Saturday, June 6, 2009


「えー、缶ジュースの自動販売機、どうしても欲しいものが2つ有ったとします。ホットコーヒーと烏 龍茶。どっちを飲もうかって迷ってしまう時って有りますよね。そういう時はですねこうやって2つの ボタンを同時に押す。するとですね、無意識のうちに本当に欲しい方のボタンを先に押してしまうって 言うんですが、あー、まあ御試しください。えー、二者択一と言えば・・・。」
『古畑任三郎: 赤か、青か』

"Uuhm, pretend you are near a vending machine and there are two things you want. Hot coffee or Oolong tea. There are times when you are in doubt about what to drink, right? At such a time, press the two buttons like this simultaneously
. They say that by doing this you'll push the button of what you want the most unconciously first, but uhm, please try it out. Talking about choosing between two alternatives..."
"Furuhata Ninzaburou: Red or blue?"

Gyakuten Kenji
was awesome. Should have spread the playtime a little bit perhaps. But in other news, little to report. I remember cakes that were no lie, more karaoke, delicious chirashi zushi (but for the real fish-y deal, nigirizushi is still the best), and safely leaving the barber without other hair colors, perms, extensions and that kind of stuff. I was content.

But as I kinda lost the motivation to learn for my exam next week at the moment, I'll randomly talk about Japanese detective literature. Well, to be precise, the more interesting stuff I've read till now. Most of this is just a self-note, as I'll be using this literature somehow when I'll study in Fukuoka later this year and have to write about Japanese detectives. Once again, caveat lector.

1) Miyanaga Akihiko (editor). 2008. Bokutachi no suki na Kindaichi Kousuke ("The Kindaichi Kousuke we love"). Tokyo: Takarajimasha.

Neither magazine nor book, it is the wonderful mook. I didn't invent that word. Anyway, this mook is a guide on the famous fictional detective Kindaichi Kousuke. Dressed in a shabby kimono, a little hat on his head, a scratching hand beneath that hat, Kindaichi is the symbol for Japanese detectives. Japanese detectives are abroad known for the horror influences (fountains of blood, a myriad of mutilations of the body), strange motives/themes in the stories and the Kindaichi stories are the origin of all this (together with Edogawa Rampo's works). Got similar mooks on works of Edogawa Rampo and Higashino Keigo too.

I recommend the 1976 hit movie Inugamike no Ichizoku ("The Inugami Family"), probably the most famous of all Kindaichi Kousuke stories which set the standard for all following Japanese detectives. Great movie (I love the ending song, "Ballad of Love") and it made an excellent subject for the final paper for the Japanese movies course at Leiden.

2) Arisugawa, Alice;
Yasui, Toshio. 2008. Misshitsu Nyuumon! - A Guide to Sealed-Room Cases!. Tokyo: Media Factory.

A very geeky and interesting book by famous detective writer Arisugawa Arisu and an architect. The book is written like a dialogue between the two, in which they discuss the variaties of locked room mysteries, which reminds me very much of Carr's fantastic chapter on locked room mysteries ("The Locked Room Lecture") in the evenly fantastic The Hollow Man. Afterwards, the two actually discuss how to construct locked rooms from an architects view. You'd almost think they're really planning a murder.

I actually once tried to construct my own locked room in my room here in Japan. Being in such a small room just begs for it. But it's difficult. Being on the ninth floor kinda eliminates a clean escape through the window (unless I climb into the room of my neighbour). I'll probably need more strings. And rubber bands.

3) Setagaya Trick Kenkyuukai. 1995. Kindaichi Shounen no Suiri Miss ("The Deductions Misses of Young Kindaichi"). Tokyo: Data House.

This is even geekier, as this is a book that a) looks for mistakes made in the stories of the detective comic book series Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo ("The Case Files of Young Kindaichi") and b) actually tries to find solutions / explanations for those mistakes. I like my detectives, but not to that extent. There are also similarly named books for the Detective Conan series. Detectives, even comics, are very serious business here.

It also kinda reminds me of Nikaidou Reito's "'Honjin Satsujin Jiken' no Satsujin" ("The Murder of 'The Murder in the Mansion'), where someone discovers a flaw in the first story of Kindaichi Kousuke and uses it to commit another murder. Yes, modern writers of classic detectives are often amongst the biggest fans of classic detectives.

I still have a lot (a lot!) of books here with real criticism on detectives, lots of the Japanese detective classics (c.f. with "our" The Murder on Roger Ackroyd, Murder on the Orient Express etc.) and semi interesting books. Still too much to read here. Kinda worrying about what to send back home, as I'll probably need a lot of these books in Fukuoka again, so to send back books from Japan to the Netherlands to take back in Japan is kinda inefficient. I could leave them here, but then I'll not be able to read them during the summer....

"Talking about choosing between two alternatives..."

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