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Featured on KISS Online

4 Jun

Yesterday morning I was watching the Japanese morning TV program 「めざましテレビ」  (“Mezamashi TV“) as I do every morning while I get ready for work…when suddenly KISS was on the show to promote their new album “KISS 40“!

Of course I took a photo of my TV screen and tweeted it.

tweet

It got many re-tweets. Even KISS‘s official twitter account re-tweeted my photo!

And, KISSonline.com, their official homepage, put my photo on the KISS site.

kol

My photo on KISSonline.com

Thanks NaoKISS for telling me about it.

The Simpsons meet Japan’s Studio Ghibli

12 Jan

It seems that an upcoming episode of the American TV show “The Simpsons” will have the characters in the worlds of Japan’s Studio Ghibli!

Studio Ghibli is the creators of the excellent Japanese anime movies such as “My Neighbor Totoro”, “Spirited Away”, etc.

I would like to see that Simpsons episode!

Here’s a preview for it:

How many characters / movies from Studio Ghibli can you spot?

The Boss meets the Emperor

26 Mar

First of all, today (2013 March 26) is the fifth anniversary of my blog.

I wrote the first post on 2008 March 26.

As of today, my blog has gotten about 1,600,000 hits … that averages to about 895 hits per day over the five years – – but that’s not really accurate because my blog averages 1000 hits a day now, but less than 50 a day when I first started it in 2008.

Thanks to all my site’s visitors … especially you! Please leave a comment!

Anyways, I found out about a new movie about post-WW2 Japan titled “Emperor” starring Tommy Lee Jones as U.S. Army General Douglas McArthur.

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Do you know who Gen. McArthur was?

He is very well-known in Japan.

General McArthur was in charge of the U.S. military  during the war against Japan … and also during the occupation of Japan after the war ended.

Japanese people respect McArthur because he respected the Japanese people.

Tommy Lee Jones is also respected in Japan.
He is known to everyone here as the “face” of Suntory’s Boss Coffee.

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  In the Boss Coffee TV commerials, Tommy Lee Jones acts and sounds like a Japanese man.
He’s an excellent actor.

Have you seen the movie “Emperor” ?

Bic Camera x Uniqlo

13 Sep

If you’ve ever been to Japan…especially a major Japanese city such as Tokyo…then you undoubtedly are aware of the major chain of electronics stores here called 「ビックカメラ」 (“Bic Camera“) and also the major chain of affordable clothing stores called 「ユニクロ」 (“Uni-qlo“).
(Actually, I’ve heard that 「ユニクロ」 (“Uni-qlo”) has expanded overseas and has stores in America and other countries now…so maybe you know that store even if you’ve never been to Japan.)

Bic Camera logo

Uni-qlo logo

I like 「ユニクロ」 (“Uni-qlo”). In fact, I happen to be wearing a shirt today that I’ve bought from one of their stores. But for electronics, I normally go to the biggest competitor of 「ビックカメラ」 (“Bic Camera”)—「ヨドバシカメラ」 (“Yodobashi Camera“).
I choose 「ヨドバシカメラ」 (“Yodobashi Camera”) because I have a “point card” from that store. If you live in Japan and you don’t make use of the point cards that many stores in Japan offer, then you’re missing an opportunity to get free stuff! I have many point cards and I’ve gotten things I needed from many stores, including 「ヨドバシカメラ」 (“Yodobashi Camera”) at no cost!

Anyways, I saw a commercial on TV this morning for a new store in 新宿(Shinjuku, Tokyo) that is a collaboration between 「ビックカメラ」 (“Bic Camera“) and 「ユニクロ」 (“Uni-qlo“).

This new store will sell both clothing from Uniclo’s stock and electronics from Bic Camera.
The name of the store isビックロ」 (“Bikkuro“)…which is a morphing in Japanese of both company names.

Tribal people in the modern world

18 Feb

Recently there was a show on TV here that showed a tribal family who live in the jungle of a small tropical island.  The tribal family were brought to Japan to stay in the home of a regular Japanese family and to experience life in Tokyo.

Needless to say, the tribal family were overwhelmed with Tokyo but overall they really loved it here.

It made me think…
It’s hard to believe that in the 21st century there are still people in the world who live like it’s the “Stone Age” but in South America, Africa, some tropical islands and other places, there are people living in trees or huts who hunt for their food and have no electricity, indoor plumbing, “real” medicine or other modern amenities.

Should we introduce these people to the modern world? Would their life improve with television, internet, telephones, public transportation, fast-food, hospitals, clocks, shopping malls and all of the other things that make the difference between “first world” and “third world” countries?

In Japan, America and other first-world countries, we grew up with those things and most of us couldn’t live without them. I would find a weekend camping trip without toilets, air conditioners, and supermarkets difficult…so I know I could never give them up and live like the tribal people do.
But they grew up in their world and that’s all they know so of course they don’t miss or desire cell-phones or other things that we use every day. But what if we showed them how much easier and convenient our lives are? Wouldn’t they like it better? Or would they prefer their “simple” lives?

And what if all of the world’s tribal people left the jungles and entered the “real” world?
Would it affect the economies and lives of the rest of us? If so, would it be a negative affect?

Let me introduce you to…

13 Nov

I have written a number of posts about interesting people. Most of whose stories are related to Japan in some way.
Maybe you haven’t seen many of them…so I decided to put links to all of them on a new page that I titled “Who’s Who?“.

Please check them out and leave comments to let me know what you think.

The new page is here.

The Emperor honored a great actor

7 Nov

Last Thursday (November 3rd) was 「文化の日」 (“Culture Day”), a Japanese holiday on which the Japanese Emperor personally presents medals and awards to people who have contributed to Japan culturally in some way.

At this year’s ceremony, the Emperor presented awards to novelists, historians, scientists and actor 大滝秀治 (Hideji Otaki).

Japanese actor Hideji Otaki

Mr. Otaki has acted for over sixty years and has starred in numerous Japanese movies. But, for me, his greatest role will be as the grouchy father in the Kincho bug spray TV commercials a few years ago.

There’s one commercial in particular that I like. In this one, he asks his “son” what’s so special about Kincho bug spray and as his son begins to explain, he yells 「つまらん!お前の話はつまらん!」 (“Boring! What you say is boring!”).
I have always liked that commercial.
Here it is:

(On the subject of Culture Day awards, my wife’s late grandfather received a medal from the Emperor on 「文化の日」 (Culture Day) a number of years ago for his fifty years of service as a volunteer in the Tokyo Fire Department.)

Does your country have any ceremonies similar to Japan’s Culture Day awards that honors citizens’ contributions to the country?
And are there actors in your country like Hideji Otaki?

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.

I Want To Be A Human Soon

1 Oct

Have you ever heard of the Japanese アニメ (cartoon) called 「妖怪人間べム」 (“Monster Man Bemu”)?

It’s basically about three kind 妖怪 (monsters) who want to be human. They learn that they can become human if they protect humans from other evil monsters.

The three kind monsters, 「べム」 (“Bemu”), 「ベラ」 (“Bera”), and 「べロ」 (“Bero”) are frightening-looking monsters but they are able to assume a humanoid form…but even so, they still look like monsters.
And for that reason, they aren’t accepted by most humans. Most people judge them by their physical appearance rather than their character. That is an underlying theme of this series.

This series originally aired on TV in Japan in the late-60’s…before my wife and I were born but we’ve seen re-runs of it.
A well-known line from this show is 「早く人間になりたい!」 (“I want to be a human soon!”)…it can even be heard in the show’s opening theme song.

Here is a YouTube clip of this show’s opening and closing theme songs:

Famous fathers in pop culture

19 Jun

Today is 「父の日」 (Fathers Day).

My wife and daughters made a delicious Mexican dinner and gave me some new clothes for a Fathers Day present.
Wonderful gifts!

For my Fathers Day blog post, I thought I’d mention the first five famous fathers in pop culture that I thought of, whether they are fictional or “real”.

So, here’s my list (in no particular order):

Homer Simpson

The cartoon father figure of the American TV series “The Simpsons” is a selfish, clumsy, overweight, accident-prone father of three.
He works in a nuclear power plant but treats his responsibilities with the same importance as he does with everything else in his life…not much.

Despite all of his flaws, his family always supports him.

Archie Bunker

If you lived in America during the ’70s, then you surely know who Archie Bunker is.
He was the father figure on the popular (during the ’70s) American TV sit-com series.

On the surface, he seemed obnoxious, impatient and un-accepting of anyone different from himself. But, as much as he tried to hide it, he actually had a good heart and would stand up and help others.

Ozzy Osbourne

This is the only person on my list who isn’t a fictional character…but in many ways Ozzy Osbourne’s life has been “stranger than fiction”.

He was the original lead vocalist of the English heavy metal band “Black Sabbath” but had even more success as a solo artist after he was fired from the band he helped form.
He was infamous during the early years of his solo career for such antics as biting the heads off of a dove and a bat (on two separate occasions) and urinating on “The Alamo”, a landmark in the U.S. state of Texas (which got him banned from that state for over a decade).

In the early 2000’s, he (and most of his family) became more famous for their reality show on MTV titled “The Osbournes” about their unconventional family life.

Baka-bon-no-papa

The Japanese cartoon 「天才バカボン」 (“Tensai-Bakabon“) is actually named after the son, who is a foolish boy…but his father, simply called “Bakabon’s papa” is even dumber than his son and has become the most famous character in the Japanese comic book and TV cartoon series.

Darth Vader

The scene where Darth Vader revealed that he was Luke Skywalker's father.

Darth Vader has always been my favorite Star Wars character. He made a big impression when I was seven years old and saw him for the first time.
It was also quite a shock when I was ten and Darth Vader said “Luke, I am your father!”.

—-
What famous pop culture fathers can you think of?

(And, to my own father…Happy fathers day.)