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Samurai Star Wars

10 Dec

As the new Star Wars will hit theaters soon, advertisements and tie-ins can be seen in many places in Japan now.

But one of daughters saw a unique, “only-in-Japan” tie-in yesterday … Star Wars characters dressed as the samurai that they were likely inspired by in the first place.

My daughter took these photos for me:

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灯篭流し

16 Aug

Yesterday (2015 August 15th) was 終戦記念日 (VJ day) and there were ceremonies for that around Japan.
It was also the day that 灯篭流し (“tourou-nagashi“) is done at the Sumida River in Tokyo.

Tokyo landmarks, Tokyo SkyTree and Asahi Beer HQ are near the Sumida River.

Tokyo landmarks, Tokyo SkyTree and Asahi Beer HQ are near the Sumida River.

灯篭流し (“tourou-nagashi“) is a ceremony that is usually held at the end of O-bon (“O-bon” is mid-August usually (some places have it in July) and is a ceremony tradition to honor relatives and ancestors who’ve passed away.)

灯篭流し (“tourou-nagashi“) means “floating lanterns“. On this ceremony, people can purchase a lantern and write a message to relative(s) who have passed away and then the lanterns are lit and set afloat on the river.

It wasn’t easy to take photos that do it justice, but it looks beautiful.

This is the boat that some of the lanterns were set afloat from

A huge crowd to watch and set lanterns into the river.

The first of lanterns in the river.

Many people wore ゆかた (traditional Japanese summer kimono), such as this girl standing near the river’s edge.

More lanterns passing near the Tokyo Sky Tree.

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Here’s the line of people waiting to set their lanterns into the river.

The first group set their lanterns afloat from the boat, but after that a ramp from the dock was used.

Review & Giveaway 21: Tokyo – Capital of Cool

16 Aug

One more review of a book I’ve received from Tuttle Books!
As always, they have agreed to give (gave) one free copy of this book to a random visitor to my blog!

The book I’m reviewing today is titled “Tokyo: Capital of Cool” by Rob Goss.

Tokyo: Capital of Cool

Tokyo: Capital of Cool

I will put the details of the free drawing for this book at the end of this post.

This is a handcover book full of wonderful, large color photographs of Tokyo’s landscape, architecture, people, festivals, restaurants, and much more!

It includes maps of the areas shown and explains about them in detail.

There is also a chapter about Tokyo’s neighboring areas.

This book is perfect for anyone living in Tokyo, planning a visit, or just interested in Japan in general (and especially Tokyo, in particular)!

Tokyo: Capital of Cool” can be purchased through Amazon here.

But, as I said above, Tuttle Books has agreed to give (gave) one random visitor to my blog a free copy of this book.

***** Updated August 31st, 2015 *****

This special promo ended on 2015 August 31st. One random winner was selected and contacted directly by Tuttle Publishers (via email) with the details about the free book.

Thank you to all who entered, but only the winner was contacted.
*****

Night Zoo

11 Aug

One week in August, Ueno Zoo in Tokyo has a “Night Zoo” event. We went to it yesterday. We’ve been to it before too (click here to see my post about it in 2011).

Before we went to the zoo, we stopped for lunch at 東京駅 (Tokyo Station):

An 「駅弁」 (Train station “bento”) shop. Have you ever had a Japanese “bento”?

You can watch them preparing the bento meals.

The 「銀の鈴」 (“Silver Bell”) in Tokyo Station…a popular meeting spot.

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「チキンラーメン」 (“Chicken Ramen”)

The one on the left says 「有休とります」 (“I’m gonna take a holiday”) to give your boss or co-workers. The other says 「ごめんね」 (“I’m sorry”) to give someone as an apology.

The Ultraman Shop’s “manager”.

The less-photographed entrance of 東京駅 (Tokyo Station).

Break time

The popular Japanese cartoon character “Doraemon” in the small children’s mini-amusement park outside Ueno Zoo.

I have many memories of taking my kids to this 「こども遊園地」 (Kids’ Amusement Park) when they were little.

The entrance to Ueno Zoo in Tokyo. We went to the zoo in the afternoon and stayed until the end of the “Night Zoo” event.

We could see the pandas eating, rather than sleeping – as they usually are.

パンダ (Panda)

シンシン (メス) … (“Shin-Shin” the female panda).

リーリー (オス) …. (“Ri-Ri” the male panda).

The polar bear was a highlight for us because it was feeding time when we happened to go to that exhibit…and also, Ueno Zoo has added a new viewing area where we could watch him swim!

Huge ゾウガメ (Giant Tortoise)

コビトカバ (Pygmy Hippo)

Sleeping seals.

The sun was setting and “Night Zoo” began.

 

Narita

16 Feb

The city of Narita in Chiba Prefecture, Japan is usually associated with the international airport that is there.

People not so familiar with Japan may think that Japan’s “Narita International Airport is in Tokyo…but Narita is a part of Chiba, which is near Tokyo.

(There is an international airport in Tokyo…it’s “Haneda International Airport“.)

The airport isn’t the only reason to go to Narita City though.
成田山新勝寺 (Narita-san-Shinsho-ji) is a beautiful famous temple that has many wonderful festivals and events.
The area near the temple has many traditional Japanese shops and restaurants.

Narita is known for ウナギ (freshwater eel). There are a number of restaurants there that serve it…it’s delicious! If you visit Narita, you should try it!

Anyways, it had been awhile since we’ve visited Narita…so we went there yesterday. Here are some photos I took:

Japanese children’s cartoon character “Baikin-man”.

It says that Narita is “a traditional Japanese hospitality town”.

These are “Daruma”…a traditional Japanese ornament most commonly seen at New Year’s time.

 

A 「たこやき」 (Grilled octopus dumplings) stand.

 

The entrance to 「成田山新勝寺」 (“Narita-san-Shinsho-ji”) temple.

 

A lion guard at the entrance to 「成田山新勝寺」 (“Narita-san-Shinsho-ji”) .

 

A 「招き猫」 (Maneki-Neko lucky cat).

 

The 7-Eleven store there has a brown sign to keep with the style of the area.

KISS Treasure Palace & rock photo exhibit

14 Jan

Last month there was a “KISS 秘宝館” (“KISS Treasure Palace“) temporarily in Osaka, Japan before the upcoming KISS Japan Tour 2015.

I wondered why it was only in Osaka. But my friend told me that it’s scheduled to be in Tokyo too.

The “KISS 秘宝館” (KISS Treasure Palace)

The “KISS 秘宝館” (“KISS Treasure Palace“) will be in Tokyo, Japan from Wednesday, February 4th – Sunday, February 8th; open until 5:30PM each day.

The address is:
有楽町朝日ギャラリー
東京都千代田区有楽町2-5-1 有楽町マリオン11階
(Yurakucho Asahi Gallery
Yurakucho, Tokyo 2-5-1 Yurakucho-Marion 11F
)

Admission is free.

And…

there is also an exhibit of rock photographs  in Tokyo by Koh Hasebe of Japan’s “Music Life rock magazine.

KISS on the cover of Japan’s “Music Life” magazine.

This exhibit is also free.

It’s from now until Wednesday, February 11th (a Japanese holiday).

The location is:
“B-Gallery” on the 6th Floor of the “Beams Store”
3-32-6 Shinjuku, Tokyo

A photo of KISS in Japan taken in the late ’70s by photographer Koh Hasebe .

The photographer, Koh Hasebe (l), and original Music Life Editor-in-Chief Kaoruko Togo.

 

Xmas Sky Tree

24 Dec

It’s クリスマス・イヴ (Xmas Eve) in Japan now.
My wife and I went to the Tokyo Sky Tree, the world’s tallest tower, which was illuminated in green for Xmas.

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メリー・クリスマス (Merry Xmas).