Photo of the Day: Yokasoi Troupe

A picture of a Yokasoi team taken during the 2010 Yokohama Central Town Festival held in Yamashita Park. That’s a big flag …

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Photo of the Day: Yamato Awa Odori

A picture of Awa Odori dancers taken during the Yamato Awa Odori held in Kanagawa in 2009.

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Strawberry KitKat

After all the strange flavored KitKats, Strawberry KitKat seems too boring.

Kitkat Strawberry 01

Not surprisingly, this KitKat is red or pink in color.

Kitkat Strawberry 02

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Japan In The News: Shippo Cat Tail

Last year, a Japanese company called Neurowear unvieled a new device which uses brain waves to control cat ears worn on the head called necomimi. Well, this year, it is a cat tail called “shippo”. Check out the YouTube video, which surprisingly has over 1.4 million views, to see how it works and the special social media features.

Photo of the Day: Akihabara Pedestrian Zone

On January 2011, the Akihabara pedestrian zone, an area of Chuo-dori and the main street of Akiba, was reopened to the public (and closed to traffic) on Sundays after its closing on June 200 when a man killed 7 people using a truck and knife.

Akiba Street

Maiko Haaaan!!!

Maiko Haaaan!!! is a 2007 Japanese comedy directed by Nobuo Mizuta.

Maiko Haaaan

The story is about a regular salaryman named Kimihiko Onizuka (played by Sadao Abe) who is infatuated with maikos (apprentice geisha) and whose greatest goal in life is to play a party game called “yakyuken”.  He gets his chance when he is transferred to his company’s Kyoto branch and finally gets to visit a real geisha house. He gets into a battle with his rival, a professional basestar star name Kiichiro Naito and they try to outdo each other in baseball, K-1, cooking, acting and even politics. A further plot twist is when his former co-worker girlfriend becomes a maiko. Did you get all that?

It is a very funny and entertaining film, which sometimes break out into a musical.

Green Tea KitKat

Green tea or matcha is one of Japan’s favorite and most popular drinks. So it was only natural you would find Green Tea KitKat in Japan.

Kitkat Macha Tea 01

The back side of the box has space to write a message if you want to give it as a gift.

Kitkat Macha Tea 02

As expected, the color is green and it has a strong green tea flavor mixed with chocolate. If you like sweets, this KitKat is for you!

 Kitkat Macha Tea 03

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Photo of the Day: Hotel Tokyu Stay

You can find this hotel near the Tsukiji fish market and appropriately enough, has a large fish (not sure of the kind – tuna?) painted on the side of the building.

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A Wild Sheep Chase

A Wild Sheep Chase is a novel published in 1982 by Japanese author Haruki Murakami (see other books I have read by the same author includes 1Q84, Sputnik Sweetheart, Norwegian Wood, After Dark, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Dance, Dance, Dance). It is third book in Murakami’s “Trilogy of the Rat” (the Rat is one of the main characters in the book).

A Wild Sheep Chase UK

As typical of a Murakami novel, the story is very strange and quirky, but surprisingly interesting. It follows a recently divorced young man in Tokyo who works at a small advertising company and has been ordered by a powerful man in black to find a sheep in Hokkaido with a star on its back who has inhabited his boss’ body. Yup, a strange plot indeed so I won’t even try to explain it more – but actually, wild sheep chase is an appropriate title!

A Wild Sheep Chase USA

The sequel to this book is Dance, Dance, Dance, which is seen at separate from “Trilogy of the Rat.” One of the characters (Sheep Man) and the key location (The Dolphin Hotel) is common in both books.

Kawagoe: The Most Japanese Destination of All

A recent article from CNNgo declared that Kawagoe is the most Japanese destination because it “has preserved an area of streets lined on both sides with buildings that look like they’ve been taken straight from a samurai period drama.”

Kawagoe

If you are interested in Kawagoe, please visit an excellent blog that I follow written by someone who lives in the area called Life in Kawagoe.