A series of articles about developments in Japanese popular music spanning from the mid-1960s to the late-1970s. Part 1: 1966-1969. 'Although much has been written on Japanese experimental and avant-garde music from this period, the 60s and 70s were also times of massive change and development for mainstream Japanese music, and the origin of the split between “underground” and “overground” in Japan’s pop music discourse.' [more inside]
Last Friday the blogger “Our Man in Abiko” launched an effort to produce a crowd-sourced collection prose, photos and illustrations that would be compiled into a self-published book to benefit the victims of the Japan earthquake | The title of the book is 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake. [more inside]
The video game SEGAGAGA, a Japan-only release for the Dreamcast, is an incredibly odd bit of gaming history. A business sim (of sorts) it tasks the player to lead Sega to victory over its rival the evil DOGMA Corporation (a thinly veiled analog for Sony). Loaded with in-jokes obvious and obscure, it is a love letter to Sega fans, and it was one of the last Dreamcast games made before Sega went third party. After a four-year hiatus, the Segagaga fan translation project has resumed work on localizing this most unusual game. Intro video. Edge Magazine interviews the director. [more inside]
Why Fukushima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power Brit writer raises interesting points.
Even Japan’s infamous mafia groups are helping out with the relief efforts and showing a strain of civic duty. "The Kanagawa Block of the Inagawa-kai, has sent 70 trucks to the Ibaraki and Fukushima areas to drop off supplies in areas with high radiations levels. They didn't keep track of how many tons of supplies they moved. The Inagawa-kai as a whole has moved over 100 tons of supplies to the Tohoku region. They have been going into radiated areas without any protection or potassium iodide."
Fukushima Dai-ichi status and potential outcomes The Oil Drum has begun posting daily threads about the Japanese nuclear plant event. As during the last energy crisis, the comments there tend to have a good signal-to-noise ratio.
Cat Island is Safe, Needs Supplies The people of Cat Island have a long history with cats: [more inside]
Five days of earthquakes. An animated display of all earthquakes over M4.5. 1 video sec = 1 hour real time. The big one hits at 1:17. (SLYT).
Swiss search and rescue dogs were having trouble entering Japan due to strict Japanese rules on imported animals. [more inside]
Want to help out after the earthquake in Japan? Huffington Post has info on how best to donate to disaster relief and Charity Navigator has information on what organizations are working there. On the nerdier side of things, the fandom community over at Livejournal is auctioning off their art, from fanfiction to scarves to editing, at help_japan and quite a few of the DeviantArt kids are making "Pray For Japan" (and "don't pray, just act") themed art to encourage people to donate. (More on the DeviantArt stuff.) Some Etsy users are also selling crafts for earthquake relief*. [more inside]
Around midnight on January 27, 1700, a mysterious tsunami stole through several villages on the eastern coast of Japan. [more inside]
Toshio Hirano is from Japan. Toshio Hirano lives here now. He came to this country following a particular sound and has made a career of it. He even has a movie about him (YT trailer)! He plays monthly here in San Francisco. Last night, as I watched him sing the blues, I reflected on how different yet connected our two countries are. Join me in sending good thoughts to our brothers and sisters in Japan.
Amidst the massive aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami being discussed in this thread, the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plants continues to unfold. For objective information, discussion, and analysis of the ongoing efforts to stabilize the fuel cores in the boiling water reactors of the type in Fukushima, nuclear engineers such as @arclight are providing laypeople with a much needed crash course on the inner workings of nuclear reactors. [more inside]
Preliminary magnitude 7.9 off Honshu at 05:46 UTC The Pacific Ring of Fire has been living up to its name lately. BBC flash reporting a Tsunami Alert has been issued.
Tokyo artist Sagaki Keita creates incredibly detailed illustrations which are almost completely improvised. More of his work can be found on his website.
Keirin: Speed Racers is a short film, presented in a visual anthropological style, that explores the Japanese gambling sport of Keirin [more inside]
The Japanese word kōgei (also as kougei) [工芸], basically translates as 'crafts', or even 'handicrafts'. In many places in the world, such products are generally considered as something lesser than 'arts'. In Japan however ... Please meet Mr. Lionel Dersot, Tokyo resident for 25+ years, who is ready to take you on a (bilingual) survey of some wonderful work in the field, both old and new, at his blog 'The Daily Kogei' - Un petit détour bilingue dans l'artisanat japonais et bien plus, diffusé de Tokyo.
Cheating at exams is hardly new, but last week a user on Yahoo Chiebukuro in Japan (Yahoo Answers) audaciously posted questions online during university entrance exams and received answers before the exams were over. [more inside]
The benshi of Japan were live narrators of silent films. "To many 'silent' cinema fans in Japan, benshi were a major attraction. It was usually the film that drew people to the theater, but it was often the benshi which determined which theater a person would attend. Benshi were huge cultural stars of the time, with benshi earning as much, if not more, than many actors." [more inside]
"Welcome to the Zion Archive. You have selected Historical File #12-1: The Second Renaissance." So begins the short film of the same name by Mahiro Maeda [Flash: 1 2 - QuickTime: 1 2] -- a devastating yet beautiful work of animation. Originally produced to explain the backstory behind the Matrix trilogy, Maeda's project ended up telling a story far darker and more affecting than any blockbuster. Using a blend of faux documentary footage and visual metaphor, his serene Instructor relates in biblical tones the saga of Man and Machine, how age-old cruelty and hatred birthed a horrifying, apocalyptic struggle that consumed the world. Packed with striking imagery and historical allusions galore, this dark allegory easily transcends the films it was made for. But while "The Second Renaissance" is arguably the best work to come from the Matrix franchise, it's hardly alone -- it's just one of the projects made for The Animatrix, a collection of nine superb anime films in a wide variety of styles designed to explore the universe and broaden its scope beyond the usual sci-fi action of the movies. Click inside for a guide to these films with links to where they can be watched online, along with a look at The Matrix Comics, a free series of comics, art, and short fiction created for the same purpose by some of the best talent in the business. [more inside]
Sou Ootsuki has recently posted a new version of his wildly popular video* for Nujabes'* "Luv(sic) Pt.2". This time, rather than the streets of Japan, he filmed it in the villages of Cambodia. The result is similar, yet very, very different.
"... it seems to me that something of the Edo era shimmers just below the surface of modern Japan," Henry Tricks on Japan's return to an increasingly insular society. "Fewer young Japanese are travelling abroad, fewer are studying English (this year, the main English-language school went bust), and fewer are taking places at leading academic institutions overseas such as Harvard Business School. Bosses at Japan’s legendary export businesses complain they cannot find youngsters who are prepared to work abroad."
Yowayowa Camera Women Diary. An enjoyable photoblog: lots of jumping and rubber rain boots.
Filed under strangely fascinating: Popin' Cookin', powdered miniature sushi that one makes oneself and eats as a candy. Wait for the salmon roe at the end. There is a type of sweet in Japan that’s sold under the category of "intellectual education candy". These are sweets you must make yourself using the ingredients contained in the box. This way, children can enjoy the process of making candy, which allows them to develop their creativity. The non-edible version, Konapun. [more inside]
The last Japanese man remaining in Kazakhstan: A Kafkian tale of the plight of a Japanese POW in the Soviet Union. This is the story of Tetsuro Ahiko, a Japanese national who was living on Sakhalin Island during WWII, and was sent to gulags after the war instead of being repatriated to Japan. Ahiko has turned down multiple offers to be resettled in Japan and has spent 60+ years in Kazakhstan (what was then the Soviet Union.)
Neon Genesis Evangelion was an anime series created by Hideaki Anno, a rather mysterious and reclusive director who has declined most interviews and has been likened to Alan Moore in his attempt to up-end a major genre. Where Moore doesn't want to work on anything Watchmen-related, Anno has returned to NGE in a very major way with Rebuild of Evangelion, a tetralogy of films to re-tell the original story and present a new ending (again). [more inside]
In March of 2009, the Japan Sumo Association won a lawsuit against Kodansha, a large Japanese publishing house. Kodansha had alleged that match fixing was rampant in Sumo, even at the highest levels. However, in the last week, police have discovered text messages between wrestlers showing proof of fixing, including negotiation over compensation. [more inside]
Electronics companies all over the world are increasingly reliant on certain rare metals, most of which are mined in China, which controls 97 per cent of the global supply. The Chinese government has promised to slash export quotas to ensure future sustainability of the world's supply of rare metals. China will drop its quota by 35 per cent in the first half of this year as compared with the same time last year. But despite its escalating consumption of rare metals and the need for future sustainability, the West's electronics industry is mistrustful of China's motives and claims that the move has more to do with the mainland's desire to dominate electronics manufacturing than ensuring the future sustainability of the world's supply of rare metals. ~ Greening conscience or resource checkmate? The rare earth trilogy covers eWaste harvesting, restarting interest in mines and dithering around trade regulations, all in one neat package. [more inside]
A kotatsu is a piece of furniture used in Japan, consisting of a short table, a heating element attached to the underside of the table, a blanket or light futon to cover the table to the floor, and a flat surface on top. As Japanese houses are usually poorly insulated and not centrally heated, kotatsus are considered a cost-saving alternative to space heaters. • Example: five people sharing one. • It's called a korsi in Persia. • How to make a kotatsu. • Cats seem to love them, as do dogs. • Kotatsu vs. Stepladder.
Daily snapshots of people on the street in Japan. I think it's Harajuku, but I don't speak or read Japanese. Those pictured as slightly less staid than those on The Sartorialist. [more inside]
Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996) was an avante-garde Japanese composer who took influences from jazz, pop music, and traditional Japanese music. In his lifetime he composed over 100 film scores, and 130 concert pieces. Just last week, there was a tribute to his work at Carnegie Hall as part of their JapanNYC Festival. A documentary about his work is available on Veoh (requires Veoh plugin) and on Youtube (1 2 3 4 5 6). [more inside]
Japan's Okunoshima Island once produced chemical weapons. After 1945, the facilities where shut down but the buildings remained and the island became famous for something else: Being home to hundreds and hundreds of rabbits. ((via)
Amidakuji, or "Ghost Leg," is a lottery party game from Japan. At the top of a sheet there are a number of spaces for people to write their names. At the bottom there are prizes. There are an equal number of each. Between them is a map obscured behind a sheet. The map is made of straight vertical lines connecting the names and prizes. Connecting those lines at random intervals are horizontal lines. When it's time to pick winners, the sheet is removed and players can follow the lines to find their prize. You follow the line from your name down until you encounter any horizontal line, which you must follow, then continue down, continuing to follow all horizontal lines you encounter, until you reach your prize. No two horizontal lines can touch. Provided that, the process is perfectly deterministic and reversable. The same ends are reached whether you follow from the top down or the bottom up. If you have difficulty visualizing this, check the Wikipedia page. [more inside]
Japanese woodblock print images | wonderful vintage commercial graphics | the Folk Museum Kawachinagano | old books | ceramics and laquerware from The Digital Archive Project of Osaka which has an interesting online museum to explore with some excellent art and illustrations. [more inside]
Visually sumptuous, Gurafiku is a collection of visual research pertaining to Japanese graphic design. Assembled by the designer abroad; Ryan Hageman. Some of the categories: Ukiyo-e | Illustration | Typography |Manga | 1960's | 1970's | 1980's |1990's. [more inside]
The House of Sharing is a place for the Halmoni to to live together and heal the wounds of the past while educating the future generations of the suffering they survived.The View From Over Here details her visit to the House of Sharing, a therapeutic group home and museum for surviving "comfort women", who were systematically raped by the Japanese military during World War II. The museum displays art for and by the survivors. Via Ask a Korean. [more inside]
Please dismantling burger(?) . you have only screwdriver. The tool you can use is the screwdriver. (Flash) [more inside]
Localfilter: Today in Tokyo, legislation passed that will further restrict manga and animation "glorifying or exaggerating illegal sexual acts." Ten of the biggest comics companies are protesting the Tokyo International Anime Fair, sponsored by the city, responding that a focus on their mode of expression is unfair. Blogger Dan Kanemitsu reports.
Japan Air Raids "is an ongoing project to build a digital archive dedicated to the international dissemination of information about the World War II air raids against Japan." They have seeded it with quite a bit of material (e.g. Target Tokyo, narrated by Ronald Reagan in the documentary and propaganda section) and promise there is much more to come. [Warning, some images may disturb] [via]
This is the Japanese spy who was stationed in Hawaii early in 1941. Here's how scouted the islands in preparation for the attack. These are his memories (Flash interface).
The attack on Pearl Harbor was neither the U.S.' first armed conflict leading to WW II, nor the last Axis attack on American soil. [more inside]
Haruki Murakami talks about fiction in the 21st century. Part of the International Herald Tribune Magazine's year-end issue, 2011: Global Agenda. [more inside]
I asked Igari to help me deal with the fallout from the book. After much discussion, he and his two colleagues came up with a plan. His parting words were: “It’ll be a long battle. It’ll take money and courage, and you’ll have to come up with those on your own. But we’ll fight.” On August 28th, his body was found in his vacation home in Manila, wrists slashed. Time of death unknown. It’s been ruled a suicide. Personally, I believe he was killed. I probably will never be able to prove it. [more inside]