5/29/2006 08:54:00 PM|W|P|dan|W|P|Nowhere, it seems. The birth rate here is collapsing, hence the bra stunt a couple of posts below. 2000 schools have closed in the last decade because there aren't enough children to fill them. Most sources ascribe it to a changing social reality, where women are breaking free of the pressure to marry young and start breeding, and anyway all the men are killing themselves through overwork and are always at the office instead of making babies. On the other hand, it may just be mature Japanese adults making a rational and informed decision that it is unnecessary and unfair to bring children into this modern world of uncertainty, turmoil and strife, where giant radioactively mutated monsters could crush them at any minute. I am blogging to: Actionslacks|W|P|114890395563336205|W|P|Mummy, where do little Japanese children come from?|W|P|danpawley@gmail.com5/28/2006 04:57:00 PM|W|P|dan|W|P|The end of season 2 of Lost has taught us two things: 1) Is there any way these guys are not making it up as they go along? 2) Jim Robinson out of Neighbours is behind it all. Brilliant. 3) This guy has all the answers.|W|P|114880378266683552|W|P|Lost mysteries revealed|W|P|danpawley@gmail.com5/19/2006 08:19:00 PM|W|P|dan|W|P|Aparently this was in The Guardian. At least four of my favourite books on there...but do the likes of Carver and Vonnegut really need to be rediscovered? Monday April 24, 2006 Guardian Unlimited Revenge Of The Lawn by Richard Brautigan What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver Death and The Penguin by Andrey Kurkov The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies The Dark Is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper Christie Malry's Own Double-Entry by BS Johnson Hunger by Knut Hamsun Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut Dry Bones by Richard Beard Mirror Lake by Thomas Christopher Greene Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman Journey By Moonlight by Antal Szerb Too Loud A Solitude by Bohumil Hrabal Trip To The Stars by Nicholas Christopher Daughter Of The Forest by Juliet Marillier Perdido Street Station by China Mieville Woman On The Edge Of Time by Marge Piercy Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn The Pursuit Of Alice Thrift by Elinor Lipman Drama City by George Pelecanos Wooden Sea by Jonathan Carroll The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart Empire Falls by Richard Russo Ridley Walker by Russell Hoban Radetzky March by Joseph Roth Double by José Saramago Don't Look Back by Karin Fossum Mists Of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates|W|P|114803770323218131|W|P|30 Books That Need To Be Rediscovered|W|P|danpawley@gmail.com5/12/2006 09:40:00 PM|W|P|dan|W|P| A model displays Triumph International Japan's bra, called "Stop the birth rate decline", in Tokyo on Wednesday. The bra features embroideries illustrating children supporting elderly women and was created to increase awareness of the issue of serious decline in Japan's population, the company said. (Reuters)|W|P|114743770503453466|W|P|Wear A Bra, Have More Babies|W|P|danpawley@gmail.com5/07/2006 01:42:00 PM|W|P|dan|W|P|A new drink has been appearing in vending machines around Tokyo, and I've been eyeing it up for a few days now. A couple of photos of the can should be enough to show you why I found it intriguing:

bubbleman, originally uploaded by maggie loves hopey.

bubblemanback.jpg, originally uploaded by maggie loves hopey.

Rocketships, astronauts and soda planets? I'm tempted, but I knew it was going to be disgusting, so I held off for a while. A couple of days ago I finally succumbed to the lure of the Bubbleman. I fed my 120yen into the machine with eagerly shaking hands and ran off home to document my journey to the soda planet. Working under strict laboratory conditions, I found a clean glass and poured the contents in. Initial impressions were not promising:

bubbleman.jpg, originally uploaded by maggie loves hopey.

At this point my nerve failed, and I had to get my glamorous assistant to try it for me:

bubbleman2.jpg, originally uploaded by maggie loves hopey.

When she didn't instantly collapse, foam at the mouth and die, I screwed my courage to the sticking place and had a go. Unsurprisingly it was foul. I mean, really foul. Like someone had decided bubblegum didn't taste artificial enough and had resolved to make something even more plasticky. So there you go. The moral of this story is not to trust things used to sell you something. Yes, even rocketships and spacemen.|W|P|114697711588623438|W|P|Soft Drink Experiment|W|P|danpawley@gmail.com5/05/2006 07:19:00 PM|W|P|dan|W|P|It was my birthday last week, so after a hard day of buying records, we went to the Park Hyatt Hotel in Shinjuku for the evening. We had a table in the bar on the 42nd floor (same hotel, but not the same bar that Bill Murray did his dirty old man bit on Scarlett Johansson in), and unlimited cocktails. Getting slowly drunk while looking out at a sea of neon far below us that rolled on for miles and miles and looked like nothing so much as the opening scenes of Bladerunner was a pretty good way to turn 34. Another thing I see all the time that was in Lost In Translation is Hollywood actors selling things they'd never advertise back in the West. Richard Gere was hawking something, I forget what, when we first came here, Brad Pitt is flogging Tag Heuer watches (on billboards, not out of a suitcase in Peckham market, more's the pity) and Kiefer Sutherland is whoring what looks like Coffeemate. That'll help you sort out those pesky terrorists, Mr Bauer. My birthday is a public holiday here called Greenery Day, which kicks off Golden Week, when the Japanese have four bank holidays in one week. Five day weekend! Yesterday we caught the train down to Kamakura, a small town about an hour outside of Tokyo, once the imperial capital and now full of temples and shrines. Despite the Golden Week crowds, we had a relaxing time, ambling around in the sun. Engakuji was the most impressive complex, complete with a cave that is supposedly home to a herd of ghostly divine white deer. Tokei ji is a nunnery that hundreds of years ago was a refuge for women seeking to escape their husbands (the guidebook sombrely notes that most fleeing women didn't make it that far), and at the Zeniaribenten, you can wash your money and dry it over burning incense to ensure it doubles:

Zenainibenten Shrine, originally uploaded by maggie loves hopey.

More photos here I am blogging to:Mono|W|P|114682450519787591|W|P|Golden Week|W|P|danpawley@gmail.com