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Lafcadio Hearn

In Ghostly Japan, by Lafcadio Hearn, an "American author who lived in Japan, becoming a naturalized citizen, from 1891. His 1904 volume Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things is perhaps the work for which he is best known today; it continues to serve as an introduction of non-Western supernaturalism to a Western audience".[more]
posted by hama7 on Mar 13, 2003 - 15 comments

Secret Cities

Hints of a secret city beneath Tokyo Japanese foreign correspondent Shun Akiba says that after examining various maps of Tokyo, and finding large inconsistences, he has found evidence of a huge network of tunnels beneath the city of Tokyo. A large underground city beneath an aboveground one is not unheard of, as Beijing has this one, but the odd part is, (assuming this story is true,) is that Shun says there has been a coverup and a "...conspiracy to silence [me]," with officials being "...defensive and noncooperative..."
posted by Snyder on Mar 4, 2003 - 30 comments

Kyoto National Museum

"It is with pleasure that I welcome you to the Website of the Kyoto National Museum. We hope this site will open up the fascinating world of East Asian art to a broader audience than ever before possible." [1]
posted by hama7 on Feb 26, 2003 - 7 comments

Hounen Matsuri et cetera

Hounen Matsuri is Japanese and means Festival for a prosperous year.
There are many festivals in Japan. But this one is quite different. Not many Japanese know about this Matsuri, and they are very surprized [QuickTime video] when they hear about it for the first time. Well, what is it?
posted by hama7 on Feb 22, 2003 - 11 comments

Walking for health

Heart surgery in our family has triggered something of a crisis of fitness with everyone vowing to loose weight. Ironically its the runner in the family that has suggested the most sensible solution: buy a pedometer and increase the number of steps per day you walk to 10,000. (Although some say to just increase.) The idea supposedly started in Japan. The idea is to add a bit of activity here and there (the first site recommends going to a restroom on a different floor) rather than trying to lump the 30 minutes per day all ot once. So far with a desk-potato lifestyle 3,000 is easy but adding the extra few miles every day will require some extra work. Less social than a Volksmarch but compatable with a mall walk. And definitely less hazardous than freestyle walking.
posted by KirkJobSluder on Feb 21, 2003 - 24 comments

Bunraku and related

Bunraku is Japan's professional puppet theater. Developed primarily in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it is one of the four forms of Japanese classical theater, the others being kabuki, noh and kyogen.[more]
posted by hama7 on Feb 20, 2003 - 17 comments

Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot

"Giant Robot attack!" as spoken by the kid every kid wanted to be, Johnny Sokko. If you haven't already seen "'Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot" aka "Giant Robot", go now and buy it on VHS or DVD.
posted by riffola on Feb 14, 2003 - 7 comments

SHOOWATCHI!

If you jonesed for a beta capsule as a kid, and crossed your hands to zap monsters with the specium ray while playing outside, then this site is for you. Shoowatchi!
posted by ursus_comiter on Feb 12, 2003 - 15 comments

Rook! I Carve Pensu!

Pencil Carving For Experts. A mere four months after I posted this, I ran across this latest site of pencil carving wizardry, this time from Japan. Be sure to check out the gallery. The bar has been raised.
posted by jonson on Feb 11, 2003 - 25 comments

U.S. and Canadian WWII Concentration Camps

Striking, panoramic photo collages of the ruins of U.S. and Canadian concentration camps used to isolate Japanese-Americans during WWII. Masumi Hayashi's rich site also features documents, personal stories and Shockwave interview clips, a discussion board and data on each camp. And, yes, this post was inspired by U.S. Congressman Howard Coble's recent comment.
posted by mediareport on Feb 6, 2003 - 34 comments

Rook! I'm Invisibir!

Japanese create "invisible" cloak. Well, not really. Technically, just a two sided cloak, the front of which is a projector, and the back of which is a camera. Only works, one would imagine, if you're looking at a person straight on, and even then it would help if you were partially blind, or at the very least, raised in the wilderness & easily fooled by modern technology.
posted by jonson on Feb 5, 2003 - 55 comments

The Year of the Goat

Let the celebrations begin! According to the Chinese calendar, tomorrow begins the year 4700. The festivals and superstitions surround the celebration for the new year are fascinating in China as well as Korea. Which animal year were you born in and do you follow the Chinese, Japanese, or Korean zodiac? Finally, the mathematics behind the calendar are truly fascinating.
posted by Plunge on Jan 31, 2003 - 15 comments

kamagasaki

"I'm not alive. I'm not myself. I'm tired of playing the role of somebody else. I want to be myself".
Kamagasaki, Japan in the 1950s: photographs by Inoue Seiryu, and Kamagasaki now: Photos and text by Shannon Higgins, with first-hand accounts and translations.[more]
posted by hama7 on Jan 21, 2003 - 14 comments

Funky Radical World

Funky Radical World was created by Japanese illustrator Radical Suzuki - don't miss the delightful fashion show. One of my favorite works is Real Tokyo Girls, a flash animation about the rather fascinating Ganguro girl fad. This gallery includes a few more samples of his work. warning - some cartoon nudity may be involved!
posted by madamjujujive on Jan 18, 2003 - 15 comments

Sushi Seal Family

The Sushi Seal Family are simultaneously sushi and seals. Actually, judging by the sample movie and the episode guide, it seems more like "Barbapapa" meets Zen koans. But it's big in Japan, apparently. (Via Geegaw.)
posted by staggernation on Jan 3, 2003 - 19 comments

5-7-5-7-7

Tired of haikus? Then it might be time for tanka. Older than haikus, tanka is 31 syllables divided into lines of 5-7-5-7-7. There's been a World Tanka Competition (mostly in Japanese, but the poems are translated into English) and a modern tanka poet, Machi Tawara, has had her work turned into movies, television shows, and a musical revue. All that's needed now is to make it popular in the English-speaking world...
posted by Katemonkey on Dec 31, 2002 - 5 comments

Too Long In Japan

You've been in Japan too long when... A) ...you are not surprised to wake up in the morning and find that the woman who stayed over last night has completely cleaned your apartment, even though you'll probably never ever meet her again. B) ...you are not surprised to wake up in the morning and find that the woman who stayed over last night has completely cleaned your apartment, even though you'll probably never ever meet her again. C) ...your hair is thinning and you consider it "barcode style". Or perhaps if you're unsurprised that such a historically isolationist nation is now so uniquely and openly fascinated with the opinions of those who have moved to their land...wow. This is somewhere I must travel to.
posted by effugas on Dec 17, 2002 - 68 comments

Gloomy the Vicious Bear

Gloomy the Vicious Bear - we had a recent thread about the teddy bear turning 100. Here's a cute pink Japanese variation that retains a frighteningly feral blood lust. Osaka-based illustrator Mori Chack's innocent cartoon style belies the macabre nature. Just in time for the holidays, get your Gloomy Bear stuffed toys, hightops or other goodies before supplies run out! thanks, gmtPlus9.
posted by madamjujujive on Dec 13, 2002 - 17 comments

News outlets make neutrino hash

What's the real story here? "An international team researching particle physics at Tohoku University has observed a new kind of neutrino." BZZT! Try again."Sun is ok, says latest neutrino experiment." BZZT. Wrong answer. The media sure made a hash out of this one. [more inside]
posted by ptermit on Dec 9, 2002 - 17 comments

japanese tattoos

When I was nine, I saw a woman in a traditional Japanese bath house, covered with a full-body tattoo.[more]
posted by hama7 on Nov 30, 2002 - 29 comments

Flash animation

Flash with no name - think you've seen every bizarre Japanese flash? Good chance you haven't seen this one yet. I am at a loss for a title. This is not safe for work. This is not safe for children or small animals. Do not take with medication. Mock the message, not the messenger.
posted by madamjujujive on Nov 21, 2002 - 29 comments

Naked man festivals

Naked man festivals - if you're a fan of unique and colorful folk festivals, you may want to plan a trip to Japan. Naked man festivals are a fairly common occurrence. There's Hadaka Matsuri in January, Houne Matsuri in March and Minato Matsuri in August. Probably lots of others. Guys will need to dress in the fundoshi, traditional garb for the occasion. There are a few styles, one of which can be a little tricky. Women are generally on the sidelines, and their attire is colorful yet somewhat less revealing. Probably not safe for work, despite being steeped in tradition!
posted by madamjujujive on Nov 10, 2002 - 11 comments

Akiyoshi's illusion pages.

Akiyoshi's illusion pages.
This japanese psychology professor has been collecting and developing geometric optical illusions, some of which are found on the streets [inc. Brighton, UK!], notably he is inspired by traditional japanese design and architecture. NB: Though not exactly Friday Flash, the emphasis on clour & motion illusion prompts Akiyoshi to warn: "Caution: This page contains some works of "anomalous motion illusion", which might make sensitive observers dizzy or sick. Should you feel dizzy, you had better leave this page immediately." How polite!
posted by dash_slot- on Nov 8, 2002 - 12 comments

It's cute. It's funny. It's simple. It comes in different sizes and offers lots of goofy artistic possibilities. Its silly commercials [quicktime] will crack you up. It is nothing, really. It is just Meary.
posted by mediareport on Oct 28, 2002 - 27 comments

Damn La Difference!

Damn La Difference! Europe (and apparently Japan) seem to be going through a Dickies craze. You say work wear; we say American blue-collar chic. You pay $20 for an industrial shirt; we pay $100. Should we call the whole thing off? [More inside.]
posted by MiguelCardoso on Oct 21, 2002 - 38 comments

A million Japanese boys, hiding in their rooms.

A million Japanese boys, hiding in their rooms. I didn't know about this - but then again, by definition, maybe I wouldn't. Domestic hermits aside, I frequently see behavior I'd identify as "borderline mentally ill" slide right under people's radar here in Tokyo, and I'm certain a nihonjin might think the same thing after a year in my hometowns, New York and San Francisco. What culturally-specific form does neurosis take in your neck of the woods?
posted by adamgreenfield on Oct 20, 2002 - 51 comments

Museums in Japan: 387 total. Many in English.
posted by hama7 on Oct 17, 2002 - 22 comments

Japanese abducted by North Korea in Japan for brief visit. After many years of denying accusations, North Korea finally came clean last month and admitted to having kidnapped a number of Japanese civilians. Of the thirteen they admit to abducting, they say only five are still alive, and these five have been allowed a visit to Japan this week. On a less encouraging note, however, the five survivors were not allowed to bring their children or spouses and arrived donning pins bearing an image of the Great Leader. Is Kim Jong Il genuinely turning over a new leaf, is this just another part of a heartless cash grab scheme, or did the "axis of evil" speech intimidate them into softening up for a moment?
posted by shoos on Oct 16, 2002 - 22 comments

So Exactly Why Doesn't Nicole Kidman Want This Commercial To Be Shown In The U.S.?

So Exactly Why Doesn't Nicole Kidman Want This Commercial To Be Shown In The U.S.? Here in Portugal, for instance, you can't blink without seeing the ruddy thing. Movie stars increasingly have a very profitable but extremely embarrassing advertising life which they're understandbly keen to keep secret from the American market. Wonderful websites like Japander (do check out Jodie Foster's endorsements of the Honda Civic Ferio and Keri Cosmetics, won't you?) conspire to keep them deservedly humble. So why does this double standard exist? Do these movie stars really think that globalization (not to mention the Internet) is just a myth?
posted by MiguelCardoso on Oct 5, 2002 - 31 comments

More than a year ago,

More than a year ago, MetaFilter discussed a petition to bring "Spirited Away," the newest full-lenth animated movie by Hayao Miyazki, to the US. Released in Japan as Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi, it is the most popular movie ever released in Japan and has it's US limited release this weekend. Do you think "Spirited Away" will "break through" to a wider American audience when Princess Mononoke didn't? What a wonderfully fantastic movie!
posted by gen on Sep 21, 2002 - 32 comments

U.S. faces bigger issues than hitting Iraq.

U.S. faces bigger issues than hitting Iraq. A former Japanese diplomat--now chairman of the English-Speaking Union of Japan-- offers a quintessentially Japanese view regarding the manifest folly of a US attack on Iraq. (From The Japan Times). Mr. Hanabusa underscores the formidable difficulty of the victor's creating anything but a puppet "regime change." Since Japan has had some recent experience in this regard, his words merit contemplation by those who favor an immediate attack and damn the foreseeable consequences thereof.
posted by rdone on Sep 3, 2002 - 26 comments

The 2002 Women's World Series starts today. I have been dreaming of an eternal green field.
posted by ursus_comiter on Sep 2, 2002 - 2 comments

The Virtual Tour of Edo

The Virtual Tour of Edo allows you explore the city that would one day become Tokyo, Japan. Classical images illustrate short descriptions of life in this 18th century metropolis. Although modern Tokyo may look very "Western" on the surface, in its heart the spirit of Edo still lives on!
posted by Joey Michaels on Aug 24, 2002 - 6 comments

A new use for haiku!

A new use for haiku! Ancient Japanese art as spam filter? Habeas seems to think so. Come on kids, let the sorry attempts at poetry begin!
posted by krunk on Aug 20, 2002 - 28 comments

Chindogu

Chindogu is the ancient Japanese art of the Unuseless Invention -- that is, a creation which seems like a great idea, but which, in reality, causes more inconvenience than it cures. Behold the almost handy Backstratcher's T-Shirt, the Eyedrop Funnel Glasses, the Butter Stick and the Kitty Dust Slippers. Because everyone enjoys a good Unuseless Invention, I have given this book as a gift more than any other.
posted by Shadowkeeper on Aug 19, 2002 - 5 comments

One Hell of a Big Bang

One Hell of a Big Bang -- Studs Turkel meets Paul Tibbets the pilot of the Enola Gay. It's a great, though-provoking and disturbing interview to read on Hiroshima Day.
posted by LMG on Aug 6, 2002 - 40 comments

Ever wonder what beer tasted like 4000 years ago?

Ever wonder what beer tasted like 4000 years ago? Looks like some folks in Japan did to...
posted by aaronscool on Aug 5, 2002 - 15 comments

Look no further than John Fiorillo's Viewing of Japanese Prints for the definitive online resource on the art. Covering over three centuries of Japanese print making from Ukiyo-e through Shin Hanga and Sôsaku Hanga, Viewing has detailed histories and critiques of the artists, including such legendary masters as Katsushika Hokusai. The site also includes a wealth of information on the artform itself, with essays on topics as varied as the deciphering of prints and the various forms of poetry found on them, as well as archival notes on print fading. Have a question for the man himself? Shogun Gallery's discussion board is one of his favorite haunts, where he helps users with questions ranging from signature identification to the allusions found within a specific print. Given the wealth of information and beauty of the work, this site's a treasure.
posted by J. R. Hughto on Jul 31, 2002 - 9 comments

When the Japanese do ice cream, you end up with flavors like...well, whatever you're thinking, it's probably not too far off.
Mmm, wasabi.
posted by Su on Jul 23, 2002 - 30 comments

There are lots of toys modeled after automobiles, but no automobile has ever been modeled after a toy (?), until now. The insanely popular Choro-Q line of toy cars of Japan (ebay pics here) have inspired a whole new line of impossibly cute real cars, to be unveiled in November of this year. The tiny, brightly colored electric autos look like something straight out of a Roger Rabbit cartoon, seat one, go 50 miles on a battery charge, and cost around $10,000.00 - $16,000. Must...have...one...
posted by iconomy on Jul 16, 2002 - 15 comments

Karakuri trick Boxes

Karakuri trick Boxes Brought to you by one of the Karakuri craftsmen. Beautiful and intricate, you may also need some patience. RF-4 by Iwahara, for example, requires 324 moves to open (also featured at the Puzzle Museum)! Lest, you confuse these with Burr puzzles, you must know your puzzle-types.
posted by vacapinta on Jun 25, 2002 - 7 comments

Robocup 2002

Robocup 2002 kicks off today in Japan. Are they programmed to take dives?
posted by liam on Jun 19, 2002 - 2 comments

Fingertip found in a Japanese Rice Ball.

Fingertip found in a Japanese Rice Ball. In other news, the feds are thinking about investigating rumors about dead bodies being stored inside the biggest ball of twine in Minnesota.
posted by kingmissile on Jun 4, 2002 - 15 comments

Check out this soccer/baseball stadium. You can fold the baseball field and roll in the soccer one. Animation here. Amazing.
posted by sikander on Jun 1, 2002 - 17 comments

Japan leads move to cut whaling by Artic natives

Japan leads move to cut whaling by Artic natives [nytimes, reg. req.]. After being defeated in recent I.W.C. votes Japan wins one.
posted by rdr on May 25, 2002 - 11 comments

China thumbs nose at Japan, sends asylum seekers on their way.

China thumbs nose at Japan, sends asylum seekers on their way. A happy ending (beginning) for five North Korean asylum seekers who were dragged out of the Japanese consulate in Shenyang by Chinese police -- with more than tacit initial approval from local Japanese officials.
posted by Bixby23 on May 22, 2002 - 3 comments

Momo's parts.

Momo's parts. All about the different parts of one Japanese man's pet hamster plus illustrations. "I have read that hamster's whiskers shows the width that they can pass through. But Momo forgets. One day Momo tried to go into the cleaner hose. As he has the big hip, he could't go into it. And in his effect to go, he could't get his head out. When I ran to him in a hurry, his head gone out of the hose, and he rolled backward."
posted by moz on May 17, 2002 - 17 comments

UnificationChurch Under Siege in Brazil

UnificationChurch Under Siege in Brazil Rev. Moon's massive land purchases lead to major search-and-seizure operation. Money laundering and other no-no activities. This cult, the Avis to Scientology's Hertz, has paid President Bush I handsome money to speak in their behalf when they began operations in Brazil. They also own the Washington Times, Insight Magazine and many many other businesses, including a university, jewelry stores nationwide, and a ballet company. Their found, Rev. Moon, a convicted felon (taxes). Rumored to get money from Japanese mob to do their conservative activities, and now want to open car plant in China. Gone the days of merely selling roses.
posted by Postroad on May 14, 2002 - 2 comments

Japan’s Gross National Cool

Japan’s Gross National Cool - Foreign Policy has an interesting article on the impact of Japanese culture and how it has replaced "Made in Japan" products as the dominant export from Japan. The author points to director Hayao Miyazaki, director/actor Takeshi Kitano, artist Takashi Murakami, and singer/songwriter Namie Amuro, as well as anime in general and Hello Kitty as examples of the global spread of Japanese culture. Do you recognize these people or their work? [more inside]
posted by gen on Apr 30, 2002 - 18 comments

Japan criminalizes shrooms.

Japan criminalizes shrooms. Street merchants like these will soon be a thing of the past.
posted by skallas on Apr 25, 2002 - 9 comments

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