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Japan Blog - Tokyo Osaka Nagoya Kyoto

What's happening in Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Shimane Japan, updates on sightseeing, museums, temples, shrines and Japan news.Sounds of the real Japan

Last Build Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2017 07:14:52 PDT

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Marvel Age of Heroes Exhibition

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 15:00:27 PDT

Marvel's comics exhibition "Age of Heroes" is taking place at the Tokyo City View, on the 52nd floor of Roppongi Hills Mori Tower from April 7 to June 25.

Over 200 exhibits are on display including original stage costumes, props and other Marvel memorabilia.

Beat the queues with VIP tickets and enter without lining up.

22% OFF Mori Tower Observation Deck Roppongi Hills VIP Tix

Access to Roppongi Hills by train is from the following five Tokyo subway stations:

-Roppongi Station on the Hibiya Subway Line, Exit 1C (3 mins)
-Roppongi Station on the Oedo Subway Line, Exit 3 (6 mins)
-Azabu Juban Station on the on the Oedo Subway Line, Exit 7 (8 mins)
-Azabu Juban Station on the Namboku Subway Line, Exit 4 (11 mins)
-Nogizaka Station on the Chiyoda Subway Line, Exit 5 (10 mins)


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Japan News This Week 23 April 2017

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 16:35:10 PDT


Japan: More than four million middle-aged 'parasite singles' still live with their elderly parents

Criminal complaint filed against PM's wife, Akie Abe, and aide over Moritomo Gakuen
The Mainichi

What it's like to hold Japan's super train golden ticket

Anger, confusion as Japan revives militaristic edict
The Business Times

Japan's exports, imports surge in sign of renewed vigor

Japan Inc braces for labor reform, plans to boost productivity - Reuters poll

Last Week's Japan News on the JapanVisitor blog


Abortions reported in Japan have steadily declined over the past few decades, from their peak in 1955 when the number of abortions was 67% of the number of live births, to 2000 when they were 28%, to 2014 when they were 18%.

Source: Historical abortion statistics, Japan, Johnston's Archive


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Beta - not Betaa

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 17:00:36 PDT

ベタIf you know a smattering of Japanese and you are listening to Japanese people talking among themselves, you may well catch what sounds like the word "better" and think they are using katakana English to express a preference for something.However, the chances are that rather than betaa, with its long drawn out final "ah" sound, that corresponds to the English "better," you are actually overhearing the word beta ("beh-ta"), which is quite different - almost opposite - in meaning, in fact.Sore wa beta na hyogen da 「それはベタな表現だ」, or Beta na hassou da ベタな発想だ mean, respectively, "That's a hackneyed expression" or "(That's a) humdrum idea."According to a contributor to the excellent Yahoo Chiebukuro (literally "Yahoo Knowledge Bag") website, an online forum for all possible kinds of questions, there are two possibilities when it comes to beta's roots.One is that beta is a corruption of the word subete, or "everything," "all," in the sense of "covering everyhing," "being all the same," and that this developed in about the 17th century.The other approaches this same idea of "uninterupted sameness" and "lack of differentiation" from a completely different angle, i.e., from the established meaning of beta (べた, in hiragana, not katakana) as "mud," this mud being used to fill in all the gaps - as on an old block wall, for example - to make the surface smooth and featureless.Whichever the theory that you go with, there are many words in Japanese in use today that express this sense of flatness, e.g., betanuri べた塗り means painting or spreading a substance over a surface to make its smooth, betanagi べた凪 means calmness or wavelessness on a body of water, betaashi べた足 is a golfing term used to describe planting your feet flat on the ground before making a swing, betabore べた惚れ means to fall hopelessly in love with someone ("fall flat in love" kind of works in English, too!), and betabome べた褒め means to praise someone to the skies (in the sense of completely ["smoothly" if you like] slathering them with praise).By the end of the 18th century, saucy Edo-period short novels, which closely mirrored life on the streets, were including the word beta in the sense of "lacking a twist" and being "two a penny" - a usage which before long found its way into the language of artists and entertainers to describe cliched, corny, unimaginative and same-old-same-old.So keep a close ear out for whether that last "ah" sound is short or lengthened. There's a crucial difference.Zenzen beta na hanashi ja nai ne! 全然ベタな話じゃないね! (It's not your everyday kind of story at all, is it!)© JapanVisitor.comGoods From Japan delivered to your home or business [...]

Yodobashi Camera - an Appliance Megastore

Thu, 20 Apr 2017 19:02:58 PDT

ヨドバシカメラYodobashi Camera is one of Japan's biggest electronics and home appliance retail chains.The Apple store in Yodobashi AkibaThere are 24 branches of Yodabashi Camera, about half of them in the greater Tokyo area, and the rest in big population centers throughout Japan, going as far north as Sapporo in Hokkaido and as far west as Hakata in Kyushu.Cameras in Yodobashi Camera, AkihabaraYodobashi Camera began in 1960 as a camera store, when a camera cost months and months worth of the average salary. Yodobashi Camera's strategy was to open stores right next to major stations in the greater Tokyo area and to stock as many products as possible, rapidly expanding into home appliances in general. Yodobashi Camera is all about accessibility: accessibility to stores: near stations and open from 9:30am to 10pm, and accessibility to products, the range of which now covers pretty much everything.Yodobashi Akiba, AkihabaraThis strategy very much paid off, and Yodobashi Camera is now a giant, especially in the Tokyo area where shopping for appliances almost necessitates a visit to Yodobashi Camera to compare prices - whether in person or online.Selling cameras at Yodobashi CameraOnline is Yodobashi Camera's new retail frontier. Last September Yodobashi Camera started a new online service called Yodobashi Extreme that, in the 23 Tokyo wards and a few areas just outside them, directly competes with Amazon Japan's Prime Now.Multimedia Akiba Store information counter, Showa-dori EntrancePrime Now gets goods to customers within an hour if they spend more than 2,500 yen and don't mind paying an 890 yen freight charge, or within two hours freight-free.Yodobashi Extreme's delivery time frame is two and a half hours - not as fast as Amazon Prime Now - but the customer can follow the progress in real time online, delivery is always free, and the range of goods available on Yodobashi Extreme is currently much, much bigger than on Amazon Prime Now. The two companies are therefore locked in an online battle for Japan's capital city. Time will tell if Tokyo has room for both.Yodobashi Camera Gold Point CardMeanwhile, Yodobashi Camera's brick and mortar stores, at least in Tokyo, seem to be constantly thronged. The service at Yodobashi Camera is hit and miss. Staff there often seem routinely overworked and distracted, and can often be more curt and less cooperative than typical Japanese store staff. However, Yodobashi Camera stores don't pretend to be boutiques, and the range of goods available there makes a visit to Yodobashi Camera almost mandatory if you want a hands-on comparison between the goods on your wish list.Prices at brick-and-mortar Yodobashi Camera stores are usually higher than what you can find online, but the store's bonus points system (10% of purchase if paying by cash, 8% with credit card) reduces the gap considerably.Showa-dori Entrance, Yodobashi Camera, Akihabara, TokyoYodobashi Akiba is my local Yodobashi Camera branch, in Akihabara. The Multimedia Akiba Store is a massive building with 9 above-ground floors full of merchandise and 6 underground parking floors. Everything is sold here in the way of gadgets and appliances. There is even a restaurant floor (8F) and a golfing and batting center on the top (9F) floor.Subway (left) and JR (right), with Showa-dori Entrance of Yodobashi Akiba off to the rightIf you go to Yodobashi Akiba by train, the Showa-dori Exit of JR Akihabara Station brings you directly to the Showa-dori Entrance of the store. Exit 3 of the Hibiya Subway Station will also bring you out at Yodobashi Akiba's Showa-dori Entrance. (Read more about Akihabara shopping.)There is also a massive Yodobashi presence in Shinjuku, which is where the company's headquarters are located.© JapanVisitor.comGoods From Japan delivered to your home or business [...]

Ginza Six Opens Today

Wed, 19 Apr 2017 17:00:01 PDT

銀座シックスGinza Six - a grand, glitzy new shopping presence in GinzaGinza Six is a brand new shopping complex that opens today in Tokyo's most prestigious shopping district, Ginza.Ginza Six is so named because it is on the Ginza 6-Chome intersection, on the site where the Matsuzakaya department store (Ginza's first) stood between 1924 and 2013. The company that runs the Matsuzakaya and Daimaru chains of department stores teamed up with Mori Building - most famous for its Roppongi Hills and Omotesando Hills complexes - as well as Sumitomo Real Estate - to bring this grand retail project to life.And grand is the word. Ginza Six is a sleek, imposing modern edifice designed by the prominent architect, Yoshio Taniguchi, with just enough of a minimal, functional air - and just enough use of wood inside - to save it from complete 80s glam. The building's facade is supposed to evoke the idea of sunrays and traditional Japanese noren curtains that typically hang in the doorways of restaurants.Ginza 6: a new home for international fashion brands in TokyoGinza Six's 17 floors (four of them below ground) house over 240 stores, half of which are fashion-related and with dozens and dozens of food-related establishments, too, and a dedicated delicatessen floor on B2.Special features at Ginza Six include a charming, church-like noh theater on the B3 floor, and a big, rather formal, rooftop garden that includes rows of maple and sakura trees.A brief stroll through Ginza, especially on a weekend when the main street is pedestrianized, quickly reveals that a sizeable proportion, if not the majority, of shoppers here are from China. Chinese tourists are drawn to Ginza in their droves for the top-class brand goods here, which are guaranteed to be genuine; for the prices, which are generally lower in Japan for such goods than in China; and for the panache of Ginza: Tokyo's top shopping area in terms of the range and quality of luxury goods available there.Entrance to Ginza SixIn the 21st century when most young Japanese now flock to cheap fashion outlets like H&M, Uniqlo and Gap, it is hard to imagine developments like Ginza Six surviving on the strength of Japanese shoppers alone. And to moneyed Chinese tourists used to the boutique glamor that makes up great swathes of cities like Shanghai, for example, old-time Japanese department stores just do not cut it. Ginza Six with its conscious Japanesque touches incorporated into cutting edge global glam is now the most alluring tourist trap in town.Crowds outside Ginza 6, TokyoRead more about Ginza shopping.© JapanVisitor.comGoods From Japan delivered to your home or business [...]

Nameless Theatre Presents Othello

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 20:00:07 PDT


Nameless Theatre presents Othello (English language with Japanese subtitles)

Following the success of last season's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Nameless Theatre is preparing for an evening of jealously, betrayal and revenge as they bring Shakespeare's thriller, Othello, to Nagoya this June.

Powerful and influential, Othello is an entrepreneur at the peak of his powers. But when the "green-eyed monster" slowly begins to convince him of the infidelity of his wife, Desdemona, he embarks on a mission of bloody vengeance.

Sleek, fast-paced and as up to date as when it was first penned, Shakespeare's revenge tragedy shows us the power love has to unite, strengthen, and destroy.

When: Tues. 6 June (7pm); Wed. 7 June (7pm); Thurs. 8 June (19:00); Fri 9 June (7pm) (doors open 30 mins. before performance)

Where: Chikusa Playhouse (千種文化小劇場) 3 Chome-6-10 Chikusa, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya-shi, Aichi-ken 464-0858

Access: A 3-minute walk from Fukiage Station exit 7, or a 10-minute walk from Imaike station exit 9 on the Higashiyama Subway Line.

Admission: General admission 4,000 yen in advance (5,000 yen at the door). Discounts available for groups of 10 or more.

Reservations: Visit, or phone 052-725-8216 (9am to 5pm)

Inquiries: E-mail



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Yagenbori Fudoin

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 19:57:56 PDT

薬研堀不動院Yagenbori Fudoin Temple in Bakurocho neigborhood, Chuo ward, Tokyo.Yagenbori Fudoin is a small, picturesque temple in the Nihonbashi-bakurocho area of Chuo ward, Tokyo, with a distinctive pagoda. It is distinctive first for its pretty octagonal roof perched like a hat on a head-like sphere, and also for being on a high platform, accessible by a flight of stairs flanked by red banners. It is also somewhat distinctive for being squeezed between nondescript concrete buildings that only serve to accentuate its charms.A fudoin is a temple belonging to the esoteric Shingon branch of Buddhism championed in Japan by the priest Kukai (774–835). Yagenbori Fudoin was one of the three major Fudoins in old Edo (i.e., Tokyo in the pre-modern era), the other two being Meguro Fudoin in Meguro ward, and Mejiro Fudoin in Toshima ward. (Incidentally, Meguro and Mejiro mean, respectively "eye black" and "eye white" - an interesting contrast that in this context might just be a coincidence, but which warrants looking into for a future blog post, maybe!)People paying their respects at Yagenbori Fudoin, Chuo ward, Tokyo.Of these three, Yagenbori Fudoin is different in that it is actually the annex of another temple located over 22km to the south, in Kawasaki City - a temple called Kawasaki Daishi Heikenji belonging to the Chisan sect of Shingon Buddhism. Kawasaki Daishi.Kawasaki Daishi is one of the biggest temples of the Chisan School of the Shingon sect. The other two in the Kanto region are Naritasan Shinshoji Temple in Narita City, Chiba, and Takao-san Yakuo-in Yuki-ji Temple in Hachioji City, Tokyo),The object of veneration at Yagenbori Fudoin is a statue of the Acala, or the Fudō Myō-ō as it is known in Japanese, carved to celebrate the fact that the Shingon school reformer, the priest Kakuban (1095–1143) survived his 43rd year which, in Buddhist reckoning, was an inauspicious one. The statue was placed in Negoro Temple in present-day Wakayama prefecture.Yagenbori Fudoin, with products of a sponsor on display in frontThen about four centuries later, in 1585, Negoro Temple was burnt down in one of the wars waged by Japan's second "great unifier," Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The priest of the temple put the statue in a chest and carried it all the way to Edo (current day Tokyo) where he built a temple beside the Sumida River, which became today's Yagenbori Fudoin.In 1832, the temple became the site of a school founded by a priest to teach Western-style medicine. Then in 1892, it became a branch temple of Kawasaki Daishi.A three-day fair takes place every year at the festival around December 28.AccessYagenbori Fudoin is a 3-minute walk from Exit B3 of Higashi-nihonbashi Station on the Toei Asakusa Subway Line, and a 5-minute walk from Exit A4 of Bakuro-yokoyamacho Station on the Toei Shinjuku Subway Line.Yagenbori Fudoin Temple squeezed between neighbors in Bakurocho, Chuo-ku, TokyoAddress2-6-8 Higashi-nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 東京都中央区東日本橋2-6-8© JapanVisitor.comGoods From Japan delivered to your home or business [...]

Taiji Station

Mon, 17 Apr 2017 03:27:34 PDT

太地駅Taiji Station is a JR station on the Kisei Line. Visitors traveling south from Owase Station, Kumano-shi Station and Nagoya Station to the north need to change trains at Shingu Station to reach Taiji.The first express train to Shingu Station from Nagoya is the 8.05am Wide View Nanki that arrives in Shingu Station at 11.34am. The present fare is 7,390 yen. From Shingu it is about 30 minutes by local train or 21 minutes by Kuroshio or Wide Nanki Express to Taiji.From Osaka's Tennoji Station a Kuroshio Express takes 3 hours and 20 minutes and costs 6,890 yen.Visitors to Taiji Station are greeted by cheerful pictures of whales and dolphins in the sea, painted as if by local school children.Taiji in Wakayama Prefecture on the south eastern coast of the Kii Peninsula has become known outside Japan for a rather darker association with cetaceans since the release of Ric O'Barry's The Cove documentary in 2009.A local loop bus connections with incoming trains and runs to the Taiji Whale Museum. The station has pamphlets and maps to help tourists get around Taiji.Regular buses (which are cheaper than the train) from the Meitetsu bus station at Meitetsu Nagoya Station run to Shingu via Kumano. From Shingu there are trains to Taiji. Locals buses connect Shingu with Kumano-shi. Taiji StationWakayama Prefecture© JapanVisitor.comGoods From Japan delivered to your home or business [...]

Japan News This Week 16 April 2017

Mon, 17 Apr 2017 02:04:54 PDT


Japan’s Sand Museum, a Home to Ephemeral Treasures
New York Times

Figure skating star Mao Asada stuns Japan with retirement

Japanese warships to join US fleet near North Korea as tensions rise

Emperor’s abdication ceremony, the first in 200 years, likely to be held in December
Japan Times

Reconstruction Disaster: The human implications of Japan’s forced return policy in Fukushima 復興災害:福島の強制帰還政策が意味すること
Japan Focus

Last Week's Japan News on the JapanVisitor blog


"Japan ranked No. 4 in official development assistance in 2016 among member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, an OECD report showed Tuesday.

Japan also ranked fourth in 2015. The United States topped the ODA rankings for 2016, followed by Germany and Britain.

Japan’s ODA spending increased 12.7 percent from the previous year to $10.37 billion, according to the report."

Source: Japan Times


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Garakei - Japan's Unique Featurephones

Fri, 14 Apr 2017 22:17:28 PDT

ガラケーThe garakei, an endangered speciesJapan is among the top 15 countries in the world for internet penetration. As of 2013, about 85% of the Japanese population had access to the internet via a computer or mobile device.Mobile devices also have very high penetration in Japan. In 2015, there were about 159 million mobile/cellphone subscriptions in Japan, outnumbering the population by an almost incredible 23 million!However, unlike in neighboring South Korea, for example, where 88% of the population owned a smartphone in 2015, or even China where 58% owned one, only about 40% of the Japanese population owned a smartphone. The remaining 60% (about 95 million phones) were cellphones.The most popular kind of cellphone in Japan is the featurephone, smarter than the old original Nokia-style brick, but dumber than a smartphone. However, featurephones in Japan come with an array of features and specifications geared to Japanese infrastructure that don't work overseas. For example, years ago, before I got an iPhone, my featurephone provided by au (the mobile provider owned by KDDI, the second biggest carrier in Japan) came with a very convenient built-in Suica function. To go through a railway station turnstile, or pay for a bottle of water at a convenience store or vending machine, I simply swiped my phone instead of a plastic card, and topped up my Suica online.The Galapagos Islands, the inspiration for the term galakeiFeaturephones with these kinds of Japan-only features are known locally as garakei (or galakei). The etymology is funny. Gara (which can also be pronounced gala, as Japanese makes no distinction between the "l" and "r" sounds) is short for Galapagos, and "kei" is short for keitai, which means "mobile." In other words, a "Galapagos mobile."From the famous giant Galapagos tortoise, to the marine iguana to the blue-footed booby, the isolated Galapagos Islands are known for their numerous uniquely evolved species. The Japanese featurephone's evolution is likened to this, as something recognizable the world over, yet which has adapted to its environment and developed unique features.The fact that Japan had a policy of national isolation, or sakoku, for over two centuries up until 1853 adds another dimension to the garakei moniker, giving it a sheen of self-conscious humor.However, like so many unique species on our planet, the garakei seems to be facing extinction. NTT, Japan's biggest mobile provider, announced last November that it was discontinuing its "iMode keitai" mobile line and replacing it with Android-based "P-smart" smartphones, and other providers are following suit.© JapanVisitor.comGoods From Japan delivered to your home or business [...]

Hanzomon Station

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 21:08:48 PDT

半蔵門駅Exit 1 of Hanzomon Station, KojimachiHanzomon Station is in the Kojimachi district of Tokyo's Chiyoda ward and serves one of Tokyo's most elegant neighborhoods.It is named after the Hanzomon Gate of the Imperial Palace Tokyo, just four minutes' walk east. (The Hanzomon Gate is where Shinjuku-dori Avenue [part of Route 20] starts, going as far west as Kabukicho in Shinjuku ward.)Northern ticket wicket, Hanzomon StationIn turn, the station gives its name to the whole subway line that it forms a part of: the Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line. Hanzomon Station is code-named Z-05 on the Hanzomon Line. It opened in 1982.There are no transfers at Hanzomon Station, but Kojimachi Station, on the Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line, is just four minutes' walk west along Shinjuku-dori Avenue from Exit 2 of Hanzomon Station.Exit information, Hanzomon StationThink "Hanzomon Station" and think "cafes, bakeries, eateries, patisseries." Every exit of Hanzomon Station opens out onto mostly quite elegant places to eat, snack or just enjoy a cup of coffee.Hanzomon Station provides access to a number of well-known Tokyo places. At its southern end are Exits 1 and 2, which come out at basically the same place, serving the Kojimachi business district. From here it's an 8-minute walk south-east to the National Theatre, and the imposing, modern Supreme Court building next to the Theatre. Across from the Theatre and Court is the Sakurada Moat of the Palace.Hanzomon Gate of the Imperial Palace - just east of Hanzomon StationThe station's other four exits are all north of Shinjuku-dori, serving the exclusive Ichiban-cho residential district. Exits 3a and 3b serve the same corner, with 3a on the street that goes through Ichiban-cho and 3b around the corner on Shinjuku-dori Avenue, accessible through the big SAP building.Exit 4 is right behind the JCII Camera Museum, 2 minutes' walk away, the British Embassy, 7 minutes' walk away, and the Embassy of Paraguay, on the northern end of the British Embassy.Exit 4 of Hanzomon Station in Yushin-in Temple and Museum buildingExit 4 comes out through the Yushin-in (友心院) Building, the Yushin-in being a temple (albeit a very modern one) of the Shin-nyo-en (真如苑) religion. There is a sign there referring to a "museum" of the temple, but when I asked I was told that it would only be open to the public from next year.On the other side of the road from Exit 4, a few meters down a side street, is an elevator entrance/exit. A short walk further down the side street brings you to the Embassy of Ireland.Hotel Monterey HanzomonExit 5 is at the northern end of Hanzomon Station and comprises a stair exit on the main street, and an elevator also on the main street, but a little back. Across the road from Exit 5 is the Hotel Monterey Hanzomon, highly regarded for its very reasonably priced rates in such a prime location, for its friendly English-speaking staff, and great breakfast!The whole length of Hanzomon Station can be traversed underground.Sign to the side-street elevator of Hanzomon Station - across from Exit 4© JapanVisitor.comGoods From Japan delivered to your home or business [...]

National Theatre Japan - a Blossom Paradise

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 19:01:00 PDT

国立劇場The National Theatre of Japan is in Hayabusacho, Tokyo, overlooking the western moat of the Imperial Palace. The theatre opened in 1966 following the passing of the National Theatre Act in the National Diet. The theatre comprises two auditoriums.  The Large Theatre is a 1,610-seat auditorium used for performances of kabuki, buyo dance and drama.The Small Theater is a 590-seat auditorium for kabuki, bunraku puppet theater, buyo dance, hogaku music, and folk arts. In 1979, the adjacent 300-seat National Engei Hall was added.The National Theater of Japan is one place that has to be seen during the springtime cherry blossom season. There are a couple of dozen cherry trees here, of ten different varieties. For some reason, they blossom about a week earlier than average - even earlier than the cherry trees around the Imperial Palace, nearby Chidorigafuchi Park, and the Supreme Court, which is right next door to the National Theatre.The grounds of the National Theatre are buzzing with visitors throughout late March and early April, taking in the exuberant beauty of the pink and white blooms that plump out the normally black, spindly cherry trees.Enjoy these shots taken over the past 10 days in the grounds of the National Theatre.© JapanVisitor.comGoods From Japan delivered to your home or business [...]

Hatasu & hateru - same kanji, very different meanings

Thu, 13 Apr 2017 01:33:57 PDT

hatasuhateruhatasu 果たす is a Japanese word represented by the symbol for rice paddy on top of the symbol for tree. Its most basic meaning is related to the idea of fruitfulness, bearing fruit, coming to fruition, and in combination with other kanji, it always refers to literal fruit: kajitsu 果実: "fruit"; kashokusei 果食性: "fruit-eating, fructivorous"; kashokudoubutsu 果食動物: frugivore.Anyway, the most common use of the word hatasu is when describing the carrying out of a public duty (yakume) or pledge/promise (yakusoku), or private/moral duty (gimu) or role (yakuwari) - all of which has obvious connections to the turning out of results that is fruition.So to perform one's official duty is yakume o hatasu 役目を果たす, to play a role is yakuwaki o hatasu 役割を果たす, and to fulfill a promise is yakusoku o hatasu 約束を果たす.However, hatasu can be stretched to include the meanings of serve, deliver, put to work, accomplish, live up to. For example, "The city delivered on its promise to improve the quality of drinking water." shi ga inryosui o kaizen suru yakusoku o hatashita 市が飲料水を改善する約束を果たした。Simply to "keep its promise" would be yakusoku o mamoru 約束を守る, so hatasu brings with it the more robust meaning of "delivering on."Oddly, however, the related word hateru 果てる - the same "ha" kanji but with "teru" attached instead of "tasu," has a completely different meaning. hateru means to peter out, fizz, grind to a halt, die. It is most usually used after words with a somewhat negative meaning, and gives them extra oomph. For example, to be tired is tsukareru 疲れる, but to be tired out, totally pooped, drained, is tsukarehateru 疲れ果てる. To fall to ruin is areru 荒れる and to fall into utter ruin is arehateru 荒れ果てる. To change is kawaru 変わる and to completely change (but for the worse) is kawarihateru 変わり果てる.These two derivatives of 果 have nothing to do with each other in terms of meaning, but I hope this post can play the role of teaching you the meanings of hatasu and hateru このポーストが果てると果たすの意味を覚えさせる役を果たせばいいと思います。kono posuto ga hatasu to hateru no imi o oboesaseru yaku o hataseba ii to omoimasu!© JapanVisitor.comGoods From Japan delivered to your home or business [...]

Tsushima Maru Memorial Museum Naha

Mon, 10 Apr 2017 18:42:05 PDT

対馬丸記念館The moving Tsushima Maru Memorial Museum in Naha, Okinawa is dedicated to the victims (mostly children) of the sinking of the Tsushima Maru ship in 1944 during World War II.The doomed vessel was evacuating children from Okinawa to Kagoshima on the mainland when it was sunk by a torpedo fired by the submarine USS Bowfin.In all of the 1,788 people on board, 80% were drowned. The affair was hushed up by the Japanese authorities. The crew of the Bowfin only heard that their prey had been carrying children 20 years after the war had ended.The Tsushima Maru Memorial Museum tells the story of this war-time tragedy through photographs, wall panels, as well as belongings of the victims. A classroom, where some of the children who died had studied, has been recreated.Behind the museum close to Gokokuji Temple in Memorial Park is the Kozakura Monument - a memorial cenotaph raised by public donations of 1 yen in the 1950's by people in Aichi Prefecture. The somber memorial done in black and white stone is a fitting place to ponder the horrors of war, especially when it affects innocent young children.The stone memorial with the names of the victims engraved on it mirrors the shape of the prow of the Tsushima Maru.Tsushima Maru Memorial Museum1-25-37 WakasaNaha, Okinawa 900-0031Tel: 098 941 3515 Hours: 9am-5pm (Last entry 4.30pm;) Closed Thursdays and New Year (December 31-January 3Admission: Adults: 500 yen, 13-18 year-old children 300 yen, elementary school students: 100 yen.Access: Get off the Yui Monorail at Kenchomae Station and walk about 15 minutes. Alternatively take a Naha City Bus, any of numbers 1, 2, 3, 5, 15, 45 and get off at Nishinjo or Kume Yubinkyokumae and walk five minutes.© JapanVisitor.comGoods From Japan delivered to your home or business [...]

Xie Brings Modern Color to Japanese Musical Tradition

Sun, 09 Apr 2017 17:32:01 PDT

詩吟Shigin (詩吟) is an ancient Japanese poetry recitation, sung or chanted, based on Chinese texts and has been an art form in Japan for about the past fifteen hundred years. The Chinese evolved in a Japanese way and took on Japanese themes and styles.xie at Graffiti in Akasaka, TokyoShigin has never been a major art form in Japan, and is particularly hard to come by today.However, shigin has been given an infusion of modern energy and attention thanks to the activities of its contemporary protagonists, a duo called Xie.Xie comprises the shigin singer, Keisei, the main instrumentalist, Hagi, and woodwind instrumentalist, Soh Tanomura. Hagi and Keisei began their collaboration a few years ago when Hagi heard Keisei perform.Hagi specializes in synthesizer music, and his style is characterized by rich, soaring compositions with an inspiringly heavily influxie and the audience at Graffiti in Akasaka, April 7, 2017enced by the sounds of nature. There are undertones of melancholy and nostalgia uplifted by great aspiring melodies, which, in concert, take the listener on a journey through vast spaces, over great distances.Hagi's instrumentalization finds the perfect marriage in Keisei's voice, which in its shigin recitation is powerful, true and flies on the wings of tradition by way of its extended vocal techniques.Keisei is as skilled a performer as singer, and her traditionally inspired costumes and dancing form an essential, and entrancing, part of her act.The shakuhachi player, Soh Tanomura, has been a part of Xie for the past four years, and brings the earthy and airy sounds of that old Japanese wind instrument to further color the magic sound.I regularly attend Xie performances that take place in venues throughout Tokyo on occasion. I was in Akasaka on Friday night, at a live house called Grafitti, to see and hear Xie perform, followed by a duo called NeoBallad, which also gives a contemporary spin to Japan's musical traditions.Vocalist-cum-performer Keisei on stage of Graffiti, Akasaka, TokyoBesides the appearances of the musicians themselves, where song and dance is interspersed with plenty of spoken repartee between performers and audience, one aspect of Xie concerts that I also like is how the audiences are wonderfully diverse in terms of age, attire, and atmosphere. Xie clearly has broad appeal and does not preach just to the converted.Xie performs sporadically, and its schedule can be found on the Xie website and Xie Facebook page. If you're in Tokyo next time they're performing, Xie (and I - the bald white guy with glasses) would love to see you there!© JapanVisitor.comGoods From Japan delivered to your home or business [...]

Japan News This Week 9 April 2017

Mon, 17 Apr 2017 02:05:12 PDT

今週の日本Japan Envoy, Recalled Over ‘Comfort Woman’ Statue, Is Returning to Seoul New York TimesAquariums flout Japan's ban on dolphin catching method BBCJapan racism survey reveals one in three foreigners experience discrimination GuardianOsaka becomes the first Japanese city to recognize a same-sex couple as foster parentsJapan TimesDonald Trump’s Japanese and South Korean Nuclear Threat to China: A tipping point in East Asia? Japan FocusLast Week's Japan News on the JapanVisitor blogStatisticsJapanese mobsters, or yakuza, are getting a bit long in the tooth.According to police statistics, in 2015 more than 40% of known gangsters were 50 years of age or older.Of the 20,100 persons who are known to be a part of a criminal organization in Japan, those in their 50s totaled 20%, those in their 60s 15.1%, and those 70 or older 6%.One middle-aged mobster lamented the current situation, "I'm sick. If there were someone to take over for me, I'd retire in a second and take it easy - that's the god-honest truth." Source: Asahi Shinbun© JapanVisitor.comInside Track Japan For Kindle [...]

Kyoto Map For Muslims

Thu, 06 Apr 2017 19:09:17 PDT

ムスリムおもてなしマップ京都Now available from Tourist Information Offices in Kyoto is a new, free Kyoto Map for Muslims produced by www.halalmedia.jpThe map covers downtown Kyoto and lists restaurants offering halal cuisine or a Muslim-friendly menu. The list includes established favorites like the Indian restaurant Kerala, Turkish restaurant Istanbul Saray, Malaysian restaurant Wadihana and the Moroccan La Baraka.There are several Japanese eateries also on the list including Yoshiya Kyoto Arashiyama, Ukihashi on the third floor of the Hotel Granvia at Kyoto Station and Rantei in the Century Hotel, also very close to Kyoto Station.The map also has a list of Muslim prayer spaces, many of them at the eateries themselves as well as the address and location of the Kyoto masjid (Islamic Culture Center) just east of Kyoto Gosho at 92 Miyagaki-cho, Kawaramachi, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto.You can also download an app of halal and Muslim-friendly restaurants at© JapanVisitor.comGoods From Japan delivered to your home or business [...]

Kumano-shi Station

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 21:00:56 PDT

熊野市駅Kumano-shi Station is a JR station on the Kisei Line in southern Mie Prefecture. The main connections are south to Shingu and north to Owase Station and Nagoya Station. The first express train to Kumano-shi Station from Nagoya is the 8.05am Wide View Nanki that arrives in Kumano-shi at 11.13am. The present fare is 7,050 yen.Kumano is a good base to explore the attractions of the surrounding area which include hiking over Matsumoto Toge, the sandstone cliffs of Onigajo Rocks, the huge, pebbled Shichirimihama Beach, Hana no Iwaya Shrine and the weird Shishi rock formation.Regular buses (which are cheaper than the train) from the Meitetsu bus station at Meitetsu Nagoya Station run to Shingu via Kumano. Buses back to Nagoya leave from behind the Tourist Information Center opposite Kumano-shi Station. Other buses from Kumano Station run to Shingu (50 minutes) and the Seiryu-so Onsen near the beautiful Kitayama River (also about 50 minutes). Kumano Station809-3 Idocho, Kumano-shiMie Prefecture 519-4324© JapanVisitor.comGoods From Japan delivered to your home or business [...]

Relaxation & Spa Hotel Nexel

Sun, 02 Apr 2017 18:48:07 PDT

ネクセル リラクゼーション&スパAs the name suggests, this is a little different kind of budget hotel in downtown Tokushima city. It has some double rooms with en-suite toilet and bathroom, and even a few Japanese style tatami rooms, but most of the rooms are small, single rooms for males only.These have shared toilets and access to the huge public baths on the 3rd floor. There are half a dozen different pools, some with jets, and a cold pool outside of the biggest sauna I've seen (complete with TV).Next to the baths are a series of partitioned areas for massage, with full-body, foot, & Thai style on offer. The single rooms are quite small, and windowless. TV, fridge etc are in the rooms, but no kettle.The single price of 4,300 yen includes breakfast which is a substantial, buffet style. They also have "relaxation" rooms which just contain a big, comfy sofa. Rates for these, including access to the baths, is 2,000 yen for 4 hours or 2,500 yen for 9 hours.Relaxation & Spa Hotel Nexel is located just 1km from Tokushima Station or 600m from the ropeway station.Relaxation & Spa Hotel Nexel1-8 Omichi, Tokushima-shiTokushima 770-0923Tel: 0886 79 1230Find hotels in Tokushima© JapanVisitor.comGoods From Japan delivered to your home or business [...]

Japan News This Week 2 April 2017

Mon, 17 Apr 2017 02:05:36 PDT


Japan Avalanche Kills 7 Teenage Mountaineers and a Teacher
New York Times

Japan turns to Basil Fawlty in race for Olympic English

Victory for Japanese nuclear industry as high court quashes injunction

It’s not ‘broken’ but ‘being fixed’: semantic games in Japanese when stuff fails
Japan Times

The Story of the Nation: “Japan Is Great”
Japan Focus

Last Week's Japan News on the JapanVisitor blog


Per capita 2016 GDP of various Asian countries (world rank).

1. Singapore $82,762 (3)
2. Hong Kong $54,722 (10)
3. Taiwan $45,854 (20)
4. Japan $37,390 (29)
5. South Korea $35,277 (31)
6. Malaysia $24,654 (51)
7. Thailand $16,835 (77)
8. China $15,424 (81)
9. Cambodia $3,736 (144)

Source: Wikipedia


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Miharashitei Business Hotel Kumano

Fri, 31 Mar 2017 20:02:25 PDT

みはらし亭Miharashitei is a pleasant business hotel right at Kirei Bridge, a short walk from Kumano Station on the south east coast of Mie Prefecture.Miharashitei is an excellent base for exploring the nearby attractions around Kumano including the short hike over Matsumoto-toge, the sandstone cliffs of Onigajo, the huge, pebbled Shichirimihama Beach, Hana no Iwaya Shrine and the bizarre Shishi rock formation.Rooms are either western-style with beds or Japanese style with tatami mats and futon. Guests can choose from board with breakfast or evening meals or sudomari - room with no meals.All rooms have attached bathrooms but there is also communal baths for men and women and free use of washing machines and clothes dryers.Miharashitei is located close to a large Aeon store with supermarket if you are staying sudomari and there are also a number of decent restaurants close by including the recommended Mukai opposite the city hall for set Japanese meals. (Mukai closes early in the evenings).Regular buses from the Meitetsu bus station at Meitetsu Nagoya Station run to Shingu via Kumano. Buses back to Nagoya leave from behind the Tourist Information Center opposite Kumano Station. JR trains to Kumano Station leave from JR Nagoya Station.Miharashitei555-4 Idocho, Kumano-shiMie Prefecture 519-4324Tel: 0597 89 1211© JapanVisitor.comGoods From Japan delivered to your home or business [...]

Little Britain Kumano Mie

Fri, 31 Mar 2017 23:36:55 PDT

英国兵士墓地Just off national highway 311 in the mountains inland from Kumano city in the south of Mie Prefecture stands a small memorial to 16 British soldiers who died working in the local Kishu copper mine during World War II.The men were among 300 prisoners of war captured in Singapore, who were brought to the area after first being forced to labor for the Japanese military on the Thai-Burma Railway and also in China. They called themselves the "Iruka Boys" after the area where their POW camp (a converted school) was located.The lives of the POW's was better than the harsh treatment they had suffered in Thailand. They worked alongside Japanese miners and were well treated by the local people.However, 16 of them were not to return home. The people of Iruka constructed a simple grave for the men complete with a copper cross.Their story became known to Japanese Christian woman Keiko Holmes, who was married to a British man and originally came from the area.She worked to establish the first Pilgrimage of Reconciliation to Japan in 1992 when former Iruka Boys returned on a visit to Japan. Since then over 500 FEPOW's (Far East Prisoners of War) have returned to Japan to be free of the "bondage of sorrow and bitterness" caused by their wartime experiences.In 2002 a memorial service attended by the British Ambassador and 24 of the Iruka Boys was held. An English oak was planted beside a Japanese cherry tree, but unfortunately visiting this week, the English oak has not adapted to the local conditions and seems to have withered and died, somewhat symbolic of the 16 soldiers who perished here back in the 1940's.Further along the road walking in the direction of the spectacular Senmaida rice terraces is the interesting Kiwa Kozan Museum, dedicated to the centuries of mining in the area. The museum has a section dedicated to the Iruka Boys with personal objects such as hand-made notebooks made from cigarette packets, pipes and war-time postcards donated by the men.The remarkable story of Keiko Holmes OBE and her work for reconciliation through Agape World can be found in the website below:www.agapeworld.comBuses from Kumano-shi run out to the Seiryu-so Onsen near the beautiful Kitayama River. The journey takes about 50 minutes. The bus stop is on the other side of the road from Kumano Station across from the Tourist Information Center. The first bus is at 11.25am. From Seiryu-so walk towards the bridge and turn right, through a short tunnel, before you reach the sign to Little Britain on your right.© JapanVisitor.comGoods From Japan delivered to your home or business [...]

Westin Miyako Hotel Kyoto

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 06:10:14 PDT

ウェスティン都ホテル京都The luxury, 5-star Westin Miyako Hotel Kyoto near the Okazaki museum district of the ancient capital is one of the best hotels in Kyoto.Facilities include two outdoor swimming pools, a tennis court, running track, fitness center, sauna and spa. The Westin Miyako Hotel Kyoto offers guests several dining options including Japanese, Chinese and international fusion.The rooms come equipped with flat screen TV, air-conditioning and mini bar.Keage is a station on the Tozai Line of the Kyoto subway one stop east of Higashiyama Station and one stop west of Misasagi Station.Keage Station is also close to Kyoto Zoo (hence the colorful elephant murals in the station), Nanzenji Temple, Eikando, Kyoto International Community House, Murin-an Garden and the free and fun Lake Biwa Canal Museum.Westin Miyako Hotel KyotoAwada Chika-cho 1, Higashiyama-kuKyoto 605-0052© JapanVisitor.comInside Track Japan For Kindle [...]

LGBT-friendly magazine "Oriijin" launch party

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 05:36:32 PDT

オリジインYesterday evening I had the pleasure of attending the LGBT-friendly Oriijin Magazine Launch Party in Tokyo. Oriijin is, as the name of the event suggests, a brand new magazine that is being marketed as "LGBT-friendly," i.e., targeted at LGBT people and their allies.Orijiin - a new LGBTQ-friendly magazine for Japan.The venue was a new space in Hirakawacho, Chiyoda ward, called Space 0 (Space Zero), on the basement floor of the Grid Building. This spacious, high-ceilinged venue has a chic vibe and even serves craft beer.The entry fee included a complimentary copy of the very first Oriigin magazine and a free drink. I sat down with my drink and magazine, but hadn't browsed far before I got talking to another participant, a member of the Fruits in Suits group that was organizing the event.After half an hour or so, at about 7:30pm, the event got underway.Diamond Publishing is the first mainstream publishing company in Japan to publish an LGBT-aligned magazine, and a representative of the company was there to say a few words for the occasion.Discussion panel at Oriijin launch party, in Space Zero, Chiyoda, Tokyo.This was followed by a panel discusion began, comprising Morinaga Takahiko, President of the Japan LGBT Research Institute. Inc., Koizumi Shintaro, President of SK Travel Consulting, an LGBT-friendly travel company, and Goto Junichi, Editor of the Sexual Minorities and Homosexuality Guide and Editor of the LGBT Information Portal Website g-lad xx. The buzz was great between these very accomplished players on Japan's LGBT scene - and English speakers among the crowd were kept fully abreast of everything thanks to the very switched on Japanese-English interpreting of Fruits in Suits organizer, Loren Sykes.The 40-minute or so panel chat was followed by a Q&A-cum-sharing session that warmed up over time.The first issue of Oriijin magazine is a glossy, 128-page affair with lots of big, mainstream advertisers. The title-theme for this first edition is "Living in the Age of the Heart and Diversity" (the "heart" having the meaning of the thing to be followed, as opposed to social norms).Grid Building, Hirakawacho, Tokyo, where the Oriijin launch party took placeThe articles span everything from biographical profiles of well-known LGBT figures in Japan, to social analysis, personal philosophy, fiction, political updates and commentary (e.g., an overview of the increasing number of moves by local authorities in Japan to secure the rights of LGBT residents) and just a touch of froth in the form of an astrology page near the end. It is a good-looking magazine with a lot of very solid content that is sure to help forge a new path for LGBT rights in Japan.Incidentally the name Oriijin is "nijiiro" ("rainbow colors") spelt backwards.Oriijin is on sale in mainstream bookshops throughout Japan, and sells for 980 yen. Here's wishing this brand new LGBT magazine a long and bright future.Read more about gay Japan.© JapanVisitor.comGoods From Japan delivered to your home or business [...]

Japan News This Week 26 March 2017

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 17:30:13 PDT

今週の日本For Japan’s Hitting-Hurling Double Threat, a Complex Path to the Majors New York TimesJapan's oldest cartoons shown to mark 100 years of anime BBCShinzo Abe and wife accused of giving cash to ultra-nationalist schoolGuardianAmid THAAD row, China overtakes Japan in poll of South Korea’s least-liked countriesJapan TimesTowards an Asia-Pacific ‘Depopulation Dividend’ in the 21st Century: Regional Growth and Shrinkage in Japan and New Zealand Japan FocusLast Week's Japan News on the JapanVisitor blogStatisticsThe latest World Happiness Report was issued. Here are the top ten (happiest) countries, plus three East Asian nations.1. Norway2. Denmark3. Iceland4. Switzerland5. Finland6. Netherlands7. Canada8. New Zealand9. Australia10. Sweden51. Japan56. South Korea79. ChinaSource: World Happiness Report© JapanVisitor.comInside Track Japan For Kindle [...]

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