Monday, February 26, 2007

Attention SASUKE Lovers! 新SASUKE 2007春!

Since 2001, I have been a big fan of SASUKE, a televised obstacle course on TBS. I have several shows on tape plus the 筋肉番付 マッスルウォーズ21 game for the PS2 which I still have never completed because it's the analog stick game from hell. Even though I tape it I watch every broadcast live because there's no better way to watch it. Actually, the only reason I ever go back to watch old tapes is usually to laugh at certain portions. Usually, I laugh at anything involving this man:

This would be 山田勝己 (Yamada Katsumi). Or as people (the broadcasters at TBS, random people and most annoyingly, Yamada himself) call him Mr. サスケ. I laugh because he hasn't been able to pass the first stage in years. He fails on a consistent basis and is basically coasting on the success he had early on in the life of SASUKE (not coincidentally this was before I started watching seriously). I mean, it's just...
He fails.

Then he fails again.

And again.

I know. I know. I certainly can't pass the first stage but I can't help it. I mercilessly mock the guy whenever he shows up on my TV. I was actually scared at the last SASUKE because the announcers were teasing that someone was going to finish it for the first time in seven years. I thought it was going to be Yamada (thank god it was Nagano). I mean, what's the fun in him finishing it and realizing his dream?

Anyway, the reason I'm writing this post is to let people know that the newest version of SASUKE will be out soon (according to the Japanese SASUKE wikipedia page):
第18回大会 2007年 3月21日(「新・SASUKE2007春」として18:55~21:48の3時間放送予定
That's the 18th tournament being aired on March 21st at 6:55 to 9:48 PM on TBS.
I guess they're calling it the New SASUKE because at the end of the 17th (after 長野 誠 - Nagano Makoto - finally finished the course) they "blew up" the old final stage and debuted a new one.
Will anyone be able to make it to the new final stage?
Will all of the SASUKE All-Stars participate? Several of them considered quitting after the 17th.
But more importantly...
How will Yamada fail this time?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Daisuke Matsuzaka and the Internet

Spring Training is upon us (Go Mets!) and while Ichiro and Hideki Matsui are the established names, most eyes will be on the newest Japanese player on the block, Daisuke Matsuzaka.
The Internet being what it is there are already sites up for either shilling Dice-K merchandise or almost obsessively um...watching Dice-K.

By the way, I absolutely despise the "Dice-K" name. I almost prefer the already played-out first name initial, last name first syllable (J-Lo, K-Fed) name of D-Mat. Besides, someone was already using the Dice-K name and those Red Sox shirts that say Dice Man? Please.

Anyway, the always entertaining, sometimes controversial Deadspin presented a link the other day to another D-Mat blog but this one playing more on an interesting picture of Daisuke at Spring Training.
Ladies and gentlemen...


A blog pretending to be D-Mat (that's what I'll be calling him dammit!) that claims 1) his achievements in Japan were "Hollywood special effects", 2) he will be using his 103 million dollars to buy Combos and 3) he will be spending his time making fun of fellow Red Sox pitcher Hideki Okajima.
Obviously a joke but I'm on the fence as to whether people (especially Japanese people -- D-Mat is going to have to learn that the net is not a nice place for athletes playing in America) should be offended or just take it for the joke it is. Either way, all eyes (and Japanese cameras) will be on the D-Mat man!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Naughty Naughty Naughty (A ロバート on ダウンタウンDX)

I try to be a good boy and keep this blog clean but then the Green ロバート had to go and wear this on ダウンタウンDX...

Honestly, I don't know if there was anything else written on his shirt that perhaps made the visible in meaning. I also couldn't really tell what exactly was on the shirt. I guess I have to go looking for other pictures. Japanese bloggers tend to get the job done when it comes to screencaps so I'll keep my fingers crossed for a better picture.

Friday, February 09, 2007

TMI Advertising: ライフリーおしりすべすべケア洗浄セット

If you can read the title of this post you can probably guess what you'll see next...

So I was watching 英語でしゃべらナイト a while back (great show btw and almost but not quite enough of a reason to pay your NHK bill) and they did a short piece on how companies in Japan often use cute cartoon characters to sell their products - even medicine companies go this route. Having been in Japan for a while now I can honestly say I was not surprised by the following when I was shopping today:

Still, I was taken aback a bit. I understand the need for such products but really, does he have to look so satisfied?

You can find this on Amazon!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

YMO shill キリンラガービール (Kirin Lager Beer)

First off this is the long version of the YMO CM for Kirin Lager (credit to youtube user 5leepwalk):

You can view the commercials here too.

The song is Rydeen (or more specifically the version known as Rydeen 79/07, available here). The whole theme of the Kirin Lager campaign is something about how good things don't change. Maybe. I think. Whatever. I believe it has something to do with there now being Kirin Lager and Kirin Classic Lager. Anyone care to taste test?

You can see the original PV of Rydeen where they are shooting laser guns at the end here (credit to youtube user hardy2006us).

I only got into YMO recently and so I'm glad that I'm getting a chance to bring them up here. But really, I'm even happier that I'll have a chance to show the two or possibly three people who look at my blog い・け・な・いルージュマジック!

(All the credit in the world to youtube user VickySakamoto who has tons of Ryuichi Sakamoto videos up)

い・け・な・いルージュマジック by Ryuichi Sakamoto & Kiyoshiro Imawano was used as a campaign song for Shiseido in 1982 and hit number one on the Oricon charts. And no stand-ins were used for the kiss. See?

You really want to buy this song (12,000 yen!).

YMO on the Japanese Wikipedia for those who really really like long lists.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Super. Bowl.

Since we in Japan are in the future there is no such thing as Super Bowl Sunday. Live, the game always falls on a Monday morning (thanks Eastern Standard Time!). Gathering your friends together to watch the kick-off with a bowl of cereal and then having to leave before the second quarter because you have to go to work doesn't quite have the same vibe. Heck, you don't even get to see the commercials. However, if you do have Monday morning off and you want to watch the game at home BS is your friend. Specifically NHK BS1 and NHK BS hi will be airing the game from 8:05 AM (Japan time) with a rebroadcast at 6:15 PM on BS1. You do pay your fees to NHK right? For those without BS tuners 日本テレビ (Nihon Terebi) will have a rebroadcast at 12:26 AM.
Ever since I got a (relatively) new TV I've been able to watch more (tape delayed) NFL and NBA games in the last few months than I've seen in the last four or five years combined. With NFL games you get whoever is the national broadcast team (i.e. John Madden on Monday night games..brr). With the NBA it's whoever aired the game that night. This means the occasional game with Bill Walton on the mike which is for me is simply great. I (heart) me some Bill Walton.
Anyway, some links:
The Super Bowl!
The NFL schedule! For those of you who REALLY need to watch the Pro Bowl (scroll to the bottom).
The monthly NBA broadcast schedule. Don't worry, it changes automatically every month.
Bonus! I also (heart) me some Patrick Ewing/Charles Oakley/John Starks era NY Knicks and this is a great moment.
And finally...go Bears I guess. I'm not a big fan of the Colts.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Snow! In Ube!

I'm no stranger to snow (well, since I came to Japan anyway) but when it does happen out here it's..I guess it's an event. Snow just kind of gives you all sorts of nice little pictures without having to try (I stink at taking meaningful photos).

Heck, snow even makes the more industrial areas look nice. See?

Oh, okay. Maybe not.

Yeah, definitely not.

Actually, the only reason I took my camera with me while I was out in the snow was because I thought for sure the pachinko parlor was going to have cars in the parking lot. You know, just to drive home the fact that pachinko players are HARD CORE. I know that when there are typhoons there are still people going to the parlors. Alas...

Actually, Maruhan was turning people away. I couldn't hear anything but it's highly possible they were telling customers "Look, you're crazy. Just go home for now."