Christmas in Japan

In just over one week it will be Christmas here in the United States.  Time for the family to get together and celebrate; a time to exchange gifts; and for some, a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas in Japan is celebrated completely different than it is here in the US. For starters, in Japan Christmas is not considered a religious holiday.

All over the world Christmas is seen as a Christian holiday. Out of the millions of people in Japan, only one percent or less is Christian. December twenty Fifth, Christmas Day, is not a national holiday in Japan. On Christmas day in Japan the stores are open, people go to work, and life carries on as normal. You see, Christmas day is just another day in Japan.

For a true holiday of the Christmas season you need to pay attention to Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve night is a time for parties and for young lovers. Couples on Christmas Eve go out for romantic diners and walks. On Christmas Eve friends get together and exchange gifts as well. What I think sets the Christmas season in Japan apart from other nations; is that in Japan they see the Christmas holiday as a time to give to others.

I know your all thinking that’s what Christmas is for, to give to others. For some however, it is all about what they get.  In Japan given the customs they already have, the Japanese people take making others happy. I have placed a couple links below if you are interested in knowing more about Christmas in Japan.

https://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/japan.shtml

https://www.jrailpass.com/blog/christmas-in-japan

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Alita: Battle Angel

This is going to be a short post today. I wanted to touch on the new live action Alita. The anime Battle Angel Alita came out in Jun of 1993. It finished airing in August of that same year. The anime was derived from the Manga series of the same name. It was published from November 1990 to March of 1995. The manga spanned nine volumes and was first published in Business Jump Magazine.

The new movie Alita: Battle Angel is being directed by Robert Rodriguez. The screen play was written by James Cameron, Laeta Kalogridis, and Robert Rodriguez. Rosa Salazar will star as Alita. You may remember her as Brenda in Maze runner: The Scorch Trials. Here is the trailer for the new movie. Let me know in the comments what you think of it.

 

Tokyo, Japan

What do you know about Tokyo? I thought I would put together a few facts about Tokyo. If you ever travel to Japan these facts could come in handy or server as ideas for places to visit. Look through them and let me know which ones is your favorite.

Let’s start this out with Tokyo.  Tokyo was founded in 3000bc. At the time it was known as Edo. Edo was a small fishing village. Today Tokyo has more than 30 million people living in it. It has come a long way since that small fishing village.

Despite how big Tokyo is and the amount of people that live there, English is not spoken much. If you travel to Tokyo be sure to know a little Japanese to be able to order food and other products.

In Tokyo there is a district called Ryogoko. Ryogoko is famous for fat guys. You see Ryogoko is the home of the Ryogoko Sumo hall. Sumo wrestlers are highly respected.

Mount Fuji is the reason most people go to Japan. They want to see that Iconic view of the snow caped mountain. If you want to see it in Tokyo you better plan ahead. The view to Mount Fuji is only available for 80 days out of the year.

Tokyo despite how many people are there is one of the safest places on the planet. Attacks on tourists are the lowest anywhere.

The last on my list is the Komagata Dozeu restaurant. The Komagata Dozeu restaurant has been in the same location and ran by one family for six generations. It has survived natural disasters and war.

Tokyo, Japan is one of those places that you could go and spend a week just exploring. Then as you get ready to leave you discover a magnitude of things to go back for. I hope someday I get the chance to go to Tokyo so I can discover my own reasons for going back.

Dragon Balls and Fuel Cells

No I’m not talking about Fuel Cell powered Dragon Balls. Although that would be cool to see depending on what they do. I’m talking about two different things going on in Japan; both equally big in their own right. What would you say if I said you could eat at a Dragon Ball themed restaurant and then take a ride on a train powered by a fuel cell?

In Osaka, Japan a Chinese restaurant has been converted into a Dragon Ball themed restaurant. The restaurant will be serving Dragon Ball themed food. For all of you Oolong fans, or those who remember the events of dragon Ball, there is a dish you will love. The dish is called Oolong Chashui. It is a ramen dish with meat and pantie shaped tofu. The restaurant has many other dishes including one with a “dragon ball” in it. The restaurant will also be selling merchandise. If you are interested in going to this Dragon ball restaurant then you need to act fast. It is only for a limited time.

So now you have stuffed yourself and you are ready to head out. Why not get a ride on a new fuel cell train? Well you could if it was open to the public. Right now it is in the testing phase. According to an article by KEIGO IWAMOTO a staff writer at Nikkei, “The R&D arm of Japan Railways group has already began test runs on trains powered by hydrogen.” If these tests are completed and everything works they could eliminate the need for overhead power cables. It would also be a more eco-friendly alternative. Since the fuel cell train runs of hydrogen it would not put out any greenhouse gasses. It only puts out water.

Both the Dragon Ball restaurant and the Fuel Cell train sound amazing. If I am lucky someday I will be able to ride the train. As for the dragon Ball restaurant, I’m sure it will be gone long before I ever get to visit japan. Visit the links below to see some great photos of the Dragon Ball restaurant and of the train.

https://kotaku.com/new-dragon-ball-cafe-opens-in-japan-1821178020

https://asia.nikkei.com/Tech-Science/Tech/Japan-s-fuel-cell-train-rolls-ahead-under-its-own-steam

 

KEIGO , IWAMOTO. “Japan’s fuel cell train rolls ahead under its own steam.” Nikkei Asian Review, KEIGO , 11 Dec. 2017, asia.nikkei.com/Tech-Science/Tech/Japan-s-fuel-cell-train-rolls-ahead-under-its-own-steam.

Overworking in Japan

Everyone loves a little overtime. The extra money is always a great incentive to work those extra hours. In Japan where the rate of pay is low and the cost of living in very high; people work extreme hours. The Japanese work so many hours in fact that the Japanese die at an unusual rate. The Japanese even have a name for it. They call it karoshi and it has become a very big problem. Some workers have been known to commit suicide from the stress of working so much. They feel they have no choice, but to work. It is so ingrained in their society.

Two companies are looking to change all that. Telecom giant NTT and a security firm called Taisei have come up with a way to help resolve the overworking problem in Japanese businesses. The idea is to fly drones around the office on a pre-determined path. While flying they will play Auld Lang Syne, the same music that is played in malls when they are closing. This is not the only thing that is done to fight overworking.

The drones will also be taking pictures so employers will know who is continuing to work when they should have gone home. Many scholars believe this will not solve the issue. They feel that more needs to be done to solve the underlining issue. Below is the link I used for this post. Go give it a read for more.

 

https://www.theverge.com/2017/12/9/16752594/japan-drone-patrol-office-overtime-work-culture

Dragon Ball Super – Review

Dragon Ball Super takes place after Dragon Ball Z and before Dragon Ball GT. From what I have seen of the series so far it seems to have completely overwritten the events of Dragon Ball GT. In Dragon Ball Super there has been a relative peace since Majin Buu was defeated. Goku, because Chi-Chi said so, has gotten a job. He works on the family farm driving a tractor. It is as comical as it sounds. What’s not comical about the series so far is what they did to Gohan.

Gohan our lovable powerhouse that defeated Cell in Dragon Ball Z becomes a dad. That’s the good part. We get to see Pan as an infant. The not so good part is that Gohan did not keep up with his training. He can barely go Super Saiyan. I always thought Gohan would become the next hero in a new series. Now we have one and he is weaker than ever. Well even with this Dragon Ball Super is beyond anything we have seen before with this franchise.

I watched Dragon Ball Super in English dub. The voice actors did an amazing job with the characters. I do have to say it was strange listening to Balma knowing the voice actress had recently passed away. I also noticed the language seems to be more adult. If memory serves, the language in Dragon Ball Z was more children friendly. Besides the “bad language” the rest of the script was really good. The audio wasn’t the only bright spot. The music score was perfectly fitted with each scene. At no point did the music get louder than the speaking. It was truly a perfect score of audio.

There were some cut scenes from Dragon Ball Z and you could tell they tried to improve the video quality. I believe they had to do this to try and match the quality of the video in Dragon Ball Super. Watching it in 1080p resolution gave the show a crisp look. The detail work put into the smallest parts was fantastic. While watching a fight scene I started to feel like I was watching a movie with a large budget for CGI.  Dragon Ball Super is a much watch for anyone who has watched Dragon Ball or Dragon Ball Z.

Sports in Japan

You might be wondering what kind of sports they have in Japan. Would it surprise you to learn that the sports in Japan are mostly the same as the rest of the world? Pro wrestling was introduced to Japan early in the twentieth century, but did not catch on until 1951. Boxing has been a major sport in Japan since 1854. The Japanese boxers don’t normally fight outside of Japan and the Japanese championships are not recognized around the world. It should come to no surprise that golf is also played in Japan. Golf is one of those sports that transcend cultures around the world.

Auto racing has even found a home in Japan. In the 1920’s auto racing came to Japan. However, it wasn’t until 1936 that it became a permanent fixture in Japan when a permanent track was built. Probably the biggest sport in Japan is Baseball. Baseball is widely considered to be America’s favorite pastime. In Japan it is jokingly recognized as a national sport even though Japan does not recognize any sport as a national sport.

Two of the more traditional sports of Japan are Sumo and Judo. Judo was first created in 1882 by Kano Jigoro. Judo translates in English as the gentle way. Judo consists of three techniques known as throwing, striking, and grappling. In a way it sounds like pro wrestling. Judo is an Olympic sport and it is highly contested as such. The first Judo school was called Kodokan and was run by Kano Jigoro.

I have written about Sumo wrestling before. Sumo originated in the ancient times and was meant to entertain Shinto deities. The rules to Sumo wrestling are by far the most simple of those I have spoken about. All that is required is to knock your opponent out of the circle. There are no weight limits. This means at any given time a sumo wrestler could find himself against someone who is much bigger than he is. For this reason, sumo wrestlers tend to gain weight so they can be more competitive.

As I said earlier, Japanese sports are not much different than anyone else’s. They do have a few sports like Judo and Sumo that are unique to Japan. If you are interested in knowing more about Judo or Sumo wrestling I have put links below.

http://factsanddetails.com/japan/cat21/sub138/item756.html

http://www.worldjudoday.com/en/The-History-of-Judo-55.html

Cash Japan

It seems that every day America is becoming a cashless system more and more. Meanwhile Japan has remained a cash system. If traveling to Japan, be sure to take plenty of cash with you. You will not find many locations if any at all that take credit card. In fact one of the only times you will see anyone using their debit card is if they are taking money from an ATM.

Due to the cash oriented system the Japanese people walk around with large amounts of money in their pockets. When they get paid it is usually in the form of cash or by bank transfer to their savings account. Checking accounts are not the norm in Japan. When paying bills many Japanese use bank transfers, post offices, and convenience stores. This does come at a cost. There is usually a service charge of five hundred and sixty five yen. That would be five dollars usd.

Here in the US families tend to manage the finances together. However, in Japan it is usually the wife that handles the money. The husband would get an allowance at each payday and it is expected to last him all month. It may seem a little different to us, but it works for the Japanese people. It seems like an interesting concept and I for one know I would spend way less if I had cash on me. It seems like it is way too easy to swipe a card without thinking about the money.

Anime for 2018

Twenty seventeen is coming to a close in a few weeks. It has been a roller-coaster of exciting news of new anime and of unexpected loses of figures in the anime industry. We can only hope that twenty eighteen is a lot better and with a lot of new anime coming our way next year; it is off to a good start. Below are a few of the new anime that I am really looking forward to.

Grancrest Senki

Grancrest Senki

 

Violet Evergarden

Violet Evergarden

 

Beatless

Beatless

 

Dagashi Kashi 2

Dagashi Kashi 2

 

The Seven Deadly Sins Revival of The Commandments

The Seven Deadly Sins: Revival of The Commandments

 

DARLING in the FRANXX

DARLING in the FRANXX

 

Did I forget to mention this is only a small portion of the new anime? Also, this is only from January of twenty eighteen. Go check out the rest of what January has to offer here. https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime/upcoming/tv

Updates in the J-Pop \ J-Rock Industry

The bestselling J-Pop artist Utada Hikaru has returned to Japanese music as of April 2016. She returned with two songs; one being called Hanataba wo kimi ni after being gone for five years. Utada Hikaru was born and raised in the United States. She first debuted in 1998 with an English album called Precious. A year later she came out with an all Japanese language album called First Love. It went on to become the highest selling album of all time in Japan; a feat that has not been matched by any other artist since. Below are links to her music and website.
 

https://open.spotify.com/artist/7lbSsjYACZHn1MSDXPxNF2?autoplay=true

http://www.utadahikaru.jp/music/

 

As one artist returns, another retires from the industry. In September of this year Namie Amuro announced she was going to retire in one year after spending twenty five years making music. In her career Namie has sang songs for many Anime titles including One Piece and Inuyasha. She will be creating one more album before she retires. You can find her site below along with a link to listen to her music.

 

https://open.spotify.com/artist/4BmWSGKG6HiYvLuJvZ9afa?autoplay=true

http://namieamuro.jp

 

AKB48 is in the news again. Firstly, the members of AKB48 did an amazing event in Akihabara to help prevent online crime. This one kind of hits closes to home since I work in IT. The three members of AKB48 that were there spoke about keeping your computers secure and the antivirus up to date. The other event in the news for AKB48 was a more tragic one. Well kind of funny, yet tragic for AKB48. You see a man trashed 585 AKB48 cds. Here’s the thing though. He didn’t put them in a trash can, or dunp them in a land fill. He left them sitting on a mountain. You can stop laughing now. The only reason he got caught is that, he forgot to remove the mailing label from them. OK you can laugh again.

 

https://open.spotify.com/artist/01wau5CL3Z1vfJJWkzBkqg?autoplay=true

https://www.akb48.co.jp/about/chronicle/

 

Now for anyone who has read my blog you know I am a big Scandal fan. If you are like me and follow them on social media then you know they are working on a new album. They haven’t released any information on the new album just yet. Not that I have heard anyway. I can tell you that they are touring across Japan right now when they are not in the studio. On their website they have their tour dates listed. Below is a link to their site and a place to listen to their music.

 

https://open.spotify.com/artist/7hTZwqQILVH4bAbN67CeEz?autoplay=true

http://www.scandal-4.com/