt in the 59th year of Showa. The old building which has been used since Meiji is preserved as a "museum Abashiri prison" at the foot
of the Mt tentozan
The Nisshin Maru is on fire.
After being rammed by the Greenpeace Ship Sunrise
, chased and harassed
by anti-whaling activist Captain Paul Watson
, and playing set to contemporary artist Matthew Barney
's film Drawing Restraint 9
(which co-starred Barney's wife Bjork
), the Nisshin Maru, flagship of Japan's whaling fleet has been crippled by an onboard fire fueled by whale oil, spelling a possible end to whaling in Japan.
Full of slurs
and racist depictions of foreigners
, the "Foreigner Underground Crime File
" has been causing a stir
. Under threat of boycott, many convenience store chains
and online retailers
and withdrawn the magazine
. However, author Shigeki Sakai has not
. Activist and naturalized Japanese citizen Arudou Debito
and website Japan Probe
respond. Though now out of stock
, you can read the publication for yourself
idyllic childhood in Indonesia came to an abrupt end in 1942 when the Japanese invaded and forced her into sexual slavery. In this transcript she reveals her story
; how she hid the secret from her children until she finally broke her silence in 1992 to demand an apology from the Japanese government. This week Ruff-O'Herne joins other former sex slaves in testimony before the US Congress
as part of a resolution urging Japan to apologize. Japanese politicians are working to stop the resolution from passing.
Photos from Hiroshima in August of 1945.
Long supressed by the occupying U.S. forces, a highly unsettling (and decidedly NSFW) collection of photos from the days immediately after August 6th. Via
The old and the new Japan in one frame
. The delicate relationship of Oyako, parent and child. In 1982 American photographer Bruce Osborn
began what has become his lifelong work. For the last 25 years he took pictures of one parent with one child in a white studio setting.
Sure, the real shit is in Southeast Asia
, but Japan's
got a few beauties of her own. There's the fields of Yuya
, the gentle slopes of Ukiha
, and of course The Thousand Paddies
of Chiba. It's not just an art
Want more? Listen to some of the "sounds of Japanese rice paddies
, watch a slightly obnoxious slide show
, or download some of these gorgeous wallpapers
in a bunch of different formats. But best of all: they have calendars
From 1977 to 1983, between 16-70 Japanese citizens were abducted
in their home country by agents of the North Korean government. 13-year-old Megumi Yokota was the youngest. This is her story
Makoto Nagano: (YOUTUBE)
33 year-old fisherman from Japan and a Ninja Warrior
All you "Talk like a pirate day"
keyboard swashbucklers take heed: The Sea Shepherd Society's
flagship Farley Mowat is now officialy a pirate vessel
after Canada, Britain, and Belize revoked their registration. As the Japanese winter Antarctic whale hunting season begins (previously)
, the M/V Farley Mowat is setting sail to meet them, armed with a hydraulic "can opener" battering ram
, a pie cannon
, and moral conviction
. With the Japanese whaling fleet now majority owned by the Japanese government
, a subject of international diplomatic intrigue
, and after last year's confrontations
, this could get ugly!
Japanese Medical Prints.
Part of the Clendening History of Medicine Library, at the Kansas University Medical Center, and donated by Dr. Matthew Pickard. The digital collections
at the Clendening Library also include Florence Nightingale's letters
, old school Chinese public health posters
, and images from old medical and natural history texts
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!
Seal Type Mental Commit Robot for Psychological Enrichment.
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
. ranging from realistic renditions
to bizarre creatures
. A huge and varied collection, but all are equally fascinating.
posted this link
artist Chiho Aoshima
this morning. With a little research, I found this excellent slideshow
. And this
, too. Then, I learned about superflat movement founder Takashi Murakami
. And then I discovered this superflat commercial anime video
If you've seen the Japanese safety manual for the Wii
, you might have thought it was a bit excessive
. But it really isn't, if you consider how many safety warnings they left out
. Via core77.
of several galleries full of Japanese "urban ruins" photos, including abandoned amusement parks
, apartment blocks
, bowling alleys
, & much more, including Battleship Island
, the (previously posted
) abandoned coal mining island off the coast of Nagasaki. Via
It's the season once again for the annual dolphin drives
in Japan, the appallingly cruel
(see "Les massacres" video) practice of herding into shallow waters and brutally slaughtering these highly intelligent, self-aware and emotional creatures. There are those
trying to stop it, and should you be so inclined, you can sign their petition
"I'm not a Christian, and I have my doubts about being Jesus'
descendant,' says garlic farmer Toyoji Sawaguchi. "Somehow I just can't picture Jesus, a great
man, as my ancestor.'
, formerly Herai, a tiny village in northeast Japan, is believed by some
to be the final resting place
of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Photos of His grave
can be found here.
- Latin music by Japanese artists from the 40s, 50s and 60s. "Mambo, rumba, cha cha cha, bossa nova, calypso, you name it... it was big in Japan. The exodus of Japanese migrants to Brazil ensured a lasting connection with South American culture as many Japanese artists toured Brazil."
Geiko of Kyoto
is a stunning photo gallery of Kyotos's Geisha - both the mature Geiko and the apprentice Maiko. Melissa Chasse annotates many photos with fascinating details and offers an account of her tea party with Mamechika
, a lovely Maiko. For more, this lovely Geisha site
offers a brief history from the era of the floating world, more photos, Ukiyo-e art, and links. Also see y2karls' prior definitive post on ukiyo-e
On Wednesday, the US House of Representatives' Committee on International Relations adopted a bipartisan resolution
to ask the Japanese government to formally apologize for sexually enslaving up to 200,000 "comfort women
" in Imperial brothels during its colonial occupation of Asia from 1932 through the end of World War II
. Many were tortured and raped, and only about 30% survived WWII.
Japan has stated repeatedly that even though the brothels were established by military policy, the imperial government was not directly involved in operating them
. Taking responsibility would be an admission that they committed war crimes -- slavery and trafficking in women and children -- and could give victims a legal basis to sue for reparations
. H Res. 759
does not ask Japan to provide reparations, but it does push them to unambiguously acknowledge what happened and educate future generations, (full text
) rather than continue the current practice of denying what really happened. Previously on MeFi.
Japan in America: the Turn of the Twentieth Century
- an exhibit of ads, cartoons, art and other popculture artifacts from the decades leading up to WWI. (image menu is at the bottom of the page)
Babyfilter: Suri exists
! And the Japanese can stop worrying
they'll have to be ruled by a woman!
: snapshots of Hokkaido, occasionally elsewhere
The Match World Virtual Museum
is dedicated to showcasing the best artwork from the ~25,000 matchbooks
in the collection of the Japanese Match Manufacturers Association, including Foreign Matchbooks
, Advertising on Matchbooks
and various matchbook companies
, all with decent
, sized images
available if you click on the thumbnail versions. Some really attractive stuff in here
. Previously on Metafilter
Who needs boots when you can have steel-toed tabi
? An overview of Japanese worker clothing
Matsushita Shuji writes
about the latest effort to prop up the Hanko
system in Japan.
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi defies opposition, makes annual controversial trip to Yasukuni Shrine.
are not amused.
Adding to the drama and sparking debate amongst the Japanese is a recently discovered private journal of former Emperor Hirohito that reveals Hirohito stopped visiting the shrine in the 1970's
when he learned that 14 class A war criminals had been secretly interred.
Those 14 Class A war criminals are the focus of the controversy, and many Japanese are discussing having the remains of those men removed from Yasukuni.
I've long felt that the U.S. of A. "jumped the shark" as a country when we rejected the Metric System. The price of gasoline would still be under a dollar (per liter). Yet, we'd drive less because a short 20 mile trip would become a long 32 km trip. Then there's the most important measurement of all
[maybe NSFW animated graph], providing us with the joy of 12.9(!) while we try to ignore that Japan is .1 ahead of us and France is .1 more than South Africa
. (And is that Korean average North or South?)
(literally "Dutch Learning") refers to the body of knowledge
developed in Japan during the Sakoku
period (1641-1853) during which the country was closed to foreigners. As the Dutch trading post
was effectively an enclave
of the Netherlands, for 212 years it was just about Japan's only way to keep tabs on European scientific progress
(pdf). Rangaku has influenced Japanese medicine
, and chemistry
, among other fields.
Awesome J-Pop Videos.
For a genre
few in the U.S. are familiar with, it certainly garners some very heated opinions
(likely because of Morning Musume
and the like.) Still, there are some who go above
the fold. (largely youtube filter.)
is a line of Japanese budget-priced Game Boy Advance games
Nintendo released these past two weeks. Most of the titles feature minimalist graphics
combined with simple
gameplay, echoing the company's recent philosophy
. Perhaps the most intriguing of the games is Soundvoyager
, in which the player relies almost entirely on audio positioning to progress- a bit reminicent of this
. No word on a US release yet, but if Electroplankton
made it out here, maybe there's a chance.
You can drift, you can dream, even
walk write on water
Researchers at Akishima Laboratories
have developed a device that uses waves to draw text and pictures on the surface of water. Here is a PDF
file about the project (I think it is in Japanese, but it has pretty pictures!)