evden eve nakliyat istanbul eşya depolama uluslararası nakliyat uluslararası evden eve nakliyat istanbul ev taşıma evden eve nakliyat istanbul istanbul evden eve nakliye istanbul nakliyat firması ev eşyası depolama istanbul depolama gebze nakliyat
web tasarım
selcuksports taraftarium

Japanese Voices on Quarter Pounder Line-Hoaxing

Japan: Blurry Lines Between Buzz and Truth – McDonald’s Quarter Pounder Debut

My love for Global Voices Online grows. This is a great summary of the “Quarter Pounder Line-fixing Debate” plus a chance to hear real Japanese opinions on the matter.

I hope to write a longer essay on this at some point but “fixing lines” seems to just be one tool in a big arsenal from Japanese companies of sculpting an image of popularity into the mass media before that popularity is even achieved. Clearly companies everywhere want to achieve this, but the uniquely centralized and streamlined media system makes it a lot easier in Japan. The internet is getting in the way though! Now smaller members of the conspiratorial party have a place to whisper to millions.

W. David MARX
January 30, 2009

Dull and Ugly Homeowners Lose

Neighbors lose legal battle against unsightly house

Makoto Chan House

There are two kinds of residences in Tokyo: dull, generic ugly houses and uniquely ugly houses. Most dull, generic ugly houses have no aesthetic: they are essentially tile-covered boxes in odd geometric shapes. The worst ones are formless masses covered in stucco. They are not “post-modern” or modernist houses that start to look ugly in a few years. They are born ugly.

There are also some ugly houses that are quite interesting. These are mostly houses from rich people who can hire their own architects.

Once in a while there are some visually attractive houses, but for some reason, they are all in unadorned reinforced concrete.

So the owners of dull, ugly houses in Kichijoji tried to force insane manga artist Umezu Kazuo to make his uniquely ugly red-and-white striped house more dull ugly. They lost. A great day for uniquely ugly houses.

A note: I think we’ve complained about this before, but the problem is clearly not that Japan does not know how to make handsome houses. Traditional Japanese houses are amazing! They’re beautiful! Even the Japanese like them and preserve them and pay lots of vacation money to go visit and stay in them! And yet no one has figured out how to make a modern building with a traditional Japanese-exterior? Instead they just build a wooden box and throw some tiles on it. Could it not be related to the fact that the Japanese construction industry is the most corrupt industry in Japan, maybe after entertainment?

W. David MARX
January 29, 2009

Employees in Heat

Workers urged: Go home and multiply

I think Canon has the right idea here, but I don’t really think we are in “Japanese-companies-make-employees-go-home-early-to-make-babies trend” territory yet. This, however, would be a pretty amazing thing to see implemented across the board. I wonder why Canon has been the first to act.

This is good timing with the recession too. There is just going to be less work for everyone in general, so yeah, send people home already.

That being said, does anyone think that two days a week is going to cure the birth rate? Companies may want to consider, I don’t know, permanently fostering a better culture of work-life balance. Two days a week is kinda like, you should be at work doing nothing at a snail’s pace for twelve hours, but these are drastic times and we have to let you out! So go forth and multiply! But once you have more children, start working twelve hours again.

(I apologize in advance for the Western-bias in being pro-low work hours. I don’t know whether it’s from Plato, Christ, or Marx, but I have this odd idea that personal identity should also be allowed flourish outside of the office walls.)

W. David MARX
January 27, 2009

Sneakee Pete

We snuck into type design collective Underware’s site today.

January 26, 2009

MEKAS. Twitter and Gyaru Vocab

The Japanese fashion site MEKAS. that I edit started a new Twitter yesterday (http://twitter.com/mekas), and I went a bit crazy with 140-character observations as I read through the new March fashion magazines.

CanCam — not a gyaru magazine — for some reason had a “Gyaru Inside-Joke Vocabulary Dictionary,” and there were a few choice entries:

アナル (anaru) is apparently not just a way to say “anal” but an abbreviation of “あ〜、なるほど!” (a naruhodo, “Oh, I see.”)

Yes, We CanCam, meaning 迷わずに『CanCam』を買うこと — “buying CanCam each month without fail.” There is no way anyone actually uses this.

ユダる (yudaru), literally “to Judas,” meaning “to back-stab, betray.” You could probably also read the verb as “to Jew” since “Jew” is yudaya in Japanese, but this connotation is not really the Japanese language’s fault. The entire character of Judas was written into the Jesus story as a way to blame Jews for his death (Judas = Judah), since crucifixion is so clearly a Roman form of execution. At least, that’s what Bishop Spong says.

永眠 (eimin, “to sleep forever”), which normally is a poetic way to say “to die/to pass away,” but gyaru use it as “to zonk out/to sleep deeply.”

W. David MARX
January 24, 2009

Japan: Obama is the Guy with the Black Face, so Blackface

雑記帳 長崎・小浜温泉では「OBAMA感謝祭」

I have only one problem with Japanese people in blackface: it’s totally inexcusably awful. I hate to be shrill about this, and outrage in this case feels like almost like a cliche, but how many more of these are we going to have to see?

Let’s assume for a minute that this sudden rash of Japanese blackface in the wake of Obama’s presidency is well-intentioned. Comedians and yuksters want to look like Obama, so they darken their faces. Does no one know that this is not okay outside of Japan? And more to the point, do people understand that putting these images on the internet means that non-Japanese will view them and say, wow, this Japanese man in blackface in imitation of Obama is a total bummer and a blight on the Japanese nation?

Obama will be president for at least four years, if not more. Someone needs to drop the hint now — in some kind of well-orchestrated national campaign — that Japanese comedians and actors can’t do their Obama imitations in blackface (or even worse, crappy blackface) for the entire span of the Obama administration. Otherwise, this problem is only going to get worse.

Spike Lee’s Bamboolzed is not his greatest work, but it definitively tackles the core issues at the heart of the blackface debate. (Wait, is this even a “debate”? You just are not supposed to do blackface in contemporary global society. Case closed.) Can we send a boatload of Region 2 DVDs of this film over here and pass them out?

I leave you with hopefully one of the last examples of Japan’s Blackface Era: a truly terrible Obama in blackface and fuzzy black wig in the world of Super Mario.

W. David MARX
January 21, 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

Beat Takeshi and the Burakumin

Japan’s Outcasts Still Wait for Acceptance

The main point of this story is that PM Aso is kind of a discriminatory asshole, but I wanted to point something else out:

“The situation has improved over all,” said Takeshi Kitano, chief of the human rights division in Osaka’s prefectural government. “But there are problems left.”

How awesome is Japan’s famed director and funnyman Beat Takeshi? He can apparently find time between hosting TV shows to be Osaka’s chief human rights officer.

(Update #2: I scorched some text.)

W. David MARX
January 19, 2009

Totally Batty

COMICS REVIEW / Translation bat-mangled in ‘Bat-Manga!’

This review is pretty damning of the new book Bat-Manga!: The Secret History of Batman in Japan. Translation was either totally botched or intentionally rendered as bad English. The original manga artist’s name is basically nowhere to be found on the cover.

I was watching some Mahha Go Go Go last year on Japanese cable and realized that at least half the reason this particular anime struck me as so “strange” as a kid was the fault of the American localizers, who stuffed very reasonable and almost Zen scenes of no dialogue with mile-a-minute narration and unnatural speech patterns. Seems like something similar is going on with the Batman book: the Orientalization of Japanese culture requires everyone to pitch in. The source material may be slightly “off” by Western standards, but it’s the foreign localizers who really amp up the eccentricity in the material. They are like the enablers of “crazy Japan.”

(Hat tip to Matt Alt for sending the article my way.)

W. David MARX
January 17, 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

Workshoppe and other...

Some photographic results from the recent workshop I did with the undergrad students at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon. One student brought along a handful of printouts of the patterns I’ve been posting on NéoJeo for inclusion. Smart dude. he brought it back home. The shoppe was really fun.
The Meeting Modernity opening was a blast! Almost 200 folks wandered through from 6 to 9. Thanks to everyone for coming out and supporting!

January 14, 2009

Change Some Nouns on the Yakuza

This is the most ridiculous article ever:

Trouble feared as gang moves HQ few blocks from enemy’s

Let’s replace a few key nouns and read it with a non-Japan perspective:

The Metropolitan Police Department announced Wednesday that a violent drug gang and extortion syndicate has moved its headquarters from Queens to Times Square, about 250 yards from a rival violent drug gang’s headquarters.

According to the MPD, the Times Square building in which the drug gang’s headquarters is housed was purchased by an affiliated firm of the gang organization in September together with its land lot. The firm’s president is a senior drug gang member.

According to the MPD, starting Wednesday, Times Square Police Station deployed patrol cars at a parking lot in front of the Times Square building and station several policemen in the area around the clock as an emergency measure.

The drug gang in question is the nation’s third-biggest designated crime syndicate, after two other large drug syndicates.

The rival drug gang’s headquarters is located in a condominium about 250 yards northeast of the new drug gang headquarters building. The rival drug gang claims areas around its headquarters as its operating territory.

The MPD will establish a panel designed to remove gang organizations with the participation of local residents and corporate representatives on Jan. 21 in an attempt to remove gangs from the district.

The MPD believes tension between the two groups could rise as drug gang relocated its headquarters to the Times Square building.

MPD sources said that a senior drug gang member told an MPD investigator who was monitoring a New Year meeting of drug gang in New Jersey on Wednesday that the gang had started to use the Times Square building as its headquarters starting that day.

According to the MPD, the affiliated company bought the land and building from a real estate company in New Jersey in early September.

The land measures about 100 square yards, and the building has a floor space of about 260 square yards, covering three stories and a basement.

According to the property register book, no mortgage was taken out on the land and the 18-year-old building, which a real estate company in the area estimated that the gang likely spent about $3.2 million to acquire.

W. David MARX
January 8, 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