This has got to be one of the coolest commercials ever made… Can you figure out what it’s for before the end?
According to the comments over at YouTube, the song is called Hatsukoi by Mayumi Kojima (hatsukoi means “first love”).

“Push this button!” to be the new “Pull my finger!”

Engineering nerds in Tokyo are building the ultimate fart joke:

“IMAGINE being able to record a smell and play it back later, just as you can with sounds or images.”

Read the full article here.
I can see the tagline now: YESTERDAY’S SMELLS TODAY!
In all seriousness, though, I have recently been thinking of what I will miss the most when I leave Japan. Unsurprisingly, certain smells are scoring high on my list. A sample:

  1. The smell of the pine forest in Nara on a hot summer day
  2. Old tatami (not rotted, just properly cured)
  3. The smell of fear when you enter a classroom full of new English students
  4. The pinsuyaki stall at a village matsuri
  5. The heavenly scent of yakitori / yakiniku on an empty stomach
  6. The aromatic combination of natto, sesame oil, and diced shallots spread evenly across the quivering naked body of a geisha
  7. The stench of shit when you disembowel an uppity peasant with your +7 Flaming Wakizashi!

The full list is being drawn up in my mind and will appear sometime before departure.
(link found over at Collision Detection)


(click to open larger popup)
This is a photo I found from a couple months ago. It was taken at a flower park called hanasajiki that I try and visit a couple times every year. The funny thing is, these flowers weren’t even in the main part of the park, they were in a planter in front of the gift store!
Here’s a link to the full set from that day: 2006 Awaji Hanasajiki (Warning: Baby pics abound!)

Eternal Sunset

Yo, this shit is pretty dope:

Eternal Sunset endeavours to ensure you can enjoy the sunset live from any location, at any time. As the sunset moves westward, Eternal Sunset continuously tunes into different webcams, chasing the sunset around the globe. This service is currently provided through the use of 206 west-facing webcams across 42 countries.

They need more webcams, though. I’ve been watching the same shot of Tehran for five minutes – that’s four too long.
check it out here (click on the “more” link on that page for background info)

Plain Vanilla

Most of you may not notice, but I’ve been using the new default design templates for this blog, and I apologize because I have no intention of customizing it until the final version of this blog software is released. Please bear with this generic design for a few more weeks (actually, I kind of got used to it).
P.S. If you see a lot of other blogs that look just like mine, it’s because they are all copying me.


Riding on trains and subways in Japan, it would seem that gray is the new blue. I believe this trend started out about ten years ago and has recently approached the tipping point, where salarymen in gray suits will outnumber those in dark blue.
When I first started riding the subway to work (the route is drilled into my brain for all eternity: Yotsubashi Line from Tamade to Nishi Umeda, walk to Higashi Umeda for transfer to Tanimachi Line to Miyakojima; approximately 40 minutes counting waiting time), dark blue was still de rigueur for a salaryman. Back in those days, Nam and I lived in an apartment possibly the size of a large van interior, in one of the few neighborhoods in Japan where you can actually see drug dealers hanging on the corner, and the local riots over police brutality were still in people’s not-so-distant memories. Even in our little slice of roach-infested heaven, the blue rule was in full effect, that is, Salarymen Wear Dark Blue. I always felt like a rebel, because I wore gray. This is not to say that I started this trend or anything (God fucking forbid), I was just one of the admittedly not-really-so-few early adopters. This is to say, however, that I have been closely monitoring the gray-to-blue ratio for almost ten years.
The gray movement lost a few recruits to the School of Black (managers especially seem to prefer the total absence of color, and not just with regards to attire – ha!), but step into any number of ready-to-made salaryman suit factories and you will immediately notice that there are more gray suits than any other color. Black may never attain the crown due to its now dual stigmas: Black positively screams, “Hey, someone died and I’m mourningly toting a new Coach attache to the wake,” or alternatively, “I’m a fucking management weenie! I can wear sunglasses on the train and merely pretend to comprehend the Nikkei Weekly, yet still get paid more than you pissants! Bow down to me and the fake Rolex I got during shucho to Hong Kong, bitches!”
So let’s review: Gray is the new blue. Black is sharp, but carries the Asshole Manager stigma. Dark blue is just old, man… Doesn’t leave a whole lot of choices, does it?
Methinks white suits with pastel man-blouses and see-through mesh slippers ala Sonny Crockett aren’t that far off. Especially with this whole Cool Biz affair still pumped into overdrive. Can you guess the biggest effect of Cool Biz I have seen so far? The market for desktop electric fans has shot through the fucking roof! Gee, too bad they don’t make those in Japan anymore… It might have boosted sales of some poor domestic sod of an appliance manufacturer teetering on the verge of self-immolation and helped avoid protracted price wars over $10 toaster ovens.
In Salaryman’s Brave New World, however, a chance at PR supercedes trivial shit like lost jobs, dependent families, or the gross dofuckingmestic product.
P.S. Ironically, these days I like to wear black suits the best. I like being mistaken for a mourner because if I just lose it (FLAME ON, BITCHES!) at someone, I can always just say “sorry, my great uncle just died from avian cancer,” or something equally as pitiful, afterward. Plus, Addendum #26 of the Salaryman’s Code clearly states that black does not carry a stigma when the wearer himself is one.
Related link:
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DJ Kentaro – Space Shower TV

I’m going out today to drive around my island and hopefully take some photos. I therefore leave you with this:

Space Shower TV is a music channel available on Japan’s SkyPerfect TV satellite service. I haven’t seen this clip there myself (since the death of MTV I abhor all music stations) so I don’t know the background of it, but this a signature Kentaro set and probably his most recognizable one.
Observe the power of properly applied white tape!

Get fucking real

Somebody at work today actually got all teary-eyed when he was told Japan is now out of the world cup. He turned to me and said, “Well, America’s out of it, too!”
To which I replied, “You know what the difference is? Americans don’t GIVE A FUCK!”
Okay, maybe that was the point at which he got teary-eyed.
I really don’t give a fuck.

Birdy Nam Nam

The name of the track is Absesses. It’s really laid back, but it got stuck in my head for a long time, in a good way. The name of the group is Birdy Nam Nam, which is just the weirdest name I’ve ever heard. I kinda like it. I know Nam likes it. Anyhow.

Found this gem over at aurgasm. There’s a short bio as well as a downloadable mp3 by the group there; go check it out.

Eels! Getcher Pipin’ Hot Eels Here!

Had a yummy lunch today – unadon. If the Beef Bowl chain in the states (menu) began serving unadon, would they call it Eel Bowl?
As any self-respecting kabayaki snob will tell you, unagi is best prepared over charcoal. My fondest unagi meal in memory, however, was one I did not partake in.
Way back in our Tenri university dorm days, I had a dog who we named after a certain blue-haired cartoon hedgehog. Sonic’s two favorite things were rooting around in irrigated rice fields, and eating our leftovers after every meal.
Well, one day somebody took pity on our broke college student asses and prepared for us a veritable feast of unadon bentos. Idiots that we were, we got drunk and left the bentos out in the torpid summer heat – just over night, but that was more than enough to ensure they spoiled. We cried the next day over our ruined bento, and had the bright idea of feeding it to the dog. Sonic wolfed them down in approximately 17 seconds, and had explosive diarrhea for the next three days. I cleaned it up as well as I could and it was many years before I could stand the smell of grilled unagi again.
Those were the days.

Gnarls Barkley Revealed

NY Times magazine has put up an excellent profile of Danger Mouse: The DJ Auteur
You know what? You can kind of hear the fact that he digs Portishead in his music.
I remember telling M’s boyfriend (self-declared “biggest Jay-Z fan in the world”) via long distance call to Canada that my favorite Jay-Z album was the Grey Album. His reply (he hadn’t heard it yet): “Even better than Blueprint 2?”
Oh, hell yes.

CNN Breaking News 2006/06/19

“Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to be cited for failure to wear a helmet, not having a proper license at time of his June 12 accident.”

  1. And this affects me and 99.9999999% of the world how?
  2. Please tell me why he should care about a fucking traffic citation, as opposed to, say, the massive trauma to his face and head.
  3. Please tell me why you consider this worthy of an e-mail news alert while, say, this is not.

Environmental Monarch

Thai fishermen have declared they will no longer intentionally catch the Mekong Giant Catfish, in honor of their king: LINK
Granted, this only covers part of the problem as the river runs through/is boundary to multiple countries. Plus, I can just imagine the rush of people cutting up nets to collect on multiple $500 payoffs. But still… It speaks a lot for having a monarchy that is respected and revered.
(via Magnoy)

Free 80’s Music

A digg user has posted 100 free 80’s mp3s over on his blog.
Go download some and relive the glory years of commie-fearing, plastic neon superconductivity.
By the way, I noticed they had G-mans new favorite karaoke jam on that page, Cutting Crew’s I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight. His semi-faithful rendition of that horrible song at the Big Echo in Umeda a couple months ago had me blowing beer out my nose.
Legal note: Piracy is bad. I do not advocate swilling rum while raping damsels on a dead man’s chest. On the other hand, YOHOHO BIOOOTCHES!