Monday, October 26, 2009

Amazing LEGO Pop-up Kinkaku-Ji

You should probably play your own soundtrack, though.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Hello Kitty turns 35 in style

On occasion of her birthday we have the "Super Hello Kitty Jewel Doll."

The news release describes her in detail:

"studded with a 1.027 carat diamond on its ribbon, 403 pink sapphires on its body, a citrine for its yellow nose, black spinels for its eyes and a total of 1,939 pieces of white topaz for its head on a platinum body. Luxury crystal maker Swarovski, Japanese toy firm Sanrio and Japanese jewelery maker I.K. unveiled the 10.5 cm-tall Hello Kitty, which is priced at $15 million yen (about $167,000)."

Won't find that in the 100 yen shop!


Friday, October 2, 2009

Tagawa on my shoulder

Suiho Tagawa has hunted me a bit since seeing them at the Kyoto International Manga Museum. You can't really pick these up at Borders, so Tim Hensley of Blog Flume pull together a nice lil slide show of animations and comic excerpts. Check it here.

I was kicking myself for not taking pics then I realized that I used someone else's camera. Ben maybe...? I'm gonna get you. There was no way I would have left that place with out any!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

the End of an era - "Barefoot Gen" retires

Keiji Nakazawa, the maker of Barefoot Gen is retiring from drawing comics.

Due to various health issues (with his eyes) his is stopping drawing but continue to work on the Gen project in its many forms.

Here is the news report....

Saturday, September 5, 2009

First actions of new Japanese Democratic Party

TOKYO, Japan (CNN) -- Yoshiko Sato would love to give her only son a brother or a sister. But money struggles and Japan's cost of living have pushed the mother to wait.

Japanese mother Yoshiko Sato says the proposal "would help us with a second child."

Japanese mother Yoshiko Sato says the proposal "would help us with a second child."

A proposal to pay parents about $3,400 a year per child has got her thinking seriously about expanding her family. The cash for kids plan is the brainchild of the country's new ruling Democratic Party of Japan, which came into power during the elections this week. The proposal has garnered supporters and critics.

"It would help us with a second child," Sato said.

The proposal would pay families the money every year until the child reached high school. It is an effort to boost Japan's birthrate, which is one of the lowest in the world and is a major drag on the country's economy. It is compounded by Japan's rapidly aging population.

About a quarter of the country's population is older than 65, according to government figures. By 2050, that number is expected to reach 40 percent. Video Watch as some parents ponder procreation »

Nevertheless, the money for babies proposal has its critics. Economist Yuri Okina said she wonders where Japan's government is going to come up with the money to fund it.

The plan is not an instant fix, she said. What's needed, Okina said, is a way for women to remain in the work force after having children instead of being forced out because of lack of child care.

"We have to make it normal in Japan for a woman to raise a child and have a career," Okina said.

Critics also have said the plan would not fix a significant problem for working families -- the lack of day care centers. About 40,000 children are on waiting lists for day care, according to government figures.


These facilities' scarcity is problematic for mothers such as Hiromi Espineli.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


The second music video I worked on while trotting around Tokyo. I got plenty of these shots so editing it all took some work.
It's full of "where's where" and "who's who" types of shots. enjoy!

"KissTheSky" was written on the plane ride to KIX: recorded in Hotel Sun Route Umeda, Osaka: Shot: In Tokyo.
It's one of my releases from my MoneyBagsMixtape.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

happy, just missed it, VJ day

The title is a little inappropriate i know and this post is late regardless of how you look at it, so i most likely fail. Regardless this is to important to pass up. Today (yesterday, w/e) was the 64th anniversary of VJ day (Victory Japan for those who didn't pay attention to life). 64 years ago Japan's then emperor, Hirohito, announced the surrender of his campaign (not really to sure who was really in charge, but hes the emperor) in world war II, more or less ending the war in total. The people of japan expressed their respect to their war dead, to which the current Emperor and Empress (Akihito (Hirohito's son if you didnt catch on) and Michiko) attended a ceremony at the Nihon Budokan Hall in the glorious city of Tokyo. The prime minister made a public speech expressing his deep regret and apologies on behalf of Japan while reasuring the world that the situation will never be repeated by the japanese.
This my friends is an example of the Japanese emperor trying to redeem himself for a Meiwaku. A meiwaku is something that brings Shame not only to an individual but the entire group he represents (in this case the whole nation of Japan). This usually entails lots of apologizing (even after 64 years). A Meiwaku is bad because it breaks the wa (or Harmony) of the world. Its everybodies goal/ responsibility not to break the wa so as not to shame the group. Well thats my knowledge to spread for now. PAX!,2933,539704,00.html?test=latestnews

Saturday, August 15, 2009

T-shirt design

Long time no post classmates----- (: *)

Here is a t-shirt design I made for commission from a friend's band.  You may recognize the shameless appropriation of an 1833 scroll in depicting the firemen of the "sen" group (from the Tokyo Edo Museum).

Friday, August 7, 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009

a "skosh" intriguing

In Japanese many foreign "loanwords" have been adopted and adapted into the Japanese lexicon, known as Gairaigo (外来語). You have come across them, and they are usually written phonetically in katakana, like:


Well, this interesting tidbit just came through my inbox today. An inversion that I wasn't aware of:

The Word of the Day for July 23 is:

skosh \SKOHSH\ noun
: a small amount : bit, smidgen

Example sentence:
The barista sprinkled a skosh of fresh ginger onto the milky surface of the latte.

Did you know?
The word "skosh" comes from the Japanese word "sukoshi," which is pronounced "skoh shee" and means "a tiny bit" or "a small amount." The Japanese word was shortened by U.S. servicemen stationed in Japan after World War II. Later, in the Korean War, a small soldier was often nicknamed "Skosh." In civilian-speak, "skosh" can be used as a noun (as in our example sentence) or adverbially (as in "I'm a skosh tired").

So I'm going to try to use this however I can. Might make me sound a little Commonwealth, but perhaps it is worth the risk

And what is the most recognized foreign loanword in the Japanese language today? Guess!

Does this all mean a breaking down of cultural barriers and differences, for better or worse? Some don't think necessarily so.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

GUNDAM - 30 years old AND an environmentalist?

Hey all you Gundam fans out there - looks like Tokyo is putting on a top rate Happy Birthday celebration for this mobile suit warrior! The Japan Times article's headline seems a litle misleading in pitching the fighting robot's greenness:

Gundam goes Green: The transformational centerpiece of a drive for a clean future

Beyond the headline and the net little quote, it is basically an anime lovefest for Gundam...Nevertheless, I'm sure it'll be quite a nice party.

"The theme of 'Mobile Suit Gundam' contains a passion for the environment that matches with Tokyo's plan to expand the city's green areas," says Yasuo Miyakawa, managing director of the Gundam Character Works department at Sunrise Animation, the program's creator.

Friday, July 10, 2009

violins, beer, and Perry (Y150!)

On a recent visit to Yokohama to BankArt 1929 Christa and I took in a lot, including the blitz of media and events around Yokohama's 150th anniversary
But anniversary as what? The town has been around a longer time than that, but 150 years marks the year - 1859 - when Yokohama opened as an official internationl port city. In this case, the city's very identity is framed on its opening from the 200 year isolation of the Tokugawa shogunate. A recent article in the JR bullet train magazine discusses the adoption of Western music -and particularly jazz- by Japan. Some of the images from the magazine are pretty great in showing the odd mixtures and transitions in the early Meiji period (click on the above image to see it in detail).

Of course the man to force that opening was Commodore Matthew Perry six years before that when he arrived in the area in 1853. Perry references abound in the city right now, in fact one artist's work at BankArt on exhibition now uses Perry as a major theme. The gallery's restaurant/bar is even serving a commemorative beer based on a recipe for beer brought by Perry's crew on that first visit to Nippon. The beer, let me say, was tasty. The label that BankArt designed for the berr (called Pe-ru-ri" katakana for "Perry") makes him out to be something in between Rudolph the red-nose reindeer and a fellow who maybe is a little pink in the face from imbibing a little too much. Either way, pretty charming.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jungle Japan Video Attack Show

It's a jungle out there! And even with all the city and cement, endless wires and shoes and silver sparkling towers reaching for the sky, animals have still found ways to survive and speckle the landscapes of japan. Don't worry, I had them sign internet release forms.
Here's some unusually brave pidgeys and pigeottos in Hiroshima.
Animals must be brave here, and always ready for aCRAZY BEETLE-ANT SHOWDOWN at the gold castle in Kyoto!
Some of the onlookers were interesting too, they had quite unique fashion sense.

This blue-tailed skink in Kyoto was sad that he lost the bet when the ants won, he's going home.
The crows in Kyoto clearly have other plans...
What could they be thinking?
Well, in any case this egret/crane(?) wants nothing to do with it,
"Just a slow, scenic day at the river thankyouverymuch!" he told me.
So this is what those crows were after!! DINNER!
However snake meat can be very costly here,
So it's time for EPIC BATTLE #2, Crow VS Snake!
I was concerned when I saw one crow had been bitten,
as he soon struggled while flying to the next tree.
Crow-san mourns his fallen friend dramatically
in the rain, giving us an ominous image in the graveyards of Tokyo.
The battle between snake and crow may not be over for him!
But unfortunately this post is..


Shot, written, edited and recorded in two days between Kyoto & Tokyo.

Anti [18aC] - "Vague&Universal" from 18andCounting on Vimeo.

MP3 Download

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Kyoto wunderponder

Kyoto is the place to sit around and talk about what you are seeing, what you've just eaten and what it might be, and all that. Here we all do just that in front of Kyomizudera

Otherwise, it is a good, clear night to what around town. You might turn into a Japanese Ultraman creature if you do, which isn't a half-bad thing! Kyoto Tower looming in the background.

Monday, June 15, 2009

a visit to Hiroshima

Our third full day in Japan had us taking a Hikari "bullet train" ride to Hiroshima to visit its Peace Memorial Museum. Within the museum itself is both documentation, artfacts, personal stories, and a number of dioramic scenes, including a version of the famous "Atomic Bomb Dome" - one of the few structures near the original detonation site that still remains in the city and is now preserved (not far from the museum itself) as a testimony to the terrible events of that day.

Visiting Hiroshima now it'd be hard to now what happened given all its tall buildings, busy streets, (and of course famous okonomiyaki). That said, I hope you all feel the visit helped tie together the stories we read Nakazawa's Barefoot Gen and Hersey's Hiroshima, while at the same time raising a host of new questions as well - not only about the event or contested understandings of history, but also about the role museums play as cultural institutions of "meaning-making" that we collectively participate in, tourist and students alike.