TURNING JAPANESE poetry and reading by Yuri Kageyama

TURNING JAPANESE a poem by Yuri Kageyama
Film and Photos by Ian Thomas Ash
Reading by Yuri Kageyama
Wincester Nii Tete on percussion and Hiromichi Ugaya on bass at The Pink Cow in Tokyo for a “Looking At Fukushima” event May 7, 2013.


a poem by Yuri Kageyama

Turning Japanese is not masturbation
Could even be for sale
So be proud

Take architecture:
We take space that’s smaller than a toilet
Create a garden to express the Universe
Todaiji Temple grandeur hierachy
It doesn’t even use any nails

Turning Japanese is not masturbation
Could even be for sale
So be proud

Take ikebana:
Flowers and herbs and blades of grass
Sculpture ecology Basho-esque balance
Homage to God’s perfection of design
It doesn’t even last a week

Turning Japanese is not masturbation
Could even be fore sale
So be proud

Take law and order:
Our trains are clean, run always on time
Apology on the PA if they’re two minutes late
The homeless politely take off their shoes
To get in their cardboard homes

Turning Japanese is not masturbation
Could even be for sale
So be proud

Take politics:
They tell us we have a democracy
Imported direct from the US of A
A new prime minister every year or so
What’s his name _ Koizumi, Abe, Fukuda, Aso, Hatoyama, Kan, Noda _ Abe again?
Please remember!

Turning Japanese is not masturbation
Could even be for sale
So be proud

Take women:
Excuse me, I mean, Take girls:
Uniform miniskirts, eyelash extensions
Never have jobs or grow older than 13
But grow Barbie’s breasts

Turning Japanese is not masturbation
Could even be for sale
So be proud

Robots, Pokemon, gadgets galore
Attention to detail, precision with vengeance
We get everything right _ unless something goes wrong
Like a nuclear meltdown

Turning Japanese is not masturbation
Could even be for sale
So be proud

Nuclear nation
Hydrogen explosion
Can I have your attention
Nuclear nation …..

Another Robot

My story on the robotic “fashion model.”
Yes, I did ask the scientists why of all possibilities they have to come up with a robot for entertainment _ the very jobs people want to keep for ourselves and can hope to express our human-ness.
Unfortunately, they said, the technology isn’t good enough for robots to do work that humans don’t want to do.
So make them do the work that people want to do?
Have no fear _ it’s not good enough to take away any modeling jobs either.
People do it better.

Mobile Fashion

Xavel is the company behind the Tokyo Girls Collection fashion show and mobile/PC sites for electronic shopping that showcase some of Japan’s biggest brands _ fashion houses puzzling to anyone other than young Japanese women with names like Deicy, Titty, Cecil McBee, Spiral Girl.
The shows, which attract thousands of people, work more like catalog shopping.
The people can order clothes right then and there as the models prance on the runway before their eyes.
It’s a great business idea.
And these women are certainly having fun.
Whether their energy and goodwill can be channeled into something other than just-looking-good remains to be seen.

Driving simulator 2

This gives you more of an idea of the dome’s size. Toyota says the purpose of the machine is to see how people respond in driving when they are tired, sleepy, etc.
But it’d be a good machine to simply test people’s driving skills and see if they’re fit to drive.
Toyota says that’s not the purpose of the machine.

Driving simulator

This is the view from inside Toyota’s new driving simulator: The Lexus is real, but the landscape is all computer graphics.
The simulator is a giant ball that tilts and cocks, and swooshes on a rail in a huge warehouse-like building (See the other photo above to get an idea of its size).
NHTSA has a similar machine.
Toyota refuses to say how much it spent on the simulator.

Robot crashes 2

Another photo. Another link.

Robot crashes

Some reporters were oooohing that this robot from Hitachi was “kawaii.” It has a cute voice, displayed cute arm movements and wheeled about on its knees, sitting Japanese style, pretty cute. Hitachi invited us to their research center, more than an hour-train ride away from Ueno, so the environment would be controlled (just like their test conditions) so their robot would move properly. Little good that did. As soon as it approached noon, and everyone went on their lunch break like good obedient conformist Japanese salarymen, the network server and wireless got jammed with traffic. And the robot failed to work properly. We had to wait an hour for a repeat of the demonstration. Can you imagine what would happen if the robot was in real-life _ eg., talking to a kid or carrying something delicate _ when it suddenly goes dead? I asked Hitachi officials if they agreed the robot wasn’t practical yet because of the remote-control glitch, they replied, yes. At least, they were honest. They also said the days of pursuing entertainment robots are over. Robots have to be safe and useful, and they have to make business sense, they said.


Teraflops are what measure the superfast rates at which supercomputers process calculations.
My story about a new supercomputer from NEC.
To be ranked high as a supercomputer, it has to be put to actual use _ not just have peak processing possibilities of teraflops.
NEC is still the underdog in the battle among supercomputers.

Sony’s new display

I played photographer as well as reporter at Sony’s announcement of a TV with a new kind of display _ a world first.
It’s OLED, for organic light emitting diode or organic electroluminescence display, which means that unlike LCD or plasma, the material is glowing on its own.
But the screen is only 11 inches, and it costs 200,000 yen.

Virtual worlds

As though we weren’t busy enough dealing with reality, welcome to the virtual world.
We are about to get a whole range of cyberworlds to live in and do all the things like shopping and meeting people you do in the real world but were probably too busy to get to.
But people will always be people.
The same social ills and cultural differences in the real world seem to be playing out in these second (third, fourth, etc.) lives.
“Meet me” is the Japanese version and so it’s more subdued _ in the same way NTT DoCoMo’s “i-mode” is a more controlled and orderly network on cell phones, including ensuring payment of fees.
The question is: Do Japanese want this?
The popularity of DoCoMo as a carrier is dwindling in Japan, but it’s not because people are fleeing in droves from a regulated universe.
They are defecting to cheaper carriers (belive it or not, unlimited calls aren’t taken for granted here).
Another competition has been music downloads (just as regulated in choices/fees).
“Meet me” is designed to be a hit for Japanese outside the city areas.
If you can’t come out to Harajuku, then jump into “meet me.”
Non-urban Japanese (“chiho”) are the biggest patrons of electronic shopping _ the same target for online worlds.
Similar tendencies are observed for “Second Life.”
New Yorkers, for example, aren’t the biggest fans of “Second Life.”
Not much going on there in Seattle?