Month: September 2010

Folsom Street Fair this Sunday

I don’t miss San Francisco very often, but at the holidays I feel a pull of nostalgia, curiosity, and longing. Of course I am referring to the “high holidays” of Dore Alley Fare and Folsom Street Fair. Anyone going to FSF this Sunday?

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Fudanjuku, Rotten Cram School, promotes Kiddy Land

Have you ever heard of a boy idol group called Fudanjuku, or Rotten Cram School? Apparently they promote Kiddy Land, its Harajuku flagship and 44 directly owned shops and 33 franchised shops.

They were in the news because the Kiddy Land flagship is being remodeled and is temporarily relocated. I love how the Japan Times reports that the band’s “stated ages are 16 and 17.” That’s journalistic integrity. Oh, and they also are providing their advice to the shop manager and Kiddy Land’s president.

Fall traffic safety, promoted by skating queen

I love how Japan uses celebrities to promote mundane social topics. In this case, figure skater Takahashi Diasuke is promoting fall’s traffic safety, along with our friend peepoo kun, the police mascot at the bottom of the poster. I am not sure what figure skating has to do with urban traffic. But it seems that we may be safer in Tokyo’s streets if our eyebrows are nicely groomed, our mouth open in a giant O, and our outfit tastefully coordinated.

Senate Candidate Opposes Masturbation

Tea bagger Christine O’Donnell won the Republican nomination for the US Senate seat formerly held by Vice President Biden in Delaware. In the mid-1990s, Ms O’Donnell appeared on MTV to explain why Jesus does not approve of masturbation. Thanks, Rachel Maddow and Dan Savage.

Learn Japanese with trial of Oshio Manobu

Ok. This is in very bad taste. But, I am hoping to improve my listening abilities by following the lurid trial of Oshio Manobu, an attractive if arrogant actor accused of providing ecstacy to a Ginza hostess and then abandoning her when she had a heart attack.

This story has many important angles: the first famous “lay judge” or jury trial since it was recently introduced in Japan, a story about drug panic in Japan (love the visual at the beginning where hundreds of pills are flying across the screen), its location in a super expensive Roppongi apartment possibly owned by the Peaches John bra shop’s female owner, and so on. Here’s yesterday’s summary in English.

Verdict is on Friday!

What makes the story mesmerizing for me, and probably for many Japanese female viewers, is the combination of Oshio’s bad character and his many hot looks. Is it wrong to think sexual thoughts of a bad person? Can you learn Japanese while feeling conflicted? (I have posted twice previously last December and August).

What do you think?!

Sakurai Sho shows off fall skirts, for men

This image of Sakurai Sho in a fall skirt is a palate cleanser after yesterday’s iccky story about frustrated Japanese heteros and the foreigners who can’t stop thinking about them.

Given the continued heat in Tokyo, it seems early to be thinking of wool, but that’s fashion and commerce I guess.

What do you think of skirts on men? This super-layered look makes Sho-san’s hips seem extremely wide and lady-like. Are the below the knee pants and tweed jacket supposed to add some masculinity to this look?

What do you think? Would you dress your man like this?

Real resort attracts men honeymooning with virtual girlfriends

Is this truly “only in Japan” or does Western media love stories about “weird” Japanese men? Funny how these weird men are always cast as dysfunctional straights.

So here’s the latest story in the Wall Street Journal: a resort town suffering from the collapse of rural Japan and the terrible economy promotes itself as a destination for LovePlus+ dating gamers. This story produces the sensationalist title, “Only in Japan, Real Men Go to a Hotel with their Virtual Girlfriends,” the sad subtitle, “Dating Game Simulation a Last Resort for Holiday Town and Its Lonely Guests,” and the innuendo rich description of a town seeking to “attract single men– and their hand-held devices.”

The game is at once demanding of its users’ time, and also regressive. Men in their 20s and 30s enact a high school romance. The summer fun at the seaside resort ends in late August when the virtual girlfriends must go back to school.

I’ve reported other geek love stories, like the dakimakura or huggable pillow girlfriends. It seems foreigners enjoy hearing about how dysfunctional Japanese men can be. Perhaps I also get an added chuckle out of the spectacle of improbable hetero desire. But I also agree with the many critics of this news genre that this is hardly representative of Japanese masculinity.

Newspaper shows off how to use new undies

I have no idea what makes this underwear how-to display newsworthy, but it appeared on the Asahi newspaper (thanks, hubb, for sending this in). Is there some technical breakthrough that entices suited men to open the fly for you? I particularly like the “helper’s” fancy cuff: an upscale salaryman look.