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Travel Japan by Train 3 Recommended Unique Trains

first_imgThe train’s doors and even the washrooms are so meticulously designed that the ride is sure to amaze you. If you are going to Kagoshima (鹿児島), this is the train you must take.Please go to the JR Kyushu official website to check out more details.Related links:JR Kyushu (Japanese)JR Kyushu (English)JR Kyushu (Korean)JR Kyushu (Traditional Chinese)JR Kyushu (Simplified Chinese)2. Cafe on a Rail, Fukushima “Fruitea Fukuoka”“FruiTea Fukushima (フルーティアふくしま)” is also known as “cafe on the rail” as you can get to enjoy local sweets from Fukushima (福島) while taking this train. Just asthe name of the train suggests, it runs in Fukushima Prefecture (福島県).Fukushima is famous for various kinds of fruits like apples, pears, peaches and grapes. You can get to eat original sweets, hot coffee and juices made from local fruits picked in Fukushima on your way.Sweets with seasonal fruits are really delicious.If you go to the first car, there is a elegant and spacious counter.You feel like you are spending time in an elegant place which let you forget that you are on a train.If you want to know more, please go to the JR-EAST Sendai Branch (JR東日本仙台支社 only in Japanese).3. The Train of the Good Old Days, Kumamoto “A-TRAIN””Limited Express A-TRAIN (特急A列車で行こう)” runs in Kumamoto (熊本県), Kyushu(九州).The interior of this train was designed with the theme of “the namban (南蛮 lit. southern barbarians) culture introduced to Amakusa (天草) in the 16th century”(※1). The western and romantic atmosphere will really make you savor the moment.The sunlight dances through the stained-glass windows, making you feel like you are in one of the scenes of a movie. A truly unique experience where you’ll feel like shouting out “Let’s go!”※1…Amakusa (天草): refers to the islands in the western part of Kumamoto (熊本県). Namban culture (南蛮文化) refers to the western culture introduced into Japan during medieval times.This train ride can not only be enjoyed by adults, but by children as well; small chairs by the window let children enjoy the scenery.How about taking the extravagant “Limited Express A-TRAIN”?For more details, check out the JR Kyushu official website.Related links:JR Kyushu (Japanese)JR Kyushu (English)JR Kyushu (Korean)JR Kyushu (Traditional Chinese)JR Kyushu (Simplified Chinese) Japan is well known for the highly developed railway systems. If you have visited Tokyo before, you might have been surprised at its complicated subway systems.As you might know, railways systems are not limited to Tokyo; they are all over Japan. You can go almost everywhere by train except remote islands.Some visitors from Asia want to try riding Japan’s trains; many want to travel around Japan by train too.These days, traveling by train is gaining great popularity in Japan since not only can you get to enjoy the beautiful views, the meticulous design of the trains attract people.In this article, we will be introducing three unique trains which provide pleasant travel experiences.Let’s take a closer look at the trains’ interior using Google street view. You will be surprised at their quality.1. Feel the Warmth of the Wood, Kagoshima “Hayato no Kaze”“Limited Express Hayato no Kaze (特急はやとの風)” has a pitch-black body and gold characters engraved on it. It runs along Kagoshima (鹿児島県), the southernmost prefecture in Kyushu (九州).The train’s interior is constructed so that you can feel the wood’s warmth. You can also get to enjoy the beautiful view from the observation space. Please take a look at the screen above to see what it is like. You can also click and drag the screen to check out more.Related Article:Kagoshima Prefecture in South Kyushu: Its Naturelast_img read more

Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium Meet Sea Turtles And Manatees

first_imgThe visitors can enjoy a wide range of exhibitions in this aquarium.Outside the AquariumThe view of the actual Okinawa sea awaits the visitors outside. The aquarium is located inside a large site, so everybody can take a leisurely stroll while enjoying the seaview.Okichan Theater (The Dolphin Show)This is the popular dolphin show, held at the Okichan Theater. It is held daily from April to September, free of charge, with shows at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 4:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Okichan the dolphin, along with his friends, will perform for the visitors against the backdrop of the blue Okinawa sea.The visitors love this show, and the seats are often filled. Take a look at the video.Sea Turtle PoolFive species of the sea turtles are bred at the Sea Turtle Pool. The visitors, looking down from above, can see the sandpit where the turtles lay their eggs, along with the sight of them swimming about in the pool. From the observation room, they can watch the sea turtles swimming underwater. The other tanks display the wide variety of fish living in the Okinawa sea.The exhibitions, such as this mangrove forest display, offer a glimpse of Okinawa’s natural environment.The Shark Research LabThe Shark Research Lab displays gigantic jaw and tooth models along with the actual sharks themselves.Although feared as a tyrant of the sea or man-eater by many people, the shark is a light eater, and only a few species attack humans. Manatee PoolManatees are said to be the model of mermaids, and they are bred at the Manatee Pool. A herbivorous mammal on the brink of extinction, the manatee has been designated an internationally protected animal. The visitors can watch them from the observation room, but on the day of our visit, the manatees looked relaxed and did not move at all.In ConclusionThe Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium entertains its visitors both inside and outside the facilities. That may be the reason why many people come here, although it is located away from the urban area. If you have the chance to visit Okinawa, be sure to go to this aquarium.Read also: Come See The Whale Sharks At The Churaumi AquariumInformationOkinawa Churaumi AquariumAddress: Okinawa, Kunigami, Motobu-chō, Ishikawa 424Hours:October to February 8:30-18:30, last admittance at 17:30March to September 8:30-20:00, last admittance at 19:00Closed: On the first Wednesday and Thursday of December.Wi-Fi: -Credit Cards: VISA, MasterCard, American Express, JCBOther Languages: -Menus Available In: -Access: 2 hours by car on the expressway from Naha AirportAdmission:Adults 1850 yen; High School Students 1230 yen; Junior High and Elementary age Children 610 yen**After 16:00, the fee changes to 1290 yen for adults, 860 yen for high school students, and 430 yen for junior high & elementary age children.Religion: -Telephone: +81-980-48-2741Official Website: Okinawa Churaumi Aquariumcenter_img The Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, famous for its display of whale sharks, is a popular sightseeing spot in Okinawa. Many tourists visit Okinawa to see the whale sharks swimming gracefully in the huge water tank.The dolphin show is another feature of the aquarium, along with the whale sharks. This article introduces the exhibitions in this aquarium, along with a video of the dolphin show.Read also: Come See The Whale Sharks At The Churaumi AquariumInside the AquariumThe Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is located in the northern region of Okinawa Prefecture. It displays reproductions of the sea surrounding the islands and its creatures. It takes about two hours by bus or car from central Okinawa, but it’s worth the time.Let’s take a look inside.The Kuroshio SeaThe whale shark is swimming in the huge water tank titled Kuroshio Sea (Kuroshio no umi). The writer, awed by the sight, stood still for a few minutes in front of the tank.last_img read more

Shimokitazawas Mysterious Cafe Jashumon See Whimsical Magic Tricks

first_imgAlong the Inokashira Line, connecting Kichijoji and Shibuya, you’ll find a peculiar kind of culture, the sheer comfort and charm of which is sure to entice you to make the trip. This is where you’ll find the stylish Shimokitazawa, a town with a mixture of old-style residential buildings and modern stores, which has a mysterious atmosphere all its own.If you head south from Shimokitazawa’s west exit you’ll happen upon the café Jashumon standing alone in a tranquil residential area.Jashumon – Enjoy the Ambience of a Mysterious CafeAs you enter, you’ll notice that it’s quite different from other cafes as it opens up into a bizarre open space.The place contains antiquated lamps, a single wedge-shaped door, ancestral iron grills and tablets bearing Christian images, on which authorities forced suspected Christians to step on during the Edo period (1603 – 1868).Welcome!You’re welcomed by the warm voice of an elderly man clad in an apron. We highly recommend sitting at one of the window tables in order to bask in the sun.The shop is famous for its coffee anmitsu (syrup-covered sweet bean paste dessert) and its Vienna coffee. If it’s your first time, make sure you order either of the two. (The master will undoubtedly tell you that the day’s special is the coffee anmitsu).When you listen to the echoing beautiful skylark BGM for a few minutes, you’ll know why you came.The coffee anmitsu is made from a base of anmitsu-flavored ice cream which is mixed with coffee and milk. When pouring in the coffee, the ice cream starts to melt and releases all the richness of the coffee and the sweetness of the ice cream and adzuki beans, leading to an amazing, delicious flavor.At a glance, it might seem like quite the mismatch, but this combination should surely be called a miracle. Every day, the master hails this combination as the recommendation of the day.The wonderful, iced Vienna coffee has a smooth, gentle flavor. The master of the shop freshly grinds the coffee beans only after you order.While taking it easy and enjoying your time at the café, the master will all of a sudden perform his pro-level magic tricks.Some of his tricks include turning a 500 yen coin into a giant one and moving the card you put at the bottom of the deck to the top leaving you to wonder, “What kind of store is this?” Quite puzzling indeed.The truth is the master is supposedly the number one pupil of the magician Tenko Hikita, which then makes you say “No wonder.” And just before you know it, the beautiful skylark BGM turns surprisingly into Paul Mauriat’s El Bimbo.A few years ago in Japan, there was a magic boom so many people came to the shop to witness the master’s magic tricks. The writer of this article, too, remembers going and spending his allowance to see these tricks in elementary school.At the store that makes you forget you’re in Shimokitazawa, you’ll definitely be able to experience a relaxing time that gives you a vivid reminder of the Showa period (1926 – 1989).Kitazawa River near the café is, at the moment, being looked at as becoming a cultural heritage site in the future so you can agree the level of history in the area is piling up. If you are interested in the surrounding area’s atmosphere, including that of Jashumon, by all means, ask the master to tell you all about it – he’ll be sure to spare no details.You’ll surely be able to understand this side of Shimokitazawa a little more.InformationSetagaya JashumonAddress: Tokyo, Setagaya, Daita 1-31-1Hours: 9:00 – the whim of the masterClosed: Thursdays **days closed may be extended, refer to website for detailsNearest Station: Shimokitazawa Station (Odakyu Odawara or Keio Inokashira lines)Access: 12 minute walk from south from the West Exit of Shimokitazawa Station (Inokashira Line side)Prices: Coffee anmitsu – 700 yen / Iced Vienna coffee – 800 yenPhone: 03−3410-7858Website: http://homepage3.nifty.com/jashumon-setagaya/ (Japanese)last_img read more

Disney Pirates Summer A Tokyo DisneySea Event For The Swashbuckler In You

first_imgEnjoy the World of Pirates at This Summer DisneySea Event There are many limited-time dishes and merchandise available at restaurants and shops inside the park. At Cafe Portofino, visitors can enjoy spaghetti with tomato sauce topped with fish fritters. The olives in the tomato sauce enhances the flavor of the dish.The set comes with a potato and roast beef salad, a fruit-filled dessert, and a soft drink for 1,880 yen with tax. The Pirates Summer Battle “Get Wet!” is a special interactive performance held three times daily. It is approximately 25 minutes in length.When you see pirates prowling one after another around the park’s Porto Paradiso Side area, the show has begun. Tokyo DisneySea Summer 2019 Guide – Celebrate Disney Tanabata Days Coffee Roll Cake with Souvenir Plate: 800 yen with tax; Mango Jelly and Orange Mousse with Souvenir Cup: 800 yen with taxThe sweets come with a limited-time souvenir item. The Coffee Roll Cake pictured to the left has a pleasantly bitter flavor from the coffee and isn’t overly sweet. The Mango Jelly and Orange Mousse is topped with cream and allows you to savor three stages of sweetness in one bite.Bring Out Your Inner Pirate at DisneySea in Summer 2019! “What if I could enter the world of the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’?”This is an event that will manifest that thought into real life. This summer, come and experience the exciting world of sea bandits during “Disney Pirates Summer” at Tokyo DisneySea! Tokyo Disney Resort View Informationamusement_parkIn cooperation with Oriental Land Co., Ltd.Original Author: misakiRead also Disney Pirates Summer, an event inspired by the world of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film series, has commenced at Tokyo DisneySea! This limited-time event runs from July 9 (Tuesday) to September 1, 2019 (Sunday).Yo ho, yo ho!When you visit Tokyo DisneySea, you’ll hear voices of pirates all around the park. This article introduce what to expect at this event so you can enjoy the world of pirates to your heart’s content!Don’t Be Afraid! Challenge Yourself at the Pirates Summer Battle “Get Wet!” Just as the pirates move in unison with the rhythmical music and water sprays, Barbossa’s archenemy Captain Jack Sparrow makes his appearance! The scene changes suddenly from a party to a fierce battle surrounding the legendary ship. Tons of water will be sprayed on the guests each time the two are in battle.Be sure to prepare rain gear or extra clothing for after the event; once the show ends, you will be completely soaked. Why? Of course, there is plenty of limited-time event merchandise. If you wear the Pirates Ear Hat (2,000 yen with tax), a T-shirt (2,600 yen with tax) featuring Disney characters, and a wristband (900 yen plus tax) around your arm, you’ll certainly be able to immerse yourself into your pirate role! How about a sparkling cocktail (680 yen with tax) with large mango chunks on a hot day? It has a moderately sweet, refreshing flavor. Plush Stuffed Animal Keychains: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck are 1,700 yen with tax each; Chip and Dale are a set for 2,800 yen with tax.Plush stuffed animal keychains, a staple merchandise, have also been released in limited-edition event costumes. It would be cute to add them onto your bag or even on your T-shirt. Other merchandise that would make great souvenirs, like a stainless barrel-shaped mug (pictured bottom right for 2,200 yen with tax), are also for sale.A Taste of Summer with Charming Food and Beverages Pirates wander around by the audience, spraying water at them during the performance! Be prepared to get wet and feel like you’ve boarded a pirate ship being tossed about by the sea!Adorn Yourself in and Become a Pirate! On board the legendary ship docked at the Mediterranean Harbor at Tokyo DisneySea’s entrance, is the character Captain Barbossa. Pirate training is conducted as guests get sprayed with water. Stay Cool! Tokyo Disneyland Summer 2019 – Shows, Food, And Shopping Guide Tokyo DisneySea – 7 Snacks Perfect For Walking And Eating!last_img read more

Bunraku Puppet Theater How To Watch Japans Traditional Performing Art

first_imgThe performance “Nippon Bunraku” held March 2018. During this performance, several narrators and shamisen players appeared on stage.Even though a puppeteer, a narrator, and a shamisen player share a stage, you won’t be able to see glances exchanged between them nor them adjusting their breaths to each other. Each is facing a different direction, doing his own thing. But, apparently, that is what makes a good Bunraku play.“Each performer does their own show, and they somehow end up meeting at some point. That is what Bunraku is like. There should be no meeting on purpose – that turns it into something silly, a game. No, it is like a scattered fireworks display of art.”The puppeteer, the shamisen, the narrator — the three of them are doing completely different things, but to the eyes of a spectator, it all seems a perfect heart-throbbing story. That is what makes Bunraku so unique and so exciting.What Makes Bunraku so Interesting?There are many passionate fans of Bunraku. They are so devoted that they make rounds to Tokyo, Osaka, and other cities, just to enjoy a performance. How come Bunraku has the power to enchant people in that manner?We addressed this question to master Kanya Yoshida. He told us the secret could lie “in the puppets”.“Take the example of Kabuki theater. The first and the only thing you see are the mesmerizing actors. But, when it comes to Bunraku, there are the puppets in front of you. That allows the audience to get immersed in the story more, and to get lost in its world, too. The first time I watched a Bunraku performance, I felt like I had gone back in time to the Edo period. And the beautiful and noble puppets made my heart tremble and melt.”Bunraku’s secret lies in its puppets, and the people who dedicate their lives to perfecting their artistic skills get up on stage and captivate the audience by working seamlessly, separately and together. This traditional performance has continued for 300 years due to its tenacious spirit, enticing content, and appealing form.The more you get to learn about Bunraku, the more you get absorbed. In order to get to know more about the fascinating world of bunraku, don’t hesitate to pay a visit to the theater.Where to Watch Bunraku Puppet Theater Kanya Yoshida is a veteran among professional Bunraku puppeteers, having devoted himself to this role for more than 40 years. He is a lead puppeteer, called omozukai in Japanese.Bunraku puppets are controlled not by one, but by three people. The person who controls the legs is called “ashizukai”. The one who controls the left arm is called “hidarizukai”. The third person controls the right arm and the neck and is called “omozukai”. They are each specialized in their role.How Can Three People Control One Puppet? Made in cooperation with Kanya Yoshida, Tomonosuke Tsurusawa, Sakijudayu Toyotake, Nippon Bunraku, and NPO Bunrakuza. Bunraku – Japan’s Traditional Puppet Theater The neck puppet is called gabu. The beautiful face of a woman turns into a horrifying expression in a second! It’s been 17 years since Tomonosuke started playing the shamisen. However, he still considers himself a novice in the world of Bunraku, although he boasts a quite peculiar career.“Born in a musical family, with my father a jazz pianist and my mother a violinist, I, too, nurtured a musical dream. I wanted to become a bassist and dedicated myself to learning the contrabass.”Tomonosuke entered the world of music at an early age. He didn’t know nor take an interest in the traditional arts, but in his second year of high school, he heard a unique sound. “I could hear a beautiful low pitch tone coming from the television. It was the sound of the Bunraku shamisen.”He didn’t enter the world of Bunraku as a performer. Instead, he was led to it by the sound of the shamisen. There were many different things between his prior studying of Western music and portraying Bunraku art using the shamisen. He confessed that he felt confused and hesitant.The Deepest Emotions Expressed with Just One Sound Noh Theater In English! SUMIDAGAWA: Sound of prayer cradled in sorrow Mr. Kanya holding the gabuKanya, too, invested about 30 years into honing his skills as a puppeteer before becoming able to master the omozukai role. He once followed his master while entrusted with the role of ashizukai.“My first teacher was Kanjuro Kiritake, the second Living Natural Treasure of Japan. I used to follow his lead as the ashizukai, and I had great fun doing it. Of course, it was mostly done following his lead, but Kanjuro used to give us (the ashizukai and the hidarizukai) freedom to take initiative to some extent. The three puppeteers unify to create one cohesive performance.In order to make this unification, it is vital for the three puppet masters to coordinate in perfect unison. One’s own art is completed by the other masters. Therefore, we have to reexamine even the most basic things, such as how to interact and compromise with one another.”Those witnessing a Bunraku performance for the first time are bound to be moved by the detailed and realistic movement of the puppets. Behind these phenomenal performances are decades worth of training and excellent coordination between the three masters.”We Communicate Stories, Not Melodies”Tomonosuke Tsurusawa, Bunraku Shamisen PlayerWhile watching Bunraku, you might notice a string instrument being played constantly during the show. If you take a look at the right part of the stage, you’ll see the shamisen player.To first-time spectators, the shamisen music playing might seem like the musical accompaniment, with the purpose of livening up the story. However, the role of the shamisen in bunraku plays is opposite to that of the accompaniment.What is it all about, then?We interviewed Tomonosuke Tsurusawa, a bunraku shamisen player, to find out more about his art. Most first-time spectators find it very surprising that the puppet almost seems alive during the show. How can three people controlling the puppet make every move appear so natural and run so smoothly? The secret behind their technique lies in the zu, the signal that the omozukai sends to the other two puppeteers.“The task of an omozukai isn’t only moving the right arm and the neck. It is also very important for the omozukai to instruct the other two puppeteers about the next movement of the puppet, using various signals and hints.”Rather than guiding the colleagues using the words such as “do this” or “do that”, the omozukai uses the puppet’s neck or the whole body to give directions on the next move, and even uses their own body to consequently send detailed “zu” signals to the other two masters on the stage.Upon receiving the unspoken instructions, the hidarizukai and the ashizukai move the puppet accordingly. That way the roles of the three fuse into one cohesive unit, which gives the puppet that natural movement, making it appear alive and breathing. According to Tomonosuke, the shamisen has some common traits with Western music, although it might not seem like it at first glance.“The shamisen tune is dictated by the Bunraku play featured in the program. However, it also depends on the hearing and understanding of the player him- or herself. Just like the sound of Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 9” differs depending on the conductor, the shamisen’s sound differs depending on the player’s comprehension and method of expressing the story.”The shamisen helps the player enrich the storytelling, to deepen and widen it. Above all, there is only one shamisen player on stage during a Bunraku performance. That lone artist manages to bring forth the heart and soul of each character in the story – the child, the young lady, the warrior, or the elderly.One shamisen is enough to make a bright, blue sky in the story breathtakingly vivid, or to narrate a vicious thunderstorm, or even a butterfly dancing around.“It is not about playing the shamisen beautifully. Shamisen is about using different tones and tempo to back the storyline to express the feelings of each character clearly and accurately.”This is why one cannot say the shamisen is just an accompaniment to a Bunraku story.”The Power of the Narrator Extends Beyond Words”Sakijudayu Toyotake, the Narrator Mr. Sakijudayu, explaining the details of a Bunraku performanceUnbelievable as it may sound, Sakijudayu has never touched a shamisen or a puppet. One would think this would be helpful in order to understand the feelings of other performers and make the performance run more smoothly.“I don’t need to understand it. Actually, I shouldn’t be able to understand”, he says firmly. “For example, if I knew how to play the shamisen, as well, as soon as I hear the sound of it I would probably get distracted and base my narration upon it. If the narration and the shamisen were to fit each other perfectly, the role of the narrator would fall to the hands of the shamisen.” Kabuki Theater – Enjoy This Japanese Performing Art To The Fullest There are various types of the shamisen, but Bunraku uses futozao, a type of the shamisen that produces a strong and profound sound.“Until I discovered Bunraku, I used to express my feelings through melodies. However, Bunraku allows one to express great grievance using simply one sound.”It took him about 10 years to become a master on the differences between Western music and the Bunraku shamisen. It was his burden to bear due to his dream of becoming a professional bassist.Portraying Everything – from Characters’ Feelings to the Weather ”Nippon Bunraku”, performed in March 2019 at Harajuku Meiji Jungu-mae.Bunraku, also known as ningyo joruri, is a form of Japanese puppet theater designated as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. This form of performing art first appeared in Osaka during the Edo period around the 18th century. It has continued to be practiced and shown for centuries to this day.Although the term “puppet theater” may conjure up images of performances for children, this is not the case for bunraku. In fact, the majority of plays are intended for an adult audience.Plays are based on old Japanese folktales about heroes of the past, love stories between Edo period men and women, or stories about double suicides (shinju, when partners in love both commit suicide out of love). These themes have been considered entertaining for older audiences.Bunraku is considered to be a Japanese traditional form of art, as is the case with Kabuki and Noh theater. However, not many people have ever watched a Bunraku show.This article contains interviews with three prominent performers of Bunraku. Learn about the basics of this stage art and how to enjoy it best from the top figures in the world of Bunraku!The Three Performer Roles in BunrakuThere are three major performer roles in Bunraku. First, we have the ningyozukai, the persons who control the movements of the puppets. The second performer role is that of the shamisen player, who plays the shamisen, a three-stringed traditional instrument. The third performer role needed in a Bunraku performance is called tayu, the story-teller.This explanation alone probably isn’t enough to paint the picture, so take a look at the following video, first. Although it is in Japanese, you should be able to grasp the concept behind the art of Bunraku.These three specialized parts — the puppeteers, the shamisen player, and the narrator — are necessary in order to create a Bunraku performance. People who wish to enter the world of Bunraku first decide on the role that fits him or her. Once they decide, they stick to that one role for the rest of their career, honing their skills.We talked to three professionals of each role to find out more about what it means to be a performer in the world of Bunraku and how to best enjoy this art.“The Art of Puppetry is a Collaboration”Kanya Yoshida, an Omozukai Puppeteer Picture courtesy of National Bunraku TheaterTwo theaters that regularly have Bunraku performances are the National Bunraku Theater in Osaka and the National Theater in Tokyo.In Osaka, the birthplace of Bunraku, you can enjoy Bunraku plays regularly at the National Bunraku Theater.You can purchase the makumiseki, a ticket that allows you to watch one act on the day of the performance. This is an ideal choice for people watching a show for the first time. We recommend looking up information on the play and asking for an audio guide (Japanese/English) beforehand.Bunraku performances can also be watched several times a year at Tokyo’s National Theater (small theater).National Bunraku Theater Official Website:https://www.ntj.jac.go.jp/english/access/facilities_04.htmlNational Theater Official Website:https://www.ntj.jac.go.jp/english/access/facilities_01.htmlYou can make ticket reservations for both theaters online using this link (English):https://ticket.ntj.jac.go.jp/top_e.htmOther Bunraku Related EventsThere are other irregular Bunraku related events, as well. Nippon Bunraku (Japanese), a performance organized by Nippon Foundation, is held every year outdoors.The concept behind this Bunraku event is that unlike the Bunraku plays shown at the theater, the audience is allowed to drink and eat freely while watching a performance (it is normally forbidden to eat or drink at the theater).This event will allow you to experience a recreation of the Edo period when Bunraku was a common form of entertainment for most city residents. The 2019 show is already over, but you can look forward to the one scheduled for 2020.Take the chance to dive into the world of the traditional Japanese art of Bunraku on your next visit to Japan!Read also Controlling the facial expression using the thumbOnly One Rehearsal Before the PerformanceAlthough one might think that even unifying their breath is crucial for Bunraku puppeteers, there are actually hardly any rehearsals together with the three prior to a performance.“Usually, each one of us individually does image training for rehearsing. Practicing in performance with all three of us using the puppets is done only once before the main stage.”Even though there are not many rehearsals, in order to become a skillful omozukai like Kanya, many training hours are needed. It varies by person, but it is said that an omozukai must first master the ashizukai for about ten years. Handling the tasks of the hidarizukai takes about 15 years, after which the performer can finally grasp the role of the omozukai.Puppetry is all about learning and practicing the puppet’s movements, taking part in countless performances, receiving zu signals from the omozukai, and incorporating the art along the way. As one masters the basic tasks of the ashizukai and hidarizukai on stage, there is little need for prior rehearsals when the three puppeteers get together.Creating Art with Others How To Enjoy Kabukiza Theater Without Buying A Ticket Bunraku tale scripts called yukahon. They are written in cursive style.As it is the case with the shamisen, there is usually just one tayu on the stage. The narrator expresses the thoughts of each character and their circumstances, all by themselves.“Many of the Bunraku programs are dynamic and theatrical, with a serious plot. To be able to express all of that all by yourself is quite a challenge. Even if, for example, the audience doesn’t understand the language, they can understand when the character is biting their lip or clenching their teeth crying, or in a great rage. That vigor is more powerful than words, I’d say, and should be transmitted to the audience.”The ability to narrate many different characters and situations, isn’t really what one refers to as “becoming the character”, according to Sakijudayu.“There is a story about a narrator who poured too much emotion into expressing the characters and burst into tears, after which he got scolded. But that doesn’t mean one should narrate in a dull, simple manner.”So, what is the secret behind the ability to perform various roles through narration? “In our world (of Bunraku), we call it ‘to narrate by breath’. It means to tell the story and the characters apart by coordinated, well-calculated breathing.”At first, it seems a little complicated to try and understand the meaning of “narration by breath”. But, when watching a Bunraku play, you get an illusion of the character and the narrator being in the same room, even though they are not. That is how natural it seems – as if the characters themselves were narrating.The reason why the puppets liven up in front of us and show us so many different expressions is precisely that “narration by breath” done by the narrator.Bunraku – Like Bits of Scattered Fireworks Mr. Sakijudayu. In the background, you can see the yuka, or the narrator’s seat.Our last interviewee is Sakijudayu Toyotake, a prized narrator among novices. He is a tayu, the storyteller during Bunraku plays.The narrator controls the progress of the story through storytelling. For each Bunraku tale, there is a script that the narrator has to follow. However, this should not be confused with simple recitation.The narrators use a special technique called gidayubushi, which allows them to tell the story in a melodic manner. It might take you by surprise when you hear the narrator for the first time, and you might wonder where their voice comes from.This hoarse, husky voice expresses a variety of emotions, bringing Bunraku stories to life.A Balance of Performance and Bunraku Techniquelast_img read more

Chanko Nabe Sumo Stew Japanese Encyclopedia

first_imgWhat is Chanko Nabe? Watching A Sumo Practice Session At Musashigawa-Beya Sumo Wrestling Guide – Key Terms, Buying Tickets, And Ways to Enjoy When you come to Japan, by all means, try chanko nabe.In Japan, there are restaurants serving chanko nabe all across the country. However, the best restaurants serving this dish are definitely in the area where the Kokugikan (The National Sports Hall) is, namely in the Ryogoku area of Tokyo. Here are some of the chanko nabe restaurants in Ryogoku.Ryogoku is an area where there are also a number of sumo stables, so if your luck is good then you might be able to see an actual sumo wrestler walking through the streets wearing a kimono.Chanko TomoegataThis is a well-established chanko nabe restaurant where you can enjoy not only hot pot dishes, but also other Japanese foods. It’s in a convenient location, just a 3 minute walk from Ryogoku Station. Here you can choose from a soy sauce base, a salt base, and a miso base. It’s not just the secretly passed down chanko nabe recipe that this restaurant is well known for, but the other Japanese foods that the cooks are very skilled at making are also delicious.Address: Tokyo, Sumida, Ryogoku 2-17-6Website: http://www.tomoegata.com/ (Japanese)Chanko KirishimaThis restaurant is just a 1-minute walk from the JR Ryogoku Station. The entire building is a chanko nabe restaurant, and it’s very spacious, making it the perfect environment for talking about sumo wrestlers.The owner of this restaurant is a famous retired sumo wrestler named Kirishima, so here you can enjoy authentic chanko nabe made by an actual sumo wrestler. On the top floor of this restaurant are panoramic seats, where you can enjoy the view of Tokyo SkyTree from. It sounds like it would be a lot of fun to share chanko nabe with a number of friends here.Address: Tokyo, Sumida, Ryogoku 2-13-7Website: http://www.j-kirishima.com/ (Japanese)Sumo-Chaya TeraoThe owner of this restaurant is a retired sumo wrestler also. This restaurant is famous, centering around the once popular sumo wrestler Terao. Just a 3-minute walk from Ryogoku Station, the exterior of this building looks as if it could be a sumo stable. Here you can apparently enjoy many unusual types of chanko nabe, such as a curry based one. This restaurant has an established reputation for having good value for the prices, and it’s a popular establishment where customers can enjoy the atmosphere of sumo.Address: Tokyo, Sumida, Ryogoku 2-16-5 Azuma building 1FWebsite: http://www.sumouchaya-terao.jp/ (Japanese)In Closing Chanko nabe is a dish that’s essential in the world of sumo. When you visit Japan, by all means visit Ryogoku, the sacred ground of sumo, and enjoy chanko nabe after watching a few bouts. This is without a doubt a special experience that you’ll only be able to have in Japan!center_img Whether it be at a restaurant or at home, nabe-ryori refers to a typical Japanese dish made of several ingredients boiled together in a large pot.Normally, these dishes get their name from the ingredients used or the way in which the dish is prepared. For example, there’s ‘tonyunabe’, ‘tonyu’ meaning ‘soy milk’, and ‘kimchinabe’. However, among there is a mysterious dish known as ‘chanko nabe’.Believe it or not, the chanko nabe is actually a very important dish that helps support Japan’s national sport, sumo, behind the scenes.Building the Robust Body of a Sumo Wrestler – A Hot Pot Full of NutritionChanko is a word that indicates the food that sumo wrestlers eat, and the word ‘nabe’ means ‘hot pot’. In other words, ‘chanko nabe’ primarily refers to the hot pot that sumo wrestlers eat. Sumo wrestlers in Japan work together in order to strengthen their bodies and improve their skills, living in a type of training facility known as a sumo stable.For sumo wrestlers, who need to maintain their massive bodies, eating is also an important part of their training.On top of being a dish that can be made easily by an adult in just a few minutes, nabe dishes are very nutritious, allowing you to take in a number of different ingredients at once. By using chopsticks to eat together from the same hot pot, sumo wrestlers are able to boost their sense of togetherness. In a sumo stable, this is one dish that is a must have on the menu.Chanko nabe and sumo are closely connected to each other.Chanko Nabe Comes in Countless VarietiesIt may go without saying, but if the food tastes the same every day, the sumo wrestlers will grow tired of it. For that reason, there are a number of different bases used in chanko nabe, such as soy sauce, salt, and miso. The same goes for the ingredients used, there are many different variations.Having said that, it is said that chickens are auspicious because they have two legs, so there is a tendency to use chicken meat in chanko nabe (*1).Strictly speaking, seeing as chanko nabe has this sort of history behind it, it’s not correct to call hot pots served at an izakaya, a Japanese style bar, and ones made in average households that have no connection to sumo ‘chanko nabe’. However, it seems that when making a hot pot made with the idea that you’ll gain energy from it just like a sumo wrestler would then that hot pot is sometimes daringly referred to as ‘chanko nabe’.*1 Two legs are good luck for a sumo wrestler because when they place both hands on the ground during a bout, they loose.Recommended Chanko Nabe in Ryogoku, the Sacred Ground of Sumo Read also Tomioka Hachimangu: The Origins Of Sumo Wrestlinglast_img read more

Right by Ise Shrine 4 Delicious Treats Specific to Okage Yokochō

first_imgOkage Yokochō is the shopping street beyond the gates of Ise Shrine, Mie prefecture. This street is popular among visitors for its many souvenir shops, fun activities, and stores selling delicious food.In this article we will introduce to you four delicious treats you can find here.Read also: Best Souvenirs from Okage Yokochō, Nearby Ise Grand Shrine1. Ise Udon Noodles at Tekone Cha-ya Tea ShopOnly in Ise can you savor the taste and texture of the unique regional Ise udon noodles. The secret behind the taste is the soy sauce created in this area. The soy sauce from Ise has a bold, yet sweet flavor. Only a little dash of it on the noodles is enough to enjoy a delicious bowl of udon noodles.The soup also contains bonito and kelp broth that brings out the sweetness even more. Another trait of the Ise udon is the softness of the noodles. It is cooked for a longer period of time for a softer texture. (480 yen tax included.)2. The Fisherman’s Soup at EbimaruThe Ise shrimp is widely known among the Japanese as a large, brand name shrimp. The shrimp can be eaten raw, grilled, fried and prepared in many ways. At the shop called “Ebimaru” you can taste the fresh seafood caught in the seas of Ise, Shima and Toba in the Mie prefecture.The “Fisherman’s Soup” is the number one recommended dish here.Most miso soups contain mainly tōfu and scallions, but at Ebimaru, you can enjoy a miso soup filled with seafood. Plenty of fish and shellfish create this delicious savory soup that you can only find here! In addition, you can get unlimited refills or add a bowl of rice and pickles for a total of 1,240 yen.3. Matsusaka Beef Skewers at DangorojayaIf you like to eat while walking, you can’t miss the Matsusaka beef skewers. Matsusaka beef is a brand name wagyū beef (“Japanese beef”) raised in Matsusaka city in the Mie prefecture.Frequently called the “art of meat”, only in this location can you savor the mouth-watering Matsusaka beef for a reasonable price.One bite and the rich flavor of this meat will amaze you. Only a dash of salt is used to bring out and emphasize the taste of this quality meat. (900 yen tax included)4. Akafuku Mochi Rice Cakes at Akafuku hontenA popular long-time favorite from Ise is the Akafuku mochi rice cake from the Akafuku shop. The Akafuku mochi is a rice cake with koshi-an (fine red bean paste) on top. The red bean paste of Akafuku has a subtle sweetness you will keep craving for. The mochi rice cake also has a distinct firmness that many people in Japan love.Each piece is made by the experienced workers of this store.The Akafuku main store located here is nearly 130 years old. In addition to the tatami matted floors, you can leisurely watch the flow of the Isuzu river from the seats by the porch in this historical structure.Once stepping in the store, you will be welcomed by the sweet aroma of tea. The tea served at Akafuku uses water that was boiled in the large red pots shown in the photo above. You can buy a set of three Akafuku rice cakes with tea for 290 yen.Enjoy the Historical StructuresAfter enjoying your meal, explore the streets aligned with replicas and reconstructed buildings from the Edo and Meiji eras.This is a local ATM.This retro looking convenience store in Ōharai city is made of wood. They have automated doors, but their exterior and the store sign is made of wood. It totally melts into the atmosphere of the city.As you can see, the Okage Yokochō street in Ise city is filled with fun things to do! Why not take a break and come here while making your way to the Ise Shrine on your next visit?Sponsored by Sony Digital Entertainment Services Inc.Read also:Ways To Travel From Tokyo To Nagoya! A Thorough Comparison【Mie】What to See, Eat and Do in Ago Bay, Japan’s Aegean Sea【Mie】The Fabulous Illuminations in Nabana no SatoInformationOkage Yokochō StreetAddress: Mie, Ise city, Ujinakano Kirichō 52Opening Hours: 9:30 – 17:30 (varies on season)Closed: Open all yearWi-Fi: AvailableCredit cards: Accepted (varies on store)Other languages: –Support in other languages: –Nearest station: Jingū kaikanmae (神宮会館前) bus stopAccess: Take the Mie Bus from JR Ise City Station and get off at Jingū Kaikanmae stop. One-minute walk from the stop.Price range: varies depending on the shopReligion: –Telephone: 059-623-8838 (Okage Yokochō Street Information Center)Official Homepage: Okage Yokochō (Japanese)

Tekone Cha-ya Tea Shop Naikū BranchAddress: Mie, Ise city, Ujinakano Kirichō 47-13 Ujien 2FOpening Hours: 9:30-17:30Closed: -Wi-Fi: -Credit cards: AcceptedOther languages: –Support in other languages: –Nearest station: Bus stopAccess:Price range: From 450 yenReligion: –Telephone: 0596-27-1244Official Homepage: 

Tekone Cha-ya Tea Shop Naikū Branch (Japanese)Akafuku Main Branch
Address: Mie, Ise city, Ujinakano Kirichō 26Opening Hours: 5:00 – 17:00 (varies on season)Closed: -Wi-Fi: -Credit cards: AcceptedOther languages: –Support in other languages: –Nearest station: Bus stopAccess:Price range: From 290 yenReligion: –Telephone: 0596-22-7000Official Homepage: Akafuku Main Branch
 (Japanese)last_img read more

Taste Kikanbos Fiery Miso Ramen In Ikebukuro Feel The Flames

A Day Trip To The Magnificent Daiyuzan Saijoji Temple Kanagawa

first_imgAs soon as you get off the bus, there you are in a completely different world! Surrounded by a lush green forest and moss-covered stones, it’s almost as if you accidentally wandered right into the scene of a movie. If you’d like to fully enjoy the exquisite sight of sunlight streaming through the leaves of the trees, then we recommend coming here in the morning.You Just Might Meet the Legendary Tengu! When you think of Japanese temples, which places come to mind? Many of you probably think of World Heritage site Kyoto, or Nara, or even Kamakura, famous for its Great Buddha statue.However, in addition to these popular tourist spots you can find lesser known temples with long histories, in all parts of the country.According to the Yearly Almanac of Religion (2015 Edition, The Agency for Cultural Affairs) which compiles information on religion and its current situation in Japan, there are apparently more than 70,000 temples throughout the country.Today we’ll introduce you to Kanagawa prefecture’s Daiyuzan Saijoji Temple, one of those lesser known temples which we’d also like guests from abroad to visit.How about going back in time to 14th century Japan to experience a temple with a slightly different kind of feeling and space from the ones in Kyoto and Nara? Here at Daiyuzan Saijoji, you can feel the warmth of the sun as you immerse yourself in the surrounding nature.A Temple With 100,000 Visitors In Just 3 Days! On the temple precincts you can find a huge number of geta in all different sizes. Geta are known as footwear for tengu and when geta are neatly lined up together, they can then perform their function and duties, and it’s been said that a pair of geta can also bring good luck to a marriage.Among these pairs of geta are gigantic ones, some measuring the height of a human. This is a popular picture taking spot, so while visiting here don’t miss a great opportunity to capture the moment on camera. Daiyuzan Saijoji was first built in 1394, during an era in which Zen was blooming and prospering. Kyoto’s Kinkakuji Temple was constructed during the same period.More than 20,000 cedar trees were planted on the temple precincts and many of them are now more than 500 years old. A total of 30 buildings (temples and pagodas) occupy the site which covers approximately 1.3 square kilometers.Saijoji Temple annually attracts more than 100,000 visitors during the first three days of the New Year, all hoping to soak up the dignified and magnificent atmosphere of this huge area. Now let’s go for a walk on the temple grounds!Bask in the Sunlight Amid This Silent and Serene Space After you make your descent from the top, the souvenir shop at the base of the mountain makes the perfect ending to your day’s journey.From among the many souvenirs on display, we recommend the famous tengu ha-uchiwa senbei (rice crackers). In the shape of the tengu’s ha-uchiwa, or feather fan, these rice crackers have a delightful texture and crunch to them. Sold in a multitude of different flavors including miso and peanut, they are popular with all the visitors.At the shop you can also try tasting some rice crackers, but please keep in mind that this is only for sampling. If you find a flavor that you like, then by all means please feel free to buy some and take them home with you.A Day Trip Offering You a Special Experience The nearest station is Daiyuzan station, and from here it’s only a ten-minute bus ride to Saijoji Temple at the top of the mountain. For some of you “top of the mountain” might sound too far away, but it’s actually only a day trip, making this one of the temple’s appealing points.By train, it takes anywhere from one hour to ninety minutes to get to Odawara station, which serves as a transfer point on your way to Daiyuzan station. From Odawara to Daiyuzan station it’s only twenty to thirty minutes, so combined with some Tokyo sightseeing this destination is not far away.At Odawara station there’s an information center for visitors to Japan, and staff members will gladly serve you in various languages, making this a useful resource for local sightseeing as well.In addition there is free Wi-Fi at Daiyuzan station, so if need be you can look up some last minute information just before arriving at Saijoji Temple.So have no worries. Some unique and enjoyable experiences await you at Daiyuzan Saijoji Temple, all within a day’s reach! Daiyuzan Saijoji Temple View Information Daiyuzan Saijoji is a temple with a deep connection to the tengu, those creatures who occupy a special place in Japanese folk religion. For example, folklore has it that the tengu, in a variety of different ways, supported the Zen priest who first built Saijoji Temple.Daiyuzan is the home of the tengu, and it’s been said that their mighty power can be bestowed upon people if they make a pilgrimage here. Well, if you’re lucky you might even be able to meet the tengu somewhere on the large temple grounds!last_img read more

Whats the Difference Between Comiket and Events Abroad An Interview With Otakus

first_imgJapanese pop-culture gave birth to the term “otaku”, which is now used world-wide. With countless people attracted to this unique sub-culture visiting Japan year, it’s no exaggeration to say that “Otaku” actively contribute to Japanese society, and are an important part of its culture. It goes without saying that Japan’s largest pop-culture event, “Comiket” is invaluable as well.As the globalization of the culture continues, one wonders how those who come from abroad to visit Comiket feel about the event. In this article, we’ll explore how a pair of international students (German and Malaysian) feel about Comiket and the culture that surrounds it.Their First Trip to Comiket── Thanks for agreeing to the interview! Before we start, I’d like to get you to introduce yourselves for those reading MATCHA.Tristan:Nice to meet you. I’m Tristan Junker, from Düsseldorf in Germany. I’m an international student at a Japanese university. I also have my own company called Amazing Japan, where I conduct business closely between Japan and Europe. I was with MATCHA when we did the article “Kyary Pamyu Pamuseum”.■Sweet Strange Costume Forest! “Kyary Pamyu Pamyuseum 2Nabil:I’m Nabil Akram, from Malaysia. I’m also an international student. I’ve been studying Web Design a vocational college for two years. This year I’m going to be moving on to university. This is my first time at Comiket.Tristan:I went to the summer event as well, so this will be my second time. Comiket has the longest lines from morning until noon.── Those types of people generally spend about 200,000 yen here. What do you think about that amount?Nabil:It’s amazing. But it’s not that surprising. There are people who spend up to 100,000 yen in maid cafes, after all.── You’re not surprised! By the way, the ATM in this building has been completely emptied before (laughs).Tristan:That’s so interesting! Overseas we says stuff like “Japan’s not normal”, so I’m sort of used to Japan’s unique quirks… You could say I’m not too surprised.Japanese culture and their religion── Nabil, you’re from Malaysia and are Muslim. What do you think about the contents of the things distributed here at Comiket?Nabil:I think it’s all very Japanese. It’s true that in Islamic societies we don’t have many of these types of books, and those that do read them tend to be punished harshly.── Even so, and you’ll have to forgive me for being rude, do you feel that it’s okay because you’re in Japan?Nabil:I suppose. When I’m taking part in the culture of another country I don’t stop to think about my own religion. I like all Japanese culture, including those types of expressions. There are probably quite a few people that feel the same way. Japanese cosplayers have a high level of quality.── We have a custom where we line up when we take photos of cosplayers, and I believe that this is different from what happens at other events. Did you come without any prior knowledge of these types of customs?Tristan:Yes. The fact that they have to change into their costumes after coming was also new to me.Nabil:The way to line up and general rules seem to have sort of naturally occurred as people increased, but for us it’s all a little hard to grasp. It would be nice if some of the how-to was more easily available. Also, those thick catalogs are almost entirely Japanese. It would be nice if the way to read them was shown in English as well.── I think that’s an important point. Thanks for letting us interview you!Around the end of March this year, “Comiket Special 6 ~OTAKU Summit~ 2015” will be held, with participants from all over the globe. I think Comiket is a fun event even for people not quite used to it, but as we’ve seen in this interview there are some points that could make it much more accessible.Comiket could be a place to meet not only Japanese people, but people from places all over the world. If you see someone having trouble, call out to them. You never know what they might need a hand with, and even if they don’t, it’s always nice to make new friends!InformationComiket (Comic Market)Held On: Mid-August, and towards the end of December, for three days each.Time: Circles 10am to 4pm, Corporate Booths 10am to 5pm (until 4pm on the final day), Cosplay 10am to 4pm (until 3pm on the final day)Place: Tokyo International Exhibition Center (Tokyo Big Site)Address:Ariaki 3-11-1, Koto-ku, TokyoStation: Yurikamome “Tokyo International Exhibition Center Station” (国際展示場正門駅), Rinkai-sen “Tokyo International Exhibition Center Station” (国際展示場駅)Access: 3 minutes from Yurikamome’s “Tokyo International Exhibition Center Station”, 7 minutes from Rinkai-sen “Tokyo International Exhibition Center Station”Site:http://www.comiket.co.jp/ It can be hard to get your hands on what you want amidst the maze of lines.The differences when compared to events overseas── Overseas events like these seem to attract a lot of people who appreciate Japanese culture. While Comiket is similar in a lot of ways, it also has some key differences. What do you think about these differences?Nabil:Despite there being so many people here, it’s really quiet. It’s a lot different from the laughing and excitement you see at a lot of overseas events. The people who come to Comiket are polite, and they don’t always seem to be having a lot of fun (laughs).Tristan:Overseas events are always abuzz with activity, but I don’t think Comiket would be able to function like that. It seems to me like it has pretty tough rules. And even though there are a lot of participants, the individual is most important. It’s very unusual.MATCHA has reported on overseas otaku events in the past.■Otaku as Missionaries of Japanese Culture? What We Saw at Sakura-Con” There’s an international help desk, but it’s not enough to help everyone.── What do you think about the privately managed booths?Nabil:In some places where there are really long lines, staff will hold up signs or wave their hands to move people around. That system can be kind of hard to understand.── I see. You mean the “Wall” circles. (Popular booths are along the walls to facilitate long lines.)Nabil:Also, when the lines at the booths right in the center get long, they all get jumbled together.── Comiket does have quite a few places that get long lines out of nowhere, doesn’t it… Tirstan answers in his “Kantai Collection” Akagi T-shirt.── Comiket has some basic style difference from other events, but what would you say it doesn’t have enough of when compared to events from your own country?Tristan:This kind of goes beyond it’s definition as a Doujinshi Fair, but I think it would be awesome if they had stage events and figures. I also think that 10am to 4pm is kind of short.Nabil:Yes! I want to see a stage. My country has a “Comic Fiesta”, where they invite guests onto the stage. It doesn’t feel right without one.── Overseas events with stages are sort of like Japan’s Anime Song and Seiyuu events. It’s almost like they synthesize everything into one event.Everything that happens is “common” here in Japan── Despite being as large as it is, Comiket does have a limited capacity. Because of this, there are a lot of people who come on the first train, or break the “No All-Nighter” rule, and line up starting the night before to buy their item of choice. What do you think about this?Tristan:Basically they come early. I think it’s amazing there’s something they want to buy here so badly. Nabil wearing his「Culture Japan」T-shirt── Since both of you are relatively new to Comiket, we just had a walk around the area. What do you guys think about it?Nabil:I already know “Genshiken” and “My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute”, so I recognized some of the scenery, but it was really interesting. The style of the hall and long lines aren’t something you get to see every day, so it was a really new experience.Tristan:There are a lot of anime posters with bishoujo and drawings people made themselves all over the place, so there’s a lot of value in just seeing it. This is a lot of fun.Is Comiket “kind” to visitors from abroad? It’s more of a personal problem than a religious one.Tristan:Comiket has a really strong image of being just about anime and manga, but what I found interesting was that there’s actually a whole lot of other stuff as well.── Of course. There are a lot of doujin produced by railroad fans, and people from every type of field. Comiket is a place where anyone can express themselves, and I think this is what has given it so much popularity.Tristan:I that has a lot to do with Japan’s artisan-like nature when it comes to hobbies, and probably also has a lot to do with doujin culture itself. When you look at it from that viewpoint, it’s likely that it’s still only otaku that know about the event, so it would be cool to see the interesting aspects of it brought out in a PR campaign.About Cosplay── So, we talked about expression, and I’d like to know what you guys think about cosplay as a form of self expression. What do people overseas think about Japanese people who do cosplay?Tristan:Japan’s cosplayers are really high quality!── Among the characters being cosplayed, there are also many taken from Western culture. From a Japanese perspective, people abroad often seem like they would make better cosplayers, so your answer surprises me a little.Tristan:Japanese people are good with makeup, and they pay attention to the finer details of the outfit, and have a really professional outlook. That’s why the outcome is often really high quality.Nabil:A lot of places abroad already have a culture of dressing up, so I think there’s a lot of cosplayers that are fine dressing up more casually. Everyone comes and goes, in search of their own treasure.── Over the past few years, I feel like I see a lot more people coming here from abroad. Some of the more experienced participants prepare their own maps, but among them are some who don’t know anything about the event. You guys say it’s fun here, but do you think the event is very accessible?Tristan:I think if it’s your first time in this kind of crowd, you’re going to have a tough time, even if you’re Japanese. The hall is huge, and because everyone’s always moving, you’re going to get lost if you don’t adapt yourself to their movements.── What do you think about most of the signs and information being posted in Japanese?Nabil:I can understand the ones with pictures on them, but from every now and then I see one I don’t understand.Tristan:I also think there are a lot of circles here that don’t understand English, so people might have trouble buying things from some of the booths. Sometimes you can’t really tell what books or items are being sold there, so maybe some English signs would help for those who can’t speak any Japanese.last_img read more

5 Famous Castles in Japan for Castle Lovers

first_imgThere are over 25,000 castles both large and small in Japan’s history. Castles and ruins still stand in each of Japan’s regions. There are even castles that have been rebuilt and castles that have withstood time.We’ve carefully selected Japanese castles that are perfect for sightseers. They were selected based on their history, status, and beauty. You can’t go wrong with these castles!1. Himeji Castle ~Japan’s 1st World Heritage Site~From Japan’s 400-year-old World Cultural Heritage Site, Himeji Castle (Japanese)In 1993, Himeji Castle was selected as Japan’s 1st World Cultural Heritage Site. Since it has remained almost completely intact in its original form, it’s considered very valuable.It has earned the nickname “Shirasagi Castle,” or “White Egret Castle,” due to its enormous white exterior. Restoration was just finished in 2015, so now it’s beauty is even more radiant than ever.Japan’s castles have survived many wars. Himeji Castle was completed just after that war-torn period. You can see architectural techniques from that period in its construction. It’s not only beautiful, but also serves as a state-of-the-art stronghold.2. Kumamoto Castle ~A Castle Master’s Creation That No Weapon Could Touch~Image courtesy of gtknjUnlike Himeji Castle, Kumamoto Castle’s exterior is dyed in black.Kumamoto Castle was built by Kiyomasa Katou (加藤清正), a courageous military general whose name remains well-known in Japan even today. He was best known for his castle construction techniques, and some of his castles still stand around the nation. Kumamoto Castle is considered his masterpiece.One of its key features is its stone wall made of stones stacked upon each other. This helped defend the castle from attacks. Kiyomasa’s stone walls were said to be so strong that hardly any attack could penetrate them.If you have the chance, you should see this masterpiece for yourself.3. Nijo Castle ~The Beloved Residence of Shogun~Image courtesy of Benjamin ClaverieNijo Castle is located in the heart of Kyoto. It’s easy to stop at on your sightseeing around Kyoto, which makes it one of the most conveniently located on our list. It doesn’t have towers, so it looks more like a large mansion than a castle.It’s no wonder that Edo period Shoguns usually stayed here when visiting Kyoto.Its interior contains murals and Japanese gardens, which makes it the perfect place to enjoy traditional Japanese culture.4. Takeda Castle ~The Magical Castle in the Sky~Image courtesy of bullets95Unlike the other castles we’ve introduced so far, Hyogo prefecture’s Takeda Castle isn’t made up of magnificent buildings or towers.What remains is stone walls and the grass that has grown over them. Perhaps it’s more apt to call it “ruins” than a castle. However, that’s part of what makes it so magical and mysterious.Takeda Castle fans call it “The Castle in the Sky.” Look at the photo included above. With clouds floating under it, doesn’t it look like it’s really floating? You can enjoy this kind of scenery because it’s located at the top of a mountain.5. Shuri Castle ~A Unique, Red Southern Castle~Image courtesy of Takeshi KOUNOShuri Castle stands in southern Okinawa. Okinawa is also known as “Ryukyu” (琉球); here, you can enjoy a unique culture that is a bit different from Japanese culture.Ryukyu culture is reflected in Shuri Castle. It was built to look more like a Chinese castle than a Japanese one. You can’t see castles with this kind of vibrant red exterior anywhere else in Japan.Visit Shuri Castle for yourself to experience this one-of-a-kind Southern relic.So, are there any castles here that you want to go to? There are castles and ruins in just about every region of Japan. After you visit these major castles and learn how to observe castles, you should check out some of the minor ones as well.Information1. Himeji CastleAddress: Himeji-shi, Honcho 68-banchiBusiness hours: 9:00am-4:00pm (gates close at 5:00pm)※Summer hours (April 27-August 31): 9:00am-5:00pm (gates close at 6:00pm)Closed: December 29 and 30Wi-Fi: HIMEJI Wi-FiCredit cards accepted: N/ALanguages offered: official website in English, Chinese, Korean, French, Spanish, Portugese, German, VietnameseOther languages offered: YesNearest station: 20 minutes from JR Himeji Station, Sanyo Himeji StationPrice range: 300 yen-1,000 yenPhone: +81(0)79-285-1146Official website: Himeji Castle2. Kumamoto CastleAddress: Kumamoto-ken, Kumamoto-shi, Chuo-ku, Honmaru 1-1Business hours:[March-November] 8:30am-6:00pm (last entrance at 5:30pm)[December-February] 8:30am-6:00pm (last entrance at 4:30pm)Closed: December 29-31Wi-Fi: 5 spots on castle groundsCredit cards accepted: N/AMain language: JapaneseOther languages offered: English, Chinese, KoreanNearest station: Tram stop “Kumamoto Castle, Shiyakusho-mae”Access: Right next to tram stop “Kumamoto Castle, Shiyakusho-mae”Price range: 500 yen for adults, 200 yen for children (elementary and junior high school students)Phone: +81(0)96-352-5900Official website: Kumamoto Castle (Kumamoto City Official Website)3. Nijo CastleAddress: Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Chukyo-ku, Nijo-jo-choBusiness hours: 8:00am-4:00pm (gates close at 5:00pm)※Ninomaru Palace Viewing Hours: 9:00am-4:00pmClosed: New Year’s (December 26 to January 4), every Tuesday in December, January, July, and AugustWi-Fi: N/ACredit cards accepted: N/AMain language: JapaneseOther languages offered: paid voice guide (500 yen) in English, Chinese, Korean, French, and SpanishNearest station: Underground Tozai Line “Nijojo-mae Station”Access: right outside of Nijojo-mae StationPrice range: 600 yen for adults, 350 yen for junior high and high school students, 200円 for elementary school studentsPhone: +81(0)75-841-0096Official website: Nijo Castle4. Takeda CastleAddress: Hyogo-ken, Asago-shi, Wadayama-cho, Takeda Jiko-jo san 169Business hours: (for 2015)[March 20 to September 18] 8:00am-6:00pm[September 19 to December 10] 4:00am-5:00pmClosed: January 4 to February 29 (2015)Wi-Fi: N/ACredit cards accepted: N/AMain language: JapaneseOther languages offered: English, Chinese, KoreanNearest station: JR Takeda StationAccess: 40 minutes on Takeda Station hiking trailPrice range: 500 yen for adults, no charge for junior high school age and underPhone: +81(0)79-674-2120Official website: Takeda Castle (Asago City)5. Shuri CastleAddress: Okinawa-ken, Naha-shi, Shuri Kinjo-cho 1-2Business hours: no admission areas[April-June] 8:00am-7:30pm[July-September] 8:00am-8:30pm[October-November] 8:00am-7:30pm[December-March] 8:00am-6:30pmClosed: 1st Wednesday and Thursday in JulyWi-Fi: YesCredit cards accepted: VISA, JCB, MasterCard, AMEXLanguages offered: Chinese-speaking guide (not permanent)Other languages offered: English, Chinese, KoreanNearest station: Yui Rail “Shuri Station”Access: 15 minutes from Rui Rail “Shuri Station”Price range: 330 yen for adults, 170 yen for childrenPhone: +81(0)98-886-2020Official website: Shuri Castle Parklast_img read more

SakeFlavored Chocolate Try The Japanese Sake KitKat

first_imgSnacks have become a staple souvenir from Japan.Out of the many snacks, a particularly popular one is the matcha KitKat. Following the matcha KitKat, the Japanese sake flavored KitKat was introduced on February 1st, 2016.Introducing the Japanese Sake Flavored KitKatJapanese sake has been landing in the spotlight alongside washoku (Japanese food) in recent years. This time, Japanese sake has met the popular western snack, KitKat chocolate bars. The secret behind the delicate Japanese sake taste of these bars comes from the Japanese sake flavored chocolate that coats layers of wafer and Japanese sake powder.While being a chocolate, you can still enjoy the aromatic taste of sake along with the bold flavors that follow in the aftertaste.The packaging also has cherry blossoms and a bottle of Japanese sake that make it a great, very Japanese gift to bring back as a souvenir.What Would You Buy as a Souvenir from Japan?This time, we decided to try the sake flavored KitKat at the MATCHA office. In order to get opinions from people outside of Japan, we decided to ask our Taiwanese editors, Miho and Eric, to give it a try!Before tasting them, we asked them what they usually buy as souvenirs from Japan.Miho: “I usually buy Japanese snacks like gummies and chocolate since you can buy them in bulk and they’re easy to carry.”Eric: “As a souvenir from Japan, I’ve bought chopsticks. Also, instant noodles since Japan has so many flavors and it’s fun to try them.”As you can see, we have gotten different responses, but food seems to be a common souvenir for both.Matcha green tea snacks are very popular nonetheless.Miho: ”But matcha green tea KitKats are also sold in Taiwan now.”Due to the popularity of matcha green tea, it has become purchasable outside of Japan in certain countries. But now there is the Japanese Sake KitKat that is likely to become the next staple gift from Japan.Now, how does it taste? We had the two give it a try.A Flavor That Is True to Its NameWhen you first open the box, you will be surprised at the strong scent of Japanese sake.Miho: ”Wow! It actually tastes like dry sake!”Apparently, it was true to its name even more than expected.When people imagine chocolate, they may think of something sweet but this KitKat is not only sweet but also replicates the dryness of Japanese sake. Powdered sake is used as an ingredient that brings out the bold flavor of sake.Eric: ”I feel like I just drank sake after eating chocolate! I think this will be well received by people who like alcohol or Japanese sake.”There is 0.8% alcoholic percentage and perhaps people who aren’t used to alcohol or aren’t very good with sake might feel a bit tipsy. But that also proves how true it is to its flavor. Those who like alcohol can enjoy pairing this KitKat with a glass of their favorite Japanese sake. It would be a great souvenir for adults.The deep flavors of Japanese sake harmonize with the creamy texture of chocolate and create a rich flavored Japanese Sake KitKat. You can find them in souvenir shops around Japan and major shops like Don Quijote. Why not add this to your next shopping list for souvenirs in Japan?*This is not recommended for young children or those who do not or cannot drink alcohol.Japanese Sake KitKat9 Pieces: 700 yen (without tax). Sold in souvenir stores (such as Don Quijote) nationwide.last_img read more

Tokyo DisneySea Summer 2019 Guide Celebrate Disney Tanabata Days

first_imgA special event called Duffy’s Sunny Fun occurs in the Cape Cod area of the park, which is Duffy’s hometown. Through the event, you can enjoy lovely decorations and foods only available during this period. Chip and Dale have transformed into bright, flashing stars! These are room lights you to decorate your home with the characters’ charming expressions (2,800 yen with tax). How about wearing this cap with Duffy ears (3,500 yen with tax) and this T-shirt with an event-limited design (3,200 yen with tax) around the park? You can even get your plushie an event-limited costume (4,800 yen per outfit, with tax) to add to the fun. Once you see the characters, dressed in slightly colorful costumes, waving their hands, you’ll want to wave back without even realizing it. The show is held twice a day. Don’t miss it!Feel Summer with Duffy’s Sunny Fun Duffy and his friends playing on the beach decorate the Mickey-shaped train windows. The walls of the cars have also been painted with illustrations to remind you of the beach, making it feel like you’re by the ocean with Duffy and his friends. Tokyo Disneyland Summer 2019: Tanabata Days and Toy Story 4 What Do You Do While In Line At Disney? We Asked 20 Couples! Read also Orihime and Hikoboshi can only meet when the Milky Way can be seen in the night sky. As such, goods that can also be enjoyed at night make an appearance. The Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse Plush Doll Keychains (1,800 yen each, with tax) glow in the dark, producing a magical atmosphere. These star-shaped tins contain pineapple soda-flavored candy (500 yen with tax; includes 8 pieces). The can is also useful as an accessory case once you finish eating all the sweets. The right-side picture shows Salted Caramel Cookies (1,100 yen with tax). They come with cute Chip and Dale charms for free.Say Hello to Mickey During Tanabata Greetings! Many enthusiastic Duffy fans in Japan walk around the park with plush dolls of Duffy and his friends. This is a must-visit spot for such fans, ideal for positioning their plushies and taking photos. If you have a Duffy doll, be sure to bring it!A Must for Duffy Fans! Character Goods The swimming intertube-style souvenir coaster that comes with an iced caramel milk tea is another item that will make you excited for the summer. Place your plush doll keychains into the coaster, and it’ll look like Duffy is enjoying a swim!Plush doll keychains are also available in their Disney Tanabata Days costumes. You can meet a Duffy and Shellie May that are different from their usual selves.* Iced Caramel Milk Tea with Souvenir Coaster: 1,000 yen per set, with taxPlush Doll Keychain (Duffy’s Sunny Fun): 2,000 yen per doll, with taxPlush Doll Keychain (Disney Tanabata Days): 1,800 yen per doll, with tax Make a Wish at the Wishing Place There are also decorations with refreshing and traditional Japanese designs nearby. You’ll no doubt take the perfect picture with these decorations in the background.Shop for Limited Edition Goods During the Tanabata Greetings, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Duffy, Shellie May, and the princesses ride a boat at the Mediterranean Harbor. The characters greet guests as they travel on water. Continue further into the Wishing Place, and you’ll find tanzaku, pens, and string for the tanzaku on the table. Once you finish writing your wish, thread the cord through the hole and tie it onto a pole. There many events at Tokyo DisneySea during summer 2019! For example, Fun Times with Toy Story 4 started June 14 for the release of “Toy Story 4”. During the event, Toy Story-related character goods, foods, and decorations brighten up the park.The same event is also held at Tokyo Disneyland, so be sure to visit both parks for the complete experience! Tokyo Disney Resort View Informationamusement_parkIn cooperation with Oriental Land Co., Ltd.*This article is a revision updated for 2019 of an article originally published on June 21, 2017. The Disney Resort Line – Get Around Tokyo Disney Resort Efficiently Tanabata: Celebrating The Summer Star Festival In Japan Want to take pictures together with the characters? We recommend going to this decoration with three benches set up in a row. Sit on the blue chair and it’ll feel like you’re enjoying the summer with Duffy! Surround Yourself with Duffy’s World on the Train Read also When traveling from JR Maihama Station to either Tokyo DisneySea or Tokyo Disneyland, try to ride the Duffy Wrapped Disney Resort Line. Tanabata (Star Festival) is a traditional Japanese event that started in China and continues to share the story of two stars, Orihime (Vega, the weaving deity) and Hikoboshi (Altair, the agricultural deity), who fell in love and were separated. They are only able to meet once a year on July 7, or Tanabata.Nowadays, festivals occur in various regions come the day of Tanabata. The festivities include the custom of writing your wishes and securing them onto bamboo leaves to pray to the stars to be granted, much like Orihime and Hikoboshi’s desire to meet again.Disney Tanabata Days is a special event held at Tokyo Disney Resort, centered around Tokyo DisneySea, from June 6 to July 7, 2019. There are many fun, unique event-only activities, including the Wishing Place where guests can write their wishes, Tanabata Greetings, and special goods. 10 Adorable Duffy Goods To Look For At Tokyo DisneySea The platform is decorated for the event, making it a great chance to take an adorable photo. You can also take a picture of the Disney Resort Line as it comes into the station by waiting at the end of the platform. 6 ‘Only in Japan’ Souvenirs From Tokyo Disney Resort Read also During Disney Tanabata Days, the Wishing Place is set up on the pier in the New York area of American Waterfront at Tokyo DisneySea. Here you can write down your wishes. Along with Tanabata-related decorations, guests are provided with a space for you to tie the tanzaku you’ve written your desires on them. Disney Tanabata Days – Celebrating a Legend of Love A Beginner’s Guide To Tokyo DisneySea Read also A part of these keychains (1,800 yen for a set, with tax) also light up in the dark. The sentences written on each charm are wishes of Disney characters. Reading their hopes will make your smile. Doll Costumes (4,800 yen per outfit, with tax), Duffy’s Fashion Sunglasses (2,000 yen with tax)Additionally, a special event called Duffy’s Sunny Fun is held from June 6 to August 27, 2019, at Tokyo DisneySea! Get your hands on these adorable goods of Duffy and friends enjoying the summer!In this article, we’ll introduce ways to have fun at Tokyo DisneySea this July. A Must-See Program for Toy Story Lovers!last_img read more

Your Chance To Play Football With Tom Brady Yes Really

first_imgFive-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady is gearing up for another Big Game and he’s still making time to give back.Brady is inviting one lucky winner and a guest the chance to join him at his Football Challenge in Boston on June 1, 2018 – donate just $10 now to enter: Prizeo.com/TomBrady.Donations to Brady’s Prizeo campaign benefit {Best Buddies, a non-profit organization supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, for which Tom Brady is a Global Ambassador.In addition to meeting Tom and playing with him in his Football Challenge game in Hyannis Port, the grand prize includes a football signed by Brady, and roundtrip airfare and lodging (2 nights) in Boston.To enter to win, donate at Prizeo.com/TomBrady by March 30, 2018.last_img read more

Disconnected Stories of the NWT foster care system

first_imgCharlotte Morritt-JacobsAPTN NewsJoebody Elatiak has packed up the last of his things and is set to leave for Edmonton tomorrow- he’s done with Yellowknife.Wearing a “Keeping it old school” Nintendo hoodie, he sits down to a breakfast of banana bread and juice.He’s been couch surfing and staying at the local shelter for quite some time now.Elatiak responed to to an interview request over social media and was moved to share what he labels, something he is just beginning to comprehend.A few days’ prior the Auditor General released a report that gave the NWT child wefare system a failing grade.Elatiak understands why.He became homeless as a teen after being kicked out of his foster home. He began drinking, but his family troubles started much earlier.“Before I got put in foster care my mum married a guy and he was abusive to us kids,” he said.“Finally, she had the strength and the will to call the cops and that’s when we got taken away from her.”Elatiak is from Cambridge Bay, Nunavut but was moved to the unfamiliar territory of Yellowknife for foster care when he was three years old.“Me and my sister stayed together and my youngest brother use to live with us but they split up and it was just me and my sister in this one foster home.” Elatiak said.“I don’t remember much but I do remember that it wasn’t a good place.”He and his sister were eventually split up.After that, he bounced around different homes until he eventually landed with a good foster family.He said he knows they were good because his social worker had very little communications with him during his time in care.“They [social workers] were more helpful when I was homeless than when I was in a foster home. I would go see them every week to see if I needed anything.”But Elatiak’s experience is not isolated and unfortunately since his time in care, things have taken a turn for the worse.According the 2018 Child welfare report of services in the NWT, 90 per-cent of the cases examined found that authorities did not keep in regular contact with children in foster care or other placements. That is up from 60 per cent recorded in the 2014 audit.This is a stat that doesn’t surprise one foster parent in Yellowknife.For legal reasons they can’t be identified.When APTN News spoke with them, they said they had seen firsthand children failing to get attention from case workers in an overburdened system.“When I have the older girls they had appointments with the social workers and there were times where they would cancel at the last minute because there was an emergency that would happen,” the foster parent said.“I have had appointments where they are supposed to come to the house and at the last minute there is an emergency,” the foster parent said.Similar to Elatiak, this foster parent looks after a child from a smaller NWT community. They  described the challenges imposed by the system for regular familial visitations.“I think it is challenging for me and for the parent. Sometimes they [the foster child’s biological family] end up coming to Yellowknife but they don’t know until the moment they are coming. There is not enough time to schedule visitation with their family members,” they said.Elatiak said he not only felt disconnected from his family, he was also denied learning his Nunavut culture.“I learned more about the Natives down here than my own culture,” Elatiak said, mentioning his grandmother up in Nunavut who could have changed that outcome, had she been given access.“Twice a year my mum would come and visit us just to so she can feel secure about her kids, she tried so hard to fight for us.”Elatiak doesn’t have much communication with his siblings now.His sister left the foster care system at 16 and decided to move back home.While the troubles he has had from being in the foster care system of the NWT mar his past, Elatiak said he is hopeful that as he leaves Yellowknife, they won’t stake claim on his future.cmorrittjacobs@aptn.ca@aptncharlottelast_img read more

Myanmar UN expert urges release of all political prisoners before elections

Markets update at midafternoon

On the markets at midafternoon (ET):In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index was down 11.05 points to 15,040.98.The Dow Jones industrial average was up 31.91 points to 21,840.31.The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up 0.28 of a point to 2,444.52.The Nasdaq composite index was up 11.16 points to 6,294.17.The Canadian dollar was trading at 79.74 cents US, up from Monday’s average price of 80.12 cents US.

Case against Pujith and Hemasiri postponed to October

The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) briefed the court on the progress of the ongoing investigations.Jayasundara and Fernando have been accused of criminal negligence over the attacks. The case against Inspector General of Police (IGP) Pujith Jayasundara and former Defense Secretary Hemasiri Fernando over the Easter Sunday attacks has been postponed to 3 October.The case was heard before Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne today. The Magistrate ordered that the case be postponed to 3 October. read more

Malinga to retire after first Bangladesh ODI

Lasith Malinga is set to bring down the curtains on his illustrious ODI career after the first game of the three-match series against Bangladesh in Colombo on July 26, Dimuth Karunaratne confirmed in a press conference on July 22. Should he go ahead with this plan, Malinga will end his career as the third-highest wicket taker in the format for Sri Lanka with 335 scalps. He’s 10th on the overall wicket-takers’ list, but has the chance to usurp Anil Kumble (337 wickets). His last ODI at the R Premadasa stadium in Colombo will also give him the opportunity to take his wickets tally at the venue to 50 if he picks a single wicket in the game. “He is going to play the first match. After that he is retiring. That’s what he said to me. I don’t know what he said for the selectors but for me he said he is playing only one match,” Karunaratne said. Irrespective of his returns on Friday, Malinga will bow out as one of the finest white-ball bowlers to have graced the game for Sri Lanka – bringing his unique penchant and accuracy for bowling yorkers to the game. The 35-year-old also battled injuries and fitness woes to fight on and feature in the 2019 World Cup. His 4 for 43 was perhaps one of the finest spells of bowling at the showpiece event, which didn’t just stun the eventual champions England in a low-scoring chase but also blew the competition wide open, making teams keep their jostle for the knockouts spot alive till the very end of the league stage. (Courtesy Cricbuzz) read more

Sajith Premadasa stakes claim to run for President

United National Party Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa said that he is prepared to contest the next Presidential election.Premadasa told a large gathering in Badulla that the younger generation must be promoted. He said that old ideas must be replaced by the youth.Premadasa also said that to develop as a nation priority must be given to innovation, new ideas and technology.