Lyrics (English and Japanese) below.
After my last quiz (about train stations), I decided to make another quiz that was more in line with my otaku type. So here are three quizzes about color-coded idols. I split them up by group so that everyone can play.
Momoiro Clover Z (ももいろクローバーZ)
And now for something a little different than usual…
(By the way: I play games on Sporcle every day, and you should too. They’re good for your brain!)
Here’s the third entry in my ongoing quick and dirty recipe series. Today’s recipe is the quickest and dirtiest one yet: pasta salad you can make even when you just do not feel like cooking. As always, the ingredients pictured are what I felt like using the day of the photo shoot. Change things up and make it your own.
First, start boiling your eggs, since that’ll take a while. I like it best when the yoiks are runny. You know what a pain hard-boiling eggs the way you want them can be. Experiment.
While your eggs are boiling, cut up your salad stuff. I always choose vegetables that don’t have to be cooked. If you want to complicate this by cooking your vegetables, go right ahead.
If you really want to make this as meal-like as possible, add a can of tuna for a meat-ish and protein-y touch.
Next, we boil the pasta. PROTIP: Boil the pasta in the same pot you just boiled the eggs in. I think tube-shaped pasta (macaroni, etc.) absorbs the flavors best. Boil the pasta for one minute LONGER than it says on the package.
When the pasta’s done boiling, drain it and run it under cold water to cool it off. Add it to the bowl with the other ingredients.
Dressing: my go-to dressing is vinegar + olive oil + Krazy Mixed-Up Salt. If you do this, add, mix, taste, and add more if necessary.
All done! Everything’s in one bowl, it’s a semi-balanced meal, and you only dirtied one pot. Pretty good!
I’m not very interested in teaching people Japanese, but I’m making an exception with this post. I want you to know some of my favorite yojijukugo (四字熟語/four-character phrases). These are phrases that are made up of 4 kanji characters, and some of them are very useful and/or fun to say. For example:
老 = old
若 = young
男 = man
女 = woman
老若男女 = all people (old, young, men, women, etc.)
起 = get up
死 = death
回 = turn
生 = life
起死回生 = make a comeback from the brink of defeat
“Kishikaisei Story” (起死回生STORY) by The Oral Cigarettes
男 = man
尊 = revered
女 = woman
卑 = lowly
男尊女卑 = valuing men over women; chauvinism
弱 = weak
肉 = meat
強 = strong
食 = eat
弱肉強食 = survival of the fittest
一 = one
切 = cut
合 = total
切 = cut
一切合切 = the whole kit and caboodle
“Issai Gassai” (イッサイガッサイ) by Kreva
言 = word
語 = language
道 = path
断 = cut off
言語道断 = so ridiculous, outrageous, etc. that there are no words to describe it
一 = one
石 = stone
二 = two
鳥 = bird
一石二鳥 = exactly what you think it means
There are many, many, MANY MANY MANY more yojijukugo–one for almost any situation! Why don’t you browse through this list of 3,300 of them and see if any of them speak to you?
Out of the 51 busiest train stations in the world (as of February 2013), all but six are in Japan. Isn’t that nuts? I go through two of them every day!
I put the 20 busiest in a Sporcle quiz. Can you guess what they are? Give it a try!
Picture: Dempagumi.inc (でんぱ組.inc) on a poster in Tennoji Station (天王寺駅), Osaka (大阪)
The source article is here, and it’s an interesting read. But no looking until you’ve finished the quiz, cheater!
One of the big hits in Japan this year was Youkai Watch (妖怪ウォッチ), the insanely popular video game/anime/toy series. There are TWO Youkai Watch corners planned for this year’s Kohaku Utagassen (紅白歌合戦) (one each for the otherwise unknown singers of Youkai Watch’s theme songs, King Cream Soda [キング・クリームソーダ] and Dream5, each with Arashi [嵐] to give them a hand/give adults something to look at). McDonald’s Japan’s yearly calendar, which has been Pokemon-themed for years, is Youkai Watch-themed this year. Youkai Watch will definitely hit the US in 2015.
I played the first game on 3DS. It’s a pretty fun game, although it’s a bit easy since it’s for kids, and it’s such a Pokemon rip-off I’m surprised that Game Freak doesn’t sue (why would a youkai evolve??). But the character design is adorable! So I want to introduce you to some of my favorite youkai.
Yametaishi is my favorite youkai, and as far as I can tell, he has a popularity ranking of about zero. Listen to his voice! Look at those eyebrows! His name is a pun on “yametai shi (辞めたいし/I wanna quit)” and “shi (師),” which denotes a master. He evolves from “Tsudzukanasou (つづかな僧),” which is also a pun (almost all youkai names are puns) translating to “I probably won’t keep it up.”
Hikikoumori’s name is a combination of “hikikomori (引きこもり),” which is the name for people afflicted with such terrible anxiety that they never leave their house, and “koumori (コウモリ),” which means “bat.” It’s a very obvious pun, but it works. I really like how Hikikoumori’s wings are blankets, and she stays wrapped up in them. She looks so cozy!
♥♥♥ KYAAAAAAAAAAA!!! ♥♥♥
Before, I introduced Yuzuru Hanyu’s (羽生結弦) all-singing no-skating gum commercial, but turns out that was just part of a greater trend of Japanese figure skaters doing things other than skating in commercials. Today, I have two more to show you.
One this commercial for cold medicine Stona (ストナ) starring Mao Asada (浅田真央) and her sister Mai Asada (浅田舞). Like Hanyu, Asada sings in this commercial, but she doesn’t sell it as well as Hanyu does.
Lacking singing yet far sillier is the series of commercials for the lottery, Takarakuji (宝くじ), where shogun-descendent-and-former-Olympic-skater-cum-variety-show-fixture Nobunari Oda (織田信成), along with Kayoko Ookubu (大久保佳代子), join a long-running campaign starring Taizou Harada (原田泰造) and Ryouko Yonekura (米倉涼子) to advertise the year-end lottery (年末ジャンボ/nenmatsu jumbo). The commercials play on Nobunari Oda’s reputation as a crybaby, which he often takes advantage of for comedic effect on variety shows.
There were lots of new faces on and near the podium for the All-Japan Championships this weekend. It’ll be fun to see what commercials the new kids find themselves in in the coming years.
Mirin Furukawa from Dempagumi.inc x Rena Matsui from SKE48
Here is Sochi Olympic gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu (羽生結弦) in a commercial for Xylitol White (キシリトールホワイト) chewing gum. And he’s singing for some reason:
Ah, Japanese celebrity commercial culture.