Tag Archives: japan


Samurai with sword


Hatsuhana doing penance under the Tonosawa waterfall


Amazing woodblock by Utagawa Kuniyoshi. As the story goes, Hatsuhana was a very virtuous woman. Here she is doing penance under the Tonozawa waterfall for the cure of her son’s knee – but the hardship of the penance proved too much for her and she died. However, her son was miraculously cured. He sought revenge, and kills his arch-enemy near the waterfall.

Which is to say, pretty much how I’m feeling today

Tenniscoats (テニスコーツ) playing “Baibaba Bimba” in Ebisu, Tokyo, Japan.

A film by Colin Solal Cardo
Sound & mix by François Clos
Produced by Chryde for La Blogotheque

“Saya sang the melody as if it came from deep within the song, a base strong enough to frame and repeat. Coming down the stairs, walking along the railroad tracks, over the noise of passing trains, she played with the surroundings to give rhythm to the song, taking advantage of everything she passed — some steps, a sewer cover, a fence, to cover her ‘Bimba.’ We just had to let her take us, which we happily did.”

Read the whole article here.

He-gassen – antique Japanese farting competition scroll

You’ve got your thick-rimmed glasses, your manga books, your expensive jeans and a couple of t-shirts made of really really nice cotton, but do you have a farting scroll?

The database for Japanese and Chinese classics at Waseda University Library has digitised a rare scroll showing a he-gassen (屁合戦), or ‘farting competition’ (see it here in full).

Apparently, similar drawings were used to ridicule westerners towards the end of the Edo period, with images depicting the westerners blown away by Japanese farts.

Personally, I happen to know first hand that English ones are bad enough, so I’m not sure the Japanese guffs would have worked. My friend Max’s divine wind would have made short work of them.

I also once read a book about a dude who travelled the world learning weird local martial arts (pressure points, wrestling, iron jacket, all that stuff), and the weirdest of all was a guy who had deliberately developed halitosis so bad he could knock you out by burping in your face.

“Silly Runnings” – slow-motion running in Cambodia, music and land mines

Japanese director Sou Otsuki has released a new version of his video for the song “Luv(sic) pt.2” by Nujabes with Shing02, featuring a variety of people running ludicrously in slow motion.

The new version was shot in Cambodia and stars a few courageous amputees and exploding land mines.

If you click here you’ll get the lyrics. Here’s the original video, by the way:

(Via Pink Tentacle)

Robot arm picks up (unwrapped) ketchup

Now THIS is what I like to see. Quite simply a staggering piece of engineering. Stop reading this and JUST PRESS PLAY already.

Came via the excellent WIRED.co.uk site, on which Duncan Geere writes:

A small Japanese company called Furukawa Kikou has built arobot arm that can pick ketchup up and put it down again without losing its shape.

You can see the remarkable process in action in the video above, with added mayonnaise too. The sheet, which is made of Teflon, is wrapped around a sliding plate, which is fixed on one end. As the plate moves out underneath, it picks up whatever substance it’s being used on.

It was originally built in 2007 to help bakeries get structurally-infirm pastries out of an oven, but has also found a job in the box packing industry — as Syoji Tsubaki, the company’s sales manager, explains:

“Until now, it generally wasn’t possible to transport materials in a sol-gel state,” he told Diginfo. “When a liquid pouch is picked or suctioned up, the liquid collects at the bottom. This makes the bottom bulge and the pouch loses its shape, so sometimes you can’t fit the specified number of pouches in a box. By placing the pouches in the box horizontally, it’s possible to arrange them automatically.”

We want one for the Wired kitchen.

What happens if you cross a fork with a theramin?

Fascinating and slightly bonkers piece by Alice Vincent in Wired UK:

Researchers from Ochanomizu University have invented cutlery that makes bizarre “music” when used during meal times, just in case eating wasn’t fun enough already.

The eating utensils, known as EaTheremin, create a complete electrical circuit when they come into contact with human body moisture. That in turn creates sound, duly celebrating the food party in your mouth.

As the video above demonstrates, the noises produced vary depending on the resistance generated by the food that’s being eaten. The sound is also affected by conductivity, so the wetter your mouth, the noisier the result. Indeed, as the human body is between 55 and 60 percent water, you can put the EaTheremin pretty much anywhere to make a sound.

Munching grub that blends textures (like the fried chicken in the video) will create the most interesting results, and the stretchy chicken skin can create a vibrato effect. Unlike the video, however, all your food doesn’t have to be compressed into cylinders.

Furthermore, the researchers are keen to expand beyond musical forks to spoons and cups. Utensils used to deal with liquid would make different sounds, and if the electrodes were divided between two objects at once then you could have your own mini food orchestra during lunch.

EaTheremin already has the potential for duets and even more. Reina Nakamori says, “Several people can use this if they eat together. With the current system, I think it would be fun if a special sound could be created when two people make the same sound as one person.”