television

Remix of Japan’s Advertising Council commercials

In the weeks and months after the earthquake, the television channels in Japan either could not or would not run regular ads. In their place was what seemed like an endless loop of several commercials from Japan’s Advertising Council. I love how this tedious contingency became a resource for having some fun.

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Kitanachelin, or Dirty Michelin, ramen meal in upscale Shibuya suburb

Have you heard about this Japanese TV program, called “Kitanachelin”?! It’s a program that showcases neighborhood restaurants that have great food and are dirty looking. The title combines the word “kitainai” or dirty with an abbreviated version of Michelin, as in the guide to fine dining.

We stumbled into this ramen shop in Sangenjaya using Tabelog. Only when we had ordered did I recognize the proud trophy on the counter. I wonder when they won the coveted prize: the food was OK but not great, and the place merely untidy rather than over-the-top filthy.

Guest post: Asian pop slash

Hanchul

My online friend Marius Mink sent me this amazing collection of links to Asian pop slash, and it was too delicious not to share this post, with her permission, with the world of fan girls and boys.

A quick introduction to this extraordinary guest post. Slash is typically gay male pairings from pop culture created by small groups of female fans. A version of Boys Love based on famous characters from manga, movies or even real life (think Kirk and Spock, for example).

What is most amazing about the Youtube clicks below is that Asian pop has taken this culture one step further. The boy bands themselves are now featuring male smooching as a “fanservice” to their boys-love-loving female fans in concert and on television. While the US has women kissing women in order to turn on men, this latest Asian phenomenon has boys kissing boys in order to get their female fans into a super-frenzy. OMG!

Please enjoy!

———-

Marius Mink’s special guest post:

In an earnest attempt to find my hanchul collection, I went through my favorites and found SO many delicious treats for you. I hope you enjoy the vids. Most of them have nothing to do with Hanchul but I know you will like them. Also, unfortunately most of my good Hanchul stuff got deleted from youtube, but some pretty important stuff is still on.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9wt73LF8xI&feature=channel_page Heechul and Sungmin kissed. Starting on Jan 2nd, 2009 (I believe), Heechul performed a song called “Crazy” several times. ^^ He kissed four boys in four diff performances. This, of course, made ALL the kpop news blogs. This is my second favorite but, unfortunately, as much as I love Sungmin, he’s an effing homophobe. For MONTHS after this kiss, he complained about it and said things like “I can’t be around Heechul the same anymore.” In an earlier incident, Sungmin had to touch lips with Hangeng and he made a big deal about that too. -_-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZx4MRBe2yw&feature=related Heechul and Jungmo—bad quality but worth it. This was the first kiss. The first time I was floored b/c Korean pop culture is way more conservative than Japanese, so this was groundbreaking. By the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th time, I was absolutely in shock. Heechul’s gotta be the most daring man in Kpop. Jungmo is part of a krock band called TRAX (they’re not well known but they’re awesome). In my opinion, Jay Kim (the singer of TRAX) and Heechul kind of have a history together. There is some convincing canon slash on them out there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBkpXcwiDdI&feature=related Heechul and Siwon–the uber Christian (but I think homo) member of Super Junior.

http://gengchul.com/ If you can read Chinese…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aHAbaR1kkk&feature=channel_page Kindan no Koi- I have yet to watch this film. It’s probably one of the only BL films in Japan that I haven’t seen. I can’t even find it raw. It looks bad, but that’s never stopped me from watching/reading yaoi before. It’s from the ppl who made Boys Love—best movie ever.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETZ-q26UKgE&feature=channel_page This is a vid of the now broken up band of Korean transexuals called Lady. My sis and I love them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AwB2TDLlo8&feature=related You’re effing welcome. 🙂 It’s a shame that youtube removed the first vid I ever saw of him. This man, Jung Hyung Min, got a little stint of fame from this event. He was on Starking, one of the most famous tv shows on Korean tv.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-rd4ntV_z4&feature=related Jung hyung min again. I LOVE this guy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5013ob6KZ4&feature=channel_page This is the opening song of a crazy ass Japanese gay camp film I stumbled upon at a previously homophobic friend’s PPV. The two lovers, Yaji and Kita, are in search of magical mushrooms b/c the blonde one is addicted to drugs. The blonde guy is super famous. He played the emperor in Tom Cruise’s Last Samurai. I find that hilarious. The brunette is super hot in real life. They make out a couple of times in the film.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNKa56ooOQo&translated=1 This is a recent gay Korean film based on the uber famous Japanese manga Antique Bakery (Bangin-sensei cosplayed as the glasses guy). This film is fabulous and the gay action between the French boy and the pretty Korean guy is gorgeous. Watch it. You’ll love it.

Now we begin the Hanchul part:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkINzfl-AEw&feature=PlayList&p=09609FD031338ECF During their Don’t Don stage, Hangeng boasted some fierce blonde hair. This is his now famous hip thrust in the song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cp2pLLGoRQ&feature=PlayList&p=D7A497AF7B35247B This is a really cute vid of Hanchul holding hands and being all coupley on Chinese television. I’m not gonna lie… this video inspires me almost more than anything else to learn Chinese. I SO want to be able to understand Hangeng and the Chin prog he’s on.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfvoz4y4odc I love this SOOO much. It’s adorable. Hanchul at its best.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rD3Vj6j_VLo This is THE most famous Hanchul clip. It occurred on the Korean variety show YSMM (which I’m addicted to). I highly recommend watching the whole ep b/c it’s hilarious and thoroughly entertaining. Plus, I’m in love with the singer Sung Si Kyung and he’s on there. Also, the woman with short orangy hair is a great singer too.

News Flash: Japan’s First Lady

Japan's First Lady

Breaking with tradition, Hatoyama Miyuki, wife of Japan’s new PM, plans to take a visible role as Japan’s First Lady. Frankly, I had never seen a photo of Mrs Aso, Mrs Fukuda, Mrs Abe or Mrs Koizumi. So it’s revolutionary news that Japan may be on the cusp of welcoming its first First Lady.

What do we know about Miyuki-sama? She was born in China during the war, a former actress, cookbook author, television personality, and a “life composer.” She believes she shares “a sensibility” with Michelle Obama, and hopes to meet her. Mostly, she is a tireless promoter of her husband, with Wikipedia reporting that she chooses her husband’s outfits and (personally?) styles his hair.

My favorite story so far is how she explains her husband’s “alien” nickname. According to the loyal wife, he was given the name by political adversaries since he is so different from old-style politics. Unh, really?! I thought it was because he’s extraordinarily ugly, with a weird-shaped head on a smallish body. And it’s certainly better than being referred to as “the guy with the dead fish face.”

But, Miyuki-sama, please do not let me discourage your spin, conjugal devotion, or quest for the limelight. Finally, with the (first?) emergence of a First Lady of Japan, this is Japanese “change” that I fully support. Bring on the outfits, social causes, cultural activities, and style.

Update: A second Japan Times article adds even more outrageous details. Miyuki-sama is a former singer and dancer in the very popular Takarazuka Revue all-female theater troupe. And she has a spiritual side that puts Shirley MacLain to shame. She has written in a book that, while sleeping, her soul flew in a triangle shaped UFO to Venus. On a television program, she also claimed that she eats the sun, and that it gives her “enormous energy.” Even better, she added, “My husband has recently started doing that, too.” Oh, and she met Tom Cruise in a previous life, claims he was previously Japanese, and dreams of making a Hollywood movie with him.

It must be wonderful to be so fabulously wealthy, and to live in a country where such outlandish views are neither questioned nor ridiculed. Dearest husband, please make me Japan’s next First Lady!

Second Update: There’s also a New York Times article with the exact same content, plus some angry online reader replies and many replies by the reporter. Plus this amazing photo of the Hatoyamas as a young couple What happened to his looks? Can I buy her wig? And why has no one commented on this EXCITING news?!

Japan's First Lady and Prime Minister Hatoyama

Otomen TV show starts soon

Otomen tv show starting soon

A TV version of the manga Otomen is starting soon in Japan (August 1, 11.10 pm, Fuji TV), as revealed by this Omootesando billboard. The story centers on high school junior  Asuka Masamune: manly man and judo/karate/kendo master on the outside, lover of caramel macchiato, shōjo manga, sweets, and pink things on the inside. Apparently he romances a (female) classmate by teaching her how to do girly stuff.

I first heard of this term from my otaku and moe language teacher Bangin. He prefers this term over “soshokukei” (herbivores). Otomen, he defines, as young men who like BL and otome stuff (note the pink flower in the billboard which refers to girls’ anime styles), who are skilled at domestic crafts, and who act manly in public but are secretly feminine.

Thank you, Japanese television. Anyone else looking forward to this show?

Marriage Hunting, or Failed Heterosexuality?

Konkatsu bra

This image is priceless: it’s a “konkatsu bra” in which inserting a ring stops the marriage deadline countdown and plays a congratulatory wedding march. I love how Japan always introduces new sociological terms, and this one is a winner. “Konkatsu” is a combination of the words “wedding” and “activity,” and means “marriage hunting.”

In addition to negative reproduction rates, Japan also has remarkably low marraige rates: from 1975 to 2005, the numbers of unmarried people have risen 14% to 47% for men aged 30 to 34 and from 8% to 32% for women.

Sociologist Yamada Masahiro and journalist Shirakawa Tohko invented the term and sold over 170,000 copies of their book Konkatsu Jidai (The Era of Marriage Hunting). The authors believe that marriage must be actively sought. There are now konkatsu magazines, a television show, bars, shrines, and even a special section of the Nippon Ham Fighters baseball stadium catering to this new goal.

Supposedly women are too busy focused on careers, while men are less aggressive because of money concerns and job insecurity. One woman quoted in the Wall Street Journal article, despite her failed efforts at marriage hunting, somehow imagines that “marriage is like permanent employment.” Apparently, women far outnumber men in “marriage hunting” events.

I find this term and newly defined phenomenon incredibly funny. Maybe Japan would have better luck with its marriage rates if it allowed and actively promoted gay, lesbian and trans marriage. Or maybe marriage is just not that desirable. My guess is that the government will next promote out of wedlock procreation. Gambate, Nihon!

Zettai Kareshi, the Dreamy Robot

Zettai Kareshi

Of course the perfect boyfriend is a robot. This anime has become a live action melodrama on Fuji TV, with Hayami Mokomichi as the dreamy robot with Johnny-su hair. Thanks, Yoko, for introducing us! Lots more photos here. Does anyone know if there’s fansub translations?

Here’s the preview:

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Change: Preview of Kimutaku’s New TV drama

With Madonna’s “Miles Away” themetrack. The preview is in Japanese, but it’s easy to get the idea: ugly corrupt politicians select super-cute (ちょうかわいい)school teacher Kimutaku (木村 拓哉) with initially bad hair and make him the Prime Minister. Will Kimutaku make me a citizen?!

Even Chinese netizens are getting into the preview hype and excitement!
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3163378128868751172&q=%E6%9C%A8%E6%9D%91+%E6%8B%93%E5%93%89+Change&ei=8BUlSJ-gFoyQrAPD19yxCQ

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