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Art classes (with naked models) help Japanese virgins get to the next level
06.30.2015
08:01 am

Topics:
Art
Sex

Tags:
Japan


 
It’s almost impossible to write about this story without referencing The 40-Year-Old Virgin, the successful 2006 movie that did so much for Steve Carell’s career. In Japan, it seems, the proliferation of Andy Stitzers (Carell’s character in that movie) has become something of an active social problem. According to the Japan Times, “A 2010 survey by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research found that around a quarter of unmarried Japanese men in their 30s were still virgins — even leading to the coining of a specific term, yaramiso, to describe them.”

For anyone who is not in that position, the heartache of being in such a situation, a fully grown adult with little experience to draw on and few prospects to look forward to, can be a devastating psychological toll of failure. One 49-year-old whose name was withheld in the Japan Times article felt romantic and sexual feelings for a woman only twice in his life, and both times the woman in question rejected him. “It was devastating,” he said. “It seemed to invalidate my life and take away my reason to live.”
 

Shingo Sakatsume and his Virgin Academia textbook.
 
Statistics for a straightforward comparison across international boundaries are scarce, but a superficial look at the numbers suggests that the Japanese do have less sex than most western countries. For instance, a poll conducted by Durex found that 68 percent of Japanese respondents of the ages of 18 and 19 were virgins, whereas the typical figure for Germany was closer to 20 percent, in Turkey 37 percent.

To help alleviate this problem, Shingo Sakatsume, whose company White Hands specializes in finding ways for “people with severe disabilities find an outlet for their sexual needs,” has turned his attention to what he can do for those who are sexually frustrated for more parochial reasons. His motto is “Sexual maturity means social maturity. ... Even if the person has disabilities, one who recognizes and accepts his own sexuality tends to be able to build balanced relations with others. ... People who are not sexually mature tend to get timid socially.”
 

 
Sakatsume’s program for adult virgins has been dubbed “Virgin Academia.” One of the main tools for helping such men has been art classes, pictured here, with live models—without clothes on—in order to help them get more familiar with the female body. As Takashi Sakai, a 41-year-old virgin, commented, “The first time I did this, in autumn last year, oh . . . I was so amazed. Their bodies are incredibly beautiful. ... One thing I learned is that there are many different shapes of breasts and even genitals.”

As Sarah Cascone of Artnet reports, “The correspondence course comes with a 100-page textbook, Virgin Breaker!, and runs for a full year, with participants keeping a counselor apprised of their progress in their efforts to meet women.” Cascone continues: “The figure drawing sessions, which take place every other month in Tokyo, allows the yaramiso to encounter a naked woman in a neutral environment, free of romance and pressure to perform sexually.”

Here’s a report from AFP News Agency about the yaramiso phenomenon:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Meiko Kaji and the ass-kicking female gangs of the ‘Stray Cat Rock’ films, 1970-71
06.26.2015
07:10 am

Topics:
Movies

Tags:
Japan
Meiko Kaji
Stray Cat Rock

Stray Cat Rock
 
During the early 1970s, Nikkatsu Studios out of Japan released a series of youth films that helped define an era. Very much of their time, the five motion pictures that make up the Stray Cat Rock cycle were inspired by the late ‘60s counterculture. Amidst a backdrop of psychedelic imagery, the characters represent Japan’s wayward youth, juvenile delinquents hell-bent on living life on their own terms, stealing, drugging, and fighting along the way.
 
psychedelic imagery
 
on the road
 
knife fight
 
Two different filmmakers were at the helm for the series. Yasuharu Hasebe directed Delinquent Girl Boss (1970), Sex Hunter (1970), and Machine Animal (1971), all of which focused on gangs—especially the ass-kicking, female sort—and organized crime. Toshiya Fujita was behind the camera for Wild Jumbo and Beat ‘71, films that, while still featuring unlawful and violent behavior, are really about youth enjoying life.
 
Machine Animal
The young women of ‘Machine Animal’; Meiko Kaji, center

The Stray Cat Rock cycle represent the breakout films of Meiko Kaji. She would achieve her greatest fame starring in Lady Snowblood (1973), a film which, decades later, proved to be a major influence on Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003).
 
Beat '71
Meiko Kaji in ‘Beat ‘71’

On July 14th, Arrow Video will release the five Stray Cat Rock flicks as a limited edition boxed set. This will mark the North American debut of all the films in the Blu-ray format.

We’ve selected a clip for you, dear reader, one you’re sure to enjoy. It’s from the fourth installment, Sex Hunter, and features a female gang on a mission to rescue fellow members from a party gone wrong. Led by Meiko Kaji’s character, Mako, the young women show up armed with a surprise for the captors.
 
Sex HunterMeiko Kaji in ‘Sex Hunter’

Preorder the limited edition Stray Cat Rock Blu-ray/DVD boxed set via MVD or Amazon. Probably best to get yours sooner rather than later, if demand for the 2014 UK version is any indication, as its already out-of-print.
 

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Leave a comment
The wild wild world of Japanese rebel biker culture
05.28.2015
11:50 am

Topics:
Fashion
History
Pop Culture

Tags:
Japan
bikers

Former bosozuku leader, Kazuhiro Hazuki
 

“I was interested in them because they were punks and they were against society.”—Kazuhiro Hazuki, Narushino Specter gang

 
Back in the 1970s the term bōsōzoku (or “speed tribes”) was first used to describe Japanese biker gangs that routinely fought in the streets with rival gangs and the police. Often dressed like Kamikaze pilots, the bōsōzoku wreaked havoc speeding through the streets on their illegally modified bikes, blowing through red lights, and smashing the car windows of any motorist that dared defy them with baseball bats. Foreigners were an especially favorite target of the bōsōzoku’s aggression.
 
Bosozuku photo from a Japanese biker magazine with modified bike and helmet
Bōsōzoku biker with illegally modified bike and helmet (taken from a Japanese biker magazine)
 
Bosozuku bikers, 1970's
Bōsōzoku bikers, 1970’s
 
Bosozuku biker with his bike and bat, 1980's
Bōsōzoku biker, 1980’s
 
Bosozuku biker with bike and bat
 
The earliest incarnation of the bōsōzoku, the kaminari zoku, appeared in the 1950’s. Not unlike their idols from the films, The Wild Ones or Rebel Without a Cause, the group was formed by the youthful and disenchanted members of Japan’s proletariat, and the gang provided a place for the emerging delinquents to call their own. A fiercely disciplined and rebellious group, the bōsōzoku once boasted more than 40,000 members. By 2003 the bōsōzoku’s numbers had dwindled to just over 7000. According to first-hand accounts from former senior members, the modern version of the bōsōzoku (known as Kyushakai) no longer embody the rebel spirit of their predecessors. In fact, some have returned to homaging their rockabilly idols by donning elaborate Riizentos, a style of pompadour synonymous with disobedience. These days many ex-bōsōzoku parade around on their bikes in non-disruptive groups and enjoy dancing, performing music and socializing in groups in Harajuku, an area well known for its outrageous fashion.
 
Harajuku Black Shadow dancers (ex-bosozuku), 2008
Harajuku Black Shadow dancers (ex-bōsōzoku), hanging out in Harajuku, 2008
 
Ex-Bosozuku hanging out in Harajuku, 2008
 
Many factors are to blame for the demise of the traditional bosozuku. A former leader of from the Narushino Specter gang in the 90s (and one time Yakuza loan shark), Kazuhiro Hazuki recalls that the police were once content to allow the bōsōzoku to run riot and no matter how many times they were arrested, a gang member never had their license revoked. Over the years, revised traffic laws have led to a rise in the arrest and prosecution of the bōsōzoku. Some also point to the inclusion of women as bōsōzoku riders, now a common sight in Japan, and a less than robust economy (many bōsōzoku bikes can cost as much as ten grand) for the drastic reduction in the gang’s numbers.
 
Modern day Bosozuku
Modern-day bōsōzoku
 
Bosozuku biker girl
 
Modern Kyushakai bikers
Modern Kyushakai bikers
 
If this post has piqued your interest of vintage Japanese biker culture, there are several documentaries and films based on the bōsōzoku and other speed tribes in Japan, such as 1976’s God Speed You! Black Emperor, 2012’s Sayonara Speed Tribes, a short documentary that features historical perspective from the aforementioned Kazuhiro Hazuki, or the series of films from director Teruo Ishii based on the bōsōzoku that began in 1975 with, Detonation! Violent Riders. If you are a fan of Japanese anime, the story told in the cult film Akira deeply parallels the real world of the bōsōzoku in their heyday. Many images of the bōsōzoku of the past and their mind-boggling motorcycles follow.
 
Bosozuku biker, early 1970's
Bōsōzoku biker, early 1970’s
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Teenage Wasteland: Photos of rebellious youth in Japan, 1964
01.27.2015
09:15 am

Topics:
History
Pop Culture

Tags:
Japan


 
I thought I’d share these absolutely stunning photos of the decidedly wilder side of Japanese youth culture circa 1964. The images, taken by LIFE photographer Michael Rougier, document “one Japanese generation’s age of revolt.”

From the 1964 issue of LIFE:

All through that past, a sense of connection with the old traditions and authority has kept Japanese children obedient and very close to the family. This sense still controls most of Japan’s youth who besiege offices and factories for jobs and the universities for education and gives the whole country an electric vitality and urgency. But as its members run away from the family and authority, this generation in rebellion grows.

The photos have a very raw, punky energy, if you will, for 1964. If you’re curious about who the band that everyone is rocking out to, they were called the Tokyo Beatles. I’ve added a YouTube clip of their cover of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” at the bottom so you can get an idea to what the kids are freaking out about in some of these evocative photos.


 

 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Move over Tom of Finland, macho Japanese gay comic art is soooooo hot right now
09.15.2014
01:28 pm

Topics:
Art
Fashion
Queer

Tags:
Japan
manga


 
Watch out Tom of Finland, there’s a new milieu of gay nationalist iconography in town! Massive is a new brand producing clothing, accessories, art and original and translated books centered on gay manga—meaning Japanese comic books celebrating bears, bears and more bears! I’m generally of the opinion that pin-up art has jumped the shark, but these manly men are just as delightful as they are niche—sort an army of Bettie Gay-ge’s!

The art itself is really charming: sophisticated, without being pretentious or self-important. Japanese artist Jiraiya comments on his work for the the sweatshirt above:

These two guys have the same muscle mass, but I’d guess different body fat percentages. In my opinion, they’re a perfect couple. But if they fight, their house will be partially destroyed.

And how!

I don’t know about you, but much I’d rather wear this than one of those bland, now ubiquitous American Apparel “Legalize Gay” shirts. Between that jumper and my Hüsker Dü tee, bear culture will always have a place in my wardrobe… but never in the closet!
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Japanese cafe seats solo diners with stuffed animals to ward off loneliness
04.25.2014
07:08 am

Topics:
Amusing
Food

Tags:
Japan
Moomin

Moomin Cafe
 
Oh, Japan. Will you never stop coming up with ingenious, adorable, and/or strange practices that confound Westerners? At the Moomin Café chain, which is dedicated to a series of popular picture books from Finland that are also very popular in Japan, it is apparently the policy to seat a large stuffed animal at the tables of unaccompanied guests.

The Moomin characters are cute and hippopotamus-like, and the cafe is decorated in the style of the book series. The characters are awfully damn cute, and have names like Moomintroll, Moominpappa, Moominmamma, Sniff, Snufkin, and so on. It’s a little as if you cross-bred the Teletubbies and the characters from Babar the Elephant, but I confess I don’t know the series well. Here’s a delicious entrée with the rice shaped like a Moomin character.
 
Moomin rice
 
Twitter user Haruo99 recently visited the Tokyo Dome City LaQua branch, and as she awaited the arrival of her food order, a staff member materialized who informed her that someone would like to sit with her, if she didn’t object. It soon emerged that this was a reference to the Snork Maiden, girlfriend of Moomintroll. “The waitress had such a big smile on her face, I couldn’t say no,” Haru recalls. “But it was also so cute!”
 
Snork Maiden
 
The policy of providing solo patrons with mute, inanimate (albeit cute) partners is neither new nor exclusive to this branch; the policy has been in place since the café opened in 2003. “Guests to Moominhouse are welcomed by the Moomin family,” according to a spokesperson from the company’s PR department. As RocketNews24 reports, the service is “also available at the Moomin Cafes at Solamachi entertainment complex at the base of the Tokyo Skytree, and also the Canal City shopping center in Fukuoka. Stuffed versions of Moomintroll, Moominpappa, Moominmamma, and Snork Maiden are standing by at all three locations, and the roster grows to six at Tokyo Dome City where the oddly-named characters Sniff and Stinky are also available to share your table with.”

Only in Japan would they invent the practice of supplying you with a temporary friend named “Stinky” to make you less self-conscious!

Here’s the opening sequence from the Japanese animated TV series of Moomin, to give you an idea of what it’s like:
 

 
via RocketNews24 and First We Feast

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Tokyo manhole covers remind us that US cities just do not give a damn, comparatively speaking
04.07.2014
08:30 am

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Japan
sewage


 
I love New York, but New York is truly disgusting, and a lot of it is unbelievably ugly. The infrastructure is crumbling (dear god, the subways), and what little public beauty that isn’t as dilapidated as a Dickensian wedding dress is relegated to the neighborhoods of the rich and powerful. Even Central Park is largely maintained by private donations—it’s their back yard, they just let us visit. Most of the time I can ignore this. I fell in love with New York through movies like The Warriors, so I expect a certain post-apocalyptic aesthetic. But when I see something like photographer S. Morita’s collection of Japanese manhole covers—there are nearly 6,000 on the Flickr, I get a little emotional.

Nearly every industrialized city in the world lives atop a sewage system—a literal, man-made river system of shit and filth. The Japanese have managed to make the access-point to their shit-rivers really pretty! (So has Milan, by the way. My admiration for this kind of attention to detail and investment in (functional!) public art is certainly tinged with jealousy. Okay, maybe “not tinged.” Maybe more like “infected.” I am riddled with jealousy. We have an absurdly wealthy nation! We have creative people! We should have nice things too!
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
‘Tokyo Compression’: These images of Japanese commuters are not for the claustrophobic
04.03.2014
01:16 pm

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Japan


 
I’ve never been to Japan. My husband—who’s been there before and loves it—is always trying to convince me we should take a trip there. The thing is, I’m someone who suffers from a mild to not so mild claustrophobia. I have to sleep with the window open every night (even if it’s 20 degrees outside). The thought of airlessness, stuffy rooms or crowded subway cars freaks me the hell out. New York City can be too much for me, so I’ve always been leery of what might await me in the Land of the Rising Sun.

After viewing these photos by German photographer Michael Wolf of Japanese commuters in Tokyo… they kinda sealed the deal: I ain’t going to Japan. Or at the very least, I’m not taking public transportation.

Wolf’s series is called “Tokyo Compression.”
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Someone is defacing hundreds of copies of Anne Frank’s Diary in Japanese libraries
03.07.2014
06:58 am

Topics:
Books
Crime

Tags:
Japan
Anne Frank

Anne Frank
 

Last month it was discovered that a total of 305 copies of the Japanese translation of The Diary of Anne Frank have been severely defaced—some most likely slashed with a knife, others with entire pages forcefully torn out—in a number of libraries across Tokyo, according to Asahi Shimbun, a major newspaper in Japan. The affected libraries, of which there are 31, have reported no other acts of vandalism or theft, leading authorities to regard the vandalism as the handiwork of a person or persons with a political motive.
 
The Diary of Anne Frank
 
The diary is one of the most moving and inspiring documents of the twentieth century. Anne Frank, of course, was a teenager hiding in Amsterdam with her family to evade detection from the Nazis during World War II. The diary covers the years 1942 through 1944, years during which Frank was 13 to 15 years old. In early 1945 she died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. In 1947 her diary was published in the Netherlands to widespread acclaim under the title Het Achterhuis (The Annex); the English translation would follow five years later, under the title Diary of a Young Girl, although it is most commonly called simply The Diary of Anne Frank. As one of the best-known testimonies about the Holocaust, it has been widely read in Japan and many other countries.

Officials in Japan have commenced an investigation into the mysterious mutilation of hundreds of copies of the diary as well as other books related to her at public libraries across Tokyo. The motive for the mutilations are likely to reflect Japanese politics more than ordinary anti-Semitism per se. The New York Times made reference to vague conspiracies from the late 1970s incorrectly claiming that the name of the Enola Gay B-29 bomber that delivered the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima meant “Kill the Emperor” in Yiddish. Meanwhile, the election of right-wing politician Shinzo Abe as prime minister in 2012 (he had served in the post for a year spanning 2006 and 2007) has emboldened right-wing groups across Japan.
 
The Diary of Anne Frank
 
Some libraries have elected to remove materials relating to Anne Frank off the shelves, which means that a personal request will have to be made with a library employee to read them. Government spokesman Yoshihide Suga has expressed disappointment at the damage; “It is extremely regrettable and shameful,” he told reporters. The Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Los Angeles-based Jewish human rights group, has issued a statement expressing “shock and deep concern” over the vandalism: “Only people imbued with bigotry and hatred would seek to destroy Anne’s historic words of courage, hope and love in the face of impending doom.”

On a more hopeful note, an anonymous donor has already funded the replacement of 100 copies of The Diary of Anne Frank.
 

 
via RocketNews24

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Hear a broadcast from the Tokyo Rose, Japan’s World War II radio propaganda disc jockey
03.06.2014
07:00 am

Topics:
History
Race

Tags:
Japan
World War II
Propaganda
Tokyo Rose

Iva Toguri
Iva Toguri D’Aquino
 
The Tokyo Rose is one of the more ingenious and chilling bits of psychological warfare in human history. During World War Two, in an effort to unnerve American GI’s and lower morale, the Japanese broadcast an English-language radio show hosted by a rotating roster of female voices. “Tokyo Rose” was the generic moniker given (by Americans) to all the announcers, but the most famous voice (and probably the one you hear in the broadcast below) was that of Iva Toguri D’Aquino, an American who had the misfortune to have been caring for a sick aunt in Japan when the war broke out. After the war, she was arrested and convicted of treason—apparently being a prisoner of war was no excuse for making a radio show. She wasn’t released until 1956.

The format of the show was actually pretty brilliant; in between coy “updates” on the war, (and insinuations of Japan’s impending attacks), Tokyo Rose would play the hits of the day. The show was incredibly popular among American serviceman. Rumors circulated that she possessed insider knowledge of American military actions. Some said she named specific servicemen as recent captures in her broadcasts—this is completely unsubstantiated, of course, and popular opinion is that the myth of Tokyo Rose flourished in the bewildered minds of her targets. And it that sense, the program was a complete success; Americans did overestimate the power and knowledge of Axis Japan.

Similar programs were employed by other Axis countries, including the insidious Lord Haw Haw in Germany, but none quite had the eery charm of Tokyo Rose, whose sweet voice and romantic tunes belied a brutal war.
 

 
Bonus: I’ve also included the grotesquely racist piece of American propaganda, Tokyo Woes. The 1945 Bob Clampett-directed Warner Brothers cartoon was only intended for viewing by the US Navy. Nothing sells war quite like racism and the promise of a hero’s welcome after a quick and easy victory.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
What if ‘Game of Thrones’ were set in feudal Japan?
01.22.2014
05:21 am

Topics:
Art
Television

Tags:
Japan
Game of Thrones

Feudal Japan
“Battle of the Trident”—Seiji writes: “This is the iconic duel between Robert Baratheon and Rhaegar Targaryen that preceded the series by seventeen years. Instead of a war hammer, Robert wields a Kanabō, a club-like samurai bludgeoning weapon. His antlered helmet is inspired by the famous helmet of the warlord Honda Tadakatsu.”


What would “Westeros” be in Japanese? “Wesatarosu”? (Apologies if that’s way off.) At any rate, That’s the question prompted by these marvelous artworks by imgur user seiji, who is clearly a fan of the HBO series/endless series of novels by George R. R. Martin as well as of the distinctive visual steez of 18th-century Japanese woodblock prints.

As Seiji commented on his imgur page:

“I thought it would be interesting to draw a retelling of the [A Song of Ice and Fire] universe as if it took place in feudal-era Japan. These drawings are inspired by the Ukiyo-e style.”

Now I’m imagining Toshiro Mifune occupying the diminutive shoes of Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister. Nah, can’t see it without Dinklage….
 
Feudal Japan
“Tyrion at the Eyrie”—“Catelyn Stark, her uncle Brynden Tully, and a dispatch of the Knights of the Vale journey to the Eyrie while transporting their captive, Tyrion Lannister. Tyrion is dressed in the robes of a nobleman.”
 
Feudal Japan
“Bran Stark and Hodor Journey North”—“Weirwood lore shares some interesting similarities to Shinto practices, so I drew a shimenawa (prayer rope) around the tree trunk.”
 
Feudal Japan
“Jon Snow Duels Qhorin Halfhand as Wildlings Look On”—“The wildlings are dressed like the Ainu, who are the indigenous people of northern Japan. The Ainu are thought to be the descendants of the first inhabitants of the islands, and throughout history they have lived independently in the cold far north, beyond the grasp of the Emperor.”
 
Feudal Japan
“The Execution of Eddard Stark”—“Instead of having Ilyn Payne simply execute Ned Stark, an amused Joffrey orders Ned to commit seppuku. Ilyn is on hand to perform the kaishaku, or ritual decapitation to quicken the death. The paper in front of Ned is a death poem, which a samurai would traditionally write before ending his life.”
 
Feudal Japan
“Mother of Dragons”—“Danaerys wears traditional Heian-period royal clothing and is seated on the Mongolian Steppes, a fitting analogy for the Dothraki Sea, far from Westeros.”
 
via RocketNews24

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
With its giant fembots, Japan is winning the go-go arms race
01.17.2014
05:32 am

Topics:
Pop Culture

Tags:
Japan
robots

Giant fembots
 
In the ten zillionth instance of Japan provoking a “Why didn’t anyone else think of this before now?” reaction, the aptly named Robot Restaurant in Tokyo’s well-known Kabukichō entertainment district has adopted what might be considered the “everything but the kitchen sink” approach. With an aesthetic vaguely reminiscent of Kaiju Big Battel (itself a goof on the excesses of Japanese culture) as orchestrated in the style of, say, Gaspar Noé‘s Enter the Void, Robot Restaurant features (in what is surely not an exhaustive list) endless flickering lights, pterodactyls, glow sticks, robot dogs, animatronic sharks, a blinking army tank, a bunch of people wearing African masks, go-go girls wearing fairy outfits, go-go girls in hyperbolic pretend battle with each other, go-go girls playing rock music, and go-go girls driving around giant animatronic fembot amusement park cars. The fembots have “pneumatic busts,” in the reliable verbiage of Time Out Japan.

I keep calling them “go-go girls,” but the proper term is “para-para dancers.” The price tag for a couple of hours of this madness is 5000 yen (about $50). The joint’s website gives a vivid impression of the batshit craziness that goes on there.

It all sounds utterly awesome.
 
Peace sign
 
Dayglo tank
 
African masks
 
Robots
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Zany geologist suggested bombing Japan’s volcanoes to force unconditional surrender in 1944
12.30.2013
06:07 am

Topics:
History

Tags:
Japan

Volcanoe Bomb
 
By January of 1944, Colgate University geologist Professor Harold Orville Whitnall has, like so many others around the globe, pretty much had it with the War in the Pacific. Too many American boys are dying overseas, and the world needs a plan for a quick resolution to the conflict. So much so that Whitnall feels compelled to unveil a rather unorthodox master plan.  That month in Popular Science Magazine, he suggests that the U.S. bomb Japan’s volcanoes. 

Why? First, Whitnall concludes, the Japanese are terrified of volcanoes. He cites the fact that people in Japan place shrines at their bases hoping to ward off impending eruptions. According to Whitnall’s logic, the Japanese worshipped volcanoes like gods, and blowing “these smoking mountain deities” to smithereens would really freak people out.  Second, bombing the volcanoes might trigger earthquakes!  “Hardly a day passes without some of Hirohito’s dupes feeling the earth wobble beneath their feet,” Whitnall continues, and this, of course, must also be very scary to the people of Japan. Whitnall argues that the island nation with its 30 active volcanoes and “hundreds that jut skyward in uneasy slumber,” along with its unstable, fissure-ridden crust is one of the most geologically volatile places on the planet. The earnest professor concludes, therefore, that U.S. bombers should agitate the island’s fragile topography as much as possible thereby wreaking havoc on the Japanese population through acts of geological sabotage, which, in turn, will virtually guarantee a triumphant U.S. victory.  Problem solved. 

Crazy, right?

But, Whitnall is serious. He wants readers to know that he isn’t just some mad scientist doing that twiddling thing with his fingers and laughing hysterically towards the heavens. To the contrary, he has been cooking up this magmatic bombing campaign concept of his for quite some time:

Since shortly after Pearl Harbor, I have recommended that our all-out attack on the Japanese homeland be accompanied by bombing raids on Japan’s volcanoes.  I believe that explosives dropped down their throats may cause such a vomiting of lava and ash as to hasten the day of unconditional surrender.  Bombs are growing bigger and bigger, and I am increasingly convinced that such an attack is worth trying.

Whitnall acknowledges that his idea might prove to be just a little controversial to some of the more narrow-minded members of the scientific community, but, he contends, the naysayers lack the kind of forward thinking upon which this country was founded:

The idea of bombing volcanoes into activity and jarring the earth into earthquakes probably will be met with mingled derision and approval.  Ultraconservative scientists whose vision is often swathed in mathematical formulas, will snort, “Impossible!” while those with the imagination of Ben Franklin with his kite may murmur, “Could be, could be.”

The whole thing is pretty chuckle-worthy in its audacity (albeit truly terrifying and jingoistically unconcerned with the plight of ordinary Japanese citizens), but Whitnall’s article becomes a lot more ominous when you consider the fact that (obviously) the United States at the time has something far more horrifying up its collective sleeve than obliterating volcanoes.
 
I’ll let Whitnall himself fill you in on the rest of the details of his own earth shattering plot in the original article which you can find here.

Meanwhile, check out another seemingly hair-brained WWII bombing idea in this History Channel segment on weaponized bats.   
 

 
Via Weird Universe.

Posted by Jason Schafer | Leave a comment
Bauhaus, Japan, Cocteau Twins and more on ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test’


 
This morning, in the course of searching for a King Crimson video, I ran across an incredible - and given the criminally low view counts, apparently undiscovered - trove of high quality New Wave and Gothic videos from the legendary British television show The Old Grey Whistle Test, few of which are to be found on the DVD collection. I’ve posted a few of my favorites here, but there’s plenty more on the profile of YouTube user ArtNoyze. Enjoy.
 

Altered Images - ‘Insects’
 

Japan - ‘Ghosts’
 

Adam & The Ants - ‘Ant Invasion’
 
The Teardrop Explodes, Cocteau Twins and Bauhaus after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Heartless Japanese English instruction will crush your soul
10.31.2013
11:27 am

Topics:
Amusing

Tags:
Japan

English textbook
 
It doesn’t seem like this bizarre snippet from a Japanese book designed to teach English can be chalked up the usual problems that generate “Engrish”—defined as “the misuse of the English language by native speakers of some East Asian languages.” No, it seems that the writers of this textbook just weren’t thinking about what they were writing or else decided to indulge in a delirious moment of black comedy.

In a sidebar entitled “Rest Station,” the student is given a typical bit of English conversation that you might encounter in a doctor’s office. The participants are a small boy and his doctor. The boy speaks first:

A: Doctor, I’m so alone. Nobody seems to notice me.
B: Next patient, please.

In an illustration, the speech balloon for the poor kid contains only a single black blot, a pretty good visual approximation of clinical depression, while the smiling, clueless doctor is depicted barking out his insensitive sentence.

Best of all, the kid is making the Akbar and Jeff gesture with his index fingers.

via RocketNews24

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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