Emo and myopic traditions return to Japan

In seems like in Japan arranged marriages, a tradition that has been gradually becoming extinct over the past couple of decades, might be making a comeback. Oddly enough last year’s Japanese earthquake might have something to do with it.

David Millward explains that following the natural disaster, many Japanese have turned to traditional values as a coping mechanism. It was a time of reflection during which family and communal bonds became absolutely essential. Many people went as far as to tying the knot for the sake of safeguarding normalcy. An example of the rationalization:

“Many felt that if they died nobody would care, so they thought they should marry.”

Yeesh. Schools and McBournie, can we get an “emooooooo?” 40% of all unions these days are now becoming arranged marriages. Anxious couples mingling under the supervision of chaperones are once again becoming a standard part of the scenery. According to Sasaki Akiko, a Japanese tour guide, there is no reason to be alarmed by this trend, as all arranged marriages have a much lower divorce rate than that for modern partnerships.

“With an arranged marriage, you go into it with both eyes open, with love you always have one eye closed.”

Nope, that’s not myopic and cynical at all.

It’s like Facebook for kids with conviction records, which kind of makes it MySpace

These days there’s a social network catering to just about every kind of demographic. Interested in hanging out with fellow runners (JogBook), researchers (SearchSpace), pineapple lovers (Pineapperest), jet skiers (FriendSki), or amateur snuff film makers (Snuffer)? You got it! There’s probably a website available for just about every type of fetishist as well, but we’ll leave those corners of the web to Rick Snee.

In Japan, one of the latest social networks to hit the Internet is Yankee I Love You, a site made exclusively for juvenile delinquents and wannabe troublemakers to socialize. Are you into motorcycles, bling, orange tans, Tony Montana, perfectly styled pompadours and live in Japan? Great, this sure sounds like your kind of place!

It turns out that the word “Yankee” is used in Japan to describe thuggish kids, hence the name. The term originated in Osaka in the seventies, and was once used to refer to the flashy teens who would hang out at the city’s Amerikamura fashion district.

Yankee I Love You user profiles are as gaudy and customizable as you would expect. Users can prove their street cred by providing a summary of their arrest record and the name of their favorite motorcycle gang. Despite the rough nature of the site’s clienteles, managers claim that there have been no issues with any users thus far.

We can only assume that, despite the numbers we’re fed, it’s because there aren’t actually any users outside of Tom.

Music from the brain doesn’t equal good music

Looks like there is a way to create music without singing and/or playing musical instruments, and Masaki Batoh has figured out a method. As a means to remember those affected by Japan’s earthquake, Masaki gathered some of the survivors to help out in his grand scheme.

Utilizing a modified EEG machine, Masaki uses the brain waves of the people he selected and converts them into sound. Masaki would show his volunteers images of Japan, and he would take their brain waves from the reaction to create the songs for his musical track known as Brain Pulse Music.

As noble as his act is, the end result is not very pretty. The sounds created from the brain waves come out as high pitch sounds, which is definitely not good for the ears. Screeching sounds are not good either. Overall, the entire process concept is intriguing, but not something that should ever want to put into their ears again. Though it would be neat to see if the device gets modified in the future to produce better sounds that refrain from giving our ears any sort of pain, I’ll take my brain-Twitter implant, thank you very much science.

One step forward, two steps backward

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is currently in the talks of enacting a bill which would revise an existing ordinance regulating fugu (blowfish) trade in the area. Taking effect in October of this year, the bill would allow unlicensed chefs to process and sell the poisonous (on the inside, spiny and nightmare-inducing on the outside) fish.

The change in policy is prompted by the inefficacy of current license restrictions. Hironobu Kondo of the metro government’s food control department reports that a significant portion of Tokyo residents now simply buy fugu from prefectures with fewer regulations. Tokyo is among only a handful of prefectures where restrictions apply. While in recent years, safety concerns associated with fugu consumption have become less of an issue, the Tokyo Fugu Association claims that the revision of the ordinance would also result in a big drop in the overall price of fugu products. Furthermore, as license requirements are dropped and the number of restaurants selling fugu increases, it is also predicted that so will the incidence of food poisoning cases. Sometimes you just can’t win!

So, where’s the problem? Everywhere. While yes, this does mean that anyone can now slice open those monstrous fish, this is exactly what the animals want. Not only do they wound us upon capturing them, an untrained and unskilled chef can now potentially kill a lot of people, and this is now a legitimate possibility. Irony, thy name is fugu, as the Japanese have now unleashed a veritable kamikaze upon themselves.

Misanthrope gun of the future looks less than futuristic

Hello there, faithful member of society! Have you been trying to enjoy an espresso, or sitting around on a quiet morning, reading a book at your local cafe when some loud-mouth walks by the open-air, outside porch, talking as if they’re the only person on the street? Ever been standing in line when someone with a voice that has a volume level akin to a Spinal Tap concert gets into the queue, chatting away without a single thought in the world?

Then worry no more! For the small fee of a plane trip to Japan and a nominal amount as a venture capitalist, you can (theoretically) be the owner of a “SHUTTA-UPPA-YO-MOUFFA!” gun. Worry not anymore about politely asking people if they can be a little more discrete with their discussions. Simply point, shoot, and voila, let the confusion arise.

Libraries? Shh’d. Bullies? De-nyah-nyah’d. Free speech? Zipped. Rush Limbaugh? Still fat and calling people sluts, but possibly quieted some.

Japan REALLY looking toward the future

Japanese construction company Obayashi is planning the construction of a space elevator which would carry passengers to a station about a tenth the distance to the moon. According to the company, the project could be completed as early as 2050.

Made of super-strong carbon nanotubes, the elevator would stretch some 60,000 miles from its anchor point, which would be built on an ocean’s floor. The opposite end of the building would dangle in space serving the role of a counterweight. Powered by magnetic linear motors, elevator pods would move at a speed of roughly 125mph, meaning it would take about one week for passenger to reach the top. The design would allow for up to 30 people to travel simultaneously. Acrophobics need not apply.

While at the moment it is difficult to estimate the total cost of the venture (we guess it’ll be many, many moon-dollars), it’s presumed that space elevators would, in the long run, be significantly more affordable than rocket launches, but significantly less (or would it be even more so) phallic looking in design.

Japanese suckers born nearly every other minute

A survey was conducted across 50 countries, asking the question “Do you believe in UFO’s?”. Coming in at number two is Japan. A total of 45.3% of the Japanese people polled replied that they did in fact believe in alien sightings, placing Japan below only Brazil and Mexico.

In a country that still values the presence of spirits and the supernatural, this isn’t quite that shocking. You don’t often see many programs on TV discussing the existence of extraterrestrials but apparently that doesn’t mean a whole lot.

So, what can we gather from this report? The Fortean Times probably isn’t (but may possibly) a magazine originating from the United States, but from Brazil, Mexico or Japan.

And now, バックアップ未来メガシティ東京-su

As you may have been made aware of earlier this year, Japan kind of went through the ringer in terms of natural disasters. And you know what? As time goes on, it’s just going to get worse and worse.

That’s why what’s being suggested for Tokyo doesn’t sound too crazy of a concept. Some of Japan’s Democratic Party have come up with the idea that backing up the city of Tokyo, much like storing your data on a floppy disk, would be a good action to take just in case an earthquake hits the area and it become Doomed Megatopolis. Okay, maybe it wouldn’t be just like a floppy disk.

The new city would take on all the functions of the capital city in the event of an emergency. It would boast office complexes, resort facilities, parks and even casinos. The city’s centerpiece would be a tower that would rank among the tallest in the world, coming in at just over 650 meters (2,133 feet). It’d be built to house 50,000 residents and accommodate a workday population of around 200,000 people from the Osaka region

When you live in a world where Godzilla, Rodan, Biollante or Space Godzilla can strike at a moment’s notice (beware the bubbling bubbles of Tokyo Harbor), it can’t hurt to be prepared. Unless you’re dealing with King Caesar. Night of the Lepus taught us that floppy-eared rabbits, no matter how tall they are, should be feared.

We can see your panties

3,000 pairs of women’s underpants have been recovered from four spots along the highway in Ohio, at least one pile of 1,600 in Fairfield County alone.  Police report that the panties are loose and are both new and used. They also appear to be of the “local discount and grocery stores” variety, not the racy stuff your mom buys.

Other than those details, authorities are stumped. The Guys have put together a couple of theories:

  1. Aliens! You’ve heard of Stonehenge. This is Mingehenge. And if any of the underpants were made of corduroy, then this could have been the beginning of the NASCAR Lines.
  2. Artists! Mountains of unglamorous dollar store granny-panties discarded along the highways and biways of middle America — the interpretations are limitless.
  3. Animals! Prairie critters are attempting to infiltrate the Heartland, one leg at a time — just like the rest of us.
  4. The Japanese! The used ones fit their M.O. Not sure where the new ones come in, though. Perhaps we interrupted them before they could finish?

We will dispatch our own Bryan McBournie to Ohio this weekend to investigate.

The squeeze gets put on the TSA

On this past Thursday, a Colorado woman of Japanese decent was arrested and charged with a felony count of sexual abuse, after she reportedly grabbed a TSA officer’s breasts.

Please pick up your jaw. We know that this is a bit of an anomaly, being that it’s a Japanese woman groping someone and not a Japanese man. Details, unfortunately, are currently sparse on what actually occurred, but was this a reaction from being groped by the TSA agent?

The woman, 61 year old Yukari Mihamae, has been released, and is currently awaiting trial. We can only assume that the TSA will soon be offering her a job with them.