Thursday, April 26, 2007

Together! ルー大柴のブログ The Lou Oshiba Blog!

(Note: I had originally just had a copy of the text at the top but the effect is lost if you can't see the colors and whatnot)

*Whew* That's a lot of katakana in there. But if you read it, there are actually a lot of English words being used. Is this the blog of some ESL student who can't spell? Not really. This is from the latest post by Japanese talento ルー大柴 (Lou Oshiba). An actor by trade somehow Lou (a self-described "traveler") came up with the idea to sprinkle everyday English words between the Japanese ones when he is talking. Thus, グラスイズ (glasses) instead of 眼鏡 (めがね) and the use of レィトゥリー (lately), ユージャリー (usually) and so on. He has done movies and TV ads but apparently he can be a bit annoying to some. For some reason, back in May of '06 someone decided that he needed a blog and since then his odd mix of katakana English and Japanese has made him popular with the kids on the net in Japan.

In fact, there is a Lou Translator that has become quite popular whereby you drop text or a web page and it's transformed into a more Lou-like page.
Thus this becomes this. (Article in English is here)
Much more entertaining to read, I must say.
This is actually the second version of his blog. The original is still here.
He is also now appearing on the NHK show みんなのうた (the five-minute program that sometimes airs after some shows) and you can see him sing here (thanks to youtube user sabian152).
And he wants you to buy his new book! (thanks to youtube user watken1)


Note: The translator doesn't work on English.
Also, for the hell of it, here is the Japanese wikipedia front page as put through the translator.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Update: They're There! The Hōkūleʻa (ホクレア) has landed in Okinawa!

Update: Story from The Honolulu Advertiser.

As I was editing this post, this went up!

"Just received information from Okinawa that Hokule'a and her escort boat Kama Hele pulled into the harbor at Itoman, Okinawa at 6am Hawai'i time this morning, that is 1:00am, Tuesday, 4/24 Okinawa time."

They've arrived!

Original post:

This is an update to this post.

From the Polynesian Voyaging Society weblog:

"After a cloudy, windy night and morning, Okinawa appeared on the horizon at one o’clock this afternoon. Nainoa spotted the island during a break from the hazy fog-like conditions. We were about 15 miles away, and Hokule’a was heading right for the majestic island, without anyone helping her to steer. Everyone could feel the mana of this wa’a, and we hugged each other with tears of joy and emotions we may not ever be able to put into words."

The full weblog is here.

Events are planned in Okinawa from the 25th of April.

Two of the crew members are from Japan, 内野加奈子 (Uchino Kanako) and 荒木汰久治 (Araki Takuji). A Japanese weblog is here.

Photos of their journey from Yap to Okinawa.

I'm looking for stuff about Hokulea related events in the areas they'll be landing in.
沖縄 Okinawa
熊本 Kumamoto
長崎 Nagasaki
福岡 Fukuoka
山口 周防大島 Yamaguchi (Suo-Oshima)
広島 Hiroshima
愛媛 宇和島 Ehime (Uwajima)
横浜 Yokohama
If you get a link, put it in the comments and if I can I'll update the list.

For those who will be in those areas, come out to see the crew and celebrate the almost one hundred year relationship between Japan and Hawaii!

Here's a video about the Hokule'a's voyage to Japan from Japanese TV (thanks to Youtube user hokuleaoutreach):

Monday, April 23, 2007

神保彰 in 宇部 Jimbo Akira in Ube

Just came back from seeing the 神保彰ワンマンオーケストラ (Jimbo Akira One Man Orchestra) in Ube.
Some brief background: 神保彰 (Jimbo Akira) is a Japanese drummer well known for his use of electronics (specifically triggers and electronic drums). He started out with the Japanese jazz unit カシオペア (Casiopea) before going solo and doing work with other artists. Right now he is doing a club tour of Japan with his One Man Orchestra, which is really just him, his drums and electronics. Tonight he performed a number of songs including Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song, a Sound of Music medley, Rhapsody in Blue, a spy medley including the 007 and Mission: Impossible themes, a Jimi Hendrix medley, Stevie Wonder's Superstition, Take the A Train, Cream's Sunshine of Your Love, Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water, some original songs and a bunch more I'm blanking on right now. It was an amazing show because he's an amazing drummer. The amount of time, effort and planning that have to go into each song is mind-boggling. He has to map out each song, arrange each part and pre-program his pads and triggers because he is integrating the melody into the drum part to put together the song. If he mis-hits he can screw up the sequencing and therefore sometimes the entire song. Here are some examples of his one man orchestra:

The Theme to Mission: Impossible (thanks to Youtube user control75). (note: I know he hits a wrong note at about the 1:22 mark)

Cream's Sunshine of Your Love (thanks to Youtube user N3maN)

Since that time he's added more electronics to create a fuller sound. In addition to the electronic drums he has triggers on all his acoustic drums (including the bass). One pad is used to trigger the next sequence required. I took a photo of his set before the show:

If he comes through your town, you should definitely try to go see him!

Other links of interest:
Jimbo Akira uses Yamaha drums.
His signature set
A closer look at his signature snare
He uses the DTX series of electronic drums
The Yamaha DTX commercial
He has a signature sticks for Vic Firth and Yamaha
He uses Zildjian cymbals
Also, check out his drummerworld page which has more videos. I can't recommend that site enough. (Quicktime needed to watch videos)

Sunday, April 22, 2007


I'm sure other people have probably seen or linked to this site before but I just have to link to it (warning, some of the images are NSFW).
バカ集合 is a site that collects all sorts of silly images. A partial list:
Stupid stuff from everyday life -- 0円 shop!
we love テレビ東京 -- Apparently TV Tokyo doesn't change it's programming for anything. Earthquakes, important political announcements, important stuff overseas. If it's breaking news, they don't care!
Famous people making silly faces! -- Warning, this may take a while to load.
OF COURSE there are Morning Musume モーニング娘 pictures but even better than that, apparently Miki Fujimoto 藤本美貴 hates everyone.
(Warning! Last link is slightly disturbing) Japanese fanboys are a bit over the top.

南陽 CM: 機械でやろう! Nanyou CM: Do it with machines!

Here are a couple of commercials for a Fukuoka-based machinery company 南陽 (Nanyou).
The theme to both is to use machines rather than try to do it by hand. Thanks go out to Youtube user MakkingTube for both.

工事現場編 (Construction Site) -- this is actually version one. V2 isn't as funny because they try to be more informative.

工場編 (Factory)

You can download the commercials here. Or if you need to see it on TV for some reason, it airs on RKB Thursdays through Saturdays at midnight.

Question: Does anyone know when Japanese commercials started using a female voice speaking with this really odd yet clear intonation (like the person isn't a native speaker) at the end? I know other commercials use it but I can't cite examples other than these two.


Sunday, April 15, 2007

Obligatory 桜 (sakura) Post: 総合レジャーランドときわ公園 Lost in Tokiwa Amongst the Flowers, Sculptures and Monkeys (Monkeys? Yes, monkeys)

It is my duty as a blogger living in Japan to post about the sakura season even though the flowers are almost finished falling to the ground and almost every other blogger in Japan has probably done at least one post about the cherry blossoms. Hey, I planned to do this earlier.
Anyway, if you live in or have visited Ube, you've probably heard about Tokiwa Park (ときわ公園). If you're going sightseeing in Ube, it really is the only place to make an effort to go see. Cynical and jaded as I am, Tokiwa Park is always a nice little diversion. On with the show!
This is the entrance to the park (note that it also has Korean, English and Chinese on the sign; no doubt for that influx of tourists from Seoul we always get here):

One wonders if the staff resented having to seat the one person on the roller coaster:

It was sunny that day:


One of Ube's nicknames is the City of Sculptures. There are roughly one million and two hundred twenty six sculptures in Ube. Give or take a million. I added the numbers up from the two sculpture maps you can get at the Ube City Office. Tokiwa Park alone has over a hundred sculptures.

Tokiwa also has a Coal Mining Museum which features a short walk through what a coal mine was like back in the day. Judging by these wax figures, coal minin' ain't easy. I'll just say that the Museum is pretty damn scary.

Ube and Tokiwa are famous for Katta-kun (カッタくん). He's a bird. He and I don't talk much anymore.

The park has a lot of birds. The park must also have lots of potential lawsuits since we can apparently go wherever we like.

But we all know what we're here for. Monkeys!

And more monkeys!

Apparently Tokiwa Park wants the monkeys to relax in their natural habitat of a small concrete boat. Just like home! Monkeyboat!

Seriously, why the monkeys? I've never figured it out. People I ask don't know either.

Whew! That was long. Hope everyone else around Japan had a good time watching the cherry blossoms!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Get ready for the D-Mat Explosion on the news tonight! Daisuke Matsuzaka makes his MLB debut! 松坂大輔: メジャーデビュー

In a story that will definitely not be ignored by the Japanese media, Daisuke Matsuzaka (Dice-K to some, D-Mat in our hearts) made his Major League debut against the Kansas City Royals. His line? (taken from Matsuzaka Watch
7 IP
6 hits
1 HR
1 ER
1 walk
10 K
108 pitches
He got the win. Naturally the U.S. sports media covered this story here, here, here and here.
Since the game happened in the morning in Japan it's just hitting the news but the on-line Japanese versions of the Asahi, Mainichi and Yomiuri are all running it on the front page.
By all accounts (I actually didn't have time to read all the stories) it looks like a solid outing for the D-Mat man. Expect this to be all over the news tonight.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Start saving up your 5 yen coins (AEON markets to start charging for plastic bags)

I assume that due to the Japan Containers and Packaging Recycling Law AEON supermarkets are going to be charging for plastic bags starting in June (story here).
AEON is not the only company to start going down the eco-friendly road; In late March, Lawson announced a plan to encourage those with Lawson cards to use their points to get ケータイお箸 (keitai ohashi), non-disposable chopsticks rather than using 割り箸 (waribashi), those wooden chopsticks that you usually get that are of the one-and-done nature.
Other convenience stores have gotten a head start: Ministop (also a part of AEON) has been selling special chopsticks that are more eco-friendly than usual (don't ask me how they are eco-friendly, just go with me here).
The whole AEON thing is in keeping with the idea of マイバッグ (My Bag) as well as the idea of マイはし (My Hashi) both of which are results of the idea of the 3Rs -- Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

Other links:

Coming Soon to Japan: The Hōkūleʻa (ホクレア)

(Image courtesy of the Hōkūleʻa wikipedia page)
The Hōkūleʻa, a replica of ancient Polynesian voyaging canoes and sailed using the techniques of the ancient Polynesians, made its first voyage in 1976. That first trip was made from Hawaii to Tahiti in an attempt to retrace the migratory routes that historians believe connect the island nations of the Polynesian Triangle. Since that first successful voyage the Hōkūleʻa has gone on the Voyage of Rediscovery, where they navigated over 16,000 miles throughout the Pacific Ocean, as well as other voyages.
In 2007, the Hōkūleʻa will be coming to Japan to celebrate the historical connections between Hawaii and Japan.
The scheduled stops are as follows; right now they are in Micronesia waiting for the proper weather conditions (info from the University of Hawaii):
Yap (Micronesia) to Okinawa - est time of travel 14 days, time in port 5 days
Okinawa to Kumamoto - est time of travel 7 days, time in port 4 days
Kumamoto to Nagasaki - est time of travel 1 day, time in port 3 days
Nagasaki to Fukuoka - est time of travel 2 days, time in port 5 days
Fukuoka to Oshima, Yamaguchi - est time of travel 2 days, time in port 4 days
Yamaguchi to Hiroshima - est time of travel 1 day, time in port 5 days
Hiroshima to Uwajima - est time of travel 1 day, time in port 4 days
Uwajima to Yokohama - est time of travel 7 days, time in port 8 days

If you are in town, go and greet these fine travelers!

Other links of interest:
The Museum of Japanese Emigration to Hawaii (on Oshima Island)
The Polynesian Voyage Society's Voyage Weblog
The Polynesian Voyage Society's Main Page
Information about the trip in Japanese
A Honolulu Star-Bulletin article
The Honolulu Advertiser's page on the 2007 Voyages