is an amazing Japanese textile dying technique--a very sophisticated form of tie-dye, where nubby
things like this
into this fish
or these flowers
(scroll for detail) or these starbursts
. Specifically this odd thing
). You can find excellent photos and descriptions of the process here
(scroll down and hold mouse over photo), and here
. There is also information at the World Shibori Network
. This photo
shows partially dyed fabric and here is a video
of the preparation for dying. Shibori is very labor intensive
(carpal tunnel syndrome-city
) and was a one time subject to a sumptuary tax and one form was outlawed by an emperor for being too extravagant. There are many different knots and ties for different patterns--browse here
(gallery1-7), and here
. Shibori can be used to make some striking
images. Diverse examples of shibori --iris
, layered squares
, large bridge banner
, subtle black and white winter scene
, , a nifty “aerial view” of earth as a tidal pool
with hot air balloons (detail of anemones)
. Don't miss the stunning work of Hiroko Harada (English
). I especially like Rain In the Forest
, There Are Ripples On the Cloth
, Seasonal Changes
, and this large installation
. You can browse more here
, but the Japanese page
posted by lobakgo
on Jan 16, 2004 -
Have a merry, sex and gadget filled hyper-commercialized Japanese Christmas. "Well it all started when a Spanish Jesuit missionary named St. Francis Xavier brought Christmas to Japan in 1549...."
The Jesuit bid
Japan was a flop though, and now - while Jews in the West, for example, tend to go out for Chinese food on Christmas Eve, the Japanese had little connection to the Christian version - so they invented their own! Syncretistic Japan pulls in random elements of Western "Christmas" and recombines in pleasing new ways! ( shocking only to Christians ). Santa Claus on the Cross and more!
A proper Christmas in Japan - for singles - involves a hot date and visit to a "Love Hotel" where "you might be directed by scantily-clad female elves to rooms complete with Christmas trees and life-size reindeer watching the proceedings with interest.
" and "Grope Free Commutes"
, for Japanese women tired of having their asses grabbed on the subway by drunk salarymen returning from "Forget the Year" parties. This fine blog
chronicles it all: " the Dolphin-and-fish-surrounded Christmas tree", Ukelele Christmas parties - "I wandered into a score of middle aged Japanese ladies wearing Hawaiian shirts and plastic lays, tuning up their ukuleles" and more. And don't forget to buy some cool
. "...a tiny robot helicopter weighing less than 9 grams... "
posted by troutfishing
on Dec 25, 2003 -
The Japanese SAQ
provides some much-needed and often fascinating answers for seldom-asked questions about Japanese culture like, "Why do those porcelain Tanuki
statues outside of restaurants have such outrageously large testicles?"
posted by MrBaliHai
on Dec 5, 2003 -
: "This site is non-profit, based in England, and maintained as a shrine and resource dedicated to the late director."
posted by hama7
on Sep 3, 2003 -
Japanese Tolkien fans angered over translation issues.
Relatively old news, but I believe not that well known. Do the technical difficulties involved excuse the loss of important meaning in dialogue? Film translation seems to suffer from much less prestige than literary translation
, though that too has its controversies
. In the US, anime fans replay the loose vs strict translation debate daily, also protesting cuts
. Is it really impossible in the rush to make money off the geeks and
off the masses to stay relatively true to the original material?
posted by e^2
on Aug 29, 2003 -
of very beautiful Old Japanese Maps
has been put online. Java application Insight(tm) required to view and includes a nifty GIS application to overlay old maps on current maps with 3-D animated fly-throughs. State of the art in online map presentation "The digital images are even better than the originals because you can amplify them, rotate them to look at them from different angles," Mr. Zhou said. "In practical terms, this is a better way of using the material than actually coming here to see the pieces."
posted by stbalbach
on Apr 13, 2003 -
Gracefull bipeds, miniature robot ballets....
Titled by the BBC as "Humanoid robots wow Japanese", The world's largest robot exhibit this weekend
in Yokahama features Asimo by Honda ["Asimo can now recognise individual faces and can understand gestures as well as spoken commands. Meet him once and he never forgets, responding by approaching and calling your name on subsequent meetings."
] as well as Sony's newest Aibo accesories and their stunning SDR-4X ll, a biped sporting "fluid walking motion and lifelike gestures." Epson Seiko caught my attention, though, with their dozen tiny Bluetooth controlled 12.5 gram Monsieur ll-P robot prototypes which executed a miniature choreographed ballet
Pretty soon they'll be scuttling around on our walls like cockroaches, watching us......
posted by troutfishing
on Apr 5, 2003 -
Japanese Sound Effects and what they mean.
Spotted on Gen Kanai's blog: this rather comprehensive list of sound-effect words from manga
- the Japanese equivalent of BAM! WAP!, OOF! (and possibly even D'OH!), but covering a wider range of social and emotional terrain. Lest you surmise that these are more or less arbitrary, I "tested" ten or so on my fiancee and found that she knew every single one. Aaaa!
posted by adamgreenfield
on Apr 3, 2003 -
"There is making of silver sex
Taking bodypainting/messy obsessions to the very edge
, Manon Production from Japan sells a wide selection
of fetish videos
(sample mpeg 1.69MB).
All feature illustrative pictures and detailed, eerie Engrish descriptions ("we feel admirable and poor at her black smile"
; "Midori's body is changing colourfull"
; "a little golden powder enters into her eyes"
). Results can also evoke a sculpture
, the theater
or abstract art
. Considering the evident misogyny of the whole effort, is it all the more unsettling because the images are sometimes beautiful
)? Is it an attempt to somehow bring Sorayama's creatures
to life? Could the models be actually enjoying
NOT SAFE FOR WORK.
posted by 111
on Mar 16, 2003 -
The Powell is sent in order to carry the water:
I find Japanese "Engrish" websites unfunny and stupidly patronizing but this blog is potential poetry - Surrealist poetry. Whether it was machine-translated or drafted using Breton's, Ionesco's or Burroughs' techniques, it's splendidly memorable: Rather than "I am sad" we need "mush truth"
. All it needs is some artful, e.e.cummings-like arranging on the page to be transformed into art. [Via Linkfilter
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Feb 6, 2003 -
You've probably heard of the WWII Navajo "code talkers"
who managed to baffle crack Japanese cryptanalysts and were credited with enabling US success at Iwo Jima. Civil engineer, journalist and photographer Philip Johnston
was the determined mind behind the "windtalkers". The son of missionaries, Johnston grew up on a Navajo reservation and was one of only a handful of outsiders fluent in the Navajo language. A bit of his background is included this article
, and you can read a complete history
of his plan, view an archive of photos by Johnston
, and see copies of his enlistment application
letter to the Marine Corps commandant, as well as a recommendation letter
from the Commanding General. (more inside...)
posted by taz
on Jan 22, 2003 -
...While surfing on a Singapore site called FlashMove
, I came across a zany Flash site: A wonder bit of inscrutable Japanese-inspired French
animation from Studio Tanuki
in the form of Pinpin Lelapin
, an adorable pink balloon bunny rabbit who farts on people. In addition to the giddy animation and stylised artwork on the site is the unique "Super Mario"-type run-and-jump navigation. (Note: Mostly in French, with some Japanese and broken English. Contains Flash, music, farts, giant mecha battles and a Sailor Moon parody.)
posted by Down10
on Dec 28, 2002 -
Kodocha calls it
Kodocha Anime, one of the best known and most reliable anime fansub
tape distributors, is closing down operations. Why? Because everything's going
digital. [more inside]
posted by Slithy_Tove
on Sep 23, 2002 -
All about the different parts of one Japanese man's pet hamster plus illustrations. "I have read that hamster's whiskers shows the width that they can pass through. But Momo forgets. One day Momo tried to go into the cleaner hose. As he has the big hip, he could't go into it. And in his effect to go, he could't get his head out. When I ran to him in a hurry, his head gone out of the hose, and he rolled backward."
posted by moz
on May 17, 2002 -
Japan’s Gross National Cool
- Foreign Policy has an interesting article on the impact of Japanese culture and how it has replaced "Made in Japan" products as the dominant export from Japan. The author points to director Hayao Miyazaki, director/actor Takeshi Kitano, artist Takashi Murakami, and singer/songwriter Namie Amuro, as well as anime in general and Hello Kitty as examples of the global spread of Japanese culture. Do you recognize these people or their work? [more inside]
posted by gen
on Apr 30, 2002 -
Akebono's sumo retirement ceremony
American-born sumo Yokozuna Akebono retired from the sport Sepetember 29th in Kokogikan, Japan.
This excellent photo essay talks about a few of the 300+ people scheduled to help cut off the topknot, a little on the history of Sumo, and why he needs 8 men to help him with the belt tying ceremony
Also a few good photographs of another American-born Yokozuna, Musashimaru, and one Japanese one, Takanohana.
posted by swenson
on Jan 5, 2002 -
The next supposed Japanese video game craze is about spanking.
The game is simple, you poke a fake derrier for points. Its stupid fun, yet everytime something odd becomes popular in Japan I have to hear two or three pundits explaining to me why its a social phenomenon and how clever the inscrutable designers are. I find it hard to believe that there isn't simply tasteless marketing, no-brainer toys, and bad ideas in Japan. It seems Wired, and others, can't get enough over-analysis.
posted by skallas
on Nov 26, 2001 -
This started out as a skit on a Japanese comedy show and eventually grew into its own fig leafed music video. Does anyone know of any other musical gems like this? Warnings: 7.71 MB Windows Media file & scantily clad men
posted by Alison
on Nov 18, 2001 -