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Fun / foon Tokyo
Thursday, March 4, 2004
Japanese magnetically-operated bra
Topic: Japanese Tech
I've sure some use could used the help of this Japanese invention, although bras seem to magically disappear when not "needed" with any of my help.
electromagnetic bra Bra wars
japantoday > new products / March 4

Women no longer have to worry about dowdy bra hooks creating unsightly lines and bulges beneath their tops. Lingerie marker Gunze has designed a stylish medal-shaped magnet hook for bras. The two magnets are firmly attached and fasten very easily. Pulling the bra from the side or sliding it up and down won't open it.

Posted by trek/taro at 4:35 PM JST
Updated: Friday, March 5, 2004 9:36 AM JST
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Tokyo jumper blog
Topic: Japanese life
I've watched four jumpers in Japan do it but this one takes some sort of prize....French bakery

Same Planet, Different World Series
Tokyo --11:31am

Picture, if you will, a stuffy room on the 20th floor of the Nakano-Sakaue Sunbright twin south tower. A dull thud echoes up through the steel skeleton of girders clad in glass...
Nakano-Sakaue Sunbright twin south tower
...A French bakery, windows spotted pink and red, full of patrons. They sit, eating their patisseries calmly surveying the carnage. Cultural shock offends the senses. Exactly what are these people thinking as they masticate?

Posted by trek/taro at 1:44 PM JST
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Wednesday, March 3, 2004
Sumo Hostesses for me
Topic: Media
Here party pix at a "Sumo Hostess" bar.

Refer also to Cal's new hangout where my act will be appreciated.

Posted by trek/taro at 9:45 PM JST
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Sad, sad day for Japan
Gozilla madGodzilla calls it a day...again.
Mainichi Shimbun, Japan - March 3

Godzilla, at various times Japan's scourge and savior but undoubtedly the country's most famous movie monster, will retire aged 50 with a final movie to be final movie to be released later this year, Toho Co. said.
Shooting will begin in May on "Godzilla Final Wars," where the monster's record of merciless destruction of urban centers will be bolstered by the addition of New York, Shanghai and Paris.
...Though hailed as the end for Godzilla, Toho has retired the monster several times in the past and Toyama did not rule out the creature emerging from the depths again some time in the future.

Posted by trek/taro at 7:08 PM JST
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Geisha in Blackface?
Topic: Media

black on both sides

The Spelman College Museum of Fine Art
will present iona rozeal brown "?black on both sides" beginning January 22, 2004. iona brown's paintings are an unprecedented mixture of anonymous courtesans, geisha and other Japanese subjects in blackface....

Posted by trek/taro at 4:18 PM JST
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Kal and Kazy Kabuki in the USA vs Japan
Topic: Media
kabuki poserNakamura to recreate 17th-century Kabuki theater in N.Y.
Japan's leading Kabuki actor, Nakamura Kankuro V, on Tuesday announced his grand plan to recreate an authentic 17th-century Kabuki theater in the heart of Manhattan for the Lincoln Center Festival opening in July.
"It's like dream come true," Nakamura, 48, who first developed the idea of bringing the temporary Kabuki hut to New York more than two decades ago.... visitors now will enjoy the ambience of a small Japanese village.

Hmmmmmmmm,, I wonder if NY kabuki will have a lot of Kiai-Jutsu screaming for the authentic ambiance?
Before I shipwrecked here in Japan, I'd had already seen a half dozen Kabuki-za Tour performances since none of my Chicago relatives would use their season concert pass to see "cats yowling." The first time I went to Tokyo Kabuki-za, I about crapped in my shorts when a little barcode ojisan sitting next to me see his favorite actor's virtuoso pose bellowed, ?Matte imashita!? (I have been waiting for that!). It's one thing to read about in a book but I felt like I was at a Greek melodrama 3,000 years ago.

Posted by trek/taro at 2:09 PM JST
Updated: Wednesday, March 3, 2004 2:11 PM JST
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Pink One Eye Tokyo Rebel
Topic: Media
If you're after Pink One Eye Tokyo Rebel, here ya go.
pink One Eye Tokyo Rebel

Posted by trek/taro at 12:49 PM JST
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Vote early. Vote often...
Topic: Media

Vote early. Vote often. Vote OLD!

voting is for old people T-shirt - 'Voting Is for Old People' T-Shirt Draws Complaint / 1 Mar 2004

Urban Outfitters is selling a T-shirt that says, 'Voting Is for Old People,' much
to the dismay of a group that encourages young (anti-Bush) voters to go to .....

Tell 'em what you think about it. Urban Outfitters Corporate phone number is: 215-564-2313. The email addresses for a variety of honchos available here.

Posted by trek/taro at 12:14 PM JST
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Japan's Ideal for Luxury
Topic: Concrete Japan
Here's photos of my stay at the four star "GunkanjimaLand Hotel".

Posted by trek/taro at 10:38 AM JST
Updated: Friday, July 30, 2004 4:22 PM KDT
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Tuesday, March 2, 2004
Good grief, great gobs of guano!
Topic: Media
These cormorants call "Uu" in japanese are wildly stinky poop machines. They make some of my favorite beaches unusable. The Emperor's Cormorant Island in Ueno Park and the National Zoo is disgusting and everyone avoids it. Yuck-o.
cormorants Great cormorants turning fish into guano
Yomiuri Shimbun / March 2

The environment of a small island in Lake Biwa, Shiga Prefecture, has been damaged by a huge flock of great cormorants, aquatic birds that are gobbling up local fish populations and producing unhealthy amounts of waste..... In late February, about 10,000 cormorants from other parts of the country crowd onto the tiny island--just two kilometers around--to breed and nest. ...
....Worshipers who visit Hogonji temple and Tsukubusuma Shrine in the island are annoyed by the smell caused by the cormorants' droppings. According to local people, the heavy piles of guano and loss of vegetation have even caused an increase in landslides on the island in recent years. ... local people put fake eggs in the birds' nests to replace real eggs as a kind of avian birth control measure....

Posted by trek/taro at 5:41 PM JST
Updated: Tuesday, March 2, 2004 5:44 PM JST
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guru 'Duke' Saraye's Ministry of Silly Walks
Topic: Media
"I want money, I want to be popular and adored but what I want most is to build a 'Walking Paradise'" crazy walking guru
Walking craze gathers pace across Japan
APF / 02 March 2004 1245 hrs

TOKYO: The flailing arms, high kicks, twists and crouches may look eccentric, but the walking style of exercise guru Duke Saraye is sweeping Japan with its unique mix of yoga, ballet, aerobics and other Oriental and Western ideas.... The moves, which would doubtless win approval from legendary British comedy group Monty Python's Ministry of Silly Walks, include energetic high-stepping, leg swinging and shoulder rolls, as well as flowing hand movements .... flung their arms in the air, chanting "Pink, gold!"....Saraye, whose real first name is Takuya but is better known as "Duke," claims to be a descendant of a mountain ascetic who served Emperor Go-Daigo (1288-1339).

Posted by trek/taro at 3:33 PM JST
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Stay Vertical!
Mood:  happy


I'm now SuperGimp!

Yes after literally years of dithering about the expense I decided to splurge on myself and buy $900 custom titanium crutches from Thomas Fetterman Corp. My Titanium crutches, "have the ability to flex under dynamic loading. It absorbs shock and dampens vibration to protect our upper body for the long-haul."

Posted by trek/taro at 2:07 PM JST
Updated: Tuesday, March 2, 2004 2:08 PM JST
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Monday, March 1, 2004
"For relaxing times...make it SUSHI time."
Topic: Media

Oily fish makes you less hostile

29 Feb 2004/
If you want to be less hostile you should make sure you get plenty of omega-3 fatty acids. Foods such as salmon, tuna and sardines have lots of omega 3 fatty acids. ... Four years ago another study in Japan concluded that fish oils helped students deal better with stress when they were approaching final exams.

Posted by trek/taro at 10:39 AM JST
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Oh, I'm such a sucker for such junk
Topic: Japanese Tech
I gotta have it! Oh, I'm such a sucker for such junk.pen camera
Pico PenShot
Pen, PDA stylus and camera all in one that is about the same size of a fat Mount Banc fountain pen. There's no price announced yet but most likely it will sell less than 5,000 yen.
USB interface, 200 shots at 640?480(VGA), W16.2?D20.0?H142.0(mm)
More info

Posted by trek/taro at 9:33 AM JST
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Sunday, February 29, 2004
Tacky Japanese music
Topic: Media
Sondi in tacky hatVia Basic Hip Digital Oddio I give you a grrrrreat MP3 by Sondi Sodsai, 2.4MB the Japanese Farewell Song musi
by Sondi Sodsai
Liberty LRP-3110
Topnotch exotica/kitsch "oriental" cash-in with outrageous tourist trap lyrics ... the album serves as a 12 song come-on to white American male tourists...presented by Basic Hip Digital Oddio

Posted by trek/taro at 5:05 PM JST
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Japanese Social Security now works in the US for Americans
Topic: adviceS

Good news Bad news

Japanese Social Security now works in the US for Americans but Medicare will not, arrrrg. All the following information is vague, but it's a start at least.

From: American Embassy Tokyo
Subject: American Community Security Update - March 2004

Some Social Security and Medicare Questions

Q: Because I have worked abroad most of my life, I have not paid enough into the U.S. system to collect social security benefits. Is there any way I can make up the difference by paying into the U.S. social security system (a lump sum, for example) to get the remaining credits?

A: The Social Security Administration (SSA) does not allow voluntary contributions in order to meet the required number of quarters of coverage to be eligible for SSA benefits, including Medicare.

Q: Since the U.S. and Japan signed a Social Security Totalization Agreement, would I have to give up all of my Japanese social security benefits in order to qualify for U.S. Medicare benefits? I think I only need a few more years of work in the U.S. to qualify for Medicare there, can I use part of my Japanese years to make up the total?

Answer: You do not have to give up your benefits in Japan. However, you cannot use your benefits in Japan to qualify for Medicare in the U.S., as there are no Medicare benefits covered under any proposed Totalization Agreement. Please refer to SSA regulation GN 01701.130A.

Q: If there is no way I can qualify for Medicare in the U.S., can you suggest alternate insurance plans?

A: If you are a U.S. citizen, when you return and establish residence in the U.S. you are eligible for Supplementary Medical Insurance (Part B of Medicare). You can enroll during your initial enrollment period (IEP), which is the seven month period that covers three months before and three months after the month you establish residency in the U.S. Please refer to SSA regulations HI 00805.005A2., HI 00805.007B., and HI 00805.015A. Example: You returned and established residency in the U.S. in June 2003. Your initial enrollment period is from March 2003 through September 2003. If you fail to enroll during this period, there will be a premium surcharge of 10% for every full twelve months you did not enroll after your initial enrollment period. The premiums, as of January 2004, are $66.60.

Q: How do I find the SSA regulations you referred to above?

A: You can search for SSA regulations at SSA's website:

Go to

On the left side of the screen, under "Resources", click on "Freedom of Information"

On the right side of the screen, under "", click on "Manuals and Instructions"

Click on "SSA Program Operation Manual (POMS)"

From here, you can search either by clicking on the first 2 letters of the specific POMS reference (i.e., RM, GN, HI, etc.) or by using the search mode and indicating the specific POMS reference, i.e. GN 01701.130.

Please note that the Embassy and our Consulates do not have information on Japanese social security (nenkin) benefits or procedures. Please contact the appropriate Japanese officials at your local ward or city office.

The American Embassy in Tokyo
American Citizen Services
1-10-5 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8420
Tel: 03-3224-5174
Fax: 03-3224-5856

Posted by trek/taro at 3:42 PM JST
Updated: Sunday, February 29, 2004 3:57 PM JST
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Friday, February 27, 2004
Just another day in the Concrete Butt-plug(tm)
Topic: Concrete Japan

Tokyo on a good day

Refer to the "Casshern" movie trailer.

Posted by trek/taro at 11:10 PM JST
Updated: Friday, July 30, 2004 4:23 PM KDT
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Japanese robobabe!
robot fishHow could anyone pass up the guiles of this robot honey?


"...a coelacanth-shaped robot developed by Japan's Ryomei Engineering swims in a fish tank during the International Robot Fair 2004 in Kitakyushu."

Posted by trek/taro at 7:41 PM JST
Updated: Friday, February 27, 2004 7:44 PM JST
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"GUILTY!" Will the Aum Guru be flying soon?
levitating Aum guru

Asahara Sentenced to Death for 1995 Tokyo Gas Attack

Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Shoko Asahara, the founder of the Aum Shinrikyo cult, was sentenced to death on charges of organizing terrorist acts, including the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway that killed 12 people. ...more...

Posted by trek/taro at 7:04 PM JST
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adviceS: Dial-up in Tokyo & greater Kanto?
reamerQuestion: Using an antiquated laptop with a serial modem port is there a free or inexepnsive dial up service in Tokyo area?

Do you LIKE getting reamed in your hinterlands by NTT?

For a modest 20-30 minutes a day connection time to NTT for checking email and news, dial-up will cost you much more than 2,000yen/month.

Flat-rate ASDL at 1,500yen/m like Yahoo BB will save you a lot of money. If you live WAY out in the boondocks where ADSL doesn't work, old ISDN modems from NTT are dirt cheap(free?) and flat-rate is 1,200yen/m or less. I use "bonded-pair" IDSN out on my rice ranch in Shikoku that provides 256k speed (two ISDN lines, 128k + 128k) because ASDL is impossible in my Jomon village.

Your PC card slot will allow you to try WiFi or most modern ASDL and LAN-type services.

For more about low-tech 56k and ISDN modems services (as well as ASDL) read this truely definative source:
ISPs in Japan FAQ , by Keith Wilkinson (2003 info)

Posted by trek/taro at 9:12 AM JST
Updated: Friday, February 27, 2004 9:13 AM JST
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