Hikki’s mom: high-stakes drug trafficker or poor business planner?

This is a fun story:

Junko Utada, the mother of once-awesome now-lame best-selling pop singer Hikaru Utada, was detained at JFK Airport back in March. She was spotted acting rather strangely (screaming into a telephone and appearing ill) prior to boarding a flight to Vegas.

When investigators searched her luggage, they discovered she was carrying over $400,000 in cash, two boxes of somebody else’s checks, and a lease agreement to a storage unit in Manhattan. She made up a weird story about donating her casino winnings to a foster home in Vegas, but the DEA agents decided that she was probably involved in drug smuggling, and so now the government has filed suit to have the money forfeited to the feds.

It’s a very weird situation, but it’s also not entirely clear why Hikki’s mom would be running drug money around. I’m skeptical, at least. Perhaps she just got caught in the midst of a poorly-planned tax avoidance scheme. Or maybe she just never got over her clueless Japanese tourist phase.

Bubble Aota says outloud what most hardcore fundie women only dream about

Great new single from aging Japanese model Noriko Aota – “Jesus.” You can listen to a clip of the song by clicking the icon on the lower right-hand portion of this site. Here are some of the uplifting lyrics:

I wanna kiss Jesus power & soul
I don’t wanna pray, let’s kiss!
I wanna kiss Jesus power & soul
Let’s hold hands to love each other!

I wanna kiss Jesus power & soul
Hold him in my hands, as much as I want
I wanna kiss Jesus power & soul
Let’s hold hands like lovers!

Oh, Jesus! Oh, Jesus! Attention my heart!
Look at me, over there!

This real-life manifestation of Cartman’s vision reminds me of those Christian women who talk about Jesus as if he’s the world’s best boyfriend.

(Thanks to conbinibento for letting us know)

Asahara – still crazy

For all you Aum watchers, make sure to take in this article on the English Mainichi. It’s actually been posted for a week or so, but I just ran across it. The former cult leader, who is responsible for a number of atrocities, was sentenced to death a little while back, but seems to be working very hard to delay the (cough, cough) execution of that sentence for as long as possible by faking insanity.

“He took off his trousers and diapers, exposed his genitalia and masturbated. He repeated the same action frequently. Whenever he acts like that, he drops his trousers, his diaper and diaper cover to his knees, finishes the act, then raises his trousers up to his waist again,” Friday quotes the Nishiyama Report as saying.

The weekly goes on to note that Asahara does not restrain his self-ministrations to times when he’s alone in his cell at the Tokyo Detention Center.

“In April 2005, just before the accused’s lawyer entered a visiting room, the accused exposed his penis and began masturbating, continuing until he had finished while the lawyer stood before him the entire time. He has repeated this act of masturbation in the visiting room, as well as in his solitary confinement cell since being placed under observation in May. He also performed the act in front of his daughters when they came to visit him in August of the same year,” the Nishiyama Report says.

On the other hand, Asahara is well documented as having been bat-shit crazy at the very least since 1983, so who am I to accuse him of just putting on a show?

Ms. Smith Goes To Washington

While I’m on a US news binge, this has to be one of the most parody-worthy legal stories of the last year. Here’s the bland version:

Former Playmate of the Year Anna Nicole Smith got her U.S. Supreme Court hearing on Tuesday, when her lawyer argued she should collect millions of dollars she claims her late Texas oil tycoon husband had promised her.

At one point during the hour-long arguments, the 38-year old blond widow, dressed in black and sitting in the spectator section, became emotional and started crying, a witness and her lawyer said…

The issue before the justices in the long-running legal battle is to review when federal courts can hear claims that are also involved in state probate hearings. The justices seemed receptive to arguments by Smith’s lawyer that federal courts have jurisdiction to consider her claims.

In Wonkette’s spicier alternate reality version (warning: link not recommended for young viewers or people with high blood pressure), she goes forward pro se:

On the conservative side, Justice Clarence Thomas — known for his inattentiveness during oral argument — was clearly riveted by Smith’s remarks. Sitting on the edge of his chair, he appeared to be engaged in vigorous note-taking underneath his robe.

But Smith reached out to the Court’s liberals as well. When she argued that she worked hard for every last cent of her late husband’s fortune, asking the justices, “Do you have any idea how hard it is to blow a guy in a wheelchair?”, Justice David Souter nodded sympathetically.

God bless America.

Porn v. Google: MF replays the highlights

Proof that federal judges understand the beauty of internet porn, courtesy of Perfect 10 v. Google, Inc., Case No. CV 04-9484 AHM (C.D. Cal. Feb. 21, 2006):

In the final analysis, P10’s use is to provide “entertainment,” both in magazines and on the internet. For some viewers, P10’s use of the photos creates or allows for an aesthetic experience.

Aesthetic indeed.

Contrary to P10’s contention, photographs of nude women can, like photographs of the American West, vary greatly.

Ride ’em, cowboy!

Both kinds of pictures can be described verbally, yet no matter how susceptible any image is to textual description, words cannot adequately substitute for thumbnails in quickly and accurately conveying the content of indexed full-size images.

Ain’t it the truth. And this has got to be the best footnote ever:

Google argues that P10’s works are not creative because P10 “emphasizes the objects of the photographs (nude women) and [P10] assumes that persons seeking Perfect 10’s photos are searching for the models and for sexual gratification.” Google contends that this “implies a factual nature of the photographs.” The Court rejects this argument. The P10 photographs consistently reflect professional, skillful, and sometimes tasteful artistry. That they are of scantily-clothed or nude women is of no consequence; such images have been popular subjects for artists since before the time of “Venus de Milo.”

I wonder if this judge is still hiring clerks?

(The practical effect of this decision might be to end or at least limit the wonderful thumbnail function on Google Image Search; for more, see this Wired article.)

Japanese vs US Blogs

High praise from Curzon at Coming Anarchy:

Educational and entertaining in one healthy dose, [Mutant Frog Travelogue is] probably the best East Asian blog around.

Thanks, I think we’re pretty great too! But that made me wonder — what do other East Asian blogs look like? What about, just for example, the highest ranked Japanese blogs on Technorati?

(Note about Technorati from their About section: “Technorati displays what’s important in the blogosphere — which bloggers are commanding attention, what ideas are rising in prominence, and the speed at which these conversations are taking place.” Hence, these rankings are a measure of what people with blogs are linking to, not the number of page views, influence, revenue, or any other factor (as far as I can tell))

For starters, let’s see what’s out there. Here’s a quick rundown of the top ten blogs in Japan and the US/English-speaking world (for comparison):

Japanese blogs:

1. がんばれ、生協の白石さん! “Fight on, Shiraishi of the Co-op!”

This is the blog of a Mr. Shiraishi, “very very average” employee of the Co-op (student cooperative/school store) at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology. Shiraishi gained fame for being the writer of responses to comment cards that students would write to him. The comment cards are a well-known phenomenon at Japanese universities as the answer are often posted outside the Co-ops on a bulletin board. He differs from other such Co-op employees in that he actually answers the stupid joke comments that he gets rather than giving them a quiet death in the round file. For some reason this has become majorly popular in Japan, probably because college students throughout the country have wondered just what kind of weirdos answer their comments.

Latest post: Too much Mah-jongg!


Question: I am suffering from a lack of sleep from too much mah-jongg. I’d like to go to class, so what can I do?

Answer: Make an effort not to play mah-jongg too much! If you keep on like this, I think you’ll end up crying in public. Your free time only exists because you are studying and researching, so switch over from mah-jongg and do your best!

OK, this at least has some novelty value. I remember the comment board at Ritsumeikan answered my question why they stopped serving these awesome banana crepes (they’re a winter-only item).

2. 眞鍋かをりのココだけの話 Kaori Manabe’s “Stories that don’t leave this room”

Kaori Manabe is a popular (not to mention beautiful) model/actress/all-around talent, perhaps best known outside Japan for her role in the 2001 film Waterboys. Her blog has gained fame for its frequent updates, endless blathering on trivial topics, and plentiful photos of Manabe-chan.

Latest post: A Friendly Fire Festival

Inanity abounds:

There’s a very strange person called Mr. A that I see all the time on location.

Is he an airhead? Well, he’s more of a socially inept ‘go my own way’ type of guy. H

His special feature is to make statements that surprise people without meaning to at all.

His hobbies are playing the horses and movies (mostly thrillers).

His private life is shrouded in mystery (but he absolutely does not have a girlfriend).

Continue reading Japanese vs US Blogs

Saaya Irie, cohorts to Stop Posing in Bikinis — MF Breathes Sigh of Relief

In an earlier story that provoked a lot of interest here at MF, we reported that Chinese internet forums were humming with interest over model Saaya Irie, an 11-year-old girl with gigantic breasts, pictures of whom were apparently uploaded by Japanese trolls (Good background at Wikipedia as usual).

Message to the sick perverts who flooded me with confounding rationalizations for why it’s OK to get wood to an 11-year-old: You should be ashamed! Your intense pedophilic interest for an 11-year-old girl has creeped her and her associates out so badly that she has decided never to pose in a bikini again, reports Nozomi Online (a Jpop news site in need of a proofreader) in October 2005:

As a result of all this attention, the members of [Irie’s] singing troupe “Sweet Kiss,” which include 13-year old Runa and 11-year old Jessica, have also considered no longer posing in bikini’s [sic]. A statement by Ishida Yuuichiro, the groups management, revealed that they had never expected such feedback from the internet and adult magazines. He concludes that although the media attention was beneficial for the group, he didn’t want them to focus on Saaya’s large breasts and wanted the group to be recognized for talent and not Saaya’s large breasts.

I and all other rational souls out there commend the decision to keep the girls clothed (But wait a minute! Run your mouse over the “News” section of Sweet Kiss’s official site — bikinis!). But one look at the cleavage-centric photos in question makes it clear that Ishida is being, shall we say, a little disingenuous. I can believe that he was surprised, and even disturbed, at how well the exploitation worked, but his claim that the supposedly immense “talent” of a group of preteens is getting unfairly outshined because of one member’s unfortunate growth spurt goes beyond ludicrous. In this light, Nozomi Online’s take on the issue is puzzling:

The most terrifying aspect of Sweet Kiss might be that the fledgling group, with next to no ties to the music and television industries, might depend on the media stir caused by the oversized bust of a girl yet to enter her teenage years. Only the future holds the answer to whether or not the artistic integrity of the group can overcome an overflowing F-cup.

Indeed, it is terrifying to think that the public exploitation and sexual objectification of young girls are considered normal in Japan. But don’t be so quick to exculpate the people who took the photos in the first place! Continue reading Saaya Irie, cohorts to Stop Posing in Bikinis — MF Breathes Sigh of Relief

Japan and China United in Pedophilia: the unlikely diplomacy of Saaya Irie

I had heard about this a few days ago but was originally too disgusted to report on it. The very existence of this girl as a sex object makes me question my whole involvement with Japanese society. It looks like, however, she is helping to quell anti-Japanese sentiment in China. Here’s the story:

Busty child reported to ease anti-Japan tension in China

Shukan Bunshun (May 19)

The wave of anti-Japanese sentiment in China continues, more than a month since the first round of demonstrations against the Japanese government’s approval of a controversial school textbook flared throughout the country. Diplomats and politicians on both sides have been trying to diffuse tensions in a flurry of meetings and shuttle diplomacy, but so far these methods have had only limited effect.

At this point, it might seem that a miracle is required to put bilateral relations fully back on track.

Saaya Irie, an 11-year-old Japanese girl, may not be that miracle, but she has clearly played a part in pacifying a certain segment of China’s population, according to Shukan Bunshun.

If anything about Saaya is miraculous, it’s her body — she wears an F-cup bra, though she has yet to reach her teens. So when a photo of her in a bikini was posted on a Chinese Internet forum called “100,” she immediately caused a sensation.

The pic was accompanied by message — rendered in mock Marxist rhetoric — reading: “An 11-year-old Japanese girl with large breasts has a proclamation for all Chinese people! Dear elder brothers, a beautiful young Japanese girl is beseeching you.

“Please stop these anti-Japanese hijinks. If you don’t, I won’t like you anymore.”

At the end of the message, she states that her breasts would “rise up” if the people “unite for the sake of China’s democracy.”

According to an anonymous source described as an Internet expert, the message and photo were posted by someone involved in www.2ch.net, a Japanese online forum.

Thanks, 2ch, for helping bridge the gap. Here’s how the poor girl reacted when confronted with the news:

So how does Saaya feel about all the commotion? A bit frightened, actually, an official at her talent agency says .

“She had a worried look on her face and said, ‘I’m shocked. I wish they’d stop,’ ” the official quotes the starlet as saying when hearing the news. The official added that Saaya finds it hard to believe that she has played any kind of role to smooth bilateral relations.

But in a written message, Saaya says: “I would like to see good relations between Japan and China. If relations are good, I think everyone will be happy.”

Her very career should frighten her. I can’t express enough how sick this makes me. Her parents should be ashamed of themselves. She’s eleven freaking years old! (Here‘s a link if you must know what she looks like)