Japan: The Ex-Girlfriend of Technological Innovation, Driving by Your Place Constantly, Texting about “Old Times”

obama's robotic seal experience in Japan

Oh, so that's what that shrieking was, I thought you were fluff'n some whores for me in the next room (Picture courtesy of spectrum.ieee.org)

I’ve been a bit out of the loop. My computer crashed and I was torn from the universe. I suddenly found myself indulging in crazy, Luddite activities, reading words printed on pressed trees and (hand quotes) ‘using my imagination’ or ‘having sex with my wife’ instead of  the plethora of media options available to me in the modern era.

So forgive me if I’m a bit behind in catching up, but I couldn’t help but shed a tear for the crushing, utter implosion of Japan’s grip on innovation and technology, convincingly embodied by the above picture and the accompanying video.

The Tale of the Tape

1) Years of Robotic Research and Japan’s developed Robotic Baby Seals?

Say that again with me people:

Robotic…………Baby…………………Seals

I ain’t gonna lie, Teddy Ruxpin was fully anthropomorphic, spoke WORDS, and did all that 25 years ago.  Your seals yelp down a hallway like a two-bit whore from Roppongi in a love hotel.

2) Robots with human qualities are fucking creepy. Don’t take my word for it, listen to accredited, actual journalists and scientists here. Japan is ungodly excited about crossing a point, that no one wants to cross except Japan. I want a Roomba, not a creepy robot that looks like a woman with Parkinson’s disease.

3) Looking above, I can only assume that Japan is on an epic quest to have sex with their robots. My epic quest is to get a robot that does the shit my wife nags me about on a Sunday while trying to watch football. Can’t we all just get on the same ‘epic quest’ page?

4) Stop creeping out foreign dignitaries with weird shit. Listen, when Vladamir Putin visits Bulgaria, he gets a puppy:

Putin and a Puppy

That's REAL World Power right there

You’re creeping out the guy who still has the most nuclear weapons at his fingertips with shrieking pseudo-mammals normally worn around fashionable ladies” necks en route to cold Christmas balls and immobile, nagging  wife-like robotic zombies without all the fun of actual, real zombies.

Where’s our fucking puppy?  Stop making foreign dignitaries go through an endless loop of technological nonsense because you think they’re cool.

We just think you’re weird.

5) After the faux-imals and immobile, yet nagging, vagina-less faux-wives, they ferried President Obama over to their proudest innovation, a really bulky future Segway thing.  Congrats Japan, you took a technology previous known for a) laughing at shorts-wearing American tourists in Paris b) a wildly hilarious story, making them both into a far more cumbersome and useless technology (with rain shield!).

Listen Japan, it’s over. You’re not good at this technology thing anymore. We’re gonna have to see other people. Don’t call me anymore, end the soppy texts, and stop driving by my place.

In the rest of the world, we don’t care about phones that can access analog TV channels, we have smart phones that do everything. We don’t care about how you’ve invented Blu Ray or pioneered 3D TV, because the simple fact remains that most places I go within your so-called ‘technological mecca’ lack basic cable or satellite television.

People still show me ‘mini-discs’. I don’t even know what those are.

Techies used to flock to Akihabara like it was a pilgrimage, but let’s face it, they’re going for the maids now.

Akihabara Japanese Maids

I smell sex and.....coffee?

You’ve gotta stop pretending. When I wanna see wacky Asian tech shit, you’re just not on my list anymore. I’m gonna be check’n underground in Shanghai and Beijing, or hit’n the streets of Seoul.  It’s just cooler there right now.

Warm toilet seats don’t make the world go round.

I know, it’s difficult for me too. I mean, there are some nights when I might still come calling. After all, you still lead the world in creepy squid and octopus pornography and humiliating and painful game show innovation.

But girl, ya gotta understand, me and Obama just ain’t into what you.got anymore. You keep recreating these old moments, hoping we don’t realize it ain’t noth’in new, hoping that nostalgia’s enough to carry us through to a new day.

Well, it’s not.

We’re kinda into these new girls with these new tricks, and the more you try and bring up the past, the more we’re just gonna walk on by.

So if you wanna get us back, stop being a one trick pony. Go get yourself a makeover, take some pilates classes, maybe get a lil’ work done. Hit these scene again with a newer, hotter beau, make us jealous.

Because if you want us back, shoving weird robot seals in our face sure as hell ain’t gonna fly.

 

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A Comprehensive Explanation of the Japan/China Situation for Laymen and Yacht Enthusiasts

chun li vs e honda

This is a visual metaphor to help understand the situation visually with pictures

People back on the”‘sane” side of the world often turn to me like I’m actively involved in shaping the future of Asia. They think I have magical inside knowledge of the tensions between North Korea and the rest of the far East, or that I possess a deep understanding of the going rate of worn school girls’ underwear.

They’ve recently been asking me about all this China and Japan ruckus. I’ve decided to put it in simple terms to help the international community better understand this complex situation:

The Beginning

Japanese Whaling Ship

Fuck, we hit another foreigner!

Japanese people are always hitting foreigners with their boats.

Whenever they journey out into the sea, they inadvertently find ways to crash into some other foreign peoples’ ships. This is why the Tokugawa Shogunate gave up on seafaring and Japan never mastered the art of trans-oceanic travel until the Meiji Chocolate Era.

Japanese people know this. They have an intense fear of everything outside the confines of their happy islands. Japanese tourists know that in their travels they might be forced into a boat, slowly turning the wheel of destiny to lead them into an inadvertent collision with outsiders.

This would be tragically stressful for the Japanese tourist, requiring at least three unique apologetic phrases, much like when entering an elevator*

*Japanese people are also afraid of elevators because you smell funny. They apologize when entering an elevator because they feel sorry that they hate your smell so much. Isn’t that nice of them?

The Problem

Fish cocktail

A Traditional Japanese Breakfast, made from live, screaming baby fish and Shochu

Japanese people despise their gods and shake their fists in contempt at the sky because of the irony of hating boats and having an insatiable appetite for fish.

Every year brave men and women are put through rigorous game show segments where they play human tetris or fall into boiling water. This is meant to weed out the weak, who are thrown into meaningless bureaucratic jobs, much like the babies thrown upon the cliffs of Sparta.

The survivors become Noble Fisherman and Defenders of Japan, constantly wrestling with the fact that they will one day literally collide with their destiny.

The Situation:

The Situation

Not a fish, not even a Lobster, despite Red Skin and Lobster Moves

The Situation between China and Japan:

Reenactment China Japan

China was Hang'n Out with Goats, Mind'n their Biz...

China was in their little boats, get’n all out there, explore’n shit. They found a small island with goats, as seen in the picture above. The goats are represented by coins in the picture because of their value*

*The Chinese like goat island because goats are an important resource in China, accounting for about 27% of China’s current energy systems, a figure estimated to rise by as much as 13% by 2020.  They also like to eat goats.

Japan had previously run a bonito flakes* factory on the island and had decided to check into restarting their operation there.

*Bonito Flakes are a fish based breakfast cereal in Japan

China spotted Japan at full steam off their starboard bow*  They waved goodbye to their goat friends, packed up all their opium, and shipped out to avoid the inevitable collision.

…But Opium makes you slow

*Observant readers might take offense to my nautical terminology, but in China, they use nautical terms opposite the way that you do.

The ships collided and the Japanese Noble Fishermen/Defenders of Japan took the Chinese captain hostage for fraternizing with goats*

*Japanese people hate goats because their meat smells like you smell in an elevator. They will complain about mutton incessantly.

The remaining Chinese were allowed to sail off in their junk ships.

The Hostage

Chinese Fisherman

How Many Birds Does Your Soul Weigh?

From there, the poor fisherman was brought to Japan, throngs of people politely jeering at him and calling him names that could possibly be interpreted as offensive, then apologizing to their hostage in case they’d offended him.

He was brought to their Great Hall, to meet their tiny Emperor on his cute little throne. The Emperor commanded his servants to bring the ceremonial birds to weigh the fisherman’s soul in an ancient Japanese ritual of weighing peoples’ souls with birds*

*Birds are important to Asians, look at Asian shit in Asian museums for more information

The Bird Weighing Ceremony was complex, vague,and a waste of time, giving the poor Chinese fisherman valuable insight into the Japanese Political System, but one does not question mystical Asian shit.

The Response

mochi

All Your Mochi Are Belong to Us, Bitches!

The Chinese media caught wind of their fisherman’s capture and the populace responded, suspending all production of Omiyage (translates to ‘Useless Japanese Souvenirs made in China’)  and Omiyage Mochi (‘Crappy Japanese dessert made from beans that functions as a Useless Japanese Souvenir Made in China; A Way to Kill Old People ‘).

Japanese people cannot travel without acquiring Omiyage to bring back to friends and family, even within their own country. This brought Japanese transportation systems to a halt, all people hiding in their homes to avoid travel.

In addition, they were without their Mochi Omiyage supply, the second most important food on the Japanese Food Pyramid next to fish.

Japan was caught in a bind, taking a strong stance against goat fraternization, but now with their populace in fear of leaving their homes. Without people to go fishing and without their mochi imports, Japan was caught between their ideals and their survival.

The Resolution

Geisha

Inside I'm a ball of Hate Rage, but outside I'm passively frown-y

Japan relented and released the Chinese Fisherman. Their stoic response claimed victory, but everyone knew they’d bitched out.

Chun Li Owns Your Soul

U'sa Bitch, Japan!

China welcomed their fisherman hero home with one of those parades with dragons. He became a national hero and they built a Chinese restaurant on the goat island, making him the manager.

He now works there 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days per year. You can even go there on Christmas. Lunch buffets are a reasonable $6.99, Dinner $10.99, drinks not included, please tip the waitstaff.

In Conclusion

I hope I’ve been able to better enlighten people on the various political shadow games behind the scenes here in this interesting world of intrigue. Thank you for joining me on this journey through Eastern Asia. I hoped you’ve enjoyed learning as much as I’ve enjoyed helping open your eyes to this mysterious land of mystery.

Now you’ll sound really smart and worldly at your white people yacht club parties and score mad bitches and cougars.

Vuvuleza, How do you not inspire more clitoris mutilation jokes?

Vuvuzela

No really, I like pissing people off too.... (Image Courtesy of MTN Football)

I love the idea of getting into players’ heads.

An old friend of mine made a hobby of attending minor league baseball games to heckle the pitchers with rousing “WHUPPP-BAMMMM!”-s at inopportune moments, causing the poor guys to toss balls in many wildly different directions that were not the catcher’s mound.

Others see tranquility as an important asset in sports, allowing the athletes to gather their heads and concentrate on their skills. The slightest outbursts from the crowd are frowned upon and those with drunken agendas are often outright tossed from the stadium.

I’m not one of those people. I have fond memories of chanting “Fuck’em up, Fuck’em up, go CU!!” with my peers in a full football stadium, hoping to get into our opponents’ heads. I also have awe-inspiring memories of walking into enemy territory and having the home team’s chants and revelry add an element of fear and danger into my life, along with the explosives/fire/possible death (Go to a Turkish soccer match).

When South Africa kicked off their game against Mexico to open the World Cup, I loved the idea of these Vuvuleza horns. They constantly reminded the Mexican team that the crowd was there, breathing down their necks. All fan-bases have their traditions, created to unnerve their opponents. Mexicans in Azteca often throw bags of urine at opposing team’s players and fans to scare them. We all have our ways and those ways are awesome.

We’re all pent-up, testosterone-fueled animals that have somehow chosen destinies with vast expanses of computer screens and inaction, wishing we were something better. When we go to a stadium, we go to get our kicks out, Roman-style.  We go to see our “avatars” kick the shit out of someone else’s and we add a bit of ourselves into the mix to feel like we mattered.

The Vuvulezas are awesome for South Africa in that respect. I’m not sure there’s anything else so droning and omnipresent that it could completely destroy an opponent’s brain stem.

But they’ve transcended their own function.

I tuned into the USA/England match and expected to hear an assault of people bellowing “God Save the Queen” and “The Star Spangled Banner” at each other, cursing 200 years of friendly animosity, talking shit about burning the White House and making fun of tea, with the occasional rousing rendition of whatever Oasis song was clever for the moment.

Instead: BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Has anyone realized that the horns make ABSOLUTELY no sense outside of the fan-bases that regularly use them?

It’s like going to game six of the Lakers/Celtics finals and finding that 75% of the fans there are sporting Knicks jerseys or going to Michigan vs Ohio State in the Big House and suddenly realizing that everyone is doing Penn State Cheers and wearing white. When I go to Koshien to see the Carp and the Tigers play, I don’t expect the Giants’s band to start playing OR be accepted as normal, and when I went to see the Korean National team play Ecuador I neglected to wear a Japanese National team shirt.

Sexy World Cup Girl, Paraguay World Cup Girl, Boobs

Let Paraguay Cheer the Paraguayan Way, with Awesomeness and Tits! (Courtesy of Deadspin and This Guy)

The horns are a completely neutral, third element completely fucking up the friction between the two teams and their fans. The droning buzz does nothing to provide a perceived home advantage for either of the teams playing in their stadiums, aside from South Africa and any other horn-using African teams. They get in the way of everything, equally.

They’re probably impossible to stop. A good portion of the fans filling the stadium are South Africans who scored tickets to whatever match they could get to, and they’re gonna bring their horns and go about their usual business. There’s also a good portion of tourists moved by the magic of South Africa or by savvy plastic horn vendors on their way into the stadium. They wanna give it a shot and do “as the Romans do.”

But I gotta think that the uninspiring play to date could potentially be a result of the great neutrality that the horns afford. They drone equally at all, dig into the minds of everyone. The number of fans in the stands, the national cheers belted out, they mean nothing. They won’t add an ounce of courage to a team, nor an ounce of fear to their opponents.

The oppressive droning levels the playing field, and in turn, extinguishes the cultural flourishes of everyone elses’ World Cup eccentricities.

Of course, if we look beyond the game, to the massive battle of international cultures taking place, perhaps South Africa has one the biggest battle of all, completely silencing all comers with their droning buzz.

South Africa, love the horns, but keep’em for yourselves and your games, let us play too.

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Neon-Pink Enlightenment & Mad Sea Captains

Eastward Expansion

She tried as hard as any of them to win the war and she picked her battles well…

It was the late eighties or early nineties, all the kids hanging out on the beach sporting jams and loud neon colors. I rocked a crazy neon pink shirt scattered with random newspaper clippings about surf heights and how ‘gnarly’ the waves were. There were a few curses words hidden on it, making it the epitome of cool in my little 10-year-old universe.

I was a little righteous bad-ass.

My bad-assery was short-lived though, mom taking it upon herself to destroy and deflate any illusions of coolness.

She pointed to one headline on the shirt, “Mom was right…”

There it was, clear as day, a headline positioned over my heart like she’d bought me slavery apparel. From then on, whenever she saw me in the shirt, she nodded and smiled, throwing it out there again, hoping to let it sink into my brain and grow like she was on-boarding me to a household corporate culture.

I continued to rock the shirt, trying to ignore the tiny headline, hidden among all the other lines scattered about the shirt, but whenever returning from the mischievous adventures of any average ten-year-old  she was always there to remind me again:

“Mom was right…”

…And so the battle raged, her first volleys having damaged my ship, but my imminent teenage cannons eagerly prepping for return fire.

As a college student I ran off to Colorado to free myself from the reigns, to find my independence, strike it rich like all the other American vagabonds that head west for some perceived notion of enlightenment.

In an ironic twist of fate, Colorado was exactly where she’d run from New Jersey to blossom too…

I found myself a few year later at what might be considered an adult, still trapped under parental funding to aid medical insurance, something akin to a second rent, but with shitty levels of care. I gotten to the point where I couldn’t make ends meet and couldn’t exist in the world I’d grown up in without parental help and they were far to slow to remove themselves from the equation as their own parents might have.

Somehow, despite the distance, the strings were still attached. I’d need to quit the word I’d grown up in.

I cobbled together a plan with the girl (at the time). She was stuck in the same boat, our silly little coddled generation. We’d run away together like a Bruce Springsteen song and strike it rich on our own in Asia. The west had failed to enlighten us, but the far east could surely solve our woes.

I brought my hammer down upon the chains and shattered them, running fast and deep for Asia. We didn’t all make it over here, the girl needed to find her own path to enlightenment and I lost her somewhere along the way, keeping my rudder pointing east like a mad captain Ahab (or west-i-er, if you pay attention to flight patterns and don’t fly Emirates).

I washed up upon these shores without much knowledge of the place. I’d thrown a dart at a map with some relation to the ex (Korea, but edited for better surfing opportunities…and never tell a Korean they’re somewhat related to Japan).

Some come here as dedicated otaku, ready to bask in anime and maid-cafes. Some men come here for the pussy,  seemingly possible for even the most hapless foreigner. Others come here for a quick dose of how the other half (of the world) lives.

I came here to escape mom and make my own way.

My first memories of Japan are getting angry at the toilet for shooting me in the face with water. I’m often intensely crabby about the whole place, but the whole thing, the whole 4 years (as of last week) have been my own. It’s been 100% mine, the trials, tribulations, insanity and joy have all been my creation, no strings attached…

…And it all started with a pink neon shirt…

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‘Hitler’ Invades America, Rocks

Tamori

Overlord Tamori encourages you to enjoy Sakura-themed products, or else...

I loathe the Japanese mainstream pop music scene. It’s the most insipid, heartless music to ever have passed through my ears, so utterly disposable and yet so intensely catchy, as if programmed to infiltrate my brain cortex and then melt it.

It creeps into your head like a virus.  Songs hit your subconscious before you realize they exist. Before you know it, you’re bleeding from every orafice of your body. Death follows shortly thereafter. Survivors just become 5% stupider with each infection.

Japan took the America idea of corporate controled pop groups to some insane further end, meticulously crafting every little piece of a group in an assembly line of image creators, songwriters, producers, and studio musicians, all for the sake of moving product.

Band are written into movie scripts and their songs become TV show themes. They play in the background of every convenience store, push variety show pieces forward, and help sell Shiseido products all before you ever catch them on TV as an actual video or performance. By then, the first symptoms have already gripped your brain.

The way Japanese corporations have been able to harness and control the music sent out to the masses is something American corporations must have wet dreams about. They took the Josie and the Pussycats movie to heart.

This leaves little room for Japanese bands to control their own destiny. If you want to hit it big in Japan, you’ve got to let ‘the machine’ run the show. They’ll approve of your new identity and have Marty Friedman play guitar on your album sessions. They’ll get you on Music Station, lipsynching the night away with your new Sakura song:

After seeing that, why do I suddenly feel the need to drive as fast as possible to Nitori and buy a chair? Hmm, anyway….

Without ‘the machine’ on your side, you’re as good as nothing. The average Japanese citizen won’t know who you are, because they’ll be too busy shampooing their hair after buying Namie Amuro’s album (sponsored by Shiseido!).

Before I came here, I’d heard of bands like Boris and Boredoms and I was amazed by the unbridled creativity of the Japanese music scene. Unfortunately, beyond scenes in Osaka and Tokyo, your average Japanese citizen has never unhooked from the collective to experience anything beyond what their machine overlords offer them.

Bands try to fight against the machine, but they never get a piece of the action or they fail to generate enough cash to pay the bills, hanging up their instruments and falling in line with the hammer.

Kat-tun as gay pirates

I seriously didn't think it would take 5 seconds to find a picture that would relate 'Gay Pirates' to 'J-pop'

Some finally cave, signing the dreaded contract that instantaneously transforms them into a boy-band that dresses like gay pirates and sings songs about a lonely Christmas without you. But the rebels are out there, hiding and fighting the good fight…

I am Hitler!” blasts through my speakers. Camisama (sic) sounds likes like the shitty band you created when you were eight as you dreamed of being in Jem and the Holograms and walked around the house banging on a pot (maybe that was only me).

I once had an art teacher who told me she was constantly striving to draw like a child again, but couldn’t overcome the weight of years to find their simplistic, value-free  aesthetic and shrug off  the adult indoctrination that had changed her art.

As Camisama blasts nonsensical lyrics and sloppy drumming, they’re that kid, banging away in the kitchen, pissing off the neighbors, they’ve found how to draw like children again.

While I write this, they’re in some bar in Austin, Texas at SXSW, having gotten there by god knows what means. They’re there with a bunch of other Japanese bands that have made the trip, in hopes of finding the eyes and ears that often elude them in Japan.

I found Camisama via NPR and slowly dug deeper to find information about some of the other Japanese Bands at SXSW. After the festival, they’ll be touring through America. You can download a free sampler of some of the bands’ songs at HearJapan and if you’re in America, can catch many of the bands as they host Japan Nite throughout the US.

Japan Nite 2010

Japan Nite 2010

‘I am Hitler’ might not be everyone’s cup of tea. I’m not sure it’s even my cup of tea, but in a world where all the sakura songs from the last 20 years blend together into one giant commercial to convince me to buy products with pink flowers on them while sipping my Premium Malts and feeling nostalgic, the rebels are out there, breaking the mold.

Take some time to listen to or check out some of the bands. From there dig deeper, find those obscure and wacky acts, the guys that are playing weird shit in dark corners.

Without them out there, fighting, music in Japan is as good as lost.

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Japan: Makers of the Japanese Zero, Ion Cannons Part 2

I have no idea what this is.....

....or where the fuck it came from

I write about Ion Cannons and strange devices appear in my kitchen.

I’m not sure what the hell is going on. It looks like something from Duck Tales has just invaded my life from out of the blue.

Lifting the top, I find eggs.

If I ate eggs, this would make sense.

If I didn’t possess the ability to put eggs in a pot of boiling water  and cook them, it would make sense.

If this machine made eggs faster than boiling them in a pot, this would make sense.

As it stands, none of these are true, creepy Duck Tales machine has appeared as if to defy my previous posts.

I have no idea why it’s appearing in my house, although I pin the blame on an eccentric future mother in law who often makes strange objects appear in the house.

I’ve seen “Batteries Not Included” and I know how this story ends. I don’t need eggs and I don’t need ion cannons.

It’s on, wacky Japanese inventions, machines, and robots.

I’m done with you appearing in my life, making creepy sounds, and telling me how to do things (I’m looking at you, GPS lady).

This is war….

Japan: Maker of the Japanese Zero, Ion Cannons

Hoth Ion Cannon

Star Wars Ion Cannon...

“Did I just buy you a fucking Ion Cannon?”

I looked at the object I’d just paid ¥20,000 for as she removed it from the box, a volleyball-sized  glossy white sphere, resting on a swiveling base, with some kind of protruding nozzle aiming defensively at the sky.

She smiled as she began toying with it, thanking me for the birthday present. “It’s a Nanoe.” She beamed as she ejected the small internal cylinder like someone who knows here way around an ion cannon and began filling it with liquid. After finishing, she reinserted the cylinder into the sphere, causing a clicking sound similar to popping an ammo cartridge into a gun.

“What did you fill it with?”

She gave me a quizzical glance like I’m supposed to know the load-out procedures for warming up intergalactic weapons. “Ionized Water…”

Panasonic Nanoe EHSA-41

....meet Japanese Ion Cannon

I nodded my head as the realization dawned on me. “Right, of course, that makes sense…”

She picked it up and set it on the shelf next to our bed, the nozzle pointing skyward to deter any would-be attackers. As she pressed the button the device warmed up and hummed to life, casting some ominous blue lights on the ceiling.

With her eyes casting heart shapes at her new space laser, she motioned for me to join her in the bed, a look of satisfaction and happiness upon her face, the ion cannon ready to protect us throughout the night.

Hours later, as the creepy blue lights and ominous machinations of the machine continued, sounding earily like Darth Vader, I still had no concrete idea of what exactly I’d bought my her.

Weeks later, as it sits here by me now, buzzing, clicking and humming along with a million other technological creations that I fail to understand I come to a final realization:

I could probably go on the internet and solve my query, perhaps even get some kind of explanation from the girl. In truth though, it’s fun not knowing what that ion cannon actually does. I come from America and I know goddamn well that someone’s gonna sue the shit out of me when I blow up their Star Destroyer and it’s a far better tactic to feign ignorance.

Also: Japanese people like some weird-ass shit, but ya’already knew that, didn’tcha?

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