Meguro River, which runs through Nakameguro area that is a sophisticated bustling district in Tokyo popular among young people, now has a special illumination service for the first time Nov.23-Dec.25.
In this service the the roads along the riverbank are all decorated with special blue lights all the course of about 500 m long. The illuminated areas look like fantastic “Grotta Azzurra”, the Blue Cave on Capri Island in Italy. Meguro River is very popular in spring for the cherry avenue along the river provides breathtaking beauty of the cherry blossoms, So, this time Pink in spring and blue in late autumn-early winter can make a coloful contrast to make visitors there relaxed and comfortable.
Washi, the traditional Japanese paper officially registered as a UNESCO’s Intangible Cutural property
Washi, the traditional Japanese paper, and its crafting techniques were officially registered as a UNESCO’s Intangible Cutural Property at its committee meeting in Paris France on Nov.27th. As I wrote those were recommended last month here, they have been formally designated this time.
An artisan of washi, Mr. Nobushige Akiyama held special demonstrations of washi-making in Italy as a part of cross-cultural activities on Nov.29th. Italy has a long history of making artisan-based paper as well. This time’s designation is expected to hugely expand general recognition and interest of washi and paper culture in the international community.
Nov.3rd is the Culture Day, and 4,029 people including some foreigners who were considered to have made a huge contribution to the Japanese society or nation were conferred of decorations by the emperor. Some of them are such as, Kirin Kiki,an popular actor, Yuzo Kayama, a famous singer, actor,and lylicist, and Sumitaiyu Takemoto, a great master pappeteer of Bunraku, the traditional Japanese pappet theater.
On October 30th, the “MCIP Holdings” was established to promote Japanese entertainment in all over Asia.
This was done by Yoshimoto Kogyo、Dentetsu, Dwango、Sony Music Entertainment、The Jikei of Colleges, and the Aeonmall with the contribution of 21 million dollar by 21 Cool Japan Fund Inc.。The purpose is to create and promote Japanese entertainment to Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.
The contents have a wide varation, which includes idols, girl’s culture, the quirky pop culture and even food to traditional culture and skills. The contents will vary with each country’s culture and needs.
They are aiming for Asia’s contribution via event, live music, audition, digital media, local medial and the social media.
According to the conference held by Yoshimoto, they held the “Asia Anison-singer Audition” which is the Asia version of ” I will live in your city project”. Using the prototype that made business in Taiwan, it is the audition for girls project, chefs, vocaloids, idols, and anime songs.
Further plan is to hold events at the Aeonmall which is spreading to foreign countries, using the Aeonmall Makuhari shintoshin as a model.
Agency for Cultural Affairs anounced washi(Japanese-style paper) and its traditional manual making techniques were recommended as a World Intangible Cutural Heritage by the affiliated organization to UNESCO on this 28th.(http://www.bunka.go.jp/english/index.html)
There has been no case that recommended item be turned down at the official process of UNESCO ,and washi and related techniques are highly expected to be listed on the heritages of UNESCO at the coming inter-governmental committee at the headquarters in Paris on the Nov.24th.
The handmade washi and its culture are traditional items since the 8th century and there have been some different schools and approaches. This time three schools of Sekishu-banshi from Hamada City in Shimane Pref., Honmino-shi from Mino City in Gifu Pref., and Hosokawa-shi from Ogawa Town and Higashi-chichibu Village in Saitama Pref. have been recommended. Sekishu-banshi was registered as a heritage in 2009 but Honmino-shi was not because it was regarded quite similar to Sekishu-shi method, Therefore, this time all of the three were re-applied as “washi” as a whole. The mayor and civil- servants of Ogawa Town expressed their joy in jumping upon receiving the notice of the recommendation.
The building is 66m high and has 12 floors, each of which include first-rate stores, restanrants,and other establishments of totally 52. The basic concept is a bright shiny space like diamonds and the “brilliant life” image is adopted. jewelry stores, clothes shops, and even a wedding hall are there.
Ding Tai Fung, a popular Taiwanese restraunt chain which was selected one of the top 10 restaurants of the world by New York Times, opened a branch in the new complex and only there special xialongbao(Chinese soup dumplings) whose primary ingredient is truffles are served in Japan. (http://d.rt-c.co.jp/ginza/)
Tokyo International Film Festival 27 is being held Oct.23-31 at some venues, Roppongi, Nihonbashi and so forth in Tokyo.(http://2014.tiff-jp.net/en/)
At the festival’s opening, special program of featuring works of Hideaki Anno, the director of Evangelion series and other popular anime works and also known as the voice actor who played the main part of “The Wind Rises” was supplied. (http://khara.co.jp/hideakianno/personal-biography.html)
A suspense film, “Paper Moon” was run and the main part’s actor,Sae Myazawa appeaered on the stage. And Ultra Seven and tthe old actors of “Ultra Seven”, an old popular Sci-fi TV drama turned up on the stage.
This serivice of lighting up Toshogu, Rinnou-ji temple, and Futarasan shrine started 1995 and commemorating the 20th anniversary this time. And as it is also the 15th year of the registration of the World Heritage site of those Nikko religious fasilities. Therefore, this year they conducted a projection mapping show using the stone torii-gate of Toshogu for the first. Last year during the service, 22,000 people visited those places in just three days. This year the service is provided 18:00-21:00 everyday until Nov. 2nd. During the service, free walking tours in the areas of those facilities with guides are available as well.
A ransel is a big sturdy Japanese back packs that elementary school students must use. The big size ransels holds text books, stationaries and all other goods used in schools. Since students use this bag through out their 6 years in elementary school, it basically represents them.
Since it is depicted in animes and movies, many foreigners know what ransels are.
Traditionally, girls used red and boys used black ransels, but recently there are many colors sold.
For girls, pinks seems to be the popular one, where as black, green, marine blue and brown navy are poplar amongst boys.
Many companies are starting to sell ransels for next spring. These pretty expensive back packs are usually bought by their grandparents, instead of their parents.
AEON, the highest ransel selling mall is aiming to sell about 300 thousand ransels. It retails from 68,000 yen to 88,000 yen. They have an interesting service where customers (in this case, grandparents) who bought the product can take pictures with their grandchildren.
The second highest selling compay, Itoh Yokado aims to sell 100,000 ransels.
On the other hand affordable brand Nitori is selling ransels for 29000 yen.
Of course, high end department stores like Isetan, Mitsukoshi, and Takashimaya are also selling them too.
Foreigners and tourists, especially from China buys ransels for souvenirs. It is also popular in the states and even sold in airports.
Recently, there has been an increasing demand for mannish style women’s outfits.
While simple and basic style seems to be the dominant style, many women are reaching their hands for durable men’s clothes.
Famous selected brand store is importing men’s brand although it is a women’s apparel store. Women’s clothes with men’s detail looks like the popular style.
You can see many women buying men’s clothes for themselves at Drawing Numbers; the selected shop PAL is running. Since this shop carries both men and women’s clothing, it’s easier for women to pick up men’s clothes. Not a lot just wear men’s clothes, because it’s the trend. The high quality and the comfy fit just makes it a natural choice for them to choose men’s clothes.
The Fall -mode look.
Top ￥20,000＋tax Drawing Numbers
Pants ￥20,000＋tax Drawing Numbers
Slip-ons ￥18,500＋tax Amb
Next is the versatile look where the clean centre pressed pants can be worn formal with the shiny coating. It uses a stretch fabric, so it’s comfortable to wear as well.
2 colors and 2 sizes (36, 38)
Tops made from a sturdy jersey fabric. It has the slouchy neck like, which is the trend for this season. Available in 2 colours (Grey and black).
You can see the intricate detail with the striped fabric used inside the pockets.
“Beams Boy” by Beams is the epitome of men-like fashion. After it launched their brand in 1998, they have been meeting the women’s needs of boyish items with the theme of ” A girl like a boy”.
The brand puts its effort in making women’s sized clothes while not losing the product detail and the essence of the men’s design.
With the sports taste trending, boyish/mannish clothes seems to be uninfluenced by the trend.
Due to the increasing amount of women who weighs comfortable clothes more important than trend, the boyish styles seems to continue. Many women prefer to wear items for a long time, which they demand for ” A simple design and a durable fabric with high quality sewing.”
Two huge international travel marts were held at Tokyo Bigsight in Tokyo. One was “Visit Japan Travel Mart 2014″(Sep.24-26)(http://www.vjtm.jp/) and the other was “JATA Toursim EXPO Japan2014″(Sep.25-28)(http://t-expo.jp/en/index.html).
More than 310 foriegn buyers and about 390 Japanese sellers joined VJTM2014 and had passionate exchanges of information and ideas and hosted busines seccions. Buyers from Asian countries were especially a lot and about the half of the Japanese sellers were municipalities or relating associations of such local governments.
On the other hand, a lot of domestic and foreign sellers and buysers joined JATA Tourism EXPO Japan 2014. Such participants were embassies, tourism bureaus, travel agents, food companies, municipalities, railroads, airlines, hotels. universities, guide associations and so forth. The main targets were end users of travel services and a lot of lay Japanese people visited there and the total number was 157,589. Upon the opening of the event, an ward ceremony of good services and efforts of related promotions was hosted and the Best Tourism Award was given to The Tourism Authority of Thailand and Embassy awards were for Thailand and Mexico, the best transporatation award was for Japan Railways East, the domestic inbound award was for the tourism department of Tokyo Metropolis, the publicity award was for a TV show of CXTV, and the chairperson special award was for Okinawa Convention Bureau. (http://t-expo.jp/en/program/cms.html) I personally visited the two big events and collected a lot of interesting information and exchanged ideas with the participants, some of whom were my friends or those I sometimes work with. I enjoyed the delicious food provided by tourism- related restaurants and local specialities and impressed by the greatly enthusiastic atmosphere of energies of the expos as well.
“Hagakure Ninja”, a performance group of ninja activities in a theme park “Ganso Ninjamura Ureshino- onsen Hizen- yumekaido”(/元祖忍者村 嬉野温泉 肥前夢街道, The original Ninja village in Ureshino hotspring resort of a dream road)(http://www.hizenyumekaidou.info/) in Ureshino hotspring in Saga pref. begian to recruit for new staffers who are to work as its new members as “kunoichi”(female ninjas).
The application requirements are ; female 13-29 years old (a student can keep her school life), a minor applicant needs her parents’ permit. A successful applicant will be trained to be a good kunoichi (so, no previous experiences as ninja activities are required) and will be a member of the first generation of “Hanagumi”(/華組。,flower group) which is to debut as a ninja girl idol group with “The Magic”, the theme song of Hizen Yumekaido. The new group will perform in Urshino and other areas in Kyushu. The deadline of the application of resume is the Oct.10th.
“Shimazu Masamune”, a special Japanese sword provided to the-then emperor Koumei by the-then Shogun Iemochi Tokugawa upon the wedding of Iemochi and Princess Kazunomiya who was Koumei’s sister 1862 ,which had been missing for 150 years, was reconfirmed as a personal property and was donated to Kyoto National Museum (http://www.kyohaku.go.jp/eng/index.html) in 2013.
“Masamune” swords are forged in the Kamakura period (1192~1333) and regareded as the first-rate Japanese swords, most of which are national treasures today. The reconfirmation this time is a precious “re-discovery” of an historic and cultural important asset. The Shimazu Masamune will be exhibited from the coming Oct.15th on at the Kyoto national Museum.
In the latter Septemeber, “pacific saury festivals”(/Sanma matsuri) are held in a lot of areas nationwide. For example,6000 sauries were supplied for one of those festivals hosted in Tokyo near Tokyo Sky Tree from Oofunado city in Iwate pref. which is one of the damaged areas of 3.11 tsunami disaster in 2011. In addition, such a festival was held in Niiza City which received gifts of about 6,400 sauries from Ishinomaki City in Miyagi pref. which was one of the major damaged areas and is rebuilding its industry rapidly. A lot of people visited the festival and enjoyed the delicious sauries with a lot of fat in season. The facilitators also hosted charity raising and a lot of visitors there donated money which would be used for rebuilding and saving the victims of the tragedy. Sanma (pacific sauries) are quite popular food in Japan especially in autumn when they become ripe for the taking with a lot of fat.