A “what if” scenario from Murakami Ryu

Author Murakami Ryu has taken a break from writing about heroin-addicted prostitutes for the time being to present the Japanese public with a question: What would you do if North Korea attacked?

An ad for his new novel, “Hanto wo Deyo” (Depart the Peninsula), describes the scenario:

As 9 North Korean commandos storm the Fukuoka Dome on opening day, 484 of Kim Jong Il’s special forces storm the beaches in mass transport boats, overwhelming the unsuspecting city a mere 2 hours later. They called themselves the “North Korean Resistance Army”. Read about the miracle that occurs in near-future Japan, where the economy has collapsed and international isolation deepens.

What would Japan do in the event of an invasion? It is entirely possible that even a minor attack could cause mass panic or a run on the banks that would leave Japan even more vulnerable. Comments?

(Thanks to Saru for the link)

Kim Jong Il Profile – from Japanese Manga

KJI Profile English

I just translated this amusing manga profile of Kim Jong Il. It was passed on to me by Curzon, but neither one of us is sure of the original source. If anyone knows what it’s from, please email me or leave a comment. Japanese readers are encouraged to check out the manga Kim Jong Il Introduction (金正日入門), which was itself translated from Korean, but not being a Korean reader I’m unable to provide any information on the original version. Avaliable here at Amazon Japan, and the second volume here.

This panel is not from either of those books, but if you like it then you’ll like them.

Untranslated version is in the full post.
Continue reading Kim Jong Il Profile – from Japanese Manga

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

Mamederumon, the Magic Bean of Japan!!

Boingboing points out a BBC story on a magical new product from Japan. The BBC article doesn’t say the half of it. Here’s a full translation of the original product site.
Note that the name Mamederumon is made up, but translated literally means, ‘thing which sprouts from a bean’

The bean with a message in it is being born!

The egg of Mamederumon!
From an egg a plant is born!
Exciting and thrilling!
The introduction of the egg!

Simply water the egg, and after a few hours have passes the shell will split by itself.

A bean with a message inscribed on it will sprout from the egg.

Then if you just take care of it, something good may happen.

Plans to go on sale from late February for ¥798 (¥760 with tax).

Magic beans

The story of Mamederumon
Once upon a time there was a land called ‘Mamederumon.’ In this land there dwelt a peculiar hen. The eggs laid by the hen of Mamederumon were rather large, and from within would sprout a large bean. On this bean a message was inscribed, and if cherished and cared it would grow rapidly in size, and the person who raised it would likewise be filled with vigorous energy.

From Abeno Seimei and Onmyodo

The Yomiuri newspaper has a short article on an interesting religious ceremony conducted at the ancient Kamigamo Shinto shrine in Kyoto. I’ve translated it below and due to the obscurity of the material included some additional notes.

From Abeno Seimei and Onmyodo

At the Kurabeuma horse race which has been conducted at the Kamigamo Shrine in Kyoto for 910 years, the Norijiri(riders) conduct certain rituals before the race. The ceremonies of self-harai(ritual Shinto purification) by onymyokuji(yin-yang divination by lots) and harai by onmyo-daiyuudai (some kind of obscure onmyodo ceremony) are known as the norikiji houhei [houhei are the hemp rope and folded paper decorations seen at Shinto shrines). In the houhei ceremony the norijiri waves the houhei and offers a prayer to the kami (gods) by taking a special step. Reseachers on religious ceremony have concluded that these rituals include rites that can be traced back to onmyodo harai..

For those who can read Japanese, more information on the Kurabeuma is avaliable here.

Onmyodo: Literally ‘the way of yin and yang.’ An ancient form of Japanese magical practice, combining imported Taoist philosophy and practices (such as ying and yang and the 5 elements) with native Japanese Shinto beliefs and rituals. Practicioners of onmyodo were known as Onmyoji.

Abeno Seimei: The most famous of all Onmyoji. There is a popular novel and manga series by the author Baku Yumemakura, which has not been translated into English. There is however a film version and sequel, which you can get as a package here. The budget may not approach Lord of the Rings, but they are recommended for anyone who wants to see what Heian era Japan actually looked like.

Kami-gamo Shrine: One of the oldest shrines in Kyoto, it actually existed long before the city was built. Named after the Kamo clan that ruled the area before the Imperial family moved the capital, Kami-gamo (upper Kamo) and Shimo-gamo (lower Kamo) shrines are a pair. The Kamo river which flows past downtown Kyoto also takes its name from this source. In Heian times, the Abe and Kamo family’s were the two preeminent onmyoji families.

First year middle school student sent to Juvenile Correction for illicit access to online game

Here’s an English translation I made of an article I spotted on the news wire of the Japanese daily paper Asahi. The article is extremely vague about the technical details of the case, only saying that he managed to gather the passwords by ‘correctly matching alphabetic and other characters.’ I assume the extreme vagueness is the result of a reporter with no technical knowledge and no desire to have any who basically just re-typed the police blotter to fill his daily file quota. I find it a little surprising that a 13 year old boy was actually arrested for this crime, even under Japan’s unforgiving legal system. Have there been any similar cases of people actually being arrested and charged with criminal activity for hijacking a game account in the US or other countries?

An announcement from the Saitama Prefectural Juvenile Guidance Center states that a Yokohama city first year middle school student(13) was taken into corrective custody by Saitama Prefectural police on July 12th for illegally using someone else’s ID to access the online internet game “Ragnarok.”

According to the same office, on December 16th of last year, when the boy was still a 6th year elementary school student, he used the ID and password of a male company worker(27) from Fujimi city in Saitama prefecture to connect illegally to Ragnarok Online from his home computer up to 16 times.

The boy is said to have collected about 140 people’s IDs and password by correctly matching alphabetic and other characters. Since August of last year he had repeatedly used these IDs and password to illegally access Ragnarok Online over 400 times.

“Ragnarok” is a game in which players engage in adventures on the net, where they collect weapons and other equipment to increase their own power. It was created in Korea, and according to the management company has over 500,000 players in Japan.

Japanese boy writes apology in blood

I’ve seen quite a few people pointing to this Reuters story, but I was a bit disappointed at the lack of detail so I found another story from a different source to compare. I’ve posted the original story, and the translation (from Asahi newspaper) below it.

Japanese boy writes apology in blood
TOKYO, Japan (Reuters) — A Japanese teenager was forced by his teacher to write an apology in blood after dozing in the classroom, the school’s principal said on Monday.

The teacher later went to high school principal Hiroaki Dan and confessed what he had done, Dan told Reuters.

The teacher had apologized to the 17-year-old boy and his parents, Dan said, confirming a local media report of the incident, which happened last Thursday.

He said the boy was taken to the staff room of the school in Fukuoka City, southern Japan, after being caught asleep during a lesson. The 40-year-old male teacher handed the boy a box-cutter and paper and told him to write an apology in blood.

The teacher left the student, who then cut his finger and began to write an apology using his own blood.

Other teachers in the staff room did not notice what was happening, Dan said.

“To ask a student to write in their own blood is something I just can’t imagine,” he said.

He said the boy was back in school, and neither he nor his parents had asked to switch teachers. The teacher involved is expected to resume classes in a few days, Dan said.

The incident comes on the heels of an attack in which an 11-year-old girl killed a classmate by slashing her throat with a box cutter, also in southern Japan.

Sleeping student at a highschool in Fukuoka made to cut his finger and write ‘reflection letter’ in blood
It was discovered on the 18th that at Fukushou public highschool in Fukuoka City, Minami district (Principal: Hiroaki Dan, 971 students), a student caught sleeping in class was handed a cutter-knife[note: probably something like an x-acto knife] by a male teacher in his 40’s and told to write a ‘reflection letter’ with blood from his finger. Later in the day, the principal, head teacher and the student’s homeroom teacher[literally ‘responsible teacher,’ which is as the name implies a position with more responsibility to the students than a homeroom teacher in the US], along with the class teacher, went to see the student’s guardian and apologized for the event.

According to people from the same school, at about 3pm on the 17th, this teacher called to the teacher’s office a male student who had been trying to sleep during his class. The teacher warned him ‘If you’re going to sleep, then go to the nurse’s office,’ but as the student’s expression showed no remorse, he handed him a B4 sized sheet of paper and a cutter knife and told him to ‘write with blood, not pencil,’ urging him to use the knife to cut his finger, and then write a reflection letter with that blood.

After that, the teacher went to another office to do some other job, and when he returned a few minutes later the student had cut his right index finger with the knife and written a reflection statement in blood. Apparently the teacher then tried to change his story, saying that the student was supposed to write in pencil after all. The school’s explanation is that ‘He truly did not think that the student was going to write in blood.’

Principal Dan gave the following statement to Asahi Newspaper: ‘I think that he was trying to get across the feelings that he has as a teacher, giving his earnet guidance, but it was inappropriate. Even despite the recent incident in Sasebo in which a knife was used [referring to the incident just a couple of weeks ago in which an 11 year old girl murdered a classmate for no apparent reason] for a teacher his guidance was most inadequate.’

When a relatively minor incident like this gets picked up by an international wire service it’s very rare for a second article from another source to be translated as well, so I thought it would be interesting to give people the opportunity to make a comparison. I’ll check again later and see if there have been any more recent articles with more information.

An Aging Island Embraces Japan’s Young Dropouts

HATOMA ISLAND, Japan – For the children new to this tiny subtropical island, population 58, it was the magical time of the day – after the school bell had set them free and before sunset would summon them to their foster parents’ homes

Strangely, this map from the New York Times article shows Hatoma Island as being in the Ryukyu Islands, which is the older and now less common name for Okinawa. The article itself also never mentions Okinawa.

As in many Japanese villages, its school was the center of community life here. Without a school, without children, the island risked becoming populated only with increasingly fragile elderly people incapable of fighting off the trees and bush that, as in other hot places, threatened to swallow up roads and houses.

“If there are no children,” said Isamu Kajiku, 50, one of a handful of older men sitting under the shade of a tree, “the island is not alive.”

So nowadays, several aging islanders act as foster parents to children who have experienced troubled homes or playground bullying or who simply did not fit inside Japan’s regimented schools. With 10 students and 9 teachers living with the 39 locals, the school and island sustain each other.

I know almost nothing about Okinawa and had never heard of this tiny Hatoma Island before so of course I tried a search on Google. Here is a picture of the school mentioned in the article.

Here is the travel log of a girl named Akiko, who’s family name curiously seems to be Hatoma, the same as that of this island. She says that you could walk all around it in perhaps an hour, and of course like the islands of Okinawa are famous for is full of fabulous beaches. She went to this school in question and tells us that there were 3 elementary and 8 middle school students. The schoolhouse has one floor, and she is impressed by how every room of it has an ocean view. She says it has a ‘warm atmosphere.’

Here we have another travel diary. The first entry is an account of how the tiny community of Hatoma Island is supported by daily (except sunday) trips by the mail boat (Fusakiya-Maru, which Maru being a traditional boat-name suffix) from the larger Iriomote Island to the south.
Here’s a translation towards the end.

“The bulk of the post is for Hatoma Elementary/Middle School. Now there are eight students in the middle school and three in the elementary school, but in 1974 the middle school had reached zero students and was threatened with closing. At that time Mr. Tsuuji [I’m not quite sure if I’m reading this name correctly.] became the center of the foster parent movement and devised a plan to receive children from the mainland. The result was that in 1984 there were three students and after 10 years the middle school was reopened. “This island doesn’t lack a post office, and it doesn’t lack a school. The children are this island’s treasure,” says Mr. Tsuuji as he narrowed his eyes”

Berliner’s Gramaphone

This new Japanese product allows you to make your own cds records [embarassing typo fixed] out of scrap material such as old CDs. Link courtesy of Boing Boing. Translated text from the product site is below.

Record/Playback sound on thing like a CD-ROM or lid from a container of instant ramen using a needle and a cup.
Berliner-style turntable gramophone

In the 20th century this round record spread throughout the world as media that could both record and play back sound. The turntable gramophone that was invented by Emile Berliner, Edison’s greatest rival in the field of gramophones, is the ancestor of this product. Recording and playing with a paper cup and a cotton needle, anyone can easily make original records.

Recording and playing with a paper cup and a cotton needle, anyone can easily make original records. Recording, playback – a useless CD-ROM or an instant ramen lid are OK!

Setup takes about one hour. No special tools are needed; anyone can construct it with ease.

Experiment Highlights
Even if you construct it in perfect accordance with the instruction book, the sound quality will still vary for some people. This is because if during the course of making a record even a mere 0.5mm of shake occurs, then there will be an effect on the state of the recording. Whether or not the operations of making a hole in the exact center of the cup or setting the angle of the needle are perfectly performed will appear as differences in the sound.

Due to the setting of the mount when recording, differences in those setting may make gaps between the grooves will be large and repair will be difficult. It can be said that proceeding carefully with construction from the beginning is the most important point for picking up clear sound.

Experimenting With Different Materials for Discs
Smooth surfaced materials such as a CD-ROM pick up better sound. Also, things like Ramen lids or soft files (what is that?) have a different textured material on the back. Compare the recording sound quality of both sides and the fact that smooth surfaces make for better sound will probably be confirmed. Also magazine covers-you might worry about the papers texture, but the hard coating picks up sound clearly.

Materials such as thin aluminum foil bags can be used if you insert something like thick paper or a CD-ROM underneath as a mat. The material of the mat will also affect the sound so all sorts of good experiments are possible.

Also, glossy photographs or postcards can also be used. Two people who both own one of these gramophones could exchange audio messages though the mail by recording on postcards and sending them back and forth.

Series name: Adult Science Series
Product Name: Berliner-style turntable gramophone
Material: Plastic
Product Construction: Parts for assembly, Disc, CD-ROM
Target Age: Middle school students and up
Weight: 670 grams
Box Size (in mm): 212d×160w×123h
Assembled Size(in mm): 185d×150w×180h
Construction time: 1.5 hours
Battery: Type 2 (they use numbers instead of letters in Japan. I can’t recall what size this is in the American battery labeling system)
Items needed in construction: Cellophane tape, Phillips-head screwdriver, Scissors
Produced in: China
Instruction manual: Included