Archive for category Japan


Tsurugi sword performance group O-Getsu Ryu in Tokyo

Posted by on Thursday, 20 October, 2005

O-Getsu Ryu will perform their latest work “Colorful” in Tokyo on October 25-27 at Space Zero in Yoyogi, Tokyo, Japan. To get tickets, visit their homepage at

O-Getsu Ryu is a unique performance group that mixes very traditional Tsurugi style sword techniques with modern music. Their shows are often based on old Japanese tales, like The Tale of Genji or stories written about the 17th century samurai Musashi. They recently toured Taiwan, and last year they toured around Europe with their show “Sakuya” to high critical acclaim.

The leader of the group, Ms. Mihoko Kamiya, also sings in a very old, extinct language dating back to the Yamato period (250 – 710 AD), which hardly can be experienced through viewing photographs! If you can read Japanese, there’s an interview with her to be found on

It’s very hard to describe O-Getsu Ryu any further – it’s a truly unique experience mixing old and new, aggressive weapon techniques with beautiful fluid dance motions. The pictures below capture at least some of the magic. (Click on the thumbnails to see original photo.)

critical blow


Maid cafes and maid hair salons

Posted by on Tuesday, 18 October, 2005

Unless you’ve lived under a rock during the last few months (or, perhaps, if you’ve lived outside Japan and not paid any attention to articles in the media or blogs) then you know of a phenomena known as “maid cafes” which have become really common here.

A maid cafe is simply a cafe/coffee shop were the waitresses happen to be dressed up as maids, to cater to the fantasies of the patrons. There are maid cafes where the waitresses also dress up as your favorite manga-character or playstation game heroine – but they are all generally referred to as “maid cafes.” Another general term that is used is moeten (萌店) where “moe” literally means “bud” or “sprout” but recently is almost exclusively used to describe the ideal youthful and innocent femininity as it is often portraid in anime and manga.

Anyway, through Epitmetheus blog I found that there also exists “maid salons” where the hair stylists are dressed in maid outfits. Wow! This country never ceases to amaze me. There is such a salon called “Moesham” (derived from “moe” and “shampoo”) in Akihabara. They even have ceiling-mounted mirrors so you can get a good view of your hair dresser from every angle!!

If you’re interested in other varities of moetens and maid cafes, there’s a good resource here at Here are some examples:

Chocolatte (maid cafe in Akihabara)
chocolatte maid

@Home Cafe (also a maid cafe in Akihabara)
athome maid

Little MSN (maid mahjong club in Yurakucho)
little MSN maid


Happy birthday Hideshima-san

Posted by on Tuesday, 18 October, 2005

I’ve been meaning to posting about the lovely Fumika Hideshima (秀島 史香) a number of times before, but I just never got around to it. She is my absolute favorite radio DJ in Japan right now. You can hear her daily on J WAVE 81.3, she has a show called GROOVE LINE which is on every weekday from 4 PM to 8 PM.

Just listen to the show once and you’ll understand why I adore her so much! That husky voice is just out of this world! When I first heard her, I imagined her to be much older and not so cute; so I was quite shocked when I saw her photo:


Well, apparently she just had her birthday (9th of October…sorry I missed it!) so I would like to wish her a very Happy Birthday!! I shall always remain your loyal fan!

Oh, she keeps an online diary too, but it’s only in Japanese.

[EDIT] I had to double-post this, and delete the original entry because some double-byte characters ended up in the permalink, causing all sorts of trouble!


Hey BSA! Turn your attention to Japan please!

Posted by on Friday, 14 October, 2005

Yeah… That’s right, I’m actually begging BSA to turn their attention to Japan for a while, and I’m deadly serious too. Why?

Well, you all have probably heard about the so-called “ipod tax”, a private copy levy on digital music players, proposed by the Japanese music industry. Truly a move by a desperate industry clinging to outdated business models, etc, etc, etc, but that’s not really the point here.

The interesting point is this; that these private levies are heavily criticized by none other than BSA, Business Software Alliance. In their press release yesterday they voice their criticism on this practise because it means that when consumers are law-abiding and pay for their music they are in effect double-taxed!

So that is why I hope that BSA can help lobby against the Japanese music industry so that this stupid idea does not go into effect over here as well.


Top universities in the world – top 10 in Sweden/Japan

Posted by on Friday, 7 October, 2005

Well I just found out that the university I graduated from (Gothenburg University) is ranked among the top 153-202 universities in the world according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2005 edition.

To my my joy I saw that it is ranked higher than Chalmers Institute of Technology, from which my father graduated – and he always praises it as the best university in Sweden…. :-)

What was ranked as the best university in the world? Harvard, closely followed by Cambridge and Stanford.

Here’s the top ten list for Sweden (with the world ranking within parantheses):

  1. Karolinska Institute of Medicine (45)
  2. Uppsala University (60)
  3. Stockholm University (93)
  4. Lund University (99)
  5. Gothenburg University (153-202)
  6. Chalmers Institute of Technology (203-300)
  7. Royal Institute of Technology (203-300)
  8. Swedish University of Agricultural Science (203-300)
  9. Umea University (203-300)
  10. Linkoping University (301-400)
  11. Stockholm School of Economics (301-400)

The corresponding list for Japan looks like this. Japan has many more universities in the Top 500 list, but mainly because they have so many more than Sweden. They only have one more than Sweden in the Top 100:

  1. Tokyo University (20)
  2. Kyoto University (22)
  3. Osaka University (62)
  4. Tohoku University (73)
  5. Tokyo Institute of Technology (93)
  6. Hokkaido University (101-152)
  7. Kyushu University (101-152)
  8. Nagoya University (101-152)
  9. Tsukuba University (101-152)
  10. Hiroshima University (203-300)