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Cool! Obama's face for lunch!

Normally I manage a sandwich, pieces of fruit and veg, a yoghurt and a carton of drink for my kids' lunchboxes. In some parts of the world, it seems, only mini sculptures of cartoon characters, piano keyboards and pictures of Obama made from seaweed will suffice. Want to join in? Turns out Youtube is a goldmine: next week, give your child Octopus sausages!. Or buy a book!
posted by Hartham's Hugging Robots on Dec 11, 2011 - 20 comments

 

A Reluctant Enemy

"What a strange position I find myself in," [Yamamoto] wrote a friend, "having been assigned the mission diametrically opposed to my own personal opinion, with no choice but to push full speed in pursuance of that mission. Alas, is that fate?"

A brief account of how one of the biggest critics of Japan's war policy became the mastermind of the Pearl Harbor attacks. (SLNYT)
posted by swift on Dec 7, 2011 - 44 comments

In Japan, they farm like this; in American, they farm like that.

Japan's youth, unable to find jobs in the city, look to life on the farm. [more inside]
posted by asnider on Dec 1, 2011 - 36 comments

The Emissaries of Cool Japan

The Great Shift in Japanese Pop Culture: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4. [more inside]
posted by subdee on Nov 30, 2011 - 36 comments

Blackboard War

「こくせん ― 黒板戦争」(Blackboard War) is a homemade stop motion video created by some students (out of more than 2500 still photos) for their school's culture festival. There is also a sequel (made from more than 3000 photos this time).
posted by emmling on Nov 30, 2011 - 14 comments

Are Your Greetings Seasoned?

"I can’t even tell you how excited I was to finally see the cards that “killed my grandfather” and drove my family into extreme poverty. I actually think Haruo did a pretty good job interpreting my grandfather’s original sketch, considering the severely confusing nature of his drawing. It’s anybody’s guess as what my grandfather expected to get back, but needless to say it wasn’t this beautiful card." Bradwick J. McGinty III tells the story of the Japanese cut-away Santa cards from 1955, similar in style to the yōkai and kaiju illustrations seen previously. (via)
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 27, 2011 - 74 comments

The Sword Maker

Korehira Watanabe, one of Japan's last swordsmiths (SLYT).
posted by mahershalal on Nov 23, 2011 - 27 comments

Kampai, you bitches!

Jeremy Thorn is an abusive, hard-drinking gaijin who will teach you Japanese while verbally berating you. He and his friends will also get drunk and teach you how to cook Japanese food in a similarly abusive fashion. Then he'll take you on a tour of weird Japanese signage, sights, and stuff. (note: MLYT; a lot of swearing is involved) [more inside]
posted by sixohsix on Nov 21, 2011 - 58 comments

Studio 4°C: anime that is dense with substance

Studio 4°C is a Japanese animation studio, named for the temperature at which water is most dense, which they convey in their creative manifesto: "create only works that are dense with substance and extreme quality." The studio has produced a range of works, from commercials (Honda Edix | Nike iD REALCITY) and music videos (Ken Ishii - 'Extra' [prev] | Utada Hikaru - 'Fluximation'), to animated series (The Adventures of Tweeny Witches | Thundercats reboot [prev]) and feature-length films (Memories [1995] | Mind Game [2004]). More on their movies inside. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 14, 2011 - 19 comments

Meow Meow Meow

Japan's cat cafes, where you can have tea with cats.
posted by Artw on Nov 9, 2011 - 83 comments

Then reached the caverns measureless to man, And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean

The 13th century wreck of an invading Mongolian ship that fell victim to a famous typhoon known in Japan as the "kamikaze" or "divine wind" has been found off the country's southern coast. [more inside]
posted by BobbyVan on Oct 27, 2011 - 14 comments

Doctor Volga, forgive me!

CHARGEMAN KEN episode 35: DYNAMITE IN THE BRAIN (Youtube, 5:19)
...in which our poorly-animated, generic 70s anime boy superhero finds a unique way to thwart the villains' plans. (Via the excellent let's anime.) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Oct 25, 2011 - 15 comments

Hanover Historical Texts Project

Hanover Historical Texts Project is a collection of primary source texts from ancient times to the modern era in English translation. There is a great number of interesting texts, for instance accounts of Zeno, he of the paradoxes, the diary of Lady Sarashina, a lady-in-waiting in Heian era Japan, a letter from Count Stephen of Blois and Chartres, a crusader writing to his wife, Arthur Young's travels in France before and during the Revolution, a report by the American ambassador in St. Petersburg on March 20th, 1917, immediately after the February Revolution, and finally Petrarch's letter about his graphomania. That last one is from what is perhaps my favorite part of the website, a trove of Petrarch's Familiar Letters. But there's much more in the Hanover Historical Texts Projects besides what I've mentioned.
posted by Kattullus on Oct 24, 2011 - 6 comments

Bicycling the Globe at a Bargain

35 days, 2822 miles through 9 states at a cost of $252.51 ($7.21 per day). George 'the Cyclist' Christensen spends a good part of each year bicycling through a different country and wild camping in places like Iceland, Turkey, China, the foot of Mt Fuji and around Lake Victoria; And writing about his travels on his blog from libraries and internet cafés. For the past eight years, too, he has also followed the Tour de France after first watching upwards of 70 films [in 12 days] at the Cannes Film Festival.
posted by Rashomon on Oct 17, 2011 - 20 comments

"We'll be fine."

GQ: The Man Who Sailed His House. On the third day after the Japanese tsunami, after the waves had left their destruction, as rescue workers searched the ruins, news came of an almost surreal survival: Nine miles out at sea, a man had been found alone, riding on nothing but the roof of his house. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 13, 2011 - 19 comments

Now I understand why Manchester has such a passion.

The shape of England suggests a woman conscious of the size of her breasts. [more inside]
posted by Yakuman on Oct 8, 2011 - 67 comments

Gauche the Cellist, a Japanese short story and animated movie

Gauche the Cellist [Google video, 63 minutes] is based on a story [Japanese; English translation #1, #2] by Kenji Miyazawa, one of the most-loved poet/storytellers in Japan (Miyazaki and Takahata love his works, and have been influenced by him). The movie was made as an independent project by a Japanese animation studio, OH Production (wiki), and took 6 years to complete. It is rather difficult to make a Kenji story into a movie because there are many Japanese just waiting to rip you apart if you screw up, but Gauche has been highly acclaimed, and is considered one of the best Miyazawa movies (IMDb). The story is about a cellist, Gauche, who becomes a better cellist by interacting with animals who visit his home every night. *
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 8, 2011 - 8 comments

The Lost Yankee

Kei Igawa arrived in the US with a lot of fanfare in 2007. After failing miserably with the Yankees, he was sent to the minor leagues. Since then, he has existed in an uncomfortable limbo, not completely part of either world.
posted by reenum on Oct 5, 2011 - 33 comments

"In fact, it is so untouched that there’s a real sense the students will suddenly return. Each and every one of the small class charging in from the entrance."

"Pretty much all haikyo that contain items related to the building’s past are interesting. On the odd occasion even empty structures are too. But while memory-filled houses and sorry-looking snake centres are fascinating in their own very different ways, there’s arguably something that little bit special about a long-abandoned school." An abandoned but perfectly preserved Japanese school. [more inside]
posted by jbickers on Sep 28, 2011 - 10 comments

I Wanna Be Your Doguu

Dogu are stylized clay figures from the prehistoric period of Japanese history. After Erich von Däniken popularized his 'ancient astronauts' ideas, Dogu became associated with alien visitors and appeared in many videogames.
More information from The Met and Wiki.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn on Sep 15, 2011 - 23 comments

9 hrs.

Nine Hours is an ultra-modern capsule hotel in Kyoto, Japan.
posted by lemuring on Sep 6, 2011 - 57 comments

Animated Truth

In the 1990s, the Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo ("Supreme Truth"), infamous for their gas attack on the Tokyo subway released a number (NSWF) of anime videos as a recruitment tool.
posted by griphus on Sep 6, 2011 - 17 comments

Fighter at Point Zero

"In the wake of the March 11 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, former Shooto heavyweight champion Enson Inoue has been on a one-man charity mission, repeatedly traveling to northeast Japan to directly help those in need."

A 9-Day Diary of the Trip and an interview about his experience covertly visiting the derelict Fukushima Reactor to feed stray animals and witness the gravity of the disaster zone.
posted by lemuring on Sep 4, 2011 - 22 comments

What humans are doing in space these days

Hey, remember the ISS, that space station the Space Shuttle helped build before the shuttle was retired? Turns out humans might have to vacate that nifty space station for a bit. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Aug 30, 2011 - 93 comments

Doraemon with English subtitles

Doraemon - the Hurricane Child (Japanese with English subtitles) Perhaps Japan's greatest pop icon, Doraemon is an earless robotic cat who travels back in time from the 22nd century to aid a schoolboy, Nobita. Originally a Japanese manga series created by Fujiko F. Fujio (a nom de plume of a manga writing duo formed by two Japanese manga artists) Doraemon would become probably the most popular anime series in Japanese history. A Daily Motion user has uploaded dozens of older Doraemon episodes, many with English subtitles).
posted by KokuRyu on Aug 27, 2011 - 8 comments

The Fukushima Robot Diaries

Fukushima Robot Operator Writes Tell-All Blog. "An anonymous worker at Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant has written dozens of blog posts describing his experience as a lead robot operator at the crippled facility." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Aug 24, 2011 - 19 comments

Woman achieves Judo 10th degree black belt - at 98

98 year old woman just got her 10th level black belt in Judo. Only three people in the world, all men living in Japan, have ever reached that mark. The martial arts promotion by USA Judo brought 98-year-old Fukuda to tears at the women's dojo where she still teaches in Noe Valley. Last week, Sensei Keiko Fukuda of San Francisco became the first woman to be promoted to judo's highest level: 10th degree black belt. Video about Fukuda Keiko. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Aug 9, 2011 - 102 comments

If they didn’t surrender after Tokyo, they weren’t going to after Hiroshima.

Q: What ended WWII? A: Not the atomic bomb. [more inside]
posted by swift on Aug 8, 2011 - 171 comments

Mission Accepted.....Mission Complete.

Gundam Navi: [Via: Comics Alliance] "If you're a Japanese otaku growing bored of your crippling iPhone GPS dependence, Namco Bandai could have the solution for you -- gaming your way to destinations with Mobile Suit Gundam. Gundam Navi, the first of a line of Character Navi programs, is a new GPS app that transforms a user's commute into "battle events" that pit a location marker against randomly generated enemies lined up on a given route." Gundam Navi is available for iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS. The app costs ¥3,500 for one year of usage. [Screenshot 1] [Screenshot 2] [Screenshot 3] [Screenshot 4] [Screenshot 5]
posted by Fizz on Jul 30, 2011 - 28 comments

Surreal J-pop video

PonPonPon (earworm alert) from Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. [via]
posted by unliteral on Jul 26, 2011 - 58 comments

boxes:Maru::baskets:Shiro

The Basket Cat Blog: Shiro loves very small baskets. He also wears flowered hats (sometimes vegetables) and enjoys the idyllic Japanese countryside of Iwate Prefecture. He and his brothers are very chill. Many short but sweet videos of them have been uploaded to YouTube on the shironekoshiro channel. The blog is updated frequently and has extensive archives. More archives here. Twitter Facebook [more inside]
posted by bobobox on Jul 24, 2011 - 35 comments

Meanwhile, in Japan | Katsuyo Aoki

I feel I am able to express an - atmosphere- that is a part of the complex world in this age. Katsuyo Aoki was born in 1972 in Tokyo, JAPAN, he work principally with ceramics, incorporating various decorative styles, patterns, and symbolic forms.
posted by at the crossroads on Jul 19, 2011 - 10 comments

The Bo-Taoshi that can be told is not the true Bo-Taoshi

Capture the flag, as played in Japan. via loq [more inside]
posted by Horselover Phattie on Jul 18, 2011 - 47 comments

Japan wins Woman's World Cup

Congratulations to Japan!!! All that screaming practice paid off. Spirits are lifted. [more inside]
posted by josher71 on Jul 18, 2011 - 82 comments

"The dress is designed to look it's most beautiful as the woman walks away"

The joint crushing of the wedding ring is the highlight of the event With many people reassessing their life choices following the tsunami, Japan is seeing a marked increase in divorce ceremonies. As well as the ring crushing, these ceremonies feature friends and family witnesses, dresses "designed to look it's most beautiful as the woman walks away" and frog motifs.
posted by sarastro on Jul 5, 2011 - 78 comments

Something For The Eye, Something for the Mind

Box Art showcases awesome and artistic videogame box art. Eastern Mind writes about obscure Japanese videogames, with a focus on adventures and music games.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn on Jun 20, 2011 - 11 comments

"Sex selection defies culture, nationality and creed."

"Over the past few decades, 160 million women have vanished from East and South Asia — or, to be more accurate, they were never born at all. Throughout the region, the practice of sex selection — prenatal sex screening followed by selective termination of pregnancies — has yielded a generation packed with boys. From a normal level of 105 boys to 100 girls, the ratio has shifted to 120, 150, and, in some cases, nearly 200 boys born for every 100 girls. In some countries, like South Korea, ratios spiked and are now returning to normal. But sex selection is on the rise in Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East." American journalist Mara Hvistendahl's new book: "Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men," examines and tries to predict the actual and potential effects of unequal sex ratios on men, women and the social economies of the affected regions, including the recent spike in sex trafficking and bride-buying across Asia. More. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 10, 2011 - 65 comments

Unit 731 - A Lesser Known Piece of WW2 History

While most Westerners are familiar with the Holocaust and Nazi war crimes, fewer Westerners know much about the war crimes committed by the Japanese military throughout Asia, particularly the human medical experiments conducted by Unit 731. [more inside]
posted by The ____ of Justice on Jun 7, 2011 - 95 comments

The Ghost of Gulliver's Kingdom

Kamikuishiki was a village in the Yamanashi Prefecture in Japan that gained unwanted international attention in 1995 as a key location for Aum Shinrikyo, the religious cult behind a number of acts of violence, including the Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway. To change the nature of attention given to the picturesque village, a new attraction was built on the former site of the cult complex: Gulliver's Kingdom, a mixed up theme park with a Scandinavian town, a petting zoo, a French puppet theater to tell the story of Gulliver, and a 45 meter version of Gulliver himself, pinned to the ground. The park was opened in 1997, but Niigata Chuo Bank was facing serious problems two years later, collapsing "under the weight of nonperforming loans." The theme park's owners were the largest borrowers from the bank, and the park closed in 2001. The park was finally purchased in 2002 in the 3rd auction attempt. In 2006, Kamikuishiki disappeared, divided and the parts merged into neighboring municipalities. The next year, Gulliver's Kingdom was demolished, leaving behind photos (new and old), and memories.
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 6, 2011 - 4 comments

Music like shattered glass

Kashiwa Daisuke is a japanese post-rock musician, (formerly in Yodaka) who specializes in gorgeous, epic, glitchy piano pieces that constantly seem on the verge of falling apart... Stella, April 02, Write Once, Run Melos are my favorites.
posted by empath on Jun 2, 2011 - 39 comments

What the Eye Doesn't See, the Heart Doesn't Mind.

Step Across the Border (previously, link now broken) "as long as I was playing in a band I didn't have to actually go out there and talk to girls and dance, I could just be on stage and watch everybody else doing it". The critically acclaimed music documentary on Fred Frith, written and directed by Nicolas Humbert and Werner Penzel (amazon link). It is also available in 8 parts, on youtube. [more inside]
posted by idiopath on May 28, 2011 - 11 comments

And Seven wins by a nose!

Japan World Cup. It's in Japanese, but if you don't understand a word of what's going on here, but just click on random stuff until the race starts.
posted by empath on May 26, 2011 - 30 comments

Nitto of Japan

Do you love beautifully crafted bike parts? Do you love your Nitto handlebars, stem, seatpost or racks? Enjoy this brief visit to the Nitto factory.
posted by rainperimeter on May 24, 2011 - 36 comments

Atmosphere above Japan heated up before earthquake says NASA

The atmosphere above Japan was observed by NASA to heat up rapidly several days before the Great Earthquake, probably caused by stresses in the fault releasing massive amounts of radon. [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on May 18, 2011 - 31 comments

Greetings, True Believers!

Marvel.com now has many animated series (all episodes, in their entirety) available to view online at their website including The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Superheroes, X-Men, The Animated Series, X-Men Evolution, Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes, and Spider-Man (1967) (Full list inside) [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 17, 2011 - 35 comments

Fabulousness is the right of all sentient beings.

"They’re dekotora ('decoration trucks') and they are 'driving' me crazy with ideas." [more inside]
posted by Astro Zombie on May 16, 2011 - 10 comments

Short films by Osamu Tezuka

10 short, experimental, animated films by Osamu Tezuka, godfather of anime: Jumping, Memory, Push, Broken Down Film, Mermaid, Drop, Story of a Street Corner, Genesis, Muramasa, Self Portrait. Tezuka is best known in the West for creating Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion and the mangas Buddha, Phoenix and Black Jack. Here is an interview where Tezuka talks about his shorter, experimental films.
posted by Kattullus on May 13, 2011 - 11 comments

'Do Not Cry'

JKTS: A Japanese medical aid worker's diary An anonymous blog written by a Japanese nurse as she cared for victims of the tsunami has given strength to survivors and fellow relief workers.
posted by PepperMax on May 10, 2011 - 3 comments

'Til Death Tries To Do Us Part And Beyond

The Honeymoon From Hell. Stefan and Erika Svanstrom had planned a long trip that would start in Singapore in early December and end in China four months later. But things didn't go exactly as planned. They encountered floods, fires, tsunamis and earthquakes along the way.
posted by mannequito on May 6, 2011 - 14 comments

For the Love of Music

"A ballet dancer needs a mirror to perfect her style, her technique. A singer needs the same -- an aural mirror."
In 1950 and '51, Japan’s first reel-to-reel tape recorders, the "G-Type" (for gov't use) and the "H-1" (for home use) were released by a company named Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo. Music student Norio Ohga was unimpressed by the wobbly sound of "Talking Paper," so he wrote a note complaining to the firm's founders, who hired him. Mr. Ohga never achieved his original dream of becoming a baritone opera singer, but the future President of TTK, (later renamed Sony,) would still make an indelible, global impact on the world of music -- including the development and introduction of the compact disc. Mr. Ohga died on April 24, 2011. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 4, 2011 - 3 comments

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