“Shiny Mud Balls” are not a fad. (Well, maybe)

I think I first read about this “fad” about a week ago on Boing Boing. Search Google for “shiny mud balls” in English and you get 186,000 hits. Search for the same term in Japanese (光る泥団子) and you get 413 hits. The latest fad taking Japan by storm? I think not.

For what it’s worth, I asked the expert this morning (Tony, 8yrs old) and he had never heard of them. Maybe they’re all the rage in another part of the country. Some place where people don’t use the Internet much, I guess.
Shiny Mud Balls

Update: Siuyee, our resident Quality Control expert, notes that if you remove “shiny” from the search term you get 19,700 hits. So it’s quite possible that I’m totally wrong, and my kid’s a nerd. Maybe all his classmates are mass-producing shiny mud balls and hiding them when he comes around. What I do know for sure is that I’m at work eight hours a day and I’ve never seen any of my Japanese colleagues make one…

While we’re at it, let’s also tackle the myth about Japanese being in love with their robotic dogs and manservants. Sony recently stopped production of the Aibo and Qrio to return their focus to products they can actually sell. For a profit.

Lunch at Grandpa’s on New Years

This movie shows 100% typical family life for me. It’s for everyone who said they were curious to see the inside of Grandpa’s house, and to those of you studying Japanese and can’t get enough of hearing the real language.

I slapped this one together as quickly as I possibly could, and still from start to finish it took over four hours. Subtitles are an incredible time suck; not only adding them, but they also make the video take forever to render. I’m either going to have to find better video editing software or upgrade my CPU and motherboard. Working with the timeline in Windows Movie Maker is painfully slow.

I’m glad blip.tv lets me cross-post to my blog so I can just hit the upload button and go to bed. It’s 2:40am right now and I have to leave for work at 7.


New Year’s is the one occasion when everyone “gets religion” here and pays a visit to a temple. It’s called hatsumode. Some show up at midnight, others visit during the day. Our family always goes late in the morning of Jan. 1.

It’s 6am and I just finished this video. I would have gone to bed hours ago, but I’ve been trying to fix a problem with Windows Movie Maker that’s putting an annoying blast of audio static between some clips during mixdown. It’s technical glitches like this that drive me nuts. Sorry to those of you listening with headphones.

Next podcast I’ll talk a bit about New Year’s here and explain some of the things you see in this video.

Update: I re-encoded it with Videora because it looked like shit. (Quicktime Pro does a horrible job with MPEG-4 compression.) Looks much nicer now, fewer artifacts, and I added letterboxing by running it through VirtualDub’s resize filter before encoding to H.264.