Thursday, April 27, 2017

Urology Poster

There was a big urology convention at the Volunteer Center last weekend. No idea what kiriko (Japanese cut glass) has to do with urology...

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Despicable Me Photo Op

Movie stars always look bigger on the screen.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Jan.-Apr. articles in the media

Here's the batch of articles to show up in the media from Jan.-Apr., regarding anime, manga and related stuff.

Japan Times

'Your Name.' to be released with English subtitles

Japanese folklore meets anime in Kyoto

'Wrong About Japan': A travelogue from the home of anime, manga and 'otaku'

'Slam Dunk': Japan's greatest sports manga?

Manga legend Jiro Taniguchi, a bridge between Japanese, French cartoon art, dies aged 69

Write-up on Marjorie Liu

Leiji Matsumoto surfs the floating world

Daily Yomiuri

Ashizuri aquarium review

Anime boom in China heats up, unaffected by chilly ties

Unveiling the world of voice acting

Mangaka spreads his wings from forerunner’s home

The Louvre presents manga as art

AI no Idenshi review

JR East launches Dragon Ball stamp rally

Genshiken review

Ikenami's novels made into hard-boiled anime

White Note Pad review

Hayato, the gale review

Venezia review (by Jiro Taniguchi)

ACCA TV anime review

'Golgo 13' gives lessons to firms on safety overseas

"One Room" TV series comments


'One Piece' fun run to return to Okinawa in March 2017

New 'Yu-Gi-Oh' feature film to open on Jan. 27 in North America

'Your Name.' pop-up cafe in Nagoya caters to hit movie’s fans

Drawings from Osamu Tezuka’s student days a rare discovery

A'Pretty Cure' series set to mark 14th year with a cute title

With giant expectations, 'Attack on Titan' to hit the stage

'JoJo's Bizarre Adventure' live-action film to open Aug. 4

'Dragonball Super'enters new 'Universe Survival' chapter

Netflix to stream 'Cyborg 009' worldwide in early spring

Blockbuster 'Your Name.' set for April release in North America

'Touken Ranbu' back for more anime action on TV this July

Studio Ghibli's 'The Red Turtle' wins prize at Annie Awards

'Your Name.' novel headed for 22 countries, regions

'Ancien and the Magic Tablet' to kick off Yubari film festival

Warner Bros. films a key test for adaptations of manga titles

Voice cast unveiled for first 'Godzilla' anime film adaptation

'Space Battleship Yamato'-themed Skymark jet about to take off

'Sailor Moon' 25th anniversary events move into high gear

'Mazinger Z' in movie comeback after 45 years off TV screen

Matsumoto's manga meets ukiyo-e in limited print run

Biggest Detective Conan Cafe to open in Tokyo's Harajuku

'Corner of the World' wartime anime draws in older folks

'Sailor Moon' musical to hit U.S. stage for first time in April

Tokyo hotel courts 'Gin Tama' fans with themed guest room

Author Aramata to take over as director of Kyoto manga museum

Sendai to stage month-long 'JoJo' summer festival

Live-action film 'Fullmetal Alchemist' to open on Dec. 1

Noboru Iguchi's horror anime shorts to premiere April 2

Some of Japan’s oldest existing animated shorts streamed online

'Your Name' Takes Adolescent Identity Crises to Extremes

'Evangelion and Japanese Swords' show hits Sendai

'Naruto' anime sequel, featuring son of ninja, starts its TV run

Guts and co. return in highly anticipated series 'Berserk 2'

Stage adaptation of 'Captain Tsubasa' set for Tokyo in August

Monday, April 24, 2017

KYT TV Spring 2017

The really big event this last weekend was the KYT TV Festa, which was broken up into three locations. The main one was in Central Park, with satellites in the space next to Lotteria, and at the Volunteer Center. The Lotteria spot was just a play space for small children and wasn't worth taking  pictures of. I swung by the Volunteer Center on Friday when they were still setting up the tables and booths, and most of that looked to be just food booths. I didn't have time to visit when I was at the school on Saturday (which would have been the best time to go, because the school is just a few blocks away from the Volunteer Center), and I was a bit pinched for time on Sunday, too. But I don't think I missed anything.

All I really cared about was the live stage in Central Park. They also had food, drink and activities tables here, which was good. The weather was great, too, and I ended up getting a mild sunburn after being outside for 2 hours. I grabbed a bacon and cheese hamburger for 700 yen ($6.80 USD), which was ok. The HHAE Mars Distillery, located at the south end of Kyushu, which makes whiskey and shochu, was also selling large glasses of their gin on the rocks for 400 yen. That was definitely good, and a good deal. I like their whiskey, and I think I'm going to have to get a bottle of their gin for mixing with tonic sometime.

The main point of the festa was to advertise KYT's weekly TV line-up. I don't have a TV, so I didn't care about any of that.

Balloon animals for the kids.

Balloon bumping for kids of all ages.

There were a few hundred people at the park on Sunday, enjoying the rare good weather (it had been raining heavily during the week.)

This was a bit weird. The two female MCs announced the presence of the masked Butt Slapper.

He prances about the stage for a while, acting menacing.

The two woman played rock-paper-scissors, and the winner takes her position on the stage. BS swings and pretty much misses.

The MC gets her chance for revenge, and sends the guy flying. Everyone waves to the crowd, Butt Slapper goes back off stage, and the MCs announce the next stage act.

There's a recording studio in Kagoshima called Walk-In. They have some local acts signed up, and they host Walk-In Fest live shows every few months. Between 2 and 4 PM on Sunday, Walk-In Studio had 3 of their acts playing at the KYT event, in part to advertise the next concert in May. Here we have Pupupu, a 3-woman group that was kind of marginal. I only took a couple photos for the blog and didn't bother recording them.

They were followed by Goh Wakamatsu, who was also kind of ignorable.

The only group I had any interest in at all during the weekend was the second band by my favorite SKA leader, Bon - ARTS. Bon leads both ARTS and Bon DX. Of the two groups, I'd have to say that ARTS is the most polished, professional one. LOTS of fun to watch and listen to. Unfortunately, I didn't have an opportunity to say hi, or pose for photos with them this time.

Good times. The rest of the day was spent editing the videos and fighting with Microsoft Live Movie Maker and Youtube in getting the below videos finished and uploaded (Movie Maker crashed several times, and youtube crashed Firefox three times. Sigh.)

Direct youtube link, part 1

Direct youtube link, part 2

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Wanwan Festa 2017

Finally, a busy weekend. I had to work most of Saturday, so I wasn't able to see much of the Wanwan Fest (Doggy Festival) this time. Mostly, though, it was just a chance for dog owners to get together and show off each other's dogs, and look at accessories.

I was on my way to the school, and the stage was between events at the time.

Not everyone was into cosplay. I think this guy was roleplaying as The Incredible Hulk.

Bunny girls are always a big draw, too.

Get your photo taken with the doggy mob.

Saturday, April 22, 2017


It's been a while since I've seen an itasha - a car covered in anime-themed decals.

This was another one of those situations where you have 30 seconds to pull the camera out to take as many shots as you can, hoping one or two will turn out well, while the car is stopped at an intersection and waiting to make a right-hand turn when there's a break in the on-coming traffic.

No idea what anime the characters are from.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Attack on Titan, vol. 22 review

(All rights belong to their owners. Images used here for review purposes only.)

Attack on Titan, vol. 22, Hajime Isayama. Grade: B
The young Jiiku rats out his parents to the Maaru authorities, and they're both arrested (Grisha suspects that the boy resented being raised as a rebel to help restore the Eldians to power, and just wanted the safety provided by some other relatives). The guards torture Grisha by cutting off his fingers one at a time to try to get him to reveal the identity of Fukurou (Owl). He doesn't know, so eventually he and the other rebels are shipped to Paradis island for execution. Two of the guards on this mission were the ones that showed up at his parent's house when his sister was killed. The older of the two had been the one that fed the girl to a pack of dogs to amuse his sons. There's a big wall around the island, right up against the docks. One of Grisha's closest friends in the rebel group demands to know why this is happening to him and demands answers from Grisha. Then, one of the guards kicks him off the wall and tells him to start running. After this, the other guards inject serum into the backs of the necks of the other prisoners and push them into the hole beyond the wall, where they turn into titans and chase after the human to eat him. They're followed by the one female prisoner - Grisha's wife, Diana. She's turned into the huge smiley titan. Through all this, the younger guard of the pair has been abusing Grisha and keeping him from doing anything rash. However, when the older guard least expects it, the younger one kicks him off the wall. The older guard is quickly eaten. The younger one reveals himself as Fukurou, and tells Grisha to watch closely, saying "this is how you activate the titan power." His cuts his hand, turns into Toothy, and then kills all the other guards and destroys their ship.

("Welcome to Paradis, Mr. Grisha." Owl is standing behind Grisha.)

When Owl returns to human form, he tells Grisha he'd been able to infiltrate the Maaru military with the help of a doctor friend, and been in hiding ever since (Owl had been a child when he witnessed the Maaru burn his family alive). He chose Grisha as his successor because of the way the boy reacted after the death of his sister. The problem with being a titan is that you only live 13 more years after that, and his time is almost up. Owl eventually gets Grisha to agree to keep on living in order to seek revenge against the Maaru. Through all this, the scene switches between Grisha and Eren, and we learn that Eren is getting memory flashbacks of things stored in the family DNA. Owl spent a lot of time briefing Grisha on what he'd been able to learn from the Maaru archives. Ymir is referred to as "Shiso no Kyojin" (Founding Titan). The Maaru teach that she was a demon from hell, while the Eldians claim she was a saint from heaven. In fact, the original Ymir started out as a human somehow. There are 9 named titans, and only her direct descendants can take on their forms when given the serum. Unfortunately, while Diana was the heir of the original King Fritz, she wasn't related to Ymir like Grisha is. Owl then tells Grisha to go fight for freedom as the "Shingeki no Kyojin" (Advance Titan, which is also the title of the manga).

(Grisha watches Owl turn into Shingeki and wipe out the Maaru guards.)

After finding the diaries in the cabin, Eren and Mikasa mysteriously ended up in holding cells in their base camp. After a few days, Eren seems to have settled down some and is allowed out of the cell. Mikasa is in something of a panic at learning that titans only live for 13 years, giving Eren just 8 years left, but she recovers, too. Hange wants to know what Eren is seeing from the flashbacks, and doesn't like being unable to get answers. However, he gets a message calling him back to the city to report. When they get return, they hand over a letter to the new queen Historia that they found on Reiner. In it, Ymir recounts being an abandoned orphan living on the streets in a Maaru city. Some guy found her, cleaned her up, and presented her to his cult as someone named "Ymir". When the Maarian militia arrived and broke up the cult, she'd clung to the name without knowing what was going to happen to her because of it. She was taken to Paradis, injected, and kicked into the hole, where she became one of the named titans. She regrets not being able to marry Histora now.

(The current Ymir goes from living on the streets to turning into a symbol of hope for the other Eldians.)

From this point, the city and military leaders try to figure out what to do next. They've got Grisha's three books, which detail Paradis' true history, and the knowledge that there's something outside what they'd thought was the outermost wall. What do they do with this? Some of the information gets printed in the newspapers, but within the ranks, Armin is getting backlash for being the one that had been saved, not Elwin, so a lot of people believe that they'd lost their one chance at having a leader that could take them to victory against the titans, and they really resent Armin for it. One thing is certain, the original King Fritz had the ability to control the other titans, which he used in the battles against the Maaru, and everything will be lost if the power falls into the hands of the enemy. Eren realizes that he does control Coordinate, but he's not ready to discuss this with the others yet. He finally realizes that the one time Coordinate worked was when he punched Smiley (because Smiley was actually his father's first wife, and she was in the Fritz line).

(The squad reaches the ocean.)

A big promotion ceremony is held, where Historia bestows ribbons on the surviving survey team members. When she gets to Eren, he kisses her hand in return and gets a new memory - of Grisha confronting the Fritz family and saying that he's one of them, an Eldian descended from Ymir. He begs the then-Queen to destroy all of the titans (including his wife and children) before everyone is eaten by the wall titans. The Queen apparently said "no". Eren freezes, then keeps the information from Historia. Time passes. Finally, 6 years after the first arrival of the gate kicker titan, people have returned to the third outer gate and rebuilding begins. The survey group goes out past Wall Maria to investigate Grisha's claims. They encounter one feral titan, but it's unable to walk by itself so they ignore it. Eventually, they get to the ocean, and it's everything Armin envisioned. The others enjoy splashing each other and playing in the waves, but Eren just stands and stares out across the water. He says that he'd believed that if they got out here, they'd find freedom. But now, he knows that "out there" is the enemy. He asks, "If we go out there and kill all the enemy, will we have freedom then?"

Summary: Well, this got dark fast. (Not really; it's always been dark, but the gore is more graphic and personal now.) This is not a book for the squeamish. But, we learn a lot more about the island, the origin of the titans, and Eren's link to Jiiku (which extends linking Jiiku to the first King Fritz. Therefore, if Jiiku gets Coordinate, he can easily control ALL of the titans, including Armin and Eren himself.) The question is "What's next?" Recommended if you like the rest of the series. Not recommended if you don't like the evil underside of humanity.

Thursday, April 20, 2017


Some people just like ducks.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Crayon Shin-chan Movie Board

New Shin-can movie coming out. This time, an alien kid gets stranded on Earth and Shin-chan has to smuggle him through the city in his pants to reunite him with his parents.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


It's not common to see moths in the center of downtown. Especially one this eye-catching.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Cherry Blossoms

After complaining that hanami has been bad this year, we had two decent days last week, on Wednesday and Thursday. There had been talk of doing hanami at Dolphin Port, so I went down there Wednesday after my 2 PM class and took a few quick photos to show what stage of bloom the blossoms were in.

However, our plans got changed on me, and instead on Thursday we went to Hirakawa zoo by bus. It's about a 45 minute ride each way, and costs a little under 500 yen ($4.75) one way.

We started out at the petting zoo, at the opposite end of the facilities.

The guinea pigs weren't happy with all of the attention, and kept wanted to burrow under the grass and sit still

The one rabbit kept hoping that everyone would keep focusing on the guinea pigs.

There was also a stop to watch the penguins. We looked at quite a few other animals as well, but those were generally behind fences that I couldn't take photos through. My favorite animal this time was the black panther. Beautiful.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

BL Building

What comes to mind when you see B-L?