Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, Super Mega Important Debate is back! This weekend, we’re putting Japanese TV under the spotlight and asking you, our good-looking and never-shy-to-venture-an-opinion readers, whether you think the TV shows broadcast in Japan are wonderfully entertaining or a big bag of steaming horse poop.
Picture the scene: you’re waiting for your number to be called at City Hall or some other municipal building in rural Japan, when suddenly your stomach starts growling and your gut begins to twitch and spasm as that super-greasy kimchi ramen you had for lunch is pushed at top speed through your digestive tract. If you don’t go now – right now – things could get messy fast, so you make a beeline for the restroom and hope that there’s a stall free. Inside the restroom, you charge towards the half-open door on the end, a layer of sweat forming on your brow as your body starts counting down, T-minus 10 seconds to total evacuation.
Then it hits you: the stall you’re standing in is fitted not with a luxurious, bidet-equipped, warms your backside and plays music at you Washlet brand of toilet, but an old-school, upside-down urinal built into the floor Japanese squat toilet.
There’s no backing out now. The deed must be done. The question is, how traumatised will you be after using it?
Happy Saturday, everyone! We hope you got through the week with all your bits and pieces still connected and without getting fired. But before you go off and start being nice to people now that you have a day off, let’s argue about food.
This week we’re talking about soy sauce-based ramen and miso-based ramen – two firm favourites in the world of delicious, soupy noodles and each with legions of fans. But of course, as Sean Connery and Christopher Lambert told us in the 1986 film Highlander, there can be only one, so pick a side and make your click count.
Tokyo and Osaka are only about 2.5 hours away by bullet train, so perhaps you wouldn’t think they’d be that different. But while Kanto (Tokyo, Yokohama, Chiba) holds the image of a glittering metropolis, Kansai (Osaka, Kyoto, Nara) is full of the old, historical aspects of Japan. The most commonly cited difference is the dialects of the two regions. For example, dame in Kanto-ben is akan in Kansai-ben, both meaning something like “wrong, no good.”
So when Japanese people were polled about their food habits, it wasn’t so surprising that the two regions answered very differently.
Question: Which of the following is not an official Olympic medal sport? Is it A) Judo, B) Taekwondo, or C) Karate? If you guessed C) Karate, then you answered correctly.
It may come as a surprise to you that karate is not an official Olympic sport, despite its widespread popularity throughout the world. In fact, karate has been rejected by the International Olympic Committee on three separate occasions. However, the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics have created a new movement for official adoption, along with a new strategy.
Rainy days means umbrellas, which means boys and girls smacking each other unrepentantly while waiting for the train with their makeshift swords/lances/lightsabers/sonic screwdrivers.
This “extracurricular activity” is certainly enjoyed by all of the world’s excitable youth, so we bet you can tell exactly what kind of weapon your umbrella turns into when swords are drawn! Our umbrellas become katanas with an acidic edge that can slice through anything!
But what about Japan’s netizens?
Every loving parent wants what’s best for their children. For the parents of those born with a mental disability, it must be so difficult to come to terms with the knowledge that their offspring will struggle to keep up with their peers. One such mother decided to cope with her feelings by documenting her experience raising an infant with Down syndrome in an online blog. However, in recent weeks the title of this personal report has become the topic of some nasty dispute on Japanese public forums. For better or worse, the woman calls her blog God’s Defective Goods.
Over the past few years, China’s animation industry has greatly expanded and produced many all-new domestic works. However, these “original” animations have been placed under a lot of suspicion from sources both domestic and foreign for their blatant mimicry of Japanese and American animation sources. Many accuse China’s fledgling animation industry of relying on rip-offs to sell.
In response to these claims, an opinion piece titled “How Chinese Animation has Progressed Through ‘Imitation,’” was posted on one of China’s major cartoon and comics information sites. The column insists that China’s domestic animations should not be thought of as rip-offs but as inspired copies made for the sake of further developing their infant cartoon industry.
NHK has been running a series of panel debate shows called WISDOM which covers globally relevant issues by holding a discussion among experts from around the world. Since 2010, they have covered a range of topics from economic crises, to Arab Spring, to bullying.
However, as of this year, they are planning on making an ambitious new addition to the program: YOU, if you’re willing.
Starting from their next episode titled “What Next for the Global Economy?” they are inviting everyone in the world to submit their opinions and suggestions for a truly global perspective on matters that affect all of us.
Haruki Murakami, the award-winning essayist and critically-acclaimed author of Norwegian Wood, Kafka on the Shore and many others, has spoken out about the recent troubles between Japan, China and Taiwan in a startlingly down-to-earth essay over on the Asahi Shinbun Digital’s culture section.
Motivated in particular by the recent news of China’s bookshops removing titles by Japanese authors, the essay focuses on the importance of cultural exchange in our societies and how, through all forms of media, we are able to communicate our very souls over seas and across borders. Read More