Tuesday, 30 June 2009

YoYoJam Japes

I've got over my accidental, self-induced food poisoning and I'm fighting-fit again! Although I'll probably still try to avoid fights. Let's keep it real.

Right, I've got a lot of catching up to do with what's happening outside my flat, so whilst I go read some "news" here's what I'd like to fob you off with:

Via Japan Probe

This is the three-time World Champion yo-yo-er Suzuki Hiroyuki, of Team YoYoJam.

How many times do you think he's hit himself in the head with that thing? (OTN Official Guess: one million!)

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Japanese Blogging Topics

What Japan Thinks has translated an interesting survey that ranked the top blog topics in Japan.

The Top 10 for men were:

1. What I Did Today
2. Impressions of Movie/TV/Anime
3. Favourite Product/Service
4. Impressions of Today's Food
5. Product/Service I Want to Recommend
6. Political News
7. Financial News
8. Sports News
9. What I Bought Today
10. Entertainment Gossip

And for women:

1. What I Did Today
2. Impressions of Today's Food
3. Favourite Product/Service
4. Impressions of Movie/TV/Anime
5. Product/Service I Want to Recommend
6. What I Bought Today
7. Impressions of a Manga
8. Impressions of Music
9. Entertainment Gossip
10. What My Friend/Relatives Did Today

By way of comparison, here's the OTN Top 10 Topics so far:

1. Politics
2. Technowizardry
3. The Economy
4. Ueto Aya
5. Criminal Underworld
6. Visions of the Apocalypse
7. Culture
8. Baseball
9. Wildlife
10. Pokemon

Yeh, you'd never have thought that the bulk of this blog has been about politics, would you? But those are the numbers, man.

Go to What Japan Thinks for more details on the blogging survey and for shitloads of other interesting surveys.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

For Lack Of Anything Else: Gundam Stuff

There's been a spate of Gundam suits being made recently. It started with the life-size Gundam RX-78 suit made in Odaiba as part of the 30th Anniversary of Gundam celebrations, which seem to have spawned a series of copycat-crime Gundam creations all over the place.

Video of the Odaiba Life-Size Gundam, via Japan Probe

But as we all know, the Universe craves balance. And as a multi-million yen, painstakingly accurate Gundam suit had been erected in Odaiba, so the Fukuoka Science Museum had to build four Gundam suits out of cardboard. This is the tiny picture that the Asahi Shimbun provided, and I haven't been able to find anything bigger, sadly:

Quite frankly I'm more impressed by these cardboard Gundams than by the life-size one.

And in America, army mechanic Carlos Owens has designed and built his own mobile suit. It's not a Gundam, but in contrast to the Odaiba and cardboard models his actually works. It's a six-metre tall hydraulic-powered suit that can be controlled from within.

Via Japanator

Given the numbers of novelty robots now roaming the Earth, could someone please get round to organising a Robot Battle Royale? Who's job is that? It must be someone's job. Yeh I'm looking at you, Japan.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Guitar Playing Nine-Year Old

Despite Ellen Degeneres, this video is amazing. Try to ignore her and watch the video to the end - seriously. You won't regret it.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Breaking Monkey News!

Another monkey is on the run! This is not the same creature as the elusive Shibuya Monkey or the Kisarazu Monkey, it's a brand new one that infiltrated Kasukabe in Saitama yesterday. Look at it go!

Actually they're not really chasing it, are they? It's like they hardly care.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Monkey Chase!

The people of Kisarazu in Chiba have failed where their compatriots in Shibuya also failed. Late last month, 30 people attempted to capture a monkey that was running amok in the town, chasing it through streets and over rooftops, but they were outmaneouvred and outrun.

Why were they chasing the monkey though? Was it causing damage to property or something? I know nothing about the countryside, other than that it doesn't have internet and is therefore something to be avoided, so I very rarely come into contact with animals. I can't imagine the monkey was being that much of a danger to anyone or anything, but maybe that's ignorance on my part and monkeys are an infamous threat to crops or something.

Pretty much the same thing happened in Niigata in March, but the people there caught their quarry. They initially tried to outwit it by leaving bananas laced with tranquilliser around, but when the monkey didn't fall into their trap they ended up just cornering it in a garage. And it only took 20 people there. Here's a video of the Niigata chase:

Sadly there's been no news about the Shibuya Monkey, who evaded train-station workers, the public and the police for months. I really hope it survived the winter.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Max's Vision Of The Apocalypse #3621

Robots are now capable of reading. Waseda's Information, Production and Systems Research Centre has developed a one metre tall, 25 kilo robot that can scan text and read it aloud in a soulless, Mother Nature-mocking voice. He reads kana and over 2,000 kanji, making him officially about 10 times better than I am at Japanese.

A Rebours

The robot, which some commentators are already calling a "crime against nature" (source: OTN), has been dubbed "Ninomiya", and is an abomination upon the Earth. The heathen scientists behind Ninomiya are currently working on making its voice sound more natural and human, the better to infiltrate our homes. They hope the aberration will be used in the future to read books to children and the elderly. Although the scientists didn't say what it would be reading, it's probably significant that they didn't explicitly state it wouldn't be reading anti-Human propaganda and Satanic pledges, so we must fear the worst.

Video from Pink Tentacle

Woe! Woe! Fear the unbelievers!

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Evangelion Phones!

Oh if only my blog hadn't broke this week and I hadn't been so lazy last week. Then I could have linked the last blog-post and this one together and created a kind of Evangelion-themed week. Once again the forces of bad luck and laziness have colluded against me. Anyway, brace yourself for the most awesome mobile phones ever...

Evangelion phones! Yaaay, Evangelion phones! Evangelion, Evangelion, Evangelion phones!

Yes, Evangelion mobile phones costing 90,000 yen each (that's about £560) have been released. There were 20,000 of them available on Friday at 10pm, and at 3pm after five hours of taking orders there were none left. That's over £11 million earned by Nerv in five hours. Or £2.2 million every hour. Or £37,000 every minute. Or £617 per second. Just in the time you took to read this paragraph they probably earned enough to buy you and everything you own.

And I can't think of a better way to spend 90,000 yen. Look at it:

Worth more than your life

Worth more than your soul

It's designed by Anno Hideaki, who I'm guessing had to sell his soul to do shit this cool, to tie in with the release of the second of the Eva-remake films.

And look at the stuff it comes with:

Worth more than your girlfriend

They sure as shit know how to merchandise, these people.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Watching The News Gets Marginally Closer To Being Worthwhile

I've got a new addition to the list of Reasons To Shell Out Stupid Money For A PS3: Katsuragi Misato is delivering real-time news through a downloadable Nerv News 24 application. This now joins the previous one reason on the list: "the PS3 exclusive release of Yakuza 3".

They haven't got the original voice-actress doing the reading, but they're using a voice-synthesizing programme to recreate her so it's all ok. The background and Misato's clothing will be customisable, so you can have her reading in the Nerv Headquarters or in her dining room. It's as yet unknown how far Bandai are capitulating to the fans in the choice of outfits they're making available. Although the Evangelion franchise is very open to total fan-service so we could be in for a real treat.

Unfortunately the application is only available in Japan, thereby adding to the already lengthy list of Reasons To Live In Japan. It joins such reasons as "not having to live in England" and "not being able to accidentally overhear people talking in a language I can understand".