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Friday, September 4, 2015

Japan's New Stretchy Shoes

I'm the type of guy who has been accused of being someone with more than a casual interest in women's feet—though that isn't true. I'm pretty much a total package kindda guy.

But that doesn't mean I don't appreciate how a fine pair of shoes can turn a pretty ankle into something spectacular.

This is not a story about shoes like that.

It is, however, about a funky new TYPE of shoe that is borrowed heavily from Japan's fashionable past.

This is the Furoshiki shoe… a wraparound footwear designed by Japan's Hashimoto Masaya (surname first) for the Italian shoe brand Vibram, and based upon the old Japanese practice of wrapping one's foot in cloth, as protection from the elements.

The new Furoshiki shoe is durable, comes in multi-sizes, and apparently provides the foot with comfort, as the ergonomic bands wrap around the ankle proving free movement.
Jeans-colored. I suppose... usually by the time my jeans fade to that color I've popped a hole in some embarrassing spot and can't wear them outside the house.
In other words, it feels like a sock… or a shoe… only not as bulky.

I don't know about you, while I love the way a shoe can look on a woman. However, I have always though that when it comes to high heels for women I am pretty damn sure they are being created by men who hate women. For reference, look up comedian Steve Martin's book Cruel Shoes from 1977.

Feet wrapped in high fashion, to be sure, but placed at such angles—strange angels that prior to their demented invention had no counterparts on Earth (to paraphrase horror writer H.P. Lovecraft).

It's as though in order for a woman to have a comfortable shoe, it had to give up all pretensions to fashion (i'm talking about crap like Crocs…  a comfortable shoe, I'm told, but they look like shoes a two-year-old might wear while splashing in a mud puddle).

But that, dear friends, is where the Furoshiki shoe comes to the rescue.

It looks pretty damn good! Yeah, it's not as sexy as this:

Oh!@ I love that basket!
... but it's not bad. See below:

There are three sizes (small, medium and large) that will fit a wide range of hoof, I mean foot size. Sorry, I channeled my inner Al Bundy there for a moment. Sorry… I am a more modern family guy.
Three sizes only, because the shoe stretches.

As well as the size options, there are five colors: aqua, black, violet, pearl (orange) and jeans…. I assume bluejeans.

As you can see from the accompanying photos, it has a square toe which doesn't look very sexy, but probably provides a bit of protection to those delicate toots should you accidentally stub yourself.

But really... how does it look? These images don't really show how it would look against various casual wear.

Is it just for women? Could it possibly come in a version that looks more masculine? Maybe without all the color?

Also very important is: will your feet smell when you take them off?

I recall dating a woman who used to wear thigh-high red leather boots for work (use your imagination as to what her profession was). When she was able to unlace and pull those bad boys off, her feet reeked. If she didn't require a scrubbing after work, she certainly did thanks to those boots. 

Will the Furoshiki catch on? Perhaps if someone famous wears it, but honestly… it's not that bad-looking, but really… since it's not eye-catching in that 'sexy-good' way, the real question is whether or not it's comfortable.

I would also like to know if it maintains its traction in wet weather and if it makes any annoying sort of sound like those god-awful flip-flops. You ever heard those in a subways station? Fuuuuug.

Somewhere with my tongue hanging out,
Andrew "I've got a million of' 'em" Joseph

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Japan's WWII Surrender In China

Click HERE to read a wonderful account of what life was like in China in those days during and after the Japanese surrender of WWII.

There are plenty of images to see, and easy words to read. Don't be afraid of history. Click on it and read it.

It's a BBC article!

Andrew Joseph
PS: Matthew - thanks for the heads up!

Japan's Virtual Reality Sex Game - Video

In case you haven't heard, Oculus Rift is a sensory-enhancing 3D virtual reality device that lets you feel like you are in an alternate world.

So... what do the Japanese do with this powerful technology?

They create porn, or rather sex games.

Check out one little Japanese fella giving it the old college try with a robotic toy dressed up as a school girl.

While it could be a junior high school student, for legal reasons let's say it's more than likely a senior high school hump buddy.

Don't worry... it's obscene for Puritans et al, but "clean" otherwise for the rest of you heathens:

Did the young man know he was being filmed? Did he care? All I know is that he was really giving it to the miniature VR girl… he did show some inexperience by only utilizing two positions, then again, it was only a 1 minute 30 second video clip.

I suppose if we kept watching, he might have finished six seconds later… and someone was going to have to carefully hand him a box of tissue paper.

I got to try out an Oculus Rift VR set two years ago… I walked around a warehouse and manipulated a packaging line machine… because that's what was offered at the packaging trade show. That's me in red sweater in the top-most image in this blog... and you can see from the screen on the table, no sex dolls were hurt in the filming of my foray into VeeAreLand.

You can read all about the technology HERE.

I walked away with a slight headache after about five minutes of immersion into the VR world… a usual result… but what would it be like in a VR sex game?

I'm pretty sure I'm going longer than five minutes regardless of who or what I am riding… but would my head explode before I hit the one hour mark?

That's from a .GIF from the old David Cronenberg flick Scanners.  

Japan… yeah, its got robots, sushi and created Godzilla… but aren't you a little bit curious to manage one of these VR devices for yourself in a sex game?

Want to play a game?
Andrew "I feel like having pizza" Joseph
PS: Thanks to Julien for the 'heads' up! 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Taiwan Pre-Pay Cards Featuring Japanese AV Star Sell Out

Well… I guess we know that the folk in Taiwan like the Japanese porn…

A two-card, special edition set of Taiwan public transit swipe cards sold out in hours.

Featuring Japanese AV (adult video) star Hatano Yui (surname first), the pre-pay cards are hardly titillating, showing the 27-year-old "actress" fully clothed but perhaps showing some cleavage in the Angels cards, and even less-revealing and less flattering photo on the Demons cards.

The 15,000 limited run cards went on sale via telephone order at the Taiwan EasyCard Corp. on September 1 midnight, selling out by 4:18AM.

I would assume that for that many to be sold that quickly, multiple sets were purchased for resale later by profiteers, rather than by true fans of Japanese porn.

Strangely enough I find Japanese AV to be uninspired, so no big deal to me.  Also I don't live in Taiwan…

These cards can also be used for convenience store purchases.

While the young woman says she likes Taiwan and wants to help the car company's charity donation scheme, there are quite a few advocacy groups all up in arms about the card company's decision to place a porn star on such a card.

I have no idea if these people saw the cards before they were released, but if you look at them - what the heck is the big deal?  I guess they did see them ahead of time…

Critics include: parents; politicians and women's advocacy groups, all of whom say the images disrespect women and send the wrong message to children.

The hubbub was so strong that plenty of stores in Taiwan refused to sell them, causing the distribution to occur via telephone hotline.

It's obviously NOT the image itself that must have people up in arms, but rather the fact that an AV star is being used… not that fact that she's Japanese.

Turns out the Taiwanese actually have a soft spot for Japanese things… with them liking Japanese culture… a fact backed up with some 3-million Taiwanese visitors to Japan in 2014 alone… Japan's #1 visitor.

Obviously Taiwan doesn't hold any grudges, as Japan was a colonizer of Japan from 1895-1945, after China lost the first Sino-Japan War (1894-1895).  This was, of course, when Asian power shifted from China to Japan.

Taiwan was Japan's first colony.

The cards were sold for Taiwan $15.40, with all proceeds for its sales going to charity.

That's cool. As for everyone else protesting the cards… the cards are not racy. No women or children were forced into a sex camp to manufacture these cards. Adult men (I assume) are the only ones purchasing these cards - where's the harm?

Is Japanese AV actress Hatano Yui being forced to perform in sex movies against her will? If so, maybe we have a beef, but she's not uttered a complaint about anything.

Sadly, the card company is buckling under the social pressure of righteous Taiwan, promising to conduct an internal review after it apologized online for the release of these special edition cards.

Boo, Taiwan. Let's ask the charities involved if they appreciate the financial kick start from the sale of these cards.

Andrew Joseph

Japan Scraps Olympic Logo Over Plagiarism Fears

Japan's Tokyo Olympic Organization Committee has caved once again.

Back on August 5, 2015, a Belgian graphics artist cried fouled over Japan's released Olympic logo, saying it was plagiarized from a design he created for a Belgian theater. That full story is HERE.

Apparently the Olympic logo's designer, Sano Kenjiro (surname first), admitted he had copied online material for another project.

Although the Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee still believes the two logos are different, with Sano's admission of previous culpability, the Committee decided to take no chances and dropped it like a design for an Olympic Stadium, hopping to create a new one via a new artist instead.

Sano did admit that he and his team had copied other work for a beer promotion, and faces charges of plagiarism for other projects, but he denies plagiarizing the theater logo for the Olympic one.

It's the old once a thief, always a thief scenario here… and this is big bucks, we are talking about.

The Tokyo Olympics of 2020 is certainly off to an auspicious start, what with also deciding to scrap its new Olympic Stadium design after accepting it and then receiving complaints that it was ugly, too expensive, blocked views, didn't fit aesthetically into the local area neighborhoods, and wasn't created by a Japanese architect—take your pick… You can read my take on things HERE.

The Olympic Stadium scrapping means it is behind schedule. It is now also behind schedule with regards to the logo, as its scrapping now affects sponsors who have already begun using it in various advertising schemes, such as Japan Airlines.

Scrapping it affects the costs towards such partners… but no word if there will be any compensation to them from the Olympic Organizing Committee.

While organizers say a new logo design competition will be held soon, the Committee has also come under fire as it has also reneged on a promise to keep most venues within an eight kilometers (five-mile) range of the Olympic Village.

Incompetence and Japan? Sad to say, as evidenced in media since the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami and near nuclear meltdowns, but it is becoming commonplace.

Of course, then there's the IOC (International Olympic Committee) … hardly a bastion of fairly with bribes being passed all over the place to ensure a city earns the right to host the global spectacle.

Geez… how could any athlete not help but want to cheat using performance enhancing drugs?

Somewhere waiting for someone to fall on their sword. 
Andrew Joseph

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Student Suicides And September 1

Thanks to Vince for pointing out the CNN article written about how September 1 is the day in Japan when teen suicides are at its highest.

Read the article HERE… a good story about survival.

I have no idea why I didn't know that. I should have.

People might never know it by looking at me and the way I smile and carry myself, but I was bullied as a teenager back in high school.

I hated school so much that I skipped it for a week, got caught and celebrated internally when they suspended me for another week. D'uh.

I dreaded the beginning of each high school year wondering what fresh hell might be dredged up just for me.

I hated going to school so much - that I often thought about killing myself, but like the young woman in the CNN story, I thought ultimately that that was stupid… that I was letting the bad guys win.

I used my hatred of those idiots back in high school to propel me… that every little success I had was because I wanted to show them they were wrong about me being a loser.

I used to smash a soccer ball with my cleated foot propelling it away from my goal or into the opposing net picturing their faces on the ball.

I was always the youngest person in my grade. I was 12 going into Grade 9.

I was one of the few visible minorities in the school… but of course, I was also the smallest, wore glasses and was deathly shy.

To top it off, I didn't go to the Catholic high school as I could have, but choose instead to go to a Public high school where French was not mandatory.

See? I wasn't just horrible at learning Japanese.

Although good at sports, I was always chosen last for school activities in gym.

My grades reflected my internal demeanor… failing. I was told I was stupid and no-good, and I believed them.

I alternated from wanting to kill myself to wanting to bring in a gun and shoot the whole effing place up - well, just those who bullied me.

But, being in Canada, getting guns as a bit more difficult than it is in the U.S…. plus… I still maintained common sense. I hadn't snapped, despite the torment or my internal rage. I knew right from wrong. I didn't want to disappoint my parents at any cost.

I got lucky, however, with regards to the bullies.

When I was 17, and finished Grade 12, and supposed to be going into Grade 13 - something we USED to have in Ontario, Canada - but I failed three courses and was forced to remain in Grade 12 a second year… actually being with kids the same age as me for the first time ever (I did start Grade 1 as a 4-year-old… I suppose I was smart).

One of those classes was English, believe it or not. Again, see… I wasn't just horrible at Japanese.

Anyhow, over the summer, I went from being a scant 5'-0" (1.524 meters) and barely 100lbs (45.36kg), up to 5'-11-3/4" (1.82.25 meters) and 145lbs (65.77 kg) (A weight loooooong gone - thank goodness).

That next year, despite being in a grade lower than my former tormentors who still took the time to berate and torment me, I fought back. Physically.

I got into a fight a day for a couple of weeks… not caring if I won or lost… and that cowed the bullies. Bullies don't really want to fight… especially someone who doesn't care if they win or lose… you bully someone if they don't care. I lost as many fights as I won, but seeing a victim fight back gave pause to the bullies… as I earned their frightened respect.

No more nicknames… it was now "Hello Andrew", to which I either grunted a reply or just scowled at them in disgust.

I started carrying around a 2-inch pocket knife that I would keep partially open… flicking it open as though it were a switch blade by catching the tip of the blade against the back pocket of my jeans - leaving a slash through the denim… which probably confused my mother when she did the laundry… but the point wasn't to hurt anyone, it was to instill a bit of fear… to show them that I might be crazy enough to use the damn thing so leave me alone.

Pretty crazy crap, huh? But at least for the rest of Grade 12 and 13, I never had issues with bullies again… or even after that.

I still maintained my shyness through until I was 24 or so… until I entered journalism school (after getting a degree in Political science)… when it quite suddenly disappeared as I stood in line between two guys talking behind and in front of me that first day at Humber College. I decided to join their conversation and I haven't shut up since. The first day of school turned out all right for me.

After graduating from journalism school and going to Japan on the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme for three years (school was fun again), I began going to the gym… going six times a week, spending two hours a day getting bigger and stronger.

But I was also much older and far more mature… but I sometimes think I did it as a safety net to ensure I would never be bullied again.

I know what it is like to be bullied… to hate yourself because of it… I understand every time some kid goes 'crazy' and shoots up a school. I understand. I pity them with compassion when I find out it was because of bullying.

I hate that they went on a killing spree or chose to commit suicide… I hate it because I, like many an adult survivor now knows, that it gets better.

Sometimes you do need to take matters in your own hands - I got into fights to pummel my way out of bullying… but that was then… this is now.

Schools do not care for bullying and want to know… tell a guidance councilor or teacher… or your parents…

I've learned since then that when everything is falling about you, talking about it really clears the head.

In Japan… things are different… there is a stupid effing philosophy that they run out from primary school, elementary school, high school and the adult workforce. I'm unsure about university, considering that is when the Japanese tend to go squarely and not give a crap about anything…

but that philosophy is" the nail that stands up gets hammered down."

The positive implications is: we all work together towards a common goal… admirable… to have a team effort.

But the negative implications are multiple: being an individual is frowned upon. Differences are not tolerated… and when differences or individuality is expressed, it is hammered down by the others in a group action of bullying.

Mob mentality at its best and definitely its worst.

Japan's school system is partially to blame… actually it's all of Japan for allowing the attitude to flourish... but let's start with the school system… a system whereby each class has a group leader for the boys and one for the girls… whose job it is is to ensure the rest of the kids walk the line.

And when they don't, they are allowed a fair bit of leeway in bringing the troublemaker back to the group side.

They're teenagers…. kids… immature adults… so obviously they have no idea what 'leeway' can ensue, and often go to extremes to bully people into compliance.

And the teachers see what is going on… and allow it to happen… because society says that is okay.

Japan needs to give its head a really long and proper shake and stop believing it long-dead bushido (way of the warrior) samurai history as still needing to exist in the 21st century.

It works on many levels, but it fails on so many others.

We all know plenty of people who have been bullied... but what about the one's being bullied now?  

September 1… Japan's own day of infamy.
Andrew Joseph

Ghost Groom & Bride Doll

For many gaijin (foreigners) men, a trip to Japan is an opportunity to sample the local wildlife - IE, the Japanese women.

Many people go there in the hopes of achieving the goal of marrying a Japanese woman. There's nothing worming with that, of course, but I am unsure if it should be a real 'goal'.

In Japan, historically, marriage has been a sacred thing… that whole for better or for worse taken to be a written rule rather than a 'vow'.

Apparently marriage was, at one time (I can't say it is now, owing to an increase in people uninterested in such things), very important to the Japanese, so much so that should a man die before he got married, steps could be taken to ensure one took place with a real doll.

No really… a doll. Something wooden like Keanu Reeve's acting (I like Keanu, however, but I wouldn't marry him).

The whole idea behind this is that if people die before they are married, they could bring illness or financial misfortune or even spiritual possession down upon the rest of the living family… which all seems like the deceased are a bunch of spoiled brats, but what the hell do I know about Buddhism and Shintoism or Taoism? Orgasm… that I know.

Basically, the deceased spirits - the kami - they held some sort of resentment to the living because they were denied the sexual and emotional fulfillment of marriage and procreation.

I have about 47 jokes about that, but I'd just come across as being bitter.

Spiritual possession? Is that even legal? I suppose it is. I've heard that possession is nine-tenths of the law. Okay… 48 jokes.

If it seems as though dead Japanese females are getting the shaft (or not getting the shaft, as it turns out), whoa! Hold your horses! Dead women can also marry a doll… but it has to be a male doll. Apparently Japan is only sort of heard of the sexual revolution.

I admit that when Alice first sent me a story on this, I was thinking well… I suppose I could wait for someone to die (like Raquel Welch - I have a free pass if the opportunity ever arises)… and then I thought maybe I could marry some hot ghost chick like Marilyn Monroe or Cleopatra… and so I was disappointed to find out initially Japan only had a ghost man-living woman marriage…

But that changed in the 1930s… as apparently Japan's aggression against China in the years before the official start of WWII meant that there were far too many young Japanese men dying and not enough single Japanese women willing to placate their mischievous/evil souls… and so, that is why male ghost to Japanese female-looking doll was created.

During the symbolic Ghost Man - Bride Doll ceremony, a female doll is placed in a glass case alongside a photograph of the deceased man. (The image above is NOT a ghost wedding doll, but is actually only a female doll dressed in wedding clothes.)

Whether the doll was wooden or porcelain or whatever, it was still supposed to be dressed up in fine miniature kimono, with the hair done up.

The twosome remain inside the glass case for 30 years, at which time it is assumed the man ghost's kami (spirit) has been placated and has passed into the next realm.

I am unsure just WHERE the fugue this tableau is supposed to reside. I'm unsure I would want my a relative's horny ghost display in my living room. Even if nothing moves, symbolically, the ghost man is probably trying to screw the hell out of that poor little Japanese doll night after night after night. While I can appreciate that, it does seem unfair that she doesn't get a single night off or even a dinner out on the town.

On the downside, unlike his real Japanese male counterparts, the poor spirit can't even cheat on her! plus, he is forced to hear her nagging at him non-stop about his poor performance and how Pinocchio can make her feel like a real woman - no lie!

I have always been one of those people who dislike seeing a plethora oaf dolls all over the bedroom of any woman over the age of 18. I have always found the dolls to be kind of… creepy.

Who loves ya, baby:

Till death do us wed,
Andrew It's a nice day for a white wedding Joseph