Showing posts from November, 2022

Best Matcha Desserts in Kyoto, Japan

Tea popularised by Buddhist monk Eisai that was crushed into powder, brewed in boiling water, and then whisked, has satiated the palates of tea drinkers or caffeine addicts worldwide. This is matcha which has been one of the strongest tourist magnets in Japan, especially in Kyoto due to its birth in Uji. Matcha is often referred to as “Japanese espresso” and is hailed as one of the largest food culture representatives of Japan. With that, here are several shops that serve the best matcha desserts one can find in Kyoto. 1. Tsujirihei Honten in Uji, Kyoto 2. Saryo Tsujiri in Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 3. MACCHA HOUSE MACCHA-KAN in Kiyomizu, Kyoto 4. GOCHIO Cafe in Uji, Kyoto 5. Nana’s Green Tea in Nishikujo Toriiguchicho, Kyoto 1. Tsujirihei Honten in Uji, Kyoto The name Tsujiri is surely all too familiar to most matcha enthusiasts out there with its global outlets as well as regular returns as pop-up stores in selected countries such as Singapore. With over 160 years of history, Tsujirihei

In the Life of A Geisha

The flowers of Japan. Master hostesses. Expert entertainers. It is undeniably a highly prestigious profession, one clouded with much intrigue. Geishas dance, sing, and perform tea ceremonies within expensive traditional restaurants called ‘ryotei’. Make no mistake, these women once sat at the table of serious business negotiations and closed-door political discussions, and are skilled in the art of discourse. Even when tourists visit Kyoto, one of the last strongholds of geisha culture, most stroll the streets keeping their eyes peeled for a once-in-a-lifetime experience: To catch sight of a beautifully painted Geisha. Before we progress further though, just to clear the air – No, they’re not prostitutes. Geishas are deeply respected cultural performers, and masters of their crafts. How Many Geishas Are There Left? While there was no official figure released for the number of Geishas in Japan, it was estimated to be as many as 90,000 of them in the 1920s. By the 1960s, there was

How Much Do Japanese Voice Actors Make?

Also named seiyuu, Japanese voice actors have left a significant mark in the Japanese television (TV) industry, thanks to the multifaceted media it covers. From anime and video games to commercials, and dubbing for non-Japanese shows, the list does not seem to have an end in sight! Due to the surge in demand for seiyuu, some of them have reportedly been enjoying sky-high salaries. We have Megumi Ogata, known as the woman of a thousand voices, who is currently the highest-paid seiyuu in Japan, earning an estimated US $630,000 annually. Credits: Megumi Ogata There is also Masako Nozawa who is one of the top anime and video game voice actors in Japan. At 84 years old, she can bring home an estimated US$ 360,000 per year. Credits: Toei Animation Are such high salaries the norm, though? We attempt to break down the factors governing how high a seiyuu’s pay is, as well as the typicality seen in how much they truly make. Salary determined by a ranking system   Credits: voiceactorn

What Are Japanese Prisons Like?

In Japanese prisons, sentenced inmates reside in community cells, each holding 6 to 12 inmates. The rooms are Japanese-style, with tatami floors and Japanese futons for inmates to rest on. Foreign prisoners are usually kept separate from each other in Western-style prison cells with beds or in Japanese-style solitary cells (which are smaller than Western-style cells). Behind these prison gates lies a gamut of activities and systems that are discussed in greater detail here in terms of the restrictions, food, hygiene, work-life, and education. Japan Prison Restrictions Japanese prison life is known to be exceedingly strict to ensure that inmates never traverse shady paths. According to a recent documentary on Japanese prisons, life there is “regulated precisely to the millimeter”. Being tardy by as little as 1 minute in completing any assigned activity often means disciplinary action. A typical daily schedule of a Japanese prisoner (Credits: English Lawyers Japan) Prison life in

How Often Japanese Eat Sushi

Japanese people seldom eat sushi. In various surveys, you might be stunned to know that less than 10% of Japanese have sushi as a meal or even a snack weekly, compared to the waves of tourists or non-Japanese who eat sushi more often than Japanese who have been labeled as eating sushi almost every day. In a 2019 Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries document , 94% of the population ate out sushi less than twice a month (24% rarely ate out sushi, 32% ate out sushi once every 2-3 months, and 25% ate out sushi monthly, 13% ate out sushi twice a month) An older 2001 questionnaire to 835 Japanese with two-thirds being under 30 also found similar results with only 8.7% eating sushi at least once weekly (6.9% eating weekly, 1.3% eating twice per week, 0.5% eating daily). One of the largest sources of pride and identity for the Japanese is sushi. Currently, it is the most popular prepared food ingredient, based on Tastewise statistics. Despite the international embrace of the

Kamikaze Taxis?

Sports Illustrated, an American sports magazine owned by Authentic Brands Group, called them in their October 19, 1964, issue “those four-wheeled hearses operated by frustrated Kamikaze pilots” and also known today as Kamikaze taxis. It is said that the foreigner called them “Kamikaze taxis.” They did many illegal things including running red lights, overtaking other cars on the roads, disregarding speed limits set by law, and doing whatever was needed to get more customers for the day. It is unknown when the term “Kamikaze taxis” first appeared, but it is reported that the first use of that term was in a Japanese magazine in their March 4th, 1956, issue in which the magazine interviewed a foreigner who was appalled by the speed and recklessness these taxi drivers conduct themselves on the road. The main problem with their dangerous behavior on the road lies with their low base salary. Taxi drivers, as mentioned, are paid based on commissions, and the more customers they get, the

Gifu's Shooting House

This is a story that was spread through the anonymous Japanese message board website 2chan concerning a mysterious, abandoned town in Gifu Prefecture. A young boy loves cycling and so he peddled around the city until he reached the countryside which surrounds him with nothing but nature and the rice fields. Before he knew it a stone block on the edge of the road caught his eye. As he got closer to it, he realized that it was an old, run-down house consumed by nature. He stood with his bike at the main entrance of the structure and found that there was something suspicious about the house. Every time he tried to turn away from that ruin, his eyes caught the curtains moving. It was going to be evening and finding the curtains to be moving, he felt the chills and so he decided to cycle back home. When he got back, he did some research on the old house and found this: A murder case Japan is known for its many abandoned houses. These houses are usually abandoned either due to the owner’s

White Shadow People Commercial

In Japan, one commercial has been seen by many, but there is no recorded existence of this work anywhere. What is the White Shadow People Commercial? Called “Hitogata” in Japanese, this was first mentioned in 2004 on the anonymous Japanese message board website 2chan. Users believe that this piece of media is either a PSA presented in schools or a commercial that aired late at night. Although there are varying accounts of the description of the actual commercial, most of them have similar tropes. As two white, featureless human figures appear on the screen, the sound of railroad crossing signs echoes in the background. As one figure fades out, another appears. The screen displays some text with a narrator saying: Every two seconds, someone on Earth dies This is the original text of the first post back in 2004, translated from Japanese to English. Post #854: Poster: Anonymous: 04/10/06 14:21:45 "There was this scary commercial, and I still have it constantly left in my memory

The disappearance of Toshimichi Suzuki

Toshimichi Suzuki is credited as the official creator of BubbleGum Crisis when working at Artmic. He is also credited for the few spin-off series that spawned after the success of the anime such as AD Police. There is also a hint based on his Twitter posts that his son did not have a good relationship with his father. Hence, he knew little of what happened to Artmic following its dissolution. “It seems that my father spent his last years drawing pictures while living alone. I have been out of touch for about twenty years.” Previously we talked about BubbleGum Crisis and how its success in the late 80s to the early 90s brought both pros and cons for those involved in the production. It was made at the time when Japan’s economic bubble (from 1986 to 1991, estate and stock market prices were inflated) was about to burst and so it faced numerous financial issues concerning its budget and internal strife that saw the companies involved parted ways as well as a legal issue that caused the

Here are tomorrow's victims

Have you ever slept while watching television only to wake up to find static being broadcasted? At least once, we all have experienced that which is relatively common for television programs from the 80s to the late 2000s. This concerns an urban legend experienced by many individuals in Japan, especially in the 1980s. In Japanese urban legend, the NNN Special Broadcast refers to a late-night television program. During a late-night viewing, a man turned on his television and found nothing but static. This is common, especially in Japan where programming on television does on go for twenty-four hours. On the screen, colored bars appeared suddenly. A factory image is then followed by a scrolling list of names. This is accompanied by somber classical music. A few minutes passed before the text ended, saying something like, "This is for the future" or "These are tomorrow's victims." It would abruptly end, and static would resume. The first mention of this broadca

Remember the 1986 Omega Tribe?

 “Reiko... you rock ya body so funky girl…” One of the musical bands in Japan's 1980s music history is Omega Tribe, focusing on soft rock and city pop. It saw a resurgence of popularity, especially with the new and older audience and that led to them making a comeback concert. Led by producer Koichi Fujita, there were five versions of the band going all the way to the 1990s, with the ones led by Kiyotaka Sugiyama and Carlos Toshiki being the more prominent ones with the latter being famous for having American singer, Joey McCoy. During their height, their voices and songs are considered incredibly performed and methodical. Today, they are forgotten with many of the members going their separate ways. The 1986 version of the band especially had many fans filled with fond memories. This came with the impending disbandment of the prior band led by Kiyotaka and so, Fujita was looking for a lead vocalist for members who wanted to stay in the band. Soon, Japanese Brazilian vocalist Ca

What happened to Kinuko Oomori?

Kinuko Oomori was born in 1967 in Aoyama, Tokyo in Japan. According to a Japanese fan site, as of 1998, Kinuko was happily married with a child. Though she rarely spoke about her early life, it is known that her parents divorced when she was a child and that her mother left. She started her music career at an incredibly youthful age around 1979 with the children's idol trio "Milk" with Yoko Oginome and Kazumi Obata. When that group disbanded a year later, she decided to continue her music career as a solo artist with the release of her debut single "Konya wa Hurricane" in 1986, and that became the most recognizable theme for BubbleGum Crisis. Just at the age of nineteen, Oomori was cast in the role of Priss after an audition. In 1988, she signed with CBS Sony Records to release her only album "Sweet Dreams". This decision while pushing her music career forward was detrimental to her role in the BubbleGum crisis anime due to the clash of contracts.

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