The Alphabet

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The Alphabet is a 2001 multimedia project by Outside Directors Company. There was a book and CD released which both remain lost. From previews on OSD's site[1], we know there was a piece of graphic art and several paragraphs corresponding to each letter of the alphabet.

OSD Site

In the OSD site, there are two options you can choose: "MOVIES" and "INTERACTIVE MOVIE"

In the movies section, there are two videos you can download: "ABC 2001"[2] and "ELECTRIC MUSIC"[3]

In the interactive movie section, You will see the names of the "interactive movies" on the left. You will need the Macromedia Shockwave Plugin to view them. What we know (from the text when you arrive at this section) from the interactive movies are that letters appear on the left of the screen, you will need to trace them. Then, the letters will be highlighted. Clicking on them will show an animation and an explanation of the word, similar to the gameplay of Rolypolys no Nanakorobi Yaoki. The only animations that we know of are ALPHABET and ELECTRIC MUSIC because Macromedia Shockwave has been discontinued.

Names of the interactive movies
Letter Movie name

Descriptions of each interactive movie

The following are machine translations of each movie's description, and may be inaccurate.


The everlasting classic, Helvetica

Alphabetical fonts have been designed since the days when hand-written manuscripts were made, before Gutenberg began letterpress printing. It is said that there are now several thousand different fonts. There are more than 1,000 commercially available computer fonts. Fonts go out of fashion with the times, but there are also basic fonts that have been selected out and survived.

This font, Helvetica, is one of them. The decorative serifs on the vertical bars of letters such as M and H are called serifs, but typefaces that do not have serifs and have the same width in both length and width are called sans serif typefaces. Sans serif means that there are no serifs. Helvetica is the representative typeface of the sans serif series. In America, typefaces in this series are called Gothic. This name may be more popular in Japan.

Helvetica is, so to speak, the basis of graphic design. In fashion, even "eternal classics" tend to go out of style due to the trends of the times, but when it comes to fonts, there is one "eternal classic" - "Helvetica."

In the past, design schools had a hellish, intensive tracing assignment where students had to hand-copy the A to Z of basic fonts like "Helvetica," but now we live in the digital age. Have such assignments become meaningless?


A big fuss about jeans

Jeans were invented by the young businessman Levi Strauss.

They were originally just sturdy canvas work trousers, or overalls. They were very popular with cowboys and pioneers at the time. As they were improved over and over to meet the needs of everyone who wanted durability, they eventually became the prototype of today's blue jeans. This is a great example of how listening to the voice of the consumer will ensure that your product sells. What's more, the advertising method that even emphasizes the durability of the product label, saying "it won't tear even if pulled by a horse," is brilliant.

And now jeans have become a standard fashion item. Vintage jeans have a ridiculously high premium, jeans contests are held to choose celebrities who look good in jeans, and even designer brands are wearing jeans, so there is a lot of fuss over jeans.

The term bone of contention comes from the story of two dogs fighting over a bone, tugging at each other, and refers to a source of conflict or discord. Take a closer look at the label on your jeans. Before you know it, horses tugging at jeans have turned into dogs tugging at a bone.


Why are people weak to tears?

Crocodile tears don't mean much to Japanese people. This term comes from an old European legend that crocodiles shed fake tears to lure in their prey, or that crocodiles eat their prey while shedding tears.

Crocodile tears are just a pretense. Just like the crocodile in the legend, women also use fake tears to deceive men, so gradually women's fake tears came to be called "crocodile tears." It's a nuisance for the crocodile, even though they're not really crying.

Anyway, as seen in stereotypical romance dramas from around the world and throughout history, it is said that men are weak to women's tears. This is because tears make women look weak and helpless.

For example, in ancient China, a makeup style called "sorrowful eye makeup" was all the rage, where the powder under the eyes was intentionally made to look as if it had been rubbed off by tears. It seems that a woman's crying face is attractive and erotic. It is also extremely effective in attracting men. But now we are in the 21st century. These days, men are by far more likely to cry, and for some reason women are also becoming more susceptible to men's tears. The day may soon come when the term "crocodile tears" will refer to men's empty tears.


"every dog ​​has his days" is a proverb that says that everyone has good days at some point in their lives. This phrase is often used in situations where the person being told is going through a tough time or in a miserable situation and is being comforted. It often includes a nuance like "Even dogs have their good days. Hang in there" or "Better than a dog."

Speaking of "better than a dog," there is a movie called "My life as a dog." The unfortunate protagonist, a boy, keeps telling himself, "But my life is better than that of Laika, the dog who starved to death while on board a satellite." The poor dog was used as a comparison for the misfortunes of life.

But I want to put myself in the dog's shoes and say it louder: Are dogs really at the bottom of life? Even dogs can have a higher level of happiness than humans. Just because they are animals doesn't mean they are at the bottom of the hierarchy. Dogs have their own happiness. I'm sure it's for a variety of reasons, like when they bury a bone in the garden, when they fall asleep after eating their fill, when they chase a ball and don't come back, etc.

The dog in this illustration has a silly look on his face, but he looks extremely happy. We would be very happy if we could emulate dogs' happiness and live like this.

No one would like to imagine the life of Laika, who was orbited around the Earth on the artificial satellite Sputnik and starved to death. What was hungry Laika thinking as he gazed at the Earth from Sputnik? It must have been food. My hands are in prayer for Laika.


Sketching with music

Thanks to the development of electronic musical instruments, music can now be created with greater freedom.

Like a collage, for example. Like the cut-up method, for example. Like a sketch.

Images that had been dormant in the mind can easily begin to wriggle and emerge in the ocean of music. A painter who until now would have picked up a paintbrush and painted pictures might now be a musician.

Electric music has liberated music in this way.


Beans are full of nutrients

The boiled red kidney beans I ate as a child were sweet and tasted like a candy. It felt like I was eating a candy even though it was dinner time, so I felt like I got a bargain. This made me very happy. The boiled soy beans contained chicken, carrots, and kelp, and had the presence of a fine side dish. It was a fine adult side dish that a child could not compete with. It completely changed my perception that beans were sweet. For the time being, I separated the chicken and ate only the adult-like soy beans.

As I grew more and more adult, I would encounter foreign beans in various situations.

The kidney beans were served as a salad, mixed with vegetables and dressing. What does it mean for beans to be in a salad? I thought that my great-grandmother would surely be angry if she were alive, but I enjoyed it. The red kidney beans I had eaten boiled sweetly were reunited at a hamburger shop as something spicy, like chili beans. Lentils were boiled with turmeric and served at an Indian restaurant. Beans and curry. It was a combination that curry rice fans would never have imagined. Plus, there were chickpeas cooked in European style with chicken and tomato sauce. People all over the world eat a variety of beans cooked in a variety of ways.

"full of beans" is an idiom that originated from the fact that horses became full of energy when they were fed lots of beans. It's not that they had "a lot of beans," but that they were full of energy because they had eaten lots of beans. Even horses eat beans. Eat lots of beans and get healthy.


The green-eyed monster is next to you

"Beware of jealousy, a green-eyed monster that plays with the hearts of those who prey on it." (Shakespeare's Othello) Othello falls for this trick and kills his wife in a fit of jealousy.

What does the monster of jealousy look like?

A ghost with shining green eyes?

No, no, he will probably approach you with a smile and a charming face. He will approach you with a lovable face and tell harmless jokes. Then he will quietly sit down next to you and, smiling, hand you the knife to cut yourself up with.

"Beware of jealousy," he will whisper.


The candy house that Hansel and Gretel enthusiastically bit into was made of lots of chocolate, cookies, and candy. Thanks to their indulgence in sweets, they were easily caught by the witch's grandmother. Hansel and Gretel also had a sweet tooth. All children love sweets. If those two had teeth made of sweets, they might not have fallen into the witch's trap.

Sweets are addictive, although not as addictive as nicotine. Chocolate in particular contains a small amount of a substance called PEA (phenylethylamine). This PEA is a romantic hormone that is naturally released from the brain when you are in love. This hormone makes you feel happy, and it may be the effect of this hormone that makes you feel happy just by eating chocolate.

When you eat chocolate or sweets, chemicals are released in your brain, making you very happy. But when you finish eating them, they are stored as fat, making you very unhappy. Even if we tell ourselves that the momentary bliss is just a hormone reaction, we can't stop it, which is the absurdity of humans. I wish my teeth were made of sweet things. I could feel happiness whenever I wanted just by biting into my teeth, so there's nothing to complain about.


What is an "i"?

The ninth letter of the alphabet.

First person singular nominative personal pronoun. Watashi, boku. When used as a personal pronoun, it is written in capital letters. An imaginary unit. In philosophy, it is the ego or me. The i in isotope. The i in the IT revolution. The i in solitary confinement cell. Irony is also the i. Intelligence quotient is IQ (i-q). The chat software ICQ is I seek you. The information pictogram is always an i. The i in iMac. The i in i-mode. The i in the robot dog aibo. In Japan, the i is pronounced the same as love.

In this way, the i is connected to many different things.


A false start? Or not?

When a horse beats the starting gun and takes a false start, it's called jumping the gun. Just to be clear, it doesn't mean the horse is jumping over the gun. In that sense, Superman is always jumping faster than a bullet, which is why he's always jumping false starts. Maybe you have to be that impulsive and emotional to be a superhero?

First to jump wins. I believe in thinking about the future later. Personally, I like that kind of thing, but people like that are generally just perceived by those around them as scatterbrained. But that's fine. Let's keep jumping faster than a bullet, faster than a train, Superman.


Not bending is strong

Is excess beautiful or not?

There are quite a few stubborn people who don't change their thoughts or habits no matter where they go in the world. Like bringing rice with you when you travel abroad (oh, maybe that's wrong). Like always having natto and pickled plums for breakfast. Like wearing a kimono even when overseas. Like always writing New Year's cards by hand. Like not carrying a cell phone because you hate it. Etc., etc.

This is quite common among our mom and dad's generation. But maybe that's okay too. These days, there are more people who change their opinions to suit the situation and atmosphere. It's easier to just put down your flag and stop expressing yourself right away. It takes more energy to stick to your own beliefs and not surrender to those around you, and you also need a strong mind. Try to stick to your own style without bending your beliefs. Of course, the number of people you'll be fighting against will increase dramatically. That can't be helped.

Don't give in to the cereal. White rice is the breakfast for Japanese people! Don't surrender! Wave your flag! Keep waving the flag to protect what is important to you!


Is excess beautiful or not?

Gild the lily means ruining a beautiful material with gaudy decoration, like painting a beautiful lily with gold to make it even more beautiful.

However, if the material is beautiful, it is human nature to want to make it even more beautiful. The limitless desire for more, more, more! is what causes this situation. For example, even if a mother scolds her teenage daughter by saying, "You don't need to wear makeup because your skin is already beautiful," such advice does not reach the daughter's ears. Beauty is something that you only realize long after you have lost it. How many people understand their natural beauty at any given time? It is extremely difficult to calmly evaluate and judge the beauty within yourself. To varying degrees, everyone may be excessively decorating and deceiving themselves, ruining various aspects of their true selves.

In La Femme Fardee, based on the novel by Françoise Sagan, the heroine continues to wear heavy makeup to protect her inner self. Her ego was so delicate that it would be crushed if she hadn't covered it up with so much makeup and protected her true self. An excess to protect herself? An excess due to poor judgment. Either way, I hope that one day her true self will become visible.


The mouth can also be a lethal weapon

When you chat online, you can clearly see how your words are turned into text at an incredible speed.

Your fingers pound on the keys as if you're operating a machine gun. The words you want to say come pouring out of your head. In time with that speed, the letters are fired off from the keyboard like bullets.

It's stunned at how quickly humans can put their thoughts into words. And most of the time, they just blurt them out without giving it much thought. Modern Japanese people don't even think about the power of words anymore. Words are fired off from their mouths like a machine gun.

Do you know anyone around you who talks like a machine gun? Maybe they look like this?


Mysterious 9

The number 9 has many mystical meanings in both the East and the West.

In Greek mythology, there were nine Muses, goddesses of poetry, literature, music, dance, and learning. Each had a unique ability, and their names, mousas, became the origin of the English words "music" and "museum."

In Christianity, there are nine gates to hell, and nine classes of angels.

In China, people cut the nine characters to protect themselves in the mountains. In Taoism, they also cut the nine characters to create spells.

Vietnamese shamans use a staff called a fortune to draw the nine dragons in the air as a talisman for self-defense.

In China, the nine-tailed fox was revered as a sign of good fortune.

The Japanese monster Yamata no Orochi was also a monster with nine heads.

The number 9 has a mysterious image, representing both the sacred and the profane, polar opposites. Which image do you have of 9?


Are clever owls more likely to be bullied?

In English, owls are associated with the image of wise men and wisdom. This comes from the fact that owls were sacred birds to Athena, the goddess of wisdom. It is also said that the eyes of owls, which can see through the darkness of the night, represent deep wisdom that can see into hidden and invisible things. The quiet and still appearance of real owls may have also amplified the image of owls as intelligent. This image of owls in English-speaking countries was naturally passed on to Japan, and now owls are often used as mascots for cram schools and teaching materials.

Unlike other birds, owls have eyes that are located in front of them, just like humans. This makes them look like a human face, and perhaps the image of owls as wise men of the forest has become established. In fact, thanks to these eyes, owls can accurately gauge the distance to their prey. This is also useful for hunting.

By the way, nocturnal owls stay quiet during the day. There is a strange habit of small birds gathering around owls and making a fuss during the day, called mobbing. Apparently, this habit is used to catch small birds using owls as bait, a practice practiced in both Japan and the West. Aristotle said that other small birds gather around owls because they adore the wise forest owls, but there is also a theory that the reason they make noise during the day is actually because the small birds come to get revenge on the owls at night. The reason is unclear, but it is certain that small birds gather around owls and make noise for some reason. Owls, who are thought of as solitary creatures, may actually have a hard time during the day, being bullied by other small birds.



Please put out empty cans as separate garbage. Newspapers and magazines should be bundled and put out as recyclable garbage. Wash plastic bottles and plastic trays before putting them in the collection bin. Wash milk cartons before putting them out as recyclable garbage. Non-combustible garbage also includes stuffed animals and leather products. If everything is landfilled in this way as non-combustible waste, will the entire surface of the Earth be covered in non-combustible waste that cannot be returned to the soil? If so, is this recycling?


Promoting a fast-acting medicine

Effective medicines put too much strain on the body and are not good for it. But their effects are enormous. Even if they are only a temporary solution, they can save many things. We have all been in situations where we managed to hang in there and everyone was happy thanks to taking a capsule that lasts for about 12 hours. If there were no immediate medicine that worked at such times, many more misfortunes might have occurred. For example, our work might not be ready in time for an exhibition.


Wave the Rainbow Flag

The seven colors of the rainbow are red, orange, yellow, blue, green, indigo, and violet.

Drawn in pastels, these seven colors look like a fleeting dream. But when drawn in primary colors, these seven colors become more powerful and strong.

For example, the rainbow flag, painted with horizontal stripes of the seven primary colors, is a symbol of the liberation movement for sexual minorities such as gays and lesbians in the United States. Gay communities scattered around the world raise this rainbow flag to forcefully announce their views.

Here, there are no skeletons hidden in closets, and the flag is held high with no sign of surrender. A powerful statement of seven colors. Dorothy from Kansas would never have known that the rainbow had become such a symbol. But seriously, if Dorothy had been here, she might have enthusiastically raised the rainbow flag. Dorothy is a girl with a strong sense of opinion, after all.


In Japan, housing conditions meant that it was not even possible to hide a skeleton in a suitcase.

It seems that family and close friends secrets are hidden like a skeleton hidden in a closet. In Japan, would that be expressed as "hiding a body in a suitcase"? In Japan, where there are small tenement houses, this is difficult. At best, they might hide the body by throwing it in the well that was used as the communal kitchen. But even then, it would not be a secret hidden by a small group of just the family, but would be shared by a broader community, such as a tenement house, where strangers are also mixed in. This is an idiomatic expression that clearly shows the cultural differences.

For example, if a skeleton was found in a tenement house in the Edo period, it would likely involve the caring wives and landlords of the neighborhood, causing a huge commotion. This is hard to imagine in the Western setting, where the houses are large and the neighbors are far away. Hiding a skeleton in a closet is still associated with the home of bizarre murders.

By the way, coming out publicly as a gay person is called "come out of the closet." Whenever I hear this phrase, I immediately picture a skeleton coming out of the closet, rattling all its bones. It's best not to hide secrets in the closet after all.


Praise for multifacetedness

The same is true in Japan when we talk about people with two sides to each other. It is a word that refers to a person who has both a positive and negative side. This is the original meaning of the word.

However, people cannot be simply defined by their two sides. Some people see a person as a good person when looking at them from this angle, while others see them from an oblique angle and believe them to be a bad person. How you view a person can change in many ways depending on the angle you look at them from and the person looking at them.

Recently, multiple personality disorder has become the subject of case reports and novels, as it is impossible to measure a person's personality with just one side.

If that's the case, why not try to have as many sides to a person as you can play, whether that be two, three, or 24? You may eventually see the true side of yourself. I am all for multiple sides. Explore your multiple sides thoroughly.



As the Martian father and son were eating dinner at the table with a few tubes sticking out of it as usual, they saw something sparkling and floating beyond the window.

"It's a UFO!" Little Martian yelled, falling off his chair.

"Dad, is that a UFO? Is that a UFO?"

Dad Martian twisted his first tentacle and rubbed the smooth skin on his head.

"Hmm, I don't really get it, but it's definitely not a Martian vehicle."

Mother Martian was a little excited and said excitedly, "I'll tell the neighbors too."

"Yay! It's a UFO! It's a UFO!"

Little Martian pulled Mom and Dad by the second tentacle and took them out of the house. The three Martians stood side by side on the wing outside the house, gazing at the night sky.

An unidentified flying object drifts slowly across the Martian night sky, casting a shadow on the Martian ground.


Mt. Fuji became immortal thanks to Princess Kaguya

The last recorded eruption of Mt. Fuji was at the beginning of the 18th century. There have been no eruptions for about 300 years since then, but in fact Mt. Fuji is not a dormant volcano, but a full-fledged active volcano. An eruption could occur at any time. Mt. Fuji has the ideal graceful style of a mountain. It is hard for us to imagine Mt. Fuji with smoke rising from it.

At the end of "The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter," the elixir of immortality and a letter left behind by Princess Kaguya, who returned to the moon, are burned on the summit of Mt. Fuji by order of the emperor, who was grieving over the loss of Princess Kaguya. The emperor may have been delirious, grieving the loss of Princess Kaguya, and burning the elixir. At that time, Mt. Fuji was a full-fledged active volcano, with smoke billowing from the point closest to the heavens. It is said that the elixir of immortality was burned at the peak from which the smoke was rising, and from then on the mountain came to be called Mt. Fuji, the mountain of immortality. Thanks to Princess Kaguya, Mount Fuji has become immortal and is still quietly active. Mount Fuji, which stores energy within its womb that may erupt at any time, is always associated with an image of the sacred.

In contrast, in the West, volcanoes are seen as an attacking force of nature, a threat. It is interesting to note that this is the complete opposite of the Japanese view of religion and nature, where it is natural that gods reside in everything.


Even fish can get into trouble

When I was a child, I read a story about a fish out of water.

During a long voyage, a sailor caught a fish on a whim and started to keep it. However, without realizing, the tank started to leak water little by little, and by the time the sailor noticed, the tank was completely empty. However, the fish was still alive and well. It swam smoothly through the air as if the tank was still full of water. So the sailor put the fish out of water in a birdcage and started to keep it. This story has a pretty surreal setting, and I've forgotten whether it was a fairy tale or a novel. I don't even remember why the sailor left it there. In the end, one day, one of the sailors felt sorry for the fish in the birdcage, or was annoyed, so he put it back into the sea, where it soon drowned and died.

A fish out of water refers to something that is unable to adapt to its surroundings. However, as in this story, there is a sad lesson in that even if you force yourself to fit in with your surroundings, you may not be able to go back to where you were before. Do you blend in with your surroundings, or do you persist in your own world? Perhaps it is up to you to decide which is better.

For example, take a supermarket. There is a pack of fish sitting alone in the meat section. Perhaps it will stand out in the meat section and some customers will buy it. Conversely, if you put it back in the fish section, it may lose out to other cheaper fish and end up not selling. Hmm... Which is better?


One-to-one relationship

Y = X.

If the values ​​are always the same, then it creates an equation that draws a beautiful, proportional straight line. Can't the same be said about relationships between people?


Yellow Dominates America

Yellow in English doesn't have a very good meaning. Cowardice, sneakiness, jealousy. It's a pretty bad image. But in the Chinese five elements, yellow is a sacred color and represents the central "earth." In the five elements philosophy, which is like an image association game, the earth is the image of the yellow earth in China. And earth gives birth to all things. Even in Japan, the idea of ​​the five elements and image associations permeate every corner of our lives, even if we don't realize it.

As mentioned earlier, yellow has a thoroughly bad image in English. In America in particular, it's taboo to use the color yellow for a character. That's because marketing data has proven that it's an unpopular color.

But this American marketing theory has been completely overturned by a little character from Asia. Thanks to that little yellow monster that's hugely popular in both America and Europe. A character born in the land of the rising sun, where the five elements are deeply ingrained. Can't we say that the power of the five elements has wiped out the negative image of yellow?


Is no good really no good?

If you see someone spacing out in the park in the middle of the day, don't immediately assume that they're a no good person or that they're unfit to be part of society. There are times in life when you fall behind the speed of society. There are times when it's time to reevaluate yourself. When you're no good, sometimes it's better to just go all out. Of course, there will be times when your life will end as you are no good. That is also your life. People who live their lives thinking about what is good for society. People who are reckless and live for their company. People who live for their family. People who live for themselves. People who ruin themselves. Society works well because there are all kinds of people. Hooray for no good people. That's the last word in the alphabet.