Tag Archives: 川崎


5 Apr

Do you know 「ドラえもん」 (“Doraemon“)?

He’s the namesake of a great long-running Japanese anime / manga created by the late artist Fujiko F. Fujio.

In this story, an elementary school age boy named Nobi Nobita is lazy and always tries to get out of work and study.
One day, a blue robot cat with no ears appears in his room (through his dresser drawer) and tells Nobita that he’s there to help him not ruin his future.

The robot cat’s name is Doraemon. He got his name because of his love for the Japanese bean-filled snack どら焼き (“dorayaki“).

Doraemon enjoying dorayaki

Doraemon tells Nobita that he was sent from 22nd century by Nobita’s great-great-great grandson because the family is struggling with many financial hardships that are all due to Nobita’s laziness.

Nobita asks who his future wife will be, expecting the answer to be his cute neighbor Shizuka whom he has a crush on…but is shocked when Doraemon tells him he will marry the neighbor bully’s chubby younger sister Jaiko.

Doraemon also explains that he used to be a yellow robot cat with ears (just like his sister Dorami)…but a rat chewed his ears off and Doraemon cried about it.
His tears washed his yellow paint off.
That’s why he’s blue and has no ears…and it’s also why he has a paralyzing fear of rats.

Doraemon was yellow and had ears...until a mouse bit them off.

In the story’s adventures, Nobita always has a problem which is often the result of his laziness, such as an upcoming exam at school that he didn’t study for, or the local bully Gian and his rich, spoiled sidekick Suneo beating him up.

After which, Doraemon always gives Nobita some sound advice that would help him…but Nobita always wants a quick, easy solution to his dilemma.
So Doraemon will reluctantly lend Nobita one of the countless gadgets from the future that he carries in the pouch on his stomach.

Doraemon’s most famous gadgets include the 「どこでもドア」 (“Go Anywhere Door”) which can magically transport the user to any chosen location, 「タケコプター」 (“Bamboo Helicopter”) which lets the wearer fly, and the “Small Light” that shrinks whatever the light shines on.

There’s always a moral to the story when Nobita learns that laziness and lying don’t pay.

Doraemon and friends (Gian, Shizuka, Nobita and Suneo)

In Japan, you can find Doraemon‘s likeness on all kinds of things such as toys, neckties, blankets, lunchboxes, dorayaki snacks, etc.

Even the guitar company ESP has a “Doraemon guitar” and “Doraemon guitar picks”.

ESP "Doraemon" guitar

ESP "Doraemon" guitar picks

In 2008, Doraemon was made the “Japanese Cartoon Ambassador” to promote Japanese anime and manga around the world.

Doraemon (with Nobi Nobita) becoming Japan's Cartoon Ambassador in a ceremony with Japan's Foreign Minister in 2008.

Anyways, on 2011 September 3 the “Fujiko F. Fujio Museum” will open in 川崎 (Kawasaki, Japan) south of Tokyo.

This museum will feature the artwork by this artist who created  “Doraemon” and another staple of Japanese pop-culture: 「オバケのQ太郎」 (“Q-Taro the Ghost“).

「オバケのQ太郎」 ("Q-Taro the Ghost")

Have you ever watched a “Doraemon” anime or read the manga? How about 「オバケのQ太郎」 (“Q-Taro the Ghost“)?


4 Oct

It’s now 十月 (October), and ハロウィーン (Halloween) is at the end of this month.

Do you celebrate ハロウィーン (Halloween)? What do you do?

When I was a kid in America, I used to enjoy doing what most American kids do at ハロウィーン (Halloween)…dressing up in a costume and walking around the neighborhood knocking on people’s doors to get candy.

Of course I’ve long outgrown any interest in ハロウィーン (Halloween) for myself…but I have three kids and once they were old enough, I wanted to take them Trick ‘R Treating. But knocking on your neighbors’ doors and asking to be given candy (or anything else, for that matter) is not something people in Japan would feel comfortable doing.

In fact, when my kids were little there was no ハロウィーン (Halloween) in Japan at all to speak of. So, a couple times, my wife made ハロウィーン (Halloween) costumes for our kids by hand and we invited some of their friends over for a “Halloween Party” at our house. We painted rabbit or mouse faces on the kids and gave them candy and played some games with them.

That was back when they were in 保育園 (Nursery School). But we still buy some candy and small bags now and let our kids give some ハロウィーン (Halloween) presents to their friends.
The only difference now is that many stores in Japan sells ハロウィーン (Halloween) merchandise and candy and costumes! So we can buy ハロウィーン (Halloween) candy and ハロウィーン (Halloween) bags with pictures of “Jack ‘O Lanterns” and black cats.

ハロウィーン (Halloween) is still pretty new to Japan though, so many people see the ハロウィーン (Halloween) stuff being sold in the stores and think it looks fun and interesting…but relatively few people actually purchase any of it because they wouldn’t have any use for a ハロウィーン (Halloween) costume (even if they have kids) or imported American candy (which is usually too sweet for Japanese tastes).

But some people do buy the ハロウィーン (Halloween) decorations and ハロウィーン (Halloween) costumes because there’s beginning to be more and more to do to celebrate ハロウィーン (Halloween) in Japan (even if the average Japanese person isn’t 100% sure exactly what date in October the holiday falls on…or how the holiday is celebrated in other countries).

Here are a couple pictures of ハロウィーン (Halloween) pumpkins, candy, and other goods that a store was recently selling. I didn’t have my camera with me…so I took these two photos with the camera on my 携帯電話 (cell-phone):

So, if you’re in the Tokyo area at ハロウィーン (Halloween) time and you want to celebrate it “Japanese style, here are some of the places you can go:

  • Tokyo Disneyland…from mid-September until October 31, Disneyland has special ハロウィーン (Halloween) decorations and events (for example, if kids see any staff dressed as a witch, then can say “Trick ‘R Treat” and get a treat. There’s also face painting available).You can enter the park during ハロウィーン (Halloween) time wearing a costume…provided that it’s a Disney themed costume.

    The Tokyo Disneyland Halloween 2008 website page is here.

  • ハローハロイィーンパンプキンパレード (Hello Halloween Pumpkin Parade) in 表参道 (Omotesandou, Tokyo)…on the last Sunday of October at 11:00AM-6:00PM.Their website is here (日本語 (Japanese only)).
  • ハロウィーン in 多摩センター (Halloween In Tama Center) in Western Tokyo on the last weekend in October.Events include Trick ‘R Treating, Jack ‘O Lanterns, etc.

    Their website’s in 日本語 (Japanese only) here.

  • Roppongi Hills Happy Halloween Parade
  • …on the last Saturday in October.

    Their website is here.

  • Kawasaki Halloween…on the last weekend in October in 川崎 (Kawasaki (south of Tokyo)).They have a Halloween parade and kids 12 and under can go to stores in the shopping center that have the Halloween poster in their window and say “Trick ‘R Treat” to get candy. The kids don’t necessarily need to be in costume.

    When my daughters were under 12, we went to this event. A couple pictures that I took of people in the Halloween parade can be seen on this post.

    The Kawasaki Halloween 2008 website (in 日本語 (Japanese only)) is here.

  • 元町ハロウィーン (Motomachi Halloween)…in 横浜 (Yokohama) on October 31.Their website (in 日本語 (Japanese only)) is here.
  • Tokyo American Club Halloween Monster Mash…on the last Saturday in October.The Tokyo American Club is a very exclusive club with membership by invitation only (plus their membership fees are extremely steep). But if you’re a member, they have a Halloween event (but you’d probably already know about it). I don’t have a membership…so I’ve never been.

    Their website is here.

  • 山手線ハロウィーン・トレイン (Yamanote Line Halloween Train)…late October on the Yamanote Train Line in Tokyo.This is an unauthorized (and unapproved) event started by foreigners in Tokyo. Every year, some (adult) foreigners meet at a designated time and train station wearing Halloween costumes. I haven’t ever participated in this (I haven’t worn a Halloween costume since I was a child)…but I’ve heard that the police and train attendants try to stop it every year because the participants usually drink alcohol and act rowdy on the normally quiet Tokyo trains.