Monday, February 28, 2011

A word for now and then

This weeks entry is for lovers of poetry.

kigo (seasonal word) 季語

Why for lovers of poetry? Read the entry and find out.

I'm getting this entry in a little later in the day than usual. Got a box of discs in the mail so I just finished watching Assault Girls and am about to view something literary.

Fist of the North Star!!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Jake Adelstein in NYC

Folks, on March 10 Jake Adelstein will be speaking NYC. If I was in the area I'd be there!

This is one man I want to hear speak (great film afterwards). I also highly recommend his book Tokyo Vice

Yakuza in Popular Media & Real Life: Cracks & Chasms

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sweets and toys for the good girls and boys

This week I get to cover a type of neighborhood shop, which while declining in numbers, still exists in many parts of Japan. This week's entry is on the dagashiya (cheap sweet shop) 駄菓子屋. Those of you who are enjoying 20th Century Boys will recognize this one.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Of the splitting and adding of subjects...

I'm (not) enjoying this weekend with a tickle in my throat and a slight cough so I am staying indoors.

But a 3 day weekend is a good time to get caught up on things so I started editing the: Topical/Subject Index for the Anime Companion.

I have changed:

Clothing to Clothing & Accessories

Clothing - Headwear to Clothing - Headwear & Hair Ornaments

Under Food & Drink I have subdivided - Vegitables & Fruit, Including Aquatic & Mushrooms into:

- Aquatic Vegetables

- Fruit Vegetables

- Leaf, Inflorescent & Stalk Vegetables

- Root, Bulb & Tuber Vegetables

- Seed Vegetables

- Mushrooms, Fungus & lichen

- Vegitable based ingredients & dishes

- Vegitable Other

I also subdivided Sounds into:

Sounds - Human and Sounds - Natural

I have added a new section for Seasonal Clues subdivided into:

- Winter

- Winter - New Year

- Spring

- Summer

- Fall

And another new section for Terminology - Criminal

Monday, February 14, 2011

Out, out damn you!

This week I have a term that is used in a varity of contexts but always means the same thing.

Expulsion, banishment, excommunication are a few of the words used to translate hamon.

hamon (formal expulsion) 破門

Monday, February 7, 2011

More administration

This week I have another administrative position that played a significant role in the Edo Period.

This week we have:

gundai (district deputy) 郡代

For a full list of such positions that I have already covered see:

Occupations, Titles & Ranks - Administrative

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Durarara!! reviewed


Released by Aniplex of America

Part 1 avail now, part 2 due March 29,, part 3 due May 31.

Official US website:

Episode 1 opens in Ikebukuro Ward in Tokyo, with landmarks shown in a nice series of images to set the location.

In ep 1 you have Ryugamine Mikado who just moved to Ikebukuro to go to high school. As his childhood friend Masaomi shows him the neighborhood, giving advice on places to check out, people to avoid; both individuals and gangs while chattering because he is jazzed to see his old friend again after 4 years. (Note: It was kinda fun to catch the reference to the Ikebukuro West Gate Park series in the dialogue as they chat.)

The animation sequences in episode one are interspersed with screens showing dialogue in a chat room, with voice over, that help set up the next sequence of actions. This is an interesting and plausible use of technology to carry out conversations.

A kidnapping takes place with a girl lured to a location expecting something very different. However a meeting with the kidnappers and their superiors never happens due to interference from an unexpected person in the form of a biker.

A mysterious biker who can really kick ass brutally, a biker on a black bike, dressed in black wearing a yellow helmet with air vents that look like ears, a biker rumored to actually be a bakemono. By the way the biker rides at night with no lights on and is considered an urban legend by many.

In Ep 2 the chat room is replaced with cell phone text messages between two characters. This episode goes over many of the incidents in the first, but from the perspectives of different characters. This is a rather nice filling in of the story that drew me in rather well.

I won't go much more into what happens in the second episode, or even go into the later ones at all. I want to avoid spoilers and frankly I'd have a hard time putting what I see into the words this show deserves, Durarara!! is that good.

The original story is by Narita Ryôgo who also wrote Baccano! and this adaptation, done by the same crew of animators, is as interesting as the adaptation of Baccano!. As was the case with Baccano! the opening animation sequence is a delight of transitions that show us the major characters of the show as it switches from scene to scene, this time to the music of Theatre Brook's song Uragiri no Yûyake (Betrayal of the Sunset).

Aniplex was kind enough to send me a press screener of the first five episodes even after I told them that I would not be able to do the review for a certain magazine as someone else had beat me to it. However the copy was dub only and I'm one of those guys who strongly prefers subs. Luckily Crunchyroll has the episodes subtitled. so I was able to watch them there.

I'm ordering this one, this is a show I definitely want to own.