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Coming of Age

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?
posted by 23 on Jan 13, 2013 - 47 comments

 

Are you big in Japan?

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)
posted by Chrysostom on Jan 11, 2013 - 62 comments

You seem to have paid a fairly high price for your happiness.

enchantMOON 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]
posted by 23 on Jan 10, 2013 - 9 comments

Mushi Mushi

Listen, you screwheads. Here is a man who would not take missed calls anymore. (SLYT)
posted by cmoj on Jan 9, 2013 - 48 comments

Beate Sirota Gordon, 1923-2012; "The Only Woman In The Room"

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]
posted by flex on Jan 4, 2013 - 20 comments

Stimulated Emission

light AMPLIFICATION - 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]
posted by Artw on Dec 29, 2012 - 44 comments

Japan

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]
posted by kliuless on Dec 27, 2012 - 82 comments

Diabaram, diabaram, diabaram, nena dou ko baye...

Ryuichi Sakamoto & Youssou N'Dour -- Diabaram
See also, from the 2007 Montreux Jazz Festival,
Moncef Genoud, Youssou N'Dour, and the ''Return to Gorée'' All-Stars -- Diabaram

Also from the 1990 Ryuichi Sakamoto album Beauty:

Ryuichi Sakamoto with Kazumi Tamaki, Misako Koja and Yoriko Ganeko -- Romance
I believe you will recognize the melody.
Ryuichi Sakamoto with Kazumi Tamaki, Misako Koja and Yoriko Ganeko -- Chinsagu No Hana
See also Power of Okinawa, Roots Music of the Ryukyus -- Ryuichi Sakamoto: Beauty
See also, for lyric and translation: Chinsagu No Hana [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Dec 24, 2012 - 9 comments

Takes Great, Less Filling, Watch Out For The Dragons

Just an ordinary low key 3D beer commercial. SLYT
posted by Xurando on Dec 15, 2012 - 49 comments

All the footprints you've ever left, and the fear expecting ahead

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]
posted by legospaceman on Dec 13, 2012 - 31 comments

Keep the CEO in the picture

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]
posted by smoke on Dec 11, 2012 - 16 comments

The Art of Invisibility

The vanishing Ninja.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Nov 28, 2012 - 36 comments

"Daimajin, please come punish our abusers with wrath! / OH NO, RUN, THERE'S WRATH EVERYWHERE!!!

He is the spirit of vengeance and the wrath of God given form. But when Daimajin's rage was unleashed, it could be directed at both the wicked and the innocent alike.
[more inside]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Nov 24, 2012 - 14 comments

Accept - Osaka, 1985

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. - AllMusic
posted by Egg Shen on Nov 21, 2012 - 29 comments

Prison of Debt Paralyzes West

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.
posted by Vibrissae on Nov 19, 2012 - 118 comments

LUNCH: The Terror Within

3 month old baby red panda surprised while eating. [more inside]
posted by elizardbits on Nov 19, 2012 - 62 comments

Gibsonesque

William Gibson predicted this would happen over sixteen years ago.
posted by thewalrus on Nov 9, 2012 - 65 comments

I don't know any jokes about running radishes. Please supply your own.

"From the Department of Awesome Anthropomorphic Foodstuffs:" photos of a particularly delightful Daikon radish, brought to you by @Konsai_umemama, a farmer in Hyogo prefecture.
posted by ocherdraco on Nov 5, 2012 - 30 comments

Flash Anzan

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]
posted by milkb0at on Nov 2, 2012 - 31 comments

Ever wonder what happened to Fukushima Storage Unit #4?

Ever wonder what happened to Fukushima Storage Unit #4? You remember, the one filled with 1,500 wet stored and combustible fuel rods that threaten a total of ~134 million curies of radioactive cesium137 and, at least as of last April, seemed to be in maybe not such great shape? (PREVIOUSLY) This August, TEPCO released a comprehensive and easily understandable report on the condition of the structure as well as measures being done to both reinforce it against likely earthquakes and ultimately remove the fuel rods, which are still hot enough to require wet storage elsewhere (PDF). On the other hand, Kohei Murata, the former Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland who had the attention of the world during the crisis, remains both unimpressed and eschatological.
posted by Blasdelb on Oct 23, 2012 - 24 comments

Online Catalogue of Japanese Prints

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.
posted by misozaki on Oct 22, 2012 - 4 comments

Tsugaru sounds

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.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Oct 19, 2012 - 12 comments

Kimono Nagoya

Kimono Nagoya 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.
posted by codacorolla on Oct 14, 2012 - 9 comments

The Sea Firefly

Umihotaru 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.
posted by 256 on Oct 2, 2012 - 27 comments

Exploding bombs frequently caused so much vibration of photo enlargers that prints blurred and had to be remade

The Pacific War Photographs of Pfc Glenn W. Eve — "In the summer of 1942, the U.S. Army called up a skinny California boy barely out of his teens. But at 5’9’’ and 125 pounds, Private Glenn W. Eve was deemed unfit for combat. He might have spent the duration of World War II at a desk, except that he had field skills the Army needed – he was a gifted artist, draftsman and photographer who'd spent the previous four years working for the Walt Disney Co. In July 1944, they promoted him to private first class (Pfc) and assigned him to the Signal Photo Corps, bound for the Pacific to document the war. This is his collection, never before published. All comments in quotes are Pfc Eve's, written on the back of the photo."
posted by unliteral on Oct 1, 2012 - 13 comments

舞踏 Butoh

Dance of Darkness (Pt.1, Pt.2, Pt.3, Pt.4) is a documentary about the Japanese art form, Butoh. (Video links are generally NSFW:Nudity) [more inside]
posted by lemuring on Sep 30, 2012 - 12 comments

Hokusai's Great Wave

The Great Wave off Kanagawa is probably the most iconic Japanese artwork in history, often used to illustrate tsunamis, and scientists have attempted to analyze what kind of wave it depicts. The woodprint is part of the 36 Views of Mount Fuji series, which depicts the famous mountain from different spots in Japan. The artist who made the Great Wave, Katsushika Hokusai, created thousands of images, many of which can be viewed online, such as in the internet galleries of the Museum of Fine Art and Visipix (Visipix' Hokusai page). Besides woodprints, Hokusai produced sketchbooks he called manga, one of which, number twelve, can be flipped through on the Swedish Touch and Turn website.
posted by Kattullus on Sep 22, 2012 - 36 comments

The Story of the Two Yellowing Sheets of Paper.

Two old sheets of paper tell a story. Scroll down to the last big paragraph of the blog post, just above the photo of the two yellowed sheets of paper. (h/t Jane H.)
posted by brianstorms on Sep 17, 2012 - 10 comments

J'akuze

Photographs of a Yakuza gang and a description of their way of life in an interview with Anton Kusters. Includes the photography advice: "To not take photos was a sign of weakness."
posted by michaelh on Sep 3, 2012 - 42 comments

Privately Owned Public Spaces

When is a private space a public space? When it's a Privately Owned Public Space (POPS). In accordance with the planning codes of some cities, owners or builders of buildings are mandated to provide members of the general public access to spaces which include rooftop gardens, courtyards, and plazas. [more inside]
posted by larrybob on Aug 31, 2012 - 23 comments

Ukiyo-e Heroes

Illustrator Jed Henry and woodblock printmaker David Bull recently collaborated on a set of videogame-inspired woodblock prints in the ukiyo-e style. Just recently funded through Kickstarter, the prints are already underway. There are videos of the creative process here and at the bottom of the first link.
posted by gilrain on Aug 31, 2012 - 53 comments

Shoguns at the Sphinx, 1864

Ten years after Commodore Matthew Perry first visited Japan with four war ships and a letter from President Fillmore, Japan sent out a third Embassy to Western Nations (following the first Japanese Embassy to the United States in 1860, and the first Japanese Embassy to Europe in 1862). The third tour had the same goal as the first two: learn about Western cultures, and try to postpone the opening of Japanese ports to foreign trade. During that third tour, the group were on their way to France when they stopped in Egypt. On this stop, the members of the mission were photographed posing before the Sphinx, dressed in winged kamishimo costume and jingasa hats, carrying their feared long (katana) and short (wakizashi) swords. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 17, 2012 - 21 comments

Japanese Construction Worker Fashion

Kaseyama Co. makes clothes for Japanese construction workers, who are called "tobi." Here is what they look like.
posted by Sokka shot first on Aug 15, 2012 - 96 comments

Special Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros. Special occupies a strange place in Mario history. It's one of the few Mario games produced for a system other than Nintendo's own, licensed by Hudson Soft for the Japanese PC-8801 computer system. The system was fairly weak compared to an NES, so it didn't scroll; when Mario gets to the edge of the screen, it flips to the next. The game wasn't always designed with that in mind however, leading to a lot of blind jumps. You can play a hacked version of the original Super Mario Bros. designed to recreate this game using the patch found here. And here's a video playthrough of the whole game: World 1, World 2, World 3, World 4, World 5, World 6, World 7, World 8, Last level & ending. And here's a trap room in World 4.
posted by JHarris on Aug 14, 2012 - 45 comments

Print Your Own Foetus

For US$1275, You Can Get a 3D Model of Your Foetus The result is a scale reproduction of your unborn baby, composed of an opaque white fetus encased in the mother’s clear, colorless abdomen. [via The Verge]
posted by modernnomad on Aug 8, 2012 - 82 comments

Icelandic landscapes, set to Japanese post-rock

Legend: A Journey Through Iceland is a 12 min. 31 sec. long time-lapse video of Icelandic landscapes, set to the music of MONO, a Japanese post-rock band. A bit more MONO and pleasant landscapes inside. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 6, 2012 - 20 comments

These sound like a lot of fun

Japan Turns Masturbation into an Art "The days when the sex industry believed only women were in desperate need of self-pleasuring aids appear to be long gone. Nowadays, when one walks into a sex shop, aisles offering male masturbation tools are just as bountiful as those catering to women. At least in Japan. Seven years after Koichi Matsumoto left his car salesmen job to start 'something that hasn’t been done before' and launched Tenga 'New Adult Concept,' his company has sold over 15 million male masturbation units worldwide."
posted by bookman117 on Aug 2, 2012 - 85 comments

Like a cargo cult to 50 Cent

A recent trend in the ultra-fashion-conscious world of Tokyo teen girls: B-Style, or "black lifestyle", that is, emulating the black women in rap videos. In the video you will see Japanese girls with weaves and incredibly dark tans to mimic black skin. Rebellious rejection of convention, or weird sideways racism (one girl says: "when we do it it looks vulgar, but not on the black women")?
posted by DecemberBoy on Aug 1, 2012 - 132 comments

SAIKADO HANTAI! SAIKADO HANTAI!

Yesterday, July 29, 2012, saw a massive antinuclear protest, attended by young and old alike, in Tokyo. This video, and this one, too, (both well-edited and featuring English subtitles) bring you right into the center of the action, to get a feel for the energy that the movement is steadily gaining.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jul 29, 2012 - 112 comments

Teru Teru Bozu...Teru Teru Bozu...

Need some cuteness in your day? Teru Teru Bozu are small handmade dolls loosely resembling bald monks, which are traditionally made in Japan and hung up, to [allegedly] bring good weather. There's a cute song that goes along with the tradition. Want to make your own?
posted by thermonuclear.jive.turkey on Jul 28, 2012 - 11 comments

Individualistic Americans vs. Collectivist Japanese

Wisdom, Age, and Society in America and Japan "ONE stereotype of wisdom is a wizened Zen-master smiling benevolently at the antics of his pupils, while referring to them as little grasshoppers or some such affectation, safe in the knowledge that one day they, too, will have been set on the path that leads to wizened masterhood. But is it true that age brings wisdom? A study two years ago in North America, by Igor Grossmann of the University of Waterloo, in Canada, suggested that it is. In as much as it is possible to quantify wisdom, Dr Grossmann found that elderly Americans had more of it than youngsters. He has, however, now extended his investigation to Asia—the land of the wizened Zen-master—and, in particular, to Japan. There, he found, in contrast to the West, that the grasshoppers are their masters' equals almost from the beginning.... Japanese have higher scores than Americans for the sort of interpersonal wisdom you might think would be useful in an individualistic society. Americans, by contrast—at least in the maturity of old age—have more intergroup wisdom than the purportedly collectivist Japanese. Perhaps, then, you need individual skills when society is collective, and social ones when it is individualistic."
posted by bookman117 on Jul 23, 2012 - 31 comments

"The FDA recalled more than 60,000 tissue-derived products between 1994 and mid-2007."

"The business of recycling dead humans into medical implants is a little-known yet lucrative trade. But its practices have roused concerns about how tissues are obtained and how well grieving families and transplant patients are informed about the realities and the risks." After an eight month international investigation, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has published an extensive four-part exposé into the black market for cadavers and human tissue: Skin and Bone: The Shadowy Trade in Human Body Parts (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 20, 2012 - 32 comments

Yamamoto Gendai

While researching the robotic sculptures of Kenji Yanobe (previously) I stumbled across this remarkable, eye-popping collection of artists at the Yamamoto Gendai. Enjoy...
posted by jim in austin on Jul 19, 2012 - 7 comments

Fight on. The road to Hope (dumbassery) starts here!

Ahoge is a one-day Japanese game jam that takes its name from the "stupid hair" or antenna of anime characters. Every session has a theme; previous ones include Albatross, Oranges, 285, and Travel. The fifth one started a few minutes ago; the theme is "Yoshida", a common surname. [more inside]
posted by 23 on Jul 13, 2012 - 2 comments

You spin me right round, baby Right round like a record, baby Right round, round, round You spin me right round, baby Right round like a record, baby Right round, round, round

RRRRRRRROLL
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jul 12, 2012 - 65 comments

"We are one step closer to our dream otaku bros"

Man takes virtual augmented reality girlfriend for a walk in the park. (via)
posted by crunchland on Jul 9, 2012 - 103 comments

Brighten up the landscape with... a gas storage tank

The artistic gas storage tanks of Japan. Some explanation Includes a NSFW image, strangely enough. [more inside]
posted by asok on Jul 6, 2012 - 31 comments

'Oh hey, you dropped your handkerchief'

The curious case of the eroding eikaiwa salary. Now fraught with job insecurity and low pay, there was a time when the work was steady and salaries were high for those who taught English in Japan. Around the turn of the millennium, salaries and work conditions for English teachers in Japan began a downward trend — one that has now spilled into the '10s and shows no signs of slowing, let alone reversing.
posted by KokuRyu on Jul 4, 2012 - 49 comments

Virus 復活の日 Fukkatsu no hi

Virus (復活の日 Fukkatsu no hi, literally "Day of Resurrection") is a 1980 Japanese post-apocalyptic film about the release and spread of a deadly virus. [more inside]
posted by jiawen on Jul 3, 2012 - 17 comments

East Meets West

Japanese beatboxer Hikakin collaborates with American dancer Nonstop. [Previously]
posted by gman on Jun 27, 2012 - 6 comments

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