Some TV shows

Bike Let me know how to open the door. I found all the item but I can't find how to use the hook and mirror.

Kyushu has heavy rainfall that triggered maximum alert, Usually the rainy season should be over in Tokyo already, but we have still rain. I am getting mold. I got a rush grass (igusa in Japanese) rug on an online shop. I hope I can take a nap on the rug on a summer evening breeze.

For some reason I had to stay at home last weekend, but I enjoyed youtube and I wasn't bored at all. Since I can't find any good topics today, I will pick some.  This is "Pusuma" (2,3,4,5) Tsuyoshi of Smap (Johnny's idle group) appears and this time "hyde"  appears as guests!!  It's funny and it has English subtitle so it will be understandable.  This is the show of Japanese magician Dr. Leon's magic with Arashi, 1., 2. Arashi is one of Nino (a boy wearing hat) is will appear on Clint Eastwood's new movie "Red Sun, Black Sand".   

I must say these videos are wierd. This is real doll lover (he says SHE is wife and daughters!  okay if you say so.) and this is Akiba kei Otaku who is living with big doll. He said "She cost 500,000yen"...... I have nothing to say.  Then this is not a Japanese one, but I was pretty shocked to watch this show, maybe it's a video of Docmentary Channel!? Thank you youtube, I can kill my time without DVD now. *

A new animation in 2007

PapThe new animation movie Paprika looks nice.  Here is the trailer, it will be released in 2007. The original story is a SF novel of Yasutaka Tsutsui. I like him. My favorite one is "Zanzo ni kuchibeni wo" (Lipstick for the After Image) in which the 50 Japanese kana syllables disappear one by one as the story advances; they're not in the story, he doesn't use the kana in the book either.

I found this funny music video "Madan" of singer T.M.revolution. All performer's dialogue are the lyric of Madan. So it might be said a pantomime,  we can understand the story with ther performance easily.  Pleae check it, it's funny.  In the end the message on the sweater is "To my dad".  By the way, If you are Gundam fan, you may know his "Ignited" which is the theme of Gundam seed. He is the ex husband of PUFFY Yumi.

Free Japanese fonts

RoboI love to correct free fonts for my photoshop. The greatest free font site I have ever seen is here. You can download 9800 free fonts. But of course they have only the alphabet. In Japanese we have 53 of Hiragana, 53 of Katakana, and at reast 1945 of Joyo Kanji (very standard Kanji taught in elementary school and junior high school). So it is very hard to find free Japanese fonts, even if we can find it, it has only Hiragana or Katakana. Here is a Japanese free font link, you may find cute and cool Japanese fonts on each site. I recommend this site, not only for font, there are also Japanese motif items.

Today I found a very interesting free Japanese font, you can type very Japanese symbols by typing.

Robots and Sumo type
Kabuki and Ukiyoe type
Kamon : (Japanese Crest type)

Nancy Seki was an outspoken columnist who died a few days ago, she was famous as an eraser artist too. She carved out people's portraits on erasers. Their unique touch has some charm and they were popular too. This is the free program that you can make such eraser touch picture by your photos. You can download from here. I did not try, would you try it?*

August 32th

Summer_1I have summer vacation for 5 days in August, and then I can have another three days between July 17th to September 15th. Total of 8 days, you think it is too short? Befor college, I had almost 40 days holidays in summer. When I remember summer holidays during elementary school, I always feel something. It was special days, even though I can get 40 days off, I can never have such holidays anymore. Everyday adventures, no worry, no cares. My job was just playing until the sun goes in. I did not have any country home to return, but some classmates went back to their grandparents home in the countryside.

The playstation game "Boku no Natsuyasumi" (My Summer Holiday) is a role playing game which we can experient such summer holidays in the Japanese country side. This is the site of the PSP version and you can check the promotion movies. Youtube has some "Boku no Natuyasumi 2-adventure in the sea-" movie.

I am not sure if the game is released in foreign countries. But for Japanese, it's a very nostalgic and warm mood game, and you will feel it on those movies. But today I found a funny story. This mostly harmless, peaceful game has the most scary bug (Or hidden mode?). The game is "Boku no Natsuyasumi 1". Since I don't play this game, I can't test this.
1. Clear the game once.
2. Open the diary of from clear data.
3. Position the cursor to "return".
4. The Cursol move to blank place.
5. Push the button there.
6. Then you can play "August 32th".

In August 32th, a boy (Boku) has a transparent body, his sister has only a lower body. The uncle has only an upper body and sometimes he turns into the color blue [Or you can use "he turns blue"]. When you change the scene, suddenly the boy disappears, BGM disappears etc etc. All People who tried it said "it's a scary horror movie".

related link
Boku no Natuyasumi house

Is this the original Death Note?

Death Death Note has concluded the series in Shonen Jump, and on July 4th the last paperback was released. Although I read many said the movie "Death Note" is sucks, it seems to achieve overwhelming financial success and they will make into TV drama in this fall.

By the way, some found Death Note was written by another famous manga writer "Shigeru Mizuki" about 30 year ago. Shigeru Mizuki is the famous horror manga writer, his representative work is Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro.

Here is the post about Death Note Mizuki version. The title is "Amazing Notebook."  One guy found a notebook,  he knew it was an amazing notebook that he could use to kill someone by writing his name. He and his mistress killed those who stand in thier's way, He killed his mistress too because she demanded that he kill more and more.  However he regreted what he did. Then he wrote his name with his repentant tears to kill his past and to make things over. After that, he did not use the notebook anymore.  However one day his wife found his notebook, and she thew it into the fire as garbage. Becaues of fire, his name was burned out and he died.

Wow! that is exactly Death Note!. We are not sure the original author Tsugumi Ohba knew this Mizuki version. Maybe yes, maybe not. Actually we are not sure who is Tsugumi Ohba yet either. Needless to say, we are sure Mizuki isn't Ohba. If Mizuki wrote it,  we should have this or this type character in the story at any rate :-)

Thanks to Wiki and Youtube

KenHere is the site of designer Yoshitaka Amano. You may know him with character design of Final Fantasy. But for me, speaking of Amano, it's G-force (Gatchaman). We can see his G-force motif arts in his recent works. These arts went to Leo Koening Gallery in NY or Michael Jassen Galleria in Kern. Check it out, they are very cool.

By the way, those Gatchaman TV Ads were deleted from NTT East sites. Thanks to Youtube, I can see them still now, it's all because YouTube. Today I found very old Katamari Damacy TV ad on there. Here it is. And also I found a foreign TV ad of Pikmin. Ha, it's funny, they talk Japanese? "Atta! Atta!" means "here it is, here it is". In Japan, pikmin's theme song "Ai no uta" made a big hit because of it's cute music and lyrics with full of pathos. You may listen it on Japanese TV ad. Regarding to lyrics, please check it on Wikipedia, they has the page of Pikmin Ai no uta.

I think I can't blogging without Youtube and Wiki anymore. I owe many information to Youtube and Wiki. So I am worried about Youtube may have tighter regulations sooner or later, actually many Japanese animation and TV shows were deleted from the site and also update everyday. It has been in the rat race. Of course not only good thing, some embarrassing stuffs are uploaded too. This is a good sample on wiki...Who need to explain about "Kancho"...orz. Here is another Spanish page about it too.

Please don't misunderstand, originally Kancho is the name of fast-acting laxative taken by suppository (Fleet enema in the U.S right?). It's not the silly play. It was very popular in old days and we had a various kind of it. ...but why they are so pink?? *

Soy sauce art

Naoki Ha, this is interesting to see. David got arrested. Then he spent four months in a prison in Japan. Deprived of his usual drawing tools, David improvised materials out of whatever he could scrape together in his tiny cell, including soy sauce and his pee. I am impressed with his passion for arts. And also it is impressive there are many nudes. Oh yeah four months would be so long for him.  Talking about Jaspanese prison. Paul McCartney was jailed because of drugs when he came to Wings Japan tour. He was called "No.22" and he sang many songs with other prisoners to cheer himself up. John is No.9 and Paul is No.22. Just a trivia. *

Then my small collection
Wool Ferrari
Grass Bentz
Candy Car
Lego Volvo
Knittin bike

process of painting

Cake_5 was working for a music site on the cell phone internet, but now I have joined a new joint project. It's an ordering system at a restaurant. You may order food and drink on a a table top touch panel. Have you ever seen such a machine anywhere? I am not sure it is common in other countries. In Japan, big Izakaya chains adopted the system to cut payroll costs, and get content or advertising income. My company and another big company will start the joint venture on July 1st. It is always fun to start something new. So I don't care that I have to work late or on the weekend too. Please excuse me. Today we had a lecture class about the new business at work so I didn't have enough time to write my blog.

So I will link to some "art making videos." You can see the process they use to paint something. It's very interesting how they draw and paint. Enjoy it! Mona Lisa
Cake
Hirosuke (the actress of Naoko)
Amazing Spray Paint Artist
Making of Frodo

A new craze "Spoo"

Spoo

This is "Spoo." A character that appears on the NHK children's show "Okasan to Ishho (= together with Mom)" which is a very honorable, historic TV show. Actually Spu and other characters are idols for children.

Shoko Haida is one of the performers on the show, and one day she drew a composite sketch of Spoo along to theme song of the show. The sketch was this. Considering the type of TV show (TV show for children on our National TV channel running with our tax), she drew it seriously, it would not be a joke. However that "cool" sketch struck the right cord with 2channelers. The new festival has come.

So many Spoo threads were built in the 2channel. The child's idol Spoo had become the toy of adults. There are many asci arts. Some made Spoo movies like saitama city under attack by Spoo, Spoo comet, Attack of Spoo, Spoo code, Hare Hare Yukai Spoo version (I will talk about Haruhi later). Yes, so many Spoo movies like this and this. Someone made a Spoo figure and sold it on a Yahoo acution. Guess what! The contract price was 7 million dollars. (of course it would be joke)

Then the issue went world wide. Someone uploaded the culprit TV scene to Youtube. NHK protested to Youtube about copyright and Youtube deleted it and showed this messege instead. However someone uploaded it again and Youtube deleted it, then someone uploaded it again and Youtube deleted it again. It's a squirrel cage. I don't know if you will see the movie or message but if you want, please try THIS or search for Spoo or Spu or スプー. You may watch the famous adult toy Spoo.

Shikoku pilgrimage

Shikoku06/06/06. It's the Omen day. But I am very susceptible to horror, splatter and violent movies. Actually I have never watched Omen and don't know much about it. Of course Omen is a popular movie in Japan too. My friend said she will go to the theater this weekend, but I wonder if without the knowledge of Christianity, the scariness of the story would be reduced.

I wrote about Japanese horror movies before in this and this post. Those were all modern-age stories and you can enjoy them without any knowledge of Japan. Shikoku is a little bit traditional. Shikoku is written "四国" (four countries) in Japanese, but the movie title is written "死国." Both have the same pronunciation, but the movie title "死国" means death country. It's a kind of word game.

Do you know about Shikoku Henro? It is a pilgrimage route in the Shikoku area. The 1,400-kilometer ohenro tour of 88 temples in Shikoku is thought to be walking in the footsteps of an eighth-century Buddhist monk called Kobo Daishi, or Kukai. The standard motives for Shikoku Henro are to pray for long life or for remembrance of ancestors. But not only that, many people do it to find himself/herself, forget sorrow, escape some confused life. So I suppose joy, sorrow, pain--various feelings would sink deeply into the route. Traditionally people wear this kind of costume, but now people wear more casual clothes. I heard some use driving or bus tours too, however I don't think it will have as much meaning as people will find and accomplish after walking long, deep forested mountains and its beautiful seacoast on sunny days and rainy days.

The movie Shikoku is a story related to Shikoku Henro. The story was there is a legend that if you walk 88 temple in the counter direction, the dead person will be back. A mother wants her dead daughter to come back and walks the Shikoku 88 temple pilgrimage backwards.... Very wet, gloomy moods are very Japanese, and I think this is the debut movie of Chiaki Kuriyama "Kill Bill." Unfortunately the story is so-so, but if you have time, try it?

What for?

*+`('&$%&WSRS)(=)%"!"?+*>L .....orz.
I am so busy today, I have no time to up my post. But I want to up this one, the Real Japanese guy dall Ken Ijyuin . Althought he is not so tall (100cm), his stormy good looks is charming enough, right?. But I found copy "nice an** hole, and big peni**, now we will attach gunky lotaion mini bottle"....ah hhhhh for that???...Ken... *

Related links : Erotic Ukiyoe Arts "Shunga", well I reccomend for (-18)
Shuga1 erotic Ukiyoe
Shunga2
Shuga3
Shunga4
Milk beam

Death Note has concluded the series.

LThey say in the Cannes Film Festival, the Death Note (link1, link2) got many offers from around the world. They say it would be released over 15 countries. In Japane it will release next month. Here is the trailer, please check it out.

The story of the movie is Light and L part. In Original manga, the story continued after the death of L. But finally the original manga "the Death Note" in Shonen Jump has concluded the series in last month. Toshio Okada wrote about it on his blogpetit cre diary. I was impressed as usual with his comments. If you don't want to know please don't read from here.

He said he like this scene, Ryuk said "Never forget, a person who use the death note can't neither heaven nor hell". Light replied "Okay, it means there was no such thing as neither heaven nor hell". Light decided to be the god of a new world." when he got to know a Death Note in his high school days. He did not try to be the greatest power. There is no heaven or hell, so there is no penalty for a crime too. What Light wanted was "penalty for evil, a new world where justices aren't compelled to accept something wrong.

However Light had changed because of the appearence of L. Light wanted to outflank L, he started to give a penalty for peope who act against his will. Actually as you know Light is getting worse. The pure soul which wasn't afraid of being loftiness changed into the loneliness who can trust nobody. The mental strength which dosen't believe heaven or hell switched into the self-partiality that he proclaimed himself "god". Okada said the theme of the Death Note is the only one, the absolute authority absolutely rot. Okada tells the writer of Death note count sin against Light, but he did not deny "the Killer of justice, KILA".

Light died. And the society "neigher heaven nor hell" returened. It's is the real world which L tried to get back from KILA ; no miracle, no penalty for evil. But after his death, some poeple gathered the top of mountain and had a ceremony to bless KILA. Strong, Clean L can't accept an absolute leader, even though he is the hope for people. But most people in this world is not so strong. People needed KILA, people won't forget KILA. (citation in the text of "petit cre diary" by Toshio Okada)

People won't forget KILA, and will keep the ceremony. It means Light can be the the God like he hoped to be. Do you like this ending? At least, it would be better than the 20the Century Boys.  Like many people said, before the death of L was the best for me too, I wanted to see Light find L's real name somehow, it was really good battle.

By the way Toshio Okada will have a talking event "Otaku is dead". Hmm I am so interested in that, hopefully he will write it on his blog later.

Oshii's new movie is...

KeroGhost In the Shell is the great cyberpunk film. I thought Mamoru Oshii was a terrific director and really has a gift for action and for depicting humanism. Without it, Wachowski_brothers made one of my favorite movies Matrix? I don't think so..

But like I wrote before, I was so disappointed at the second film Innocence. To be honest with you, I fell into sleep during watching it in a prerelease for press (there were Mr.Oshii too!). Oshii did not directed the TV series SAC 1st GIG and SAC 2nd GIG. But they were great and they seem surefire replacements for Ghost In the Shell.I found I could see all SAC on YouTube with English subtle on YouTube, I tried to save SAC 2nd GIG with this program.

Oshii Mamoru directed a new movie "Tachiguishi-Retsuden" and it receives unfavorable criticism. As a animation, it is experimental one which is mixture of live-action film and animation. But As a movie, it falls into disrepute. Tachigui means "standing-up-eating". The story is a legend of 5 peoples during rapid postwar growth. They appeared on standing-up-eating shops and run out on a check. Here is the trailer. Hmm it seems his complacency explode again :-P But his new novel looks interesting.Let's wait for this one.*

Great art work of Nagi Noda

NodaGreat video! Neo vs Robocop!. I really love youtube.

I found a nice movie on youtube yesterday. I didn't know about him "Tiga", He is a musician from Canada. I found a music video of his song "Far From Home" which was directed by Nagi Noda. . I found an English page of her updated website, and we can see her nice works. Check out her works and music, video film, commercial pages. The Fitness Video for a formaerly fat girl is promoting an ad of the shopping center "VIVRE". I really love the Laforet series, especially animal girl. And these four sisters in a mono-tone world. Those filed were not edited, They wore black clothes and ate some black foods. By the way, why do we have to have some special images for "four sisters" like Little women by Louisa May Alcott,  and The Makioka Sisters (original title by Sasame Yuki) by Junichiro Tanizaki. (ties of sisterhood, a very close, one of them might be be sick a lot...it's very hard to explain though.)

This is a music video of "Sentimental Journey" by YUKI. YUKI was the vocalist of the group "Judy and Mary" before, and she is popular for cool beans. Then if you are Australian, you would know it's very similar to Coca Cola ad. I didn't know this too, but some added this video, as New Coca Cola "What Goes Around Comes Around", then they said "Directed by Nagi Noda". That fake motion effect will be her personal "boom" :-)

lovely and cruel

MooseBob Sapp messed up in K-1 yesterday, people were disappointed at him, it was worse than losing the game. I was disappointed too, since I hardly watch TV, it's been almost one month since I watched it last time.

But next month I will press to TV, because the world cup will start. However to see as games as many as I can, I should join Skyperfect TV or CATV. In both cases, it cost about 5000yen per month, but then I can't quit the service for at leaset 6 months. Now I'm having a problem if I should join them or not. I really hope I can see all the games on my PC by pay per view. Do you have any good ideas?

Since I checked all information about the TV issue, I had no time for today topic :-). I link to some lovely things I found.

Stuff animals bed : It is a good idea, it will have good cushion.

Ironic Kitchen set : Ahh "lovely and cruel". I have a weak spot for such combination.

Ipod mood wall paper : I like Katamari Damacy version "i-roll", i-Goku is cool Dragon ball version. He said he will delete link soon, so please check it out soon.

animal dress up : It's great, I love this very much. And I loved this and erotic illusionism too, it's Disney like illustration is irony? That's nice. Actually this site is so great and this is the first time I wish I could read Russian. I will pick some post I enjoyed, especially I choose some "lovely and cruel".
hand bag hung bag
Gun bag
Mouth bag
booty cover
knives holder

Otaku fashion has changed?

BackpackI love the new ads of the U.S Apple Computer, I could not see them on the official site (I am not sure what's wrong, plug in setting?), so I watched them in You Tube.
Apple ads : Virus, i Life, Better, Restarting, WBJ and Net working. In networking, that Japanese girl talks to Mac "he seems to be Otaku, don't you think so?"

As a "Toshiro Okada - Otaking" fan, I am still a little bit nervous to use the word "Otaku". Yes, I feel Otaku should have very deep knowledge and obsessiveness to the object, actually Wikipedia explains Otaku like this.

However it is very true that the word "Otaku" is used very easily for anime fans, manga fans, maid fans, costume play fans, especially people who hang around Akihabara. Of course since manga, anime, computer stuffs connects tightly to Otaku culture, Akihabara is a Mecca of Otaku, but in a narrow sense, all people in Akihabara (we call Akiba) are not Otaku. So we call them Akiba-kei (Akiba group). Do I make sense? :-)

This site said the definition of Akiba kei is...
1.Talking about bag, it's backpack.
2.Splash out for what he likes.
3.Use PC while walking.
4.Porn book in his bag.
5.Moe for maid.
6.He like realistic girl. (even in anime, manga).
7.He thinks "I am Otaku".
8.He thinks "I am no good".

Talking to the fashion style, Akiba Blog added some features more. They say they are identically dressed , and having Poster saber, Having huggable pillow (not really, they are shopping bag). Ha! 12 Otakus came from England and visited Akiba, without showing face, we can't tell any different. ha ha ha! (This round smile mark which covered people's face is the "Warai Otoko" mark of Ghost in the Shell) But at any rate, the most remarkable fashion feature of Otaku is backpack. Akiba blog researched it, in front of the entrance of Sofmap. In 2004, there were all backpackers, they say 46% of people around there had backpack. I wrote about Train man often last year, of course the train man has backpack at first too, but in the end he changed his fashion style because of her. Actually the hit of train man became a trigger of fashion boom for Otaku, some Get off Otaku fashion guide were published.

So surprisingly enough, in this year the number of backpackers in front of Sofmap entrance decrease a lot. Akiba blog say it was just 22% in this year.  Yes, I can find only one backpack in that picture. Still they are identically dressed, at least bags are different. Akiba kei got fashionable a little bit? Or more regular people got Akiba kei? *

Arts and small things I found

Art_1

It's Golden week in Japan, but I have to work today. I could not find any nice topics today, so I linked to some nice foreign art sites that I saw recently.

I like Atypyk, "HAVE FUN" part is nice. : I like "Noguchi turban, "Shy Natsume, Santa Natsume, and "Cat  Natsume from bill Origami site.

Drag Queen Amanda Lepore : I remember Japanese Drag Queen Vivian Sato; she is a really nice person, and gave me her homemade beer.

Top 10 Strangest Game Controllers. : Hmm they missed the onimusha controller "Mitsuhide Akechi". I am pround proud the No.1 seems to be the Japanese one that a maid on it. By the way, yesterday, we have had strange maid news. I am getting tired of maid topics.

Baby suit and leg skirt from "Phillip Toledano : I can't find any nice body art site in Japan, so how about this?

Ron Mueck : Hmm I wanted to see that, I can't find any such giant Japanese art like that. so I link to thisfrom Japan.

Disappeared manga writers

Azuma_1

One of a few manga I enjoyed, "The 20 Century Boy" by Naoki Urawasa concluded the series on Big Comic Sprits. I did not read it yet, but many many people say, "No way, stop kidding". I read we can't know who Tomodachi is and it leaves many questions unanswered. And the funny thing is that there is a message saying "Thank you for reading regularly for 7 years" and there are two more follow up manga pages. Then in the end it reads, " In 2007 spring, the last chapter will come! (Shinshun Saishusho Tojyo)". Under that line is "This is a jawbreaker. Please read it three times"...orz I can't understand what they mean.

People have a variety of discussions about "20th" on the Internet. Some said Urasawa lost motivation and can't write anymore. After the "thank you" part of manga was made by the editors of the magazine, perhaps they will persuade Urasawa to rewrite the last part.

Hmm what happened to the 20th? Trouble between Urasawa and the comic? Is he having some trouble? Urasawa's other manga PLUTO was published and updated recently. But we don't know when it was written. Actually, I understand many people suspect Urasawa lost motivation and went wrong because there are many precedents of manga writers who had a "mental breakdown". Actually, a book "disappeared manga writers" was published before, then we knew a lot of such case.

If you ask me "who is your favorite manga writer?" I will say "Tsubame Kamogawa". I loved his "Makaroni Horenso" (Maccheroni Spinach apartment). The story's theme is the common meets the freaks. One high school boy "Soji" moves to an old apartment named "Makaroni Horenso". In that apartment, two guys are living: 25-year-old Toshi-chan and 42-year-old Kindo-chan. They are also Soji's classmates. These two guys and people who Soji meets in the new place are really strange. He used Rock, military , and cool cultural motifs a lot with detailed drawings. His gags were completely new and anarchic but very rhythmical. Actually some said it was a very musical manga. Not only me, many fans love the manga, so I can find figures of it still now like this, and this. At the peak of Makaroni Horenso, the amount of information on just a page was so much, and his drawing was so great too.

But maybe he wore himself out making it, or there is a fine line between genius and insanity. He broke. I remember in the last few episodes there were only four or five panels in a page: a few lines, no background picture, no story. It was a piece of work by someone who had something wrong with him. After Makaroni Horenso, he published a few but finally disappeared from the society. If you have interest in manga, you may buy at this site.

Last year many books and sites chose this "Shisso Nikki (Disappearance Diary)". The writer is a well-known manga writer Hideo Azuma. He wrote some cute girlish manga. But finally he lost motivation for his job, his life everything, and disappeared. I read the diary. It was a record of the fierce misery and survival life of the homeless. But he talked (wrote) in a halting way, and it made me scared too. This site writes about it too. You can buy it at this site .

Popee the Performer

PappyYou tube is really useful and I use it very often. I feel it's a basic necessity for bloggers because I am too tired to fix broken links of old posts, and because many pages and blogs disappear. But I am worried about it a little. It looks lawless when it comes to copyright. I hope nothing will change.

I love Popee the Performer, and today I found 7 episodes on You tube. Super crazy 3D animation. 
Gunman, Acrobatics, Limbo, Fire Breather, Knife Thrower, Magic, Pantomime. Don't miss them!

Yuru chara

CharaI won't watch tough, TV champion (check this post too) will air "Yuru chara" tonight. What is yuru chara?

I wrote Japanese love characters. If you have never been in Japan, I can tell you it will be more than you can imagine. The character business is so big, there are a huge number of characters, big name and not big name.  We are especially weak for cute, small Tohoho chara. You would know Katamari Damacy, Pikmin, and those such game chara. My friend loves Qoo (coca cola Japan) and Pichon kun (Daikin) very much, very much, they are characters of company products.

I will get back to my original point of "Yuru chara". (JP) Yuru chara stands for Yurui character, it means "loose character" in literal translation. National and local public entities make their own characters to promote their event or campaign, planning to boost the development of the area or introduce their local special, but most of them are so odd and low-quality that we don't know wether we could call them cute or not.  Here are samples of the central bureaucracy character. This is Koh-chan of National Personnel Authority. This is Mamoru kun and Ayumi chan of The Ministry of Justise. This is Umimaru and Umin of Japan Coast Guard.  Hmm, our taxes were used for that too?  I am not sure they were nessesarry.

Jun Miura named them "yuru chara" first,  He is well know as "the representation of subculture in Japan" (I picked his site in this Yukata post). In fact, he named other things we didn't name, but apparently, we recognized something special "IYAGE  MONO": " Miyage mono" means souvenirs, "iya" means hate, "Iyage mono" meanse souvenirs we are not happy to get like this stuff.  "KASUHAGA" : "Kasu" means garbage, "haga" stand for "hagaki" meaning card,  Kasuhaga means strange, senseless card in tourist place this"Ton Matsurii": "Tonma" means stupid, "Matsuri" means festival. There are many meanless festivals such as  "car washing fes", "insecticide fes" everywhere. 

Comparing it to companies' characters, the distinct profile of "Yuru chara" is that of varied quality, easy naming, special feeling of each organization, and weakness of existence (some characters disappear because of budget ax). So, we can see a strange but powerful aura full of pathos with yuru chara.
Miura had a "Yuru chara Show" before, then tonight TV chanpion will have it. Here is characters entried from each local area. Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto, Nagoya. Kinki, Chugoku, Shikoku, Kyushu,
Hmm salmon Sake taro, half egg Hantama kun , fire work Na chan, orange waka-chan, Sudachi citrus fruit Sudachi kun, Totto chan.... What a cheap world...orz*

Great TV ads of the world

FreedomHere is the Grand Ad-Awards 2005 site. It's great. I am very impressed by this "EDF" winner of the public choice award. This Amnesty International one has a "dark" and strong message too; these guys are trying to snuff the fire of Amnesty's logo. I like this Rexona, it would be hard to live in such an extreme world.

After watching those ads, this "Mikado" made me smile. Mikado is Ezaki Glico's products, the Japanese original name is Pocky. Here is Japanese Pocky TV ads. Hmm I like French much more. In a similar case: the setting is Japan, but this Toyota TV ad is made by the UK creators group "neo."  I really love this "human touch" ad!!

In Japan, Nissin Cup noodle collaborated with Katsuhiro Otomo who is the creator of "AKIRA"and the TV ad series "Freedom". It has just started, you can see only the prologue in the CM part. The story is..."it is the 23rd century, people live on the moon. People can't have two freedoms: one is science study, one is going to the earth." Hmm, it will be interesting, I will update later.

These are not interesting TV ads, but Shiseido features the hottest actresses in Japan for their new product "TSUBAKI." Rena Tanaka (GF of KEN of L'arc en ciel), Takako Uehara, Yuiko Takeuchi (she appeared in Haru no Yuki with Tsumabuki), Yukie Nakama (She appeared in Gokusen and Taiga dramaKomyoga Tsuji now), Ryoko Hirosue (I wrote about her in the movie "Naoko"), and Arisa Mizuki. Wow, what pomp! Tsubaki means camellia in Japanese. The production notes say "rethink Japanese women's beauty." I think the Japanese identity is a sort of trend in Japan.

Not fun for you?

Gottsu

I read the board members of UK Universal Pictures liked this Japanese comedy "Baka Tono" very much and they will release a DVD in other parts of Asia and Europe. Hmm, do you like that too? It is very hard to laugh for me when I watch comedy. Yes, it is very hard. I could laugh when I watched comedic group Down Town's show. I wrote this post "you can never laugh", but my American friend said it was not fun at all. Now You Tube allows me to watch more videos of Down Town. I tried to pick some "Gottu A Kanji" again.

This is Houkago Denjiha Club. It has silly content with a rope costume. The magnet Hero N-kun and S-kun clean up small evil around the city. They found an erotic poster in public and then tried to hide her nipples. Hmm too bad? This is a simple game. They tried very simple stuff and if he fails, he would get penalized with bubbles. Silly, yes, so that I can laugh. At least Gottu is much milder than Jackass!

Related post : Mori Empire, the strongest stuff in Japan?!

Why she can eat such a lot!?

CarryI have to join the joint venture project at my work. At least for 10 days until the press release, I will be super duper busy. I don't care about being busy, but I should be careful of my weight. More stress, no exercise, sitting at desk all day, munching something very often, and eating dinner late at night... I will have to watch my weight. I wish I could have lean body habits. Actually, my co-worker eats a lot. When we go to the Japanese noodle (soba or Udon) shop, she orders "Omori" extra large. When we go to bakery, she gets high calorie breads filled with nuts and dried fig or sweet bans like choco colone, but she is very thin with a nice body. We call this type of person "Yase no Ogui" (thin big eater). Hmm I envy her. It's not fair.

I wrote "the food fight" was a popular theme of TV champion of TV Tokyo. Actually Nathan's hot dog (funny story) winner Takeru Kobayashi came from this TV show. But as a matter of fact, TV champion stopped food fights for three years, because in another competition someone died. But this year, TV Tokyo restarted food fight as a different TV Show "Ganso Ogui Ou".

I did not see the guy's fight. I heard since Kobayashi did not enter, the winner was Shirota called Giant Shirota. Here is his blog. He wrote he has stomach training sometimes. I saw the women's fight while I was running at the gym. The winner was a very thin girl called "gal-sone". I found a movie of the final. Check this movie. What they were eating is Sokisoba (Okinawa noodle). Hmm where could the food go?

TV ads of sports drink

PonkaCherry Blossoms are gone already, the season has changed in Tokyo. It is cool at night time though, I washed all my wool sweaters and heavy coat. TV ads for drinks have changed too. This spring, I see some isotonic, sports drink ads that are impressive.

Amino Sapri had HERO 5 TV ads, this spring finally they changed them. Hmm it's a wierd mood. "Parara pinka ponka pi" is burned into my brain now.

I read KIRIN NUDA has the No.1 favourable rating for high school students. That girl is RINKA (fashon model) and guy is a comedian "Okamura".

ICHIGEKI is drink works for instantaneous force and enduring strength that Asahi says they co-developed with KYOKUSHIN KARATE. The copy is KIAI-kei. KIAI means sprit, Kei means shape, form. It's a useful word when we say just pattern, line, series, genre :"Shibuya-kei", "Otaku-kei", "Gal-kei",)

Wow I did not know Gatorade is still selling. At least in Japan, it has been slowing down for long time, I hardly saw it in the shops. But this time they made very nice TV ads. Look at this! That Sumo Wrestler is Asashoryu.

Parody art!

Sanders I love the Mona Lisa collection, and Last Supper collection, and today I found another great one -- "Pieta". I strongly remember it was so beautiful when I went to the Vatican in my college days. Since its theme is so universal, every Pieta looks nice and okay for me : this, this, even this.

And this site "Nippon Painting" has a Japan Arts parody. He explains about Nippon Painting in English. Could you tell what is this? That ship is Star Blazer (Uchu Senkan Yamato) . H mm , nothing is wrong at first glance. My favourite Japanese art is Fujin Raijin (God of wind and God of Thunder) of Sotatsu Tawaraya. Then this is the art.

American products motif is funny and ironic. Jakuchu Ito who lived in Kyoto throughout the 18th century, painted wild , brave and also morbidezza animals and birds. I suppose this was inspired by Jakuchu. This is "KOUHAKU UMEZU BYOUBU" (Red and White Plum Blossoms) by master artist of Rimpa Korin Ogata. And this is the "coke version". Ha ha This is "McDonald's" ; I like this "Donald's Party with Beef Cow". They are Art? Junk? A t least they made me laugh.

Japanese TV show "TV champion"

FaceThe time that I watch TV is decreasing more and more. Actually I hardly watch it now. Does this happen to only me "the addicted Internet"? I can't return the life that I need to fit my schedule to TV show time, have to be patient to TV ads. I want to know the end, but have to be waiting for almost 55 minutes to see it. I will watch TV when it comes on PC, so that I can watch it whenever I want, skip the boring parts.

One of a few TV show I watched was "TV champion". I wrote a little in this Depachika post. Shortly I can tell TV champion is the show we can see various master of the genre. The most famous fight of this TV show is the food fight series. The Nathans Hot Dog champion Takeru Koabayashi appeared first in this TV show.

I personally have to like Otaku type fight. You may check back number in this page. This is "figure Creator fight". You can see their works by clicking small blue click mark. The First round is four guys remake the same. Then 30 Otaku in Akiba voted which one was best. The second round is "let's make moe character by TV talents" who it's very hard to feel moe. The first woman is Yasuko Mitsura. Wow you can moe for real her or her figure? The winner was this guy who made a made playing curling.

There are many nice and funny fight like, cardboard arts fight, Wagashi (Japanese sweet) fight (this is the winner), Kitty knowledge fight, Origami fight, Dall house fight  wow cute!), Akiba fight (they compete how they are deep otaku), Crane game fight. That's ridiculous? Yes! So they are fun. 

I like this one "the manipulation fight". They have to create and control very small things, Miniature bowling, I must to have stiff shoulder just to see they control very small stuff.   

This is "the food sample artists fight". Looks delicious? By the way, Like you see they are all old guys. In old Japan, food samples made from wax were displayed in front of restaurants. But most restaurant don't have it, actually it is bad old image for us. If you have interesting to them, you can see and buy them at Kitchen Town Kappabashi near Asakusa, you can buy small key chains or magnet of food samples. 

I found only one movie in You Tube. The show went to Denmark and two Japanese and two Danish guys have "LEGO fight". It was slow so I recommend to let it go through once and watched it later after you get catch.

My fovirite book store in Tokyo

ShakeIf you are a foreigner in Tokyo, would you buy your book at Amazon Japan? If you want to visit a real shop, would it be Kinokuniya? My friends say Good day books in Ebisu is a nice second book store. What and where is your the best store in Tokyo?

For me, the Aoyama book center is good, I like their selection. I like Yurindo too. When I buy paperback, it's because their free book jacket are very colorful and lovely. I heard it is interesting for foreign people, therefore Japanese people hide book covers with jacket. Doyou think so too? When you see someone's book shelf, you would know her/him more. I am a little embarrassed to show the book title in the train as if I show myself... A strange feeling?

And another favorite "daisuki" book store of mine is Village Bangurad. For American people, Village Vanguard would be the mecca of Jazz. But in Japan it is a very funny book store. You can buy books over there of course, they have good selections for culture, art and manga books. And they also sell various miscellaneous goods. Here is their online shop.

This is 2channel Kaomoji Cup, I don't want it though. As a character item, they have the life sized version of Astroboy (Too big!), 190cm of Mazinger Z. They sold 1.5million yen of R2D2 before. Until it was sold out, people wrote the message on the page. I like the one with "he will cook?". They have nice costume selections too. I think these would be good souvenirs - Goku suit and Saiyan wig. No?

It is funny to see their erotic joke goods. This condem is named a safety suit Condom. Yeah yeah, the good points of Village Bangurad is we can read many yellow recommendation message for each products. They use the card on this online shop too. Then there is the message, "will go! ---wait a minutes before you go, take this one." I can tell you this, when some says "will go", 98.34% (at least the people around ME!) of young Japanese know what it means. It is Amuro's most signature of lines "Amuro, Ikimasu!" = (E) Amuro will go! Some said Gundam is a sort of a religion for Japanese?! for the Japanese?!, actually it's crazy.. But Village Banguard use such a test word which catches ourheart. By the way, you may ask your young Japanese friend, what is the Char's the best line. He will reply "Boya Dakarasa"(J) = "Because he was a spoiled brat". I am sure.

Oh I love this one. Super mini size baby figure. The naming is great "Shake flake baby". Shake flake is Salmon flake for rice. They say you don't know if babies are mixed in here. Yeah maybe not.

Two new animations

Tekkin The Tokyo Anime Festa has started, but I could not find interesting topic there. At least I am glad to know Production I.G. will make new Kokaku Kidotai (not TV series, it would be one long story). Did you check this English site? It's very cool. I like it.

And one more, Studio 4 made a manga of Taiyo Matumoto into a movie. The movie is Tekkon Kinkurito, alternative title in English is Black & White. You can check a review here. The director of the movie is Michael Arias who is the producer of Ani-Matrix.

This is not animation, it's a game. It looks nice though (trailer), look! He is the Korean actor Lee Byung-Hun. He is very popular with middle age women in Korean boom in last few years. Middle age women will play X360 and moe? (moe moe). Hmm Capcom I can't understand your target. By the way, PLUTO3 has released, please check it out!

Final Fantasy12 and what is this?

Bomb Final Fantasy12 was released last week. I play the game on my cell only, so I won't buy it. This is FF1, This is FF5 TV ad. This is FF9 with Linkin Park theme, and this is FF12 Japanese official site. Hmm it has a long history. I think I played half of them, well it would be fun to try some again.

By the way, have you ever played Bomberman? I liked to play this 2 head size, and I saw this simple 3D type for Nintendo DS. But look this! Bomberman has changed suddenly without any smooth and gradual transition like FF. Ahh Who are you? That is my impression.

Blue Spring is...

3_2It is very hard to translated a Japanese word "青春". Do you remember I mentioned Seishun 18 kippu. That is the same word. I used my favorite online dictionary Arc, they say it is adolescence, young days, youth. I am not sure those word would bring some feeling, as the same image to you with our Seishun. Seishun has two Kanji 青 and 春. 青 means blue, 春 means spring. Yes we can call these were days of underripe, sweet and sour days. Then everybody would have some slightly sour-sweet memory for romance in young days.

I am not J-POP fan though, I like Japanese band "Spitz". their "Robinson" is one of my favorite song. Their lyric has poetic vagueness, translucent mood but perverse, very knife-edge sprits I think. Check this out Robinson (movie). This translation of lyric is good. But I could know again English is a very clear language. In original Japanese, his words are more vague, unclear, sometimes we don't know who is, what is the subject.  This is original romanji and Japanese. If you are learning Japanese, try it. This lyrics (movie) is nice and I like this song (movie) too. Why I an talking about Spitz? Yeah, you are intuitive, Robinson attached to my good memory of blue spring days :-p  Check spitz on You Tube.

Anyway 青春 the word that has image of young, pureness, fragility. Some title of foreign movies has to be changed into Japanese with the word. The most famous one was The officer and gentlemen". I wrote about it in this post.

Monkey magic & Monkey Majik, and Ellegarden

Monkey_2The numbers of Japanese musicians singing in English is increasing. So many Japanese songs have some simpe English lyrics like I love you or I miss you (they sound so funny to native people, I know I know) even brain crasher SMAP's song :-p Their singing sucks.  Some tried to sing all in English like Godiego. But unfortunately I remembered that Freddy Mercury (yes, that!) left a comment "I couldn't understand what he sang" on a music magazine interview when he came to Japan. The one big hit song of Godiego was Monkey Magic (No.16) which was a theme song of TV drama Magic Monkey that was based on a famous old story Journey to theWest. I found many pages talking about its lyrics. Maybe itdoesn't make sense? However I could find some remix versions too, this is a remix of monkey magic by Jungle Brothers. I am a little bit surprised to find so many Magic Monkey sites.

That TV drama was very popular and this yeara new version was remade. Please check the cast page out, you can't see who acts the monkey. It because it is Singo Katori of SMAP (Hmm, I feelI talk about them every dayrecently). And then this time, who sings the theme music? It is Monkey Majik, I saw them last year in Canadian embassy in Omotesando. Wow they succeed! Here is the theme Around the world. Hmm, his Japanese would be better than Godiego's English?? I suppose so. I think Monkey Majik will be more popular. (And I like their original ニホンゴワカリマセン T-shirt ontheirGoods page, it means I can't understand Japanese.)

The English ability and pronunciation of Japanese musicians will be getting better than theold days, because most of them have experienced life in the U.S. Hikaru Utada lived in the U.S. in her younger days and went to the international school in Japan. She sings in English and released some singles in the U.S. too. In Japan, her first single Automatic was a big hit. I am not big fan of hers, but if I pick one song, it would be Movin' Without You(this song is Japanese though.)

And now we have another English songon the music charts in Japan. The band is Ellegarden, I saw them too inthe indies band festival last year on my job. :-) I was lucky. I like their new song Space Ship, this is my type! The vocal guy was working in the U.S. as systems engineer. They will release Riot on the Grill in the North America.  I hope they can make ahit there! Gambare Elle!

Manga, and Japanese movie.

Pin2 The great manga Death Note is being made into a movie this June. I have got new information about the cast. Here it is.
Right : Tatuya Fujii
Saya : Hikari Mashima
Misa : Erika Toda
L : Kenichi Matsuyama
Watari : Shunji Fujimura
Ray Penber : Shigeki Hosokawa
Naomi Misora : Asaka Seto
Each actor and actress is close to the original character's image. So I think they make a good cast, but still I am a little bit disappointed Hollywood are making it.

Today the chart site Oricon had a survey: "Which manga do you want Hollywood to remake?" Here is the result.
No.1 Dragon Ball (Official site): I don't need to explain any about this, I prefer Dr. Slump.
No.2 Death Note (Official site): Yes, I agree. I told you, we are traumatized by Devilman and Casshern.
No.3 JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (Official site): I have never read this manga, when I looked for some information, I found this funny site. They made body imitation of each cover. Yeah, weird pose.
No.4 Golgo 13 (Official site): I wrote about it in this post. After you read this manga, you might feel every incident and accident would be related to his job.
No.5 Akira (Official site): Do you remember? This cool Kaneda's bike.
Some (I may tell -many-) Japanese don't like Japanese movie, and feel hopefully they don't touch our favourite manga anymore. he he he

However some quiet drama stories are not so bad. My American friend like this movie "After life". You might know Yasujiro Ozu, people call him The quiet master. So I check recent Japanese movies.

This looks nice, Roukala Lokki (Kamome=Seagull Diner). The story is "In summer that year, a small Japanese eating-house opened on a street corner in Helsinki by the name of Kamome Diner ..." The point of the movie will be that locale is Helsinki. For many Japanese, North Europe will be so far place. It means distance and also in psychology. I don't know even a one word of Finnish, South American countries are far from Japan too, but we have an image Latin people would be breezy. But we have no idea for Finnish, actually our common image is very poor "it would be cold place". By the way, in this story a Finnish guy Tommi, a zealous fan of Japan and its way of life, asks a Japanese lady whether she knows the lyrics of the song for the Japanese animation "Gatchaman." Gatchaman is called The Battle of the Planets : G-Force. He asked the lyrics of this song. Ah I can tell you 95% of over 35 years old guys can sing this song. This is trailer.

Tadanobu Asano will be one of the most popular movie actor in Japan, he appears on two different types of movies, one is Eli, Eli, Lema Sabachthani?, it's a kind of fantasy drama? (trailer) and the other one is Nice no Mori, it's a nonsense comedy. (trailer)

And Saishu Heiki Kanojo is another movie that originated from popular manga. It is called "Saikano" in English usually. One girl was made into the strongest weapon by the self-defense force of Japan, and she has to fight to save Japan. Here is a trailer, Saishu heiki Kanojo means "the last fatal weapon, she".

McDonald's Torino Olympic ads

Macskete McDonald Japan made Torino Olympic special TV ads. Maybe they would delete these after Olympic. Please check them out here. Wow Donald can do any winter sports! Jump:He can jump without ski, Skating :He can spin so fast that he made a hole , and Aerial :What a classical shtick.

By the way, Livedoor's Horie indicted, to be served fresh arrest warrant today. But on the Internet, we have an other hot topic about Livedoor. In this incidents, one guy "Noguchi" committed suicide, but there were a lot of unclear points. For example, shirt spotted with blood was found the hotel room where he died, but his wife said it was not his shirt. And the day he died, he called to his wife "I would be home tonight". (If he thought of suicide, why he made her worried without coming home?) etc. Actually his wife and his mom doubt his suicide and send their doubt and question for one site "Kikko's diary".

Kikko's diary is a plain simple site at first glance. According to her profile, she is a make-up stylist, doesn't work for any journalism. But half post of her diary are regular topics about food, alcohol and job. But half of them are a kind of report of social event. Actually her diary became a hot place to visit on the Internet because of her great scoop about Japan construction scandal. What she wrote were information which we hardly knew from news and regular media and scandal evolution could be add up by her explanation and scoops.

Now Kikko shows messages from Noguchi's wife and his mom and also she started to write about the dark side of this Livedoor scandal. (She does not write clearly, but we can guess shadowy organization and more) But last week, one company "Cyber farm" that Kikko mentioned in her Livedoor post, made a legal action to her. Because they say the stock price of Cyber farm have to down after she wrote about it in her site as if they are related to Livedoor scandal. Many people want to think the truth of Noguchi's death, but I don't know Kikko will stop writing about Livedoor, I wonder she is feeling practical threats to her security. On the other hand, people expect finally we could know who is Kikko because of this lawsuit. (we can't believe she is just a stylist). What is the purpose of her action. (She apparently hates Koizumi and LDP, but what she is doing seem to be more than just repugnance.*

Garden love!

CoverThe beauty of Karesansui, as represented by Ryuanji, is that it's a prime example of minimalist design. Katsura Rikyu, loved by Frank Lloyd Wright and Bruno Taut has both a polished style and a playful feel. The UK magazine, Japanese Garden Journal chooses the best garden every year. Adachi Museum was selected as the best last year. To be honest with you, many people especially the young and myself included have an old-fashioned image of Japanese gardens.

That appears to be changing though and now we are seeing them in a new light. One of my favourite magazines, Brutus, had a special feature called "Garden love". I understand the design and architecture magazine, Brutus CASA having it, but it was the main Brutus. I guess Japanese gardens are trendy now.

I enjoyed the article about Jihei Ogawa 7th who was a prominent landscape gardener. You may see this work here and here. (This is JR West site: He is Jihei Ogawa 11th). Actually I paused to realize there are nice old, new, traditional and casual gardens.

Kenrokuen in Ishikawa, Kourakuen in Okayama, Kairakuen in Ibaraki are called the big three gardens in Japan. As traditional ones go, I like rock gardens. The world heritage Koyasan Kongobuji has the big and strong rock garden. Saihoji is well known as beautiful moss. You may check out such beautiful Japanese gardens in Kyoto on this link page. (unfortunately only Japanese).

As for new gardens, I did not know that Roppongi Hills has a Japanese garden. And this is the site of a landscaper, it looks nice to see a Japanese garden of each personal residence; main garden, inner garden, approach,pond garden, graveled garden.

And I am very impressed to find many foreign nice sites and nice books (I like this "Landscapes for small spaces" about Japanese gardens. Look at this! Here is a program with which you can design a Japanese garden.

Such a day, Kitsch collection.

Poster Ahhhhh I can't seem to come out of my slump easily. (yes I am...orz) And I could not find good topic today, so I will link to some of my "kitsch" picture and arts archive.

Very old coloured photo collection of Waseda Univ.: I like painted photos, it's a colourful texture.

Labor Union posters in the Post-1945 of Hosei Univ. : RED mood

Colouring Note collection : In Japanese we call it NURIE.

Yakuza movie Poster collection : Check this and this post too.

Japanese Porno Poster collection. : A kind of arts :-) desho?

Trooper in Tokyo and Japanese spiderman

TropToday is Setsubun. I will link to my past post . Good Recycle :-) Today's post is links to pages I have found. The theme is American and Japanese subculture mix. he he he

I herad the original writer Stan Lee liked Japanese Spiderman.  I did't know we had such a TV show before. Spiderman, Badman, American Heroes were insect.  Japanese also has Kamen Rider, he is a glass Hopper.  Oh! Kamen Rider had an enemy named Spider man =Kumo Otoko  Here it is. (picked up the trash!)  And this is Bee Woman = Hachi Onna. (I found this on Google by searching Hachi Onna. Her site is a misterious world)

I like this Star Wars stormtrooper appeared in Tokyo. It is him.  I thought some American did it. He is a Japanese.  By the way, my American friend showed me Star Wars cartoon. Is it popular in the U.S.?  I have never known it.

Talking about American cartoon in Japan. Wacky Races is very popular in Japan, the Japanese title is "Chiki Chiki machine mo race". The Dog Muttley is named "Ken Ken" in Japanese version. The Princess Masako who has mental stress has a nickname Ken Ken. (ha ha ha) When I was a kid, some Hanna-Barbera cartoons aired in Tokyo area(now on CATV).  My favorite one was The Herculoids; it's Japanese name is "Kaijyu ou Targan" =The king of Monster Targan.  Yes the guy's name was Targan and parent-child rice cakes were Hyu-Hyu and Po-Po.

Death Note will be film, but!

DeathnoteWow! my favorite manga, Death Note will be made into a film. My friends and I really hoped holloywood would make it, but unfortunately it is Japanese film...orzDevilman and Casshern were enough. For 30s and 40s people, both animation were sort of treasures, then those two movie made us upset, it was apathetic rather than angry actually. ha ha ha

According to the news, Tasuya Fujiwa will act as Right. Hmm, okay passable. L (Ryuzaki) is Matuyama Kenichiro. Hmm I want Jun Matsumoto to acts as L!!  I don't know who will act Ryuku. I think tall man Tomoyasu Hotei will fit.

If Hollywood made this, who would you choose? Edward Fourlong had steal beauty as Right. HAD? Yes he made me disapointed in many way (who are you?) . Ryuku?  My friend said Samuel L Jackson would be nice. Then he drew and sent me his quick art :-p Okay he will be the best. I see how it is!!. Then his choice for Rem made me laughed. It's him. But it's not bad actually. If you've not read it, check it out!

Books I am reading

RailwayWinter nights are long. Currently I am reading two books. One of them is Nou Seirihou = The way of fixing the brain written by Kenichiro Mogi. He is a neuroscientist who put forward a theory of the Qualia Movement. He says "Qualia are the subjective sensory qualities like 'the redness of red,' 'aroma of Rose,' 'taste of milk,' or the 'texture of sound of a violin' that accompany our perception."

I like to read neuroscience books, regardless of whether I can understand them or not :-P Our brain is so mysterious. I feel my imagination can reach the ability of the brain. Last week, when I walked down the street along a railway track, I suddenly felt an old familiar "happy feeling." It was close to deja-vu but I could not tell what exactly it was. I was free, happy, delightful. Maybe those feelings come from an old memory that I don't consciously remember. It would be related to small stuff like the angle of sunshine, direction of the wind, temperature, scent of the air, or something in my vision. When I have such a moment, I always wonder how to keep that or re-experience it at my own will. photo is the closet one to the scene where I was. I can touch the tail of that feeling still now but it's almost gone.

Another book is Himitus = secret, the English Title is "Naoko." Naoko is a tale of metempsychosis--after an accident, your daughter has the spirit your dead wife. Please check this Amazon review. You might know the story. The book became a movie "Himitsu" in Japan; here is the New York Times review. I didn't see the movie but I heard the story was a little bit changed. And some site said this story would be a film in Hollywood with David Duchovny. When it will be released?

And in the end, I got a mail yesterday. Candace said she translated Lemon written by Motojiro Kajii. She said she had become interested in the book because of my post. Thank you very much, Candace. I am very happy to introduce Lemon in English here. 本当にどうもありがとうございました。

Death Note

RyukuStarting tomorrow, I have to go back to work...orz. I have enjoyed this New Year holiday very much. I am especially glad to have had a lot of time to read. I wrote that I was reading "Dignity of a State" in my last post, and now I am reading a manga.

I've written about Japanese manga a few times before -- "Pluto," "20th Century Boys," and "Monster." I can tell you that many manga are not worth the time spent to read them. I am not a big manga fan, but I can't reject them so easily. Some manga are worth reading, and can make me feel as if I'm watching a movie. Book or Manga? It's really just a different mode of expression, isn't it?

Right now, I am reading the manga, "Death Note." The main character, "Right Yagami" is a smart high school boy who found a "death note" one day. The death note is a tool used by a "god of death" from Hell to kill people. "Right" learned how to use it from the god of death "Ryuku" who dropped the death note on purpose just for fun. Right began to kill criminals because he hopes secure and peaceful society but Right's sanctions gradually escalated. People noticed that someone was killing criminals and began calling him "KIRA"(Japanese pronunciation of killer). Everyone is afraid of him, so the crime rate has gone down. A brainy boy, "L" is a detective who is trying to discover theidentity of "KIRA". Then the battle of genuis vs genuis began. Please check out this English-language fan site. "Death Note" is serialized in "Shonen Jump" in Japan, but is not in the U.S. version of the magazine. But you may buy the first and the second in Amazon now. I can tell you it's worth the read. And I wonder, if this were translated, would you try it?  I can tell you it's worth the read.

A Majority of One

Majo Listen to this funny conversation. She said you can speak the Japanese sentence "do itashimashite" (you're welcome) by saying don't touch my mustache. It is the same idea as "Hotta imo Ijiruna = What time is it now?"

Guess who the guy is in this conversation. He is Alec Guinness. The conversation is a part of the movie A Majority of One. In the movie Alec acted as a Japanese "Asano." Unfortunately--or fortunately--this movie was not released in Japan, but according to this Japanese review, the movie is very "orz..." He wrote about just a small sample, the lady visiting Asano by taxi. There is a sign "fee is 60yen" on the taxi, but the driver said "it's 2yen." Why the taxi fee would be 1/30 suddenly is very hard to understand. George Takei (starred in Star Trek) wrote about this movie in this book, here it is. Here is the page with Alec's Japanese conversation. (Hmm. I could understand some; he did pretty good sometimes.)

I won't be serious about entertainment. Actually, I am glad to know a U.S. director tried to make a movie about Japan in the 1960's. I don't like "Lost in Translation" but I would say the movie shows some real parts of Japan and it would be an interesting movie for many people. But still I will complain when I see a misunderstanding that is too bad and when it's shown as the real thing because that is one of my blog's purposes :-) I want to share the real Tokyo with people who visit my blog. I saw Memoirs of Geisha in media preview. It was a beautiful movie, I thought strongly that it is a Japanese image as seen by foreign people. I read that Kaori Momoi felt a sense of discomfort sometimes, but she accepted it because it's a U.S. movie. I will give updates on people's reaction in Japan. Especially real Geishas' reactions.

Japan in music

Weezer I complained :-) that R. Kelly's Video of "Thoia Thoing" has many mistakes about Japan. Well, I suppose maybe he basically did not have an interest in Japan. Some other bands have made music videos related to Japan too. Most of them are so funny and I like to see them because I can sense their interest in Japan, even though they show some strange images of Japan

A striking example will be weezer. In the music video "Hash Pipe," they sing with a Sumo Wrestler. In their "Dope Nose" video, they perform in front of a Japanese motorcycle gang or "bosozoku". Before making these videos, they showed their interest in Japan through their CD Jackets on the Lion and the witch and Pinkerton. Pet Shop Boys made a funny music video called Flamboyant with a Japanese costume play TV show. The Icelandic band Kimono made BW video of Japanese police man. I can tell they like Japanese animation and old TV shows because they tried to imitate the editing techniques of those types of shows. Yeah, I can't see the violent movie parts, but I think that the movie has a pretty good Japanese mood.

Talking about lyrics, many artists use Japanese words or sing in Japanese. Teo toriatte by Queen and Ai no Sono by Stevie Wonder are nice samples. Funny samples are here.

"Mr. Robot" by STYX. They sang 'Domo arigato Mr.Robot, Itsu no hinika' = Thank you Mr.Robot, in the future.

"Song for the Dumped" by Ben Folds Five. They sang 'Takai meshi**** da sono*** = Expensive food something.

In "The War Song", Boy George sang 'Senso Hantai Senso Hantai' =Against the war, against the war.

Worst one would be "Love Missile F1-11" by Sputnik.  They said 'Kagekina Boryoku, Tabemono wa oishi, mizu nondewa ikemasen' = Extreme violent, Foods are delicious,  but don't drink water............ha?

Michael Jackson in Game

MjIt's very unusual! I am sick today, I went to the hospital but had to wait for 2hours to talk to the doctor. The reason why It took so long was many people came to get Flu Shot. By the way I thought I got a food poisoning because I ate a piece of raw oyster, but the doctor said it would be gastritis and I have a fever too. I got antibiotics and some other tablet, Then it cost totally 1800yen. It's very cheap.

Ahh I will go to bed soon. But in such bad day, I will post something fun. Three Michael Jackson Flash. Michael Fantasy 18Michael Fantasy 17Super Mario Michael.  By the way he never stop entertains us. :-p

Do you know Yahoo Japan avatar is so Japanese.

Mari_ava_1I've just found out that Japanese Yahoo avatars are so different from other countries. This is the U.S. one, Canada has the same one?, the UK, Spain, Italy maybe other Europe has that the U.S. type avatar. Maybe they have more eye colours, hair colours, skin colours.

The Yahoo Japan Avatar is here.  I write many times that the Japanese like characters, figure so much. So even yahoo Japan avatars,  we are so into making it!  Talking about eye and skin colour.  We have just a tanned skin colour, and just a few eye colours,  but there are many backgrounds, like shop, prefecture, town, weather, etc. And of course huge variation in clothes, hat, shoes, costumes, and even though we can't see them they have a wide variety of underwear. (why?) People can tell their hobby, their own interests, event by side items like music tools, sports, cooking, job, pet, etc.

There are interesting items in collaboration with business as well:  This is a real menswear shop. We can use the shop inside as a background, and each item is a real product so that you can buy from Yahoo online. This one has Gundam items - Gundam is almost a religion for Japanese :-p. This is Microsoft, you would know this series of ads from MS.

You could see some avatar items have a price. Yes people will get these items even if they have to pay for them. Why? Hmm we just love our avatar-character and want to make it pretty, funny, real. We are really into characters. So as a presentation event, Yahoo Japan has the avatar contest every month.  The winner can get a red carpet background and the ring (even though you can't see ring on avatar, it's too small).  For example, this is the winner of autumn coordinate,  this is imitating an cherub. (right one is Puffy Ami-chan, left one is Yo Oizumi)

Now my avatar is Japanese garden version.  All my friends say my avatar is just me!  Hmm if they say so. maybe so.   

A cool figure bar was opened

Book_7II found this essay, "Persistence of a Genetic Scar", on the site "Little Boy: The Arts of Japan's Exploding Subculture." It's very difficult for me to read. She says that Japanese subculture has been influenced by the trauma from deadly images of World War 2. Hmm, interesting!

The exhibition has a collection of Japanese vintage toys. This is part of Teruhisa Kitahara's collection. He is an internationally recognized and respected collector, especially of tin toys. He has the Hakone Toy Museum, Tin Toy Museum (another link), and more. He appears on a famous TV antique show, Nandemo Kanteidan, as a professional appraiser and sometimes speaks with foreign media like The Herald Tribune. You can see his books on tin toy collectiing like this, this, this, and more.

Kitahara is known not only as an appraiser of antiques, but also for his ability to appreciate things of beauty. For example, Shinichi Yamashita is a well-known figure designer. Nowadays, his figures can bring a price of more than 2 million yen. I like his erotic and neo-futuristic mood. Kitahara bought his figures when he was just an obscure designer. Last month, Kitahara established and opened a figure theme bar, "FIGURE COMPLEX", in Nishi Azabu. There is a small gallery of Yamashita's figures there and you can enjoy the bar where waitresses wear costumes inspired by Yamashita's figures. Looks cool. I'm going!

I like Kitahara san because I can sense his adoration for toys and people. I suppose he is a warm-hearted guy, ne!

Tokyo Design Week 2005

TbannerToday is A holiday/culture day and we have some cultural events. I went to the Tokyo Design Week 2005 which is one of my favorite events. The 100% design Tokyo part is both an exhibition and a trading area for contemporary interiors products. In the same area, I saw the Design Tokyo mart 2005, which is a designboom event that was also held in NY earlier this year. Some of the same designers came to Japan and I saw that this "antlers" coat hook by alex taylor, they were all sold out.

In the container exhibition, I saw many companies set the same "lohas life" theme. Actually "Sotokoto" had an event there. Sotokoto is a magazine for natural life, Lohas life. ("Lohas" is short for "Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability")  Here is the site. The title of this month’s edition, "99 ways to live until 100 years old" is funny, isn't it?  To have strong counscious for "a long life" and to make efforts seems to be most stressful for me. Since Germany set 2005 and 2006 as "Germany in Japan", The German national tourist office had a "Touch of Germany" event there too. I touche d a "piece of the Berlin wall", A Handbag and gloves owned by Marlene Dietrich etc, it is interesting idea.

And then the art students part was fun, I love unique design chairs. You will be able to see more picture on this blog and they will update everyday until this event is over on the 6th.

I love Robot!!

Robot_1The new edition of Japanzine has been released. Since an article that I wrote is published there, please check it out when you find it somewere in Tokyo.

By the way, since trying to lift a heavy box last Saturday, I have been having trouble with my neck. Seriously, I can not turn it at all, and I have a buzzing like "fax noise" in my right ear. I am worried that I will be mechanized sooner or later :-p

Speaking of robots, I like this site, Izumo Industrial Divinities. He is a designer and creator of mechanical arts. I love this!! I must tell you that I have "moe" for robots. Well, I have a weakness for dogs that weigh more than 5kg and robots that look very stoic. R2 half buried in a Jedi Star Fighter, Tachikoma (intelligent robots of "Ghost in the shell:Stand alone complex"(see this post too) which are about to sacrifice themselves, the prototype of Honda Ashimo which never give up to walk (he fall down again and again), even the manga character of Plute -- these have brought me to tears.

Ah, now I remember! In the Japanese version, Knight 2000 (can I call him a robot?) of a href="http://www.knightrideronline.com/" target="_blank">"Knight Rider" speaks very, very, very polite Japanese. I don't know if the original English version had this mood. I have heard that Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock) criticized the Japanese version of "Star Trek." People spoke very polite Japanese to Captain Kirk. Nimoy said such heirerarchical formality would destroy an important principle of "Star Trek." Hmm, I understand this very well. (Here is an interesting site, "Around the World With Star Trek: Future Perfect".

It is very important to keep the original mood in a translation. Especially since we have "keigo" (polite form of speech) in Japanese, even when the translations are not wrong, the translator's choice (casual form vs. polite form of conversation) can make a big difference in a show. I must tell you, in Japanese "Knight Rider," polite Knight 2000 seemed to be much cooler than hairy David Hasselhoff (at least for me!) ha ha ha

Romantic and decadant days of Japan

Book_5 Heisei is the name of the current era in Japan. I was born in Showa which was the longest reign of all Japanese emperors. Japan went through WW2 and later its high economic growth during Showa. Before Showa and after Meiji (during which Japan underwent a huge change due to its re-opening by Matthew Perry) we had the very short period Taisho which ran from 30 July 1912 to 25 December 1926.

Taisho lasted only 15 years but it was the time of the liberal movement known as the "Taisho democracy" It was an interesting time when Japanese traditional style mixed with western culture after the opening the country in Meiji. We have an image for Taisho which is small, brilliant and fragile days called "Taisho Chic (Taisho Romantic) before the militarism-driven Showa period.

Modern boys and modern girls. (Another photo).  The Kimono and western apron is our typical romantic image for the Taisho period.  It was the style of the waitresses who worked in cafes. Frank Lloyd Wright built the Imperial hotel in 1912 and other modern western style building were built then as well. Unfortunately most them were damaged in the Great Kanto earthquake. Talking about art, Kasho Takahata, Yumeji Takehisa, Junichi Nakahara (born in Taisho era) were popular because of their romantic taste.  This is the a postage stamp which commemorates the famous work of Yumeji Takeshita, I like this image of a western doll and woman wearing Kimono.

The romantic and and slightly decadent mood of Taisho Chic are loved by people even today so there are still some exhibitions of Taisho period art and ads. This is a photo studio where you can get photos taken with in the Taisho style. This cafe, this Japanese hotel also makes Taisho mood.

Tsigoineruwaizen (1980) directed by Seijun Suzuki was a film that portrays the decadent mood of Taisho.  A new movie Haru no Yuki (Snow of spring) will be released this month. It is a sad love story set in the Taisho period staring popular actor Satoshi Tsumabuki (kakkoii!) and Yuko Takeuchi. It is based on the novel (thank you good English review) written by my favourite author Yukio Mishima. Here is a trailer (if you can't see, please go to the official site and click movie) ; It is beautiful, but I won't go to see such a sad story.

Your trash is someone's treasure

Candy

From the Virgin Mary in a grilled cheese sandwich to Jesus in an oyster, I always enjoy the crazy things on eBay.

In Japan, Yahoo Japan is the biggest auction site (not eBay), and it is much easier to use and cheaper than eBay in the U.S. (I tried both, so I know.) This weekend I put a candy can up on Yahoo Japan, with a starting bid of 100 yen. It’s just a dirty old can that I have used to hold paper clips since 1975. I thought I should throw it away, but then I wondered if some Snoopy collector somewhere might want it. One person has already bid on it.

People in Japan have changed their attitude towards old stuff, because we’ve come to realize that everything may have some value for someone. Something that is trash to me might be a treasure to others. We learned this from Yahoo auction and a TV program called Nandemo Kantedan.

The rules of Nandemo Kantedan, which came on the air 10 years ago, are simple — guests bring items from their homes, and the show introduces them with details about their backgrounds. The guests declare how much they think their particular item is worth, and then professional appraisers reveal the real value and history of each item. This show still enjoys high ratings and actually has fueled a major antique boom in Japan.

A variety of different things have been brought in to the show. Many people bring Japanese antiques like ceramics, jars, paintings, or calligraphic writing. They often believe they own something created by a famous artist, but in many cases they are sad to be told it is just a copy or fake. But of course it is fun to watch when the owner guesses a value of 3 million yen, only to find out the real value of their treasure is closer to 5,000 yen!
One person brought in an old toy that he played with when he was kid. He had left it in the closet for many years, and guessed it would be worthless. The appraisers valued it at 1 million yen!

Thanks to this show, we have learned that original packaging makes a big difference in the value, and that even an old, dirty stuffed animal is highly valued if it is a Steiff bear. Even an old train ticket, chopstick bag, or bento wrapping paper has value for collectors. Because of this show, people have started looking for old things and checking the manufacturer or signature of items more closely. To be honest with you, even my dad checked the signature of a painting that has hung in the entrance of our home for more than 30 years!

Here is the show’s archive page were you can check out some of the items they have featured. Items include a fish print by baseball great Ichiro, and Godzilla’s foot!

Sometimes guests come onto the show from other countries. A guy from the U.S. brought this dress, which Marylin Monroe wore in the movie The Seven Year Itch. The professional appraiser said the value price was 200 milion yen. Sometimes the show goes abroad in search of treasures. Here is an article about the show going to the U.S. to appraise Douglas MacArthur’s Eastern artifacts.

You can never laugh

GakiI hardly ever laugh at comedy and I don't know why. Most comedy shows are just not funny to me. But like I wrote before, I loved seeing the comedic group Down Town's comedy show. Today I found clips of their TV shows online. Three of the clips are part of the series, "Never Laugh In the Classroom". Students must watch the lesson video for studying without laughing - that's the rule. If they laugh, they will get a beating!

Tell me when you can't see these. Sometimes pages have errors, I try to fix it.
English Lesson1 : English Lesson videos is a guy trying to read something about Marco Polo. He didn't even try to make it funny, he just tried to read English very seriously.
English Lesson2 : He counts numbers in English, after 19... it gets funny.
Science Lesson : Students learn about the food chain with a video again.

Anyways, the guy who tried to read English was a comedian when this TV show originally aired, but now he is a successful artist in Japan. Here is his site (unfortunately it's temporarily closed), here is his art work.  Yea, he has some talent!.

Most comedians come from the Osaka area. Osaka people need humour and jokes in their lives, always. Even a cutex is funny! It works as a fortune teller in Osaka and says something funny to you. I wrote about the differences between Osaka and Tokyo before, but I didn't known about this! One brand of instant noodles even has a West version and an East version. If you've tried Donbei in Tokyo before, it's different from the Osaka version.

Unfortunately, Osaka is misunderstood by people sometimes. By I can tell you they are nice.

Cool sites about Japan.

Tokyo_1 I am surprised!
The great flash movie site, Tokyo Plastic. They release a new flash movie. Here is Drum, Opera, Musicbox, Floweres for mtv. I really love to see this site, and I knew this site when it was Tokyo Plastic version1 (check "bit and pieces" page). But today I have found out the creators of this site are not Japanese!! Sam and Drew came from the UK!  Here is their interview. Wow I totally misunderstood and thought the site would be a Japanese' work. Because I could not sense any "butter". Butter? yes, when we say something has very foreign mood, we say "ah...smell of butter", it means "have a Western air". Ha ha ha, yes I couldn't smell any on Tokyo Plastic.  Japan is just a motif for them, Amazing.

Talking about non-Japanese sites about Japanese culture. I have found this marxy page. His site is very cool and his knowledge of Japanese art, music, culture is great. I enjoyed reading this recent post on "Taboos of Japan". Yes I know, the good point of blogging is an easy link and the quantity and quality of information. When I find good posts about Tokyo and Japan, I will share them more in my post. When I need environmental news, Martin's site Kurashi News From Japan is much better than mine. I like his cool attitude towards everything.

Talking about cool stuff, Waaaai! Ghost in the shell stand alone complex has their English official site. Kakkoii!  Innocence has site too, but like I wrote, it made me sleep very well.

Katamari Damacy2- Japanese site is update

Prince_1Katamari Damacy 2 has been released in North America. My friend has a small game development company, he has heard about this game. The idea was presented to some publishers, but most reactions were "What is the point of this game? just rolling a ball?". Hmm... I understand the reactions a little. This game has: a Prince, an arrogant dad, a fancy mom- such characters are the hot part. Visual and music and background supports them very well. It would be difficult to feel the charm of this game with only text presentation.

Here is their new Japanese page. Since the rules of how to play the characters are very well-known, their page has not so many menu selections. Please click each picture, you will see all the funny characters. I like coffee lover, puffy guy, and this is best!!  hard worker.
Here is the new wallpaper collection. I like this!! The title is "a life construct" ha ha ha. The old wallpaper page is here.

P.S. I have found the first Katamari Damacy TV ad!

Japanese Yakuza created Katrina?

Jingi Tell me, what do you think. Is he serious?
NBC Weather Anchor, Scott Stevens, has confirmed that Japanese Yakuza Make Hurricane Katrina. He is Maji?  Recently the head of the biggest Yakuza syndicate retired, and they seem to be pretty busy in their own business.

Here is the great site of a Yakuza movie. I enjoyed this Yakuza movie posters pages. They  all have the same exaggerated and serious tastes :-). In 1960-70s, Yakuza movies were popular in Japan. Ken Takakura and Bunta Sugawara became big as gang movie stars. I think "Without Honor and Humanity" (aka: Jingi naki Tatakai) would be the most well known yakuza movie. "Yamaguchi gumi" were subject of Yakuza movies sometimes. Yamaguchi gumi gaiden, Yamaguchi gumi sandaime. I am not sure how real they are, but basically those movies were created based on a documentary book about them.

orz...Ass monster Asslla?!

Asura I wrote that sometimes the title of movies has to be changed in Japan. Now the worst one is "Napoleon Dynamite". I have no interests to this movie "Rectuma", but I had to laugh to see this Japanese title. "Ass monster Asslla". Yes! of course it comes from Godzilla. The poster has same mood actually. Well I like this changing. Ah the artist of this poster designed Kill Bill too and I heard Tarantino liked very much this as an unofficial poster

I will use this opportunity to show some funny Japanese related stuff. This is Petshop boys' PV movie. I like their sound but this PV is ??? lemonade TV ad, Sushi Vision TV, masquerade TV show etc,. they would make it in Karaoke mood maybe. This is Suzukisan Flash (English version soramimi). You can hear like that? I don't think so. This is Thailand snack TV ad, she says "Oh Hachimitsu stick, honto ni oishi!" and take her kinomo off. Well maybe it express passionately how it is delicious. This is Swedish band "Ninjya Black", member's name is Wasabi Thunderborn (>_<)

Super Mario 20th anniversary

Mario Super Mario has his 20th anniversary this year. I had this first famicom and played Super Mario. I think I still remember which block I should push to get extra coins.  20 years have passed and now we can play Mario on Game boy micro, wow it's thin and small like a card!. When we hear this sound, we can say "It's Mario!!" soon. right?. Here is TV ad and you can see how thin it is. It reminds me of my first game machine "Game and watch". I had three Game and watches and I like I liked to play the fireman version.  For 20th anniversary Nintendo made special design micros which collaborate with other companies. This one is the Cup Noodle version, this is the Fuji desposal camera version, this is the Tower Record version and I like this, the Kincho version.

Talking about games, the Tokyo Game Show2005 will be held this weekend. In the Japanese webpage, they have a page"For Costume players". They prohibits thesecostumes 1. Policeman, fireman, Guard, Nurse. 2. dressed skimpily 3. Nazi, terrorists, 4. Big and long costume. 5. over 50cm tool, gun, sword, weapons etc,. Hmm Game characters and costume play seem to go together, like this Final Fantasy 3 guy. Maybe Mario Costume will be okay, it costs 12000yen! . Prince of Katamari Damacy will be okay too if you're careful with your face when you walk.

At the Tokyo Game show, there is a CESA ballot box corner. CESA is a big game Award in Japan which is decided by postal ballot. Yes it could be a gauge of a game's popularity. Last year's best game was Monster Hunter by Capcom.  You can see Japanese TV ads and game promotion movie please check the site (sorry I don't know how to know link the URL of flash site ). The next mark games were Katamari Damacy, Onimusha3, Gyakuten Saiban3, grand theft auto 3 etc,. In Kanagawa Prefecture and some othres, The grand theft auto series are rated as a "harmful game". :-o.  The Japanese game award was conferred upon Exciting Prowresling  and the foreign game award was conferred upon Need for Speed Underground. This year's award will be announced in the end of October.

What is a guy's cute gesture?

PurinIn Venice, "La biennale di venezia" (International cinema festival in Venice) is being held. From Japan, The Japanese monster movie "Yokai Daisenso" (Yokai war) was entered. Like I wrote before, the Yokai are a kind of creature like those found in Japanese folklore. Many of those stories tend to be comical. As far as I saw in the trailer, the movie seems to be comical too. Do you like Chiaki Kuriyama of Kill Bill?, The white haired one is her. Well if you have a night with really really really nothing to do, you might check it out with a bag of snacks. Anyway, the main actor is the 11 year old Ryunosuke Kamiki. One of today's entertainment news sites said that Ryounosuke appeared on the red carpet in Venice and was asked to "hold a pose". He then made "Taiku Zuwari" (this pose) and everybody said "Cute!!" That's it.

Taiku zuwari means gymnastic exercise lesson sitting. Yes, students sit this way in the gym. But I don't think that this is special, maybe in your country children do the same. However I will admit that the position is cute. Hmm this position seems like you're listening to someone's direction? Waiting for something? A little vulnerable? Adults hardly site this way in public, but when they do it in a park, they look cute. Or at least relaxed actually. My co-worker read that news and she said "cute, but he is 11 years old. He knew it, he did it on purpose, he knows the point." Yeah, I agree. Even though he is boy, he knows how to get lights.

The reason why I wrote about such meanless news today was because I got the giggles reading about this topic. It was a real story on a TV show called Trivia no Izumi, where 6 psychologists debated for 10 hours. A gesture which brings out a woman's motherly instinct is "He looks up and checks the bottom of the pudding cup when he is eating." orz... o.. Okay, if you say so. You may try it on next your date, and please do it with pudding. By the way people seem to have a very nice mental image for pudding. Maybe, sweet, egg, mild yellow color, innocence, mom etc,. It seems to be so true. I like pudding of course and you know, it is a magic food actually. Pudding is called "purin", the name sounds very pretty for Japanese. I don't know anyone who hates pudding around me.

Hmm pudding is a strong food like a fighter who can win with a smile, without battle. This Tokyo pudding is a comedy band that wears pudding costumes. Ha ha they are wolves in pudding's clothing!!. .... Am I confusing the post with irrelevant statements now??

Simple is easy? But inconvenient!

Tukas I can pay for Alien, Monster, Spy or Space ship. I don't go to see sad movie, I won't pay to cry. But sometimes, on a lazy afternoon on the weekend, I come across a movie and can't stop watching it to the end. One of them is the Korean movie "Christmas in August". Do you know that? It is sad story though, after watching that, I didn't need to be depressed but I could be warm a little. This year, "Christmas in August" is remade in Japan. Of course I WON'T go to see it, but I can watch the trailer. The Japanese one is nice and warm too.

The story is simple, one guy is sick and dying. He knows his destiny and accepts it so he decides to work at his small camera studio uneventfully to the day when he dies. But one day a lady comes to his studio, then he falls in love with her. They are getting closer but one day his studio gets closed and never opened again. The girl gets angry and breaks a window of a studio because she doesn't know why. But he never returns. In the end, his unsent mail is read. "Thank you, I can leave with my love in my heart"..... something like that. That is far from my taste, but I think it is very nice. Scenes of regular daily life are beautiful, waking up, nail cutting, vegetables washing etc,. One scene I remember well was this episode. His father could not use video remote, but the guy knew he could not help anymore soon, so he writes "how to use remote" in big letters in a paper to his father.

Anyway not only for older people, some remote controls look kind of "bullying" to me. But Japan is well on the way to an aging society and as the population ages, services, institutions, goods for the elderly are increasing. One of them is this "moblie TUKA-S". TUKA-S has very simple interface and TV ads appeal that point too. "Yes very easy!!" TUKA was acquired by KDDI because of poor performance, but this TUKA-S made a big hit and they kept the service. Today KDDI announced they will sell simple phones for the elderly too. Look! You can seal your family's name on button and "my phone number strap" is attached. But once I checked those phones, I found them very inconvenient to use, because I can't see the number I push. They are little extreme, I think.

To shake off sleepiness...

RosokuMy Obon holidays were over yesterday. I am here at my job and looking for some fun topics to write about. Well nemu!! I am sleepy. I would pay 3000 yen if I COULD sleep right now. In Japan this Black Black gum is suppose to be strong, and good for sleepy eyes. But I don't think it works well.

Entertainment news said another Japanese horror NOROI will be released soon, and it seems that it will be the scariest horror film so far this year. A psychic watched a movie preview and said that some of the scenes have evil power. Of course these are ads, but if you want to check it out yourself, here is the site and here is the trailer. (I did not watch it, so don't ask me what it's about) Noroi means curse in Japanese. The most traditional way is "USHINO KOKU MAWARI". He goes to a shrine and prays at 3AM for seven days. In that time, he must wear a white Kimono, an iron ring with two candles on his head, and he must be careful that no one finds him doing this. If the prayer is someone's death, he can use this type of corn doll. (I tried to find a "light" one, I don't want to find the serious type). There are some groups which carry out Ushino Koku Mawari for people. It cost around 100,000yen. I have no idea, how many customers they get.

But for me, this odd news in the UK sounds scary when I imagine the scene. "Are there any baby changing facilities around here?" hmmm scary! Now I am wide awake! :-)

Weak Dath Vader and Funny Japanese TV

Au_ad

I like this advertising for au. Darth Vader learns about cell phones from Japanese high school girls. Hmm Lovely shot. Then today I found this Ukrere Dath Vader Theme (ram). I will call it a easy going version. Are you a Darth Vader fan?  You don't like that Ad? Talking about "image change", Here is a series of figurines called "office worker Ultraman's sorrow" . I love "rush hour".  But I heard Ultraman fans feel uneasy about these figurines. "Ultraman is our hero, don't mess up our hero!"  That is what they said.

As a Japanese hero TV show, Power Ranger would be well known in the world too. It was originally a Japanese TV show called Go Ranger. It is a very old TV show, but In Japan a 'group of five' heroes is very popular still now. And their basic rules have not changed yet. They wear matching clothes and have different skills to beat down evil. When I talk about the details, we Japanese have tacitly understood for 5 heroes too.

Speaking more about 5 heroes, I liked to watch Japanese comedian DownTown's show "Gottsu A Kanji" ( you may check characters in this site). In that TV show, they made a silly comedy sketch about a five heroes group. The title was "Go Rangai". Evil Hamada tried to attack a woman, then Go Rangai came to save her, but "Go Rangai" always did something wrong. They couldn't wear matching clothes. Sometimes one of them wore deep mourning clothes, or a waitress uniform, or they wore matching clothes but all red.  When they tried to wear clothes which looked stronger, one of them wore a Mori building costume. ( I know, I know, this doesn't make sense. I will explain later, maybe tomorrow.)
Looks so silly? Yes it is, but I loved to see this every week. I watched news, sports and only this. I like their real series sketch. Real Ponkikki ( Ponkikki is very good educational children TV show, this is the original), Real Q-chan (original), Real Kitaro ( original).  It was really funny.  I miss Gottsu now.

We miss Denpa Shonen

Denpa

My friend loves TV. Actually when her TV broke late at night, she rushed to a 24 hour shop by taxi and got a new one. All happend just in 30 minutes. She says recently TV shows are getting boring, stuck in a rut, nothing unique anymore. She says she really misses "Denpa shonen". Denpa Shonen was a kind of "challenge" documentary TV series. (Susume Denpa Shonen, Susunu Denpa Shonen). They have no acting, no script, everything was so real. But the challenges were complete nonsense. The most famouse one is "Nasubi's Kensho Seikatu".

It began in January 1998. Unsuccessful comedians gathered in a room at Nihon TV network offices. A Producer of show said he would pick "one guy" for a new project for Denpa Shonen, He said a criterion for selection was to just be a "lucky guy". Then he chose a guy "Nasubi" (means eggplant) by lot. Nasubi was pleased but he did not know what the new show project was. What he needed to challenge was "Kensho Seikatsu", which means "Living on offers and competitions in newspapers and magazines." He had to live by getting everything through offers and winning competitions, getting prizes from magazine and newspaper competitions until things he got value more than 1 million yen. The funniest part was he started from zero! nothing!. It means he could not have any food, clothes, bed, no tooth brush, of course no entertainment. What he could have was pen and postcard and telephone to apply prize, .

The life was started in winter, but he did not have any clothes. In the first week he wrote about 900 postcards, then finally he got 12 pieces of jelly. Then two weeks later, after he finished about 1300 postcards, he got 5kg of rice. But he didn't have a pot to cook it in . Yes if he wanted to eat cooked rice, he needed to get it by prize....In such way, he tired to live on prize. Then to conclude, he made it one year later.
You can read about his the life in here and here too. Unfortunately everything is written in Japanese only, but you can see his one year life in this web.

Another funny project was "Hako Otoko" (= Box man). A misanthrope meanbone guy was packed in a small box. The box had toilet and small tatami mat and LED panel as comminication tool. He couldn't move, get food, do anything by himself. The purpose of the project was to move from Kagoshima to Tokyo (1500km) with others helping. To make that, he should ask them to push the box, get food, water, anything he needed by LED panel. If he made it, MAYBE he would know the people's kindness, warm hearts. 
People could see only LED panel conversation with his typing from outside, but TV aired everthing inside and outside during this series. People know his mean and bad attitude inside. For example, someone gave him orange and say "gambatte" but inside the box he said "Orange again! I hate it", someone gave him rice ball, he said "anything else?", someone gave him a blanket, inside the box he said "stinky!!". He did not show any appreciation. Really mean guy he was. Amazing part was, it would be so hard to live in such small box, but he sometimes hummed "Star-Spangled Banner" (Why??) and looked like he enjoyed that life. Since the TV show was aired every day, people were getting know how mean he was. But many people were still helpful for him (of course sometime he had a tough time, no food, no movement) and pushed him as much as they could. He even got a job as an Ad panel at a Gas Stand. Then one day finally he typed "Thank you" on the LED to a lady who pushed for one night. The box did not reach at Tokyo but the Box was opened. ha ha ha it meant he could learn something finally after 7 months box life by people's help only (it took too long to get it!)
Anyway This idea was originated the novel "Hako Toko". If you have interested in that, you can buy the book.

Denpa shonen was such funny, weird, interesting TV show. And there are many other funny projects. I will talk about more in near future.*

Moe Moe!!

Stamp

This is today's article from Mainichi News. Yeah Otaku contribute to Japan economy very well. Every week I read some article about Otaku in the news. And I wrote often about Otaku, Gundam, Cosplay ( Cosplay2), Trainman ( train man2), Figure, Anime, Manga.

Akihabara is well known as an electric town but now it is called the Otaku's holy ground. Of course there are a lot of electronics stores, but now you will see Anime, Manga, figure shops, and many maid cafes (this is Japanese maid cafe portal site).  Akihabara has changed into Otaku world. Actually guys are classified with their fashion and hobby, there are Taikukai (sport player) -kei ( type), street-kei, club-kei and Otaku type guys are called Akiba-kei. And the big hit of Trainman was good timing to match to recent "pure love boom". So a Japanese woman's image for Otaku/Akiba-kei seem to have changed a veeeeery little. Woman think Akiba kei are pure, earnest, kind. And also I heard some girls say it is fun to make all the effort to "brush up Otaku for my type of guy".  Ah a kind of breeding? :-p

Here is Akiba Blog, unfortunately it is in only Japanese. But you will see what is going in Akiba by photos. This round smile mark which covered people's face is the "Warai Otoko" (laughing man) mark that appeared on Ghost in the shell. Here is a figure blog which introduces the newly released one. Here is a blog of the 2005 Cosplay summit in Aichi. Hmm the Otaku biz will make a lot of money. Actually the Japanese government is going along for the ride this time. The Japan post office has started to sell Gundam stamps since yesterday. Yes Moe Moe business is the Japanese economy's shining star!?

Short, simple, funny is the best

Kimishine

I understand that people spend their weekend playing computer games to beat up a big boss or fight again and again to get a super sword. This weekend, I did the same. Yes I kept on playing all day long. On the other hand, though, I really hate those games. I didn't stop holding the controller and saying "faaaku you!" to the game :-) in a room exposed to the afternoon sun. Basically, I don't like long, big, serious and complicated games. I feel those games exploit the weakness of my addictive nature and invade my weekend. (I found many people complaining that Arc the Lad was "too long fighting!" in Japan. I know my nature, so I took a step back from gaming. If I get a PS2, I would rather play simeple, short, light, funny game like Katamari Damacy.

Anyway one of such simple, silly game would be "Feel the Magic" for Nintendo DS. When I saw their Japanese HP first, I laughed because it's too silly. But it has good reviews in the U.S. Hmm. Yes, actually it is okay to sweat in order to throw up golden fish. :-) If you don't know this, you can see video here. By the way, Japanese original title is "Kimi no tamenara shineru" = "I can die for you". We call the game "Kimishine" for short. I think the original title, "I Can Die For You" is not bad. Why did they change it? Is "I Can Die For You" something strange?

Yesterday SEGA opened the new version of official game site,"Akachan wa dokokara kuruno?" which means "Where Do Babies Come From?".Yep, it looks silly again.

Gundam Again

Gundam Again Gundam. I am not a big Gundam fan, but I like to see Gundam fan's craze. Suntry Museum in Osaka has Gundam exhibition -For our future: War, Evolution and life- now. Artists create their Gundam Arts and products. Hmm look at this, their blog.. Look at this, that big object is Sayla Mass. Looks sexy? She is angry so her face is very scary. ( I think crying pretty Sayla would be MOE for guys more).

A real size core fighter is cool. This "Japanese painting" of Gundam is cool too. Some arts and objects, I cannot understand what they mean, but Gundam fan would get exactly what it is or means. You can see some more in this site here, here and here.

Matthew Barney in artistic city in Japan

Mattew

Matthew Barney's first exhibition in Japan is being held at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa in Ishikawa prefecture, which is one of the most artistic cities in Japan. Since it is far north west from Tokyo, it's not easy to get to for Tokyo residents. But when I checked some blogs, still arts fans went there by night bus or airplane. Matthew Barney is most celebrated as a sculptor and performance artist. Have you ever seen his art Cremaster 1-5?. They say Cremaster is the name of the muscle that wraps the tendon connected with the testicles, it expands and contracts with changes in the temperature. I remember that I was so impressed with this photo. Yes unfortunately only photo..., I didn't watch the movies. Most scenes seem to be so attractive, artistic and beautiful on trailer. But sometimes there are extreme, still-raw image of corporeality. I am too weak for that. You see very essential beauty in his art? Or it is not your type?

In the exhibition, his new film "Drawing Restraint 9" is released too. I did not know that this film by Matthew Barney with a soundtrack composed by Bjork, is the first creative collaboration of two, husband and wife. A Japanese tea ceremony and Whaling are the motifs of this film. I have an interest in what message he makes with the film. Talking about a national level, the US is anti-whaling, Bjork's mother land Iceland is a whaling country like Japan.

Here is some English reviews on Bjork's official site. I tried to find some Japanese reviews, but I could find only a few. One said "they are too beautiful and I forgot time". One said "As an art fan, as a Matthew fan, I just had to watch them all without sleeping at any cost, but 2 and a half hours without dialogue was very long" (yap, another raw voice too) Some said some images are extreme again (eat each other or something... I know that is metaphor, it would not be equal to cannibalism.), I am not sure I can see it all, but I would like to see this film and exhibition.

Anyway I got mails "Why do you eat intelligent Whale? Or what do you use them for?". When I get such emails, sorry I did not reply to them. Personally I don't think intelligent or not cannot be good topic for discussion. We can eat cow but we can't eat pig, because sometime pig can perform. This may sound strange. There are other good points of view for discussion. And it is easy to access information about the history of whaling. Those sites will be better for information.

Tomica collection is a history of Japanese cars

Tomi

When I was a kid, I liked to play with Lego with my brother. I don't know how many we had in total: we lost them all. I wish I had them now -- it would be relaxing to build something after work... yes, with a cup of whiskey! :-P I really wanted to go to Lego Land one time.

Tomy is an old Japanese toy maker. Have you ever seen this "pop up pirate"? Yes that is one of Tomy's toys. Their mini car series called Tomica are well-known as toys for little boys but also as a collector's item for adults. They sell very few kinds of cars in the UK, and in the US, this site said Tomy ended the US car line in the 80s.

In Japan they started to sell Tomica in 1970, and even now they release a new car every month. When you see their archive pages, you can experience Japanese car history. I did not know that there were FairLady Z police car in 1971. My brother's first car is very old Silvia 2000ZSE-X, and he had a big accident. :-( The HONDA NSX was released in 1990, and a few days ago Honda announced they will end the model this year. Tomica Limited and Tomica S-Limited series are high grade lines. I think it is a lovely gift to give the same model as your dad or friend drove before.

Tomy opened the Tomica shop inside Tokyo station on August 10th. Since it is not a big place, it is very easy to look around. A little double Decker which I bought in London is one of my treasures. A little taxi car may be a memento of your travels in Tokyo.

Star Wars! Star Wars!

DarthStar Wars season has come! Finally? Yes the movie will be released on July 9th. I will go to see the preview on July 2nd. Lucky me! However, when I say Star Wars season, I'm not talking about the movie this time. Anything else? Yes it means the Pepsi bottle Cap!! This time they have 60 kinds of bottle caps from episodes 1 to 6. Since this Pepsi bottle cap campaign started when Star Wars episode 1 was released in Japan, Han solo, Chewbacca, Leia, Luke Skywalker and the rest of those old characters appeared first. This extra bottle cap is cool! Isn' it? A cap stage is usually pretty big. Since this is their last Star Wars campaign they made these food clips too. Ahh I need to drink a lot of diet Pepsi. Actually my co-worker made his diabetes worse before because of this promotion. But don't worry PEPSI, he thought, it was his self-responsibility. he he he

Those caps are attached to the bottles like this; in small bag. Since we cannot tell what is inside, some people try to find out just by touching them. We call this mo-pai. It means blind tile. It comes from mah-jongg. Some mah-jongg players try to determine what tile it is by touch alone whenever they pick one. So in some shops you will see people touching these bags and concentrating on their finger while staring into space. ha ha ha

Speaking of Star Wars, I went to the reception party for Medicom Exhibition 2005. Starting today until July 4th it is being held in Parco Part3. I really enjoyed seeing Kubrik and their other figures, which were released earlier this year. Not only Kubrick and Bearbrick, they also featured some ipod products and Fabrics, which are new for this year. They gave everyone a Darth Vader Kubricand their special marshmallow. That Darth Vader is a "not for sale" premier Kubrick!! Thanks medycom! If you laughed at that and you love this, then you will love medycomtoy. Yes, I think I may even call them Otaku.

Is this virtue or trauma?

Hyuma I made a promotional page for a Japanese movie "Gyakyo NINE". When you visit the site, they say "No full force? you should die". In short it is a comedy about a weak baseball team that gets to win in the end after a few ups and downs. As you know, comedy sports movies like Major League and Shaolin Soccer, as well as serious sports movie like Rocky or Vision Quest, are very common and popular around the world.

But I suppose serious sports animation would be rare other than in Japan.  Many Japanese sports animations are so far from comedy, they are completely serious; "Perfect Stoic world". Main character works hard to make his dream come true, but many troubles and tough episodes come to him from one minute to the next. Sometimes he sheds bitter tears because of severe coach's training or miserable losses to his rival. But still he tries to go up and up... That is a typical story of Spokon Anime (Sports Konjo animation) = Spots balls animation.

For example I wrote about "Kyojin no Hoshi" (A star of Yomiuri Giants) before. It is old, but still the most famous Supokon Anime. The main Character Hyuma wears this type of brace to make his muscles big. That brace is called "Major League training brace" :-). Hyuma is patient for his father's severe training everyday, but he never gives up wanting to be a player for the Tokyo Giants. Fire in eyes are a typical expression to show Hyuma's passion. Sometimes it took 10 minutes before Hyuma throws a ball because they show his intense psychological conflict. He stares at batter (3minutes), cocks (3minutes) , rises his leg (3minutes) and particles of sand flutters from his show toe (1 minutes). You'll be physically tired with just watching this animation. We have to see Hyuma is overstraining and being tense. By the way when my brother was an elementary school boy, he tried to make that brace with a spring from my mom's diet machine and cried because his skin was nipped by the springs. Yes yes many boys did the same in those days. I am sure.

"Ashita no Joe" (Tomorrow, Joe) is another big old comic/animation. Joe is a bad boy who was in Juvenile Training School, he meets his coach Danpei and gets to be a professional boxer. A fight with his rival Rikiishi is a kind of legend for Japanese guys. Actually Rikiishi's funeral was held in fact when he died in the comic. This white page is a famous last scene, where people argued "is Joe dead or is it just metaphor of his burning out". Not only boy's comic, girls old animations "Ace wo Nerae", "Attack No.1" were so popular for girls,  those sports are very popular in Japan, I am sure it is related to those animations. 

Actually basically I can say Japanese have a concept that to make efforts, to be patient, to do hard is valuable.  But not only that, many 30s, 40s Japanese were imprinted with "I can get my victory after big efforts and patience" by his hero in his favourite animation in their childhood.  I wonder if some foreigners who works for Japanese companies or work with Japanese will may feel it and agree with me.

But I can't say Spokon Anime is only an old product. Captain Tsubasa or Slumdank aren't so old animation but still they keep those severe tastes a little.  Recently "Ace wo Nerae" and "Attack No.1" have been remade into TV dramas featuring Aya Ueto. 

Maybe Japanese like "KONJO!" (have balls). -You can't make it? It because you haven't done enough yet!-  Hmm maybe yes basically, then those ideas are bolstered by the kids animated heroes which we love to see in childhood. Is this a kind of virtue or just bad trauma?

TVGame ads from Tokyo

Chibi_1This is the site collects game TV ads from all over the world. Then I check game ads in Japan by myself. I said this game Chibi Robo is cute. Now they air their TV ad. Look at this page and click -CM- in the bottom of page. Hmm cute!
Ah! Did you read this news? Jokes don't always translate properly to a different culture, it is difficult. So at that point, Fomicom Wars DS has this ad in Japan. Of course I don't think they show same ad in the U.S. too. (That place is public bath.) But if they tried, I don't think this will be funny for most Americans.

Do you know Ape Escape's original Japanese name is "SaruGechu". Saru means Ape and gechu means "get you". Yes it was English written in Romanji. Sony will will release Sarugechu 3 (Ape Escape 3) on the PS2 soon, here is their non-sense ad. (but I think the Sarugechu 2 theme song was better.) Speaking about the language, I don't know how Nintendo will name this in other countries. This name is No No No Puzzle Chailian, "No" doesn't mean "deny" in this case. Check this TV ad, the spiral Japanese letter on the pork cutlet is pronounced "no". You need to move a machine like "no" shape. That is the reason of such name of this game.

Kanagawa prefecture decided to have an "age limited" rule for violent games. In competition with such public movements, CESA (Computer Entertainment Software Association) introduced its own rules "requiring that customers show their proof of age for violent game" by themselves. Since I am weak for violence, I welcome them. Look at this Kagero2!. It is such a violent game. But the last two movies are TV ads. They made only comedy ads. (but this is bad sense too)

So I love to "see" (since I don't play game), cute game like Pikmin, and Katamari Damacy. However the best TV ad is still this! Metal Gear Solid3.

A bit of Pulp Fiction Trivia!!

Sonny

Do you like Tarantino's movie? Unfortunately I can't watch his movie because I am too weak for violence. But many people said I should at leaset try watching "Pulp Fiction". I don't know if this is a well_known story. So that I will tell you this bit of trivia about Pulp Fiction. (since I have never watched it - this is what I read on the web) Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta kill a guy because he use up all the money  he stole from a group. In that scene, Jules (Samuel L Jackson) talks about the Bible (Old Testament). This is the dialougue he talking about.

Jules: You read the Bible?
Ringo: Not regularly
Jules: "The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness. For he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you."

But it did not come from Ezekiel 25:17. Yes this site talks about it. Actually this is the real Ezekiel 25:17
17:And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them.

So what is that? What did Tarantino use? Was It his original? You know Tarantino likes Japanese Yakuza and karate movies. Chiba Shinichi (Sonny Chiba) is one of the action actors who have appeared in some Japanese Karate and action movies. The Japanese movie "Bodyguard Kiba"(1974) was exported to the U.S and renamde "The Bodyguard". The U.S promotions side changed of the subtitles for American people. That Ezekiel part was attached during that time. HAI! It was lifted from script of a cheesy Japanese action movie :-p which were made by the movie promoters. This site talks about it.  Interesting.

Don't miss Pluto before it disappears.

Atom

Don't laugh, but I almost cried when I read a "manga." I am not a manga=Japanese comic fan, actually I feel embarrassed that many Japanese guys read manga on the trains. And many manga seem silly to me. But I am totally into Naoki Urasawa now. I talked about him before in this post, his story, Monster, will go to Hollywood. (I think Keanu Reeves would be good as Tanma!). But I think "20th Century Boy" and "PLUTO" are much better stories than Monster.

This is the best English site about "20th Century Boy". Please check out the story out there. Like the site says, the story has three main parts. The 1990s and 2014 parts are good of course, but I like reading about Kenji's childhood days. Urasawa does a good job of capturing the mood of 70s Tokyo. Japan was in a time of powerful economical growth; The Osaka Expo showed people dreams of the future. Some boys were stunned by the Apollo's landing on the moon and some boys were knocked out by Rock music, especially the group T'Rex, whose song "20th century boy" is used as a symbol of the boys' self-awareness in the story.

But the comic that almost made me cry is not 20th..., it is Pluto, this seems to be Urawasa's homage to Osamu Tezuka. Urasawa remakes one story with the Japanese original name of "Atom". The great Osamu Tezuka wrote Atom = Astro boy (ram).  This is the original Astro boy and this is Urasawa's Astro boy. 2 comics are published already and we are waiting for next one now. Then I found out that someone has scanned 'ENGLISH version' and uploaded it to the site. I suppose they will have to close it down sooner or later (I hope not), But I want many people try to read this story with an open mind, no bias.

Chibi Robo, why we like to see their service?

ChibiMy two co-workers say they never miss playing Katamari Damacy at home after work. I can understand this very well because the Prince (a typical Tohoho chara! ) has a healing power. Then next month, a new Tohoho character game will be released. Although many game sites have already talked about it, I want to introduce it here as well because it is very pretty.

The game is called "Chibi- Robo". Chibi is a casual of saying "small" ,"Tiny".  Actually it is one of the common dog name in Japan.  This is Japanese the official page. The game is a mini cute household robot simulation game. You need to control Chibi ( 10cm = 3 inches tall) to do house keeping. Polish the floor, feed a biscuit to the goldfish, and cheer up family members!  When he does something good, or useful, his happy points go up. He tries to gain points in order to be a No1 Chibi Robo champion!

Ha! Pikmin, Katamari Damacy and this Chibi Robo. Why do Japanese like to play there small Tohoho character's service?. Of course it is preferable to those violent figthing, and war games. But I suppose this a kind of craving for such unconditional love and healing, or maybe it's a deeper sadistic desire for control?? ha ha ha

Katamari Damacy shows Japanese citizens and a Japanese world, but this Chibi Robo is liveing in a foreign place. Chibi Robo's owners are the Sandersons. The dad tends to be lazy when it comes to work, the mom is stressed about him, and their daughter seems to have some problem too, she only talks in only frog's language. Just reading only this setting, I have to feel sympathy for poor little Chibi Robo. A funny part is the way he totes around a plug, which he'll periodically use to plug himself into an outlet to rejuice himself.

Here are some screenshots, and this page has movies. You are supposed to be able to download a desktop tool with Chibi Robo. but now it seems to be down now. Yes today Yahoo entertainment news released a story featrring this game's HP, maybe it is busy. Please try it later. Anyway in Japan it will be is released on June 23rd, the international version will be released on November 15th.

Gundam! Approaching faith?

Gun

Have you gone to Star Wars Revenge of the Sith already? Unfortunately it has not been released in Japan yet, but we've heard in the news that a guy has already lined up many day ago to be first in line for the opening day, and about how much the U.S econony lost on opening day becaues of people's absence from work. I know most Ameriicans like Star Wars, especially the kids. But I suppose the movie would still be special for those guys in their 30's and 40's who first saw Star Wars when they were in elementary school.  Star Wars was fill up with the stuff of young boys' dreams; Spece ships, Aliens, Heros, Evil,  high-tech dogfights and romance with a beautiful princess. It misht be a symbol of their childhood, may be the first strong emotional impact they experienced in their young life.  In Japan  Ultra Seven (1967) is close to Star Wars with that type of quasi-religious significance. It is almost a kind of a faith to a certain generation. But Ultra Seven is not well known in foreign countries as Ultraman is. Actually I gave up trying to find a good pages in English. Google Japan has 150,000 links, but Google doesn't show anyt good pages. Thinking of the Japanese passion for Ultraman,  Ultraman does not seem to have been successful in foreign countries. I will talk more about them in the future. Because Ultraman and Ultra Seven is interesting topic for better understanding many guys in their 30s and 40s in Japan.

Anyway in the animation world, apparently Gundam is quite special. When I find some new topic about Gundam, I am always impressed with hou much the Japanese love Gumdam and even now, and there are still huge aoumnt of money being directed to the Gundam market. The Movie Gundam Z was released last Friday. My friend already went to see it yesterday.  Here is the trailer.  In this timing, I checked some Gundam topic, and I will introduce some which looked interesting.

Speaking of Gundam fans, an adventure movie Aimless Aiges went to Cannes Film Festival this month. The original novel was written by Toshiharu Fuku. Some of his novels will become movies later this year; he is such a hot person now. Popular author Fukui gathered even more acclaim when he novelized "Turn A Gundam" because he just loves Gundam so much.

About Gundam goods; I wrote before about a Gundam Shop in Osaka where all the staff wear Gundam clothes, I found an item that they sell. This is a Zaku head tape cutter.  Ah I will sell my Gundam bottle cap collection on eBay. I wonder how much it will be?

About figurines, at  the Bandai Museums, you can see a real-sized head of Gundam and Zaku. This is the best that I could find at this time,  a human size real Gundam, which is made by armer fan.  Wow kakkoii!

We will rock you

Rock

I went to the musical We will rock you today. It was held in Shinjuku Koma theater, and during the musical, you can meet a bronze Freddie. Here is their official web site. On this page you can watach movies of the musical. You can also check out the story there. It is not Queen's history or Freddie's story, just pure fiction. In a future world, music and music insruments have been banned from use and people are controlled by the Killer Queen. But the Bohemians resistahce believes that there was once a Golden Age when kids formed their own bands and wrote their own songs. A legend persists that somewhere on Planet Mall musical instruments still exist. The Bohemians need a hero to find this axe and draw it from the stone...The impression part is that boys bands and programmed music have killed real music, but they also have a political message.

I've read on some sites that Queen became a very big in Japan in their early days. In the 70s, Haneda Air Port and Nihon Budokan were only the places to see foreign bands. We have these old pictures of the band standing in the middle of the runway.

In the musical, they sometimes tried to cater Japanese audience. For example they fuatured two Japanese performers Ozaki and hide as legendary dead artists. But it is not necessary. Many foreign rock fans don't listen to, and don't care about Japanese Rock; acutally I have never listened to eitherm and to be honest with you, I really didn't need to have their faces stuck between my faves like John Lennon, Freddie, Jim Morrison etc,.

Anyway it was a good musical. But most of all, I really miss Queen, I wish I could still go to Queen's live shows. But of couse I do not mean this...(T T) ...Did you notice Brian and Roger were in this Pepsi TV ad with Brtiony, Pink, and Beyonce? don't mess up, please.

TV shows I like to see

Loto I agree with this, surfing the web is addictive, more than a cup of coffee. Yes I was serious about bringing my notebook when I go camping :-P (Here is the place we had planeded to go. But the camping trip was cancelled due to rain.) Every morning I check my e-mail and surf the Internet during breakfast, this morning I found this "Train man will become a TV drama". Well just a few days ago, I told you that the film would come debut soon. In the TV drama, Misaki Ito will play Hermes and Atsushi Ito will be the train man. Umm I am full, no more thank you. I've heard enough about the trainman.

Contrary to my web addiction, I hardly every watch TV, maybe one hour a week or less. The last show I watched was the Silk Road-3. This Sunday number 4 comes on, I will check it our of course. Sometimes while doing the step machine at the gym, I'll watch Trivia no Izumi or Debuya. If I do not forget it, I'll check out the world heritage on TBS on Sunday nights. "Bi no kyojintachi" (Giants of art) is an art TV show. They focus on one painting, and then they introduce the painter, their background, and an episode with movies, interviews and a short play. For example March 26th was In the Salon of the Rue des Moulins by Lautrec. They already made one about At the Moulin Rouge. They made two programs about Norman Rockwell's The Problem We All Live With. It was very nice, so nice in fact that I was quite impressed.

Like iron chef or Trivia no izumi, some interesting shows are being sold to foreign countries. Then I found this documentary program about a Canadian girl which comes on twice or so a year or so as a special program on FUJI TV. It is in a list of program being sold by Fuji TV. She is Ashley Hegi, who has the sickness Progelia, it is a genetic disorder, which accelerates the aging process. When her story first aired in Japan in a science documentary program, I heard that FUJI TV was flooded with responses from the public. She was just 11years old at that time, but she seemed to accept her destiny and loved her life very much. Many people were impressed with Ashley's words. Last winter, the latest show was aired, she's now 13 years old. Many Japanese are looking forward to seeing her wonderful heart and smile on TV again.

The trainman from 2channel is now a movie now!

Helcup

An uncool Otaku guy rescues a beautiful woman from a middle -aged drunk on a train. He is the typical otaku type. A systems engineer working at home, He has never had a girlfriend in his 22 year existence. Even though he got a Hermes coffee cup in return for the rescue. He had no idea what should he do next. So he tried gettingt help in 2channel. "Dinning out somewhere, any reccomandations?" After that he was called "train man", she was called "Miss Hermes". 2 channelers gave him adviece on 2 channels.

This is a real story. I menitoned it before in this post last year. It has gotten bigger and bigger and finally the story has been made into a movie. Look at their trailers. Apparently the trainman not only got a beautiful girlfriend, but also a lot of money from publishing books and a movie deal too. Since I cannot find the real trainman's picture, I am not sure if Takayuki Yamada is similar or not, but it seems Miki Nakatani is a good pick to play his girlfriend. Because the trainman said "Miss Hermes" looks like Miki Nakatani. I won't see this movie; this is just a healthy, love story and comedy. For me, 2 channel is fun because of its confusion, chaos, and geek side. But speaking of Otaku, this movie may change people's generally heavy image of Otaku. I don't think it is a bad thing, because the Otaku culture is an interesting aspect of Japanese society, and make a pretty good moeny by manga, animation etc,. They may even get their own civilization. :-).

On the other hand, the hikikomori are a severe social issue and also a family problem. And it's very hard to explain in English. Someone once said "To explain Hikikomori, we need to speak in Japanese!" I understand that statement very well. It is such a vague and complex topic, that it is hard to imagine it as a topic of interest to people in foreign countires. How do they get it?---To be honest with you, this Hikikomori movie could get any reputation. (Please try to read it with a translation program, their comments are fun). This Hikikomori TV is a funny site named Hikikomori. But this is another kind of funny. Not hikikomori.

Get an award on short movie festival in Japan

Con9 I always feel it is hard to find good short movies on the Internet. I've complained about it in this post too. Am I too severe about this? Of course I am not expecting Hollywood quality production for each movie, but thinking about some of the high quality web design and flash work like this, this, this, I cannot be satisfied with most of these movies. Simply they are boring. What do you think?

This site introduces some short films from around the world. Please go to menu and read their ubiquitous stories, and then view the stories. Each movie is very short, and they are not so bad to me.

By the way, TBS(Tokyo Broadcasting System,Inc.) will host DigiCon6. This is the film from last year's winner'. The quality of animation is high, but the story is boring. :-p On this page, you can check out some of other winners. Fun? For me, not at all. The best film winner gets 500,000yen. Not so Bad. Here is another film festival; this Con-can offers $10,000 to the winner. Pretty good. If you like to make short movies, you could have a chance of winning. Please challenge them!

Kaiyodo, they are synonymous with otaku culture

Dagasi

Shokuganare toys that come with junk sweets. For example, ChocoQ is a popular sweet for acquiring Shokugan. But Shokugan have become very hot collector's items, so now adults buy the sweets for the shokugans. Here is a huge Shokugan collection site, you can have a look at the various Shokugan by clicking on the yellow links in the nav panel to the left. They have Japanese animation and hero collections like Gundam, foreign movie and hero collections like Star Wars, history collections like the world heritage, a culture collection like American meals, and even a detailed food collection like this Ekiben (compare it to the real one?). You can get this Takashi Murakami collection with candy at a convenience store, but not at the Louis Vuitton shop. and since Shokugan is going to the so detail and Otaku culture, look at this Kurosawa collection.

The market size for Shokugan is said to be about $8,000,000 annually. Kaiyodo is one of the biggest and hottest producers in that market. Their obsession with creation/design brought them notoriety around the world. From their modest beginnings as a small modeling shop, Kaiyodo has now become synonymous with Otaku culture. In 2004's Venice biennale, the Japan pavilion introduced some Kaiyodo items as Otaku culture. On their web site, you can check out the new items. The Dinosaur Expo is now being held in the National science museum. Sue the T-Rex is visiting Tokyo from the U.S :-), so Kaiyodo made an official figure of her. Kenshiro stands tall at 40cm ; on the other hand this Dim Sum is so tiny. I do not collect Shokugan because I know it would turn into an addiction. I stopped collecting my bottle caps because I knew this kind of thing could go on forever.

Anyway today I read this article about an exhibition of their history at the Art Tower in Mito. (They do not have this in Tokyo!!) You can enjoy a virtual tour on the fifth link. try it!

Monster going to Film in Hollywood

MonsterMonster is going to Film in Hollywood.
Monster is a comic which has sold more than 25 million copies in Japan, and also found a strong following throughout Asia and Europe. Naoki Urasawa created it, if you check for in Google; you may find a lot of links in various languages. That comic was previously adapted into an animated Japanese television series and has spawned 18 volumes as a manga series. I have read them all and watched the TV series too.

The story is not so simple, it is a kind of psychological thriller about an orphan in East Germany.--- A young doctor, Tenma, who saves the life of a little boy named Johan -but the doctor later finds out that he has saved the life of a brilliant killer. Why does Johan have to kill people? What happen in his childhood in orphanage? The doctor must then track down the young killer and solve a larger conspiracy.

I hardly eve read manga/comics, but Naoki Urasawa is one of the manga creators who I like to read sometimes. This site tell alot about him. His most famous manga is probably "Yawara" which is a happy Judo girl story. However I recommend his "Twentieth Century boys", "Master Keaton" (This is the English DVD site) , or "Plute" (Originally created by Osamu Tezuka :Astro boy) for good entertainment. Urasawa's good drawing and interesting plot is nice for adults to enjoy. Actually Monster aired around 1am, because the story is too dark, political, and difficult for children to understand. You can check some scenes on TV series website. Here is a opening music. David Sylvian (a member of "JAPAN" ) sings a ending title, you can chech out a lot of the trailers here , here and more.

If you want to know the entire story, here is a translated version of the story. It was no small task either; there are 162 chapters in this sotry. He made the smae effort to translate the 20th century boys too. Great.
Now the North American Amazon sell comics now, please try before the film.

Kowai; a Japanese horror TV show for pay channel.

Kita Sometimes I wrote about Japanese horror movies in my blog. Actually because of hits like The Ring, and The Grudge, people in other countries are familiar with Japanese horror, and it's gloomy. wet , resentful, wet mood. :-)

There are two types of horror characters in Japan. One of them is called "YUREI". Basically they were human beings before they died, so that they have the shape of human body . They still haunt this world because of a grudge, some annoyance, a regret, or misundersting ( I am still living ). I think the English Ghost are slmost the same concept as the Yurei. Basically Yurei stories are so scary because of their realistic background story, but this Izakaya Yurei is a comedy movie, in which the Yurei appears as a main character. Taira no Masakado may be a Yurei story too.

Another type is  the Yokai. I wrote about Bake neko and Zashiki Warashi before. The Yokai are a kind of creature like those found in Japanese folklore,  Many of those stories tend to be comical.

KOWAI is a name for the yokai who appeared in the old folklore stories "絵本百物語". Natsuhiko Kyogoku rewrote one of these old stories to be featured as horror entertainment "KOWAI", and that novel has been remade into an movie for a pay channel wowow.

UEMON is one of whom it is said "Never dies and always revives" even though he is killed again and again. This time is third his beheading. In Edo, a rumor goes around. The day of Uemon's beheading, people have gathered to see him beheaded. Then....Here is the trailer.

The Silk Road, it's romantic story.

Tenshan The Silk Road is the ancient trade route passing from the shores of the Mediiterranean through Bukhara and Samamrkand to Dunhuang and on to Zian in central China. In the 1980s, NHK had TV program special show  called "the Silkroad", and as a result suddenly the Silk Road became a big boom. Poeple went to the Silk Road tour, this exotic mood song Ihoujin became a big hit. Some TV commercials and films used the  scenes froom the Silk Road.

25 years have passed since then. This year NHK has begun showing the Silk Road 2. Three programs Loulan. Turpan. Yining have already aired. I loved watcing it. Why is the Silk Road si orivicatuve? Of course  the fact that it played sucn an important part in Asis's history and the exotic nature of that time period might lend something to that.  Thinking of nature's severity in the Takla Makan Desert, Tian Shan, it was really amazing that people could travle such a great distance even today much less in the ox and sandal days of 2nd century BC.

But more than that,  the Japanese love to read this old Chinese story "Journey to the west". People are familier with it because of books, and an animation by Osamu Tezuka, and not to mention a very popular TV drama Monky (which aired in the UK and Australia too).  Of course Japan has a lot of influence, which originated from those Silk Road days. In Shosoin, there is an old 5 strings lute (biwa), which is  a national treasure. It is the only 5-stringed Lute in the world.  The lute came from Centeral Asia during the 4th century via the Silk Road. Normaly China and Japan use 4-stringed lutes even now.  So where did that 5-stringed lute come from?  There is a small oasis city Kucha, in Xinjiang Uyghurs Autonomous Region. In Kucha, there is Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves. This Buddha in a cave painting is depicted with a 5-stringed lute. This means that perhaps in the 6th century or so, that 5-stringed lute made it's way to Japan via a lengthy excursion along the Silk Road.  That was 1500 years ago!! Hmm romantic.  The feelings evoked by lute and the Silk Road are so romantic and people have always ben drawn to that, like this.

The pioneer of Origami died

King

Japanese Origami artist Akira Yoshizawa died this week; his death was listed in the obituary section of the newspaper and on the web in the normal fashion. But I found this big page write up on the Times website in the UK. Since it is a Japanese death, it was a big article relatively speaking; I suppose it could indicate the popularity of Origami in foreign countries. Some sites said Origami originated in Japan, actually the word Origami is Japanese, but some said it came from China to Japan. And as for paper folding, other nations have their own histories regarding this craft too.

As a pioneer of origami, Akira Yoshizawa's method and technique became a topic of conversation. Here are his origami arts, rabbit, sparrow, mouse, Japanese monkey, Children in snow. All of them are so simple, but I feel they are showing one of the essential qualities of Origami, I can imagine this scene of a mom with a quiet smile folding a bit of paper for her child, The child's eyes grow wide with wonder as he watches his mother' s hand create something. Yoshizawa's origami seems to have this warmness, a kind heart, and a sensitive delicacy. Here is a message from him earilier this year.

Anyway contemporary Origami has evolved in to a new field of Fine Arts, and I think some of the foreign artists create great origami. I love seeing this work by Robert J. Lung, his origami captures not only the shape, but each animal's defining features and life styles. Joseph Wu's work is comical and funny, over all a very happy style. This is contemporary Japanese artist Kitajo's site. His origami has a literary charm. And their Origami is a new type which breaks some of the traditional rules of Origami. If you want to see more Origami, this link is really great. If you want to create your own Origami, this Japanese site has animations and pictures showing how to create it. Ah this post's King Ghidorah is my friend's creation. He shows how to make it on his HP. Please check it out!

Kenzo Tange and Tadao Ando, Japanese Architecture

TangeYesterday Kenzo Tange died. He was perhapds one of the most famous Japanese architects. Here is his site. Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for Atomic Bomb Deceased, National Gymnasiums for Tokyo Olympics, King Faisal Foundation Headquarters Complex are some of his more famous works. This is the list of his work in Tokyo.

I am unfamiliar with archtestural concepts, but I love to see nice, wellthought out buildings. And I really feel architects are sooooo cool. For me they seem to have a cool brain, big imagination and the toughness to challenge a certain irreeparable plan. Last year I was really impressed to find future system's design for Selfridges in Birmingham featured in some magazines. In Japan, I found works by Atrier Rats often.  When I want to see good architects in the world, I check this site. If you have interest, here is their Japanese page.

Anyway after Tange, maybe Tadao Ando is the biggest name in Japanese archtecture in Japan. Actually the Pritzker Architecture Prize is called "the nobel prize of Architecture". As Japanese, only Tange and Ando got it. I said I love to read design magazine Casa Brutus in my magazine house article, and today I found, they've made a few English pages, Wow lucky!! I looked for a good short story about Ando. They have it!!  Here is a special page about Ando on the Brutus website. Please check it out. Nice to read.

Miahi! Miaha! Miaho!

Maiahi Do you know O-zone? Their song Dragostea Din Tei made a big hit in Europe in last year. I found a UK fan site,  but she's closed it already. O-zone comes from "Moldova"(in French) , and they sing in Romanian. The title "Dragostea Din Tei" means "Love under the lime tree".( Here are the original lyrics.) I have never heard of Mordavia, and I don't know anything about Romania. Actually there is only one site open about Romanian language in Japan. And many Japanese would probably be in the same boat as me.

While their song was hit in Europe, we hardly heard about it as a music topic here, but some 2channelers made this a source of many flash jokes. The simple music and lyric "mai a hi, mai a ha" could be good for Soramimi plays. (soramimi2). There were so many flashes before, but I think this is good. Like as you can see, we can hear what he sings. Well our own version maybe. This is an English Soramimi version, not as funny though.  For video, this guy  is ITTERU!! (gone somewhere we don't know. we say like this. -ITTERU-)  And someone made a Mai a hi tool. This "mai a hi" craze became a topic in other country's blogs like this and this.

Anyway in Japan because of this craze "Mai a hi"...No no no...Dragostea Din Tei made big hit underground in 2 channel. However finally it was released this month by big label Avex Japan. But this CD's official page uses a joke flash as advertisement and the site's URL is maiahi.com. Now in Shibuya, we can see a lot of the maiahi campaign with 2channel cat mona.

Howl's Moving Castle will be released in June

Castle Howl's Moving Castle(my last post) will be released on June 10th in LA, NY, SF. And a week after that, it will come to over 60 cities in the U.S. Who will be voice cast for each character? I heard that not all of the cast has been picked yet. We know Christian Bale is the voice of Howl. Jean Simons will take a turn actiong as 90 year old Sophie. Lauren Bacall is the Witch of Waste. Wow gorgeous! However Batman Begins will come out on June 18th, this seems a kind of "tie-up". Here are some photos of  the Tokyo animation festival; there was a small castle model and Satsuki and May's house. Oh Innocence! You made me sleep well !!

Anyway this is very bad news, however when I hear the word "pirates", I am always reminded of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie and Tokyo Disneyland. And it is a wry kind of irony because ship's name is "IDATEN", "run like lightning".  Apparently the lightning was faster this time.

Satsuki and May's house from Totoro

HouseI said the primitive forest of Yakushima is the setting of Princess Mononoke. And this Ryokan in Ehime prefecture is said to be a model of the Public bath in Sprited away.

Did you see My Neighbor Totoro? This year, we have the Aichi expo 2005. I heard one of exhibitions will be Satsuki and May's house that has been recreated in a suberb. And they ' ve said their admissions tickets are already sold out already! You planned on coming to see this house?. Hmm look at this, they did good job. But sorry they said this is sold out. Personally I really have no idea, why Miyazaki's movie is so popular. but I've heard Studio Ghiblli museum is very popular for foreigners too. So Maybe Aichi Expo will resell more tickets for the sisters' house. So I will give an update for Miyazaki fans.

The movie, Wives of Yakuza

GokuYou know the word Yakuza. It is a kind of Japanese mafia, but to be honest with you, I don't know much about the Yakuza. Here is an interesting page about them. Hmm big tatoo. ( Tattoos always remind me of a big laugh tattoo story. :-p ) And since I am toooooooo weak for bloody movies, I cannot wathc any Yakuza movie. (I might die if I watched Kill Bill.)

The Yakuza movies were very popular in Japan before. A popular one was Battles Without Honor and Humanity (Jingi naki Tatakai). This movie was only one of a long runing series. Ken Watanabe appeared in one in 2003, but it was only released on only video. As Yakuza movies fo, the Wives of Yakuza ( Gokudo no Tsuma tachi ) series seems to be more popular more than others. Gokudo is a sort of self-aggrandizing diminutive of Yakuza. It has a meaning that delves into the real man's way. The popular comedy Drama Gokusen stand for Gokudo Sensei, it mean's Yakuza teacher (because her family is Yakuza). At the end of March, the newest version of the movie Wives of Yakuza will come out. Reiko Takashima is the 4th Main character of this movie. I think she is beautiful. What do you think? The first was Shima Iwashita. She had really a punch. Anyway here are their movie figure. Yakuza's wives in Kimono action figures. ha ha ha a little bit funny.

An iron artist.

Kaji1 Blogging is really great. I can find so many interesting, wonderful, and beautiful sites, so it is getting harder and harder for me to be apart from my PC. So many people, so much information, so many sites inspire me, that it is truly a pleasure and it expands my world. When I find nice sites, usually I want to share it them with people around me. But sometimes I find a site that I want to keep as just my treasure.

This is one such site. He is an artist who claims to be a blacksmith. But not only iron objects, also he makes many things by himself. Although I said I want to keep it as my treasure, this Macintosh was introduced on a foreign design site as a typewriter-faced laptop. And today the site was introduced in Yahoo Japan's weekly recommendations. So the site is not my secret treasure anymore.

Now his main project is a Robot called Scopedog that appears in the Japanese animation Sokosentai Bottoms (check out their streaming video). I wonder if this robot is famous among robot fans, because another model maker produced a smaller one. Hmm Scopedog has a kind of charm that inspires robot lovers?. For example, not too intelligent?, A little bit old fashioned looking? I suppose so. Anyway his Scopedog is 4m in hight and made only of heavy iron. However I can feel a warm nostalgic feeling from that iron robot. Actually all his works have this smae comfortable, well-warm feeling. Look at this cello, bicycle and guitar, etc,. I like his clay art Humpty Dumpty, and doll art too. He made such a funny hand brace for his injured dog. Please check his other arts page here. You may sense and enjoy his world.

Hard to guess the original title

Orange

Today was a bit  busy day. I needed to choose Movie Soundtracks for our music download content on the mobile site. I chose 100 soundtracks from 700 titles. I tried to kill my taste, but I could not choose just one from the Godfather. So I picked Love theme, plus this waltz and The immigrant!  Anyway I just read this article,  I suppose it will be more and more difficult for me to introduce feature sound in my blog.   
By the way my favorite movie title is "A Clockwork Orange". What a cool name it is! And the Soundtrack also has a great fell to it. Fortunately the Japanese title has a direct translation, "Tokei Jikake no Orange"  Apocalypse Now  is not changed much either, But I think most Japanese would not recognize the movie  by its original title, because "Apocalypse" is a very difficult word for us. I majored in English literature when I was in college, but I did not know the word until I checked this movie title recently.  I can tell you that word does not appear in the English word textbook for our entrance exams. It would depend on which subject you major in , but to enter the English course, I needed to remember over 3000 thousand English words. Hmm but still I cannot write English correctly and I cannot speak well, that is the big problem with English education in Japan.
Anyway  I really enjoy to reading the original English movie titles.  So I wrote before about the Original title and Japanese title of movies, please check it out when you have time.

Animation fan's costume play

Mari Last weekend I updated my Tokyo Travel article,  this time I wrote about Sumo Town Ryogoku, Please check it out!! 

Anyway  I had a little party last night with my friends, we played the card game "grass" which one of my co-workers bought in the U.S. we also cooked and ate Takoyaki. It was enjoyable and we all drank a lot ( thee bolltes of win, three bottles of sake, some beer and maybe more) . I always enjoy having parties, It is one of life's simple pleasures.  By the way I got back home late, and today I am very very sleepy .  Even now I feel I am still deaming still now. My brain is not working well :-p.

So let me make this an easy post toady. When I wrote the Sazae-san post two days ago. I found that Sazae-san on a costume-play events site. I said most people don't seem to enjoy wearing costumes in this super stupid robbery post. However when I saw this animation costume event, I was surprised to see their passion for costume play and I enjoyed seeing them very much. Let me introduce some that I like. Okay this is the pretty girls collection!! Nausica , Harry Potter, and she is cool as Motoko Kusanagi from Kokaku Kidotai(Ghost in the shell). Then I laughed to see this Desler of Star blazers. Final FantasyVII (original)...Great CG, take a look at their trailer. Piccolo of Dragon ball (original). And I have just found out there is the world costume play summit! A first one in 2005 was already held in Germany.

That is the photo I took last night, I love that KEDAMONO mask from my favorite DVD POPEE the performer. Yes!  it was my little costume play?

Sazae-san is a economic index for Japanese

Sazae

Sometimes I wrote about Sazae-san; Sazae-san syndrome, Sazae-san ipod. It is really really just a happy family animation, no big accidents, no adventures, there 's not even an evil villain in that animation. However it has always remained very high in viewer ratings always. Look this is last week's viewer ratings for TV shows. No1 is the World Cup Qualifying,vs North Korea.(Of course we won). No2 is a News show, No3 is the TV drama"GOKUSEN"  in which Yukue Nakama appeares, No4 is Taiga drama,  2005 is Yoshitsune. Then No5 is Sazae-san. Not only the animation, we had some real dramas before. Hmm to be honest with you, I do not think it is funny, interesting, or enjoyable. I feel many Japanese automatically turn the TV channel to Sazaesan at 6:30pm on Sunday. Or maybe we have "Sazae san DNA". I am serious! Sazae-san may have something that makes us feel comfortable or relaxed. It might be close to folklore or other such traditonal stuff. At 6:30pm on Sunday, we return to the spiritual home with Sazae-san. and it does not seem so strange.

Anyway Daiwa research has an interesting report, The viewing rating of Sazae-san is related to the Tokyo market (Tokyo Stock Price Index). Their research says after Jan 2003, they compared the TOPIX and Sazae-san viewer ratings. When the viewing rate was high, the Stock prices were down, when the viewing rate was low, the stock price were up.  At least that was the correlation their findings suggested . Of course we know that TOPIX comes under the influence of the NY stock market. But the correlation between the viewing rate of Sazae-san and TOPIX is much closer to home than the Dow in NY.Ha ha ha so funny. Of course we can suppose it is , that many people watching Sazae-san means mass population in Japan ; so it naturally follows that  their activities would be of concern in regards to consumer intention, corporate performance and stock prices on the Tokyo market.

And that same study says the number of the dog-related news and topics in the media (TV, papers, magazine etc) is related to TOPIX too. The coefficient of correlation in their research is 0.96. Since 1 is perfect, TOPIX seems to correlate very closely with dogs. Okay how can I analyze this ? Hmm perhaps it means that spending increases when people have the money to spare for their dogs.? Diet Dog food, dog trimming grooming, dog clothes and bowlingual?

Anyway when I did a search for Sazae san on Google images , I found some funny files. I love this, this, this, this, this. ha ha ha.

Kamon, The beautiful world of Japanese crests.

KiriThe Kamon are Japanese crests. Kamon specifically denotes a family crest whereas mon refers to any crest. For example, The chrysanthemum (KIKU) is the coat of arms for the Japanese Emperor,(this is different from the one is the Japanese passport, although this is a common misconception among many Japanese) . The Mistuba aoi is the Tokugawa family's kamon. Here is a good explanation about kamon.  Basically samurai used these crests as family identification as well as on their battle armors. But after Japan's most stable and peaceful period EDO, merchants and artisans began to put crests on items for business too. So there are around 300-400 basic designs and at least 7000-8000 crests. Since most Japanese hardly ever wear a Kimono in our daily life, it is very hard to know and learn about kamon. Actually many Japanese do not know their family creast now. However their desiigns are nice and beautiful, I think. And I heard because of a Japanese design trend, Kamon T-shirt have been selling well. Ah I found a funny i-pod too. This came from a famous historical drama;MITOKOMON.(tokugawa family member). Many western crests have the motif of a fierce animal to symbolize the power of the family. Many Japanese crests were designed based on nature and tools of life. When they used animal designs, they were pigeion, sparrowss, rabbits, or crabs or other such small animals.

Okay let me introduce some good Japanese crests. This site has free dictionary of Kamon data, you may check their huge sample. please click left side letter link.  I picked some.
Nature --- moon, star, wave, snow.
Plants ---cherry, plum, pine, bamboo, rice.
Animal ---chidori, butterfly, crane, rabbit.
tool & design ---wheel, fan, Japanese fan, bell, hat,

I suppose you know Kikkoman which is a famous soya sauce maker, their logo is a crest called Kikko. Kikko is the motif of a tortoiseshell. I want to introduce more, but it is impossible, there are so many crests! I think you may find your favorite design there. Please try it!  By the way my family crest is this Yokomokko, I am not sure, maybe so.

In such a day, show biz gossip.

Papa If you have an interest in more entertainment news, this Mainichi wai wai news seems to be a big site in English. I said in Japan "loser women" was a hot topic last year. And Kaoru Sugita was OUR representative, but recentry she hast married . Kaoru Sugita is an actress who started her career when she was a kid. In the last several years she has made weird and bold comments on several TV shows. I like her in this snack TV commercial. She watchs her own old TV show. That is all, but it 's funny.  Anyway other losers were encouraged by her marriage while others felt as if she had betraysed them and left the loser club? ha ha ha. And I complained about the cast of Memories of Geisha. In wai wai site, we can read a real Geisha made comments for the movie.

If would you like more silly gossip? Shichinosuke Nakamura is a Kabuki actor who appeared in The Last Samurai, he drank punched a taxi driver and then later apologized.
A guitarist of L'Arc-en-Ciel "KEN"(far left ) seems to be living with Rena Tanaka. Rena Tanaka got her debut in this Suntory Nacchan TV commercial and I like her Daiichi Life Insurance TV commercial. "The Daiichi de knight" series, which is a parody of TV animation Princess Knight by Osamu Tezuka who created Astroboy and Kimba the White Lion.  They have a 12 years age difference, and I often hear such a big age difference in couples around me. I am not sure if this a trend or if physical age doesn't mattere as much anymore. Regarding L'Arc-en-Ciel, I think they refused to appear on NHK for a while ( even now? ) because the host of music TV show called them a visual band. Actually they were categorized as a visual band in their early days. Why should they be angry now?

Marina Watanabe and Jun Nagura(center) of the comedian group Neptune have been dating. Maria got her start with Onyanko Club, which was an amature girls group (nonsense). And Neptune's Nagura appears in some famous comedy shows like A laughing dog's passion.

Hmm so?  yes that is true. But I could not find a good topic to write about.  But the Kyoto Protocol on global warming finally taking effect today.   Ah , somehowI should have picked this.... sorry :-p

Japanese horror movies

Pre2 I cannot live without my cell phone :-p. It is my job tool, internet tool, communication tool, scheduler, camera, movie recorder, music player, etc,. It is important as my PC. One of the benefits of my cellphone is of course that it is availlable for me to use anytime, anywhere. But it can interfere with me. After mid night while I am sleeping, a sudden phone call will wake me up. I check to see who call me, and then there is a number on the pale screen, which I have never seen before. (it is just an "one giri" =spam always).   

Chakushin ari was a Japanese horror movie released two years ago, it showed such fear  from a "a death message" very well. Check out the trailer. I heard this movie will be a remake in Hollywood like the others before. Actually The Grudge and the Ring succeeded far more than people expected. In Japan, we have the Chakushin ari 2 now. Here is the trailer. I never want to use it, but this sounds (the ring tone when the death message arrives) is popular in the ring tone service download.

Then this week, I heard Kiki's delivery servise will be remade in Hollywood too. This title is famous as a Ghibli's movie. But the original is a series of book written by Eiko Kadono. Who will play Kiki?

A Japanese bag maker and cool design work by GAS

Gasbook Generally speaking, the Japanese love brand name so it's been said. Louis Vuitton opened its biggest store in the world in Tokyo. And it was they said made a 125 million yen in profit on the first day of business. Where is the reccesion? Crazy. Actually many Japanese ladies have French or Italian brand bags as if it is part of their uniform.

But for the young men's casual bag market, one Japanese bag maker is very popular here. It is Yoshida Kaban. Yoshida Kaban is an old maker of quality handbags , which wa established by Mr. Yoshida in 1931. Kaban means just "a bag" in Japanese. Their main brand is Porter, which has good design and superb functionality. Then Yoshida Kaban seems to have started their new brand "YOSHIDA" for the worldwide market.  This ipod cases are some of the new products resulting from collaboration between Yoshida Kaban and GAS. They were previously sold in through colette in Paris only they say, but they will start to sell in Japan soon. The case design is by Yoshida and the cover designs are art works of various designers aroun the world, which are selected by GAS .

I like this collaboration!  GAS is one of my favorite design work sites to see in fact I like them about the same as I like shift. Unfortunately I could not go, but my friend said, this SOUND x VISION2 event was interesting. Their pressing issue is always so very cool. And sometimes I use this GAS BOOK part as my screen image of my cell. Please check it out!

Who is Fujiko Mine?

Lupin

I read this in PEN too. In Italy, when young guys are asked, "who is your type?", some reply a Japanese woman' s name "Fujiko Mine".  Who is Fujiko Mine? She is an animation character who apprear in Lupin the 3rd by Monkey Punch. That PEN introduces an Italian boy who wears Lupin's T-shorts who said "I do not wear a Spiderman T-shirt, but Lupin's T is cool". Lupin the 3rd seems to have established a sort of position as a foreign character in Italy. This is a good English Lupin web ; I will introduce Lupin the 3rd as short as possible ( it is very hard !).

Lupin the 3rd originated as managa : (pic). Then in the 1970s animation started on TV and got to be very popular in Japan. There are 3 TV series, some TV specials and movies.  Regarding the TV series. The second series is the longest one and world-wide recognized. Actually in North America the scond series  is currently showing on cartoon TV. However I love the first series : (pic) and many Lupin lovers will agree with me. If you like Japanese animation, you will notice the graphics  were designed by Hayao Miyazaki. Actually he's directed the entire story since 7th episode.. Personally I am not Miyazaki fan, but I like the graphic of the first Lupin very much. Look at the first Fujiko, the second Fujiko, and the 3rd Fujiko.  At any rate the first is the most beautiful one to me and a little bit erotic too. The first series was aired before the Lupin became so famous, not only the graphics, but also all of other stories and settings were not childish,  and evev adults could enjoy them enough.

The story is simple, Lupin, his buddies Daisuke Jigen and Goemon Ishikawa steal various things around the world. Fujiko is Lupin's GF : (pic) and sometimes cheats on him. Zenigata is his fervent soul ribal who is the police captain for Tokyo's metropolitan police. Lupin is good because he is charmed, super positive, cheerful, cool. Moreover the first Lupin could describe his romantic part, pride. (Lupin was captured once : (pic) in the first series. but he did not escape on the day of "death penalty" on purpose because of his pride. I like this episode! I found a figure!) If you do not see any Lupin The Castle of Cagliostro is good as a first Lupin. It is directed by Hayao Miyazaki. (Actually Claris is just his type) and easy to find English version in the North America. Ah I heard Hollywood will remake this animation too. Who play Lupin? Hmm No need of a real Lupin the 3rd for me.

Simple designs give us a strong message.

Pen

Here is a magazine I like to read called "PEN", it's a sort of life style, design,  art magazine. This month their special is about Advertising. They introduce great now and old creators's wonderful works.

For example, from Old America, they show Lou Dorfsman who was vice president and art director for the CBS network  ( I could hardly find good web pages about him in the U.S.) and George Lois is famous for  his esquire magazine covers. Seymore Chwast who makes very playful happy design. I enjoyed seeings some of the beautiful "stoic" work by Wim Crouwel as big name of anti-advertising,

Anyway the cover for this month is artwork by Yuji Tokuda. This is one from his [ retired weapon ] project.  He is an art directore for Japan's biggest advertising agency Dentsu. I like this summer bargain poster of Laforet , this postcard design, and this work for Kessels kramer ( this "do project" web page is fun!)  Anyway the simple designs give us strong a message.

Horrible cookings!! funny TV Show

CookingMy mobile ring tone is this. Guess what!? This is the ending theme music of The Galloping Gourmet with Graham Kerr. (This music was originally Smothers bros Show's theme, I checked the details for the entire ring tone service at my job.) I loved to see that old TV show on Sunday mornings when I was a little kid. As a Japanese cooking show, the Iron chef seems to be world famous. Then I wrote once before about "Docchi no Ryori show". Every meals on the show looks wonderful and I must be hungry.  Food is a sort of culture, which we can be proud of, especially Japanese food is delicious and healthy too :-).  Bye the way, of course not all Japanese are good cooks, actually many young people do not know how to cook even a very basic meal, or in worse cases they cannot tell which material they should use for the meals.

We have two popular BAD cook TV shows, one of them is "Ai no epron"= Love apron (Wed 7PM). On TV Asahi . TV talents cook some popular meals without a recipe. Then guests eat for their life and evaluate the her cooking skill, a few talents can cook well, but many of them seemts to be sort of garbage makers. Look this page,  all five have cooked the same meal, and what is that black thing in the center?  Any way 2nd from  the left is Tamao Sato, she makes such a pose, so that she has to have this sort of bushing look.

Another TV program is "Yatte Try" =Please try (JP) part of "Uwasano Tokyo Magazine"(JP) (click try link).  On this show an armatur girls cook some popular meals by the order. Of course the show will always pick the most awful one, but I must tell you their cookings are beyond our imagination.

A great Skiing TV commercial AD.

Penguin Do you ski? I do not. Basically I love sports, though, it is a little troublesome for me to carry all that big stuff and change clothes...Okay call me lazy, I know I know I am miss the fun of my life right ?!
Anyway in winter time we watch many TV commercials about ski resorts and winter trips. Even though I don't enjoy skiing, when I looked at this TV commercials of JR East, I was surprised because I thought it was real bird first. But of course it was someone wearing animal suits. To make those bird legs, he would had to wear the suit backwards in a semi-crouching position and they wre ski backwards. That is great, isn't it!!  I like it.  And I like their character (yeesh!  we make character anytime anywhere!) Suica. Such a pretty penguin ( I will use his screensaver!).

Since I don't do any winter sport, for me winter leisure is ONSEN! I really want to take bath in the snow like this place. I am thinking of going to this type of place actually. Then drink a nihonshu in the bath and after that, enjoy a big meal (click the arrow mark,  and you can see their beef special dinner). Haaaa it will be Heaven!

P.S. I have updated my magazine part Tokyo special, I introduced a funny accident on 2 channel on Sunday, midnight, at the center of Tokyo.

A very informative English J-POP site

Spitz

I like Brit Rock, I do not listen Japanese POP. My American friend sang a Japanese band "Do As Infinity"'s song in Karaoke, then it was first time for me to listen their song,ha ha. I may say Japanese animation, games, movies are well known to people in the other countries. However in regards to POP music, it seems completely domestic culture. Sometimes I got a mails with "I like Shonen Knife, you like it?". But I think many Japanese do not listen to or even know about Shonen knife, I don't know why they are in foreign market mainly.

So when I came across this site "get the inside scoopw with j-poop" today, it was a little bit of a surprised for me. They introduce J-POP in English; sometimes you can listen to a full-length version with informative comments and article. Maybe there are people who have an interest in J-POP in the world, wow! Ah since this is arrangement from an old animation theme song, I can sing this Cutie Honey!!.

Thank you I learned about J-POP a lot today. Anyway I found this Spitz's new CD. I love this Jacket in big size! Yes like I wrote before in post of Asian Kung-Fu Generation, I like to see good design Jacket. One of recent trend of CD Jacket design  is Asian taste appearently. By the way finding good Jacket Design, that is my determing quality J-POP basially.

An animation character join to the Tokyo Giants?

Giants

For me this is very surprising! The Tokyo Giants are a professional baseball team based in Tokyo and it is said they have a to win always (like the New York Yankees?). They value the idea that they should be gentlemen (attitude and fashion too), and they respect their history, tradition. Hmm shortly they are a very conservative team. Even so The Tokyo Giants will add an animation character to their team history.  Kyojin no hoshi ( A Star of Tokyo Giants ) is an 60's old animation about the Tokyo Giants. Although the main character "Hyuma Hoshi"(quick-time) was created for animation/manga, the other teammates in the story were all real-life Tokyo Giants players.

As boy Hyuma Hoshi has a dream to be a star baseball player for the Tokyo Giants, the story is all about his mental and physical growth, the bonds between him and his father, he develops himself through competition with rivals, then finally join to the Giants and plays in though professional world. I can tell you that baseball is one of most popular sports because of this animation, many Professional baseball players would say they were influenced by Kyojin no Hoshi so much. (This is the one of reasons a big name player wants to join Tokyo Giants once in this career too.)

This old animation Kyojin no hoshi seems very  Fastian to us now, actually the father was so strict and sometimes even violtent. When he got angry, he upset the table so often even while they were eating something. Yes His father was always upsethis old sister was always cryingHyuma would have a fire in his eyes and saying "I am burning now", those are all typical our image for Kyojin no hoshi. So that this sort of a funny figure we can have. Ah I want this, so funny for us.

By the way such conservative traditional big team Tokyo Giants say (JP) they will add Hyuma Hoshi to their team history. They say they will treat the record and all results of Hyuma Hoshi as an official records of Tokyo Giants. I think we cannot talk about  the Tokyo Giants without Kyojin o Hoshi. however this is surprising news to me even now.

Akira Kaneda Special bike

Akira

IT media LifeStyle choose their own most interesting article in 2004. Their best is this, KANEDA's bike in Tokyo Motor Show. How cool! The bike is a replica of the one which Kaneda rides through Neo Tokyo 2019 in the movie Akira(Cool English fan site).This is the official bikes which is the director Katsuhiro Otomo approved, however unofficial Kaneda special bike are sold in a sort of order-made online shop already.

Anyway here is another such site Tanomi com.  On this site people request something they want, if many people assent to this request or the maker has an intereting to the orders, they will produce it. I checked some requests, and found some interesting favors.
This is a simple order in food section "I want  Gomen-ne again!". Ha! Gomen-ne was a fruit juice named I am sorry(=Gomen-ne, yes strange) and which halt in production some years ago. She wants Suntry to begin producting Gomen-ne again, and now 24 people agree to this request.  In PC section, 172 people said they want simple USB AM/FM radio, then last month it was finally released.  In health section, a girl needs sanitary napkins in a one-week pack. For day time, night time, heavy day, light day, those 4 types of napkins are packed for one week. I think this is a good idea!   

Neighbor 13

Neighborhood_1

Experts have advised Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi that Japan should promote "Gross National Cool". But on the other hand we seem to have a serious crisis on an educational level. Umm this does not sound good of course.  But we can not judge this by average data.  Personally I feel people tend to divide into two groups clearer than before,  the creative side and the consuming side,  the messege sender and receiving end.  And I feel this will bring another change. We have always been told "all-Japanese-are-middle-class mentality " always.  But now our society might be getting changed somehow. 

Anyway I feel Japanese culture is getting more interesting. Actually for last a few years, things I committed to most were almost  entirely Japanese stuff. Like Kokaku Kidotai(Ghost in the Shell) Stand Alone Complex, Poppie the perfomer, Kubirick etc,. On the other hand, before this I was afraid to lose all traditional culture in the future. But I feel young people reassess our traditional culture too. Simply I can see it in Japanese style boom in food( wa-cafe boom) , fashion (wa T-shirt design), music (wa music players) , Manga.  Those are really good trends i think.   Some young actors of Kabuki, Noh, Kyogen ( traditional arts) play in other fields on culture and they are very cool. That would give us positive image for our traditional culture too. Mansai Nomura played Seimei Abe in comic-based movie OnmyojiEbizo Ichikawa played Musashi in the Taiga Drama and he appears in TV commercial often too.

Shido Nakamura is one of  the young Kabuki actor,  he acts in various contemporarly plays in theater and in movies too.  This time he is playing in the comic_based movie Neighbor 13 by Santa Inoue. The original comis is a psycho story like a Jekyll and Hyde. Santa Inoue loves American Hip Hop culture very much. So his Tokyo tribe is a mixture of Japanese, American and European storytelling devices. By the way if you get the ticket to Neighbor 13, you can get Kubrick of 13!!. I do not need to see the movie at theater, but i want kubrick!  :-)

Traditional, contemporary, mixture one, and then Otaku culture?  I just hope all of Japan culture can be more powerful and cool.   Really hope so.

Location in Japan

Location

I don't know who decided it, but we have NIHON 100 kei(JP) (=100 great beautiful sights to see). Then most of them are designated as national parks. But there are more unknown great places, this magazine Location of Japan(JP) introduces those places. Great nature(JP), season special(JP), area special(JP). An especially interesting part of this magazine is that they have an English edition, then they introduce good shooting locations for TV, movies, etc,. Actually a Korean movie company changed the shooting place from China to Japan because of their information they say.

Regarding locations, I do not have an interesting one though; some people seem to have interesting locations in exactly the place we can see in the movies, TV dramas, and TV commercials. This is the one such site, and he said this place place is on this Cold medicione TV commercial in which Miki Mizuno appears. This is the energy conservation promotion by our government, in which Yukie Nakama appears. It was shot at this place in Shinjuku.

KIMI WA PET. It was a comic-book love story originally. A very successful career woman have to live with a younger very poor dancer in her home, so she sets the condition that he is just a PET for her...Of course in the end, they fall for each other. I did not watch it, but in the drama, Koyuki (The Last Samurai) and Jun Matsumoto played the woman and her PET. Koyuki was working in my job office ah you can see it a little bit:-). The day before the drama shooting we needed to clean up our desk.

Large scale histrical Cledds Drama

Shinsen

In Sunday night at 8pm. NHK (National channel, no commercial) will broadcasts its large scale historical Cledds Drama, it is called "Taiga Drama", it means "great river" as in the river of time. NHK's "taiga drama" is a cultural institution, a yearlong serial about an important figure in Japanese history. They have made them since 1963, so around 40 titles they have aired already. Since Japanese like Nobunaga Oda ( a sort of charismatic Shogun), and Hideyoshi Toyotomi ( he got to be Shogun from a poor farmer, big success story ). I suppose their stories were bound to be made into dramas sometimes. The good actors tend to play the main characters in Taiga, for example, Koji Yakusho of "Shall we dance" played Nobunaga Oda, Ken Watanabe played "Masamune Date" in 独眼竜正宗.(one eye Dragon, Masamune)

This year's Taiga is Shinsengumi. Shingo Katori of SMAP plays the leader of Shinsengumi-Isami Kondo. But since Taiga is a sort of a national drama for all Japanese, there was criticism "Why SMAP"? But I do not think this is a case of miscasting, actually both have a big mouth. (Isami Kondo is said to have been able to swallow his fist) Vice Leader of Shinsengumi Toshizo Hijikata was a handsome guy, so many women still visit his grave still now. Kouji Yamamoto acts as him. Hmm this is nice casting too.

Basically I cannot introduce Shingo Katori's photo, because of this reason, But I have found the site which show ALL the cast members. I 'll be able to introduce the SITE here. Thank you.

A icon of Japanese self-deprecating humor

VermilAfter ww2, in 50s, 60s Japan longed for the western world, especially the U.S. Actually I suppose the TV show "Bewitched"; had influenced the Japanese' image of Life in the U.S. So mannequins in the department stores had this type body and face.. Of course they sold Japanese size clothes to Japanese. Maybe until the middle 70s we could see those types of mannequins in the store. Now it is very hard to find them. Then I think those mannequins got to be a sort of icon/symbol of our self-deprecating humor. You know we laugh at ourselves "Japan longed for the western world very much". "This is our image for the Stereotype of western people"... such feelings.

A visual artist Yoshimasa Ishibashi used them for his visual work; an all mannequins film "Oh Mikey". It was aired after midnight, and got to be popular because of its cynical humor. Hmm I have to tell you that TV show has our self-deprecating humor + irony for the U.S. society. Ishibashi's work always has such poison, if you have an interest, I recommend checking out his Vermillion preasure night.

Anyway Sony Playstation2 will release a game "TOKYO SURPRISE". Their site has no details yet, but as far as I could tell from the info, it will be a roll playing game of people in Tokyo, some are Japanese, a few are foreigners. A setting of each person is an exaggeration of our image for the stereotype. For example, Edgar comes from the UK; he was born on Baker St. He loves Sherlock Holmes very much; He痴 often late to his job, every time he makes an excuse why his alarm has suddenly disappeared. Jean Jack comes from France, he loves Japanese Samurai movies, he has a legend about seeing 28 samurai movies without eating, or sleeping. Regarding the Japanese characters, there is IT girl who adheres to her custom PC. A MTB boy goes everywhere by his MTB, but he has no sense for directions. Oh do you remember we have the "er" rule for addicted people? In that way, there are cafers, martial artsers, Japananimatioers etc etc. Are they unique? Or are they just stereotypes after all, which can we categorize? Those old mannequins (they made a surprise version though) are used effectively as a sort of irony.

In commemoration of the release of this TOKYO SURPRISE, those surprise face mannequins appeares in some shopping buildings in the center of Tokyo. They say they will appear in Ropponigi Hills and Marunouchi Building etc,. If you were in Tokyo, you could meet him (weird....) somewhere.

KUBRICK is a cubic toy.

Kub_1 Today on business I went to medicomtoy co.ltd,. which is the one of famous figure makers in Japan.

I may say Kaiyodo is big because of thier ingenuity with the details. They are craftsmen. Their work looks like a living encyclopedia, this is a one thier product  a turtle, yes good a job. But it costs 17,670yen (US$170)?!.

On the other hand medicomtoy is cool because of thier deformation and maniac obsessiveness. So I may say they are designers? They are famous for KUBRICK and BEARBRICK. Some Fans try to get all the items to make "complete", but a guy who I met today said, it would be impossible because they make so many limited versions (only a few in the world!).   
I was laughing to see this Kane of Alien2. How about this Edward Scissor Hands? 

Okay look at their product for the same character. This is Ultraman of Kaiyodo. This is Ultraman of medicomtoy. Although medicom  is famous for this KUBRICK types, they make real type too. I can see their cool sense in thier choice of motif.  I almost shouted to find this figure on ther site!!  Do you know him? I read this "The Little House" again and again when I was a little girl.  You know I feel as if I am sharing something with them, such a feeling would be important to get customers loyalty. This is the one of reason I offereda collabration with them on our web site.

Basically KUBRICK cost 2000yen or so, but since medicom doesn't produce many of each item, the price rises very easily. I checked ebay US. I wonder if I should open online shopping place for Kubrick :-p.  shiiii

StarBlazers & Yamato, Galaxy Express999

Yamato Tom Hanks's new movie Polar express looks nice to see now.  It reminds me of the old Japanese animation Galaxy Express 999 (= Ginga Tetsudo 999). Reiji Matumoto created this old animation. And this animation received much influence from "Night On The Milky Way Train" by Kenji Miyazawa. I wrote about him before.  I like him very much.

Anyway, the most famous Reiji Matsumoto animation is Star Blazer (=Uchu senkan Yamato). This animation made a big boom in the 70s in Japan, many people cired at the scene where Yuki dies. ( not sure what is her name is in foreign coutnries). I think the theme song of Yamato is one of best 3 animation theme which Japanese like very much.  I was a little bit surprised to know the U.S used the same sound.

Here it is Japanese version. Uchu senkan Yamato
And here is English version StarBlazer
Anyway at my job, we serve ring tone in our contents,  many Yamato fans requested to us and what they wanted was not the main theme, but this type of minor BGM, like this and this.

By the way, I will make a post about animation singers in the future. Because Only a few singers sing most of Japanese animation themes. One of them is Isao Sasaki besides Uchu Senkan Yamato, he sang Gallaxy Express 999 movie version. UFO robo Grendizer. etc,. etc,. Ah! an interesting story is in France, UFO robo Grandizer( Goldorak ) was so popular, much more than Gundam. In 1999, for the France Asian Movie festival they made a poster of it with "Big Grandrizer". I heard Grendizer made 100% viewer rate! Can you believe it?

Howl has been released

Howl

Howl's moving castle has been released worldwide.

I have not seen it yet. This time, I could not get ticket for the media preview. (because my boss went twice!!! ) You can hear the main theme here in my past post.. And this is the Japanese main site.

I don't know if you can see it with subtitles in foreign countries, or if it will be dubbed. In the original version Chieko Baisho is Sophie. She sings the theme song. The Witch in rough field is Akihiro Miwa.. "HE" played Moro no kimi in Prince of Mononoke. Then Howl is Kimutaku did. So, will Howl be a big success like Spirited Away?

Small art events in Tokyo

If you are looking for current art exhibitions in Tokyo or Japan,this Japanese museum information is good site to search. However, you can sometimes find interesting events in small galleries.

I thought I would go this paper-cut art exhibition.. in the Gallery Rocket. But it is over!! With traditional Japanese paper-cut technique, she makes her contemporary arts. The Gallary Rocket often has good exhibitions. The last one of this year is Paradise Yamamoto's Mambonsai. Mambonsai is his art work(?) bonsai + figure like this. For me it looks so easy, nothing fun. :-p He has Mambonsai class in Shibuya, this is the work of his class attendance. Hmm I like this most.

In Lapnet has comtemporary ceramic art of Chika Sakaguchi. So CUTE!! Oh oh! Laforet Museum has a Sex pistols Photo Exhibition.. However you know, I am so disappointed by John Rotton now. sigh...

Okay this looks nice to visit! resfeset. Not only Tokyo, this festivalwill tour all over the world. Will you visit in your town?

Godzilla is 50 years old, he will retire!?

GodzillaGodzilla is 50 years old, he will retire in the movie "Godzilla Final Wars" later this year. I am not a fan of Godzilla, but I will miss him, apparently he is one of only a few famous Japanese movie issues in the world, like Kurosawa, Ozu and Kitano.

This Japanese page has more contents, but unfortunately they do not have any good trailers yet. Look! This poor one!!. At worst they will not make a trailer, any trailer?! The main character is Masahiro Matsuoka (Tokio) of Johnny's, so you know, we have THAT issue!!. Well I hope not. Other cast members include Rei Kikukawa, and Don Frye from PRIDE (yeah!) and Kane Kosugi, who is the son of Sho Kosugi. At least the wallpapers look nice (good painting). Please check them.

Ah I love this page!! All Japanese Old Godzilla Posters list. Strange to say, I am not a fan of Godzilla, but my love for "things in order, recounting of events" is pleased by this kind of page. :-) I wish they would show me a bigger one. My favourite poster is Godzilla vs Biollante in 1989. No2. is first Godzilla in 1954. Vertical Godzilla logo seems very Showa taste.

By the way, I misunderstood, Godzilla appeared in Tokyo so often and attacked Tokyo tower sometimes.!! But he likes the Diet Building more, they say Godzilla appeared in front of there three times in his 50 year history, in 1954, 1992, 2003. Yes Mothra loves Tokyo tower. Look! Here is a Good garage kit, I found.

Cast of "Memory of Geisha"

SayuI am very sorry to hear that Zhang Ziyi has been cast as Sayuri in the movie "Memoirs of Geisha". I know it must be hard to find a Japanese actress who can speak English fluently, And Zhang is one of the few recognizable Asian faces around in Hollywood. but how about looking for a new face with good English? Looking good and natural in a Kimono takes experience even for Japanese. The reason why a woman in a Kimono looks feminine is restriction of activity. However in such restriction, it is impossible to be flexible and loose if she got used to being in a Kimono. Then it can be a sort of mature, sexy. Well I will stop complaining, they will not change casts.

If there was not a language barrier, I wanted Reiko Takashima or Miki Mizuno to play Sayuri. Zhang Ziyi looks so small, thin, I want someone looks rich and maternal, a soft glamorous type. This page is a real Geisha HP. Oh she is beautiful. A woman under 20 years old, who has not enough experience is called "Maiko", when she has polished her dance, and hospitality, she will be called "Geiko". Then finally she can be "Geisha". This site explains about Geisha very well. And this site has some good pictures too. Enjoy them.

Tokyo motor show2004 and good old car posters

MotorTokyo motor Show 2004 began yesterday. On their site, I like the page of past posters of Tokyo Motor Show. You can see them since 1954. On the Japanese-only page, they have old car database too. Just choose a year from the pull down and click the button. You can see old Japanese car photos. Regarding Car AD posters, this site has a great archive. Unfortunately it is a Japanese site, but please click the CM pages. Good 60s graffiti. Look! Very cool!

Ah this time, Mitsubishi released their new car eclipse after over 2 years of nothing. Now their sales are going down and down, because of that scandal. Actually who can trust such a company? This is most Japanese's feeling.

Net movies are not fun at all.

Link_logoTokyo Internet Movie Festival 2004 has started. Since they appear to have an English page, I was waiting for it, but it seems so slow. The festival is in three parts. The first is a general part. Amateurs, foreigners, professionals, everybody could enter. They will decide the winner by the vote of the audience. Well I am sorry to say this, but I can not find good one. If I have to pick one, maybe this one. At least he tries to make it fun and short. If you like Japanese horror, this seems to be horror. The One is a Special theme part. This time, people have to make short films about "police guy" (= we say "deka") I did not enjoy this part too AT ALL either

And The last one is a co-operation part. The big corporations make short films for advertising. In the link page, we can see some old and new films. Hmm at least, these film would take costs. Dennis Hopper appears in LINK of Fuji Subaru. This is not too bad. ("Knight Rider" + "DUEL" /2 = ?!). Anyway Dennis reminds me of Ahiru chan which I introduced in Who appears in Japanese Ad on TV?. Well I have to say I am very disappointed to click each link on the net film festival, too long, boring, nothing fun. I can find really good Flash a lot, but it is hard to find good movie on net. What do you think? Only Tokyo or Japan?

To take away the aftertaste, I will link two of my favorite Flash sites like before. This is Japanese, the one is hybridworks(don't miss the toolbar on the right-hand side), and another is Bionic systems. Don't you think this is very cool?.

A Japanese band-LOVE PSHYCHEDELICO

LovepshyMy Host server was down last night and this morning again. I知 up only on my top (index) page. But |-( umm.

In autumn season the colleges have a sort of festivals; they will have miss and mister contests, (This is the guide page of Sophia Univ.), lecture presentations, concerts, etc. Actually college festivals are a good chance to see a nice concert for a reasonable price. Is this the same in your country?

I wrote about the CD Jacket of Asian Kunfu Generation before. I did not know this; their CD is No.1 in music charts now. So their live performance will be the hardest one to get a ticket for this autumn. :-)

Anyway some graduates of the college I went to are succeeding very much in Japanese music scene. One of them is Southern All Stras. I do not listen their music, but some of their songs remind me of my college days, on the campus so well. Their love ballad Ellie, My Love was covered by Ray Chalres.

And LOVE PSHYCHEDELICO, will have live performances in Seoul and Hong Kong this autumn. I think they are cool. The Vocalist is a woman and she sings in mixture of Japanese and English. Lady Madonna is their debut song, and I like this Last smile. This is their second released. 60s / 70s Rock taste!? What do you think?

Japanese horror movie, you will see more?

Ring2The Ring was the first horror movie based on a Japanese novel. The new Japanese horror movie The Grudge is having good results in the North American box office now; this movie is based on the Japanese original Juon. Here is a trailer page.

This type of J-horror can be made with a low budget and still has "something new" for other countries. So I heard Hollywood has already planned another J-horror (Japanese horror movie). One of them is this "Kansen" (infection). This Kansen (The Infection) and Yogen (The Prediction), a double feature program were released in Japan last month. Then we had news, both movies had a "REAL" ghost in the film. Here is an article of the scene in The Infection. You may see an eye behind the nurse. The production says "there was nobody behind her, so we are surprised to see it now". Hmm this looks like a sort of advertising to me that it will not be a real ghost. What do you think? In Prediction, they say there is a red light or something, which they do not know what it is exactly. I have not found a picture of the scene yet. This is the official site for them. You may see a short trailers here.
Well well well, I can read horror novels, but at any rate I cannot see movies. Actually I did not turn off the light at night a day after I had checked the trailer of the Grudge. I hate horror!
However this is a hot topic from Tokyo!

The U.S. will make this fun TV program soon

Tono Ah! The news says "Trivia no Izumi"(A fountain of trivia) will come on Spike TV in the U.S. from November 13th. For a while you will see the Japanese version(JP), and in next April, they will start The U.S. version. "hee" will be changed into "wow" or "hey". Would you be able to see Spike TV at your home? Please check it and I hope you can enjoy it.

Quiz millionaire came from the U.K. and Iron chef has good viewer ratings in the U.S. I was very impressed to see ER first. Agood program has no boarder!.
Regarding to comedy. Saturday night live of the U.S. does not do make me laugh unfortunately :-(, On the other hand, I love to see Mr.Bean (only TV version of course) in the U.K. This Japanese Commedy "Baka-tono"(movie) (stupid Tonosama) is popular in Japan, But this looks completely rubbish to me. How do you think? Anyway his site introduce Japanese funny culture well. Enjoy it.

And tonight I went to Canadian and Japanese Band "monkey majik" live at Canad embassy. It was pretty nice!

The Howl's moving castle and Porco Rosso

PigA new movie from Studio Ghibli (nice fan site) "The Howl's moving castle" has just started promotion. It will come out on November 20th, yes, soon. However I heard Studio Ghibli do not want to make a big promotion, they want to keep the movie a mysterious one. Actually at my job, we are not allowed to use pictures, just logos on the introducing page. Here is some information in English. The theme is love and a war.

Hayao Miyazaki made Porco Rossoin 1992, the year after Big Bush started the Gulf war. That movie was a story of a guy who chooses to change himself into a pig, and turned his back on a society of fascism in the 1920s. To be honest with you, I do not remember the movie well, but I remember this old Chanson Le Temps des Cerises (ram) was the end theme. Do you know this sad song about "la semaine sanglante" (the week of blood). You may check the English lyrics here..

This time, Miyazaki releases this Howl's moving castle in 2004, the year after Bush Junior started the Iraq war. Then he chose this Sekai no Yakusoku as the end theme of movie. The poet Shuntaro Tanigawa wrote the lyrics. ( this introduces some of his poems ) . "Sekai no Yakusoku" means a promise of the world. I have not read or listened to the entire song of Howl yet; it might have a message of the director. By the way, this movie's original is UK novel by Diana Jones. Not an original story of Ghibli. I am not a fan of Ghibli. But as a big fan of Tokyo, I will update about Howl when I know more.

Devilman has come

DDevil Man has been in theatres since last week. This movie's original was manga by Go Nagai. Go Nagai was big in 70s, a lot of his manga remake into TV cartoon, Mazinger Z, Cutie Honey(movie),Getter Robo etc,. And Devilman was remade into a TV cartoon too. You can look and listen to it's opening (movie) here. I LOVE THIS SONG!!

In Devilman, the most famous enemy was female devil Siren, I am sure her slightly sexy mood and appearance was enough erotic for little boys. Actually in the real movie, they chose Siren as enemy. Ai Tominaga is fashion model works in Europe, she acts Siren this time. I think this is good good cast.

Nagai's cartoon and manga were just fun entertainment for kids. However my friend insists they should demarcate the original Devilman manga from others. He says it has more deep themes, Devil, Human, Justice, Love, -are humans worth protecting?-. Oh well actually Go Nagai rewrote "La Divina Commedia" by Dante as manga by himself. He would have been interested in such theme. I am not sure so, many adults have loved Devilman for a long time, some say Devilman is Devilman his trauma. ha ha. And there are many expensive real figures of Devilman and Siren. The Game has a slightly dark mood. I can sense they treat this Devilman differently from the others.

Anyway watch this real movie trailer. Looks interesting? No way. More new rubbish...I think many Devilman fans are angry... no?

Shall we dance?

ShallMy main ISP has been down for over two days, so only the typepad part is working. I am still surviving here!!

Anyway, On this weekend, Richard Gere & Jennifer Lopez new movie "Shall we dance" will be in theatersin the U.S. The Japanese original "Shall we dance?" was released in 1996. Story is almost same, but in original the main character was not workaholic lawyer, it was more dowdy Japanese salaryman. Well it seems every movie should have one lawyer at least in Hollywood. Is that the rule? :-p
By the way, in the original the point was our poor image for classic dance school. Most of them are 3 or 4 floor of old buildings near the station, there are full make up old ladies with colorful
dresses, Since men are short on numbers, women have to dance together etc,. You know we have such drab, mysterious image for classic dance school. That movie was interesting, because it keeps such negative image, never say classic dance is wonderful or school is nice place. But the guy has to get wrapped up to it. In North America you have the same image? So that they remake it?.

Regarding remake movies, I did not see the U.S version "the ring". Did you see it? Original Japanese movie Ring was so so, Nanako Matushima(rm) on green tea CM and Hiroyuki Sanada on "The Last Samurai". I must tell you the novel was the best. The point of the novel was dark and heavy mood of after ww2 (maybe..I do not remember well), Jane Crow, deep grudge and sorrow of psychic. Japanese horror is scary because we say it is "wet","wetty" like that. There is no Jason, Freddy, Scream,
no blood, just a unspoken bitterness.

Anyway I do not see Japanese movies usually. I love to see Hollywood movies!!. So I don't need Asian remakes any more.

Toshi Kubota and Canadian band in Japan

It was a terrible typhoon. Stupid me went out at the worst time, (I have to say I did it on purpose). While I was at the gym, trains stopped because of the rain, so there was nobody in the big bath (my gym has one). Lucky me. Tomorrow will be a super fine day. I like it of course, but I always think of people who lost their family or their house because of the typhoon, how do they feel and haw do they accept that fact. It would be so hard to do with such a blue sky.

MonkeyToshinobu Kubota will appear on the TV program Soul Tain in the U.S. They say this is the second time after YMO appeared there a long, long time ago. It's nice to hear it. If you don't know him, please check out his song and video here. I do not listen to his CD but I am glad to know he got such a big chance.

At my job, I could take this band, monkey majik from my boss. The band is made up of Canadian brothers and two Japanese guys. Their CD sold over 1000 in tower records at Sendai city in Miyagi prefecture, as an independent label. That is a pretty good job. Now they are trying to come to Tokyo and then go all over Japan. We will make a small promotion for them on our site. The first free LIVE concert in Tokyo will be held at the Canada embassy!! in Akasaka. Okay, I will go. You can listen to their song here. I like this, it's very nice. The vocalist is a Canadian guy, wow! That's perfect Japanese. Both of them overcame the linguistic barrier and met the challenge. Gambare!!

Paranoia Agent

ParaI got some "me too" comments for yesterday's post. For the "love SAKE" part (of course) and for "obsessive compulsive disorder" part too.
Cecile says she doesn't like her food to touch each other. (Sauces are not allowed to mix at all). David says he has bad OC about bugs. I am not sure where mine came from, or when it stared. But I suppose it could be because of some sort of trauma? A very "light" psychological damage. Very interesting. When I was a college student, I very much liked to read Jung. Oh, that reminds me....When I moved to my new apartment two months ago, green scarab flew to my window. I was quite happy to see it, as if it was a symbol of something new starting both inside and outside of me.

By the way, I will introduce Japanese psychological animation. "Paranoia Agent". I have not seen this yet, but my co-workers say it is interesting. The DVD is released already and I could read some English reviews.

Story is------A woman who had much stress and trouble at work was attacked by "shounen bat"(a bat boy). Police suspected that it was just her paranoia. Actually there were no crew, and no witnesses to the attack. And because of the attack, she was free from work stress. But after that, stressed out people were attacked by the shounen bat. However there is no evidence, proof, crew, or witness. And the victims made similar testimonies about "shounen bat". Is shounen bat real or their paranoia? Are they lying? ----------

You may see some streaming in -ストリーミング-. This link might work? Next time is the final story - this is the prior info.

I am waiting for this animation to come to my CATV.

Another Long Running TV Program

NeonI've talked about the long running TV programs before, so today I'll introduce another one. It's "Skekai no Shaso kara" (Through Train Windows of the World?!). It's been on the air in Japan for over 17 years. It's only a 5 minute long documentary program. There is no host, just a camera that follows a train trip, inside and out, between different places in the world. It's so simple (maybe so we won't get bored). Every night I can see a new smile and hear different music (the director picks music suited for each night's scene). Here is a Italy-Slovenia- Croatia route. Click "Calendar" and you can see the photo and hear the BGM. Here is a English countryside route. Ahh! I have been to Wordsworth's House. Here is a USA-Canada route. Look!. A cute little boy and his bear are at the table. In this way, every night I can enjoy someplace in the world by train. I like this TV program. Here is thier soundtrack CD infomation, you can listen samples. This for China(ram), this for Canadian Rocky. very nice.

Asian taste pop illustraions.

AsianYusuke Nakamura draws slightly nostalgic, slightly erotic illustrations, which look like wood engravings. I found his site while I was surfing the net a while ago, and I check it occasionally. Recently I have found his work in various designs - here is a famous songster's HP. Here is a new deisgn magazine +81 HP(ah! international call number of Japan!). He drew a jacket. This is a CD jacket of the Japanese band "ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION". I like this jacket. Here is his post card collection. Please check it out. Hmm, I like this.

By the way, if I had to choose a sound to match to his illustrations, I would pick these Japanese blues. SHIKISAI NO BLUES, Psychoanalysis) (ram) by Ego-Wrappin'. I like their style. A very retro feel.....

Hmm now I understand, maybe I like OLD stuff.

Why I don't like GIS2, Innocence

What a poor cat form UK.

By the way I am asked why I did not like Innocence. Hmm hard to explain in English. Aristotle classified three ways to pursuade, Ethos, Pathos, logos I could have strong Patos in Ghost in the Shell, and The Matrix. some passive sympathy ? come from inside me. I created them by myself. GIS or Matrix do not need to impressed me.... Strange way to say?

They are totally great entertainment, itty-bitty and complicated setting. But not a difficult story. We can enjoy the rendering, but it is not nessessary. I could not understand GIS2 and the Matrix 2&3 as they want to be.... They want to be more than cyberpunk. Entertainment? When I see GIS2, I felt as if it were the masturbation of Oshi Mamoru. I had to watch Oshi's likes and tastes, The long philosophical talking, Chinoiserie, Basset Hound(his dog)... Too much. Regarding to The Matrix 2 & 3 more or less I feel the same. They lost the audience. I was working for the mobile promotion of Innocence, and I saw that movie in media preview, there was Mamoru Oshii and other stuff. But to be honest with you I was almost sleeping. :-P.
I say GIS1 and Kokaku Kidotai are Production G.I's magnum opus. Oshii ruins everything in GIS2. Of course this is my impression.

Food show on TV

nigiriToday I wore a jacket over my T-shirt. During the daytime, the temperature rises to 30C yet, at night and in the morning, it is cool. Yes, autumn has come to Tokyo. I LOVE autumn, except I have to have my birthday.

Autumn is the eating season. We say "Shokuyoku no Aki," in Japanese. In North America, the TV program "iron cheff" was popular, right? After that, the most popular food show would be "Docchi No Ryori Show". (Which dish? show). Two hosts and his chef make teams select "a dish". Each team gets high quality material (like this like this) from all over Japan and cooks the dish in the kitchen studio. 7 guests watch them all and vote for which one they want to eat in the end. Only the winning team and guests who vote for the winning side can eat the dish. Last time it was beef steak vs seafood sushi bowl. The beefsteak bowl won.

A Funny food show is "Debuya" which I introduced in "pika pika food" before. Debu means big/fat, Ya means place/shop, in Japanese. Two big guys, Papay Suzuki and Hidehiko Ishizuka, eat a lot every week, actually that is all. However, their funny comments, how to eat, and the happy face of someone eating helps people relax on Friday nights.
Metropolice has an article about Japanese food shows. Please check it out, too.

Ghost in the Shell, Kokaku Kidotai

Dvd Andy and Larry Wachowski said they were very much inspired by the cyberpunk animation movie Ghost in the Shell. Actually, we can see its influence in The Matrix. Here is an interesting comparison site between Ghost in the Shell and The Matrix.

Ghost in the Shell originated as the manga "Kokaku Kidotai" by Shirow Masamune and a TV animation of "Kokaku.." is airing on CS or CATV in Japan. Here is the the official site of "Kokaku". I heard foreign people have a preconception that "animation is kids' entertainment". Are Japanese different? No. I can tell many people feel the same, but gradually it is changing. Actually high quality, cool animation like Kokaku is interesting enough for adults and maybe impossible for kids to understand. On September 26, a DVD of Kokaku Kidotai second GIG will be released. Here is the trailer(ram). And this is the first season(ram). This is the soundtrack movie click(ram). You will be able to see that this is completely different from kid's animation. Do you like it? If so this is the long trailer (ram). (5minutes).

I heard Ghost in the shell2 "Innocence" will be relased in the U.S soon. Well well if you like the first, you should NOT see it. Mamoru Oshii ruins everything this time. That is my impression.

"TV chanmpion" and depachika Queen

cakeToday, a Journalist of the U.S newspaper and I met a depachika expert. We went around depachika in Tokyo. I got mail from the American writer that said she wanted to make an article about depachika. I offered to be a guide for her in Tokyo, but since I don't know of any good places to see, I sent mail to ask for some advice from depachika expert Rio(JP). She is the depachika champion from a famous TV program, "TV chanmpion"(JP), which is a Japanese variety show about people's abilities. People show their expertise in cooking, designing, arranging, knowledge of something, and many, many, many others in a contest form. For example, this is "Wooden Toy Craftsman Championship", this is "fastest eaters", "pastry cook"(JP), room reform, anime geek, gardening, subway geek, etc., etc. Rio is the depachika champion. She knows which shop is in which department store in Tokyo. She can tell the price of each sweet, she can tell the exact name of a shop by the smell of their cake. Yes, a sort of depachika geek. It was really fun. I can not stop writing because this brought a chance for such a fun meeting to me.

The Cool art site

Whether or not you like art, you can enjoy this site. I love this cool site "SHIFT". Just checking thier Cover Design Archive is fun. Thier cool site links makes me so happy and a little down, too, because I am so envious and jealous of each site's cool design!!

Don't miss checking out thier blog too. It is very informative and has various genres of fun things you can see. This week, I was happy to see Ping Pong Matrix (this is a TV program "Kinchan no Kaso taisho"). Then I was annoyed, and still am, with this this. I can not get out of any colored rooms yet. I will try to do it again after updating this. Please let me know if someone gets out.

the longevity TV program in Japan

This is today's news, excluding the former Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc, Japan 's rate of suicides (especially middle aged men) is the highest among the advanced countries. Here is the WHO Rinking. This is a concern, due to our recession. Actually we have never experienced such a long and serious recession (over 13 years?). Considering that we have the longest average lifespan, this is ironic, isn't it?
Hmm. I don't want to finish today's diary with such a disheartening topic, so I checked to see which is the longest running TV program in Japan. Guess what. I was laughing when I read this:

It is "Amateur Singing Contest" on public channel NHK. "NHK Nodojiman"(JP) first started in 1946 on the radio and then went to TV in 1953. Yes, it has a 50 year history. It then aired on Sunday afternoon, and it still does now. The rule is simple, only an excellent singer can sing until the end. Usually they have to stop singing when the bell rings. NHK Nodojiman went abroad for the first time and was staged in Sao Paulo, Brazil, to commemorate the 90th anniversary of immigration from Japan to Brazil. Then and now, it is held around the world for communication between the Japanese in Japan and Japanese residents of foreign countries. These are the sites for NHK Nodojiman in Singapore. London.

Product design work in Japan

ichiTokyo designer's week 2004 2004 will come soon in October. I am looking forward to going there, especially the container and chair events.

I talked about product design with my friend this morning, he likes this Atehaca. "Simple in tense", very nice. This atehaca series is designed by intentionallies, an interior design agency in Tokyo. Another of their products is the Realfleet model, amadana, are very nice too. Here is Intentionallies web site; enjoy their nice flash site.

Regarding product design in Japan, I can not miss Naoto Fukasawa, he designed inforbar and WIN11 of KDDI, and his +-0 products are so simple and cool too, and I am glad that they are enough reasonable price. I want a Oven Toaster!

Old match labels and posters.

matIt is September 1, It is hot in Tokyo but breez is different from summer's one. We express like this in Japanese, "I can heare the footsteps of Autumn". And September 1 is National Disaster Prevention Day. Because we had a big earthquak in Tokyo area "KANTO DAISHINSAI" Sep 1 1923. You can see how it was big in this page(JP) by picture. The Page I make link is Ginza area. Not only seeing damage, also it is interesting how was Ginza before. You can check another area in above text link.

By the way while I was looking for information about 1923, and such old days. I found some good old package and poster site. I think expecially "matchs" had really good disign package. I will introduce some here.
Old Japanese Match Label
Old Japanese Match Label
Old Kirin Beer Poster
Other Old Posters

These match Labels are designed with illustration and Senryu (Japanese poem structurally similar to haiku.) I thinks this is nice, the guy was working field and his hand and leg is dirty. Then tea time, his wife brink sweet to his mouce. I can hear they say "Ah---n!". *

I love "Popee the performer".

popee Like I talked before, My favorite TV program is funny dumb show POPEE the Performer. Very surreal and cruel 3D short film. (only 5 minutes each). It comes on CATV every mid night. So even though I am late to get home because of job, (yes I work until 9 or 10 pm often) I run to home for Pepee time from the train station. :-D

Since this is too much surreal, it will be able to comes on only CATV ( not network ) and at mid night ( for no kids time) in Japan. I really want to introduce this on this my site and today finally I have found short "av file" of POPEE on internet. This seems promotion film of soundtrack. Since this is just digest clip, not so fun. But you may know how crazy they are.

You can buy on some internet online store, like this. You will join Popeemania club like me?
Caution! too dark. you have to like black jokes.

P.S. Japanese language students?! no need to worry if you don't understand the song. It is not Japanese. Crazy meanless words. ---Unjya raka Popee the crown donburiharakero? I can not understand!! *

Good Design Award 2004

Since today, Japan Good Design Award 2004 Presentation has started. The Copy of this events is "Something I have never seen, something I want to keep on wathcing". The result of 2004 is annouced on October 1st. Now you can see the result of 2003 here. Wow! winner was PRIUS! I did not know that.

I will introduce some which entry in this year.
Micro Oven.....Hmm cool, I want to change my ugry micro oven.
A cup .....Pretty, yes pretty.
Art Event...This is Vincent Gallo art event, entry to comminication design category.
Nail Clipper.....entry from Henkel.
Snow Stopper......As snow stopper, this will be sophisticated. maybe.

You may check all entries (JP) here. Please click 5 raibow color buttons. they will show them at random. *

Anthropomorphic gold fish, a very interesting Ukiyoe

kingyoEdvard Munch's famous painting The Scream and Madonnawere stolen from an art museum in Norway on Sunday. I was surprised that the robbery was committed in broad daylight! Will these paintings be sold through the black-market channels? I am sure the people of museum will not be able to sleep until they get their paintings safetly back. They are hoping no harm or damage will happen to the paintings. Maybe.

By the way, I will introduce a pretty, little weird Ukiyoe today. Those are the works of Kuniyoshi Utagawa. It is a series called Kingyo Zukushi. The motif of Kingyo Zukushi paintings are anthropomorphic gold fish.
Susano no mikoto, Matoi, Sake no Zashiki, Niwaka Amenbou, Sarai Tonbi, Tamay Tamaya, Hyaku monogatari

You like them? You may get Kingyo Zukushi works at Museum shop of The National Museum, Tokyo. I have bags and letter set. : ) *

The coolest site I have seen...

I previoulsy mentioned here,that we hardly see our national flag, Hinomaru But during the Olympics, we see the national flag everyday, everywhere. Is this the same with your country? or do you see your flag every day?

Any ways, Tokyo Plastic 2 is one of the coolest web sites I have ever seen! Please click on the title and then click, click! everywhere to find things. Even thought you might not know the meaning of the Japanese, you can see some great Flash work. Thier site motif's seem to be Hinomaru and the Kokeshi doll. Hinomaru has some difficult natioanl issues and Kokeshi has a tragic background. Kokeshi is not a happy doll for wishing fortunes - many sites and shops do not mention the backgournd of Kokeshi. Tokyo Plastic may give you the creeps a little, but then when you know about Hinomaru and Kokeshi trivia, it will give you some insight into Japanese culture.

Some interesting stuff I found recently

eraserKadokeshi corner eraser.
I hardly use a pencil now, but when I was a student, I used cut the eraser to make corner. Yes feels good to eraser at the corner!! You may get that feeling at 28 times with this!! Hmm good idea! looks pretty.

Gohandy Rice Jelly
Gohan is rice in Japanese and so Handy Gohan is GoHandy Ah So. Looks like a rice ball package. Yes rice ball is a handy shape, no? Why they need to make it into Jelly with yogurt taste!

Gundam Shop a Gundam department store
Gumdam goods was sold before and this one is a Char Special PC A famous one. Finally the entire building is filled with Gundam goods. Gumdam guitar (looks like gundam rifle) tent? costume?. Hmm Gundam could be a whole industry.

The violent bear called Gloomy

mirrorman_swingLa La La La La La. Here is my happy dance. Japan won the Asia Cup 2004!! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Any ways, I think Japanese like anime characters. I will write an article about this later. Today I will introduce a little strange charactor callled Gloomy. The designer is called Mori-chax. He makes the mechanical bear charactors KUMAKIKAI and TSURUSHIGUMA. Here is a promotion video which is cute. These are pretty and I like them. But here is a new series of Gloomy. Which is cute at a glance, but looks sooooooooo violent! If you have any interests, please check the chax page . Hmmm what a weird character. However, this Glommy is very popular in the Osaka area. Actually, there is a Gloomy shop here. You want one?

A happy anime makes us blue

Sazae
There are some long running TV programs and I suppose each program has reasons why they survive. Generally, they are high quality and of family viewing. Sazae san has a 35 year history.(its original comic was released 1943!). Here is a good introduction. We can see Sazae san's calm happy life. No accidents and no violence and we see their life go through each season's transition with a smile. The interesting point is the setting, the background of the story is always of the present. It has not changed in 35 years. Mom wears Kimono and live in Japanese style room and nobody use's a PC at home and I suppose nobody use a cell too. But it is okay. this is Sazae san style. Nobody complains and actually for Japanese this unchanging life would be comfortable to live and so Sazae san can still create good ratings, every week.

On the other hand, some people have Sazae san syndrome. Sazae san has been shown at 6:30 PM every Sunday night for such a long time. For Japanese, Sazae san is a symbol of the end of weekend. So some people get blue when they listen to the ending theme of Sazae san.

Rules of a 'group of five' hero

kirangerI watch CNN news at home and CBS news at work often. Right now, all topics seem to be about the Democratic Convention in the US. While I was eating my Obento, I was watching Edwards "Hopes on the way" speech.

The national elections in the U.S are really big events compared to elections in Japan. Take a look at this site a about a election in Japan. This looks like a poor local CM and we have information about the election of a Yamaguchi prefectural governor. They say go to the election on 8 August. "Senkyo ni Ikunger!!" Ahh sorry, what a poor CM. Generally speaking, the turnout at the polls for these election is so low in Japan. But this AD was made to get people interested! No chance, I really wonder if they are serious, just looks like a waste of tax payer's money.

Any ways, that poor CM is imitating the style of Goranger the 'group of five' hero. Goranger is the original TV series of SENTAI MONO (group hero's), Power Rangers in Space was a remake of Goranger. (I heard, they changed the setting to the U.S).

In Japan, the 'group of five' hero was popular, like Gacha-man (Battle of the Planets / G-force) and Goranger. Here is a few rules of the 'group of five' hero:
1. one of them should be a woman.
2. one of them should be overweight and I think I can plus.
3. the Fat one should come from the Kyushu area and talk in dialogue.
4. and the Fat one should like to eat curry.
Amino Sapli (sport drink), there is a fat guy and a girl. The rule is alive, still. In Goranger, Yellow(Kiranger) was that FAT type. There is many web sites and when you search, use the keyword 'Kiranger' at Google Japan. There is many sites that are "curry fan sites".

I know, I know, this sounds strange, but for Japanese, this is a sort of default setting for the 'group of five' hero. Look at this new CM of

Steamboy at Roppingi Hills

sbSteamboy is Katsuhiro Otomo's new movie. He is famous for the movie called AKIRA. Here is an English fan site.

Today I went to Roppingi Hills to see a media review of Steamboy Retro Future of London . Steamboy is the story of a boy in London in the 19th century. So, the exhibition introduces the invention of the stream train and also shows Steamboy in the background pictures: Amazing, exquisite miniature art of the 19th century London was displayed ( of course, I did not see it, though) .

The style is heavy, dark and a mixture of the new and the old showing the invention of the steam engine... It is hard to see the detail trailer in a small window on a PC!!. The movie will be released globally, so please check the detail with your own eyes. This realism which people create with thier imagination and skill is completely different from the realism of the 3D animation. I am very bored with 3D animation movie like NE*O! :-p

Any ways, when I went through the entrance check, a clerk asked me "what is this? show me" Well since I bought two Goya=bitter melon in my lunch time for my supper. At Roppingi Hills, a woman who show big two goya from the bag was me. :-[

The Original Japanese Ultraman

ultramanI really, really loved to watch cartoons on TV when I was a kid. Me and my younger brother always watched cartoons together; thousands of Japanese anime shows! There was also the American cartoons, Tom and Jerry and other Hanna Barbara cartoon series.

Of course, the American cartoon series title's were changed in Japan, for example the wacky race called Tiki Tiki Machine mo race (I know, I know, it is strange ). Also, Japanese animation title's were changed in foreign countries. For example, the Star Blazer original title is Uchu senkan Yamato (Space Warship Yamato). It was an old Japanese warship sunk in WW2. I checked the difference from before and found it so interesting! I will write about this later in another article. Any ways, not only the title changed, but the theme music was also so different. A few anime use the same melody and only change the lyrics.

Ultraman is in this variety too, here is the American Ultraman TV show theme. And here is the Origial Japanese Ultraman theme. Regarding lyrics, they are singing almost the same thing, just a little difference. "Ultraman Hero, flying here to save us!!" KITAZO WARERA NO ULTRAMAN!

Crazy Surrealism

This is my one of my favorite DVD "Pupee the Performer". Originally, this was a TV program on the CATV kid station channel. The story is simple, Popee is a pupil of the crown and his assistant, Kedamono, (masked beast) was also trained by Crown Papi. We can see thier training and life in each short program. That is all. Does it sound lovely? and besides, the 3D motion was colorful and pretty.

BUT! I do not think this is for kids, just a little bit (not a little) too mean spirited and it does look too surreal for kids. We can enjoy very, very "dry" "crazy" black humour. You may see a short movie here, please click on a TV icon -hotline TV(JP) and choose a line (If you use Japanese on your PC.)

Many animation movies from Japan

This summer, the director of AKIRA, Katsuhiro Otomo will release a new movie called Steamboy.You can check the movie trailer here. This year, 2004, there is many animation movies being made in Japan, for example Innocence, Appleseed, Steamboy, and and Howl's Moving Castle. Masamune Shiro, Mamoru Oshii, Studio Ghibli and Katsuhiro Otomo are big names in the Japanese anime industry. Usually, I don't read manga, comics and do not watch see animation on TV, but recenty I tried to see or read manga and have found some good quality stories for adults. Actually Monster, Kokaku Kidotai Stand Alone Complex are on TV after 1 am, at night.(no kids time) So, I would say now that I will not refuse, because of my own interests for animation now.

A Rimpa Exhibition

raijin

I love art! I love to visit a museum or an exhibition. Right now I am looking forward to Rimpa (JP). Rimpa was the painting schools of the Edo Period, characterized by their highly sophisticated sense of decorativeness. They made gorgeous and pomp-filled paintings, usually painitng on a fusuma, which is a sliding door in tradtional Japanese interiors. They also painted on sensu, a Japanese folding fan. If I have to choose my favorite painting, I would choose one of Japanese national treasure,Fujin Raijin by Tawaraya Sotatsu. Fujin and Raijin are the gods of Wind and Thunder, don't they look funny?. It is alright, they tried to make them lovable for the people of Edo. You may find them, wearing tiger print pants, at the gate of Aasakusa Sensoji too. Regardless of religion, the Japanese love that God, Kami sama.

Ghost in the Shell - the DVD

Finally, I could see the DVD Ghost in the Shell(Kokaku kidotai)!! Yes, finally. This is a cult cyberpunk anime and has proved to be such a key influence on the film, Matrix. In the US, this was the No. 1 DVD rental. So, you knew this already? I am not sure the image or impression of this kind of animation has in foreign countries. In Japan, when we talk about Kokaku, which is a kind of Otaku kei(Otaku trend) and Akiba kei(Akihabara trend). I have to say, our image, especially woman's image is not so good, abroad Actually, I thought Kokau would be a sort of Oppai anime(Big breasted girls kind of anime), Otaku anime fans never miss them.

However I must tell you this, the DVD was great. The story is not so simple, complicated but there is NO "what is love?", "I love you", "Save the earth" etc. The questions being asked in the film are "how can I know who I am".

Any ways, it was a Saturday night and I was enjoyting the cyber Otaku anime with a glass of whiskey. No guy. No dating. Is this good? ha ha ha yes and no. 

P.S. if you plan to see the Director's new movie "Innocence", I recommend to you to see Ghost in the Shell first, you will understand more.

SuperHero remake animation movies, a trend?

This year we are seeing many superhereo remake animation movies. Animation which I watched when I was kid, except maybe for dominant Otaku, nobody knows Devil Man, Cutie Honey, Ninja Hattori kun and now Casshern. There is Spiderman 2 and the the UK's Thundrebirds remakes made overseas in Hollywood. Is this trend of this year?

I saw a media preview of Thunderbird recently, well, it is a movie for kids, not for me. When we watch such animation or movie version of the original comic, we have to expect to be disappointed . Well I remember the first time I saw Batman. I really wondered why American people think this is ok? I mean, for me , M. Keaton looked too OSSAN, in Japanese, this means, just a middle aged guy, nothing special.

Following this point , for me being a Japanese, it is hard to know the passion of American people for Batman. I mean what is the image of Batman? I felt like that the fist time, but now I know this Batman was better than Val Kilmer or George Clooney's Batman ha ha. Any ways, I feel the same about Spiderman; Tobby looks too much of a wimp and is too cute. I have this of colder and tougher image of Spiderman.