SORT OF SCARY STUFF IN JAPAN 01 - “BAD LUCK OMIKUJI”
During our one day in Kyoto I became rather infatuated with these tiny pieces of folded up paper tied to strings. The reason for my infatuation was simple: they looked pretty cool, and I’m a sucker for stuff that looks pretty cool (my wife Vicki is a perfect example of this, she is often a devil woman who will stop at nothing to steal my cozy winter cap, but she looks pretty cool, so I married her).
Anyway, my infatuation turned into an all out obsession once I learned the story behind these tiny rolled up pieces of paper. Here it is…
The various temples and shrines of Japan all sell fortunes, called Omikuji. If you draw a good Omikuji you fold that sucker back up, shove it in your pocket, and take it home and enjoy the hell out of your newfound good luck. But if you draw a bad Omikuji, well, your basically doomed, unless you follow these three simple steps…
1. Don’t freak out, play it cool! Whatever you do, definitely don’t call your mom for help, that’s pathetic. You can beat this thing.
2. Once you have your cool under control, casually begin walking around the shrine until you find a string or branch that has several other bad Omikuji tied to it.
3. Tie your Omikuji to said string or branch and run like hell (unless you have high blood pressure, if that’s the case you should probably just walk fast).
If you follow these three simple steps all is good, you have nothing to worry about. Basically what will happen is that the “Divine Spirit” will use it’s special skills to exorcise the bad luck. Think of the Divine Spirit as a big fat sponge that soaks up evil instead of water.
Anyway, I thought that was a really cool, albeit mildly terrifying, aspect of Japanese culture.
Here’s a few more pictures of some bad luck Omikuji…

SORT OF SCARY STUFF IN JAPAN 01 - “BAD LUCK OMIKUJI”

During our one day in Kyoto I became rather infatuated with these tiny pieces of folded up paper tied to strings. The reason for my infatuation was simple: they looked pretty cool, and I’m a sucker for stuff that looks pretty cool (my wife Vicki is a perfect example of this, she is often a devil woman who will stop at nothing to steal my cozy winter cap, but she looks pretty cool, so I married her).

Anyway, my infatuation turned into an all out obsession once I learned the story behind these tiny rolled up pieces of paper. Here it is…

The various temples and shrines of Japan all sell fortunes, called Omikuji. If you draw a good Omikuji you fold that sucker back up, shove it in your pocket, and take it home and enjoy the hell out of your newfound good luck. But if you draw a bad Omikuji, well, your basically doomed, unless you follow these three simple steps…

1. Don’t freak out, play it cool! Whatever you do, definitely don’t call your mom for help, that’s pathetic. You can beat this thing.

2. Once you have your cool under control, casually begin walking around the shrine until you find a string or branch that has several other bad Omikuji tied to it.

3. Tie your Omikuji to said string or branch and run like hell (unless you have high blood pressure, if that’s the case you should probably just walk fast).

If you follow these three simple steps all is good, you have nothing to worry about. Basically what will happen is that the “Divine Spirit” will use it’s special skills to exorcise the bad luck. Think of the Divine Spirit as a big fat sponge that soaks up evil instead of water.

Anyway, I thought that was a really cool, albeit mildly terrifying, aspect of Japanese culture.

Here’s a few more pictures of some bad luck Omikuji…

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COOL STUFF IN JAPAN 22 - “ANPANMAN & FRIENDS EAT THEIR OWN BRAIN JAM”
Okay, I’ll be the first to admit that my posts are sometimes just a bit, shall we say, embellished. That being said, I assure you that everything I’m about to write about Anpanman is 100 percent empirical truth, look it up on Google if you don’t believe me. Here it goes…
As many of you know, a few months back Vicki and I visited Japan. Part of our trip involved visiting Vicki’s Grandma in a wonderful part of Japan known as Kochi. What I found most interesting about Kochi is that everywhere I looked I’d see images of a jolly little super hero with a big round head. Literally, he was everywhere, I saw him on billboards, pencil cases, mugs, frisbees, and sidewalks (yes, he was engraved into several sidewalks). Obviously I had to get to the bottom of just who exactly this chubby little caped crusader was. Here’s the scoop…
He goes by the name of “Anpanman”. In the picture above he is the happy little marching guy on the far right. He was created in Kochi by Takashi Yanase, and as of 2005 he was the most popular fictional character in Japan amongst 0 to 12 year olds. Long story short, he and his friends were created by some guy named Uncle Jam and they spend their time fighting crime in and around Uncle Jam’s house. But what I found most interesting was the story of Anpanman himself…
Anpanman’s big round head consists a pastry bun filled with “bean jam”. He has never been seen eating or drinking, and thus it is assumed that the bean jam in his head provides him will all the sustenance that he needs. His kryptonite is water or anything that makes his head dirty (I find this quite fascinating as his weaknesses seem to contradict one another).
If he gets too wet or too dirty he is only able to regain strength when Uncle Jam bakes him a new head. Once a new head is created, Anpanman’s old head literally pops off his shoulders and “X’s” appear on the eyes. He was allegedly created when a shooting star landed in Uncle Jam’s oven while he was baking buns. Finally, Anpanman is a true hero because he let’s poor and hungry creatures feed on parts of his head.
Oh, I almost forgot, he has two special attacks, an “An-punch” and an “An-kick”. Actually, it’s four special attacks if you count the stronger variants of each. 
Anyway, I realize that I’m just scratching the surface of all things Anpanman, but it’s a start. Once I order the Anpanman Criterion DVD collection I’ll be sure to post my review here.
Finally, there is a bit of photoshop trickery going on in this photo. It’s pretty seamless so good luck figuring it out.

COOL STUFF IN JAPAN 22 - “ANPANMAN & FRIENDS EAT THEIR OWN BRAIN JAM”

Okay, I’ll be the first to admit that my posts are sometimes just a bit, shall we say, embellished. That being said, I assure you that everything I’m about to write about Anpanman is 100 percent empirical truth, look it up on Google if you don’t believe me. Here it goes…

As many of you know, a few months back Vicki and I visited Japan. Part of our trip involved visiting Vicki’s Grandma in a wonderful part of Japan known as Kochi. What I found most interesting about Kochi is that everywhere I looked I’d see images of a jolly little super hero with a big round head. Literally, he was everywhere, I saw him on billboards, pencil cases, mugs, frisbees, and sidewalks (yes, he was engraved into several sidewalks). Obviously I had to get to the bottom of just who exactly this chubby little caped crusader was. Here’s the scoop…

He goes by the name of “Anpanman”. In the picture above he is the happy little marching guy on the far right. He was created in Kochi by Takashi Yanase, and as of 2005 he was the most popular fictional character in Japan amongst 0 to 12 year olds. Long story short, he and his friends were created by some guy named Uncle Jam and they spend their time fighting crime in and around Uncle Jam’s house. But what I found most interesting was the story of Anpanman himself…

Anpanman’s big round head consists a pastry bun filled with “bean jam”. He has never been seen eating or drinking, and thus it is assumed that the bean jam in his head provides him will all the sustenance that he needs. His kryptonite is water or anything that makes his head dirty (I find this quite fascinating as his weaknesses seem to contradict one another).

If he gets too wet or too dirty he is only able to regain strength when Uncle Jam bakes him a new head. Once a new head is created, Anpanman’s old head literally pops off his shoulders and “X’s” appear on the eyes. He was allegedly created when a shooting star landed in Uncle Jam’s oven while he was baking buns. Finally, Anpanman is a true hero because he let’s poor and hungry creatures feed on parts of his head.

Oh, I almost forgot, he has two special attacks, an “An-punch” and an “An-kick”. Actually, it’s four special attacks if you count the stronger variants of each. 

Anyway, I realize that I’m just scratching the surface of all things Anpanman, but it’s a start. Once I order the Anpanman Criterion DVD collection I’ll be sure to post my review here.

Finally, there is a bit of photoshop trickery going on in this photo. It’s pretty seamless so good luck figuring it out.

COOL STUFF IN JAPAN 19 - “LITTLE SHRIMP CREATURE FROM HELL”
This was the only worthwhile picture that I took while inside the Kochi aquarium and it took FOREVER because…
a. Vicki couldn’t hold the damn magnifying glass still
b. The little shrimp creature from hell wouldn’t stay still
c. I couldn’t figure out how to focus my my damn camera
Answer: Definitely not “c”, but I’m torn between “a” and “b”.
Also, I can neither confirm nor deny that this creature is in fact a shrimp. But what I can confirm is this… it is certainly, without a doubt, from HELL!!!

COOL STUFF IN JAPAN 19 - “LITTLE SHRIMP CREATURE FROM HELL”

This was the only worthwhile picture that I took while inside the Kochi aquarium and it took FOREVER because…

a. Vicki couldn’t hold the damn magnifying glass still

b. The little shrimp creature from hell wouldn’t stay still

c. I couldn’t figure out how to focus my my damn camera

Answer: Definitely not “c”, but I’m torn between “a” and “b”.

Also, I can neither confirm nor deny that this creature is in fact a shrimp. But what I can confirm is this… it is certainly, without a doubt, from HELL!!!

COOL STUFF IN JAPAN 16 - “COOL COWBOYS LIVE IN OLD MOVIES”
This sign was so awesome, yet so confusing, all at the same time. Here’s how our little sign adventure went down…
Me: “I’m so confused? Is this sign pro-smoking or anti-smoking? I think it’s gotta be anti-smoking, right? But at the same time it’s making me want to smoke, so I’m not sure what to think. I’m torn Vicki… I’m a torn man.”
Vicki: “Good grief torn man! It’s not even about smoking! It’s about littering.”
Me: “Really, I don’t think so, I’m pretty sure it’s definitely about smok”
Vicki (yelling): “IT’S SO OBVIOUS!!!”
At this point I give Vicki a grumpy look and then proceed to closely examine the sign for about thirty seconds.
Me: “Hmmm… I see what you’re saying, but the question nonetheless remains… is it pro-littering or anti-littering? As such, I remain a torn man.”
Vicki: “AGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!”
An awkward silence ensues. After a minute or so I break the tension with this little gem…
Me: “So, whaddya think the odds are of us actually finding chicken teriyaki today?”
At this point Vicki threw her cup of coffee at me.
Me: “Looks like someone is living in an old movie!”
Vicki (reluctantly): “Okay… that’s actually kind of funny.”

COOL STUFF IN JAPAN 16 - “COOL COWBOYS LIVE IN OLD MOVIES”

This sign was so awesome, yet so confusing, all at the same time. Here’s how our little sign adventure went down…

Me: “I’m so confused? Is this sign pro-smoking or anti-smoking? I think it’s gotta be anti-smoking, right? But at the same time it’s making me want to smoke, so I’m not sure what to think. I’m torn Vicki… I’m a torn man.”

Vicki: “Good grief torn man! It’s not even about smoking! It’s about littering.”

Me: “Really, I don’t think so, I’m pretty sure it’s definitely about smok”

Vicki (yelling): “IT’S SO OBVIOUS!!!”

At this point I give Vicki a grumpy look and then proceed to closely examine the sign for about thirty seconds.

Me: “Hmmm… I see what you’re saying, but the question nonetheless remains… is it pro-littering or anti-littering? As such, I remain a torn man.”

Vicki: “AGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!”

An awkward silence ensues. After a minute or so I break the tension with this little gem…

Me: “So, whaddya think the odds are of us actually finding chicken teriyaki today?”

At this point Vicki threw her cup of coffee at me.

Me: “Looks like someone is living in an old movie!”

Vicki (reluctantly): “Okay… that’s actually kind of funny.”

WHALEORAMA DIORAMA
As I was walking through Kochi Castle in my socks I stumbled upon this rather incredible diorama. Even if you’re a die-hard animal rights activist you’ve gotta admit two things…
1. This diorama is better than any diorama you’ve ever made.
2. Their teamwork is better than any teamwork you’ve ever had.
Here’s a few more pictures…

WHALEORAMA DIORAMA

As I was walking through Kochi Castle in my socks I stumbled upon this rather incredible diorama. Even if you’re a die-hard animal rights activist you’ve gotta admit two things…

1. This diorama is better than any diorama you’ve ever made.

2. Their teamwork is better than any teamwork you’ve ever had.

Here’s a few more pictures…

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