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General

Morning Musume's Audience

A friend of mine who works in the media recently attended a Morning Musume (the idol group that has been dominating the J-pop charts for a few years now) concert, the one that featured the “graduation” of one of its older members (Abe Natsumi), and he was just blown away by the makeup of the audience. I’d talked about the Tsunku (MM’s producer and svengali) phenomenon before, how the concerts were predominately composed of guys in their thirties, cheering on these very young girls (the core group starts at around 11-12, but there are now side groups of pre-pubescent girls also) as they performed. That’s what he said he saw, a crowd that was probably around 90% older men, cheering with wild abandon. It’s worth considering what it is that attracts these men to the MM girls, if it’s carnal or innocent. My friend described what he saw as “the Mouseketeers with a higher tempo,” with none of the sex exploitation we see with American idols like Brittney Spears. The show is quite innocent, and the outfits aren’t particularly revealing. So what attracts this otaku crowd? I wonder if Tsunku purposely tries to pander to this audience. My friend had access to Tsunku as he attended to the girls backstage, where he treated them with respect. It would be interesting to do an interview with some of these MM fans to find out what it is that fuels their passion.

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TB.Grafico

The Long Passage

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Still at Shibuya station. See, I told you it was a long passage.

Shot taken with the A5403CA mobile phone.

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General

Ghost in the Shell Is Not for Kids

Yuko is watching an episode of GHOST IN THE SHELL: STAND ALONE COMPLEX right now, and she just made the comment that she’s amazed at how complicated the vocabulary is, and that kids would not be able to understand a lot of what is being said. They use words that she writes in her Masters thesis (and please take note that when she did a presentation last year in front of her peers, a lot of the students were not able to read some of the kanji she used in the prospectus). I remind you that GHOST IN THE SHELL is an animated series. I remind you that animation is not just a children’s medium.

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General

Changing Times in China

A few observations from Anna-Sophie Lowenberg, “former editor at BEIJING SCENE and bassist of Beijing grrl punk band Bieniu,” about a recent return to China at Danwei. Definitely interesting, and things that I also admit having noticed on my last trip to Beijing.

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General

Japan.box.sk

This is just so hilarious. Japan’s alternative news source. Think The Onion. Link via Chad.

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TB.Grafico

Zozoi

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Met up with Patrick last night in Ikebukuro, and we went to the Zozoi cafe, on the west side of the station. I wanted to bring him to a cafe I had found in last week’s issue of HANAKO (a special feature on nice spots in Ikebukuro) called Haha, but the place was having a private party. Looked nice from the outside though, so I’ll definitely going again. It’s also on the west side of the station.

Shot taken with the A5403CA mobile phone.

Categories
TB.Grafico

Shibuya Station Passage

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Super long passageway at Shibuya station. You need to walk quite a long ways if you take the entrance near Planet 3rd to get to the Yamanote line, passing through the Saikyo line platform.

Shot taken with the A5403CA mobile phone.

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General

Appleseed Trailer

The trailers page at the Japanese Apple site has an absolutely stunning trailer for the upcoming animated film APPLESEED. Features a combination of CG and cell-shaded graphics to give it an original look. There’s also a new trailer out for the second GHOST IN THE SHELL film, INNOCENCE.

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General

Paper Sky 8

The new issue of PAPER SKY is out. I spotted it the other day at Junkudo, when I got the latest issue of ART iT, but was surprised to go back today and see that they were out (presumably sold out). First time I see them sell out. I’ll go have a look at Libro tomorrow to see if they have it there. There’s no info on the issue at the magazine’s official site, but Magazo has a description (if you can read Japanese).

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General

Viewtiful Joe

B00007GZAX.09.MZZZZZZZOn my way back from work last Friday night I stopped by one of the used game shops near Ikebukuro station and picked up VIEWTIFUL JOE for the GameCube. It’s a game I’d been wanting to get ever since its release, and finding it for 2000 yen was the final incentive for me to get it (and I was really in the mood for a new game). The game is loads of fun, and really takes me back to the old days of 2D side-scrolling action. Yes, that’s the basic game play, but everything is done with oh-so-beautiful cell shading and quasi 3D perspectives, and with game mechanics that look as cool as they are fun to play (slow down time or make it go faster for MATRIX-like fighting). The whole thing looks great, and plays well too.