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August 25, 2009

Shitte: Internet FAIL FAIL


Hello? Internet? Are you awake? Do you see this kanji???

I was on the train the other day and discovered that there is a station called Shitte (尻手) on the JR Nambu line. Shitte! And did you see the kanji??? “Ass-hand.” Again, everyone: a city called Shitte made from the kanji for “ass-hand.”

But listen, this is not the kind of thing I want to discover on a JR map. I need this genius found comedy to show up on my RSS reader. This could be front page material for about 75% of the Japan blogs, with trackbacks by BuzzFeed, DIGG’d to infinity. Remember that city in Austria? Okay, that was better, but seriously: Shitte Ass-Hand! There should be entire webpages dedicated to this station. Shitte.com. TheRealshitte.com. Shitte.jp. http://www.bekkoame.co.jp/~38293skasldasd/shitte.htm.

Terrible work, everyone. I better see some daily Shitte coverage on Engrish.net-type sites soon or the entire internet is fired. The whole point of websites is to constantly scroll the Japanese lexicon for things that sound funny in English.

W. David MARX
August 24, 2009

Young Nigo in Blackface


I promised this earlier: on the right, a very young Tomoaki Nagao — aka Nigo from A Bathing Ape — posing in Cross Colours, fake dreads, and semi-blackface in the October 2, 1991 issue of Popeye. I knew that Nagao used to work on the “Pop Eye” pages in the front of the book, but I never knew he showed up as a model.

W. David MARX
August 15, 2009


Spotted at Parco Shibuya a few months ago.

I am not sure the end of man (まん) is the best placement for the “ko” (こ) of konnichiwa. Methinks this was not exactly unintentional.



W. David MARX
April 21, 2009

Best Bloggers in Japan! Wait, seriously?

Global Voices Online: Japan: Alpha Blogger Awards 2008 (Part 1)

Here you have it folks: the best of the Japanese web. Anyone else feel underwhelmed? Seriously, the second best is a site that gives you the most basic common-sense information about pregnancy.

I don’t want to use the word “ugly” for the featured blog formatting, but is there a law or something against breaking preset template in this country?

How many years until there are “professional-grade blogs” with mass readerships that are not horribly-corrupt product-placement schemes, fake celebrity diaries written/vetted by mangers, or re-prints of tech press releases?

Maybe the Japanese are not paranoid of the internet: they are just bored.

W. David MARX
February 25, 2009

Mother Goose

My clever translation of “Mother Goose” in Japanese = おガァさん

W. David MARX
February 14, 2009

Political data point from the consulting room

DOCTOR: “Hmm, so you can write your address in kanji. That puts you ahead of our prime minister at least.”

ME: “?… Uh, ha ha ha!” (Thinks: I wish we could talk politics after my health is seen to.)

DOCTOR: “Yep, you’ve definitely got the drop on ol’ ‘Aho Tarō’.”

January 20, 2009

Subway Reading

Times when you wish the guy next you was reading monster-rape manga: Today, on the Ginza Line, the fellow to my left was reading some kind of journal of veterinary surgery — with lots of graphic color photography.

W. David MARX
January 16, 2009

2009: The Year in Review

At about 4 pm, I became suddenly aware of my massive jetlaggedness, so I will keep this brief, and as a writerly affectation to represent my mental condition in text, also long-winded and “run-on.”

I am back in Japan after a few weeks at home in the “States.” Ian gets back soon and then we’ll be getting the team together to think up some more funnies and contents for this site we run called Néojaponisme. Be patient and read other sites on the internet while we are hard at work. (I say this every time, but you guys never listen.) Things will probably get kicking with some book reviews.

(Also, all those haters on the Girl Talk piece: here you go.)

America is getting to be like Japan in small ways. The economy has melted down, for example. My niece asked for a “bento box” next Christmas. The soap opera Guiding Light now looks exactly like prime time fare in Japan: cheap video, cheap lighting, location shoots and sound rather than studio-controlled conditions. If you Americans stop buying the products advertisers are advertising, all TV could fall to Japanese TV levels. Soon, every single American comedian will come from a single management company or something.

A big plus to America: food and clothing are dirt cheap. I am sure there are some kind of sophisticated reasons why prices in Japan are so high, but it always feels like highway robbery to see a necktie in Ginza, for example, at 250% the price of the American tag. I had been refusing to buy some Kiwi black shoe polish in nearby Lon Lon for 700 yen, and hey, looky haters, I got it for $2.99 at Target. My misplaced miserliness saved me nearly $4, which I will reinvest into the overpriced Japanese apparel industry.

Also, Japan needs more egg nog.

Here’s to a year of savings, post-materialism, and finding new uses for all the tattersall shirts you wore at age 18.

W. David MARX
January 6, 2009

Late Onset Patriotism

As an American, this excellent post by fellow shitty patriot, American Sam McPheeters acutely captures a sentiment I felt just about two weeks ago as accurately as one could hope to. Hence, I quote it for the world citizenry who read this website:

“For those of us not running for First Lady, it seems safe to call it for what it is: Late Onset Patriotism. For the first time in my adult life, I’m actually proud of my country… Just as important as what we get is what we have been spared; four more years of sadistic fast-food incompetence, grumpy and perky flavored… Yesterday was the opposite of 9/11, almost surely the only such day anyone alive will ever experience. For one night, people across the planet covered their mouths in raw shock – a gesture eerily familiar from 9/11, but tracking to the extreme opposite end of the emotional spectrum. It was as if the Earth team had just won an intergalactic futbol championship. We’re in unknown territory.”

I am unsure if more appropriate and precise words have been spoken about the recent American election. I’m unsure what to do with this newfound sense of hope for millions of Americans. Wait for the new President to bungle, I imagine.

November 21, 2008

Seperated at Birth (in Memory Only)

For some reason last night, I became convinced that photographer Araki Nobuyoshi and Dragonball Z’s Master Roshi (aka 亀仙人) looked exactly the same. On closer inspection, I am crazy.

W. David MARX
November 17, 2008

Sorry, Today, You Lost to Yesterday

Listening to Shiina Ringo’s Shouso Strip at the moment, which isn’t even my favorite Shiina Ringo album, and it so clearly destroys anything that has come out of the Japanese pop music scene in the last six years. This album should sound dated and terrible — that’s how pop culture works — but the total stagnation of J-Pop makes it sound like some kind of futuristic gift sent back in time from an altrusitic advanced civilization. “Gibusu” is like ideal utopian socialist fantasy of a J-Rock ballad.

Buffalo Daughter’s “LI303VE” also stands up. (I am writing about both artists for a magazine.)

Many deride necrophilic obsession with the past, but what do you do when the past so clearly and objectively kicks the present’s teeth in on a daily basis? The collapse of this pop culture thing has made us all Classics majors and historians.

W. David MARX
October 30, 2008

Miami Art Basel

I have a video installation in Scion’s show at Art Basel Miami this year. If you are in the Sunshine State and looking for free booze and fine fine art, this is your place in early December. (Today’s Usugrow painting is tomorrow’s Dali!) Friday, 12/05 at the Raleigh Hotel Penthouse from 7PM-10PM. I’ll be there- hit me up!

October 30, 2008

Engrich #2

Spotted in Hamamatsucho station:


For more on “Engrich,” look here.

Technically, 「衝突」 can be “clash” but I am not sure this is such a great translation — functionally speaking. In terms of coolness? Check-plus-plus.

W. David MARX
October 27, 2008

Street Fashion Magazine Death

I was just looking over my senior thesis about A Bathing Ape, and in one part, I mention that Nigo was on the cover of three street fashion magazines — Boon, Asayan, and Thrill — in August 2000. During the summer of 2000 when I did the core of my research, all the fashion elites I interviewed said “Ape is dead,” but I felt that these magazine covers questioned the validity of that statement.

Anyway, I was shocked to realize that none of these titles still exist. Boon changed to B. earlier this year and then ceased publication for good. Asayan was the street fashion magazine of the Ura-Harajuku movement, so I can see why it drifted into obscurity sometime in the early 21st century. I don’t even remember what Thrill was about.

Not that this observation really means anything, but I tend to forget how different the media landscape was just eight years ago. I often note that A Bathing Ape almost never appears in mainstream fashion menswear magazines, but maybe that’s because all the pro-Ura-Hara ones went under.

W. David MARX
October 22, 2008