danger

Please don’t dance, says Tokyo to its residents and visitors

please_dont_dance_annex_nichome

Starting last summer, Tokyo police have cracked down on the dangerous custom of bars allowing patrons to dance. Citing an obscure law from 1948, the police have put on notice all the dance clubs in Nichome, and presumably smaller straight dance clubs. The original ordinance insists that dancing leads to prostitution. Whereas Japan has no shortage of real prostitutes and media simulations, allowing people to dance would be far too dangerous, disreputable, and contaminating. Oh, Japan, wake up. We’re in the 21st century!

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Efficient train clean-up of puke

One of the only dangers of urban life in Tokyo is being in a crowded train and being barfed on or about. Last week we were riding the rails, and just entered this car when we saw two uniformed rail workers spread out some sawdust and quickly sweep up the puke. Wow! It probably took less than 2 minutes.

Would this happen where you live? In the US, I can’t believe they would take care of it before the train reaches its final stop. With our reduced expectations, we would not be terribly surprised if the puke stayed until the end of the night shift or beyond.

I am frequently disgusted by how alcohol abuse is tolerated, encouraged, and denied. As someone concerned about being puked on or near, I was delighted to see this rapid remediation.

A pattern of dangerous penis-shaped technologies?

Amidst the fear over quakes, water safety, and radioactive fallout, I do not mean to come off as a paranoid conspiracy theorist, or even an antiquated “mother earth” feminist. Still, it is impossible to ignore, in all the dioramas, illustrations, and video footage all the penis-shaped technologies at the heart of Japan’s natural and man-made disaster.

Most obviously, the six reactors at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant are all boxes (or were boxes, until the explosions) that cleverly conceal what appears to be a giant dildo of radioactive nuclear fuel rods, with torus doughnuts of water at the base and a steel containment vessel pointing this unholy mess of danger and energy sky-ward.

Japan’s protector/daddy/occupier the US military flew its Global Hawk man-less planes to take detailed images of the disaster. These are the drones that support the video distance warfare that delivers bombs throughout Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Libya. It’s good that these planes have some non-military uses, although I nearly spit out my drinking water when I saw on television these giant black penises flying through the air.

The storyline seems to be that we are dependent on reckless technology that happens to look like enormous penises. And that we can only contain the damage they cause by employing their similarly shaped flying cousins. We are then treated to a parade of government officials, energy company spokespeople, and nuclear epxerts– all of whom seem to be male– who promise vaguely that everything is mostly under control.

What is your favorite penis-shaped disaster technology?

Random men in Shibuya

In keeping with the moe theme of this blog, I would like to end this year with a completely shamelessly, inappropriate and vulgar medley of random Shibuya men. With 10 minutes to spare for a business meeting at Hachiko, I turned my new Canon S90 on the crowd.

The photo above is perhaps the best: the central subject fetishized, the public zipping by, and one woman in the background smiling knowingly towards the lens.

If you asked me what is my favorite Japanese uniform, I would say the mask: ubiquitous, a sign of danger inbound or outbound, of dubious functionality, and quintessentially Japanese. Above this boy rocks his mask with ipod, shaggy orange perm, and the skinny pants tucked inside some girlish boots. I am slayed.

Continue seeing and reading more after the jump.

Continue reading

Americans in danger in Tokyo!!

This is too choice! In the safest city in the world, the US Embassy is now warning Americans to stay away from Roppongi. This story was circulating widely on Twitter yesterday, and I laughed out loud. Based on the photo above, I guess the warning only applies to Americans (^_-)

From Kosins Attorney at Foreign Law blog, I must quote the entire post:

The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo reissued its July 10, 2009 warning advising American citizens from frequenting bars and clubs in the Roppongi area of Tokyo due to drink-spiking incidents. As stated in the American Citizenship Services (ACS) Newsletter, the U.S. Embassy “continues to receive reliable reports of U.S. citizens being drugged in Roppongi-area bars.”

The U.S. Embassy continues to receive reliable reports of U.S. citizens being drugged in Roppongi-area bars. Most reports indicate that the victim unknowingly drinks a beverage that has been secretly mixed with a drug that renders the victim unconscious or stuporous for several hours, during which time large charges are fraudulently billed to the victim, sums of money are charged to the victim’s credit card, or the card is stolen. Victims sometimes regain consciousness in the bar or club, while at other times the victim awakens on the street. Assaults on Americans have also been reported in connection with drink-spiking.

U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance, be aware of local events, and take the appropriate steps to bolster their personal security.

I have been invited to talk at a well-known cultural space/bar next week in Roppongi. Do you think I should only invite Japanese and Europeans?