The Japanese toilet that draws the most attention is perhaps the recently invented electronic sitdown toilets. The seat rest has an installed heater, a welcomed feature during wintertime. There are also hydraulic jets that can spray water to clean either the female private part or the anus. The disadvantage though is that when a person does not know how to use it properly, she/he can end up very wet. The jet of water can be strong or weak. The strong mode can be upsetting for some first time users. The other ergonomic controversy is the fact that sometimes users, particularly foreigners who do not know how to use the electronic toilets is unable to stop the jet of water and may end up washing their face if they turn around to face the toilet bowl in an attempt to stop the water jet.
It will take a lot of public education and civic-consciousness before these toilets can be installed in other Asian countries without vandalism or other forms of misuse or abuse by members of the public. Besides the toilet seats itself, there are also features of Japanese toilet that indicate the coming of age of Japanese toilet usage. For example, in many of the shopping centres, particularly the big ones in the city, there are hairdryers located in the toilets for the convenience of the women. This is an extremely advanced features as such hairdryers may easily become the object of theft or vandalism in other Asian countries. In addition, some even had installed sofas. More important than such advanced gadgets and relatively expensive features, are the toilet seat covers. These are things that should be popularized in other Asian countries in the interest of public hygiene. In conclusion, Japanese toilets could very well end up as models for other Asian countries in terms of development. It is certainly a model that is worthwhile to follow as more Asian economies progresses, particularly for the advanced developing countries of South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong SAR. These countries are slowly catching up with the Japanese standards of hygiene and may level Japan someday. For example, one can certainly find more electronic automatic flushing toilets in high-tech Singapore. This is probably an example of latecomer’s advantage.
Posted April 13th, 2006 by geisha+ | Comment (0)
Osaka Castle is located in the eastern and most historic section of Osaka, Chuo-ku.
The term â€œcastleâ€ in Japanese refers to the entire compound or campus, not just the main keep or donjon.
In addition to its history, Osaka Castle is visited for its classic Japanese architecture that features the Main Towerâ€™s eight guilded roof top dolphins, ornamental roof tiles and reliefs carved in the shape of tigers. Some of the castleâ€™s support structures include a Gunpowder Storehouse, Treasure House which formerly housed silver and gold, The Well-house of Kinmei-sui, as well as single and multi-storied turrets.
The grounds of Osaka Castle host the Nishi-no-maru Garden. The garden boasts over 600 cherry trees along with blooming azaleas. Situated in the garden is the Hoshoan tea house which serves the city of Osakaâ€™s most luxurious tea ceremony.
Originally constructed in 1598 by nearly 60,000 laborers, Osaka Castle was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the first unifier of the Japanese people, on the former site of the Ishiyama Honganji Temple, which had been destroyed by a fire in 1580.
Early in the 17th century, amidst a war the Osaka Castle was demolished. Tokugawa Shogunate, Japanâ€™s new leader ordered that the castle be rebuilt with â€œwalls twice as tallâ€.
In the mid 1660â€™s lightening struck an explosives warehouse and the subsequent fire was contained.
However, for the third time in Osaka Castleâ€™s history it suffered major damage in 1783, this time to the Main Tower when lightening struck again.
While the outlying buildings were restored in the mid-19th century, the Main Tower remained damaged until the citizens of Osaka voluntarily contributed for its refurbishing. The restoration effort of the Main Tower of Osaka Castle was completed in 1931.
World War II and a typhoon in the 1950â€™s plagued the castle with more damage, necessitating its 1995 renovation.
Posted April 10th, 2006 by geisha+ | Comment (1)
Tokyo Disneyland is filled with many people through the year, and is said to be the busiest of all the Disney parks around the globe – there is no off-season here. A great trip for for both children and adults alike, Tokyo Disneyland is located in Urayasu, Chiba. It is right outside of Tokyo. The best way to get there is by taking the JR Keiyo line train from Tokyo to Maihama station. Then it is only a 10 min. walk from Maihama station to Tokyo Disneyland.
There are so many things to do in Disneyland, so you might want to stay at the hotels near Tokyo Disneyland. Tokyo Disneyland Official Hotels are expensive but are very convenient. There are direct buses from Narita/Haneda Airport to these hotels, and there are free shuttle buses to Tokyo Disneyland from those hotels. You can come back to your room to rest during the day and go back to Disneyland. The big daddy of Tokyo’s theme parks, Tokyo Disneyland is a pretty close copy of the Californian original, plonked in commuter land, a fifteen-minute train ride east of the city centre. Its theme lands, parades and zany extravaganzas follow the well-honed Disney formula and, whatever your preconceptions, it’s pretty hard not to have a good time. You’ll probably want to devote a whole day to Disneyland to get your money’s worth; a one-day “passport”, covering all attractions except the “Shootin’ Gallery”, costs Â¥5500, or on certain evenings a Â¥4500 “starlight passport” is available for entry after 5pm. The resort is generally open from 8am or 9am to 10pm, but hours may vary and the park is occasionally closed for special events, so it’s best to check beforehand. Tickets are sold in the main entrance of the park, but usually there is a long waiting line so the best way to go is to purchase your tickets ahead of time in okyo Disneyland Ticket Center is located in Hibiya Mitsui Building in Hibiya station, Tokyo or at a travel agent.
Posted April 8th, 2006 by geisha+ | Comment (0)
While traditional Japanese dress has been largely replaced with western clothing, some of its customs still survive intact. The most common is the practice of removing one’s shoes when entering someone’s home. The custom is a combination of cleanliness and the fact that traditional flooring is made from tatami, straw matting that is easily damaged by footwear. There is a story of the first American consul to Japan, Townsend Harris getting off to a bad start with his hosts by walking straight into the shogun’s presence in Edo Castle without removing his shoes.
While geta have become pretty rare, the shoe cupboard in every home’s genkan (entrance hallway) is still called a getabako (geta box). When you enter the genkan, you must remove your shoes and the formal etiquette is to leave them neatly aligned and to the side, facing inwards. The host turns them around and puts them in the center before you leave. Younger people tend not to worry about these finer details anymore. But when entering shrine or temple buildings and many Japanese-style restaurants, you will be expected to remove your shoes. Many restaurants and homes provide slippers for guests, though these should be removed when entering a room with tatami mat flooring. Also, there will be a separate pair of slippers to be changed into in the toilet.
The Japanese have a very deep-rooted though largely unspoken understanding of the difference between spaces. The genkan is a kind of border post post between the outside world and the inner sanctum of the home. Delivery men may quite casually step into your genkan but that’s as far as they’ll go without you inviting them in. There is almost always a step up into the home and the Japanese word for entering a home is literally to “step up“. Even when entering your own home (uchi, meaning inside), the act of removing your shoes is symbolic of casting off the worries and troubles as well as the dirt of the outside world (soto). “Dosoku de agarikomu” (literally, go inside with soiled feet) is a metaphor for meddling thoughtlessly in someone else’s affairs.
Posted April 5th, 2006 by geisha+ | Comments (2)
At his favorite neighborhood cafe, Shunsuke Yamagata, a college student who proudly calls himself a nerd, smiled shyly behind his horn-rimmed glasses at waitresses hurrying about in black Minnie Mouse shoes and lacy, racy mini-dresses inspired by Japanese comics. The place is a dream come true for Yamagata, whose passion is collecting comics and cartoons. He giggled with glee when his servers addressed him in the squeaky little character voices they use to delight their fantasy-loving clientele.
For Yamagata, 20, it was just another night out with the pocket-protector crowd in Tokyo‘s neon-splashed Akihabara district, where “costume cafes” are the latest of hundreds of new businesses catering to Japan’s otaku , or nerds. A subculture of social misfits obsessed with electronic role-playing games, manga comics and Japanese animation, they began gathering in Akihabara in the late 1990s, lured by the district’s proliferation of electronics retailers and stores selling everything you would need to build your own computer.
Maligned and shunned by mainstream society, here they stayed, their tastes and habits transforming the area also known as Electric Town into what sociologists are calling an urban first — a ghetto of geeks.
Posted April 5th, 2006 by geisha+ | Comment (0)
On streets once packed with housewives or couples shopping for refrigerators and microwave ovens, hundreds of thousands of nerds — mostly men between about 18 and 45 — now wander through the area’s multi-story comic warehouses and elaborate game arcades. Eyeglass adjustment kiosks compete for space with shops selling nondescript dress shirts and thick leather shoes.
There are bigger-ticket items, as well. With some analysts estimating the Japanese geek market to be worth as much as $19 billion a year, companies are jostling to cash in. One Akihabara antique electronics boutique displays an intact 1985 NEC computer, gingerly housed behind glass, with a $2,500 price tag.
“We have been discriminated against for being different, but now we have come together and turned this neighborhood into a place of our own,” said Yamagata, nursing his tea as he sat with a portly computer technician friend at Akihabara’s Cos-Cha, one of a dozen “maid cafes” in the neighborhood. Here, the waitresses’ uniforms are inspired by the French maid-meets-Pokemon outfits of adult manga. At other cafes, waitresses greet patrons at the door with a curtsy and the words “Welcome home, master.”
Sociologists and urban planners compare the phenomenon to ethnic and social enclaves such as New York’s Chinatown or San Francisco’s gay Castro district, born of a blend of discrimination and shared cultural cues. Japanese geeks are outcasts in a society known for its rigid social norms. But their culture has gone mainstream.
Posted April 5th, 2006 by geisha+ | Comment (1)