All posts by goZA

Seniors take over Japans arcades gambling with retirement money

Once the preserve of rowdy teenagers, game arcades in Japan are rapidly becoming the hippest place to hang out for a whole new generation — their grandparents.

With plenty of time on their hands and cash in their pockets, well-behaved elderly customers make up a significant and growing number of those prepared to feed coins into machines for a few hours entertainment.

The so-called “silver market” is increasingly important for industries in Japan, where a plunging birth rate and a long life expectancy is leaving society increasingly top-heavy.And for the elderly themselves, arcades offer a chance to find fun and friendship away from the more traditional pursuits of old age.

Read the rest of the story: Space invaders: seniors take over Japans arcades.

Concern about food, fuel in wake of Japan disasters

Long lines at grocery stores and gas stations along with continued aftershocks and power outages greeted many in Japan on Sunday morning, nearly two days after the devastating earthquake and tsunami that left hundreds dead and missing.

Supplies of food and gas were running out in Sendai, the northern coastal city close to the epicenter of Friday’s quake. Those who survived the earthquake and chose to remain in the city were enduring two-hour waits at the supermarket, according to a CNN iReporter in Sendai with the username joeyjenkins.

"They have waited for I don’t even know how long to get gas, as the gas station manually pumps the gas since there is no electricity," joeyjenkins wrote, adding they were without power until early Sunday.

Read the rest of the story: Concern about food, fuel in wake of Japan disasters.

47 RONIN – Keanu Reeves with Sanada, Shibasaki, Asano, and Kikuchi

Hiroyuki Sanada (Lost), Kou Shibasaki (Battle Royale), Tadanobu Asano (Mongol), and Rinko Kikuchi (Babel) will star with Keanu Reeves in Carl Erik Rinsch’s 47 Ronin. The Japanese legend of ronin who fought to avenge their master’s death is a new film from Universal set for release in 3D on November 11, 2012 and is gearing up to start film in couple of weeks.

Official Press Release:


Japanese Superstars Hiroyuki Sanada, Kou Shibasaki, Tadanobu Asano and Rinko Kikuchi Join Cast of Epic Inspired by Ancient Japan’s Most Enduring Legend

LONDON, ENGLAND, March 1, 2011—Universal Pictures announced today that principal photography begins March 14 on 47 Ronin, the new epic 3D fantasy-adventure inspired by ancient Japan’s most enduring tale.  Keanu Reeves leads the cast as Kai, an outcast who joins Oishi (Hiroyuki Sanada), the leader of the 47 Ronin.  Together they seek vengeance upon the treacherous overlord who killed their master and banished their kind.  To restore honor to their homeland, the warriors embark upon a quest that challenges them with a series of trials that would destroy ordinary warriors.

47 Ronin is helmed by visionary director Carl Erik Rinsch (The Gift).  Inspired by styles as diverse as Miyazaki and Hokusai, Rinsch will bring to life the stunning landscapes and enormous battles that will display the timeless Ronin story to global audiences in a way that’s never been seen before.

Joining Reeves in the cast are a who’s who of Japanese superstars, including Hiroyuki Sanada (The Twilight Samurai, Sunshine, The Last Samurai) as the clan’s chief samurai, Oishi; Kou Shibasaki (The Lady Shogun and Her Men, One Missed Call) as their master’s daughter and the love of Kai’s life, Mika; Tadanobu Asano (Mongol, Ichi the Killer, upcoming Thor) as the treacherous Lord Kira; and Academy Award®-nominated actress Rinko Kikuchi (Babel, Norwegian Wood) as the mysterious lady Mizuki who executes Kira’s every request in his search for ultimate power.

The film is from writers Chris Morgan (Wanted, Fast Five) and Hossein Amini (upcoming Drive, The Wings of the Dove).  Scott Stuber (The Kingdom, upcoming Battleship), Pamela Abdy (Garden State, Man on the Moon) and Eric McLeod (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End, Tropic Thunder) produce the epic.

Rinsch leads a behind-the-scenes crew comprised of two-time Academy Award®-nominated cinematographer John Mathieson (Gladiator, Robin Hood); two-time Academy Award®-nominated production designer Jan Roelfs (Alexander, Gattaca); editor Craig Wood (Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, The Ring); costume designer Penny Rose (Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, Evita); special effects producer Paul Corbould (Mamma Mia!, The Wolfman); and visual effects producer Garv Thorp (The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Your Highness).

Kyoto sex-club guide spots go underground

Recent local legislation in Kyoto is causing sex-club recommendation centers to emerge in highly unlikely places, reports weekly tabloid Shukan Jitsuwa (Mar. 10).

Following the enactment last November of a law that prohibits the existence of fuzoku navigational shops, the operations have gone underground in the Gion and Kiyamachi districts of Japan’s former capital.

(For non-regular readers of Shukan Jitsuwa — shame on you — such places will typically offer computer terminals, area brochures, and guidebooks featuring local clubs that potential customers may use to seek their desired form of debauchery.)

The new variation has taken shape inside usually mundane shops.

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Treepods – These would be awesome in Asia

Boston’s handful of scenic parks — while filled with trees — are outmatched by sources of air pollution. These huge mushroom tree things called Treepods could help filter CO2 from the air, powered only by the sun and little kids on seesaws.

The Treepods would be constructed purely of recycled plastic bottles. On top, they’d be covered with solar panels to help power the CO2 filtration process, which would take place throughout the branches using a ‘humidity swing’ process. The trunk of the tree sports an integrated seesaw, where children can get off their lazy butts and start generating some electricity to help save the world already.

Read the rest of the story: Giant glowing mushrooms could clean Boston’s air.

Eikaiwas A Con Game? – Yakuza 3 edited for Americans

The critically acclaimed game, Yakuza 3 (龍が如く3) had a lot cut out of the American version. One of the more interesting scenarios scrubbed was the lead character, ex-yakuza boss, Kiryu’s experience learning English conversation (英会話/eikaiwa). It turns out to be a badger game/a set-up/a con and an attempt at extortion, that ends with Kiryu beating the crap out of the thugs running the so-called English Conversation school. I can imagine several reasons why it was cut from the US version, one of them being that the english subtitles are horrific, the other being that Kiryu kicks the stuffing out of the americans running the con game.

Read the rest of the story: English Conversation (Eikaiwa) is A Con Game? Engrish Lessons From Yakuza 3 (英会話が詐欺).

The case of the disappearing condoms

Malaysian police said Tuesday they were investigating the disappearance of more than 700,000 ultrathin condoms which went missing in transit between Malaysia and Japan.Sagami Rubber Industries, Japans first condom maker, said last week that the shipment was loaded into a container at its factory in northern Malaysia, but that it was empty with the locks replaced when it arrived in Tokyo."We take the matter of the missing condoms very seriously… we are investigating the matter," a Malaysian police spokesman told AFP.Sato Koji, manager of the Sagami rubber factory in Malaysias Perak state, said they had lodged a police report over the loss of the shipment.

Read the rest of the story: Malaysia probing Japan condom disappearance.

Japan scraps sumo tournament after match-fixing scandal

The Japan Sumo Association called off its March tournament Sunday as the country’s ancient sport grappled with a match-fixing scandal.

Two wrestlers and a coach recently admitted to fixing bouts after police found text messages on confiscated phones that implicated as many as 13 wrestlers in match rigging.

Read the rest of the story: Japan scraps sumo tourney after match-fixing scandal.

North Korea slams South Korea over defense ties with Japan

SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea is criticizing South Korea for pushing to strengthen defense ties with Japan, calling the cooperation a dangerous plot to invade the North.

The North’s government-run Uriminzokkiri website made the criticism Wednesday, two days after South Korea and Japan agreed to launch consultations on accords to share intelligence and provide each other’s militaries with fuel, food and other materials.

The pacts, if signed, will be the two countries’ first military agreement since Tokyo’s brutal colonial rule of the Korean peninsula ended in 1945.

Read the rest of the story: NKorea slams SKorea over defense ties with Japan.