As a foreigner with little knowledge of Japan, but a love of all things theatre, I was sure to come across Takarazuka revue eventually. Takarazuka is definitely a part of Japan that I am glad to have experienced.
I am by no means fluent in Japanese, but I’m pretty sure undoukai translates to “silly acrobatics at a serious event.” Well, it’s either that or “athletic meet” (according to jisho.org). I prefer my definition, though, because it embodies the ever-so-present dichotomy between humor and serious ritual in Japan.
Hate anime with the fire of 10,000 burning suns? Well so do we, yet we still managed to find a few that were good. Give it a second chance by checking out a few of these recommendations.
I am a gaijin. I accept it. I am not trying to create any debate or start a social revolution in Japan, but here is a brief description of my life in Japan, and my thoughts on the concept of the word, “gaijin”.
I know, I know, Valentine's Day is silly. It's a card company invention. It's selling us the false notion that love is all about hearts and flowers and teddy bears carrying pillows shaped like hearts. But just because it's silly, doesn't mean it can't be fun...
Have your students asked your ketsueki-gata (血液型), or blood type? Have you noticed that celebrities in Japan often have their blood types listed as part of their vital statistics, and people even know the blood type of their favorite anime character? In Japan, blood type is seen as an important indicator of personality and personal success, similar to the way that Westerners sometimes put faith in astrology. Out of the four blood types, A, B, AB and O, each has positive and negative traits associated with it.
As I exited Nagaoka Station, I had no idea what would happen over the course of the next several hours. After taking an all-night bus trip from Hiroshima to Tokyo and then hopping on a train for another couple hours to reach this city in Niigata Prefecture, my wife, Tomoko, and I were tired yet enthusiastic to see how this day I had long-awaited would turn out. We had come to Nagaoka to finish something that was long overdue. My grandfather served in the United States Army for the entire duration of World War II. In the spring of 1945, in the Philippines, he came into possession of a Japanese war flag.
Every year during the month of May the historic port city of Tomonoura hosts the Taiami Fishing Festival. During this celebration of traditional fishing methods, groups of Japanese men board old wooden boats and cast their nets into the Seto Inland Sea, scooping up many a fish. Come check out a festival where everyone walks away a winner with their own fish...
Dan Moeller tells us why he thinks America has a few things to learn from Japan when it comes to school lunches and health education.
Every year this festival attracts hundreds of people from around Japan who come to watch as brave young men risk being burned as they carry bundles of burning sticks up to the shrine. Each group chants and sings as onlookers douse them with protective water. It's a very strange and very exciting event that you have to see to believe. Words cannot express the intensity of this ritual, so I've included a video below. If you're looking for something very different, check it out.