SMAP’s Takuya Kimura, 36, will play the leading role of a neuroscientist—yes, you read that right—in the new TBS television drama Mr. Brain, which starts May 23… Television personality Mona Yamamoto, 33, who has admitted to two affairs with married men, says she wouldn’t want to know if her current boyfriend was fooling around, saying, “If I found out, I would cry, but I wouldn’t try to get back at him.”… A book featuring rare photos of singer Ayumi Hamasaki, 30, in a bikini has sold more than 30,000 copies since its release April 7 to mark the singer’s ten years in the music industry. CB
Panasonic has signed up 29-year-old actress Yukie Nakama (Gokusen) and TV sports commentator and former tennis star Shuzo Matsuoka, 41, as “image characters” for its Panasonic Beauty appliance brand. Nakama and Matsuoka spent half an hour at a launch event showering praise on a new hair dryer and men’s shaver, which go on sale May 1. Asked about the “essence of beauty,” Nakama said, “The first impression stemming from grooming and appearance is important. But internal beauty is also necessary for external beauty.” One wonders if Nakama and Matsuoka also got the memo from Panasonic management in which 10,000 staff were strongly urged to purchase at least ¥100,000 worth of company products by July. CB
Last week’s debut of Misaki—dedicated to “helping working women in their 30s enjoy life”—is just the latest example of glossy Japanese magazines tailored to extremely narrow age ranges and interests. Popteen is for fashionable teens, CanCam, Vivi, Ray and JJ for the college girls, Classy and Baila for OLs in their 20’s, Domani for housewives and older OLs, Very for working women in their 30’s (yes, there are now two such mags), Grazia for “the start of 35 year-old ladies,” Grace for 40-somethings, Eclat for women in their 50’s, Katei Gaho goes into the 60’s… and this isn’t even the full list.
Since Nikkei Marketing Journal coined the term in August 2007, the Minimaru Raifu Sedai (Minimal Life Generation) has been much in the news. These stay-at-homers are usually contrasted with their high-flying Bubble-era forebears, who were infamous for frequenting lavish discotheques and spending money without thinking twice. The minimal life generation, by contrast, has been slapped in the face by the economic downturn—they are careful with money and worried about the future. Other traits include:
Downtime: Rather than going to amusement parks or karaoke boxes, minimal lifers tend to stay at home and play computer games, surf the net or watch TV
Dining: Instead of going out to eat and drink, they go to friends’ houses to keep costs low. For lunch, they make their own bento
Shopping: Minimal lifers don’t buy luxury or designer products, but make fashion work with off-price items and secondhand goods
Travel: They don’t go abroad or fuss about Hawaii, but take local trips to destinations reachable by JR lines
Tokyo’s underground punk and hardcore venues teem with the weirdest kinds of wildlife. Even if you don’t grok the music—which, let’s face it, is pretty noxious stuff—you’ve got to love the band names.
Slight Slappers The Rabies Stupid Babies Go Mad
Die You Bastard! Cannibal Rabbit Aggro Knuckle
Worms’ Meat Fuck on the Beach Smash Your Face
The Testicles The Bunnygirl Piss Wet the Bed
The Lechery from Mars King Wonder Broccoli Rumbling Coyote
Taken from the listings for 20,000V (www.20000volt.com), Earthdom (http://tinyurl.com/df49bl) and Urga (www.urga.net)
The latest innovations in katakana English
Origin: recruit haircut
Meaning: the “sensible” haircut university students get when they go job hunting or start work
Example: 就活においてリクルートカットは大事だ; Shuukatsu ni oite rikuruuto katto wa daiji da; Getting a sensible haircut is an essential part of the job-seeking process
Meaning: to be fired
Example: あいつは不況でリストラされた; Aitsu wa fukyo de risutora sareta; He was downsized because of the recession
Origin: paper driver
Meaning: someone who has a license but never drives
Example: 私はペーパードライバーだから都内で運転するのが怖い; Watashi wa pe-paa doraibaa dakara tonai de unten suru no ga kowai; I’m just a paper driver, so I’m scared to drive in the city
Meaning: Segment on a TV show or section of a magazine
Example: メトロポリスで私が一番好きなコーナーはアップフロントです; Metropolis de watashi ga ichiban sukina ko-na- wa “Upfront” desu; “Upfront” is my favorite section of Metropolis
Origin: rare cheese
Meaning: raw cheese, non-baked
Example: チーズケーキはベークドよりレアチーズの方が好み; Chiizu keeki wa beikudo yori rea-chiizu no hou ga konomi; If we’re talking cheesecakes, I prefer the non-baked kind to baked
Origin: “appeal” and suru (to do)
Meaning: to emphasize, make a selling point of
Example: 弊社は人助けにも関心があることをアピールしている; Heisha wa hitodasuke ni kanshin ga arukoto wo apiiru shiteiru; We’re emphasizing that our company cares about helping people
What brand of shampoo do you use?
Source: Tokyo Graffiti magazine (www.grfft.jp)
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