In October 1990, Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez visited Tokyo during the shooting of Akira Kurosawa’s penultimate feature, Rhapsody in August. García Márquez, who spent some years in Bogota as a film critic before penning landmark novels such as One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera, spoke with Kurosawa for over six hours on a number of subjects.
posted by shakespeherian
on Jul 19, 2014 -
Didn't get enough fireworks on the Fourth? Got fogged out? US holidays irrelevant anyway? "長岡花火大会2012年2日間の総集編 Fireworks the most beautiful in the japan"
is 30 minutes of HD fireworks from the Nagaoka fireworks festival, one of several fireworks festivals
in Japan. It has two segments, one each from the first and second night of the fireworks. According to Japan Guide, "both nights feature two straight hours of fireworks...The show's finale covers nearly two kilometers of the riverbank and is the widest span of fireworks in the world." [more inside]
posted by wintersweet
on Jul 11, 2014 -
With a vague promise to support more women
in the workplace as one of the key points of pushing an economic recovery, the reality is much more bleak for working women in Japan. Yesterday, while delivering a speech on the importance of supporting working mothers, Ayaka Shiomura, a member of the Tokyo government assembly was heckled
, with jeers from other lawmakers demanding to know why she hadn't gotten married, and demanding to know if she was able to bear children
. The Liberal Democratic Party has so far refused to reprimand the members responsible, and while members of Shiomura's party point out that Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe (with his own history of outright sexism
) was evidently laughing
as Shiomura at first laughed in disbelief, then was quickly reduced to tears
(Japanese link, no English subtitles).
posted by Ghidorah
on Jun 20, 2014 -
Disney Studios censors Miyazaki collection, pulls Studio Ghibli compilation.
"On Your Mark
" a video directed by Hiyao Miyazaki, and produced between early January and late May, 1995 by a team of over fifty animators at Studio Ghibli
, in cooperation with other studios, is being censored
from the upcoming 13-disc "Collected Works of Director Hayao Miyazaki" collection
. Disney is also stopping shipments of a 2005 Ghibli Shorts collection
, which features the video, along 22 other shorts that Studio Ghibli produced over the course of decades.
The rationale?! Nineteen years after the video's release, one of the members of the band that did the music for the video has been arrested, along with a female acquaintance
, after police found MDMA at his home. The musician was arrested Saturday, but has not been charged or convicted, as yet. Both he and the woman he was arrested with claim to be innocent.
posted by markkraft
on May 21, 2014 -
Valley of Dolls
Eleven years ago, Ayano Tsukimi returned to her home in Nagoro. Confronted with constant departures, she has populated the village with dolls, each representing a former villager. Around 350 of the giant dolls now reside in and around Nagoro, replacing those that died or abandoned the village years ago.
posted by infini
on May 3, 2014 -
In a recent documentary titled The Valley Of Dolls, Fritz Schumann explores Tsukimi's world, highlighting the time and artistry that goes into making the figures, and explaining her motivations. In it we're shown around a local school, once filled with children and teachers, that now houses dozens of dolls, sitting statically, waiting for class to begin.
A few miles off the coast of Japan lies "Battleship Island,"
or Gunkanjima (軍艦島), the Japanese nickname for Hashima Island
, due to its resemblance to the Japanese Tosa battleship
. The island was formerly a densely populated coal mining town
, purchased by Mitsubishi in 1890, but by the 1960s the coal was running out, and in 1974 the island was quickly vacated as Mitsubishi offered residents jobs elsewhere
. Now, the island is an urban explorer's dream
, though the island is not completely open to the public for tours
. Last year, Google trekker walked the island
, providing a virtual tour of the island. And if the roughly 40 year old ruins aren't foreboding enough, Bryan James put together a Chrome experiment
called Hashima Island: Forgotten World
, based on the Google maps tour of the site.
posted by filthy light thief
on Apr 21, 2014 -
"Picture the scene: you’re on Family Feud (US) or Family Fortunes (UK), and the oily host summons you to go head-to-head with a member of the opposing family. “Hands on the buzzers, please. Top eight answers in this round. We asked 100 people…to name something associated with Holland.”
Suppress lewd thoughts of red-light districts, window brothels, and sex clubs—this is a family show—and quick, the buzzer!
And that, in essence, is Huis ten Bosch, a $3bn theme park answer to a quiz show question nobody asked.
posted by MartinWisse
on Mar 15, 2014 -
Japanese folklore and horror stories are known for their psychologically terrifying ghosts and monsters that prey on the minds and bodies of humans. But there’s also a lighter side to Japanese folklore, where bumbling spirits cause only mild annoyance, actually enhance your daily life, and otherwise generally botch the whole job of haunting mankind and teaching vague moral lessons about treating your parents with respect and such. 8 Hilariously Nonthreatening Monsters from Japanese Folklore
posted by timshel
on Jan 28, 2014 -
's latest, "Last Dance"
, starts with a shot of TEPCO corporate headquarters. Also making apperances are the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), anti-nuclear protesters outside METI, and the Ministry of Finance. [more inside]
posted by needled
on Dec 24, 2013 -
In the last few weeks, extensive evidence has emerged that Japanese show business is saturated with the yakuza’s influence. Police records and sources, along with testimony from current and former yakuza members, have revealed that many powerful Japanese talent agencies and production companies are not simply fronts for the yakuza—they are the yakuza.
Yakuza Goes Hollywood
– Jake Adelstein reports on recent attempts to remove the yakuza from the entertainment industry
posted by timshel
on Dec 14, 2013 -
is a Japanese game show in which a gay man tries to force a straight man to orgasm. (Link is to Huffpo Article, and relatively sfw. Video within the link, not so much.) [more inside]
posted by emperor.seamus
on Nov 22, 2013 -
On Megami Tensei
Based on the Japanese horror novel series by Aya Nishitani, this one’s about a student computer genius, who’s also the reincarnation of an ancient Japanese deity, who uses his giant clunky 80s mainframe to summon up some horrifying devils. This involves some not-bad animation of a well-endowed teacher’s frilly brassiere heaving up and down as she becomes the conduit for horrifying monsters from another dimension to invade our world. Then giant piles of red goop start crushing students and a big blue hairy devil named Loki fights our student computer genius hero, who fights back with his reincarnated girlfriend and his magic sword and his pet devil animal throughout several alternate universes.
let's anime presents: The Top Ten Least essential OVA (anime) of the 80s
. [more inside]
posted by JHarris
on Nov 3, 2013 -
How a Kids’ Cartoon Created an Real-Life Invasive Army.
At the peak of their popularity following the animated series Araiguma Rasukaru
, Japan imported more than 1,500 North American raccoons annually... Raccoons compete both for food and for territory with the native raccoon dog (tanuki) and the red fox, and push native owls out of nesting spots in hollow trees. Ever since raccoons attacked a reproductive colony of grey herons in Nopporo Forest Park in 1997, the grand birds have not returned to their historic breeding grounds. [more inside]
posted by spamandkimchi
on Sep 24, 2013 -