The La Folle JournÃ©e au Japon “Days of Enthusiasm” Music Festival is back and has transformed Tokyo into a musical isle. Hailed as the most exciting classical music festival in the world, it features day long concerts held simultaneously in 7 to 9 halls of the Tokyo International Forum. Around 300 of the most distinguished classical musicians all over the world gather to give performances that last about 45 minutes each.
The festival’s artistic director, RenÃ© Martin, say that his aim “is the true democratization of classical music â€“ presented once a year and at sensible prices.” The festival is a true celebration of classical music open to all who wish to come. Because of this the musical program is very varied and ticket prices are very cheap. Tickets are available for Â¥1,500 to Â¥3,000.
La Folle JournÃ©e runs from April 29 to May 6.
Posted April 30th, 2007 by geisha+ | Comments Off
Shunsuke Nakamura did Japan and Celtic fans proud after scoring the goal at the last minute, winning the Scottish Premier League title for the Celtics. Not surprisingly Nakamura fans all over the world anticipated the Player of the Year Award to go to him. His fans weren’t disappointed. All over Japan people are celebrating with yesterday’s television shows full of coverages about Nakamura’s goal and his subsequent awards.
Nakamura was born and raised in Yokohama, Japan where he began playing competitive football at the early age of five. By the time he was in fifth grade his talent and skill was very apparent earning him a place in Yokohama City’s All-Star Team tour of the former Soviet Union. At that time he was an exception since the team is really supposed to be composed of sixth graders only. From then on he went from success to success earning his reputation as one of the most prominent of, not only Japan’s, but Asia’s soccer players.
Posted April 24th, 2007 by geisha+ | Comments Off
Geishas are the subject of much speculation from any other world outside Japan. Despite their fame the western world and even other eastern cultures do not completely understand the mystique that surrounds geishas. According to Liza Dalby, an American anthropologist who did research on geishas, the misunderstandings are probably due to the fact that there is no comparable group to them in other societies and so people have no basis on which to compare them to. Geishas are often mistaken by people as some kind of elite prostitutes, which is definitely not the case. In fact the word geisha comes from gei, meaning art, and sha, meaning a person.
To be a geisha one has to be well-trained in the traditional manner, etiquette, and various arts. One will need to master not only the intricacies of wearing a kimono but seemingly mundane stuff such as how to greet customers properly, how to serve a meal, and how to make conversation. Geishas aim to entertain but are at the same time a living piece of art.
Posted April 22nd, 2007 by geisha+ | Comments Off
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is set to launch its first lunar orbiter this August. The project, called SELENE (SELenological and ENgineering Explorer), is already understandably delayed due to its ambitious nature. In fact, the SELENE is considered to be the largest lunar mission since the US Apollo program. SELENE’s mission is to conduct observations for studies of the ENTIRE moon and not just parts of it. It aims to “collect scientific data on the formation of the moon and its transitional history up to today.â€
The SELENE project if successful will not only be a triumph to the scientific community but will also give Japan the edge it seeks to get ahead of China in their heated space race. Japan has grander plans after this project making SELENE a mere (but huge) stepping stone towards a lunar landing and even manned missions to space.
For their awareness campaign JAXA has launched the “Wish Upon the Moon” Campaign where anyone can send their names and messages, which will be delivered by SELENE to the moon.
Posted April 20th, 2007 by geisha+ | Comments Off
A capsule hotel is a type of hotel accommodation popular mostly among travelers stranded for the night and those who are on a tight budget. Capsules are usually about 2m by 1m by 1.5m in dimension and so is unsuitable for those above six feet tall and, of course, for a claustrophobic. Despite the very limited space you will be surprised at how well equipped these hotels are. Each capsule usually comes with a built in mini TV, radio, and alarm clock, plus fresh bedding of course. You can also use the hotel’s lockers, shower rooms, laundry facilities, restaurants, vending machines, and clothes shop. An overnight stay costs Â¥2000-4000 while an afternoon nap is usually even cheaper.
Capsule hotels have been around since 1979 and is pretty common in Japan. However the concept still hasn’t spread to other countries despite the convenience they bring.
Posted April 18th, 2007 by geisha+ | Comments Off
A 5.4 magnitude quake hit Japan yesterday at 12:19pm. The quake was centered in Mie prefecture, which is about 200 miles southwest of Tokyo. The Fire and Disaster Management Agency reported 11 injured with one serious injury. Other damages include partial damage to 26 houses in Mie and a 400 year old castle.
Earthquakes are pretty common in Japan being one of the most earthquake prone countries in the whole world. The reason for this is that the country sits atop four different tectonic plates. Japan, of course, being technologically advanced manages to cope with the problem with cutting edge earthquake-resistant buildings and regular earthquake drills. However, despite all their preparation they are still powerless when nature decides to unleash a powerful quake. All anybody can do then is hope that the preparation minimizes the damage and casualties.
The last killer quake (magnitude of 7.2) occurred in 1995 at Kobe wherein 6,433 people died.
Posted April 16th, 2007 by geisha+ | Comments Off
The Takayama Festival being held today until tomorrow at the Hie-Jinja Shrine in Shiroyama,Takayama City is considered to be one of the most beautiful festivals is Japan. The festival is most known for its Tokeiraku parade wherein people wearing costumes and bells drum a beat for dancers who dance the shishimai lion dance. The parade of people is followed by an equally if not more spectacular sight as the yatais (floats), featuring clever contrivances like marionettes, come into view. The contrivances showcased by the yatais are not ordinary ones since they make use of the technologies that existed in Japan during the Edo Period (from the 17th to the 19th century).
For those interested in catching up to watch the festival tomorrow you can go the the Hie-Jinja Shrine via train. The shrine is a 25-minute walk from Takayama Station. Takayama Station is on the JR Takayama Honsen Line.
Posted April 14th, 2007 by geisha+ | Comments Off
Japanese baseball fans all over the world had their stomachs knotted in anticipation when Japan’s most successful pitcher faced off with Japan’s best hitter at Fenway just yesterday. Torn between their two favorite players Japanese fans cheered for either Daisuke Matsuzaka and Ichiro Suzuki while many who couldn’t make up their minds ended up cheering for both. The “battle” between the two ended with Ichiro grounding out to Matsuzaka.
Daisuke “The Monster” Matsuzaka joined the Boston Red Sox December 13 of last year. He has quite a repertoire of pitches but his “best pitch” is considered to be his screwball-like changeup.
Ichiro Suzuki, known all over simply as Ichiro, moved to the US in 2001 playing for the Seattle Mariners. He is known to be one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball and has won a Gold Glove award and is part of the All-Star selection in each of his first six years in the majors.
Posted April 12th, 2007 by geisha+ | Comments Off
Japan has announced its intent to extend its sanctions against North Korea for another six months due to North Korea’s “insincere efforts to solve the abduction issue”. The abduction issue mentioned here refers to the 17 Japanese kidnapped in the 1970s and 1980s. North Korea acknowledged the kidnapping of 13 of the Japanese citizens and returned 5 of the people in 2002 while claiming that the rest were dead. Japan wants North Korea to account for the 4 missing people as well as address its programs for disarmament.
So far the sanctions, which includes a ban on imports from North Korea, a ban on the entry of North Korean ships to Japanese ports, and a ban of entry of North Korean officials on Japanese soil, seems to have little effect on North Korea’s efforts towards the resolution of the abduction and disarmament issues.
Posted April 10th, 2007 by geisha+ | Comments Off
Purists will definitely hate this tip but dessert lovers will love the fushion between western sweets and the Japanese food – sushi. The candy sushi here do not taste anything like sushi but they really are pretty to look at and very delicious too.
Fruit by the Foot (preferably green)
Mini powdered donuts
Pull and Peel licorice
Strawberry, caramel, or chocolate syrup.
Candy Sushi Version 1:
Place a strip of Fruit by the Foot on your working space.
Place a Swedish fish in the center.
Cut a mini-donut in half and place this on the Swedish fish.
Wrap the ends of the Fruit by the Foot around the fish and donut.
Candy Sushi Version 2
Wrap a strip of the Fruit by the Foot around a marshmallow.
Place the marshmallow on its end.
Cut a jelly bean in half and place it on the marshmallow, inside facing up.
Cut some small pieces of liquorice so that they look like small balls or fish eggs and place them around the jelly bean half.
Candy Sushi Version 3
Using a knife, carefully carve a hole in the middle of a marshmallow.
Thread some liquorice through the center of the marshmallow.
Wrap a strip of the fruit roll-up around the marshmallow.
Recipe compliments of WikiHow.
Posted April 6th, 2007 by geisha+ | Comments Off