Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Rise Up

They said it could never be done! Oh wait no, sorry. They said it should never be done!

Keanu Reeves, a man who could die tomorrow and not even his mother would shed a tear, is to star in a Hollywood film of the tale of the 47 Ronin. This is yet another fantastic story that Reeves and Hollywood are set to ruin, hot on the heels of the stupid, disgusting, abhorrent remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still, the amazing '50s sci-fi film that Hollywood producers should be hung by the neck for even considering remaking.

Reeves is also slated to play the part of Spike in a forthcoming Cowboy Bebop movie. The news that Hollywood is making a Cowboy Bebop movie alone is enough to drive any normal man to tears, but the fact that Keanu Reeves is playing Spike really underlines the letters on the "FUCK YOU" banner that Fox are proudly waving.

The list of things that Hollywood is ruining just won't stop growing. It. Just. Won't. Stop. They're doing a live-action film of Akira, for instance. Do you know why? I'll tell you why: it's because they have no soul. No soul. You know what else they're making? A Ghost In The Shell live-action movie. Most of these were announced within the last year, by the way.

Here's a full list I've compiled of things that Hollywood are bracing themselves against the walls to taking an EPIC shit on. I'll warn you now though, it does basically read like a list of Reasons To Kill Yourself. Get ready, here it comes:

The Watchmen
Tekken
BioShock
Astro Boy
Street Fighter (AGAIN!)
Cowboy Bebop
Akira
Ghost In The Shell
...and now of course, 47 Ronin.


It's like it's contagious. I have a theory as to why remakes are contagious in Hollywood, you know. It's because HOLLYWOOD PRODUCERS ARE DEAD NOT JUST INSIDE, BUT RIGHT THE WAY THROUGH AND INTO THE WATER SYSTEM.

We're in the middle of a cinematic shitstorm. A shitstorm so fucking outrageous that some sort of mass uprising would not be inappropriate. No seriously.


I am genuinely willing to be an alibi for anyone who takes action to stop these things from happening.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Medical Japes

Looking through my 'to blog' bookmarks folder I saw one from the end of last month that read, "Man poses as doctor for 30 years". "How ridiculous", I thought. "Let's open this bookmark and see what really happened."

So it turns out that a man posed as a doctor for 30 years. Hasegawa Yukio started in 1980, and since 1994 he's been working at a clinic in Chiba once a week, seeing 20 to 30 patients a day, "mostly as an orphopedist" we're told, like it really matters at that point.

Hasegawa was earning about 15 million yen a year throughout the last three decades, and is now 65 years old. He was arrested last month, but I really don't see why. Surely if he made it through 30 years of medical service he must be pretty good. Let him carry on, I say! Make him an honorary doctor.

Aso Taro: Rebirth

The soundtrack of Battle Royale. The imagery of Evangelion. Spliced with the legendary figure of Aso Taro.

Holy Fukuda, it just doesn't get better than this.



If you're an Evangelion fan then I'd very strongly recommend watching the whole thing, but if you are especially impatient then the compulsory viewing is from 2.00 to 2.45. But seriously, watch the whole thing.

It's so epic.

Monday, 8 December 2008

North Korea One Wedgie Away From Telling Its Mum On Japan

Giorgio has blogged about North Korea's decision to pointedly not recognise Japan at the International Nuke-Talks (as they're officially known) held in Beijing, in the geo-political equivalent of putting your hands over your ears and singing "la la la I can't hear you". And Reuters has run the story too, so we know he's not making it up.

This act of drama-student level petulance has given us the clear-cut Quote Of The Week! The North Korean Foreign Ministry's statement said:

We will neither treat Japan as a party to the talks nor deal with it even if it impudently appears in the conference room, lost to shame

Funniest statement by a Foreign Ministry ever.

Old Photos

One of my favourite sites on the internet is a photo-blog called Old Photos of Japan. They post, predictably, old photos of Japan. Click either of these pictures to go there.

Kobe, 1890s

The photos range from the 1860s to the 1930s and cover both the cities and the countryside.

Asakusa, 1920s

It's a very laid-back blog, and the photos are absolutely fantastic. You could spend hours looking through it.

LDP In The Shit

Oh look, Aso's cabinet is sinking faster than a granite sand-castle, who could have forseen that? (Answer: almost anyone.) In the last month, his cabinet's approval rating has halved, falling from 40.5% to 20.9%, and his disapproval rate has increased by half, from 42.2% to 61.3%.

By contrast, the DPJ's support in the next election now outweighs the LDP's, 40% (a ten point increase) to 24% (an eight point drop). As for the role of Prime Minister, Ozawa's support is now at 36% (a fourteen point increase) to Aso's 29% (a twenty-one point drop). So, not only are the public losing faith in Aso, but they're actually warming to Ozawa. Incredibly. All these figures are from the Yomiuri poll, but the Asahi poll shows similar figures.

Obviously this is all very bad news for the LDP. I mean, obviously. I wrote before about how the approval rating spike with the change of leadership would wear off, but it's only taken around two months. It all seems to be down to Aso's decision to not call a general election, and his economic shenanigans, like postponing the submission of a second extra budget (a decision which got a 55.7% disapproval rating). Silly, silly Aso.

Aso's "why does everyone hate me? face"

So where to now? Well apparently some LDP politicans are thinking of rebellion. But it looks like that's not going to happen before a general election. We'll have to wait for a probable January election, and if the LDP manage to scrape through that then the party will most likely grudgingly hold together, complaining all the while. If the DPJ scrape a win, however, it might be curtains for the LDP.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

New Blog Feature!

I've put a slideshow on the sidebar which features pictures from the new Osu! Tatakae! Nippon! Flickr account. The account will host my Ueto Aya pictures, and the slideshow pictures should be clickable if you want to see any of them at their proper, civilised resolution.

I've only uploaded 241 photos thus far, but I'll be uploading more over the next few days. So if you're disappointed by the size of the photostream bear in mind there's plenty more where that lot came from. As in, thousands more.

No seriously, THOUSANDS.

Special note for one of my readers in particular: the photostream is not for leching over Aya, it is for admiring her. You know who you are.

Happy browsing!


Update: ok the first slideshow only cycles the 18 last photos uploaded. But I've embedded a second slideshow further down which will cycle the whole lot if you hit play. And that's enough faffing around with the blog layout for tonight.

Max's Vision Of The Apocalypse #3652

Here's a thing I've found out whilst pointedly not doing the writing I need to do: Japanese scientists now have the capability to actually create Jurassic Park.

Ironically on the same day that Michael Crichton died, some scientists at the government-funded Riken research institute cloned a dead, frozen mouse. This means that they could potentially clone woolly mammoths, and eventually dinosaurs. Maybe.

You see the problem is that so far they can only do this by taking a cell nucleus from dead tissue and implanting it into the egg of another animal which will then give birth to it. So they'll have to find an animal that is capable of giving birth to a baby mammoth. Or Pterodactyl.


One of the scientists has said that bringing dinosaurs and extinct animals back to life isn't a good idea, but he is a pussy and has probably been fired already for his dandyfied, ball-less ways. And it looks like the Riken scientists are set on the army-of-dinosaurs goal anyway. I mean, we've got guns and aeroplanes, what have the dinosaurs got? Nothing. So what could possibly go wrong?

Ueto Aya Named Best Dressed

Last week the 37th Annual Best Dresser Awards were handed out by the Japan Men's Fashion Unity, whoever the hell they are. Ueto Aya won the entertainment category (and then some nobodies won in the sports category and special category and other categories that no one really cares about).

She wore a cream Versace dress to the ceremony, of which she said "I thought it suited my age and it gave me energy". The picture that was published with this story (above) was entirely too small, so I've uploaded here a couple of pictures that show off her award-winning dressing abilities.


[click big, by the way]








Obviously, "a couple" in terms of Aya pictures is always at least four.

Obuchi

Apparently, a few days ago Aso told Obuchi Yuko point blank to her face "you were included in this cabinet for electoral reasons".

Everyone knew that she was given her position as a gesture, nothing more, already. For a start, she was the youngest person appointed to a cabinet position post-war, becoming Minister of State in Charge of the Declining Birth Rate at the age of 34. She's very popular, not only because she's young and female, but because of her previous newscasting career, and because her father, Keizo, was prime minister for two years.

Also, her position is a bit of a joke. Minister in Charge of Declining Birth Rate? You'll probably be aware that Japan has a huge problem with their aging population. Their birth rate is one of the lowest out of all developed nations - 7.8 per 1000, compared to the UKs 10.6, or the US with 14.2. Plus they have the longest-living population in the world, with the male life expectancy at 79 and female at 85. And that's not the average lifespan, it's the life expectancy. If you don't live at least that long then you've failed.

So in ten years time about 30% of the population will have retired, and the pension-tension will destroy the country. That's ostensibly why Obuchi was appointed to this new cabinet position. Interestingly, she herself only has one child. Pretty weak, right? She's going to have to really start churning them out if she wants to make any difference.

My point is, it's just spiteful for Aso to tell her that to her face. Maybe he hadn't made his quota for pissing people off, or maybe he was just feeling particularly bastardous. Either way, I can't help but wonder whether such a person is really fit to be Prime Minister.

Aso's "cut-throat electoral expediency face"

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Slinky

Today's video is a performance by The Human Slinky. It's kind of awesome.


The panel reactions are priceless. (Also, check out the super-hott girl at 0.39 and 0.44)

Mangafying The Classics

Do you like reading manga? Do you also like reading landmark works of political and economic thought? Then you'll love the new manga version of Das Kapital!


Panel from Das Kapital

Marx's famous treatise on capitalism and commerce is now on sale in all good Japanese bookstores as a funky manga. This comes as the best-seller charts are full of anti-capitalist books, such as Mitani Hideki's smash hit bourgeois-bashing romp, Greedy Capitalism and the Self Destructiveness of Wall Street, and the republishing of Kanikosen, a bleak and violent tale of worker exploitation from 1929.

Next month: Aristotle's Poetics told through the medium of a high-school love triangle between a teenage girl, a robot cat and a super-saiyan, with Ultraman as The Principal! (unconfirmed)

Oh No, Not Again! [turns to Camera 1 with a shrug]

Aso literally can't help insulting everyone. It's looking increasingly like he's the Japanese Prince Phillip, except he was elected by a staggering majority, and his 'gaffes' aren't single-sentence slips of the tongue so much as 30-minute speeches in front of the entirity of the media.

He's only just recently apologised for his latest pearl of wisdom, a week after he rammed it Japan's throat. On the 20th of November he was in a meeting with ministers to talk about economic policy, and whilst he was "trying to comment on the need for preventative medicine and healthy lifestyles", he started talking about the elderly and how it is their own fault they get ill because they don't exercise enough.

They're hobbling around and constantly going to the doctor. I am paying taxes. Why should I pay money for those who lazily eat and drink and do nothing?

Why indeed.

Aso's "apologetic face"

What's more disturbing is the response to this. Obviously people like Hatoyama, Secretary General of the DPJ have been sniping him in newspapers with remarks like, "I can't help but wonder whether such a person is really fit to be Prime Minister". Hey, just tell it to us straight, Hatoyama! Don't sit on the fence. But get this: Kawamura, Chief Cabinet Secretary, has "played down Aso's latest remark", according to the Associated Press. Not quite. What he actually said was "There are likely to be more such remarks. That is part of his charm."

In case you didn't catch that, he said "There are likely to be more such remarks. That is part of his charm."

...wow.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Stupidity Or Unfathomable Optimism?

Ibaraki prefecture are spending $268 million on an airport which no-one plans to use. Details here.

Money-Grabbing Weasels

So the Health, Labour and Welfare Minister, Masuzoe Yoichi, yesterday advised the Finance Minister, Nakagawa Shoichi, to raise the tax on tobacco to help pay for social security. An increase of 3 yen per cigarette will give them 220 billion yen off the stupid target they set in the first place that they now want to foist off on innocent smokers.

Masuzoe can go to hell. Mild Sevens and ramen-ya are the two things that are keeping Japan's stressed salaryman population sane. And you just can't increase the tax on cigarettes. That would raise the price of a 20-pack to 360 yen. That's simply uncivilised. Don't become like Britain, Japan!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Coda Risa Verdict

Coda Risa is going to jail! They don't have a large enough font on here for me to give you an unhappy face that does justice to the situation. I'll give it a go though:

:o(

...no. Just not large enough.

For those of you who haven't been following the trials, Coda Risa was arrested early in November for possession of 0.7 grams of cannabis and 0.027 grams of stimulants. It was fucking scandalous (at least in my opinion). Most of London's population quite literally shit more drugs than that per person every Sunday morning. Coda stupidly managed to implicate her boyfriend, the tennis player Miyao Joji, by saying that it was for them to use together, so they dragged him in for questioning. The first hearing was yesterday and Coda was found guilty, and sentenced to 18 months, suspended for three years.

And for those of you who don't know who Coda Risa is, she was a very famous AV star before giving up in February. Since then she's been working in a hostess bar in Roppongi.

And for those of you who don't know the terms "AV", "hostess bar" and "Roppongi"... um... better just Google them. In the privacy of your bedroom.

Funky Barcodes

D-Barcode are a Japanese company that have come up with an original way to inject some sunshine into the tired, self-destructive life of consumers. They are hired by packaging manufacturers to make small additions to the barcodes of their products that turn them into cute pictures.


The pictures don't always have anything to do with the product, they're just mini pieces of art.


Pretty fucking cute, right?

Click for big

Exoskeletal (Junction At The Railroad Delayed)

If I were a writer for a rubbish tabloid I'd be obligated to open with the line "It could be something from a Gundam episode...". Thanks to blogging I've been able to not only take a shot at tabloids in my opening line, but use a title from a Mars Volta lyric too. God bless The Internet.

Toyota's I-Foot

Anyway, I never knew this, but Toyota developed the I-Foot in 2005. It's one of a variety of robotic vehicles that have been coming out over the last few years. Unfortunately we probably won't see any of these in the West due to the lack of a significant mecha-obsession.


I-Foot controls

Its top speed is only 1mph, but it's nimble enough to climb staircases. Albeit staircases with huge stairs. Its agility and cat-like grace of movement were illustrated at the Tokyo Motor Show, where they got it to dance. Here's a clip:



By contrast, the Land Walker is terrifying. It may be clumsy, rickety and only fire tennis balls, but it's freaking massive. It genuinely looks slightly like an AT-ST:



Don't know who makes the Land Walker, but apparently it costs $315,000.

I wrote previously about a robot that you jack into your brain, and it turns out it was developed two years ago. It also turns out you don't jack it into your brain, it just reads the electric signals from your skin and anticipates what your next moves will be, making it even more terrifying than before. Here's a video explaining how it works, with some of the best Engrish subtitles ever:



That concludes this robot-roundup.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Speed Pokemon

Not strictly something to do with Japan, but certainly something to do with Pokemon and that's just as good. There's a group of gamers in America who call themselves 'The Speed Gamers', and the idea is that they play marathon sessions of games to raise money for charity. From the 19th of December they'll spend 72 straight hours attempting to catch every Pokemon available and transer them all to one cartridge. Since Shaymin and Arceus can't be accessed yet, they only have to catch 491, not all 493 Pokemon. At least that's what they say, but I don't know how they intend to get Deoxys.

Because a lot of Legendaries can only be accessed through particular games, this means that they're going to have to start new games of: FireRed, LeafGreen, Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, Diamond, Pearl, XD: Gale of Darkness, Colosseum, and its bonus discs, Pokémon Ranger and My Pokémon Ranch.

The group will be hosting a live web-cast of the games being played, and will also have an online checklist so you can see their progress. Should be interesting.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Another Thought About The Economy

"Negative growth" is not a thing! It doesn't exist! If you mean "the economy is shrinking" then bloody say so. This sort of bullshit is why no-one in the world understands why they and everyone around them are in massive debt.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

The Real Victims Of The Credit Crunch

In these dark days of economic turmoil everyone just thinks about themselves. No one's thinking about the real victims. No one except the Yano Research Institute.


Sales of... computer games with adult sexual themes were down 2.8 percent.

What happened to the love?

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Roundup: Inventions!

Japan has a talent for coming up with inventions that you had no idea you didn't need. The harvest over the last few weeks has been varied, both in quality and unexpectedness, but therein lies the beauty.


Umbrella speakers!

Yes, umbrella speakers. Developed by Keio University and Toa Engineering, they look just like traditional umbrellas of bamboo and oiled paper. But when you plug your mp3 player into one, four motors on the edge of the umbrella will turn the canopy into a big speaker-cone. Like in this picture I've stolen:


The umbrellas are going on sale next year for just under £50.

NTT are Japan's biggest telecommunications company, and they've invented shoes that generate electricity when you walk. They haven't been named yet, but I'm already calling them "ThunderShoes".


The ThunderShoes generate enough electricity to power an iPod, but you need to keep walking because the Shoes don't store their Thunder. It works using some kind of liquid in the sole that powers a mini turbine generator. We're now one inch closer to an Iron-Man suit.

The last invention today is Bandai's new Curry Bath Powder. Do you have small children that don't like bathtime? Just use Curry Bath Powder, and you can properly scar them for life!


The four types are "sweet", "hot", "very hot", and "white stew", and not only do they smell like the real thing, they also turn your bathwater the corresponding colour just to really freak you the fuck out. It isn't nearly as good as Bandai's Bubble Money bath product, which has unfortunately sold out.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Roundup

So, in the last month in which I've shown an unprecedented blogging-laziness, what's been happening in Japan?

Well the Western economy is sinking further into the steaming heap of shit that it created over the past few decades, and dragging Japan with it. But I probably wouldn't have blogged about that even if I had been blogging.

Everyone's been going nuts for about a month over a Japanese man called Nocchi who dressed up as Barack Obama and was flown out to America by a JTV network to try to meet him - his attempts were hampered by the fact that Obama was still campaigning at the time, Nocchi's English isn't very good, and he doesn't look that much like Obama. It would have been a pretty interesting thing to blog about at the time. The results were aired as an hour-long special, but you can see the programme condensed to about 6 minutes here (watch it to the end, it's absolutely amazing):



See? Fucking spectacular. No one ever seems to believe me when I tell them that Japanese TV shits all over British TV. But it clearly does.

Despite the economic meltdown, it seems like some people were still willing to spend absolutely terrifying amounts of money on tat.


This is Ueto Aya, Patron Saint of Hott and my future wife, promoting a limited edition line of mobile phones. Only ten of these phones were made, each of them encrusted with 400 diamonds and each going on sale for 13 million yen. Well, nine of them were sold, one was given to Aya by Softbank as thanks for advertising for them for the past four years.

Takara Tomy invented the karaoke-cube, or Hi-Kara, so that you can embarrass yourself on the go. It measures 5.5" by 5.5", and displays lyrics on the lcd screen.


You download songs from their website onto a cartridge which then goes in the side of the cube. The cube has two headphone jacks, and can be plugged into speakers or your television.

That's all for now, another update will come later. Honest.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Of Course!

You're the most technologically advanced nation in the world, with the second largest economy! You have access to a mind-bending array of techno-wizardy, and enough cash to buy every man, woman and child in at least two continents (pending confirmation)! But wait! The world is realising it's bankrupt after attempts to beat itself out of money it owes itself leaves it bruised, broken, penniless and confused! And everyone in Africa is dying! What do you do, Japan? WHAT DO YOU DO?



Of course! Of bloody course! Gundam slippers than make stomping sounds when you walk!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

We're Saved!

They're going up! The numbers are going up! That's a good thing, right? Man, I really need to find out what all these numbers are.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

So That's Why The Economy's Going To Shit

Japan's Economic & Fiscal Policy Minister Kaoru Yosano and Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa have apologised to the Diet after being caught watching tv on a mobile phone during a House of Councilors plenary session. I don't know what a 'plenary session' is, but I certainly wouldn't watch tv in one of those.

The best bit about this story is the excuse that Yosano gave for effectively flicking the v's to the entire government and public:

"I am sorry for my bad manners. Because Mr. Jimi's questioning was so blistering, I wanted to see how it appeared on TV."


Wasn't Yosano running for LDP leader only a couple of weeks ago?

Monday, 13 October 2008

Max's Vision Of The Apocalypse #3586

Hot on the heels of the last potential apocalypse, robots are being sold that will read your brain and control your limbs.

As if that wasn't frightening enough (and it is), the company that makes them is called 'Cyberdyne'. Recognise that name? The last time you heard it was probably in the Terminator films, where the robots that Cyberdyne makes eventually take over the world.

Sankai, who has worked on robot suits since 1992 and is also Cyberdyne's chief executive, said a full device that covers the entire body is also being designed, though it is unclear when it will be available commercially.


And as if that wasn't frightening enough (and it really is), the robot that reads your brain and controls your limbs is named 'HAL'. Recognise that name? The last time you heard it was probably in the Arthur C Clarke book 2001: A Space Odyssey, where the computer takes over a spaceship and murders the crew.

"HAL can only lead to extending the abilities of the elderly and keep them out of care for longer," Sharkey said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.


No, that's not the only thing HAL could lead to.

(Recognise the name 'Sharkey'? Probably from Sharkey And George, where 'Sharkey' is a shark. Seriously, this couldn't be any more frightening.)

Max's Vision Of The Apocalypse #3585

I don't know the significance of the Economic Watcher's Survey Index - if I did I would probably be writing for a proper publication and charging people money to read my predictions of doom. But I do know that if the Index keeps dropping like an acid-head, eventually it'll hit zero. And no index should ever read '0'.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Almost Definitely Bullshit

Is this a lie? It certainly looks like a lie, doesn't it? Just like that story that the British press ran that Japanese women were buying sheep thinking they were poodles, that it turns out the Daily Star just pulled out of their asses because they needed some filler.

Whatever happened to journalistic integrity?

Sunday, 5 October 2008

YES!

Jiro Sato, one of my favourite comedians ever, has finally been given the lead in a drama and movie! The movie will be connected with the drama, and they're both called 'Yoju: Mame Shiba'. The drama will be airing in January next year, with the movie following in the summer.

Yaaay!

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Not Sure How I Feel About This...

Shiina Ringo is one of my all-time favourite musicians. Seriously, she's a genius. I just don't know if she should be designing clothes. She is working with a professional designer, and the clothes do look alright. I just generally feel apprehensive about musicians having success and then going on to other things that they're usually no good at, like acting. It all seems to be working out though, so I can't complain.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

More

I don't really want to keep talking about animals. But I'm going to.

"Kokko" the rooster appears to have a residency at a bus-stop in Yokohama.

And that's not all. Oh no. You thought that was all, didn't you? It wasn't!

In other animal news, Arakawa Ward have practically made a formal declaration of war against the Crows. And I use the capital 'C' because their evil and cunning deserves it. The article linked says it's to prevent stray cats and birds making a nuisance of themselves. But everyone knows it's the first step in the war against Japanese Crows.

In case you're not aware (although you both are), Japanese Crows are hyper-intelligent and resourceful, and it's only a matter of time before they decide that they don't need us anymore, and that Japan is only big enough for Crows or Humanity. Arakawa is striking first. Good for them. At least they're taking this threat seriously.

Tokyo's Continuing Wildlife Troubles

Tae the Anteater escaped from the Sunshine City zoo in 2005. The zookeepers managed to corner her in the Penguin Area of the Aquarium, and put her in a new, reinforced cage. We must assume that Tae spent the next three years plotting her revenge because...

Tae escaped again. Three days later, she was recaptured by zookeepers who left some avocados with four strategically placed security cameras as a trap.

Will they be able to catch Tae next time? Check back in 2011!

Pro-Tip Time!

If it smells like petrol, don't put it in your mouth.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

¥200,000 For Living In An Area You Chose In The First Place

A man who lives next to a funeral home wants money because he lives next to a funeral home. The unnamed litigious bastard from Kyoto has sued the funeral home for ¥200,000 and the District Court has ruled that they need to raise the height of their fence to three metres. All this because he claims that the sight of coffins has disturbed his "spiritual calm". Even if there were such a definably thing as "spiritual calm", I don't see how it could be disturbed by merely seeing coffins. It's not like they were parading the corpses through the street, attaching strings to their limbs and making them dance to brass-band hits. What the hell is the legal definition of "spiritual calm"? The litigious bastard told the court that he "can't laugh, and [has] to live behind closed curtains".

You need to be careful around litigious bastards like him. Although I think it's perfectly safe to keep calling them 'litigious bastards'. What can they do, sue you?

Max's Vision Of The Apocalypse #3517

Cthulu lives! I don't know why this isn't all over the news - it's easily the most important archaeological discovery in centuries. Oh wait, I do know why it's not all over the news! It's because the academica and journalist communities are both steaming piles of horseshit! I remember now.

So, as I was saying, Cthulu lives. And his non-Euclidean nightmare-city is located underwater (just like Lovecraft said it was), inside a massive stone temple (just like Lovecraft said it was), just off the island of Okinawa (...um, less like Lovecraft said it was).

The unbelievers are always the first to die. Something to bear in mind.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Happy Birthday, Aya!

It's Ueto Aya's 23rd birthday! She has blessed the world with her existence for another year! Yaaay!!

Let's have a gratuitous Birthday Gallery for Aya! Yaaaaaay!!











Yaaaaaaaaay!!!

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Race For The Prize

Well, we've had a week of campaigning for the LDP Presidential Election. I've been following the campaigns very closely on your behalf, and you know what? It's been a fairly depressing week.

You see, it's pretty much a given that Aso is going to win - he currently holds more votes than the other four candidates put together. At 197 out of 386 available votes, he's clearly not going to be beaten. With 34 votes secured is Yosano, in what the Yomiuri Shimbun are laughably calling "second-place". On the off-chance that Yosano can mobilise every prefecture to use their three votes each for him, then he may only lose by 22 votes. The other three aren't even worth talking about any more.

Once Aso has won, which he definitely will, he'll call for the Lower House to be dissolved. Then there will be a general election, which at this point is being projected for the 9th of November. Asahi conducted a poll which puts public support for Aso in the LDP election at 42%. Ishihara came second with 10%. This is all in stark constrast to the Official Osu! Tatakae! Nippon! poll of readers, which puts Ishihara in the lead with 66%, and Ishiba in second with 33% (voting still open - see the sidebar). The Asahi Poll of actual, potential voters is more important in this discussion though.

Everything seems to indicate that whoever succeeds Fukuda as the LDP President (so, Aso) will also succeed him at the next general election. Which in some ways could be a bad thing - the reason it takes so long to pass laws in Japan at the moment is that the Upper House is a DPJ stronghold, and they're constantly at odds with the LDP Lower House. Then again, I definitely don't think it would be a better government with Ozawa at the helm - he's not very trustworthy. He claims that he's one of the few politicians with principles and ideals in Japan, but his policies and political-party-jumping clearly show that he's an opportunist.

Like I say, though, it's not likely that Ozawa will win - people may be tired of the LDP, but popularity always spikes with a leadership change. The Yomiuri Shimbun conducted a series of polls which showed that if Aso won (which he will), he would beat Ozawa 59% to 27.6%. If Ishihara won (which he won't), he would also beat Ozawa, but only by 43.5% to 40.1%. The other three all lose in those Vs. Ozawa polls by at least 10%.

So, now you know what's going to happen over the next two months. Aso will win on the 22nd, and then on the 9th of November he'll become Prime Minister. For definite.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Every Time...

Every time I think the West can't fall further behind Japanese technology, someone in Japan produces something like this:

These are sunglasses that have screens on the inside.

Our new device supports MP3/WMV audio files, MP4/MPG/AVI (Divx3/4/5&xVid)/ASF video files, JPEG. It’s also compatible with miniSD cards and features a USB2.0 port, four EQ presets (Rock、Classic、Normal、Bass), and a Lithium ion battery(750mAh).

No comment required, I think.

Leg Queens 2008!

Well done to actresses Miki Maya (40's Category), Asaka Seto (30's Category), and Ryoko Hirosue (20's Category), and ex-volleyball player Kaoru Sugayama (Sports Sategory), for winning the Parcassio Beautiful Leg Awards! Parcassio is a company that produces leather for use in shoes. Hence their sponsoring an award for legs.

Sugayama, Maya, Hirosue, Seto, and their respective legs


Sugayama said, "I didn’t wear high heels at all before because it was too painful. But the new fabric Parcassio have made is very comfortable". News sources haven't reported whether she said this before or after the judges awarded the prizes, but obviously they wouldn't stoop so low as to just give the award to someone who was going to praise Parcassio's products. What is this, a marketing gimmick or a celebration of legs?! Have a little faith, for chrissakes.

Cubees

Here's a good thing which is kind of related to Japan, ish. CubeeCraft host a veritable army of cultural icons and characters in the form of downloadable cut-and-fold models. The army gets updated frequently, and the figures look really easy to put together. I got a bit excited and downloaded about 20 of them. Have a look because they'll almost certainly have some sort of figure from your childhood there.

Sample pictures:





Seriously, they've got loads.