truyen ma co that | truyen nguoi lon | lau xanh | anh khieu dam | truyen co giao thao | doc truyen kiem hiep | tai game | game mobile | tai game iwin | thu dam | sms kute | anh chup len | tai game ionline | tai game danh bai | tai game mien phi

18
Nov

Japanese Food: Episode Six

Whenever you travel, the focus really ought to be the food.

Being an island nation and incorporating stereotypes I already had, the food I ate in Japan was heavy in fish, rice, hot noodle soups and small portions. My favorite meal of the entire trip was a tonkatsu (breaded pork) dish from a tiny spot near Hachik? Square in the Shibuya section of Tokyo, and a few doors down from a pachinko parlor.

I featured an entire episode on FOOD, see it below.

Read the rest of this entry »

17
Nov

The Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama has been on a speaking tour through Japan this past week. He was engaged in Tibetan Buddhist teachings in the west, where he said, “Buddhism is a science of the mind,” and then moved through Hiroshima, where he added his own appeals for nuclear abolition. On Friday, November 10, he was in Tokyo. On that day, somewhere in Shinjuku, just an hour or so by bicycle away from me, was the fourteenth in a successive lineage that is traced back to the 14th century of Buddhism’s highest spiritual leader.

More than 70 years old, the current Dalai Lama, “spiritual teacher,” is Tenzin Gyatso. He is known the world over and in the West, he is always associated with peace, spirituality and tradition. However, that tradition, like so many, has come crashing into the political world.

Read the rest of this entry »

16
Nov

Thanksgiving

t is Thanksgiving in the United States, isn’t it? I suppose that means no one is likely to read this, but I’ll write it anyway. Here in Japan, Thanksgiving is even less recognized than Halloween, which is only seen with some scattered store displays and small celebrations by Westerners here in Tokyo.

Sometime between late September and early November in 1621 the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast which is now known as the first Thanksgiving, though it didn’t become an annual event and wasn’t even called a thanksgiving, which would have been considered a religious, not a celebratory event. It is just that needless information that I have crammed in my mind that should have told me that this time of the year was a foolish one to be away from the country I love.

Read the rest of this entry »

16
Nov

Sempai and Kouhai

Here is another quick Japanese culture lesson for you. If you know someone who grew up in the country, ask his him who his sempai and kouhai are. Almost without question, he will have an answer.

[sem-PIE] and [co-HIGH]

Japan is, people like to say, a country of obedience and community, without the independence of the West. One of the clearest examples of this, and one of best ways this structure is passed on is through this mentor-like system. While it might refer to seniority in a business or some organization, most usually every person grew up under the tutelage of someone just older, his sempai [sem-PIE]. It is the responsibility of the sempai to guide and advise his younger half, his kouhai [co-HIGH], the best he can. In return, it is generally understood that the kouhai must respect and follow his sempai. Just a few days ago I went out to a bar with a group of Japanese college students I had befriended. While, I believe, it more common to find a group of American friends all similarly aged, the sempai/kouhai dynamic changes things.

I was there, drinking Suntory and eating tonkatsu and fried potatoes with the group’s grand sempai, a 33-year-old, whose kouhai was 26-years-old, who was sempai to a 25-year-old, who was sempai to a 23-year-old, who was sempai to a 22-year-old, who was sempai to a 21-year-old, who was sempai to a 15-year-old. If they got into arguments, the sempai would always make the peace, and there was a genuine respect for one’s sempai. Granted, normal social skills skew the presence. The 22-year-old was clearly the most popular, most athletic and most out-going of the group, but he knew his place and didn’t question it. It is this, the sempai and kouhai system that might be one of the clearest ways to describe how much of Japanese society is structured and remains. It is surprisingly refreshing to find such a tradition still so active.

Jaa ne,
Christopher

16
Nov

Street Fair

Sometimes you stumble upon some of your finest moments abroad. I was sweeping down Meguro Dori, pumping my legs and keeping a song at my lips, as passed what appeared to be a small sidewalk festival, with forty or fifty stalls with foods and small games. Without hesitation, I parked my bicycle and split the crowds, eyeing the takoyaki, soba, rice dishes, chocolate-covered bananas, fish, pork on a stick and plenty more. After circling around and around, I thought about monjo, but finally settled on its more solid cousin, okonomiyaki, a fatty Japanese dish often reserved for carnivals, which features a pancake base covered with lettuce, fish, crab and other seafood, vegetables, often pickled, and topped with spices, mayonnaise and sour-ish soy sauce, for 500 yen ($4.25 USD). I poured into it, and, nearly finished, I realized I had the linguistic ability to tell the chef that his wares were “delicious.” Feeling the need to assure myself that I could be understood, I bought a small dessert cake, which tasted like a waffle surrounding a creamy melted cheese, and, after grabbing a quick bite, I turned to the woman who took my 100 yen and exclaimed, “Oishii!” She smiled and replied with “dozo,” another Japanese conversation, small as it was, completed. I finished my foods and climbed back on my bicycle, satisfied with another few hard-to-forget memories.

Jaa ne,
Christopher

15
Nov

Know Your Enemy

The usual lecture of my thrice-weekly Modern Japanese History class was interrupted the other day. My professor decided he would share with us a slice of the World War II era American perceptions of Japanese society.

Enmeshed in brutal and racially-infused Pacific-based war with the Japanese, the American government took to one of the great political tools, one that hit its most flagrant peak in the twentieth century: propaganda.

Towards the end of 1944, the U.S. government contracted famed director Frank Capra to put together a film that could introduce the American people to the Japanese, who, at the time, were even less known and understood to most Americans than they are now.

The result was “Know Your Enemy,” a 63 minute collection of Japanese newsreels and U.S. military films narrated by American actor John Huston, leaving the audience with nuanced half-truths, implicating assumptions and poorly researched declarations leading my Japanese classmates to wild laughter. The Japanese were involved in similarly heinous anti-American, self-aggrandizing racial superiority, but it always stings a bit to see the foolishness of U.S. mistakes of the past.

Watching the film made by Capra, yes, the Frank Capra that directed It’s a Wonderful Life and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington was fairly troubling. Probably for the best, in the end, the film was not released in American movie theaters, as, upon completion, the war was in its final stages and Capra’s negative portrayal of the Japanese Emperor Hirohito did not fit the U.S. military’s decision to offer Hirohito clemency from war crimes.

It was, in the end, released as an academic tool and acknowledgement of past foolishness, excused by wartime, but it certainly made me, as so much can, think about the Truth, yes, Truth, in the information I find and news I absorb. For anyone who has followed my writing, you know that is often impenetrable, stuffed with facts and figures, historical data and future projections. I try to imagine being an American moviegoer in the 1940s and deciding to see Capra’s “Know Your Enemy.” In the end I would watch an hour of innocuous video, altered by the constant narration labeling the Japanese people as “sinister” and hopeless in their “obedience for their emperor’s command.”

Read the rest of this entry »

15
Nov

The Bento

I was left trying to make a comparison yesterday. It is moments like that, when I feel more versed in something Japanese than its American counterpart, that I feel I have been in Japan for too long.

The Bento. It might be best translated as a ‘boxed lunch,’ but boxed lunches in the United States died generations ago. They are so common that I have become so familiar with their name and their use, that I have neglected to ever mention them.

Read the rest of this entry »

15
Nov

The Forgotten Japanese

Japan is for the Japanese, no?

When I interviewed Donald Richie for my fourth episode, he described Tokyo as being one of the world’s most diverse cities. Clearly, the capital of Japan is one of the world’s largest, bringing business, political, entertainment and social group members together from around the world. But, what about the country as a whole?

According to CIA statistics, Japanese territory is peopled by a population of 127 million, 99 percent of whom are ethnically Japanese. Is there diversity in that?

Well, there are certainly subsets of that group with personal distinctions.

Read the rest of this entry »

14
Nov

A Clear Night

Tonight is one of the clearest nights I have ever found while in Japan. From my balcony, overlooking a well-kept garden, I can see twenty or more stars and a brilliant full moon, brightly lit and open to intruding glares.

It is November in temperate Tokyo and the nightly temperatures are falling. I stood on that balcony and took in one of the great smells of this world, the smell of a chilly autumn night. The smell of the cold. A smell crisp enough to burn my nostrils upon entry, but too appealing to keep me from breathing deeper again. It is simple and clean. The air is clear enough tonight to make me forget I am in smoggy Tokyo, if only for a moment. The sky has chosen purple for its color tonight, though it is deep enough for the casual observer to miss that. I didn’t miss it. I stood outside long enough to see it was not blue or black or gray, no, the cold November night was as purple as it was clear.

Still, there is nothing particularly Japanese about this clear night, but it feels different. Despite the goose bumps on my arms, I am warmed by the cold air in my lungs and the clear sky in my eyes. I am warmed just as I am when Nat King Cole’s crackling version of ‘The Christmas Song’ begins to play from my computer. There is only one place in the world I am meant to be at this moment, where cold November nights and clear skies are common place and I can play all the holiday music a month before December I want without being labeled just an American.

Jaa ne,
Christopher

10
Nov

Tsukiji

(SEE MY EPISODE SIX)

Sushi and sumo: that’s what Tokyo does. I’ve said this before and it is as inaccurate now as it was then, but when you travel to far off lands, it is as important to search for true meanings of your destination as it is to see how you previously perceived that destination.

I have been to sumo, I have eaten sushi, but until yesterday morning, I had never been to Tsukiji.

Let me make a more formal introduction. America, this is the Tsukiji Fish Market, Tsukiji Fish Market, this is America. Many know you, but too few know you, Tsukiji.

Read the rest of this entry »