View Full Version : Hangout Otaku Culture Hangout
August 23, 2010, 01:02 PM
Welcome to the Otaku Culture hang-out thread. Post anything here that doesn't need it's own thread: questions, comments, observations, and thoughts about anything related to Asian culture!
August 24, 2010, 12:15 AM
First and foremost...Congrats on the latest sub-forum addition in the Otaku Section! Yatta! Very cool indeed...if I say so myself. :noworry
Anyway, I guess I'll be starting off this new HO thread!? Let's talk about melons. Yes. Melons. I came across a few interesting "cases" and finds that some of you may have already heard or know about.
I was reading on the One Piece wikia about Luffy's gomu gomu no mi and one of the references said that Luffy's devil fruit looks very similar to a Yubari Melon...so I was like sugoi what the hell is a Yubari Melon (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b0/03-05-JPN202.jpg/300px-03-05-JPN202.jpg)!? :XD So me googles it. Apparently, it's a very "exotic", delicious and...wait for it..yep, you guessed right...it's also a very expensive melon. I found this (http://hubpages.com/hub/The-Worlds-Best-Melons) article to be particularly interesting. I'm definitely going to try some Yubari Melon if I ever go to the East; obviously Japan is my No. 1 destination. ;) I'm sure one can find it (sliced and packaged, maybe?) locally, maybe in those oriental, specialist supermarkets. Like in the UK, we have Wing Yip (http://www.wingyip.com/). :amuse
Anyway...after learning about the Yubari Melon, I went on a melon-frenzy research session (if you wanna call it that lol!) and I discovered that there's actually such a thing as Square Watermelons (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/1390088.stm)!!! Ok, I confess I'm a bit late on this news but I still think it's pretty hilarious and interesting at the same time. :tem
Here's a few cool pictures:
- A gallery list of very fine watermelon masterpieces. (http://www.oddee.com/item_96565.aspx) *The first pic reminds me of Gluttony from FMA lol*
- Happy Face Melon (http://www.tokyomango.com/tokyo_mango/images/2007/07/30/watermelon.jpg)
- Portable watermelon cooler!!! (http://www.crunchgear.com/2010/07/19/portable-watermelon-cooler/) LOL! *Very cool website btw*
Ever considered giving your partner a heart-shaped watermelon (http://www.japanprobe.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/watermelon-heart.jpg)as a Valentine's Day gift? xD
Ahhh, I enjoyed reading and taking a look at those pictures. hehe So what do you guys think? and have any of you come across anything similar? *Hopes he didn't post this in the wrong thread/section. ><
Edit: There's even a Yubari Melon-flavoured Kit Kat (http://inventorspot.com/articles/japan_kit_kat_chocolate_bars_5324) snack bar available in Japan.
August 26, 2010, 10:37 AM
Let's talk about melons. Yes. Melons. I came across a few interesting "cases" and finds that some of you may have already heard or know about.
Don't forget their melon-shaped bread (also know as Melonpan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melonpan)) (though there are some varieties of the flavor aside from melon)
I always encounter this on some manga/anime as a favorite pastry.
One that caught my attention was the drumming that are used I guess on some festivals or special occasions which I think is called Taiko (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiko).
The beats were really cool and the more they have in different or same style, it produces more good performance.
The drums are either played single or by multiple.
Because being known to many, they even made a simulation game on playing taiko in different kinds of music genre, i think the game is called Taiko no Tatsujin (Taiko: Drum Master) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiko_no_Tatsujin).
January 06, 2011, 04:42 AM
Haruka, your new avatar is super cute! What anime is it from? :wtf
Anyway back to my point, I was thinking of making a "Japanese Tech & Gadget" thread in this section but I would like to know what you guys think? :worrybunny
January 06, 2011, 09:38 PM
Anyway back to my point, I was thinking of making a "Japanese Tech & Gadget" thread in this section but I would like to know what you guys think? :worrybunny
I think creating a thread like that would be awesome, Jin-kun! :thumbs There are some pretty interesting and cool gadgets and gizmos (well there are also some…peculiar ones..) in Japan that I think more than one member here on MH would be interested in talking about. :)
February 18, 2011, 03:45 PM
I have a question, I am so used to watching Japanese games like ninja Warrior and Viking I once watched a series that was similar to those but it involved something similar except at the end the players got their faces dirty with black stuff, they had to pass various tasks like the series that I mentioned?
I am not sure if this is the right thread to mention it but I consider it part of Japanese culture.
Never mind I found it, it is called Takeshi's Castle. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGuYojcmZpI)
April 18, 2012, 12:09 AM
If anyone has missed, MH has arranged awards for Manhwa and its sub-sections. You can find the links below. There are plenty of categories to nominate your favorites. We would love to see your participation.
Manhwa Awards (http://mangahelpers.com/forum/forumdisplay.php/1022-Manhwa-Awards)
The Breaker Awards (http://mangahelpers.com/forum/forumdisplay.php/1023-The-Breaker-Awards)
Noblesse Awards (http://mangahelpers.com/forum/forumdisplay.php/1024-Noblesse-Awards)
Tower of God Awards (http://mangahelpers.com/forum/forumdisplay.php/1025-Tower-of-God-Awards)
See you there :)
April 28, 2012, 11:20 PM
Here's something you don't see everyday, a character from a horror movie throwing the first pitch! Sadako actually seems pretty cute here:
Pictures at ONTD (http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/68532233.html).
June 22, 2012, 11:12 AM
Here's awesome blog (http://www.hellofuntime.com/) where there are various videos about Japanese culture. There's something interesting for everyone.
Here (http://www.kzstation.com/ovz/) on the other hand is program about anime/manga and other parts of Japanese entertainment industry hosted by Yuu Asakawa and Patrick Macias. I also recommend it. http://www.kzstation.com/ovz/
July 21, 2012, 01:02 AM
If anyone is interested in traditional Japanese culture, I suggest reading:
Unbeaten Tracks in Japan by Isabella L. Bird
The Chrysanthemum and the Sword by Ruth Benedict
The first book gives an account of a traveller who explored Japan soon after the nation opened its borders after a long period of isolationism. Western influence hasn't crept in yet so the way of life for the Japanese people are still rooted in tradition.
The second book is more recent and gives an anthropological view of Japanese people.
September 15, 2012, 02:54 AM
Is anyone familiar with the Shisa lion? I have seen it in many anime, most notably a Pokemon was based on it, I think. :D
September 22, 2012, 02:27 PM
A Japanese condiment that's extremely popular right now is shiokouji (塩麹), which is a mixture of jiuqu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiuqu) and salt. There are many uses to it and can be used on vegetables, meat and seafood. I usually eat it as a salad dip, but I know there are a lot more interesting ways to eat it. :^_^
Even though its primary ingredient is salt, I don't find it too salty. The texture is similar to pesto, and the taste is sort of like miso. (Shiokouji has a lighter flavour.)
Here's the shikouji brand my grandmother sends me with a recipe book on it:
October 30, 2012, 08:29 AM
So even though Halloween is not commonly celebrated in Japan, I'm willing to share a good article about Japanese spooks.
The ridiculously frightening world of Japanese spooks
Halloween is that time of the year when the occult, macabre and humorous come together to create a festival of fear and fun for all the family. A celebration of death and demons with its roots in pre-Christian Europe, the summer's-end spook-fest has morphed over the centuries into a highly commercialized — and arguably sanitized — phenomenon that has spread its icy grip around the globe.
Halloween was not celebrated in Japan until recently, but the country has long been open to cultural and religious traditions from abroad, and younger generations seem to have embraced this new opportunity to party in faux-spooky fashion. Part of the attraction might be that Halloween's dress-up tradition has obvious similarities with cosplay which, as well as involving anime- and computer game-inspired costumes, also incorporates ninja, samurai and other traditional elements.
Despite being relative newcomers to Halloween, the Japanese have of course been taking their ghosts and monsters very seriously for centuries, leaving behind a rich vein of supernatural fiction and spooky storytelling. During the Edo Period, for example, there was a popular game among the samurai called Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai (A Gathering of One Hundred Supernatural Tales). The players gathered in a room at night and, after lighting 100 candles, took turns telling scary stories. After each tale a candle was extinguished, and the room steadily grew darker and darker. It was believed that when the room was pitch black, a ghost would appear.
According to Edward Lipsett, a Fukuoka-based American expat who since 2002 has been publishing many of these stories through his Kurodahan Press, kaidan (strange tales) and kaiki shōsetsu (weird fiction) were born as a genre in the mid-17th century and have remained very popular ever since, thanks in part to numerous theatrical and, more recently, movie reinterpretations. Ueda Akinari's "Ugetsu Monogatari" ("Tales of Moonlight and Rain"), for example, was adapted for film in 1953 by director Kenji Mizoguchi and is widely regarded as one of the masterpieces of Japanese cinema.
The classic horror elements so common in Western ghost stories are not always present in their Japanese counterparts, explains Lipsett. More often than not these tales are about "an ordinary occurrence, interrupted," he says. "By ordinary, I mean usual, normal aspects of life that are somehow disrupted by weird events. A good tale is not just about fear and blood, after all."
What's more, he adds, many, if not most, Japanese ghost stories are based on real-life events. "It is at least true that one of their main characteristics is a blurring of the border between fiction and nonfiction."
The three-volume "Kaiki" series — one of Kurodahan's more popular productions — explores this unique tradition through a collection of short stories, both old and modern, that read like dream studies, in which the characters try to make sense of the weird situations in which they find themselves stuck.
Another distinctive feature of Japanese folklore is a quite large gang of oddball demons and spirits called yōkai that walk a thin line between horror and ridiculousness. Not exactly human but capable of a wide range of human emotions, these creatures tend to be neither good nor bad but are certainly mischievous, often getting their kicks by playing tricks on their victims.
Matt Alt, an American yokai expert whose book "Yokai Attack!" is a guide to surviving an encounter with these monsters, says that their shape-shifting powers make them particularly hard to recognize. "Probably the easiest to grasp are the kappa (water goblin), the tengu (mountain goblin), the kitsune (fox) and the tanuki (raccoon dog)," he says.
The most famous Tokyo-specific yokai are probably the Nopperabo ("faceless ones"), which Lafcadio Hearn wrote about in his 1904 story "Mujina," and the huge leg featured in "Ashiarai Yashiki."
"The Nopperabo are normal-seeming humans but with horrifyingly smooth and featureless faces," explains Alt. "A century and a half ago they were often seen in Akasaka's Kiinokuni slope, once considered one of the scariest places in the city."
"Ashiarai Yashiki," on the other hand, is the tale of an enormous, disembodied leg and foot that smashes through ceilings without warning in the dead of night, demanding to be washed. "Legend has it that the first 'big foot' appeared in a royal mansion in the Edo district of Honjo, corresponding to Sumida Ward in present-day Tokyo," Alt says.
Another class of supernatural beings that often overlaps with the yokai are called obake or bakemono, a term often translated as "ghost" even though they are sometimes distinct from the spirits of the dead. In line with Shinto and animistic traditions, these can belong to the animal or vegetable world, like the bakeneko (transforming cat) and the kodama (tree spirit), while the tsukumogami are household objects.
All these spirits and monsters have often infiltrated the world of pop culture and entertainment, one famous example being obake karuta, a card game popular between the Edo Period and the early 20th century that is considered a precursor of the Pokemon trading card game, whose characters were also designed after creatures from Japanese mythology.
More recently, in 1959, manga artist Shigeru Mizuki created the series "GeGeGe no Kitaro," in which not only the 350-year-old one-eyed protagonist and his ghost father, Medama Oyaji (literally, Eyeball Father), but all the characters are yokai. Though hugely popular in Japan, this series has never broken into the mainstream overseas market, apparently because it's too weird for all but the most rabid of foreign manga lovers.
What's your favorite Japanese supernatural being? Mine would be Tengu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tengu). A supernatural dog, which commonly referenced anywhere in the manga. Even Tengu is also become the main focus of a manga called Japan Tengu Party Illustrated (http://www.mangaupdates.com/series.html?id=1431).
November 02, 2012, 02:30 PM
My favorite Japanese spooks have definitely got to be the female ghosts. I love Yuki-onna, because there's something so merciless about her, but at the same time she kind of wants redemption (which is why she ends up becoming the wife of a guy who's life she spares).
I also love Futakuchi-onna. Its just such a wonderful yet scary mutilation of the body: a woman who has a second mouth at the back of her head, concealed by her hair. I love it because often in society we are told what we can and cannot do, and the second mouth is a way for the victim to voice what they really feel. In a book I read, a tell-talle sign is if her hair forms a noose around your neck when you wake up in the morning (assuming she's your wife or lover). In a typical Futakuchi-onna story, a woman will not eat, but her second mouth is always hungry. When she's alone she'll let her hair down, so her hair becomes tentacles to allow her second mouth to eat. Pretty creepy, right? Another more heinous take on it is that the second mouth is because the woman let her step child die of starvation. Now that is seriously disturbing!
There's also another minor youkai of a woman whose head detaches from her body at night and goes....hunting. On humans and insects. Y...yeah.
Another good one are Inugami. Inugami are supernatural dogs that do their masters bidding, often killing people and the like. But the flip side of this is that to create an Inugami is to drive a dog insane (and starve to death) and then kill it. Because it died so horribly, the master has to be careful that the Inugami won't try to take revenge.
Btw, I have Youkai Attack! Its a fun book, and it gives you tips on how to survive (or try to survive) various youkai. Apparently to evade a kappa the best trick is to fart at them. :oh Do you like horror anime and manga, Doraku? As much as I love Japanese folklore, I'm too chicken to read horror. :lmao
November 06, 2012, 10:03 AM
I really like Zashiki warashi because they aren't too scary. They usually take the form of children, and it's a good sign if you see them in your house because they are said to bring luck. IIRC you see them most often when you're in bed.
I also find the friendship/rivalry between the Tanuki and Kitsune interesting to read in any yokai-themed manga.
November 06, 2012, 11:29 AM
The downside of having zashiki warashi is that if they ever leave your house you know you're screwed. There's a famous myth that an entire household ended up dead, poisoned or having killed each other less than a week after their zashiki warashi left. T_T But I agree, their presence isn't scary.
I like the rivalry between Tanuki and Kitsune too! But I think its interesting how they both seem to specialize on transforming into beautiful women, despite the fact that they're originally male. :XD
November 12, 2012, 12:05 AM
True. I guess even good fortune doesn't come for free so one must constantly make the zashiki warashi happy so they could stay. :p Even though it's a pain to keep them in the house, I'm sure it's worth it just like part-time jobs.
That's an interesting point. I wonder why they both like transforming into women. :XD My wild guess it's more entertaining to transform into women since they'd get a better reaction.
There are a lot of allusions to Christianity or Greek mythology in Western literature, and it's interesting that Japanese stories are influenced by their folk tales.
November 14, 2012, 04:36 PM
Hi there everybody, I'm not sure if this is the correct section but it seems appropriate, I'm just wondering if people would mind doing me a favour by filling out this short survey?
It's for my final year college dissertation which is on manga perceptions and growth in the western world and I would really love to get an international scope at this point.
Very much appreciated! x
November 19, 2012, 02:02 PM
So how does everybody stand on Japanese cinema? It is miraculously cast aside in the shadows due to how popular their animation has been. There is not a single country in the world that has such an effect I think. Though I think the anime directors and voice actors are far more popular than the directors and actors that do the films. The most popular are Yasujiro Ozu and Akira Kurosawa.
Does anyone else follow this aspect of the Japanese culture? :)
November 20, 2012, 06:43 PM
I love how a lot of popular Japanese films seem almost like indie films. Several movies I've watched were slice-of-life so there wasn't an overarching conflict throughout the story. It's nice to watch something that tries to steer away from common Hollywood tropes, but for that reason some people might find some Japanese films boring because they don't contain those narratives.
One characteristic of Japanese films I noticed were the visual effects from the camera. The lighting is not as crisp (?) as Western films, but I like the atmosphere it creates.
November 21, 2012, 06:23 AM
I'm not really familiar with contemporary Japanese movies, but I have several favorites Japanese classic movies, and I'd recommend you to watch it too :verily
1. Zangiku Monogatari (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Story_of_the_Last_Chrysanthemum) - A movie directed by Kenji Mizoguchi. I believe this is one of the pioneers of Japanese motion pictures industry. It's one of the essential Kenji's works that you should watch, and I admire how he could depict a powerful attack on the the social beliefs at that time that impose roles of sacrificial victims upon woman.
2. Rashomon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rashomon_(film)) - One of my favorite works of Kurosawa. Rashomon unique storytelling gives you unreliable perspective with points-of-view in flashback style, framed with a fluid and moving camera. It's just that amazing :hee
3. Tokyo Story (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tokyo_Story) - Ozu's greatest film, in my opinion. His ability to give a "life" on deceptively simple affairs in everyday life is extremely underrated. His philosophy of camera tend to be static (not as fluid as Kurosawa) but he really knows how to make a simple scene become so powerful.
4. Biruma no tategoto (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Burmese_Harp_(1956_film)) - directed by Kon Ichikawa, and a very underrated director whose ability could match Kurosawa. This movie proves that statement, an elegy for a lost innocence. I could say that this movie is suitable as an epilogue to the horrors of World War II.
December 29, 2012, 01:30 AM
My mom watches the NHK noon hour news so I get a daily dose of what goes on in Japan. (A very small dose since it's 15 min long.) Anyway since it is nearing Oomisoka (大晦日/New Years Eve), a lot of people are going on vacation to travel. What I find most interesting is that a) there is always a segment where an interviewer asks people in the airport where they are headed off to, and b) at least one interviewee always answers Guam.
So if anyone feels like heading off to an island and meeting Japanese people at the same time, Guam is your option. Even Wikipedia agrees. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guam#Economy)
March 18, 2013, 02:21 PM
I was just wondering, would it be possible if anyone here would create a thread about Japanese school life? I was thinking about creating one myself, but then I think it would be better if the introductory post of the thread would be informative, and to be honest I really don't know much about Japanese school life. I'd like to know about when students have classes and when they have holidays, how much free time they have and if there are certain middle-schools and high-schools in which uniforms aren't a requirement. I'd very much appreciate if someone with knowledge concerning this topic would do this! :)
March 21, 2013, 10:32 PM
That's an awesome topic! :super I'm pretty sure there's a member or two *cough*mikkih*cough* who have attended Japanese schools, and many more who have gone on an exchange.
If not, I'll make the thread myself since I have some knowledge. However, it would be nice to have someone with first hand experience talk about the subject. (My only experience is attending a second grade class for two weeks in Tochigi.)
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