culture

Never-before-seen Miyazaki sketches to go on show at Tokyo exhibition this summer

Illustrations by legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki are among the 130 artworks going on display in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, next month.

The exhibition of background illustrations and character sketches, which have never been on public display before, celebrates the 40th anniversary of Nippon Animation’s World Animation Theatre, the weekly TV anime showcase which Miyazaki and Isao Takahata both worked on before founding Studio Ghibli together in 1985.

Read More

Ebizo Ichikawa XI unmasks the world of kabuki with amazing collection of behind-the-scenes images

Kabuki is well-known around the world as one of Japan’s most distinct forms of traditional theatre. The elaborate costumes, dramatic makeup and stylised poses have been captivating audiences for more than four centuries, yet when it comes to finding out what goes on behind-the-scenes, very few people have been able to step behind the curtain.

Now, one of today’s most popular kabuki stars is keen to change all that by letting the world share his dressing room, follow his daily routine and even peek inside his family home. Come with us as we take a look at some of the fascinating photos from Ebizo Ichikawa XI, one of Japan’s most revered cultural icons.

Read More

Welcome to the world of cats in kimonos

In a country where pets outnumber children, animals in Japan are some of the most spoilt in the world. It’s not uncommon to see owners carrying dogs like babies, pushing them in specially-made prams and taking them on onsen hot spa holidays. The nation even has 11 cat islands where felines roam free and locals lavish them with attention.

So when big events and special holidays roll around, Japan’s furry friends also get dressed up for the occasion. Pet parents know no bounds when it comes to dressing their little ones and what better way to share the joy than with tiny elaborate kimonos? Join us as we take a look at some of Japan’s most stylish kittens below!

Read More

Four areas in which Japan needs to improve if it wants to attract more overseas travelers

Japan’s National Tourist Organization recently released its statistics on the number of overseas travelers who visited in the country in 2014, and we’re proud to say that 13,413,467 of you came to visit (though we’re also a little hurt that so few of you called us up to get ramen while you were here). That number represents almost a 30-percent increase from the number of foreign tourists Japan received in 2013, and a whopping 60-percent jump compared to 2012.

Still, Japan only ranks 27th globally in its ability to draw travelers from abroad, making it eighth in Asia, behind world-number 22 Korea and number four China.

So what’s holding Japan back from becoming an even more popular international travel destination? RocketNews24’s non-Japanese staff put our heads together, and after getting over the initial pain from our foreheads violently colliding, came up with the following list of areas Japan could do better in that foreign travelers would definitely appreciate.

Read More

Comedian suggests using Japanese with American accent to stealthily broach uncomfortable topics

Have you ever run into someone, on the subway, perhaps, or in line at a Starbucks, and noticed they’d forgotten to close up the zipper on their jeans or had their skirt tucked into their underwear? Inner conflict follows as you weigh the pros and cons of telling them about it. On the one hand, that person is almost certainly going to think you’re a jerk for pointing out their social faux pax, but on the other hand, you’d be saving them the untold awkwardness of interacting with everyone all day with their underwear half sticking out of their open fly.

There may be a good middle-ground solution though, according to one Japanese comedian: Just tell them what you want to say with such a thick accent that it sounds like a totally foreign language. Sure, the person on the receiving end will think you’re a huge weirdo, but at least they won’t think you’re an A-hole, and being confronted with a bunch of unintelligable jibber jabber from some random will probably cause the person to take a quick inventory of their surroundings, hopefully prompting them to realize their zipper is down or underwear on display.

Read More

The best way to tie up your kimono? With a cat obi, of course!

Japanese kimono come in countless designs and colours, but it’s often the elegant obi  (sash) that takes centre stage. Whether it’s colourful or subdued, simply tied or intricately folded, the sash is more than just a way to tie the outfit together; it’s the element that lets you show off a bit of your personality in an otherwise restrictive garment.

So what better way for kimono-wearing cat lovers to draw some attention to their wardrobe than with an adorably folded feline? And with such a variety to choose from, there’s bound to be a kitten that’s purr-fect for you!

Read More

Weapons, drugs and racism among 15 things a minor could buy in Showa Japan

History in Japan is divided into the eras over which certain emperors reign. For example, now we are in the 27th year of the Heisei Era under Emperor Akihito. Before 1989, Japan was in the Showa Era, which began in late 1926.

Japan went through a series of major social changes during this period, which runs right through World War II and the saw the growth of the bubble economy. Fans of history are probably familiar with the political and business aspects of these changes, but not as much is seen of daily life in Japan during this tumultuous time.

So, here’s a little look at what things were like back then in a list of 15 things that a child could purchase during the Showa Period. Cue the Breaking Bad steel guitar riff.

Read More

Five more Japanese words we’d love to import into English

Sometimes, the Japanese language is a pain in the butt. Seriously, how is it that in the millennia over which it evolved, no one ever said, “Hey, guys, why don’t we come up separate words for ‘leg’ and ‘foot’?”, which are both ashi in Japanese?

But speaking Japanese isn’t all frustrating head-scratchers. As we’ve talked about before, it also has some handy, expressive terms and phrases that don’t have direct English equivalents. So today we’re dipping back into our Japanese dictionaries for another batch of words we’d love to import into English.

Read More

Make your wedding a day to remember, by cutting the head off a tuna together

For many people, a wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event. For many others it’s a twice or three-time occurrence, but still pretty rare in the grand scheme of things. As such, it’s only natural to want it to be something truly memorable for all in attendance.

And now a new business in Japan’s Wakayama Prefecture has just the thing to do that. For a rather large sum of money, they will come to your reception with a huge freshly caught fish and proceed to cut it apart in front of everyone. Of course this doesn’t happen until the bride and groom get a romantic picture taken making the first slice together with a meter-long blade.

Read More

Bamiyan Buddhas destroyed by Taliban reborn via Chinese couple, projection mapping

The giant stone Buddhas at Bamiyan were the tallest in the world at 55 and 38 meters (180 and 125 feet) in height. From their cliffside alcove, they watched a millennium and a half pass in Afghanistan, resisting the degenerative influence of time and the introduction of Islam, until religious fanaticism in the form of the Taliban and a great deal of explosives finally brought them down.

Their loss was a cultural and artistic tragedy, but this week the Buddhas were reborn through the magic of 3-D projection mapping and the efforts of a civilian Chinese couple.

Read More

If guys don’t pay on dates, should girls still have to look pretty? Japan’s netizens discuss

The issue of who should pay on a date can be a tricky one. Do you split it evenly down the middle? Should the one who initiated the date be the one to pay? Should the guy man always pay, no matter what?

Here’s what Japan’s net users had to say on the matter of splitting – or not splitting – the bill on dates. Hopefully this information will be useful to anyone who’s hoping to find love in Japan!

Read More

Samurai fashion guide – Should you wear your sword blade-up or blade-down?

In any situation, it’s important to dress appropriately. It can be tough to get all the little details just right, though, especially when dealing with articles of clothing you don’t have occasion to use very often. If you’re still a student, for example, you might have trouble tying a nice, crisp knot in your necktie, and even if you’re an adult working in a suit-and-tie business environment, you might not know all the finer points for more formal accessorizing, such as where to position a tie bar or the proper way to fold a pocket square.

Or, if you’re going to meet up with your fellow samurai, should your sword point upwards or downwards?

Read More

Samurai Toothpicks with bite-sized language lessons will help you look and sound like a swordsman

If you watch a lot of samurai movies or TV shows, you might have noticed that a toothpick is about as common a costume accessory as a set of paired swords. The reason isn’t because samurai were particularly fastidious about dental hygiene, though. Many fictional samurai stories re set in the Edo period, when the end of Japan’s centuries of civil war caused the warrior class’ power and prestige to begin slowly but surely eroding.

The samurai were a prideful bunch, though, and were loath to admit the new societal reality that swordsman had suddenly become a far less lucrative profession. So even if they couldn’t afford to regularly fill their stomachs, many would still lodge a toothpick between their teeth to give the impression that they’d just polished off a lavish meal fit for a man of high rank.

Of course, it takes more than just a toothpick to transform yourself into a samurai. You’ll also need to talk the talk, which is why these traditionally made Japanese toothpicks come individually wrapped with period-correct samurai phrases, and even helpful English translations and pronunciation guides.

Read More

Patrick Schwarzenegger comes under fire in Japan after pranking stranger at Kyoto temple

Twenty-one-year-old Patrick Schwarzenegger is currently visiting Japan with his famous mother Maria Shriver, and has so far enjoyed a dip in a traditional hot spring, faced off with a sumo wrestler and eaten enormous amounts of sushi. So far, so fun.

But he’s also come in for some heavy criticism after uploading a video of himself pranking an unsuspecting visitor to a Kyoto temple.

Read More

Confessions of a gaijin: 12 things we do that we’d never admit to Japanese people

In Japan almost everyone hangs out their laundry to dry rather than using costly, energy-guzzling clothes dryers. Foreigners have no problems complying, but one quickly learns that underwear is special–you don’t hang it out with the rest of your clothes where others might see it (or try to see it). The “smallies” are to be hung up inside. When you think about it, it does make sense. But other things are harder for foreigners to get used to and yet others just don’t make sense at all to us so are harder to incorporate into our lifestyles here.

Pooling responses from expats living here in Japan and the RocketNews24 staff, today we’re sharing the most common things that we just can’t quite embrace like the Japanese do, no matter how hard we try. Join us after the jump as we reveal the secret life of gaijin…but shhhh, don’t tell anyone!

Read More

The surprisingly soothing tranquility of Japanese taxi drivers waiting for passengers 【Video】

If you’ve ever toured a factory or seen a video of one operating, you know there’s something entrancingly soothing about seeing sophisticated machinery in action. Taking a human-designed process and repeating it with such unswerving coordination can make it feel as natural and calming as sitting beside a lake while watching the waves lap the same spot on the shore over and over.

But it’s not just machines that can perform a routine with such precision as to impart a sense of reassuring inevitability, as shown by this video of taxi cab line protocol in Japan.

Read More

Japanese netizens approve of Japan Railway’s cool yosakoi dance troupe 【Video】

If you’ve ever visited Japan, surely you’ve ridden on at least one of the many Japan Railway (JR) train lines, where you probably noticed the serious and stoic faces of the company’s conductors and staff. So it might be hard to imagine that JR Kyushu has it’s own very energetic, award-winning yosakoi dance oendan, or cheering squad, that frequently competes in some of the biggest yosakoi traditional dance festivals around the country.

This past weekend the JR Kyushu Oentai performed and won the top prize at the Sapporo YOSAKOI Soran Festival in Hokkaido (Japan’s northern-most island), and as soon as footage and pictures of their performance hit the internet, Japanese netizens were abuzz about just how cool the group looked.

Read More

Japan’s 30 best travel destinations, as chosen by overseas visitors

Just in time for the peak summer travel season, website TripAdvisor has released its annual list of the highest-rated spots in Japan from its foreign users. With 30 amazing locations on the list, you’ll want to start your journey as soon as possible if your goal is to see them all, so let’s dive right in and take a look at this year’s picks.

Read More

We find out if one trending phrase can make people from Osaka flip out

Recently a certain greeting has become popular over Twitter in Japan. According to internet legend these two sentences will cause someone from Osaka to “punch you in the face.”

It sounded like an outrageous claim and yet people seem to be latching onto it. The story goes that by approaching someone from Osaka with “Heee, Kimitte Osaka Hito nanda. Yoroshikudenganamangana” will cause them to lose their minds with rage.

Has this Twitter user stumbled upon an exposed nerve in the fabric of Japanese society, or is this just another drop in the bucket of specious internet claims? We conducted a small experiment to find out.

Read More

10 Japanese quirks we could live without

As much as we at RocketNews24 love living in Japan, and have learned many life lessons here, we can’t deny that there are some things about the country that simply drive us crazy! It turns out some of these points are universally dreaded by foreigners living here–little quirky things that we just can’t really get used to no matter how long we’ve been in the country.

These are not things that are any big deal overall, but if you’re already having a “bad Japan day” where nothing is really going right, or you’re missing your family, food and cat back home, then encountering  just one of these things can be enough to push you over the edge.

After pooling some common quirky Japanese things we “love to hate,” now allow us to get a few of these things off our hairy chests!

Read More

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. ...
  9. 34
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 20,431 other followers