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STAR WOLF, or, he tried to kill me with a forklift!

スターウルフ, "Star Wolf," was a half-hour sci-fi TV show produced and aired in Japan in 1978. (TV Tropes page -- addiction warning) It had somewhat cheesy special effects, understandable being a TV series made just one year after Star Wars, but it made up for it with style, energy, and ACTION PACKED MUSIC.

American viewers will know it best as the show ripped apart and reassembled into two Fugitive Alien movies by Sandy Frank Productions, then shown on two memorable episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000. (Episodes on YouTube: Fugitive Alien, its sequel.) Although the Japanese show got at least two seasons (the second under the title Space Hero Star Wolf), only the first four episodes appear to exist on the internet. Here they are: One - Two - Three - Four. (There are no subtitles, but you should be able to figure out what is going on if you've seen the MST episode.) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 27, 2012 - 26 comments

 

Doot do do doo do doot do do do dooooo

Kame Chan is a cockatiel that likes to sing. The Chocobo theme! Zelda! Victory!
posted by The Whelk on Jun 22, 2012 - 10 comments

Electricity in Japan

In the year and a half since the earthquake and tsunami caused an industry-wide Japanese nuclear shutdown , Japanese consumers and businesses have been urged to conserve energy whenever possible. Although a few reactors are being brought back online temporarily, the Japanese government has pledged to move away from nuclear power sources. Yesterday the Japanese government announced what may be the world's highest solar photovolatic feed-in tariff at 53 cents per kWh generated. [more inside]
posted by thewalrus on Jun 20, 2012 - 47 comments

The Art of the Netsuke Lives On

"[N]early all Japanese people have figurines, anime or cartoon characters hanging from their mobile phones — for the most part without realizing they are in their mass-produced, contemporary way keeping alive the nation's netsuke tradition. In contrast, those netsuke on Kuroiwa's phone are the real deal — small, delicate, uniquely crafted sculptures in ivory and an assortment of woods." Julian Littler searches for traditional ivory netsuke carvers (print view; standard web view), and interviews Akira Kuroiwa, a member of the Japan Ivory Sculptors Association (Google auto-translation). [via MetaChat] [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 18, 2012 - 32 comments

"One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man."

Upgrade Your Nintendo 3DS’s Sound. [SLYT] "Of the variety of things one might find to complain about in regards to the Nintendo 3DS, the sound doesn’t immediately come to mind. It’s not great sound, mind, but there are a litany of things that are more obvious. Thanks to one intrepid inventor, however, you are now just a series of tubes, clips and metal funnels away from awesome sound. Now, in order to figure out the exact combination of these things you’ll need to translate the instructions from Japanese." [Via].
posted by Fizz on Jun 17, 2012 - 14 comments

This is my book. There are many like it, but this is mine.

In 1989 the Japanese Government passed the Media Betterment Act, permitting censorship of any media deemed to be harmful to society. On the basis of the imperative for libraries to resist any attempts at suppression of free speech, local governments created an armed resistance force to combat censorship. The conflict between the government and library forces continues to 2019, where the story of Library War begins. [more inside]
posted by 23 on Jun 15, 2012 - 12 comments

Forging a Sashimi Knife

Forging a Sashimi Knife. The bladesmith is Murray Carter. [more inside]
posted by Deathalicious on Jun 15, 2012 - 24 comments

Sakanaction is a band that is pretty good overall !

Sakanaction is a band from Sapporo with a very stylish web site and some pretty unique music videos, especially but by no means limited to: [more inside]
posted by DoctorFedora on Jun 9, 2012 - 12 comments

Don't you know what table tennis is? Come on. I'll teach you.

Taiyo Matsumoto's original five volume manga Ping Pong was one of the most surprising and gripping experiences I've had this year. But a huge reason for that is the artwork: he packs more kinetic energy into a single drawing of a shoe skidding across a floor than any real shoe has ever had. So it was with some trepidation that I saw posters for this adaptation going up in stores around Japan. Fumihiko Masuri is a first time director (not that you'd know it), with a background in computer effects. He seems to have directed this mainly because he's a really big fan of the manga too. On the film's website, they've placed images from the manga next to photographs of the actors in the film, so you can see how obsessive compulsive they were in matching faces. Not only faces, but movements, playing styles, and shot composition is all straight from the book, as if they'd used the manga in lieu of storyboards. Even the occasional surreal touch; a boy growing butterfly wings, a dragonfly landing on the net, is right out of the page onto the screen. -- Midnight Eye review; subtitled movie in 12 parts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
posted by filthy light thief on May 14, 2012 - 22 comments

Hoooooooooo!

Hard Gay was a Japanese pro wrestler turned TV personality popular in the mid 2000s. Like Sacha Baron Cohen's Brüno, he is a cartoonish gay foreigner portrayed by a straight person, but has come under considerably greater scrutiny for his more minstrelsy than satyrical approach. The BBC has profiled Hard Gay as part of their series, Japanorama. [more inside]
posted by modernserf on May 10, 2012 - 39 comments

7 Days in Tokyo

Pascal Ken, after taking several trips to Japan between 2007 and 2011, took some beautiful, dreamlike infrared photos of Tokyo.
posted by reenum on May 6, 2012 - 14 comments

Where There Are No Street Names

Derek Sivers explains the fascinating Japanese addressing system.
posted by Foci for Analysis on May 5, 2012 - 95 comments

Japanese painted manhole covers

Japanese painted manhole covers
posted by roll truck roll on May 3, 2012 - 23 comments

Robot Hair Washer.

Robot hair washer has twenty-four fingers [via].
posted by feelinglistless on May 2, 2012 - 30 comments

Spring, When the Harleys Return to British Columbia to Spawn...

Ikuo Yokoyama lost his home and three family members in the Japanese tsunami last year. Among the losses was a Harley-Davidson motorcycle he had bought five years ago and keeping in the back of a cube van... which floated across the Pacific Ocean and was found by Peter Mark, a resident of British Columbia, on an beach on Graham Island (it's the big one up the B.C. coast, near Alaska). Aside from some rust, the motorcycle seems to be in decent condition, and Harley-Davidson plans to restore it and ship it back to Yokoyama.
posted by Etrigan on May 2, 2012 - 21 comments

Never forget, never again

We Japanese Americans must not forget our wartime internment - George Takei on the the treatment of Japanese-Americans during WWII and Allegiance, his new musical. Previously.
posted by Artw on Apr 29, 2012 - 45 comments

Obscura Day, 2012

Atlas Obscura (seen 'round here before) has organized its third annual Obscura Day for April 28. It's "an international celebration of unusual places," from the Fairy Doors of Ann Arbor, Michigan and the Particle Accelerator at John E. Edwards Accelerator Laboratory in Athens, Ohio, to a tour of the Secrets & Oddities of the National Museum in Edinburgh, Scotland and an Expedition to the 1,553 Stone-Carved Monks of Nihon-ji in the city of Kyonan, Chiba Prefecture, Japan.
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 25, 2012 - 3 comments

Only those in love would know what a town without pity can do

I prepared for my first-ever trip to Japan, this summer, almost entirely by immersing myself in the work of Haruki Murakami. This turned out to be a horrible idea. For his cover article on the novelist Haruki Murakami, Sam Anderson visited some key places from Murakami’s life and work. Murakami's Tokyo. The Fierce Imagination of Haruki Murakami. [more inside]
posted by byanyothername on Apr 20, 2012 - 49 comments

"That will be the end"

A month ago, the Japanese TV show "Morning Bird" discussed the current state of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, and specifically Unit 4, which is in terrible condition. During an interview with Dr. Hiroaki Koide, Research Associate at the Research Reactor Institute of Kyoto University, who explains the immense difficulty in moving the radioactive fuel rods - a process that will not even start until 2013 - the presenter asks what would happen if even a moderate earthquake struck near the plant before the fuel rods can be moved. Koide replies:
That will be the end.

posted by crayz on Apr 14, 2012 - 107 comments

Was last seen approaching the power plant!

Japanese kids draw Henry Rollins. More at Hello Henry.
posted by KevinSkomsvold on Apr 9, 2012 - 34 comments

that's one mellow cat

Little parakeet just won't leave kitty alone. I mean, really. Doesn't matter if kitty is drinking, or trying to sleep. He just won't leave kitty alone. I mean, really. Kitty's cool with it, though, and they enjoy the same food. And neither of them are especially interested in the beetle.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Apr 8, 2012 - 55 comments

TETSUUUOOOO!!!....'s creator returns

In 1982 the manga, Akira (previously) , began its run. It would ultimately spawn a film that would lead the way for the growth of the anime medium outside of Japan. An attempted Americanized remake (previouslyer) was in production before being ultimately canceled. The manga’s creator, Katsuhiro Otomo, in the meantime, had taken a 20 year break from long-form manga. It was recently announced that this break was coming to an end and that Otomo would be working on a new long-form shonen series.
posted by sendai sleep master on Mar 29, 2012 - 30 comments

Living in a Washing Machine.

The Nakagin Capsule Tower (slyt) is a prime example of the uniquely Japanese architecture known as "Metabolism", as well as the main inspiration for Tokyo's famous Capsule Hotels. The most unique feature of this building style is the interchangeability of the individual units, supposedly to allow it to adapt to changes in density and lifestyle (although that plan hasn't exactly panned out). Local residents are calling for the tower to be demolished, although a group of architects are trying to preserve it as an architectural landmark [more inside]
posted by steamynachos on Mar 25, 2012 - 14 comments

It's getting hot in herre...

From Japan, a way to rapidly cool down your car on a hot day. (SLYT)
posted by reenum on Mar 18, 2012 - 109 comments

Stop-Motion Dance

Wrecking Crew Orchestra (original Japanese site) are a young dance crew from Japan. Last week, they put on a light-synchronized performance in electroluminescent suits that has to be seen to be believed.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Mar 13, 2012 - 21 comments

One Year Later

On the one year anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, the Economist magazine now considers Nuclear energy to be "the dream that failed", in an issue with articles covering the history, safety issues, handling of nuclear waste, and costs (with emphasis on China) of nuclear power. [more inside]
posted by vidur on Mar 11, 2012 - 50 comments

The Great Tohoku Earworm of 2011

Following the March 2011 earthquake in Japan, commercials largely disappeared from television. To fill space between the news reports and lists of missing people, the Ad Council of Japan put together a number of PSAs. Since there were only five or ten of them, the PSAs played thousands of times over the course of a few months, searing themselves into the memory of the Japanese public. Most were typical messages about common courtesy, perseverance, listening to your kids, conservation, and international support. But one PSA in particular quickly took on a life of its own, instantly being mashed up with a classic Japanese TV trope: Robot Transformation Sequences! [more inside]
posted by azuresunday on Mar 11, 2012 - 37 comments

Floods, aftershocks, and fallout.

The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom. Japan, still feeling the aftershocks of the earthquake, the tsunami, the Fukushima exclusion zone... An opportunity for everyone to reflect on the disaster, share stories, and contemplate the impact of a year ago and what it means today.
posted by markkraft on Mar 10, 2012 - 10 comments

Listening to the 2011 Tōhoku Earthquake

What does a magnitude 9.0 earthquake sound like? Researchers sped up low-frequency ground waves recorded during the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake, bringing them within range of human hearing. Hear the mainshock from just off the coast of Japan. And how it "sounded" in California. [more inside]
posted by Mercaptan on Mar 7, 2012 - 14 comments

Eat It, in Japan

Weird Al performs Eat It in Japan. Stay for the giant lobster man. [more inside]
posted by Think_Long on Feb 27, 2012 - 11 comments

"You know what I think?" she says. "That people's memories are maybe the fuel they burn to stay alive."

In Search of Haruki Murakami, Japan’s Great Postmodernist Novelist, a 50 minute documentary exploring Murakami's Japan and culture. via.
posted by timshel on Feb 26, 2012 - 28 comments

Victory shout at 1:41

11 year old Nanaka showing off her impressive skateboarding skills. [SLYT]
posted by quin on Feb 19, 2012 - 32 comments

Bonsai!

Bonsai Treehouses by Takanori Aiba
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Feb 14, 2012 - 26 comments

Japan Tsunami Pictures - Before and After

Japan Tsunami Pictures - Before and After See how Japan has rebuilt in the 11 months since the earthquake and tsunami
posted by KokuRyu on Feb 10, 2012 - 21 comments

Pantomime Course

Not for the first time, a paper-mache rhino terrorizes Ueno Zoo. Previously: ape, polar bear, tiger, zebra.
posted by Winnemac on Feb 9, 2012 - 19 comments

Tiltshift Japan ist Krieg

It's the weekend according to UNIQLO CALENDAR, portraying the four seasons and forty-seven prefectures of Tiltshift Timelapse Japan. Music by Fantastic Plastic Machine who did internet classic UNIQLOCK. [Previous]
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Feb 3, 2012 - 24 comments

What Has Piracy Done For Anime?

In 2000, the anime industry was on the brink of what looked like a global takeover, and was pushing live action movies to the side. However, trouble began to take hold just a few years later, when labour issues involving long hours and low pay, along with a sharp drop in anime DVD sales, began to cause serious trouble for the industry. Although some government officials pinned their hopes in beefing up exports in order to breathe life into the economy, to industry insiders the situation looked bleak and possibly unresolvable using traditional models. However, other avenues - such as the internet, and even internet piracy - were studied for their economic effects. The results? [more inside]
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing on Feb 2, 2012 - 32 comments

78 78s

78 78s - In Search Of Lost Time - is a streaming mix of beautiful 78s from around the world, collected and curated by Ian Nagoski. "I started sifting through boxes of junky old 78s that no one else wanted about 15 years ago, and almost right away, I made a rule: Anything that wasn't in English, buy it." [more inside]
posted by carter on Jan 29, 2012 - 15 comments

I'm on my way to the Reprobate Empire, via Whiskey Island and the Temptation Straits

Mapping out whiskey. Start here, swimming in Drunkards Channel: Map On Temperance, 1846. [more inside]
posted by not_the_water on Jan 21, 2012 - 17 comments

NOW IT IS BEGINNING OF A FANTASTIC STORY

Here are fan-translated Game Center CX (previously) Episodes on YouTube: #1: Atlantis No Nazo, #2: Challenger, #3: Ghosts 'N Goblins, #4: Konami Wai Wai World, #5: Metroid, #6: Solomon's Key, #7 & #8: Prince of Persia: Part 1 - Part 2, #9: Mega Man II, #10: Super Mario 3. Much more after the break.... [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Dec 28, 2011 - 32 comments

Works on low-talkers too!

Having confronted the problem of how to walk past someone without running into them, it's time MetaFilter dealt with another pressing social issue: How to deal with slow walkers (SLYT).
posted by scalefree on Dec 28, 2011 - 47 comments

China radically increases patent filings

China became the world's top patent filer in 2011, issuing 58% of global intellectual property filings. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Dec 23, 2011 - 49 comments

Tsunami Drive-By

Yu Muroga was doing his job making deliveries when the 11 March 2011 earthquake hit in Japan. Unaware, like many people in the area, of how far inland the Tsunami would travel, he continued to drive and do his job. The HD camera mounted on his dashboard captured not only the earthquake, but also the moment he and several other drivers were suddenly engulfed in the Tsunami. He escaped from the vehicle seconds before it was crushed by other debris and sunk underwater.
posted by mannequito on Dec 20, 2011 - 49 comments

Les Rallizes Denudes

Although the ultra-mysterious and rumour-cloaked Les Rallizes Dénudés/Hadaka no Rallizes existed in various forms from November 1967 to their last gig in October 1996 they are practically unknown in - let alone out of - Japan. Their recorded output is incredibly rare and highly priced and interviews or articles in the music press virtually non-existent. Tie that in with links to radical left-wing politics, extreme sensory assault at live shows and a general revolutionary aura and you have what must be the ultimate cult group. [more inside]
posted by twirlip on Dec 20, 2011 - 12 comments

Iconic souvenir, Kokeshi dolls from Japan

Kokeshi Dolls originated in North-East Japan as wooden toys for children. They began being produced towards the end of the Edo period (1603~1868) by woodwork artisans, called Kiji-shi, who normally made bowls, trays and other tableware by using a lathe. They began to make small dolls in the winter to sell to visitors who came to bathe in the many hot springs near their villages, which was believed to be a cure for the demands of a strenuous agricultural lifestyle. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Dec 19, 2011 - 20 comments

Rokurokkubi (a long-necked monster)

"This site is a catalogue raisonné of the art of Utagawa Kuniyoshi. It contains over 5,000 images, counting multi-sheet compositions as single images. An undertaking such as this can never be considered complete..." An archive of the work of Utagawa Kuniyoshi, a 19th century print maker from Japan. Some highlights include sumo wrestlers, triptychs from Genji, the Zodiac, and Tanuki having fun (slightly NSFW). [Via Pink Tentacle.] [more inside]
posted by codacorolla on Dec 18, 2011 - 4 comments

The Stars of Famicom Games

Chris Covell translated a Japanese social studies book about the making of Super Mario Bros. 3.
posted by ignignokt on Dec 16, 2011 - 10 comments

Can YOU survive?

Mobile Suit Gundam premiered on April 7th, 1979 in Nagoya, Japan, and with it came the now three-decade-old franchise that launched a thousand plastic model kits. WARNING: MAY CONTAIN spoilers for a thirty-year-old beloved cultural touchstone that you've likely never seen or possibly even heard of. WARNING: DEFINITELY CONTAINS many, many links to TV Tropes. 28.8k USERS: Upgrade to 56K already. You're going to need it. [more inside]
posted by DoctorFedora on Dec 15, 2011 - 64 comments

Come and see for yourself ...

On Monday, Google released Memories for the Future, a website that allows you to "... walk the scarred coastline [after the Japanese tsunami] virtually". "... it is possible to see the full extent of the damage by finding an image in Street View and then clicking the “Before” and “After” links at the top to see how the earthquake and tsunami impacted that area." The Japan Real Time blog has a good introduction and writeup.
posted by woodblock100 on Dec 13, 2011 - 9 comments

Sunnier Than Sonny And Cher!

What is Pink Lady? In Japan they are remembered for a string of pop hits in the 70s, but Americans might remember them either from their disco single "Kiss In The Dark" or from an attempt to sell them to the US market in 1980 via a short-lived NBC variety show Pink Lady & Jeff (TVParty summary) with comedian Jeff Altman. (Opening). The show featured their Japanese hits, UFO, MONSTER (a bit more rock and roll), and SOS along with US hits like Boogie Wonderland, McArthur Park and the occasional guest star. (with encore) Also, Roy Orbison. Sadly, the show failed to break out and the two returned to Japan for a series of farewell concerts and retrospectives. Much, much more available at this charmingly retro, utterly exhaustive fan site devoted to them. Or just read the recaps. [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Dec 11, 2011 - 33 comments

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