Archive | 6:38 pm


29 Nov

Last year, a Japanese 時代劇 (Japanese samurai period movie) movie was released titled 「メタル侍」 (Metal Samurai). And now it’s out on DVD.


In case you couldn’t tell by the title, this is not an average 時代劇 (Japanese samurai period movie). It’s quite tongue-in-cheek.

I can’t help but think that the writers of this movie were inspired by the success of the Japanese movie Detroit Metal City…because, besides both movies having the word “metal” in the title, in both movies the hero wears make-up similar to the make-up of the American band “KISS“.


Another unique thing about this movie is that not only does the hero wear KISS Kabuki-style make-up…but he’s also an 外人タレント (actor who’s a foreigner).

The movie’s website is in 日本語 (Japanese) with one page in English…click here to visit it.


Also, there seems to be a number of Western (American / European) artists who are making Japan-themed work these days.

Of course, KISS is quite Japan-themed…with their kabuki style make-up and they have a song titled “God Of Thunder“…some people speculate that KISS got the title for that song from the Japanese 雷神 (God Of Thunder), who is usually with the 風神 (God Of Wind):


In fact, KISS‘s latest album 地獄烈伝 (“Hell’s Biography“) has the 雷神 (God Of Thunder) on the cover:


(It’s a Japan-only release, BTW. The English title is “KISSology“).

KISS also often uses the Japanese character for “Power“: 「」…and their second album, “Hotter Than Hell“, had alot Japanese writing on it (albeit with many mistakes…for example: Ace Frehley‘s name is written in Japanese as: 「エース・フレーリー」…but on the KISS album it’s mistakenly written as: 「エイス・フューリ」):


More recently, Anthrax‘s 2004 album “The Greater Of Two Evils” has 「スラッシュ・メタル」 (“Thrash Metal”) written in Japanese on the cover:


Zebrahead released an album in 2001 titled “Stupid Fat Americans” with a Geisha on the cover:


Even more recently, both Eric Martin (of Mr. Big) and Andrew W.K. have each released an album on which they remake Japanese pop songs.
And Sum 41‘s new album is called 「ザ・ベスト・オブ SUM ★ 41」 (“The Best Of SUM ★ 41“). The album cover shows the band’s likeness in a Japanese 弁当 (lunch box) and says “8 Years of Blood, Sake and Tears” on a pair of 割箸 (disposable chopsticks).


Quarter Pounder

29 Nov

When I came to Japan, McDonalds Japan had quite a different menu from the McDonalds® in America. It’s still different…but it seems to be becoming more and more similar.

In the 1990’s, McDonalds® in Japan didn’t have any really large burgers, drinks or fries. The food was sold in smaller sizes…a “large cola”, for example, at McDonalds® Japan seemed to about the size of a “medium” at the U.S. McDonalds®. Japanese people who visited America often would be surprised at the size of the food portions at restaurants there.

Also, McDonalds® here has always had some items on the menu that are unique to Japan…some of which are seasonal (such as the “Lettuce Pepper Burger” and the 月見バーガー (“Tsukimi Burger” *) and others are always on the menu (such as the 「てりやきマック・バーガー」 (“Teriyaki Mac Burger“)).

(* The 月見バーガー (“Tsukimi Burger“) is available every Autumn at McDonalds® in Japan. 月見 (Tsukimi) is a traditional Autumn moon festival. (Click here to visit “McDonalds Japan’s Tsukimi Burger page).)


But recently, McDonalds® Japan has added some larger “American style” burgers to their menu. First, was the 「メガマック (“Mega-Mac“)…with four beef patties!



And more recently, McDonalds® Japan has brought the 「クォーターパウンダー」 (“Quarter-Pounder“)…and even the 「ダブルクォーターパウンダー」 (“Double Quarter-Pounder“) from America and added them to their menus here! (Japan doesn’t use the American system of measure…so noone here knows that the name “Quarter-Pounder” means that the burger is a ¼ pound of beef (about 114 grams)).

In addition to adding the 「クォーターパウンダー」 (“Quarter-Pounder“) to their menu in Japan. McDonalds® Japan has opened two Quarter Pounder Shops in Tokyo. These are McDonalds® owned…but the famous McDonalds® logo is nowhere on or in the stores! And the menu at these Quarter Pounder Shops consist of only two items: the 「クォーターパウンダー」 (“Quarter-Pounder“) and the 「ダブルクォーターパウンダー」 (“Double Quarter-Pounder“).
Click here to see the Quarter Pounder Shop website (日本語 (Japanese) only).

Due to McDonalds® success with these bigger burgers, other fast-food restaurants in Japan have also begun to include larger burgers in their menus now, too.
I think Japanese people should eat less fast-food and more tradional Japanese food.

I do like McDonalds® also, though…but we don’t eat any of those giant burgers. When we go to McDonalds®, it’s just for a regular size burger and coffee (cola or tea for the kids).
McDonalds® Japan has a “¥100” menu (about US $1.05*) with things like coffee, ice cream, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, McPork burger, etc all for ¥100. (Recently, some items on this menu, such as the cheeseburger and McPork, have gone up in price to ¥120 (about US $1.26*)).
(* The U.S. Dollar has weakened against the Japanese Yen recently).

If you want to see McDonalds® Japan’s menu…click here (it’s all in 日本語 (Japanese)).


What type of 携帯電話 (cellular phone) do you use? Does it have alot of functions?
I use the most popular company in Japan: NTT DoCoMo.
My phone’s kinda old…so it doesn’t have the latest functions. But I don’t care. All I need is Email, Internet and the phone.
Like most people here, I mainly use my 携帯電話 (cellular phone) to send and receive emails. But I also use a website on it to check the train schedules.
My 携帯電話 (cellular phone) also has a photo camera and video camera that I occasionally use…and GPS that I never use.

Nowadays, people in Japan use their phone as a “wallet” (make purchases, including train fare, like a debit card), to watch TV, and like an I-pod®…in addition to email and internet.
Those functions are popular in Japan now.

This isn’t my 携帯電話 (cellular phone)…but it’s a popular style now:


Nokia, the Finnish cell-phone company, seems to be make very popular cell-phones in every country…except Japan.

Nokia came to Japan a couple of years ago with big plans to take over the lucrative Japanese market. But the Japanese were unimpressed with Nokia‘s products and design. I guess Nokia didn’t do enough market research before coming here and they didn’t offer what is popular here.
They just announced that they’re leaving Japan.
Vodafone, the large English cell-phone company, had a similar experience a few years ago. This company also, it seems, is quite popular overseas…so they came to Japan with high-hopes.
Two years ago, Vodafone Japan was bought out by a Japanese company called Softbank…and is currently the number two 携帯電話 (cellular phone) provider in Japan (NTT DoCoMo, the company I use, is number one here).