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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Captain Supermarket Vs The Army Of Darkness

Back in 1992 when the third installment of the Evil Dead movies series came out—this movie was known as Army of Darkness… perhaps a movie with the best name ever.

Army of Darkness… it just has a certain ring evil and dark about it.

When Japan got around to issuing the movie to its Japanese populace, rather than call it Army of Darkness… or translate it into katakana-English as “Ah-me o-fu Da-ku-ne-zu”… some brilliant conglomerate thought it best to call it "Ca-pu-ta-n Zu-pa-ma-ke-to"... katakana-English for Captain Supermarket.


Army of DarknessCaptain Supermarket.

Or does it? 

Now, at first blush one might think that calling the Army of Darkness movie Captain Supermarket in Japan is just plain stupid… however… Ash, the protagonist of the movie series, worked at a retail store…. so calling him Captain Supermarket isn’t that dumb… except that it fails to convey that the movie has an army and there's darkness. But where's the (gasp) horror? 

Now… the Japanese movie poster for Captain Supermarket does.

While it does not explain how a retail clerk got promoted to military Captain, there is evidence in the artwork of horror... All you have to do is see that Ash has lost a hand, and has had it replaced by a chainsaw.

Compare the Japanese poster to the American one:

While it is true that the Japanese poster fails to capture any sort of darkness.... and fails to include the army behind him, the Japanese poster has managed to include the scantily clad woman, because heck who doesn't love a scantily clad woman - you university women known what I'm talking about.

Sorry. Just in case, that was a joke about college experimentation.

Anyhow... the Japanese poster features on the right... a bald headed guy with the word "Moooonn" written around his scalp. Why? I don't know... I haven't watched the movie in a while...

Still... it is kindda funny.

Then there are the Bruce Campbell soup cans on the bottom... a witty pun considering Ash is played by actor Bruce Campbell.

The Captain Supermarket poster probably captures the spirit of the Evil Dead series better than the American poster... because despite the awesome blood and gore, the Evil Dead movies are filled with god-fearing puns and stupid plots and stupid lines, and often poor acting.... you know... sorta schlocky.

But despite it all, it is an enjoyable set of movies, that while lowering your IQ, will increase your testosterone. That's good. Unless you are a woman.

While the American poster is classic, the Japanese one is awesome, even if it is for Captain Supermarket.

Hey! I just got it! Captain Supermarket... where you can buy cans of Bruce Campbell soup! Bwa-ha-ha-ha!

Andrew Joseph

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

1970s Japanese Mini Fridge Advertisement

I was going to present this somewhat interesting advertisement on the blog yesterday.

I thought I should try and determine when the advertisement first appeared in japan… and whether or not a mini fridge was a big deal in Japan at that time.

I did a cursory look at the history of the refrigerator, but it was so a non-Japanese thing, that I gave up.

Instead, I looked at the ad and saw it was from the Sharp Corporation.

While I knew that Sharp was a Japanese business, I admit I wasn’t quite hep on why it had such an English name. Where was the Toshiba-like name? Sharp… nope… not Japanese.

So… because like Alice in Wonderland, my brain is forever spewing out out “curiouser and curiouser” rather than “I think I can, I think I can”, I had to look into the Sharp Corporation.

I was just hoping it was some boring thing… here I am… we make electronics… but no… Sharp Corporation went back to a time before WWI… begun by inventions you’d never associate with the electronics company… belt buckles and mechanical pencils. Really. There’s even an earthquake and working for the war effort of WWII Japan… which wasn’t as bad a thing for Sharp as I expected.

You can read my history on the Sharp Corporation HERE.

I actually thought that Sharp might just simply gloss over its participation in WWII… but no… it described its role, and even showed how it looked after the survivors of the war.

I didn’t talk about it in the article, but Sharp set up an electronics section where visually-impaired people could work… not only providing them with a sense of purpose, but providing them with a job when most of Japan was suffering immediately after WWII.

Hmmm… I wish I had mentioned it before… but I think it bears mentioning now, at least.

Anyhow, all I wanted to do was show off an interesting 1970s magazine advertisement for the Sharp refrigerator for Japanese families.

Does Japan offer full-size fridges for commercial use? I would imagine small eating establishments might have one.

Do the Japanese call the mini fridge a mini fridge, or is it just a fridge? Are the regular-sized fridges called giant fridges in Japan?

Does anyone know?

Like Mickey had a Minnie Mouse, I had a Mini Fridge when I lived in Japan. It possessed a small freezer in the upper section, had storage in the swinging door, and had enough space inside to house enough food for a growing gaijin boy for perhaps no more than three days.

That’s the point.

Perhaps owing to a sense of wa, or zen or feng shui… or whatever the hell people think will provide the best way for one’s food to be at its spiritual best… it’s still going to spoil… anyhow… the mini fridge has been a Japanese staple since it debuted in the early 1970s.

Buy why a mini fridge?

Size? I suppose. Would the smaller stature Japanese folk be unable to reach 1.83 meters (6-feet)? to pull the milk off the top shelf?

Or was it limited space available in the kitchen area?

Prior to the 1970s… did the Japanese have home refrigeration - or was it only the rich?

If they did, they they rely on western gadgetry… and was it the larger type of fridges we have nowadays?

I’m assuming that the Japanese also have this mindset where the women of the household would go to the local market everyday to meet and chat, and to purchase fresh foods and drink - back in the old days when there was no refrigeration… so you bought what you needed every single day. And you ate what you bought. And no one wasted food.

Hunh… just yesterday a tray of packaged chicken went bad in my fridge. It still had a day left before it was no longer “best-before”. I can return it and get fresh chicken… but that is still food waste.

In the old days, I would have bought it, and cooked it and eaten it the same day. World there have been any food waste not coming out of my butt? No.

Look at that… a refrigerator… a device meant to extend the shelflife of food, actually causes food waste owing to consumer laziness.

Save your finger-pointing… of course we should only purchase what we can eat… but some of us have lives outside of finger-pointing… and race around doing important things like coaching kid’s sports teams, and don’t have time to either go shopping every day or even to have a home-cooked meal (sometimes my kid is finished and has little time before bed).

Anyhow… check out that Sharp fridge from the early 1970s.

Holy crap is it packed solid with food and beverages!

I assume that’s the point… to show that it can handle a lot of food… even if you don’t usually have to cram so much into it.

And... don't you love the fact that housewife model is wearing undersized indoor house slippers?! I love it!

I thought it was just me?! Does Japan simply make it so that no one ever gets indoor slippers that fit?!

LOL! No... really!

Andrew Joseph
PS: Check out the large beer bottles in the door of the fridge?  Any guesses on how one removes a large beer bottle, or do we have to remove the smaller one on the left first and then rotate the beers over to where there is a larger upper opening? I really want to know...

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A Keen History On The Sharp Corporation

Here’s more information about Sharp Corporation than you could possibly have known before:

Sharp Corporation (シャープ株式会社, Shāpu Kabushiki-gaisha) is a Japanese multinational corporation formed in 1912, that designs and manufactures electronic products.

Although the Sharp name is derived from one of founder Hayakawa Tokuji (surname first)’s first inventions, the Ever-Ready Sharp Pencil mechanical pencil, it did not go by the Sharp Corporation name until 1970.
Hayakawa Tokuji (早川 徳次) was born on November 3, 1893 in Nihonbashihisamatsucho, Tokyo.

For whatever reason, his own parents were unable to raise him, and so he was adopted by the Ideno family, though he did not know any of this until he had grown up.

Owing to that family’s poverty, he only attended Grade 2 of primary school, entering an apprenticeship to a maker of metallic ornaments.

Hayakawa Tokuji during his apprenticeship days - seen here in the front row, far right.
Around 1912, Hayakawa saw a silent film actor whose belt had come undone. This inspired him to spend time after work inventing a new belt that could be fastened to any length.

Even at this time, Hayakawa was so poor that he had no yet worn a belt, let alone the western-style clothing that had become all the rage since the 1870s when international fashion began making its mark in the country.

The Tokubijō belt buckle used a roller to fasten a belt, meaning it did NOT require holes to be put into the belt.

I've used a snap buckle Tokubijo belt at some point in time in my life.
Still under his metal master, he said Hayakawa apply for a patent, and that he should call it Tokubijō, using one of the kanji from the young inventor’s non-family name.

The initial order for the Tokubijō snap buckle was for 4,752 units.

Tokuji decided to go it alone—screw you, Master—and borrowed money to launch his own Hayakawa Kinzoku Kōgyō (Hayakawa Metal Industrial Laboratory) in September of 1912.

He brought in industrial presses, hired employees, and had no problem making delivery of that order.

He was quickly able to pay back the loan, and quickly continued to make the snap buckle to where he very quickly needed a larger workshop.

In 1913, Hayakawa acquired the patent of an innovative water faucet, but it was his reinventing of the mechanical pencil that helped make the company's second successful foray into the manufacturing sector.

While the mechanical pencil has been patented in 1822, Hayakawa’s 1915-version featured a few improvements and alterations (no idea what they are), but it's main selling point was that it was something new to the Japanese market… even some 60 years after opening up its borders to full-blown international trade.

Consisting of a retractable graphite lead in a metal rod, the Ever-Ready Sharp Pencil won patents in Japan and the United States.

The Ever-Ready Sharp Pencil - it's beautiful! Price: Gold plated - 7 yen; Silver 3 yen; Nickel 1 yen.
Unfortunately, initial sales were not hopeful .

Apparently the Japanese market was confused that a pencil was contained within a metal shaft like a pen, and was mistrusting of the need to even have such a device.

However, a company in Osaka and one in Tokyo saw the potential, and made large orders, and their marketing of it turned it into a popular writing tool in Japan.   

What Hayakawa's business success shows is something that was emulated by many a manufacturer: take an existing invention and improve it.

That type of business acumen is something Japan did with much success through the 1960s - take an existing invention and make it smaller, faster, cheaper—with a huge nod towards its contribution to electronics of every kind.

The company was delivered a huge blow—like the rest of the country—when the Great Kanto Earthquake struck on September 1, 1923.

That earthquake killed his wife and children, and caused a fire that destroyed his factory.

Devastated, it took Hayakawa over one year to re-open his business, and began to produce the mechanical pencils again, but then quickly added in a new product—radios—in 1925.

The first crystal radio sets were imported into Japan from the U.S. in in the early 1920s.

After listening to one, Hayakawa saw its potential and wanted to make one for his company.

Despite not understanding radio or electricity,  Hayakawa developed Japan's first domestically-produced crystal radio.

After only three months of study and experimentation, Hayakawa succeeded in receiving a signal from the broadcasting service which had begun programming in 1925.

He built a crystal radio and then began mass production of it.

While they do indeed work, crystal radios have a short range, which made Hayakawa believe that if he could amplify the signal, it would mean better radios.

Hayakawa Tokuji (right) in 1925 listening to a crystal radio.
While those around him continued to offer crystal radios, Hayakawa worked on an AC vacuum tube radio set, introducing the Sharp Dyne model for commercial use in 1929, making his company the leading radio manufacturer in Japan, eventually leading the successful company to become a Corporation in 1935.
The Sharp Dyne 1929 radio.

The company did not have the big financial backing from the zaibatsu conglomerates or the government... his company was like being "Nouveau riche"... new rich... you might have the stuff, but you are still an outsider.

Probably just as well... during the 1930s, Imperial Japan was becoming involved in a war against Asia, and other big shot zaibatsu company were working with the imperialists in the military... but not Hayakawa and his company/corporation.

During World War 2, when Japan was a bad mamma-jamma, Hayakawa’s company was forced to produce devices for the military, and even to restructure, as new industrial laws intended to concentrate industrial capacity were passed.

Still, it wasn't all gung-ho, let's dominate Asia... and when in 1942 the now renamed Hayakawa Electrical Industries came out from the war, it's reputation was largely undamaged and never a concern of the Allied Forces inhabiting and running Japan.

Hayakawa was allowed to remain in business and figure out how to survive in post-war Japan.

Five years later in 1950, most of Hayakawa's competitors were bankrupt, with the company surviving.

At that time, Hayakawa thought that television... something created by Professor Farnsworth in 1947 might actually be something that could become commercially viable. Farnsworth... in the cartoon show Futurama, the old professor is named for him.

So... even before Japan had a broadcasting company for television, Hayakawa began to develop a television in 1951.

Factory floor in 1953, building television sets for Hayakawa's Sharp brand.
When Japan began to broadcast television in 1953, Hayakawa was right there with its first Sharp television sets for the Japanese and its just growing economy.

Soon after, the company began development of a color television, succeeding in 1960 as color broadcasting became available in Japan, and again dominating the market because it was ahead of its time.

Hells... I didn't get a color television in Canada until 1974. I can recall the moment... I was watching The Wizard of Oz movie on the 14-inch screen... Kansas was all black and white, just like it is today... and then my eyes nearly fell out when Oz bloomed in full color. Holy crap. It was awesome. I wonder if that's why I have watched the movie some 25+ times... the wonderment of the story... but the awe I first felt the first time I saw color television.

What was cool about it, was that my parents didn't tell me it was a color television... and when The Wizard of Oz came on, I had no clue for 20 minutes or so... maybe I did... I must have seen a commercial or four... but when that movie suddenly became color... wow...

In 1962, Hayakawa introduced its first commercial microwave... I don't think my family had one until 1980.

1964 introduced a desktop calculator, the Compet... the first in the world to use transistors. In 1966 the microwave oven received a rotating plate and calculators shrank with the use of integrated circuits.

Figuring that Japan shouldn't hog all the glory, Hayakawa created a sales subsidiary in the US in 1962, eventually ensuring the Sharp brand was recognizable throughout North America, expanding to West Germany in 1968 and Great Britain in 1969.

In 1969, Hayakawa debuted the Extra Large Scale Integration Calculator, which was still the size of  book... but getting smaller....

That same year, Hayakawa also introduced the gallium arsenide light-emitting diode... what we might call and LED.

1970 was a big year for the company. First Hayakawa retired as company president, remaining as chairman; and secondly, the company renamed itself as Sharp Corporation.

Hayakawa’s replacement as company president, was Saeki Akira (surname first), a former executive director. Saeki oversaw an important reorganization of the company intended to establish a new corporate identity and unify product development efforts.
After watching the Americans land on the moon in 1969 (I saw that... even have photos my parents took of One step for man, one giant leap for mankind), Saeki wanted Sharp to focus on the development of semiconductors, the electronic components that had made the lunar mission possible.

To this end, Saeki created a research complex called the Advanced Development and Planning Center on a 55-acres in Tenri, Nara Prefecture. When completed, the research complex cost ¥7.5 billion, representing about 70 percent of Sharp's capitalization.

The facility housed the Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) factory automation system which allowed manufacturers to reduce defects and raise productivity through the use of industrial robots and other mechanical apparatus. They weren't the first to use robots - the US was, but again, Japan sought to improve on something that others had built.

Sharp continued its development of refrigerators, washers, portable stereos, copiers, desktop computers, video equipment, and Walkman-type headsets, and created in 1973 the first hand-held calculator using a liquid crystal display (LCD) screen.

Again, LCD screens had been discovered in 1963 at RCA Labs, but the American company had been largely uninterested in the discovery. Having just pioneered cathode ray tubes in color, RCA did not see any use for LCD screens.

Sharp began using the tech in its calculator screens... something that is still used in calculators today.

Anyhow... the rest, as they say, is history.

Company founder Hayakawa passed away on June 24, 1980 at the age of 88.

His company lives on, currently headquartered in Sakai-ku, Sakai in Osaka-ken.

While the company’s 100th anniversary year was perhaps its worst—bleeding money—it was purchased in 2016 and is a big part of the Taiwan-based Foxconn Group.

The company currently employs over 50,000 around the world.

Andrew Joseph
PS: As to why I did this mini-biography, I… well… see tomorrow… I just wanted something quick and easy… dammit.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Miss Universe Japan National Costumes - Updated November 26 2017

Because I care, here's a photo gallery of Miss Universe Japan from 2002 - 2017 in their Japanese National Costume.

FYI: Miss Universe Japan took home the Best National Costume award for 2017!!! It was a flip costume...

And... because a reader cared enough to share that I actually had the wrong photo in for 2005, I spent over one hour searching for a photograph of Yukari Kazuya, Miss Japan 2005 in her National Costume. So... I am proud to state now... all of the costumes shown here are indeed representative of the Miss Universe Japan contestants!

Momoko Abe
A lovely costume that actually looks Japanese - something lacking since 2014. She won the award for Best National Costume at the Miss Universe 2017 pageant!
Nakazawa Sari
Nothing against beer servers from Germany, but this is what Miss Japan's 2016 national costume was. Tsk-tsk. Can you create a costume that takes away the sexiness of our representative and looks like nothing from Japan? You can? Great. This will show the world that Japanese women can look unsexy.   

Ariana Miyamoto
Considering what the other contestants were trotting out, this outfit is tame and unexciting. Also... can they pull her hair back anymore? Ridiculous colors, too. And yet, she still came in 10th place overall in the competition!

Keiko Tsuji
Why hide the body? Give us a side slit or two! It is, in my opinion, reminiscent of the 2006 contestant who actually won the event's Best National Costume. I do NOT think that the 2014 costume is as daring or as sexy as the 2006 version.
Yukimi Matsuo 
Came in 4th for Best National Costume award.

Ayako Hara

Maria Kamiyama
5th Runner-Up for best National Costume. It's my second-favorite. 

Maiko Itai

Emiri Miyasaka

Here's the 2009 Miss Universe Japan National competition full-costume worn by Emiri Miyasaka:
The Noh demon mask was an interesting touch, but hiding her pretty face was stupid.

Hiroko Mima
Top 15 pageant finisher, but not for the costume, which was nice, actually.

Riyo Mori
Was Miss Universe 2007.

Kurara Chibana
Won best National Costume at 2006 Miss Universe Pageant, and was 1st Runner-up Miss Universe. My favorite costume, too, obviously.

Yukari Kazuya

Eri Machimoto

Miyako Miyazaki
Was the 4th Runner-Up in the pageant, but not for the National costume.

Mina Chiba

In my opinion, the most fabulous national costumes for Miss Japan were worn by Miss Japan 2006, and 2010, and now 2017!

Miss 2006... heck, if you can make shin guards look sexy, then there's no doubt.

As for Miss 2010... maybe it's just the photo, but it looks like a true advertisement for high fashion or a high-quality perfume... over the top, but not.

And I say all that knowing that Miss Japan 2007 is one one the most beautiful women I have ever seen. Her national costume was okay... to me it was too similar to an advertisement for JAL (Japan Air Lines) from the late 1960s-1970s. Heck... many of the national costumes have that sort of look. See?

As for Miss Japan 2016's National costume... see how it looks similar to a German beer maid costume, but without the sexiness:
Maybe it's the shoulder straps that make it seem similar to me.


Andrew Joseph

Who Loves Ya, Baby?

As the immortal Kojack, played by Telly Savalas uttered once an episode, “Who loves ya, baby?” as a rhetorical phrase…

In Japan, if you are a woman in the male-dominated workplace and are married and have kids… the non-rhetorical response is “No one.”

Japan is, as I have pointed out more than a few times, at least 20 years behind the rest of western society when it comes to how it handles certain things - in this case women, specifically women in the workforce and children.

While it is true that bringing a child into a workplace environment is extremely distracting for everyone else not female - for example... mom and baby arrive at work place... almost every woman walks over to coo at the baby and to talk loudly around with the mother. If you work nearby, you are subjugated to a very noisy time. It is a distraction.

It was not caused by the mother or the baby, but rather their mere presence caused the rest of the office to become temporarily ignorant... ignorant of their jobs or the existence of co-workers.

We get it. It doesn't mean the behavior is correct.

But this isn't what it's all about. In fact, my complaint is more about the people around the woman and baby, than about the woman and baby.

All Japanese are surname first:

Ogata Yuka, 42, is a member of the Kumamoto Municipal Assembly (Kumamoto City, the capital city of Kumamoto Prefecture on the island of Kyushu, Japan).

On November 22, 2017, she brought her quiet, seven-month-old baby boy, Dogen, in to the the assembly, both of them sitting in the front row where she would normally sit.

The baby was quiet and well-behaved.

Around her, the rest of the Assembly - all men - scowled at her.

As she had walked in, she was confronted by four men, including chairman Sawada Yoshitomo, who began to badger her about bring her baby into the assembly.

“I wanted to appear in the assembly hall with my baby and represent the voices of mothers, working and nonworking, who tell me they’re struggling to raise a child in Japan,” Ogata, who has a master’s degree in conflict resolution from George Mason University and also has a 4-year-old daughter, told The Washington Post. “Women want to be able to raise a child and work happily, without having to sacrifice one of these things.”

Ogata was elected as an assembly-person in April of 2015. She was the first person to ever remain seated in the assembly when she asked questions... apparently a huge breach of etiquette.

The other Assembly Men, because that's what they were, chided her relentlessly to stand up.

I should point out that she was eight months pregnant at that time.

While not specifically stated that babies are allowed, there are no rules stating that babies are not allowed into the Assembly chamber.

The point Ogata was making, was to make the government provide a day-care for working mom's (and dad's), or else she would be forced to bring her children to work with her.

Her other alternative, is of course to remain at home and not work... but that's her point. Why should she have to stay home and not work and be forced to look after her children, when there should be some sort of daycare available to government workers, or to any worker, so that they can do the job they were hired or elected to perform.

Ogata certainly had precedent on her side, as both the Kyoto and Akita prefectural assemblies have child-care facilities in their assembly buildings.

But Kumamoto denied her request.

She was told that attending a meeting with a child would “obstruct the operation of the assembly”—so she decided to take her baby with her when she returned to work anyway.

The Assembly stuck to its guns and had the baby ejected from the Assembly based on a technicality.

Since the baby Dogen was not an elected official or part of the Assembly, he was therefore a guest, and thus not privy to be able to sit in the Assembly area... saying that the baby must sit in the viewing gallery with other visitors.

When presented with this "rule", baby Dogen was moved with a friend elsewhere on the premises.

Ogata was permitted back to her seat while the Assembly Speaker apologized to the council for the 40-minute delay.

Earlier this year, Kaneko Megumi, a vice-minister of internal affairs, took heat because she used a government work vehicle to drop off her one-year-old son at day care.

No one seemed to care that the daycare was in the same building as her Diet office.

It was just another chance to demean a female elected official.

Kaneko apologized to anyone who felt “uncomfortable” with her efforts to find the right work-life balance. She lost her seat in last month’s election.

Ogata has at least brought some national and international attention to the plight of mothers and the workplace.

Now... this does not offer solutions for women in the regular workforce.

In Canada, very few companies provide daycare services for its workers. No one is saying such day care need be free--it shouldn't, but by at least providing an option would be fantastic.

I can tell you, that here in Canada, it costs almost as much money to pay for daycare as my wife took in - and this was years ago when she made 3x the money she makes now.

I don't even want to talk about families who have more than one kid in daycare.

And while it would be nice if everyone had grandparents around for free daycare, who the hell is that fair to the grandparents. It's not their duty to have to be available for babysitting or daycare duty.

Now... while I sympathize that Ogata should have some sort of daycare available to her... but it sounds rather self-serving.

What do others do? They pay for daycare. They travel from home to daycare to work, and back to daycare then home. They have to drop off and pick-up kids by certain times. It can be done...  but it ain't easy.

While Ogata is being self-serving in attempting to get daycare for herself and other mothers within the Kumamoto government - great - she wasn't fighting for the rights of women in the private and public sector.

A few companies, as mentioned, will offer on-site daycare, but most do not. It's not just a Japan-thing, of course... it's a global thing.

My company is moving offices in one month... giving me an extra 15-minutes of time on the roads, each way. No one asked for my opinion, nor should they have.

Aside from having to get up earlier, spend more time in the car contributing to the un-greening of the planet, I spend more gasoline, spend more money on ever rising gasoline costs, and have less quality of life at home, which in my case also means I have farther to travel, less time to travel to to get home to go and be a part of my community as a sports coach.

It already takes me 60-minutes to get to work, and another 60 minutes to get home from work... now it'll be a minimum of 75-minutes each way. Screw Los Angeles... Toronto is far worse.

In Japan... what does a family do if they have grandparents too far away to help out? Can you survive on one income? Do you need two incomes to pay for daycare? It's usually why the mother stays home and looks after the kid... and then kids... or it's why Japan's birthrate is falling.

I assume that Japan - like other cities in other countries - grows more expensive to live in every single day.

It may be why women can't afford to have kids anymore, and may be a major contributing factor to why Japan has a negative population growth. Unlike Japan, countries like Canada see the positives in immigration, which has helped propel Canada's population rate over the past 50 years.

Something needs to change in Japan.

Work is work, and while I sympathize with working mothers looking for handy daycare, no employer has to do that, or even cares. Well, a few rare companies do, but I don't know who they are.

I don't even want to talk here about what life must be like if you have a special needs child... it's not easy, and no one in any official capacity cares enough to be willing to sacrifice their wallet.

That's the bottom line, isn't it?

Andrew Joseph

Sunday, November 26, 2017

I Married A 2D Woman

To pull a pun from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”, I have dabbled in water colors, always looking for the Japanese version of Jessica Rabbit (above).

Maybe I’m not worthy of being an otaku… a geek… despite the fact that I used to live in my parent’s basement, had never kissed a girl until I was 22, played Dungeons & Dragons into my 30s, know the difference between Star Trek and Star Wars, and have over 35,000 comic books, and can tell by looking at any comic book whether or not I need it or got it, and can tell you what the story is about if the comic book is older than 10 years old.

Speaking of 10-years-old, a Japanese tech research company known as Gatebox Lab wants to reward you if you are married to a 2D character.

2D? I like my women to be at least in the 32D grouping… but that isn’t the point here.

If you are Japanese and are in a relationship with a two-dimensional anime (animation) or manga (comic book) character, Gatebox Lab will pay you ¥5,000 (US $45) in support compensation.

By the way... this isn't just for MEN marrying 2D women... it's WOMEN marrying 2D women and men. Men can marry 2D men, too.

I'm unsure if there are any restrictions against marrying a vehicle (like Speed Buggy), an animal (Lucy Van Pelt - Peanuts), an alien (Ultraman 7), Professional Magician (Zatana), tentacled alien devil creature (pick your Japanese anime porn poison)...

Of course it’s nothing but a great ploy to gain some much appreciated media coverage for itself, and not really about whether or not you are making your sexy body pillow all sticky and crusty.

If you go to their website, you can even find a marriage registration form…

The only problem with having marriage sex with the comic book version of say, Daphne from Scooby-Doo, are the paper cuts. Yup... the only problem. 
While the Japanese government will not recognize your love, it might want to  track to see just who is wacky enough to register… though for ¥5,000, I’m considering adding my name.

My first female crush was for Tin-Tin of The Thunderbirds… fascinated enough with the sexy marionette that I named my first dog after her.

L-R: Me, Tin-Tin and my Dad.
Tin-Tin is Malaysian for “Sweet”, but if the name is turned into its phonetic counterpart on Japanese, it becomes Chin-Chin, which is Japanese slang for penis.

When the Thunderbirds were re-released in the 1990s in Japan, they renamed Tin-Tin tp something else rather than Chin-Chin, and completely avoided the scenario when they revamped teh franchise in 2016, replacing Tin-Tin with Kayo, a modernized woman with less fashion sense and more flash bomb. She has an Asian appearance about her - complexion-wise.

Rabbit jokes aside, I have a type. This is the only Thunderbirds' trading card I own.

You Italians thinking of visiting Japan may want to think twice when offering up a toast. That’s how I found out.

I was asked how Canadians said “Cheers”, and since we are fairly multi-ethnic and multinational, we quite easily pull words and phrases from cultures around the world. We certainly have Italians in Canada.

As the men at the office party all grimaced ever so slightly, the women all cheered and slammed their glasses together as they drank to my chin-chin. Sot off. You know what I mean.
Wait... my new waifu - and I get paid? Japan is the best! Apparently, I have no type.


Gatebox Lab’s marriage form, which asks the couple to recount how they met, recall memories they’ve made, and tell when and where the marriage proposal happened.

Gatebox employees can even get a day off for their 2D spouse’s birthday.

Gatebox Lab will also recognize marriages with 3D characters, non-human characters like elves or beasts, and science-fiction type characters.
It does not recognize any real-life human to human marriage.

You can not submit multiplae marriage applications - so you Mormons are forewarned, in case you want to make any extra money.

Before I went to Japan, two young men from the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) knocked on my door (instead of ringing the bell).

They introduced themselves, and since I knew nothing about their Christian sect, I invited them in.  I'm not very religious, though I was raised Catholic, and had by that time already read The Bible, Quoran, Tibetan Book of the Dead and a few other similar books.

I don't think that makes me spiritual. I'm just curious.

To try and win me over, they told me they could help me find wives.

Wives, as in plural, I asked.


I couldn't even get laid, let alone find a woman to date - and they could get me multiple wives?

I thanked them and sent them on their way. I respect people's right to religion and worship their god, but I am not comfortable in being No. 2 in any relationship.

Anyhow... while I am greedy enough to try and make $45... I am unsure if Gatebox considers bigamy between myself an a 2D woman and myself and a cartoon character to be acceptable.

I wouldn't want to upset the status quo.

Yes... this is a real thing.

I do,
Andrew Joseph


Saturday, November 25, 2017

Osaka Cancels Sister City Program With Sister City San Francisco Over Destroyed Trust

I regret the long headline.

The Japanese city of Osaka—the second-largest city in the country—has terminated its sister-city relationship with the U.S. city of San Francisco, saying that trust has been destroyed.

Okay… how are Japan’s feelings hurt now?

Hmmm… did anyone ask Prime Minister Abe Shinzo (surname first) and his buddy U.S. president Donald Trump to step in?

The president, according to his Twitter tweets, recently intervened to get three American university basketball players out of jail time in China after they stole high-end sunglasses from three different shops.

According to president Trump, they got off scot-free not because of the White House, not because of the US Justice Department… but solely because of him.

You know what? He’s probably correct, in that if he had not decided to help, those boys were screwed. Yes, the White House and Justice Department probably did play a part after-the-fact… but there would have been no “after-the-fact” if the president had not volunteered to become involved. 

Yes… those American men all DO owe Donald Trump a huge round of thanks.

However, a real human being would not need to broadcast how great he was in getting them free… why would the president debase himself in such a manner? It would have been best if he did his good deed, and then kept quiet.

If they athletes wanted to say thank-you, then they should have. They should have. Maybe they did. I don’t know. But they should have. They should also be kicked off their university basketball team, be stripped of any NCAA athletic scholarship, and be forced to perform a university-sanctioned community service for their stupid actions in China, just so they can remain in the school’s system.

By the way... on Thursday, president Trump mentioned at a Coast Guard luncheon that "You never know about an ally, an ally can turn."

Was he speaking about the more recent histories of Iraq and Iran? Or was he talking about Japan?

I still don’t know which of Iraq or Iran is now one of the “good guys”… it can’t be both as long as they each hate each other, which I suspect has nothing to do with the letter “q” or the letter “n”.

President Trump is, however, correct in his "ally" statement. There was, however, no need to bring that fact up, let alone at a luncheon meant to celebrate Thanksgiving and the Coast Guard.  

San Francisco Dying On The Inside - Not
Okay… back to San Francisco and Osaka.

I like Japan. I like Osaka. I've been there and gotten lost there, and even have a blog in which I have occasionally written about Japan.  I've not been to San Francisco, but it seems like a nice place to live, and I did love watching The Streets Of San Francisco. If I had a pony in this horse race, it would be Japan... but that doesn't mean I agree with everything it does. 

It seems as though San Francisco has a statue honoring the women who were forced to act as “comfort women” - sex slaves, is a better term - to Japanese soldiers and officers during WWII. (See the photo at the top of this article.)

Osaka Mayor Yoshimura Hirofumi (surname first) says: “We will scrap our sister-city relationship with San Francisco” and adds that Osaka will no longer contribute public money to privately organized cultural exchanges between the two cities.

The loss of the 60-year-old sister-city ties between Osaka and San Francisco will be missed, but whatever. I'm sure San Francisco will endure somehow.

The statue was erected by California’s Korean, Chinese and Filipino communities, and with all the hubbub of similar statues regarding “comfort women” going up, and Japan’s continued pissy reaction to them, it was obviously known that the same would occur in San Francisco. 

Japan chief cabinet secretary Suga Yoshihide (surname first) notes that although the statue had been formerly dedicated in September  of 2017, it wasn’t until the City of San Francisco’s mayor Edwin Lee signed a resolution on November 22, 2017 designating the memorial as “city property.”

During WWII, large volumes of women from Asia (and I know of at least one Dutch woman, if memory serves me correctly) were forced to work in Japanese military brothels, often through coercion and deception.

Now… Japan has indeed issued a formal apology for its role in abusing these people.

However, just because you say sorry doesn’t mean everyone 

Japan apologized in 1993 but the issue has remained an open rift with its neighbors, particularly South Korea which has strong memories of Japan’s brutal colonization from 1910 to 1945.

Yoshimura has called the memorial a form of “Japan-bashing”, with he Osaka Governor Matsui Ichiro (surname first) calling the memorial “mistaken history.”

Part of their mistaken history criticism stems from the actual number of women forced to become sex slaves to the Japanese military.

The statue’s plaque reads: “This monument bears witness to the suffering of hundreds of thousands of women and girls euphemistically called ‘Comfort Women,’ who were sexually enslaved by the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces in thirteen Asian-Pacific countries from 1931 to 1945.”

Despite that 1993 apology, Japanese war hawk and current prime minister Abe and others deny that the women were forced into sexual slavery.

They say there’s no proof of that. Uh-hunh… so why did apologize in 1993? Why apologize for something that didn’t happen?

You Lie
The Japanese government says there is no documentary proof. Sure… that’s because your war machine destroyed as much evidence as inhumanly possible in the waning days of WWII.  

Because of this lack of evidence, Japan says the statue wrongfully blames Japan.

This is why I love Germany. Not only did the German people and governments own up to their sordid past with a Nazi dictatorship, they apologized, opened up museums commemorating their role in a genocide, and do not shy away from their past, evil that it was.

Not everyone was a Nazi, but everyone bears the burden of shame and blame.
Japan does neither.

It says it’s sorry, and because it has said sorry does not understand why everyone remains angry at them.

Now, granted no one is angry at Japan (per se)… rather this is merely about a community of people wishing to honor women wrongly treated with a statue.

It is true that no one knows the exact number of women used as comfort women… the hundreds of thousands number sounds incredibly high… and perhaps they could have simply presented the statue without a numerical figure, maybe stating “ .. bears witness to the suffering of the women and girls…”

Not stating a number does not demean anyone remotely affected by the atrocity. Yes, the actual figure may be as the plaque reads… and again, it may not. The number is lost to history until someone invents a time machine, goes back to just before the fall of Japan, and steals the documents detailing exact numbers - if they even existed… I don’t know if they were as meticulous as Nazi Germany was in keeping notes.

Part of Japan’s current pithiness, is that recently in 2015, Japan and South Korea agreed that Tokyo would pay US$9 million to support the surviving South Korean victims… but key to that is that both sides pledged to avoid actions that would antagonize the other.

While the San Francisco statue could and has clearly antagonized Japan… I’m pretty sure an American statue is NOT part of the Japan-South Korea comfort woman accord.

Besides… where on that San Francisco comfort woman statue does it mention South Korea?
Perhaps Japan misses the good old days when Imperial Japan could say and do as it wanted in a manner akin to Nazi Germany.

Japan needs to grow a pair. A real pair the size of its Japanese pears… rather than tiny umeboshi.

Nigiri, meant to be a food-representation of the Japanese flag features within the bed of white rice, a wrinkly, sour plum known as umeboshi... emphasis on the sour and wrinkly.

No cheers this time, 
Andrew Joseph
A photo of me in August of 1990 with a pear.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Lightning With A Chance Of Antimatter

A Kyoto University-based team has unraveled the mystery of gamma-ray emission cascades caused by lightning strikes.

Lightning can result in matter-antimatter annihilation.

What is antimatter? It is the physical opposite of matter.

Antimatter is a material composed of the antiparticle (or "partners") to the corresponding particles of ordinary matter. In theory, a particle and its anti-particle have the same mass as one another, but opposite electric charge, and other differences in quantum numbers.

Conceptually, when matter meets antimatter, the two entities are supposed to violently eliminate each other. Conceptually, in my opinion, equal amounts of each part of space would be eliminated, perhaps creating a void in the physical space… maybe even in time. In my science-fiction world, an explosion between matter and antimatter would rip a hole in the fabric of time and space…

That wouldn’t mean we could pass into the antimatter universe, or antimatter creatures pass into ours… each would be made of the corresponding matter/antimatter particles, and thus in coming in contact with its opposite, would cause a big ka-BOOM!!!!.

Anyhow… in a collaborative study appearing in Nature, researchers from Japan have determined how gamma rays (think how the Incredible Hulk was formed) from lightning react with the air to produce radioisotopes and even positrons—the antimatter equivalent of electrons.

"We already knew that thunderclouds and lightning emit gamma rays, and hypothesized that they would react in some way with the nuclei of environmental elements in the atmosphere," explains Enoto Teruaki (surname first) from Kyoto University, who leads the project.

"In winter, Japan's western coastal area is ideal for observing powerful lightning and thunderstorms. So, in 2015 we started building a series of small gamma-ray detectors, and placed them in various locations along the coast."

The team built detectors and installed them across the northwest coast of Honshu. And then in February 2017, four detectors installed in Kashiwazaki-shi (Kashiwazaki City), Niigata-ken (Niigata Prefecture) recorded a large gamma-ray spike immediately after a lightning strike a few hundred meters away.

It was the moment the team realized they were seeing a new, hidden face of lightning.

When they analyzed the data, the scientists found three distinct gamma-ray bursts. The first was less than one millisecond in duration; the second was a gamma-ray afterglow that decayed over several dozens of milliseconds; and finally there was a prolonged emission lasting about one minute.

Enoto explains, "We could tell that the first burst was from the lightning strike. Through our analysis and calculations, we eventually determined the origins of the second and third emissions as well."

The second afterglow, for example, was caused by lightning reacting with nitrogen in the atmosphere. The gamma rays emitted in lightning have enough energy to knock a neutron out of atmospheric nitrogen, and it was the reabsorption of this neutron by particles in the atmosphere that produced the gamma-ray afterglow.

The final, prolonged emission was from the breakdown of now neutron-poor and unstable nitrogen atoms. These released positrons, which subsequently collided with electrons in annihilation events releasing gamma rays.

"We have this idea that antimatter is something that only exists in science fiction. Who knew that it could be passing right above our heads on a stormy day?" says Enoto.

The team still maintains over 10 detectors on the coast of Japan, and are continually collecting data.


Aside from the witty repartee at the beginning of this article, and the odd bit of me editing for this blog’s style (I actually have style! Finally!), the rest is taken directly from an article.

Credits: Kyoto University. "Lightning, with a chance of antimatter: Netizens help scan lightning for gamma rays." ScienceDaily, 22 November 2017. <>.
Photo Credit: Kyoto University/Teruaki Enoto

Thunderbolt and lightning, very, very frightening to
Andrew Joseph
PS: I do not take credit for the awesome headline, a pun based on the movie, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs. That was ScienceDaily. Smart and Funny. Sexy.  

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Malware Virus Attacking Japanese Banks


Sounds like what you do when mucous threatens to roll out of your nostril and down onto the ground unbidden. Ursnif.

But no. Ursnif (aka Gozi) is trojan malware spread via spam in the e-mail targeting Japan—a top target—as well as North America, Europe and Australia.

While IT workers battle to contain and rid company computing systems of the troublesome malware, new attacks in Japan show that the hackers have developed new evasion techniques, ensuring that the virus keeps mutating.

My gal pal FFF, a reader of this here blog, alerted me of the situation… a battle of computer savvy of epic proportions featuring Ursnif/Gozi that has actually been going on for years.

Starting this past September, Japanese banks have been especially hard hit.

Along with targeting banks, the Japanese malware variation has been targeting user credentials for local webmail, cloud storage, cryptocurrency exchange platforms and e-commerce sites.

Ursnif/Gozi was first discovered in 2007 (Buddha-knows how long it was around before being discovered).

The original malware targeted only English-speaking countries… until 2010 when source code for the Trojan was accidentally leaked. That lead to the development of Ursnif v2 that adopted web-injection techniques and leverages a hidden virtual network computing (Hvnc) feature.

By the end of 2010, it was attacking banks in the U.S., U.K. and Europe (implying that the U.K. isn’t geographically part of Europe, despite its political exist from the European Union… it’s still Europe).

Now in 2017, Ursnif/Gozi is affecting banks in Japan, Australia, the U.S., Bulgaria, Czech Republic,  Poland and Spain (the latter four considered to be “Europe”) (You know I’m just being snide and sarcastic there.)

Apparently, of the banking malware currently attacking, Ursnif/Gozi is involved in 21% of them, just behind Zeus at 24%.

What does Ursnif do? The most up-to-date version of it performs: script-based browser manipulation, web injections, man-in-the-browser functionality, form grabbing, screen capture, session video grabbing and hidden VNC and SOCKS proxy attacks.

I won’t even pretend I know what some of that means.

I never even heard of this: malspam and exploit kits. I won’t even add a joke here.

Against Japan, malspam is the popular form of Ursnif delivery.

Malspam can be fake attachments pretending to be from financial services and payment card providers in Japan. Another malspam variant delivers an HTML link that triggers a download of a .zip file containing a JavaScript. The script launches a PowerShell script that fetches the Ursnif payload.

Why target Japan? “The history of organized cybercrime in Japan is not very long,” explains Kessem. “In most cases of malware migration, cybercriminal groups with adequate resources are looking for easier money, less security and an element of surprise for users who are less accustomed to their spam ploys and social engineering during the banking session.”
As a side note, I find spam to be interesting… 

Not the virus crap poor IT professionals have to dig through, but rather the simple cons that are begun with a simple e-mail from some stranger contacting you out of the blue asking for help in return from butt-loads of money. 

I had collected a whole mess of spam e-mails and was going to create a blog showing off the latest in cons via e-mail, but decided ultimately that I didn’t have enough time in the day to keep it going, having just one year ago accepted the job of coaching kids’ baseball and even hockey.

Of course there would have to be one featuring the classic Nigerian prince; help in funneling money out of some country where citizens are not allowed to withdraw money from a bank; e-mails from people who start by calling you ‘Darling’; and messages telling you that your e-mail or banking data information has been breached.

Did you know that I sometimes get spam sent to me apparently from my own e-mail account. It says it’s my address… but WTF? Do I note the e-mail as Junk or Spam, or will that sudden;y make ALL of the e-mails I send become Junk or Spam? I don’t know.

Trust me… if you receive an e-mail from me, unless I call you by your actual name somewhere in the e-mail - it ain’t from me. Personalizing any message is important (unless it’s the 3rd or more in a long chain of quick messages).

I recently rec’d vicious and profane messages directed to this blog as comments - some 3 a minute until I had over 300 comments over two separate attacks… but since I insist that all comments remain unpublished until I personally approve them, I could just designate them all as junk/spam.

What was annoying, was that after I wrote about the “attack” here in this blog, I received another flurry of commentary attacks.

I never responded to a single comment - mostly because I never “published” them and instead tagged them as junk/spam and then deleted them.

The hacker told me his name, his e-mail address and phone number. Why? I’m not sure, but I would bet that utilizing any of them could have actually opened up the door for further harassment.

Just yesterday, while at work, my cellphone rang. Not many people know the number. Certainly not the Canadian Revenue Agency, as some robotic message tried to tell me I had to call them or be arrested. Like I said, no one has that number. 

Here’s what a fellow complainant wrote about his/her issue with the same: 647-749-2251 phone number, phone HERE:

Automated message at 12:10 from the “CRA” stating there is a warrant out for my arrest for tax fraud. Need to call them back immediately. Called. "Officer" said they came to my house earlier with a Letter from CRA, nobody opened. So, I will be arrested. Police unit is on the way. Stay home don't hang up. You could avoid arrest if pay around 5000K. It could be done via Shoppers or Wallmart. Should buy 20 giftcards... 

Sadly, not everyone is hip to scams like this and might actually be concerned enough to do as requested.

People… the Canada Revenue Agency does not want gift cards. They would want their money, and would give you many different scenarios to pay back any money owed… perhaps even as determined in a court of law. Whatever. tax trouble? Call a lawyer.

Anyone asking you for money and you haven’t slept with them multiple times (for free) - why are you giving them money? Tell someone, ask for advice, proceed carefully.  

Anyhow… with regards to the CRA phone scam, no robot message is calling anybody to threaten them. The CRA has people who are robotic to do that.

I love how even the robotic message fails to use proper English grammar. I’m fairly sure that the CRA would have grammar that originated from someone from a native speaker.

Thank your lucky stars that there are people like FFF on the job keeping you as safe as humanly possible from the hacker.

And fer crissakes... help yourselves... if you see an e-mail that causes you pause... it's causing you pause for a reason... send it to the Junk or Spam folder. Look up the particulars online, and act accordingly.

Never open up "puzzling" material just because you are puzzled. Your IT department will thank you in their prayers to HAL later.

Hours after publishing this, I received a spam e-mail—a type I haven't received in a while: 

At least the "ru" designation on the e-mail provided is legitimate for mother Russia... but I've never been on Badoo. I don't even know what it is.

Andrew Joseph
PS: Just in case you didn't know it... in the books and movies of 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke, the malfunctioning computer is named HAL... one letter each removed from IBM.
PPS: The monolith is meant to represent a fuel cell that is supposed to be part of more fuel required to ignite Jupiter into our solar system's second star. Most solar systems are binary or trinary star systems. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are all gas giant planets that are lacking enough fuel to ignite into star like our sun, Sol. I think they are called brown dwarf stars, but gas giant planets will suffice. Now the movie should make more sense.   



Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Japanese Flag Trading Card

Just a brief one today.

In searching up cards to research for my Pioneers of Aviation blog that I write once a week, I found the above card that was issued with a French chocolate company, Chocolat Pupier Jolies, in the 1930s or so era.

It may have been part of a series showing world flags.

The French had a fascination with the Japanese and their art and way of life since the late 1870s.

It’s just a card that shows of the country’s Navy Rising Sun flag... but also showing Japan's military... probably already internationally known in the 1930s for its imperialistic military showings.  

Andrew Joseph

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Japanese Superman Comic Books - 1970s & 1980s

Up-up-and away!!!

Despite the photo above, I've never been a huge Superman fan.

I could never be Superman. Plus the guy was near-on invincible... except to magic and krypotnite. As such, I thought the only way to beat Superman was if you were say, an imp from the 5th dimension, or hard a heart made of green kryptonite - anything else, and he just let you win, or you had to go after something he loved and hold them hostage. Boring. And not just Wayne Boring. Wayne Boring was one of the earliest men to work on the Superman comic book stories... doing ghost work (unnamed).

I was a Batman guy... the guy had no super powers, but his dead parents left him a billion-dollar fortune and a butler. He trained to become the Batman...  he earned his Bat utility belt.

Anyone could train hard enough to become Batman if they had the billion dollar fortune and a butler... a you know, there but for the grace of god, crap. I was lazy... and preferred reading comic books rather than trying to emulate them.

Despite my preference for Batman over Superman, I read a lot of Superman stories - always hoping for that killer storyline that would make someone who was the original superhero into someone I could enjoy reading again.

Lots of people tried, and lots of people failed. I think the closest to seeing a Superman done correctly was the British version of Captain Marvel entitled Miracleman. You should seek out a copy and have your mind blown. I'm talking about the Eclipse Comics version in the 1980s. Best comic book storyline. Better than the Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Better than The Watchmen. Excluding the first 100 issues each of The Amazing Spider-man and The Fantastic Four, nothing from Marvel even comes close. And yeah, there's been some terrific stuff from many a comic book company... but Miracleman... that sh!t is dark and scary and well-drawn and even better written.
A page from MIracleman #15. A kindness... where Kid Miracleman (thing Captain Marvel Jr.) is eliminated...
Sadly... when DC Comics decided to publish Superman in Japan, it had an opportunity to create storylines and artwork that the Japanese audience could have eaten up... instead, from 1978 thru the early 1980s, we have reprints.

Reprints of Superman art on covers that don't match the stories on the inside... and those stories... while entertaining, probably pale when compared to the stories and art comic book companies began to put out in the 1980s...

Marvel, in my opinion, was originally story driven... continuing plots and growth of characters... DC had self-contained stories, but the characters rarely seemed to age or grow as people or as superheroes.

The Denny O'Neil/Neal Adams Green Lantern/Green Arrow stories of the 1960s  showed character growth, a look at the politics and social injustices going on in the US at that time, and featured the industries best artist.

The same duo turned Batman into the Dark Knight detective in the 1960s, too.

Neal Adams - his art was also featured in the X-Men and Avengers books of the 1970s... and not surprisingly, were the some of the best stories ever for that team.

Neal also did some art for Superman... not enough... but some... and the fact that when you look at books with his art... and even without knowing the artists, you just know that someone very good made a dull character look a helluva lot less dull.

Anyhow... let's look at the covers for a few of the Japanese Superman books of the 1970s-80s. The comics are color and black and white in the interior.

I'm pretty sure this was originally the cover of Superman #300... I can even recall buying it. As an anniversary issue, it was a re-telling of his origin story. This Japanese Volume 2 #1... I would have been 13 when this came out. On June 30, 1978, US$1 was 203.65 yen... basically...  it cost $1.40 for this comic book. What a rip. Granted the inside of the book was different from the cover... but still... we're talking about a reprint translated to Japanese, and a written article in Japanese... pages in black and white to save  on printing costs...  wow... what an over-priced comic book.

The original Superman 300 was released with a cover date of June 1976... so I was 11.
One of the most iconic Superman covers of all time. Originally Superman 233 with art by Neal Adams, they ruined it in this Volume 2 #2 issue...

I once bought a stripper boots... so I understand this cover. That's Star Sapphire, aka Carol Ferris, Green Lantern's sometime girlfriend.
I'm pretty sure I prefer this version of Star Sapphire. Enjoy... I've got nothing after this but plain old comic book covers...

Interesting how there was a 40-yen increase in  price for this issue over the previous ones... yeah.. Superman fails.

I think Supes is fighting the Parasite.

For you comic book collectors out there... I didn't even know these comic books existed. Granted I'm a bit North American centric when it comes to comic book collecting.

In fact, I have a lot of comic books that are Canadian covers or comics specifically made for Canadian audiences that the American-centric comic book market refuses to acknowledge.

I have a few British comics... and Russian, Swedish ones... and I know they exists in Greece, Denmark, Holland, Australia and New Zealand, India... everywhere... usually when I collect an international book, it is either a Donald Duck or Uncle Scrooge version...

For sheer rarity, the foreign books of North American heroes... those are tough to find in a decent condition.

I suppose you could find these Japanese Superman books... but I bet you'd pay more for them than you would for American Superman books of the same vintage.

Good hunting.

Andrew "Never faster than a speeding bullet" Joseph