Friday, February 22, 2019

Social Dancing Sign

"Social dancing is good for making your heart and body happy." Bad manga art is everywhere.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Ramen-Oh 2019

The latest competition for deciding which restaurant has the best ramen ran over the last weekend. 700 yen per bowl ($6.50 USD). I've had some of the ramen before, and I wasn't all that hungry when I went down to Dolphin Port during my break between 4:30 and 5:30 PM. I just swung by long enough to tell there was nothing on the event stage schedule to watch, then I went to Tulley's coffee shop to play with a Two-Square cipher.

20 lines, no one waiting...

The only event at the time was a ramen exercise dance. Copy-righted music, so I couldn't upload video to youtube. Very silly, though. The characters went through fake exercise moves, pretending to eat different kinds of ramen. Other stage events included dancing by 1BelieveFNC, and interviews with some of the Kagoshima United soccer team players.

Roly poly fish heads.

The foamhead is the mascot for Kanoya, the city that hosts a big rose garden show in the Spring and Fall.

People did like the ramen, anyway.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Art Fest Feb. 16

There was an Art Fest exhibit held by a local design college in Tenmonkan on Saturday. It may have been on Sunday as well, but I didn't go to Tenmonkan on Sunday, and the sign doesn't seem to give dates, so I don't know for sure.

There were maybe 20 tables in the arcade, with artists looking like they were between 16 and 48 years old. Some, if not all, of the art and crafts were for sale, but I didn't see anything I wanted for the apartment. A lot of it looked amaturish, but some was promising.

This artwork was from a sign placed next to the event stage. I didn't see a schedule and there didn't seem to be much in the way of stage activities for the day, but I like the spirit of the sign.

Three of the foamhead mascots posed for shots for a professional cameraman who looked like he was related to the SDF. And that was that for the art fest as far as I was concerned.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Licca-chan Exhibit Poster

Licca-chan is Japan's answer to Barbie. I think the 50th anniversary exhibit was at the Prefectural Cultural Center, but don't quote me on that. Doesn't matter that much to me, I'm not going to go to it. I just want to show what kind of posters you can find lying around here.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Conan Goods Shop Ad

This ad board is promoting the Drum Tao taiko group, and it would be very easy to overlook the more money-oriented ad also on the board.

The Detective Conan Plaza goods shop, running at the Yamakata department store from Dec. 27 to Jan. 8. If you have way too much money burning in your pocket after getting those little gift envelopes from your relatives on New Year's Day.

Follow-up - I don't know of anyone that visited the goods shop, or bought anything there, so I've no idea if it was popular or not.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Dec.-Feb. articles in the media

Here's the batch of articles to show up in the media from Dec.-Feb., regarding anime, manga and related stuff.

Japan Times

Los Angeles film museum to debut with exhibit showcasing work of Studio Ghibli's Hayao Miyazaki

A suburban home becomes an oasis for fans of girls' manga

British Museum to hold largest-ever manga exhibition outside Japan

Anime in 2018 saw serious cash but no surprise hits

'Your Name.' director Makoto Shinkai's new film set for next summer

Animator Hayao Miyazaki's 'Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind' to be adapted into kabuki production

Hayao Miyazaki: The never-ending story

Second chance for Japan's manga museum

As the heavyweights return, will 2019 be a smash year for anime?

Story of Iwao Hakamada, boxer who spent 48 years on death row, to become manga series

Cartoonist Rumiko Takahashi wins top prize at French comics festival

Shueisha starts free online distribution of popular manga in English

Anime film 'Mirai' wins Annie Award

The story behind anime localization

Japan's health ministry draws on 'City Hunter' manga nostalgia to promote rubella vaccine to men

'City Hunter The Movie: Shinjuku Private Eyes': Dated gags in modern-day Tokyo

Studio Ghibli fans flock to rural Australian bakery that may have inspired 'Kiki's Delivery Service'

From manga to news articles: Japanese civic groups create 'barrier-free' publications for people with mental disabilities

Daily Yomiuri

Atelier of Witch Hat review

Monstress review

Blue Period review

Base for fostering manga artists set up in Kumamoto

New ‘Gridman’ brings magic of tokusatsu to anime

Manga version of Masamune a symbol of Vegalta pride

Astra Lost in Space review

Dust Eighteen review

Panda Tanteisha review


Hollywood adapting 'Attack on Titan' into live-action film

AnimeJapan 2019 set to be biggest yet with March opening

Exhibition from France honoring Osamu Tezuka held in Hyogo

Boy strikes blow for equality as a girl warrior in 'Precure' anime

Spring release confirmed for ‘Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress’

‘Ghost in the Shell’ VR ride offered in Tokyo’s Odaiba

Event with 200 figures to fete TV adaptation of 'Golden Wind'

Toei, trio of firms join forces with China for ‘Monkey Prince’

‘Sugoi!’ Anime class to be listed at Yamagata high school

Director Yuasa plans romantic comedy for next anime project

Model Tina Tamashiro to star in 'Hell Girl' film adaptation

'Eagle Talon' creator enlists Leiji Matsumoto for ghostly video

‘DanMachi’ movie to debut on Feb. 15

New ‘Doraemon’ movie set on moon, written by Tsujimura

‘In This Corner of the World’ finds niche with die-hard fans

Hosoda’s ‘Mirai’ nominated for Golden Globe award

‘Shazam!’ Record 63,000 people attend Tokyo Comic Con 2018

Detective Conan attractions set to open at Osaka theme park

Kento Yamazaki to star in live-action ‘Kingdom’ film

A Tale of Two Studios Worthy of a Dramatic Anime Tale

Celebs, atheletes give 'Dragon Ball' pop culture super status

Kadokawa opens EJ Anime Theater in Tokyo’s Shinjuku

1st new film from director of ‘Your Name.’ to hit theaters in July

Japan’s anime market in 2017 worth more than 2 trillion yen

Comics festival gives Rumiko Takahashi grand prix in France

Could "Alita" Be Hollywood's breakthrough Anime?

‘Psycho-Pass’ mystery game to be held on ships until Feb. 24

Yuhei Sakuragi's 1st feature takes viewers on trip to parallel world

Hosoda’s ‘Mirai’ wins Annie for best animated indie feature

‘Naruto’ author Kishimoto's new 'Samurai 8' set to debut this spring

Space-traveling ‘Cowboy Bepop’ to get Hollywood live-action series

Got a good One Piece costume? It may win you a trip to Japan

Tokyo anime fest reveals names of films nominated for 2019 awards

‘Dostoevsky’ the threat in third series of ‘Bungo Stray Dogs’

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Arinco and Avocado

I'm really not sure what kind of shop Arinco is, if it's a beauty or hair salon, but the sign here reads "Arinko and Avocado", and uses avocados as part of an eye chart.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Almond Peak 12 Queens Cards

There's a drug store nearby in Tenmonkan that opened up to take advantage of all the Chinese tourists coming in through Kagoshima on shopping sprees. Like many drug stores here, they use chocolates and candy as loss leaders to get customers inside.

I don't normally buy Almond Peak, which are small chocolate-covered almond candies, but I noticed the advertising on the boxes for trading cards featuring famous classical paintings, which Glico is pumping as "the 12 Queens." The chocolates are cheap, and I wanted a couple of the cards for the blog, so I bought a few boxes.

You can see examples of the specific paintings they chose. Kind of a cliche, actually.

The chocolates are ok, nothing really special. The cards are inside the package, so they also smell like chocolate.

Trade you a Bottichelli for 2 Fragonard, and a da Vinci to be named later.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Valentine's Day Photos

Dolphin Port lover's messages center.

Love a lover? Love a dolphin? Are a dolphin? Are a dolphin lover?
Leave your message at the "beep."

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Felt Olympics

I was on the streetcar one morning, staring at the floor, and it took my brain a few minutes to register the fact someone had glued "2020" and the Olympic Rings in felt cutouts on the access panel covers. There were two covers in the car, and both had the cutouts. I don't think these are official. I haven't seen them on any other cars, but usually the cars are packed and I can't see the floor anyway.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

100 Yen Cards

100 yen shops are extremely common in Japan now, and are kind of like Dollar Stores in the U.S. Recently, though, one of the shops had a display stand filled with packs like these (which are more often found at konbini). They're kind of like trading cards in the U.S., with one card and some kind of small snack (a dried-out wafer cookie, or a tiny piece of ramune (lemonade) chewing gum). The snacks are worthless, but I did have some interest in running the cards on the blog. Pictured here are: A big foil series for DBZ, One Piece - Waters, Monster Strike, and Re:Life.

The Monster Strike card for Catastrophe is silvered, and I wasn't expecting it to scan as well as it did.

The Re:Life Emilia card is a normal laminated plastic. It starts out looking a bit washed-out, so it still doesn't scan that well.

The One Piece cards look a bit more like regular trading cards.

The Dragonball things are actually big mylar sheets that are just mirrors on the back. There's a bit of silvering on the front for effect, which messes up Freeza's face in the close-up section.

None of the cards are all that great, unless you're a fan of the series.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Shiroyama Meat Section Shrine

There's a little display area at the corner of the meat case in the Shiroyama grocery store. It's currently used to show off ornaments celebrating the new Chinese lunar year of the Boar.

No, they don't sell boar or owl meat.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Feb. 10 weekend

Feb. 10 Weekend
Quantum of the Seas

China is currently celebrating their lunar new year, the year of the Boar. Culturally, Japan shares some of the same roots, and while the country does observe the western calendar new year, a lot of Japanese also like participating in the Chinese new year celebrations, too. So, Tenmonkan had a lot of banners set up over the past week for the year of the Boar, and there were fliers announcing an event on the 9th and 10th. However, I was walking through Tenmonkan after my lesson on Friday, and I discovered that something was going on connected to "The Quantum of the Seas."

I found a separate flier for this, with a really small, almost unreadable map. There was an arrow for "welcome point" nearby, so I walked around a couple blocks of the Tenmonkan area trying to find this welcome point, until I ended up back where I started in front of the China One restaurant. There were a few tables set up nearby, selling shochu and yakitori (grilled chicken) and I was wondering if the "welcome point" was at one of those, when a woman came up to me and asked if I was one of the cruise passengers. Turns out that Quantum of the Seas is a cruise ship that was docked in Dolphin Port, and Tenmonkan was celebrating the Lunar New Year thing a day early to get the cruise passengers involved. I said I wasn't, but the woman, a member of the Kagoshima tourism agency, told me that they needed more bodies at the event, and she then dragged me to China One, where they were preparing to hand out bowls of free boiled gyoza and something called "knife-cut noodles." I had the free food (it was good, and I've eaten there before), and spent 20 minutes talking to the tourism woman, her photographer (who was covering the event) and one of the restaurant staff. (No, they didn't take my photo for the advertising materials, that I know of.)

Lunar New Year, Day 1

On Saturday, I was back in Tenmonkan on my way to my first class for the afternoon. Most of the stage activities were scheduled for when I was in class, but the dancing lion was out prancing around the arcade, where the fox mask woman was selling her masks.

This was the same lion team that performed at the New Year's event in Maruya Gardens in January. It's lucky to have them bite off your head.

I had a short break between 4 and 5 PM, so I returned to Tenmonkan, but there was nothing on stage then. I missed one guy doing anisongs (covers of TV anime theme songs) at 3 PM, and the taiko drum troupe at 5 PM (I've seen the taiko troupe before at Ohara and Ogionsa festivals, and they are good). There's a new fast food stall that opened up nearby a week or two ago that advertises "Korean-style cheese dogs." The place is really popular with school girls and Chinese tourists, so I decided to get a "sausage cheese dog" for 575 yen ($5.50 USD) to see what the fuss is. Essentially, this is a stick of mozzarella cheese with a small pork sausage inside, batter-dipped and deep fried. You can add powdered cheese, catsup and mustard to taste. Not bad, and filling, but on the pricey side for what it is.

I went back to the school for one more lesson, and when I got out for the day at 6 PM, all the stalls and tables were being torn down for the night.

Lunar New Year, Day 2

I went back on Sunday, and they were handing out more free food again. Along with the gyouza and knife-cut noodles later in the afternoon, were was amazake (sweet rice wine) at 1:30 PM. I really wasn't planning on getting the amazake, because I've had it before, and supplies were supposed to be limited. The table was in front of 1-2-3 Soba, a noodle restaurant across the arcade from China One. But, nothing was happening on stage at 1 PM, and I was getting tired of just standing around until the next event. I hung around the restaurant, and when they finally started letting people line up, there weren't that many others nearby. I got in line, and was number four from the front. A few minutes later, I got my bowl of amazake, and when I looked behind me, there were maybe another 40 people in line, waiting.

It's almost porridge-like, and is served hot. You can kind of think of amazake as being like soupy hot oatmeal, but slightly alcoholic. In essence, it's an early stage of unfiltered rice sake, and is often served during celebrations for the new year.

There's not a lot in the cup, but it does taste good, and it was free. I'm not complaining.

Fashion Show

Down at the other end of the arcade, Ohshima had a fashion show.

The clothes looked high-end, and everyone was well-dressed and well-groomed, but the models really looked uncomfortable and/or stiff in front of the cameras.

Not a lot of reason to hang around and fight the crowds for a clear view of the models.

Terukuni Parking Lot Market

Terukuni Shrine, a few blocks away, was also starting up its "Parking Lot Marche," which is basically a small weekend market running this week and next week.

I've taken photos of past markets, so there wasn't much need to document everything this time.

Some arts and crafts stuff, some food tables, and some flea market booths.

Even the old stuff looked old.

Post boxes and dragons.


I got back to Tenmonkan a bit before 2 PM, when Rie-chan got on stage for her anisong performance. She announced herself as a youtube cosplay idol, then gave a set where she did karaoke over TV anime theme songs. She danced really well, given the heels she wore for the costume, but she did have trouble following the music in a few places. I think the main problem was simple stage fright. The audience sat near the stage, but there were maybe only 20-25 people watching, and they wouldn't clap along to the music. I recorded a few of the songs, but it was all copyrighted music and would be blocked if I uploaded it to youtube or facebook. The MCs for the show were the manzai duo Party.

The tiger in the background was just one of the local foamhead mascots filling up the stage. He did a really poor job of pretending to do air guitar with an actual guitar.

Everyone had fun, though, and that's what mattered.

The 3 PM act was this Okinawan folk duo. I forget the guy's name, but I don't really like him. He plays and sings well, but is otherwise really obnoxious. I've seen him at other events and have uploaded video of him to youtube in the past. This time, I just took a few photos, then went to Amu Plaza for some shopping for supplies for the week. I had to go to dinner at 5 PM, so I missed the Sunday taiko performance, too. Sigh. (Amu Plaza just had some vendors out front selling Valentine's chocolate. Nothing worth taking pictures of.)

Still, I got some free food out of all this, and the weekend was more interesting than it's been here since the beginning of January. I just wish it would snow.