Archive for January, 2006

Ainori #300

Tuesday, January 24th, 2006

Ainori is a popular reality show in Japan, aired on Fuji TV on Monday nights at 23:00.

In August 2005, I discovered that Ainori was not only popular in Japan, but also all over the world thanks to Bit Torrent technology. I decided to write a summary of each episode, and do a translation of the weekly photo captions from the official site. What do I get out of this? I get to improve my Japanese, I get more traffic to my blog, but above all, I get the satisfaction of knowing many non-Japanese speakers all over the world can appreciate a truly unique reality show. Enjoy, and don’t hesitate to post any comments or questions you may have.

Ainori’s official homepage (Japanese only).

This month’s participants.

Ainori’s BT downloads available @ D-Addicts and Saiyaman

Ainori #300

WARNING! THIS IS A SPOILER!


Mie

Andie

Suuzan

Well this week was quite unusual, since the vacant spot for a female participant was taken for only three days by a girl the group met in the kitchen of the dormitory they were staying at. Andie, a 23 year old English teacher, entered the kitchen while the group was making dinner, and asked if she could use one of the tables. Suuzan started speaking (some) English with her, and she unexpectedly replied in Japanese. He then proceeded with inviting her to join the group, which she did after the staff explained to her what Ainori was all about. Although she stayed only for three days, she spent most of that time with Suuzan, and as you can imagine, Mie got really nervous. So much so that she actually cut in “Takano style” a couple of times, because she was starting to worry Suuzan might stay in Hungary with Andie. Mie is definitly the jealous type, and I’m sure we’ll have more catfight if one of the other girls gets interested in Suuzan. Andie left after three days, as she intended to, to the great relieve of Mie and evident sadness on the part of Suuzan.

Outlaw As I expected (and probably everyone else), “Outlaw” is one obnoxious, pushy, self-assured sexual predator on the prowl. It started on the bus when he was trying to explain his materialistic take on life, and how he thought Ainori was phony. Needless to say, that didn’t go down well with the group. Then he tried to squeeze himself sitting with Mie in an alcove, and was talking about how much money he was already making in his teens, and how he intended to start a sex toy business. Mie was too distracted by the fact that Suuzan and Andie were by themselves, and excused herself pretty quickly, to the great dismay of “mister macho man”, obviously not used to rejection at all. Looking at next week’s trailer, it seems he’s going to try holding Izumi too close to him, which she obviously won’t like from the look on her face. I can’t stand him, but he’s fun to watch. Mark my words, Outlaw will be the guy we’ll love to hate!

Well, it seems next week a new girl will join them, and the group will finally be complete for a new chapter of Ainori, and apparently the start of more female rivalry. Can’t wait…

:-) Ainori 300 – Special treat for non-Japanese speakers :-)

A 22 meter Tsunami…

Monday, January 23rd, 2006

Reuters announced yesterday that a major earthquake hitting north-eastern Japan could potentially trigger a 22-meter tsunami, killing approximately 3000 people and causing more than a trillion yen (8.6 billion USD) in damage. Considering how the 2004 tsunami wreaked havoc with waves that didn’t even reach one meter reached 10 meters in some places, I would say this is a VERY conservative estimate. To give you an idea, I made this very simple sketch keeping proportions accurate. The man in the sketch would be about 170 cm tall (about 5′6″), next to a 7 story building. Man, I live in Sendai, the capital of north-eastern Japan, AND a harbor city. Should I consider moving?

Ho Chi Minh Traffic

Sunday, January 22nd, 2006


Finally, I’m getting around to completing my posts about my trip to Vietnam. In Ho Chi Minh traffic is quite different from anything I’ve ever seen anywhere. Apart from the very few intersections where there are traffic lights, there are apparently no rules at all, or if there are, thousands of vehicles flooding the streets are blatantly ignoring them. The only time anyone stops (it’s actually more like slowing down) is to prevent from crashing into anyone else, and that goes for pedestrians, too. Overflowing into the incoming lane, cutting diagonally against traffic, or entering a one way is done in the most natural way, at an average speed of 30km an hour, enough to throw you out of orbit if you were to hit something. As if that and the numerous potholes and various obstacles covering the streets weren’t dangerous enough, I’ve seen people riding those scooters and motorbikes eating, smoking, emailing on their phones, carrying unbelievable luggage, such as huge water bottles (like the ones you find at the work place), computers, food, construction materials (poles – sometimes 2 to 3 meters!, constructions panels, tools, etc…), boxes, you name it! You’d think that if you were one of the multiple passengers (I’ve seen up to 5 people ride together!) on one of those scooters you’d hold on to the driver as if your life depended on it (oh, wait, it does!), but most of them just casually sit there while reading, eating, smoking, and looking around without even blinking. The first ride I took with my brother-in-law was really scary, but really exciting at the same time. After a few days, I didn’t even hold on to him anymore. Obviously, words or even pictures are not enough to describe what Ho Chi Minh traffic really looks like, so I shot these clips, hope you enjoy them. Depending on your connection speed they may take a while to download, but trust me, it’s worth it. The clips are in MP4 files so you’ll need to install Quick Time, if you don’t already have it.

Clip #1

Clip #2

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot: the clip about our trip to the Mekong river is also available here.

Too strict…

Friday, January 20th, 2006

Seen at a supermarket in Sendai…

Too strict!

No Smoking – Of course!

No Pets – I certainly hope not!

No Cameras – Oops! My bad!

No Explosives – Damn’! I knew I should’ve left that grenade in the car…

Ainori #299

Tuesday, January 17th, 2006

Ainori is a popular reality show in Japan, aired on Fuji TV on Monday nights at 23:00.

In August 2005, I discovered that Ainori was not only popular in Japan, but also all over the world thanks to Bit Torrent technology. I decided to write a summary of each episode, and do a translation of the weekly photo captions from the official site. What do I get out of this? I get to improve my Japanese, I get more traffic to my blog, but above all, I get the satisfaction of knowing many non-Japanese speakers all over the world can appreciate a truly unique reality show. Enjoy, and don’t hesitate to post any comments or questions you may have.

Ainori’s official homepage (Japanese only).

This month’s participants.

Ainori’s BT downloads available @ D-Addicts and Saiyaman

Ainori #299

WARNING! THIS IS A SPOILER!

Ume I can’t believe this! Umechan retired! Apparently she was in love with a guy in Japan for about a year and a half, but the guy kept rejecting her saying she should lose wait and stuff. Then, determined to find love on her own she applied for Ainori, and against very tough odds got accepted. The problem is that the creep, out of the blue, decided to declare his love to her 3 days before she left for Ainori. Idiot! How selfish can you get? Umechan, torn between her feelings and the decision she had made to join Ainori, kept her promise to the producers, but still went on her trip with mixed feelings. She kept it a secret to the group, the staff, and even lied to herself, trying to forget about the guy while she was traveling. But in the end, the feeling she had betrayed everyone, including herself, got the best of her. Poor girl… That’s why she was relatively inactive during the program. I hope she finds happiness upon her return to Japan, and I hope that jerk gets dumped by his next five girlfriends, starting with Umechan!

So Suuzan, Mie and Alec left Romania for Hungaria, Ainori’s 64th country. I sure miss Hide, who by the way went back to Africa to buy loads of hand-made accessories, and is now back in Japan getting ready to start his online shop (Edit: Thanks to Katherine for the link!). His dream is to eventually open his own boutique, but for the time being I’ll keep my eyes open to find the URL to his online shop ASAP. Anyway, the arrival of three new partcipants, two boys and a girl, will sure make things interesting. Here they are:

Tagami Tagami, 20, from Miyazaki prefecture . He’s a tall (182 cm), handsome young man studying architecture, and has a taste for soccer. He didn’t say much during his self-introduction, but his looks were speaking for themselves. I’m sure this guy won’t have any problems finding the girl of his dreams, since he also seems to have lots of self-confidence.

Outlaw Talking about self-confidence, the next guy is quite a number! Outlaw (yeah, right) 30, from Kabukicho. The guy is a dentist by daytime and works as a host by night! For those of you not familiar with the term “host”, it refers to guys working as gigolos in Japanese night clubs called , you guessed it, “host clubs”. The guy is so self-centered, he was looking at the camera instead of looking at the other participants when he introduced himself, until one of the staff interrupted him to tell him to face the group. He wrote on his profile that he would create a “new Ainori legend”. Please, that’s even worse than TK! This guy should be, ahem, interesting, to say the least…

Izumi Izumi, 25, from Tokyo, is a professional Mah-jong player. Yep, some people make a living at gambling, even in Japan. Actually, she apparently plays in real time against opponents on the internet, playing from arcades all over Japan. It seems Alec even played her once, and he recognized her! He was so excited to meet someone “famous”, forgetting that she’s a nobody outside Mah-jong circles. She’s quite good looking, and I have a feeling she will become Mie’s rival. Do I forsee catfights, again? Only time will tell…

:-) Ainori 299 – Special treat for non-Japanese speakers :-)