Demystifying “Weird” Japanese Tech and Toys at ETech, next week

Et2009_etech_logoHi guys! I’m going to be giving a 45-minute presentation at ETech, O’Reilly’s flagship tech conference, next Wednesday @ 2:55PM. It’s at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose. The topic is “Japanese tech culture: Demystifying “weird” Japanese toys and tools” and I still haven’t figured out exactly what I’m gonna say, but I’ve recruited my friend and colleague Fumi Yamazaki to co-present with me. She showed me her slides today, and they are awesome.

My speaker bio
Fumi’s speaker bio

Music and subcultures at the Japan Society tomorrow

0226_YearAhead2_mediumI’m moderating a panel discussion on Japanese contemporary society & subcultures & music tomorrow night at the Japan Society of Northern California. It’s only $15 to attend, so come by if you can!

Japanese teens and pre-teens are helping to boost Japan’s sluggish economy as they devour popular culture, from electronics and fashion to books and music. Others are expressing themselves through less mainstream behaviors. How does today’s youth culture reflect deeper, more complex issues—such as race, gender and cultural politics—in Japan? Two experts on youth culture will discuss current trends in music and alternative subcultures as they forecast how these trends may shape future generations.

Details here.

Panel at Japan Society on underground music and youth, Feb 26

JsocOn February 26, I’ll be moderating a panel at the Japan Society of Northern California on music and Japanese youth culture. The featured speakers are Jennifer Milioto Matsue and Marvin D. Sterling, both anthropologists and authors of books about the underground music scene in Japan. So very interesting! I am not an expert on the subject, but am honored to be sharing the stage with those who are. Come watch!

More info and registration here

ETech 2009: What will I talk about? Sign up and find out

Picture 1ETech is an awesome annual conference held by O’Reilly Media. This year, it’s in San Jose, the theme is Living, Reinvented: The technology of Abundance and Constraints, and speakers include Mary Lou Jepsen of One Laptop per Child, Nick Bilton of the NY Times, Alex Steffen of, and me. Yep. I’m going to be giving a talk titled Japanese Tech Culture: Demystifying “Weird” Japanese Toys and Tools.The details of my talk are still a big mystery, even to me, but it will come together, I think, by the time March rolls around. Any suggestions on what I should talk about? Email me. I’m all ears.

Exciting, right?
Here’s the full schedule for ETech 2009.

TokyoMango readers get a special 10% off discount on already discounted early registration rates until next Monday. Just put promo code et09toma in the box for promo codes when you register.

I’m reading at Writers With Drinks on Saturday

WwdfallingThis Saturday, I’m going to be reading from my book and/or some of my recent magazine articles at Writers With Drinks, an event hosted by my friend Charlie Jane Anders. Come by if you want!

Saturday, Jan. 10, 2009:

Ann Packer (The Dive From Clausen’s Pier, Songs Without Words)
Yosefa Raz (ZYZZYVA, Glimmer Train)
Lan Tran (How To Unravel Your Family)
Lisa Katayama (Urazawa)
Scott Sigler (Contagious)
Steven Schwartz (69, Best Bisexual Erotica 2)

All proceeds benefit the Center for Sex and Culture.
At The Make-Out Room 3225 22nd. St., San Francisco CA, from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM, doors open at 7 PM.

More event info

I’m speaking about Japanese tech culture at ETech

I was invited to speak at ETech, O’Reilly’s annual flagship emerging technology conference. It will be held in March in San Jose, CA. My thingy will be on Wednesday, March 11 at 2:55PM, and I’ll be talking about seemingly strange web apps and gadgets that actually give us great insight into the foundations of Japanese popular culture. The conference is kinda expensive, but there are some great speakers on the lineup—Joi Ito, Gary Wolf, Mary Lou Jepsen—well worth it if you want to hear some of the best idea people talk about what’s up and coming. Details on my talk are here.

Me at the FCCJ, tired. Hungry.


That’s me after my talk at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan on Monday. 30-40 people came, an interesting mix of journalists and my parents’ friends and some others. I think it went well! I talked about the challenges of writing about Japan for a US audience. I didn’t eat the chicken-and-avocado dinner that was served to me before the talk because I didn’t want to be bloated while I talked.

Come to my Urawaza talk at the FCCJ in Tokyo next Monday

I’ve been asked to talk about my book, Urawaza, at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan’s Book Break on Monday, October 20th in Tokyo. I am planning to talk about the book a little bit, but also about why writing for magazines is sometimes harder than publishing a book, and about blogging and writing about Japan and all kinds of other fun stuff. Since I’m pretty sure I will run out of things to talk about after a half hour or so, I’m hoping to turn it into a discussion on writing about Japan. So please show up if you can!

Get more info on the event and on how to sign up on the FCCJ Web site. 1850 yen includes dinner.

UPDATE: I just found out that you need to be on my "guest list" to sign up. So if you want to come, email me with the subject line "FCCJ Guest List" and include your name and phone # and commitment to pay 1850. I’ll email back a confirmation. Thanks!

Pics from my Book Signing at Double Punch


I had a book signing yesterday at Double Punch. It’s this super cute toy store in North Beach with an art gallery upstairs (featuring Piximix, an art collective specializing in awesome characters like a deviled Pikachu saying "I hate you.") A few friends came, some fans, and one guy who came to yell at me about how some of the tricks advocated morally bad things. (I explained that it’s not a moral book, but a fun book. He eventually left.) Pics after the jump.

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Want to Attend Japan’s First Public Lesbian Wedding?

Kanako Otsuji, the openly gay politican who is running for national elections this summer, announced that she will be having a public wedding ceremony with her partner so that everyone can attend and see that this is totally okay. Here are the details:

Place: Ikeda Park, Naka-ku, Nagoya
Date: June 3, 2007
Time: 4:30PM
Dress code: Not specified
Gifts: An open mind
RSVP: Not necessary.

If anyone actually makes it out to the wedding, will you email me with an update? And pics, if you get any. Thanks!

Bondage Event In SF Tonight

Dear Japanese bondage fetishists in the Bay Area,

You should check out this event, if you have $80 and a solid zoom lens:

please flag with care : 
[best of]

email this posting to a friend

1/14: Live Japanese Bondage Event for Photographers (SOMA / south beach)

Reply to:
Date: 2007-01-12,  4:08PM PST

Have you dreamed of shooting pictures of beautiful women in challenging Japanese-style rope bondage?

Rope::Burn is a live Japanese rope bondage performance in the heart of the SOMA district.

$80 (advance purchase) gets you admission and a photo pass to shoot
three professional bondage models tied and tormented on stage. Two
acts, 30-50 minutes each, plus a special ~20 minute bonus intermission

No video please, still photos only.

Jan 14, 2007

7:00PM load in

8:00PM performance

SOMA District, SF CA

Contact this address for pass purchase information.

  • it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

Posting ID: 261760571

LED Skate Shoes and Other Pretty Lit-Up Things


This winter, ice skating takes on an artistic flair with the Art Link special event at Yokohama’s Red Brick Warehouse. It’s a light show with different creative art mediums, like skate shoes with colored LED lights (shown above), giant illuminated sculptures, and thousands of candles lit by visitors. It goes on through Christmas til pretty much the end of the year. Pretty!

A very special Michael Jackson Christmas in Tokyo.

MJ fans better book their tickets to Tokyo soon. Apparently, Jack-o’s celebrating Christmas there this year, at a fancy gala complete with a $3,400 dinner. Ever since he was accused of being a child molester, Superstar’s been keeping a low profile–in fact, his debut public appearance after his June ’05 acquittal was at MTV Japan’s VMAs this year. In Japan, we still love Michael. Even if some people think he loves little boys just a little too much.

Full story here.