13 Assassins 十三人の刺客 (2010)

13 Assassins   13 Assassins Film Poster

Japanese: 十三人の刺客

Romaji: Juusan-nin no shikaku / 13nin no Shikaku

Release Date: September 25th, 2010 (Japan)

Running Time: 141 mins.

Director: Takashi Miike

Writer: Daisuke Tengan, Kaneo Ikegami (Screenplay),

Starring: Koji Yakusho, Takayuki Yamada, Yusuke Iseya, Sousuke Takaoka, Hiroki Matsukata, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Ikki Sawamura, Arata Furuta, Seiji Rokkaku, Kazuki Namioka, koen Kondo, Yuma Ishigaki, Ken Mitsuishi, Goro Inagaki, Masataka Kubota, Mitsuki Tanimura, Takumi Saito, Kazue Fukiishi

It is only May but I have witnessed the best film of 2011 and it is 13 Assassins. The following review will contain nothing but fulsome praise for Takashi Miike’s film so brace yourselves…

1844, Japan. In the last decades of the Shogun and before the reforms of the Meiji era there is a moment of fragile peace. Unfortunately this peace will be shattered with the promotion of the Shogun’s half-brother, the depraved and psychopathic Lord Naritsugu (Inagaki Goro) who uses his status to commit acts of depravity and evil against the people of Japan. In an effort to preserve order, high ranking official Sir Doi calls upon noble samurai Shinzaemon Shimada (Yakusho Koji) to carry out an assassination. Waiting for Naritsugu to leave Edo with his personal army, Shinzaemon recruits twelve others to carry out a daring ambush in a remote village.

The 13 Assassins Assembled Continue reading “13 Assassins 十三人の刺客 (2010)”

Shōwa no Hi

Today is Shōwa Day (Shōwa no hi) in Japan and it was originally an annual holiday to honour the birthday of the Shōwa Emperor Hirohito during the period of 1926 to 1989.

After his death in 1989, it was renamed Greenery Day but Shōwa Day was re-established to remember the many things that happened during the reign of Hirohito and the efforts of the Japanese people made build Japan into the world power that it is now.

White Day in Japan

Today is White Day in Japan. After the disaster I doubt anybody is thinking much about chocolate but hopefully Japan can recover quickly.

To aid in the rebuilding effort, you can donate to the red cross here.


The 14th of February was Valentine’s Day which was a day for women to buy men chocolate (scandalous). Well the 14th of March is White Day and is considered a day that men are supposed to return favours received from women on Valentine’s Day. It is believed to have been introduced by a marshmallow manufacturing company in the 1960’s hence the name but men tend to buy other sorts of gifts, not just marshmallows.


Here’s a video which explains it.

Earthquake Registering 8.9 in Japan

An earthquake Registering 8.9 on the Richter Scale hit off the coast of Honshu, Japan’s main island. As I write this I’m watching the BBC which is showing shocking images from people scrambling out of buildings just missing getting hit by debris to a giant whirlpool which threatens to swallow a boat. Thankfully, Japanese buildings have been built to withstand earthquakes but news is still grim.

Damage is extensive. Communications like cell phones are down, nuclear facilities are damaged and as I’m writing this, there is a death toll of between 200 and 350+ people across Japan (highest in Sendai where police have found a number of bodies). Due to the fact that communications are down the number of casualties and the true state of infrastructure is unknown.

Unfortunately, in the aftermath of the earthquake there has been a tsunami which has caused utter havoc and devastation in Japan and the wider Pacific area.

The impact in Japan itself seems devastating. News organisations are carrying images of shipping containers, cars even houses being washed away like bracken as the tsunami water flows inland these have been deadly as it seems that between 200 and 300 people have drowned.

The BBC has given this blanket coverage on its news channel and website covering the event comprehensively.

A quick check around a blog I follow reveals unfiltered information and startling video. Twitter reported a thousand tweets a minute from Tokyo. TBS has been streaming its news programmes over USTREAM (Japanese language).

Enough from me. Japan hasn’t asked for aid yet but if you want to contribute help head over to the Red Cross website and donate to their appeal. Update:

Anime News Network have a series of links to places you can donate

Crunchyroll is also taking donations

Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Maid

I hate moe. So if, say last month, you told me that I would be enjoying anime involving moe and maids, I probably would have punched you for insinuating that I enjoy all manner of near-pervy images that moe and maids conjure up in a Google search.

Yet here I am about to sing the praises of:

Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru.

I wish my maid was as cool as her.

Soredemo is a gorgeously animated, adventurous slice of life anime replete with relentless upbeat humour and a lead character and supporting cast I really liked.

Continue reading “Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Maid”

Easy to Read Kanji

It has been a while since I posted anything about learning Japanese so I’m back with a short and rather silly post about Kanji and how to recognise the easy ones and some of my favourites.

Through some examples I have raided from recent anime and Japanese news programmes I watched I want to show Kanji characters that anybody can quickly recognise.

Let’s go… or should that be 行きましょう!!!!

Continue reading “Easy to Read Kanji”