Yōkoso – welcome to the Japan category of this blog. This is where I share anything that relates to Japan, business issues, the Japanese people or culture. Often posts that appear in this category will appear in other categories as well. So if Lawson launched a new brand collaboration with Nissan to sell a special edition Nissan Skyline GT-R. And that I thought was particularly interesting or noteworthy, that might appear in branding as well as Japan.
There is a lot of Japan-related content here. Japanese culture was one of odd the original inspirations for this blog hence my reference to chambara films in the blog name.
I don’t tend to comment on local politics because I don’t understand it that well, but I am interested when it intersects with business. An example of this would be legal issues affecting the media sector for instance.
If there are any Japanese related subjects that you think would fit with this blog, feel free to let me know by leaving a comment in the ‘Get in touch’ section of this blog here.
Frank Miller – Ronin (often called Frank Miller’s Ronin) was a graphic novel written in the early 1990s. In the story Miller looks to combine is love of myth and legend a la 300, with cyberpunk.
The story leaps across time from medieval Japan to the distant future of New York. The Ronin of the title is looking to revenge his master against a demon. The New York that they fall into owes a lot to the dystopian vision of Mega City One in Judge Dredd. All the money has flowed to capital and most people are living at the edges of society.
Miller explores links between mysticism and technology as it relates to artificial intelligence.
Frank Miller has a grand vision in Ronin; full of interesting ideas, but it feels half-baked. The potential in the story isn’t fulfilled. The worlds that Miller has built in the book feel very one dimensional in nature. That means that the foundation that the story builds on feels insubstantial. Miller tries to paper over the cracks by moving the reader quickly from one ‘cell’ to another.
I think that Ronin isn’t something that fits neatly into a short comic run and a trade paperback, but needs its own franchise to breath and develop further. There is a richness in there waiting to be tapped.
The artwork isn’t as rich as other Frank Miller works such as 300, The Dark Knight Returns or Sin City. Instead it feels like concept sketches rather than a complete work, even the colour panels feel that way. Ronin feels like something it would be worthwhile for the author to revisit and develop further. But at the present time I can only recommend Frank Miller – Ronin for completists, who are fans of Miller’s other works and will overlook this story’s limitations. More book related posts here.
This was the last place I expected to see anti-China sentiment addressed. I like Steve Guttenberg’s writing in the past for CNet on all things hi-fi and now follow his videos. What he does in in video makes up in enthusiasm, what he lacks in production skills. It was interesting to see him shoot a video that directly addressed a desire in his audience to not buy Chinese hi-fi products. Whilst some of this is about protecting well loved brands, I think some of it reflects a real turn in consumer sentiment towards an anti-China tone. Guttenberg manages to address the topic in an even-handed manner and tries to take some of the vitriol out of the discussion. More China related content here.
Ambient music to work by. There is an internet community who are re-editing selected pieces of sci-fi soundtrack to provide an epic ambient audio background. Here’s edits that have been done featuring Blade Runner and Ghost In The Shell.
This TV series provided one of the best backgrounds of Irish history. I remember seeing one or two of the episodes that my Dad had managed to capture on video tape. I can also recommend Robert Kee’s book Irelandwhich accompanied the series. It stops during the Troubles. Given the quality of the series and the mainstream audience that it received at the time, the UK is still astonishingly ignorant of Irish history. This has become especially apparent the Brexit process. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to have been moved on to Blu-Ray, DVD or legitimate streaming services. More Irish-related topics here.
Do Chinese millennials want diversity in fashion ads? | Advertising | Campaign Asia – Fashion’s culture wars are dividing Chinese millennials. In June, a series of fashion and beauty moves, including a Calvin Klein pride campaign featuring the black trans model Jari Jones and the decision by some top beauty groups to take their skin-whitening products off the market in China, polarized opinions across the country’s social media landscape. While the mainstream overwhelmingly saw these radical changes as a byproduct of the West’s excessive political correctness, the fashion-forward crowd recognized these debates as the start of a much-needed change in their country.
On the Twitter Hack – Schneier on Security – Whether the hackers had access to Twitter direct messages is not known. These DMs are not end-to-end encrypted, meaning that they are unencrypted inside Twitter’s network and could have been available to the hackers. Those messages — between world leaders, industry CEOs, reporters and their sources, heath organizations — are much more valuable than bitcoin. (If I were a national-intelligence agency, I might even use a bitcoin scam to mask my real intelligence-gathering purpose.) Back in 2018, Twitter said it was exploring encrypting those messages, but it hasn’t yet.
Enter the parents | Film | The Guardian – no one suspected that he would turn out to have two brothers still alive and living impoverished, anonymous lives in mainland China. Nor did they have any inkling that Jackie’s mother had once been a legendary gambler in the Shanghai underworld or that his father had been a Nationalist spy and gangland boss. These are among the more startling revelations that Cheung uncovers. “The fact that his mother was an opium smuggler, a gambler and a big sister in the underworld was a big shock to Jackie and also to us,” she admits. “Everybody in Hong Kong knew that his mother was like a common housewife, very kind, very gentle.”
China has big ideas for the internet. Too bad no one else likes them – CNET – New IP would shift control of the internet, both its development and its operation, to countries and the centralized telecommunications powers that governments often run. It would make it easier to crack down on dissidents. Technology in New IP to protect against abuse also would impair privacy and free speech. And New IP would make it harder to try new network ideas and to add new network infrastructure without securing government permission