Sour’s new video is interactive, browser-based genius. Watch it.

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Sour — a band known for making awesome videos that exploit the powers of the Internet — has really outdone itself with this new one, called Mirror. It uses your browser, webcam, Facebook, Twitter, Google image search, and html5 to create this crazy interactive viewing experience. Try it now!

Sour Mirror main page via Engadget (Thanks, Joe!)

Music video by Sour features fans on webcams

Man runs out of toilet paper, tweets for help


An anime DJ was pooping in the Yodobashi Camera store in Akihabara but only realized there was no toilet paper after the fact. So he did what any savvy geek would do — he sent an urgent tweet asking for someone to bring him some. It worked!

I was reading the rest of this guy’s tweets, too, they’re all in Japanese but really funny. Follow!

naika_tei’s Twitter via Foolish Gadgets via Boing Boing

Kanae Kijima, online serial killer

Kijami_338646t The Independent has a story today about a woman named Kanae Kijima, age 34, who is suspected of killing at least four and conning a dozen men whom she met on the Internet. Many of them were older; she wooed them first with her benign cooking blog and later by acting the part of the perfect subservient housewife. Then she would take their money, lace their food with sedatives, and make it look like suicide. A quote from the article:

in a country where women traditionally play a backseat role, the “Black Widow” case has delivered a devastating blow to male confidence. Bloggers say Kijima has ruined their faith in dating and marriage sites, making them fearful of anonymous encounters with potential online partners.

Kijima was arrested in September.


Web site shows pretty Japanese girls apologizing

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December 10th is Apology Day. To commemorate, somebody made a site called (Gomenne means I’m sorry) that counts down to Dec 10 with a hot Japanese girl for each of the 31 days preceding the made-up holiday. You can click on each girl to see a detailed profile of her, as well as a video of her apologizing. This girl, 19-year old Asuka Morimoto, apologizes for eating all the steak at a family dinner. (via Japanator)

Related stories:
Razor beauty campaign offers “mustache” diamond as a prize
Widget displays time held up by hot Japanese girl

24-year old woman may have broadcast her suicide attempt on the Internet reports that a 24-year old woman who goes by the screenname _mextli attempted suicide today by jumping off the balcony of her fourth floor apartment — all in plain view of her live videostream. The attempt was supposedly broadcast on Stickam Japan, although _mextli’s profile appears to have been removed. The incident, though, was widely discussed on 2channel.

In the past, people have used livecasts to fake suicide attempts for attention — not just in Japan. No news yet as to whether _mextli’s rumored suicide attempt was real or not.

PARC theme day on Boing Boing Gadgets

Picture 2Hey guys, if you have a sec hop on over to BBG to check out the stories Steven and I are doing on PARC, the esteemed Palo Alto Research Center. Don’t miss photos and diagrams of the first ethernet cable in the world, the carpet on which graphical user interfaces were conceived, a mirror that helps you comparison shop, a gallery of caution signs, and interviews about what it’s like to work there.

Praise Salon is a web site that just says nice things about you

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There’s a web site called Praise Salon that is supposedly pretty popular in Japan. The intro screen asks you whether you’re male or female, and then lets you choose from a menu of several occupation. It then asks you, would you like to be praised? If you click on Yes, this funny techno beat comes on and the screen starts filling up with sentences saying how awesome you are.

via Asiajin

Town sells four school buildings on Yahoo! Auction


Ever wish you could own a school building in Hokkaido? Now you can. A small town called Nikappu is putting four elementary school buildings on Yahoo! Auction, with bidding starting at about $200K. Not a bad deal, considering it includes everything from the main campus building to the gym and pool and teachers’ dorms. The reason for the auction is a little depressing, though—the number of children in Japan is on a decline because of the low birth rate, and seven schools in this town alone shut down in the past year.

via IT Media (Japanese) and Asiajin

TV Asahi caught making up fake blogs for source material

Tv-asahiTV Asahi, one of Japan’s major television news networks, was caught red-handed making fake online sources for one of a quiz show. Th quiz show was about superstitions—the anchor brought up clues from the Internet based on fake blogs that the TV Asahi crew made up and then cited as proof of whatever they were proving. Of course, they got caught, and now they’re bowing deeply for what brings many many shame points to a media organization that once had Rupert Murdoch pining for its ownership. Actually, TV Asahi has one other faking scandal in its past—nearly two decades ago, it was caught using actors to portray crime victims in a news video. For shame, TV Asahi. This is definitely not how one should take advantage of the Internet revolution.

via Asiajin

Web bulletin 2-channel moves to Singapore

09toky1.184Internet bad boy Hiroyuki Nishimura, whom I wrote an article about in last June’s WIRED, announced on his blog recently that he moved his notorious massive online bulletin 2-channel to Singapore. 2-channel, which was previously owned by Nishimura alone, is now owned by a Singaporean company called Packet Monster, Inc. What does this mean? It’s probably part of his strategy to avoid the gazillions of yen he owes via libel suits against the site. Or, maybe the rumors are true that the site’s existence is in serious jeopardy.


Web site uses Google Maps to chart stink spots

Picture is a website created by smell fanatics attempting to mark Japan’s smelliest spots on Google Maps. Each smell has a short description, the source, intensity and the occurring date of the stink. After a strong odor inflames their nostrils, Nioibu users will hastily scramble back home, eager to record their stinky experience on Nioibu. Their listed sites range from the smell of the sea to gas fumes. (by Emily Co)


Internet cafe doubles as a karaoke joint


You may not think that the urges to sing karaoke and surf the web come hand in hand, but in Tokyo, they often do. That’s why there’s KaraNet, the karaoke & Internet cafe that’s open 24 hours. The karaoke rooms and Internet booths are actually separate, but you could still spend all day in this bright red building. Price list after the jump.

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I’m speaking about Japanese tech culture at ETech

I was invited to speak at ETech, O’Reilly’s annual flagship emerging technology conference. It will be held in March in San Jose, CA. My thingy will be on Wednesday, March 11 at 2:55PM, and I’ll be talking about seemingly strange web apps and gadgets that actually give us great insight into the foundations of Japanese popular culture. The conference is kinda expensive, but there are some great speakers on the lineup—Joi Ito, Gary Wolf, Mary Lou Jepsen—well worth it if you want to hear some of the best idea people talk about what’s up and coming. Details on my talk are here.

My afternoon at Monkey Net, a halfway house for otaku


Yesterday afternoon, I found myself with two hours to kill and an itch to do something meaningful in Akihabara. I sat down at Mister Donuts with a French cruller and American coffee, reading the Cool Japan Akiba guide book that I had half-jokingly bought the day before at Nakano Broadway with Moot, the founder of 4chan. I tried checking my email on my iPod Touch but had no luck. There’s this crazy building on one of the side streets that I was dying to check out. It has, one on top of the other, a Gundam bar, a military-themed cafe, and a imouto maid cafe where they call you "big brother" and "big sister" instead of master and mistress. I walked over. Gundam bar and military cafe were closed, and I just couldn’t imagine walking into the imouto place by myself, so I left. I tried checking my email on my iPod Touch but had no luck.

Finally, I decided I was tired of walking around and checked myself into Monkey Net.

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Giant Anti-2Ch Online Forum for Women


There are many reasons to hate 2-channel. It’s messy. It’s unmoderated. People say so much bad shit there that it hurts your ears even when you’re just reading. The guy who runs it is kind of a dick. Enter Hatsugen Komachi, a similarly anonymous giant Japanese online bulletin, except this one is made for women and run by Yomiuri newspaper. And the ads are not all related to porn.

Our friends at translated some of the thread topics. The sample subjects are interesting insights into what Japanese women today are worried about and discussing:

* My 61 year old daddy is going to travel with a woman, and he kept it secret to my mother. Should I tell my mom?

* In my childhood, my mom told me that my neighbour described me as
a ‘very ugly baby’. Now I’m in my 30s, but still I can’t overcome that

* My husband is an Otaku, and has many robot toys. I can’t bear it,
so I discarded all those garbages while he’s working. We fought over it
when he came back home. Getting mad by discarding toys, what a childish
person he is? How can I make him regret? Give me advice! (She got lots
of blaming replies)

Hatsugen Komachi main page