welcome to iChiban. excuse the poor english, enjoy your stay
- haruka
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*caution* some of ichibans content may not be suited for people under 16 and may not be worksafe
Monday, March 06, 2006
crossplay - young boys as girls
Tourists from all over the world visiting japan want to experience the cosplay phenomenon, and the best place to do that is in harajuku on the bridge a few hundred meters from the main station. every saturday and sunday, hundreds of cos and crossplayers gather to show off their new homemade costumes and designs. not only for their friends but for hundreds of photographers and established designers.

some of the costume designs even make it to the big catwalk. the bridge is packed with young girls just waiting for the opportunity to get photographed. but there are a few of the cosplayers who doesn't want to get photographed and can get physical on you if you approach them. there have been several cases where young girls have slashed & stabbed men with small knives because they were following them and some have lost possession of their very expensive camera equipment, so if you're going to stalk a cosplayer you better think twice..

and look twice as well. yes, beacuse alot of the cosplayers are actually young boys crossdressing as young girls and you wont notice until you hear them speak or you're very close to them. crossdressing is also dressing up like an animal or a character from a anime/manga and seeing one in a restaurant for example is an everyday thing.

(pic up/right; a young boy crossplaying a girl)

there are huge events dedicated to cosplay and crossplay in japan and even in manga/anime and game events there are hundred of cosplayers in the area playing their favorite characters. ofcourse, cosplay is not limited to the harajuku area. you can see cosplayers wander around with their strange costumes anywhere in tokyo and other cities just to show off their costume.

north of the harajuku cosplay crossing not far away from the harajuku station lies the takeshita street. this street is the busiest street in the area and sells costumes, games and other otaku stuff. it is regulary packed with people walking around and there are even singing girls outside the stores begging you to come and buy something from them.

some of the items are very radical, like you can buy a swastika shirts & dresses or a bloody cape and you get a knife for free. cos/crossplaying is serious business in japan. some people have cosplayed in over 10 years and they don't see why they should stop. there are a few cases of very old men and women dressing up as well.

sometimes while walking the harajuku bridge you could see a 70 year old lady dressed like a young girl. this ofcourse would scare away the tourists, but it's an everyday sight for the japanese people living there. so keep in mind that in harajuku young girls may be boys and boys may be girls.

(pic left; an exclusive, homemade swastika shirt)

Friday, February 17, 2006
we want your ID and facial scan
if you want to visit japan for the first time, or you already have been there before but want to move there again you have to submit information about your stay, if you got a job, if you carry any drugs, where you would stay, how long and why ect. that is normal procedure. but now you have to submit to a new rule. many think this new rule violates human rights, i myself dont really think that this new rule will help with capturing terrorists (beacuse the rule is designed to do that). what is the new rule you ask yourself.

if you are a foreigner (non japanese) 16 years of age or older, and you visit japan for the first time, or the 34'th time (it doesn't really matter). you have to provide fingerprints, facial portaits and scans if you want to enter japan. if you are to refuse any of these procedures you will be ordered to leave the country. if you dont leave the police will take care of you and probobly throw you out with force, taking pictures and fingerprints of you in the process. the Japan Federation of Bar Associations said; "Making non-Japanese individuals subject to controls and monitoring despite the fact that they are not under suspicion of any charges whatsoever would violate the right to privacy, one of the basic human rights".

so how does a terrorist look?. if you look asian you probobly wont have any trouble passing through. and they will know who will be arriving, beacuse the rule will require captains of vessels or aircraft to submit lists of crew members and passengers before they arrivie. so if you look "suspicious" you might not even be able to leave the craft you traveled in. the information collected from you will be digitally processed and logged for future examination and comparison with information on suspected terrorists and others deemed undesirable.

so now, you wont only feel unwelcome when you enter japan, but you will feel like a criminal on parole. the revised law will stipulate that those viewed as potential terrorists by the justice ministry will be subject to deportation.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006
anonymous internet culture
there is no need to mention that the japanese youth uses internet not only for communication of any sort (see my previous posts) but they are probobly the most active internet users in the world. one example of this internet culture is the mega BBS (forum) 2Channel, the biggest forum in the world. the website attracts more than 10 million users everyday with over 2.5 millions posts in more than 600 sub forums that range from food, tv programs, news, music, entertainment, computers. porn ect.. the impact of this forum is so big, that characters you see in tv commericals and other places in japan were actually created by random anonymous 2channel users with text art or ASCII art. (picture below)

so why is it so popular? well, the creator of the forum 'hiroyuki nishimura' started this forum as a sparetime activity, but instead of taking an existing forum software, he wrote his own and made the forum anonymous friendly. this means that when you post, you post as an anonymous. no need for registering and the simple yet effective design helped the forum to grow big. the users of 2channel and many other have even created their own slang language. ask any japanese about 2channel, and he will know what it is. not only youth is posting in the bbs, but also buisness men trying to get help from others. beacuse everyone is anonymous (but not forced anonymous), nobody knows who that person in that thread is. nobody is trying to make a name for themselves, thogh you can create a 'tripcode'. a tripcode is like an ID that follows behind your name so that users really know who you are if you need them to. this ofcourse is optional.

there has even been a manga, book, tv series and a motion picture made beacuse of it. in 'densha otoko' (train man) a young man helps a woman in the subway, they later exchange numbers and starts dating. the problem is that he is a 'otaku' and dont know anything about dating, and she is a regular person, so he enters 2channel to get help by the anonymous users, who also are 'otakus' and here it becomes interesting. in reality, this story is actually taken from one of 2channels forums. an anonymous user entered 2channel in 2004 and started to post about an incident that happened on the train, a drunk man entered and started to badger a young woman but nobody seemed to care, so the 'otaku' took the risk and told the man to stop bothering the passengers. they fought for a while until the train stopped and police could arrest the drunken man.

next day he wrote, in the same forum, that he got a gift from that girl and asked the users if he should call her back.. this kept going for several days and in the end he managed to win the girls heart (with the help of the 2channel users). this simple, yet magical story of love captured millions of users and a celebration began on 2channel. a copy of the original threads was successfully published in a printed book. and beacuse 2channel reaches the far end of the media in japan, the story spread quickly and 'anonymous' or (densha otoko as he called himself) became popular amongst millions. everybody know what densha otoko did, but nobody know who he actually is in real life. they are still together.

Monday, February 13, 2006
student - teacher relationships
the japanese schoolsystem can seem radically different from any other country. yes, you have your uniforms, slippers and punishments like holding buckets of water outside the classroom door ect ect. but they are infact very simmalar in teaching. the only differences are that there is almost no sex education teached in japanese schools for teens, no showing of the human reproductive organs. there is also the hiding of events from WW2 and korea vs japan history, wich i think is ridiculus. and ofcourse the fact that young students (girls) often find themselves in relationships with older teachers. in japan, there are famous love hotels where you and your partner can hire a room to spend the night or just the evening in. but sometimes you would see a very young girl and a old man enter a love hotel. there are a few girls who submit to a relationship with a teacher beacuse it might help them get better grades. but some do it out of trust and respect.

the numbers of sexual harassments by teachers in japan are increasing. here is a short, but real story; a young girl had problems with her part time job (yes, japanese often go to school and go to their part time job afterwards, making the whole day booked up. and sometimes they have sportsclubs after that) anyway, she wanted to talk with her teacher about her problems (as she often would do over the phone) but this time the teacher asked her to come see him beacuse it might be better to talk face to face. the girl accepted this beacuse she had gained so much trust from the teacher.

while in the car the girl was so cought up with explaining her problems that she didn't notice where the teacher was taking her. when the car stopped she realized that they were outside a love hotel. the teacher said it would be best to discuss the problems in there beacuse the love hotels are 'closed out' from the public. she again accepted and they entered the hotel. the teacher seemed calm and happy to help her with her problems.

while in the room the teacher suddenly hugged her with force, she was fighting back but she couldn't stop the teacher from pushing her down and then starting to kiss her. she gave up fighting after realizing she hadn't enough strenght to counter the weight of the man. concerned about getting pregnant or getting other deseases she asked him tp put on a condom but the teacher refused and told the girl to do it orally. after the event the teacher emailed her on several occations but the girl didn't answer. but she still had the same teacher in class. afraid that she migh be an outcast in school, she didn't tell her friends.

it took 3 years for her to gain so much strenght she decided to tell someone. japanese schools are very relaxed and enjoyable, but many young girls often hate male teachers in school beacuse they dont know wich one migh be the 'hentai'.

Saturday, February 11, 2006
hot spring avalanche
taking a bath in japan is an everyday activity for millions of japanese people. after a hard days of work, before work or during a break, the japanese buisnessman likes to relax in a hot bath. baths in japan are so popular there are countless public baths and outdoor hot springs where you can go. especially in the winter, people gather in natural outdoor hot springs to warm themselves. in a puplic bath/hot spring there are spererate entrances for males and females, though there is just a thin wall seperating the two in the actuall bath area. in some baths there are no barriers at all.

while in the bath you should be completely naked. this is the unwritten rule, but some choose to wear a towel. the public baths were an essential part for most people in japan until 1970. by that time most households had their own baths. but the hot spring are ever so popular. a hot spring is a natural resource comming from small underground volcano activities. japan is located just outside the center of the tectonic plates. this gives japan the daily earthquakes and the hot springs. it should be 25°C or hotter and have a certain mineral content, otherwise it doesn't meet the criteria'. hot springs actually, partially heal you from high blood pressure, diabetes and other illness. this has been recorded as far back as the eighth century.

this year, the winter has been cold with alot of snowfall. so why not leave the cold and soak yourself in an natural hot spring? beacuse you might get hit by an avalance?
yes, two women were badly injured and other were hurt when an avalanche come sliding into the hotspring located in the nyuto hot spring district of senboku.

it also killed an 20-year old construction worker near the bath. the avalanche was 50m (164 ft) wide and 30 meters high and carried iceblocks with it. imagine you are visiting japan for the first time and you want to take a soak in one of the thousand hot springs. you want to experience the warmth in a outdoor winter landscape. little do you know that the landscape might actually come to you.

Friday, February 10, 2006
missing schoolgirl slippers
in japan, before you enter a classroom you need to change your street shoes to school slippers. there are even special bars & resturants where the customer must take of their shoes to keep the indoors clean. and walking in to your friends home with your shoes on would be unrespectfull. this is where first time visitors to japan fail to make a good first impression.

but the school rule is more set for younger school girls and boys beacuse this will keep the classrooms clean and even compliment your shcool uniform. the slippers are stored in small boxes as your books are stored. in the morning students would come in and change to their school slippers, bring their books and go to class. but one morning 77 young girl students would be suprized to learn that their right-foot slippers were gone. yes, 77 'right foot' school slippers were stolen from an suburban tokyo girls highschool. someone or something had walked in without a sign of break-in and stole 77 right foot slippers from a shoebox.

the reason? the reason might be the schoolgirl fetish i explained in earlier posts. there have been several incidents where people have stolen young girls panties from schools and public baths. some girls even like their personal belongings to be stolen beacuse thats a sign of popularity and that they are loved by someone. males often take an item from a locker instead of telling the girl beacuse they dont dare to express themselves in another way.

but 77 slippers? it is estimated that one school slipper weigh about 300 grams.. yes, 300 grams. this would mean that somebody got in and took about 23 kilograms of shoes and then left unnoticed. many think that this
is an impossible feat for a person to take so much unnoticed. so they blame the UFO's.

"there's a possibility, i'd say if that was the case, it would probably have been Martians."
says UFO researcher junichiro nirasawa.

sure.. why not, blame the martians! not the increasing lolita complex around otaku's. many people who steal panties, schooluniforms and other personal belongings from young or adult women sell them over the internet for huge amounts of money. in this case, the person who stole 77 right foot slippers would have huge amount of money. it wouldn't suprize me if 77 left foot schoolgirl slippers were to dissapear in the near future.

Thursday, February 09, 2006
internet pact - suicides
Suicides in japan are very common. infact last year 31,042 japanese committed it, and that is only the recorded number. people who can't manage the enourmous stress caused by work, family or their economy choose to take their lives beacuse they dont see another way out. but in later years, suicide taken by young persons have increased dramaticly. there are a few selected web forums where the user can log in and discuss how he is going to go through with it. sometimes, two or more people gather and plan a suicide scenario where all of them will meet their destiny.

some young people wrist cut themselves just to see if they are still alive, if they can still feel. they feel like robots who wake up, go to work/school, work all day, and then go home to wake up again and do the same thing all over. so they are walking around with wrist cuts to show that they are emotionally unstable. many choose this instead of seeking professional help to not show weakness. but many also cut themselves to show of to their friends. yes, wrist cuts have become a trend among extreme cosplayers and original costumewearers in japan.

(pic up; 'masa' meets a schoolgirl cosplayer with cuts and her own blood)

so how can you tell if that little girl with cuts in the corner has real problems or is only playing? you cant for sure. but people who are regulary visiting the internet and have contact with those girls can infact save lives.

the recorded internet-related suicides across japan last year was a total of 91 people. thogh there are many more unrecorded cases. so why are those websites not moderated and not closely watched? they are, but little can be done to stop a person who wants to take his own life. the police started cooperating with internet service providers in october last year. thogh it is illegal, the internet providers gave out the adresses of those people who talked about killing themselves to the police. the police managed to contact 14 people and two of them was taken to a hospital. 9 of them were told and persuaded to not commit suicide and the last 3 didn't actually intend to do it. so they were just watching? there have even been suicide comics and movies released and that only shows how common it has gotten.

the number of internet suicides and wrist cuters continue to grow in japan and little can be done to halt that growing number.a good information news website about suicide pacts & related can be found here:

Wednesday, February 08, 2006
environmental maids in akihabara
tokyo japan. akihabara is 'the' place to go for the latest in electronics, tv, computers, cellphones, mp3players, cameras, gadgets ect. in akihabara you can find just about anything you want in electronics, and in later years, it has become the place for otaku's.
otaku (roughly translated as 'geeks') are people who are known for their devotion to toys, comics and games, meet in akihabara to buy, trade and talk about the latest releases.

there are lifesized dolls, minature robots, idol photobooks, yes anything an otaku wants. there are even maid cafe's where you can come in and get served by maids. when you enter a maid cafe they greet you with words like; welcome home master. some even bow or get on their knees. the maids are dressed after well known characters from various comic books that any 'otaku' recognizes.

they may even feed you if are lucky enough to find such a maid. if you are, you can even pay for a private room with comics and toys to talk to her alone. for gamers there are few special cafe's where CG (computer generated) characters come to life and you can order from them. there are also hair saloons for those who wants to get a haricut by a maid or just shampood.

after a long day in akihabara and after alot of shopping you find yourself having many plastic bags to hold your items in. these you get for free in the shops when you buy an item. it's estimated that 30billion bags are handed out each year. thats alot of plastic bags. so many infact that the maid cafe's in akihabara has now teamed up with a majour electronics store and started an environmental campaign that will reduce waste. people who no longer accepts paper or plastic bags in shops get this special bag to carry their items in. you even get an autograph or a picture drawn from one of the maids.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006
obey or get expelled - schoolgirl uniforms
rules are to be obeyed. you should wear your schooluniform even in the worst weather you can imagine. even if your town gets hit by snowfalls up to 1 meter.
introduced in 1921 as the japanese school uniform for young female students, it was modelled after the uniforms used by the british royal navy at the time. today, the 'sailor fuku' (sailor outfit) is weared by young girls as a rule set by the school system.
but it is also weared outside the school enviroment and is hugely popular in cosplay and the otaku scene. it is often considered the number one fetish in japan and has become something of a trademark.

variations of the uniforms come in shortening/lengthening the skirt, removing ribbons and rolling up the sleeves, thogh no variation can protect you from a blizzard. infact, the skirt has become so short that some students choose to wear sweatpants underneeth them. but this is not allowed by all schools.

(pic up; young girls on their way to school in heavy snow)

huge snow storms are rare in japan, but last year the mountain regions got burried under record snowfalls and had killed more than 80 people and injured about 2000. but even with a avalanche warning and the recorded 1 meter snowfall in the city Nagoya, you would see young girls marching in their uniforms to school. showing up in school not wearing your uniform could get you expelled. and expelled from school in japan equals doomed.

Monday, February 06, 2006
japan gets naked news broadcast
everything is shown. the entire body is at the display and they have even shaved themselves just you you can see all the details of their neither regions.

this kind of broadcast has been availeble to candians for 7 years now and has become further more availeble via internet, television and ofcourse the mobile phones in europe, australia and the us. and it's time for the millions of mobile users in japan, who log in to chat and watch news on their cellphones everyday, to take part in the new exiting medium; to watch a naked woman stand and whore herself while telling you exiting news.. not that you would listen anyway.

"We would not have dared to come to Japan unless we were convinced that there was a definite market, and we now see there is a massive market here" says david warga, CEO of eGalaxy multimedia inc.

ofcourse there is a market, the japanese reads & watches the news on their cellphones everyday. but the japanese may get suprised when they log on and notice that the naked woman doesn't actually speak any japanese. instead, they will be reading tiny subtitles on a tiny cellphone. they will get angry, ofcourse they will be angry, but not at the fact that she doesn't speak any japanese or give any news about japan, but that the subtitles are covering up her neither regions. there are plans to eventually produce content in japan so that it would appeal to the japanese population.

why do we watch news? i watch news beacuse i want the information, i want to know whats been happening in the world. i really dont give a shit how the anchors and reporters look. what i care about is the news content of the broadcast. so who are these naked people? are they qualified reporters, journalists, do you really trust a naked person telling you news? presenter Lili kwan 'as seen in picture above' has been broadcasting for 5 years now and what does she have to say about it all?;

"I love being able to go out onto the streets and take my clothes off, while we have been in Tokyo, people have been very surprised to see us with no tops on, but they're very happy and interested in talking to us."

now, you may think, is this for real? if i met this person in an interview and didn't know anything about her i would have thought she was a hooker 'no offence'. a naked woman standing and talking about poverty and young children dying. but who would care? infact, she could be talking about anything and people would still watch the news.

want pixels? get zelda pixels!
the legend of zelda series had it's 20th anniversary earlier this month. the huge nintendo classic action/adventure game zelda took everyone by suprize in the early days with it's revolutionary battery saving system and gameplay. no longer were you forced to write down passwords and you could continue your quest to collect the triforces with ease.

but the saving system was not perfect, even i experienced saves dissapearing without a reason. the series grew even bigger when 'a link to the past' or 'zelda 3' got released for the super famicom (super nintendo). a few years later, the masterpiece 'ocarina of time' blew everyone away with it's graphics and story and it's said to be one of the very best zelda games ever.

to celebrate the anniversary, 'the king of games' (licensed by nintendo) released a very exclusive collectible plastic-pixel actionfigures.

the idea is that you get a empty pixel canvas and some pixels that you can put anywhere. do it as it says in the booklet and you got yourself a 'link'!in other news; the new tetris DS (double screen) game has got a zelda mode and nintendo gave a sneak preview of it.

Sunday, February 05, 2006
cellphone mania - imaginary fotball game
why do we buy 'good looking' cellphones? why pay for the 'new design' when they are hidden in our pockets?
did you ever have the experience of someone telling you how cool your cellephone looks? if yes, did you have the experience of someone you dont know telling you how cool it looks?

cellphones are like small personal computers, they have mp3 players, camera, internet & mail system, voice recording ect ect.. but how often have you used the internet function? do you use it every day?

the internet function & the video conversation is basicly made for the japanese people and it was there the technology came from. In japans youth culture, the cellphone tells alot about who you are. this may sound ridiculous but thats japan for you.
cellphones is a big deal in japanese e-culture. everyday, millions of mobile users log into the internet to view the latest news, message or chat on special cellphone forums.

(pic up; harajuku - a place to meet and show your latest cosplay outfit, as well as your new cool cellphone!)

they do it on their way to work, they do it while working, they do it while eating, they even do it when they have friends around. Cellphones in japan is big.
even Cloud (the main character in both the finalfantasy 7 game and the 'advent children' movie) had a cool cellphone. and when i say cool i mean Really cool.
so cool infact that the makers added many scenes in the new ff CG movie dedicated to just the cellphone alone. the first scene you see cloud in is when he talks to someone on his god damn cellphone. hidden advertisements in movies is nothing new, but to flash the cellphones in a animated full-lenght movie for RPG game fans is just ridiculous. who the fuck cares what cellphone could has, and the function it has. i didn't pay money to see cellphone advertisements in a 'game/anime flic'. and it's not even hidden advert, there is a scene in the movie that shows the cellphone rotate in 3d , 360 degrees & all, just like you would in a regular tv ad.. and this scene is about 15 seconds long. i mean come on! any of you who have seen this movie knows what im talking about. these cellphones are everywhere.

(pic right; Cloud and his cool cellphone, it's really cool)

and this tells alot about the huge impact the youth culture has on japanese media. they love their cellphones and buy new ones as soon as they are released just to stay 'in'. mobile keyrings, original design art, colors and hacked mobiles. there is even a new fotball game that lets you kick 'imaginary footballs' by pointing your cellphone's camera at your feet and kicking. imagine 1000 people standing and kicking invisible balls. and imagine a fighting game where you have to punch invisible foes, and suddenly you punch a preson who happened to walk by.

you can even pay with your cellphones these days.
i wonder how many times i mentioned cellphone in this post.

FF 'Advent children' US release by the end of 2006?
Final fantasy advent children is a movie sequel to the hugely popular, and some may even say the best Final Fantasy RPG game ever. Final fantasy 7 was bound to be released on the next generation console Ultra 64 (now known as Nintendo 64) but square (the creators of the game) decided to change to sony beacuse of the CD format.

After the release of the first full-lenght final fantasy movie 'ff the spirits within' many lost faith in squarepictures and square itself, and feared that the new ff movie 'advent children' would be even worse than the first one and/or that it would ruin the whole story of the ff game. but Squarepictures is no more, and all fans of final fantasy waited for the new movie to be released & leaked onto the internet (wich it eventually got).

a torrent is a wonderfull thing, especially for those hardcore fans who dont live in japan and want to see the movie as soon as possible. the movie was a big hit in the japanese market and fans all over the world (including me) thought the movie did better than the previous one. It was really good, tho not a bullseye. The dvd release in japan sold hundred of thousands copy's but there hasn't been a US release of the movie to this date.

It is said that Mike Stradford, an executive in sonys DVD division, explained plans to release the DVD in the US by the end of 2006. the question is, how many will actually buy the DVD? probobly all of the hardcore fans have already burned them on their own DVD's and have watched it countless of times.

Saturday, February 04, 2006
Slaughter live broadcast
welcome to the internet. where young killers are treated like idols.
where wristcutters post their pictures on their blogs and get thousands of replies telling them how fucking cool they are.
p2p, torrent files, pr0n, internet suicide videos, and specific chatrooms where you and your friends can discuss how you're going to end your worthless lives, all in real time.
this, my friends, is the future of communication! and we fucking love it!

Japan; a young girl kills her classmate and she becomes a hero amongs thousands, if not millions of internet users. this next happening grabbed the media's attention too, but tragically it only had a really short attentionspan.

imagine you open a bbs and read a persons descriptions,(in detail), how he cuts his cats ears & tail off, drugs him and want to cook the cat alive. a discussion starts and people starts commin up with ideas on how to end the cats life. someone tells him he should eat it after he's killed the cat, then another quickly replies; give the cat his own flesh to eat.
anyone normal reading this thread would feel sick, so you click 'next thread' and now you will be reading how one had a problem tying her shoelaces the other day. the contrast is incredible.

now, this thread is long gone, but the pictures are not so hard to get if you know where to look.this is the actuall cropped conversation (translated from japanese to english) it is worksafe.


now, if you think that this is a 'once in a lifetime' thing you be greatly mistaken.
this shit happens everyday and as you read this, another person somewhere in the world 'probobly japan' is killing a "carrier".