The Pacific War Photographs
of Pfc Glenn W. Eve — "In the summer of 1942, the U.S. Army called up a skinny California boy barely out of his teens. But at 5’9’’ and 125 pounds, Private Glenn W. Eve was deemed unfit for combat.
He might have spent the duration of World War II at a desk, except that he had field skills the Army needed – he was a gifted artist, draftsman and photographer who'd spent the previous four years working for the Walt Disney Co.
In July 1944, they promoted him to private first class (Pfc) and assigned him to the Signal Photo Corps, bound for the Pacific to document the war. This is his collection, never before published. All comments in quotes are Pfc Eve's, written on the back of the photo."
Dance of Darkness
) is a documentary about the Japanese art form, Butoh
. (Video links are generally NSFW:Nudity) [more inside]
The Great Wave off Kanagawa
is probably the most iconic Japanese artwork in history
, often used to illustrate tsunamis, and scientists have attempted to analyze what kind of wave it depicts
. The woodprint is part of the 36 Views of Mount Fuji
series, which depicts the famous mountain from different spots in Japan
. The artist who made the Great Wave, Katsushika Hokusai, created thousands of images, many of which can be viewed online, such as in the internet galleries of the Museum of Fine Art
(Visipix' Hokusai page
). Besides woodprints, Hokusai produced sketchbooks he called manga, one of which, number twelve, can be flipped through on the Swedish Touch and Turn website
Two old sheets of paper tell a story.
Scroll down to the last big paragraph of the blog post, just above the photo of the two yellowed sheets of paper. (h/t Jane H.)
When is a private space a public space? When it's a Privately Owned Public Space (POPS)
. In accordance with the planning codes of some cities, owners or builders of buildings are mandated to provide members of the general public access to spaces which include rooftop gardens, courtyards, and plazas. [more inside]
Illustrator Jed Henry and woodblock printmaker David Bull recently collaborated on a set of videogame-inspired woodblock prints
in the ukiyo-e style
. Just recently funded through Kickstarter
, the prints are already underway
. There are videos of the creative process here
and at the bottom of the first link.
Ten years after Commodore Matthew Perry first visited Japan
with four war ships and a letter from President Fillmore
, Japan sent out a third Embassy to Western Nations (following the first Japanese Embassy to the United States
in 1860, and the first Japanese Embassy to Europe
in 1862). The third tour had the same goal as the first two: learn about Western cultures, and try to postpone the opening of Japanese ports to foreign trade. During that third tour, the group were on their way to France when they stopped in Egypt. On this stop, the members of the mission were photographed posing before the Sphinx
, dressed in winged kamishimo costume and jingasa hats, carrying their feared long (katana) and short (wakizashi) swords
. [more inside]
Kaseyama Co. makes clothes for Japanese construction workers, who are called "tobi." Here is what they look like.
Super Mario Bros. Special
occupies a strange place in Mario history. It's one of the few Mario games produced for a system other than Nintendo's own, licensed by Hudson Soft for the Japanese
PC-8801 computer system. The system was fairly weak compared to an NES, so it didn't scroll; when Mario gets to the edge of the screen, it flips to the next. The game wasn't always designed with that in mind however, leading to a lot of blind jumps. You can play a hacked version of the original Super Mario Bros. designed to recreate this game using the patch found here
. And here's a video playthrough of the whole game: World 1
, World 2
, World 3
, World 4
, World 5
, World 6
, World 7
, World 8
, Last level & ending
. And here's a trap room in World 4
For US$1275, You Can Get a 3D Model of Your Foetus The result is a scale reproduction of your unborn baby, composed of an opaque white fetus encased in the mother’s clear, colorless abdomen.
[via The Verge]
Legend: A Journey Through Iceland
is a 12 min. 31 sec. long time-lapse video of Icelandic landscapes, set to the music of MONO, a Japanese post-rock band. A bit more MONO and pleasant landscapes inside. [more inside]
Japan Turns Masturbation into an Art
"The days when the sex industry believed only women were in desperate need of self-pleasuring aids appear to be long gone. Nowadays, when one walks into a sex shop, aisles offering male masturbation tools are just as bountiful as those catering to women. At least in Japan. Seven years after Koichi Matsumoto left his car salesmen job to start 'something that hasn’t been done before' and launched Tenga 'New Adult Concept,' his company has sold over 15 million male masturbation units worldwide."
A recent trend in the ultra-fashion-conscious world of Tokyo teen girls: B-Style
, or "black lifestyle", that is, emulating the black women in rap videos. In the video you will see Japanese girls with weaves and incredibly dark tans to mimic black skin. Rebellious rejection of convention
, or weird sideways racism (one girl says: "when we do it it looks vulgar, but not on the black women")?
Yesterday, July 29, 2012, saw a massive antinuclear protest, attended by young and old alike, in Tokyo. This video
, and this one
, too, (both well-edited and featuring English subtitles) bring you right into the center of the action, to get a feel for the energy that the movement is steadily gaining.
Need some cuteness in your day?
Teru Teru Bozu
are small handmade dolls loosely resembling bald monks, which are traditionally made in Japan and hung up, to [allegedly] bring good weather.
There's a cute song that goes along with the tradition.
Want to make your own?
Wisdom, Age, and Society in America and Japan
"ONE stereotype of wisdom is a wizened Zen-master smiling benevolently at the antics of his pupils, while referring to them as little grasshoppers or some such affectation, safe in the knowledge that one day they, too, will have been set on the path that leads to wizened masterhood. But is it true that age brings wisdom? A study two years ago in North America, by Igor Grossmann of the University of Waterloo, in Canada, suggested that it is. In as much as it is possible to quantify wisdom, Dr Grossmann found that elderly Americans had more of it than youngsters. He has, however, now extended his investigation to Asia—the land of the wizened Zen-master—and, in particular, to Japan. There, he found, in contrast to the West, that the grasshoppers are their masters' equals almost from the beginning.... Japanese have higher scores than Americans for the sort of interpersonal wisdom you might think would be useful in an individualistic society. Americans, by contrast—at least in the maturity of old age—have more intergroup wisdom than the purportedly collectivist Japanese. Perhaps, then, you need individual skills when society is collective, and social ones when it is individualistic."
"The business of recycling dead humans into medical implants is a little-known yet lucrative trade. But its practices have roused concerns about how tissues are obtained and how well grieving families and transplant patients are informed about the realities and the risks."
After an eight month international investigation, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
has published an extensive four-part exposé into the black market for cadavers and human tissue: Skin and Bone: The Shadowy Trade in Human Body Parts (Via) [more inside]
While researching the robotic sculptures
of Kenji Yanobe
) I stumbled across this remarkable, eye-popping collection of artists at the Yamamoto Gendai
is a one-day Japanese game jam that takes its name from the "stupid hair" or antenna
of anime characters. Every session has a theme; previous ones include Albatross
, and Travel
. The fifth one
started a few minutes ago; the theme is "Yoshida", a common surname. [more inside]
The curious case of the eroding eikaiwa salary.
Now fraught with job insecurity and low pay, there was a time when the work was steady and salaries were high for those who taught English in Japan. Around the turn of the millennium, salaries and work conditions for English teachers in Japan began a downward trend — one that has now spilled into the '10s and shows no signs of slowing, let alone reversing.
(復活の日 Fukkatsu no hi
, literally "Day of Resurrection") is a 1980 Japanese post-apocalyptic film about the release and spread of a deadly virus. [more inside]
Japanese beatboxer Hikakin collaborates
with American dancer Nonstop. [Previously
スターウルフ, "Star Wolf
," was a half-hour sci-fi TV show produced and aired in Japan in 1978. (TV Tropes page
-- addiction warning) It had somewhat cheesy special effects, understandable being a TV series made just one year after Star Wars, but it made up for it with style, energy, and ACTION PACKED MUSIC
American viewers will know it best as the show ripped apart and reassembled into two Fugitive Alien movies by Sandy Frank Productions
, then shown on two memorable episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000. (Episodes on YouTube: Fugitive Alien, its sequel.)
Although the Japanese show got at least two seasons (the second under the title Space Hero Star Wolf
), only the first four episodes appear to exist on the internet. Here they are: One
. (There are no subtitles, but you should be able to figure out what is going on if you've seen the MST episode.) [more inside]
In the year and a half since the earthquake and tsunami caused an industry-wide Japanese nuclear shutdown
, Japanese consumers and businesses have been urged to conserve energy
whenever possible. Although a few reactors
are being brought back online temporarily, the Japanese government has pledged to move away from nuclear power sources. Yesterday the Japanese government announced what may be
the world's highest solar photovolatic feed-in tariff
at 53 cents per kWh generated. [more inside]
"[N]early all Japanese people have figurines, anime or cartoon characters hanging from their mobile phones — for the most part without realizing they are in their mass-produced, contemporary way keeping alive the nation's netsuke
tradition. In contrast, those netsuke on Kuroiwa's phone are the real deal — small, delicate, uniquely crafted sculptures in ivory and an assortment of woods." Julian Littler searches for traditional ivory netsuke carvers
(print view; standard web view
), and interviews Akira Kuroiwa, a member of the Japan Ivory Sculptors Association
(Google auto-translation). [via MetaChat
] [more inside]
Upgrade Your Nintendo 3DS’s Sound. [SLYT]
"Of the variety of things one might find to complain about in regards to the Nintendo 3DS, the sound doesn’t immediately come to mind. It’s not great sound, mind, but there are a litany of things that are more obvious. Thanks to one intrepid inventor, however, you are now just a series of tubes, clips and metal funnels away from awesome sound. Now, in order to figure out the exact combination of these things you’ll need to translate the instructions from Japanese." [Via].
In 1989 the Japanese Government passed the Media Betterment Act, permitting censorship of any media deemed to be harmful to society. On the basis of the imperative for libraries to resist any attempts at suppression of free speech, local governments created an armed resistance force to combat censorship. The conflict between the government and library forces continues to 2019, where the story of Library War
begins. [more inside]
is a band from Sapporo with a very stylish web site
and some pretty unique music videos
, especially but by no means limited to: [more inside]
Taiyo Matsumoto's original five volume manga Ping Pong was one of the most surprising and gripping experiences I've had this year. But a huge reason for that is the artwork: he packs more kinetic energy into a single drawing of a shoe skidding across a floor than any real shoe has ever had. So it was with some trepidation that I saw posters for this adaptation going up in stores around Japan. Fumihiko Masuri is a first time director (not that you'd know it), with a background in computer effects. He seems to have directed this mainly because he's a really big fan of the manga too. On the film's website, they've placed images from the manga next to photographs of the actors in the film, so you can see how obsessive compulsive they were in matching faces. Not only faces, but movements, playing styles, and shot composition is all straight from the book, as if they'd used the manga in lieu of storyboards. Even the occasional surreal touch; a boy growing butterfly wings, a dragonfly landing on the net, is right out of the page onto the screen.
-- Midnight Eye review
; subtitled movie in 12 parts: 1
Hard Gay was a Japanese pro wrestler
turned TV personality
popular in the mid 2000s. Like Sacha Baron Cohen's Brüno
, he is a cartoonish gay foreigner portrayed by a straight person, but has come under considerably greater scrutiny
for his more minstrelsy than satyrical approach. The BBC has profiled Hard Gay as part of their series, Japanorama
. [more inside]
Pascal Ken, after taking several trips to Japan between 2007 and 2011, took some beautiful, dreamlike infrared photos of Tokyo
Derek Sivers explains the fascinating Japanese addressing system
Robot hair washer
has twenty-four fingers [via
Ikuo Yokoyama lost his home and three family members in the Japanese tsunami last year. Among the losses was a Harley-Davidson motorcycle he had bought five years ago and keeping in the back of a cube van... which floated across the Pacific Ocean and was found by Peter Mark, a resident of British Columbia
, on an beach on Graham Island (it's the big one up the B.C. coast, near Alaska). Aside from some rust, the motorcycle seems to be in decent condition, and Harley-Davidson plans to restore it and ship it back to Yokoyama.
(seen 'round here before
) has organized its third
annual Obscura Day
for April 28. It's "an international celebration of unusual places," from the Fairy Doors
of Ann Arbor, Michigan and the Particle Accelerator at John E. Edwards Accelerator Laboratory
in Athens, Ohio, to a tour of the Secrets & Oddities
of the National Museum
in Edinburgh, Scotland and an Expedition to the 1,553 Stone-Carved Monks
in the city of Kyonan, Chiba Prefecture, Japan.
I prepared for my first-ever trip to Japan, this summer, almost entirely by immersing myself in the work of Haruki Murakami. This turned out to be a horrible idea.
For his cover article
on the novelist Haruki Murakami, Sam Anderson visited some key places from Murakami’s life and work.
The Fierce Imagination of Haruki Murakami
. [more inside]
A month ago, the Japanese TV show "Morning Bird" discussed the current state
of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, and specifically Unit 4, which is in terrible condition
. During an interview with Dr. Hiroaki Koide, Research Associate at the Research Reactor Institute of Kyoto University, who explains the immense difficulty in moving the radioactive fuel rods - a process that will not even start
until 2013 - the presenter asks what would happen if even a moderate earthquake struck near the plant before the fuel rods can be moved. Koide replies
That will be the end.
Little parakeet just won't leave kitty alone
. I mean, really
. Doesn't matter if kitty is drinking
, or trying to sleep
. He just won't leave kitty alone
. I mean, really
. Kitty's cool with it, though, and they enjoy the same food
. And neither of them are especially interested in the beetle
In 1982 the manga, Akira (previously
) , began its run. It would ultimately spawn a film that would lead the way for the growth of the anime medium outside of Japan. An attempted Americanized remake (previouslyer
) was in production before being ultimately canceled
The manga’s creator, Katsuhiro Otomo, in the meantime, had taken a 20 year break from long-form manga. It was recently announced that this break was coming to an end and that Otomo would be working on a new long-form shonen series
The Nakagin Capsule Tower (slyt)
is a prime example
of the uniquely Japanese architecture known as "Metabolism"
, as well as the main inspiration for Tokyo's famous Capsule Hotels
. The most unique feature of this building style is the interchangeability of the individual units, supposedly to allow it to adapt to changes in density and lifestyle (although that plan hasn't exactly panned out). Local residents are calling for the tower to be demolished, although a group of architects are trying to preserve it as an architectural landmark [more inside]