A while back I featured this Lego ball machine from Japan.
Well, this one (also from Japan) is twice as insane.
It may even be from the same guy.
(Hat tip: Lou Anders‘ Facebook page.)
A Shoegaze cover of The Beatles’ “Across the Universe”?
Would you believe that Japan’s Meeks has done an entire album of Shoegaze Beatles covers called Beatless?
Happy Friday the 13th!
I’m not a LEGO fanatic, but I know two people who are, so I thought I’d put this up for them:
This is for Kurt Baty and Steve Jackson, who now need to step up their LEGO game…
While plumbing the depths and breadths of YouTube for suitable Shoegazer Sunday entries, sometimes I stumble across something interesting that doesn’t fit in the Shoegaze label. Today let’s take a look at Japanese band SpecialThanks.
The first 20 seconds of silence is just to mess with you.
So a pop-punk band with a deadly cute female lead who sings in English that sounds like a cross between Blink-182 and [Insert Current Teenage Female Pop Sensation Here]. This is the sort of Japanese cross-cultural pop artifact that Bruce Sterling circa 1992 would have been all over. As it stands, I’m pretty sure some canny American record label would make millions signing them over here…
From Japan comes Clams with “Sundae Bird.” The first 48 seconds are space music drone, but after that the catchy dreampop tune kicks in.
Another Sunday, another obscure Japanese Shoegaze band. This time it’s Pastel Blue with “Ariel.”
A lot of people compare them to Slowdive, and this songs tells you way.
For your Sunday dose of Shoegaze, here’s Japan’s Lemon’s Chair covering My Bloody Valentine’s “What You Want.” I actually prefer it to the original, mainly because the tonalities are more pleasing to my ear.
This is evidently off a Japanese compilation of My Bloody Valentine covers called Yellow Loveless.
The search for the coolest Christmas tree is officially over. You’re never going to beat the giant, fire-breathing Godzilla Christmas tree of Aqua City Odaiba shopping mall in Tokyo.
Here’s another beautiful song from Japan’s Lemon’s Chair. However, “Swallowtail,” unlike most of their songs, is available in the U.S. on iTunes, and I think it’s my favorite of their work.
This is the fourth Lemon’s Chair song I’ve put up, and yes, I like them a lot.
Next on our Halloween tour of scary and/or creepy phenomena: Mummies.
Yawn. Bad Universal monster movies. How banal.
OK. How about Japanese mummies?
Meh. Maybe worthy of a slightly-arched eyebrow.
OK. How about Japanese monks who mummified themselves while they were still alive?
I thought that would get your attention.
Meet the Sokushinbutsu:
Let’s go to Wikipedia, the source of all vaguely-accurate knowledge, for the grisly details of how a monk would voluntarily turn himself into a Sokushinbutsu:
For 1,000 days the priests would eat a special diet consisting only of nuts and seeds, while taking part in a regimen of rigorous physical activity that stripped them of their body fat. They then ate only bark and roots for another thousand days and began drinking a poisonous tea made from the sap of the Urushi tree, normally used to lacquer bowls.
This caused vomiting and a rapid loss of bodily fluids, and most importantly, it made the body too poisonous to be eaten by maggots. Finally, a self-mummifying monk would lock himself in a stone tomb barely larger than his body, where he would not move from the lotus position. His only connection to the outside world was an air tube and a bell. Each day he rang a bell to let those outside know that he was still alive.
When the bell stopped ringing, the tube was removed and the tomb sealed. After the tomb was sealed, the other monks in the temple would wait another 1,000 days, and open the tomb to see if the mummification was successful.
If the monk had been successfully mummified, he or she was immediately seen as a Buddha and put in the temple for viewing. Usually, though, there was just a decomposed body. Although they were not viewed as a true Buddha if they were not mummified, they were still admired and revered for their dedication and spirit.
There are reportedly some 24 “successful” examples of monks turning themselves into mummies in northern Japan, which suggests that they were probably hundreds of unsuccessful attempts. So just imagine a starving monk, entombing himself alive, wasting away toward his inevitable demise.
That would be one hell of a time to discover you have claustrophobia…