Sunday, August 31, 2008

Otaku Wear!

Was folding laundry and after the article last week on Danny Choo, about "Are you a proud of being an otaku?" I wanted to take a picture of all of my anime and Japanese culture-related shirts. So without further ado, piccage!

Engrishy Bento

I got these bento at a local Japanese grocery store like 7-8 years ago, and I use them to keep extra figure parts in, mainly. The lower one actually has pumpkin and melon flavored Kit-Kats in it. ^^

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Very Detailed Report of What Japanese People Eat For Breakfast

On What Japan Thinks, they've posted a very detailed report of whether Japanese people eat breakfast everyday, when they eat, what they eat, if they don't why they don't, et cetera.
I personally think that "drinkable jelly" is gross as hell, our local Japanese grocery store carries coffee jelly on occasion and it's nasty. As well, プリン, or pudding, Japanese pudding specifically usually looks appetizing, but is often bland and has a weird texture. In my experience at least. You can read the insanely detailed, translated-into-English report at What Japan Thinks.

Kinnikuman 29th Anniversary Crazy Goods

According to Oricon, for the 29th anniversary of Kinnikuman in Japan the ultimate collector's item is going to be released: a Kinkeshi figure made of gold with a crystal display base/case. I guess they're trying to target the nostalgic, rich otaku set. Is there a nostalgic, rich otaku set? At any rate, the figure will retail for 49,350 yen, around $450. Normally the Kinkeshi toys are made of polyvinyl chloride gum.

Via Japan Probe.

Man Arrested in Tokyo for Keeping 51 Poisonous Snakes

"A man has been arrested in Tokyo for illegally keeping 51 poisonous snakes as pets. Here’s a news video showing police removing some of the snakes from his apartment:

His collection consisted of black mambas, green mambas, cobras, rhinoceros vipers, and other very poisonous snakes. There were also a lot of live mice in his apartment, which he had been using as food for the snakes. Police found out about the snakes after the man rushed himself to a hospital in July after sustaining a bite from one an eastern green mamba.

Neighbors interviewed by the press were quite shocked that so many dangerous snakes had been living nearby."

Via Japan Probe

Gundam 00 Season 2 Parody

I know this was probably posted in a hundred places already, but I finally got around to watching in and thought I'd share. Every series that has a second season should have a trailer like this one. I adore Japanese humor, it's so dry yet so comedic. 踊る猫。かわいいパンダ。M・AI・D!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fortune strikes! HLJ Reopens Preorders for Queen's Gate Alice

I discovered the MegaHouse version of Alice from the Queen's Gate series of pen and paper RPGs a little too late, this month as a matter of fact. Alas, the preorders for her were closed and I was not meant to have one, at least from sources that shipped domestically. I then read at Foo-bar-baz that preorders had reopened in Japan, so naturally I assumed they had in exporting companies as well. Hobby Search has not, as of now, reopened them but Hobbylink Japan has, so I jumped on it right away. There is a review of her on AkibaHobby with plenty of eyecandy abounding. She's supposedly out around the 31st, so I'm anxiously awaiting the message that my item has been shipped. ^^; Pictures courtesy of AkibaHobby, as well.

UPDATE: So apparently HLJ has bobbled my preorder and isn't sure if they can fulfill it or not. I say boo @ HLJ. Hopefully I get my preorder, or it's off to scour YHJ Auctions again.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Making Heads and Tails of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

I'm about 40 pages into The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, or ねじまき鳥クロニクル and I've already run into one of Murakami's trademark insights into life that he throws into the text without a hint of pretension.

"Contents of the conversation aside, I loved watching her at the dinner table as she talked with enthusiasm about her work. This, I told myself, was "home." We were doing a proper job of carrying out the responsibilities that we had been assigned to perform at home. She was talking about her work, and I, after having prepared dinner, was listening to her talk. This was very different from the image of home that I had imagined vaguely for myself before marriage. But this was the home I had chosen. I had had a home, of course, when I was a child. But it was not one I had chosen for myself. I had been born into it, presented with is as an established fact. Now, however, I loved in a world that I had chosen through an act of will. It was my home. It might not be perfect, but the fundamental stance I adopted with regard to my home was to accept it, problems and all, because it was something I myself had chosen. If it had problems, these were almost certainly problems that had originated within me."

Sharing over.

Yoko's Almost Here!

Yoko's almost here! Early next month I'll be in possession of the Eye Up version of Yoko from Gurren Lagann. Since I'd never heard of Eye Up before, I skulked around HLJ and looked for more by them. I found an awesome sculpt of Karen Stadtfeld from Code Geass there, as well as discovering that the Lala I have coming up next month is from them as well. They seem to do good work, at least by the prototype pics, so we'll see. Some people seem to have an issue with Yoko's mouth, but I seem to think it's pretty dead-on.

Gaijin = N-word? Erm....

So I'd heard the name Debito Arudou a few times before and it was kinda bothering me that I didn't know who he was and I kept intermittently hearing about him. After reading about him, his history, his past, what he claims to be "fighting" for -- he seems like a walking contradiction as well as a loudmouth misanthrope. His attitude, or an approximation of such summed up by this article, seems to call up something akin to Fox News' parade of brazen idiot "pundits". Much like them, he seems to want to justify his own half-baked career path and keep bitching for a living so he doesn't have to do anything relevant to anything for money. That being said, Debito Arudou is an American from California that had back and forth flirtations with Japan, post-collegiately and eventually wound up in the employ of a small trading company in Sapporo that he describes, "would be a watershed in my life." He indicates that he was the object of racial ridicule and went on to found a "gaijin human rights organization" more or less. In 1996 Arudou became a permanent resident of Japan and in 2000 he obtained citizenship. My question, as well as one of his critic's questions is:

People, including me, are fascinated by Debito Arudou because we wonder why he wanted to become Japanese in a country where he finds so many wrongs.
—Robert C. Neff

Why would someone who starts an organization based around how "racist" the Japanese are, want to become Japanese (to the point of legally changing his name) himself so badly?

My other issue with him, and this is where my original gripe above comes into play, is that he goes around saying that "gaijin" is the equivalent of the "n-word" and seeks to actively push it into obsolescence in Japan. That article is here. Rather than regurgitate it, I'll just let you read it because it's rather succinct. In today's saber-rattling overly-PC world, taking a term that's associated with an entire race of people being enslaved and killed for centuries and comparing it to something that is barely offensive to most let alone not associated with any real strife or anything of the like is not something someone should do on a whim.

You'd be naive to think if you are moving to a homogeneous society in which you will stick out like a white thumb, that you would be met with no resistance at all. There seem to be two types of emigrants that write from Japan: there are the ex-pats that absorb culture and take their few negative experiences in stride and move away from them, and then there are the type that are extremely polarized and take those experiences to the nth degree and go on a crusade for human rights in a country that does not purport to be any sort of "land of the free". The world is what it is, Japan is what it is, and I'm not saying that this guy doesn't have the right to protest what he feels is right or just in his POV. But making a human rights matter out of every situation where the word gaijin is mentioned will only alienate him further from the society that he so badly seeks to become part of.

PC Thuggery

This is a few weeks old, but I came across it again and I remember the initial controversy surrounding it. It's a commercial that Nissan aired in Israel that has a bunch of sheiks kicking the car for it's fuel efficiency. Apparently making fun of oil tycoons is racist, whereas some people thought it was propaganda because it was aired exclusively in Israel. I say that typifying all middle easterners as car-kicking, foreigner-hating oil tycoons is racist. They're making fun of a specific segment of the population that makes their money via the energy industry, I see no children or women in full head-to-toe dress joining in the kicking fun. People will find anything to call "hate crime!" on nowadays, and I'd like to say that if it was a bunch of Texans with 10-gallon hats and cowboy boots kicking the same car, no one would have a problem with it but I'm sure people would still be offended and act like morons or throw out vague idiotic threats. Anyway, the commercial is pretty good, so give it a whirl.

Via Japan Probe

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Ahhhh So Tasteless....

This is so tasteless, but so funny that I had to share.

Via CollegeHumor

Friday, August 22, 2008

Gory Claymation ftw

Saw this on Japan Probe, which apparently got it via BoingBoing. It's this gory claymation film called “Chainsaw Maid” (チェーンソー・メイド).

Some behind the scenes info about this film can be found on this page which is in Japanese. There are also a few other claymation shorts there.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New Diesel Shoes!

Got some new kicks today, Diesels again, finally(!), and I figured they'd look good next to my Dragon Quest Slime Rug. I love the overall color scheme of these, but then again I've always loved Diesel shoes. ^^; Comfortable as hell, too.

Upcoming Preorders of Interest

I've had a little break in the action, and foresee more breaks in the action as far as buying stuff, with school needing to come into the picture soon and everything. I do however have a few preorders coming up in the next month or so, all via Hobby Search.

First we have Figma Tsukasa, since I got Konata I wanted to get the whole set, being the completionist that I am. ^^;

Next, we have Lala, from To Love Ru, in her school uniform from Alpha Omega. I've never even heard of them until this figure came to my attention, so we'll see how their quality is. To be honest, she kinda looks like she's produced in line with quality you'd expect from Goodsmile or Alter.

Lastly, we have a Kamina shirt from Gurren Lagann, releasing with a whole bunch of other merchandise to tie in with the upcoming movie. There are jackets and sandals and pass cases and keychains and oh so much more.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Konata and Kagami Wonfes Nendroid Awesomeness

Finally unboxed both my Kona-chan and Kagamin Nendroids and Yoko today. Konata is a-dorable cosplaying as Saber, and Kagami makes a good Rin. ^^ Goodsmile, you make me extremely happy. I love the attention to detail in the face and hair of both figures, but also how they retained both Konata and Kagami's respective hairstyles, fitting them within Saber and Rin's. 超可愛いね!

Yoko, too, is very awesome. Her coloring is dead on, her boots are well-sculpted, and she comes with a 大グッレン団 logo-emblazoned display stand. Her rifle doesn't sit against her hand that well, but I'll live. Her, ahem, features are well-displayed, too. Her Yokoppais are shown off really well, and her tiny shorts leave little to the imagination. All-in-all a great pair of purchases. Eyecandy below:

Japanese Authors/Reading

Ever since getting into the Japanese language through my love of video games, way back in junior high school, I've steadily grown more and more infatuated with just about every other facet of Japanese culture. When I started to get acquainted with Japanese literature through my cousin (Whom I got into the language, as well. She loved it so much that she ended up majoring in Japanese at George Washington University) I took to it immediately. I was never really much of a non-fiction book reader, but that all changed once I started reading Japanese authors' works. One author in particular has captured my attention: Haruki Murakami. Now I know he's pretty much the ubiquitous Japanese author at this point. Lots of pretentious people throw his name out when Japan is the topic of conversation and they want to be an impresario, also people that know "famous" authors and no one else now know him, too. However, to feed the cliche more, I liked him before it was cool to like him here in the US. I'm writing this because I just finished reading A Wild Sheep Chase and I just started reading The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. I'm also in the process of reading the first book of The Guin Saga by Kaoru Kurimoto. The Guin Saga is a (so far anyway) 122 volume series of novels that has been going since 1979 and has continued uninterrupted until today. I'll post individual novel synopses somewhat soon.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Gundam 00 Season 1 完了

Just finished watching the first season of Gundam 00. Did anyone find nearly EVERYONE dying (or almost dying/left on a cliffhanger) as depressing as I did? It's not like I didn't see it coming, I read something in Animedia or some magazine about Lockon a few months back, but geez, everyone? That's a heck of a way to set up a second season. I'm a mod Gundam fan, I love the series', I love the models, the storylines are awesome, but I have to say this is only like the third series I've finished (the other two were Wing and Turn A) and I've seen the movie versions of the first series. It reminded me of Wing a bit actually. I liked the darkly political satire that this series had, and projected "back" on our current conflicts from the year 2307. And the whole Solar Elevator thing had such a ring of plausibility to it. What did everyone like or hate about this series?


Got this awesome strawberry milk mug from Gintama, made by Cospa. Got it from Hobby Search. Pics follow:


Anyone else burn DVDs of their fansubs? I have close to 500 now and when I really like a series, or when something has an instantly identifiable icon or logo to it I'll label my DVD of it with a title or logo or what have you. I pretty much get any anime that piques my interest, which makes for a full 650GB(my system's total capacity) quite often. Anyway, here are a few of my custom labels that I'm proud of:

Friday, August 15, 2008

Bamboo Blade and Shmup Toys Make for a Good Day

Got a few things in the post today, the most fantastic of which is a 1/8 PVC figure of Kawazoe Tamaki from Bamboo Blade. Tama-chan looks adorable and is very well sculpted, she's from Kotobukiya. She comes in full kendo garb, with a shinai and a dojo floor-like base that she is screwed onto. Yes, I didn't have to stick bloody plastic pegs into the bottoms of her feet, she came completely bolted to the floor. I also got a set of Shooting Historica Vol. 2 from NCS, which includes ships from shmups of years past. This set included the Ragnarok R-90 from R-Type III, the R-Gray 1 from Raystorm, Opa Opa from Fantasy Zone ^^;, G.A.I.A. from Star Luster, Geo Sword from Star Blade and MUSHA Aleste from Aleste.


Apparently my ships are bio-hazardous specimens. ^^;

Ragnarok R-90, I choose you?
The MUSHA Aleste.
Geo Sword in pieces.
Geo Sword all put together.
The Ragnarok R-90, arguably the most complex of the set.

Not much to Opa Opa here.
Isn't Opa Opa Greek? Are Greeks in line to dominate space travel in a flower-covered future?Not much challenge in putting G.A.I.A. together.
Here he is on his base.
The R-Gray 1 also has enough parts to be considered an honorable Lego model.
Had to use superglue to make this one straight, and its nose is still crooked.
The fleet - with plastic stands.There's the R-90 put together, with its options and bits floating around it.