If you’re a regular RocketNews24 reader, then chances are you’re already a fan of Japan and Japanese culture. But ask the average person on the street to tell you what they know about Japan, and most likely all you’ll hear are things like “geisha,” “sumo,” and “anime.”
With that in mind, today we’d like to share with you a selection of videos from our special website, “Another Side of Japan” from NHK World, which feature three of Japan’s little-known wonders and demonstrate the importance of perspective when looking at not just Japan but the world in general. The video tour starts after the jump!
1. The Kingdom of the Bunnies
Yes. Yes, they do.
Imagine an entire island with bunnies as far as the eye can see. Cute, hopping, sleeping, sniffing bunnies with all the time in the world to play and nary a predator for miles around. That place is Okunoshima, a very real island located in the Japan Inland Sea. Once home to a factory that produced poison gas for use in World War II, today Okunoshima produces little more than coos and squeals of delight from the multitude of tourists who come to visit the hundreds of bunnies that now call it home. That’s a pretty good image change if you ask us!
The roughly 700 floppy-eared residents of Okunoshima – or Usagi-jima, meaning “rabbit island,” as it’s more fondly known – are surprisingly tame considering they’ve had the rule of the roost for almost 40 years now, and will even allow us humans to remain on their island for short periods provided we bring treats to share.
Be sure to check the island out if you’re ever in this part of Japan — it’s sure to make you the envy of your friends. Just be sure to bow deeply when you first set foot in the Kingdom of the Bunnies!
2. The Regal Deer of Nara
“A very good day to you, sir!”
Speaking of bowing, have you ever met the adorable deer of the ancient Japanese capital of Nara? Millions of tourists have fun feeding this stunning city’s deer each year, but did you know that they’re much more than just walking snack-disposal units? That’s right! Nara’s deer are also some of the most well-mannered animals in the world!
Come on, how many deer have you seen that wait for the light to turn green before crossing the street – at the right spot, no less – and return humans’ bows in exchange for food?
Remember, kids: Stop, look, listen.
Nara’s deer certainly mind their Ps and Qs and are a must-see for anyone visiting the city, but we wonder how long they’d survive if they ventured west towards neighboring Osaka; a place, the legends say, that is home to a special breed of leopard print hunter…
3. A rare breed: The Osaka Obachan
Tread softly, dear reader, for once the Osaka Obachan catches sight of you, you will never be the same again.
Endemic to the region, Osaka Obachan are everywhere, and a truly fascinating sight:
She has an eye for wild style.
Her roars can be heard for miles around.
Nothing gets by her unnoticed.
Obasan, which literally means “aunt” but refers to middle-aged women, can of course be found all over Japan, but Osaka’s fiery ladies are known throughout the land as a breed all of their own. Despite their somewhat intimidating appearance, however, Osaka Obachan are some of the most charming, warmhearted people you’re ever likely to meet – hence the affectionate suffix “chan” rather than the more formal “san” – and are as much a feature of Japan’s second largest city as deer are of Nara.
Roaming the narrow city streets on her “mamachari” shopping bike, hunting for bargains and winning over shopkeepers with her powerful personality and wide smile to get even a single yen discount, the Osaka Obachan is always on the lookout for a bargain or two. But that’s not to say she’s stingy. On the contrary, the Osaka Obachan is always more than willing to give up her time (not to mention the sweets that she always, always seems to carry in her purse!) for others.
So remember: if you’re visiting Osaka and in need of a helping hand, be sure to seek out your nearest Obachan. Then again, much like a candy-dispensing leopard print superhero, chances are she’ll find you before you even know you’re in trouble!
4. A Little Perspective
Wanna see a magic trick? I promise I don’t have any pencils!
Finally, we’d like to end our short video tour of Japan today with a little magic trick. Supervised by much-loved Japanese magician Junya, this trick is sure to serve as a reminder that Japan, and life in general, isn’t always as it first seems.
Can you guess the secret behind this trick? Stick around after the performance and all will be revealed!
See how changing your perspective can change your world?
Until the next time!