Holiday Shopping

Today is the annual save a lot of money day or as we call it here in the US Black Friday. To be honest I don’t know why it is called Black Friday. The following Monday is called Cyber Monday. Both days are for holiday shopping. They are days set aside each year for stores and online retailers to get people in to spend their hard earned money on Christmas gifts. Personally I think it is over rated and I try to avoid shopping on Black Friday.

However, the stores do always have great sales going on. It would be a great time to get that Otaku in your family something good. To help them, I mean you; out in getting that perfect gift I have listed some links to online retailers for Anime, Manga, etc… The sites I have listed may sell adult items as well as age appropriate items. The ones I know for sure do are listed with a Caution. Be sure not to brows those sites with children around.

http://www.animenpc.com/

https://www.rightstufanime.com/

http://www.animecastle.com/

http://www.thecnl.com/

https://www.funimation.com/shop/

https://www.lightinthebox.com/ (search Anime to get all related items)

https://www.entertainmentearth.com/anime.asp

https://www.jbox.com/ Caution: Site contains adult content

https://www.jlist.com Caution: Site contains adult content

https://www.jastusa.com/ Caution: Site contains adult content

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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

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/

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/

Ramune – Japanese Soda

This might seem like an unusual topic to cover but, I think you will like it. There are a lot of differences in Japanese sodas and American Sodas. While products like Pepsi and Coke and drunk in Japan they have their own line of sodas called Ramune. Let’s start with the similarities. The packaging for soda is the same. We both use plastic, metal cans, and glass bottles. The biggest difference in the packaging is the glass bottle. The glass bottle is called a codd-neck. It was invented by Hiram Codd and introduced to Japan in the 1800’s.

The glass bottle was originally used for lemonade. The bottle has a marble in the neck. It is used to seal the bottle. To open the Ramune you have to peal the cap off. You then turn it upside down and place it back on the bottle. You then press firmly until the marble drops and you hear the carbon fizzing out. Once it is open the carbon will force the marble up and keep the soda sealed.

Another difference is the flavor of the sodas. In Japan they have a much different take then we do. Here in the US we have cola, root beer, Dr. Pepper, etc. In Japan they have flavors more exotic then ours. They have bubble gum, wasabi, curry, and many others. Outside of these flavors Japanese sodas also come in a variety of fruit flavors. You can pick up Ramune here in the states, but it will have to be online. Below you will find a few sites you can buy them from.

 

https://www.asianfoodgrocer.com/asian-food/beverages/ramune-soda?gclid=Cj0KCQiA_5_QBRC9ARIsADVww14a5nMt55WnQD7xzKRf9TRiMiL0TyF5PCvOy3o3p_ThMUgBi8tbHaAaAsT0EALw_wcB

https://www.worldmarket.com/category/food-and-drink/shop-by-brand/ramune.do

Announcement

This blog post is going to deviate a little from my normal Otaku related posts. A good friend of mine runs a blog called TSetzler Designs. She is a web developer in Pittsburgh, PA. She asked me to put together something about The Otaku Corner for her blog. My post will show up on her blog http://tsetzlerdesigns.com/ on Monday the 13th at 10am Eastern Standard Time. Be sure to go give it a read and check out her blog. While you’re there be sure to give her blog a follow.

Washoku (Japanese Cuisine)

I’ve done a lot of articles on anime, manga’s, J-pop\J-Rock, and Japanese customs. One think I never looked into before was Japanese food. Maybe that’s because I don’t get to eat it very often. In fact I believe the last time I eat Japanese food was over five years ago. The food was great and I got one of the Japanese sodas to take home. Figuring out that marble was fun. I still have the bottle someplace.

Anyway, there is a verity of places to eat in Japan. They have themed cafés and restaurants. I know you have all seen a maid café in your anime shows. Well in Japan they really have them. Japan also boasts a lot of mobile food stands, old ryotei, and even places that have been erected for the holidays. Many specialize in certain types of food such as ramen, or curry dishes.

The typical Japanese meal consists of a bowl of rice (the staple of the meal), miso soup, vegetables, and meat. It should be no surprise that a lot of seafood is eaten in Japan. They are an island nation after all. The Japanese eat a lot of fish, eel, squid, shellfish, and octopus. One of the biggest dishes eaten in Japan is sushi. As we all know sushi is raw fish with rice and vegetables. While rice is a big staple in every meal, noodles are used quite a bit. There are several types of noodles used. These noodles fall into two groups, udon and soba.

Below you will find four food guides for Japan. I picked out the cities where I thought travelers would go to the most. The food guides give ideas as to where to eat, and what to have. Give them a read and remember to use them if you ever get a chance to travel to Japan.

Tokyo Food Guide

Osaka Food Guide

Kyoto Food Guide

Hokkaido Food Guide

 

 

 

 

Views of Japan

If you’re like me you want to see Japan in the worst way. If you’re like me, you’re also broke.  So what do those of us do who don’t have the funds to jump on a plane and head for the rising sun? Well for starters you can start saving our money. Do some checking and get a rough estimate of the cost of your trip. Make that your goal. When you have most of it saved up call a travel agent and get the true cost. Next thing you know you will be on your way.

For those of us who know it would take a lifetime to save that money and want to see Japan; I have an alternative you might like. How would you like to see Japan and not have to leave your couch? Japan has web cams up all over the country. With these web cams you can view Japan in all its beauty. Give them a look and let me know in the comments what your thoughts are.

 

 

http://www.taiko-en.com/livecamera/

https://freshlive.tv/tokyotower/18524

https://www.earthcam.com/japan/tokyo/?cam=tokyo1

http://livejapan.org/

https://wwitv.com/tv_channels/b6809-Shibuya-crossing-Tokyo.htm

Samurai

We see them in our anime and read about them in our manga. We know they wield a sword and according to our manga, are very powerful but, what do we really know about Samurai? Who were they? What did they do? Are they still around? The samurai as we know were warriors. They were the aristocrat of the warrior cast. The Samurai first came to power in the 12 century when the first dictatorship took over Japan. This was known as the shogunate.

The Samurai were not only warriors. They introduced customs to Japan that still survive to this very day. The first is the samurai code known as bushido. The bushido code was honor, discipline and morality. Over the decades this code found its way into the everyday lives of all Japan as a code of conduct. In the Muromachi period the samurai developed the Tea ceremony and flower arranging.

In the 19th century things started to change. The influence of the samurai started to fade. Many once proud samurai families were struggling to survive. The younger samurai seen the changing and knew they needed to adapt to it. Many took part in a movement to oust the current regime. This movement was known as the Meiji Restoration of 1868.

While there is no longer samurai since the social class was abolished more than one hundred and fifty years ago; their decedents still get some respect from it. Those who hold a surname from the feudal period have gotten more from the higher ups in Japans social hierarchy. You can find the source for my blog below.

https://www.britannica.com/topic/samurai

http://www.history.com/topics/samurai-and-bushido