Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Tokyo Revisited Day 2

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Ultra_John

Monday morning I woke at 8am, eager to tackle Tokyo but undecided on approach. The first adventure of the morning that faced me was navigating Jon’s apartment’s toiletries. Unlike a Western household or even the typical Western-style hotels that dot Tokyo, Jon’s Japanese apartment housed a narrow room with a bidet toilet, and nothing else, and a separate room with a small sink beside a fiberglass box that served as bathtub and shower. Adjusting the faucet on the sink in one direction began a flow of water into the sink. Adjustment in the opposite direction began water flow to the hand shower.

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Tokyo Revisited Day 1

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

My first visit to Tokyo since August 2007 began with my arrival at the Tampa International Airport at 6:30am on Saturday, June 21st. Passing through the security check took relatively little time, for me at least. I noticed beside me a mother with two young children who put their plastic bottles of water through the X-ray scanner and got scolded by the transit authority agent who vehement informed them of the “no liquid in plastic bottles” rule since the family had obviously overlooked or ignored all of the posted signs and the collection barrels for plastic beverage bottles on the way up to the X-ray stations. So I soon found myself at my gate, hearing the sounds of The Ben Folds Five over the intercom and facing a 90 minute wait until my JetBlue flight to New York’s JFK airport boarded and departed.

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Koji Wakamatsu Dead at 76

Friday, October 19th, 2012

76 year-old legendary Japanese new wave director Koji Wakamatsu passed away on Wedensday, October 17, after being hit by a Taxi last Friday. Just two weeks ago Wakamatsu was named Asian Filmmaker of the Year at the Busan Film Festival in South Korea. His latest film, The Millennial Rapture, premiered at the Venice International Film Festival last month. Wakamatsu began his filmmaking career with acclaimed, provocative pinku films including Go Go Second Time Virgin (1969) and Ecstasy of the Angels (1972). In more recent years Wakamatsu turned to making eclectic, critically acclaimed dramatic films. The director helmed over 100 films during his career.

Source: Twitch

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Japan Passes Digital Piracy Law

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Japan’s House of Councillors formally approved a new copyright enforcement law on Wednesday that includes provisions criminalizing any circumvention of digital copy protection and adding penalties of up to two-years of imprisonment and two million yen in fines for knowingly downloading copyrighted material without authorization. The law will go into effect on October 1.

This new law criminalizes “ripping” personal copies of commercial DVDs and Blu-rays with copy protection, and outlaws the Japanese possession of “region free” DVD and Blu-ray players and software that bypasses media copy protection and region restrictions.

Source: Anime News Network

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Taiji Dead at 45

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Former X Japan and Loudness bass player Taiji Sawada passed away at age 45 on Saturday, July 17. Reportedly, Taiji was involved in an “incident” involving a female passenger and a female flight attendant during an air flight from Japan to Saipan. Taiji was arrested upon arriving in Saipan. After several days in jail, Taiji attempted to commit suicide on the evening of July 15. After being pronounced brain-dead at the Commonwealth Health Center, his family requested that he be removed from life-support.

If, as news seems to suggest, Taiji hanged himself in jail, he would be the second X Japan member to commit suicide by hanging following Hideto “Hide” Matsumoto’s death on May 2, 1998.

Source: Anime News Network & Tokyograph

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GACKT in Bunraku

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Popular Japanese vocalist GACKT makes his English language acting debut in director Guy Moshe’s upcoming action/fantasy film Bunraku. The samurai western starring Gackt, Josh Hartnett, Woody Harrelson, Ron Perlman, and Demi Moore will premiere at the AM2 convention in Los Angeles, California, this weekend.

Source: Twitch

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8.9 Earthquake & Tsunami Hit Japan

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Our sincere sympathies and best wishes go out to everyone impacted by the tremendous earthquake and subsequent flooding that ravaged Japan several hours ago.

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High Tech Toilets Take Tokyo

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article on the prevelance of high-tech bidet toilets in Japan.

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X Japan Signs With EMI

Friday, January 28th, 2011

X Japan has signed a three-year manufacturing and distribution contract with EMI Music. EMI will distribute “Jade” as the group’s first American single release on March 15. The band is in studio now working on an album now tentatively scheduled for release this summer. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with X Japan. They have cultivated a strong following in the U.S. and we look forward to working with them, helping to reach even more fans,” said EMI Music Services North America Executive Vice President Dominic Pandiscia. X Japan band leader Yoshiki explained, “X Japan’s music is everything from fast, super-heavy rock to ballads with classical piano – all of those elements are what makes X Japan’s music. We don’t play just one kind of music – we want to take people on a journey.”

Half of the songs on the forthcoming album will be culled from the band’s Gold and Platinum Japanese singles; the other half are brand-new songs, and an estimated 95% of the lyrics are being sung in English. “Some of the songs on this new album were originally written with Japanese lyrics,” Yoshiki explained, “So translating them into English has been challenging. For some reason, English needs more words, so I ended up re-writing many of the lyrics but kept the same message.”

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Three Lost Kurosawa Scripts Discovered

Friday, October 29th, 2010

The Sankei Sports newspaper reports that three scripts from legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa (1910-1998) have recently been rediscovered. All three date from the director’s early career, before he achieved international fame.

The movie script Kanokemaru no Hitobito was discovered at the Shinobu Hashimoto Memorial Hall in Ichikawa, Hyogo, Japan. The script was written by screenwriter and Kurosawa collaborator Shinobu Hashimoto based on an original idea by Kurosawa. The script was planned for a 1951 adaptation starring Toshiro Mifune, but the movie was never shot.

The script for Toho’s collaboratively directed 1946 film Asu wo Tsukuru Hitobito has been rediscovered. Since the film had multiple directors, Kurosawa refused to accept credit for the script during his lifetime.

A script for Kurosawa’s 1942 radio drama Youki na Koujou was discovered in Waseda University’s Tsubochi Memorial Theatre Museum. Kurosawa wrote the play while he was still working as an assistant director.

Source: Tokyograph

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Japan Embracing Bargain Shopping?

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

The néojaponisme blog has published an interesting article examining the diminishing traditional trend of Japanese consumers paying premium prices for “premium” goods and price fixing in the Japanese consumer industry that establishes arbitrary price averages.

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X Japan’s Yoshiki Speaks

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

X Japan co-founder and leader Yoshiki has as special message for American fans:

The official North American X Japan webpage has now launched as well.

I’ll see you at the NYC show on October 11th.

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Post Apocalyptic Tokyo

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

I love Google Reader, easy to stumble across cool stuff all the time… Follow the pic link for more…

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Pink Lady to Reunite

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Pink Lady, the legendary pop music duo of Mitsuyo “Mie” Nemoto and Keiko “Kei” Masuda that topped the Japanese charts from 1976 to 1981 and got immortalized in the 1978 biographical anime TV special Pink Lady Monogatari: Eiko no Tenshitachi, have announced a new comeback. The duo will release a new version of its debut hit single “Pepper Keibu” on September 29. They will release a double disc, 26-song “new vocal best album,” on December 1, and perform live in a concert event on March 31, 2011, the 30th anniversary of their breakup.

Source: Tokyograph

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Tenga to Sponsor Idol Group

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Tenga, the world famous Japanese manufacturer of male masturbation aids, has formally announced plans to sponsor a hip-hop music performance group named “Tengal 6.”

I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with this; it’s just unexpected and a little bit odd for reasons I can’t quite pinpoint.

Source: Canned Dogs

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