Samurai Dave: The Roving Ronin Report

Rambling Narrative of Travels, Thoughts, and Embellishments

Mayan Apocalypse Comes to Japan!?!?

Officially the end of the world by the Mayan Calendar will not come until late morning December 21st in the Western Hemisphere according to Mayan time not New Zealand time. Already some apocalyptic signs have appeared in Japan as the day there turned December 21st.

It may be nothing or it may be something. Either way I just wanted wish everyone a Merry Mayan Apocalypse as the sun devours the earth causing your blood to boil till it bursts from your charred skinned while your eyes melt like gooey marshmellows in your blackened skull!

I also updated the Mayan/Aztec Calendar with cheerful Christmas Trees to give the coming apocalypse a more festive feeling.

Merry Mayan Apocalypse

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December 21, 2012 Posted by | travel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Haunted Noodles in Tokyo!

Dare you face the dreaded Haunted Noodles of Tokyo? WARNING: Not for the faint of heart!

While walking around in Tokyo I came across a “haunted” bowl of noodles where disembodied chopsticks continuously lifted noodles up and down no doubt remembering a former life full of happiness and ramen noodles.

July 29, 2011 Posted by | comedy, Ghosts, japan, tokyo, weird, WTF | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tokyo Decadance Pirate Christmas

Tokyo Decadance Pirate Christmas
Have Yourself a Piratey Little Christmas, Maties!

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Santa enjoys a beer with a pirate

Christmas has rolled around once more and Tokyo Decadance that eclectic melting pot of subcultures celebrates the holiday season with Santa and Pirates. One gives while the other takes. Considering the latter have probably been on the naughty list for so long that it’s only natural that Pirates should want a little for themselves.

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Pirate Santa hangs out with a motley crew

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A Goth Pirate

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Pirate Santa with a Pirate Wench

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A Vampiric Nursing Santa Helper

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The Easter Bunny dropped by with a friend

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Pirate wench(?) and Monster enjoying Christmas

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Is that a yule log in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

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Captain Blackbeard Adrien, Captain of the Tokyo Decadance vessel

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Pirate Santa has acquired some precious booty

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A saucy serving wench kept us supplied with sauce

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This Pirate Angel will stick the tree up your ass and you’ll like it – if you know what’s good for you

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A bare chested pirate doesn’t feel the chill laden with rum as he is

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Mrs. Claus lets herself go at Tokyo Decadance this Christmas

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Santa on his day off

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Pirate Santa shanghais a nurse to tend to the wounds in his loins

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Too much rum lays a pirate lad-lass low

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Keeping the Yule Log warm

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A pirate has his hands full with booty and a scurvy confused boarder

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Mrs. Claus getting into the Holiday Spirit with Good Cheer and Kink

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Have yourself a Merry Surreal Christmas!!!

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And suddenly the rum kicked in…

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Santa is a right jolly ole elf

December 24, 2009 Posted by | christmas, clubbing, japan, Japanese subculture, party, pirates, santa claus, sexy, subculture, tokyo, tokyo decadance, travel, video, weird, WTF | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Rolly Teranishi sings Rocky Horror songs in Japanese

For your surreal entertainment – two songs from the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show sung in Japanese with a bit of English by ROLLY Teranishi.

Rolly Teranishi was a member of the Japanese rock band Scanch before going solo.

Here ROLLY performs “Science Fiction/Double Feature” and “I’m Going Home.” He’s a big fan of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and has played Dr. Frank-N-Furter in Japanese stage versions.

This was at the 2009 Tokyo Decadance Halloween party.

October 30, 2009 Posted by | Blogroll, clubbing, japan, Japanese subculture, music, rock, Rolly Teranishi, Science Fiction/Double Feature, singing, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, tokyo, tokyo decadance, video, weird, WTF, youtube | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tokyo Decadance Halloween 2009

Tokyo Decadance Halloween 2009

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Decadant particpants at Tokyo Decadance Halloween

Another fun-filled Tokyo Decadance event with sexy sirens, wickedly wild witches, ghoulish goblins, devious devils, rollicking robots, newhalf ninja, vicious violinists, plundering pirates, alliterating *ssholes, and god knows what else for Halloween.

Also in attendance was Rolly Teranishi who performed at last year’s Halloween event. Here he sang two songs from the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show in Japanese with a bit of English.

Rolly Teranishi was a member of the Japanese rock band Scanch before going solo. He’s a big fan of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and has played Dr. Frank-N-Furter in Japanese stage versions.

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Hoichi the Earless(?) and Pretty Devil enjoy Tokyo Decadance

One of my favorite costumes at the event was the girl dressed up as Hoichi the Earless even though she still had her ears. This is from an old ghost story where a blind biwa player unknowingly played for the ghosts of a defeated samurai clan. In order to save him from eventual destruction, Buddhist priests covered his body in sacred texts but they forget to cover his ears. When a ghost came to fetch Hoichi, the sacred writing prevented him from seeing the biwa player save for his two ears which he ripped from Hoichi’s head.

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wickedly sweet witch

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Transformer chick – wearing less than meets the eye

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rollicking robot

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Christon Cafe – a church-themed restaurant and club

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Adrien le Danois – Founder of Tokyo Decadance

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Cap’n Blackjack Dave on the prowl for booty

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pirate with fetish poster

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Is Tokyo Decadance a Biohazard?

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Cutie devil makes going to hell seem fun

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Goth Geisha girl with coffin handbag

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Spooky DJ

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pink petite maid

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french maid

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sleepy devil

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A cake with endowments for Tokyo Decadance’s 4th Anniversary

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Cap’n Blackjack Dave bemused and bewigged

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Cute Cop ready to lay down the law

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The stuff of nightmares…

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Ditto

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Naughty Nurse, Sultry Wednesday, Zombie Bride, and Goth Geisha Vampire

October 30, 2009 Posted by | clubbing, cosplay, costumes, crossdressing, dance, Goth Girls, goth lolita, halloween, japan, Japanese subculture, party, Rolly Teranishi, sexy, subculture, tokyo, tokyo decadance, travel, video, weird, WTF, youtube | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

14 Meter Tall Gundam Float and more Giant Gundam in Odaiba

This is a short follow-up to my Gundam vid. Here I talk about a 14 meter tall Gundam float made of Japanese paper – washi – that I saw at a festival in Aomori, the “Gundam Gap” in my Japanese Anime experience, my video game experience with Gundam: Federation vs. Zeon, and a little bit more about this Gundam’s “secret” potential.

June 26, 2009 Posted by | Anime, festival, goshogawara, Gundam, japan, Japanese Anime, japanese culture, matsuri, nebuta, neputa, Only in Japan, pop culture, tachi neputa, tohoku, tokyo, travel, vlog, weird, WTF, youtube | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Giant Gundam Robot Model in Tokyo – Video

Embrace your inner geek – in Tokyo a life-size Gundam almost 60 feet tall has been revealed in all its glory. Gundam for those not up on their anime nostalgia was an animated show which started in 1979 about a future where robots or mecha piloted by humans battle for supremacy or something like that (I never saw the show). 

Tokyo’s Gundam is currently in Odaiba. The big ceremony will be July 10th and it will remain throughout the summer. The Gundam model has 50 points of light, emits steams, and its head revolves left to right and up.

Music by The Exotic Ones:
http://www.myspace.com/exoticones

June 26, 2009 Posted by | Anime, Gundam, japan, Japanese Anime, japanese culture, tokyo, travel, video, vlog, weird, WTF, youtube | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Giant Gundam Gathers Gawking Geeks in Tokyo

Giant Gundam Gathers Gawking Geeks in Tokyo
59-Foot Tall Model of Iconic Japanese Anime Character Unveiled 

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1:1 scale model of Japanese Anime Icon – Gundam

A giant cultural icon has come to roost in Tokyo this summer. It’s not Godzilla nor UltraMan. It’s the mobile suit known as Gundam, the model RX-78 to be precise. To mark the 30th Anniversary of the popular anime series Gundam, a 1:1 scale model of the iconic mobile suit has been constructed and set up on the island of Odaiba in Tokyo Bay. The model has 50 points of lights, mist emitting from several places, and a head which revolves left and right and upward. Periodically sound-effects and the theme song to the old animated series plays from the structure itself. The life-size model is composed of fiberglass-reinforced plastic on a steel frame. The Gundam mobile suit stands at 18 meters/59 feet tall.

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Gundam is a giant piloted mobile suit; not a robot

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The animated show debuted in 1979 and has spawned a number of spin-offs, action figures, comics, and video games. Gundam was influential in the robot-style anime. In other shows, robot characters had a quasi-mystical aspect and many were nigh indestructible. In Gundam, the robots were mobile suits piloted by humans. The humans were the focus of the show while their mobile suits were treated like a vehicle rather than a personified entity.

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The Gundam series has had a big impact on Japanese pop-culture

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Mist emits from the Gundam Model

The Gundam model is not a robot as any obsessive follower of the anime and similar anime can tell you. It’s a mecha which is a piloted vehicle not automated or remote controlled. Gundam is a mobile suit piloted by humans. It’s much like a tank or a plane and as such runs on a finite source of energy and can be damaged to the point of destruction unlike the robot/mecha of the semi-mystical type. 

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Say “Cheese!”

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As for myself, prior to coming to Japan there was a significant Gundam Gap in my Japanese anime experience. When I was really young, I used to watch syndicated shows of Speed Racer and Star Blazers which came out before Gundam and in my later youth I watch Voltron and Robotech which followed the Gundam series. I had no idea who or what a Gundam was.

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Gundam – after hours

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There are many mobile suit types in the Gundam series but the RX-78 is the most widely recognizable

My first encounter with Gundam was at the local video arcade in Tokyo. During my first year in Japan, I came across an arcade game where you could fight against two robot opponents alongside a partner. Other people could join in either to become your partner or most times your opponent.

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Gundam It!
Virtual Humiliation
 

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The following is an account of one of my first encounters with Gundam at a video arcade place in Tokyo:

The game begins, my robot (sorry! mecha) lifts gracefully off the ground with its temporary boosters as I look for my foe. Bam! Suddenly I’m falling like a brick. Where the hell did that come from? I wonder. My robot has barely picked himself off the ground before he’s knocked down again. I haven’t even seen the jerk – I mean, my opponent, yet.

When I pick myself up the third time, a hurtling hulk of metal comes out of nowhere and slams into me. My robotic opponent starts twirling some kind of lazer baton which deflects the only shot I manage to get off. Before I can fire again, he’s on top of me carving me up like a Thanksgiving Turkey. This is definitely not a Computer Opponent. There’s a hint of geeky malice and haughty distain for newbies behind the attacks.

Mercifully, my robot explodes before suffering any further degradation. Seconds later, my reincarnated form comes dropping out of the sky and I’m off to avenge my former life. I fire a few shots at my hated enemy which he again deflects with that damn twirly thing. He zaps me by jumping up into the air and firing on the way down so I can’t see the shot till it’s too late.

After peppering me with a few potshots, he moves in for the kill. I valiantly run away as fast as I can. I search for my computer partner who has been nowhere to be found during this virtual Waterloo. I find him napping and kick his robotic butt into the fray. While my human opponent slices and dices my luckless partner, I go in search of his computer partner for a little crap-rolls-down-hill vengeance. I waste the poor computer partner fairly quickly but before I can do a victory dance that damn twirling baton of bullshit lays into me.

I get knocked down three times in a row without getting a chance to lay a finger on the guy. I explode yet again this time both onscreen and off as I pound the buttons in rage. I hear a nervous high pitch maniacal giggle from the game console on the other side.

Oh, it was on now! It was a geek-off! I plunk another coin in the machine and get slaughtered before the coin reaches to the bottom of the coin box. $10 and 10 minutes later, I’ve had enough. I go over to the other side to congratulate my opponent on his skills then I smash his youthful pimply face into the video game screen repeatedly. Ok! I’m lying! I just stormed out of the arcade envisioning me smashing my unseen foe’s face into the screen. 
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There are 50 different points of light on the Gundam model

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Recently, they have come out with Arcade pods where you can play in your own enclosed pod and you have more than just a joystick and few buttons to control your mecha. The arcade pod game is based on a credit system in which you can purchase upgrades and weapons. I found it too expensive not to mention too confusing to play very much.

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The Gundam model stands at 18 meters (59 feet) high

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Gundam doing his “Great Balls of Fire” impression

My next encounter with Gundam was a giant Gundam float made of washi – harden Japanese paper – up in the Aomori Prefecture. In August, the town of Goshogawara puts on a festival called Tachi Neputa which has a number of tall floats, some as tall as 22 meters. The year I went they had a 14 meter float in the shape of the classic Gundam model RX-78.

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A 14 meter Tall Gundam Float in Aomori

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The Tokyo Gundam model’s major debut will be July 10th and it will remain standing throughout the summer.

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A Gundam Sunset

June 26, 2009 Posted by | 1970s, Anime, Gundam, japan, Japanese Anime, japanese culture, tokyo, travel, weird, WTF | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Japanese Goldfish Catching Game – Kingyo Sukui

If you come to Japan, you might come across this bizarre festival game that mixes gambling and pet shopping with a little bit of fishing too.

Kingyo Sukui is the Japanese game of goldfish scooping where you can win a pet goldfish should you so desire.

The game goes back to the late Edo Period around the early 19th Century. You can always find Kingyo Sukui stalls at Japanese festivals and other events like hanami (cherry blossom viewing).

You have a bowl and small net scope which has very thin paper. The object is to scoop the goldfish into the bowl without breaking the paper. You can continue scooping up goldfish as long as the paper doesn’t break — even if there is only a thin corner left.

The game stall owner told me that Japanese people like Kingyo Sukui because it’s a form of gambling that requires luck, skill, and patience. Originally it was for children but the popularity of Kingyo Sukui caught on and now there is even a national championship of goldfish scooping for all ages.

The Nintendo Wii has a video game based Japanese Festival games and events in which one of the mini-games is a virtual Kingyo Sukui.

June 10, 2009 Posted by | japan, japanese culture, japanese goldfish scooping, kingyo sukui, travel, video, vlog, weird, WTF, youtube | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Hello Kitty Samurai!

Hello Kitty Samurai!!!

Hello Kitty Samurai

I was visiting Hikone which lies an hour north of Kyoto when I chanced upon a unusual figure in samurai armor. What struck me immediately as odd was that it didn’t have the typical scowl I had usually come to associate with statues and the like depicting samurai. On closer inspection I realized it was Japan’s official tourism ambassador, Hello Kitty, all decked out like a samurai warrior of bygone ages.


Hikone Castle is one Japan’s few preserved castles

Hikone was home to Ii clan. The land was given to their first lord Ii Naomasa whose scowling visage can be seen frozen in bronze outside of the train station.


The fierce Ii Naomasa scowls welcomingly to visitors

Naomasa served Tokugawa Ieyasu who became Shogun or military ruler over all of Japan in 1603. Naomasa fought in numerous battles and was wounded scores of times. His men were famous for painting their armor red. They were known as the Red Devils and the sight of them brought out screams of terror from their enemies.


Red Devil Armor

Now the Red Devils are tastefully emasculated with this lovely recreation of them in Hello Kitty dolls and the sight of them brings out squeals of delight from Japanese schoolgirls.


The Hello Kitty Red Devils


Off to storm the castle


Only in Japan!

October 24, 2008 Posted by | Blogroll, cute, entertainment, Hello Kitty, Hikone, Ii Naomasa, japan, japanese culture, life, Only in Japan, travel, weird, WTF | , , , , | 2 Comments