What Asian People Like

I stumbled upon a great blog which in a satirical way, let’s you know what Asians like, and don’t like. Moreover; read how it is to grow up as Asian; how it is to meddle with non-Asians, and what to be proud of as Asian. There’s lots of good stuff in here, so read it if you wonder why your Asian pals are the way they are, or if you’re feeling Asian. You’ll enjoy it!


日本の月 ”Nihon no tsuki” 1 – New Year, New series

Starting today, a new series of posts will be featured on WebMurder’s Inc.

For the uninitiated, 日本の月 or ”Nihon no tsuki” means literally ”The moon of Japan”, but can also mean Japan’s month. The choice for this name came naturally, as the posts will be featured (at least) once a month from now on, and they will all be about Japan. Upcoming topics for this new series can be ”Japan in the News”, ”Crazy Japan”, ”Things you didn’t know about Japan”, ”Learn Japanese” and much more!

To start things off:

Did you know that the Japanese have a version of the Man in the Moon? Instead, they have a Moon Rabbit, that makes mochi. It is a sticky pastry made from pounded, sweet rice, that is commonly eaten all year-round; though, especially during the Japanese New Year (shōgatsu), which is celebrated on January 1st. All kinds of foods are eaten around this time of year, even non-Japanese ones! The Japanese say that they let the weary stomach rest on the 7th of January by eating nanakusa-gayu (seven-hearb rice soup). The Japanese New Year is by far the most important celebration of all year, a tradition kept throughout the centuries. Even though the Japanese switched from the Chinese lunisolar calendar to the Gregorian calendar in 1873, the tradition just keeps getting bigger and bigger! The sending of nengajō (New Year postcards) is similar to Western Christmas cards, and has become quite a phenomenon. It involves sending postcards to everyone you know to tell them you are alive and well, and to wish them a prosperous new Year. Special stamps allow letters, mailed within a time limit, to be delivered on January 1st. Many cards these days have a lottery number attached to them, so any lucky person can find themselves a winner on January 1st! It’s probably a darn thing trying to keep track of what lottery numbers you have, since most households receive over a hundred postcards the same day!

Compete over nice prizes!

Happy New Year!

Kinga shinnen (Happy New Year)!

Next post in the Nihon no tsuki series.


If there is one anime I really want to see now it’s Moyashimon!

I read about it at Web-Japan’s Kids Web. It’s about this guy who studies at university who can see and talk to germs. The series is centered around fungi, bacteria and viruses and strange things happen involving them! It even has an educative side to it too, and since I want to specialize in microbiology it really made me interested in it. What’s more is that surströmming is featured in one episode, which is a smelly Swedish delicacy. Hah, really cool!


Roughly 10 % of the human average body weight consists of bacteria and 3-5 kg’s resides in your intestines.

Read how the series ends here: http://kurogane.animeblogger.net/2008/01/21/moyashimon-ends/

Hayate no Gotoku! Season One -update

Ayasaki Hayate is a boy, 16 years of age, who always seems to run out of luck. To keep the household running, he has to take spare-time jobs because his parents are gamblers beyond salvation and are always in debt. One day, to pay off their own debts, Hayate’s parents give their debt to the Yakuza to him as a Christmas gift. The Yakuza show up at Hayate’s house and plan to sell his internal organs for money. In order to survive, he flies and tries to find a way to pay 156,804,000 yen to the Yakuza in exchange for his life. This is when he meets Sanzenin Nagi, a filthy rich 13-year-old orphan, whose only living relative is her grandfather. She lives in her own mansion in the middle of Tokyo, destined to inherit the multi-trillion dollar Sanzenin estate. Hayate did not know this, but somehow he figures that if he kidnaps her and demands ransom, he might get out of this situation alive. He has his manners though and, in trying to explain that he has to kidnap Nagi, she mistakes his choice of words for a confession of love. Two brothers, who also owe money to the Yakuza then kidnap Nagi while Hayate calls Nagi’s guardian.
Out searching for Nagi is her maid Maria and sees Hayate, who has given up all hope (after giving away his name during the phone call to Nagi’s guardian that cost his last coins) lying down to die in the snow. She helps him and Hayate decides to repay Maria’s kindness by saving Nagi. After chasing and stopping the kidnapper’s car on his bicycle, Hayate asks Nagi to find him a job just before he collapses of his injuries. That is when Nagi declares that Hayate has to become her butler. Later, when she finds out Hayate owe money to the Yakuza, she pays them off, demanding that Hayate has to work off his debt to her as her butler.

Hayate no Gotoku!

Hayate no Gotoku! (Hayate the Combat Butler) is an “anything goes” anime (originally a manga) in which anything can happen. Being a butler to Lady Nagi is probably more demanding than anything Hayate has done before (which is a lot). Not only that Nagi is a Hikikomori, a person who rather not go outside to do stuff (like go to school) and thereby shutting herself out from society, she is also often targeted by varying kinds of enemies (not always because of her money though). Hayate must cure Nagi of her indoor-lifestyle, fight off robots, Yakuza, – even other butlers! All the while Hayate’s only wish is to finish Highschool.

This anime is bound to make you laugh, as Hayate often have to face hilarious situations. Somehow he is invincible as a combat butler but he gets in some tight spots throughout the anime. Hayate no Gotoku! has a broad character gallery and it is in the misunderstandings between the unique characters where most of the comical parts lie. Character personality is this series strength; who doesn’t fall for Nagi’s cuteness or Katsura-sensei’s drinking habits?

For anime fans, this series is a must because of all the references to other anime series (which often is partly censored). Other popular culture icons are being referred to as well.

Also worth noticing is the deconstruction of the fourth wall; the characters all know too well that they are in an anime and often complain about getting too little screen time. Even the narrator discusses things in the story with the characters; the anime’s target audience for instance…

Hayate no Gotoku! season one has run for a total of 52 episodes during about a year know (2007-04-01 to 2008-03-30 according to ANN) and the always so fantastic Eclipse Productions in collaboration with Static-Subs have fansubbed every single episode. Thank you for bringing anime fans this fun, entertaining and amazing anime series before anyone else!

On behalf of all anime fans, including myself, I thank you on beforehand if you are thinking of fansubbing season two

Update! Which indeed they are! Hayate the Combat Butler: Season 2 is being subbed by the awesome Eclipse and Static! Thanks guys! This is much appreciated!

Eclipse Productions and a Post on Fansubbing

Let me give the outstanding fansubbing group Eclipse Productions some cred for their fast, reliable, high-quality subs.

This group, according to their F.A.Q. has a few members who have worked with fansubbing for years but formed Eclipse in October 2005. What makes this group stand out of the crowd is how fast, relative to when an anime airs in Japan they can sub, and at great quality. Their subs are often true to the spoken Japanese and only a few or no puns, etc. are changed to a more understandable form. When something can be confusing for a non-Japanese viewer, Eclipse usually insert an on-screen explanation which is really useful for people like me who wants to get to know Japanese culture and language. This is unlike for example Dattebayo who often tries to come up with their own English version of puns and the like (see this: http://www.dattebayo.com/pr/66).

On Eclipse Productions’ list of merit are the following top anime series:

Anime fansubbing started sometime in the 1980’s but the real boom came with the Internet and increasingly faster computers. When a fansub is made, a raw is needed for which a translated script is written. This is then timed so that the subtitle in question appears on screen at appropriate times and remain on screen long enough for a comfortable read speed. Fansubbing are by fans for fans and most groups have therefore no commercial interests in their productions. Both Eclipse and Dattebayo exercise this policy. Dattebayo have once asked for donations when they faced an imminent hardware failure. Though, they had to make a swift close-down of the donations because too much money flowed in. This meant that they could buy precisely what they wanted for continued fansubbing, and the rest of the money went to Doctors Without Borders (read a pressrelease here: http://www.dattebayo.com/pr/18).

Now fansubbing is not by any means legal; since, the unauthorized redistribution of copyrighted material is prohibited by international law. This is sometimes troublesome for the fansubbers; yet, it becomes even harder when a series has been licensed in their native country (Japanese companies won’t trackdown a fansubber in like Moldova, but an American corporation might trackdown a fansubber in America).

Risk of legal action taken by large companies who own the rights to the anime series can force fansubbers to halt production, as in the case of Kuro-Hana, who were only two episodes short of finishing Death Note when they received a C&D.

Fansubs are the best way to enjoy an anime (until official subbed/dubbed versions are released) and as such you must give the fansubbers some credit for their work. One of the crappiest things you can do is to upload and/or watch anime at low-quality on streaming video sites like YouTube. The fansubbers work really hard and for free to bring fans good quality videos of fantastic anime series and they do not want to see their work decimated in a low-resolution streaming video. It does not take long to download an entire episode for you to enjoy via Bittorrent and it enables the fansubbing groups to keep statistics on how many viewers they have. Because one thing is for certain, it is a thrill for every fansubber to know that many people watch their subs and enjoy them.

Read more about fansubbing here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fansub
Find anime from fabulous fansubbers: http://baka-updates.com

Vid hägerns skarpa skri

Länge tvekade jag ifall jag skulle ta mig an den fjärde delen i Sagan om klanen Otori-serien. De första tre böckerna, som jag älskade och slukade med hela mitt jag, var ju så bra! Kan det bli bättre?

*Light spoiler warning*

Den fjärde delen, Vid hägerns skarpa skri utspelar sig 15 år efter den tredje delen, Under lysande måne. Kaede och Takeo är nobla härskare över De tre rikena, freden råder, handeln blomstrar och barnen är välgödda. Tyvärr är inte alla lika nöjda med freden; Takeos egen svåger konspirerar mot honom, och kejsarens general Saga Hideki, tänker med alla medel ta makten över De tre rikena. Till råga på allt är Takeos utomäktenskaplige son Hisao på god väg att ha ihjäl Takeo som den gamla profetian förutsäger.

Första hälften av boken gillar jag något alldeles utmärkt. Den flyter i samma stil som de tidigare delarna i serien och är precis tillräckligt spännande hela tiden. Däremot har man en gnagande känsla när man läser att, eftersom det här är den fjärde och ”avslutande” delen, så kommer allt att gå fel på något sätt. Men man lever på hoppet. Tyvärr infrias ens farhågor och allt går katastrofalt fel. Så fel, att det lämnar ingen oberörd när man läst ut boken. Men egentligen är det bara en upprepning av historien från de tre första delarna i serien. Istället för Otori Shigeru är det Otori Takeo som råkar illa ut. Jag blev förbannad först. Sen tänkte jag att det är så här berättarstilen är i Japan. Författaren Lian Hearn har gjort ett bra jobb i att skapa en autentisk medeltida japansk berättelse utan att själv vara japan. Det var precis så här det skulle sluta. Allt går inte åt helvete heller i boken, dock inte på det vis som man skulle önska och som man är van vid västerländska berättelser.

Man känner verkligen med karaktärerna i boken, man lider med karaktärerna i boken! Den enda jag ställer mig frågande till är Kaede som på slutet handlar alldeles oresonligt trots att hon älskat Takeo i så många år. Men även detta är som det ska vara och det irriterar mig så! Hur kunde berättelsen bli så rätt och så fel på samma gång?

*End of spoiler warning*

Ibland ångrar jag att jag läste fjärde delen. Men nu ger den mig en anledning att läsa den femte delen, Och himlens vida hav, som också är ett preludium till huvudtriologin. Lian Hearn försöker på detta sätt ”sluta cirkeln”, något som är vanligt förekommande i östasiatisk berättarstil. Det gläder mig att det finns en del till att läsa!

Låt mig dela med mig av min favorit Haiku:

”Inget regn faller
Utan att det skänker liv
åt blommor
På bergsluttningen eller i dalen”

Vill man läsa fler spännande böcker om Japan så rekommenderar jag Eric van Lustbaders verk. Haikudikten ovan kommer ur boken Miko (1989, sidan 449), den andra delen i serien om Nicholas Linnear. Första boken heter Ninja, hela serien går som följer:

  • Ninja
  • Miko
  • Vit ninja
  • Kaisho
  • Flytande staden
  • Ett andra skinn (ej bekräftad svensk titel)

Det finns dock en tvekan till Lustbaders Japan-kunskaper, men helt klart spännande och läsvärda böcker har han skrivit!

Kuro-Hana was the Last Name in the Death Note -update

Update: A note to all readers, the Kuro-Hana website is no more. The links to Kuro-Hana in the below post doesn’t work anymore. Read this.

After much hassle, with members abandoning the project, donations failing and energy exhausted; Kuro-Hana has at last, released the Director’s cut of the Death Note anime series. The price; the disbanding of the fabulous fansubbing group Kuro-Hana with an out-standing record of quality subs. It may be the irony of fate but Death Note made Kuro-Hana a reknown fansubbing group because they continued to sub it when it got licensed; and now, it will be the last the group ever subs.

Kuro Hana Death Note

Do not fret; some members of the group are now recruiting subbers for a whole new, and yet to be named group! Hopefully, this new group will deliver the same speedy, quality subs that was Kuro-Hana’s trademark.

The Death Note Director’s cut is about 2 hours long and it is a roughly 1 GB Download depending on the file format you choose.

Download the DN Director’s cut here: http://kurohana.org/?p=106
You want to know what happened in the last episode of the series? Check this out: http://www.designchronicle.com/memento/archives/death_note_ep37.html