Tag Archives: Japanese

Review 24: Tokyo On Foot

20 Dec

Here’s another book I received from Tuttle Books!
And, as always, they have agreed to give (gave) one free copy to a random visitor to my blog!

The book I’m reviewing today is titled “Tokyo On Foot” by Florent Chavouet.

"Tokyo On Foot" by Florent Chavouet

“Tokyo On Foot” by Florent Chavouet

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

This is the first book by Mr. Chavouet in which he chronicled his adventures in Japan with his gorgeous hand-drawn pictures and in writing.
He has another book about his second trip to Japan titled “Manabeshima Island Japan“. (Click here to read my review that book, and enter the drawing for a chance to win a free copy!)

Mr. Chavouet is a French artist who stayed in Tokyo for six months while his girlfriend had an internship at a company here.  During the days, while his girlfriend was at work, Mr. Chavouet bicycled around the city and stopped at random places that he found interesting to sit and carefully draw what he saw.

Everything in Japan was new to him, so it was fun for me to read the book and see the city I live through the eyes of a visitor!

A small 八百屋 (fruit & vegetable shop) in Tokyo, as drawn by Mr. Chavouet.

This book can be enjoyed by anyone who is interested in Japan, especially Tokyo. As well as those who like quality drawings of people in their daily lives.

Tokyo On Foot” 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.
*****

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Star Wars director pays respect to Tokyo

18 Dec

Today is 2015 December 18th…the day that the latest Star Wars movie premieres in Japan.

Poster in a train station in Tokyo advertising the new Star Wars movie.

Poster in a train station in Tokyo advertising the new Star Wars movie.

Star Wars has a lot of inspirations from Japanese movies and Japanese culture.
For instance, click here to see some photos my daughter took of Darth Vader, Stormtroopers and lightsabers done up to more closely resemble the samurai and katana swords that they were modeled after.

Well, members of the cast and crew of the latest Star Wars movie were recently in Tokyo to promote the movie.
Actor John Boyega (who plays the new character “Finn“) expressed how excited he was to visit and shop in Tokyo:

Tweet by actor John Boyega on his last day in Tokyo.

Tweet by actor John Boyega on his last day in Tokyo.

And, it turns out, that there is a planet in the new Star Wars movie named in honor of Tokyo.

Tokyo is director J.J. Abrams “favorite city” and he named a planet in Star WarsTakodana” after the 高田馬場 (Takadanobaba) college-town area of Tokyo.

He was quoted in an interview about it:

“There’s a planet in this movie called Takodana and I named (it) after the first time I came to Tokyo (and) we stayed in a hostel in Takadanobaba. So it was a nod to my favorite city.”

— J.J. Abrams

Near Tokyo's 高田馬場駅 (Takadanobaba train station)

Near Tokyo’s 高田馬場駅 (Takadanobaba train station)

2015 Kanji of the Year

15 Dec

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Today is December 15th, the day that the Kanji of the Year is chosen in Japan.

The JapanToday website wrote:

The kanji character 安 “an,” meaning peace or safety, has been chosen as the character best representing the sentiment and events in Japan in 2015.
The character refers to the controversial security legislation that the government passed in the summer.

The Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation, a Kyoto-based organization that promotes kanji, conducts the survey nationwide every year. The foundation said 129,647 submissions were received this year, with 安 being the most popular, garnering 5,632 votes.

In an event held on Tuesday, Seihan Mori,the head priest at the world-famous Kiyomizu Buddhist temple in Kyoto, drew the character with a large calligraphy brush, whose bristles were the size of a bowling pin, on a huge piece of “washi” (Japanese paper).

The second most popular character was 爆, “baku” (explosion), a reference to “bakugai,” meaning explosive buying (shopping sprees) by Chinese tourists visiting Japan.

The third most popular kanji was 戦, meaning war, referring to the many conflicts going on in the Middle East and the war on terror.

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).