Holiday in United States of America

There will be no post today. It is Thanksgiving here and I am off to celebrate it with my family. I leave you with these images as a reminder that Christmas is right around the corner.

 

 

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Higanjima: Escape from Vampire Island – Review

After the last live action movie I thought I would give another movie a try. This time around I choose the movie Higanjima. Higanjima Escape from Vampire Island gave me the feel of a Hollywood B Movie. The acting was ok at best. I thought the delivery of the lines from the actors were well, over delivered. Too much emphasis was put on their actions when delivering their lines in the slow scenes. Their action scenes were a much different story. When it came to the fighting scenes they were perfectly choreographed.

The audio quality was really good. Keep in mind I am not referring to the actor’s lines. I am referring to the sound of the movie. From beginning to the end Higanjima keep a perfect tempo. When the action takes off and the music raises the voice audio rises as well. At no point in the movie does the music ever over shadow the voice. The subtitles ran smoothly under the scenes leaving plenty of time to watch and enjoy the movie.

The visuals of the show were where this movie truly showed its B movie magic. The special effects in the show looked like they were made in a low budget college classroom production. The vampires were your classic fanged variety. The one oddball in vamp came in the form of an old woman who would transform into a flying vampire with a much younger complexion. Oh they could also be out in the sun without bursting into flames. There was one monster on the island and it looked like it was put together using putty and rubber. Over all I did enjoy this movie. Albeit I have always enjoyed Hollywood B movies so it figures I would enjoy this one.

Japan

I have wanted to write this post for a while. I have always wondered about the history of Japan. When and how did it get its start? We all know the United States was founded on July 4th 1776. It’s the biggest holiday here in the United States. That being said, the US is just a child compared to Japan. Legend surrounding the formation of Japan places its founding around 660BC.

However, many archaeologists believe the Japanese island is around 100,000 years old. The earliest period to have been studied is 8000 to 300 BC. That falls into the Jomon Period. The Japanese people of this period were hunter gathers. They had not yet formed city states or laws. Agriculture did not begin in Japan until the Yayoi period 300BC to 3rd century AD.

Japan unified under the Yamato clan around 300 – 710. This would have been the Kofun period in Japan. It was after 710 that japan first obtained a constitution. Here is the link to the page I got my information for this post from. There is a lot more that can be learned of Japan and I encourage you all to go have a read.

https://www.japan-zone.com/omnibus/history1.shtml

JPOP\JRock Artists

Going back over my blog posts I have done five posts on Japanese music. What I found is that I have never written an article about the artists outside of Scandal and AKB48.  I sat for a couple hours and watched music videos and live performances of various bands. I found some really good solo artists and bands. I also however, found some who I felt was so bad I couldn’t finish the videos. I won’t say who they are. I don’t want to slander someone just because I don’t care for their music. They all have large fan basses and are talented in their own right.

The first up is Yui. She has an amazing voice and her music is great. Not only is she a talented musician she is also an actress.  You can hear her music here. https://tunein.com/artist/YUI-m318670/?autoplay=true

The next up is the Band BABYMETAL. As the name implies they are a heavy metal idol band. I’m not into Heavy Metal but, this band sounds really good.  You can check out their music here. https://tunein.com/artist/BABYMETAL-m695062/?autoplay=true

Next up is KAT-TUN. KAT-TUN is a boy band. The videos are good. They put on a great show. Think N-Sync.  You can check them out here. https://tunein.com/artist/KAT-TUN-m241308/?autoplay=true

TVXQ is the next one up on the list. I get a real 90’s boy band vibe from them. They harmonize fantastically. The first video I watched I believe was called Order. (Had to get it translated.) Ypou can check out their music here. https://open.spotify.com/artist/6nVMMEywS5Y4tsHPKx1nIo?autoplay=true

I couldn’t do this list without mentioning Stereopony. Next to Scandal they are my favorite band. Unfortunately, they disbanded in 2012. Like Scandal they are an all-girl band. You can still listen to their music. Of you get a chance, go check out their video for Hitohira No Hanabira on YouTube.  You can listen to them here. https://open.spotify.com/artist/35VNJ4BFDvs9XkLf6ghUi6?autoplay=true

This next one is a little different. Ringo Sheena from what I can tell does not sing J-POP or J-Rock. She seems more contemporary compared to others on this list. I decided to add her since her music was so good. You can listen to her music here. https://open.spotify.com/artist/2XjqKvB2Xz9IdyjWPIHaXi?autoplay=true

 

There are so many more I would like to list here. However, if I did that I think you all would stop reading. If you want to find out who some other artists are, you can do a google search for j pop artists. You will get a rather large list with pictures across the top. To finish this post off here is the video for Scandal’s Koisuru Universe.

Kimono and Yukata

What are Kimonos and Yukatas? I’m sure you know the short answer, but what is the long one? Let’s start with the history of the Kimono. The work Kimono originally meant clothing. It wasn’t until more recent times that the word took on the meaning for a specific type of clothing. It was between 794 – 1192, known as the Heian period in Japan, that the kimono was first worn. Today in Japan the Kimono is used for formal events. It is held closed by a hakama. The hakama is a type of Trouser first used by the Chinese.

The Yukata came into existence at the same time as the Kimono. The Yukata is made of lighter linen and is therefore only worn in the warmer periods. The Yukata is not worn with a shirt underneath it. It is also held closed differently than a kimono. Where the kimono requires a hakama; the yukata only requires an obi. The Obi is a sash that is worn around the waist. The way a yukata is worn is dependent on whether or not you are alive.

The Yukata is to be wrapped left side over the right side and secured with an obi. It is only wrapped right side over left side when preparing a body for funeral.  Keep this in mind if you even have a chance to ware one. The yukata compared to the kimono is a much cheaper option. I have placed links for both below in case you are interested in buying one.
https://www.kimono-yukata-market.com/

https://www.ohiokimono.com/

http://www.kimonoya-japan.net/

http://www.shop-kimono.com/

Anime Genres

I started this post off by researching how many genres are in anime. I was expecting around a dozen genres. What I found instead was that anime had a massive list consisting of over 40 Genres. When I saw this I knew I had my work cut out for me. Rather than try and post about all forty genres I am going to pick a few of them and write about them.

The first up is the Shoujo. I know Shoujo is a demographic. However, it is also a genre in Anime. The Shoujo genre targets the female audience between the ages of ten and eighteen years of age. This genre focuses mostly romance anime and at times comedy. An example of a show that falls into this genre is Sailor Moon.

One of my favorite genres in anime is parody. A parody anime is an anime that references other anime throughout the series. Many times it will be a running gag, object, or symbol from another show.  Gintama is a good example of an anime in this genre. Of course you can’t have a post about anime genres without mentioning the genre Mecha.

The Mecha genre as you all know will always have a mechanical suit or robot in them.  Many times anime in this genre are part of other genres such as military and action. One great example of this genre is the classic Robotec. You can find the rest of the genres here.

https://reelrundown.com/animation/Anime-Genre-List

Kinrokansha – A Japanese Thanksgiving

In just couple weeks it will be Thanksgiving here in the US. What began as a day to give thanks for the harvest has become a holiday for us all to give thanks for every blessing we have in our lives. Thanksgiving is not only celebrated here in the United States. Canada, Caribbean Islands, Liberia, and Japan all celebrate Thanksgiving.

Japan however, celebrates Thanksgiving for an entirely different reason than we do here in the US. Thanksgiving in Japan is known as Kinrokansha. It is a day to give thanks to the people who labor at their jobs each and every day. The Japanese take this day very seriously. School children have been known to create cards and give gifts to those for whom they are thankful too such as municipal workers, firefighters, and others in important positions.

This might come as a surprise to you, but a Japanese Thanksgiving dinner does not come with turkey. Our butter rich Thanksgiving foods are not the norm for the Japanese people. For Thanksgiving the Japanese meal consists of Fish, rice, and tea after the meal. A family trip to a park or attraction is sometimes included in the day’s events. As you can see the Japanese celebrate a lot different than we do. In many ways the Japanese Thanksgiving is more like the American Labor Day. To all those in Japan, KANSHASAI OMEDETOU (Happy Thanksgiving)

Collectables

In today’s post I am tackling the concept of collecting. What gets collected and why they are collected.  I’m going to start off with anime figurines. When I started my research for this post I found several forums asking this very question. I started to notice a pattern that would develop within the first five comments on each forum. Inevitably someone would make a comment about being looked down on for collecting figures. There were of course those who rightfully came to their aid and proclaimed that there was nothing wrong with collecting figures. Collecting figures can be an expensive hobby. Some figures go for over a hundred dollars.

Now let’s talk about a subject I know a little more about, collecting pins. No I’m not talking about the kind you write with. I’m referring to the ones you ware. Collecting pins is a huge business. There are thousands of styles and subject matter. I have collected a few pins over the years. I got started with it when I went to my first anime convention over ten years ago.

Pins and figures are not the end all collectables. There are all kinds of collectables. Anime and Manga are two of the most collected. What you need to keep in mind is that it is your hobby. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about your collections. Display those figures, pins, plushies, anime, manga, etc. however you want. Take pride in your collectables.

Review – Live Action Space Battle Yamato

I know I am late to the game when it comes to the live action movie Space Battle Yamato. However, for those of you who have not seen it yet I think you will enjoy this quick review. Let’s start with the visuals. I really didn’t know what to expect for visuals after being spoiled by Hollywood for so long. I was pleasantly surprised. When the main gun of the Yamato was getting ready to fire I was expecting to see a flash and then explosion of the target. What I got was a solid effect of a laser beam firing off. I think it was then that I was hooked on the visuals.

I had an option to watch the movie in English bud. I however opted to watch it in Japanese with English subtitles. That’s something I don’t normally do. Not a big fan of reading subtitles. I always feel like I’m going to miss something. I’m really glad I did watch it in Japanese with English subtitles. There were parts that I think would have been ruined if I had watched it in English. I was also surprised to hear so many English words spoken. The dialog in the movie was great. The actors and actresses did an amazing job delivering their lines, definitely on par with a Hollywood blockbuster.

I believe a proper thank you is needed for those who provided the English translation for this movie. The subtitles were fantastic. Not once did I have any trouble following along with the movie. The speed of which the subtitles came up provided me, a slow reader, to be able to read them without missing any of it. If you haven’t seen this movie or haven’t seen it with subtitles I highly recommend watching it. Look for it on your favorite streaming site. If they don’t have it then, check out Funimation. That’s where I watched it.

Practice Nihongo (Japanese)

I did a post not long ago about learning the Japanese language. I listed a bunch of great ways to learn the language and have fun while doing it. The one thing I never mentioned and I should have, was practicing Japanese. Of course you can always use the repeat method of learning. This method can only help so much. What you truly need is practice writing in Japanese.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking you have been writing Japanese this entire time. Why would I say you need practice doing that? Well when I say you need practice writing Japanese I meant in a letter format. You need to be writing letters. This will allow you the ability to get out of your comfort zone and challenge Japanese skills. Know your wondering who you could write to that would understand it?

Ever hear of a Pen Pal? Yea you read that right; a Pen Pal in this day and age. What better way to practice your Japanese than with a Japanese pen pal. Surprisingly enough there are a lot sites that offer pen pals from Japan. Below you will find a list of sites that offer Pen Pals. As always though; be careful. Never give out too much personal information. Also, if ever asked for money always tell them no. Anyone who asks for money is not trying to be a pen pal. They are only trying to scam you. To be fair most Pen Pal sites keep your information safe and communication is within the site. So go have fun and practice your Nihongo.

https://www.mylanguageexchange.com/pen-pals/Country/Japan.asp

http://www.studentsoftheworld.info/penpals/penpal_ads.php?Pays_Choisi=JAP

http://www.hipenpal.com/new/index.php

http://www.apenpals.com/

http://www.penpalhub.com/browse/country/asia/eastern_asia/japan/page-1.html

https://www.conversationexchange.com/s_map/learn.php?language=japanese

http://www.penpalparty.com/language/Japanese_penpals.html

http://www.japanesepenpals.net/