Makoto Aida Controversial Exhibition

Aida Makoto causing controversy with his latest art exhibition at Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum. The location might be a little too public and pop for an exhibition like this to happen without problems. (Bloomberg – Makoto Aida)

This is Makoto Aida in Tokyo. He was a bit strange.

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International Holocaust Remembrance Day: Chiune Sugihara

Chiune Sugihara saved thousands during the Holocaust and is remembered in this article. He’s often known as the Japanese Schindler and was the Consul General in Lithuania. (Huffington Post – Chiune Sugihara)

Here’s a doc on the man. The voice makes it sound like a bad docudrama.


Also on Spike you can see the Oscar winning short Visas and Virtues that’s based on Chiune Sugihara. Wish the quality was a bit better.

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Japan Suicides Fall of a 15 Year Low

So much for being past the 30,000 mark, it’s down to merely 27,776. This is still a considerable number every day. In the past the numbers end up being near 100 a day! (CS Monitor – Suicides)

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1.8 Million for Tuna!

This is the reason why the world seems to be overfished. Why do anything put try and catch a giant bluefin tuna? The sale took place at Tsukiji fish market on January 5th. Obviously it was some type of publicity stunt that worked. “Tiny sushi slices of the prized fish can sell for up to $24, according to the Associated PressJapanese consume up to 80% of the world’s declining tuna stock.” (Time – Bluefin)

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Giant Squid Filmed in the Wild

What a tease! It gets announced today, yet there’s no video to show you and they also report that it happened in July 2012. The photo is a screen grab which looks great. Japan’s National Science Museum claimed that the 3 meter specimen was filmed 900 meters deep near Japan. Larger version are said to be 13 meters. Where’s the video? Sushi jokes? (phys.org – Giant Squid)

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Mini Me, Mini You

Hat tip to hustler of culture for this news from Harajuku. Leave it to the Japanese to make 3D printing so tidy and kawaii. These portraits are much less creepy than the fetal ultrasound version. Or are they…

The 3D portraits are the creation of Omote 3D, as reported by Spoon & Tamago. Lucky, well-prepared visitors to the luxury shopping mecca, GYRE will be able to purchase 3D portraits in 3 different sizes, perfect for elaborate train sets, wedding cake toppers, or just general self-representation. Go shopping on Cat Street for a nice new outfit, get your 3D portrait taken, and end up with a pocket-sized you that you can do all kinds of weird things with for Instagram photos.

Reservations are booked solid at their pop-up shop, according to their website, but there may be future opportunities for a portrait session for a figure.

In the meantime, you can always try to commission a figure from Dehara Yukinori, or you can try to make your own portrait at home on your very own 3D printer. Or do it Giant Robot style and have a Sculpey Kids kind of day. Creating things is good no matter how it’s done.

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Dock Washes up in Washington

We were messing with puns in the title, but oh well. That said, yet another piece of possible tsunami debris washes up, and it’s another exciting dock. It’s also gigantic, yet poses no threat thus far to the environment. (Seattletimes – Dock)

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Turn Taiwanese, Japan!

Funny article that highlights the greatness of being Taiwanese. Yes, it’s true, one of the places that Japan “dealt with” during WWII, was Taiwan, but somehow in less than a century, Taiwan and Japan are somehow friends – at least culturally. Hopefully, that’ll grow. Here is a list of things that Taiwanese do that Japan could and should. (Japantimes – Taiwan!)

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Jiroemon Kimura at 115, is the world’s oldest man.

Jiroemon Kimura at 115, is the world’s oldest man. 22 of the 64 oldest are in Japan. We’re glad he still smiles huge. (SFGate – World’s Oldest Man)

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China asks, “Meet Halfway?” on Islands Dispute

This is what a small minority of Japanese leaders are asking for. Just to meet halfway. We wrote about Haruki Murakami and Shunji Iwai’s voices about this subject which includes sharing. (Giant Robot)

China called on new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday to meet Beijing ‘halfway’ to try and improve relations that have been hurt by a debilitating territorial dispute. (TimesofIndia – Halfway)


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94 Year Old Runs for Parliament in Japan

Ryokichi Kawashima is 94 and is running to be in the Parliament in Japan. Chances are slim, but he’s trying. His viewpoints though might be just right.

“I fought in the Sino-Japanese war for seven years and the Chinese helped me survive in the tough post-war years, so I know them well,” said Kawashima.

“That whole dispute over the islands and talk that they will invade us is just pure fear-mongering. Their rulers may say such things, but I know they would never do anything like that.” (Reuters – Ryokichi Kawashima)

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Life After the Basho

Great photos by Reed Young of retired sumo wrestlers living in Japan. Words by Nanako Yamamori.


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The First Cat Island in Japan

It turns out that the 50 photos of cats on a Japanese Cat island that we linked you to, is actually “the second cat island”. There’s the first one, which is further north in Japan is called, “Tashiro-jima” There’s 100 folks on the island and the cats out number the people. It’s in Miyagi Prefecture which is fairly close to the epicenter of the 3.11 earthquake. (Care2 – Tashiro Jima) We wish there were more cat photos!

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Kobe Beef May Be Real Soon

We’ve reported more than once that when you see Wagyu or Kobe beef on a menu, it’s not real. It’s a fugazi. You’re eating nice meat, but it’s not Wagyu or Kobe but this is going to confuse things. The real meat will be imported soon, but it’s going to cost. So far, only two restaurant in San Francisco will get the meat.

“The overall production is small due to the restricted number of farmers and slaughterhouses designated to handle the cows. Only around 3,000 cows are sent to market each year, which translates to about 700-800 tons.” (WSJ – Kobe beef)

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Whale Meat: Meh

In a poll of 1200 people: “nearly 90 percent said they had not bought whale meat in the last year. Five percent had done so once, and only 2 percent had done so more than twice.” Most don’t even support it although too many just don’t care. (Discovery – Whale Meat)

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Fetal Cell Phone Charms

I’ve always suspected that the reason why the iPhone gets outsold in Asia is its inability to allow the user to decorate it with cell phone charms. I’m pretty sure I’m right. Cell phone charms are BIG business. A Tokyo 3D printing company has joined the decades long trend for a niche market – pregnant ladies.

Their primary product is a personalized 3D printed model of your  baby in utero. You can go old school and get a 2D grainy, black and white scan of your spawn and try to guess which body part is which. You can even upgrade to a 4D ulstrasound and get clearer images and video of your lumpy baby, OR for $1,200 you can go all the way and get this resin model based on your 4D ultrasound, that is shaped like your pregnant gut. It’s great for carrying in your purse to show off to friends and family, and also doubles as a paperweight! And don’t forget about your cell phone – the company throws in a free miniature cell phone charm version so you can show everyone what your not-yet-born baby looks like without having to carry your resin model around with you all the time.

The company is diversifying their product line. In addition to the resin models, and the bonus cell charms, they will also be offering 3D models of just the mushy face of your baby. Baby faces sort of fall into all-rook-same status at this point in fetal development, but I imagine there’s a growing market for this, and not just in tech-wacky Japan.


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Island of Cats – Photos


The island of cats. Photos from Cat Heaven Island, Japan. (Buzzfeed)

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The Aging Population in Japan Diaper Wearers

“Last year, for the first time, sales of adult diapers in Japan exceeded those for babies.” This isn’t an article about diapers unfortunately, it’s just worth reading for this single sentence. (Business week – Diapers)

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Three Years as a Sex Slave

And they say it never happened. Read the sad story of Ok-sun Lee. (GrooveKorea – Ok-sun Lee)

“They changed my name to Domiko in Japanese. The other women were kidnapped from various parts of Korea and their names were changed to Japanese. ”

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Japan’s Delicious Fresh Water

The hot commodity of Japan. It’s water. Hokkaido, the Northern most island featuring tons of green forest and underground water! Japan is in the top ten in the world for water and some folks are buying in. The land is cheap.

One water plant near Mt Fuji is exporting most of it’s water to China. “Near Mount Fuji, Osaka-based Seven Yellow pumps 500,000 liters of water a month from a well and exports as much as 80 percent of it to China, where it sells for 150 yen ($1.89) or more a bottle.” (Businessweek – Japan Water)

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