Tag Archives: geisha

Review & giveaway 8: Geisha prints Origami Sets

11 Oct

Tuttle Publishers has given two more sets of origami papers to review.

(You can read all of the reviews on my blog by going to my ““Reviews & Giveaways” page).

This time it’s two sets of origami papers with Geisha prints.

The publishers have kindly agreed to give (given) a set of each free to two random visitors to my blog (one set each)!

These sets, called “Origami Paper: Geisha Prints“, each have eight beautiful ukiyoe designs of geisha.
One set has origami that are 6¾ inches (square) and the other has 8 ¼ inches paper.

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Both of these sets of origami are perfect for anyone interested in Japanese ukiyoe art or art in general, folding origami, or Japanese culture.

The artwork on each piece is gorgeous!

Both sets come with illustrated step-by-step instructions for folding a variety of origami animals, toys, kimono, etc.

You can buy “Origami Paper: Geisha Prints”(6¾ inches) here and (8 ¼ inches) here.

But, as I said above, Tuttle Publishers is going to give (has given) one free set of each of these origami papers to two random visitors to my blog (one set for each winner)!

***** Updated October 27th, 2014 *****

This special promo ended on 2014 October 25th. The random winners were selected and contacted directly by Tuttle Publishers (via email) with the details about the free origami sets.

Thank you to all who entered, but only the winners were contacted.
*****

 

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Lady Kaga

30 Nov

In 2008, when U.S. president Obama was campaigning for the presidency, a small town in western Japan called 小浜 (Obama) was taking advantage to the similarity in their names in an attempt to draw tourists…they were especially hoping that Barack Obama himself would pay a visit to Obama, Japan (but he still hasn’t).

Well, there is another small town in western Japan that is trying to capitalize on a similarity in the town’s name to that of an American celebrity.
加賀 (Kaga) is a town near 日本海 (the Sea of Japan) that has many 温泉 (hot springs), temples, shrines and traditional Japanese culture.

The name “Kaga” is similar to “Gaga” (as in “Lady Gaga”, the American pop star). When the two names are written in Japanese カタカナ (katakana) characters, they’re even more similar…「カガ」 (“Kaga”) looks quite like 「ガガ」 (“Gaga”).

The town of Kaga gets many tourists from 「関西地方」 (the “Kansai” region) in western Japan, which includes 「大阪」 (Osaka)…but not so many from 「関東地方」 (the “Kanto” region) in eastern Japan, which is where Tokyo is.

So, Kaga has recently begun a new tourist campaign on TV in the Tokyo area in an attempt to attract more tourists from this area.
This new TV ad takes advantage of the similarity in name to “Lady Gaga”, and shows a number of women who work in the tourism industry in Kaga and calls them 「レディー・カガ」 (“Lady Kaga”).

Here’s the ad:

Supposedly, Lady Gaga is scheduled to come to Tokyo sometime next month. Maybe she’ll she the ad on Japanese TV while she’s here…and take a trip to Kaga!

Maid Train

8 Nov

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?

Hollywood inspired by Tokyo

7 Aug

Over the years, Hollywood has remade many Japanese movies and also made original movies that were inspired by Japan.

Here’s a list of some of them that I thought of. Tell me if you can think of others that I may have forgotten.

First, HOLLYWOOD REMAKES OF JAPANESE MOVIES:

  • U.S. remake: “Gatchaman
    Gatchaman (scheduled for release in 2011)

    Gatchaman (scheduled for release in 2011)

    Japanese Translation Of US Title: 「ガッチャマン」 (Gacchaman)

    Original Japanese movie: 「科学忍者隊ガッチャマン」 (Science Ninjas: Gacchaman)

    科学忍者隊ガッチャマン

    科学忍者隊ガッチャマン

    (Click here to see my “Gatchaman” stamps.)

  • U.S. remake: “Astro Boy
    Astro Boy

    Astro Boy

    Japanese Translation Of US Title: 「アトム」 (ATOM)

    Original Japanese movie: 「鉄腕アトム」 (Powerful Atom)

    鉄腕アトム

    鉄腕アトム

  • U.S. remake: “HACHI: A Dog’s Story
    HACHI: A Dog's Story (release date 2009 Aug 8)

    HACHI: A Dog's Story (release date 2009 Aug 8)

    Japanese Translation Of US Title: 「HACHI: 約束の犬」 (Hachi: A Faithful Dog)

    Original Japanese movie: 「ハチ公物語」 (Hachiko’s Story)

    ハチ公物語

    ハチ公物語

    (Click here to read another post I wrote about this movie).

  • U.S. remake: “Shall We Dance?
    Another US remake of a Japanese movie starring Richard Gere.

    Another US remake of a Japanese movie starring Richard Gere.

    Japanese Translation Of US Title: 「Shall We ダンス?」 (Shall We Dance?)

    Original Japanese movie: 「Shall We ダンス?」 (Shall We Dance?)

    shall-we-dance-j

  • U.S. Remake: “The Ringring-usJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「ザ・リング」 (The Ring)
    Original Japanese movie: 「リング」 (Ring)ring-j
  • U.S. remake: “The GrudgegrudgeJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「The Juon」
    Original Japanese movie: 「呪怨」 (Juon (Grudge))

    grudge-j

  • U.S. remake: “Dark Waterdark-waterJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「ダーク・ウォーター」 (Dark Water)
    Original Japanese movie: 「仄暗い水の底から」 (Dark Water From Below)dark-water-j
  • U.S. remake: “Last Man Standinglast-man-standingJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「ラスト・マン・スタンディング」 (Last Man Standing)
    Original Japanese movie: 「用心棒」 (The Bodyguard)youjinbo
  • U.S. remake: “A Fistful Of DollarsfistfulJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「荒野の用心棒」 (The Bodyguard Of The Wilderness)
    Original Japanese movie: 「用心棒」 (The Bodyguard)youjinbo
  • U.S. remake: “The BodyguardbodyguardJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「ボディガード」 (Bodyguard)
    Original Japanese movie: 「用心棒」 (The Bodyguard)youjinbo
  • Eight Beloweight-belowJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「南極物語」 (South Pole Story)
    Original Japanese movie: 「南極物語」 (South Pole Story)

    nankyoku_monogatari

  • Magnificent Sevenmagnificent-sevenJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「荒野の七人」 (Seven Men Of The Wilderness)
    Original Japanese movie: 「七人の侍」 (Seven Samurai)seven-samurai
  • DragonballdragonballJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「ドラゴンボール」 (Dragonball)
    Original Japanese movie: 「ドラゴンボール」 (Dragonball)

    dragonball-j

    (Click here to see an earlier post I wrote about this movie).

  • Speed Racerspeed-racerJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「マッハGOGOGO!」(Mach GoGoGo!)
    Original Japanese movie: 「マッハGOGOGO!」(Mach GoGoGo!)

    speed-racer-j

  • GodzillagodzillaJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「ゴジラ」 (Godzilla)
    Original Japanese movie: 「ゴジラ」 (Godzilla)

    godzilla-j

    (Click here to see an earlier post I wrote about this movie).

—-

And, HOLLYWOOD MOVIES THAT WERE INSPIRED BY JAPAN:

  • Gung-Ho!
  • Gung-Ho!

    Gung-Ho!

  • The Karate Kid
    karate-kid

    「ベスト・キッド」 (The Karate Kid)

    (Click here for my post about this movie).

  • Lost In Translation
    lost-in-trans

    Lost In Translation

  • Ramen Girl
    ramen-girl

    Ramen Girl

    (Click here for my post about this movie).

  • Mr. Baseball

    Mr. Baseball

    Mr. Baseball

  • Toxic Avenger II

    Toxic Avenger Part II

    Toxic Avenger Part II

  • Sgt. Kabukiman, N.Y.P.D.

    Sgt. Kabukiman, N.Y.P.D.

    Sgt. Kabukiman, N.Y.P.D.

  • Star Wars

    Star Wars

    Star Wars

  • Memoirs Of A Geisha

    Memoirs Of A Geisha

    「SAYURI」 (Memoirs Of A Geisha)

  • Last Samurai

    Last Samurai

    Last Samurai

  • Ronin

    Ronin

    Ronin

  • Fast And Furious 3: Tokyo Drift
    「ワイルド・スピード」 (Fast & Furious) 3: Tokyo Drift

    「ワイルド・スピード」 (Fast & Furious) 3: Tokyo Drift

    Also, I just found this “Pixar ‘Cars’ X ‘Tokyo Drift’“:

  • Black Rain

    Black Rain

    Black Rain

  • Blade Runner

    Blade Runner

    Blade Runner

  • Austin Powers: Goldmember

    Austin Powers 3: Goldmember

    Austin Powers 3: Goldmember

  • The Simpsons: 30 Minutes Over Tokyo
    (It’s not a movie…just one episode of a weekly U.S. TV show. But I wanted to include it since the characters go to Japan. And it’s funny.)

    The Simspons "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo"

    The Simspons "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo"

  • American Yakuza

    American Yakuza

    American Yakuza

  • The Hunted

    The Hunted

    The Hunted

  • Rising Sun

    Rising Sun

    Rising Sun

Japanese words in English

2 Aug

Often words or expressions from one language become part of another language. And sometimes the meaning of the word gets changed.

In Japan, alot of words of foreign origin are used in the Japanese language. Many are used quite differently in Japanese than they are in their country of origin.
For example, パン (pan) is Japanese for bread. It came from the Portuguese word “pão“, which means “bread”. And 「カステラ」 (Kasutera) is the Japanese word for a type of cake that was introduced from Portugal called “Castella“.

There are many others. From English, Japan uses words like 「アイスクリーム」 (ice cream) and バスケットボール (basketball)*.
*(Foreign sports usually keep their original name in Japanese. An exception is 「野球」 (“Yakyuu“) for “baseball”. (lit. “field globe (ball)), which isn’t called by it’s English name because it was introduced to Japan during WW2 when America was considered an enemy.)

Some words are shortened. Such as テレビ (Terebi) for “television”. And some words have morphed into something unrecognizable to English-speakers, such as 「スキンシップ」 (skinship) for “bonding”.

But it works the other way too.
America (and other countries as well, I’m sure) have adopted Japanese words into the English language. Some have retained their original meaning. But others are used with totally different meanings than the “real” Japanese meaning.
And many “Japanese words” in English are pronounced so differently that a Japanese person wouldn’t recognize it.
For example,
★ 「アニメ」 (anime: Japanese animation)
★ 「マンガ」 (manga: Japanese comics)
★ 「オタク」 (otaku: is used as “fanatic” overseas, but “a Trekkie” is closer to the Japanese meaning)
★ 「カラオケ」 (karaoke)
★ 「さようなら」 (sayonara: farewell (not used in Japan in cases when you’ll be seeing the person again before long))
★ 「台風」 (taifuu: in English, the pronunciation morphed to “typhoon”)
★ 「きもの」 (kimono)
★ 「寿司」 (sushi: isn’t “raw fish” (that’s sashimi). Sushi is vinegared-rice with a topping (such as sashimi))
★ 「(お)酒」 ((O)-saké)
★ 「すき焼き」 (sukiyaki)
★ 「相撲」 (sumo: Japan’s national sport)
★ 「芸者」 (Geisha: aren’t prostitutes)
★ 「歌舞伎」 (Kabuki)

A promo poster for a Kabuki show

A promo poster for a Kabuki show


★ 「班長」 (hanchou: morphed into the English “(Head) honcho“)
★ 「津波」 (tsunami)
★ 「人力車」 (jin-riki-sha: morphed into the English “Rick-shaw“)

I’m sure there are more. This is all that I could think of off the top of my head.
Do you know some other instances of Japanese words being popularly used in English (or another language)?

文化の日

5 Nov

Last Monday was 文化の日 (Culture Day). (You can read a very short FAQ that I wrote about Culture Day if you click here).

On 文化の日 (Culture Day), the Emperor awards medals to people who have contributed to Japanese society that year. My wife’s grandfather was a volunteer firefighter in Tokyo for over 50 years when he was young. On his 50th year with the Tokyo Volunteer Fire Department, he received a medal from the Emperor on 文化の日 (Cuture Day).

There are also many festivals in Japan on 文化の日 (Culture Day)…東京時代祭 (Tokyo Era Festival), 流鏑馬 (Horseback Archery), etc.

We went to the 東京時代祭 (Tokyo Era Festival). This festival is every year on 文化の日 (Culture Day) at 浅草 (Asakusa, Tokyo).

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This is a fun festival with the main part being a large parade of people in costumes representing different eras in Tokyo’s history.
There’s Samurai, Geisha, traditional Japanese dancers, U.S. Commodore Perry and his crew and many more.

Here are some of the many photos and videos that I took (if you wanna see all of the videos I took, they’re on My YouTube Page. Click here):

This sign says 「東京時代祭」 (Tokyo Era Festival):

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The 天狗 (Tengu):

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歌舞伎 (Kabuki):

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神輿 (Portable Shrine):

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Common people, including children, brought huge stones across the country to 東京 (Tokyo) (called 江戸 (Edo) back then) to build the Edo Castle:

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Japanese firefighters:

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七福神 (Seven gods of fortune):

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芸者 (Geisha):

dscf3781dscf3784

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This group represents Commodore Perry and his crew of the U.S. Navy who, with his fleet of black ships, forced Japan to open up and trade with the West:

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At the end of the parade, they carried this sign to promote Japan’s campaign to host the 2016 Olympics. It said 「日本だから、できる。 あたらしいオリンピック!」 (“We’re Japan, so we can do it. A new Olympics!”):

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News

23 Jun

Today, my oldest daughter leaves with her school class for a field trip to 京都 (Kyoto).

They’ll travel by 新幹線 (Bullet train) and stay in Kyoto for three days.

My daughter’s very excited! But, as for me, I always have mixed feelings whenever my kids go on a field trip…I’m happy that they get to see many great places and experiences—but I can’t relax until they’re back home safe!

Kyoto is gonna be nice for her to see. It was once the capital of Japan and is very traditional. Kyoto still has many 芸者 (Geisha) (or 芸妓 (Geiko) as they’re called on that side of Japan). There are still Geisha in Tokyo, but not as many as in Kyoto.

I can’t wait to see the pictures my daughter takes on her trip!

Next month, my second daughter’s class will take a three-day trip to 新潟 (Niigata).

**********************

Last month, my wife started a small vegetable garden on our porch.

Last week, we ate (strawberries) from her garden and tonight we had a salad with ピーマン (green peppers) and トマト (tomatos) from the garden.

They were delicious!

**********************

It was raining all day yesterday. Probably due to that 台風 (typhoon) that hit the Philippines.

I hope it doesn’t hit Japan! (By the way, did you know that typhoon is from a Japanese word…in Japanese, it’s 台風 (taifuu)).

Anyways, the weather forecast for Tokyo this week:

June 23:

June 24:

June 25:

June 26:

June 27:

June 28:

June 29: