Hip-hop group Asia Engineer held a gig in Toyosu recently to promote the release of its new CD, Inu no Uta—Arigato, which features a song about singer Shuhei’s dog that passed away two years ago. Model Hinano Yoshikawa, 29, brought her own pooch to the event and spoke about appreciating the short lives of pets. She said that she cried when she first heard the song, and couldn’t do her makeup. A reporter then asked about her love life, and Yoshikawa replied, “There’s someone I like, but he doesn’t compare to my beautiful chihuahua, Pahika.” After Yoshikawa was told that Asia Engineer will contribute part of the proceeds from album sales to The Border Foundation—an NPO which focuses on reducing the roughly 300,000 pets put to sleep every year in Japan—she said, “I want to help out too. It’s unacceptable that people dispose of their dogs.” CB
Model Jessica Michibata, 24, who is dating British F1 driver Jenson Button, 29, said of her vibrant look, “When you feel in love, you become more and more beautiful”… Veteran enka singer Fuyumi Sakamoto brought solace to a woman whose deceased husband was a big fan, performing four songs exclusively in front of a photo of the man and the 46-year-old widow, who sat alone in a 220-seat hall in Shibuya… Model Anne, 23, is dating 34-year-old actor Yukiyoshi Ozawa (Mt Tsurugidake), but the tabloids seem more interested in their famous fathers—hers is actor Ken Watanabe, and his is world-famous conductor Seiji Ozawa. CB
It’s said that anyone who climbs Mt Fuji once is wise—and whoever climbs it a second time is a fool. This summer, wise guys (and gals) can show off their bona fides with a diploma from the Yamanashi Prefecture Tourist Association. The B5-size sheet features an image of Fuji-san, the climber’s name, and the date of their ascent. First issued during the 2006 season, the diploma was previously available only in Japanese, but thanks to a recent surge in interest from foreigners—who comprised 30 percent of the 305,000 successful summiters last year—the doc is now offered in English, Korean and Chinese. Applicants must provide photographic evidence of their feat, and they must scale the mountain on the Yamanashi Prefecture side. This year’s climbing season lasts until August 31.
“I’ve noticed a small exodus of creative foreigners from Japan recently—people I thought were there long-term, people who seemed to be heading for ‘Japan hand’ status. The recession, while it makes Japan cheaper, may be making Tokyo a less exciting or practicable place to pursue a creative career in. Photographer Zoren Gold, who seemed like a fixture in his airy house atop a hill in Nakameguro, recently exchanged Japan for California, taking his muse-model Minori with him… The artist Pol Malo, after eleven years in Japan, is now (according to his Art-It blog) ‘moving from Kyoto to Berlin. See you once I get there.’ Musician Digiki (Antonin Gaultier) is also considering a move from Tokyo to Berlin. Another Art-It blogger, Hanayo, has already been [there] for a decade. I wonder if the Japanese call her a ‘Germany hand’?”
Click Opera (http://imomus.livejournal.com), June 28
The latest innovations in katakana English
Origin: nice middle
Meaning: a good-looking middle-aged man
Example: お姉ちゃんの彼氏はおしゃれでナイスミドルです; Oneechan no kareshi wa oshare de naisu midoru desu; My sister’s boyfriend is a stylish, good-looking middle-aged man
Origin: short for “demagogy”
Meaning: a false rumor
Example: 故意にデマを広める人は大嫌い; Koi ni dema wo hiromeru hito wa daikirai; I hate people who purposely spread false rumors
Origin: abbreviation of andaaguraundo
Example: あのDJはアングラのクラブシーンだけで知られている; Ano DJ wa angura no kurabu shiin dake de shirareteiru; That DJ’s only known on the underground club scene
Origin: mother + complex
Meaning: a person (usually a man) who has a strong attachment to his mother
Example: 彼はとてもいい人だけど、マザコンなところが気持ち悪い; Kare wa totemo ii hito dakedo, mazakon na tokoro ga kimochiwarui; He’s a really nice guy, but it creeps me out how close he is to his mom
The Nippon Foundation Scholar Association is sponsoring a drawing contest for pint-sized Picassos entitled My World: What Makes Me Merry. The competition, open to all young foreign residents of Japan, aims to foster creativity and cultural exchange by giving kids the tools to express themselves and their feelings about their world. The contest is being offered in collaboration with the Merry Project, a communication-art initiative that works to promote the “universal language of smiles” across the globe. Prizes will be awarded in two divisions: kids (ages 6-11) and youth (ages 12-18). Along with the hand-drawn submissions—digital or collage art will not be accepted—each entry should include a 200-word essay about what is “merry” for you. The deadline is September 1.
Fast food chains have charged headlong into the competitive summer season by encouraging customer interaction in decidedly newfangled ways. Starbucks recently completed an online promotion in which shoppers selected a new topping for its Coffee Jelly Frappuccino drink. The e-ballots included a list of recipes concocted by the shop’s baristas, and the winner was... caramel sauce! Mos Burger has reintroduced a pair of discontinued menu items—a spicy chicken burger and a curry chicken sandwich—with the help of another online poll (though respondents could also cast their votes via a not-so-hot telephone hotline). Not to be outdone, McDonald’s is tempting the kiddies by offering free in-store content for the Nintendo DS. Available over the Wi-Fi network at 3,200 shops nationwide, the giveaways include collectible characters, game demos and meal coupons.
This season’s new cellphones can shoot HD video, display e-books, run on solar power, and act as your personal trainer. Our dream keitai, however, would have some far more useful functions…
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Laser Tape Measure To check if that nice new IKEA unit will really fit in your tiny apartment
Distress Beacon Can be remotely activated when phone is lost or stolen in order to recover address book information and incriminating photos
Built-in Defibrillator Seriously, your grandpa will thank you for it later. Just don’t expect to have any battery charge left to call an ambulance once you’re done
Not Squat Function Uses GPS to locate the nearest Western-style toilet in the vicinity
Corkscrew/Bottle Opener Guaranteed to come in handy at least once a year, which is more than we can say about the Bowlingual dog translator on our current phone
Cassette Player We’d suggest a built-in gramophone, but that would just be impractical, wouldn’t it?
Blotto Function Automatically calls a taxi, informs the driver of your address and pays by credit card or Eddy, then sends a message to your loved one apologizing for your tardiness and giving him/her the taxi’s ETA
Blowtorch For making that perfect crème brulee (see Corkscrew/Bottle Opener)
Taser Is it too much to ask?
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