2.28.2011

Somewhere in Tokyo: 3DS



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Nintendo launched the 3DS in Japan on Saturday, with predictable media and otaku hysteria.

It plays 3D games without requiring users to wear 3D glasses, which is cool, but this comic is about the inexorable decline of a once-great power, and the role of apathetic Japanese youth in accelerating that decline.

2.24.2011

2.20.2011

In which Lenny puts a Radiohead PR stunt in perspective



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More on the Radiohead in Tokyo kerfluffle. Background here.

In which Lenny learns Radiohead won't be playing in Tokyo



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A mysterious tweet in Japanese on Radiohead’s Twitter feed translated as “Shibuya Hachiko Square, Friday 6.59pm”.

And so Tokyo turned up – well, that portion of Tokyo that has any idea who Radiohead are – but the band didn't show. The tweet (perhaps) referenced the early release of the band's new album, and a music video.

So, total hoax. But at least Starbucks had a good night.

2.17.2011

Coffee Shepherd



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Japan has suspended its annual whale hunt in the Antarctic, citing safety concerns as the fleet's mother ship, Nisshin Maru, had been continually harassed by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society environmental activist group. As Japan-based journalist Justin McCurry writes, conservationists were cautiously celebrating, and Sea Shepherd skipper Paul Watson reportedly said, "it demonstrates our tactics, our strategies have been successful." And of course, it's certainly good news for whales summering in the Antarctic.

But let's spare a thought for the activists themselves. Headed back to boring little lives as baristas and supermarket checkout clerks.

Liberal Menace



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I love this cartoon, by the excellent xkcd and frequently think of it when I read the comments sections of online media. An encounter this morning with an overly sensitive netizen on the Tucson Sentinel website prompted me to make my own liberally biased version of the (simpler, better) original.

Rites of Spring



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New York Yankees middle reliever Joba Chamberlain has reported to spring training either "carrying some extra muscle" or "fat", depending on whether you believe MLB.com or the (relatively) independent media.

Joba, you can has cheezburger. Can we has wins and saves?

2.16.2011

Arizona's .45 Caliber Health Care for Children



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As a regular cartoonist for the Tucson Sentinel, I've developed an unhealthy interest in the political scene in Arizona. And when I read that Arizona ranks among the lowest-performing states in the United States for children's health coverage, I couldn't help but wonder what the heck their priorities are.

Then I remembered.

2.14.2011

Could Lady Gaga Influence Japanese Elections?



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Could Lady Gaga influence the next Japanese election?

If Japanese voters take to Prime Minister Naoto Kan arriving at campaign rallies in an egg, as suggested by former prime minister Yukio Hatoyama, the answer may well be yes.

2.10.2011

Naoto Kan, Master of Diplomacy, cont'd



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In this continuation of yesterday's comic, President Medvedev goes on national television to underscore his commitment to defending Russia's national honor by deploying additional weapons and troops to the Southern Kurils (or Northern Territories, if you prefer).

This followed criticism Monday by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov of Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, whom Lavrov described as "not diplomatic" after Kan the same day called Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit last November to one of four Russian-held islands claimed by Japan an "unforgivable outrage."

The Soviet Union seized the islands of Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan and the Habomai islet group - known in Japan as the Northern Territories and in Russia as the Southern Kurils - shortly after Japan's surrender in World War II on Aug. 15, 1945. The territorial dispute has prevented the two countries from signing a postwar peace treaty.

2.08.2011

Naoto Kan, Master of Diplomacy



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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Monday as "not diplomatic" after Kan the same day called Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit last November to one of four Russian-held islands claimed by Japan an "unforgivable outrage."

The Soviet Union seized the islands of Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan and the Habomai islet group - known in Japan as the Northern Territories and in Russia as the Southern Kurils - shortly after Japan's surrender in World War II on Aug. 15, 1945. The territorial dispute has prevented the two countries from signing a postwar peace treaty.

Fat, Naked Japanese Men Cover Up



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As investigators peel back more layers of the corrupt onion that is Japanese sumo, Japan Sumo Association Chairman Hanaregoma has reported to Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Yoshiaki Takaki that, "There are examples of cellphones being changed altogether or destroyed."

Last week, police uncovered evidence of match fixing via pre-match calls and text messages among wrestlers. For other cartoons, and background, on the sumo scandal, see here and here.

(Other People's) Content is King



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On Monday, AOL announced its acquisition of news aggregator The Huffington Post. For $315 million, $300 million of it in cash (because who would want AOL stock?), AOL CEO Tim Armstrong got Arianna Huffington's name, staff and content, plus the site's 25 million or so unique visitors per month.

2.06.2011

Anderson Cooper 360



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No offense, Anderson. You're out there reporting, and most of your competitors are not.

But you're so darned handsome I couldn't resist.

Super Bowl LXV, Global Warming Edition



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2.04.2011

2.03.2011

Quid Pro Sumo



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As if things were not bad enough in the world of sumo, news comes today that police have uncovered evidence of match fixing via pre-match calls and text messages among wrestlers.

In 2000, Steven D. Levitt and Mark Duggan published an article on corruption in professional sumo. Using data showing the outcome of every sumo match during the 1990s, Levitt and Duggan showed that wrestlers who were one win away from moving up in the rankings were more likely to win than usual. The data also showed that in eventual rematches, the loser of the first match was far more likely to win than to lose, suggesting a quid pro quo.

In 2009, three Swiss economists looked at sumo match results in the years following the publication of the Levitt/Duggan study, and found that although match results did not appear statistically suspicious in the several years following the initial study’s publication, match fixing appeared to again be prevalent from 2003-2006.

The scandal comes at a bad time for sumo, which has hit headlines in recent years over bad behavior from a yokozuna, pot smoking among younger wrestlers, gambling, and hazing that resulted in a young wrestler being beaten to death.

2.02.2011

Tokyo Metro: Please do it again (you old perv)



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The Tokyo Metro has been running a 'manners campaign' for several years, and each month publishes a new poster in stations. Over the months, the campaign has pretty much covered every bit of proscribed activity (don't throw up on your fellow passengers, don't practice your golf swing on the platform with a wet umbrella, etc.) imaginable, and three months ago moved on to behavior that is apparently encouraged.

The above images are 'repurposed' from a campaign poster that urges passengers to be considerate of their fellow travelers by not ... I don't know, bringing suitcases onto the trains? I'm not sure how they're supposed to get their luggage to the shinkansen or airport, but perhaps this month's poster was sponsored by Yamato Transport.

Anyway, the rude suitcase-pulling woman in this cartoon meets her match in the rude perverted salaryman.

[To see other cartoons and comics in the Tokyo Metro series, click "Tokyo Metro" in the labels below.]

Escape from Kokyo



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Politicomix by Roberto De Vido is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License