We love and celebrate the people who sneak into derelict themeparks and photograph their ruins! Beijing, Orlando, Sichuan, South Carolina, Japan, Berlin, New Orleans, even Walt Disney World! Read the rest
After a day of engaging in the most irresponsible activity a president can undertake (according to Donald Trump, anyway), President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe went to the Mar A Lago dining room with Steve Bannon and Michael Flynn, when Trump got a phone call about North Korea's missile tests. Read the rest
"The reason why Otonamaki was invented was because some people were worried about babies struggling or feeling claustrophobic while being wrapped up," says Orie Matsuo of Kyoko Proportion, one of several companies that offer Otonamaki to its customers. "We thought if adults were rolled up like them, they could experience how good it feels." And if customer feedback is anything to go by, Otonamaki is certainly proving successful.
The psychological dimensions speak for themselves, whispering from within their calm white cocoon.Read the rest
During a bizarre meet-and-greet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that ended with the weirdest diplomatic handshake ever, so-called 'President' Donald J. Trump ominously teased his intent to introduce some sort of heightened national security measures next week, and to continue fighting his losing battle with America's judicial system over the #MuslimBan.
Rich countries have low birthrates (in part because they have more rights for women, and women who can control their bodies and fates choose to have fewer children on average than women who live in poor countries with fewer rights for women); Japan, one of the most xenophobic of all the rich countries, has the killer combination of a near-total ban on immigration from poor countries (where all the young people are) and a high standard of living. Read the rest
Many Westerners equate ramen noodles with the cheap dried stuff that poor students and young adults eat, but Criterion Collection is doing their part to change that. They put together this wonderful documentary to support the 4K restoration of "ramen Western" Tampopo, one of the greatest food films ever made. Read the rest
Over at the Japanese culture website Tofugu (where my wife Carla is on staff), there's a great article by Kanae Nakamine on Japanese bug eating traditions, complete with tasty recipes like bee larva omelets, baby ant minestrone, and rice grasshopper granola bars. There are also vending machines in Japan that sell edible bugs.
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If you’re too lazy to hunt for bugs and cook them, don’t worry! There are other options. Japan is a land of convenience, and this extends to their tasty, tasty insects.
You can buy edible bugs anytime 24/7. In Tokyo’s Inokashira park, there’s a vending machine with two kinds of bugs that come in cans: Rice Grasshopper Kanroni and Hanakuyouniis Brand Bee Larvae. Both of these products are kinds of tsukudani, which is the traditional way of cooking with soy sauce, sugar, and sake. Kanroni is similar to tsukudani, but has more sugar and tastes sweeter. Hanakuyouni is a certain brand of tsukudani food in Japan. It uses its original recipe to stew the bee larvae for this product. So next time you’re going for a jog in this Tokyo park, swing your sweaty self over to this vending machine and start guzzling bee larvae. Nothing prepares you for long distance running better than a belly full of insect babies!
Isao Echizen, a researcher at Japan's National Institute of Informatics, told a reporter from the Sankei Shimbun that he had successfully captured fingerprints from photos taken at 3m distance at sufficient resolution to recreate them and use them to fool biometric identification systems (such as fingerprint sensors that unlock mobile phones). Read the rest
In Japan, people eat more than one hundred thousand tons of eel per year. In the last 30 years, overfishing has caused the wild eel population to decline by 90 percent.
From The New Yorker:
At Tsukiji, wholesale prices for farm-raised unagi imported from China immediately surged to a record high of around forty U.S. dollars per kilogram, and remained there for much of 2013. Prices for the wild-caught, “natural Japanese” eels served at upscale restaurants like Nodaiwa climbed even higher, by as much as fifty or sixty per cent.
But the government had been late to recognize the extent of the problem, which had already taken a toll on many famous restaurants specializing in kabayaki, a signature unagi preparation. In March, 2012, a year before the species was declared endangered, the beloved unagi restaurant Suekawa closed its doors, after sixty-five years of business, and it was followed a month later by the popular restaurant Yoshikawa.
Bo-taoshi (pole toppling) is a contact sport in which two teams each try to keep a large pole upright. Half of each team is on defense, and the other half plays offense. There's a player who stands on the top of the pole and kicks everyone in the face till they yank that player off the top. Read the rest