Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Around the new year I start getting excited. You see this is the time of year when NHK starts advertising their new Taiga Drama series. Now I don't live in Japan, but I do live in the San Francisco Bay Area where we get the shows on regular TV with subtitles.

Cable? Cable? We don' need no stinkin' cable!

Of course we have to wait until the US stations get their subtitled version of the show which means we start watching in late January or early February rather than early January.

But in any case I get excited.

This year I'm even more excited as the program is about Sakamaoto Ryoma one of the most famous figures in Japanese history and almost totally unknown outside Japan.

So this morning, after being away from the internet for a week, I checked the Japan Times website and spotted this article:
"Legendary, dirty samurai gets makeover ". A good little teaser about the show, damn I want it to start sooner!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Two for Kannon

This week I have two entries as next weekend I will be doing Xmas stuff with family.

Both of these deal with the major Bodhisattva Kannon, also known as Kuan Yin etc.

Kannon 観音

Shōkannon Bosatsu 聖観音菩薩

Monday, December 14, 2009

Another Ōoku related entry

This week I do a historical personage, something I tend not to do as I figure other items may be of greater interest.

However a woman such as Kasuga no Tsubone 春日局 is such a unique individual that she gets special treatment.

By the way if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area channel 26 (8 on cable) will be showing a subtitled Japanese movie about her on Jan 1 in the afternoon.

Marx and Macias on Japanese fashion

Currently listening to:

"Harajuku Requiem: Marxy x Patrick Macias on Tokyo Fashion Past and Present"

W. David Marx and Patrick Macias discussing Japanese fashion.

If you think Harajuku is still the center of Japanese fashion you should listen to this.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Inside the castle

I got caught up in chores yesterday and missed putting up the notice for the new entry I uploaded earlier in the day.

Another one for those interested in the Edo Period.

Ōoku (Great Interior) 大奥

Friday, December 4, 2009


Recently read volume 2 of Ôoku.

This is an alternative history of Edo Period Japan in which a severe disease has hit the country that kills most males during their adolescence. Japan is able to close it's borders before the Europeans find out and a new society grows where women take a dominant role and men are treated with great care. In this Japan the shogun is now a woman.

In the first volume you are introduced to this Japan, in the second it goes back to the early history when the red pox was fairly new. What's fun for me is that many of the characters are from history and the author has done considerable research on the persons and customs of the times.

Monday, November 30, 2009


Uchikake, the topic of this week's entry, show up in several anime and manga, however the only time I have seen the term used is in volume 1 of Ōoku, a manga I highly recommend to anyone interested in the Edo Period.

uchikake (woman's over garment) 打掛

Monday, November 23, 2009

Long day

I slept in this morning, about three and half hours more than usual. Good thing I have Mondays off.

From 11:30 until about 5:30 I was at the Cartoon Art Museum helping with shelving. Mainly climbing on a very tall ladder and removing display shelves from high up so we could incorporate them into the stock shelving. I talked my friend Steven Farnum into helping. Things are a bit messy in the store, they will be getting things back in order tomorrow morning. However the Older Teen and Adult Manga section has a better display and the anime section has more space.

While I was in Tokyo there was a significant upgrade to my web hosting provider's servers. I have had to upgrade my FTP program and change my setting for email since I got back. Things are now working fine. During the transition the most recent updates to my web pages went into the bit bucket so i had to re-upload them, easy enough to do. This means that the four entries I uploaded before heading to Tokyo are back online.

I highly recommend intuitiveISP is you are looking for a host for a web site. It is a small operation but they have been very helpful in ways the big guys just have not been.

Their web site is at:

Friday, November 20, 2009

Back from Tokyo

I actually got back on Wednesday from two weeks in Tokyo and spent the last couple of days sleeping, slowly adjusting to time differences by going to bed when I am tired and getting up when I wake up. I don't have to be back at work until Tuesday so I can do this.

I'm still unpacking, doing laundry (6 new t-shirts), adding books and videos to my collection databases (6 more kabuki DVD discs in my collection), I also picked up the Hellhound model kit and a figurine of Kousei Takeda (the tattoo style one) from Crows / Worst. Ono-san gave me the Japanese editions of the first three volumes of Worst and the first of Crows as well as some other cool books. Thanks Ono-san for the gifts and being such a great guide.

I hope to start posting an account of the trip here, to be spread over a few months.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fightin' and lovin' boys

This week I cover terminology familiar to fans of boys love and yaoi. However many of these terms are also familiar to practitioners of Japanese martial arts.

It seems that terms from martial arts have been adapted to fan terminology in most interesting ways.

The new entries are:

kyō-seme 強攻め

sasoi (inviting posture or stratagem) 誘

seme せめ, 攻め

uke (receiver, blocking, bottom) 受け

By the way there will not be a new entry in the next two weekends, I'll be in Tokyo so my next post will be around the 22nd or 23rd.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tokyo Vice

Just finished Jake Adelstein's book Tokyo Vice on his years as a reported for the Yomiuri, the Japanese language one not the English Daily Yomiuri.

A very interesting look at working on the police beat for a major newspaper. Adelstein is the only non-Japanese reporter to have been in the press club at the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department.

I was clued into this one by Mark Schreiber's review in the Japan Times.

This is one I can recommend reading.

Big Blade!!!

When I first saw one of these in action in the City Hunter 2 TV series I really wanted to do an entry on it.

soba-giri bōchō 蕎麦切包丁

But try to find good information on a specialized knife for making soba in English!

Luckily many years later Nozaki Hiromitsu's book Japanese Kitchen Knives is published and has two pages on the mighty blade! OK so one page is a picture, but that photo is worth plenty.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Good TV

This week I have an entry on the NHK Taiga Drama shows which I have been watching on local TV since Hideyoshi was broadcast in 1996, I had bought my first TV in late 1995 and quickly discovered San Francisco Bay Area broadcasts of subtitled Japanese TV programs.

Taiga dorama (Taiga Drama) 大河ドラマ

Monday, October 12, 2009

Tales Begun on the Night of the Rat

Here is one that is included only because it is the source for a series of tales mentioned in an anime.

Something for the yōkai fans:

Kasshi-yawa ("Tales Begun on the Night of the Rat") 甲子夜話

Busy week, too many chores to get caught up on.

I'll try to have more entries next week.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Something for the fujoshi

I have two entries on fan terminology of special interest to the ladies out there who identify as fujoshi.

Boys Love ボーイズ ラブ

shōnen ai (boy's love) 少年愛

I have also added a new subdivision in the topical index:


Monday, September 28, 2009

Bad stone

This week I only have one entry. Far too much happening to be able to work on more this weekend. I'll try to do some additional ones this week and upload them next weekend.

But this is a supernatural item that shows up in Ghost Slayers Ayashi and is actually a story I heard about as a grade schooler growing up in California in the 1950s.

sesshôseki 殺生石

Monday, September 21, 2009

Deadly and tasty

Two new entries this week. One a kami you don't want as a guest and the 5th taste which you do want to enjoy.

Hōsō no kami (smallpox kami) 疱瘡神

umami (flavor) 旨味

Monday, September 14, 2009

Food prep, pilgrimage, announcement

I am changing the minimum I will post each week from three to one. I have many other committments which shall take up comsiderable time for the next year. I will attempt to do more than one new entry a week when possible.

katsuobushibako (box for shaving bonito) 鰹節箱

Shikoku-henro (Shikoku pilgrimage) 四国遍路

Monday, September 7, 2009

Prime, Cabinet, Diet

Last week I had a request to do some entries related to Japanese politics. So with the recent election still in the news and the new government getting set up here are three entries I hope folks find interesting.

Kokuritsu Kokkai Toshokan (National Diet Library) 国立国会図書館

naikaku (Japanese Cabinet) 内閣

shushō (Prime Minister) 首相

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Thanks, wisdom, curse

This week I cover something every anime fan has heard, unless you only watch re-dubs. Plus another Bodhisattva and a general religious entry.

itadakimasu いただきます

Monju (Manjusri) 文殊

tatari (curse or spiritual retribution) 祟り

Next week? Who knows? I am open to suggestions.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Food, high and low

This week I again do food entries. In fact expect more soon as I intend to fill some gaps in the culinary related entries.

kaiseki ryōri 懐石料理

ryōtei (traditional restaurants) 料亭

tsukimi (culinary term) 月見

This week choosing to do an entry on ryōtei led to the need to do one on kaiseki ryōri.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Take out, spooky and offering.

I have a new subcategory in the topical index Business - Food & Restaurants.

This week I have a food service related entry, a spooky tale custom and something to bring to bring to a Japanese funeral.

bentô-ya (bentô shop) 弁当屋

hyakumonogatari (100 stories) 百物語

kôden (incense money) 香奠

There is actually a bit of a theme this week, two of the entries have references from 20th Century Boys manga. I'll put up a review of the first 20th Century Boys live action movie soon, I went to see it in San Francisco at the Viz Cinema theater in the New People building in Japantown on Saturday.

This blog entry typed to T-Rex's 20th Century Boy.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Kaze Hikaru 14

I'm greatly enjoying the volumes of Kaze Hikaru that Viz is publishing. After all I'm a bit of a sucker for stories in the set in the bakumatsu period (see: The Anime Companion 2 p.8), especially stories about the Shinsengumi.

What was most interesting to me was the supplementary material found at the end of this volume, each volume has a section where the author writes various things related to the story. This time there was a section on women's hairstyles. The thing is in all my years of studying Japanese culture I have never seen so much on Edo Period women's hairstyles in one place. This is an example of the lack of material in English on many aspects of Japanese society. The supplements and notes at many current translations are useful sources of information for the readers but Kaze Hikaru is exceptional.

Kaze Hikaru is a josei manga, even tho' Viz publishes it in their Shojo Beat line. While aimed at young women the tale is very well done and the characters portrayed well. I highly recommend this series for anyone interested in the period and a good tale. However do be aware that male male sexual situations do turn up (nothing explicit shown) and there are trips to the local red light district (again nothing explicit shown).

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Three more on Buddhism

This week's entries all related to Buddhism, and to each other.

Amida 阿弥陀

Jōdo-Shinshū 浄土真宗

Jōdoshū (Jōdo sect) 浄土宗

The largest Buddhist group in the US is the Buddhist Churches of America a Jōdo-Shinshū organization.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Male geisha, festive curtain, future Buddha

This week I'm happy to finally have an entry on male geisha, it took until recently for an anime to come out in the US with a reference to them. However now that I've written the entry I'll go back and re-check Saber Marionette as I realize it may have one in it. I now also have an entry on something you see in many titles, red and white curtains at festive events. Then continuing the adding of religiously related entries I have one on Miroku, commonly known as Maitreya in the West.

hōkan (male geisha) 幇間

kō-haku-no-manmaku (red and white curtain) 紅白の幔幕

Miroku (Maitreya) 弥勒

Monday, July 27, 2009

Slow Chant Zen Zenny

The slow is me. I just could not get moving this morning. This week I ended up with three religious entries.

What I have are entries on a major Buddhist chant and the two major schools of Zen in Japan.

It is interesting that a Pure Land Buddhist chant turns up more often than references to the two major schools of Japanese Zen Buddhism, and not that often in any case.

Namu Myōhōrengekyō 南無妙法蓮華経

Rinzaishū (Rinzai sect) 臨済宗

Sōtōshū (Sōtō sect) 曹洞宗

Monday, July 20, 2009

Clan, leader, text

This week I was working on a series of interlinked entries when I realized I first needed an entry for the Lotus Sutra. that then led me to the Fuma clan, which led me to Fuma Kotaro.

Fuma [a ninja clan] 風魔

Fuma Kotaro 風魔小太郎

Myōhōrengekyō (Lotus Sutra) 妙法蓮華経

I'll still continue working on those interlinked entries, and hopefully have them done and up in a few weeks.

PS: I have added a new subject heading to the topical index.

Religion/Mythology/Belief - Texts

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Breezy, holding and clap-clap

My original plan for this week was a much more ambitious set of interrelated entries. These will have to wait as it is far more complex than I anticipated.

For I have an entry for religion in Fujin, one for a bit of dishware in hashioki and on the sex trade the famous pan-pan girls.

Fujin (wind kami) 風神

hashioki (chopstick rest) 箸置き

pan-pan パンパン

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Moon, treat, drum

Continuing to add references relating to religion I have one for uchiwa-daiko, and one for tsukimi, which requires one for food in tsukimi-dango.

tsukimi (moon viewing) 月見

tsukimi-dango 月見団子

uchiwa-daiko (prayer drum) 団扇太鼓

That's it this week.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ghost, Bodhisattva and fermented

This week I have two religious related entries and a food.

The Kongoyasya one was fun to do. I was staying home with the flu and watching my VHS tape of Sanctuary when i got curious about Tokai's tattoo. So I also dug out my copy of the manga and compared the two. Then I started looking to see if it was based on a real diety. Just as I was starting to decide that it was made up I found an image of Kongoyasya in one of my books. I wonder how many other large tattoos in anime and manga have meanings behind them? This is not the first that has shown up, so I'll keep my eye out for more.

Gaki I had been meaning to do for some time and shiokara is unusual enough a food that I could not resist adding it.

I have also added a new category to the index for fermented foods.

gaki (hungry ghost) 餓鬼

Kongoyasya 金剛や者

shiokara 塩辛

Monday, June 22, 2009

Yet more food

This week I have a cold. No not the piggie flu, the symptoms are different.

This means I have low energy so I went with some easy food related entries, but worked to keep them a bit obscure.

botan-nabe (boar meat hotpot) 牡丹鍋 or ぼたん鍋

itamae (Japanese chef) 板前

yamakujira (mountain whale) 山鯨 or やまくじら

Hope you enjoy these. Next week I hope to start doing more religious related entries as people keep telling me that is an area of interest.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Japan's Tasty Secrets

Thanks to my friend Esteban in Tokyo I now have a copy of Japan's Tasty Secrets sitting on my desk.

If you want a quick overview of the regional varieties of Japanese food check it out.

Of course as soon as I get a paper copy I find out the book is now available for download as a PDF.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Three anime books

Clements, Jonathan
Schoolgirl Milky Crisis: Adventures in the Anime and Manga Trade
London: Titan Books, 2009

I was jazzed when the Cartoon Art Museum store got this one in. I spotted a box that the manager had yet to open, and knowing the book was on the way got her to process the order.

I buy damn near anything Clements publishes, the only thing I don't have is his book on the Empress Wu.

This is a fat (393 p + index) collection of his essays.

I also walked out of the museum store with:

McCarthy, Helen
500 Essential Anime Movies: The Ultimate Guide
New York: Collins Design, 2008

An excellent book to show folks who are trying to decide what to watch next.

Richmond, Simon
The Rough Guide to Anime: Japan's finest from Ghibli to Gankutsuo
New York: Rough Guides, 2009

Looks like a good introduction to the industry and has entries on 50 select titles.

I also recommend his Rough Guide to Tokyo, one of the best travel books on the city available.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Food, two roots and a technique

This week I decided to start adding food related entries again. You see when I created the Topical/Subject Index to the Anime Companion Supplement I realized how many food related item I had and decided to focus on other subjects for some time.

Viz is now publishing the Oishinbo manga and I'm hearing from retailers that it is selling quite well. Plus I feel inspired by the love of food shown by Jigoro in Yawara, the Fashionable Judo Girl anime. So I decided to again start including food related entries. Originally I planned to do one a week. However for this week my plan was for an entry for kabu (turnip) 蕪, however my example from Samurai X Trust and Betrayal showed a second root crop satoimo (taro) 里芋. So I included that one, thing is the taro entry included that the root is used in nimono (simmered food) 煮物. The result was three interlocked food entries.

To make things even more interesting, and to simplify to locating entries, I have added two new food related sub-categories to the Topical/Subject Index. There are now entries for Food - Cooking Techniques and Food - Processed Ingredients. The addition of categories and sub-categories will continue as the index expands with new entries.

Monday, June 8, 2009

A weapon, a divination and a firefighting aid

This weeks entries all will be of interest to those of you who enjoy stories set in the Edo Period. Three items, two commonly seen the other still seen today.

metsubushi (sight remover) 目潰し

ninsō (physiognomy) 人相

tensui-oke (rainwater buckets) 天水桶

Monday, June 1, 2009

Small temple, large temple, wrestler

This week I cover two famous temples one small and one very large as well as a man who was very large in his time.

Fans of Yawara!, Genshiken and Ghost Slayers Ayashi will learn about details in those works.

Jōkanji 浄閑寺

Rikidozan 力道山

Shinshōji 新勝寺

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

moe maids and fan terms

This week I am taking advantage of information in Azuma Hiroki's book Otaku: Japan's Database Animals to include a few fan related terms.

chara moe キャラ萌え

meido or mēdo (maid) メイド or メード

shokkaku (antenna) 触角

As I warned last week these entries are a couple of days later than usual as I was at Fanime all weekend.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fanime 2009: Anime and Manga For Grownups

At Fanime I did a panel called Anime and Manga For Grownups where I covered many currently available titles which I felt adult fans should be aware of and likely would enjoy.

I was very surprised how many at the panel had not heard of most of these titles.

One requested I post my lists so they could use them as reference material. I did not speak about many of the titles here but the full lists I had with me could be of use to fans.

Fanime 2009: Anime and Manga For Grownups - Anime

Fanime 2009: Anime and Manga For Grownups - Manga

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My Fanime Con schedule

I am a guest at Fanime Con this year.

My schedule, which is subject to last minute revision, is:

[Edited Saturday 8:10 AM]


Anime and Manga for Grownups - Marriott Salon 2 (Panels 2) from 7-8 pm


Older Titles for Newer Fans - Marriott Salon 4-6 (Panels 3) 1-3 pm


Anime for Parents - Marriott Salon 1 & 2 12-1 pm. (Open to the public no badge needed)


Iron Fanime Panelist Edition - Marriott Salon 4-6 (Panels 3) 12-2 pm [EDIT]

Monday, May 18, 2009

Manga fundamentals

This week I have three entries for manga related terminology.

This week's entries written while listening to music by The Street Beats.

kyōfu manga (terror manga) 恐怖漫画

manga zasshi (manga magazines) 漫画雑誌

suiri manga (detection manga) 推理漫画

I'm beat, it has been a long week. I'll try to get things prepped as much as I can for next weeks entries soon. However week's entries may be a day or two late as I have a very busy schedule getting ready for Fanime Con

Sunday, May 17, 2009



Tokyo's entertainment center with everything from family fare to the very adult. Playground for Saeba Ryo in the City Hunter series and also seen in many films and anime.

Photographer Jim O'Connell has been taking pictures here for year.

For a Gallery of images see:


For a slideshow of the images, sit down and click on:


Warning, may not be workplace safe.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Oishinbo A La Carte

Oishinbo A La Carte is a manga series being published in translation by Viz Media. The basic story is about Yamaoka Shirô, and Kurita Yûko who have been assigned to a special anniversary project for the newspaper they work for. Their assignment is called The Ultimate Menu and their job is to research food and write about it. Add Shirô's knowledge of food and drink plus a years long conflict with his father and a variety of interesting situations and this is one interesting manga.

What they are doing which is unusual is they are not issuing the volumes in order, rather they are picking individual chapters and story arcs related to a theme and putting them together. This may sound dubious but it works as the reader gets to focus on one aspect of Japanese cuisine at a time. Hopefully some day we shall see a translation in the regular order but until then we have one interesting series to enjoy.

The first volume is devoted in general to Japanese cuisine so we get to see a variety to get us into the swing of things, then comes the second volume Sake. The sake volume is not exactly what many Westerners would expect as sake to the Japanese means any alcoholic beverage rather than Nihonshu, the brewed traditional alcoholic beverage of Japan. But don't let that put you off there is plenty about Nihonshu as well as other Japanese alcoholic beverages. You will even learn about proper storage and use with foods.

This is a title I think would work well with any adult manga collection, and would be popular with some younger readers.

Volume 3 will be Ramen & Gyoza (due May 19), and 4 will be Fish, Sushi,& Sashimi (due July 14)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Item, courtesy and elsewhere

This week I add a traditional household item rarely found in modern homes, a summertime courtesy and a land where visitors occasionally come from.

hibashi (metal hashi) 火箸

shochû-mimai-jô (summertime greeting card) 暑中見舞状

Tokoyo no Kuni (Eternal Land) 常世の国

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Manga Cross-Stitch

Oh god it was only a matter of time.

And who else but the wonderful Helen McCarthy could do a book called Manga Cross Stitch.

It will be published in June by Ilex Press in the UK and by Andrews McMeel in the USA.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Stranger fishing promise

This week i chose three unrelated but interesting items ranging from rarely mentioned to often seen.

They are:

marebito 客人

tairyô-bata (large haul flag) 大漁旗

yubikiri (pinky promise) 指切り

Check 'em out and let me know what you think.

Don't hesitate to make requests for items I have yet to cover.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Old household stuff

This week I bring three items found in many houses of the pre modern period, and in some today.

fumiishi (stone step) 踏み石

goemonburo (large iron pot or tub) 五右衛門風呂

kaya (mosquito netting) 蚊帳

Incidentally goemonburo are still made, about 2,000 are sold each year.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Of kabuki and books

This week I have two entries related to kabuki, one a kata used when portraying foxes and another a famous theater, then I have a term from the book trade.

kitsunede (fox hands) 狐手

Nakamura-za (Nakamura Theater) 中村座

tankōbon (a separate book volume) 単行本

Let me know if there are any types of material you would like to see more of. How I decide on new entries can be influenced by your feedback.

Monday, March 23, 2009

20th Century Details

20th Century Boys by Naoki Urasawa is a title I am recommending to everyone. Yesterday I mentioned this when I was in Comic Relief in Berkeley and everyone in earshot piped up with an enthusiastic YES! I can't recall when I last heard a manga produce so an enthusiastic response.

This week's three entries all relate to volume 1, the first indirectly as I needed it as background for the second.

danchi (housing complex) 団地

danchizuma (housing complex wife) 団地妻

Heibon Panchi (Heibon Punch) 平凡パンチ

Monday, March 16, 2009

Ommyodo related

This week I have three items related to Ommyōdō, the Way of Yin and Yang.

meigen (resounding bowstrings) 鳴弦

reki-hakase (high master of calendar-making) 暦博士

shikigami (spirit servant) 式神

I have also added two new subdivisions in the Anime Companion Supplement - Topical/Subject Index:



As always I am open to suggestions and requests for items you would like to see me add.

Friday, March 13, 2009

New Topical/Subject category

I have added a new category to the Anime Companion Supplement - Topical/Subject Index:

People - Occupations, Titles & Ranks

Many of the entries are also found elsewhere in the index. some are only here.

Monday, March 9, 2009

More yōkai

Yōkai continue to be fun to write about, eve if it is very hard to find reliable sources on them in English.

This week I bring three yōkai related entries, one from Pom Poko, one from MahoRomatic and two from Ghost Slayers Ayashi.

Ashiarai Yashiki (Foot-Washing Mansion) 足洗邸

oiteke-bori (leave it behind) 置行堀

tsuchinoko ツチノコ or 槌の子

Monday, March 2, 2009

Handiness, Gems and Eyes

This week I was spending time getting stuff together for my accountant to handle my taxes. As I was short on time I wrote one new entry and pulled the two I had in reserve. I need to rebuild my reserve for time like this.

This week I bring you a mixed bag, or in the case of one; sack.

fasshon massaji (fashion massage) ファッションマッサージ

kintama (golden balls) 金玉

mokumokuren 目目連

Now to get started on next week's entries.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Religion this week

This week I have three Buddhism related entries. This kind of off sets the carnal entries for Valentine's Day.

Two of them are from Ghost Hunt the other from Pom Poko.

Marishiten (Buddhist deity) 摩利支天

nenbutsu odori (dancing nembutsu) 念仏踊

Ryôbu Shintô (Dual Shintô) 両部神道

During the past several weeks I've put plenty of time in adding to my notes. I keep an extensive set of notes which I use to create these entries and the more I add to the notes the easier it is to locate information I can use. Of course as I am integrating my notes I run into things that look interesting and end up doing entries on them. This works pretty well as often i am adding notes from recently released works, tho' I do play favorites on occasion for older titles.

As always I welcome, even encourage, your suggestions as to how I could improve the supplement. Please feel free to ask for specific entries when something catches your eye.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

This week I have three entries that could be intimate activities for many couples out there to do, if they are so inclined.

These are:

paizuri (tit job) パイズリ

tanima no shirayuri (white lily of the valley) 谷間の白百合

wakame zake (seaweed sake) わかめ酒

I have received some teasing for the large number of sex related entries over the past few years. In fact I had wanted to start including such entries from the beginning, over ten years ago, when I started what became The Anime Companion. However there was one barrier, the lack of reliable secondary sources in print on sex and the sex trade in Japan. So I waited and in 2006 was double rewarded by the publication of Joan Sinclair's book Pink Box: Inside Japan’s Sex Clubs and a friend locating a copy of Peter Constantine's book Japan's Sex Trade: A Journey Through Japan's Erotic Subcultures. The Constantine book has long been out of print and I had been looking for a copy since 1999.

So armed with these resources and a few others that have proven useful I began tracking down further references in anime and manga. I started emailing and talking to folks I knew who were consumers of erotic anime and manga asking for assistance.

I quickly learned something interesting, explicitly erotic works rarely mention the Japanese sex trade. Most references to the sex trade are found in manga that have it only as a small part of the story such as GTO Great Teacher Onizuka and IWGP, two titles I strongly recommend. While there is plenty of sex in erotic titles there is little I can put to use for this guide and this is reflected in the examples I use.

I do have to state one thing, around the time Joan Sinclair's book came out I decided to do a google search to find web sites on Japanese sexual terminology in the hopes that the site owners would refer to their sources. There was almost nothing, in fact one particularly whimpy site bragged about being the largest site for such information. The sad thing is it actually was the largest such web site at the time. However with my additions, and the fact that I cite my sources, folks are no longer limited to such small sites.

If you spot something in a manga or anime that has been released in the US and is not covered in the web supplement please let me know I would like to continue to improve the supplement. Of course suggestions are not limited to the sexual, other topics are most welcome.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Medicinal Japan

In writing this week's entries I started with the entry for the yagen, an object I had been seeing in anime and manga for years but had not found a good secondary source describing it.

Then I needed to include one for kusuri as yagen are used to make them, of course that meant I needed an entry for kampō since kusuri originated in kampō. This also explains why I have two entries under the letter "K" as I usually try to avoid doing so since it is easier to write entries under three different letters.

So here you are.

kampō (Chinese Medicine) 漢方

kusuri (drugs) 薬

yagen やげん or 薬研

I'll try to make my next posting on the 14 and have a Valentine's Day related set.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Your Internet is weak

I sometimes get folks asking me why I don't just use the Internet for information about Japan.

Problem is often what I find on the internet is inaccurate or very wrong. More than once I have found found web sites that base their "factual" information on works of fiction. Which brings up another problem, many sites do not cite their sources so you have no idea where they got their information. Frankly many simply just write off the cuff and leave it at that, relying on hearsay, poor memory or fantasy rather than trying to verify what they are saying.

This is not information I can use.

Now I do admit there are many good site out there and the Internet is a place to begin looking for information. Wikipedia for example, as weak as it still is, has tightened their standards for citing sources which has greatly improved their content which makes it a good quick reference.

But for me I'll check the Internet for clues as to what to search for in better sources.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Relations, supervisor and treasures

This week I have two new entries related to Ommyōdō and one on important symbols of Imperial power.

I also point out a translation error in episode 19 of Shonen Onmyouji.

Ommyō-gogyō-setsu 陰陽五行説

Ommyō-no kami 陰陽頭

Sanshu no shinki (3 sacred treasures, mirror sword jewel) 三種の神器

That's it for this week, it's getting close to dinner time, think I'll turn on the rice cooker and dig out some nattō, (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.92).

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Three from Ghost Hunt

This week I have three entries dealing with the supernatural that are all referenced in Ghost Hunt. Volume 10 of the Ghost Hunt manga is set for release later this year but the anime is out. If you like supernatural tales this is a series to check out.

hitogata (human shaped dolls) 人形

katashiro (shape substitution) 形代

yorishiro 依代

I'm also doing plenty of research on Ommyōdō, in other words spending time looking for what little there is in English. However i am having some success so expect some Ommyōdō related entries in the next few weeks.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Insult, Document, Island

This week I'm actually getting the entries up on Sunday rather than Monday.

For your edification I present:

ierō kyabu (yellow cab) イエローキャブ

koseki (household register) 戸籍

Sado 佐渡

I've been doing a marathon of note taking for the past week or so with a focus on religion/supernatural related material. The Ghost Hunt anime was enjoyable, I eagerly await volume 10 of the manga, and today I hope to watch and takes notes on Shonen Onmyouji disc 5. Meanwhile I am reading Jolanta Tubielewicz's Supersitions, Magic and Mantic Practice in the Heian Period and taking plenty of notes.

So for the near future you can expect a higher number of entries related to Buddhism, Shintō, Onmyodō, and yōkai among the other materials I am covering. Of course for marketing purposes I shall continue to add entries on erotic matters, after all sex sells rather well in this repressed society.

As always suggestions are welcome, just post a reply.

Also do consider my books for yourself or as gifts.

'Til next week, Watch More Anime!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


When hunting for information about Japanese food one sees eaten in anime, manga and movies one of the places you expect to find something, but rarely do, is cookbooks. The simple reason for this is that most Japanese cookbooks are either modern high cuisine or fancy stuff a housewife may prepare on occasion but not the day to day stuff of the home and small eateries. In other words pretty useless unless you want to try out the recipes.

This book is a notable exception.

Why? Well it has a good variety of interesting dishes to try out that are based on actual food served in eight Tokyo izakaya. It also has descriptions of these izakaya, including interesting details about them. If you don't know what izakaya are go out and buy Anime Companion Volume 2 and look it up. The short description is that izakaya are very cozy neighborhood pubs where you can relax and enjoy a drink as well simple but delicious food for very good prices. For even more information on izakaya just check out this book, you may find yourself purchasing a copy, and if you like to cook just buy it. You may even find yourself booking a flight to Japan to visit some izakaya, sounds like a good idea to me.

Izakaya: The Japanese Pub Cookbook (Hardcover)
by Mark Robinson (Author), Masashi Kuma (Photographer)
Kodansha International
ISBN-10: 4770030657
ISBN-13: 978-4770030658

Monday, January 12, 2009

Poem. Pink. Oppression

This week a poem used to teach hiragana and to organize dictionaries, the Japanese use of an English word for a color, and an oppressive institution that ceased with the downfall of the shogun.

iroha uta (iroha poem) 伊呂波歌

pinku (pink) ピンク

shûmon aratame (religious inquisition) 宗門改

I'm currently working through a huge backlog of anime and manga that I need to take notes on. One advantage of this is that when I merge the new notes into my existing set I spot interesting items to add to the supplement. Sometimes I am surprise what I have not already included, at other times with what I have not seen in anime and manga before, and sometimes I am delighted to find an example of something I had wanted to include but simply did not turn up in any stories I had enjoyed.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Roadside, Sex tool, New Year

Last week I had several days off which enabled me to get several entries done. It has been my goal to get ahead of the entry writing so if I unable to write entries in a particular week I'll have some lined up to use. Of course this means I still need to keep writing new ones each week so I don't deplete the ones I have in reserve.

This week I cover :

dōsojin 道祖神

higozuiki (Higo dried taro stems) ひごずいき or 肥後ずいき or 肥後芋茎 or 白芋茎
[An interesting Edo Period sex tool.]

kagami-mochi (New Year rice cake ornament) 鏡餅

Until next week, keep enjoying anime and manga.