Monday, October 26, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
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
Thursday, September 17, 2009
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
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."
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. 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
Sunday, August 16, 2009
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!
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
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
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
"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
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
This blue-tailed skink in Kyoto was sad that he lost the bet when the ants won, he's going home.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
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
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.