round up!

I was thinking that if I come across kanji (compounds) I like, I might as well post some instead of secretly emailing them to friends :o)
Well, let’s start with:

It means “round (up)”…
so, why is that interesting? Well, it’s basically an abbreviated 4-step algorithm: the kanji, in order, are:

four, discard, five, enter

There’s just something terribly geeky about the word for ’rounding’ actually being its own instructions. Ohh the simple pleasures of nerdery we sacrificed in adopting our empty phonetic alphabet :o)


attack chance!

…just to show that Ronald McDonald isn’t the only victim of video mixing & mashing, here’s (former) Prime Minister Fukuda’s resignation to the tune of Gourmet Race (Kirby’s stage in Super Smash Bros.)…


One of my favourite Japanese comedians (that I can understand at this point) is Tomonori Jinnai. I just finished watching a bunch of his videos but unfortunately not many of them are subtitled. Still, this one had me tearing up :o)

I was first introduced to him last year through this video:

In his skits everyone speaks in a strong Kansai/Osaka dialect, which makes it even more amusing… unfortunately that sort of thing can’t really be expressed through subtitles. Anyway, I swear I’ll try to subtitle his stuff on youtube sometime if someone else doesn’t beat me to the punch. So if you like his stuff, be sure to get on my case about it :o)

Anyway… you can tell this weekend hasn’t been very productive haha

completely serious

just ’cause…

ran ran ruuuuu!

…just blew at least an hour watching a Japanese Ronald McDonald doing dozens of schizophrenic song covers…

so let’s start with a few to get you warmed up…

and maybe something more familiar

now some video games…

Dragon Quest


Mother 2

and then we move on to anime…

and some thrown in randomly

and just because I like the anime…

I’m exhausted…


…in a bit of an 8-bit mood lately :o)

first, here’s a song that should sound familiar…

the group is YMCK…

here’s another of their videos, ‘magical 8-bit tour’

here’s chiptunist Sabrepulse out of Scotland…

another popular chiptune song, ‘hexadecimal genome’ by bit shifter

…some original NES songs we can’t forget…

and of course, last but not least, I can’t go without posting this…

a gamblin’ man

Hundreds of years ago, before even the birth of my home and native land, Francisco Xavier was getting the Japanese addicted to gambling. Well, not really.. but the Japanese know a good thing when they see it and just like baseball, card games (with a 48-card deck) caught on quickly. However, not only did gambling come to be seen as a problem, but foreigners in general just weren’t very well-liked and so Japan locked itself up and went ‘Brian Wilson’ (minus the cocaine) for a few hundred years. To get around this, cards were Asianified but the gambling problem still lingered and no matter how many new types of cards were created to get around the bans, they all suffered the same fate in the end. Because of this, other forms of entertainment and gambling flourished and most people gave up on playing cards. However, the government, always the concerned parent, finally realised the popularity of card games and allowed the production and use of hanafuda (flower cards).

48-card deck of hanafuda arranged by month

A hanafuda deck consists of 48 cards divided into 12 flower ‘suits’, one for each month of the year. Because they contain no words they were thought to be less favourable for gambling purposes.. but because playing cards had been beaten down and suppressed for so long, they weren’t really favourable for anything. Despite this, in 1889 Fusajiro Yamauchi founded a company to paint the cards on tree bark and in 1902 started producing them in Japan. The game caught on and in 1933 the company became a general partnership and then a ‘stock company’ in 1947. By 1953 they were starting to mass-produce plastic versions and playing cards were once again a ubiquitous form of gambling (surprise, surprise).
The company is called Nintendo… and to this day they still produce hanafuda.

I bought myself a deck today for the reasonable price of $8. Because they’re picture-based, they’re quite versatile… for instance in a game called ‘koi-koi’, you get points for combinations like ‘drinking while watching the moon’. Who knew gambling could be so poetic.
And if playing the ‘original’, old-school analog Nintendo wasn’t enough, it’s widely believed that the yakuza (Japanese mafia) got their name from hanafuda. In a game called Oicho-Kabu, the worst hand is 8-9-3, or, ‘ya-ku-sa’ in Japanese. In other words, hanafuda was flossin’ O.G. before Ice-T changed his name from Tracy.

After you buy a deck, you can check out www.hanafubuki.org for the rules of some of the more popular hanafuda games.