Friday, May 30, 2008

Houston We Have A Drinking Problem

What is the only thing better than beer?


AP has the story here.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

These are a Few of my Favorite Places

Welcome to Yagishiri Island. What's so great about this place? Not much, unless you have a really juvenile sense of humor like I do and love asses. What's the connection? Well, if you play fast and loose with the rules of translation, as I do, the kanji for Yagishiri means FRIED ASS. LOVE IT!

YAGI (usually read as YAKI), meaning FRIED: 焼

SHIRI, meaning ASS: 尻

Put them together and what do you get?


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

More Kimono Girls Than You Can Shake A Bou At

Like manga? Like girls wearing kimono? This guy's blog contains more kimono girls than seijinshiki. Enjoy!

PS. This is BSFW (Barely Safe For Work) so don't say I didn't warn you.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I just love the new "good manner" campaign that Tokyo Metro is running on its trains. What the f#$% is that lady doing to herself?!

And this one, this one looks kind of dirty:

Are people actually DOING these unspeakable things on the subways? What is the world coming to? Thank GOD I can ride my bike to work!


We haven't seen real butter in weeks. What the hell is going on here Japan?

Japan running short of butter
By Mari Yamaguchi


Japan has so far escaped the shortages of rice besetting other nations, but it’s running out of a daily staple once associated with foreigners: butter.The Farm Ministry said Thursday it ordered the nation’s four major dairy producers to churn out more butter to counter a 230-ton shortage.The staple—which has grown in popularity in recent decades as more Japanese turn to eating bread—is disappearing fast from store shelves amid production cutbacks and growing demand for domestic butter.Drought in Australia—which pushed up the cost of cattle feed—and bulging demand for butter elsewhere in Asia are making butter imports more expensive, and shoppers are turning to made-in-Japan butter, said Agriculture Ministry official Tsuyoshi Hashimoto.The butter shortage is ironic in Japan, where Western foreigners centuries ago were told they “smelled of butter.”Today, Japanese households—not including bakery chains or other businesses—consume about 13,800 tons of butter a year.The Agriculture Ministry asked Meiji Dairies Corp, Snow Brand Milk Products Co, Yotsuba Inc and Morinaga Milk Industry Co to release inventory and boost production by up to 20% of their monthly average.“We should go ahead and increase the domestic production, and if that’s not enough we will have to consider a next step, such as making emergency imports,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura.Retailers have been running out of butter because of domestic raw milk production cuts by dairy farmers on Japan’s northern Hokkaido, amid flagging milk consumption in recent years. In the past few years, they had to dump thousands of tons of drinking milk.Manufacturers have also allocated more raw milk to fresh cream and milk-based drinks, which can sell at higher prices than butter.Hashimoto said the butter shortage might have escalated because consumers overreacted and rushed to grocery markets to stock up.Officials were hoping the shortage would subside with a planned price hike of the product by 8% to 10% beginning early May.“The bottom line is, however, butter is not our staple food,” Hashimoto said. “Personally, I can happily switch to margarine.”

Japan Struggles to Reach World Cup

Honestly I'd never even heard of this until the Japan Times did a feature on some local World Cup hopefuls. What can you do to support your local team? Buy copies of THE BIG ISSUE when you see them!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Star Wars for Japanophiles

All sorts of great stuff for NERDS like you and me this week.. Last year the DARTH VADER SAMURAI ARMOR was making the blog rounds. It's still on sale at Tokyu Hands, along with all sorts of sundry items like soy sauce bottles and box lunch wraps. Check it out at Nigiwai Showten!!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Hey I know that guy!

Well, I don't know him PERSONALLY but Yoshihara Yoshindo is one of the featured bladesmiths in our book "KATANA: THE BOOK OF JAPANESE BLADES." (Full disclosure: this book is our book and we want you to buy it!) The Japan Times has done a piece on him, which you can read here:

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Creepier than Milken's S&L Empire

I tried to convince the little lady that we needed to have this in our house but she refused, on the grounds that it was horrifying. So we went with the Hello Kitty ATM instead. There's a term for this kind of creepiness: THE UNCANNY VALLEY!!!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Japanese restaurant with MONKEY WAITER!!!

Unbelievable. Why am I just hearing about this now? He's a monkey, and he works in a restaurant. His name is Yacchan, and he's been doing this since he was five years old. (That's roughly 18 in monkey-years so there is no need to get the child welfare people involved, right?) Apparently the owner of this restaurant has been keeping him as a pet, but one day the little scamp decided to monkey-do as he'd been monkey-seeing since he was little. Is he just aping his master? Is he just faking like he knows what he's doing? Well, when you ask him for a beer, he opens the fridge and brings it to you! Sounds to me like he knows what he's doing. As I am not scared of monkey germs, nor vicious monkey assaults, I will venture up to Tochigi Prefecture one of these days and see what the real deal is..

Yacchan was featured on the program NANI KORE last night. Hopefully clips will pop up on youtube soon!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


The Japanese have a long and impressive track record when it comes to robots. From Mechagodzilla, who destroyed entire cities, to that car-building robot who destroyed America's automobile industry, Japan does robots better than any other country in the world. In fact, the only category that Japan lags in is the coining of the term "robot."

Anyway the latest awesome robot offering comes from the boys at Osaka-based ROBOTFORCE, who cleaned up at last year's BAKAROBO competition. This competition, produced by the inimitable MAYWA DENKI boys, showcases the best, most adorable and more importantly the most useless robots in town. This particular robot is called "PUSH KUN," and he looks like an ultra-kawaii R2-D2 who can move more efficiently than anything that shit-head Lucas ever imagined. He can actually pick stuff up with his little limbs. The googly eyes and awkward waddle make this robot WAY less creepy than some of the other, more functional models out there like BigDog, whose loping gait is so creepy it gave me nightmares. Check out Push Kun's adorable little video here:

Thanks/Damn you to PINK TENTACLE blog who scooped us on this. If only we were so on top of things! Also, thanks to WTF Costumes for letting me steal their image!*

*Not that I asked for permission first. Sorry guys!

Friday, April 11, 2008


SPEED RACER THE MOVIE:THE BLOG has footage of the updated Hollywood version of the beloved anime of yesteryear. Like lots of kids in the greater Philadelphia area I would get up and watch this over breakfast, and it holds a special place in my heart. I don't think this movie will win over very many old fans, although tons of people like me will fork over money to see it.* The whole thing looks like it was filmed in a psychedelic vomitorium, and all the actors speak English fluently (I think). I would have been MUCH happier if they'd filmed it in Japanese and gotten the old voice actors to over-dub it as frenetically as possible. God bless you Peter Fernandez!

*LIKE me. Chances are I will not be seeing this.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Do you like baseball? We do. Especially Japanese Pro Baseball, warts and all. Now I personally am not a fan (Go Swallows!), but some of the most rabid baseball maniacs in this country are Hanshin Tigers supporters. They are crazy and they drink and they dive into rivers so polluted that the Toxic Avenger would balk at them. Anyway Tigers fans are bummed because their team will never win another championship again. Why? Because of COLONEL SANDERS! It seems that on the night of the Tigers' last championship victory some overzealous fans stole a statue of the Colonel from a local KFC and tossed it into a canal. The remorseful fans searched and searched but the Colonel had disappeared into thin air! The Tigers haven't won a championship since. Locals believe that until the statue turns up, the Tigers' dry spell will continue. Case in point: the last time they made it to a championship they were swept by the lowly CHIBA LOTTE MARINES. Chances are the same thing will happen this season too. In conclusion: SUX2BU, Hanshin Fans!

Here's a really old story about it from 2003. Nothing has changed since then, so you don't have to worry about looking dumb in front of your pedantic sports-otaku friends.

(The incredibly creepy picture above is courtesy of Wikipedia:)

PS. If you are disappointed by the total lack of actual spookiness in this blog entry, I would like to direct you to stories about the ultra-spooky SKINWALKER RANCH in Utah. (WARNING: NO JAPAN CONTENT ALSO VERY SCARY)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Maybe I blog about animals a bit too much in here but as you know the Japanese love them even more than I do. Especially when they do something adorable, like stand on their hind legs or grasp their little heads in agony. This particular bear (not pictured above, by the way) lives in Hiroshima, and knows KUNG FU! He has a stick, and he knows how to use it! It seems that hunters killed his parents and stuck the little guy in a zoo. These days he's biding his time, planning his vengeance. Asahi Shimbun has the story here: Video can be found here:

Monday, April 7, 2008

All dressed up for ROMANCE (penguin edition)

Penguins at Matsue Vogel Park in Shimane Prefecture, Japan, have a fetish. A dirty, filthy foot fetish. It seems that the penguins think they white rubber boots of their keepers are actually LADY PENGUINS, and are attempting to mate with them. As anyone who has ever been mounted by an amorous dog can tell you, this is really gross. Unless it happens to someone else, in which case it's hilarious! Predictably, business has been booming for the zoo, much to the chagrin of the people wearing the boots. The Asahi Shimbun has the story here:

Friday, March 28, 2008


"Namakura Gatana" (The Dull Katana) is not the oldest animated feature from Japan (that honor belongs to Imokawa Mukuzo Genkanban no Maki), but it's certainly close. First screened in 1917, it was recently rediscovered sitting in a box in Osaka and is ready for screening once again、along with an animated movie from the following year, "Urashima Taro."

The Asahi Shimbun has the story here:

Monday, March 24, 2008


Folks in Kamiigusa, in the western suburbs of Tokyo, have erected an enormous bronze GUNDAM in front of their local train station in a desperate attempt to attract visitors. I have passed through Kamiigusa before, and don't really know much about the place, except that rent is cheap. Not nearly as cheap as Okayama prefecture however, which has an even more impressive gundam to watch over it. Good luck Kamiigusa!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Cuddly Politicians

While he isn't as sexy as some recently elected politicians, Doraemon has the likability factor, and levels of popular acceptance that even the most highly regarded politicians in Japan can dream of achieving. Never mind the fact that he's a cartoon; Doraemon is Japan's newest ambassador to the world.

The Daily Yomiuri has the story here.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Tsuyoshi

Tsuyoshi is a bear. Not an ordinary bear however. He is the world's most messed up, depressed bear and he's in love. The Asahi Shimbun has the story here:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


By now I'm sure most of you have heard of Obama. He wants to be the President of America! Now, lots of people want to be the President of America, but very few of them are not actually stupid, mentally ill or foreign. Unlike most of the other people that I just hyperlinked, Obama actually has a pretty good shot. He will however need all the help he can get to take the throne. The town of Obama, Japan, has already made up their mind as to who to vote for, and the answer, suprisingly enough, is HILLARY! Just kidding. They would love to see Obama win. Unfortunately Japanese people are not allowed to vote in American elections. They can however offer moral support and front-page news for those slow-news-days when lazy journalists trundle out their most time-honored cliches. The truth is, Obama voting for Obama is not news. It's barely even human-interest. The real question in my mind is this:

Who will Usa be voting for?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Katana is NOT a Toy

Let the buyer beware..

Basically, if you are going to buy a crappy fake katana make sure you don't go around smacking things with it.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Ninja School

The Asahi Shinbun goes to Ninja School, and finds out that it's mostly white guys. Who doesn't love ninjas? The Japanese, apparently. It has, I suppose, become a bit of a cliche for westerners to gush about these masked killers but, like sumo, the locals just don't seem to go for it anymore. Too caught up in western sports, Japanese kids no longer have time for shuriken, water-walking and opinion polls. Opinion polls? No, seriously, wikipedia swears its true. Despite the best efforts of a handful of dedicated ninja, it seems to be going the way of the rest of old Japan (namely , although it is, apparently, still possible to meet a ninja on the street. Godspeed you black-clad death-bringers!!