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Monthly Archives: December 2009
It is nearly impossible to spend New Year’s in Japan without watching at least part of the legendary “Red vs. White” singing battle Kohaku Uta Gassen. To mark the 60th anniversary of the program this year, NHK has once again chosen actress Yukie Nakama (Gokusen; Trick) and Smap singer Masahiro Nakai as hosts—the pair’s third ...
Dec 24, 2009 | No Comments | 2,060 views
1. 1Q84: Book 1 by Haruki Murakami (Shinchosha, 2009) 2. Yomeso de Yomenai Machigai Yasui Kanji (“Frequently Mistaken Kanji We Should Be Able to Read but Can’t”) by Munekazu Deguchi (Futami Shobo, 2008) 3. 1Q84: Book 2 by Haruki Murakami (Shinchosha, 2009) 4. No ni Ii Koto Dake wo Yarinasai! (“Happy for No Reason”) by ...
Dec 24, 2009 | No Comments | 1,117 views
1. Gake no Ue no Ponyo (“Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea,” Hayao Miyazaki, 2009) 2. Arashi: 5 x 10 All the Best! Clips 1999-2009 (2009) 3. Okuribito (“Departures,” Yojiro Takita, 2008) 4. Michael Jackson: Live in Bucharest (2005) 5. Michael Jackson: Video Greatest Hits (2005) 6. Arashi Around Asia 2008 in Tokyo (2009) ...
Dec 24, 2009 | No Comments | 911 views
Congratulations! If you’re reading this, it means that Final Fantasy XIII was released yesterday and the world didn’t end. I’ll also assume that the inevitable street riots have been quelled and the mass suicides subsided. It has indeed been a long wait, and as to whether or not the game lives up to its hype, ...
Dec 17, 2009 | No Comments | 798 views
Ringtone: 38,366,000 Single track (mobile): 36,799,000 Ringback tunes: 27,972,000 Single track (internet): 10,915,000 Music video (mobile): 2,064,000 Album (internet): 652,000 Music video (internet): 471,000 Other (mobile): 192,000 Source: Recording Industry of Japan (www.riaj.or.jp)
Dec 17, 2009 | No Comments | 1,094 views
Firefly viewing is usually considered a summer activity, but a group called Hotaru-san is aiming to change all that. This band of performance artists, clad in black bodysuits with softly glowing lights stuck to their backs, infiltrated a bunch of shops in Akihabara earlier this month and briefly took over the plaza outside the station. ...
Dec 17, 2009 | No Comments | 4,583 views
Comedy fans across the country will be glued to their sets on Sunday as Japan’s most prestigious manzai event airs live on TV Asahi. The M-1 Grand Prix is the top competition for comedians in the traditional style—taking home the grand prize is considered a surefire career-launcher. The contest is open to pros and amateurs ...
Dec 17, 2009 | No Comments | 1,004 views
68.4% yes Are you in favor of manga being turned into anime? 66.3% yes Has your favorite manga been turned into an anime? 56.3% yes If yes, did that make you happy? 94.9% yes Did you watch the anime version? Source: online survey of 531 people age 20s-40s by iShare, via Business Media Makoto (www.bizmakoto.jp)
Dec 10, 2009 | No Comments | 990 views
Check out a special two-hour special episode of the mystery-solving variety show Ariehen Sekai. This week, hosts Shingo Murakami, Shota Yasuda and Ryuhei Maruyama of boy band Kanjani 8 present the 30 most incredible, shocking—and underreported—“news” items from 2009. Topics include transgender couples; the trend of sexually aggressive women who initiate gyaku, or “backwards” nampa, ...
Dec 10, 2009 | No Comments | 2,839 views
The smash-hit keitai serial 40 Onna to 90 Nichi Kan de Kekkon suru Houhou (“How to Marry a 40-Year-Old Woman in 90 Days”) will make the leap to TV next month. The romantic comedy about an “around 40” beautician (Naoko Iijima) and the 23-year-old salaryman (Hayato Ichihara) who falls in love with her originally aired ...
Dec 10, 2009 | No Comments | 2,495 views
Internationally minded iPhone users will want to check out a pair of location-based apps: GoWalla and Foursquare. Both allow users to digitally “check in” to various locations—museums, bars, train stations, boutiques and the like—and receive alerts when friends visit the same spots. Foursquare offers an extra incentive by crowning individual users as “mayor” of a ...
Dec 10, 2009 | No Comments | 1,238 views
Starting as a local Kanto-area program and then moving on to the big leagues, Guru-Guru Ninety-Nine (popularly known as “Gurunai”) has enjoyed extreme popularity since its debut in 1994. The show, hosted by Takashi Okamura and Hiroyuki Yabe of comedy duo Ninety-Nine, features the popular segment “Gochi ni narimasu!” (literally, “It’s your treat!”). Each week, ...
Dec 3, 2009 | No Comments | 4,437 views
There may be a certain segment of the population (or popular media) that’s hoping for so-called “herbivorous guys” (soushoku-kei danshi) to stick around for the long haul. But that opinion is by no means universal, as evidenced by Mugen 35R, a new compilation album being released December 9. The CD was produced by auto parts ...
Dec 3, 2009 | No Comments | 978 views
Hits 1. Bayonetta. Stylish over-the-top action mixed with a polished sense of camp make for one of the most enjoyable action games in years. 2. Tales of Vesperia (PS3). Textbook example of how to do a remake: add tons of new content and more pirates. 3. Borderlands. Not quite up to the sublime standards of ...
Dec 3, 2009 | No Comments | 1,071 views
Fans of Yoshihiro Togashi’s popular manga Hunter X Hunter will be glad to know that the characters are back in business. Protagonist Gon Freecss is a young boy whose sheltered childhood comes to an end when he learns that the father he thought was dead is not only alive, but is one of the legendary ...
Dec 3, 2009 | No Comments | 1,010 views