Monday, April 28, 2008
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
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
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
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: