Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday Links-san 6-29-2007

Lets start off this installment by learning a little about sumo from Samurai Dave and the Roving Ronin Report:

You know what? Samurai Dave is so awesome that we must enjoy his Eclectic Cultural Montage as well:

Next time I go to Japan I really want to check out the racing samurai and yabusame. Damn, this thing is turning into YouTubesday Two, Samurai Dave Boogaloo.

And the photo of the week from Fushmi Inari brought to you by Evan Pike and Japan Probe.

Speaking of torii, here is an interesting use for them: fighting litter.

One of the things I love about the Japanese is their willingness to enthusiastically embrace whatever kink gets them off. The most recent example is the Heroine Tokusatsu Kenkyujo (Heroine Special Effects Laboratory) which has opened in Akihabara. This is a store which caters to those of you obsessed with either Yellow Ranger or Pink Ranger. Go learn more from the undisputed Otaku-king Patrick at An Eternal Thought in the Mind of Godzilla.

And then there is this sort of cringe-worthy crap. (And by crap I mean the whole love doll thing, not Lee's frackin' hilarious coverage of said phenomena.)

Well, while we are on the subject of Japanese sexuality I might as well point out this bit from Japundit about love hotels. Much like the capsule hotel, I wanted to stay in one of these overnight while I was in Tokyo just so I could say I did, but I never really got around to doing it. The next time I go I will track one down and let you kids know what it was like.

Now I like melons as much as the next guy but square melons? For $105 a pop? That's a bit much for my taste.

Is it stupid that I am proud this is happening in Texas? I also like the snotty final quote in the article.

During my brief stay in Tokyo (in the pleasingly gaijin-scale and fairly inexpensive Tokyu Stay Monzen-Nakacho) I was confronted by a toilet with WAY more buttons than toilets are supposed to have. Since there were no instructions in English, or Engrish, and the pictograms were vague at best I did not avail myself of the bonus features of the toilet. Now the bonus features are coming around the Pacific Rim thanks to Toto with their initial marketing push being referred to in some circles as "Moons Over Manhattan" for obvious reasons. Thanks for the heads up JP!

Also while in Japan I was complimented on my ability to use chopsticks, which is apparently something that not all Japanese bother to learn anymore. I assure you I could not do this.

According to this piece over at Japan Probe I have seen 22 out of the top 50 anime movie/series as recently ranked in a poll conducted by Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs. This includes all but three of the top 15. I thought "My Neighbor Totoro," my favorite anime of all time, would have scored higher and I am somewhat surprised that "Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack" even made the list, even though I really enjoy that movie as well. My one question about this list is where is the Kenichi Sonoda love? I get that "Riding Bean" and the various entries in the "Gall Force" saga are no masterpieces, but surely the original "Bubblegum Crisis" is worthy of mentioning, particularly in a list where crap like "Dragon Ball" ends up in the top 10. Japan Probe also has a list of the top 50 manga however I have only ever read something like four of the series on the list and then just issues here and there. I do wonder whose version of "The Tale of Genji" they are talking about on this list as I imagine there are multiple manga versions of this tale floating around out there.

Here is an interesting article from Japundit about getting your license to drive in Japan, which totally needs to be the sequel to the inevitably overrated Corey-fest that was 1988's "License to Drive."

Want some more "fear the gaijin" crap? How about this from Japundit about foreign wives being a security concern? Not enough for you? Read and learn how Brazilians are prone to commit crimes. If I remember correctly Brazil has one of the largest Japanese communities outside Japan so when the article refers to the man in question as being Japanese-Brazilian, he could be ethnically pure Japanese from Brazil. Here is the same bit from Japan Probe along with an article discussing why Japan does not have anti-discrimination laws. I particularly like how the demand for anti-discrimination legislation is "the totalitarianism of developed countries." To me this infers that the author of that particular statement thinks of Japan as being separate from the developed countries. I do like the phrase though, and may use it from time to time, particularly when I have to discuss the World Bank or IMF, but I really thought equality and egalitarian societies was something we could all get behind, at least in theory.

I am starting to be less and less amused by the t-shirts I am seeing out of Japan however this one? It is too fabulous not to share.

Okay this one made me chuckle as well. Perhaps I spoke too soon.

In this case I have but one question framed in the immortal words of Luke Cage. "Where's my money, honey?"

This is just an interesting FYI on the status of Iwo Jima.

I thought this was an interesting little survey and I agree with most of them but I have never heard the term folksonomy before.

Last week I wrote a comment about the Japanese struggling with their history, particularly with atrocities they may have committed. I rewrote my initial comment to cut out the vitriol since every nation struggles with history and the nature of the news and internet being what they are ensures that only the most outrageous news makes it to my door. Then I read crap like this. Oh wait! That was a spoof of this article which is 100% serious and just about as dumb.
(HT to Clayotnian over at Japan Probe.)

While we are on WWII-related rants here is an interesting article about the former Taiwanese President's plan to visit the Yasukuni Shrine. This is the shrine in Tokyo where the soldiers who died in service to the Emperor are enshrined, including several war criminals. There were howls of protest from China, South Korea, and Taiwan as well as domestically every time former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi would visit the shrine. The shrine has become a source of considerable controversy in the region and I think President's plan to visit is a very interesting development. Ultimately I have split feelings about the shrine and what it represents. On the one hand any person who gives their life in service to their homeland is deserving of recognition and a certain amount of veneration, however when you start enshrining convicted war criminals like Hideki Tojo and Iwane Matsui then a line has been crossed.

And then there is this sort of conspiracy theory crap which comes out of some of Japan's neighbors. As much as I find East Asia a fascinating place, it really pisses me off some times. At what point do you just get over it and roll on? Every nation has been a dick to its neighbors at one time or another. Heck, we manage to be dickish to just about everyone whether they are a neighbor or not, but at some point you have to forget these 60-year-old slights and look forward.

AHHHHH! More jingoistic crap! How does one manage to conflate patriotism with anti-anythingism?

Articles like this are why I think the rest of Asia is being dumb and building a strawman out of Japanese militarism. Apparently there is a constitutional issue with the use of weapons against animals. And besides, if your tanks are smaller than a schoolgirl, who gives a crap if you invade? All the invadee has to do is strap on their rubber kaiju-suit and lay waste.

One of the biggest issues, at least for right now, is the Imperial Japanese Army's use of forced prostitution to provide their soldiers with "comfort women." Basically Korea and China accuse Japan of forcing women into working as prostitutes at military brothels for off-duty servicemen. The Japanese response is generally split between outright denial and mealy-mouthed apologies. (This is an over-simplification of the issue and response but it is enough for you to appreciate what is going on.) Seems like this would be something for Japan and her neighbors to work out, unless you are Representative Mike Honda from California's 15th District whose Resolution 121 demands Japan apologize for its use of comfort women. What a complete waste of time. Shouldn't we be spending more time worrying about our own shit instead of getting all Steve Irwin on Japan? I seem to recall we have plenty of problems here at home like a war in Iraq, a war in Afghanistan, people without health care, and an executive branch which recently engaged in a bit of asexual reproduction and budded a whole new branch of government I like to think of as the Dick Branch. We won't get into the very good arguments made by Liberal Japan's Matt Dioguardi about the duty of the people to find the truth and just get to the point that IT IS NOT ANY OF OUR BUSINESS WHAT JAPAN DOES REGARDING THIS ISSUE.

Well, now that we are all angry about thing over which we really have no control let us return to last week's story about Miss Universe Riyo Mori. Here is an article discussing her triumphant return to Japan which drags out the "she's not Japanese enough" complaint and then here is an article where she discusses the possibility of her appearing in the next season of "Heroes." All I have to say about that is, "Yes please."

I feel the need to share this video under the title "Japanese Rocket Science." I love how dramatic the music is in this clip. It makes everything seem so damn important. And who knew Cushmans could go that fast?

This is pretty awesome. In fact it is so awesome that I am just going to let you admire its majesty. Go on ADMIRE!

Just so you know, we're not the only nation facing the spectre of illegal immigration. (That is sarcasm BTW. I do not think illegal immigration is quite the issue some politicians want to make it out to be.)

If this is a remote control for my co-workers I so want one.

Fear the Shiri-Kajiri Mushi (Ass-Biting Bug) which apparently runs between shows on NHK. Sweet monkey that is one f-ed up cartoon!
(HT to Matt Alt over at AltJapan.)

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