Saturday, March 27, 2010

Weekly Roundup of Cool Japanese

Yay! I've started a new segment here at shrinecastle: The Weekly Roundup of Cool Japanese Stories! It's going to be, well, a weekly roundup of cool Japanese stories.

Sunday, March 21
Two people, my husband and my friend Dan, sent in different links to stories celebrating the return of Colonel Sanders to the Kentucky Fried Chicken near Koshien Stadium outside of Osaka, Japan. Kentucky Fried Chicken holds a special place in the hearts of the Japanese during the Christmas season. This particular statue, however, was thrown into the Dotonbori River by an excited group of Hanshin Tigers fans celebrating their team's Japan Series championship in 1985. (It is widely assumed that this act cursed the Tigers because they haven't won a Japan Series since.) Somehow the Colonel resurfaced twenty-five years later, mud-stained and missing his hands and lower extremities. Both yakubaka and Japan Probe reported the Colonel was back on display, this time behind protective glass.

Here is a Japanese news report on last year's recovery of the beloved Colonel.

Monday, March 22
The picture of the day from Japan Today was of a giant strawberry shortcake.

REUTERS/Toru Hanai
The cake was placed there to celebrate the third anniversary of Tokyo Midtown, a city-within-a-city complex with a hotel, high-rise residences, a museum, park, shops, and restaurants in Roppongi. I have a feeling that girl is wondering what in world that thing is doing there.

Tuesday, March 23
The quirky website Tofugu declared this week to be Kanji Week. Tuesday's installment is a humorous look at the history of the Chinese characters. As someone who is studying kanji, I'll have to agree with Tofugu that it is indeed a torture method. 

Wednesday, March 24
Japan Probe does it again, this time posting a story about Pan-kun, the star chimpanzee of the Shimura Zoo. Pan-kun is usually seen running errands and doing interesting Japanese things with his friend James, a bulldog. 

In this video, Pan-kun and James want to ride a train, so Pan-kun must figure out how to buy and use a train ticket.

Here's another great video of Pan-kun and James. The title of the video suggests that they are making ramen, but they are actually making sanuki udon. Udon is a thicker noodle than ramen.

But I digress . . .
The point of Wednesday's Japan Probe is that Pan-kun is reaching maturity, so the zoo staff is setting him up with Poko-chan, another zoo resident who will – if all goes well – eventually become Pan-kun's wife. The video on the entry is about twelve minutes, but well worth the time. I'm only slightly creeped-out by the zoo trainer's propensity to dress like Pan-kun.

Thursday, March 25
Daigo Fujiwara's Twitter page linked to a story about Hideki Matsui's first home run as an Angel. The ball hit a car and broke the windshield. The car belongs to Angels owner Arte Moreno.

from - photo by 吉澤良太

Does Moreno deduct the cost for repairs from Matsui's paycheck? How does that work in MLB?

Friday, March 26
Here's Japan Today's creepy Picture of the Day:


This (creepy) female humanoid robot is being used by a dentist to demonstrate to students at Tokyo's Showa University. Ninety-nine percent of Japan's robots are cute. Not this one.

 Here's Asimo. Now that's a cute robot!

Saturday, March 27
The Tokyo International Anime Fair is going on right now, and this photo is a composite of what 130,000 visitors are seeing at Tokyo Big Sight.

Photo by TARA KIM

I'm sure a few guys will attend, too.

Okay, technically I received this link last week, but it's crazy enough to be included in my first Weekly Roundup of Cool Japanese Stuff. My friend Tammy found this on, and it's hilarious. And weird.

Umm, what? So, the little boy is brokenhearted, and the dog, who's name is Panchi, tells him to listen? Does the sign the dog is holding read "It's getting bigger"? I really just don't know. I'll have to appeal to my Japanese teacher to help us on this one. Kikuchi Sensei, if you're reading this, what does this commercial mean? たすけてください。It's a funny commercial, even if I don't understand what's happening.

That does it for the first ever Weekly Roundup of Cool Japanese Stuff. Tomorrow, I'll begin the search for next week's crop. With the way Japan is, I'm sure I'll have plenty of ideas. If you find something, e-mail me at

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