Category Archives: Only in Japan

Write about any topic you like…Art, Travel, Manga, Music, Pop Culture, Sports, Traditional Japanese Culture…

Pokemon – The New Movie

The new Pokemon movie is a tale of healing.

One of the main ‘new’ characters who appears in the story, Shina, has the power to enter into the hearts of the Pokemons (Pocket Monsters).

She and Satoshi, Hikari, and Pikachu  go on an adventure back in time.  Together, they find the way to Aruseus–a larger-than-pocket-sized pocket monster (320 kg., 3.2 m.)— a God of the Pokemons.

Through healing his heart, they bring harmony back into the present time.

It’s no surprise that a story that has such wide appeal to children goes deep into the heart of things.

Story by JGY from AIKAWARAZU LIFE IN JAPAN

Ato no Matsuri, Eel Day

I found this fan.

I smiled when I saw it. It was like a pun.

The Japanese writing on the fan, 祭,is the kanji for matsuri, which means festival.

Since now is around the time for many summer festivals, I figured that the fan was probably dropped on the ground after a festival.

I remembered a Japanese expression I learned sometime back,

ato no matsuri, which means ‘after the festival.’

It’s used like the English expression “after the fact”.

To give an example of how this expression can be used, I want to tell you something about Eel Day.

Do you know about this unofficial national holiday? It is on a day in July, once a year, where many people eat eel for extra stamina in the summer. It happened to be this past Sunday, July 19. People wait on lines in some stores to buy eel that is grilled with a sweet soy sauce.

When I spoke to the editors of this site about posting something about this funny holiday, I realized that by the time it got here on the post, it would be too late. I abandoned the idea, for the reason that it would be after the fact.

Since I had just found the fan, it occurred to me that the two could work together. Eel Day, ato no matsuri.

Now that you know about both the expression, and the holiday, please don’t let it slip by for next year.

Happy Belated Eel Day to All!

And, there’s still time to enjoy a summer festival.

Enjoy!

JGY

eel

Story by JGY from AIKAWARAZU LIFE IN JAPAN

Print Club, Anyone?

athe-coffee-postDid you know that in most Japanese cities you can enter a booth that transports you to youth, joy and child-like fun for only 400 yen?  You choose where you want to go—
into a manga, to outer space, or onto a carousel horse that rides through eternity.

Or you might prefer a bike ride in the countryside of your dreams.

If you are the abstract thinker, you could simply place yourself into a pattern of never-ending dots.

This memory is preserved in print. You will have a sheet of colorful stickers to show off your adventures. You can share the memento with a friend that you meet later the same day.  It may even last long enough for your children and your children’s children  to see. But the zen of the experience is in the now.

The name of this magical booth is something you may have heard of —
Print Club.
In Japanese Pu-rin-to Ku-ra-bu.
Pu-ri Ku-ra for short.

These are the photo booths you find in game centers or at train stations.  You insert four 100 yen coins, choose the settings, and pose.  The photo booths have become quite varied over the years.  When they first opened there was only a choice of simple colored backgrounds or basic patterns.  Now you can find booths which contain a tiered stand where you can vary your pose to fit into the scenery you choose.

For example, if you choose a space background, you can lie face down on the bench with your arms out at your side, and a friend can do the same on the higher tier.  Turn your face to the camera lens and smile. In the printed photo you and your friend will appear to be flying through space.  In the same way you can pose on a horse, on a giant chess board, on the cover of a notebook, or in a bento lunch.

The final part of the fun is the graffiti.  You go the graphic station where the images you posed for appear.  Here you use a touch pen to add words, graphic elements, and seasonal messages.

If you have had dreams of sitting on top of an ice cream sundae, or kissing your loved one in a sea of bubbles, I suggest you take your coin purse, join with a friend, and head over to a Print Club near you!

Story by JGY from AIKAWARAZU LIFE IN JAPAN

The graphic station.
the graphic station

pretty-cure-artland

The Nenmatsu Jumbo

Nenmatsu Jumbo Lottery Ticket
Nenmatsu Jumbo Lottery Ticket

The Nenmatsu Jumbo or the end of the year Lottery was held today. It has to be the largest lottery in Japan. The grand prize is ¥200,000,000 ($2 million USD). Good luck to all that entered!

We just thought the tickets were cool and wanted to share. It beats any lottery ticket we’ve seen esthetically.

We did a little better than breaking even this year by getting a lucky $100 ticket ending in 254.

If you won something let us know! Add your winnings and numbers in the comments below.

Happy New Year!