April 30, 2009

The Nerdiest Band Ever is Japanese

Glasses, side-parts, sensible shirts and slacks, electronic thingy in the background and new wave sounds all check. Yes, sirs, you have won your title. BTW, can anybody tell me what the nerdy appendage to the guitar head is?

The crowd gives their best nerdy performance too. さすがにっぽん!
Still on break. Couldn't resist scheduling this.

April 29, 2009

Classic CM Collection 1

Within this video is a mashup of CMs from long ago in this video series. I'll be posting a few of them, in a digestible schedule.

Some observations (just opinion, I've no claims to know the facts):
It's not really interesting until 1:39; I'll program it to start there. I think that bear is drunk.
I wonder when the switch to Western clothes really happened. I have a feeling the people may just be formalizing their wear for the commercial.
I think the product about 6 minutes in is like that nori-jelly I tried.
The men back then sure liked their Hitler mustaches.
Around 7:30 may be one of the first commercials to capitalize on what would later become the love of cute things in this country.
The gum commercial is rare for being "drama-like," and it also made me wonder about eyebrows. It seems that maybe it was fashionable to have manicured eyebrows in that era, but something happened during the 80s that made girls go natural...
Well, it's golden week now, so I'll be gone for a bit...

April 28, 2009

Karaoke Practice: Webster?!

Someday I will feature something more useful for karaoke enthusiasts, I promise, but I just found another foreigner singing in Japanese and I couldn't resist.

I don't know why this exists, or if you could ever find it in a karaoke machine. What I do know is Webster+Japan=Awesome. But at the same time, scarier than that time he talked with the Norman Batesesque doll. I did not make that up just now; I have vague childhood memories.

This was on the album City Connection, which sold over 300,000 records. If only Japan didn't seem to suck so much for finding old records (and they cost way too much when you do find them) I would go out and find these sorts of things and annoy my neighbors with them. Apparently the Japanese called him Emanieru-bouya (Emmanuel-kid) back then. I just call him Webster, rather insensitively, but yes, he is really Emmanuel Lewis.

Bonuses gets: A little CM for the record.
EDIT: Oh, here is a rather good live performance.

April 27, 2009

Gaming in Japan Followup: Buy the Book!

I would be remiss as a totally pro blogger if I didn't try to line my pockets with a link to buy the Record of Lodos War (mentioned last time) in it's original novel form.

Only one yen, usually.
There, now the gaming week is pretty much done.
Oh but I kinda want to share the monster I made for yesterday's Saitama Session of D&D. You can math it for whatever level you need. As you can see, it's not a very standard monster. I love how 4e lets you do this.

Clinging Wraith, the spirit of someone that just couldn't let go. Ever.

Dwarf, light me on fire if you have to! Just get it offa me!

Cling (move, at will) The wraith may teleport 6 squares provided it ends in an opponent's square. When it enters the square, it makes an attack VS fortitude. If it fails, it is ejected to the nearest open square. If it wins, it partially shares the target's defending space (save ends and ejects the wraith as above). The wraith may not be marked while occupying. Any powers that attack and miss the wraith are automatically redirected to the occupied creature, and if it passes their defense it affects them instead. Any ongoing conditions of the wraith are also suffered by the occupied creature, and vise versa, but neither may save for passed on conditions.

Gripping Aura: Any creature that begins it's turn in the wraith's space takes 5 necrotic damage and is weakened.

Dig in (standard) If the wraith is occupying a creatures square, it may make an attack VS FORT to make the target immobilized (save ends).

Pull Strings (standard/special)(this move may be used as an interrupt any time the wraith would be able to make an opportunity attack) The wraith may force the occupied creature to make a melee attack using any weapons it has (including fists etc. as improvised weapons) and/or force the creature to move at its speed.

Like Every Bad Relationship: When the Clinging Wraith is reduced to 0hp, if it was occupying a creature's space, that creature becomes cursed and the wraith sticks to them, undetectably by mundane means, in a dormant state. Enjoy.

April 23, 2009

Roll-playing in Japan: RoLW

I honestly still don't know why I arbitrarily decided to announce in that video that we are doing roll-playing week, but this should be the last day I torture myself for it; I probably won't get to a computer this weekend.
Anyways, amidst the dark ages of nerdotainment, there was the shining beacon that was a few booklets filled with children's drawings. AKA D&D. It made it's way to Japan first via fan translations. Some innovative geeks recorded their game sessions and actually managed to sell the transcripts, called リプレイ (replay). Things snowballed, and the group became a company, creating novels, anime, and their own RPG systems.

Record ofLodos War is the name of their saga, and you can see it in the video below.

The group is full old school D&D archetypes and cliches. See if you can spot the blatant Tiamat/Dragonlance ripoff shot. And the animation, with bad dubbing, is totally goobery old-school anime.

I first saw this anime as a teen, when TBS broadcast the episodes backwards. Needless to say, it's a lot better in intended order, and you can catch a playlist of many episodes here. But I hold no grudge against TBS; it is, in a rather convoluted way, the reason why I am in Japan. Maybe someday I will tell that story. But then again, I think I have said the proceeding sentence before... Old uncle Clay's brains don't work so well since he got zapped by Mordenkinen's Bad Blogging Curse in 84...

April 22, 2009

Roll-playing in Japan: Finding People

One of the hardest things about gaming in Japan is finding people to do it with. There is some luck to be had with craigslist and meetup.com, and the forums at Wizards have a section for people searching their local area.
I signed up for a site that is basically the Mixi of TRPGers in Japan (TRPG is the standard acronym used over here) called TRPG SNS. The language barrier along with normal weirdness that comes with navigating a Japanese site is a high wall to cross, but I am trying. It would be great to get some bilingual gaming going on...
Here's a little vid explaining (in Japanese) the service.
But hay, this post is boring as is. Why did I foolishly choose to make this RPG week on the blog? I know what will save me, Chinese gamers! Actually, this video makes me feel like I am at school-- what with the Chinese language, copy write infringement, and hot nerds and all.

I'll let you know if I find any Japanese peeps brave enough to storm the proverbial keep that is gaming with foreigners.

April 21, 2009

Gaming in Japan: Toys!

I guess I totally locked myself into Gaming in Japan Week with that text; what will I post tomorrow? Good question...

April 16, 2009

White Crone: 10th Anniversary of Juon

Hey haven't done one of my "Pics from the News" in a bit, but like a curse, these posts will always pop up.

Tokyo--This is a scene from the promo event for the 10th anniversary celebration of the first Juon, which came out direct-to-video in 1999, as well as the latest movie in the series, 呪怨 白い老女, perhaps to be translated as The Grudge: White Crone--I've never liked the translation of Juon as "grudge;" it's more like "curse-grudge." Heck, I think Juon is a made up word just for the movies, so why not use it in English? The actors seem rather detached from the horror before them. [Japanese original/bigger pic]

April 13, 2009

Yoji: Two Yoji with One Stone

Everybody knows 一石二鳥 (issekinichou: killing two birds with one stone), but did you know there is an equivalent 4 character idiom out there, and it is also common? Allow me to introduce you to 一挙両得 (ikkiryoutoku). How is it different? I'll just have to do two yoji with one breakdown!

The breakdown on 一石二鳥
一: one
石: stone
二: two
鳥: bird(s)
frequency: high

On 一挙両得
挙: action
一挙: (adv) in one action
両: both
得: gain
両得: double gain
rarity: common

So there we see... eh? My erudition alarm just went off! It seems we have another equivalent term! 一挙両全 (ikkiryouzen)! Ah, now the breakdown alarm is going off too!

Bonus breakdown on 一挙両全
全: all
両全: mutual advantage
rarity: uncommon

Well that was a short breakdown, but of course I did use the first breakdown to kill
a few birds. If there are any more in this series, drop me a line!

April 9, 2009

Nakama Yukie's House on YouTube

Or more accurately, the poor apartment where here character lives in the dorama Trick. Somebody found it and put it on YouTube. You probably won't be as happy to see it as I was unless you are also an obsessive fan.

I posted about Trick the other day too; take a look!

April 7, 2009


Lately, I seem to have a lot of fun spouting Japanese on Twitter, and try to translate everything so people can see whatever strange Japanese is floating through my head. So follow me, or subscribe to my Twitter's RSS.

Also, Twitter seems to be the place where I restore the balance of missing slice of Clay content that some people actually said they miss in the current incarnation of the blog. Please enjoy!

Japanese CM: Regretful Monkey

Below is 反省ザル (monkey reflecting on his conduct). I had reason to use the same pose today, when I forgot to bring my textbook to class. "反省!(Regret!)" I said dramatically, just as in the commercial.

This monkey, Jiro, was apparently all the rage back in 1991, and even performed in the US. I discovered him because of Trick. The show had Yamada do the pose in season one and it tickled me though I didn't know what she was doing; I didn't find out what it was called until I read the novelization. I really recommend it for Trick fans that want to learn Japanese and enjoy the best J-drama on a whole new level!

You can buy the same book by clicking the above link. Used copies are usually only 1 yen.
Obligatory YouTube video for Trick-curious here.

April 1, 2009

How Does One Say Haiku in Tamil?

I recently found out a bit more about one of my favorite music videos. I even found a version of it with the Tamil lyrics translated. The answer to the title's question is within, as is the answer to "What do they call eyebrows?"
Ah talk of eyebrows takes me back to teaching English at elementary schools. But hey, were getting off track when I had a natural segway to show the video that I originally pondered about this stuff in: