Archive | October, 2011

New page

30 Oct

I just made a new page on my blog.
It’s titled “What’s that?“, and I made it to answer some of the questions that visitors ask me about “mysterious” things they’ve seen in Japan.

Check it out and if you have any questions about Japan (things you’ve seen, where places are, recommendations for places to visit, etc.), feel free to contact me. And, of course, comments in any of my blogs pages and posts are always appreciated!

All-you-can-eat Whoppers

26 Oct

Burger King in Japan has some new menu items…such as:

The "Steakhouse" burger

and some others new items on their menu:

But more surprising is the special campaign that Burger King Japan will be running from 2011 November 1st to 15th.
It’s the “B”iKing ワッパー おかわり自由 (“All-you-can-eat Whoppers”) special.

「バイキング」 ("Biking") is Japanese for "Smorgasbord"...and, when written as "B"iKing it looks like an abbreviation for "Burger King".

If you want to try the All-you-can-eat Whopper deal, you must go to a Burger King in Japan between November 1st and 15th (2011) and buy a Whopper set meal…then you can as many free Whoppers as you can eat within thirty minutes.

Do you like the Whopper? Will you be trying this deal?

Winter beer

26 Oct

Beer brewers in Japan are always offering special beers. One of the most common is season beers for spring, autumn, Cherry Blossom season, and starting at this time of year…winter beer.

Around this time last year, I bought Kirin’s winter beer…and today, I bought a case of Asahi 「冬の贈り物」 (“Winter Gift”) beer.

(Actually a 発泡酒 (low-malt liquor)...but tastes like lager beer to me)

Do beer brewers in your country sell “seasonal beers”? Do brewers outside of Japan sell 発泡酒 (low-malt liquor) that is similar in taste and appearance to lager beer…but cheaper?
Have you ever tried a Japanese 発泡酒 (low-malt liquor)? What do you think of them?

An impossible decision

24 Oct

Tracy Latimer died eighteen years ago today.

Do you know who she was?

The heavy metal musician Ozzy Osbourne has written a number of songs about real life people…such as Aleister Crowley, Charles Manson, and Jimmy Swaggart.

So, when I heard the song “Latimer’s Mercy” on his latest album “Scream” I suspected it was about someone named Latimer.

So I checked the internet. Sure enough, it’s a song about the case of the mercy killing of twelve-year-old Tracy Latimer by her father Robert.

Have you ever heard of Robert Latimer?
After I read about this case, the lyrics to the song suddenly made sense.

It’s a sad story. No parents should ever have to even contemplate such a decision.

Although, I can understand Robert Latimer’s motives to end his daughter’s suffering, I can’t say whether it was the “right thing to do” or not.
I could never make such a decision, though.

Tracy Latimer was born in Canada in November 1980 with Cerebral Palsy, which meant she would never be able to walk or talk or even feed herself. It also caused her to have severe muscle seizures for which she needed medication.
In addition, she often dislocated her hip which caused intense pain but she couldn’t take pain killers because of her anti-seizure medication.

In her short life, Tracy had already undergone many major surgeries and doctors had told her parents that she would need more surgeries.

While the rest of his family was at church on Sunday, 1993 October 24, one month before Tracy’s thirteenth birthday, Robert Latimer put his daughter into the cab of his truck and ran a hose from the exhaust.
Tracy Latimer died of carbon monoxide poisoning and her father went to prison for her murder.
But many people in Canada supported his decision to end his daughter’s pain and believed Robert Latimer shouldn’t have been convicted.
Robert Latimer was released on parole last year.

Here are the lyrics to “Latimer’s Mercy” by Ozzy Osbourne:

Another day, another full seizure,
Another pill, you spiral down deeper,
Another cut by a surgical butcher,
It’s just a way of prolonging the torture

*I won’t say I don’t know what I’m doing,
I won’t say that I’m sorry (I’m sorry)

I can’t bring you back,
I can’t leave you helpless (helpless),
I’ll make the pain rest in peace (rest in peace)

I’ll turn off the lights,
Swallow your last breath (last breath),
So close your eyes, fall asleep (close your eyes)

I’ll never hurt you (hurt you),
I’ll never hurt you (hurt you)

The sun shines on this deadly new morning,
The church bells ring an early warning,
Your eyes shine as I turn on the motor,
The tears fall as the mercy gets closer

(repeat *)

You can listen to it here:

Tracy Latimer, 1980 November 23 – 1993 October 24, RIP

Beer posters

23 Oct

I’m sure that many countries have beer posters and advertisements that feature pretty women.

I remember the Budweiser Beer “Bud Girls” ads in America.

I remember this "Bud Girls" poster from the '80s in America

Budweiser Beer has "Bud Girls" in Japan, too.

It’s interesting to see how advertising changes and evolves over time in a particular culture.
Pre-World War II beer posters are quite fun to look at. They’re so different from more modern advertisements. Sometimes Japanese 居酒屋 (pubs) and restaurants will have some of these old, retro beer posters on their walls. I like it when I go to a place that has them.

Old "Kirin Beer" poster

Another old 「キリンビール」 ("Kirin Beer") poster

Old 「エビスビール」 ("Ebisu Beer") poster

This one says 「サッポロビール」 ("Sapporo Beer") written from right to left.

When I first came to Japan, it was very common to see beer posters in Japan that showed girls in bikinis holding a mug of beer.

Nowadays beer posters with girls in bikinis can still be seen…but it seems to be more of the trend to have the models in the beer posters be more “conservatively dressed”.

Beer poster for 「サッポロ生ビール」 (Sapporo Draft Beer).

Beer posters are interesting, especially how they’ve changed over time…but what really matters is that the beer is cold!

Am I Evel?

17 Oct

If Evel Knievel hadn’t died four years ago, today would be his 73rd birthday.

Coincidentally, Evel Knievel spent the last few years of his life in Clearwater, Florida...the same town that I grew up in!

Do you know who Evel Knievel was?
Maybe only Americans recognize that name…and maybe only Americans who are at least my age.

When I was a child in America during the 1970’s, Evel Knievel was one of my idols.
He was a daredevil stunt motorcycle jumper who often jumped rows of cars and trucks with his Harley-Davidson motorcycle on live television.
He also attempted jumps over the Caesars Palace fountains, lions, rattlesnakes, tanks of sharks, and the Grand Canyon!

Evel Knievel jumping the Caesars Palace fountains.

He crashed many times and he’s listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having sustained the most broken bones in his lifetime.

When I was a kid I had an Evel Knievel lunchbox and motorcycle rider toy.

Did you know who Evel Knievel was? Did you watch his jumps on TV?

Evel Knievel 1938 October 17 – 2007 November 30, R.I.P.
+++++++++++

Also, today is the 21st anniversary of the day I came to Japan. I came here on 1990 October 17.
I can’t believe it’s already been twenty-one years…I’ve lived in Japan longer now than I lived in America!
Japan has changed a lot since I first came here.

ネコよけ

15 Oct

I’ve gotten emails from a visitors to my site a few times asking about the meaning of the PET bottles (plastic bottles) that can be seen outside some homes around Japan.

These "PET bottles" filled with water can sometimes be seen outside some homes in Japan...I see them less often now than I did when I first came to Japan, though.

So, I decided that since I’ve been asked about them more than once, I’d write a blog post and try to explain it. (By the way, feel free to contact me anytime with any questions you may have about Japan…and of course, comments on any blog post are always welcome!)

What do you imagine the meaning of these bottles is?

Well, they’re meant to be a type of 「ネコ避け」 (“cat deterrent”).

People want cats (and dogs) to stay off of their property so a numbers of years ago, a TV show here in Japan told viewers that sunlight reflects from water and scares cats away. So, the show said, people should put out plastic bottles of water for that purpose.
Overnight bottles of water could be seen outside many homes!

Nowadays, though, fewer people do this anymore because they’ve realized that it doesn’t actually work.

This cat could care less about those bottles...if he even noticed them at all!

As with any fad, manufacturers decided to try and cash in on people’s desire for an effective 「ネコ避け」 (cat deterrent) and they began to sell plastic mats with spikes that aren’t hard enough to actually harm an animal (or child) but aren’t pleasant to step on.

Close-up view of the plastic mat. The spikes don't harm anyone (or anything) that steps on them...but cats (and crows) don't like them.

My neighbor has some of these mats around their garden…and I’ve seen a cat walk on them, carefully stepping between the spikes! So, it seems, these mats don’t really work either.

(All images in this post were found on Google Images).

Animetal USA

9 Oct

Have you ever heard of the Japanese heavy metal band “Animetal“?

The Japanese band "Animetal".

They were an extra band made just for fun by members of other established Japanese metal bands. Animetal played heavy metal versions of Japanese anime theme songs.

The artwork of the cover of Animetal's first album (released in the mid-90's).

Animetal disbanded about five years ago…but this year, Marty Friedman (who was the lead guitarist of the American heavy metal band Megadeth but quit that famous band so that he could live in Tokyo with his Japanese wife) helped organize the formation of “Animetal USA“.

"Animetal USA"

Animetal USA consists of Mike Vescera (formally the lead vocalist of the Japanese band “Loudness” for a short time), Chris Impellitteri (of the band “Impellitteri”), Rudy Sarzo (from “Quiet Riot”) and Scott Travis (of “Judas Priest”).

Just like the original “Animetal”, this band sings heavy metal versions of Japanese anime theme songs…but, unlike the Japanese band, only some of their songs are in Japanese—the rest are in English.

They will be releasing their debut album on 2011 October 12 and on October 15, they will perform at this year’s Loudpark Heavy Metal Festival in Saitama, Japan.

The cover artwork for Animetal USA's debut album...due for release on 2011/10/12.

Here is the official video for “Animetal USA“‘s first single…the theme song of the anime 「宇宙戦艦ヤマト」 (“Space Battleship Yamato“):

Jack Daniels Hi-ball

7 Oct

The American Jack Daniels brand whiskey is partnered with the Japanese brand Suntory and is available for purchase in almost any supermarket, convenience store or liquor store in Japan.

And now Jack Daniels Whiskey has begun selling canned High-ball cocktails.

If you buy a canned Jack Daniels High-ball by 2011 November 30, it will come with two 6-digit codes that can be used to enter a drawing for prizes via the “Jack Daniels Japan” website.

You can enter the drawing by 5:00PM (Japan time) on 2011 November 30.

300 people will win a set of two “Jack Daniels High-ball drinking glasses” and another 300 people will win a set of two “Jack Daniels mugs”.

Personally, I’d choose the mugs.  I like Jack Daniels and I like “High-balls”…so,  I may just buy a few cans of this drink and enter the drawing.

The sets of Jack Daniels glasses and mugs.

Dole Banana in Japan now hiring…$11,000 / hour

5 Oct

Last year I wrote a post about Dominos Pizza in Japan hiring one person for their TV commercial for ¥2,500,000 (about US$31,000) per hour.

Dominos Pizza chose that amount (¥2500000) because it was the chain’s 25th anniversary in Japan.

Well, now Dole Banana in Japan is looking to hire one person to be in their TV ads. The position will pay ¥877,000 (about US$11,437) per hour.

¥877,000 was chosen because “8-7-7” can be pronounced, in Japanese, as “ba-na-na“.

The ad for the position with "Dole Banana, Japan" that pays ¥877,000 / hour.

To apply for this position, you must write a self-promoting message on the “Dole, Japan” Facebook page and then click the 「いいね!」 (“Like”) button.

But if you want to apply for this position, you should be in Japan (or able / willing to come here soon) and be legally eligible to work in Japan. The ability to speak Japanese is also a requirement, most likely.

Also, I’m sure that they’re looking for someone with charisma and who has no problem with the self-deprecating TV commercials that Dole Japan is known for.

Famous Japanese celebrity Shingo Katori has been the "face" of Dole, Japan for years now.