To show gratitude to the people of many countries around the world for supporting and helping Japan in the aftermath of the Great Earthquake in Sendai of 2011 March 11, Japan will host a special event in London, England that will be called “Arigato in London“.
This event will feature many aspects of Japanese culture including photos and a movie of the Earthquake affected area that will also include many Japanese children expressing thanks to people around the world, Japanese food, beer and 日本酒 (Japanese sake alcohol), Japanese tradional games and traditional arts and music.
To allow many people from many different countries to attend, this event will be held in London from 2012 July 28 until August 11 to coincide with the Olympics that London will be hosting then.
Click here to visit the “Arigato in London” website.
Last Thursday (November 3rd) was 「文化の日」 (“Culture Day”), a Japanese holiday on which the Japanese Emperor personally presents medals and awards to people who have contributed to Japan culturally in some way.
At this year’s ceremony, the Emperor presented awards to novelists, historians, scientists and actor 大滝秀治 (Hideji Otaki).
Japanese actor Hideji Otaki
Mr. Otaki has acted for over sixty years and has starred in numerous Japanese movies. But, for me, his greatest role will be as the grouchy father in the Kincho bug spray TV commercials a few years ago.
There’s one commercial in particular that I like. In this one, he asks his “son” what’s so special about Kincho bug spray and as his son begins to explain, he yells 「つまらん！お前の話はつまらん！」 (“Boring! What you say is boring!”).
I have always liked that commercial.
Here it is:
(On the subject of Culture Day awards, my wife’s late grandfather received a medal from the Emperor on 「文化の日」 (Culture Day) a number of years ago for his fifty years of service as a volunteer in the Tokyo Fire Department.)
Does your country have any ceremonies similar to Japan’s Culture Day awards that honors citizens’ contributions to the country?
And are there actors in your country like Hideji Otaki?
Have you ever heard of Tokyo’s “Maid Cafes“?
These cafes, mostly located in the Otaku (geek) paradise of the 秋葉原 (Akihabara) section of Tokyo, are staffed by young women dressed in “French maid” outfits who greet the customers by saying 「お帰りなさいませご主人様」 (“Welcome home, master”).
They also draw cute pictures on the food with ketchup and play games with the customers.
Some people say that Japan’s bar-hostesses and cafe maids are both a kind of modern-day geisha.
Maybe it’s an “only-in Japan phenomenon”, but hostesses, cafe maids, and geisha all have in common that their purpose is to entertain customers (usually male) in certain eating and drinking establishments…but, contrary to a popular belief in Western countries, they have nothing to do with prostitution.
Well, the financially struggling Seibu Train Line that connects 埼玉県 (Saitama Prefecture) to 東京都 (Tokyo) has decided to try and take advantage of the popularity of maid cafes to attract more passengers to use their trains.
Beginning 2010 December 11, they will have a limited number of 「メイド・トレイン」 (“Maid Trains“).
These trains will be staffed by “maids” similar to the ones in maid cafes who will serve food and drinks and they will also make all of the train’s announcements.
Passengers will also have a chance to pay to have their photo taken with the maids (the same service is available at maid cafes).
Personally I have never been to a maid cafe. And I have no plans to ride the “maid train” either.
How about you? Have you ever visited one of Japan’s maid cafes? Or would you like to?
Would you ride the maid train?