November 30, 2009

Awesome Japanese Alpaca CMs

What is Kuraray? By watching these, I get a vague idea that it has something to do with turning people into alpaca slaves to fight wars against aliens.

The best one: Sorry, they took the best one down because they apparently hate free adversising. You'll have to go here choose the CMs tab, and click on the commercial link in the lower right (the one with the green glowing thing) to see my favorite.

November 28, 2009

Karaoke: Goodnight Agnes Chan

I usually try to find videos with Japanese lyrics attached so you can perform from the safety of your own home before making your debut at the snack bar, but the translations will have to do this time. It's a pretty easy song anyways.

Fret not! I have one more with lyrics: This is probably her most famous song (i.e. findable in that karaoke machine).

So the singer is Agnes Chan (Japanese: アグネス・チャン). She is actually a Hong Kong-born singer, a novelist, a UNICEF ambassador, and a professor. That all makes me feel unaccomplished, but I can drown my sorrows in singing at least.

The thing about the name is for name with the same character as hers, we say Chen, Chin, or Chan in English, but in Japan the standard is just Chin. She just seems to be an exception to the Chin rule, probably because they used her English name (lots of English singing goes on in Hong Kong and almost all Chinese stars have two names). In Agnes' case, her original name's hanzi is 陳 (which has an on-yomi of chin), the same as one of my Chinese classmates, Chin-kun. I don't know why she chose Agnes for her first name though.]

Another 陳 is Jackie Chan (born Chan Kong Sang), who has many names. Jackie gets to break the chin-barrier in Japan too. Agnes and Jackie sang together at some point, but I have yet to track that song(s) down. I did see Jackie singing with Annie Defranko though.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention Richard Yung Ka Tsai, a songwriter and musician that worked with her and collected some of his old works on his youtube page.

November 27, 2009

A Furry Surprise in the Computer Lab

An exclusive peek into where the action happens, and it's furry inhabitant. Also, a cat is there.

November 26, 2009

A Sky Full of Bats in Japan

I'm coming at you in HD, with flying friends! This experience happened during the trip that inspired me to write the Get Lost! article at Jibtv.

Not much to say, except I'm not sure where these bats go during winter. They left poo on my balcony to remember them by though.

November 24, 2009

Sashimi-san is One Angry Cat

I don't know what makes the cat Sashimi-san so angry, but it definitely doesn't like this guy, who is visiting his sister. There are many vids in this series. I made a playlist of a few of them. Don't let the Japanese at the beginning scare you off; funny stuff abounds.

Alternative Forms of Caffeination Available in Japan

The convenience stores of Japan have much to offer in the way of that special alkaloid that keeps one up (a.k.a. caffeine). Be it for the purpose of study, clubbing, or work, Japanese people everywhere are always looking for a way to stay up late. Based on a really informal survey that I have been conducting over the years, in part because I am really awkward about finding something to talk about in conversations—"So… do you think America should switch to metric?"—I have determined that the average Japanese person goes to sleep at 3 in the morning and gets up at six. Now that is a grueling schedule! Granted, all the sleeping they do on the train helps, but they need something more to get them through their day.

So caffeine is naturally the go-to ingredient in the arsenal of any warrior against somnolence. Tea is a good source of it, and many people around here have a 10-cup-a-day habit. But the body needs a constant trickle to burn on all cylinders. Thus, a huge market of little caffeinated products fills our convenience stores. For instance, today's blog offering: カフェイン スナック (literally "caffeine snack", but I call them caffeine puffs).

They come in two flavors, maccha (green tea) latte and macchiato. They both resemble cheese puffs, but don't taste like cheese at all.

Here we have a picture of an corny specimen (on the left), as well as the product in question (on the right). The snack is light and fluffy, and mostly corn. It tastes a bit like maccha.

Caffeine may have adverse effects if taken in excess, so I recommend popping one or two in your caffeination orifice of choice about every five minutes to keep you idling at a steady pace throughout your day and avoid burnout.

Remember to use all mind-altering substances, of which caffeine is one, responsibly to avoid altered states.>

November 19, 2009

The Simpsons do a Japanese CM

It's always struck me as odd how much the Simpsons get commercialized, but who am I to judge? And the rest of Hollywood secretly slinks out here to do commercials anyways (Youtube* Tommy Jones and Boss Coffee sometime), so it's about time we saw our favorite family in Japan.
Yes I just made YouTube a verb. My friend used Wikipedia as a Japanese verb this morning (ウィキた, uikita is the past tense).

A Manzai Greeting is Catching On

According to Pink tentacle's explanation of this year's Top Japanese Phrases, トゥース! (tuusu, a greeting of some sort) is pretty popular this year, thanks to the manzai duo Audrey. So I thought I would introduce them to you with this conveniently-subtitled Nintendo DS-i commercial.

Speaking of comedian words, I still use "Sei! Sei! Sei!" It was given to us by Hardo Gay, and is kind of like "back off!". Oddly, nobody ever used it on him. Here's a conveniently English introduction for him in case you missed the pelvis thrusts of the mid aughts.

November 10, 2009

Japanese Grannies Left Behind on the Farm

From the archives:

Miyage prefecture (1963)-- With the post-war economic recovery if full motion, young people left the dreaded inaka (countryside) in droves, leaving their parents and grannies to do the farming, a trend you can still see the effects of today. Most farmers are old. I keep hearing about a "farming is cool! No, really! It's even cooler when it's organic!" boom happening, but have yet to see it for myself. I also keep hearing how Japan imports 60% of it's food. It's a problem the government may have to tackle. Oh, speaking of which, the guy in the photo is some unnamed politician doing the rounds after the breakup of one of the Ikeda cabinets.

November 9, 2009

Tentacle Lunch

This betenticled, canned, whole-squid lunch could be something out of Naked Lunch, but it's par for the course for your hapless ¥100 store adventurer of a blogger.

And no, I don't recommend this. There's still beak chunks in it.
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November 5, 2009

Oronamin C

First off, a video of mine. You don't have to watch the whole thing (it's about me being an extra in Takashi Miike's Zebraman 2, so you may like it after all), but know that the audio from a scene from a movie, Shark Skin Man and Peach Hip Girl, plays over the end. You'll have to rent the movie to see the actual scene, but it really peaked my interest back in 2004 or so. What is that? I had to find out.

So this post (as threatened) is about the Oronamin C poster the characters talk about . Here it be:

And there are many more C posters here. As to the goofy man, he is Ōmura Kon. So to finish you off, here are some of his TV spots for the drink (note that it is marketed as some kind of health or sports drink). It's not as cool without the hat though.

November 4, 2009

Hopeless Romantic Album Now Accessible

You may have noticed if you tried to click-zoom on any of the recent mobile posts' images that the functionality was locked. This was a necessary step to give me time to remove my dwarf porn*. Now it's cleaned up and ready for the public. You can even see images from post I removed, like my failed tries at the 200 bad comics challenge and comment on them.

The Hopeless Romantic

*: Dwarf porn is the last refuge of a D&D scoundrel.

J Life Pic: Fiber Cola

I got a surprise the other night at the 7-11: Diet Coke with fiber added. It's not regular coke, but it keeps you regular. Oh, that was bad. I promise I won't dump such a crappy joke on you again.

In case you missed it, I vlogged a taste test of Coke's last special flavor.
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