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.
"Paths are made by walking" as these artists prove by walking in the park for five days. Other projects include knitting a sweater for a giraffe, slowing down a shooting star (to allow for a lengthy wish), sprouting a seed in their hands, globes drawn by memory, and more.
Ukiyo-e, a collection of dreamy, mostly charming, flash animations of Edo period Japanese paintings. Pictures of the floating world (everyday life) by Hokusai, Hiroshige, Utamaro. Encyclopedic list of floating world images on the web. Hokusai sketches in flash. [related]
Comedy duo, Ramenz (ラーメンズ), aka Kobayashi Kentaro and Katagiri Jin, also known as the Japanese versions of Mac and PC, have recently done a number of shorts collectively called "The Japanese Tradition." Apparently, these tongue-in-cheek pseudo-instructional vids about famous aspects of Japanese culture (Tea, Chopsticks, Sushi, Origami, Apology, Onigiri, and Relationships) have been fooling a lot of non-natives into thinking they are actual guides. (YouTube, each approx 4-6 min).
(Not So) Fun Flash Friday: "The Great Adventure in Getting Killed". Z to shoot, X to jump, R to retry (you'll mostly be using the last one).
An illustrated edition of the Ise Monogatari (Wikipedia, review of translation). Yeah, yeah, it's in Japanese, but just keep hitting the forward button (the leftmost of the two on the right, red/brown rather than blue/green) and you'll find lots of pretty pictures. I can't improve on the descriptions by Matt of No-sword, where I found it, so I'll just quote him: "Behold our hero maxin' and relaxin' at his writing-desk, looking like he just got hired as a middle manager at his dad's lighter-flint concern! Thrill to the famous scene where he is visited by the Pineapple of Golden Week Past! Laugh as he is mistaken for a member of Aerosmith! Wonder why everyone is just sitting around smiling contentedly when the building is obviously on fire!"
Yoshiro Nakamatsu aka Dr. NakaMats has invented everything, other than all the other stuff that the rest of us have invented. He has 3218 patents to his name. (Edison had 1093.) Among his many inventions? The compact disc, the compact disc player ('natch), the digital watch, a unique golf putter, the floppy disk (!), and a water-powered engine. Besides being the founder of the World Genius Convention (where the world first learned of ingenuity of ADR ceramic disks, for instance), Dr. NakaMats was voted by the US Science Academic Society as one of five greatest scientists in history - in the company of Archimedes, Michael Faraday, Marie Curie, and Nikola Tesla - and he plans to live until 144!
28-year-old Tomomi Kunishige has created a new form of Japanese calligraphy, dubbed Eikanji (literally 'english kanji'), which uses the Roman alphabet to represent Japanese characters. Even if you don't study Japanese her calligraphy is still worth admiring, though it must be said that some of the paintings involve a fairly relaxed usage. (taken from Mainichi Daily News)
Karakuri automata are representative of the highest technology in the Edo period (1603 to 1867). Automata were also crafted hundreds of years ago in Europe: The Dulcimer Player by Pierre Kintzing , made in 1772; The Singing Lesson, created by Robert-Houdin; three androids by Jaquet-Droz; the Pooping Duck by Vaucanson (the first link at the top). Ancient robots. The first automaton was created by Al-Jazari: video of his clock. The history of automata [pdf]. Contemporary toy automata. [more inside]
Japanese Spider-Man seen here before, but this time he seems to be protected by a bandito type sporting a machine-gun guitar (but sadly, not one of these).