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2 islands merge near Japan

CNN:

NASA’s Earth Observatory reports that Niijima island, a volcano which broke through the ocean’s surface last November, has now merged with a nearby island that formed from a volcano which last erupted 40 years ago.

Niijima emerged about 500 meters (550 yards) from the older Nishinoshima in November. Now, according to observations taken at the end of March, they are one, measuring about a kilometer (six-tenths of a mile) across.

They’ve got some airborne and satellite photos showing the progress of the merging.

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In the 1990s, Japanese sumo wrestling was fairly popular in Hawai’i. I don’t mean that sumo leagues cropped up around the state, but rather that we cared about professional sumo in Japan. The local news would even carry results from the major tournaments.

The reason was that several sumo wrestlers from the state were having success in Japan. The most notable of the lot were Konishiki, Akebono, and Musashimaru, and the latter two became the first two foreign-born wrestlers to reach the sport’s highest rank of yokozuna. We were really proud of what they were able to accomplish.

So anyway, here’s Konishiki rapping with Layzie Bone from Bone Thugs-n-Harmony on “Livin’ Like Kings,” off the 2000 album KMS.

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This is “TEMPEST,” the ending theme from Resident Evil: Director’s Cut Dual Shock Ver. This specific version of the game, a second release of the director’s cut remake, also included a new score by Japanese composer Mamoru Samuragochi. I’m an enormous fan of this piece of music, especially the part at 1:27 when the Resident Evil Big Band muscles in for a fifteen second performance.

Japan was rather stunned last week by Samuragochi’s admission that he’s been using a ghostwriter for almost twenty years. Martin Fackler reporting for The New York Times:

On Thursday, Japan learned that one of its most popular musical figures, Mamoru Samuragochi, 50, had staged an elaborate hoax in which someone else had secretly written his most famous compositions, and that he had perhaps even faked his hearing disability.

Across a nation long captivated by Western classical music, people reacted with remorse, outrage and even the rare threat of a lawsuit after Mr. Samuragochi’s revelations that he had hired a ghostwriter since the 1990s to compose most of his music. The anger turned to disbelief when the ghostwriter himself came forward to accuse Mr. Samuragochi of faking his deafness, apparently to win public sympathy and shape the Beethoven persona.

Takashi Niigaki, a composer and university lecturer who has conducted several pieces by Samuragochi, has come forth claiming to be the ghostwriter. His impetus to come clean now is that one of the pieces he wrote for Samuragochi, “Sonatina for Violin,” is the piece that figure skater Daisuke Takahashi will use for his short program at the Olympics. The Japanese Skating Federation will be stripping Samuragochi’s name from the program.

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Hiroo Onoda, Soldier Who Hid in Jungle for Decades, Dies at 91

Robert D. McFadden, The New York Times:

Hiroo Onoda, an Imperial Japanese Army officer who remained at his jungle post on an island in the Philippines for 29 years, refusing to believe that World War II was over, and returned to a hero’s welcome in the all but unrecognizable Japan of 1974, died on Thursday in Tokyo. He was 91.

Onoda’s is a bizarre story, if you haven’t heard it before.

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Volcanic eruption raises new island in Pacific's 'Ring of Fire'

Elaine Kurtenbach, AP:

A volcanic eruption has raised a new island, according to earthquake experts and the Japanese coast guard.

Advisories from the coast guard and the Japan Meteorological Agency said the islet is about 660 feet in diameter. It is just off the coast of Nishinoshima, a small, uninhabited island in the Ogasawara chain, which is also known as the Bonin Islands.

The approximately 30 islands are 620 miles south of Tokyo, and along with the rest of Japan are part of the seismically active Pacific “Ring of Fire.”

Japan is very seismologically active due to its sitting on the junction of four different tectonic plates.

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'Ili: SPACEDOG
Colin: OH MY GOOOOOOD
This GIF is an edited version of a Japanese commercial for the telecom company SoftBank (translation on reddit). It’s part of the wildly popular “Shirato Family” series of commercials. 
Edan Corkill wrote a long piece on the commercials for The Japan Times back in 2012. It’s a surprisingly good read, check it out.
Of course, I strongly prefer the GIF to the commercial. 8)

'Ili: SPACEDOG

Colin: OH MY GOOOOOOD

This GIF is an edited version of a Japanese commercial for the telecom company SoftBank (translation on reddit). It’s part of the wildly popular “Shirato Family” series of commercials. 

Edan Corkill wrote a long piece on the commercials for The Japan Times back in 2012. It’s a surprisingly good read, check it out.

Of course, I strongly prefer the GIF to the commercial. 8)

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Japan politician apologizes to US for sex comment

Continuing our statistically anomalous recent coverage of World War II here on Nullary Sources, here are Mari Yamaguchi and Malcolm Foster of the Associated Press talking about how a Japanese politician put his foot in his mouth the other day:

An outspoken Japanese politician apologized Monday for saying U.S. troops should patronize adult entertainment businesses as a way to reduce sex crimes, but defended another inflammatory remark about Japan’s use of sex slaves before and during World War II.

[Osaka Mayor Toru] Hashimoto said then that the practice of using women from across Asia to work in front-line brothels before and during World War II was necessary to maintain discipline and provide relaxation for soldiers. He added that on a recent visit to the southern island of Okinawa, he suggested to the U.S. commander there that his troops “make better use” of the legal sex industry “to control the sexual energy of those tough guys.”

Whoops! I can’t imagine how that wouldn’t have gone over smoothly.

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Japan town demands pants for Michelangelo's David

AFP report:

A replica of Michelangelo’s Renaissance sculpture David that was erected suddenly last summer is unnerving residents of a Japanese town, with some calling for the naked masterpiece to be given underpants.

Okuizumo town in western Shimane prefecture received five-metre (16-foot) replicas of David and of Greek treasure the Venus de Milo, as donations from a businessman who hails from the area.

The statues were put up in a large public park that also includes a full-size running track, a baseball stadium, tennis courts, a mountain bike course and a play area with apparatus for children.

So two things about this story. #1, the obvious: hahaha those wacky people in Japan want to put pants on David, how silly what sillies they are

More importantly, this rich guy who isn’t even named in the story apparently purchased multiple replicas of David and just dropped them off in a park without telling anyone. Who even does that?

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Yakuza 3 reviewed by Yakuza

I totally missed this until now, but in 2010, Jake Adelstein, author of neato book Tokyo Vice, used his yakuza contacts for the noblest of purposes: reviewing the accuracy of SEGA’s video game Yakuza 3:

M: I like the fact that you power up by eating real food. Shio ramen gives you a lot of power — CC Lemon, not as much. It all makes sense.

S: The breaded pork cutlet bento box is like mega power. More than ramen. That’s accurate.

K: Kiryu is fighting all the time. He’s gotta be a fucking idiot. No yakuza is going to run around getting into fistfights like that. Especially not an executive type. He’ll wind up in jail or in the hospital or dead, maybe even whacked by his own people for being a troublemaker. These days, he’d probably get kicked out before even going to jail. Guys like that start gang wars and nobody wants that now. When a yakuza gets into a fight, it’s serious business.

One of the most amazing things I’ve ever read.