As if carrying a child inside one’s self is not hard enough already, pregnant women can actually encounter difficulties when availing of other services – well, at least in Japan. Come to think of it, though, not all establishments are equipped with pregnant women-friendly services. That is why Ryoko Tsukuda thought of creating the Maternity Plan, which is a program geared towards making life comfortable for those who are with child.
Her brainchild is the product of a personal experience. When she was pregnant, she tried to make reservations at a hot spring resort for herself and her mother. However, when the management found out that she was pregnant, she was informed that she could not use the common bath. As she was working for Kinki Nippon Tourist Co, she thought of coming up with a travel plan for mothers-to-be like herself. Her company bought the idea easily and launched the program February of last year.
What Ryoko Tsukuda did was to visit inns, hotels, and other establishments that have facilities that are suitable for pregnant women. To date, the travel plan is experiencing continued success.
There are also other establishments like Hiromaru Taxi Co which cater to pregnant women. In April of this year, they launched a program called Jintsu 119. The idea is to have women register their home address and hospital in advance. When the time comes to give birth, a taxi will be sent immediately to take the woman to the hospital.
Interesting concepts, don’t you think?
Photo courtesy of Robert Whitlock
Posted May 26th, 2011 by Maki+ | Comment (0)
Gake no Ue no Ponyo, which is literally translated to English as Ponyo on the Cliff, is the brainchild of Hayao Mizayaki.
Hayao Mizayaki is not a stranger to anime fans. In fact, he is considered to be the king of Japanese anime. With his countless successful works, this is not a surprise. Just to name a few of his creations:
- Majo no Takkyubin (Kiki’s Delivery Service)
- Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away)
- Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke)
- Howl no Ugoku Shiro (Howl’s Moving Castle)
- Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro)
His latest, Gake no Ue no Ponyo, is no less than a hit as well. With more than 1.25 million people watching it on its opening weekend, the movie earned almost 1.6 billion yen!
So what is this about? The Japan Times narrates:
The title character, Ponyo (voice by Yuria Nara), is a girl fish with a human face who decides one day to leave her underwater home – and her school of smaller sisters – to see what lies on the surface. Riding on the back of a jellyfish, she is nearly trapped by a drift net, but escapes – with her head stuck in a glass jar. Sosuke (Hiroki Doi), a boy who lives on a house on a seaside cliff, spots Ponyo in the shallows and rescues her. He is delighted with his new pet and Ponyo is delighted to be in the human world at last. She says her first words, to Sosuke’s astonishment, and begins a transformation from half-fish to human.
I’ll stop there in case you haven’t watched it yet, and if that is the case, you really need to get your hands on a copy.
Posted May 16th, 2011 by Maki+ | Comments (2)
One of the most important aspects of the Shinto religion is the shrine, the place where the gods are ensconced and where those who practice the religion go to worship. In Japan, there are countless Shinto shrines, some of which are considered World Heritage Sites. Among these shrines, one of the most famous is Izumo Taishi, or Izumo Grand Shrine in English.
Izumo Taishi is actually considered to be the oldest Shinto shrine in Japan today and is frequently visited by those who practice Shinto and tourists (local and foreign) alike. Aside from being the oldest Shinto shrine in Japan, Izumo Taishi also has the distinction of following a purely Japanese architectural style. This style is called Taisha-tsukuri.
The Grand Shrine is located in Taisha in the Shimane Prefecture. It hosts two major festivals – the Imperial Festival held on the 14th of May and the Grand Festival on the 14th and 15th of May. Izumo Taishi is dedicated to the nephew of the Sun Goddess, whose name is Okuninushi no Mikoto. Okuninushi is actually considered to be the god of marriage and because of this, visitors to the shrine are supposed to clap four times (instead of the usual two that is required when visiting shrines) â€“ the first two are for the person doing the action while the second two are for that person’s partner.
Izumo Taishi was renovated some months ago and visitors were given the chance to visit the most sacred of places – something that is not normally done. After the renovations are done, however, the usual closed sections will go back to being barred from the public.
Posted May 9th, 2011 by Maki+ | Comments (5)