Archive for March, 2011

Because Japanese contains an incredible amount of homophones it’s an outstanding language for making puns.  Especially famous are a class of puns referred to in Japanese as 親父ギャグ (oyaji-gyagu, or quite literally “old man gags”).  These puns — perhaps related to a kind of universal constant in which the humor of old men is self-consciously […]


For the last few days, I’ve been packing my library, removing the books from whatever “mild boredom of order” the shelves may have imposed on them and hiding them away instead in brown cardboard boxes that will soon be packed into a larger brown wooden box and put on a boat that will spend several […]


Midnight Oil’s song “Harrisburg” has got to be one of the greatest anti-nuclear songs ever written. The company said it would not blow The government said it might Harrisburg oh Harrisburg I wonder who is right And here’s the most recent status update on the reactors in Fukushima, as reported by the Kyodo News: TOKYO, […]


It’s been a daunting and disorienting four days in Osaka.  On Friday the 11th, Japan experienced the largest earthquake it has ever seen (magnitude 9.0), followed by a tsunami that was 10 meters high when it hit the city of Sendai, devastating large areas of the city around the coast and airport, as well as […]


This year marks the 100th year anniversary of the birth of Okamoto Taro, the creator of Osaka’s Tower of the Sun (太陽の塔), who is famous for proclaiming that “Art is explosion!”  The Tower of the Sun was the centerpiece of the 1970 World Exposition in Osaka and to mark the anniversary of Okamoto’s birth the […]