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The Fukushima Robot Diaries

Fukushima Robot Operator Writes Tell-All Blog. "An anonymous worker at Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant has written dozens of blog posts describing his experience as a lead robot operator at the crippled facility." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Aug 24, 2011 - 19 comments

Woman achieves Judo 10th degree black belt - at 98

98 year old woman just got her 10th level black belt in Judo. Only three people in the world, all men living in Japan, have ever reached that mark. The martial arts promotion by USA Judo brought 98-year-old Fukuda to tears at the women's dojo where she still teaches in Noe Valley. Last week, Sensei Keiko Fukuda of San Francisco became the first woman to be promoted to judo's highest level: 10th degree black belt. Video about Fukuda Keiko. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Aug 9, 2011 - 102 comments

If they didn’t surrender after Tokyo, they weren’t going to after Hiroshima.

Q: What ended WWII? A: Not the atomic bomb. [more inside]
posted by swift on Aug 8, 2011 - 171 comments

Mission Accepted.....Mission Complete.

Gundam Navi: [Via: Comics Alliance] "If you're a Japanese otaku growing bored of your crippling iPhone GPS dependence, Namco Bandai could have the solution for you -- gaming your way to destinations with Mobile Suit Gundam. Gundam Navi, the first of a line of Character Navi programs, is a new GPS app that transforms a user's commute into "battle events" that pit a location marker against randomly generated enemies lined up on a given route." Gundam Navi is available for iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS. The app costs ¥3,500 for one year of usage. [Screenshot 1] [Screenshot 2] [Screenshot 3] [Screenshot 4] [Screenshot 5]
posted by Fizz on Jul 30, 2011 - 28 comments

Surreal J-pop video

PonPonPon (earworm alert) from Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. [via]
posted by unliteral on Jul 26, 2011 - 58 comments

boxes:Maru::baskets:Shiro

The Basket Cat Blog: Shiro loves very small baskets. He also wears flowered hats (sometimes vegetables) and enjoys the idyllic Japanese countryside of Iwate Prefecture. He and his brothers are very chill. Many short but sweet videos of them have been uploaded to YouTube on the shironekoshiro channel. The blog is updated frequently and has extensive archives. More archives here. Twitter Facebook [more inside]
posted by bobobox on Jul 24, 2011 - 35 comments

Meanwhile, in Japan | Katsuyo Aoki

I feel I am able to express an - atmosphere- that is a part of the complex world in this age. Katsuyo Aoki was born in 1972 in Tokyo, JAPAN, he work principally with ceramics, incorporating various decorative styles, patterns, and symbolic forms.
posted by at the crossroads on Jul 19, 2011 - 10 comments

The Bo-Taoshi that can be told is not the true Bo-Taoshi

Capture the flag, as played in Japan. via loq [more inside]
posted by Horselover Phattie on Jul 18, 2011 - 47 comments

Japan wins Woman's World Cup

Congratulations to Japan!!! All that screaming practice paid off. Spirits are lifted. [more inside]
posted by josher71 on Jul 18, 2011 - 82 comments

"The dress is designed to look it's most beautiful as the woman walks away"

The joint crushing of the wedding ring is the highlight of the event With many people reassessing their life choices following the tsunami, Japan is seeing a marked increase in divorce ceremonies. As well as the ring crushing, these ceremonies feature friends and family witnesses, dresses "designed to look it's most beautiful as the woman walks away" and frog motifs.
posted by sarastro on Jul 5, 2011 - 78 comments

Something For The Eye, Something for the Mind

Box Art showcases awesome and artistic videogame box art. Eastern Mind writes about obscure Japanese videogames, with a focus on adventures and music games.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn on Jun 20, 2011 - 11 comments

"Sex selection defies culture, nationality and creed."

"Over the past few decades, 160 million women have vanished from East and South Asia — or, to be more accurate, they were never born at all. Throughout the region, the practice of sex selection — prenatal sex screening followed by selective termination of pregnancies — has yielded a generation packed with boys. From a normal level of 105 boys to 100 girls, the ratio has shifted to 120, 150, and, in some cases, nearly 200 boys born for every 100 girls. In some countries, like South Korea, ratios spiked and are now returning to normal. But sex selection is on the rise in Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East." American journalist Mara Hvistendahl's new book: "Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men," examines and tries to predict the actual and potential effects of unequal sex ratios on men, women and the social economies of the affected regions, including the recent spike in sex trafficking and bride-buying across Asia. More. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 10, 2011 - 65 comments

Unit 731 - A Lesser Known Piece of WW2 History

While most Westerners are familiar with the Holocaust and Nazi war crimes, fewer Westerners know much about the war crimes committed by the Japanese military throughout Asia, particularly the human medical experiments conducted by Unit 731. [more inside]
posted by The ____ of Justice on Jun 7, 2011 - 95 comments

The Ghost of Gulliver's Kingdom

Kamikuishiki was a village in the Yamanashi Prefecture in Japan that gained unwanted international attention in 1995 as a key location for Aum Shinrikyo, the religious cult behind a number of acts of violence, including the Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway. To change the nature of attention given to the picturesque village, a new attraction was built on the former site of the cult complex: Gulliver's Kingdom, a mixed up theme park with a Scandinavian town, a petting zoo, a French puppet theater to tell the story of Gulliver, and a 45 meter version of Gulliver himself, pinned to the ground. The park was opened in 1997, but Niigata Chuo Bank was facing serious problems two years later, collapsing "under the weight of nonperforming loans." The theme park's owners were the largest borrowers from the bank, and the park closed in 2001. The park was finally purchased in 2002 in the 3rd auction attempt. In 2006, Kamikuishiki disappeared, divided and the parts merged into neighboring municipalities. The next year, Gulliver's Kingdom was demolished, leaving behind photos (new and old), and memories.
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 6, 2011 - 4 comments

Music like shattered glass

Kashiwa Daisuke is a japanese post-rock musician, (formerly in Yodaka) who specializes in gorgeous, epic, glitchy piano pieces that constantly seem on the verge of falling apart... Stella, April 02, Write Once, Run Melos are my favorites.
posted by empath on Jun 2, 2011 - 39 comments

What the Eye Doesn't See, the Heart Doesn't Mind.

Step Across the Border (previously, link now broken) "as long as I was playing in a band I didn't have to actually go out there and talk to girls and dance, I could just be on stage and watch everybody else doing it". The critically acclaimed music documentary on Fred Frith, written and directed by Nicolas Humbert and Werner Penzel (amazon link). It is also available in 8 parts, on youtube. [more inside]
posted by idiopath on May 28, 2011 - 11 comments

And Seven wins by a nose!

Japan World Cup. It's in Japanese, but if you don't understand a word of what's going on here, but just click on random stuff until the race starts.
posted by empath on May 26, 2011 - 30 comments

Nitto of Japan

Do you love beautifully crafted bike parts? Do you love your Nitto handlebars, stem, seatpost or racks? Enjoy this brief visit to the Nitto factory.
posted by rainperimeter on May 24, 2011 - 36 comments

Atmosphere above Japan heated up before earthquake says NASA

The atmosphere above Japan was observed by NASA to heat up rapidly several days before the Great Earthquake, probably caused by stresses in the fault releasing massive amounts of radon. [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on May 18, 2011 - 31 comments

Greetings, True Believers!

Marvel.com now has many animated series (all episodes, in their entirety) available to view online at their website including The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Superheroes, X-Men, The Animated Series, X-Men Evolution, Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes, and Spider-Man (1967) (Full list inside) [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 17, 2011 - 35 comments

Fabulousness is the right of all sentient beings.

"They’re dekotora ('decoration trucks') and they are 'driving' me crazy with ideas." [more inside]
posted by Astro Zombie on May 16, 2011 - 10 comments

Short films by Osamu Tezuka

10 short, experimental, animated films by Osamu Tezuka, godfather of anime: Jumping, Memory, Push, Broken Down Film, Mermaid, Drop, Story of a Street Corner, Genesis, Muramasa, Self Portrait. Tezuka is best known in the West for creating Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion and the mangas Buddha, Phoenix and Black Jack. Here is an interview where Tezuka talks about his shorter, experimental films.
posted by Kattullus on May 13, 2011 - 11 comments

'Do Not Cry'

JKTS: A Japanese medical aid worker's diary An anonymous blog written by a Japanese nurse as she cared for victims of the tsunami has given strength to survivors and fellow relief workers.
posted by PepperMax on May 10, 2011 - 3 comments

'Til Death Tries To Do Us Part And Beyond

The Honeymoon From Hell. Stefan and Erika Svanstrom had planned a long trip that would start in Singapore in early December and end in China four months later. But things didn't go exactly as planned. They encountered floods, fires, tsunamis and earthquakes along the way.
posted by mannequito on May 6, 2011 - 14 comments

For the Love of Music

"A ballet dancer needs a mirror to perfect her style, her technique. A singer needs the same -- an aural mirror."
In 1950 and '51, Japan’s first reel-to-reel tape recorders, the "G-Type" (for gov't use) and the "H-1" (for home use) were released by a company named Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo. Music student Norio Ohga was unimpressed by the wobbly sound of "Talking Paper," so he wrote a note complaining to the firm's founders, who hired him. Mr. Ohga never achieved his original dream of becoming a baritone opera singer, but the future President of TTK, (later renamed Sony,) would still make an indelible, global impact on the world of music -- including the development and introduction of the compact disc. Mr. Ohga died on April 24, 2011. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 4, 2011 - 3 comments

This week in love

This week in love: the winning submission of the NYT's now-annual college Modern Love essay contest, the 2011 US pole dance champion (probably NSFW), and a Japanese kissing machine in development.
posted by wpenman on May 3, 2011 - 16 comments

Vanguard of American Journalism

Current TV previously & previously, the media company founded by Al Gore after the 2000 election, has picked up the kinds of in depth long form journalism being rapidly dropped by major networks, but has been tantalizingly unavailable for those without cable; until now. They have been putting their Vanguard episodes up on their website and on YouTube. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Apr 30, 2011 - 24 comments

Photographic Immortality

The Burns Archive is a collection of over 700,000 historical photographs that document disturbing subject matter: obsolete medical practices and experiments, death, disease, disasters, crime, revolutions, riots and war. Newsweek posted a select gallery this past October, as well as a video interview and walk-through with curator and collector Dr. Stanley B. Burns, a New York opthalmologist. (Via) (Content at links may be disturbing to some.) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 26, 2011 - 15 comments

The 98-year-old judo master

After nearly a century, Keiko Fukuda still lives for judo [video]. Earlier this month, Fukuda turned 98. The last surviving student of Judo founder Jigoro Kano, she teaches classes in the Bay Area despite having lived nearly a century. Fukuda, at 9th degree black belt, is the highest-ranking woman in judo history. [more inside]
posted by jeffmshaw on Apr 25, 2011 - 22 comments

Kittens in Bowls!

Here's a bunch of kittens in bowls. Love, Japan
posted by XQUZYPHYR on Apr 19, 2011 - 63 comments

Japan's Nuclear Crisis Keeps Going

Reactor shutdowns nine months away: Tokyo Electric Power Co. announced Sunday that it will take six to nine months to complete a cold shutdown of the damaged reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, while the United States proposed a daring plan to use a remote-controlled helicopter and cranes to pluck out their spent fuel rods... If all goes well, displaced residents from the evacuation zone should know within six to nine months whether they will be able to go home, trade minister Banri Kaieda said. [Previously] [Open MeFi pro vs. con nuclear policy thread] [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Apr 17, 2011 - 501 comments

Wonderful Day

Cathy's House [SLYT]
posted by Fizz on Apr 17, 2011 - 36 comments

Freelancer covering Tohoku Disaster(s)

Covering Tohoku The Foreign Correspondent's Club of Japan (FCCJ) has posted a special edition of its No. 1 Shimbun covering the Tohoku Earthquake: FCCJ members, many of them freelancers, were the first on the scene after the quake and have led coverage since. Weeks after the global media pack left, they're still here. There's articles by veteran Japan reporters such as Charles Pomeroy who recently retired to Otsuchi after covering Japan for 50 years, to newer stringers such as Gavin Blair who worked as a "fixer" for foreign prima-donna journos dashing in and out of the disaster zone. There is a photo by photographer Rob Gilhooly who recently made a heartbreaking trip into the exclusion zone near the plants. Although not included in No 1 Shimbun, freelancer Yas Idei provides a Japanese perspective (in English) about the multiple disasters. Idei's piece about Rokkashomura is pretty enlightening, frightening, and depressing.
posted by KokuRyu on Apr 12, 2011 - 23 comments

vintage Japan and Hong Kong

Old Hong Kong/Macau clips 1949-1989 by Michael Rogge, now 81, who was stationed in Hong Kong and Japan. He documented his life in photos and 16mm film, clips on YT | his YouTube channel | Old Japan in 1870 Engravings. Taken from a Dutch magazine 'De aarde en haar volken' of 1875. Engravings done by French artists. | Old JAPAN in 1869 in engravings French engravings, part of a travelogue, picture a weird Japan. Pictures appeared in Dutch magazine 'De Aarde en haar Volken' of 1869 and were engraved by French artists. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Apr 11, 2011 - 5 comments

Namazu-e: Earthquake catfish prints

"In November 1855, the Great Ansei Earthquake struck the city of Edo (now Tokyo), claiming 7,000 lives and inflicting widespread damage. Within days, a new type of color woodblock print known as namazu-e (lit. "catfish pictures") became popular among the residents of the shaken city. These prints featured depictions of mythical giant catfish (namazu) who, according to popular legend, caused earthquakes by thrashing about in their underground lairs. In addition to providing humor and social commentary, many prints claimed to offer protection from future earthquakes."
posted by madamjujujive on Apr 8, 2011 - 19 comments

Japan hit by another earthquake

A tsunami warning has been issued for north-eastern Japan after an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.4.

Per Reuters: "Tokyo Electric says its engineers at Fukushima Daiichi plant have evacuated after tsunami warning." However, NISA reports that the Onagawa nuke plant in Miyagi-ken has lost 2 of 3 external power grids.
posted by pleasebekind on Apr 7, 2011 - 76 comments

Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant Hi-Res Photos

The long running "eyeball" series from noted cryptography and information freedom site Cryptome [many previously] hosts hi-res photos of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear site taken from a UAV and inside the stricken plant. Also eyeball shots of other Japanese nuclear reactors.
posted by T.D. Strange on Apr 4, 2011 - 51 comments

Sayonara America, Sayonara Nippon.

A series of articles about developments in Japanese popular music spanning from the mid-1960s to the late-1970s. Part 1: 1966-1969. 'Although much has been written on Japanese experimental and avant-garde music from this period, the 60s and 70s were also times of massive change and development for mainstream Japanese music, and the origin of the split between “underground” and “overground” in Japan’s pop music discourse.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword on Mar 31, 2011 - 6 comments

Brit creates 'Quakebook' to help disaster victims

Last Friday the blogger “Our Man in Abiko” launched an effort to produce a crowd-sourced collection prose, photos and illustrations that would be compiled into a self-published book to benefit the victims of the Japan earthquake | The title of the book is 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Mar 29, 2011 - 7 comments

Unshelved.

Photos from all over Japan of libraries after the earthquake. (Via) [more inside]
posted by jardinier on Mar 29, 2011 - 10 comments

Segaga... ga?

The video game SEGAGAGA, a Japan-only release for the Dreamcast, is an incredibly odd bit of gaming history. A business sim (of sorts) it tasks the player to lead Sega to victory over its rival the evil DOGMA Corporation (a thinly veiled analog for Sony). Loaded with in-jokes obvious and obscure, it is a love letter to Sega fans, and it was one of the last Dreamcast games made before Sega went third party. After a four-year hiatus, the Segagaga fan translation project has resumed work on localizing this most unusual game. Intro video. Edge Magazine interviews the director. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 23, 2011 - 24 comments

Brit Writer Goes Pro-Nuke.

Why Fukushima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power Brit writer raises interesting points.
posted by goalyeehah on Mar 22, 2011 - 403 comments

Yakuza To The Rescue

Even Japan’s infamous mafia groups are helping out with the relief efforts and showing a strain of civic duty. "The Kanagawa Block of the Inagawa-kai, has sent 70 trucks to the Ibaraki and Fukushima areas to drop off supplies in areas with high radiations levels. They didn't keep track of how many tons of supplies they moved. The Inagawa-kai as a whole has moved over 100 tons of supplies to the Tohoku region. They have been going into radiated areas without any protection or potassium iodide."
posted by kingv on Mar 22, 2011 - 63 comments

Radiation, yes indeed.

The xkcd Radiation Dose Chart. (More about it.) (via)
posted by Artw on Mar 20, 2011 - 95 comments

Japan explains nuclear crisis to kids with a cartoon about poop and farts

Japan explains nuclear crisis to kids with a cartoon about poop and farts
posted by Alcibiades. on Mar 18, 2011 - 55 comments

Japanpost-earthquake nuclear crisis keeps going

Fukushima Dai-ichi status and potential outcomes The Oil Drum has begun posting daily threads about the Japanese nuclear plant event. As during the last energy crisis, the comments there tend to have a good signal-to-noise ratio.
posted by mediareport on Mar 17, 2011 - 1789 comments

The cats are safe!

Cat Island is Safe, Needs Supplies The people of Cat Island have a long history with cats: [more inside]
posted by Katjusa Roquette on Mar 16, 2011 - 34 comments

Too many

Five days of earthquakes. An animated display of all earthquakes over M4.5. 1 video sec = 1 hour real time. The big one hits at 1:17. (SLYT).
posted by CheeseDigestsAll on Mar 16, 2011 - 28 comments

Sit! Search and Rescue Dogs Denied

Swiss search and rescue dogs were having trouble entering Japan due to strict Japanese rules on imported animals. [more inside]
posted by anya32 on Mar 16, 2011 - 34 comments

on helping after the earthquake

Want to help out after the earthquake in Japan? Huffington Post has info on how best to donate to disaster relief and Charity Navigator has information on what organizations are working there. On the nerdier side of things, the fandom community over at Livejournal is auctioning off their art, from fanfiction to scarves to editing, at help_japan and quite a few of the DeviantArt kids are making "Pray For Japan" (and "don't pray, just act") themed art to encourage people to donate. (More on the DeviantArt stuff.) Some Etsy users are also selling crafts for earthquake relief*. [more inside]
posted by NoraReed on Mar 15, 2011 - 32 comments

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