culture

Stunning video of Tokyo shows the charm of how it mixes the traditional with the modern

As if you need more reasons to love Japan, 100 Tokyo, an online “curated cultural guide,” recently supported a beautiful video that highlights the perfect blend of traditional culture and modern technology of Tokyo, which makes it one of the most unique and charming big cities out there.

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Feeling the generational gap recently? The top 20 things that Japanese youth are distanced from

Have you ever felt worlds apart from the generations above you? 

The topic of Japanese youth distancing themselves (purposely or not) from “things of the past” is something that pops up every now and again on Japanese variety shows. Most recently, an online research group also decided to tackle the topic, asking 500 people what they felt like young people are becoming more and more separated from in today’s world.

Today, we present the top 20 replies for “Things that Japanese youth are distanced from.”

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Haruki Murakami answers the question, “What is the meaning of life?”

For the last few months, internationally celebrated writer Haruki Murakami has been fielding questions about, well, just about anything on his personal website. A lot of the inquiries sent his way are, predictably, about the creative writing process, but Murakami has also shown an amicable willingness to chat about such myriad subjects as romance, cats, baseball, and donuts.

From the beginning, though, Murakami said he’d only be keeping the question and answer portion of the site running until the end of March. With the project winding down, one fan decided to write in with a fittingly comprehensive query: What’s the meaning of life?

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Top 10 things Japanese people do that puzzle us (but we still want to hang out together)

“Wow you can use chopsticks?” “Your Japanese is really good!” “Geez, you’ve put on weight recently.” “It’s only 8:00 p.m., why are you going home?

Anyone who’s been to Japan before has probably been bombarded by something similar to the above. Every country is going to have different cultural norms, but we decided to blow cultural sensitivity out of the water and just go ahead and list the top 10 things Japanese people do that puzzle us (but for some reason don’t stop us from thinking they’re still awesome to be around).

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Cup of noodles for vegans! Japanese Zen Buddhist temple starts selling instant soba and udon

Upon coming to Japan, a lot of people are surprised to discover just how difficult finding vegetarian food can be. Many people imagine Japan as a country that eats very little meat, and while that’s definitely true in comparison to North America and western Europe, the flipside is that you’ll find at least a little bit of meat in just about all dishes, including salads and vegetable stews with surprising frequency.

Things get trickier still if you’re trying to stick to a vegan diet. Even something as simple as noodles are generally out, since almost all broths are made with meat or fish stock. But if you’ve got an aversion to meat coupled with a craving for soba or udon, you’re in luck, with two new types of vegan instant noodles produced by a Zen Buddhist temple.

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i-katana? Apple designer collaborates with traditional craftsmen to create Japanese sword set

Marc Newson’s versatile talents have led the industrial designer to work in a number of fields. While he first garnered critical acclaim for longue chairs and other pieces of furniture, the Australian native has also created watches, shoes, and cameras.

Since 2014, Newson has been providing his services to Apple, being involved with the design of the iPhone 6. For his latest project, though, he’s shifting from the cutting edge of consumer electronics to the cutting edge of bladed weaponry, as Newson is part of a collaborative team producing a set of traditional Japanese swords.

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Our Japanese reporter shares three interesting revelations he had after studying Korean

Hello, everyone! I’m a Japanese man who’s been studying Korean for three years now. I’ve been doing a language exchange with a South Korean study abroad student in Tokyo’s Shin-Okubo “Koreatown” district, learning about both the Korean language and culture.

During the past few years, I’ve discovered several points of interest regarding Japan and Korea. Today, I’d like to share with you three things that surprised me as a Japanese person studying Korean.

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Japanese men share the top 10 ways their weekends disappear

Monday: You drag your aching, sluggish body into work and begin the long countdown to the weekend. Tuesday: Is it really only Tuesday? This week is going to take forever. Wednesday: Halfway there! Thursday: Start making plans, we’re close. Friday: It’s finally here! The clock strikes six, and you grab your things and leg it out of there. What will you do first? The possibilities are endless!

Then Saturday rolls around and… suddenly it’s Monday again. Where did the weekend go?

It seems like more than a few adults are wondering the same thing, as revealed in a recent poll which asked 200 Japanese working males in their 20s and 30s the following question: “What are the top 10 things that leave you feeling you’ve wasted your days off?” Number five might just be too perfect for words.

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Facepalm News: Japanese Twittersphere thinks Tokyo Disneyland’s Alice might be a (male) imposter

The Japanese Internet thinks there’s something strange in Wonderland these days, if a handful of photos doing the rounds on Twitter are any indication.

A Disneyland enthusiast – of which there are a great many in Japan – recently uploaded several close-up photos of Alice in Wonderland‘s Alice standing atop a parade float with the open question, “Am I the only one who thinks Alice might be a man?”

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Japanese Netizens (and the rest of the world) confused by America’s imperial measurement system

Last year, one of our Japanese reporters went on an extended visit to the United States. While he had plenty of nice things to say about the country, he also had some complaints, and, as an American myself, I can’t really say that I blame the guy. Having to drive literally everywhere unless you live in one of maybe three specific cities is a major hassle and a huge drain on your budget, certain services seem staffed entirely by people who are barely even aware of your existence or what’s going on more than a few inches on either side of their smartphone, and yes, the police are a little on the brutal side and drunk on their own power a lot of the time no matter how you slice it (annnnnd… now I’m on an NSA watchlist. Hi, guys!).

But, there’s one complaint our reporter had that I just can’t relate to: how crazy America’s systems of measurement are.

I mean, I grew up with feet, inches, pounds and whatnot, so I can’t really speak to our reporter’s profound confusion. Is it really so bad? We had to find out, so we donned our troll-proof vests and dove deep into the smelly, dark recesses of 2chan to see what other Japanese Netizens thought of America’s wacky measurement systems:

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Experience Japanese culture in a new way, inside a glass teahouse at an ancient temple

Imagine yourself nearly floating in the sky, surrounded by green trees and fluffy clouds. Now you sip some green tea and feel completely at peace. Does this sound too good to be true? It isn’t, because now you can actually experience this in Kyoto.

At the Blue Dragon Hall of Shorenin Temple, artist Tokujin Yoshioka has designed a clear glass teahouse sitting amongst the trees of Higashiyama, one of the city’s famous mountains.

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Survey asks Japanese people where they’d most like to “live” after death

Whenever people ask me what I want to happen after I die, I always tell them I want a Super Mario-themed funeral where, at the end of the ceremony, the Mario death music plays and my casket is launched a few feet up in the air, then allowed fall down into the earth. I’ve always thought that would be a pretty cool way for friends and family to send me off, but the actual location of the funeral – or even really what happened to my body afterwards – has never been all that important to me.

Westerners have surprisingly little ritual when it comes to death. There’s usually a wake or a funeral, and then, if you’re lucky, every couple of years Solid Snake comes by to stand in front of your grave, look grim and deliver a two-hour monologue about the horrors of war. The Japanese, on the other hand, make a point to visit and pay respects to the dead every year through somewhat ritualized ohakamairi, so the location of your grave is an important thing to consider.

So important, apparently, that specialty online grave retailer Ohakamagokorokakaku (“ohakamago”) is considering offering a service to move the graves of loved ones, and recently conducted a survey among Japanese people asking: “Where would you most like to ‘live’ after death?”

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Japanese “History Geek Girls” snapping up copies of mega-popular book about Japanese swords

I think we can all agree that it doesn’t take much to convince people that Japanese swords are all-around pretty cool. The sweet, curved blade of the katana just has a natural artistic beauty, plus we hear they’re pretty good at slicing fruit.

But apparently Japanese teen and 20-something boys these days just aren’t that into it. Girls, on the other hand, seem to be driving a renewed interest in the historical weapons, if sales of a new series of books are any indication.

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Seven things we’ve learned from Haruki Murakami’s quirky “ask me anything” project

Back in January, author Haruki Murakami launched his very own agony uncle website, inviting questions from readers on a range of topics from relationship advice to questions about cats to his favourite baseball team, the Yakult Swallows.

In just two weeks, the website Murakami-san no Tokoro (“Mr. Murakami’s Place”) received over 30,000 questions from readers keen to hear the celebrated author’s answers to their burning questions. And since the end of January, Murakami has been diligently answering those questions, sometimes replying to more than 30 queries a day.

As the project draws to a close, we look back on what we’ve learned from Murakami’s musings, from pragmatic advice to a would-be writer to the author’s thoughts on the afterlife, gay marriage, and anthropomorphic fantasies.

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Seven facts about Japanese chopsticks to help you win friends and influence people

We’ve been seeing a lot of articles recently about how to use Japanese chopsticks correctly. For those of us who grew up using forks and knives, it may seem a bit silly to obsess over holding two sticks at the correct angles. If you plan on visiting, living in, or especially working in Japan at some point, though, it may be a good idea to get out a protractor and practice those angles to save yourself a lot of embarrassing moments with friends and coworkers later.

To help you out, we here at RocketNews24 have compiled seven facts about chopsticks to help you along in your quest for perfect Japanese table manners. Even if you’re a seasoned chopstick expert, you may learn a thing or two from our advanced-level tips.

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Skills of the fastest mochi-pounding pros in all of Japan leave us dumbfounded 【Video】

The making of mochi, traditional Japanese rice cakes, is a traditional activity for many Japanese families around the time of the New Year’s holiday. The term for this important ritual in Japanese is mochitsuki (餅つき), which quite simply means “mochi pounding.”

While there are dozens of mochi specialty shops scattered throughout Japan, one particular shop specializing in yomogimochi (mochi mixed with mugwort, giving it a distinctive green color) in Nara Prefecture boasts much more than delicious sweets–its second claim to fame is that it employs the fastest mochitsuki champions in all of the country!

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Twitter users display their unusual, enchanting family chopsticks

Whether it’s a ragged, lovingly stitched kitchen towel inherited from a grandparent, a banged-up knicknack collecting dust on a shelf, or a pair of old baby shoes, the seemingly mundane objects scattered around a house serve as a window into their owners’ hearts and minds. In the case of a family, any given eating utensil might go through the hands of children, siblings, parents, and even guests, collecting a little more history with every pass.

Japanese netizens recently charmed us all with a nostalgic glimpse of their family chopsticks, with designs ranging from Sailor Moon to Star Wars that positively ooze character. We take a look at the highlights below.

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Flyer for May dōjinshi fair brings together beloved childhood anime… Tokyo, here we come!

It’s been a little over three months since the fantastic Comiket 87, which certainly didn’t fail to disappoint with everything from toilet plunger cosplay to the usual slew of dōjinshi. Yet, just as with Christmas, the end of such a big event can leave one feeling empty in the aftermath. “I have to wait until August?” you moan as you count down the months to the next Comiket.

We think the wait just got a little easier, thanks to a recent flyer advertising an upcoming dōjinshi fair. Featuring all our favorite childhood anime, including Yu Yu Hakusho, Soul Hunter, and Rurouni Kenshin, the flyer is sure to set dōjinshi fans scrambling to book tickets to Tokyo in time for the May opening.

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Five things expats wish Japan had, and why it’s sometimes a good thing it doesn’t

For the most part, Japan is a pretty great country to live in. Among a host of other positives, it’s clean and safe, with good infrastructure and reliable transportation.

Still, some people move to Japan and find that even if they like the overall package, it doesn’t quite have all the comforts of home. Today, we’re taking a look at a list compiled by blogger and internationalist Madame Riri of five things expats wish Japan had, plus adding our own explanation of why it’s sometimes a good thing that it doesn’t.

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Suntory encourages responsible drinking with bizarre guide to declining party invitations

There are two types of people that, no matter how much they love the culture, are ultimately going to have a bad time in Japan: Vegetarians, and teetotalers.

Basically every meal in Japan has some type of meat in it, and the more strict you are with your vegetarian/vegen diet, the more difficult it’s going to be to find something to eat. Even supposedly vegetarian options sometimes contain pork or chicken broth or other sneaky animal product additions. And when it comes to those who choose not to drink, or can’t because of medical conditions, it’s almost as hard to get by, if not harder.

Thankfully, Suntory is here to help. Sort of.

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