Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dr. NakaMats

If you are not familiar with Japan you may not know that it is home to the most renowned inventor of our time, Yoshiro Nakamatsu aka Dr. NakaMats. A man who embodies the spirit of Japanese innovation and creative thinking. He lives to create.Winner of the 2005 Ig Nobel Peace Prize, world record holder, Japanese national treasure, creator of the floppy disc, a living God! A man whose creative process defies logic! In fact, most things that come out of Dr. NakaMats mouth defy logic.

He claims to be the world record holder for the highest number of patents, more than 3,000 of them! Thomas Jefferson himself only obtained 1,093. However I don't think that Dr. NakaMats has been made aware that he's actually been beaten three times over by none other than, Shunpei Yamazaki, another Japanese inventor and true holder of the current title in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Dr. NakaMats spends his days and nights nurturing his "creative process" which involves a balance between five basic elements: spirituality, food and drink, muscle training, sleep and sex. These five elements are also his key to longevity. At the ripe old age of eighty two years old Dr. NakaMats believes himself to be a middle-aged man, claiming he will live to be one hundred and forty four years old. He also believes that sleeping more than six hours in a twenty four hour period decreases human brain function so in turn only sleeps an average of four hours per twenty four hour period. I say it in this way because NakaMats doesn't sleep at night. His creative spirit seems to come alive between the hours of midnight and four in the morning. He is, however, a huge advocate of the power nap which he frequently takes in his Cerebrex. An invention of his own and not to be confused with Professor X's Cerebro. The Cerebrex may look like an ordinary recliner with an added head covering but do not be fooled! NakaMats claims that the Cerebrex offers a "130% increase of all power" meaning it improves brain function by cooling the head and warming the feet. This guy, however, looks like he's on the verge of death or is possibly already deceased.

Dr. NakaMats method of invention is a very involved process as you can imagine. Not only does he believe that this lack of sleep is good for his creative thinking he also has this rather extreme idea that his best inventions come in the moments when he is closest to death. To achieve this scenario he repeatedly dives into his swimming pool recording his most innovative creations with his special pad of paper and pencil in hand, also an invention of his. He holds his breath for as long as possible until he is only a half second from death and an idea bubbles up. He claims that humans benefit from lack of oxygen to the brain. Dr NakaMats says that "An idea comes instantly and disappears instantly". And that is his "underwater invention method."

In addition to all of that lack of oxygen and sleep Dr. NakaMats also only eats one meal a day and has been photographing these meals for the past forty years. He then takes blood tests after each meal analyzing the samples against "32 items" and claims to have found the 55 best types of food. It was this achievement which earned him his 2005 Ig Nobel Peace Prize. For those of you who don't know, the Ig Nobel Peace Prize is actually an American Parody of the real thing. Nonetheless Dr NakaMats seemed quite honored to receive this award and exclaimed "Long life should be longer. Speech should be short."

NakaMats claims that the spirit of invention comes from love. His career began when he was only five years old. He created a landing stabilizer for his model airplane. At the age of fourteen his mother was having trouble pouring soy sauce from a large container to a small serving bowl so he came up with this pump to make life "easier" for her. Since this time he has created a truly amazing amount of inventions. I'll leave it up to you as to whether or not they're useful or not.

One of my favorites is the "Self Defense Wig". He has pretty much taken an ordinary wig and attached a line and weight onto it. The idea is that if you're being attacked and have no weapon for self defense you can rip the wig off and swing it at your attacker, thus scaring him off. I however do not believe this to be one of his most effective inventions but I do find it absolutely hilarious when demonstrated. 

He has also invented the "PyonPyon" jumping shoes. They are meant to improve athletic performance and stride while running and looks like a lot of fun! House of Pain had the honor of being accompanied by Dr. NakaMats on stage wearing his jumping shoes during their performance of "Jump Around" in Japan back in the 90's.

Another one of his footwear items is the revolutionary "Ninger". NakaMats believes that this is the future of everyday transportation and has created an environmentally friendly "fuel cell" to power it. If you ask me it looks suspiciously like a boot glued on to a remote control monster truck, but again, I'll let you be the judge.

NakaMats also claims to have invented the synthesizer, Karaoke, CD's and DVD's, the digital watch and, yes, even the floppy disk. As his story goes, he invented the floppy when he was in college back in the 50's but it took 35years to hit the market. He alleges that IBM has purchased 16 of his patents but I've discovered conflicting reports both flat out denying his statement or that IBM bought him off to avoid any conflict.

NakaMats Has also created an entire line of nutrient supplements, drinks and snacks claiming them to be "brain enhancing foods". He's created varieties of crackers, brain enhancing teas and even his own line of curry which is packed with "nano particles".

The good Doctor is also very concerned with Japan's problem of a decreasing population. NakaMats states "Men are not good, so women aren't satisfied". Hoping to promote fertility and increase the countries birth-rate he came up with his infamous "Love Jet", a series of spray on sex aids that seems to blow Viagra out of the water. He says he has tested it on over 10,000 women! Quickly adding that he has not actually had sex with them but has simply run tests. He has also created a condom that increases sexual arousal. It's pretty much a regular condom with an embedded magnet in the tip. 

Dr. NakaMats definitely lives an interesting life. He sleeps and eats very little so you have to wonder what he does with all of that time. Can he really be creating 20 hours a day?! You bet. This guys house is a revolutionary fortress dedicated to his process of invention. The house is energy self-sufficient with a multitude of rooms to help you relax or to stimulate your senses and brain function. He has a million dollar bathroom which is entirely gold-plated which he claims shuts out all noise as well as magnetic and electronic fields. He also has a "static room" for free thinking and a "dynamic room" for refining his ideas. He believes that ones surrounding environment is critical when inventing. He even has an elevator in his home which helps him think better. However, he vehemently denies that it's an elevator but claims he has invented a "vertical moving room".

Dr. NakaMats has been featured on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, Late Night with David Letterman, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern as well as appearing on dozens of shows in Japan and across the globe. He is such a beloved character that Danish visual artist Kaspar Astrup Schroder made a documentary titled: "The Invention of Dr. NakaMats". The film takes a humorous look at the inventor as he lives day to day in all the busyness he creates for himself. The movie shows him in his days leading up to his 81st birthday in which he'll be unveiling his latest invention! The film has some very comical moments. One of my favorite scenes is when Dr. NakaMats goes to the camera shop. One of his many hobbies is collecting cameras and of course being Dr. NakaMats he has a very "special method" to selecting the right camera. While most people will look at the brand, lens or whatever special features the camera may have, Dr. NakaMats says "If good smell then good camera. If bad smell or no smell then bad camera". So he pretty much walks around the shop sniffing every camera. The scene is delightfully weird.

The film is also chalk full of awkward moments with his family members, fans, employees and the people who just have no choice but to deal with him. He frequently meets with an employee who works at the hotel where he is to celebrate his 81st. This poor guy is seen on and off through the film bending over backwards for the infamous inventor who was under the impression that the hotel would rename the room for the party permanently to "NakaMats Room". The unfortunate employee meets with him at his lab and ends up begging him for his forgiveness that this is not possible. The Dr., who has been telling everyone he comes across that the room has been named after him, becomes severely disappointed and even calls the hotel manager an asshole for not complying with his request. He is under the impression that this could ruin his image.
I highly recommend the film. It is very funny and visually beautiful. It's only about an hour long, here's the official preview:
By now you must realize that most of his claims, if not all, are completely false. Although throughout the film Dr. NakaMats comes off as a demanding, delusional, narcissistic nut job there seem to be these quite moments within him where he seems ultimately lonely while being surrounded by admiring fans. There is something still so endearing about this eccentric man that just makes you fall in love with him! 

Dr. NakaMats: One of the millions of reasons I love Japan!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Where Has Hard Gay Gone?

Yes. That is the question on many minds. 
"Where HAS Hard Gay gone?"
Some say that he disappeared into the jungles of the Amazon and has since been living among a remote cannibalistic tribe of tree-dwelling people. Others state that he has merely been held captive by the Yakuza for unfulfilled sexual promises. His own mother claims that Ricky Martin had him kidnapped out of fear that HG's pelvic thrusts were become more well known than his own. Rumors have been heard on our own west coast that D-list celebrity Andy Dick has merely chained him to a wall in his basement, using him as a weekend attraction for friends. Others say he was eaten by a giant squid while trying to swim to Okinawa for a holiday retreat. A small gang in Tokyo affiliated with the Sumiyoshi-kai crime syndicate swear they saw him abducted by a pack of faeries. However reports have not yet been able to confirm what type of faeries.
But before I get into all the theoretical and somewhat mysterious accusations as to his whereabouts let's rewind and fill in those few who have yet to be touched by the power and love of Hard Gay.
 Hard Gay, aka Razor Ramon HG, was introduced in 2002 and finally rose to national prominence in 2005.
Born, Masaki Sumitani, Razor Ramon HG began his career as a professional wrestler under his performing name "GiveUp Sumitani," with the Doshisha Professional Wrestling Alliance (DWA) he won the heavy class Kyoto pro-wrestling championship.
He finally rose to national prominence in 2005. His face could be seen on billboards, buses, magazines and t.v. as well as other entertainment outlets. His shining moment had finally come. His ever growing popularity gained serious momentum when he became a weekly feature on Bakusho Mondai no Bukuten! (Daibakuten), a comedic variety show which airs on one of the Tokyo Broadcasting System's more popular channels in Japan.
Dressed in a tight black fetish outfit, with a sexy vest, a pair of short black hot pants as well as his sunglasses and black leather cap which are a permanent fixture on his head. His outfit brings to mind the Village People, but gives off a much different kind of appeal, the stuff legends are made of! For his spots on Daibakuten he would hit the streets of Japan helping people out all the while trying to be as flamingly gay as possible, something he refers to as "Social Improvements". Wildly thrusting his hips to Ricky Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loca" and screaming his trademark "Hooooooo!", he tackles social problems such as littering, foreign relations, pedestrian safety, family values and general superhero work such as helping delivery drivers unload their trucks, pumping gas, and stopping Yakuza members from harassing young females.
He is seriously my hero!
Here are a few of his fantastic segments on Bakuten...

 The name Hard Gay itself is actually a pun on the word geinin which means actor or performer. The "gei" part of geinin is how Japanese people pronounce/spell the English word gay. Hard Gay himself uses these types of puns occasionally during his pieces, one prominent example is during the Father's Day episode  he asks a kid to call home using his "Hard Gay-tai", meaning his "Hard Cellphone". The word for cellphone is keitai, and HG just voiced the 'k' sound turning it into a 'g' to make the pun.
 Hard Gay makes regular use of a number of catch phrases in his act; he usually makes his entrance in front of the camera shouting "Dōmō Haadogei desu" ("Hello, this is Hard Gay"), with arms thrust out and a spin afterwards. His self-introduction is then followed by his famous dance moves. He often shouts "Hoooooo" or "Foohhhh!", a running joke in his performances. He frequently stops people saying unfavorable things to him by shouting "Sei sei sei sei sei" with his palm in front of the person’s face. Whether this means anything is debatable, although Sumitani has commented that "sei sei" is something that comes out from his mouth when he is not happy, and that he does not mean "say" as in to speak something, although one might compare this action to the popular "talk to the hand" gesture. A possible interpretation might be that the origin lies in the word urusai (lit. "noisy," meaning "Be quiet!"), which is often pronounced urusē in Kansai dialect shortened to sei. Another theory is the word sei written by kanji, meaning "quiet." Also, sei, means "sex" or "gender" in Japanese. And whenever Hard Gay wants to tell someone to come after him, he turns around, bends over some, slaps his ass, and shouts out, "Come and get some!" This can be seen as an invitation or a threat, whatever your preference is.
 So? Where is he? Where exactly has Hard Gay gone?
 After months of research and many sleepless nights I have discovered what happened to our hero.
There are actually several factors that play into his disappearance.
Shortly after his rise to stardom it was discovered that Hard Gay was not actually gay at all. Do you Believe it?! 
Sumitani’s supposed homosexuality was exposed as a gimmick when he was caught in the midst of a date. It was later revealed that he had been dating Japanese model and actress Anna Suzuki. The two later settled down and had a child in 2008. They were married only four days after Sumitani's supposed retirement. Suzuki posted earlier this year on her blog that the couple was now expecting their second child.
Another reason why Sumitani's Hard Gay character vanished may have had something to do with the fact that he'd been constantly criticized by the gay community in Japan. His stereotypical depiction of gay men which had been used to launch his comedy career didn't sit well with the Hokkaido Sexual Minority Association Sapporo Meeting, a support group for gay, lesbian and transgender people, has said: "Hard Gay’s acceptance by the Japanese public shows me that there is a strong tendency here to see homosexuality as something to be laughed at."
The most devastating of the reasons for his disappearance, however, was that Sumitani had suffered a career ending injury during a wrestling match. His character, Hard Gay, had risen to become one of the most well known faces of Japan's wrestling industry. He had come out of his supposed retirement after only a few months but it all came to an abrupt end in July 2009. He shattered his left foot while diving from the ring during a Hustle Promotion event at Korakuen Hall. It took 12 bolts to put his foot back together. He stated that upon his recovery he hoped to return to TV comedy.
 In regards to his transition back to television comedy, Sumitani has revealed that during his present hiatus between his career ending wrestling injury and his impending TV return that he has fallen on hard times and has been making the equivalent of $70 a month. He is planning to reinvent himself because he does not want to go down in Japanese television history as a "one hit wonder". Whether this entails a new graphic novel for his HG character or a brand new character altogether for Sumitani remains to be seen.

Good Luck Hard Gay! Do your Best!

Thanks to Wikipedia for giving me a hand with the whole Japanese pun-age thing.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Friends Lost Over "Kittens Fainting: Now With More Laserbeams" Video

Yes, a sad but true story. And I'm not talking about the kittens.
Upon finding this video the other day, compliments to, I roared with laughter and immediately posted it to Facebook to share this treasure with all. Yes, I was called a nutball, and yes people enjoyed it, but then I received a comment stating I was being "de-friended" for the post of the video. I laughed and blamed it on the Imperial Storm Troopers. Besides, the lasers had been set to only stun them and the kittens were fine for the time being. They would be up and running again in no time only to be stunned with lasers once again.
However, I went to the profile of the "de-friender" and was shocked to see I really had been de-friended! I couldn't believe it. This is a person who has known me my entire life, since I was a baby! Although we haven't been in real contact for several years. Still! I guess you just don't know someone until you see their reaction to kittens being shot with laser beams. 
Hit the link to see the full video:

On the serious side of things these darling kittens suffered from fainting goat syndrome, something that is extremely rare in cats and dogs and pretty much affects only goats. Unfortunately these poor little pussy's also suffered from this horrible disease and since the original video was shot both have passed on to that big cat box in the sky. Apparently the disease causes the cats to drop paralyzed for about a minute everytime time they are startled. But who's the real culprit here? Not me. I wasn't the one who shot those kittens with the laser beam. No, the real villains are the owners. They were the ones who spent hours scaring the pussy's to death! Literally. So don't point your finger at me people. I was just an innocent bystander.

Thanks to Kinnie, The Pipe Cleaner, Gingerjohn and Marco, who tried to breed fainting turtles but the male kept fainting and falling out of the female. Three words (all beginning with T): test tube turtles.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Tofu No Hi (Tofu Day) - Japan

Happy Tofu No Hi! The Japanese love for Tofu is so great that they gave it it's own holiday. Every October 8th Tofu is celebrated! 

Tofu is SO popular in Japan that it has it's own following, the Japan Tofu Association as well as hundreds of merchandise items, anime characters, costumes and more!

The making and ingestion of tofu in Japan is a revered tradition. Tofu, imported from China, has been part of monastery life in Japan for more than 1,000 years. It is an exalted food that could be compared to the Catholic Communion wafer.

 Tofu originated in ancient China although little else is known about the exact historic origins of tofu and its method of production. While there are many theories regarding tofu's origins, historical information is scarce enough as to relegate the status of most theories to either speculation or legend. Like the origins of cheese and butter, the exact origin of tofu production may never be known or proven.

 What is known is that tofu production is an ancient technique. Tofu was widely consumed in ancient China, and techniques for its production and preparation were eventually spread to many other parts of Asia.

 A delegation studying Buddhism in China brought tofu back to Japan, where it was eaten exclusively by the upper classes and clergy for almost 500 years. The ancient method of requiring dried soy beans to be mashed by hand was too labor-intensive
for most households.
 It's no wonder the masses took to tofu - it is a most nutritious food, packed with protein, minerals in addition to being low in calories and cholesterol.
 Places specializing in tofu dishes make it fresh with artisans starting early in the morning to soak, ground, strain, boil, curdle, press, cool and package the soybeans. Some tofu masters are exceptionally gentle with how they make tofu – creating special salt rooms for their tofu-making processes. The humidity, salt and hemp bindings are carefully calibrated to produce divine tofu.

Tofu comes in a wide variety of forms and its production has been at the heart of Japanese culture. 

 In Kyoto, you can eat a restaurant that has existed for 400 years – Okutan – where guests are invited to dine in a calm, garden setting.

 Tofu makers are also careful to cultivate their product using beans from unpolluted areas of Japan and making sure they are picked as late as possible.

In Kyoto, tofu is a delicate handmade food, produced every morning in small shops and large industrial kitchens throughout the country. Each region makes its own styles of tofu, but Kyoto is to tofu what Naples is to pizza, New York to bagels. The Kyoto variety—perfected over centuries by Buddhist monks, in imperial kitchens, and in neighborhood shops like this one—is the accepted standard; it is regarded as the best in Japan and thus the world. 

 So, Happy Tofu No Hi!

And don't forget to eat your curds!