Suginami Ward is looking for Animes and Mangas relavant to Fukushima

Suginami Ward is collecting Animes and Mangas under the theme of Fukushima incident for a festival which will be held this autumn.

This festival has been annually held by people who are involve in Anime in the same area. The purpose of which is to find younger anime creators and then train them. There are usually no themes. However, for this year they have decided to use a theme called "Fukishima Animation" in addition to general collections. They are collecting local short films and mangas , as well as international ones. This is in response to the Fukishima Daichi nuclear disaster.

The organizer said that, "We want this activity to be an opportunity for thinking over what animes and mangas can do for the nuclear accident” This event is open for prospective professional and amateur applicants alike. They are accepting works until the end of August. Here is the contact info for inquiries.
HP:Laputa International Animation Festival
Email: n-workshop@laputa-jp.com

If you like creating animes or mangas, this is an ideal chance for you to showcase your arts to the public. Unfortunately, they did not provide any English information even if they are also looking for works from abroad. You need to fill out the application form and then send it, but it's only available in Japanese...


Fan spent about 8.8 milliion Yen($109.000US) to buy 5,500 CDs of an idol group, AKB48.

AKB48, which is consisted of a 56-japanese-girl-idol group, is known as a national icon of Japan as of now. At the start of their career, their popularity was limited on their male fans who frequently visited AKB48's own theater in Akihabara, also known as the Mecca of Otaku (Japanese term for a sacred place of geeks). However, they quickly started attracting a wide range of people with their charming appearance and delightful music which were written by a famous Japanese record producer, Yasushi Akimoto. Now, their activity is not only performing live in the theater but you can also see them in many Japanese TV programs like dramas, movies and commercials.
They are called AKB48. The number "48" doesn't indicate the amount of members. It fluctuates seasonally.
AKB48 has been in an election since May 24th to choose the top 21 members who will be featured to sing the next AKB48 song and also appear on TV shows, while others working on the supplemental songs in the album. Buying their new song “Everyday、Katyusha(Everyday、カチューシャ)” , entitles you with a right to vote for your favorite member. The mechanics is that, you need a serial number which can be found in every CD of the said song, and then enter the number in their official website. However, this voting system has driven some of their fans crazy. A fan allegedly bought 5,500 of their CDs which cost presumably about 8.8 million Yen($109.000US) so that his favorite member will be able to win. Another fan spent about 4 million Yen($50,000US) to buy 2,000 CDs.
This is the guy who bought 5, 500 CDs. At first glance, he doesn't look like a man who has such a large amount of money. 
Who are going to win? Will the fans who shelled out buckets of money, be able to win? The result of this election will be revealed on 9th of June.


Thief stole, "A Reader on Restarting your life”

On May 21st, a 55 year-old unemployed Japanese male who lives in Oshibedani-tyou, was brought to Hyogo prefectural Kobe Nishi police station. He was alleged with stealing a book from a book store, since he was arrested.

The stolen book is entitled, A Reader on Restarting your life” (人生やり直し読本) which is written by the nonfiction writer, Kunio Yanagida

The report said that, a security guard saw the man leaving the bookstore while putting the book in his backpack, upon seeing this, he then decided to turn the old man to the police.

Apparently, he failed to restart his life.


Popular virtual singer from Japan debuts in Toyota’s CM for the Unites States

Popular virtual singer from Japan debuts in Toyota's CM for the United States. The Japanese car company, Toyota, has decided to use a virtual idol, "Hatsune Miku(初音ミク)", who is adored by some net users, especially those who watch NicoNico Douga - a popular video sharing website in Japan - in their new CM for the United States. She is a Vocaloid that sings songs which are created by users of the voice synthesizer software where her name had been copied. There are some other vocaloids like "Miku" but Toyota chose her because she is the most popular one, with her cuteness among them.

Miku's voice is still somehow mechanical but her cute, animated appearance and voice which is sampled from a Japanese voice actress, Saki Fujita, continue to attract wide range of people. As of now, Miku has released at least more than 15,000 songs which are created by its users including some professional composers. Her popularity is mainly in the internet but few of her music albums debuted at number one on Japanese weekly album chart. Her activity is not only singing songs but also performing live. You may wonder how on earth can a virtual idol play a live show? Here, you can check the movie out and a part of it is used in the CM.
In the commercial, a portion of her live performance was used. In there she is singing, World is Mine(ワールドイズマイン), which is one of her most poplular songs. 

Toyota has launched a special site for their new car, COROLLA, which is tied up with Miku. Her picture can be found on the top of the page. However, there was an outcry from her fans when they saw that she seemed different, compared to the Miku that they knew.
Original Miku

This different Miku made her fans cry
Toyota says, “Corolla and Hatsune Miku have two very important things in common – big dreams in a compact package.” Miku's appeal is now being widened through singing, live performances, and a commercial. What will she do next? We can’t take our eyes off this new type of Japanese diva.


Devouring passion of Kagawa prefecture for Udon

Zaru Udon
Udon is a type of thick wheat-flour noodle and one of the national food of Japan. This cuisine, which reasonably costs from 300 to 600 Yen on average, is served in several ways. The most common style is to eat with noodle soup and several ingredients as toppings. The other one is called “Zaru Udon”, which dips Udon, served on a zaru (a sieve-like bamboo tray), into chilled noodle soup. The taste varies from region to region. For example, West area uses bland soup but East uses stronger and darker soup. On top of that, each prefecture has their own flavor and quality. So, you can't decide whose Udon is the best.

The red area show the location of
Kagawa prefecure
However, Kagawa Prefecture of Japan which is located on Shikoku Island has an unrivaled passion for Udon. They have one of the most popular Udon brands in Japan, called "Sanuki Udon", which uses relatively tough-textured noodle and the soup based on dried sardines. Here, I will introduce some of their frantic enthusiasm for their soul food.

  •  They eat Udons 3 times a day, even 8 times. It's natural.
  •  They often face a water shortage because of boiling too much Udon.
  • They were imposed a cut on water intake because of boiling Udons too much.
  • They think Soba (a type of thin Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour) is a miscreation of Udon.
  • There are no Soba shops in Kagawa prefecture.
  • They eat Udon as toshikoshi noodles (Japanese traditionally eat soba on New Year’s Eve. It’s called toshikoshi noodles) on New Year’s Eve.
  • They can do an Udon taste test blindly
  • The elementary school kids, in Kagawa prefecture, go home if there is no Udon in the school lunch.
  •  They treated Udon to a kid, who was in front of a burger store and looked like wanted to eat burgers.
  •  McDonald’s were disappeared from Kagawa prefecture.

This is "Sanuki Udon",
which kagawa prefecture is
proud of
Some people address Kagawa prefecture as Udon Ken(prefecture); Are they just merely trying to throw an insult? No, they also love there and so do I. Unfortunately, I've never been there but if you will understand the passion of the Kagawa citizens for Udon, then you would also like to visit and have a taste of what they love.


Fantastic catalog of HONDA portable gas generator

Last year, HONDA which is a famous car company released a portable gas generator “Enepo” which can produce electricity by a gas cylinder of outdoor camp stoves.

You can find Enepo's catalog in Honda's official web page. It's actually fantastic since its appearance is like that of a fashion magazine giving one the impression that it is convenient and portable. Included in this catalog are phrases like: "You can bake bread outside” “You can use a hair iron downtown” “You can drink a cup of fresh coffee outside with a coffee maker”

The bottom-left sentence says
"Enepo makes your picnic fun"
There are indexes like a fashion magazine on the bottom picture. Future: It becomes Paris wherever I walkExtravagant picnic with Enepo. Enepo’s multi-coordination. Why your wish is realized? Tell me the secret of Enepo.

 Enepo is at her feet. It could even look like a carrier bag. But don’t forget Enepo has about 20kg.

The bottom-left phrase says "The welcoming drink is orange juice Birds, butterflies, flowers, glasses, sky, the sun, and everything else is in celebration because of me" I don't even know what the welcoming drink is.

 You can keep your fresh bread hot outdoors through the use of Enepo. You can use Enepo with 2 gas cylinders at convenience stores.

Enpo is not only useful for cooking but also for fashion. “I have always been dedicated to fashion but strong winds ruin my hairstyle. Can't I walk downtown under strong winds? Don’t worry. I have Enepo. Look, if I attach a hair iron, my hairstyle will be restored as perfect as before”

Perfection is the word for me. Even if my hair is a mess, my fashion style won't be.
If you connect a coffee maker to Enepo, you can have a fresh coffee. The top-right statement says “It is good to drink coffee anywhere and anytime, isn't it? I can always have open-air cafes” But how was she able to carry the coffee maker, water, and coffee beans?

Enepo can meet appliances with up to 900W of power consumption. The declared power is 900VA. The weight is 19.5 kg. The fuel is 2 gas cylinders of outdoor camp stoves and they can keep generating for 2.2 hours. The sticker price is 104, 790 Yen (about $ 1,280US). You must not use it in closed-air places such as rooms, cars and warehouses because it emits high levels of carbon monoxide.

Enepo’s strength is that you can carry it conveniently, house it easily, and change the fuel without your hands dirty.

There are some weired things on the catalog, but enepo itself is useful. You can access to the official catalog from here.


Please purchase local specialty products in order to support Fukushima.

Akabeko (赤べこ, red cow) is a traditional
toy from the Aizu region of Fukushima. 
Recently, Fukushima prefecture in Japan has become well-known, now dubbed as the tragic city because of the nuclear power plant’s accident which has still been going on since the 11th of March. Long before the nuclear power plant accident, Fukushima is already famous for the abundant variety of food products like fruits which are typified by peaches, cherries, pears, and strawberries. And it also has some brand-name rice like Koshihikari and marine products such as bonitos. Also, in case that you are an alcohol-enthusiast, you probably won't miss the many kinds of Sake available there.

If you want to help Fukushima prefecture and the people living there, donation must be the one of and the most efficient ways. Another way will be to purchase its local specialty products like the aforementioned examples.

The red area show the location of
Fukushima Prefecture
However, visiting Fukushima prefecture which is about 250km north away from Tokyo may not be easy because of the distance and concerns of radioactive elements. So, I want to introduce JA Zennou Fukushima(JA全農福島) where you can buy them online.

Unfortunately, this site is written only in Japanese. And probably it won’t ship internationally. However, if you are in Tokyo or nearby, visiting Fukushima Yaesu Tourism and Exchange Center(福島県八重洲観光交流館 address:2-6-21 Yaesu Thuo-ku Tokyo) located near Tokyo station will be an alternative way.
I actually went to Fukushima Yaesu Tourism and Exchange Center. To my surprise, the store was full of customers and there was a line outside of it when I got there on Saturday. I guess there are many people who want to support Fukushima as well as me. 
I bought them. Everything was yummy!

It is certainly a must-visit place and you will not be disappointed. So what are you waiting for? Schedule a visit now and invite more people to do the same.