Bradcat’s Japanese Culture Focus… Forty-seven Ronin

You may have already seen the latest trailers for Keanu Reeve’s latest movie “47 Ronin”, however what you may not know is that the movie has little resemblance to the legendary tale of the 47 Ronin. While the new movie must embellish the story to make it entertaining for the cinema going audience, it’s a shame that at the same time, it loses any essence of the original story, with the only similarity being that there are 47 Ronin in both stories.

In the original tale, a group of 47 Ronin are left leaderless when their feudal lord was compelled to commit “seppuku” (this is a ritual suicide) when he attacked a court official. The 47 Ronin avenged their former leader by killing the court official after almost two years of planning. However, as these Ronin had now committed the crime of murder, they too, were compelled to commit “seppuku”.

This tale obviously shows a lot of elements to the legendary Ronin, such as loyalty, persistence, honour, and of course, sacrifice. All of these I doubt will be conveyed in the upcoming Hollywood adaption, especially with Keanue Reeves’ wooden acting.

If you would like to learn more about the story, please search for Chushingura which is the collective name given to the various media based on the historical incident.

Asano (the feudal lord of the Ronin) draws his sword on the court official, Kira.

Bradcat’s Japanese Word of the Week… Sumimasen

Bradcat’s Japanese phrase/word of the week is: “Sumimasen” (すみません) “Suu-mee-ma-sen” which means “Sorry” or in other contexts “Excuse me”

So if you were a part of a Japanese zombie apocalypse and you have to shoot your best friend in the face because they’ve become a part of the infected hordes, you could say…

“Honto ni sumimasen” which means “I’m REALLY sorry”

Bradcat’s J-Music Focus… SCANDAL – Kimi to Mirai to Kanzen Douki

I’ve been watching the live stream of SCANDAL’s première new song from Osaka. Unfortunately the weather hasn’t been too kind to the crowd and the girls, as (ironically) during their second song “Taiyou Scandalous” ( 太陽スキャンダラス ) it began raining heavily, causing the girls to stop playing.

While the girls of SCANDAL were more than willing to carry on, with Haru-chan pointing out “At least it’s not as wet as the Shoujo S music video” (A video in which the girls play their single from the anime Bleach in massive downpour) the event staff had to step in, and deem the stage unsafe for performing on. Luckily the rain stopped briefly enough for the girls to play their NEW track “Kimi to Mirai to Kanzen Douki”, which was the reason for the event in the first place.

Regardless of the countless technical difficulties because of the rain, SCANDAL were able to put on a great show and sent the crowd home happy, where as most artists would’ve called the event off.

The event is a collaboration with ROBI, a robot designed by Tomotaka Takahashi, which you can see in the video here:

You will also be able to watch a replay of the live show here:


It seems the  full live show video stream has been removed temporarily, perhaps to cut out the technical difficulties. However you can check out the new track here thanks to one YouTube uploader:

Bradcat’s Anime Focus… Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet

In the distant future, mankind has taken to the stars and formed the Galactic Alliance of Humankind (人類銀河同盟 Jinrui Ginga Dōmei). The Alliance is engaged in a perpetual war with a tentacled alien species known as the Hideauze (ヒディアーズ Hidiāzu). 16-year-old Ensign Ledo is a soldier in the Galactic Alliance, piloting a Machine Caliber (マシンキャリバー Mashin Kyaribā), an AI-automated, humanoid-shaped battle suit, which he refers to as ‘Chamber’. After a failed attempt by the Alliance forces to destroy an enemy super-weapon, Ledo is knocked into a wormhole and loses consciousness. When he awakens, he learns from Chamber that he has been in cryo-stasis for 6 months while his wounds were healing. Ledo learns that he and Chamber have been ‘found’ by a rag-tag band of ‘primitive’ human scavengers. Ledo quickly discovers that he is on board a massive fleet of ships on an ocean-covered planet. Chamber tells him that local star charts reveal the planet is Earth, the birthplace of humanity, a place that members of the Alliance were only familiar with from stories and believed was a myth. – Source

I am currently on episode 6 of 13, and loving this anime. I’m a fan of the mech genre anyway, so it was to be expected that I’d enjoy this, however I’m more engaged in the relationship between Ledo and his mech “Chamber” and their integration into the “primitive” society. The writers of the show have put a lot of thought into how people would react to a futuristic mech and it’s alien pilot, including language barriers, and social ceremonies. So watching the awkward interactions is highly amusing. I won’t spoil any of the plot for you, but I highly recommend you check this show out for yourself. It’s only 13 episodes in comparison to most anime which normally spans 25 episodes or so.

Bradcat’s Japanese Culture Focus… Akasaka’s Android Maid Cafe

Japan is well known for it’s bizarre features. One of these you may be aware of is the “maid cafe”, a cafe you can go to be served food and drink by Japanese maids in outfits, and also play games with.

One maid cafe in Akasaka, Tokyo, has taken a new twist on this type of establishment. While the concept is still the same, this maid cafe is ran by emotionless robot maids from the year 20-something, who you have to spend time with, to teach them the ways of human emotion.

By becoming regular patrons, customers can “load” their Androidols with extra “options”, such as singing karaoke on the in-café stage. The girls are also “programmed” with a personality type (cheeky little sister, otaku, etc.) so you can pick the right one for you.” – Japan Today

Androidol Caffe Website
Androidol Caffe on Facebook

Bradcat’s Japanese Culture Focus… Train Delays

Here’s a heart warming story for you. On Monday at a train station in Japan’s Saitama Prefecture, a woman in her 30’s slipped on and became pinned between the train and the platform. 

Fellow commuters then disembarked and pushed the 32 train carriage away from the platform with all their might, allowing the staff to free the trapped woman. What’s even more remarkable, is even with all this commotion, the train was only 8 minutes late.