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The cat, the mouse, and the elephant.

"This is your state! A big country like India is a slave to a small country like Britain. The Indian soldiers should be fighting for their freedom which can only be achieved if England is destroyed. You are only fighting to remain enslaved." A comprehensive account of WWII propaganda campaigns on all sides of the complicated relationship between Axis, Allies, and India. [more inside]
posted by albrecht on Oct 8, 2010 - 13 comments

Ms. Roboto

A robotic teacher, Ms. Saya, conducts her first class at an elementry school in Tokyo. [more inside]
posted by lauratheexplorer on Oct 7, 2010 - 28 comments

Shattered

Hey Mick, why don't you start singing Gimme Shelter at the mixing desk in the middle of the a huge crowd and then leisurely stroll to the stage. Nothing bad will happen. (SLYT) [more inside]
posted by punkfloyd on Oct 7, 2010 - 66 comments

A Compendium of Obscure Things

Res Obscura is a blog by Ben Breen, a graduate student of early modern history, which styles itself "a compendium of obscure things." Indeed, even the asides are full of wonder, such as the one about Boy, the famous Royalist war poodle of the English Civil War, which is but a short addendum to a post about witches' familiars. Here are some of my favorite posts, Pirate Surgeon in Panama (and a related post about 18th Century Jamaica), vanished civilizations, asemic pseudo-Arabic and -Hebrew writing in Renaissance art, and a series of posts about the way the Chinese and Japanese understood the world outside Asia in the early modern period (Europeans as 'Other', Europeans as 'Other,' Redux and Early Chinese World Maps).
posted by Kattullus on Sep 30, 2010 - 16 comments

DIY Outlet Shopping at Akihabara

Insiders Tour of Akihabara. The guys over at toykohackerspace provide us with a guide to the ultimate in geek shopping; whether it's custom CNC'ed radio enclosures, every tweezer imaginable, or you just want to buy a robot, Akihabara is the place to be. [via /.] [more inside]
posted by Mach5 on Sep 26, 2010 - 20 comments

Welcome to the Evil Federated Empire of Europe

Europe according to... is a project to map stereotypes of European countries according to other countries and groups of people. [more inside]
posted by desjardins on Sep 22, 2010 - 57 comments

RIP Kihachirō Kawamoto

On August 23rd, the great Japanese stop-motion animator and president of the Japan Animation Association Kihachirō Kawamoto passed away at the age of 85. Here is a selection of his beautiful short films (available on DVD) __ Farce Anthropo - Cynique (1970) - The Demon (1972) [more inside]
posted by louche mustachio on Sep 22, 2010 - 6 comments

Happy 25th to the SUPER Mario Bros, Peach and Bowser

September 13, 2010 marks the 25th anniversary of the original Japanese release of Super Mario Bros, featuring the return of everyone's favorite sailor, Popeye. That's not right, he's the Italian carpenter, Mario. Wait, now he's a plumber with a brother (named Luigi Mario), and they're not normal, they're super! And they're fighting to save Princess Peach Toadstool from an angry ox king, who became the stubborn but cute turtle Bowser. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 13, 2010 - 58 comments

September gryllus do so much

Mr. Takai doesn’t care much for ordinary crickets. He’s a connoisseur. For the last 20 years, he’s been raising “suzumushi,” bell crickets, so that in September his knife, scissors and hardware store will ring and sing with cricket song. The song of suzumushi. A primer on Meloimorpha japonica, the 'bell cricket.'
posted by grounded on Sep 13, 2010 - 10 comments

The Cake Felt 'Round the World

Less than a year after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the United States detonated the fourth and fifth nuclear weapons under the name Operation Crossroads in July 1946. Beyond testing the capabilities of nuclear bombs, the Navy said it wanted the Bikini tests treated like "the story of the year, maybe of the decade, and possibly of a lifetime." Only two of the three bombs were detonated, and the project was shut down over the next months. To celebrate the efforts of Operation Crossroads, a cake in the shape of a mushroom cloud was featured at a publicized event on November 5, 1946. In response to this display, Reverend Arthur Powell Davies, the minister of the Unitarian All Souls Church in Washington, D.C., gave a sermon on the "utterly loathsome picture" and the message it sent to other nations. That sermon set off a flurry of replies and reactions, that extended around the world, including a connection formed between Reverend Davies' All Souls Unitarian Church and school children in Hiroshima. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 8, 2010 - 62 comments

Turn Me On

A fascinating look at some interesting, and at times mind-boggling, arrays of dials and switches.
posted by gman on Sep 6, 2010 - 48 comments

"And with a flip of the switch I can turn her off if she starts to nag me!"

Only in Japan, Real Men Go to a Hotel With Virtual Girlfriends: Dating-Simulation Game a Last Resort For Honeymoon Town and Its Lonely Guests. "Some devoted fans will go so far as to pay twice the rate—most hotels in Japan charge per guest not per room—to indulge the fantasy that they are not there alone. A night's stay, at most, can cost $500 though many rooms are cheaper. In Atami, the Love Plus+ fans—mostly men in their twenties and thirties—stand out. Unlike the deeply tanned beach crowd wearing very little, they are often pasty and overdressed for the heat in heavy jeans and button-down shirts." [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Sep 5, 2010 - 49 comments

SNIT!

Badass Japanese Precision Walking Competition. Craziness starts at 1:45, and just gets better from there on.
posted by lazaruslong on Sep 4, 2010 - 69 comments

Roger Ebert on Anime, with a focus on Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli

"In Japan, animation is not seen as the exclusive realm of children's and family films, but is often used for adult, science fiction and action stories, where it allows a kind of freedom impossible in real life. Some Hollywood films strain so desperately against the constraints of the possible that you wish they'd just caved in and gone with animation." -- Roger Ebert on anime, with this excerpt being related to Tokyo Godfathers. Ebert has been a fan of anime for a while, especially the works of Hayao Miyazaki. Ebert has reviewed 6 of the 18 Studio Ghibli films released to date, and even interviewed Miyazaki with a bit of fanboy glee. More reviews and videos inside. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 30, 2010 - 92 comments

“Toro is junk food for low income earners.”

"The Japanese Tradition" was a series of nine short, parody "How To" videos that gently mocked the formality of Japanese culture, from comedy duo Rahmens (ラーメンズ) and Japan Culture Lab. They're available on DVD, but nearly all of them can be seen on YouTube, including Sushi and Ocha (tea). [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 25, 2010 - 54 comments

Journeyman Pictures

Journeyman Pictures has uploaded nearly 4000 videos to YouTube. Many of these are trailers for the documentaries they sell, but they have also posted hundreds of full-length videos. Most are for short documentarie, but there are a lot of features too. It's somewhat daunting to explore, but the playlists are a good place to start, and so are the shows: Features, Shorts, News and Savouring Europe, a European travelogue series. Here's a few interesting ones: Gastronauts, about French culinary students working to make astronaut food more palatable, Demon Drummers, about student Kodo drummers, India's Free Lunch, about the effects of free school lunches on Indian society, The Twitter Revolution, about YouTube and Twitter's role in the 2009 Iranian uprising, Europe's Black Hole, about Transnistria, the breakaway region of Moldova, Small Town Boy, about a gay male carnival queen in a small town in England, The Vertigo of Lists, Umberto Eco talks about the ubiquity of lists in modern culture and Monsters from the Id, about scientists in the science fiction films of the Fifties.
posted by Kattullus on Aug 24, 2010 - 10 comments

Satoshi Kon, director of Perfect Blue and Millennium Actress, dead at 47

Satoshi Kon, the director of such celebrated anime movies as Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, and Paprika, has died (reportedly of cancer) at the age of 47. Kon's movies dealt with the slipperiness of the boundaries between performance and reality, truth and illusion. His death leaves the status of his next movie, The Dream Machine (Yume miru kikai), in doubt. As outsourcing and a long recession have taken their toll on Japan's increasingly insular anime industry, David Cabrera notes, I cannot think of a single person alive in the Japanese animation industry who would have been a greater loss than Mr. Kon.
posted by Jeanne on Aug 24, 2010 - 99 comments

Beware the Electronic Automatic Sound-Spectrograph Computing Digit Translator Playback Recognizer Machine

Telephoneme: Even if your Alphabet Conspiracy succeeds and you destroy the books, machines have no minds of their own. They are easily confused by different voices and different accents. It is the brain of man that tells them what to do. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 20, 2010 - 10 comments

Seaman Ship! Seaman Ship!

Japanese navy recruitment vs. American navy recruitment. American military advert vs. a Swedish one. Just for fun, a Ukrainian military ad. All links from this Reddit thread.
posted by Rory Marinich on Aug 19, 2010 - 37 comments

Couldya put more sprinkles on that?

Japanese Ice Cream Robot (Warning: opera music in videos done circus style.)
posted by LeLiLo on Aug 18, 2010 - 11 comments

X-Japan embarks on first ever American tour

X-Japan, arguably Japan's most famous rock band ever, is touring America for the very first time. The founders of the musical movement known as Visual Kai, X-Japan are virtually unknown outside of the kotaku and metalheads with a penchant for the dramatic. But their distinctly Japanese fashion and dramatic, theatrical speed metal music proved to make them enormously popular in Japan during their hayday. Former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi even is an admitted fan of the band. Over the course of 6 studio albums the band presented everything from raw speed metal to 30 plus minute epics. And now, for the first time ever, be touring North America after a featured spot on Lollapalooza's main stage this summer.
posted by mediocre on Aug 17, 2010 - 40 comments

Elderly and missing

“Living until 150 years old is impossible in the natural world,” said Akira Nemoto, director of the elderly services section of the Adachi ward office. “But it is not impossible in the world of Japanese public administration.” Up until the end of July, no one knew how many people over the age of 100 were missing in Japan. Now, officials are scrambling to check on the elderly. [more inside]
posted by Ghidorah on Aug 14, 2010 - 57 comments

MLYT Japanese Club Jazz Madness

Mid-week pick-me-up, straight outta Japan: Soil & "Pimp" Sessions, live in 2009 at the annual North Sea Jazz Festival. If those live clips are a bit noisy, check out Pop Korn, My Foolish Heart~Crazy on Earth~, and My Foolish Heart ~Foolish in Mind~. And for a cool-down, try Welsh producer Doc Daneeka's bassy slowed down house version of Pop Korn (image source: Fotos+Mono, from the Chilean artist Relleno De Mono). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 11, 2010 - 6 comments

Tokyo Twitter Techno

Dommune is a fairly new nightclub in Tokyo. It's only open Sunday through Thursday night and they close at midnight. The room only holds 50 people. Nevertheless, the place attracts top-flight talent; Jeff Mills, Derrick May, Claude Young, Prosumer, and Shed have all performed. What's the gimmick? Every party is streamed live. (from mnml ssgs) [more inside]
posted by mkb on Aug 11, 2010 - 20 comments

The Seat Monopolizer

The three annoying train monsters shown in the poster are Nesshii (the sleeping monster), Asshii (the leg-crossing monster), and Shinbunshii (the newspaper-reading monster). Tokyo Subway Manner Posters, '76-'82
posted by griphus on Aug 10, 2010 - 55 comments

Bore Now Bore

Though the Boredoms have long been renowned for non-traditional, envelope pushing, and occasionally confrontational performances, frontman eYe's earlier group, Hanatarash, were reputed to have been even more extreme, trading in ultra-violent displays with no regard for performer or audience safety. In particular, there was a story of eYe driving a full-sized backhoe through the back wall of the venue. It's the kind thing you hear about and assume that some level of exaggeration is going on...until you see the pictures. [more inside]
posted by anazgnos on Aug 9, 2010 - 24 comments

U.S. returns to Hiroshima after 65 years.

For the first time since the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb [NSFW photos?] on Hiroshima 65 years ago, the U.S. ambassador will attend commemoration ceremonies at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. But is this an apology? Some say it better not be. The U.S. says - it isn't.
posted by stinkycheese on Aug 6, 2010 - 263 comments

Japanese Horror Bot

Video of horrific, Japanese maggot-man robot allegedly designed to act as a physical presence during phone calls. More info and photos here.
posted by picea on Aug 2, 2010 - 90 comments

Wagashi - Japanese confectionery art

"Wagashi are traditional Japanese confections that evolved into an art form in the ancient Imperial capital, Kyoto." Wagashi fall into the following categories: namagashi, yokan, monaka, manju, and higashi. Playful and inventive examples of confectionery art abound within those categories. [more inside]
posted by needled on Aug 1, 2010 - 18 comments

Tenjō-sagari is watching you

Weirdly wonderful illustrations from 70s Japanese children's books by Gōjin Ishihara, including much nightmare fuel from the Illustrated Book of Japanese Monsters
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jul 30, 2010 - 24 comments

Karakuri ningyō

Karakuri ningyō (からくり人形?) are mechanized puppets or automata from Japan from the 17th century to 19th century. There are many beautiful examples: Arrow shooting, serving tea, the geisha, acrobatics, making magic. [more inside]
posted by twoleftfeet on Jul 27, 2010 - 25 comments

iDish, A magical and revolutionary product.

It was the time, when I was eating sashimi at a bar, fiddling with my iPad. A slice of Tuna accidentally dropped on the iPad. At that time, I hurriedly got rid of the sashimi, wiped it off, Later I found that suddenly. In the first place, If iPad were a dish, there are no problem
posted by desjardins on Jul 22, 2010 - 53 comments

Urban Decay in Japan

The next morning I recalled a question the woman had asked me the night before: of the two ingredients of wabi-sabi, the Japanese aesthetic of impermanence, did I prefer wabi, the rusticity, simplicity, and irregularity of things in their created state, or sabi, the patina of age, the wear and tear that comes with constant use, the intimations of transience. I'm in the sabi camp: sabi as a concept is in all probability etymologically related to the verb sabiru, to rust, and for us lusters after rust, Yubari is sacred ground.
Spike Japan is the blog, or ongoing essay, of Richard Hendy, a long-time resident of Japan, about urban decay and population decline in Japan. The writing is digressive, knowledgable, opinionated, witty and engaging. The longest series is a travelogue of Hokkaido, in which the section on Yubari is the most stunning, though I also like the tour of Kuril Islands' dispute tourist attractions. There's much to read on Spike Japan, but let me point you towards the melancholic Requiem for a Railway, about Hendy's trip along an abandoned railway line.
posted by Kattullus on Jul 18, 2010 - 20 comments

So long, and thanks for all the fish

Dolphin escapes from SeaWorld tank in Japan, but is caught a few moments later. (SLYT)
posted by swift on Jul 16, 2010 - 54 comments

Awesome Japanese Retro Sci-Fi Art Collection

An AWESOME collection of sci-fi illustrations by the prolific Shigeru Komatsuzaki (1915-2001), whose fantastic work appeared on plastic model kit boxes and in magazines and picture books in the 1960s to 1970s. via [more inside]
posted by Monkeymoo on Jul 5, 2010 - 18 comments

Japanese art

Nichibunken Databases isn't a link that sounds promising, but oh, what a treasure trove of old Japanese art it is. Among the many lovely collections is the Japanese folktales in foreign languages, another has maps, which is probably easiest to browse by decade, then there's the picture scrolls (some nsfw), and also illustrations from an 1870s world tour. That's just a small taste of what's there. If, like me, you don't read Japanese, often you'll be going in with scant information of what will be on offer, but even random stumblings will reveal beauty and wonder. Just to get you started, here are nearly 800 pictures of demons and over 2500 floating world woodprints. [Note: Blue dots mean the material is accessible to the public, red dots mean you have to have a login to see it]
posted by Kattullus on Jun 25, 2010 - 10 comments

Shodo 'Arabi

Shodo 'Arabi. "An appreciation of calligraphy is a lifelong interest for many Japanese, and for some, acquiring proficiency at it is a lifelong study. Yet, over the past two decades, a few have quietly put down their fude and picked up a bamboo qalam to try their hand at calligraphy in Arabic, which, they often find, is not as alien as they had thought."
posted by chunking express on Jun 18, 2010 - 6 comments

Failures Are Not an Option

Trouble started soon into Hayabusa's treacherous round-trip journey to Itokawa when she lost her companion, Minerva. On arrival, she stumbled and dropped the sample she was sent to retrieve, and we thought the worst when she stopped calling. One accident left her disoriented and unable to find her way, and another reduced her progress to a slow limp. But on Sunday, with unfailing help from home, Hayabusa returns, three years late and seven years after she departed.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Jun 10, 2010 - 6 comments

The Feelies

The Feelies play David Bowie's Fame in Something Wild .
posted by puny human on Jun 5, 2010 - 18 comments

Whimsical tales from fish-obsessed Japan

Being a Fish in Japan. [more inside]
posted by crunchland on Jun 4, 2010 - 9 comments

低燃費って何? (What's fuel efficiency?)

Nissan has been running an ad campaign in Japan based on the 1974 anime Heidi, girl of the alps. The ads are sort of bizarre awesome and were put together by the same crew that did The world of golden eggs. The full episodes feature Heidi trying unsuccessfully to find the answer to her question '低燃費って何?' (What's teinenpi?). (the last set of links are all Japanese, but are hopefully interesting enough without subtitles)
posted by CardinalRichelieuHandPuppet on Jun 4, 2010 - 29 comments

Another one bites the dust

Yukio Hatoyama, Prime Minister of Japan, will resign. Also stepping down is Ichiro Ozawa. After a series of misscues, calls for Hatoyama's resignation started popping up. Among the issues dogging Hatoyama were questions about a sizeable amount of money he received from his mother (possibly disguised as campaign contributions to keep him from looking like a weak candidate who couldn't raise funds), reneging on a promise to move the US Marine bases out of Okinawa, and this shirt. [more inside]
posted by Ghidorah on Jun 1, 2010 - 55 comments

Dochira made ikaremasu ka?

Taxi top lights, called andon (行灯) in Japanese after the Edo-era wood & paper lanterns, come in a variety of shapes and colors. Although originally used in the mid-1950s to discourage robberies, andon are now used as company logos or to advertise.
posted by armage on May 27, 2010 - 6 comments

"Lingerie comes with soil, rice seedlings and gardening gloves."

The latest fun, gimmicky bra from Japanese lingerie maker Triumph International grows rice. Promo Videos (SFW, YT) [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 17, 2010 - 29 comments

Sex, Lies, and Splitting Up.

Sex, Lies, and Splitting Up. "The function of the wakaresase-ya is the direct opposite of a dating agency: with great ingenuity, and the right fee, they will prise apart human relationships." How? Through sex and entrapment, apparently. [more inside]
posted by chunking express on May 13, 2010 - 64 comments

“We have snakes in the newsroom.”

Cocaine, The CIA, And The Unification Church: A History of Rev. Sun Myung Moon and The Washington's Times influence on Washington and South America by Robert Parry
posted by The Whelk on May 11, 2010 - 14 comments

Say it with water

Falling water controlled by microchips in Kyoto Station welcomes you using a technology similar to that used in inkjet printers. Here are some others. They are made by Koei Aquatec.
posted by Obscure Reference on May 9, 2010 - 27 comments

Dammit, I can smell the rooms in your pictures, Roy

Yoshida-ryo: Dilapidated, decrepit and downright dirty. A photo essay about a Kyoto University dormitory first built in 1913 that still houses student squatters for the ultra low price of ¥2,500 (about USD$25) a month. No wonder it looks like this [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on May 8, 2010 - 34 comments

The Illusiveness of the Entirely Useless

So, there's a Japanese artistic concept called a Thomasson. In short, they are "defunct and useless objects, attached to someone's property and aesthetically maintained." But a more nuanced explanation involves artist Akasegawa Genpei, baseball player Gary Thomasson, and a whole generation of Japanese kids who wandered around Tokyo, looking for architectural abnormalities. Now that the book has found its way to English, American readers are submitting some pretty fascinating discoveries of their own . [more inside]
posted by zonkers on May 7, 2010 - 46 comments

Art of the Japanese Postcard

View examples of the Art of the Japanese Postcard (1, 2, 3) or browse the Leonard A. Lauder collection of them at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts website.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on May 7, 2010 - 3 comments

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