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Haunted House of YAMAGATA Hiroo

Hi there, this is a place for you to contemplate on all the wonders and mysteries of life and the universe; on shoes and ships and sealing wax, on cabbaages and kings, on the greatness of the Aphex Twin video Come to Daddy and why (given the fact that I'm a pretty wealthy and easy going bachelor) I hardly ever seem to score (duh, like because I'm a nerd, that's why!), and whether pigs have wings.
Sorry about the bad English below, you see, English is not my Muttersprache, so there might be some mistakes or inaccuracies (blame the Japanese educational system.) Vee Jafaneeze hab a haad time distingwishing bizwiin Ls and Rs, so there's bound to be some confusion (especially political.) Also, as they say in that great song, "It's my web page and I'll swear if I want to." And there's hardly anything you can do about it. Read on, if you dare. A little slack may help you on the way. Get Slack Now!

Books and Articles

I thought I'd list all my writings and books here... But what's the use, you guys can't read Japanese anyway! But there are a few that you linguistically challenged gaijins may enjoy.... So have fun, if you can.

Lessig VS Levi=Strauss: How The Creative Commons Might Even Kill Creativity (2005/08/09)
Oh why oh why do I have to do this kind of stuff? Picking on friends, bringing them down... But I just thought I have to say this. Creative commons may not really enhance creativity as Larry says. I've never seen anyone make this point, and maybe because it's too obviously stupid a point for anybody else, but then, I don't think so. I'm so sorry.

Is this Nabokov's Signature?
I bought this book 20 years ago, and very recently I realized that what I have might be the real thing. So what do you think?

Brian Aldiss Interview
You know who Brian Aldiss is, don't you? No? Well, he's like one of the biggest names in British SF. And his short story, "SuperToys Last All Summer Long" was used as a base for Kubric/Spielberg movie "A.I." 15 years ago, I did the translation of the story, and partly because of that (and partly because I have a regular column with them), Harpers Bazaar Japan wanted me to do an e-mail interview with Brian Aldiss. So here it is.

Richard Stallman Interview
If you don't know who this is, then you're not paying attention to the world. I'm proud that I did this. It's the first time anyone actually surprized me in an interview, and I think it shows quite well. HotWired Japan was good enough to allow me to do this, and have it GPLed. There is a French version, and even a Swedish version(gone now), which should attest to its value, I hope...

Linus Torvalds Interview
If you don't know who this is, then you're really lost. Even stupid Biz Mags have his face on the cover these days. I'm proud of this one, too. After RMS, the contrast is rather striking. This one also has a French version.

We Sex but We Also Linux.
An article about Linux that appeared in WIRED Japan. Wasn't too goood, but what the heck.

Entropic Forest
This is a project that I've done in 1999. A Japanese architectural magazine, SD (which stands for Space & Design) hooked me up with a German photographer named Heiner Schilling. He was in Tokyo for a while, wandering around and taking pictures, and then I come up with some sort of a fake story to give that picture some futuristic context. Believe me, it's much better in Japanese.

If Krugman is Right, We Might as well Raise Taxes
I like Paul Krugman's idea of introducing inflationary expectations in order to make the Japanese economy recover. A lot of people misunderstand his proposal (they mistake infationary expectations to inflation itself), and many people quibble on technicalities. But even if something is difficult to do, it doesn't mean that it's wrong. Krugman is right in theory. I'm rather annoyed by economists who refuse to say this. I wrote this piece to illustrate his point.

The NESS Project and Stroy for Patricia
Stories that I wrote for my friend Patricia, one for her catalog and one for no particular reason.

Links (Personality reviews, actually)

I'm famous for my Attitude, and my care-free uncompromizing harsh swearing criticism that borders on an insult. They are quite normal by English standards, but this is Japan you know....

So here are some of the major ones that somehow got mixed up with my life.

Bunch of the links down here have bbs systems. I'm often found lurking in there. Usually, after a month or so, these things tend to deteriorate into some sort of "a cess-pool where regulars indulge in their useless local gossip" (I've seen one too many of them) but the stuff here are amazing. Participants are extremely intelligent and level headed, they know what it means to "discuss" things, they know how to fish out a wider and fundamental issue from everyday issues. So, check them out. Can't read Japanese? Too bad, but at least, I think people at Mr. Kuroki's BBS can handle English pretty easily.

Friends, Respects and Otherwise

Yanashita "Garth" Kiichiro
My partner in crime, in a sense. Film and murder critic (as in "hmm, that was certainly an excellent cut," "That's a great shot!" Makes sense, doesn't it? But actually, he's more fond of body mutilations), not your every-day kind. Only problem; he doesn't like Won KarWai films. Go to hell (but then, he'd probably like that). His wife is cool, too. A piano player for silent film BGMs?!! Now where the hell did he get something like that? I thought they were on the top of the endangered species list.

Kuroki Gen
Mathematician...but goes far (I mean thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis far, at least) beyond your standard math-guy. Can't say enough nice things about him, so I won't even bother trying. Math, science and its philosophy, education, what have you, his coverage is wide as is deep, a perfectionist, in a sense. His collection of topics on the Sokal affair is pretty impressive, and indicative of what he does with other topics. And how the hell does he recruit all those people to participate in his BBS? If you want to set up some sort of a Center of Excellence in Japan, make sure you get him to do the head hunting.

Inaba ShinIchiro
He is an....economist? Socio-economist? Not quite sure. What are you, man? Let me just name a couple of his keywords; Freedom/liberty, Society, justice and the industrial system: pretty close to mine, but then, he's a real academician, as opposed to an interested bystander like myself. Sharpness and sincerity backed by wide-ranged deep knowledge (and a clear sense of the big picture) are abundant in every one of his writings, and it is easy to see some real thought going into them. Stimulation guaranteed. Now, if he could just loosen up with his writing style... (You open his article, and BOOM! A black mass of characters jumps out and attacks you.)
Oh, I don't quite agree with his views on cultural studies. I don't think writing clever analysis about animations and movies leads to anything serious... but what he does is interesting within its limits. Great BBS.

Kikuchi Makoto
Another old friend from my SF fandom days. P. K Dick maniac, but still manages to hold a firm grip on reality (although his out-spoken preference toward Okina Megumi cast serious doubt...but maybe that's just bad taste.) He is a physics guy, and I trust him on almost anything science and math. Great BBS (although he's closed it down because he's too busy to take care of it. Too bad.)
He's... kinda' back, although not as strong as before. He's still busy.

She's a cake artist. Taste is something that can't be made virtual so far, and it is not reproducible. As they say, "you can't have your cake and eat it, too." Her works are literal interpretations of this phrase. Cakes also work on yor memory, because they are usually associated with the happier events of your life. Hmmm. Her "House of Cakes" exhibit was a real room and furnitures covered with cookies, like in Hensel & Gretel story, the floor was coverd with sugar, and the sweetness that filled the air was something that you have to be there to appreciate. Her exhibits usually have edible portions and they are really tasty.

But Chelin, you really have to make a better home page pretty soon...

Hail Canon for supporting this project. Abe & Shikata who run this thing are among the sharpest and keenest curators / directors / organizers of modern art here in Japan. Trust them. I do.

Patricia Piccinini
This girl is from Australia, you know, that down under country where animals forgot how to evolve, and typhoons and race tracks go around in the wrong directionbecause of the earth's rotation. Of course, this also affect the blood circulation and internal organs, causing the human heart to be on the right side. Wierd, but that's why they grow so big and speak in those strange accents.

Because of this, I was expecting some monsterous creature with a pouch when I was asked to work as an interpreter of her lecture. Turns out that I was completely wrong...... well, not completely, although she looked and spoke normal, her imagination was far more twisted than you could ever imagine. Bio-engineering art?!?! Well, she doesn't splice genes herself, but she takes the implication of that technology and puts it several steps further. Usually, when it comes to science and technology, I'd much rather read an article from Scientific American than look at ignorant half-baked stuff by some self righteous artist. Very few of them manage to go beyond what the scientists and the industry are actually doing. She's one of that few.

Yamane Shinji
If you want info on cryptography in Japanese, this is it. The guy first contacted me claiming that he wanted to analyze Burroughs using an information theory approach and I thought he's one of those useless Post-modern smart-ass. And although I sent him the text, I had no hope whatsoever. How wrong I've been.

TLUG (Tokyo Linux User Group)
This is a wierd place. But my kind of wierd. Bunch of Linux-using "gaijin"s (a derogatory term reserved for non-Japanese to be used in insults and discriminatory racist purposes), telling us superior Japanese how to use Japanese on Linux! Now that's what I call hilarious, but the punch line is that they are extremely informative and knowledgeable on the subject. Lots of resource on this site, including extremely good interviews with Linus Torvalds and Richard, this is great, I wonder who did this....(grin)

Note: By the way, the word "gaijin" was immortalized by the great and famous Doors song that goes; "People are strange / when you're a gaijin, /faces look ugly / when you're from abroad." Of course, the record company changed that to boost sales (damn commercialism), but you can hear the original version on their "Live in Melkweg" album.

Motohashi Miho
When this girl first started hanging, I thought she was like one of those groupie type, in the bad sense. No. She was a groupie in the best sense of the word. She had brains, and although she claims herself to be a nothing-in-particular housewife, it is obvious that she is a writer of some experience. I suspect she has a lot more up her sleeves.
Also, she knows how to be manipulative, like where and when to feed an argument into another thread in order to heat it up, when to use flattery and when to include sexual allusions to spice things up. Most important, she knows how to ask good questions.

Thomas Pynchon
You know the guy. I took care of him when he was in Tokyo, wasn't aware who he was (he didn't tell me!), and, Surprize! Out came Vineland. Gee, Tom, I'm awfully sorry that I fed you bunch of nonsense (that was meant to be a joke, OK?) The ninja place that I took you to was...a bit less authentic than it should have been, Akasaka bars are slightly different from my description there (those rotating beds were NOT part of the bar, it was a so-called "love hotel" next door), and the National Anthem that I taught you? Well, that was actually the Mothra chant from the Infant Islands in the south Pacific (don't sing that too often, especially not with your twin daughters; you will invoke the wrath of Mothra and cause huge property damages in NY). Sorry, sorry, don't sue me, next time, to make things up, how'd you like a tour of Communist Hong Kong or Phnom Penh (I'll show you stuff that could beat William T. Vollmann to pulp)?

Mikami Seiko
Artists are supposed to be snotty. She's more nerdy, her recent works are more like prototype design in human interface, and that's the great thing about her. More on her later.

Fortress Beethoven
I'm on their "Objects of Respect" list. Can't argue with that. Other selections are equally cool. Hallmark of good taste, I'd say.

Just go. Immense delight, or triple your money back.

The dark side of Japan Industrial Newspaper. How the hell does he find time to update his newspaper/diary EVERY SINGLE DAY? Immensely interesting, especially if you are into games, animation and their industry. He's a real reporter for a major (I mean it) newspaper (he also writes for the brighter side of the same paper), so his writing has real substance. Things that don't get into the papers find their way into this page, you know, not just what people anounced at press conferences, but also the atmosphere there, the expression of the poeple and such. Now that's the kind of info that we all want. It was reported earlier this month (April) that Murdoch was considering purchase of this paper (good for him)...too bad the deal didn't fall through. Hey Rupert, you're losing your edge. Forget Son, forget Kumuro, they'll be history in 2 years. Try this guy out. Or better, tell your daughter to do so. He's really soft against intelligent girls, so you'll definitely get a huge bargain. Make sure she wear glasses. Pinheels and whips optional.

Note: What? It's UraNikko, not UraNikkan? Ah, how could you expect me to remember such MINOR DETAILS of an INSIGNIFICANT piece of media? Sorry that I stepped on your MISERABLE pride, mister, but you should be thankful that I even mentioned your WORTHLESS page. I was just trying to be nice (ever heard of lip service?) and look what I get. How PATHETIC. I'm REALLY pissed (lots of swearing deleted). Hey Rupert, get 2 fat bald guys instead of your daughter.

Blast Books
Laura, Ken, when the fxxk are you going to set your page up? You're long overdue. But these guys are great. Publishes... well, all sorts of things, like Hino Hideshi comics, Maruo Suehiro comics, Prisoners (a great photo book), Ken's Guide to the Bible... There isn't any single category (not even two) that can sum up their publication, no apparent logic in their lineup, nothing in common whatsoever, except for the overall coolness and that distinctive streak of high wierdness/madness.

Note: Seems like my threat worked, and they finally set up their web page. Check them out!

Kobayashi Hiroto
Wired Japan is a really good mag. OK, occasionally, they publish stupid stuff, but they constantly come up with top-notch article in the best sense of investigative journalism. How does it manage to keep it up? Well read this man's pseudo-diary and find out. I hardly meet editors in person (it's hardly necesary in the age of fax and e-mail, it's usually a dissapointment on both sides: they usually expect a skinhead punk, not this mild mannered sarariman, and I expect some knowledge of the field in question, not someone who's just been assigned yesterday), but this guy's one of the exceptions. Very informative, lot of ideas, clear sense of direction. Just proves that you don't need much formal education to have an edge in this field. Oh, and cool tatoo.

(WIRED Japan is gone, I miss it, but this guy started Cyzo, which is like the only good New Economy Crap Bashing Magazine in Japan.)

People who I (sort of) know

Kato Shi-Ichi
Feminism guy. I must say we have different taste. He likes Yoko Ono...WHAAATT? He says that our generation doesn't have a "reality" that's worth look, just because you don't have a life doesn't mean our whole generation doesn't have one. I happen to be stuck in a very strong reality up to here, thank you. His writings seem TOO sensitive at times, and I'm not sure why I keep reading his stuff. But he does have something... Hmmm....

(Note: I stopped reading his stuff. It's really pointless. He's a feminist guy, but he has this annoying tendency to resort to appealing to some collective guilt of men towards women, claiming that since men did horrible things to women throughout history, men actually has no place in feminism, and all men can do is to give whatever they demand. Doesn't this suck? If you think you don't have a place, get out! If feminism (or whatever) isn't about making BOTH men and women better off, I don't think it has any future, and I have no interest in giving them any hand.)

Ohmori Nozomi
His writings are never meant to last, and they probably won't. But then, hey, who am I trying to fool here, the mass does not want lasting prose, they want light readings to be consumed away in seconds, and he's good at those stuff. He is also a sort of a focal point of "popular" writers, and provides a model case of making a living out of socializing. No, I'm not talking about enemies here, I'm talking about the fact that 63.8% of his diary entries seem to consist of Karaoke/game/drinking parties with writers and publishers (look, I'm not being envious here...or am I?), and that seems to be this guy's major sales activity. Not bad as a translator, either. Not bad at all.


Paul Krugman
I buy everything that has his name on it. And I actually read them. I'm not sure why he moved to Princeton, though... His new page is here.

Reading Monkey
Never had any regrets reading their recommendations.

Mags that are generous enough to give me a chance

This is like the Interview in the English world (in fact, it has some sort of a licence agreement or something with them.) They let me write book reviews, and the amazing thing is that I CAN WRITE ABOUT WHATEVER I WANT. Not only new books, not only literature and popular readings, I can talk about books from 50 years ago, science, economics, comics, CD-ROMs, pornography, other mags, ANYTHING. I have no idea why they let me do it, especially considering the fact that I was virtually nobody (still so, but it was worse back then) at the time they contacted me in 1991. I'm truly grateful for that.

Wired Japan
WIRED in America has become an extremely silly mag. Could you please drop that stupid argument about the "New Economy" shit? However, Wired Japan is a totally different beast. It has somehow becom one of the few mags that actually show journalism balls in Japan. I'm proud that I'm allowed to contribute to this mag (but don't tell them that I said that, I'm negotiating a raise).

(Well, it's gone now. I'd say it was destined to become one of the magazines that really changed Japan. But it is already a legend. Bye, I miss you already.

People who have trouble with me (or possibly the other way around)

Tatsumi & Kotani
One is a post-modern-deconstruction lit-crit with deep understanding of the post-feminism/cyborg feminism, and the other is a post/cyborg-feminism-techno-guy-nay-sis (not quite sure of the spelling) gender-crit with an equally deep insight for post-modern-deconstruction. Although I can't recall which was which right now, given the apparent, clear-cut, unmistakable distinctions that are visible even in the above description, it was truly (yer, right) sad and disappointing and regrettable for myself to have intentionally mixed the two up. Even as I write this, I am pulling my hair out in agony for what I've done (10 hairs came out so far.) As a result, as you already know, these guys (OK, as Mr. Y pointed out, "individuals," to be PC)(And OK, just one of them, to be precise) are (OK, "is," to be grammatically correct) suing me for emotional and reputational damages, and to teach a lesson to this no-good smart-ass sexist (ie., me.) I'm all tears (I said I'm sorry...). Stay tuned.

This guy means well...that's exactly what makes him obnoxious. Life ethics and Gender studies are his things, but most of his arguments are pretty predictable, sort of an overall non-extreme PC and gosh-I-haven't-made-up-my-mind-yet-but-at-least- I'm-giving-it-a-hard-thought-so-give-me-brownie-points-for-that,-please? type of attitude. In another word, he never has any answers, not even hypotheses. He tries to be considerate (and he is, to give him SOME credit), but only by being indecisive. Lenin said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. He's one of the pavements there.

H. Tanaka & The Cult of Maruyama Masao
Just take a load of THIS. VERY FUNNY. Hey, hang in there, I'm not done with you yet, just hold your breath (long enough so that you drop dead.)
But (sigh), seriously you know, just between you and me, I'm actually a real nice person, if you really get to know me, and I dig those citizen shit (sob, sob), and I'm just doing this to gain attention because I'm a post-modern monkey and no one luvs me...... NOT! Post-modern my axx. I really have a hard time getting their idea that intellectuals should "lead" the citizens. Anybody waiting to be led by anyone is a sucker, and don't deserve the brain on their head. Maruyama Masao was a truely great and important world class thinker who showed us how to think for ourselves. Too bad his leeches don't actually get it and resort to blind worshipping. This definitely wasn't what he had in mind. Hey, Masao, I know how you must feel down there...

Jokes (Some people just don't get it...)

The most important thing on Earth, along with slack.

Annals of Improbable Research

You know, one morning, you suddenly realize that you're never going to win the Nobel Prize for anything... It's a drag, but cheer up, there's still the Ig Nobel Prize! So, get this mag, and find all about the cutting edge of the quest for moronic intelligence. I've read their stuff since their Journal of Irreproducible Results days, and still preparing my submission "The Locational Behaviour of Office Trash Cans: A Geographic Economic Analysis." These guys are also being sued, and I know how it feels.

(Note: Their case has been thrown out of court, and they're free now. Great! I think my $100 donation for the defence fund did the job...)

Dr. Fun

I've been enjoying this stuff since the beginning of my Web life since 1993. Too bad he is not doing this anymore, due to whatever family matters. It has been my daily source of pleasire and a smile for the past five or so years. I wish him all the luck or whatever he needs, and hope that someday, he'll be back with more of the stuff.

(Note: He's back! And just as strong! Wonderful news!)


Unsubcribe. But before you can do so, you must go and subscribe.
But I hate to say this, but he isn't as interesting as he used to be, ever since he came up with that book Clutrain Manifesto

My Religion (for now): Church of the SubGenius

Hey, X-day is near (it's July 5th, 1998). You should start getting worried. I've already sent in my US$20, that's how I got my slack. Shouldn't you? WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WHEN THE Xists LAND??!! Hail Bob!

Note: Ummm, yeah, I know, X-day is over and the world didn't come to an end, did it? But then, no, we didn't screw up, we're looking into the matter as we speak, and although the Xisits haven't returned our call so far, at any given moment, the bug that caused this MINOR incident should be found, and the world may end after all. So you should be thankful that your still around, instead of bitching about it! Bob probably took pity and gave you some slack, so you ungreatful pinks should take heed BEFORE we get to the punch line, because THE JOKE IS STILL ON YOU!

Other Links

Kondara MNU/Linux Debian XFree86 OS News

Oh, yeah, there's another place that I hang around...... but only because they pay me. These people have a lot of problem with my pierce, by the way. Axxholes. And they also seem to have problems with the publicity that I'm getting outside the corporate domain. I've taken out all reference of them from this direcory and below. God, this is something they could use to their benefits, and they try to kill it?!? Unbelievable level of stupidity, but then, why am I NOT surprized at all?

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