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culture

    • May 24, 2022
    • September 28, 2022

    What to Do in Japan: What Is Good about Travel by Train?

    Trains are still the king of transportation for tourism Which transportation do you think is best for your trip? By air, sea, or road? According to a report by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the share of travel by train is highest in the domestic market in Japan. The number-based share of travel by train was about 70% in 2020, and has been increasing year by year, along with a trend that young people turn away from driving. It’s not only about the Japanese people. Almost the same thing can be said about tourists from overseas. The share of rail transportation for such tourists to move around Japan is about 55%. For your information, the second is public bus service with a share of about 30%. The advantages of train transportation over other means I don’t know if it’s the same in your countries, but there are […]

    • February 1, 2022
    • October 4, 2022

    Japanese Cultural Exploration: A Hero or Villain? The Truth of Godzilla

    Godzilla becomes an academic research subject in Japan In my childhood, I memorized even the height and weight of many monsters in Godzilla movies, let alone their names. I’m sure I would have annoyed many people around me by proudly showing off the knowledge, and also my parents would have wanted me to apply the same level of passion to study. Godzilla is a super movie content known to everyone in Japan and many people even outside Japan. It can be said the most popular Japanese movie series especially outside Japan. Mmany people, like film critics, marketing professionals, and even university professors have published study on it. The explanation that sounds most feasible to me is “Godzilla is the metaphor of nature.” Indeed, it has destroyed many cities many times, but has shown no animosity or hatred to humans, though making no apologies as well. Godzilla makes us remember a […]

    • July 13, 2021
    • August 24, 2022

    What Is the Differences between Japanese and European Castles?

    Differences of Japanese and European castles I believe many of you have seen the above image. It’s the fortress of Carcassonne, one of UNESCO’s world heritage sites. According to what I learned on the Internet, it is now the second most popular sightseeing spot after Mont Saint-Michel in France. It becomes more popular in Japan nowadays because the fortress city serves as the stage of a big-hit Japanese film. I’m ashamed to say, but I had not seen European fortresses and castles much (including Carcassonne). The film made me interested (though I’ve not watched it), and I found some differences from Japanese castles. Anyone would immediately notice the difference in material: stone in Europe and wood in Japan. That is not what attracted my attention. Different from Japanese castles, the fortress of Carcassonne has a residence area inside and high walls. The reasons of the differences As I looked it […]

    • July 9, 2021
    • August 24, 2022

    The Quality of Nails in the Best Samurai Period

    Kamakura samurais, strongest and bravest Samurai governed Japan for about 700 years, from 1185 to 1867. The age of samurai is divided into some periods. According to a popular theory, samurais in the first period (the Kamakura period, from 1185 to 1333) are strongest and bravest. It is said that “You look like a Kamakura samurai” was the best praising words for samurais even in the last days of the samurai age. The same as samurais, the quality of nails in the Kamakura period is said to be best. In the age of samurai, the best quality steel (high-carbon steel) was used for sword crafting as I wrote before. In the Kamakura period, nails were made of the second best quality steel. Building structures and nails in the Kamakura period Japanese old buildings, like temples and shrines built several hundred years ago, didn’t use any nails. This is the myth […]

    • May 6, 2021
    • September 14, 2022

    The Shoulders of Giants

    Things going down to posterity Hokkaido, this northernmost island of Japan, is getting deserted. In rural areas (Hokkaido itself can be said a rural area in Japan, though), you can see abandoned and collapsing houses everywhere. Houses with a roof and walls deformed by the weight of snow, like ones in Tim Burton’s movies. Rusty bicycles, snow shovels, etc. are partly seen in the grass around such house. They are returning to the earth. Generally, such sceneries may just look sad, but (as writing before) I personally like to see them. They remind me of the fact that we are also a part of nature. At the same time, I’ve been interested in the difference between such things returning to the earth and the other things passed down to the next generation. Too dificult decision: What should be passed to the next generation I once attributed the differences to the […]

    • April 13, 2021
    • August 24, 2022

    Stick to the High Road

    Nirvana, a god or a devil I grew up with the songs of the Beatles because my mother is a big fan of them. As writing this, I just remember her face like a demon crawling out of hell when I shot some of her LPs with my airsoft gun. When most of my elementary school classmates were obsessed with Japanese pop idols, I listened to British heavy metal, LA metal, etc. Especially if you’re from the same generation and have the same taste in music as me, I believe you would understand how big impact the band left. Their influence far-reached to not only the world music scene but also the whole society. It’s about Nirvana. Their advent is exactly destructive creation, though I personally think it was too powerful and destructive. Anti-establishment stance to the anti-establishment icon In the previous era of Nirvana, rock musicians were supposed to […]

    • April 5, 2021
    • September 14, 2022

    Why Japanese Sakura Is Beautiful

    The most beautiful closed hotel in Japan: Hachijo Royal Hotel Rusted steel frames, faded curtains fluttering out of broken windows, tableware scattered on the floor. Ruined factories, hotels, restaurants, etc. in deserted towns are just shown, sometimes even without any narration or subtitles. Such YouTube videos are popular in Japan. In fact, I often enjoy them. “Horror is a genre in which disgust is central as an emotion,” Malcom Turvey, a British professor of film studies, said. “A lot of monsters are designed to be explicitly or implicitly disgusting.” In that sense, our interest in ruins is completely different. Japanese people see the beauty in things decaying away. I believe that is the origin of Japanese aesthetics. Japanese way to enjoy Sakura Sakura, cherry blossom is one of the Japanese national flowers (another one is chrysanthemum, for your information). We are a kind of addicted to it. As most of […]

    • March 29, 2021
    • September 14, 2022

    How Godzilla Was Created (Nissan GT-R)

    Nostalgia for monster cars Nissan GT-R (R32), Mercedes Benz 500E. These monster cars were born in around the same time (around 1990). When I was a teenager, my friend’s father owned them both, and they sometimes gave me a drive. I will never forget the impression I had when riding in the cars for the first time. The start-dash of GT-R was just violent, though it was not normal but souped-up to more than 700 HP. I felt like being in a vault when riding in 500E. As it may sound like nostalgia from an old-timer, I don’t think such legendary cars will never be made again. In 90’s, car makers could spend more budget on product development, and legal restrictions (crash safety, environmental conservation, etc) were much less. I know social conditions have changed a lot since then, but the root of the reason why I’m dissatisfied lies somewhere […]

    • March 25, 2021
    • September 26, 2022

    How to Build Pyramids: The Revelation of the Pyramids

    The pyramid construction is a public project to create employment It only took 20 years to make the pyramid of King Khufu by using many slaves. Is there anyone who still believes all this? Some decades ago, the Japanese biggest construction company (Obayashi Corporation) seriously calculated and estimated the construction period. Even if they tried with all their resources without limitation, it would take 5 years! I always thought the above fake legend of the pyramid construction would be too short time for people from about 4500 years ago. Think about it for a second. Don’t you think pyramids are too high-quality for low-morale workforces like slaves without heavy machines? In my opinion, the construction of the pyramids would be a super-long-term public project to create employment and to enhance the national prestige. In fact, it’s not my own unique view but becomes one of the common theories these days, […]

    • March 22, 2021
    • September 22, 2022

    What to Do in Japan: Japanese Summer Festivals for Local Community Ties

    What we lost by the COVID Last year (2020), the COVID prevented the Tokyo Olympic Games from being held. There was one more thing it took away from us: summer festivals. The number of Japanese summer festivals is said to be more than 300 thousands. They are held everywhere in Japan every year in late August. It’s a magical time especially for kids. Cheap candies given after a festival dance, food stands, fireworks, etc. Kids enjoy together with friends, missing the last days of their summer holidays. The COVID robbed us of such a seasonal tradition and even a sense of the seasons. Before going on writing about Japanese summer festivals, I think I should explain a little about Japanese religious views because summer festivals are originally religious events. Japanese summer festivals are originally religious events In Japan, we believe the spirits of ancestors are back during summer, and summer […]