〚オススメ〛日経動画ニュース

美人キャスター
たまたま日経新聞のホームページを開いてみると、なんと動画ニュースMSIE専用らしい)が流れてた!と昨日驚いた。しかも、無料で日本のテレビで見れるような普通のニュース番組です(少し短めだけど)。

さらに驚いたのは、他の動画ニュースと違ってスムーズに流れること。gooニュースなど、マイクロソフトメディアプレイヤーやRealを使ったニュースサイトでは途中でとまったり、遅くなったりするが、ここは違う!

ヘッドライン・東京マーケット・解説・特集の4つのセクションに分けて、映像の横に字幕も出るので、日本語の勉強のためにもオススメ。

ミュータントフロッグ日本語版へようこそ(ミッションステートメント(使命声明)

ミュータントフロッグトラベロッグは、日本やアジア諸国の文化・政治情勢・技術を英語で紹介するためのブログとして誕生しました。タイトルを日本語に訳すと「変異体蛙の旅行日記」になりますが、意味はないので気にしないでください(詳しくはミュータントフロッグ君に聞いてください)。旅行中で撮った写真や、日本語のニュースから選ばれたオモシロ記事の英訳を主に掲載しています。

編集者は私(アダム)とミュータントフロッグ君、アメリカ人二人です。二人とも日本に2年住んだこともあり、日本やアジアに興味深いです。このブログは、あくまで暇つぶしに過ぎないかもしれませんが、基本的にアジアに対する理解を深めるのが私たちの目的です。

そこで、このブログに日本語コーナーを設けることにしました。 Continue reading ミュータントフロッグ日本語版へようこそ(ミッションステートメント(使命声明)

The Ownership Society (Makes me want to puke)

That’s the title of my new song, as yet unwritten. It harks back to the days when long, parenthetical song titles dotted the top 10. I like to think it’s something Jello Biafra would come up with.

OK, so what is this concept? This is something that the President has been touting, especially in reference to Social Security. But here are some key areas: Continue reading The Ownership Society (Makes me want to puke)

Meitantei Adamu (Adamu the Sleuth)

Today was quite the day. The gf had her bag stolen today so we spent the afternoon trying to track down the culprit. She was in the basement of the library and left her bag unattended for two seconds when some crackhead-looking guy made off with it. She lost $200, her license, a nice wallet, her bag that went to India and Canada with her, her Social Security card, and the guy used her credit cards to buy dog food and a tank of gas of all things.

When we cancelled her credit cards it showed what he bought and where, and it looked like the cops werent gonna do shit so we went and checked it out. The guy left an authentic looking signature on the receipt at the pet store in addition to showing up on camera, and the gas station manager was very cooperative and said he’d help us out in the morning.

Our hope is that the gas station caught his car, so we can get a model and make and maybe the plates. Then we can submit the signature and the car info to the cops and ask them to run it for people with records in the area. At first i didnt even take a photocopy of the receipt at the pet store because i assumed the cops would come check things out. But then i tried calling them with the info and the woman who answered was a BITCH. We asked to talk to the officer we were speaking with before and she was like ‘he’s gone try back tomorrow at 7am’ and then took down our info really curtly.

All in all it was kind of fun playing detective, although not quite $200 worth of fun. I’ll let you know what kind of dogs the guy has if we catch him.

Protecting Manzai and Takoyaki

Osaka Prefecture to Enact New Law
Takoyaki

On Jan. 18th, Osaka Prefecture affirmed its intention to preserve local mass culture from Noh theater to Rakugo, Manzai, and Takoyaki with the “Osaka Culture Law.” After submitting it to the local legislature in February they expect to enact it by April. According to prefectural authorities, 8 other prefectures already have similar laws, such as Hokkaido, Tokyo, and Kumamoto, but this is a first for the Kansai region. Continue reading Protecting Manzai and Takoyaki

A Very Special New Year Interview with Your Friend Ishihara Shintaro

The Japan that Can Beat China
Ishihara getting down and dirty
I decided to print this from the Shukan Post (Weekly Post) because it seems like the English-language media only print what he says out of context. While I don’t agree with the man, he does have some provocative things to say that make it obvious why he’s so popular. Take a look:

Foreign Relations, The Economy, Territories — How long can Japan stand being the country that everyone dumps on?
Continue reading A Very Special New Year Interview with Your Friend Ishihara Shintaro

Japanese Woodblock Prints Changing the World

Van Gogh totally rocking

A friend and I recently attended an exhibit at the Smithsonian of some guy’s collection of Late 19th- Mid-20th century Japanese woodblock prints, or Hanga.

It turns out that at the Japanese National Museum in Tokyo they were running a similar exhibit at the same time. I didn’t check it out but it was probably a different collection of prints.

Anyway here (thanks to FG for the link) is an article describing the boom that Japanese art experienced at the end of the 19th century and how it influenced Van Gogh. Here is something he wrote to his sister whilst in the grip of madness:

Theo wrote that he offered you Japanese woodblock prints. That is certainly the best way to understand which direction the light and colorful painting has taken. Here I need no Japanese woodblock prints, because I am here in Japan. This is why I only have to open my eyes and paint the impressions that I receive.

Currently in America there is kind of a Japanese culture boom as well, except mostly in children’s entertainment rather than art. Perhaps, like the Japonisme boom of 100 years ago, this won’t be permanent but the best work resulting from it will leave a lasting effect on pop culture.

Man claiming to be Mito Koumon’s Descendant Cheats Woman out of 5 Million Yen

Funabashi, Chiba — Unemployed Miyabe Hideteru (57) of Kasuga, Saitama, was arrested Jan. 5th by Chiba Prefectural Police at the Matsudo East Precinct on suspicion of defrauding a woman out of 5 million yen by telling her he was “the descendant of Mito Koumon.”

(Mito Koumon was a Tokugawa-era shadow ruler who was famous for traveling the countryside and checking up on the various fiefdoms. He’s been the subject of many many movies and TV shows, where he was famous for revealing himself by flashing a card showing his haiku pen name and shouting, “Can’t you see this seal?!”)

According to investigation, the man told a woman he met at Funabashi Health Center in April 2001 that, “I am the current head of the Mito household. That makes me his grandson,” and “I am going to sell land in Hokkaido to the government for 3.6 billion yen, so lend me the money to pay for the paper work. At the end of May I will pay you back double,” upon which he took 5 million yen from the woman. Continue reading Man claiming to be Mito Koumon’s Descendant Cheats Woman out of 5 Million Yen

Nike rips off ideas from Shibuya Fashion

It’s something that I’ve known for years, having criss-crossed to and from Japan every year or so: first knee-high boots are popular in Japan, then they’re popular here. First thick turtlenecks are popular in Japan, then they’re popular here. About 10 years ago Japan was infamous for its extreme reality shows (MXC, anyone?). Now it’s Britain and America. American pop culture has been secretly ripping off Japan for quite some time. I was happy to finally see something about it here:

Nike keeping secret eye on Shibuya

Nonfiction writer Hideki Kiriyama reveals that Nike Inc, the world’s largest sports and fitness company, is secretly keeping a close eye on Tokyo’s Shibuya district, a favorite hangout of the capital’s youth.

Writingin this month’s issue of Voice, Kiriyama says that Nike always bases its product design on insight that enables it to connect with consumers. The casual product sensibility and taste for bright colors seen in the street fashion that fills the cities of modern Japan, he says, are known as “J sense” and have attracted not only American designers but also young people and children in Asia.

Kiriyama asserts that Japanese “cool,” which involves improving Western designs and colors in a Japanese style, such as by adding transparency or sheen to cosmetic products, is unmistakably beginning to win the hearts of people all over the world.

He laments that in contrast to Nike, which takes inspiration for its designs from Shibuya, the heart of Japanese youth culture, Japan itself has failed to recognize the global value of this culture and can only focus on the decadent aspects of the changes instigated by young people.

He stresses that if rejection is Japan’s only reaction to its youth culture, the country will not be able to recognize the new value created by the new generation. (Foreign Press Center)

He certainly has a point. While ultra-cool Japanese kids have been supplying rich clothing companies with ideas, they have been getting nothing but crap from the press and public opinion.

A Quieter Coming of Age Day This Year

A girl coming of age.
Remember last year when there were all those reports of kids raising hell as if they came straight out of Battle Royale? Well this year there were some problems as well, but not nearly as bad as last year. Here are some highlights from this year’s festivities:

Stage dancer disrupts Aomori Coming of Age festival

A Coming of Age Day ceremony in Aomori was disrupted on Sunday after one of the participants jumped on the stage where the event was being held and starting dancing, officials said.

Officials at the ceremony in Aomori yanked the man off the stage, but about 10 of his friends continued to disrupt proceedings while a band was playing, throwing wastepaper at the stage.

In a separate Coming of Age Day incident in Naha, a man celebrating the day was arrested after he attacked a police officer who had taken custody of a drunk man, suddenly kicking the officer in the backside.

The man, who had been drinking with friends after a ceremony in Itoman, Okinawa Prefecture, was arrested at about 1 a.m. on Monday, for obstruction of official duties.

Personally, I was in Japan on that day and got to see some girls looking good in their kimono. I used to think it was an odd “old vs. new” juxtaposition to see the girls dressed in kimono while using their purikura-decked cell phones, but considering that it’s not that old of a tradition (made official in 1948) I don’t see any reason it should seem weird. The same goes for Buddhist monks riding motorcycles (something else I saw in Japan that gave me that “old meets new” feeling of irony).