29 year old Hiromi Uehara first mesmerized the jazz community with her 2003 Telarc debut, Another Mind. 4 albums later she continues to astonish and inspire. On February 3rd, she released the album Duet, a collaboration with Chick Corea, having first played with Corea at age 17. A graduate of the Berklee School of Music, Hiromi tours relentlessly with her crack band. I defy your jaw not to drop at their performances here, here, and here. [more inside]
Gamarjobat: well-dressed, colored-mohawk-wearing Japanese mime-magic-comedy duo. They may even fight crime, too. 1, 2, 3, 4
Kure Kure Takora was a Toho produced, short form children's television show from the Japan in the early 1970's. Meet the Cast: Kure Kure Takora, aka Gimme Gimme Octopus; his closest friend, the coin vomiting squash Chonbo; jellyfish bully Tororo; Monro, the sexy walrus who gets around; Debura,the grizzled and world-weary badger; Biragon, lazy trust-fund iguana; and last but not least, the picked on, Sea Cucumber Gang. An exhaustive listing of videos for all 220 episodes, most with plot breakdowns. [more inside]
Phase — Mother Earth, a piece created by Mono-ha artist Nobuo Sekine in 1968, has been re-created:
Consisting of a hole dug into the ground, 2.7 metres deep and 2.2 metres in diameter, with the excavated earth compacted into a cylinder of exactly the same dimensions, Phase — Mother Earth was instrumental in the early development of work by the Mono-ha artist group, and has been considered a landmark work in Japanese postwar art history.More about Mono-ha inside. [more inside]
Gizmine - "the world's largest Japanese gadgets and lifestyle design shop." Viewable by color, theme, price, popularity, or brand.
"There's something very shabby about a noble grave... Political power and the power of wealth result in splendid graves. Really impressive graves, you know. Such creatures never had any imagination while they lived, and quite naturally their graves don't leave any room for imagination either. But noble people live only on the imaginations of themselves and others, and so they leave graves like this one which inevitably stir one's imagination. And this I find even more wretched. Such people, you see, are obliged even after they are dead to continue begging people to use their power of imagination." - Yukio Mishima via Kashiwagi in The Temple of the Golden Pavilion. On this, the anniversary of Mishima's transformation into a headless god, a collection of video links. [more inside]
In a series of sixteen advertisements screened in Japan, Tommy Lee Jones plays extraterrestrial 'Alien Jones', who has taken the form of a man to check on the world of humans, all the while drinking a Japanese brand of coffee named BOSS. I have no idea how Tommy Lee Jones got talked into doing these advertisements, or why. And after watching them for yourself (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16), you probably won't either.
The Tale of the Heike (Heike Monogatari) is a medieval Japanese account of the rise and fall of the Taira clan and has inspired many other works of art. Click on the chapters and scroll down to see Heike illustrations (or start here), see more art or figures inspired by the Heike. Would you rather read? [more inside]
Meet Chikan. He likes to touch young women in the crowded subway of Tokyo. Meet Chikan, Otaku, Pachinko, Yopparai Salaryman, and yes, even Geisha at 51 Japanese Characters. [more inside]
At One Minute Languages you can learn greetings, talking about names, counting, and more in Catalan, Danish, French, German, Irish, Japanese, Luxembourgish, Mandarin, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, and Russian.
Perfume, a three-girl Japanese technopop sensation formed in 2001 now consisting of Nocchi, Kashikuya and A~chan, is about to release their ninth single, "Dream Fighter". Perfume's July 2008 single "Love the World" was the first technopop song ever to debut at #1 on the Oricon sales chart. The previous highest debut for techno was Yellow Magic Orchestra's "Kimi ni, Munekyun" 25 years ago in 1983. (original article citing #1 record translated via Google translator) [more inside]
Puzzled by sugary J-Pop bands and their eccentric (and failed) TV shows? Frustrated and confused by the complexity of Japanese and want to see what your inchoate blustering looks like from the other side? Then join "perennially unpopular" gaijin celebrity Thane Camus (grand-nephew of Albert Camus), as he walks a class of fellow pop star clichés through an endearingly awkward English conversation class.
Kajima's floor-by-floor slow demolition is one of those rare things in life that leaves you truly speechless....After all, seeing the video of a 20-floor building submerging into the asphalt as if it was liquid is something that belongs to a sci-fi movie. [more inside]
In Parentheses is a collection of many ancient, medieval and classic texts from all over the world, many of whom are hard to find anywhere, let alone on the internet. There are translations from Greek, Old Norse, Medieval Irish, Japanese, Incan, Old French, Medieval Latin and many more! As well as all that they have papers in medieval studies and vaguely decadent and orientalism series. Adding to that there's a linguistics section with wordlists and language flash cards in languages such as Icelandic, Quechua, Basque, Classical Armenian and a whole bunch more. [flashcard links go to pdf files]
Edo Photo Generator. Use this ancient photo generator (in JP, but a cinch to use) to give your photos that certain Edo look. Via C. Buddha's Hasty Musings
Prisoner 547 is a Rabbit in prison. He shares a cell with another Rabbit, a Frog and a Chicken. It is visiting day. In Japanese. One episode of many. [more inside]
Rule No. 1: Two bugs to a fight. Rule No. 2: Bug fights go on as long as they have to. Rule No. 3: No outside weapons in bug fights.
From aquarium toilets to sself-cleaning toilets to intelligent toilets and musical multi-buttoned Japenese toilets, toilet technology has come a long way, baby.
"My humble efforts to assist in the elucidation of the social condition of a distant and comparatively unknown race."
Child-bearing machines, net café refugees and bottom-biting bugs: Top 60 Japanese buzzwords of 2007.
The challenge, take the usb drive to new levels, you may have seen the mimobot usb drives, pretty hip but perhaps only Japanese-influenced since manufacturer Mimico is Boston based. The true Japanese usb style is undeniably unbalanced, por ejemplo: The USB Chameleon (video), the Self-destruction USB hub (video), the USB motorcycle engine hub (video), and no movie here but you will be happy to know that the Kore Janai robot USB drive is the "perfect cool toy" with the uncool appearance. Full context found here
Tips for expressing gender in Japanese. Or, how to avoid becoming a "gaijin peto". Plus: obligatory wikage.
Single Japanese Male. Rather than yammering in Meta about what "best of the web" means, let's have an object-lesson in astonishing obscure excellence. Introducing every last one of you to the Virtual Wilbye Consort.
The Japanese Trailer to Kokoro Scan. Japanese game trailers always seem pretty interesting and fun. And, well, most often more-or-less nonsensical. This is for the new game Kokoro Scan, which, um, looks like it might be a dating sim of some sort? Maybe? The animation and segues are pretty interesting, and, though it's 6 minutes -- awfully long for a trailer, particularly one sans any gameplay (I think) -- it's interesting/off-the-wall enough to be engaging. What do cartoon nipples, pixellated white things and bananas have in common? (via)
OH! DANGO! JAM Incredible little Japanese game, Tamagotchi + Pokemon + awesome music = great happy fun time. Z is attack, X is magic, C is defend, and spacebar is special move. Don't forget to save often using end -> data regist. [via]
Kiiiiiii for any occasion, or just for fun! Kiiiiiii, that's K & 7i's, is a Japanese girl duo whose sound has been described as "Noise Pop" and "Experimental Fun Music." They've made a couple of bizarre music videos, played concerts in Japan and America over the last seven years, and now have an album and a live DVD. Listen to more on their myspace page, grab an .mp3 and read the history, and try to download 5 .mp3s from their site.
"Pimp my rice paddy." Crop art for aliens, instead of by them.
Rose and Camellia. Flash Friday. It's in Japanese, so I don't know which girl is Rose and which is Camellia. But I do know this -- they resolve their problems by slapping each other. Instructions are in Japanese as well, but it's pretty simple: Click "attack" and run your mouse over your opponent's face to slap, click "evasion" and run your mouse over yourself to dodge a slap.
The true story of Yamamoto Otokichi (or John Matthew Ottoson, a transliteration of "Oto-san"): a Japanese seaman who in 1832 got caught in a storm off the coast of Japan and ended up floating all the way across the Pacific, becoming the first Japanese (documented, at least) in North America. And that's only the introduction to his story. To get back to Japan he traveled around the world, setting many firsts for a Japanese native, and played a part as the inspiration for Commodore Matthew Perry and his "Black Ships." Although barely a footnote in history, in 2005 half of his ashes were brought back to Japan to rest in home soil. >
Emile Hirsch plays the title character. Christina Ricci is Trixie. John Goodman is Pops, Susan Sarandon is Mom. And Matthew Fox plays Racer X. The Wachowski brothers are directing. Hollywood screws with yet another happy childhood memory.
Kuroko, Japanese performance art: Why is my girlfriend mad at me?
Joe Is Japanese So far all there is are some Myspace profiles and a nifty teaser but I'll be darned if this doesn't look five shades of awesome. Desperate for more information? DeviantArt account of one of the animators.
Huge gently floating bombs made their way across the pacific below balloons using the high altitude jet streams floated to the Americas during WWII. Kept secret for most of the war, you can read about their amazing history here.
If you thought Toyama Koichi's campaign speech was interesting, you may also find the 2004 House of Councilors campaign speech by Matayoshi Mitsuo, or, as he calls himself, Matayoshi Jesus, interesting.