How Mercedes Benz sells cars in Japan: anime car chases against legendary food trucks
Katra Turana is the most delightfully baffling band I know. Sometimes they sound like a calypso band gone mad
. Sometimes they sound like a tornado slamming into a string quartet
. Sometimes they're catchy and heartwarming
. Sometimes they're sparse and sinister
. Or they're annoying in grandiose ways
. And sometimes they blossom into something that's vulnerable, lush, and devastatingly beautiful.
I know next to nothing about them. They confound me. I hope you find them as wondrous and as special as I do.
Little Witch Academia
is an accessible and gorgeous original anime about students learning magic and believing in yourself
, available offically on YouTube. [more inside]
In the late '80s, documentarians Louis Alvarez and Andrew Kolker
spent six months in Tokyo looking at how symbols and imagery familiar to Americans had been appropriated and given new significance in Japan. Though more than 20 years old, the resulting video
remains popular in undergraduate courses
across the social sciences and humanities in part because it's so entertaining. [more inside]
Wrestling Out Of The Olympics
- The Gods Must Be Crazy Mad
The whole lucrative sham of it all was exposed once again this week when the executive board of the IOC — Informal Motto: "Me Some Too, Yes?" — recommended that wrestling be dropped as an Olympic sport in the 2020 Summer Games, which are supposed to be held in Istanbul, Tokyo, or Madrid, depending on whose checks clear first, I believe. According to the board, wrestling is no longer a "core sport" in the Olympics and it will have to petition for inclusion in 2020 along with, and I am not making this up, sport climbing and wakeboarding. This is terrific. Why don't we just hold the Olympics in an REI outlet store somewhere? [more inside]
Ultraman Hit Song History Legend Hero Hen
and Ultraman Hit Song History New Hero Hen
are two 45 minute commemoration compilations of theme songs and clips of the Japanese tokusatsu
that were put together for the show's 45th anniversary. If you're pressed for time, you can just watch the original theme song with English subtitles.
Tire jumping in japan
The olympic sport where the auto enthusiast can comment endlessly about the tire he used to have, that would have won.
, also known as clathrates, are crystalline ice structures which trap molecules of natural gas. They are fairly ubiquitous
in near-shore seafloor sediments, where methane from decaying organic matter is trapped in an ice structure at low temperature and high pressure. Though methane hydrates are believed to contain substantially more natural gas than conventional deposits, extraction of the natural gas was thought to be impractical. Until now
. [more inside]
I had discovered the Animage comics version of Nausicaa, which provided my entry into the world of Japanese comics--a world which was to cause me to devote my life to bringing it to all English-speaking people.
, a brilliant editor and translator and one of Japanese comics' first and greatest advocates in the English-speaking world, is dead
. [more inside]
is the 2013 World Baseball Classic Cuban team
manager. [more inside]
In Korea, Changes in Society and Family Dynamics Drive Rise in Elderly Suicides
- "The epidemic is the counterpoint to the nation's runaway economic success, which has worn away at the Confucian social contract that formed the bedrock of Korean culture for centuries." [more inside]
"Yamada had already become interested in beer after going drinking with fellow students around Cambridge, and taken trips to Belgium and Munich to widen his beery knowledge. Listening to Bilimoria talk about his desire to brew a beer that would match up with Indian food, Yamada had a revelation. What about a beer specifically brewed to match up with Japanese food?
, American author, journalist, critic and expert on Japan, dies at 88.
Smilingly excluded here in Japan, politely stigmatised, I can from my angle attempt only objectivity, since my subjective self will not fit the space I am allotted . . . how fortunate I am to occupy this niche with its lateral view. In America I would be denied this place. I would live on the flat surface of a plain. In Japan, from where I am sitting, the light falls just right – I can see the peaks and valleys, the crags and crevasses.
-- from The Japan Journals, 1947-2004 [more inside]
Submitted for your enjoyment: The misadventures
of Guy Jean, an American
So, I’ve been doing my research. Because there are so many prefectures and so many famous foods, I’m going to be breaking this article up into two parts. One for North, East, and Central prefectures of Japan, and one for West and South prefectures of Japan. At the end of the second part, we’ll also include a printout that has a map with numbers on all the prefectures corresponding to a list down below it. That way you can print this out, take it with you, and go on a rompy food excursion in Japan.
A couple days ago, Minami Minegishi, a 20 year-old member of the wholesome
idol group AKB48
posted a video of herself, head shaved
, tearfully begging
not to be fired from the group. What horrible crime did she commit? What awful, unpardonable sin caused her demotion and public humilation? Dating. [more inside]
Japan attempts to set the world record for the greatest number of mascots dancing
at once. [more inside]
"Japanese cinema’s preeminent taboo buster, Nagisa Oshima
directed, between 1959 and 1999, more than twenty groundbreaking features. For Oshima, film was a form of activism, a way of shaking up the status quo. Uninterested in the traditional Japanese cinema of such popular filmmakers as Kurosawa, Ozu, and Naruse, Oshima focused not on classical themes of good and evil or domesticity but on outcasts, gangsters, murderers, rapists, sexual deviants, and the politically marginalized." The great Japanese director Nagisa Oshima
passed away at the age of 80 last week. Appreciations from the Guardian
, NY Times
, AV Club
, and a few in-depth articles over at Senses of Cinema
and Film Comment
While you're waiting for the third My Bloody Valentine album or just their next show why not listen to Yellow Loveless
, the newly released, All-Japanese cover of My Bloody Valentine's 1991 classic Loveless
? [more inside]
Ghost in the Shell Arise 「攻殻機動隊ARISE」
) is the newest anime tv series based on Shirow Masmune
's cyberpunk manga which debuted in 1989. The new GITS Arise TV show is produced by legendary Japanese anime studio Production I. G.
which has produced all of the Ghost in the Shell
animated movies and tv series. [more inside]
Today is Coming of Age Day
in Japan, when everyone who has turned twenty in the past year simultaneously gains the right to smoke, drink, and vote. Wherever you are, why not celebrate with Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's (previously)
latest video, furisodeshon
On the flat top of a steep hill in a distant corner of northern Japan lies the tomb of an itinerant shepherd who, two millennia ago, settled down there to grow garlic. He fell in love with a farmer’s daughter named Miyuko, fathered three kids and died at the ripe old age of 106. In the mountain hamlet of Shingo, he’s remembered by the name Daitenku Taro Jurai. The rest of the world knows him as Jesus Christ. (previously)
is a "Hypertext Authoring Tablet" featuring hardware design by Yoshitoshi ABe
. For CES the company behind the tablet, Ubiquitous Entertainment
, created a series of shorts
directed by Evangelion
veteran Shinji Higuchi
. Some more details about the tablet can be found here
and on the official Facebook page
. Current details about the UI suggest it takes inspiration from Hypercard and Alan Kay's Dynabook
. [more inside]
Beate Sirota Gordon, Long-Unsung Heroine of Japanese Women’s Rights, Dies at 89
: a NYT obituary relates the fascinating story of a young woman who was just the right person in just the right place at just the right time and managed to strike a blow for gender equality. [more inside]
- Is the color of future of your future neon pink? Is the language Japanese? Are the city's an eternal nighttime of airbrushed martini glasses, glossy red lips and consumer electronics? Do you jam with the console cowboys in cyberspace? Then this is the tumblr for you. [via mefi projects
What's Going On In Japan?
"Really Japan is quite a remarkable case, since neither fiscal nor monetary policy seems to be working
to achieve the anticipated results. This year Japan will have a fiscal deficit of around 10% of GDP and gross government debt will hit 235% of GDP, yet the country is still struggling to find growth. Instead of reiterating old dogmas (whether they come from Keynes or from Hayek
) more people should be asking themselves what is happening here. This is not a simple repetition of something which was first time tragedy and is now second time tragedy, it is something new, and could well be a harbinger for more that is to come, elsewhere
. Oh, why oh why
are economists not more curious
?" [more inside]
Just an ordinary low key 3D beer commercial
There came into existence in the late 90s,
two genres of music that took rock music, using just about any metric, to opposite extremes. Then someone came along and decided to cram them together into the same songs. [more inside]
When Michael Woodford discovered a staggering level of fraud
in the optical multinational, Olympus, he was determined to expose it. As CEO of the company
he was promptly fired for his efforts, and believed his life was in danger
. [more inside]
With their brutal, simple riffs and aggressive, fast tempos, Accept were one of the top metal bands of the early '80s, and a major influence on the development of thrash. Led by the unique vocal stylings of screeching banshee Udo Dirkschneider, the band forged an instantly recognizable sound and was notorious as one of the decade's fiercest live acts.
Be it the United States or the European Union, most Western countries are so highly indebted today that the markets have a greater say in their policies than the people.
Why are democratic countries so pathetic when it comes to managing their money sustainably? This clear, well-written essay in Der Speigel lays out the current debt crisis - along with current, proposed solutions - in an understandable manner. Not included among the so-far-proposed solutions is one other that has opened up a veritable financial market and debt Pandora's Box - i.e. a central bank debt jubilee
William Gibson predicted this
would happen over sixteen years ago
The world record for Flash Anzan
was broken this year at the 2012 All Japan Soroban [abacus] Championship. Competitors in Flash Anzan sum up 15 3-digit numbers that are displayed in turn within a set time. The record is now 1.70 seconds, which means that each number is displayed for just over 0.1s. Here is a video of a "slow" 1.85 seconds
seconds where the numbers are barely readable. [more inside]
Japanese Prints Online
- The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts
provides an on-line catalogue for its collection of 18th- and 19th-century Japanese prints, which includes over 600 prints made by Japanese artists between the middle of the 18th century and the turn of the 19th century.
You might find this an agreeable way to spend six minutes and twelve seconds: a two part introduction to the traditional music of Tsugaru
, Aomori prefecture, in the far north of the main Japanese island of Honshu. The first piece is a starkly beautiful song, just voice and flute, and the second a solo piece performed on the shamisen
, by the late Takahashi Chikuzan
, a master of the Tsugaru style. And here you can see Chikuzan in action, rocking the three strings
posts pictures of vibrantly colored Kimonos that show how the Kimono is used in day-to-day fashion. From the about page, "Kimono can be immediate and accessible. Let’s check it out." Modern designs
, bold colors
, and striking combinations
. Fun to browse even if you have no plans of owning a kimono in the near future. Via maybe Wednesday, maybe not
is an artificial island on the Tokyo Bay Aqualine that has had to reinvent itself as a tourist trap
to justify the continued maintenance of a little-used bridge-tunnel crossing.