mbarker: (Burp)
Mitsuko and I were watching one of the TV shows common here in Japan, with the TV talents happily eating something or other, with extreme expressions of joy as they chew and swallow, followed by ecstatic declarations of how tasty it was... Which is when I realized that there's something wrong with us!

I mean, I enjoy eating, and I have my favorite foods, things that I really enjoy, but. I don't think I have ever made such a joyful face while eating. Nor do I erupt into lyrical announcements of how wonderful the taste is when I eat something I like. Watching the TV folks eat, it seems as if they have a whole different level of engagement with their food from what I get.
So I'm wondering if I don't have the right tastebuds, or maybe I'm just not chewing and swallowing the right way?

How do you get that ecstatic experience of eating that the TV seems to indicate is the norm?
mbarker: (Default)

I've seen a pile of these ads, with a young woman wearing what looked like earmuffs of curled braids, and then the various sheep in the background, often with some kind of large numeral one. One had her and the sheep apparently going into the base of the one, towering over the field. Usually the ad ends with the name Musee Platinum. But there was never enough context to tell me what the product or service was.

Today, there was another new version. Same young lady, this time just her head, apparently floating, turning round and round. Then a small sheep ambled into the background. And fade to the name. Musee Platinum.

So I looked it up. Google gave me a selection of pages, but in Japanese. It did suggest that a related search was available for Musee Platinum reviews. So I pulled that up. Aha! Plenty of English... Hair removal? What?

Yes. Apparently the service that Musee Platinum offers is hair removal. In particular, laser hair removal, with specials on underarms and such. Which may explain the rather odd ads. I mean, I suspect showing us young women having their pelts removed wouldn't really reach their target audience, but a non sequitur such as sheep, who often do need trimming, suggests the service without being explicit.

Amusing. Well, now I can ignore that ad. Although I am glad that one more minor puzzle has been solved, even if the answer isn't particularly useful or amazing.

mbarker: (ISeeYou2)

This evening, there's a made-for-TV show on. It's Hisatsu Shigotonin 2013. I'll probably watch it, although I have to admit, I don't think the movies have been as good as the series used to be. But I enjoy trying to understand the story, and contemplating just why this particular genre scratches an itch for us.

listen to the whistle of the sword... )

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.

mbarker: (ISeeYou2)
This morning's news had a visit with an 80-year-old Japanese woman basically to talk about her hobby. It started with her explaining that when she was 50, she was having trouble remembering things. She said that she would look up a phone number in her address book, then start to punch it into the phone, and realize partway through that she had forgotten it. But she says that she doesn't have any problem now with her memory.
Try mirror talking! )
mbarker: (Burp)
One of the TV shows recently showed us some of the back story for the sushi that we all enjoy here in Japan. Negitoro, kazunoko, and amaebi.
add a bit of corn oil? )
What fun. "Raw" fish? Well, sort of. They're not cooked, I guess. But if processing counts...
mbarker: (Fireworks Delight)
This morning, Mitsuko had the TV on (she likes to leave it running). There was some funny guy in a yellow spandex outfit -- StretchMan! -- showing us how to do some stretching exercises. Stand straight, lift your right arm and stick it out, now grab your elbow with your other arm, and pull your arm around straight across your chest. Don't twist your back! Hold for a slow count of one, two, three, four, fi.......ve! And laugh! Relax! That's hyper-stretch-power! Now let's do the other arm...

I was reading email, Mitsuko was drying her hair, and I happened to notice the audience behind our yellow cheerleader. Just off his right elbow, there was a young woman in a black-and-white sweater top, with black jeans. Who stretched up when he said stretch, and then started to fall over! A woman on her right and left immediately caught her around the stomach, and helped her stand tall again. Her smile flashed, and she stretched again, following the cheerleader. And she tilted to her left. The women pushed her upright. BIG SMILE as she followed the directions.

When he finished having everyone stretch, the women carefully sat her down in the chair. Where she grinned, happily, as the cheerleader told us that we need to stretch every day.

I blinked at this, and suddenly realized that the odd shape by the side of her chair, on the ground, was the arm cuff of a crutch. Given the way they eased her down, I would guess her legs don't move. But from her smile, despite the little wobbles and tilts, she certainly could stretch!

Nice to see. And to me, even more inspiring than the cheerleader. So get up and stretch!
mbarker: (Burp)
Well, actually... one of the news reports this morning was about a new app for grandpa and grandma. It's from the bus company, out in the rural areas. And what it does is allow grandpa to easily make a reservation -- including the location -- for the new "healthy bus" service. Which is actually small vans, not buses, and some apparently are equipped for wheelchair service.

Click here to find out why... )

Just a little information greases the skids...
mbarker: (Burp)
Do dogs really need a special massage?

The other day, a roving report happened to take a stroll through Azabu Juban, in Tokyo. This is a pretty ritzy area, with lots of specialty stores. Maybe kind of like Rodea Drive in Beverly Hills, from what I've heard of it? Or pick your ritzy area.
Say what? )
Would you pay for your dog to get a massage?
mbarker: (Burp)
Just another quick bit from the news this morning. Somewhere in Tokyo, I think, they were showing what apparently is the newest gadget for store owners. It wasn't quite life-size, but basically it looked like a mirror... Except when the female news person walked up to it and looked at herself, it started showing her image in various outfits from the store. So she suddenly had a dress, a coat, and so forth in the displayed image. This was in the front of the store, where passersby would usually look in the window. Along with the mannequins.
mirror, mirror in the store )
After all, instead of a mannequin in some outfit, there you are! And I'm willing to bet that almost anyone seeing their own face is going to stop and look. At least until all the stores start doing it.
mbarker: (BrainUnderRepair)
Here's a fun bit from the news today. In some kind of sidewalk survey (no, they didn't go into details about how they got these numbers), the news people report that:

1. 16% of smartphone users say they have run into someone while looking at their smartphone.
2. 76% of people walking in the street say someone looking at their smartphone has run into them.

Now, even assuming that the reports of something like 50% of the people having smartphones are correct, there's something funny about those numbers. Either the folks who are looking at their smartphones are running into a heck of a lot of people, or maybe they aren't remembering how often they bump people? Or maybe the people who are just walking have a different idea of what "run into" means?

Maybe some of each?

The reporter didn't even seem to notice that having a very small percentage run into a very large percentage seems inconsistent.

Is this what they mean by encounters of the smart phone kind?
mbarker: (Burp)
Izzat a function looking for a use?

Interesting. One of the morning news shows had a short piece about the recent release of new digital and video cameras here in Japan. One of the new models has this great new feature. Start by looking at someone with the camera and touch their face on the panel. Then key in the name. Next, for example, set the camera to find that name and an expression -- like a smile.

On the show, they walked through an office, with the camera running. Looking at various people sitting in the office. And when the camera found the selected person, and they smiled, it started the camera running. The screen showed percentage of match, first on the face, and then on the expression. I think they were also showing that you can set it up to require a couple of people before it started running.

So apparently this camera incorporates facial recognition and some degree of expression recognition. From the short bit on the news, I couldn't tell if you have to train it with the person for specific expressions or not. It also wasn't really clear whether it's smart enough to recognize a profile or other angle. I also wondered about changes, like sunglasses, make up, hair style, and so forth. Still, it's pretty exciting.

Although I'm still trying to figure out why you might want to use this. I suppose a parent might want to set the camera to recognize their child, and then you can set it on a tripod and not worry about forgetting to start it. But... Somehow, this doesn't really seem like it's all that useful.

When would you use a camera that can recognize faces and expressions? Why?
mbarker: (ISeeYou2)
Interesting. One of the news shows recently had a short piece about a chapbook that is being circulated in Tohoku, where the earthquake and tsunami was. Basically, it's a collection of survival hints. But I think the attitude behind the collection may be even more important.
heating tea? lighting fires? )
It will be interesting to see if there's a fundamental shift. Will the people who went through the earthquake and tsunami end up being the innovators of Japan?  What about the kids who watched a man like this improvising so they could have something hot to eat?
mbarker: (Fireworks Delight)
We've recently celebrated obon here in Japan. This is basically a celebration of the spirits of the dead returning to Earth for a short time, which mostly gets celebrated from August 13 to 15 (apparently Japanese ghosts, like salarymen, only get a short vacation, then it's back to work).
a dance, some fireworks, and... )
mbarker: (Burp)
What is that?

One of the TV shows recently consisted of showing a panel various pictures, along with some hints -- and having them try to guess what the object in the picture was. They had a variety, but one that caught my attention was pretty simple.

Basically, there was a wooden base, with a built-in drawer. On top of that was a short stand, with another box on top of that. The top box had a wooden grating as its top. Taking that off, the box itself was filled with fine white sand or ash. The grating and lip of the box was designed so that the grating did not rest on the inner sand.

Interestingly, they said that this used to be something that almost every house (in Japan) had.
ho, ho, ho... )
And it smells good, too.

'nother Mike
mbarker: (ISeeYou2)
The news people get various questions, and often answer them. But the weather reporters rarely get questions. However, this morning, they had a question from a viewer! The question was simple: why do we sometimes have rainfall in the sun?
Why does rain fall with sunshine? )
Something to ponder!
mbarker: (BrainUnderRepair)
This morning, one of the advertisements caught my attention. We're hitting "ochuugen" season -- July 15, last day of the Lantern Festival, when many Japanese give each other presents. Often buying a package from one of the department stores and having it delivered.
A ripe, juicy peach... )
mbarker: (BrainUnderRepair)
That's very irritating. End of April, I bought a new small TV to use as a monitor and watch "my shows" in my room. I also got the recording rig, so that I could "tape" my shows. So when we went to a conference recently, I happily set it up and left. No problems, right?

Come back this week, flip the set on, and ... ouch! The bottom of the screen seems to have sprouted some greenish moss growing here and there, and there were three black blobs setting on the bottom edge, one large, two smaller. Nothing seems to make them go away!
Service? What's that? )
So -- we'll have to see what happens. In the meantime, I'm irritated and upset. There's something about that continuing accusation of having broken it that really sets me off. All I did was turn it on, with a remote control, no less.

Ohisama 4/6

Apr. 6th, 2011 07:54 pm
mbarker: (ISeeYou2)
I decided to put my notes on Ohisama in a community of its own. That lets me have more tags, and avoid mixing things up too much. Anyway...
Where did it go? )

Ohisama 4/5

Apr. 5th, 2011 10:58 pm
mbarker: (Burp)
Ohisama 4/5

They started off again with the mother telling Yoko that no matter what hard times happen, always smile. (kurushi -- hard, difficult, tough?)
Out in the country )
Yoko stood beside the creek and looked at Yuki. Yoko started to cry. Yuki looked up at her, and said, "Oh, don't cry. It's not that bad."

To be continued
mbarker: (BrainUnderRepair)
Ohisama (4/4)

I'm not sure if I'm actually going to follow this one in detail, but I might. They've just started a new morning drama (asadora) called Ohisama. It's about a young woman (Sudo Yoko) growing up in Japan starting in about 1932. From the website (http://www9.nhk.or.jp/ohisama/cast/) the family is:
The daily morning drama )
That was the end of it. Keep smiling!

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