Archives: January 2011

Paintings by Alex Gross

31 Jan 2011

A dreamlike mix of retro Japanese-style visuals, Victorian imagery and consumer culture iconography is found in the oil paintings of California-based artist Alex Gross.

Paintings by Alex Gross --
Koshimaki-Osen, 2003

Paintings by Alex Gross --
The Sugar Sickness, 2001

Paintings by Alex Gross --
Ice Cream Cone (Despair), 2007

Paintings by Alex Gross --
Mammon, 2010

Paintings by Alex Gross --
Lanvin (Paris), 2010

See more paintings by Alex Gross »

Video: Kirishima volcano eruption

27 Jan 2011

+ Video

Shinmoe peak (Shinmoe-dake), part of the Kirishima volcano group in southern Kyushu, began erupting yesterday (Jan 26) in dramatic fashion. The eruption, thought to be the largest at Kirishima since 1959, sent a plume of ash 1,500 meters into the air, prompting the Japan Meteorological Agency to issue a Level 3 volcano warning for the surrounding area. This spectacular footage of the eruption was captured by an observer in the area.

+ Video

Last night's action was also captured on a webcam at Kirishima [click "霧島山 猪子石(新燃岳)" in the menu on the right to display the latest image], and the still images were pieced together into a time-lapse video.

+ Video

Cute antique Japanese postcards

25 Jan 2011

Here is an assortment of playful Japanese postcards from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, found in a recent book by collector Hiroki Hayashi entitled "Antique Cute Post Cards in Japan" (Nippon no kawaii ehagaki).

Vintage Japanese postcards --
Betty Boop (Yamaguchi Seikyokudo Co., Ltd. - c. 1930s)

Vintage Japanese postcards --
Betty Boop (1937)

Vintage Japanese postcards --
Betty Boop, Mickey and Minnie (1936)

Vintage Japanese postcards --
Mickey (c. 1920s-40s)

Vintage Japanese postcards --
Kewpie Mayonnaise ad (1932)

See more cute antique Japanese postcards »

Illustrated anatomy of Gamera and foes

21 Jan 2011

The anatomical features of Gamera and his foes are detailed in a set of illustrations found in one volume of the Kaijū-Kaijin Daizenshū movie monster book series published by Keibunsha in 1972.

Gamera anatomical illustration --

Gamera's features include infrared eyes with night vision, arms that can lift 50,000 tons, an organ for producing the flames he shoots from his hands, electrical spikes on his back, poison claws, sac-like organs for storing lava, coal, oil and uranium, balloon-like organs that blast jets of air out through the feet, and a tail of elastic cartilage that can deliver a powerful punch.

Guiron anatomical illustration --

Guiron's most prominent feature is his knife-shaped head, which is 100 times harder than diamond and is packed with shuriken-like stars that can be fired from a pair of openings above the eyes. The creature has 360-degree radar vision, 60 times more teeth than a piranha, lungs adapted for long-distance space travel, sac-like organs for storing energy and uranium, balloon-like organs in the legs that blast jets of liquid through the feet, webbed fins for stability in water, and magnetic suction cups on the hands.

Baragon anatomical illustration --

Barugon's features include dorsal spikes that produce a deadly rainbow ray, an organ to produce frosty liquid (-100 degree Celsius) that can be shot from his 30-meter-long weaponized tongue, a stomach that can digest diamonds (his favorite food), and radar horns atop his head.

Viras anatomical illustration --

Viras's features include a spike-shaped head capable of piercing through a meter of steel, a brain with an IQ of 2500, organs for producing a force field and controlling the minds of others, tentacles that are 10,000 times stronger than an elephant's trunk and which can emit powerful beams for space travel, and organs to break down cell tissue and control metamorphosis (for creating its human disguise).

Jiger anatomical illustration --

Jiger's features include a pair of horns that shoot missiles made of hardened saliva and one that fires a deadly "magnetium" beam, powerful suction cups covering her entire body, an organ for shooting jets of seawater at 300 kilometers per hour, a stomach that can melt iron ore, and an ovipositor tail.

[Via: Tokusatsu Figure-kan]

Photos: Bosozoku parking

19 Jan 2011

Here's a peek at a few of the bōsōzoku-style custom rides spotted in the parking lot at the Tokyo Auto Salon custom car show last weekend, via Flickr user brunnnno.

Bosozoku car photo by brunnnno --

Bosozoku car photo by brunnnno --

Bosozoku car photo by brunnnno --

Bosozoku car photo by brunnnno --

Bosozoku car photo by brunnnno --

See more bōsōzoku-style rides »

Welcome to Japan

19 Jan 2011

Poster by Masayoshi Nakajo, 1988 --
Poster by Masayoshi Nakajo, 1988 [+]

Behold a place where the people's needs miraculously meet the corporate agendas. Enjoy a nation of modern cultural perspectives -- "humanication," "forever freshness" and "the super next." Experience a country that does things better, or so its citizens fervently believe.
- Leonard Koren

LED-powered Harajuku smiles

17 Jan 2011

A commercial promoting the Laforet Grand Bazar winter sale in Harajuku (January 20-24) features a mob of people with flickering LED-illuminated smiles who overrun a dramatic love scene reminiscent of a popular '90s-era TV show.

Geee - Harajuku Love Story --

The ad -- entitled "Geee / Harajuku Love Story" -- makes use of wirelessly-controlled Mouth LED technology developed by artists Daito Manabe and Motoi Ishibashi.

+ Video

Here is a rough translation of the dialogue that takes place as the smiling mob approaches.

[Man]: We can make it work. I'll do my best.
[Woman]: Will you come to see me if I get lonely at night, no matter what?
[Man]: I will go immediately. I'll fly.
[Woman]: Will you come and pick me up if I call you from Mt. Everest?
[Man]: I'll fly there right away.
[Woman]: Will you bring me hot nabe soup if I ask for it?
[Man]: I will. I'll bring a year's worth.
[Woman]: What if I asked you to take me to the moon?
[Man]: That might be difficult...
[Woman]: That's not good enough.
[Man]: But I can make you happy.

The commercial appears to have been inspired by an earlier project by Manabe and Ishibashi entitled "Party in the Mouth," which featured a mob of women with glowing LED smiles wandering the streets of Tokyo at night.

+ Video

Here is some video from the Laforet website:

+ Video

Czech & Polish posters for kaiju films

11 Jan 2011

Here are a few classic Japanese monster movie posters from Poland and the former Czechoslovakia. [Via Monster Brains]

Polish Godzilla poster --
Godzilla (Poland, 1957)

Polish Godzilla poster --
Son of Godzilla (Poland, 1974)

Czech poster for Daikyoju Gappa --
Monster from a Prehistoric Planet (Czechoslovakia, 1986)

Polish kaiju film poster --
War of the Gargantuas (Poland, 1975)

Polish Godzilla movie poster --
Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster (Poland, 1978)

Polish Godzilla movie poster --
Terror of Mechagodzilla (Poland, 1977)

Polish kaiju film poster --
Gappa the Triphibian Monster (Poland, 1973)

Polish Gamera movie poster --
Gamera Super Monster (Poland, 1980)

Polish King Kong movie poster --
King Kong Escapes (Poland, 1967)

Polish Godzilla poster --
Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster (Poland, 1971)

Polish kaiju film poster --
The X from Outer Space (Czechoslovakia, 1968)

Polish Godzilla poster --
Godzilla vs. Gigan (Poland, 1977)