• Japan 15.03.2009 5 Comments
    Tokyo City Hall. The observation deck at the top is worth a visit!

    Tokyo City Hall. The observation deck at the top is worth a visit!

    I am tired of hearing Tokyo called an ugly city. In guide books, newspapers and travel Web sites I am constantly seeing people badmouth the aesthetics of the people of Tokyo. I first saw Tokyo in 1991 and most recently in 2006 I’ve lived there for periods of time on several occasions. Tokyo is a clean, beautiful, interesting city and does not at all deserve the bad rap it has received internationally. Read more…

    Tags:

  • Japan 14.03.2009 No Comments
    The front entrance

    The front entrance

    In Nihombashi, Tokyo I found the flagship store for Mitsukoshi, a chain of department stores in Japan. Here it is on the map. Mitsukoshi is the oldest still-operating department store company in the world. It was founded in 1673 with the shop name “Echigoya.” Ten years later, Echigoya took a new approach to marketing. Instead of selling by going door-to-door, they set up a store where buyers could purchase goods. They must have known what they were doing because their flagship store is simply amazing. Read more…

    Tags:

  • Mecha fan Ollie Barder of the UK has written a new article about mecha video games titled Bushido and Beamsabers. It’s recommended reading.

  • Did you know that Spiderman fought the Iron Cross Army in Japan in 1978? Did you know he used a giant robot named Leopardon to do it?  Marvel Comics is now displaying the first episode of Toei’s Spiderman from 1978 on their Web site. You can see it here (or look at the embedded video below).

    Tags:

  • Japan 08.03.2009 No Comments

    The Studio Alta building in Shinjuku, Tokyo is an icon of Japan to the rest of the world (here it is on the map). I don’t think the Japanese see it that way but it has a strange magnetic power over western journalists. If you send a news team to Japan to do a story about anything they’ll be drawn to Studio Alta and film their anchorman standing in front of it. It certainly isn’t hard to find. One of the northern exits of the massive Shinjuku train station leads to an outdoor plaza across the street from the massive outdoor video screen. Read more…

    Tags:

  • fandom, Japan 07.03.2009 No Comments

    Meiji Jingu Bridge (Meiji Shrine Bridge) is a landmark in Tokyo for fandom of all stripes (here it is on the map). Free of motor traffic, it is a large foot bridge that has become a gathering place for fans of anime cosplay, heavy metal music, rock and roll and pop music, and fandom in general. Its location is the reason for its success among young people. It is located right by the entrance to Yoyogi Park (a favorite place for rock bands to hold free concerts), right by the Harajuku JR train station and a block away from Takeshita Dori (a street that serves as the preeminent shopping area for teenagers and fans of various subcultures). Read more…

    Tags:

  • The 80’s are back! Twenty years is not long enough to keep a good decade down. As a person who came of age in the 80’s I naturally feel a hint of nostalgia for that time. This year’s movie line up suggests that I’m not the only one who remembers the 80’s. G I Joe, Transformers and Tron have new movies on the way proving that the toy franchises of the 80’s still have a lot of staying power. Why don’t we see any movies based on the toys girls played with in the 80’s? I guess Rainbow Bright, Strawberry Shortcake and My Little Pony just don’t have much movie potential. Read more…

    Tags:

  • It has always amazed me how Votoms never caught on in North America. Armored Trooper Votoms, a TV series (1983), and its spinoff OAV Armor Hunter Mellowlink (1988), should have captivated American science-fiction fans. Attempts were made. U.S. Manga Corps released the entire Votoms TV series to DVD. Granted, it was subtitled only and not available in English dub but I still don’t get how it didn’t catch on. I bought the DVD box set and was enthralled. It really is an excellent show. I had to use BitTorrent to get Armor Hunter Mellowlink as it has never been released to DVD in North America. Read more…

    Tags:

  • Japan 04.03.2009 No Comments

    One of the fun things about visiting Japan is seeing poor English printed in large signs. There isn’t nearly as much poor English as there was during my first visit to Japan in 1991 but there’s still enough to amuse a traveller. A placard inside a car read “Be particular, whatever in your car life.” A soap dish in a Japanese home read “Adams is leading the way to a whole new world of bathroom.” In 1991 there was a car on the road called MU. Underneath, in smaller letters, read “Mysterious Utility.” In Karuizawa, a resort town, there stood a cigarette vending machine that had, in large, bold letters, “How green is my crater.” Can you think of a better way to sell cigarettes? Read more…

  • I’ve finished watching the 26 episodes of Bounen no Xamdou that aired in 2008. According to Anime News Network it isn’t a television show because it first aired on the Internet, making it an ONA (original net animation). It can be a little difficult to find information about the show online as people can’t agree on the spelling of the show’s title. I’ve seen Bounen no Xamdou, Bounen no Zamned and Bounen no Zamn’d. Read more…