Culture

Even If You’ve Only Learned Katakana, You’ll Understand This Kanji

2019-01-18 07:31

Although some Japanese language textbooks begin to introduce kanji from the earliest chapters, together with hiragana and katakana, the most common approach, especially in countries where Chinese characters are not already used, is to begin with the phonetic syllabaries hiragana and katakana (mostly for loan words and foreign names) and then get into kanji after they have been learned. This approach, while effective, can sometimes cause frustration among quick learners who are eager to learn kanji. But what if you could already write kanji only using katakana that you’ve already learned? Kata-kanji? A new (fictional) kanji posted by manga artist and writer Gō Ōhinata on his Twitter account earlier this…


Virtual Model imma Is Going Viral On Instagram and Twitter

2019-01-18 01:02

With her beautiful pink hair styled in a cute bob, her large, expressive eyes, flawless skin, full lips and slim proportions, the latest fashion model, imma, now going viral on social media, seems to have everything going for her. Someone without prior knowledge who came across images of her on Instagram standing casually in front of sports cars in a parking garage dressed in otaku-inspired street fashion, trying out clothes at Bottega Veneta or posing in haute-couture in front of a row of vending machines may not even think twice seeing the number of likes in the four digits or her nearly 7,500 users who follow her account (at the…


Japan Cherry Blossom Forecast 2019 Reveals An Unusually Early Start To The Season

2019-01-17 06:17

If you’re planning on visiting Japan in Spring, you’re probably looking forward to enjoying the beautiful and subtly fragrant blossoms of the cherry trees, or sakura, as they’re called in Japanese. Since so many people count on the sakura for their Spring activities, knowing the best times to view them has become somewhat of a science. In fact, every year, the Japan Meteorological Corporation publishes forecasts on when the sakura will begin to bloom and when they are likely to be in full bloom, with the weekend most closely coinciding with that date considered to be the ideal moment for hanami 花見 (literally, “flower viewing), the practice of picnicking beneath…


AniSphere Brings Japanese and International Anisong Fans Together In MOGRA Akihabara

2019-01-16 08:19

Although Akihabara is not very well known for its nightlife, there’s one place where you can party all night on weekends, and that’s the legendary night club MOGRA Akihabara. Now in its tenth year, MOGRA plays electronic music as well as anisongs, idol songs, game music and other Akihabara music genres. And if you happen to be in Akihabara on the third Friday of the month, you’re likely to see quite an international crowd there. As the only event specifically hosted by the club to bring international and Japanese audiences together to enjoy anime songs, AniSphere joins long-running anisong DJ events ANISON INDEX!! and ANISON MATRIX!! as an event which…


Rare Restored Footage With Sound Of Kyoto In 1929

2019-01-16 01:25

It’s always fascinating to take a look back in time to newsreel footage from Japan’s earlier years, particularly footage in vibrant cultural areas such as Kyoto. Unfortunately, we must often do so without the benefit of sound. Thankfully videographer Guy Jones, who compiles and restores rare and old historical film footage, has uploaded footage of Kyoto from 1929 featuring sound that provides added audio insight into bustling Japanese city life from all those years back. According to Global Voices, the original footage was provided by University of South Carolina Moving Image Research Collections (MIRC), caretaker of the Fox Movietone News Collection. Among the the many interesting scenes brought to life…


Muslims Can Enjoy Halal Okonomiyaki and Other Osakan Delicacies at Chibo Diversity

2019-01-15 07:57

For Muslim travelers to Japan, dining out can sometimes be stressful. Although the number of halal restaurants in major Japanese cities have increased, it can still be a challenge to find them. And even when they do, their interpretation may be limited to food and they may lack ablution facilities or a prayer room on the premises. The problem is potentially even more acute in Osaka, which is known for its many tasty dishes. With so many culinary temptations, it’s a good idea to know which restaurants are halal. Chibo Diversity, a new branch in the Chibo restaurant chain opening on January 17th in the Dotonbori area of Osaka provides…


Toraya’s Elegantly Refurbished Akasaka Flagship Store Is Truly Worth The Visit

2019-01-15 05:23

Toraya: From Kyoto to Tokyo For half a millennium, Toraya has been making the traditional Japanese confections known as wagashi. Founded in Kyoto in the early 16th century when it was purveyor to the imperial court, Toraya moved its headquarters in 1869, following the transfer of the capital from Kyoto to Tokyo. After trying a few locations within the city, Toraya eventually settled on the wealthy neighborhood of Akasaka for its headquarters in 1964. However, after over 50 years, the building began showing signs of age, and Toraya decided to completely refashion its flagship store from the ground up, creating not only a building which testifies to the success and…


No Mural? No Worries! Japanese Lifehacker Invents Instagenic Angel Wings To-Go

2019-01-10 06:32

By now, most people have seen images of people posing in front of angel wing murals. Either through Colette Miller’s Global Angel Wings Project launched in LA in 2012, Kelsey Montague’s wings which became famous when Taylor Swift posed in front of one in 2014, or the numerous other murals inspired by them which continue to pop up all over the world, wing murals have become a staple on Instagram. Although Colette Miller set up a few of her angel wing murals in Japan, they’re still relatively difficult to find. Even in the US, the problem exists for people who don’t happen to live in a major city like Los…


Lucky Cat Underwear Will Bring Good Fortune To Your Crotch

2019-01-10 11:45

If you’ve traveled enough around Japan, you’ve likely spotted the ceramic figures of the maneki neko (beckoning cat), a Japanese good luck charm that is said to bring good fortune and prosperity to its owner. Shop owners often display one at the front of their business, as the upraised paw moving in a beckoning motion is believed to summon good fortune. What you probably haven’t seen, however, is a maneki neko summoning good luck to your crotch. The “Good Fortune Maneki Neko Pants” are being mad available from Izavell, and are said to use the powers of a very peculiarly placed maneki neko and the good luck color of red…


Traditional Japanese Papercutting Octopus Made From A Single Sheet Of Paper

2019-01-09 03:34

The traditional Japanese art of papercutting, or kirie, can truly be a beautiful sight to behold. 25-year veteran Masayo Fukuda, however, may have produced one of the most intricately gorgeous cutting yet. She recently took to Twitter to post what she is calling her masterpiece of 2018 in the form of a stunning kirie octopus! Source: Masayo Fukudaa Source: Masayo Fukuda The super detailed octopus is actually cut from a single sheet of paper, and it took Masayo two months to painstakingly craft and brilliantly make use of negative space. Source: Masayo Fukuda Source: Masayo Fukuda While it may appear as a finely drawn illustration, videos below prove that it’s…


Ehomaki Giant Sushi Rolls Are Becoming More Expensive and Outlandish Every Year

2019-01-09 01:13

Early January is typically when sushi and seafood specialty shops begin to announce their lineup of ehomaki, the giant sushi rolls eaten on February 3rd for the Setsubun holiday. As some of our readers may remember from our in-depth article last year on the surprising origins, contemporary variations, and the environmental impact of the ehomaki phenomenon, Japanese department stores have taken what was originally just an overstuffed futomaki roll to new heights of extravagance. Last year, we were considerably impressed by the price tag on an ehomaki sold at the Matsuzakaya department store in Nagoya for 7,580 JPY, lavishly decorated in gold leaf with a design that locals instantly recognized…


We Attended Virtual Singer YuNi’s First Live VR Concert And Were Blown Away [Video]

2019-01-09 10:36

Virtual Singer YuNi Virtual YouTuber and singer YuNi, whom we had the pleasure of interviewing last year, has seen her channel steadily climbing the ranks, now in 8th place for video views at over 29.3 million plays and in 12th place for popularity with over 213,000 fans at time of writing. In addition to her nearly weekly updates of cover songs, she has collaborated with other VTubers, made appearances on Japanese television and branched out as an original artist, launching her private label yunion.wave in late October. Her first single, “Toumei Seisai” 透明声彩 (“Transparent Voice”), written and composed by YUC’e, reached #3 on iTunes, and #1 on the iTunes Electronic…


Start A Healthy, Happy New Year With These Seven Spring Herbs on January 7th

2019-01-07 07:53

The Custom of Eating Seven Herbs of Spring January 7th is a special day in the traditional Japanese calendar, known as Nanakusa no Sekku 七草の節句 (The Festival of the Seven Herbs). On this day, it is customary to eat a rice porridge made with seven Spring herbs. These seven specific herbs, when eaten together, are believed to bring good health and longevity. You may consider it odd that Spring herbs are eaten at a time when icy cold winds blow and snow covers the ground but Spring begins on January 1st in the traditional Japanese calendar. It is precisely because greenery is scarce that the custom of eating young green…


Japanese Manga Artists and Illustrators Welcome 2019 With Awesome Original Cards

2019-01-07 02:40

Every year, many Japanese people send New Year’s post cards called 年賀状 nengajou. While it is possible to buy pre-printed postcards at stationery shops or even convenience stores, creating your own customized nengajou is preferable, which explains brisk sales of specialized nengajou-designing software and crowds lining up at photo shops in December. Customizing a nengajou is commonly done by adding photos, but if you happen to be a manga artist or illustrator, you also have the option of putting your talents to work in an original nengajou of your own design. Since 2019 is the Year of the Boar, according to the Chinese zodiac which is also used in Japan,…


Chichibu Festival: Thousands Flock to Tokyo Outskirts for Those Colorful Floats

2018-12-19 05:33

It’s that time of year again: Chichibu Matsuri. On Monday, December 3, this the Chichibu Festival culminated with a traditional float-and-night parade and a beautiful firework display. Taking place in Saitama Prefecture’s Chichibu city, this festivity is accessible by train within 90 minutes from central Tokyo. Source: Sankei Shimbun The festival is known in Japan and worldwide as one of three major traditional Japanese festivals — the other two being Kyoto’s Gion Festival and Gifu Prefecture’s Hida Takayama Festival. Written by Japan ForwardThe continuation of this article can be read on the “Japan Forward” site.Chichibu Festival: Thousands Flock to Tokyo Outskirts for Those Colorful Floats


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