Thursday, 31 July 2008
The auction starts tomorrow, and runs for a week, so go ahead if you've got thirty thousand dollars to splash out on a hoverboard that doesn't actually work. Jesus. Even better, the auction states that "It is in used but outstanding condition" which is just bizarre. Used? IT'S NOT A REAL HOVERBOARD! What did they use the thing for other than making the movie?
Please note, despite this... if you're out there and want to be my sugar daddy, this is a good place to start. I can be very nice.
Credit where it's due, I spotted this on High Snobiety.
Wednesday, 30 July 2008
It's about Ponyo, who is some kind of fish-child-thing who runs away from home and meets a boy who lives on a cliff. Of course she wants to become a real girl, and go walkin' around on those... Whaddya call 'em? Oh, feet. It doesn't look to be too deep, but it's probably really touching, and I'd imagine it to be close to Tonari no Totoro in terms of its overall feeling. It's squarely aimed at kids though, and of course kids have apparently been key to it's success. And how do you hook kids? Other than monkeys? With a SONG!
Wasn't that adorable? Seriously, all the kids are humming it. It's in their brains now, and it's not going away until their parents take them to the goddamn movie. Ok, maybe I'm humming it too. And now you are too. It goes:
Sakana no ko...
Yeah about that sakana no ko thing. Ponyo is often refered to as a goldfish, and I don't want to be all churlish and whatever but that is one funky looking goldfish. She does a little like Jimmy, the Hideous Penguin Boy though. While explaining the plot to me somebody fumbled around for what she is (there is a lot of confusion, even amongst the young) eventually settling on "fish-child". Fish-child is a fair translation of sakana no ko too, so let's go with that. I'm pretty sure that her actual species is "Cute", but probably those pencil-pushing poindexter scientists don't have that in their exercise books yet. Look sharp scientists.
Tuesday, 29 July 2008
I think more people should read comic books, and I certainly think more people should read this.
Monday, 28 July 2008
Anyway, here's a pretty perfunctory post about the joys of Japanese vending machines. Let's start off with a photo I took after the snow hit Sapporo this year. Everyone seems to love this photo so let's look at it again:
It's actually a comment on the ritual of... something... or... yeah. I got lucky with that shot.
I have never seen the used-underwear vending machine of legend. If they ever existed, I doubt they do now. Although apparently this is the chief point of reference for Japan, for those who live on the internet. Which of course tells you a lot more about the internet than it does about Japan etc. etc.
One huge difference is that in the UK we have so many chocolate and sweets vending machines, whereas in Japan they have almost none. The one time I did find chocolate in a vending machine, quite awesomely it came in a glass jar, I assume so that it could be slotted into the machine where a can should go. I kept the jar of course, it looked more valuable than the chocolate, and I like shiny things:
Here's a blog by a guy in my city who takes a photo almost every day (Monday to Friday) of the Coca-Cola vending machine opposite his appartment: http://jihan.sblo.jp/ It's a wonderful idea, and he's something of a hero to me, but that doesn't stop his blog being pretty soul-smashingly boring after a few minutes. Also: Coca-Cola? It's a shame it isn't a Suntory or Sapporo vending machine, I like those a lot more. His blog name apparently translates as "I take a picture of a vending machine everyday (or so.) I am sorry." It's nice that he apologises for doing it.
And here's a Sapporo Ramen vending machine that I found hidden away in the backstreets of Fukuoka. I have now found one of these in Sapporo too, but for a while it felt like this was the bastion of Sapporo-style ramen in Fukuoka - Tonkotsu Ramen City.
There's a good post about the Vending Machine expo in Tokyo here. Loads of really cool machines that I'm sure I'll never see.
And of course, another interesting thing about the vending machines in Japan is that if they were on the streets like this in the UK, they'd all be tipped over or smashed. No-one thinks to do that in Japan.
Sunday, 27 July 2008
Saturday, 26 July 2008
So I keep track of places here that serve good coffee, and believe me that'll be a whole series of posts in the future. While the coffee boom took root in Japan just as much as it did everywhere else, coffee here probably isn't as good as the States or Europe overall, and finding great, strong coffee isn't all that easy.
But anyway, as well as looking for coffee in the real world, I keep my antenna up online, so I immediately noted a fun story in the Guardian that Megadeth frontman (or as I like to think of him, former Metallica guitarist) Dave Mustaine had launched his own blend of coffee.
But not only that, it seems that while Mustaine gets the column inches, he's only one side of this currently three-headed hydra, as you can also get your buzz-buzz on with the help of former WCW and WWE wrestler Goldberg, and Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante.
That was the point that I realised I had to post this, because if I don't then Bunny will, and I'll have been scooped by my own sister. As it is: Hey Bunny! Goldberg has his own coffee and it's called Jackhammer Java!
I really wanted to find a review of some of these blends from independant sources, but the best I could find online was a bunch of people going "Dave Mustaine's got his own coffee! Sweet!" or "Dave Mustaine's got his own coffee! Fffnnnaaar!" Which means I'm sorely tempted to try them myself, although they are a bit dear. Anyway there's plenty of hilarity to be had by clicking around the Legends Cup Coffee store, so go right ahead, but to be honest I don't think the concept of Dave Mustaine's Coffee is all that ridiculous. Guy likes coffee I guess.
Dave Mustaine's Decaf Coffee though? That is fucking hysterical.
Friday, 25 July 2008
Thursday, 24 July 2008
Anyway, hopefully I'm on now, and hopefully this'll work. It might seem banal to the point of narcolepsy, but I'm pretty sure some people will get a kick out of it. I'm going to start recording 10 minute bursts of Japan and posting them here as streams and MP3s to download. It'll be places, events, things like that and will I figure be a little different to just looking at pictures.
To start with, something really basic, the underground train I get whenever I go into town. I live on the last stop of the North - South Namboku Line, and here's the ten minutes it takes to get all the way into Odori, the centre of town.
If blip.tv is as great as it says it is, you should be able to download it here: The Namboku Line
edit 29th August: and now available to download here at archive.org, because blip.tv wasn't as great as it said it was. Here's the Internet Archive full page too.
Get off at 2:30 for the Best Denki superstore, a pornographic video store, and Yuka's appartment. Get off at 4:30 for a load of bars, restaurants and shops, and Matt & Ben. Get off at 6 minutes for the North side of Hokkaido University campus, and get off at 7:30 for the centre of campus. Get off at 9 minutes for Sapporo Station, you're in the city centre and you can go to the cinema, or go shopping, or catch another train from here. Finally stay on until the end for Odori, where all the big shops and department stores are.
Saturday, 19 July 2008
Friday, 18 July 2008
That is Nike have finally brought out a shoe that is kinda like the one in Back to the Future 2.
The Nike Hyperdunk (only nicknamed the McFly, for fear of stepping on toes, legally speaking) is pretty clearly inspired by the sneakers that Nike created for Back to the Future 2, and it looks pretty awesome really. It’s not the exact shoe: in terms of the design, and especially in terms of the fact that it doesn’t light up (it does glow in the dark though) and the laces don’t tie themselves. I’m gonna put my neck out however, and say it probably looks better than the one in the movie, and it is after all a basketball shoe, made for sports, and the original looks kinda like a ski-boot. Some people are never satisfied though, and you can still sign the online petition to get Nike to release the real things here. I like that these guys are purists, and they ain't gonna settle for anything less than the complete and perfect realisation of their dream.
I first saw about the sneakers a while back on a… sneaker site somewhere, but CNBC actually has a remarkably comprehensive article here. Interestingly Nike’s sneaker braintrust Tinker Hatfield did patent the movie shoes back when the movie came out.
Oh, and in other news Nike’s sneaker braintrust, and the man who invented cross-training shoes is called Tinker Hatfield.
All this and still no hoverboard? Can’t you do anything right, Science?
Wednesday, 16 July 2008
This year, Lemogre’s back and it’s having its ass handed to it by a far weedier Acerola & Lemon beverage.
That’s some lovely design right there, shame the drink tastes how I imagine a saline drip does.
This year’s Lemogre package is somewhat more shoddily illustrated, with a “hot manga chick”. She does however seem to be screaming insanely in one speech bubble.
“ Yheeeei!!” Is the sound I imagine a hell-harpy makes as it’s trying to claw your eyes out. Elsewhere on the packaging we learn that “Lemogre is Squeeeezed!!”
The point here being that Japanese consumables come in some wonderfully realised packaging, both in graphic design and ease of use. The downside of this being that there’s always far too much packaging, and the wastage is horrifying. A bag of cookies where the cookies are protected by a plastic tray, and further INDIVIDUALLY wrapped in more plastic? A coffee, stabilised by a card frame inside a paper bag inside a plastic bag? Are you going to toilet paper Mother Natures tree too, or are you done now?
Tuesday, 15 July 2008
Monday, 14 July 2008
Seriously now, I'm running out of words to decribe the world. the condom was hidden in the label's tag, in a cardboard pouch with the motto "Godspeed You!", which at first I thought might be a half-assed steal from Godspeed You! Black Emperor, but now... well...
Is this a reference to the safe-sex gimmick that TLC used when they first arrived, or is it just that this label is for "playaz" who are gonna need a free condom everytime they buy a shirt, coz everytime they wear a new shirt they look so fine that their lady has to bang them as soon as she lays eyes on them? And if it's a label for "playerz"... isn't this T-Shirt a little gay?
Also... Burn the Falcons?