Had I known about Shaberu DS Oryori Navi, a talking recipe book for the Nintendo DS, a few weeks ago I would have made pointed comments that it was precisely what I wanted for my birthday. I guess I could always buy one for myself...
To give you a better idea of this (err?) game, I suggest having a look at that link above and also this page of clips showing various people interacting with the game as well as various tv adverts.
There's about 200 recipes available and they're the standard household favourites in Japan . The DS takes you through the cooking process stage-by-stage as you shout "Oke-!" to advance it or "Kuwashiku!" for more detail, so it will tell you how to slice an onion or similar. If the recipe says "5 mins", you can shout out "Timer!" and it'll count down.
You can specify various food allergies and other restrictions, search recipes by ingredients, get it to suggest meals from what's in your kitchen, read background information on ingredients, compile shopping lists and so on and so on. You can even abuse the talking memo function so it rephrases the apology made recently by Koji Kato, of comedy duo Gokuraku Tombo, for the alleged rape commited by his partner Keiichi Yamamoto (original footage here). The apology, that is!
That's possibly a rather niche use though. Unfortunately, I can imagine that any future UK port of the cartridge will probably not keep the Japanese recipes, which would be a shame. As far as I can see, with its helpful clips of food preparation and other similar background, it does a far better job of explaining how to cook Japanese food than any book in English I've seen. People over here would probably complain that there's no sushi recipes and wonder why they've included things so many pasta dishes. For me, as a fan of everyday Japanese homemade food, I can hardly wait to try it out. Since it's sold over a million copies in Japan already, it's quite likely that future versions might specialise in various regional and international cooking styles.
Meanwhile over at Cities On Flame With Rock And Roll, I've been enjoying music by J.A. Ceaser/Seazer. Seazer is a musician and actor who worked with Shuji Terayama and is something of a hero in the Japanese avant-garde underground of that heady period at the end of the 60's onward. There's two recordings of him on that site at the moment, one is his music for Terayama's film Den-En Ni Shisu (To Live and Die in the Country) and the other for a stage production of Jashumon by Terayama's celebrated theatre group Tenjo Sajiki. The recordings themselves are a mixture of massed choirs, enka, folk, circus, prog and other experimentation. He's perhaps more widely known for his later work on the anime series Revolutionary Girl Utena in 1997, which I can presume might be have been seen as a bit of a sell-out after what passed before even if he's sticking to much the same template. Nevertheless to finish off this entry, here's another YouTube clip, just because we now can!
This one is from Den-En Ni Shisu and features another legend of Japanese folk, Mikami Kan, singing Karasu (The Crow):
(Oops! And part of the reason I started this Terayama mention was to point out this helpful link in the comments at COFWR'n'R which allows one to download a seven volume (!) collection of Terayama's experimental film work.)