February 24, 2010

J News Pic: The Best Bobsled this Side of Jamaica

I know you remember Cool Runnings.

Canada-- When practice began for the women's pair bobsledding on the 22nd, one country really stood out. Japan, with an awesome sleigh design that includes a lady in a kimono, sakura petals, and Mt. Fuji, turned everyone's heads.
Some people in Japan are probably complaining that the whole thing is a little yanki though.

Japanese Study Links

Sign/Ad J | J Slang | J News w/Pics | J Vids
Karaoke | J Commercials | Let's Yoji!

February 23, 2010

My Review of Chocolate Sparkling, with Mouth-breathing

So my boss was like, how often do you talk to your mom? I and my daughter in America talk three times a week.
And I was like... Uh, yeah, all the time. But it was a lie. I have the blog to communicate what is happening to me here, but I have fallen short of that duty of late and just posted funny commercials. Well no more waiting, parental units and other people that I guilt into reading. Here is a video staring me at long last. I talk about the awkwardness of trains and the amazingness of carbonated clear chocolate drinks. Watch. Gnash those teeth. Enjoy.

Japanese Study Links

Sign/Ad J | J Slang | J News w/Pics | J Vids
Karaoke | J Commercials | Let's Yoji!

February 22, 2010

Japanese Slang: Sagging Pants Kill Dreams

Olympic dreams that is. I don't watch sporting events, even the Olympics, but escaping news of the pants-sagging scandal was impossible if you live in Japan. In Japan, they call sagged pants 腰パン (koshi-pan) which is made from the words koshi (hip) and pan (pants). Another slang word for this, when it is unintentional, is ハミパン (hami-pan, from hamiwoderu [jut out of bounds] and pantie).

The scandal was centered around a snowboarder who--shock!-- looks like a snowboarder, named Kazuhiro Kokubo. He showed up at the airport with a loose tie and pants and Japan went into hyper-conservative spasms. Look at this shocking video, complete with his half-assed (see what I did there?) apology, "Hasei shima~su" (yeah, I'm totally reflecting on my actions). It got him bared from the opening ceremony later.

Japanese Study Links

Sign/Ad J | J Slang | J News w/Pics | J Vids
Karaoke | J Commercials | Let's Yoji!

February 18, 2010

Yu Aoi is the Most Endearing Assassin Ever [vid]

Among Japanese models and actresses, Yu is, to me, the ultimate girl next door. For one thing, she doesn't seem trim her eyebrows. When you've seen as many butchered brows as I have, natural ones start to look pretty good. Her fashion and makeup are also very understated.

But speaking of eyebrows, in this video she provides the voice for Golgo 13, hardened womanizing assassin of manga fame. It makes for a nice juxtaposition. The video is actually a whole press conference type thing (dang Japan likes promotional press conferences), so I set the video to automatically start at the commercial. Rewind by hand if you want to see what comes before that point.

Japanese Study Links

Sign/Ad J | J Slang | J News w/Pics | J Vids
Karaoke | J Commercials | Let's Yoji!

February 16, 2010

Change the Skin on Your... Butsudan?

I spotted an ad for these on the train. They are butsudan (Buddhist house alters for honoring your ancestors--totally different from kamidana) with swappable colors. This one is a spring-fall combo.

You can see other modern butsudan designs at the company's online catalog.

Japanese Study Links

Sign/Ad J | J Slang | J News w/Pics | J Vids
Karaoke | J Commercials | Let's Yoji!

Ryoma Sakamoto has Taken Over Japan!

I can't go anywhere lately without spying the famous samurai Sakamoto Ryoma, the man that helped to overthrow the Tokugawa shogunate before being assassinated on his birthday at an inn. For me, it all started with this softbank ad:

Ad breakdown (top three lines only):
supiikaa zeyo= electronic speaker+emphasis particle
shaberu zeyo= speak +emp particle
shaberu otousan supiikaa= speak+father+speaker

So this is an ad for the To-san (the father/dog from softbank commercials) speaker promotional gift.
It seems ぜよ is from Kouchi prefecture's dialect (or Tosa-dialect if you want to get more accurate). It also seems to be an inflection of admonition. From what I've read it isn't really used by people in Kouchi anymore.
And then I heard that he was the official subject of this year's Taiga Drama. Every year Taiga Drama airs a different historical figure's life, and this time it's the Ryomaden (legend of Ryoma).

Ryoma-fever set in. I noticed he had spread like a virus to the book stores. This store section is completely dedicated to him:

Even food is not safe from his touch:

Links of interest: You may remember the actor in the drama, Masaharu Fukuyama, was featured in a karaoke training post here at THR (second one down).

Japan Probe found an ad that explores how his life could have been saved by a good car.

The Probe also found a clip where scientists reconstruct his voice.

The Tei-park museum has an exhibition of Ryoma open until the 21st of this month.

Japanese Study Links

Sign/Ad J | J Slang | J News w/Pics | J Vids
Karaoke | J Commercials | Let's Yoji!

February 15, 2010

Crazy Miyuki is Crazy Hot?! [vids]

Take a look at this allergy swab commercial. Do you know the actress in it?

If you guessed Miyuki Torii, you somehow saw her hotness through the mask of crazy and odd eye makeup that she usually sports, as in this vid:

She recently did a press event related to the allergy commercial, where she was back to her old creepy self.

She's pretty annoying to most people, but I found an amusing CM of hers promoting a Black Jack anime:

Japanese Study Links

Sign/Ad J | J Slang | J News w/Pics | J Vids
Karaoke | J Commercials | Let's Yoji!

February 12, 2010

Suntory Strong Zero: For When You Want to Get Wasted Without Sugar

Strong is a drink I noticed in combinis about a year or so ago. At 8% alcohol and a price of 200 or so yen, it is perfect for the current economic climate.

Here we have a girl (Satomi Ishihara) lecturing a wrestler that being strong alone is pointless. You need to be sugar-free too.

But actually I just want to use these CMs to remind you of the background music's source: The Peanuts. I did a post with them where you can hear this song, Love Fugue, here (it's the second one down, and don't forget the English version!).

Japanese Study Links

Sign/Ad J | J Slang | J News w/Pics | J Vids
Karaoke | J Commercials | Let's Yoji!

February 11, 2010

Full Body Dude Shaving the Way of the Future?

Saw this display at a drugstore the other day:

It says:

A new practice for men

From here on out,
it's gonna be full body shaving.

Here's another one:

Take it off! Shaggy shaggy body
The herbivorous men of our age
abhor body hair

Note I felt the need to translate Japanese English into real English.
Also, the sign mentions the herbivorous man (草食男子) phenomenon as if it were a real and good thing.
I'm curious as to whether this post will appear on Google Buzz. If you want to follow me there, just visit my google profile at http://www.google.com/profiles/claytonian and add me!

This has been a mobile post; click the pics to visit their album

February 9, 2010

English Teaching Horrors: Finding a Replacement

So I'm moving to Yokohama, in case you didn't get the memo. I'll be changing the name of this blog to Loco in Yokohama*. Like it?
But one thing I need to do before I go is find a replacement for the informal eikaiwa group that I teach once a week. It's hard enough considering I live in Kumagaya in the northern reaches of Dasaitama, but the people who anwered my craigslist article for the job really tried my patience.

Not one native English speaker applied. Not one. Instead, I got about ten people who hadn't read the ad properly. Many of them thought I was offering a visa. Most of them didn't think about how far they would have to travel.

My favorite was the angry Italian. At first he tried to pretend he was a company, and offered two employees for me. Bemused, I politely let him know that his English level was not what we needed, but inquired if his friend was a native speaker. He wrote back:
why, what wrong with my english?
mine is american-english, i learn this english in us,
im sorry if i didn't not study in england as this job must required,
but i learn english by my self. try to be on my shoes and learn same as me
with out any school, i never got problem with this, only today after 5 years i work
even as a interpreter someone told me ''your english is not correct''
come on, give me a brake. anyway, about my friend, no it is not native,
but you request high level so i don't think so you need it.
good luck then.
Feeling devilish, I wrote:
Once again, I don't mean to be rude. I'm sure you can survive fine in the English speaking world, and I understand most of what you write, but we need someone with a higher level of English for a teacher.

For instance, you said, "why, what wrong with my english?" The correct way to say this is "Why, what's wrong with my English?"
Keep that in mind the next time you apply to teach. Good luck.
This set him off. He replied:
listen buddy,
i don't need any lesson of life from you.
you cannot judge people
you are nothing
and you dont know who im
so , don't expand your self.
and trust me i wont be so stupid to apply for a person as you next time.
I was wrong my friend! I predict you will have a long and successful life as an English teacher in Japan.

*:Just an inside joke, I won't change the blog name.

Japanese Study Links

Sign/Ad J | J Slang | J News w/Pics | J Vids
Karaoke | J Commercials | Let's Yoji!

Curry Cup Noodle Rocks and I Have the Aliens to Prove It

I love curry cup noodles. They help me get through the excruciatingly cold winters here. But after seeing these commercials, I am craving a little cheese with my curry.

What is happening: An alien has come from planet cheese to shoot his cheese into this woman's cup. Mmmm.

Oh, it's Ms. Mozzarella alien! She's come to deposit her creamy white sauce in there too.

If you like zombie walks, why not try a cheese walk?

Japanese Study Links

Sign/Ad J | J Slang | J News w/Pics | J Vids
Karaoke | J Commercials | Let's Yoji!

February 2, 2010

Tiger Mask Fights the Flu!

Sign Breakdown:
top line: shingata infuruenza wo yobou shimashou= Let's prevent new (swine) flu
pic one: te wo arau= wash hands
pic two: ugai wo suru = gargle
pic three: masuku wo suru = wear a mask
pic four: yobou-sesshu wo suru= innoculate

[via][edited thanks to a comment!]
Related: Tiger Mask makes for excellent karaoke.

February 1, 2010

Dragon Quest CMs Starring Foreigners

Lately there has been a commercial for Dragon Quest 6, staring white folk. But it's not the only one in the series to be advertised this way. Sometimes these CMs have English, sometimes a Slavic-sounding language (to my untrained ears), and sometimes Japanese dubbing. Here's what I found:



DQ VI (with great hair!):


Bonus vid: SMAP DQ VII CM that is quite funny.
Related Post: A breakdown of a DQ IX ad.

Classic Japanese Sega SG-1000 CMs

The SG-1000 never came to America, so I was ignorant of its existence until today, but it was a Atari-esque system made long ago. Here is a collection of Japanese language commercials for it. Ah, 80s cheese, how I love you. Oh an keep an ear cocked for the old Segaaaa jingoistic saying!

I'll keep an eye out for the SG-1000 the next time I go to Super Potato.