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Julian Assange Totally Looks Like Watabe Atsuro


This had been bothering me since the beginning of the Wikileaks fiasco / Julian Assange drama – I knew he reminded me of SOMEONE, but WHO?

Turns out it was Watabe Atsuro!

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Good thing that’s all figured out.

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Japanese Dancing: Soran and AKB48


In case you didn’t make it to the J-Net Fashion Show a couple of weeks ago (or even if you did) I’d like to share the 2 dances I was involved in.

Soran Bushi (ソーラン節)

Soran is a traditional Japanese fisherman dance from Hokkaido. It’s supposed to make you think of the ocean! (Usually, after soran dance practice, I would get a craving for some sushi…) Here are all the J-Net officers doing the dance:


So unbeknownst to me, who somehow managed to miss this important tidbit of Japanese pop culture, the Japanese pop group AKB48 has risen to disgusting amounts of fame in the past year. Their claim to said fame? They’re a group of FORTY-EIGHT teenage girls. FORTY-EIGHT!!! That’s so many that they’ve taken a Guinness World Record for having the largest pop group. Kawaii MEGA-OVERLOAD.

What’s with their name: AKB is an abbreviation of “Akihabara”, where they’re based, and the 48 is for the number of members.

Anyway, J-Net decided to be AKB48, schoolgirl outfits and all. I’m not sure we quite reached the necessary kawaii threshold, but we definitely ganbatta.

Here’s us dancing to “Ponytail to Shushu”

And the original. Proceed with caution. I am not responsible for anyone’s death-by-cute. You have been warned.

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July 2010 Japan Blog Matsuri: Chotto Chigau


Culture shock comes in many forms. Sometimes it isn’t the tentacles or navigating politeness levels — it’s the little things that get to you, because they’re almost just like back home but just a little different

And that’s what this month’s Japan Blog Matsuri is all about! The theme is
ちょっと違う (Chotto Chigau)
or…“Not Quite the Same”

In other words, things that Japan has taken from any non-Japanese culture and made their own.

So what did you guys come up with that’s just a little off about Japan? Well, all responses seemed to fall into one of four categories, so here goes:


Chris Ballard discovers what kind of spooky Halloween decorations it takes to freak out his neighbors – and it’s not demons, skeletons, blood or guts!

Rene explains how O Bon in China is NOT the time for partying with your ancestors’ spirits – it’s time to beware of ghosts who might take you down with them!


crazyGaijin reports that Japan has apparently solved the age-old question of what to do when you aren’t sure if you want a hot dog or a sandwich: nom on a dogawich!

Franzi tackles this whole “Christmas Cake” business, and identifies that the key is strawberries!

Sandra Japandra shares why getting your hands on a bagel during morning rush in Tokyo can turn into a very ethnical experience for a New Yorker.

Hmm… what could this ramen use? Ooh, ooh, Brian from Ramen Adventures knows — how about a little more ICE CREAM!!?


If you thought the Odaiba Statue of Liberty was the only one in Japan, think again! McAlpine takes us on a trip up north to the former Momoishi, which itself is pretty chigau from the Japan most city-dwellers know.

Ashley from Surviving in Japan vents about the complex process of online hotel reservations in Japan. Cutesy websites, check boxes, and ladies plan, oh my!

Everything bizarre from jporn to laundry to ladies on trains – Locohama hashes out Japan’s chotto chigau basics in a bottom-5 list!

And last, but not least… for a chotto chigau style of Matsuri entry…


• Toilets (via Kevin)
• Mexican Food (via David)

And that’s it! Hopefully you scratched your head inquisitively at least once, and these should tide you over until next month when Victory Manual takes the Japan Blog Matsuri torch! Thanks to everyone who submitted an article, to JapanSoc, and to all you adoring fans for giving the bloggers an audience!