The obscene excesses of JASRAC

“We want to give lessons without worrying about royalties”
Self-made dance music CDs grow in popularity

According to the royalty guidelines of the Japan Association of Recording Artists’ Copyrights (JASRAC) , royalties for music used in a social dance classroom vary based on the number of teachers and the lesson fee, but they can be assumed to reach the amount of 3,000-20,000 yen per month. However, many people have expressed dissatisfaction, wondering “Is it really necessary to collect fees even for music used to practice dancing?” According to JASRAC, of the 2500 classrooms nationwide about 40% are not paying.

In response to this non-payment, JASRAC sued 7 dance studios in Nagoya demanding royalties for the past 10 years in Nagoya Regional Court. Last September, the Supreme Court rejected the classrooms’ appeal and commanded them to pay the 46,360,000 yen that the Regional Court awarded JASRAC.

This is the story behing the self-made CD movement.
Continue reading The obscene excesses of JASRAC

Steven Seagal: This man is a pimp

Fuck Yeah!
Steven Seagal, action star, martial artist, soda salesman, but above all… pimp. Here are just a few reasons why we must all fear and admire Steven Seagal, king of all gaijin:

–He has been married three times and had 5 children with 2 women

–Despite being a Japanophile has three children with Kelly LeBrock

–Is an Aikido master AND a kendo master

–Is a vegetarian

–Doesn’t need an interpreter when making Japanese press conferences

–Plays Jamaican guitar

–Broke Sean Connery’s wrist

The impetus for this glowing post is his his son, Kentaro’s marriage. The actor, currently working in Japan, got married the other day to his father’s former assistant, Malaysian model Intz.
Picture of the son with his wife:
And for good measure, here‘s a site by his ex-wife dedicated to his daughter. Here is a sample:
Jackie Chan
With Jackie Chan

You can see some montages of her commercials on the site.

OK, well that’s enough of that. Enjoy!

The Strange Case of Abiru Yuu あびる優の窃盗事件(キャプ+英語解説)

UPDATE:映像だ!映像きたー!Watch the video here!
She'd steal your heart without you even knowing it.
Blowing up the headlines at 2ch news is the case of Abiru Yuu (18), the Japanese idol who admitted to robbing a supermarket, leading to the store’s eventual bankruptcy. The admission came on a Feb. 15 broadcast of Nippon TV’s “Coming Doubt” where secrets are revealed about certain stars and other celebrities have to guess whether the allegations are true. You can see a screen capture (with convenient subtitles) here. Here is a translation of the captions:

(A still of Abiru smiling) Abiru Yuu once participated in a group theft that bankrupted a store.
Upper right caption: True or false? Abiru Yuu once participated in a group theft that bankrupted a store.
ABIRU: Well, it was a while ago… we took out whole boxes.. it went on for about 6 months…
ABIRU: Oh, I guess (the shop) did close down… I can’t say for sure whether the place closed as a result of what we did…
(Still of Abiru) Is Abiru’s confession TRUE or FALSE???
(Abiru hangs head in shame and holds up a placard saying “True”)

What’s so offensive, apparently, is that she didn’t seem at all remorseful, laughing and joking about it the whole time. She has made a name for herself as a character who offends people, so she perhaps thought this was just a part of the act. (More background [Japanese] can be found here)
Continue reading The Strange Case of Abiru Yuu あびる優の窃盗事件(キャプ+英語解説)

No beer and no gyudon make ossan go crazy!

Last year, after Yoshinoya ran out of its famous gyudon (see here for background), there were multiple cases of ossan (middle-aged men) getting violent and demanding their beef bowls. It seemed as though these men couldn’t understand just what was going on and were hurt by the change.

Well, last week those wounds were ripped open as Yoshinoya resurrected its long-absent gyudon — for one day only in commemoration of the first anniversary of the ban (一年ぶりに、一日だけ). I don’t know where they got the beef, but it was a momentous day that brought people out of the woodwork to get their hands on that sweet beefy goodness. And right on cue, some people got way too excited about it and did stupid shit like this:
Car crash
The headline: Car crashes into Yoshinoya on “gyudon resurrection day”

The arrows point to people “still eating” despite the fact that they were almost killed by a runaway car. That’s dedication, folks.
Continue reading No beer and no gyudon make ossan go crazy!

Japan beats NK 2-1 in Extra time!

One more historical event that I missed out on. Damn I wanted to see that!

I don’t see any video of it online yet, but apparently it was a really close game (detailed results can be found here in Japanese). North Korea was much better than expected. The DPRK’s defense was strong, as Coach Zico and others said, and, while Japan dominated possession, they made some crucial mistakes in defense that they had to make up for in the end.

From Japan Today:

SAITAMA — Masashi Oguro scored a last-gasp winner as Japan made a nervy start to the final phase of qualifiers for the 2006 World Cup on Wednesday by squeaking past North Korea 2-1 in their opening Group B match in Saitama.

Mitsuo Ogasawara put Japan in front with a free kick after four minutes but substitute Nam Song Chol scored a goal that will give Japan goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi nightmares for weeks to come just after the hour mark to deservedly pull the North Koreans level.

The game was played amid political tensions between the two countries with public pressure mounting for the Japanese government to slap economic sanctions on the reclusive state in a bid to force it to come clean on its abductions of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s.

As a precaution against possible crowd trouble, more than 3,000 police and private security guards were mobilized but the match passed without incident.

Continue reading Japan beats NK 2-1 in Extra time!

The Coming Battle with North Korea

The Japanese team Prepares for the big showdown.
Tomorrow night Japan will finally face down North Korea… on the soccer field. On Feb. 9th in Saitama (at the illustrious Saitama Stadium). The teams finished their last practices today (the DPRK team only allowed reporters to view 15 minutes of theirs as opposed to the Japanese team letting people in on the whole thing), and they both have expressed confidence that they will trounce the other team.

Sporting events in Asia have historically had a significant effect on postwar politics in the region. The 1964 Olympics in Tokyo and the 1988 Olympics in Seoul were seen as coming-out parties for both countries. And the 2008 Games to be held in Beijing are set to do the same.

Besides such positive effects as international recognition, sporting events can fuel tensions between coutnries as well, as was seen in the booing and roughhousing of Japanese spectators at the 2004 Asia Cup in Beijing.

Emotions in Japan are running high, with people fuming over a number of issues, from the kidnapping of Japanese nationals to the nuclear threat. This game is sure to be historic, as beating the North Korean team will be cathartic for the citizenry, and losing would infuriate many.
Continue reading The Coming Battle with North Korea

Review: Say hello to the new Don 外国人から見た新登場丼

Beef Bowl
Hey guys. As some of you may know, I took a short trip to Japan this New Year’s. As a few more of you may know, I was giddy with anticipation of the new menu items available at the donburi chains. In the two weeks I was there I managed to squeeze in quite a few bowls, so for those of you who are away from the action I will review them here.

But first, some background: donburi (丼) are a dish served in Japan consisting of rice on the bottom and (usually) meat topping on the top. Not sure what the origin of the modern donburi came from, but the most popular one is gyudon (牛丼), or beef bowl. Gyudon are so popular, in fact, that there were about 4 major chains in Japan who sold nothing but: Matsuya, Sukiya, Nakau, and the venerable Yoshinoya, whose logo looks like this:

Now, those of you who haven’t lived in Japan or didn’t venture far outside their gaijin bubble while they were there might not realize just why Yoshinoya and their ilk are so important to Japanese consumer culture. But those of us in the know are fully aware that there are approximately three types of regular customers at Yoshinoya: truck drivers, male college students, and gaijin like me who have no money. What is the draw? It’s CHEAP BEEF! 24 HOURS A DAY! Beef in Japan is fucking expensive, but you could get a good meal at Yoshinoya without buying and preparing it yourself for a mere 250 yen. It’s a good, cheap meal if you are drunk at 3am or are simply too broke and don’t want to eat natto to survive.
Continue reading Review: Say hello to the new Don 外国人から見た新登場丼

Homemade Les Miserables 2d Fighter

My friend Matt passed on a link to this amateur 2d fighting game based on Victor Hugo’s novel Les Miserables. The game is being distributed as freeware, so go ahead and download it. It was built using the first edition of a fighting game design program called 2D Fighting School (2D格闘スクール), published by the Japanese media company Enterbrain. The product info page for the newer 2nd edition product is avaliable here.

Since I’ve never seen or read Le Miserables, Matt supplied me with this summary-

Valjean is a former felon, trying to stay out of trouble. Marius and Enjorlas are french revolutionaries, Javert is a police inspector (and Valjean’s former warden), Thenardier is a crook, Cosette is Valjean’s daughter, and Eponine is Thenardier’s daughter.

I’m still trying to figure out how Ponpon the car-driving rabbit and the ki-fireball throwing French policeman fit into the story. I guess I’ll have to read the book.

Continue reading Homemade Les Miserables 2d Fighter

Fuck Zapan! Korean Anti-Japanese Rap Song

DJ Doc
UPDATE: Now you can listen to “Fuck Zapan” in all its “glory” by downloading it from us here! Here‘s a link to just the lyrics.

UPDATE II: The song isn’t actually by DJ DOC, or so I’ve heard.

Hot on the heels of Korean-language classic “Fucking USA” comes “Fuck Japan” from the Korean rap group DJ Doc. This was #1 on the charts in South Korea circa 1999 (?) and was allegedly made in response to an anti-Korean song made by a Japanese rap group. Full of simpering calls of “Hai!” (Yes, sir! in Japanese) and depictions of foolish Japanese who don’t know their own history, this dubious masterpiece is punctuated in the middle by a sample from the PC game Starcraft (a personal favorite and a HUGE hit in Korea), proving that it is truly a product of the ROK. You can listen to it and get a Japanese translation of the lyrics here. Here are the lyrics in English:

I am Korean! (I am a Japanese!)
Hey, you, try saying “Al lo byu!” (I rob you!) *1
No! It’s “I low byoo!” (I rob you!)
Are you retarded? Can’t you even pronounce that? (Hai!)
Are you really retarded? (Hai!)
Isn’t your country just fundamentally retarded? (Hai!)
Hai! It’s your Korean boy! Fuck these pigfoot Japs! *2
Let’s kill them, boy! Fuck! These penis-face pussies motherfuckers!
Those fucking Japs that live in Japan penis-face pussy Jap bitch retard idiot bitches!
You who have been described as ‘barbarians to the East’ *3 pigfoot bitches!
Are you going to lie about your own history?! (Hai!) Go ahead and lie, you deceitful pigfeet!
Pussies! How much will you lie, pigfeet?! Keep on lying, Japs!
Lie to your mom and dad! Lie to your mom and dad!
Will you eat your mom? (Hai!) Is that OK? Yeah, that’s fine! That’s just fine!
Retard bitches! Go and have a seizure! Continue reading Fuck Zapan! Korean Anti-Japanese Rap Song

The Non-formation of Intellectual Individuals at the Root of Society’s Fragility


OK, back to real posts. This opinion piece from Toyo Keizai (E. Asian Economy) Magazine comes a bit late, but it’s a very thought-out leftist stance that I have yet to see in the English language. Here you go:

by Yamaguchi Jiro (Professor, Hokkaido Univ.)
 ← Wow, it looks like he’s got a WordPress blog! Cool! And here‘s the Japanese original of this article:

The politics of 2005 have already begun. This year there are few major elections, save for the Tokyo Assembly, and it is predicted that there will be little change in Japan’s political situation. Quite the contrary, with the 60th anniversary of the end of WW2, we should perhaps make 2005 the year in which we recap how far Japan has come since the war and further the debate on Japan’s future path.

Looking back at the 50th anniversary of the war’s end 10 years ago, we must acknowledge a huge difference in the international environment and domestic opinion. 10 years ago, Murayama Tomiichi, then chairmnan of the Japan Socialist Party, had the Prime Minister’s seat, and public opinion displayed reflection over the past half-century along with a sense of atonement with the victims of the War. Furthermore, Japan bent over backward to achieve resolution on various pending issues, such as aid for “comfort women” and reconciliation ceremonies with the various countries in Asia via PM Murayama’s 50th Anniversary talks.

However, 10 years later, the Japanese public overflows with the exact opposite sentiment, as shown in their distrust of surrounding countries and their dissatisfaction with being made the villain of modern history. The PM is visiting Yasukuni Shrine, and plenty of people support him. And as Japanese-American military cooperation deepens, we have gone so far as to send SDF troops all the way to the Middle East. The postwar framework of the SDF and security has been dismantled, and Article 9 of the Constitution has already lost its significance as a norm. And in the case of the Japanese hostages in Iraq, the opinion that those who oppose the government’s policies deserve to die reached all the way to parts of the mass media. Continue reading The Non-formation of Intellectual Individuals at the Root of Society’s Fragility