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Saturday, November 18, 2017

1970 Japanese Lingerie Advertisement

What we have here, is, if you can believe it, a failure to communicate.

I recently fell down the rabbit hole looking for Alice when I came upon the magazine advertisement pictured above.

It’s a 1970 advertisement featuring a very sexy Japanese woman, which caught my eye… 1970… certainly… quite the radical shift from how companies were portraying the women of Japan in advertisements just a few years earlier… all done up in hard-to-unwrap kimono.

The plural of kimono is kimono…. like it would be for everything in Japan of which there is a multiple. There is no plural form. You could say there are many kimono, or there are 12 kimono… but it’s never there anything like six kimonos. Or tsunamis… just tsunami.

Anyhow… va-va-voom! When I think about Japanese woman, its the form above that is more realistic than the one of the tightly wound kimono-wearing woman.

Yes, I’m sure every woman in Japan has worn a kimono and probably owns at least one, but it’s nowadays just worn for special occasions.

But the Triumph ad above… well… despite what everyone on Pinterest or Tumblr or elsewhere on the Internet has to say, this is not a Triumph automobile advertisement.

I could tell, because I compared the company's crown logo with the car manufacturer's...  

This is a Triumph International the UK lingerie company, showing off, in this 1970 advertisement its wonderful sheer… what the fug is it… some sort of chemise or a negligee? Is it a babydoll? I don’t think it’s a baby doll because it doesn’t seem “flowing” at the base.

Actually, I think it is a Triumph Bra Slip.

I’m looking, but that bra ain’t slipping… but I get it.

Anyhow… I would imagine that even by the standards of the sexist 1970s, this ad, much like this blog today, is rife with sexism. But I'm using it ironically.

First off - a fine looking, if rather unspectacular product. Yeah it hugs the boobs. It comes in white.

In Japan, the Japanese love the color white, because it shows a purity of the soul... uh-huh. I hope that wasn't why they chose a white garment here... read on...

It’s night clothing undergarments… so we can be sure it’s not simply for sleeping… as evidenced by the fact that the other image in the advertisement shows a woman (I can’t tell if it’s the same Japanese model), sitting down, with a “gentleman” on her left, and another approaching so her face is crotch high on her right.

One woman. Two men. An advertisement for a sexy evening undergarment.

We’re talking MMF here. A threesome. Male-Male-Female.

I’m just throwing this out there, but in most occasions where a threesome exists - whether its a FFM or a MMF, if at least one of the F’s looks like our model, there ain’t no way that undergarment is going to ever be wearable again - torn to shreds in the hurry to get off, I mean get it off.

I’m assuming that things are going to be a bit rough here for our F.

What’s that around her right wrist? A chain.

Is she merely a slave to fashion, or to the men who want to take or give issue with her.

Now, the chain isn't locked... it's wrapped... implying she could remove herself from its bind at anytime she pleases. 

What’s that between her legs? A box? You know what I mean… I mean on the rocks below and between her open legged stance.

Forget the box… is that more chain? Is she standing on it, showing that she is able to throw of the shackles of her oppression… that she gives as well as she gets?

"I am woman, hear me roar, in my sexy new bra slip from Triumph. It's sexy enough to take on all comers."

It's probably just as well that I don't write copy for an advertising agency - even though I could do it, and do it very well.

Whatever… even if I had the translation of the words on the ad, I assume that all Japanese ads are simply weird anyway… and it is 1970… and while it doesn’t excuse it, it at least explains it.

Triumph International is still a top-level lingerie producer - one of the tops on the planet… and shop, began as a corset factory in southern Germany back in 1886, and continues to this day with a presence in over 120 countries selling its lingerie and underwear, of which I am pretty sure I have crumpled into a wadded ball in the corner of some darkened room at some point in time.

Banzai,
Andrew "create obvious pun about triumphing over whatever" Joseph 

Friday, November 17, 2017

It’s Official: Japanese More Apologetic Than Canadians

To quote my friend Julien, with the Japanese now proving that they are more apologetic than Canadians, “it is throwing everything off track.”

Pun intended by Julien, apparently the management of the Tsukuba Express line apologized to everyone after its scheduled train left 20 seconds early.

The express line train running between Tokyo and Tsukuba City  was scheduled to leave Minami Nagereyama Station (just north of Tokyo) at 9:44:40AM… but instead left at 9:44:20… 20 terrible seconds earlier.

While the early departure does not appear to have affected any customers—at least no one complained about it—the train line was sufficiently embarrassed by their obvious incompetence.

In their official statement, the company says: “The crew did not sufficiently check the departure time and performed the departure operation.”

Perhaps the crew was asked to do penance by performing seppuka - ritualistic suicide by personal disembowelment while a second lops off your head from behind.

It only seems fair.

Now… the statement does mention that the train crew main not have performed the departure operation.

That might be more serious… perhaps they failed to look out on the station to check for straggling passengers… or maybe they failed to cry out that the train was about to depart… things that might have taken the necessary 20 seconds.

While those types of things—I’m not saying that was what the problem was—could cause a customer to be miss the train because they failed to understand it was about to leave… or, for passengers already aboard, without the warning, someone could have been jerked off their feet when the train “suddenly” started up.

I know the trains are pretty smooth… but who knows.

I assume that the vocal commands aboard the train are performed automatically - perhaps by a touch of a button… or… they are timed… and if the train left prematurely, that may be why warning messages were not conveyed.

I’m just offering an explanation as to why the train company believes that leaving 20 seconds early is a serious breach of conduct.

If I’m wrong, I apologize for misleading anyone.

It’s not the same as a 20-second EARLY apology, but then again, we Canadians aren’t No. 1 anymore.

Sorry about that,
Andrew Joseph 
PS: Where are my manners? It appears the shock of no longer being No. 1 has caused me to step in No. 2. Thank-you, Julien, for the heads up on this story.

 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Japanese Mathematics Trick

I'm pretty dumb at math, which is probably why I am a writer.

However, the Japanese seem to have this neat trick for quickly, and correctly solving two or three digit number multiplication.

I'm not talking about 2 x 3 x 4 = buggered if I know,

But I am talking about 123 x 321 = 39483.

Granted we adults would probably just try and find a calculator, or maybe those of you smarter than me might try and input it onto an on-line calculator, or still other young ones might simply just copy and paste the equation into the search engine as it will promptly throw the answer out for you at your computer's calculator.

But, for those you you who are still in school, where you aren't allowed to use a calculator or use anything digital—and have to show your work—the Japanese have a neat mathematical trick to solve any number of multiplication.

It's how to multiply using lines:

I admit that I still don't get it... I'm probably the only Brown guy who can't do math... but maybe many of you will.

Maybe you could explain it to me?

Kanpai,
Andrew Joseph

 
  

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Sumo Wrestler Causes HUGE Sumo Scandal

Personally, I don’t see what the big deal is.

Sumo Grand Champion Harumafuji has smashed a beer bottle on the head of another wrestler.

We used to see such things back when the WWE was the WWF and even before that became big on such fare as Maple Leaf Wrestling or Stampede Wrestling here in Canada.

Wait… Harumafuji wasn’t in the ring?

And this is sumo wrestling… not real wrestling… er, sports entertainment wrestling? Oh.

I still don’t see what the big deal is.

Reports are sketchy as to where and why… but Harumafuji has publicly apologized for his actions, so we can assume it did happen.

The where is important.

If the two sumo wrestlers were out at a restaurant, or sitting at the lunch table eating one of their many daily meals of chanko (stew), had an argument and then Harumafuji picked up a beer bottle and smashed it over the other’s head… well, that’s bad, but not as bad as…

If the two were in the training area, had an argument, and Harumafuji got so mad he waddled over to the kitchen to grab a brewski, waddled back to the training area and then waddled after the unnamed sumo wrestler before whacking him over the head. That’s worse.

Also… did Haraumafuji break the bottle over the other wrestler’s actual head, or smash it across his face?

Did he smash the bottle on a something and come at him with the jagged edges?

Did Harumafuji hit him on the head by creeping up on him from behind, or manning up to smash him face-to-face?

And why did he need to hit him with a beer bottle? Truth be told, a high-ranking sumo wrestler’s palms are as hard as stone, and being slapped is like being hit by a cement mixer truck… so maybe the beer bottle was ‘softer’.

What size beer bottle? Those huge ones they have for parties, or the smaller ones for personal usage?

What brand of beer was it? Someone is missing out on a great advertising campaign!
A thirst for mayhem and murder...
What was the name of the poor lower-level sumo wrestler who had to clean up the spilled beer?

Did the other sumo wrestler have to go to the hospital? Did Harumafuji get arrested for assault? Why not?

If not, why is the story even a media story?

Is all forgiven? Will Harumafuji face disciplinary action for embarrassing the Japan Sumo Association (JSA)?

Will Harumafuji’ stable bosses have to commit seppuka (ritualistic suicide by disembowelment and head lopping) for having embarrassed the stable, the JSA, Donald Trump and the Japanese people?

How is this Kim Jong-un’s fault? How is it not?

As you can see, I have lots of questions… some of which are legitimate.

Okay, stupidity aside—mine that is—let's look at the stupidity of Harumafuji.

An artist's rendition of what the sumo fight looked like. Stoopid artist. The victim should have eyes, not a blanked out brown box. And it was beer, no sochu (sake). Okay... I'm just kidding around...
 Just the facts.

Harumafuji, a yokozunasumo’s highest rank, that one is elected to, is a 33-year-old Mongolian born as Davaanyam Byambadorj.

At a recent party for sumo wrestlers of Mongolian decent, Harumafuji did indeed smash a beer bottle over the head of sumo wrestler Takanoiwa, 27, hurting him badly enough to leave him hospitalized with a fractured skull.

While Harumafuji refused to give details of the event, he did speak to reporters saying: "I sincerely apologize for causing trouble."

The JSA did speak out about the incident, punishing Harumafuji with a suspension from the upcoming 15-day sumo event in Fukuoka.

On November 14, (yesterday), Harumafuji was to have visited the stable where Takanoiwa trains, to offer a personal apology.

Actually, he is apologizing to the stable, NOT providing a personal apology to Takanoiwa, who is hospitalized still.

Of course, since sumo in Japan is akin to hockey in Canada, the media is having a field day with the real-life sumo beer bash.

Sumo’s yokozuna rank are supposed to be above reproach.

They are the heroes of Japan. They are supposed to be the best of the best, and the best-behaved for the honor of the sport,m and of the Japanese nation. 

While unsaid, I’m betting it is noted that such horribly violent behavior in a yokozuna might be because Harumafuji is Mongolian and not Japanese… again… unsaid… at least in polite circles.

Debuting in sumo in 2001, Harumafuji was promoted to the rank of yokozuna in 2012. There are six tournaments a year, and Harumafuji has won a total of nine, winning last September’s tourney.  

The incident is the latest scandal to rock the sport of sumo in recent years following investigations into hazing and match-fixing.

In 2010, then-yokozuna Asashoryu, also from Mongolia, retired from the sport after allegations he had attacked a man outside a Tokyo nightclub during a tournament.

Maybe it’s because I was a gaijin, too, but my favorite o-zumo was the great Musahimaru. I saw his first prime time match, and quickly concluded that one day he would become a yokozuna, because he was essentially built like a square block of marble.

When I met him in my hometown of Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken, I told him as much, and much smiles, hand grasping and “Yeah, brah” were uttered. You can read the full story of my encounter with Musashimaru HERE.

A photo of the soon-to-be yokozuna Musashimaru that I took when we met in Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken.

He was the very first non-Japanese yokozuna.

Now, after Asashoryu being forced to retire, and Harumafuji’s violence, maybe I should point out that it’s not all gaijin who are trouble.

Mushashimaru is from America Samoa… the others are from Mongolia.

I’m not saying all Mongolians are trouble, but you can bet someone is.

Anyhow, while Musahimaru won a total of 12 championships over his career (with epic battles against Taknohana and Wakanohana and the first gaijin great the ozeki-ranked Konishiki - man those were all great battles), I should point out that Asashoryu was one of the best yokozuna ever.

Asashoryu ended up with a total of 25 championships - fourth on the all-time list.

I do miss watching sumo.
Andrew Joseph
PS: Usually, all the photos I place in this blog are "Large"... but today, it's "Extra-Large".

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Japanese Researchers Say There Was Only 13% Chance Of Dinosaur Extinction

Talk about unlucky.

While it is largely acknowledged by scientists, that a large asteroid strike about 66 million years ago is responsible for wiping out the dinosaurs so we human beings could have oil, a team of researchers from Japan's Tohoku University have determined that there was only a 13% chance of the asteroid causing the extinction of the dinosaurs, and an 87% chance that they should have survived the global catastrophe.

The researchers say that if the asteroid had struck virtually anywhere else on Earth other than where the 10 km (6.2 mile) wide rock smashed into what is now the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico—the dinosaurs would have survived, but probably would not have oil to warm their houses.

You can tell which parts I am adding, right?

Earth (flattened out) 66 million years ago. That red dot is Utah, but where Mexico is... that's where the Yucatan asteroid strike was.
While an asteroid strike anywhere would still have meant the complete and utter destruction of any dinosaur nearby, it need not have meant the downfall of dinosaurs....

In the Yucatan strike, vaporized rock and soot was ejected into the atmosphere in huge amounts, blocking out sunlight, causing a nuclear winter effect, disrupting photosynthesis and triggering the collapse of the food chain.

The Tohoku University researchers have theorized that the severity of the climate changes would vary depending on where the asteroid hit.

For example, if it hit in an area where there is a larger amount of sedimentary organic material, it would have thrown up more soot into the stratosphere, cooling the Earth quicker than if it hit in places with lower hydrocarbon concentrations.

To test the idea, the researchers used a global climate model to estimate the temperature anomalies that would be caused by different levels of soot in the stratosphere.

Based on the hydrocarbon-rich rock at the impact site, the test showed that soot thrown into the atmosphere would cool the Earth by eight to 11° C (14 to 20° F) on average, with a drop as drastic as 17° C (31° F) over land and five to 7° C (9 to 13 F) in the seawater, to a depth of 50 m (164 ft).

Also, rainfall over land would have dropped by 70 to 85 percent.

Add it up, and goodbye all life on Earth (maybe).

The Tohoku team then looked at how widespread these hydrocarbon-rich areas would have been at the time. The researchers found that they were mostly marine coastal margins, concentrated along shorelines where algae could deposit more organic matter into the sediment. These areas, the team found, covered just 13 percent of the Earth's surface.

As such, if the asteroid had struck any place other than the 13 percent where there's a hydrocarbon-rich area... IE that 87 percent of the planet,  the dinosaurs would more than likely had survived.

The researchers aren't saying that it still wouldn't have been a catastrophic event - it would have been... and yes, many species of life at that time would still have found the news levels of temperature unacceptable for survival...

Who's to say if all of the prey of the carnivores dies, then what's a poor meat eater to do? Die.

The research was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Kanpai,
Andrew "wishes he was a paleontologist" Joseph
PS: At one point in my life - probably like most kids - I wanted to hunt for dinosaurs. But at some point in time in late high school and university, I forgot... and I lost out.
I still buy books on dinosaurs (and space)...

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Japanese Bat-Tank

When it comes to weird toys, I would think that Japan takes the cake.

I don't really have much evidence to back up that claim, but what the heck... here's a 1960s-era Batman toy for the Japanese market: Bat-Tank.

I don't know if it's weird or not... Batman COULD have a tank... afterall, he's just a weird rich guy who dresses up in a Bat suit to combat crime because he saw his parents gunned down when he was a child.

It looks like tin toy... and hopefully it makes a noise when it moves (a push car)...

Okay... I stand corrected... this isn't a good example of Japanese weird toys, but is instead another fine example of greed in Andrew.

I want one.

Banzai,
Andrew Joseph 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

1960s Japanese Batman Pachinko Game

Back in 1967, Japan went crazy for all-things Batman, thanks to the self-titled U.S. Batman television show being shown there.

Along with comic books, and record-picture books, and Bat-toys galore, there was this cute "pachinko" game.

What we have are the game itself - above... and the outer cover of the game box below.

Robin: "Batman! Whaddaya think about the new paint job I had done for the Batmobile? Bitchin'! By the way... I'm too young to drive!"

Kanpai,
Andrew Joseph

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Japanese 1960s Batman Record Books


Okay…

Since I appear to be on a Batman kick (POW!), here are what I thought were Batman comic books from 1967 Japan.

They are comic books, but they are also record books. They contain a record, which you play and read along with the story-telling going on.

They are Ba-to-man full-color Japanese exclusive 1967 Batman record-books.

The comic book stories and record audio is in Japanese.

The 1966-67 American Batman television program was a huge hit in Japan when it was released a bit after the North American debut... and the Japanese simply couldn't get enough of the Dynamic Duo.

Robin: "Why is that Nazi-guy only have a head floating in a bubble, but seems to have a jacket? And WTF is that monocle laser doing to Ralph Dibny's arm?! Holy Elongated Man!

Robin: "Holy Ginga Din! These elephants have pink-eye!"



Batman: Look out, Robin, old chum!    Robin: Angkor What?     



Robin: "Atomic batteries to power! Turbines to speed! Shut the hell up and get in! I'm driving, old man!"    Batman: "Even though I hate guns... shotgun!"
Obviously I am presenting an incomplete set… I’ve looked, but can not find No. 1 or No. 2… alas. If there are more than six, well... let me know... I've got more comedy in me waiting to come out.

Oh... and just so you know, I just made up the captions under the images above... at no point do those ¥70 books says anything like that... I think...

Kanpai,
Andrew Joseph
PS: My opening line is all wrong. Batgirl (played by Yvonne Craig - she was also the green woman in the Star Trek original series, who danced for Cpt. Kirk)was the one who kicked in the 1966 TV show. Not once did Batgirl ever hit anyone with her fist. She may have tossed baddies around and kicked them, but never a punch was thrown. Batman… perhaps because kicking someone isn’t a cool thing for a guy to have done in 1966, never kicked (I think). Just punches, throws and karate chops to the back of the neck.
PPS: By the way, in the new Star Trek movies, the woman who played the green woman (Uhura's roomie), that was Rachel Nichols, who was the lead in Continuum, as well as the gorgeous sidekick in the 2011 Conan live-action flick which starred Jason Momoa, who is currently taking on the role of Aquaman, alongside Batman, in the Justice League movie coming out... now? Full circle, baby, and unplanned, to boot. Pun intended.



Friday, November 10, 2017

1950s-Era Japanese Superman Comic Books

I had found some covers of a Japanese Batman comic book, and had mistakenly thought they were from a 1966-67 Japanese manga created by Kawata Jiro specifically for the Japanese audience.

It turns out, that they were for an actual "American" DC Batman comic book featuring translated material (from English) for the Japanese market.

While I performed further research on these Batman comic books, I discovered that I couldn't discover much of anything.

Instead, what I found were Japanese issued Superman comic books... issued, I believe in the 1950s and or early 1960s.

These eight covers, seen below, are full-blown reprints of 1948 and 1949 comic books originally published by DC Comics in English, but here, fully translated into Japanese for the Japanese market.

They even have the tiny DC Comics shield on them.

While only one appears to be from a Superman comic, one shows Superboy, while others are team-ups from World's Finest Comics (the worst comic book series ever, as the stories are all pretty much crap... I have about 60 of them, and they are each one horrible).

One even has a Batman cover, and is actually a full on reprint of a Batman comic.

There are two issues, however, which seem to have covers done by a Japanese artist... but I wonder if the contents are original or a full blown reprint.

These eight comic books recently were sold for US$300 apiece, with the first issue grabbing $500 - even in the sorry condition that they are all in.

Anyhow, until I can find out anything on the Batman comics, which I believe are from the 1960s and 1970s, enjoy these Superman covers as relics of a by-gone era.

Superman (aka Zu-pa-Man) #1, originally published as Superman #53 from 1948.

Superman #2, originally published as World's Finest Comics #39 from 1949.

Superman #3, originally published as Adventure Comics #139 from 1949. Adventure Comics, as of 1949, was the comic book vehicle for Superboy stories, so I must assume that this Japanese Superman book was about Superboy.

Superman #4. This cover art looks Japanese in style, mostly because most DC 1940s era robots looked more square than humanoid... but even still, my main reason for believing this to be Japanese artwork is that I can NOT find a corresponding American comic book cover. It's too bad, because this really is a nice piece of art. Anybody know where it is from?

Superman #5. This is the other bit of artwork that I believe ifs of a Japanese origin. I can not find a corresponding American Batman comic cover. Also, that ain't Ace the Bathound pulling the sled. And why does Robin have a shorts on? Is that why the comic book is called Superman? Where is Superman? Where's Batman? Could a cover featuring Robin the Boy Wonder really pull kids in to buy the book? The publisher sure thought so! Anyhow, I now know that this comic reprints Star Spangled Comics #85 from 1948.

Superman #6, originally published as Batman #49 from 1948. Again... we have a Batman comic book under the Japanese Superman comic book banner. What gives... oh yeah... everyone knows that Batman is better than Superman.

Superman #7, originally published as World's Finest Comics #42, published in 1949. Again, because I believe that Batman is more popular than Superman, we have a Batman-Superman team-up.

Superman #8, originally published as World's Finest Comics #34, in 1948. Since Superman can fly and has no need for a car, I can only assume this cover depicts Batman, Robin and Superman having fun doing some mini car racing. I think Batman is smiling... proof positive that World's Finest Comics were only that in name only.
Were there any more Japanese Superman comics other than these eight issues? I have no clue.

I found these comics over at Collecting Superman, HERE.

Kanpai,
Andrew Joseph

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Calmness Of Being Koi And Other Fishy Stories

I wonder, sometimes, what I should write about on any given day.

I had thought it was perhaps related to whatever mood I am in—yes, I will write something based on my mood, such as this maudlin piece now… but I am very easily swayed when I espy something interesting.

Which is where my loyal readers come in—sending me tweets and newspaper links, and even links to website comment sections, where the dullest of humanity often exists only to spout of their immoral social beliefs on everything from religion and/or politics.  Have you noticed how quickly it degenerates into a racial commentary or worse yet a chance for some grammar snob to point out everyone’s foibles without actually commenting on the original point which could easily have been: “Dogs or cats, which is worse when it rains?”

Fortunately, I don’t run a website, and instead only have a blog - and yet, the blog is sometimes assailed by morons, who have nothing better to do than to insult others, much in the same way I just insulted morons.

I was going to write about how European artists had been inspired by Japanese ukiyo-e artists after seeing an article about how Hokusai did the same: HERE.

Strangely, despite having an interest in ukiyo-e, and fascinated by good art, I just wasn’t in the mood to be creative today.

A retired baseball pitcher I admired died in a plane crash yesterday… I could have said something about my first meeting of Roy Halladay, but in truth I never met him, ever knew too much about him, but man could he throw a baseball (for the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies - Philadelphia, of course, is where the first home of the president of the United States before the White House was erected in Washington). Besides, while I suppose I could write about him for my Pioneers of Aviation blog, there’s no link with Japan—It’s A Wonderful Rife.

I’m kindda stalling here… hoping some great topic will suddenly throw itself at me.

I could write about POTUS (President of the United States) Donald J. Trump and his visit to Japan as part of his Asian tour to tick off North Korea. Actually, it’s a bout showing support for the rest of Asia in defiance of the nuclear bullying tactics of North Korea.

True or false.

The president of the United States had dinner with the Japanese politicos, and was served steak.

No… no Japanese Kobe beef, but rather good ol American steak.

Who goes to Japan and orders American?

Well, I suppose I did when I arrived in Japan and dated a beautiful young woman from Augusta, Georgia, U.S.

But I was dating, and she was amenable to this young (at the time) virgin.

At least I ate the food. I’m talking about Japanese food, though I like where your mind was going.

My buddy Matthew and I, had/have a mutual friend named Jeff, who arrived in Japan at the same time as I did from Toronto, Matthew from NY state, and he from Californication.

Jeff, in all the time I knew him - which was essentially three years on the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme - would never knowingly eat Japanese — and he married a Japanese local! I still meant food eating, but I like where your mind was going.

This was a guy who would go to Dunkin’ Donouts to get a sandwich, rather than eat the fantastic sushi, sashimi, kontatsu or whatever. I don’t begrudge him… then again, he wasn’t the POTUS.

Now, in deference to president Trump, The last time I can recall an American president dining on fantastic Japanese food, that president barfed on the Japanese prime minister before passing out.


Now no one was drunk, but apparently the POTUS George H Bush was dehydrated before all that and wasn’t feeling well… but at least he tried the food.

When in Rome, and all that crap. 

Still, POTUS Trump, to be fair, ate food from a Japanese restaurant. It just happened to be beef from America. I dpon't know where the steak came from... but I know the burger he also ate came from Minato’s Burger Shack. The guy had a burger and a steak at the same meal.

Maybe Japanese portions of American food are built for Japanese people, and not for Americans. It's okay, I'm not criticizing POTUS Trump here. I'd do the same.    

By the way, when POTUS Obama had sushi, he spent $300 for a plate, while POTUS Trump's burger meal was $10... though I expect the technology require to keep it hot, plus transportation costs from wherever Minato’s Burger Shack is to POTUS Trump's table, not including any carbon footprint - but who cares,m because the US. doesn't believe in climate change any more.


I did enjoy POTUS Trump being POTUS Trump when in a photo opp that made me want to puke, he and prime minister Abe had boxes of koi food, and stood up on high slowly shaking fish food down in to the waiting maw of 10s of giant koi (think goldfish on steroids).

The POTUS Trump being POTUS Trump moment came when his ADHD kicked in and he dumped his pack into the water below, probably choking some poor fish. Maybe it’s good that he didn’t eat the food, lest he be served a koi-man’s sushi later that night.

I’ve owned fish as pets since I was about 4 - so nearly a lot of years - and I can tell you that one of the main reasons to actually own fish as pets is that they provide a means for relaxing the brain.

Feeding fish is considered cathartic… unless you are an eager four-year-old, who overfeeds the fish to the point of death.

It’s supposed to be a zen-like thing… calmly feed the fish… zone out… forget about Never POTUS Hillary getting more votes than you. Didn’t POTUS Trump say that like one million illegal immigrants voted in the U.S.

Was he implying that someone how illegal immigrants were able to circumvent the electoral process?  Dis he imply that they all voted for Ms. Clinton and not POTUS Trump? Did that many people in total actually vote - illegal or not? That’ll teach all you folks who did not do their due diligence and vote. Look what you did. Bad neighbor.

Anyhow… I don’t really have anything to say, so I’ll just end today’s blog for now. Sorry… I just didn’t feel like writing today.

Kanpai!
Andrew "I like writing POTUS" Joseph

Japlish T-Shirt




First: If you would like music to read the following blog to, allow me to suggest The Pursuit of Happiness and their song I’m An Adult Now. Play with another tab open so you can listen and hear it at the same time. I think it was filmed on Queen Street West in Toronto where I would hang out on Saturdays. I was 21 when this song came out. 

Okay… pay attention to me.

Take a look at the above photo.

There’s a funny message on he tee-shirt the guy is wearing.

You Guys… I know… I had to look for a while too, because wowsers, is that woman sexy! I didn’t even know there was a guy in the photo. That sexy haircut matches the shape of her face perfectly.

So yeah… guy… shirt… English message. 

I love the fact that the Japanese seem to love the English-language enough that they want to plaster it all over their bodies in the form of tee-shirts.

I myself profess my love of Japan via this blog, but also via tee-shirts covered in Japanese-language writing.

My two shirts are a Jurassic Park version, and one of a kitty angrily attacking city buildings while screaming: Please feed me, I am hungry” and other stuff I haven’t been able to translate.

And that’s the key… I haven’t been able to translate it… but that’s because I can’t.

But the above shirt, worn by Japanese actor Mukai Akira (surname first), should be able to read the English on his shirt, seeing as how all Japanese kids learn English in junior high school and high school, and some even learning it in elementary school.

I mean that they should be able to recognize and read the only 26 letters involved in English (as opposed to the 1,945 or so kanji one needs to be considered literate in Japanese, as well as the 72 letters each in the katakana and hiragana alphabets - all three used by the Japanese.

In other words, there’s a lot of letters for me to get if I was to try and decode my tee-shirt. I’ve done my best in gleaning what I have already gleaned…. I’m reasonably certain that my shirt does NOT contain any Japanese vulgarities, but I can state I am 100% certain.

However, even the most goofy of kids in a junior high school would be able to figure out that the shirt worn by Mukai contains a naughty word.

In case you can’t read it, the shirt says:
Please trust me
I am asshole

First, the shirt is not grammatically correct. It should read: Please trust me (period) I am an asshole (period).

The shirt does NOT need the two periods, because the two phrases are on separate shirt lines. Which is good, for the shirt.

I am unsure if the shirt’s message, however, is meant to me “honest” - as in the wearer is an “asshole” and he wants you to trust him (he’s being honest!!!)

Or, ironic… I’m an asshole… and if you trust me, you would essentially be stupid… I’ll screw ya, because I’m an asshole.

That sort of irony. Or is it sarcasm… fug… I don’t know… I get English, and even understand it, but I usually don’t know why.

All I know is if I were that incredible, stupid pretty woman beside him, I might think that Mukai is being dumb in calling himself and asshole.

Man, she’s gorgeous.  

Second most interesting factoid, is that Mukai actually though that tee-shirt was something appropriate to wear on television. Doesn’t anyone on the tv show recognize that his shirt could be considered in bad taste?

The most interesting fact, however, is that someone actually made that tee-shirt:
Please trust me
I am asshole


That tee-shirt designer and manufacture and seller—which in this case I assume is all the same person, only because I can’t or don’t want to believe there are more complicit individuals—actually thought to his or her self:

(SFX of TV flashback with harp)

T-S designer: “ Hmm… I should create a tee-shirt design today! What shall I write?
Oka-san: “Ryuichi! It’s time for lunch!”
T-S designer: “Okay, Mother. I just need to come up with a tee-shirt message!”
Oka-san: “We’re having Cup Noodle!”
T-S designer: “My favorite… kso… okay: Please trust me/I am asshole.”


Yes, I really do think that that is how Japlish messages are created.

I know… after all, I used to live in my parent’s basement until I left for Japan at the almost age of 26.  

On the outside of my bedroom door I had an Indiana Jones poster that simply read: “Trust Him”… so I kindda get the tee-shirt message.
Man… I can’t stop looking at the woman, who is probably half my age… no wait… that thought just did it. I can stop looking now.



Sigh,
Andrew Joseph
PS: The photo was taken from https://sakamobi.com/news/osamu-t
I used Google Translate to see just what was written about the photo:

俳優の向井理、完全に頭がおかしくなる「信じてください。私はケツの穴です」
(Haiyū no mukai satoshi, kanzen ni atama ga okashiku naru `shinjite kudasai. Watashi wa ketsunoanadesu')
English: Actor Mukai Akira is completely out of order, "Believe me, I am a hole in asss"

Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!

 

     

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Documentary On The Life Of A Salaryman

Check out this wonderful mini documentary on karoshi (death by overwork) and the death of the Japanese salaryman.

In what started out as one gaijin (foreigner/outsider) placing chalk outlines around very drunk or very tired salarymen, has turned into a decent look at the tribulations of the affected worker class.

The video does NOT address drunken behavior, which I fear contributes quite heavily to well-dressed salarymen simply passing out…

After a long work day of usually un-paid overtime, it is not unusual for co-workers to go out for a bowl of noodles and some booze to help forget about the crappiness of their work existence.

On any given Friday evening or Saturday evening, a small gathering of gaijin on the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme might meet at a bar or at a local restaurant/watering hole to discuss how lousy their week was… or, if it was Matthew, Ashley and myself, I would be wondering how many drinks it would take to get Ashley tipsy (more than you would expect), and when Matthew would take the hint and leave so Ash and I could have some fun time.

Kidding Matthew, kidding. Only sorta kinda kidding. Today’s my birthday. I’m getting away with this today.

Actually, while the three of us might chat a bit about our work week, none of us really had anything much to complain about. I think we were quite lucky to have Ohtawara-shi and its surrounding areas of Tochigi-ken as our work-base.

I’m sure Matthew would agree, considering the two of us both got a lot out of Japan… he, a wife and two kids… me, this blog and some good people I enjoy talking with.

Anyhow… salaryman being dead drunk. That’s what the video fails to touch on.

It’s also a part of Japanese culture.

If they were ONLY tired from overwork, anyone of these salarymen could simply go to a Japanese capsule hotel in the local area and crash for the night… but they don’t.

These guys have missed their last train back home, or, as evidenced by the horrible sleeping posture, have passed out dead drunk whenever it was their brain shut down on them.

Drunken behavior aside, the video found on a FB page. That’s Facebook… I had no idea what FB was, until a sassy young woman told me in exasperation, writing it out as faccccccccceeeeeeebooooooook… which still meant nothing to me, but since she was cute, I figured I better learn about it. But when she mentioned her husband, I quickly forgot about it, which is why I may have a couple of accounts, but can’t figure out just why it is so important.

Now, much older than I was before—which is a good thing—I can recall getting drunk once or twice while in Japan.

Actually, I don’t know if it’s possible, but if it is I’m pretty sure I even got drunk twice in one evening. I think I was only fall-down drunk once—thanks, Matthew—but wasted at least once or twice a week for three years, I can attest that drinking in Japan is cultural enough that they are considering making it an Olympic event for Tokyo 2020…. which is what your eye sight won’t be after living there for a while.

Do you have to drink while in Japan?

No, of course not… but I would suggest that if you can, have at least an opening sip and “Kanpai!” just to show you are willing to fit in.

In the meantime, please enjoy this video on the life of a Japanese salaryman:

https://www.facebook.com/japannowofficial/videos/1996204823988972/

Kanpai,

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

40% Of Fish In Japan Found To Contain Microplastics

If you read the headline, your immediate thought is “what the heck is a microplastic?”

Unfortunately, as the image above shows, microplastic is indeed plastic… but it is specifically a less-than five millimeters in length piece of plastic that has been broken down, which occurs when it plastic is affected by UV (ultraviolet) rays, water waves, and heat exposure or any kind. It’s a way of saying that plastic doesn’t breakdown by wind or being buried in the snow, for example.

Anyhow… for some reason gross amounts of microplastic particles are in the water and, according to a Japanese research team lead by Kyoto University associate professor of environmental engineering Tanaka Shuhei (surname first).

Tanaka and his team surveyed six areas (seven bays) between October through December of 2016:
  • Onagawa Bay in Miyagi Prefecture;
  • Tokyo Bay in Yokohama;
  • Tsuruga Bay in Fukui Prefecture;
  • Lake Biwako in Shiga Prefecture,
  • Osaka Bay in Hyogo Prefecture;
  • Ago Bay and Gokasho Bay in Mie Prefecture.
Sticking to just seven specific fish species, and examining the digestive tracts of 197 fish from the six areas, they found that 74 of the fish, regardless of species, had a combined 140 microplastic units in them… which works out to 37.6 percent of the fish guts containing the plastic by-product.

For this research project, the team was only looking for mircoplastic pieces longer than 0.1mm… keep in mind that a microplastic piece is considered to be anything less than 5 mm…

It found 16 different types of plastic in the fish, including the common PE (polyethylene) and PP (polypropylene) types.

The fish containing the most microplastic were the anchovies from Tokyo Bay, where 79.4 percent of them had it in’em.

Some 46.7 percent of the anchovies from Osaka Bay contained microplastics.

Hmmm…  does that mean that anchovies are more apt to eat microplastics? Or does it mean that Tokyo Bay and Osaka Bay contain more microplastics than the other four areas surveyed?

Well… the survey also found that 29 percent of the smelts found in Lake Biwako contained microplastics.

No… the sardine and the smelt are different fish, despite their similar slender silvery appearance.

Both the sardine and the smelt feed by filtering plankton and tiny particles from the water with their gills—which is why microplastics might be more likely to be taken into their digestive systems.

Now… the most important question to ask is: where is all of this plastic coming from?

Are people being inconsiderate and dumping plastic waste into the waters? Sure… probably.

Also likely, is the fact that events such as the March 11, 2011 tsunami caused large amounts of land products to go sailing out into the waters east of Japan, for example, and have already floated across to the west coast of North America, back to Japan, back to North America, back again, and so on…

Obviously any plastics involved in that disaster – and still floating around – could be breaking down into microplastic particles and be ingested by various species of fish.

What to do about it? Aside from sending trawlers out to fish for floating garbage, I don’t know.

Kanpai,
Andrew Joseph
PS: Image above provided by Kyoto University shows microplastic pieces found in the digestive tracts of anchovies caught in Tokyo Bay.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Godzilla Store Opens In Tokyo

There is a God-zilla.

The first-ever store devoted entirely to movie monster legend Godzilla opened up in the Shinjuku part of Tokyo on October 30, 2017—called Godzilla Store Tokyo... implying there may be others in other parts of the country one day.

Located at:
Shinjuku Marui Annex
1F
3-1-26 Shinjuku,
Shinjuku-ku
T: 03-6709-9652

You can get your fix of Godzilla and Godzilla-related toys and paraphernalia at the shop, including “action” figures, sculptures, posters, shirts, coffee mugs, books, clothing, smartphone cases, calendars, and of course umbrellas?

I’m pretty sure a Godzilla umbrella will not protect you from falling skyscraper debris, but what the heck… should any tall gaijin be following you on a rainy day, they just might compliment you on your awesome otaku-flavored Godzilla umbrella.

heck, the store’s website even offers you five sneak peeks at the upcoming (November 17, 2017) animated Godzilla flick done in that typical futuristic Japanese style of animation that first amazed the world when we saw Akira back in the 1980s.

What the heck… here’s a link to the sneak peeks HERE of Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters, produced by Toho Anumation with animation by Polygon Pictures.

I think there’s also a Godzilla video game: Godzilla vs Buzzilla on the website, but since it’s all in Japanese and I didn’t feel like setting up an account, I guess I’ll never know…

For more information on the Gojira Zutoa (Godzilla Store) Tokyo, visit their website at www.godzilla.store/tokyo/.

At this time, you can not make purchases on-line… but should you find yourself in Tokyo with nothing to do—what’s wrong with you?—or are simply a monster Godzilla fan, check out the shop.

And, in case you are the type who prefers Hello Kitty just slightly ahead of Godzilla, please note that the store stocks buttons, shirts and phone covers featuring Hello Kitty hanging out with Godzilla - done in the Hello Kitty style of animated cuteness.

Led Zeppelin Godzilla rules!
Andrew Joseph
PS: Thanks, Matthew for the lead!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Japanese Company Gives Non-Smokers More Holiday Time

Thanks for not smoking, take six extra days off work.

That’s what ONE (singular) Japanese firm in Tokyo has initiated as a reward for its non-smoking employees.

The unnamed company noted that the amount of time smokers took to travel via elevator from the company’s 29th floor offices down to street level, have a cigarette and travel back up to the office to take between 10-15 minutes. Per trip.

Taking into account multiple smoke breaks per day, the company factored that smokers were not working as much as their non-smoking counterparts.

To make up for that, the company has offered its non-smokers the same amount of time off—six days per year—that the smoker took up during his/her work year.

Of the 42 smokers—made up from a total of 102 employees—four have since quit smoking, perhaps valuing the time off.

Still… nobody likes a quitter. :)

What is interesting, however, is that the building the company is located in seems to have a smoking lounge located INSIDE the main floor of the building. Inside.

Actually, the smoking area is called a smoking “zone”…. which doesn’t mean the smoking area is closed off.

While Japan has certainly improved itself in the area of public smoking, it still has a ways to go.

Granted this was 24 years ago in 1993, but during any visit to a medical practitioner office or hospital, the doctor or nurse could have a lit cigarette dangling from their lip as they performed their examination on you. I know, because I had it happened to me on the few occasions I was lucky enough to see a doctor in my city of Ohtawara, in Tochigi-ken (Tochigi Prefecture).

Smoking was also allowed on public trains, though I do not recall seeing anyone smoke on a subway train… though I’m sure some smoked on a subway platform.

Nowadays, smoking is banned on streets, but is still allowed in bars and restaurants, without even the necessity of having to provide a separate smoking area.

By the way… extra vacation time? Really? In Japan? What will these employees do with their extra six days of paid leave?

My guess is they will come in to work, so as to not look lazy.

The whole thing is kind of a$$-backwards.

Are Japanese employees not allowed two 10-minute breaks a day in addition to their lunch hour (30-minute minimum?)

They should. That’s the first thing that every employee in Japan should get.

IF they already get a pair of 10-minute breaks (plus lunch)… are we to assume that the smokers (at this company, for example), are taking MORE than the prescribed two 10-minute breaks?

If so, that should be stopped.

If not… there’s no issue… unless they take longer than 10 minutes per break… in which case that could be addressed… or the employee could work an additional 10 minutes per day… which is kind of funny, when I write that, because the Japanese are notorious for unpaid overtime, and employees working overtime because they don’t want to look lazy or as ungrateful employees.

So… would the non-smoking employee actually take the time off, or would they be reluctant to fro fear of being seen as lazy? Japanese employees are notorious for taking a minimum number of vacation days…

The photo at the top, it shows workers at the company taking a smoke break… only there is evidence that only two of them are having a smoke, while the guy on the left is playing with his phone.

The playing with the phone-thing by two two visible bodies in the photo shows that regardless of how Japan likes to paint itself as being vastly different from the rest of the world, having its proverbial nose stuck in a personal electronic media device shows they aren’t.

Kanpai,
Andrew Joseph
PS: Thanks to Julian for the heads up!
PPS: Photo: AAP.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Ancient Japanese Art Form Coming To NYC

Lucky New York City.

Before I decided to writ about this, I actually watched a few of the promotional videos to see if it was worth my time in writing about it, and your time to see it.

Since I’m writing about it, you can guess I enjoyed it. You will too.

This November, the SoHo Playhouse will host celebrated comic storyteller, Katsura Sunshine, as he brings Rakugo (November 16- December 3, 2017), the 400 -year-old  art of Japanese comic storytelling, to New York  City, along with a week-long workshop of the wildly hilarious Guilty Noodle, a new show in the making, a unique, multi-media comic collaboration starring Katsura Sunshine and Katsumi Sakakura available only between November 7-12, 2017.

I’ll admit that I didn’t see a lot of this part of the Rakugo performance (I did like what I saw of the Guilty Noodle performance, by the way - seconds, please)… but what I did see of Rakugo is an entertaining bit of performance art.

Katsura Sunshine, 47 - yes, really—was born Gregory Robic on April 6, 1970, and is from Toronto. He is a traditional Japanese rakugo comic story-teller, television personality, playwright and composer.

WTF is rakugo?

Well, it is a 400-year-old tradition of comic storytelling in Japan.

With a minimal set, rakugo features a lone storyteller dressed in kimono, kneeling on a cushion, who, using only a fan and a hand towel for props, entertains the audience with a comic monologue followed by a traditional story.

In Japan, rakugo has over 800 professional storytellers. For more info: www.rakugo.lol.

And… lest you believe that Katsura Sunshine is just some stupid stage name—you are incorrect... it's not stupid, but is a stage name.

On September 1, 2008, Sunshine was accepted as an apprentice to the rakugo storytelling master, Katsura Bunshi VI (then named Katsura Sanshi) back on September 1 of 2008.

In order to become a recognized professional Rakugo storyteller, one must apprentice to a Rakugo Master, from whom one receives a stage name.

In the rakugo tradition, Gregory Robic/Katsuro Sunshine received both his master's last name and part of the first. His master, Sanshi combined the first part of his name, “San”, meaning “three”, with the Japanese word for “Shine”, and gave it the Japanese pronunciation of the English word “Sunshine”.

The apprenticeship lasts for three to four years, and is very strict.

Depending on the master, the apprentice may not drink, smoke, or go on dates, and is subject to a strict curfew during the apprenticeship period.

The apprentice cleans the master’s house, does laundry, cooking, preparing and folding kimono, and other chores, and learns the art of storytelling by watching the master perform and imitating.

Throughout one’s career, one is only allowed to perform a given story only after permission to do that story has been granted by a master storyteller.

Since completing his three-year apprenticeship, Sunshine has toured Japan, Canada, the U.S., and Singapore, but currently resides in Ise-shi (Ise City), Mie-ken (Mie Prefecture).

In July of 2012, he opened up Ise Kawasaki Kikitie - his own rakugo theater.

Sunshine is currently the only professional non-Japanese storyteller officially recognized by the Kamigata Rakugo Association (Kamigata rakugo kyôkai).

Back to the show…

Sunshine’s Rakugo is being called hilarious, charming, traditional, universally-funny and yet so very Japanese, and is fresh off 10 smash-hit performances in London’s West End at the Leicester Square Theatre


Rakugo video:


As for Guilty Noodle… well, it’s a workshop presentation…

Guilty Noodle is comedy-dance-martial arts (I hope), and Japanese culture. It’s a story-telling avenue about noodles… yeah, the stuff you add hot water too…

Check out the YouTube videos below, for just a taste of what you might expect to see:




)

Tickets for Rakugo are US$30 and Guilty Noodle Workshop are US$10 and are available at www.sohoplayhouse.com.

Banzai,
Andrew “I want noodles!” Joseph

Friday, November 3, 2017

Funny Japanese Cat Video

I kit around, but I like cats. I do consider myself to be more of a dog person, but I like cats just fine, and they like me - probably because I have cat fur allergies.

Anyhow, here’s a Japanese cat video I spied upon the Interweb thingy.

I found it highly amusing… and was pleased to see that the very first cat shown in the video is a dead ringer for my cat Fred.

Let’s just say it amuses me to have a single-syllable name for a cat. Go on… say it. Fred. Sound strange when you don’t say it like to your a hipster dude named Shaggy. Needless to say, I often crack my voice like Shaggy whenever I call Fred… who strangely enough will come when I call for him.

My former cat Daphne (another Scooby-Doo alumnus) would also come when called, but the other two cats I’ve had never, ever would. Maybe you just have to name them correctly.

Enjoy the video.No... wait... the video I wanted to show no longer works... try watching tha antics of Japanese fat cat Maru instead.


Sorry... ya just can't trust the Interweb thingy.
Banzai,
Andrew Joseph

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Japanese School Forces Schoolgirl To Dye Natural Brown Hair Black


An Osaka-ken (Osaka Prefecture) high school is under fire and being sued to making a former student color her naturally brown hair to black to conform with the Japanese ideal.

When the student began what is essentially Grade 10 at Osaka Prefectural Kaifukan High School in Habikino City in 2015, she was told by the school that having brown hair was not acceptable.

She was told she had to dye it black, and did so every one or two weeks…

... but even after such a short period, her brown roots would show, prompting the school to insist she dye her hair every four days.

There’s a lot of heavy chemical crap in hair dye, and as such, the female student soon developed hair damage, scalp damage, rashes and if not from the dye, but from being asked to dye, mental anguish. 

Apparently the girl had been forced to dye her hair while in junior high school too.

In September of 2016, after she tried to avoid dying her hair, a teacher told her to either dye her black or to not bother returning to school.

She decided she would not return to school, effectively dropping out.

She is currently in the process of suing the school and board of education for ¥2.2 million (~US $19,350).

Proving that Japan can often be a society with a stick up its butt, its school systems often take conformity to new levels.

Back when I was in Japan, I heard reports from other prefectures that a teacher was reprimanded after making female students lift up their skirts to prove that they were wearing regulation white panties.

Yeah… that’s why he was doing that.

Hair color, and hair style has long been a point of rebellion in Japan. So-called “bad girls” like to dye their hair “red” to show their individuality.

Bad boys, too.

The eldest son of the yakuza (like a “mafia”) boss in my former hometown of Ohtawara-shi (Ohtawara City) in Tochigi-ken (Tochigi Prefecture), had dyed his hair “red”… it’s usually a dry-looking light orange, than a red.

Anyhow, because of his father’s stature in the community as mob boss, he was allowed to keep his orange hair.

Other transgressions that were frowned upon, were perms, or even naturally wavy hair, or even in some extremes, ponytails.

Perms were seen as the domain of the yakuza, as often male members would have “punch perms” which the common person could look at and see - "that guy’s a yakuza."

Between 1999-1993, I, the friendly neighborhood gaijin and AET (assistant English teacher) for the then seven junior high schools in Ohtawara, grew my hair out… and out… and out some more.

I had a long ponytail… and when I let it out, my hair had naturally-occurring waves to its (then) natural black color.

No one said boo to me. In fact… my BOE (Board of Education) office told me many a time that they thought my hair was “cool”, and that I was, too… proving once and for all that Japan is like no place on Earth.

Back to the “never say dye” story.

My buddy Vinnie had forwarded the story, originally covered by Jake Adelstein for Forbes. I had asked Vinnie, if they would dare tell a gajin (foreigner) student to dye their hair, betting they wouldn’t have the chutzpah.

Turns out I was wrong, and should have read the original article more carefully.

According to one local media report, the school had told the girl’s attorney (actually… she’s 18, now… so woman’s attorney), that “Even if we had a blonde-haired foreign exchange student, we’d force them to dye their hair black.”

You would-be blonde foreign exchange students have been warned. Japan… or at least this particular school in Japan, is effing crazy.

While I understand—but disagree with—Japan’s unofficial motto that “the nail that stands up gets hammered down” relative to its need to conform to social ideals, it’s an outdated concept.

What is the true social ideal?

Hitler wanted the Teutonic ideal of blonde hair and blue eyes… pointing to that as being the ideal look for the Germanic master race.

Funny how Hitler himself could not conform, what with his brown eyes and hair.

So where does that leave Japan… a country stuck on old-school ideologies that is trying to return back to an era when it was partners with Hitler and Nazi Germany during WWII - what with its attempts to re-write its post-war Constitution that would curtail female rights while allowing itself to once again be allowed the right to form its own military (the latter a penalty forced upon Japan for its terrible role during WWII).

So… if Japan ants to create conformity, what is it’s ideal look? Straight black hair and brown eyes, to be sure… but what about facial construction?

Does every guy have to look like a samurai or a sumo wrestler, and every female forced to apply white face paint to look like a geisha?

No fat chicks?

Should everyone be forced to wear wooden geta (open-toed shoes) and kimono? Do we bring back the samurai class - a time when Japanese people everywhere seem to believe life was better than now?

No one can wear glasses! No western clothing! No more McDonalds! All foreigners get out! Lets go back to no one in or out of Japan, like we had it for nearly 300 years in the Edo period?

Where does the crushing of individuality stop? Screw conformity - so say we all.

Hey Japan… to quote from Monty Python:



Why did I ever leave a place where they thought I was cool,
Andrew “seeing red and feeling blue” Joseph

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Possible New Serial Killer Nabbed By Japanese Police

Buddha(s) help me, but I do like reading about serial killers.

I have this fascination with them about just what it is inside their obviously deranged brain that makes them seek out and kill people on separate forays.

I’ve compiled what I believe is a complete list of Japanese people who are confirmed serial killers, which you can read HERE.

Seems like I may - eventually - have to update that list.

Tokyo police are in the midst of talking to a 27-year-old Japanese man named Shiraishi Takahiro (surname first), who may have killed up to nine people.

He was arrested after Tokyo Police found nine bodies in Zama, a city located in Kanagawa-ken (Kanagawa Prefecture).

He has already confessed to dismembering a body after killing the victim, and hiding it in a cold storage container covered with cat litter to mask the decomposition odor.

Two decapitated heads were also found in separate cooler in the apartment’s entryway, with police eventually discovering the remains of seven others, for a total of eight women and one man.

Other body parts are believed to have been bagged and tossed out as garbage. 

A saw, believed to have been used to dismember the bodies in Shiraishi’s bathroom, was also found.

The grisly find was discovered after police investigated the suspect in relation to a missing person’s report for a 23-year-old woman, who is believed to be among the remains.

The missing woman had previously contacted Shiraishi via social media seeking help with a suicide pact. See… social media can be beneficial.

Apparently Shiraishi and the woman had been captured by security cameras outside a nearby train station, and both were seen on additional film walking near his apartment.

While NOT a serial killing, in July of 2016, a 27-year-old former male employee of a home for disabled persons killed 19, and injured over 20 others in a knife attack.You can read about that HERE.

That was a mass killing, whereas serial killing is described as three murders or more occurring at different times - usually days, weeks or even months apart.


Banzai,
Andrew Joseph

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Miniature Furniture Fur Cats

The Okawa Kagu company has released a new craftsman MADE line of high-quality furniture for cats.

Uh-huh.

They look fabulous… but the way I see it this beautiful cat furniture is a chance for human revenge!

Ticked off at your cat using YOUR sofa as his/her private scratching post - even though you BOUGHT them a private scratching post? 

Well… revenge is a dish best served couch. Scratch the  crap out of their cat furniture!!!! See how the cat likes that!!!!

Being a cat, it probably doesn’t give a crap, and will probably help you destroy it.

By felines on this (ha-ha), is that is you are interested in getting some fancy cat furniture for your cat, perhaps you should only do so if your indoor cat is declawed.

Would you want muddy paw marks on your bed? No… I say this furniture is for indoor cats only.

Personally, I’m not all that thrilled with outdoor cats. I look at my neighbor’s  Siamese forever sitting in my backyard or front yard… she won’t go to her own yard anymore because they just got a dog… so it’s my place. Pooping everywhere. Stoopid cat. I would never buy craftsman MADE cat furniture for that cat…

… and my own… he has claws (that’s how we got the five-year-old bugger two years ago).

My whole take on the cat furniture is suspiciously akin to the old Steve Martin routine on cat toys from one of my favorite comedy albums ever, A Wild And Crazy Guy:


Anyhow, don’t let me stop you from spoiling your purr pal. I have a cat. Wish I had a dog. But I have a cat I named Freddy, after the ascot-wearing dude in the Scooby-Doo cartoons. When I got him, he was named Dante (after the guy who wrote the triple poem the Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri… not surprisingly as funny as Steve Martin), but despite loving the poem, I needed to give him the Scooby Doo name  because I was starting a trend, what with his predecessor named Daphne. 

Here… check out the video Okawa Kagu has put out on their new cat furniture.



Fricking stuff looks better than my own human furniture… of course… my cat ruined that.

Did you notice that the video showed a miniature cabinet and coffee table?

Yee cats!

Kanpai,
Andrew "When he sits around the house, he sits around the house" Joseph
PS: For you non-cat people, Happy Halloween and/or Happy Anniversary. 


 
 

Monday, October 30, 2017

How Not To Empower Japanese Women

Growing up as a visible minority in Canada--though apparently in my home city of Toronto, being a visible minority is now the majority--I have always been in favor of empowering women with equal rights and opportunities.

No reason to be a hypocrite, I believe.

Which brings me to the hypocritical photo above.

At a very recent event where Tokyo governor Koike Yukio (surname first) gave a speech, she used the above image as a means to show how Japanese women should be empowered.

Yes...she shows an image of young Japanese women working in a day-care.

Holy crap.

She could have easily have shown a photo of herself... a strong woman working in Japanese politics as the frickin' governor of Tokyo.

But no... she chose to show that rather than working as the governor of a major Japanese empire builder... or as a scientist working for JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) for example, or as a doctor working to keep people healthy, she chose to say that "Here... here's what Japanese women can aspire to - looking after babies."

There's nothing wrong with looking after babies, toddlers, kids (husbands), et al... Japanese women (and women all over this planet) have been doing it for millennia. Japanese women have been looking after the household: cooking, cleaning, handling the household finances, ensuring the kids do their homework, and making sure the husband has a hot meal and a hot bath ready for him regardless of when he shows up after working stupid hours of overtime every night.

But why show a graphic of women working with kids as the means to show how Japanese women might better empower themselves in a male-dominated society?

Yes... I'm sure more daycare is required if more women are to re-enter the workforce. Hey... aren't the grandparents living with Japanese families anymore? They used to. And grandma used to help out.

Consider if you will, that in Japan, a woman can be considered an old maid if she isn't married by the age of 25.

Postulating, a married Japanese woman might have a child or two by 26. Keeping that age in mind, assume that the woman's parents would have done the same. That would make the grandparents about 52... younger than me with my 11-year-old.

I'm implying that at 52, and assuming that the grandmother never went back to work after she had kids to raise, could she not help out her daughter or daughter-in-law? Fifty isn't old, despite what I thought back when I was 11. I move slower, sure, but I still move, and I'm not about to burn down the house because my memory is faulty, or because I've fallen and I can't get up.

I'm just saying... maybe more daycare centers aren't required for every child-rearing family... but sure... a few more couldn't hurt. Grandparents have their own lives, too, after all.... so yeah... more daycare in Japan... still... I don't know how a career in babysitting empowers anyone other than a 12-year-old... which was when I began to babysit... continuing until I was nearly 26 and left Toronto to go to Japan on the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme.

At that time, along with babysitting, I was teaching piano to eight students, coaching women's soccer, playing men's softball, going to journalism school - studying for and doing assignments, and interning at various newspapers.

Busy? Yeah. I empowered myself. Maybe Japanese women need to empower themselves. Yeah, I know that also means people have allow you to empower yourself... but I did so by a whole bunch of separate means.

Pollsters claim that some 3-million women in Japan are NOT working, even though they would like to.

According to Catalyst, a not-for-profit organization that promotes women in the workplace, women account for 9.1 percent of all senior managers at car manufacturer Nissan, which is above the 8.3% average for Japanese firms with more than 100 employees.

I wonder how that relates to businesses in Canada, for example. I'm sure it's still a sausage party.

As for Tokyo governor Koike... should we expect better from a hell-bent for power politician who has espoused racist overtones with regards to Koreans living and working in Japan for generations (see HERE)?

I guess not. It's just par for the course.

Sorry, female population of Japan. It looks like any future of empowerment must be gained by continuing to look after everyone else but yourselves.

I'm afraid that if you want true empowerment, you may have to go out an grab it for yourselves without any help from a woman who could offer it.

Banzai,
Andrew Joseph
PS: Is it just me, but is it a bad sign when the only two times I've heard of Tokyo's new governor, it has been because of her ignorance. I guess ignorance trumps common sense.
PPS: Photo and inspiration for this blog is taken from the Twitter account of @AmyCatalinac HERE. Amy is an assistant professor at New York University, and Japanese politics scholar. Now there's some empowerment...