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Kiss-sui : Japanese culture, with a kiss.

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Recent Episodes for Kiss-sui : Japanese culture...
DATE: Thu, 18 Mar 2010
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Yakuza Gives Money to Neighborhood Kids

I've been putting off and delaying writing thing article for a while. The truth is, I was scared. To be honest, it's very difficult to write or comment about the topic of the Yakuza (the Japanese version of the mafia). They are a very real danger in Japanese society. Unlike Italian mafia, there is no immediate shame to show the public you are connected with Yakuza. There is no fear to come on national television and give an interview while you are still highly connected to a Yakuza group.In many ways, if you're not a filmmaker or TV personality, it's taboo for most Japanese people to openly comment Yakuza culture. On the internet, it's easy to post anonymous comments about how cool or how horrible Japanese gangs are. But I know very few Japanese who are willing to write their real names and make critiques about them. I can see now that even as I am writing this, I am hesitant to make any real judgment about Yakuza.Recently, I read this article about the Yakuza. It is a story about how local Kobe Yakuza (six generations old!) decided to donate money-envelopes to children (through the parents) as a part of their New Year neighborhood celebration. The Yakuza also gave away many gifts, toys, and held a very large cash-prize lottery for the townspeople. The article mentions how crime specialists had no idea why the Yakuza would do something like this. They were interviewed and said that this was a mystery to them.This is no mystery to me. By giving these parents and children "comfort" money, the Yakuza are just really doing early recruiting. If the Yakuza continue to do this on a yearly basis, then those children will grow up trusting the Yakuza. When they are old enough, these kids will depend on their yearly gift from the gangs. And in this time of hard economy, the kids will remember that their parents had to stop spending so much money. But the Yakuza has always provided for them regularly, even during hard times.Most readers (all anonymous) commented how they would happily refuse the Yakuza money, just to be able to live in a neighborhood that didn't have guns or drugs. I agree with them.When I was younger, I used to watch this show called "The Wives of Yakuza." Somehow, the image of this wife of a Yakuza seemed so cool to me. But the more I read the news about the reality of Yakuza, the more their culture just seemed scary and violent to me.I don't completely understand why almost all of the parents accepted the New Years cash, but maybe they're scared to reject the offer. The problem is that by not rejecting them, the parents are painting a future for their kids that will require Yakuza involvement.

DATE: Fri, 19 Feb 2010
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Oto-Hime: The Machine That Hides Your Fart/Pee/Poo Noises!

The other day I was sitting in one of the washroom stalls at Depaul. One girl came to use the toilet next to me. Then suddenly I squeeze naturally and ...poot pooooot!Suddenly my mind started thinking if she heard me fart. Then I was surprised! I was shocked to realize that here in the USA I really don't worry about who listens to my farting, pooping and peeing! If you have to go, you just go~!In Japan, it's such a social taboo to let others hear your fart and pee-sound! In fact we have a machine called the Oto-hime ??, or water princess. It is a little machine that is in every public washroom. It's job is to make some sound (beeping, buzzer, flushing) when you have to make intimate body sounds. If you feel like your pee is coming, you would push one button on the machine and it would completely hide the noise.It seems silly to me. When you push the button, it's obvious why you push the button. You are pooing or peeing and you want to hide noise! Isn't it just better to do your "business" and then get out and leave? It's human to fart, right? Maybe it's done in Japan to be polite, but does this mean there is no limit to being polite and hiding who you really are?In Japan, there is nowhere to hide from hiding yourself???~~Bonus Stage~~??

DATE: Fri, 16 Oct 2009
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Top 5 Enka Songs of All Time

In modern Japan, Enka is a type of melodramatic music that is sold at stores and played on the radio with current jpop. While there are many people who like Enka, it has a similar reputation that country music has in the United States. When I was younger, I didn't like Japanese traditional music at all because Enka songs were just so slow. Also, many lyrics were about romantic relationships. I couldn't handle this kind of stuff when I was young. It was just too heavy.But the older I become, the more I understand that Enka is pretty amazing. Why? Because the style of music is slow-paced, classical and brings up nostalgic feelings from a Japan that doesn't exist anymore.The following list is Enka music that is worth listening to, enjoying, savoring.#5 - "Chindon Monogatari"by Yoshimi TendoThe music is obviously enchanting, but I should point out that a lot of singers who sing Enka wear Japanese Kimonos. But she wears dress and I think it is very unique. :)#4 - "Amagigoe"by Sayuri Ishikawa I love to see singers who show so much passion!#3 - "Yozakura Oshichi"by Fuyumi SakamotoI love the song with the dancer. It is so beautiful!#2 - "Matsuri"by Saburo Kitajima This song makes me miss Japan so much!#1 - "Kawa no Nagarenoyouni"by Hibari MisoraOne word: Masterpiece.

DATE: Wed, 14 Oct 2009
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5 Huge Hits by Japanese Popstar Legend Y?sui Inoue

Last week, I mentioned 5 Japanese hits Americans have probably never heard. In that list, I chose a hugely popular song by Y?sui Inoue.However, I didn't want it to be overlooked that this brilliant man has had enormous influence on Japanese pop history. Born in Fukuoka Japan, Inoue first became popular by having many of his friends call up a radio station so that his debut song would seem a hit. He would go on to make countless number ones for many years.I dearly love his music. He is a true poet. The way he matches lyrics to any beat is proof of his genius. He is an artist who makes music smoothly flow. I have never gotten bored of his music, and like many older-generation Japanese, I always come back to him.In this update, I would like to share music and performances by Y?sui Inoue. The following list contains songs that have left a huge imprint on the Japanese music industry.[Note: these Youtube videos feature newer performances, and I can promise that the original recorded versions are much much better.]#5 - "Yume no Nakahe"I believe this song is the first song of his that I ever listened to.#4 - "Syounen Jidai"So beautiful.#3 - "Koori no Sekai"This leaves me speechless, but in good way.#2 - "Kasa ga nai"The lyrics are a little dangerous because he talks about his unsatisfaction with Japanese society.#1 - "River Side Hotel" This song always gets me. ^0^

DATE: Fri, 09 Oct 2009
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Top Five 80's Jpop Songs You've Never Heard

There are many jpop fans here in the USA that feel nostalgia for late 90s music, and they consider singers like Namie Amuro and Utada as classic. But for me, classic jpop really happened in the 1980s! I have been touched by them so much, and its' mostly because I can actually understand their lyrics! the words are so clear, even when the song is fast tempo! The music videos can sometimes be weird, but remember that people enjoyed these mostly on the radio. ^_^ It's really hard to rank them, but I'll try anyways!#5 - "Shinin' On Kimi Ga Kanashii" by LOOKOne word: Beautiful.#4 - "Kiss me" by Lindberg"Kiss Me" = Nostalgia + So much energy#3 - "??????????" by Mari KunitakeThis song is about having an affair! And she is waiting and waiting for him to contact her! I love this song has a story!#2 - "Seven" by Southern All StarsThis song is SO sexy.#1 - "Makeup Shadow" by Yousui InoueSexy and erotic. So perfect for me! ^_^

DATE: Sun, 04 Oct 2009
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Top 5 Japanese Video Picks of the Week!

Yes, updates have been very few recently here at Kiss-sui, but I have a good reason. I've been working on a very different, but awesome update for a new type of Kiss-sui show.For now, here are my top 5 Japanese videos for the week!#5 - This is the typical announcer in Japan. Notice how even though this is a segment about older people, the camera guy still tries to capture a nipple-slip. Stuff like this is usually planned out for "news" reports. Sometimes when I watch Japanese TV shows, I wonder if Japanese women announcers realize they are just eye candy.#4 - The five tall dancers are professional dancers in Japan.They are called EXILE and they have two vocalists and in this year 7 more dancers joined them.In 2007, they had a concert tour in Japan. Then the group asked one comedian, Takashi Okamura, who belongs to ninety-nine to dance with them. They asked him to dance only one song with KIDS dancers. However, Takashi was not satisfied with dancing for only one song. (The comedian wears a wig and there are a lot of his alone shots!) So he practiced so hard, and he danced with the 5 professional dancers without their permission! But he made it! The video is really inspiring me a lot!#3 - This clip was hugely popular a couple years ago. It features a clerk who works at a fast food restaurant. At the time, some food stores tried to sell bigger sizes of their meals. But in the clip, the employee made a super size meal without the store's permission. The person made a super size salad, too. At the end of the clip, the employee showed a paper which read "Let's make our customers satisfy more with our service."Japanese people were outraged at watching this guy make such an unreasonable amount of food for one person to eat.#2 - The features the same clip as #3, but this clip includes Japanese comments from the Nico video site, where the clip was first uploaded . the difference between Nico video and Youtube is that all Nico viewer comments are displayed as the video plays. Some people said it's horrible to waste food, others said they don't want to go the fast food store anymore. But there are so many comments. When you watch the clip in the Japanese site, you can turn off them, too. When I watched the comments, I just felt sad. Their comments were all so overwhelming!#1 - When I watched this video the first time, I was upset because I thought they insulted the anime (HOKUTO NO KEN). However, the more I watched it, the more I understood why I was upset. The reason why I was upset came from jealousy because I felt so much passion from them!I really love this video and I am so amazed by them!

DATE: Tue, 22 Sep 2009
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The Kiss-sui Show! Episode 09 - Top 5 Reasons Why I love American Malls!

DATE: Wed, 16 Sep 2009
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My Thoughts on American Anime Clubs

A while ago, I decided I wanted to get people together for some purpose. I really didn't know what that purpose was. Maybe I just wanted to meet new people. Or maybe I wanted to be part of something more exciting, bigger than who I am. I didn't know that I wanted to start a club at that point.So I thought I might join some clubs that existed. I try to check out 2chan, but since I live in the United States it's impossible to post and participate; I can't really be a part of that community anymore. Probably it would be best to join an American club anyways. I like exploring 4chan, but there is no real community there. It's a great place to find candy, but not a place to find a healthy meal. I joined the AnimeSuki forums, hoping I could make some friends. I thought maybe I could use Kiss-Sui to contribute to their community. It turned out I was not totally welcome there. Probably my so-so English skills didn't help either.I realized that the Internet is a very good place to correspond with people. But it is not a good place to build strong relationships, to build a true community. Some people will disagree, but you really need to grow up if you believe touch and physical presence is not important part of friendship. There are exceptions, but people need to face-to-face communication!Then I thought about my city, Chicago. I really love this place. I know it is my home now and I hope it can be my home for a long while. I have heard people talk about this great city. Some people say it is the heart of the USA. From what I have learned, it's the belly-button of the USA. I don't mean to be insulting, but it's true. Many of the people that I have met don't come to Chicago to settle down. Many people pass through Chicago on their way to New York or Los Angeles. But I will be honest: Chicago is a tough city. It is hard on people. Hard summers, harder winters. And it's very difficult to connect with people because the city has an atmosphere of segregation! But I have seen that this city loves to test people. And if you can pass the test, the city will embrace you. You can love the winters because it makes you have to get closer to people. You can love the summer because people will flirt more often. Chicago should be more famous than it is, in my opinion! People should want to come and live here and be a part of something big!When I went to Wizard World 2009, I attend a panel of anime fandom in Chicago. And suddenly it all made sense to me. I knew what I had to do. So I did my research. I studied clubs, circles and associations in Japan, then I looked at the ones available in the USA. There was really only one main difference: Japanese fan groups contribute in more creative ways than USA groups. I'm not saying cosplay is not creative, but in the end you are just a one-person fashion show. I'm talking about a fan-group that actually influences the anime industry! And Somehow I don't think the sexy girl in the Yoko costume is going to attract attention of Gainax.But club? No, it can't be a club. A club is too informal in the USA. Come whenever you want, and just brag about your collection. I'm talking about making a circle. One art circle! Like Clamp mixed with Andy Warhol's Factory. It will have rules and membership limits and fun stuff like Japanese lessons and anime screenings and lectures and make its home in Chicago and...oh! It will have one huge project that can amaze the people in this city.But what can the name of this circle be? Hmm...it's good question! ^_~Kichu?Kochi?Ki Chi?

DATE: Thu, 27 Aug 2009
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The Kiss-sui Show! Episode 08 - Goodbye, Comic-con!

Sorry for the late update, but I'm cooking up something special for Chicago fans ^_~ (Oh! And please visit Emily Warren's website because I interviewed her in this episode!)

DATE: Tue, 18 Aug 2009
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The Kiss-sui Show! Episode 07 - Frank Cho vs. Tony Moore?

This episode is probably going to make alot of comic fans upset, but I have to admit it: I was really deeply affected by the comic-con. I am not judging Frank Cho or Tony Moore. I am only judging my one experience of them that weekend at that comic-con. I can't judge them, but I can judge the moment.


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