Archive for August, 2007

China’s Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan Kyodo News reported that China’s Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan, pictured above, toured the Maritime Self Defense Force destroyer “Takanami” during a visit to a base in Yokosuka on Aug. 31 as part of a five-day trip to Japan.  Cao is the first Chinese defense minister to visit Japan since February […]


Donald Richie wrote a review in the Japan Times about a book by Sarah Chaplin on love hotels. This is well-trodden ground, with photography monographs by Misty Keasler also recently released, recording the fantasical interiors and strange practices of the Japanese. An academic critique might attack such works as pandering to readers with an “orientalist” […]


An article in the Japan Times says that McDonald is trying to join the successful ranks of Starbucks, Doutur, Seattle’s Best, and other cafe chains with the launch of 15 new “McCafe” stores in Japan.  Anyone tried it?


Eri Utsugi

30Aug07

Wig by Eri Utsugi for the upcoming Tokyo Fashion Week. (Reuters Photo) Eri Utsugi, whose blog is here, will be participating in Tokyo’s upcoming Fashion Week. She has attracted a lot of attention in the last few years for her “cute and quirky” designs featuring animal-shaped afro wigs and other whimsical designs. Her well-received debut […]


A giant, 200 yard-long, spider web discovered  near Wills Point, Texas in the Lake Tawakoni State Park is drawing the attention of entomologists. Apparently the web was built communally by spiders and is trapping millions of mosquitos.  So no giant, 1950s-era horror-movie-sized spiders here apparently.  More on the story here.


Doppelgänger

29Aug07

Another wiki-adventure. Today’s is on doppelgänger. This has been an important inspiration for literature. Wikipedia says: “They are generally regarded as harbingers of bad luck. In some traditions, a doppelgänger seen by a person’s friends or relatives portends illness or danger, while seeing one’s own doppelgänger is an omen of death. In Norse mythology, a […]


The Asahi Shimbun online had an interesting article about a maid salon in Fukuoka. The beautician dresses in a maid outfit and greets the guests, who are no surprise mostly men in their 20s to 40s, with “Welcome home master!”. “How would you like your hair today sir?” A Western reader may see this as […]


Crown from the Asuka Era Accessories exhibit. The Asahi Shimbun reported in a small article that the Kashihara Archaeological Research Center Museum of Ikaruga Town, Nara Prefecture will host an exhibit of ancient accessories unearthed from the Fuji-no-Ki kofun tomb. The tomb was discovered untouched in 1988 and dated from the Asuka Period (approx. 538 […]


Araki Nobuyoshi plus a lizard. I recently got Arakimentary on DVD from Netflix. I was both intrigued and turned-off by my image of Araki Nobuyoshi as a hentai photographer, but I was glad I gave him a chance and watched the DVD. I remembered that I’d encountered his work before: I’d seen a book of […]


This is according to the Mainichi Shimbun: “Whale watching tourists encountered hunters in waters off northern Japan and witnessed the bloody killing of a Baird’s Beaked Whale, a report said Saturday. Some 20 tourists on board the whale-watching ship Evergreen, some of them foreigners, witnessed the hunt Friday morning off the eastern coast of Hokkaido […]