Tokyo Sasumata Incident

One of my YouTube vids from six years ago shows police in Maha Sarakham using a sasumata (a nonlethal man-catching staff of samurai-era design) to subdue a knife-wielding suspect at our local bus station. I posted about it at the time and there are a couple links (amazingly still live) about other incidents down at the bottom.

Weapons similar to the sasumata have a long history in many cultures. They were known as “man-catchers” in Europe and used until the 18th century, although their non-lethality may be up for some debate:

The flanges on the top of that are spring-loaded and were designed to open up after it was thrust around someone’s neck!

The Chinese had a similarly-shaped traditional implement called a “monk’s spade,” or “Shaolin spade” that was apparently used as a burial tool (hence “spade”) as well as a weapon. There are several types still sold today.

During the pandemic, a clamping man-catcher shaped like a sasumata was used in Nepal to enforce social distancing.

This inspired police in India to try their own homebrewed clamping device, which they apparently had trouble naming, eventually settling on “social distancing clamp” or a “lockdown-breaker catcher,” although NPR just gave up and just called them “giant tongs.”

In the latest news, an employee at a jewelry shop in Tokyo is being hailed a hero after thwarting an attempted robbery and giving chase with a sasumata after the three suspects fled. There is some cool video of it:

Two of the three suspects have already surrendered to the police.

I love how they instantly deflate when met with resistance. After their scooters are toppled and the mountain smacks it, the weapon in his hands must have looked like:

Hatsukoi Redux: School’s Out in HD

Back in 2006, I became a bit obsessed with a video I found on this newly-purchased video sharing (or was it video dating?) site called YouTube. It was a 2-minute ad shot in Hong Kong for Nintendo featuring a catchy tune with enchanting vocals called Hatsukoi by Mayumi Kojima (小島麻由美). I blogged about it back then, and looking at the comments, it actually led to a meetup in real life that led all the way to Thailand (where are you, bro?).

That video has disappeared and reappeared (only on YT) several times over the years, always in [potato x potato] resolution, and I’ve tried to keep the post for it updated with a live embed… So it was to my great surprise to find an HD link for it today, after I’d updated the low-res version on my blog post, of course.

Those notes she hits in the chorus (after the lululala) still really do it for me, which is sadly not something I can say for all of the music I used to love – I listened to a lot of it way too much and I can’t even sit through a whole song most of the time now.

I’ll paste the JP lyrics to Hatsukoi by Mayumi Kojima below, because most Japanese lyric sites still employ anti-copy technologies from the early 90’s, which are very annoying.

小島麻由美( こじま まゆみ )



わたしを置いて どこへも 行かないと ゆびきりした 夏の日
悲しい気持ちで目が覚めた 少女の頃に戻った夢

ルールララー わたしの心は水色
ルールララー あの頃想えば水色

誰かに似てた 遠い昔 背丈を気にしてた少年
わたしは何に恋してた? その顔さえ白くぼやけて

ルールララー わたしの心は水色
ルールララー あの頃想えば水色
メリーゴーランド まわるよ

ルールララー わたしの心は水色
ルールララー あの頃想えば水色
ルールララー 心はいつでも
ルールララー あなたを想えば水色

Chicano Subculture in Thailand and Japan

There was a resurgence of interest in “Thai Chicanos” last year, resulting in a few articles and videos across the web. The most entertaining video, however, is the one from almost a decade ago, about the “Cholos of Bangkok,” by Coconuts TV.

Also last year, an interesting YouTube video documenting “Japan’s Chicano Culture In LA” was published by Peter Santenello:

However, the true counterpart to the “Cholos of Bangkok” is “Inside Japan’s Chicano Subculture” by the NYT:

From a language and culture standpoint, all of these are enthralling. I’ve watched them all multiple times and pick up on new details every time.

Jui Juis – จอมโจรขโมยใจ (Chom Chon Khamoi Jai)

One of my favorite Thai Indy bands, even though I only have one… Juijui took the iku iku iku / itai itai itai jokes of the pre K-pop peak to the next level; homeboy was basically a genius who could be very cringe, as my kids would say.

This one is pretty amazing for a guy who doesn’t seem to have studied Japanese very much.