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Review 23: Manabeshima Island Japan

12 Dec

I have received more books from Tuttle Books!
And, as always, they have agreed to give (gave) one free copy of each book to a random visitor to my blog!

The book I’m reviewing today is titled “Manabeshima Island Japan” by Florent Chavouet.

"Manabeshima Island Japan" by Florent Chavouet

“Manabeshima Island Japan” by Florent Chavouet

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

Mr. Chavouet is an excellent artist!
This is the second time he spent time in Japan and chronicled his adventures in a book of his hand-drawn pictures and writing.
The first time, he stayed in Tokyo and documented his stay there in a similar book titled “Tokyo On Foot” (Click here to read my review of that book, and enter for a chance to win a free copy!).

This time, rather than a big city like Tokyo, Mr. Chavouet decided to spend two months on the small, sparsely populated, but beautiful island of Manabeshima.

Whether or not you’ve ever been to the island of Manabeshima, or even to Japan at all, anyone can enjoy this book!
The artwork is amazing and the book carefully and respectfully tells about the things and people Mr. Chavouet saw and interacted with on that island.

On the left shows the island's small unique school, and on the right is Mr. Chavouet's realistic drawing of it.

On the left shows the island’s small unique school, and on the right is Mr. Chavouet’s realistic drawing of it.

I enjoyed this book even though there were a few minor mistakes with the Japanese language in it. But those mistakes are minor and actually add to the appeal of the book because they show that the author isn’t real familiar with Japan and the language, so I could see it through his eyes as a “newcomer”.
On the subject of the Japanese language, though Mr. Chavouet couldn’t read Japanese, he was able to draw everything he saw perfectly…even the writing on signs!

Manabeshima Island Japan” can be purchased through Amazon here.

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

***** Updated January 10th, 2016 *****

This special promo ended on 2016 January 10th. 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.
*****

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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74 Years Ago

7 Dec

Today, 2015 December 7th, is the seventy-fourth anniversary of the WW2 attack on the U.S. Navy base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. (In Japan, because of the time difference, it was December 8th here).

The JapanToday.com website has a nice story about the ceremony in Pearl Harbor today that united former enemies:

Former U.S. airman Jack DeTour, 92, and Japanese fighter pilot Shiro Wakita, 88, sworn enemies during World War Two, together poured whiskey from a battered canteen into Pearl Harbor on Sunday to commemorate the 1941 attack on the U.S. naval base.

As the sun rose over the USS Arizona Memorial, the two former enemy pilots joined the “Blackened Canteen” service on the eve of the 74th anniversary of the Dec 7 attack, which took 2,403 lives and drew the United States into World War Two.

Standing side by side after meeting for the first time ever, retired Air Force Colonel DeTour and former Imperial Japanese Navy Zero Pilot Wakita together gripped the war-torn U.S. military-issue metal canteen and poured whiskey into the watery grave of the U.S. Navy ship sunk by Japanese bombers.

Now a symbol of friendship, the scorched war relic was recovered in 1945 in Shizuoka, after two B-29 U.S. bombers collided overhead. The 23 Americans killed were buried alongside Japanese citizens who died in the bombing raid. Found among the wreckage was the blackened canteen, filled with whiskey, and it was kept in Japan to remember loved ones lost.

Since the 1980s, Japanese residents have regularly brought it to Pearl Harbor for the ceremony aimed at maintaining peace.

“To know we have this friendship is great. It’s fantastic,” said DeTour, who wore a purple flower lei over his dark suit.

DeTour now lives in Honolulu and was a young man from Oregon when he joined the military in 1942.

There were no Pearl Harbor survivors among the World War Two veterans attending this year’s canteen ceremony, said Gary Meyers, spokesman for the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor.

The last surviving officer from the USS Arizona, Joseph Langdell, died on Feb 4 in California at age 100. An internment service for Langdell, who was a 27-year-old ensign sleeping in quarters on shore when the surprise attack was launched, will take place at Pearl Harbor on Monday.

At the canteen ceremony, Dr Hiroya Sugano, director of the Zero Fighter Admirers’ Club, said he keeps the canteen in his possession and carries it to the ceremony each year because it is a powerful symbol.

“The blackened canteen is an inspiration for peace,” said Sugano.

New Yamanote trains

1 Dec

The 山手線 (Yamanote Line) is a train line in Tokyo.
Unlike other some of the other numerous train lines in Tokyo, this one never leaves metropolitan Tokyo. It has some trains going clockwise and some going counter-clockwise in a loop around the major stations in Tokyo. A full loop around every station on the Yamanote Line takes almost exactly one hour…but the longest you’d have to ride it is a half-hour (since it goes in both directions).

The Yamanote Line is easily identifiable because the trains are lime-green in color.

JR (Japan Railways), the company that runs many train lines all around Japan…including the Yamanote Line, began using new, updated trains on the Yamanote Line yesterday.

This is the first time this line has gotten new trains since 2002. I remember when the 2002 trains came out…they seemed so “modern”. But the new 2015 line make those trains look outdated!

The new Yamanote Line train attracted a crowd when it was shown to the public yesterday (photo from TV Asahi)

The new Yamanote Line train attracted a crowd when it was shown to the public yesterday (photo from TV Asahi).

These new trains has considerably less advertised posters on the train walls. Instead, it has many more digital monitors.

As I mentioned above, the Yamanote Line runs in metropolitan Tokyo only…normally!
Yesterday, as it was the first day for these new trains…one Yamanote Line train made a special trip to Kamakura, about an hour south of Tokyo!

Coincidentally, we drove to Kamakura yesterday (Click here to see my photos).

Kamakura at night

1 Dec

Yesterday we drove to 鎌倉 (Kamakura, Japan). We have been there many times but it had been awhile since we went there by car.

I drove there because we wanted to see the autumn illumination (light-up) at the famous, beautiful 長谷寺 (Hase-dera Temple).
At certain times of the year, the temple is lit up and it looks even more spectacular than usual.

During our drive there and back, we could see Tokyo Tower, a beautiful sunset over Tokyo Bay and a clear view of Mt. Fuji.

So many beautiful scenes! Here are some of our photos:

Shigeru Mizuki, R.I.P.

30 Nov

水木しげる (Shigeru Mizuki), the author of “Ge-Ge-Ge-No-Kitaro” (an anime about monsters that I like), has died today.

Shigeru Mizuki (1922 Mar 8 - 2015 Nov 30) with two of his most famous characters.

Shigeru Mizuki (1922 Mar 8 – 2015 Nov 30) with two of his most famous characters.

I wrote a post about his interesting life story on his 88th birthday (Click here to read it).

(The voice actor for the anime of one of Mr. Mizuki’s most famous characters died almost six years ago. (Click here to read a post I wrote about him.)

Universal Childrens Day

20 Nov

There is a Japanese holiday on May 5th called 「こどもの日」 (“Children’s Day”), but today (November 20th) is “Universal Children’s Day“.

Google's logo for "Universal Children's Day"

Google’s logo for “Universal Children’s Day”

The Japanese 「こどもの日」 (“Children’s Day”) holiday is a day for parents and grandparents to celebrate their children and hope for their future health and well-being.
Universal Children’s Day is different. As Wikipedia explains:

“…Universal Children’s Day is not simply a day to celebrate children for who they are, but to bring awareness to children around the globe that have succumbed to violence in forms of abuse, exploitation and discrimination…”

Japan does have an event for children around this time every November. For girls aged three and seven, and for boys aged five, Japanese celebrate 「七五三」 (“Shichi-Go-San”) (Click here to read my short explanation of it.)

Every November, you can see young kids in Japan dressed in kimono for 「七五三」 ("Shichi-Go-San").

Every November, you can see young kids in Japan dressed in kimono for 「七五三」 (“Shichi-Go-San”).

Tokyo supports Paris

15 Nov

The Tokyo Tower (which was modeled after France’s Eiffel Tower) is illuminated the colors of the French flag to show solidarity with France in the aftermath of the tragic terrorist attacks in Paris.

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So is Tokyo Sky Tree:
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And 東京都庁 (Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building):
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(Photos from @naokiss )

Kawagoe Festival

19 Oct

川越 (Kawagoe) is a town in 埼玉県 (Saitama Prefecture) north of Tokyo.

Kawagoe has many old traditional temples, shrines, statues and other structures standing, so it is nicknamed 「小江戸」 (Ko-Edo), whcih means “Little Edo” (Edo was Tokyo’s name centuries ago).

Kawagoe has connections to the first shogun, Ieyasu. When the shogun died, his remains were brought to Nikko for burial. On the way there, a ceremony was held at a temple in Kawagoe.
Ieyasu died 400 years ago…so this year’s annual Kawagoe Festival was special.

The Kawagoe Festival was held yesterday and the day before. We went to it yesterday. (Click here to see this images in a slideshow):

Could you find the proper restroom?

16 Oct

In Japan, nearly every public restroom has a blue picture of a man on the men’s room door and a red picture of a woman on the ladies’ room door.

But that’s not always the case. Sometimes, especially at places that don’t get many foreign customers, the doors with be marked with black kanji symbols for male and female on the respective doors.

Would you be able to find the correct restroom? Take this two-question quiz to see.

For this quiz, this symbol will be “no. 1”.

 

For this quiz, this symbol will be “no. 2”.

How did you do? Did you know the answers, of just guess them? Tell me in the comments section!