Archive for July, 2008


If someone’s coming to visit you one night and they’re late or just don’t show up, maybe they’ve run into a nurikabe (塗壁)…

In Japanese folklore, originating from Fukuoka, Kyushu, there’s a “wall spirit” that appears at night, blocking the destination of its victims. It can’t clearly be seen but it’s got arms and legs. One may hope to run around it but the nurikabe can extend in all directions… and, if you’re hoping to use this as a chance to test out your testosterone reserves, it’ll simply use its weight to crush you like an obstinate vending machine.

Anything sound a bit familiar?
Well, here’s a statue of the wall ghost in Tottori prefecture…

If I was ever made to guess which character from a Mario game was from Japanese folklore, I never would have guessed that annoying grunting wall, affectionately known as Whomp :o)
What a better way to get some free character design than from folklore :o)

Well, I was intrigued… and set out to find other well-known characters but quickly got side-tracked when I realised nurikabe is also a kind of puzzle. I went to the website, saw that they’d already published seven collections of them for about $6, and thirty minutes later I was in the bookstore.

Here’s the wikipedia site with a list of the rules…
if you want to play it online, I’m sure google can take it from here :o)



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Well… another for the books…

Exactly two years ago I began a 20+ hour journey to Japan and somehow or other I still seem to be here.

I have little to add to that other than I found out that the glyph ‘2’ actually evolved from what the Japanese still use to represent the world’s only even prime. Just pretend all this text isn’t here and you’ll see what I’m talking about…

Now, it looks like my sights are set for the JLPT. My teacher gave me a talkin’ to and although level 2 isn’t the highest, if I’m able to buckle down and get through it then things will come together much easier next year. So, the race is on… doesn’t seem like much of a race when the finish line is five months away but having to memorize 6000 words and 1000 kanji alone is formidable enough… meh…

On a side note, yeah, it’s no secret that the BBC Planet Earth series rocks my world (it’s a purely platonic relationship, however…).
Anyhow, the most recent one I saw was ‘Caves’.

Yeah, some people find caves useful for illustrating truth, reality and all that jibba-jabba but, scholarly rhetoric aside, there’s no denying caves are just bad-ass cool :o)

Now first, let me direct your attention to this to see just how many childhood memories were trampled in the first few minutes of the documentary haha

(yeah, I had one when I was a kid… whatever, shut up…)

…and on a side note, I still haven’t learned my lesson not to eat while watching these. I found myself dining on pork while watching countless cockroaches dining on a mountain of bat dung…
you’ve been warned haha

And with that, here’s the full episode… around the end you might be led to believe that nothing will top how wicked Troglobites are… but the cave at the end is straight out of a sci-fi movie.

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