Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I Could've Been a Statistic...

On a phone survey conducted between June and July of 2007, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare found about 60,900 people stay over night at Internet Cafes everyday. 5,400 of those people are estimated as homeless people that stay most of the week... Some working and some looking for work.

"There are cases in which people end up in a vicious circle, having no home because they have no work, and not being able to find work because they have no home," a ministry official commenting on the results of the survey said.

More from Mainichi Daily is found here.


In October of last year (2006), while in Kyoto, I saw on TV, one persons story of the growing problem in Japan with people doing what they could to survive.
Staying in Internet or Manga Cafes during the night and joining the work force by day. This one particular person worked construction, and would hop onto a bus/van at the corner of the street and along with many others, he would head off to work.
After work however, while the van drops off the workers, this particular person (depending on the day) would clean up at a public bath, get some cheap fast food and retire to the local Internet/Manga kisaten where he would look for any more job opportunities or retire to sleep.

I remember how sad I felt watching it, how in big cities people can get lost in the shuffle and do what they can to make it through... but to tell the truth, after some dinner and Karaoke with the family... I didn't think much of it... until I found myself in a similar situation when I went back to Suzuka.

After my schooling in SIU (Suzuka International University), I worked at Shintoku, Hokkaido for a few months for several reasons... escape the heat... do some cooking... good food... Of course during those months I had to give up my place in Suzuka.

When I returned to Suzuka I stayed with a "Friend" and took some time for rest... With my "Friend", still in school, it was becoming inconvenient having me around... and that's when I had a brief taste of how life was like for the person in that broadcast... for several days a week I stayed over at US Land
, an Internet / Manga/ Sports/ Market place, which was an hour walk away from my school, which in turn was a forty minute train ride away from my "Friend's" place.
As bad as might sound, it gave me a chance to talk to Ani-Pockers during peak North American times. :P

The standard rate of pay in Japan is on a monthly basis, and many places, you need a residence in order to work... and unfortunately with the high cost of renting an apartment (around 5 times the amount of rent upfront which doesn't count towards rent) it's hard to get a place without work, which is how people get in vicious cycles.

Hotels (Comfort Inn) in Kyoto and Nagoya go for around $100 a day.
Business Hotels (Which are for Business people who's job requires them to travel around) are roughly the same price but the longer you stay the cheaper it usually is. Instead of paying $100 a day and staying for a week, you sign for a week and pay $70 a day... something like that... But you usually have to get those well in advance.
24hr Manga Kisaten usually have night time packages. US Land from 10pm - 10am cost me around $15 - $20 (depending if I bought food and such.) Not only did I have a nice private cubicle to stay in... I also had video games, bowling, soccer, batting cages and even Karaoke!
Another place which is becoming famous for people to stay at (which I found out after missing my flight in Chiba) are 24hr restaurants. Buy a Value meal at McDonalds and stay the whole night... Get a coffee and ice cream at Denny's... and leave in the morning. $5!

Just think, if that survey was taken last year... I could've been among those numbers.
Thanks for keeping me company when I had no place to sleep :) It was rare that I actually went to sleep at US Land, I usually ended up staying awake talking to my Ani-Pocker friends and actually feeling happy... until my long walk to school, where I'd sleep on the benches... But that's another story :P

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Japanese TV: Talent show

This clip shows a man that can catch an arrow, a guy that can use nun chucks very well a boomerang expert and finally a guy that can spit things at high speeds!

Friday, August 24, 2007

~*Happy Birthday Christine!!*~

YAY! Today PunkChick turns 17! I hope she has a special day and saves me some cake!! Or maybe I will eat a cookie in her honor. XD Anyway, send PC all your birthday wishes and love, but I get first dibs. *tackles PC* LUFF!!

Japan Rail: Yamanote Line Tour

(Wikipedia): The Yamanote Line (山手線, Yamanote-sen?) is one of Tokyo's busiest and most important commuter lines. Running as a circle, it connects most of Tokyo's major stations and urban centres including the Ginza area, Shibuya, Shinjuku and Ikebukuro with all but two of its 29 stations connecting with other railway or underground (subway) lines. It is operated by JR East.

Circle the Yamanote Line in under 4 minutes below. I rode on this line a lot when I visited Tokyo.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Japan News: Woman rescued after climbing to top of 55-meter power pole in Tokyo

(Via Mainichi):

A woman was rescued in the early hours of Thursday after climbing to the top of a 55-meter-high power pole in Tokyo, police said.

The woman was apparently not injured in the incident. Investigators are questioning the woman over the motives for her action, suspecting that she may have intended to kill herself. Local police are trying to identify the woman, believed to be in her 20s.

At about 10:50 p.m. on Wednesday, the Metropolitan Police Department received an emergency call, reporting that a woman was screaming in Setagaya-ku, Tokyo.

Officers rushed to the scene and found her crying for help on the top of a 54.5-meter-high power pole. Police immediately asked Tokyo Electric Power Co. to stop power supply to protect her from electric shock.

At about 12:50 a.m. on Thursday, she began to climb down the pole. When she stopped seven meters above the ground about 20 minutes later, rescue workers climbed up and rescued her. (Mainichi)

Otaku-style fuel tank doors

Nothing says “fill ‘er up” quite like these custom fuel doors on itasha seen in the parking lot at Comiket last weekend.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket



Japanese/Techno version of Loituma song

Remeber the Loituma song? Don't? (The ending is awesome, watch it here first)
Well there appears to be a Japanese version now.

30-Million-Yen Platinum Gundam Unveiled


A jewelry store in Fukuoka has created a 30-million-yen (about 262,000 US dollars) platinum figure of a mobile suit from the popular anime series Gundam, reports Mainichi:

Produced by Ginza Tanaka jewelry shop and toy manufacturer Bandai Co., the robot figure is 12.5 centimeters tall and equipped with a 0.15-karat diamond on its head.

The platinum Gundam figure will be on display at the shop in Fukuoka’s Chuo-ku until Sunday.

Here’s a video news report on the Gundam:

Monday, August 20, 2007

Japanese TV: The 1 Million Yen Cardboard Boat Challenge

Omg, further proof that Japanese TV is awesome. (Via JapanProbe): This TV show is offering 1 million yen [about 8,400 US dollars] to any family that can create a cardboard boat and survive paddling it through this treacherous course:

Paranmaum - Linda Linda

Keep the art coming in! Latest 12 drawings:

Will your drawing be the one to break 500? Right now we have 494 drawings!! View them all now >>

First the Oldest... then the Second?

Just days away from being named the NEW Oldest Person, 中野シツ (Shitsu Nakano), passed away in a nursing home.
中野シツ, was also from Fukuoka, the same prefecture that the former... former Oldest Person, 皆川ヨ子(Yone Minagawa) was from.

中野シツ was born on New Year's Day 1894, and had 8 children, 22 Grandchildren, 31 Great Grandchildren and 3 Great GREAT Grandchildren.

More from Mainichi Daily and Here

Edit: Sorry it's late, I just thought I'd update Pocky's lated related Post.

Japanese TV: Professor Splash Breaks World Diving Record

(Via JapanProbe): On July 25th, Darren “Professor Splash” Taylor broke the world record for shallow diving by jumping from a height of 10.70 meters (35 feet) into 30 centimeters (12 inches) of water into a kiddy pool. Here’s the video of his amazing dive:

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Panasonic electric car does 100km/h on 192 double AAs

(Via DigitalWorldTokyo):
We’re really hoping that if Panasonic is planning to market its new Oxyride electric car at Christmastime it manages to include a few packs of batteries in the box to keep the kids happy past lunchtime.

Unsurprisingly, as it has just topped 100km/h and entered the record books as the world’s fastest vehicle powered by commercial dry-cell AA batteries, the Oxyride machine eats up 192 of the cells at a time.

More Photos >>

Japanese Ultra cargo pants

Only 15,750 yen (£70/$140)? Bargain!

More details + slideshow >>

World's oldest person dies at age 114 in Fukuoka

FUKUOKA -- Yone Minagawa, the oldest person in the world, has died at a care home for the elderly, local sources said. She was 114.

Minagawa died at the home in Fukuchi, Fukuoka Prefecture, on Monday.

Minagawa was recognized as the oldest person in the world in January by the Guinness Book of World Records. (Mainichi)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Japanese TV: Mini Moni!

This one's for you Lucy!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Keepon dancing robot in a music video!

Remember the little yellow guy? Now he is in a full music video!

(Via Step off those treadmills OK GO, there's a new indie music video on YouTube ready to help us nerds locate our groove muscle. Spoon's "Don't You Evah" features the toxically cute Keepon dancing robot developed by Carnegie Mellon and Japan's National Institute of Communications Technology. Be sure to hang in 'til the end for the robot dance party which features Manoi, RB2000 and a Johnny Five wannabe getting tore-up from the floor-up in that mad servo style.

New on Ani-Pock: Themed Draw Boards (5-8)

Hi all, I've added 4 more drawboards!

Drawboards 5-8 are 'Themed'. Meaning, the boards are intended primarily for say Tic Tac Toe in the case of number 6.

However, you are still free to draw anything if you run out of space on the normal drawboards 1-4.

Just head on over the the DrawBoards to enjoy! >>

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Naruto Flash Animation (Funny)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Super Mario sleeve tattoo

Samuel Mullin has a full sleeve's worth of beautifully executed Super Mario tattoos -- his site has a small gallery of them. He's doing a Zelda sleeve next for the other arm. He says he was inspired by a childhood spent in a military family, passing many days stuck in residential hotels, playing NES. Link (via Neatorama)

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Magic of CYRIL!

Cyril Takayama (The guy who did the old man sneezing and head falling off trick) is back with his crazy aquarium card trick! He's craaaazeh.... Now how many times can we say the ladies go "Ehhhhhhh?!"

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Ani-Pock Art: 6 Latest drawings

Check them out on the Art Gallery page! The Art Gallery has now close to 500 drawings.

Ramen Erasers

Check out these perfectly crafted tiny instant noodle replicas made of real usable erasers. They come as a set inside this larger ramen bowl with noodles inside. This is one of an entire series of mini-replica erasers from online store Wonder Minakuru. If you're based in Japan, you can buy this ramen set here.

Japanese TV: Baseball master

(Via JapanSugoi):
This Japanese man doesn’t have the roid-tastic hitting power of Barry Bonds, but he sure can do some awesome tricks:

Tokyo Summer Street fashion 2007

Summer in Japan is hot and Tokyo is no exception. Aside from the occasional typhoon, temperatures easily hit 30C+ in Tokyo. What are ordinary Japanese wearing on the streets of Tokyo? As you will know from reading this blog, each of the various districts of Tokyo (Harajuku, Shibuya, Ommotsando etc.) have their own fashion styles.

Click here to see more examples!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Welcome to Ani-Pock Widescreen!

Hey everyone!
Welcome to the new version of This long awaited update includes the following changes:

- Faster load time, through optimized code
- New simplified Navigation bar, which loads all content within the same window
- Widescreen capable. Ani-Pock adjusts as you make the window bigger or smaller. No more empty wasted space!
- Updated Browser page. Just Google the site you want to visit, and you can surf the web while in Ani-Pock!
- Drawboards: Drop down menu for selecting other boards
- Artistboards: New member boards, new password
- Anime: Powered by Kragamuffin. Direct downloads.
- Manga: Powered by MangaVolume. View directly in Ani-Pock!
- Flash Animations: All your favorites are back! Send me suggestions for additions!
- Flash Games: Classics, but we need your help in growing the list!

I know bugs and features may be missing. Please help us by leaving a comment in this post! No registration is needed, just choose the Anonymous option.

Thank you to all testers and to PunkChick for pushing and helping me to get this done!


Japanese TV: The Rubber Ball Man

OMG!!! I'm so cosplaying as this next year!!!!! lol!!!

He got the idea for his rubber ball outfit after seeing an advertisement balloon floating in the sky. Since then, he has spent his free time bouncing around and stretching into bizarre shapes. If he ever gets in trouble, his wife is on hand to refill the ball with air!

Japanese TV: Covering up bald spots


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Ani-Pock Podcasts Archive updated

Hi all! Some of you new members may not be aware that we actually do have a podcast. (It has been a few months since the last one). A podcast is like a radio show. We use Skype and some other technologies to do a little show between states, and even other countries some times! If you enjoyed our latest podcast, you can always listen to the archive!

The archive has been updated, and includes everything up to the latest episode 16 posted on the Community Blog tonight. There is a lot of fun stuff with lots of different members, so check it out!

Click here to open the archive.



Ultimate Haruhi Dance All Over Japan

In July of 2007, I studied abroad in Japan. Before this, I have cosplayed and danced as Haruhi Suzumiya (at Anizona 2007). Due to my constant worship of Haruhi Suzumiya, I decided to do the dance in various scenaries of Japan that I was visiting. Here’s a list of some of these areas:
Yoyogi Park
Deer Park (Nara)
Imperial Palace
Tokyo Tower
Tokyo Station
Kyoto Imperial Palace
Nijo Castle
and MANY more weird/snazzy places

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Ani-Pock Podcast Episode 15

Ep 015: "Wolfie Nuggets"

Episode 15 is here!

Today's topics: Comic-Con International 2007, Family guy panel, What's inside PunkChick's purse, Rin & School, What we had for lunch and dinner.

Hosts: Pocky, Rin, PunkChick

Running time: 46:03
Intro/Outro by Kip

Well what are you waiting for, click the pink play button to listen, or right click here and choose save as)

Listen to all the previous shows in the archive.

Piano Can!

If like me, you’re tired of carrying your grand piano around everywhere, then why don’t you pick up one of these canned pianos? Just pull out the little rolled up keyboard and away you go. You can’t play chords though, or sharps or flats. Happy little melodies all the time. The can comes with eight pre-programmed ditties and costs £4.40/$8.90. Oh, and it has a duck on the front. Quack.

Japanese TV: Champion Lego Blocks Creations


From Pianos to houses to a Otaku Maid all being made with Lego’s.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

World Cosplay Summit 2007 Held In Nagoya

World Cosplay Summit 2007 is being in Nagoya this weekend, and cosplayers from around the world are apparently gathering there to celebrate the bizarre hobby of dressing up as anime, manga, and video game characters. Here’s a video of the summit’s costumed participants parading down a Nagoya street yesterday:

Awesome Slip-N-Slide Japanese People Bowling In Oil

This is how you knock down pins. By dousing yourself in oil. Then sending yourself down a “lane”. On TV. In Japan.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Pocky's 2007 Comic-Con International Report

Well, this is the version I sent to Glico (maker of Pocky) as a report that I did my day job! (I get paid by the company for that one day). Cick picture below to open!!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Capsule Hotel video

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Japanese version of Aladin

Online Videos by

Japanese TV: Skating under cars...

Lots of them!!

Shinkansen Simulator

(Via wouldn’t want drive one of the fastest and safest trains in the world? Probably a few people, but even if they didn’t, their kids would love Takara-Tomy’s Shinkansen Simulator. Zip across Japan from the comfort of your living room via a little plastic box with some stickers on it. If I haven’t sold you on this one, just take a look at the commercial.

Doggie Popsicles

It's hot as hell in Tokyo right now. Don't you think your doggie deserves a popsicle, too? Here are some cool ice treats made especially for dogs. It's produced by the same company that make human popsicle favorites like the soda-flavored Gari Gari Kun. Yummy!

More info >>

Panorama Yokohama

Click image to make bigger.

Lots more cool stuff here!! Continue browsing...

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