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Japanese News and Culture Blog Roundup: 10/29/09-11/04/09

November 5, 2009

Japan Probe

Halloween Train Party 11/02/09: Halloween train in Japan
In contrast to the Halloween disaster described below, the town of Fukui held a Halloween train party in collaboration with the rail company and the local community. This is an example of a train party done right! There was no need for the police, and no protestors showed up in response to drunken vandalism. It sounds pretty fun, and I wish the same could be said for the Tokyo version!

11/01/09: Anti-foreign protests in Tokyo on Halloween night
Some right-wing activist groups decided to stage a protest at the location of the proposed Yamanote Halloween train celebration this year. As mentioned in this post, the train has become less of a Halloween party and more of an unruly mob consisting of drunk, disgruntled foreigners. The protestors, holding anti-foreign signs, soon became very loud and angry, which turned the whole thing into a fiasco even though very few people in costume even showed up for the party. At least plenty of cops were on hand to make sure that things didn’t turn violent between either party. The comments section for the linked post is huge, though not necessarily very illuminating.

Zombie Walk 10/31/09: Cute Japanese Halloween vs. scary American Halloween
A news report on NTV in Japan covers some of the differences between Halloween in Japan and America. Topics include the sizes of candy bags, trick-or-treating vs. costume parades, and some of the more frightening events in America like haunted houses. I’ve spent two Halloweens in Japan, one in a big city and one in the countryside, but I never saw many celebrations in general. Tokyo Disneyland had a Halloween parade which was very cutesy, but it’s Disney, so what do you expect? The holiday was almost unknown in the rural town, and I was the only one to dress up for miles. But at least my students were amused!
South Park Whale Whores 10/29/09: South Park: “F— you, dolphins!”
South Park last week took a satirical look at the tradition of hunting whales and dolphins in Japan. This has been publicized a lot in the Western press lately with the release of the documentary The Cove about the annual dolphin hunt in Taiji, Japan which kills some 2300 dolphins per year. You can watch the entire episode online here. Both the Japanese fishermen and militant protesters came under fire (with the protesters taking the brunt of it), though the plot is of course typical bizarre South Park. The comments on the linked post provide a much more thorough discussion.

Tokyo Times

Kawagoe 10/30/09: Kawagoe festival floats
Great photos of the Kawagoe festival held in Japan on October 17-18 this year. Elaborate floats carried through the city can weigh up to 7.5 tons! At the climax of the festival, floats compete against each other in a musical contest. You can find more information, photos, and videos here.

Japanese Pod 101

Joushaken 11/04/09: Learn Japanese Kanji – Everyday Kanji (Inside the train station)
This week, Japan Pod teaches us kanji especially useful for traveling around Japan. Japan’s public transit system is famous for its efficiency, though being stuck in a huge station with no signs in English may make it seem otherwise. This is a guide to the numerous types of ticket vending machines in Japanese stations, though this post might be more useful if it also showed you how to use them! For that, try this article. While the machines aren’t too difficult to use in big cities where some English signs might be provided, that’s not the case everywhere.
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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 24, 2009 7:11 pm

    Great post, amazing looking blog, added it to my favs.

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  1. Japanese News and Culture Blog Roundup: 12/17/09-12/23/09 | Hills Learning

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