Capsule toys from vending machines are a big deal in Japan, often putting our less-inspired ones to shame. Case in point, these new miniature figures introduced by the Tama-Kyu company, that depict people who are intoxicated in public!
The series, named #YopparaiNau (Drunk Now), is made up of five different lushes, each in a different predicament and measuring about five centimeters (two inches) in height.
All the greatest hits are there:
...“Person Wearing a Pylon” ...“Person Sleeping on the Side of the Road” ...“Person Hugging a Telephone Pole” ...“Person Hugging a Telephone Pole” ...“Person who Needs a Waste Basket.”
The cost? 300 yen (approx. US $2.72) each.
Get a closer look at all five figurines at SoraNews24.
images via PR Times Read the rest
Language learning brand Busuu took to the streets of London to see if native English speakers could translate the Japanese words thrown at them. They did better than I would have!
Just like the English language has borrowed words from Japanese, like karaoke or sushi, modern Japanese uses a fair amount of vocabulary borrowed from English. These words are called gairaigo.
(Neatorama) Read the rest
A company in Japan has made t-shirts that give the illusion that you can -- kind of -- see through them. The one for women hints at a busty chest in a lacy bra, and the one for guys suggests six-pack abs. The "delusional mapping T-shirt with a faint view of the valley" and the "delusional mapping T-shirt with faint muscles" (loosely translated) each cost approximately $36 (¥ 3,888).
(Oddity Central) Read the rest
Carla and I enjoy the Japanese language learning video series called JapanesePod101. This episode of Life Where I'm From (produced by a Canadian who lives in Japan) has an interview with Risa, the host of JapanesePod101. She talks about how she learned English by going to England. She also has some tips for learning Japanese. Read the rest
This might very well be my new favorite thing. While the "Super Big Wrapped in Warmth Happy Furry Jeans Sleeping Bag" looks like an oversized pair of dungarees, it's really just a giant novelty sleeping bag built for two!
It even comes with two bandana-patterned pillows, which fit adorably in the back pockets...
It's available at Japan Trend Shop for $696. Grab one for me too and we'll have a sleepover.
(GeekAlerts) Read the rest
Katsuobushi (aka bonito) is dried, fermented and smoked tuna and it's incredibly hard. It's so hard that it's possible to fashion a shiv out of it.
To do so, you'll need a mandoline, an adjustable wrench, a metal file, a vise to hold it in, an oven, a whetstone and some patience. YouTuber kiwami japan shows the way.
You'll not only get a dangerous weapon out of the deal but also a big bag of bonito flakes (which are great for making your food look like it's moving).
(SoraNews24) Read the rest
I'm so inspired by these Halloween bento boxes. Not sure I could stomach eating some of them though!
(Twitter) Read the rest
Nicolas Cage's mug is being used on the packaging of a Japanese snack food. Because, of course it is.
RocketNews24 writes that Cage's endorsement of Umaibo's "Nicolastick," a 10-cent corn chowder-flavored cheese puff stick, is part of a promotion for the Japanese film Ore no Emono wa bin Laden (Bin Laden is My Prey):
[The film] observes several Japanese cinematic traditions by being quaintly renamed from the original title (Army of One), having an official Japanese-market title (Finding bin Laden) that doesn’t match the meaning of its Japanese one, and coming out long, long after its original release (Army of One premiered in November of 2016 in America, but Bin Laden is My Prey won’t hit Japanese theaters until this December).
Sadly, the Nicolastick won’t be sold in stores. The only way to get your hands on them is to purchase advance tickets for Bin Laden is My Prey when they go on sale on October 13 at Tokyo’s Cinema Shinjuku, Osaka’s Cinemart Shinsaibashi, or Nagoya’s Century Cinema, or through online ticketing service Major at a yet-to-be-determined date. 1,500 yen (US$14) gets you a ticket to the movie and an undisclosed number of Nicolasticks.
Well, dang. I really wanted one.
image via ITMedia Read the rest
Tsujigiri is the Japanese word for lopping off an innocent person's head with a sword. My wife, Carla Sinclair, wrote about the origins of this grisly practice in her article for Tofugu.
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The reasons for tsujigiri varied, but usually the swordsman slashed at an unsuspecting victim to try out his new katana, to practice a new move, to test his strength, or just for the sheer thrill of it. There was even a superstition floating around that said performing tsujigiri on 1,000 people would heal illness. The victims were usually merchants or peasants.
See sample pages from this book at Wink.
If you’re like me when it comes to speaking Japanese – extremely clunky with with a limited conversational vocabulary but can read the two syllabaries (katakana and hiragana), this book is a fantastic supplement to further study. Besides the high fun factor of studying with manga (which teaches you to speak like a Japanese person rather than a formal text-book-taught foreigner), it’s the first book I’ve read that clearly explains the grammar (such as when and where to use particles like wa, ga and o), the complicated number systems, conjugating verbs, telling time, etc. I’m also learning some basic kanji as well as silly things you find in manga like exclamations and swear words. Each chapter gives you exercises to do on separate paper with answers in the back of the book. This lesson book is packed with great info on how the Japanese language works, and it’s presented in an interesting way that makes me look forward to picking up the book. I'm really loving it.
However, I have to say that the title of this book is a bit misleading. Yes, we are studying Japanese using manga, but Learning the Basics is a bit of a stretch. The book does touch on the basics but it moves quickly, and if you’re brand new to Japanese, I would hold off on reading this book until you actually have learned the basics.
Japanese in Mangaland: Learning the Basics
by Marc Bernabe
Japan Publications Trading
2004, 269 pages, 6.8 Read the rest
"It took all the skin off your hands," says former Army soldier Rollins Edwards. "Your hands just rotted."
For anyone learning how to speak Japanese, this is a fun illustrated “picture dictionary” with over 1500 words that will help build up your Japanese vocabulary. Designed like some of Richard Scarry’s classic books (What Do People Do All Day, Best Word Book Ever…) Let’s Learn Japanese is filled with colorful scenes, each with a theme such as the doctor’s office, the supermarket, colors, the zoo, clothing, etc, and each theme offers dozens of related, illustrated words.
At the end of the book there is an English-Japanese and a Japanese-English glossary and index so that you can look up a specific word when needed. I originally bought this for my husband and I to brush up on our vocabulary before making a trip to Japan, but now my daughter, who is interested in Japanese, pores over the pages as if she’s reading one of her favorite comic books.
Let’s Learn Japanese: Picture Dictionary
Take a look at other beautiful paper books at Wink. And sign up for the Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.
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This episode's guest:
Peter Bebergal, the author of Too Much to Dream: A Psychedelic American Boyhood and writes frequently on the speculative and slightly fringe. He is currently writing Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock & Roll to be published by Tarcher/Penguin. He blogs at mysterytheater.blogspot.com.
Koichi is the editor of the Japanese language and culture blog Tofugu and the author of Japanese language resources, WaniKani and TextFugu.
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An increasingly frustrated native Japanese speaker discovers Siri can't parse the spoken word "work" when voiced with a Japanese accent
From the Google Maps blog:
September 12th is 'Space Day' in Japan, and we are celebrating by releasing new, comprehensive Street View imagery for two of Japan’s top scientific institutions: the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan). With panoramic imagery in and around these locations now available via the Street View feature of Google Maps, space enthusiasts around the world have a more complete and accurate sense of what it’d be like to virtually swap places with an astronaut.
More here. (Thanks, Nate Tyler!) Read the rest
Above, Alin Nava (C) stands in a checkout line at a supermarket in Monterrey April 5, 2012. Nava, 25, is dressed in the so-called "Lolita" fashion style (ロリータ・ファッション Rorīta fasshon), a fashion subculture from Japan influenced by clothing from the Victorian or Rococo eras. The basic style consists of a blouse, petticoat, bloomers, bell-shaped skirt and knee-high socks. Nava is the co-founder of the "Lolitas Paradise" club in Monterrey and for members of the club, the Lolita style is not only a fashion statement but also a way to express their loyalty, friendship, tolerance and unity. Read the rest
These women are fans of the Japanese television series "Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt" (which, by the way, is coming soon to the US on DVD). Photographed at the Vancouver Fan Expo #7, April 2012, by Jazman. He has more wonderful shots in this Flickr set. (via BB Flickr Pool) Read the rest