dateURLjapan stuffother
04.19.00 cool swedish alphabet cracker server-side geegaw
plus plenty of general obsessing over bokstavskex, swedish alphabet crackers.

[tack själv, Christian S.]

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dark shadows stick theater
i don't know anything about dark shadows, but i appreciate the aesthetic. especially good and strange is dark easter. also unlucky charms. oh, and xmas too, with its spinning heads.

[tip o' the misterpants hat to Laura G.]

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MTV - Russia (unofficial?)
handsome design, disappointing content. it's all in Russian, but mostly it's disappointing that the top 20 includes the likes of limp bizkit, britney spears, the offspring, no doubt, and n'sync.

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unusual uses for sneakers
"Has anyone ever tried using a Teva sandal as a spanking paddle? I tried it last night. They are more stingy that ANY paddle I have EVER tried..."

way too much sneaker info here.

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lots of really good stuff on this site. especially the insane found writing.

[via gmt+9]

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Prime Example
i was sent this from John W. (thanks!), and I can't really top what he wrote about them because it's so dead-on, especially the part about them being "viscerally irritating":

"There is so much concentrated hideousness here, it kind of leaves you woozy. I'm sorry for this fragmented description but all I can say is: There is something viscerally irritating about them and their site; you'll want to punch them. I don't mean to go on and on, but it looks like they had the idea: One Skinny Guy + One Fatty = Funny. The actual name of their revue is 'Let's Skit Crazy!', but I believe it's more commonly called 'Jesus! What a Couple of Assholes'."

and there's no way i'm going to listen to their mp3s.
Japan has 4 seasons.
Guide books mention how proud Japanese people are about the fact that Japan has 4 (FOUR!) seasons. And people here really are into that. It's true.

It's such an obvious source of pride that whenever the topic comes up (surprisingly often), I hate to burst their bubble by telling them that the way our planet's set up, pretty much all places have 4 seasons.

(Except for San Francisco, which has only 2: rainy winter and foggy rest of the year, oh and maybe one nice warm week in the summer but that barely counts as a season.)
tip for getting food into belly: use mouth hole!
that's my new favorite catch-phrase that i made up friday. so far it's been pretty handy. here it is again.

tip for getting food into belly: use mouth hole!

please help me to run it into the ground through overuse.

usage recommendations:
  • email Subject line
  • starting a conversation or especially ending one
  • as an alternative to saying a prayer before dinner
  • smartass answer to unrelated question (i.e. Person 1: The bus is late and I really need to be at work by 9, what should I do? You: Use mouth hole.)
  • and generally being irritating
hello kitty toilet paper
kawaii, ne?

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happy glasses
pictures from a profile on a business that makes happy glasses.

04.15.00 meir yedid magic
whoever said "magic is a sleazy, sleazy business full of sleazy-looking men" had probably just finished looking at meir yedid's magic site.

there you can see the history of magic posters which are all cheesey good. most relevant to our interests: Princess Tenko--bad bad japanese magician.

also: 5 minutes with a pocket handkerchief.

i'll be right down, i just need 5 minutes with a pocket handkerchief.

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xena dolls
that don't look like xena, plus a "bizarre Xena knockoff... with a black plastic spiderweb shield and what appears to be a pair of garden shears!"

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liquors of korea
best of show: bear bones.
Pocky for Men, explained
Japanese people believe that women like food sweeter than men. so Pocky for Men is for men because it's semi-sweet chocolate.

This, a Japanese friend explained to me, is also why women like Diet Coke more than men. it tastes sweeter.

This friend has been to the US and is therefore familiar with Diet Coke (not to mention American Diet Coke drinking patterns by gender). Diet Coke is not too easy to find here--it only just arrived last summer. prior to that, available a few places was Coke Light, whatever that is. I know some countries have Coke Light, but I always just thought it was just a different name for Diet Coke. Here, both are available. So I dunno.

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right now it's the tail end of prime cherry-blossom viewing. it's also cloudy. so, it's hanagumori! hana = flower. kumori (or gumori) = cloudy weather.

surprisingly (to me anyway), this is a desirable thing. you want it to be cloudy so you get the subtle pink cherry blossom, white sky combination. the pink in front of a blue sky contrasts too sharply. so hanagumori (cloudy flower weather) is good!

rain, however, is bad because it makes the cherry blossoms go away sooner.

04.14.00 snakerobots!
movie clips of actual snakerobots in action!

cool that you can see the technological progress as well: each year the snakerobot prototype gets better. Hasn't Dr. Gavin Miller seen Terminator? Doesn't he know what will happen when the snakerobot becomes self-aware?

bonus: crazy snake poem.
Kyoto people vs Tokyo people
According to a lifelong Kyoto resident: Tokyo people think they're hotshots because Tokyo is the capitol of Japan. But they are not even. (Not a direct quote.) Tokyo has only been the capitol for a measly 140 years. And Kyoto was the capitol for almost 1000 years. So, get down off your high horse Tokyo people. You can get back on it in 860 years, okay.

04.13.00 the state of bagels in japan
from the daily yomiuri.

"Just two years ago, the subtitler for the movie You've Got Mail had to translate 'bagel' into plain old 'bread' just to be on the safe side."

to read this article, you might think that it's easy to find good bagels in japan. i would argue that this is not the case.

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big brother
Here's where good old Zlatko is from--a German TV show like 'Real World' or 'Real World on that island' or whatever. And poor poor Zlatko has already been axed.

a reader (Ian) writes (ha, first time i've used that phrase. i like it. sounds like i'm hosting a show. i'll say it again--a reader writes):

"[Zlatko] is (was) actually on a show called 'Big Brother,' a German show that has about ten people locked in a house (tv studio) for 100 days....

About 100 cameras film everything in the house (except the shower) 24 hours a day. The residents must nominate 2 people every few weeks to move out, and the public votes to remove one of the nominees. The last one in the house gets 250k marks or something..."

also, 2 residents are having sex. infrared cameras film them. and it's shown on German TV.

big brother is coming to the US. [via another weblog--i'm sorry i forgot. tell me and i'll credit you. or you can just kick me in the gut. one free kick. why not?]

and here's's big brother status report (in German, ya.)

(this entry had 7 sets of parentheses and 2 sets of brackets. i think there's something wrong with me.)

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not much to see here, just a great domain name.

"specializing in men's treasures." (!)

[from fuzzywuzzy]

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homepage i kind of liked--classic grey. i guess it was featured in a dave barry article and won a bunch of those awards they used to give web pages back in the 90s. go there for the bbq explosion pictures.

[via Patrick, i think.]
"No stand-in order from Obuchi: Aoki"
i dunno how closely anyone else is following the news in japan, but craziness has been going down here.
  1. Prime Minister Obuchi had a stroke.
  2. At (what everyone thought was) Obuchi's request before slipping into a coma, Chief Cabinet Minister Aoki took over as Prime Minister.
  3. First thing Aoki did was to work with his party, in hush-hush meetings which have been roundly criticized for being so secretive and closed, to find someone else to be Prime Minister--Yoshito Mori.
  4. now, Aoki has admitted to lying about the part where Obuchi asked him to be Prime Minister.
To his credit, Aoki didn't stay Prime Minister. But still--he obtained the highest office in the country by lying and claiming that a very sick man said something he didn't say. That's no good. Really. Seriously. You can't just go and do that.

And the craziest thing is that The Japan Times reported that Aoki lied in a smallish article on page 2. No one cares. I think in the US, this would maybe warrant a headline, or would at the very least, it'd be on page 1. Crazy. Crazy. Crazy.

(Granted, Americans get off on busting politicians, and Japanese people/press, don't. But still!)

now, at least a succession list is planned.

but crazy.

sounds like a bad tv movie or after school special (but with like class president or something in the case of the after school special).

from vibrator cozies to sock-monkey jackets, get it all at superhappybunny.

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Die ultimative Zlatko Fanpage!!
The greatest German TV star from Macedonia.

"Zlatko has the best wood chopping techniques." Yes, yes, what the hell?

Check out the Zlat-galerie for sure. (this picture rules.)

also, download a Zlatklock and make everyone else jealous.

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red cro$s
little site devoted to pre-name change Redd Kross. good old Redd Kross, should be superstars but aren't.

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Redd Kross: Irrepressible Jokesters
old interview which mentions a pretty great prank involving Corey Haim and Corey Feldman, and an insane-sounding "Go-Gos private video."
yet another public restroom incident (sorry, hopefully the last one)
before you push the button to flush the toilet, always, always, ALWAYS make sure that it's actually the button to flush the toilet and not the "i've fallen and i can't get up" alarm button.

Sometimes both buttons are all in Kanji, so good luck figuring it out. Hint: the button you don't want is probably red. If you mess up, this button cannot be "unpushed."

Someone (initials: m.p.) pushed the wrong button and instead of the toilet flushing, a really really loud alarm sounded throughout the bathroom and in the mall as well. And someone (m.p.) had to (flush, then) run out of the stall as fast as he could (and wash his hands--always) and scurry past the 4 uniformed people on their way in to to help the unfortunate soul who they assumed to be in trouble in the bathroom.

seriously, don't let this happen to you. and if it does happen, run. if confronted, be ready with your best "i'm just a dumb foreigner" reaction.

04.10.00 chack
Chack is brilliant. Please take a moment to admire his drawings of cute animals attacking children. All bloody and insane. But still cute. Brilliant!

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Tad's Illustration
a friend of Chack's? clean friendly line drawings of baseball and americana. good strange stuff.

(Chack and Tad were both selling postcards on the street in Osaka.)

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Koji Ishikawa's Digital Illustration Gallery
cute japanese illustration. not crazy like the above two. just cute! kitties, doggies, etc.

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maniackers design
their design work is really cool. plus they've got some nice romanji, hiragana, and katakana fonts.

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exam time
don't copy off your neighbor.

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Lars Hanberg
"If you're looking for a Swedish karaoke version of "Pictures of Matchstick Men" well, look no further..."

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lets get quo in the guinness book
"We might not be 'hip' or 'in' one of those precious 'target groups', but we're still here, right?"
Muji bins
there's this fairly popular store in Japan called Muji. And they have stainless steel stuff, simple well-designed clothes, food, stationery, bed linens and shelves and boxes for storage and to organize your home or office. (Kind of Ikea-ish but neutral colors.)

Anyway, one thing they have at some stores is rice and cereal and other food in bulk bins--just like in America and Europe. The funny thing is that outside of Japan, bulk bins are a nice option because they use less packaging and bulk foods are a little bit cheaper. Here, they're just trendy. (Trendy because people have seen them in the US or on TV.)

And, because they're trendy, bulk foods are actually more expensive. Plus when you take your stuff up to the register, they'll be sure to wrap your purchase in lots and lots of extra packaging!
free idea: gym-power!
People go to gyms to expend energy. So, why not rig exercise equipment to collect that same energy?

Tangential idea which is perhaps less viable: actually have health club members harnessed to pull buses. It's a win-win-win! Members get exercise; health club gets membership dues; transportation industry gets free energy.
04.07.00 Stefan's photos from Japan Nite at CBGB's also, here's an old Mummy the Peepshow gig in Osaka (which i've linked to before). here it is again to show that they can be really fun when they want. kneepad indie rockin!

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Roach ad alarms viewers

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Star Wars Episode 1 spoof
from the French & Saunders Xmas special on BBC 1. the laugh track is pretty annoying but this definitely has it's moments if 18Mb isn't too painful for you.

nice attention to detail. and obviously they had a bit of the budget for this thing.

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lots more star wars clips
most noteworthy clips:
(this mtv clip and the above French and Saunders thing serve to show that yoda, although small in stature, is a giant source of comedic material. comedians, take note!)

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commerce alley
yikes. i'm afraid if i wander down commerce alley, a clown will jump out and beat the crap out of me.

(mostly broken links, which are somehow less disappointing than the links that work.)
internet coffee
this is the coffee i start my day with every day at work. it's really bitter and awful. makes me bitter and awful.