Japanese News and Culture Blog Roundup: 12/03/09-12/09/09
12/06/09: Update: American teens arrested
As mentioned in this post, Japanese police were seeking the arrest of four American teenagers for the attempted murder of a young Japanese woman in what appears to be a stupid prank gone horribly wrong. All of the teens are the children of US military stationed in Japan. Though the military at first refused to cooperate with the Japanese authorities, they have now handed the suspects over. Expect to see more updates as they come in, especially since this was a big domestic story that hit the main page of CNN.com and other news outlets.
|12/03/09: Christmas illuminations at Tobu World Square
A post featuring some detailed videos about Tobu World Square and their annual lighting of 42 UNESCO World Heritage Sights painstakingly created in 1:25 miniature (complete with 140,000 mini hand-painted people!). New York landmarks featured include the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and the World Trade Center towers, which were preserved after the 2001 attacks as a symbol of peace.
|12/08/09: The TV Show
A clever Japanese music video animated by Sugimoto Kousuke and set to the music of Takayuki Manabe. Colorful, stylish, and great fun to watch!
12/09/09: Video: Marine creature robots by kyg-lab
A self-taught robot maker, who is also a marine scientist, has hand-crafted some pretty amazing aquatic robots. Made from recycled items, the robots are remarkably detailed and operate with eerily life-like motion. Pictured here is his 5-foot, 105-pound “masterpiece”: a coelacanth robot. Pretty amazing if you watch the videos in the link!
|12/09/09: Abandoned volcano museum #2: Colour
More Japanese haikyo (abandoned buildings), this time at Mt. Asama on the border of Gunma and Nagano prefectures in Honshu. The volcano is still active, but the museum has sadly been abandoned since 1993. I think the author puts it best: “The highlights of haikyo/urban exploration seem to vary depending on the person, meaning that for some it’s purely for the pleasure of exploration and the buildings themselves, whereas others are far more interested in the detritus and the details left behind. And for me at least, it’s definitely the latter that is key — little pieces of information that give hints about the lives of the people who once worked, or better still lived, there. Items that offer the briefest snippet of the past — a moment captured in time almost.”
12/08/09: Mother of Manga
A post about an article in the LA Times about the origins of manga and anime in kamishibai, and kind of “street theater using painted illustrations” popular in Japan in the 1930s. An interesting read for fans of Japanese comics and animation!
|12/07/09: Evangelion Material Used In JLPT Level One
What the…? Really? The most recent administration of the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) Level 1 apparently featured a listening question straight from the Evangelion anime. Helpful if you’ve seen the show, of course, but baffling if you haven’t! Reportedly, quite a few test takers couldn’t hold in their giggles. Level 1 is the highest of the 4 levels of the JLPT, and is obviously pretty tricky.