聖地的巡禮

On May 16, 2017, in 繁體中文, Travel, by 04. Chris
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最近趁著課後的閒暇時間去了一些特殊觀光景點,像是 吉祥寺的井の頭公園、四ツ谷的須賀神社 還有 鎌倉的 鎌倉高校。其實這些景點都是知名的漫畫(動畫)實際場景。

吉祥寺 井の頭公園

GTO 第一集 鬼塚 救助學生

鎌倉 江ノ電 鎌倉高校前駅

灌籃高手開場

四ツ谷 須賀神社

你的名字 再會地點

 

 

花火

On April 28, 2017, in Uncategorized, English, Life in Japan, Travel, by 02. Ruben
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With Summer around the corner I feel it is time to go one of the most exciting events in Japan, 花火(hanabi, firework) season. During summer in Japan there are many firework displays all over Japan and they are both beautiful and entertaining no matter where you see them. The one that has come to my mind today happens to be the Sumida festival. This festival is one of the biggest in Tokyo with around 20,000 displays sent to the sky on one gorgeous summer night. Located next to the Sumida river in Asakusa this event is said to be the second biggest display in Tokyo with over 2million in attendance year after year.

I was lucky enough to be invited to the Sumida festival last year by a friend and to this day that night is engraved into my memory. We arrived in Asakusa station that day at around three pm and I will warn you is a little late. Even though the fireworks do not start until 7pm for many in Japan hanabi is treated like Hanami (flower viewing) in which people arrive early in the morning to pick a place to sit. For many the idea behind enjoying the festival is to grab a good spot early and then spend the day eating, drinking, and just having fun with friends and family before the actual displays begin. Due to this slightly overlooked fact and the alleged 2million people in attendance for the festival we consider ourselves lucky to have found a spot in with we were able to see most of the fireworks once they began.although I will not be going into explaining the actual fireworks (due my lack of worthy words to do them justice), I will say that the crowds and noise are well worth dealing with for this experience. After the fireworks have ended though is when the real fun can begin.

As mentioned over 2million people are said to have been in attendance, which becomes apparent once the festivities have ended. The only thing that must be said about the ending of festivities is that returning to the train stations can and will be a real pain. The group that I was with that day waited out some of the crowd before moving from our spot. However after about 30mins we realized that the crowd would not be thinning out for a while so we packed up and attempted to leave. The problem we ran into was that once we were captured by the crowd of people we had no choice but to go with the flow of traffic and as a result ended up lost. Due to this and the pile of people waiting for trains that overflowed the stations we decided to get late dinner at coco’s curry before eventually waiting out a train and heading home.

The Sumida festival takes place in late July or early August and is definitely one of the many must sees in Tokyo. I hope this quick outline of the Sumida festival has at least scratched an interest and made you think about attending. Sadly I can not put into words just how amazing this festival is for I feel it is something that must be experienced in person. So if you do go this year I will hopefully see you there, for I plan to enjoy this event once more while I have the chance.

 

My Daily Life as a Student in Japan

On April 27, 2017, in English, Life in Japan, School Life, by 01. Hannah
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I have a friend back home, and whenever she calls me there’s excitement in her voice to hear how my life out here is. I always tell her that I’m living here, I’m not on holiday and that I live a fairly normal, mundane life, and every time she reminds me that it’s ‘normal, mundane life in Japan.’ And in a way she’s right, I really do love my life out here. Moving to Tokyo provided me with excitement that I never found back home. But at the same time I do live a fairly normal life, it’s just different to back in Australia. I get a lot of questions from the people back home as to what I’m actually doing, so I thought I would provide some insight into what my everyday life looks like.

My weekdays are very much unchanging, I get up at around 9:00 and get ready in the morning. I usually leave the house between 11:00 and 12:00 and walk to the station where I take the train for Shinjuku before transferring for Shin-Okubo. From Shin-Okubo I walk to school, buying lunch from the convenience store or bento (boxed lunch) store on the way if I don’t have leftovers from the night before. I’ll get to school with an hour or so to spare and eat lunch with friends. Then, we’ll sit and chat or do homework together until class starts at 13:40. (Having afternoon classes is one of my favourite things about my life right now).

During class we will study whatever is scheduled for that set day. Throughout the week we study a combination of kanji, grammar, reading, writing and listening exercises. School runs with regular short breaks until 17:30 when I will usually, unless exceptionally free and/or bored, head straight home.

When I get home I make and eat dinner (unless I’m too lazy or don’t have enough time, in which case I buy dinner). When I lived with a host family I would sit in the living room and study or play with the girls until they went to bed before retreating to my room. Now that I live in a share-house I sit in the shared space with my housemates for a while until I go to my room. From here I do any combination of homework/study, procrastination and spending way too much time on Netflix, YouTube and social media. Essentially, I’m your typical student. I also occasionally do chores when I realise my room looks like a bomb site, that I have no edible food, or clean clothes to wear.

On Fridays after school I usually hang out with friends for dinner or karaoke which is usually one of my favourite times of the week. Such activities can range anywhere from a couple of hours to all night. My best decisions regarding sleep and study schedule do not happen on Fridays but as far as I’m concerned it’s the start of the weekend and I’m allowed to be a little less strict about such things. Being able to do karaoke with friends is certainly one of the things I love most about life in Japan, as silly as that may sound.

Most Saturdays I go to dance lessons for a couple of hours. I often eat lunch out and then go shopping or hang out with friends. Sundays are usually the only day of the week I don’t have set plans. If there’s an event on I may go to that, otherwise I usually just relax with friends. Before I would often spend time with my host family on Sundays and now I do the same with my house-mates when they’re free. Unless I have a lot of study to do, such as before exams, Sunday is usually my no pressure day and I like to keep it that way.

From Monday I start the cycle all over again. This is a brief look into my life as a foreign exchange student in Japan. I really do enjoy my everyday life here, as mundane as it may be. I hope this provided some insight/enjoyment to those of you reading this.

 

Hatsune Miku concert

On April 27, 2017, in Uncategorized, English, Life in Japan, Travel, by 02. Ruben
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Hatsune Miku, You see her all over Tokyo, hear her many places that you go, she stars in commercials and billboards. She is one of the biggest idols and the biggest humanoid in Japan and to some effect has become famous the world over. She has concerts that seem to sell out every time along side her merchandise they offer at said concerts. Fortunately this past month me and my friend were able to obtain tickets to a concert that featured both Hatsune Miku and Kodō, a famous taiko drum band. The concert was at the NHK hall in Shibuya and was my first vocaloid concert.

As we arrived at the hall we noticed the people flooding in, many of whom had plush figures or other merchandise supporting their favourite vocaloids. We immediately tried in vain to purchase merchandise of our own at the stalls outside of the venue unfortunately they were sold out. We then walked in to the arena where they had posters and billboards set up for those who wanted to take pictures. However due to the long Line of people waiting we decided to just find our seats and take pictures later. As we walked towards the seating area we stopped at a table where we would receive a light up wand for the concert that was included with the price of admission. When we found our seats we began to test out our new Wands switching between the three colors while we waited for the concert to start.

When the concert started I was amazed be how most of the crowd was moving in unison as they waved their wands to the beat of the songs. Then the first images of Hatsune Miku came on stage the place erupted with excitement. The atmosphere that her presence created was very surprising and overwhelming at the same time. The part that completely blew me away though was when the taiko drums would begin to play the rhythm for the songs while Miku sang. This combination of traditional Japanese instruments and the modern voice and style of vocaloid was simply incredible. Unfortunately at time you did get the feeling that the drums over powered the rest of the instruments. however all thoughts of this went away as soon as the vocals would begin, for once you heard the combination of the two, you couldn’t help but to be taken away by the sound. The concert lasted a few hours and included not only Hatsune Miku but also other vocaloids. After the concert my friend and I went and she got pictures with the previously mentioned posters and billboards before we were ushered out of the building as it closed.

Over all my experience at the concert was better then I had imagined. Many may say that it was not a concert because a vocaloid/humanoid is not much more then a projection on a screen, I don’t agree. I believe a concert is more about the atmosphere and excitement that the artist brings to the arena as they perform, and by that standard this concert was great in my opinion. If anyone still believes going to see a vocaloid concert is not worth it let us not forget that this event also had a taiko drum group which in all honesty was worth the price of admission all on their own. For anyone that has been debating about weather or not to attend a Hatsune Miku concert, I could not stress enough that it is definitely worth going as I will definitely go again once the opportunity comes around.

 

41st Grand Sumo Tournament

On April 26, 2017, in Uncategorized, English, Life in Japan, Travel, by 02. Ruben
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Sumo is possibly one of the most identifiable things when it comes to Japanese traditions. But what is a tournament really like? How long are they, is it violent, is it expensive earlier this year I went and found out here is a small idea of what it is like.

This past February I went to a sumo tournament for the first time and was blown away. The tournament was held in The Ryōgoku Kokugikan, in Sumida Tokyo. The arena was opened in 1985 and is next to the Edo museum in Ryogoku. This area was beautiful on the inside ad s well organized even with the massive crowd on hand for the tournament. The arena lay out is simple and has maps posted by most of the doors that lead to the seating areas. This simple lay out and maps make for easy navigation around the arena even when it is at it’s 13000 person max capacity. The venue also had plenty of food stalls that offer bentos, regular and sumo themed snacks, and drinks. It is important to note that they do sell out quick though. The stalls are important because once you have passed through the main gates you are not allowed to leave if you do then you will not be allowed re entry. As for the actual event, it started at noon and went on until around 5:30pm and consisted of two separate tournaments. The first tournament was for lower division, nicknamed Juryo, and up and coming sumo wrestlers while the second main tournament was for the top sumo stars in the world.

The first tournament lasted around 2 hours and was interesting with a few hard hitting matches and some matches that only lasted a few seconds. This tournament with me mainly for Juryo and the up-and-coming stars of sumo. However this tournament still provided a lot of entertainment, as well as a look into the fundamentals of sumo. The tournament was set up in a single elimination styleThe events following the Juryo tournament included a match featuring two former champions and a comedy skit on the don’t of sumo. After the side events and a 15 minute break it was time for the main event.

The main event on this day was the 41st annual Grand Sumo tournament. This was a one day single elimination tournament in which the last sumo standing would win. The festivities started with a traditional ceremony which was preformed by a Yokozuna. When the ceremony finished the tournament started and it was time for more sumo greatness. In total 38 sumo wrestlers took part in this tournament that lasted around 3 hours. This rightly made this tournament bigger then the juryo tournament that had 27 participants. In the end of the day Kisenosato, a Yokozuna and very popular figure, won the tournament much to the enjoyment of many. As the trophy was handed over, along with some interesting prizes, I took time to reflect on what was an interesting and exciting experience for me.

Sumo wrestlers as mentioned earlier is a very popular cultural aspect of Japan making this an important event for me to attend. The venue is very easy to get to being just a few minutes away from the Ryogoku station off of the Chuo Sobu line. I was surprised to find out that you are allowed to bring your own snacks and food to the venue as this is almost unheard of where I am from. As for the actual event it was very interesting and exciting. I will admit that at times it does get a little stale with some matches ending in very anticlimactic manners but that is to be expected from a day long tournament. The staleness does not take away from the experience overall however as the excitement soon rises again once the next match begins. Overall for a ticket face value of around 4000¥ I do believe that a sumo tournament must be seen by anyone that has ever thought about seeing one.