Monday, April 30, 2007


Maht, over at The Moon Topples, has announced the second installment of his Short Fiction Contest. The first one was, I believe, a big success, and I urge anyone who's interested in writing fiction to check it out and give it a go. Hey, if I can do it, anyone can! The timing is a bit awkward for me this time around (I'm taking some holidays later this week), but once Maht announces the "theme" (last time it was "vision") I'm going to see if I can't bang something out. Eventually I might even win!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Rock Albums You Should Hear...

... if you haven't already... As usual, actual date of release is irrelevant...

Nick Cave: Abattoir Blues
This album is a couple of years old, but for die hard rockers (and normal folk all over the world) it's easily Nick Cave's most accessible album. And it's fuckin' good. It's a rock album. By Nick Cave. He's got, like, a black fucking choir singing backup on the whole album. It's sublime...
So if you got a trumpet, get on your feet,
brother, and blow it
If you've got a field, that don't yield,
well get up now and hoe it
I look at you and you look at me and
deep in our hearts, babe, we know it
That you weren't much of a muse,
but then I weren't much of a poet
I will be your slave
I will peel you grapes
Up on your pedestal
With your ivory and apes
With your book of ideas
With your alchemy
O Come on
Send that stuff on down to me...
(from "There She Goes, My Beautiful World)

Detroit Cobras: Tied and True
Brand new album by a really soulful garage band. Don't know what I'm talking about? Imagine Dusty fronting Ted Nugent... (Um, well, almost.) Seriously, this is very good stuff...

Burning Brides: Leave No Ashes
My current favorite band. If that's not enough of a recommendation, then fuck off...
Toilet paper, baby, when you cry,
'Cause your so full of shit it's comin' out your eye

So many albums, so little time...

Morning Walk in the Neighborhood

Some photos I took on my morning walk yesterday, loosely connected, I guess, under the heading of "buildings".

As you might imagine, in a country as populated and crowded as Japan there are a shitload of apartment buildings. These buildings come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, but the constraints of space require certain features to be pretty standard. (Inside, Japanese apartments all look pretty much the same--like a rectangular "box".)
Electric (or gas) clothes driers are something of a rarity in Japan (or, at least, in Miyazaki). So, it's pretty common to see laundry hanging out on the balcony on sunny days (click to enlarge).

Most apartments are entered or exited from the outside of the building (like a motel), and some superficial differences in design can be noticed between different buildings. This is one common type.

Here's another common type.

The shape of a balcony will sometimes vary from building to building. You can tell these are offices, because there's no laundry hanging out.

This pic breaks the theme somewhat, but gives you an idea of something I've posted about before--the ubiquitous vending machine. I wish I had one in my parking space!

Friday Skiving Off Work Videos: Burning Brides: Rock Lives!!

Yes, folks, rock music does indeed live in the form of Burning Brides. I only recently found out about this group, but they've already become one of my favorite bands. I was going to do a post about them, but I figure the following videos will do them more justice than mere words ever could (an actual song is more informative than a review, after all). The videos below were recorded live. If you like this shit you'll love their albums.

Please enjoy "If I'm a Man"...

...and "Your Nation Will Die".

Now, please wash your hands and have a beer.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Mr. T Rocks!

A very funny commercial (thanks, Chez) featuring the iconic, legendary, and inimitable Mr. T!

Stamp out football sissies, NOW!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Quote(s) of the Week

I had haemorrhoids for five years and nothing gave me relief. But six months ago, I started drinking half a glass of my urine every morning and I am practically healed...

For several years I haven't had a hair on my head, but since I started drinking my urine it's started growing again - it's extraordinary.

--testimonials on behalf of "urine therapy" (urinotherapy)

'Nuff said..., wait a minute... "'nuff said" my ass... cures haemorrhoids and baldness...?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


People everywhere are aware that Japan is home to some of the greatest monsters the world has ever seen. Godzilla, Mothra, Gidorah, Gamera, not to mention their "mecha-" counterparts, these are names that strike fear and terror into the hearts of reasonable people all around the world. Although I have the distinguished pleasure of being personal friends with Ultraman, I have never known the exquisite thrill of encountering one of Japan's mighty behemoths face to face. Until today...

One of the lesser-known (but no less mighty!) members of the Japanese monster pantheon is Beezilla. You would do well to remember this name, friends, for Beezilla is not a force to be trifled with! Beezilla will not go "splat" on your car's windshield! No, indeed, for your car is no match for Beezilla! My hands quivered with a combination of dreadful awe and excitement as I took the picture you see before you (and I'm not even allergic to bee stings...).

Hail, Beezilla!

Greek of the Week: Nomos and Physis, Pt. 1

For many later sophists nomos [law;custom] appeared not simply as a constraint on human nature, but as a tyrant over it, which ran contrary to nature. And so Hippias (Plato, Protagoras 337d), for example, could say that "nomos is a tyrant over human beings: in many ways it constrains us contrary to nature" (... ὁ δὲ νόμος, τύραννος ὢν τῶν ἀνθρώπων, πολλὰ παρἀ τὴν φύσιν βιάζεται...). The same sentiment is echoed in a fragment of Antiphon's (Diels and Kranz, Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker 87A 44): "the majority of just acts according to law are prescribed contrary to nature" (τὰ πολλἀ τῶν κατὰ νόμον δικαίων πολεμίος τῇ φύσει κεῖταἰ). In these passages the antithesis between nomos and physis [nature] appears clearly enough. Whereas earlier sophists, however, had seen nature as being essentially "what is," and nomos as being "what ought to be," later sophists sought to elevate physis above nomos, and from nature derive valid norms. Some would take this idea to radical extremes, and in the process set about the destruction of all traditional notions of law and convention and posit a "right life according to nature."

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Some Saturday Photos

A few of the pics I took today...

There's nothing really technically or aesthetically striking about this picture of my daughter on the beach (click to enlarge), but when I looked at it on my pc I couldn't help but think, "yeah, this is life"...

Some waves...

The airport is near the beach. (Please, don't even go there...)

Sunset in the graveyard (cell phone/poor quality pic)...

Friday, April 20, 2007

Great Drum Fills, Pt. 4

After a three-month hiatus, we return with a new installment of Great Drum Fills.

There's not much to be said about Led Zeppelin that hasn't already been said elsewhere, so I'm not really going to try. (Although I am fighting the temptation to expound upon one of my pet theories, which I call "The bifurcation of the stream of heavy metal at the nexus of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin", in which I posit (here in a very truncated form) that, post-Sabbath/Zeppelin, heavy metal developed in two distinct directions, each heavily influenced by one or the other of Sabbath and Zeppelin. One stream, influenced primarily (but not exclusively) by Zeppelin, saw the rise of what I call "classico-hair/prog metal". The other stream, with Sabbath as the primary (but not exclusive) influence, gave rise to what I call "alterno-death/doom/prog metal". Although I've thought about little else since graduating university, now is perhaps not the time for such deep philosophical musings...)

I am of the opinion that Led Zeppelin's fourth album (untitled, but generally referred to as IV) presented the band at the pinnacle of its musical creativity (although, certainly, there are many who would disagree with me). I don't necessarily dislike later albums, but it seems to me that later efforts began to sound a bit "plodding" (the main culprit being, in my estimation, production techniques in the studio). By now everyone has heard the song "Stairway to Heaven" (probably about a half million times), a song that continues to be rated among "the greatest rock tunes of all-time". Whatever you may think of that particular song now, there's a very good chance that you at least used to like it and the album from whence it came. This leads us to our great drum fill:

Drummer: John Bonham
Group: Led Zeppelin
Album: Led Zeppelin IV
Great Drum Fill: "Misty Mountain Hop"; If you've been paying attention to the items in this series (and I have serious doubts about this), you've probably noticed that I'm not overly interested in technical virtuosity in deciding what constitutes a "great drum fill". Rather, I'm interested in the "right lick in the right place" (so to speak). There's no doubting, however, that John Bonham had a pretty mean set of "chops". "Misty Mountain Hop" reminds me of Joni Mitchell on steroids and acid. It has a straight-forward, driving rock beat, made slightly funky by some clever keyboards and the train-like chug-a-chug of Bonham's high-hats. At about the 3 minute 55 second mark, just coming off the bridge, Bonham gives us a brief press roll followed by an almost laughably simple bar and a half of straight 8's on the snare and toms, and back into the song. I almost fall out of my chair every time I hear it. The right lick in the right place...


[Updated 10/4/13: You'll find the drum fill at the 3:55 mark of the clip below.]

Friday Skiving Off Work Video: Bambi Meets Godzilla

Here it is, the classic, "uncut" version of the cult masterpiece Bambi Meets Godzilla. The sheer joy to be... enjoyed during this film's triumphant conclusion cannot be described. Nay, it must be experienced.

I swear, I cry tears of joy each and every time I watch this movie. I can honestly say that his movie changed my life...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice...

Today on the way home from work I decided to stop at a convenience store for a cold drink. As I was standing outside drinking my beverage I happened to glance inside the store. I noticed a little girl, about 6 or 7, in the candy aisle. When I looked more closely I realized that she was walking up and down the aisle stuffing handfuls of assorted candies into a small "Hello Kitty" bag she was carrying. She was stealing candy. Fascinated, I watched her for several seconds. As far as I could tell, I was the only one paying attention to her. At one point she looked out the window and saw me standing there watching her. She stopped what she was doing, smiled at me, bowed deeply, and mouthed "konnichiwa" to me. Then she continued about her business. Not being the type to rat out little girls stealing candy, I went about my own business. I got into my car, and as I was backing out of the parking lot the girl came out of the store. She smiled at me again, waved, and then, running, disappeared around the corner of the store. Enchanted, I drove home.

...that's what little girls are made of.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Quote of the Week

Beer is the basis of modern static civilization. [...] before beer was discovered, people used to wander around and follow goats from place to place.
--Charlie Bamforth (Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Brewing Science, University of California, Davis)

'Nuff said...

Greek of the Week: An Interesting Question...

A character in a lost play by Euripides (Aeolus, Fragment 19) asks an interesting question:
τί δ' αἰσχρὸν ἤν μὴ χρωμενοῖς δοκῇ;
(Is anything shameful if it does not seem so to those doing it?)

... I'm stumped...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Will You Please Shut the Fuck Up

From the Idiots, Liars, and Assholes Department:
All the school shootings that have ended abruptly in the last 10 years were stopped because a law-abiding citizen -- a potential victim -- had a gun...
The latest school shooting at Virginia Tech demands an immediate end to the gun-free zone law which leaves the nation's schools at the mercy of madmen.
--Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America

Maybe I see it because I'm not American. Maybe it's because I live in Japan. Maybe it's because I'm educated. Maybe my parents "brought me up right". Maybe I see it because I'm Canadian. Maybe it's because I'm an atheist, or because I've studied philosophy. Maybe it's just the weather. Holy fucking shit, maybe it's mind control rays from Mars!

What am I talking about? What is it that I see? Well, I'll tell you, friends. I see a hole. Yes, friends, a hole. A hole in logic. A big, black, gaping hole. A veritable fucking vortex. A black hole so big that no trace of common sense or decency can escape its event horizon. Not one fucking iota.

Take your fucking guns, shove them up your fucking ass, and then, please, shut the fuck up...

Morning Walk in the Graveyard

As a part of my ongoing struggle with the evil of tobacco, I usually wake up at around six every morning, have a coffee, and go for a 30-minute walk. This morning I took my camera along and wandered from my usual route into a nearby graveyard...

The top part of some kind of shrine or temple.

Entering the graveyard. If it seems a bit packed, it's because the Japanese usually cremate the dead (probably, in part, to save space).

Another view of the graveyard and its surroundings.

I hadn't noticed before, but this graveyard has a small Christian section. There are not many Christians in Miyazaki (or Japan), but they are an apparently feisty bunch. "Resurgent!" Almost qualifies for it's own sub-category of "engrish".

Another view of the "Christian section". You can see my condo in the background on the left.

[NOTE: The first term of university started last week, and I've started taking Japanese lessons, so I've been quite busy lately. As a result, I've been slow in responding to comments, and I've been a bit slack about visiting my friends' blogs. Sorry about that! I promise I'll be by soon...]

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Right Place, Wrong Time

If you're as into music as I am, you'll recognize the title of this post. "Right Place, Wrong Time" is a truly classic three minutes of rock 'n' roll by Dr. John (aka Mac Rebbenack), who's really known less for his rock stuff than for his blues and "boogie woogie" stuff. Dr. John hails from the great city of New Orleans. Music is only one of the things New Orleans is famous for, but you may be familiar with the term "Cajun" music. "Cajun"...

I've mentioned on several occasions that I'm from Halifax, Nova Scotia. There used to be a bunch of people of French descent living in Nova Scotia. They were known as Acadians (not to be confused with the Akkadians of the ancient Middle East). Anyway, a couple (or a few, I'm doing this by memory!) hundred years ago, the British kicked the Acadians out of Nova Scotia. Although pockets of the original Acadians still remain in Nova Scotia, the loss was irreparable (the loss in hockey talent alone was staggering!). The point is, "Acadian"... "Cajun"... Get it? Yeah, all those Acadians went down to New Orleans, where they started their own culture and all kinds of cool shit in the context of "America". Too bad for Canada, really. Another British fuck-up in the New World.

My father's father was a descendant of the original Acadians. He died young, so I never had the privelege of meeting him. "Nova Scotia" means "New Scotland". I've never been to Scotland, but I can tell you in all honesty that when I hear bagpipes my chest puffs up involuntarily. By the same token, when I hear "cajun" or other New Orleans music, I'm similarly affected. I've never been to New Orleans.

By a strange coincidence, the last time I went home to Nova Scotia was early September, 2005. There was a huge (I mean, fucking huge!) typhoon that passed through Miyazaki on the day I was to go home. I was delayed one day by this typhoon. It was only a few days earlier, of course, that Katrina had hit New Orleans. The people of New Orleans, unfortunately, have been delayed a couple of years (or worse).

So, you may be wondering, is there a point to this post? Yeah, there's a fucking point. One of the great cities of the world is dying. Yes, in 2007, a great American city is dying. New Orleans is dying. Maybe you were aware of this, maybe you weren't. If you think I'm bullshitting, then read my friend Glenn's blog for a few days. Read what is coming out of New Orleans.

You won't like what you see...

Friday, April 13, 2007

Quote of the Week

I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.
--Kurt Vonnegut

'Nuff said...

[Thanks Daniel, the Guy in the Desert]

Friday Skiving Off Work Video: Dance with Godzilla!

Godzilla takes some time off from his onerous duties as King of the Monsters to have a little fun. Featuring a scene of the famous, gravity-defying "godzilla dropkick"! Enjoy...

Who says monsters are all gloom and doom?

Greek of the Week: Natural Law?

We have an interesting fragment this week from the Pre-Socratic Anonymous Iamblichi (Diels and Kranz, Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, 89.6.1), in which the writer not only appears to deny that nature and human constructs are antithetical, but goes so far that it could be called an attempt to reconcile the two ideas.
εἰ γὰρ ἔφυσαν μὲν οἱ ἄνθρωποι ἀδύνατοι καθ᾽ ἕνα ζῆν, συνῆλθον δὲ πρὸς ἀλλήλους τῆι ἀνάγκηι εἴκοντες... [εὕρηται] σὺν ἀλλήλοις δὲ εἶναι αὐτοὺς κἀν ἀνομίαι διαιτᾶσθαι οὐχ... διὰ ταύτας τοίνυν τὰς ἀνάγκας τόν τε νόμον καὶ τὸ δίκαιον ἐμβασιλεύειν τοῖς ἀνθρώποις καὶ οὐδαμῆι μεταστῆναι ἄν αὐτά. φύσει γὰρ ἰσχυρὰ ἐνδεδέσθαι ταῦτα.

If men were by nature unable to live alone, but yielding to
necessity they communed with one another... yet they
discovered that they could not live with one another without
laws, we can conclude that because of these necessities law
and justice rule as kings among men, and that in no way could they change, for these things have been firmly fixed by nature.

"Law and justice rule as kings... fixed by nature"... I like the sound of that...

[Note: Anyone familiar with classical Greek or with fonts (fontography?) and typography has probably noticed that the Greek text in these posts has a less-than-perfect appearance. I'm aware of the problem and have been trying to fix it. I have, however, been stymied in my efforts. It doesn't seem to matter what I do. It looks like shit in Blogger's html editor, then it looks quite nice in "compose" or "preview" mode, finally it looks like shit after I hit the "publish" button. I've even tried copying and pasting very nice looking Greek from other sites, but it comes out of Blogger looking like crap. I continue to work on the problem...]

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Continuing Saga of the Dork with a Camera

You know, people often ask me, "Kyklops, what's it really like being a dork with a camera?" On these occasions I usually smile to myself and wonder why the hell people can't seem to ask the right questions these days. What they really want to know, of course, is what it's really like being a dork (camera, or no). The answer to that, of course, is, "Why, it's no different from being you or you or anyone else."

Have we been enlightened?

Monday, April 09, 2007

O Hanami, Pt. 3

In front of my condo...

Preparing for a hanami (flower-viewing) party. One of the truly great Japanese customs. Good food, good drink, good company, beautiful scenery, and a good time...

O Hanami, Pt. 2

Here are a few close-ups, taken about 200 meters from where I live.

O Hanami, Pt. 1

Everything is in bloom here at this time of year. Sakura (cherry blossoms) in particular. Here and in the next couple of posts I'm going to put up a few pictures, without much in the way of comment.

The shots below were taken early in the morning last week at a small park near my place.

"Air Sex" Update: Video!!

Last September, to the amazement (and perhaps disgust) of my readers, I posted this story about a new "virtual sport" in Japan, air sex. Well, now there's a video to go with the story (are you there, Chez?).

Really, this is pretty stupid. I had to watch this video because, well, it's my job to be "up" on this kind of thing. If you're not really interested in watching a bunch of guys pretending to have sex with imaginary women, I wouldn't recommend watching the video.

Note: Although there's nothing pornographic or X-rated in this video, it's very possible that it's NOT SAFE FOR WORK, if only because you may not want to be observed watching something as embarrassingly ridiculous as this. If you do decide to watch it, there's an amusing and to-the-point comment made by a female observer near the end of the video.

Please remember, I'm only the messenger!!

[Video from the TV show Japanorama, via Japan Probe.]

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Gauche Beauty

The picture below is of a "beauty salon" just down the street from my place here in Miyazaki. Um, I'm not really sure what kind of work they do there...

I suppose I could make a small project of observing some patrons "before and after"...

This Side... and That Side

My condo is quite near Miyazaki's train station, and there are some elevated tracks that run right by my place.

Here's what it looks like on my side of the tracks.

Here's what it looks like on the other side of the tracks.

Which side of the tracks do you prefer?

I.... what...?

This is what I get for whining so much. Somebody, please help me...!!!


Friday, April 06, 2007

More Whining...

Ack. My home computer has been in the shop for the past couple of days (some problem with its DVD/RW drive), meaning that tonight, Friday night, the night of blogging and beer, I have to use this crappy laptop that you see in the picture. This machine rarely sees the internet, so before I could even look at my blog I had to update all my software (firewall, anti-virus, Windows updates, Firefox updates, etc, etc...). Not only that, this machine doesn't have much music on it (one can't drink beer without music!), doesn't have most of my bookmarks, doesn't have half the computing power of my regular pc, has that crappy laptop keyboard and screen (I need my glasses to use this sucker), and is just basically inferior. I should have just stayed at work...


I guess, after 48 plus years of life, it had to happen eventually. Today, not 20 minutes ago, for the first time in my life, I got a paper cut. Now, you have to understand something. Sure, it stung more than I would have believed possible. And, given its strategic location on my hand, I'm sure that it's going to bother me all weekend, especially whenever I put my hand into my pocket (to get change or something, already--get your filthy minds out of the gutter!). It's not, however, the pain and irritation of the paper cut that's causing me anxiety. No, rather, it's what this paper cut represents.

There was a time in my life when injury took the form of broken bones, concussions, sprained muscles, cuts that required stitches, bruises and black eyes, and the like. Look at me now. Brought low by a fucking paper cut!

I suppose from here on in it's paper cuts, stiff joints, "computer wrist", itchy skin, and uncomfortable "adult" diapers...

Friday Skiving Off Work Video: Godzilla, King of the Monsters and Blue Öyster Cult

About 18 years ago a band I was in opened for Blue Öyster Cult at Halifax's legendary Misty Moon Cabaret (Barrington St. version, which, sadly, closed several years ago). These guys were "rock gods" to me, and there's no question in my mind that this was the proudest moment of my musical career (such as it was).

A classic band, Blue Öyster Cult, perfroming a classic song about a classic monster, Godzilla. What could possibly be finer? Please enjoy!

History shows again and again
How nature points up the folly of men

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Greek of the Week: On the "Prescriptions" of Nature

There's an amusing moment in The Clouds by Aristophanes. In the play the character of Pheidippides has been sent by his father to partake of the "New Learning" (i.e. the teachings of the "Sophists") so that he can learn how to make "wrong into right" (i.e. learn the art of "Rhetoric"). He learns too well it seems, because he returns home and beats his father, offering the following theoretical justification for his act:
σκέψαι δὲ τοὺς ἀλεκτρυόνας καὶ τἄλλα τὰ βοτὰ ταυτί,
ὡς τοὺς πατέρας ἀμύνεται: καίτοι τί διαφέρουσιν
ἡμω̂ν ἐκει̂νοι, πλήν γ' ὅτι ψηφίσματ' οὐ γράφουσιν;
Observe the rooster and all of the other animals,
and how they punish their parents. How, in fact,
do they differ from us except that they do not pass laws?

To which his father Strepsiades replies:
τί δῆτ᾽, ἐπειδὴ τούς ἀλεκτρυόνας ἅπαντα μιμεῖ
οὐκ ἐσθίεις καὶ τὴν κόπρον κἀπὶ ξύλου καθεύδεις
Well then, since you imitate the rooster in all things,
why don't you eat shit and sleep on a perch?
Have I ever mentioned that I'm quite fond of the Greeks?

Monday, April 02, 2007

From the Stupid Department...

... another story from Korea's Chosun Ilbo. In this one, titled Vicky Says 'No!' to Export of Nude Photos to Japan, we learn that "[p]op star Vicky has refused to allow her nude photos to be exported to Japan."

I guess this "Vicky" is pretty famous in Korea and elsewhere (including Japan), because apparently thousands of people are willing to pay to see her naked. And, as the article informs us, Vicky is quite happy to oblige those in "China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam and other places" who have the cash in (one) hand. Contrary to appearances, however, Vicky has some standards of decency and there are some things she just won't do. She tells us
No matter how much I needed money, I wouldn't want my nude photos sent to Japan.

The producers of her nude photos have also taken a principled stand:
If we thought of just profits, we world [sic] try to convince Vicky to export her photos to Japan, but we want to want to [sic] respect her opposition.

I can't help but think, somewhat sarcastically, why would anyone in Japan want to gape at some Korean skank?* That's just stupid...

(*Yeah, I know, I'm going to hell for that. I just couldn't resist.)

[UPDATE: Thanks to James for pointing out what I should have noticed before running my mouth off: this article is from 2004. It was linked from the site's front page and I never bothered checking, etc... Doohh!!]

From the Bullshit Department...

... we have this story, Japan's 'Lost Decade' Produced it's Biggest Cultural Phenomenon, in which the author, Son-U Jong, ("the Chosun Ilbo's correspondent in Tokyo")

1) observes that the Japanese are
... getting up to some very queer things, such as "maids" addressing "masters" in cafes and toys that exaggerate the female anatomy like children's perversions...
and believes this is all a part of moe (mo-eh).

2) asserts that Japan's "biggest cultural phenomenon" is the moe variant of otaku.

3) informs us that "otakus, once treated as psychos, have skyrocketed in numbers to nearly three million." (No citation given.)

4) blames it all on Takashi Murakami (and, for some reason, thinks it's relevant to mention that Murakami "failed to enter university twice").

5) implies that the Japanese government is involved in the spread of the moe "craze", and that the "seed" money was from "the petty cash that otakus earned from part-time jobs":
This money, combined with the huge market of Akihabara, it can be said, has produced marvelous "buds" of Japanese culture," called "moe."

6) claims that "otakus in the upper culture" are ultimately responsible for the "worldwide impact" of Japanese popular culture.

I'm no expert on Japanese popular culture, let's get that out of the way now. Nor am I even particularly interested in anime and manga and their associated genres and cultures. Had the writer of this article simply had a thesis along the lines of ""geeks" ("otaku") are often a source of innovation in popular culture," I wouldn't have bothered writing this post (I don't relish writing seriously about topics I'm not fluent in). What bugged me about this article was its not-so-subtle conflation of terms, coupled with some not-so-subtle innuendo, to create a generally negative impression about Japanese popular culture (and, by extension, the Japanese themselves).

The author sets things up with his examples of "perversions" (1, above), which we are to equate with "moe". Later he explains,
The character [萌え] used to write "moe" means "sprouting" or "budding." The term is said to refer to animated characters, mainly girls, who look sweet and lovable.
This is really only a partial definition (check the link above for a fuller explanation), but the author has connected moe with perversion and "budding", and thus slyly conflated it with lolicon (in the eyes of what one can safely assume is the non-otaku English-speaking reader).

There's really little else that needs to be said about this, but the author wants us to know that this is Japan's "biggest cultural phenomenon", spearheaded (we are led to imagine) by a "three million"-strong force of "psycho" otaku with the implicit involvement of the Japanese government, and that it's spreading throughout the world. (One wonders why the writer failed to bring up the additional threats of rising Japanese nationalism, Godzilla, and natto.)

What a load of bullshit.

Hockey, the Transcendental Game

[Church Sign Generator via Emarie.]