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Viewing Blog: Vertical Blog, Most Recent at Top
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Vertical translates the best contemporary Japanese books. Vertical selects their popular novels, graphic novels, and quality nonfiction from a rich, variegated stock: Japan's huge and vibrant book market.
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26. Rice Paddy Art

As if working in rice fields wasn’t already back-breaking work, these farmers decided to show off their mad rice-drawing skillz.

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More crazy rice crop circle art pics at Pink Tentacle.

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27. Vintage Photos of Japan

This nifty website is a treasure trove of remarkably well-preserved photos from the Meiji, Taisho and Showa (1868-1989) periods in Japan. Most have been hand-tinted to bring out details.

3481

1681

Old Photos Japan

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28. Tom Hanks on the Swine Flu Scare

Despite the fact that the general consensus is that Influenza A/H1N1 is on the wane - even in Mexico, which has had the greatest number of deaths - Japan is still in mass-hysteria mode.

Tom Hanks dropped by The Daily Show to promote Angels & Demons, and talked about the possible consequences of attempting to dodge the Japanese health authorities currently screening every single person who enters the country (long clip but worth it to see how Hanks hijacks the interview).

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart M - Th 11p / 10c
Tom Hanks
thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic Crisis Political Humor

Via Japan Probe.

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29. No, Mr. Kusanagi, There’s Nothing Wrong with Public Nudity

japanese-pop-band-smap-001

So all of Japan’s media is in a tizzy over the fact that Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, a member of the mega-popular Johnny’s “idol group” (read: manufactured boy band) SMAP was arrested for getting falling-down drunk, stripping naked and yelling incoherently in a park in Roppongi, Tokyo.

kusanagi

From Yahoo News:

“Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, 34, was arrested early in the morning near the Roppongi nightclub district after a local resident alerted police, a police spokesman said.
Television stations reported the arrest by flashing bulletins usually reserved for earthquakes and other major events, while television helicopters filmed the park from the air after sunrise.
Public broadcaster NHK placed a breaking news headline over its live footage of a parliamentary session on Japan’s measures to fight Somali pirates.
“What’s wrong with being naked?” Kusanagi reportedly yelled at a police officer who approached him.

The incident infuriated Communications Minister Kunio Hatoyama, whose ministry has featured Kusanagi in its campaign to promote the 2011 start of nationwide terrestrial digital broadcasting.
“If the report is true, I’m immensely angry… I’ll drop him off everything related to terrestrial digital broadcasting,” he told reporters. “I’ll never forgive him.”"

Japan Probe is reporting that parodies of the digital broadcasting posters featuring Kusanagi have already appeared on the net.

Behold:

kusanagi-bye-bye

The ad, which originally shows Kusanagi announcing that analog TV broadcasting will soon come to an end, has been changed to an announcement about Kusanagi will soon be disappearing from your TV. It also says that SMAP will continue on with only 4 members.

Next time I’m in Japan, I’ve got to get one of these T-shirts that (drunkenly?) asks, “What’s wrong with being naked!?”

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30. Time-Lapse Tokyo

Stunning. Sorry, I have nothing snarky to add. Just…so…shiny!

Via Tokyo Mango.

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31. Pirates (the good kind!): High 5 in Osaka

The Pirates of the Dotombori had a little fun with morning commuters in Osaka, with Improv Everywhere’s high-5-a-bunch-of-strangers idea.

I think it was a smart choice to try this in Osaka. (Tokyoites tend to be more businesslike). What I love is how most people simply give Mr. Bill the high five like they’re just swiping their Suica cards on the way out of the station. Sheep-like mentality? Or just pretending to not enjoy having a little fun tossed into the daily grind?

Via Japan Probe.

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32. Because It’s Friday: Guerilla Dancing

This is fierce. I love the fact that a suit starts it. I’d love to see this take place on a packed subway train.

It’s like a pacifist version of the Sharks vs the Jets. Love it.
Via Neatorama.com.

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33. Sakura Season Brings Out the Crazies

This little gem of a photo was posted on MurderBurger.

saddate2

Yes, those are two grown men hanging out in the park… with their inflatable girlfriends.

Can you think of anything more pathetic? It’s one thing to think a bit of plastic is your soulmate, but when you start dressing it up and taking it out for double dates - in a wheelchair, no less - it’s time to see the nice men in white coats.

Forget Article 9. As the original poster says, this photo encapsulates all the reasons why Japan is not considered a military threat.

2 Comments on Sakura Season Brings Out the Crazies, last added: 4/6/2009
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34. Anime Characters: Japanese or Caucasian?

This video is a rebuttal to the common assertion that anime characters are drawn as idealized versions of Caucasians. It’s not a subject I’d ever given any thought to, but apparently some people are apoplectic over the assumption that pink hair + Disneyesque eyes = white person.

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35. One Step Closer to the Apocalypse: Model Robot

The Telegraph has a story on a $2 million female robot that was designed to impersonate a runway model that made its debut at Tokyo Fashion Week.

Designers prefer models that look more like walking coat racks than actual women, so this could be a step towards that ideal.

“Measuring a slightly short 5 ft 2 inches and weighing a model like 43 kg, the features of the robot were modelled on the wide-eyed characters popular in Japanese “anime” cartoons.

However, despite her apparent physical perfections, its creators at National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) admitted that it had a long way to go before it would rival real life models.

“Our robot can’t move elegantly like the real models that are here today,” said Shuji Kajita, director of humanoid robot engineering AIST.

“It will take another 20 to 30 years of research to make that happen.” ”

For $2 million, you might as well get Linda Evangelista.

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36. Georgia Coffee Toilets: Now With Virtual Skiing

As part of Georgia Coffee’s winter marketing campaign, several toilets at ski resorts across Japan have been decorated with trompe l’oeil murals depicting the view from the top of a ski jump. Not recommended for those with vertigo, obvs.
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Gives the phrase “death cookies” a new meaning, eh?

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37. This Little Robot…

…invested in Lehman Brothers.

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38. Tokyo! Film Trailer

Michel Gondry, Leos Carax and Bong Joon-ho each created a story centered on… Tokyo.

From IndieWire:

“Tokyo!”, as you might expect given the exclamation point, is a tribute to the titular metropolis, but given the talent involved, “tribute” should remain loosely defined. The directors are a Korean, a French expat (is Gondry an American filmmaker by this point?), and a French recluse, but even given the group’s penchant for wanly surrealist tones that recall the city’s most famous contemporary literary avatar, Haruki Murakami, their observations about Tokyo’s urban scale, anomie, and the like aren’t exactly headline news. The commentary (save Carax’s grubby terroristic attack on Japanese xenophobia) is expected, but what makes “Tokyo!” worthwhile is the chance to witness three gifted directors attempting commissioned work and churning out enjoyable, well-crafted films that encapsulate in miniature what made them singular talents in the first place. No small feat.”

Here’s the trailer:

The film opens today in NYC, and Michel Gondry and Leos Carax will be at the screenings at Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema this weekend.
Click here for details.

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39. Guin Saga: Anime Trailer Now Online

The anime version of The Guin Saga will debut next month in Japan.

Here’s the trailer (sorry, no subtitles):

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40. Hello Kitty Vs. MAC: The Video

This is a… commercial? Concept video? Excuse to put a skinny model in a short skirt and have her fondled by bondage-garbed black-latex-faced Hello Kitty man-slaves? Er, all of the above?

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41. Japan to Halt Production of Vomit-Inducing Porn

I was going to post something responsible, maybe even something remotely related to publishing, but hey, it’s Friday. This is a hysterical pseudo-article on the state of the extremely perverted porn industry in Japan.

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Via The Onion:

“Officials have already met with leaders of Japan’s $5.5 billion adult entertainment industry in an attempt to develop regulations that conform to some small standard of basic human decency. Attending the talks were the heads of several major studios, including WoundSexerCo, Maid Molest Universal, Innocent Schoolgirl Despoil Youngest Daughter Lips Plunder Incest Distribution, and Sunrise-Rape-Rape-Nihon.

The proposed new measures include a 50 percent reduction in live-eel anal insertions, and a requirement that portrayals of group sex involving seven or more individuals feature at least four human participants. Also under consideration is a zero-tolerance policy covering all “prurient uses” of colostomy bags.

In what may signal a chastening within the industry, leading film producer Golden Dawn Global issued a press release this week voicing its “humility and bewilderment” and offering to cease international distribution of its blockbuster series Pregnant Ladyboy Sodomized Facedown In The Rice Bowl, a 23-part epic that has reportedly left thousands of viewers feeling repulsed, defiled, and forever doubtful about the inherent goodness of mankind.

“I’ve seen about a million of these films, and each one is worse than the next,” Portugal’s José Randulfo told reporters after receiving treatment for dehydration, caustic chemical burns, and fractured ribs—the result of a 45-minute vomiting spell he suffered after renting Naughty Ginza Maids Drink Cocktail Of Refuse And Bile. “The doctors say it may take months before I remember what normal genitals look like, and even longer before I remember how they are intended to function.” ”

Click through to the Onion article for a list of highly probable-sounding porn production titles.

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42. Tokyo: Turfed

Ever wonder what Tokyo would look like if all the streets were ripped up and replaced with Astroturf and/or real grass? Us neither. But it does make for some nifty Photoshopped inventions. (click to enlarge)
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More at Green Island (via Bouncing Red Ball)

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43. Recession Forces Finance Minister to Hit the Bottle

Not that I blame the guy. It’s absurd that he tried to blame it on cold medicine because, c’mon, he looks like every drunk oyaji on the Yamanote line after hours.


1 Comments on Recession Forces Finance Minister to Hit the Bottle, last added: 3/2/2009
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44. Kabukicho Clean-up: Doomed?

With its sports venues cleared for the 2016 Olympics, Tokyo is eager to be the host city. However, this also means a clamp-down on organized crime and the sex trade, both of which Kabukicho, in Shinjuku, is famous for.

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From The Guardian:

“A handful of clubs flout the law by dimming their lights and paying protection money to yakuza crime syndicates, but law-abiding owners say takings have plunged.

“The police crackdown has halved the number of customers here, and the recession isn’t helping,” says Hiroshi Iwamoto, a doorman at the topless Glamorous Lovers’ Cafe.

“I’ve been in Kabukicho a long time and I’d hate to see it change. This is where people come to make something of themselves.”

The facelift is being led by Renaissance Kabukicho, a network of public and private bodies.

“We don’t necessarily want to get rid of all of the local colour,” says Mitsuo Hirai, who leads the project at Shinjuku city hall.

“Of course we want to preserve the character of the place and strike a balance. If we can do that then it’s not going to do the Olympic bid any harm, although we were always determined to clean up Kabukicho and make it a place where people can walk around in safe and pleasant surroundings.”

Patrols of volunteers attempt to clamp down on dozens of touts who assail passers-by with descriptions of the delights, innocent or otherwise, that await them inside.”

Sounds like a job for the Shinjuku Shark.

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45. 7 Men Poisoned by Blowfish Testicles

You’d think people would learn that some things are just not meant for human consumption.

Image: Puffer fish slices

From MSNBC:

“[Police official] Iwase said the seven men ordered sashimi and grilled blowfish testicles at the restaurant Monday night.

Shortly after, they developed limb paralysis and breathing trouble and started to lose consciousness — typical signs of blowfish poisoning — and were rushed to a hospital for treatment, Iwase said.

A 68-year-old diner remained hospitalized in critical condition with respiratory failure and two others, aged 55 and 69, were in serious condition, he said.”

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46. Court Rules Manga Artist Can Keep Candy Cane-Colored House

The Tokyo District Court ruled that 72-year-old manga artist Kazuo Umezu’s red-and-white-striped house does not interfere with the landscape, overruling complaints from neighbors.

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From Mainichi Daily News:

“‘The coloring does catch the eye of those living around it, but it can’t be said it destroys the harmony of the landscape,’ the judge said.

Umezu, who listened to the ruling wearing a red-and-white horizontal striped tie, indicated he was happy with the decision.”

And you thought your neighbors were pushy. I’d love to live in a neighborhood that makes me think I’m in Candyland.

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47. UPDATE: Bras for Boys: Now with Video

As we reported before, bras for men are a hot-selling item. I was hoping for pics; this is even better.

Via Reuters.

Gotta love the intrepid reporter trying one on for himself. I think it looks quite sexy.

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48. Fire! At A… Fire Station!

The benchwarmer for a fire station in Nagoya was cooking a meal for his comrades when he was called out to respond to a call - and left the stove on, causing the station to catch fire.

From Yahoo news:

“Ten fire trucks from other stations put out the fire.
“We are an institute that should be in a position to educate people about fire, so we are extremely sorry that such an incident happened,” Hori said, adding that they would consider ordering-in for dinner from now on.”

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49. Emoji: Emoticon App For Your iPhone

This is a charming emoji (Japanese emoticon) conversation (with translation) from two iPhone users, posted on Gizmodo.

emoji_sms

“So here’s Jason and I talking about our daily routines. My day goes something like this: morning set with egg and pillowy Japanese white bread, then onto a nice onigiri/sushi/beer lunch, a snack at MacDo, my evening meals I take in a steaming bowl with strawberry shortcake on the side, then, after my post-prandial cig, a quick visit to my man uptown, where a sack of money is exchanged for an intravenous ride on the white dragon (a cure for indigestion if anything). Sleep, glorious sleep.

Then Jason’s all like: yeah, I am awoken, weeping, by my Arab medical staff. After my morning feats of strength, I say goodbye to the wife and have breakfast, dining on monkey brains, cake (me too!) and beer. Then I rocket over to see what’s popping in the baby-changing area (over 18 not allowed), which also happens to be a handicapped bathroom. After some currency conversions and a quick check of my 3G signal strength (it is OK, and NEW), off come the suit and tie and on goes the bikini, when the real fun begins.”

The app is Typing Genius, and is available from the iTunes store.

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50. Pots of Pot Found In Gutted House

Police found a massive stash of cannabis in a house that was ravaged by a fire last month in Gunma Prefecture in Japan.

From Japan Today:

“Police suspect the burned house was used to grow cannabis and are searching for those who regularly visited the location, the sources said.

According to a neighbor, the house had been shuttered all day long since around October 2007, and several people came in and out. These people told the neighboring residents they were involved in the recycling business. The house burned down on the morning of Jan 15, according to police.”

The police attempted to interview neighbors who witnessed the blaze, but they were too busy eating mac & cheese in green bowls and watching The Wizard of Oz on mute with Dark Side of the Moon blasting from the stereo.

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