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Gwen Stefani's appropriation of Japanese stuff

Salon (with letters) on Gwen Stefani's clueless appropriation of Japan-ness.
posted by Tlogmer on Apr 13, 2005 - 71 comments

Busting your ass CAN pay off

Becoming a '??' (tradesman) in Japan. A 'gaijin' entrepreneur has been detailing his woodblock printing craft and business in a self-published quarterly journal over the past 15+ years. I found his series of autobiographical essays to be a very worthwhile read, reminiscent of Pirsig's first novel for some reason.
posted by Heywood Mogroot on Apr 8, 2005 - 13 comments

Just in time for Mother's Day

Star Wars geeks lined up months in advance blocking the door to your favorite taqueria? Clear the sidewalks with your new Imperial Walker (.wmv) from Sakakibara Machine Co. of Gunma, Japan.
posted by planetkyoto on Apr 7, 2005 - 16 comments

Fight food!

Chankonabe. If you've ever wondered how sumotori achieve their epic bulk, this article from Gastronomica details the complex preparation and serving rituals of the (perhaps not) delicious, protein-rich chunky soup that's the staple of their diet (with recipe helpfully included).
posted by melissa may on Mar 26, 2005 - 7 comments

Nature's Wisdom

The World Expo 2005 opened doors to visitors today. Attractions include robots, a mammoth, and participating countries from Australia to Zimbabwe. Some think that in the age of the Internet and intercontinental travel, world expos are becoming obsolete; others think the Aichi Expo might spawn a new industry: industrial tourism. The last Expo in Japan was held in Osaka in 1970, and brought us arguably the world's ugliest artifact.
posted by sour cream on Mar 25, 2005 - 7 comments

Your body as data

2 GB of data per second, piggybacking on your skin's electrical field. You == organic lan for small electronic devices. And it's a little more secure than bluetooth. via kottke, like everything else.
posted by Tlogmer on Mar 23, 2005 - 24 comments

Dust to dust...

A Japanese artist retells the creation myth with sand trickling through his hands. Amazing. (wmv, 19MB)
posted by BoringPostcards on Mar 19, 2005 - 27 comments

The Japanese Gallery of Psychiatric Ar

The Japanese Gallery of Psychiatric Art. Images from Japanese psychiatric medication advertisements: 1956-2003 (via Absent without leave)
posted by matteo on Mar 9, 2005 - 14 comments

The Sukiyaki Song

The Sukiyaki Song [mp3] Depending on your age, you may have heard your parents humming this, or even hummed it yourself. Sung by Kyu Sakamoto, the Sukiyaki Song was the only number 1 hit by a Japanese artist in the US, in 1963. It remains the biggest international hit by a Japanese popular singer. The song has nothing to do with the popular Japanese beef dish; the Japanese title was "Ue o Muite Aruko" (I Look Up When I Walk), but was changed because it was thought that western DJs would be unable to pronounce it. The song spawned many covers, and Maddmansrealm has collected over 60 of these, including French and German versions, bossa nova versions, a short accordion version by Styx, and a live instrumental version by Bob Dylan and Tom Petty [mp3s]. Kyu Sakamoto died in 1985 in the crash of JAL 123.
posted by carter on Mar 3, 2005 - 20 comments

Kamikaze

Kamikaze. 'American and Japanese images of kamikaze pilots differ greatly. This web site explores diverse portrayals and perceptions of the young men who carried out suicide attacks near the end of World War II.'
'When Japanese kamikaze pilots carried out their attacks between October 1944 and October 1945, Japanese and American people had opposite perspectives. Japanese people saw young smiling pilots as they waved goodbye. In contrast, American soldiers viewed death and destruction when the pilots' planes exploded upon crashing into their ships. These very different points of view continue to influence Japanese and American perceptions of kamikaze pilots even until today.'
posted by plep on Mar 3, 2005 - 16 comments

Do Not Laugh At Our Signs

Japanese Warning Signs: Signs. In Japanese. Warning you not to do things.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy on Mar 2, 2005 - 43 comments

The life of a Japanese gigolo

Shoui Hara can't stop drinking. It's part of his job. A job where charm is a necessity, good looks a qualification, and unabashed flattering is all in a night's work. Shoui Hara is a host, a male geisha working beneath the neon lights of Tokyo's Kabukicho, and in his line of work the men entertain the women in a way you might not expect. A look at the complex relationships of the sometimes very dangerous (NSFW) Japanese host clubs.
posted by dead_ on Feb 23, 2005 - 13 comments

James Whitlow Delano, photographer

A Tale of Two Chinas, by photographer James Whitlow Delano. Whole swaths of cities have vanished, to be transformed with developments that have quickly made them look more like Houston, Qatar, or Singapore than the ancient China of our mind's eye. The old hutong, or alleyways, of Beijing that once formed a mosaic of passageways and the siheyuan, or walled courtyard houses, have been largely razed. The old brick rowhouses of Shanghai, are now being leveled and replaced by modern high-rises. Traditional marketplaces, residential neighborhoods, streets where medicine shops or bookstores bunched together, are now either gone or have been rouged up as tourist destinations, part of a new synthetic, virtual version of China's incredible past. The energy fueling this transformation bespeaks a powerful but often blind, unquestioning faith in an inchoate idea of progress that takes one's breath away, often literally. (Unrestrained growth has left China with the dubious honor of having 9 of the 10 most polluted cities in the world). Delano's new book is "Empire: Impressions from China". More inside.
posted by matteo on Feb 17, 2005 - 23 comments

My kind of cat house

Nekobukuro is a place in the Ikebokuro neighborhood of Tokyo where people without pets can pay 500 yen to hang out with cats.
posted by gottabefunky on Feb 14, 2005 - 28 comments

"There are no answers in my world, but there is kindness".

"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.
posted by matteo on Feb 9, 2005 - 18 comments

Noooooooooo !!!!

orz. Picture a guy facing left and kneeling on the ground. The "o" is the head, the "r" symbolises the hands and body whilst the "z" is the legs. Because Hao-Ren finish last.
posted by seanyboy on Feb 9, 2005 - 40 comments

tastes like chicken (FROM THE DEPTHS OF HELL)

Now With 42% More Death Wish! Tipping out the contents of the plastic wrapper onto my rice seemed to make a noise that sounded almost like colooostommy baaaag but I ignored it and took a bite. Rather good.
posted by naomi on Feb 8, 2005 - 25 comments

Documents: U.S. condoned Iraq oil smuggling

Documents: U.S. condoned Iraq oil smuggling Documents obtained by CNN reveal the United States knew about, and even condoned, embargo-breaking oil sales by Saddam Hussein's regime, and did so to shore up alliances with Iraq's neighbors. The oil trade with countries such as Turkey and Jordan appears to have been an open secret inside the U.S. government and the United Nations for years.
posted by Postroad on Feb 3, 2005 - 28 comments

The Japanese sleep.

Japanese people in suits who are asleep in non-bed places.
posted by Kleptophoria! on Feb 3, 2005 - 28 comments

OH! Mikey

Welcome to the world of the Fuccon Family, aka OH! Mikey, a bizarre and amazing "mannequin drama" that has taken Japan by storm.
posted by OpinioNate on Feb 2, 2005 - 10 comments

Misty Keasler: photographic essays

Misty Keasler's photographic essays range from quirky views of her east Texas extended family and Japanese love hotels to unsettling essays on orphanages and the Guatemala City dump. flash. via gordon.coale.
posted by madamjujujive on Jan 26, 2005 - 12 comments

"For my part I don't need Japanese pictures here, for I am always telling myself that here I am in Japan"

I envy the Japanese for the enormous clarity that pervades their work. It is never dull and never seems to have been made in haste. Their work is as simple as breathing and they draw a figure with a few well chosen lines with the same ease, as effortless as buttoning up one's waistcoat.....
--Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh, 24 September, 1888
The term "Japonisme" came up in France in the seventies of the 19th century to describe the craze for Japanese culture and art. Van Gogh, like so many other Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists, was one of the admirers (and collectors) of Japanese art. He defined himself as “a simple worshipper of the eternal Buddha”, and the most peculiar among his many self-portraits is "Self-Portrait as Buddhist Monk" (see a comparison here and here), painted in 1888 and dedicated to Paul Gauguin. More inside.
posted by matteo on Jan 17, 2005 - 10 comments

Harajuku Street Style

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!",
posted by riffraff on Jan 7, 2005 - 34 comments

Japanese Death Poems

My coming My going, Two simple happenings that got entangled... Japanese Death Poems. Small beautiful simple poems written before death. I just discovered them and thought I would share. A few more here
posted by mrs.pants on Dec 17, 2004 - 15 comments

The Next War?

Is the next war unavoidable? China is now building a large amphibious fleet, with the sole purpose of invading Taiwan. This joins its ever-growing and formidable surface and submarine fleets. Thousands of coastal surface-to-surface missiles, with dozens added each month, now face Taiwan. For its part, Taiwan is considering an $18 Billion arms purchase from the US. India is ramping up its military might, and even Japan is changing its neutral defense policies. Is a major Asian conflict coming soon?
posted by kablam on Dec 14, 2004 - 106 comments

The G-Cans Project

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.
posted by joelf on Dec 4, 2004 - 24 comments

Japan is crazy on the internet!

Megametajapanfilter --feel the fury of 2ch, Japan's largest message board. Not only have bus hijackings (CNN) and group suicides been announced there, but 2ch helped spawn a world of memes and spin-off sites. The likes of pancake bunny (Oolong) and roflcopter have been breeding freely in the English-language mirror-world 2ch would help create. There is the (frequently disgusting and sexual) spin-off image board 4chan (English), which is a legend in its own right, plus many other *chans you'd rather not see. (See also the Japanese Futaba Channel.) Obviously Something Awful goons had their fingers in the 4chan pie.
posted by Kleptophoria! on Dec 2, 2004 - 19 comments

Hard-Boiled Wonderland

Haruki Murakami is one of Japan's most widely translated authors, yet he still answers his readers emails. He has compared the process of writing to simultaneously designing and playing a video game. He is sometimes dismissed as a pop-writer, but the fifty-something's life and works have already garnered him a critical autobiography. He has investigated and written about the Aum Shinrikyo sarin attacks for his book, Underground. His novel, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, transcends elements of both cyberpunk and detective fiction through a combination of surreal allegory and an almost stoic immediacy. It all begins with the impossibly slow ascent of an elevator.
posted by rdub on Nov 28, 2004 - 68 comments

Every epoch dreams its successor. - Jules Michelet

G-CANS Project. A look at the massive storm drains under Tokyo, that took twelve years to build. [this is cg]
posted by riffola on Nov 21, 2004 - 48 comments

Girlfriend's Lap Pillow

This week's addition to the "Japanese People no nuts, they craaaayzy!" cottage industry. Hot off the heels of the Boyfriend Arm Pillow, your boyfriend can now wrap his other arm around some hot heels. Yes, it's the Girlfriend Lap Pillow. The only thing I can think of right now is that it looks uncomfortably angled for head use. Oh, and that it's completely insane.
posted by Stan Chin on Nov 14, 2004 - 23 comments

Japan's Global Claim to Asia and the World of Islam: Transnational Nationalism and World Power, 1900–1945

Japan's Global Claim to Asia and the World of Islam: Transnational Nationalism and World Power, 1900-1945 During the years 1900-1945, the question that motivated Muslims and some Japanese was whether Japan could be the "Savior of Islam" against Western imperialism and colonialism if this meant collaboration with Japanese imperialism. Even during the 1930s, when there was little hope left for prospects of democracy and liberalism in Japan (for that matter in Europe as well), the vision of a "Muslim Japan" was so compelling to many Muslims in Asia and beyond, even among black Muslims of Harlem, as a means for emancipation from Western hegemony/colonial reality that it justified cooperation with Japanese intelligence overseas. Okawa Shumei, the major intellectual figure of Pan-Asianism, the "mastermind of Japanese fascism" in the Tokyo trials, who justified Japan's mission to liberate Asia from Western colonialism by war if necessary, saw Islam as the means. In the late 1930s and early 1940s, the relationship transformed into a major Japanese military strategy as the Japanese government began to implement its Islamic policy by mobilizing Muslim forces against the United Kingdom, Holland, China and Russia in East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East.      Alternately, The Fukuwaza Doctrine
posted by y2karl on Nov 12, 2004 - 11 comments

Retrolicious

The Japanese Product Design Database features old product designs from the 60's on. Stuff like Sony's Portable Record Player (1982) and Suzuki's 360cc Micro Sportscar (1971). (via)
posted by Ufez Jones on Nov 10, 2004 - 24 comments

Night Windows

Night Windows Gorgeous images of night-time urban Japan (Japanese titles, English alt tags, 1024x768 images available). Includes: sleeping bullet trains, trams, cats, Tokyo Harbour tunnel, bridges, tail lights, Narita airport, offices, Mount Fuji, Tokyo Disneyland (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), and many more.
posted by carter on Nov 10, 2004 - 13 comments

"In fact the whole of Japan is a pure invention. There is no such country, there are no such people".

Discovering Japan. As a perennial outsider at loose in Japan, writer Donald Richie captures the joyous freedom of being foreign. The foreign observer is likely to be happy only if he sees his foreignness as an adventure, and recognizes that he has given up a sense of belonging for a sense of freedom, traded the luxury of being understood for that of being permanently interested. Richie, the philosopher-king of expats in Asia for the past half-century, arrived in Tokyo in 1947 as a typist with the U.S. government and never really left, writing dozens of books , on Japanese movies, temples, history and fashion, while enjoying himself as an actor, musician, filmmaker and painter. The Japan Journals: 1947-2004 is a monument to the pleasures of displacement. Richie watchers can observe, more intimately than ever, a man who is generally happiest observing. More inside.
posted by matteo on Nov 9, 2004 - 12 comments

Take your mind off the election...

Princess Maker 2 - Stressed out from current events? I doubt the game is as much fun to play as it is to be bewildered by, but either might help. "...is basically a perverse sports management simulation where your entire team consists of a single ten year old girl that you have to raise to adulthood. Much like any decent sports manager game you have to keep track of a nearly overwhelming number of statistics that fluctuate based on training. In Princess Maker 2 these run the gamut from the mundane like "strength" and "charisma", to the droll like "cooking" and "conversation", to the bizarre like "sin" and "temper". "
posted by soulhuntre on Oct 28, 2004 - 13 comments

Masamania

Masamania. Not safe for work! 'Hi, this is masamania who create this page, MasaManiA.com. This page is made up of photos I actually take in twon. .I hope I can show and tell you the real, true Japan that cannot be seen in other mas media. I am living in Tokyo, Japan. I was born in Japan, grown up in Japan, study English in Japan. This is the reason I can speak Engrish. Some people complain that my updating and email response is slow. And other people conplain that my englsih is poor. '
posted by plep on Oct 24, 2004 - 13 comments

Be Attitude for Gains

In-your-face shoot-em-up action by bedroom-coders/games designers. From Japan: Warning Forever; Perfect Cherry Blossom; Cho Ren Sha 68K; Bullet Philharmonic Orchestra; Score Soldier; rRootage; Every Extend; TKKN / Crazy Game; and Galshell: Blood Red Skies [NSFW]. Be attitude for gains! From the West: Deadeye; Strayfire; Warblade; Mutant Storm; Bugatron; Space Birdz; Spheres of Chaos; Battle of Yavin; Demonstar; 'Troid; Platypus; Gridrunner; Intensity XS; and Tsunami 2010. From the pages of Edge magazine.
posted by nthdegx on Oct 1, 2004 - 9 comments

shirt-fu

my new shirt folding technique is unstoppable. (QT mpeg)
posted by whatnot on Sep 28, 2004 - 24 comments

We Forget Most Every Little Thing

Memories of a Dog. Moriyama Daido's pictures are taken in the streets of Japan's major cities. Made with a small, hand-held camera, they reveal the speed with which they were snapped. Often the frame is tilted vertiginously, the grain pronounced, and the contrast emphasized. Among his city images are those shot in underlit bars, strip clubs, on the streets or in alleyways, with the movement of the subject creating a blurred suggestion of a form (warning: NSFW images if you scroll down the page) rather than a distinct figure. His best known picture, Stray Dog, (1971) is taken on the run, in the midst of bustling street activity. It is an essential reflection of Moriyama's presence as an alert outsider in his own culture. Moriyama is also a toy-camera enthusiast (his favorite is the Polga) . He has worked in the US, too: "N.Y. 71". (more inside)
posted by matteo on Sep 27, 2004 - 6 comments

This Film is Just the Massacre of an Assassinator

Agitator. Blood doesn't politely trickle in Takashi Miike's films: it gushes out in (warning: NSFW, graphic) improbable fountains, painting walls and filling up small cars. His trademark point-of-view shots are taken from places other directors wouldn't dream of: the bottom of a dirty toilet bowl (as a man falls into it after being killed); within the ear canal (as it is pierced by a metal spike); even from inside a character's vagina. He has depicted incest, drug abuse, teenage prostitution, violence against women and children and small dogs, and necrophilia -- and that was just in one film, Visitor Q, his take on Pasolini's Teorema. Miike has just introduced his latest movie, Izo, at the Venice Film Festival (.pdf file). Miike is less sure about why Americans are now embracing Japanese horror films. His country's horror genre is influenced by "kwaidan," traditional Japanese ghost stories that feature revenge and malice: "The stories always have the 'hatedness.' You always bring the feelings of hate [that] you don't see in American cinema". What freaks him out the most, however, is the everyday automobile accident. "Even in a film, I can't bear to watch it -- it's so much (about) how people are weak, to be just crushed with a car. It makes me feel really depressed".
posted by matteo on Sep 22, 2004 - 24 comments

those crazy japanese

The OS Girls.
posted by reklaw on Sep 13, 2004 - 17 comments

Comparison of life in Piscataway, New Jersey; Kochi, Japan; and Zhuzhou, Hunan Province, China

Comparison of life in Piscataway, New Jersey; Kochi, Japan; and Zhuzhou, Hunan Province, China by Ernie French.
posted by tranquileye on Sep 8, 2004 - 11 comments

Cildren's book illustrations - 1920s Japan

Kodomo no kuni - children's book illustrations and songs from 1920s Japan. I found the artist's index the best way to navigate. (via the always entertaining quiddity)
posted by madamjujujive on Aug 21, 2004 - 12 comments

the snake comes out of the dirt

AN AMAZING JAPANESE ANIMATION based on the psychologically complicated and beautifully playful work of comic book artist Jim Woodring. (Monday morning cartoons for you, complete with a nod to the Jetsons, courtesy the Japan Media Arts Festival. Other featured work here.)
posted by Peter H on Aug 16, 2004 - 19 comments

Damn Right

Who's the teenage supersleuth with the superpowered cell phone who catches all the crooks? Ketai Deka.
posted by ursus_comiter on Jul 30, 2004 - 7 comments

Her face is very beautiful but small boob.

Syashin Mania is a collection of photos of pop culture Japan. In this case it is fan car art of Ayumi Hamasaki, a popular singer. (Some other pages on the site are NSFW.)
posted by gen on Jul 25, 2004 - 12 comments

Asia: Full of Grace

Asia Grace
posted by euphorb on Jul 21, 2004 - 6 comments

Harajuku, Tokyo

Every Sunday, it's Halloween in Harajuku. Hanging out by the train station at Tokyo's most fashionable district are young women dressed as nurses, but with white faces and a trickle of painted blood dripping from a lip. Men in their late teens or early twenties fidget under huge manes of spiky green hair and layers of black leather.
Some really amazing costumes can be seen here. And by amazing I mean interesting, and by interesting I mean freaky.
posted by Jase_B on Jul 19, 2004 - 30 comments

omae wa otaku da!

Midaregami: The Japan Hierarchy. The stratified hierarchy of Japanese society is mirrored onto those foreigners who choose to live in Japan. Inspired by The Geek Hierarchy.
posted by gen on Jul 12, 2004 - 3 comments

Time magazine?!? I'd never thought...

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.
posted by gen on Jul 9, 2004 - 5 comments

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