Saturday, December 20, 2008

Do Not Follow Maiko In The Streets

Apprentice Geisha are called "Maiko" the Mai meaning "Dance" and ko meaning "child". Most of the Maiko and Geisha left reside in Kyoto, mainly in the Gion district. Maiko with their white make up and beautiful hair styles are tremendously popular photography subject with tourists in Kyoto. They are so popular in fact that they have turned to the Kyoto city government for help.

The Daily Yomiuri reports that foreign sightseers and amateur cameramen surround the Maiko as soon as they leave their homes. The situation is becoming so bad the Maiko can hardly go about their daily tasks and have asked the city of Kyoto for help. City officials have asked people to not follow the Maiko in the streets or interfere with their dances or tea house work.

Last year, the number of city sightseers was around 49,440,000, the foreigners who rented hotels rooms in the city was around 920,000 person one of the highest counts ever.
Kyoto is a beautiful and historical city and was formerly Japan's capital. Roughly 20 percent of Japan's "National Treasures" and 14% of Japan's "Important Cultural Properties" exist in the city. UNESCO World Heritage Sites "Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto" and 17 other locations are around the Kyoto area. The site was designated as World Heritage in 1994. It is also possible to easily visit Nara, the capital city of Japan from 710 to 784.

Kyoto is one of the best preserved city in Japan and I highly recommend a visit. If you do plan a visit, please treat the inhabitants of this fine city with respect and Do Not Follow Maiko In The Streets.

You can learn more about travel and tourism in Kyoto here Kyoto Travel Guide . Also the image on this page is credited to Kyoto Travel Guide. You can also mail me if you want more information on this topic or travel advice.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Wierdness that is Japanese Crime

I have long held the belief that Japan has some of the oddest crimes of anywhere in the world. To help back up my claim here is a recently reported crime in the Nagoya area.

Knife-wielding man cuts two schoolgirls' hair in Nagoya

AICHI — Police said Thursday that two schoolgirls had been attacked by a man who cut their hair with a knife in Nagoya on Wednesday. According to police, one of the victims, 16, was suddenly assaulted by a man and had her hair cut while she was walking through a park on her way to school around 7:20 a.m. The second attack occurred about 4 p.m. In that case, the victim, 14, said she was attacked from behind.

Police said the attacker used a 20-centimeter-long knife. Both girls said the man appeared to be in his 30s and was about 170 cms tall with brown hair. He was clad in black. The crime scenes were about 700 meters apart.

I think I will keep this space open to add more as I read about them. There are some unbelievable ones. Japan is rated as one of the safest places to visit, makes you wonder why the crimes that are committed can be so unusual. Perhaps when someone snaps here, they completely go off the deep end.

Take this one for instance, this is so silly. High speed "Scooter chase"

Four youths arrested after scooter pursuit in Chiba


Police arrested and charged four teenage boys with dangerous driving and other violations of the Road Traffic Law on Thursday.

According to police, the boys called police from a public phone in Kisarazu City at around 3 a.m. on Nov 16, and reported that motorbike gangs were making a lot of noise. The four boys waited for the police, and when they arrived about 10 minutes later, took off on two scooters and played a game they called “Real Chasey.” The game involved one boy driving the scooter, zig zagging about while the other boy on the back provoked police with words and gestures.

The boys led police on a pursuit which included national roads and the boys ignoring traffic signals, and police lost them after five minutes. But they were able to identify the boys as all of them have been taken into custody before.

The boys – a welder, 17, a plumber, 16, a first year high school student, 15, and a second year junior high school student, 14, knew each other through the junior high school.

One of the boys was quoted by police as saying: “I love the thrill. I’ve done it more than 10 times this year.”

The first year high school student doesn’t have a license, and drove at speeds of only 10 to 30 kilometers per hour.

The boys claimed they came up with the name for the game, but there is a novel in the same name by Yusuke Yamada, which was made into a movie this year.

Been a Long Time

since I have been able to post. Went and had a baby of all the surprises. Kept me very busy! I will try to get some updates in.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Homesick Day

Sumo match
Originally uploaded by pointybunny.
I am having the worst bout of homesickness today! I have to work through it somehow before Taka gets home or I am afraid I will start a stupid argument in the vein of "Take me home now!" Partially its his mom, she just makes me so angry sometimes. We just had lunch with his aunt, grandma, uncle and his wife and his mom just sits there and tells everyone how I only eat cheese and bread. I just want to shout NOOO i don't usually eat cheese for every meal. I want veggie burgers and tofu dogs and popcorn with nutritional yeast and soy cheese and macaroni and Amy's organic lasagna and fakin bacon and hummus and... get the picture. Who could guess that food would make me the most homesick? and people of course, i really miss friends to
talk too. I want to come home soon I need a break!

Last night I told Taka that Japan would be 90 percent better if Hummus was readily available. Taka has decided he is too fat topping the scales at a whopping 171 pounds. sheesh he's a if.

He made me walk all over creation last night in attempt at exercise. I have to say Japan is as hot or hotter than Florida in the summer. Its so humid you can suck it up with a straw. I'm watching Sumo wrestling because it makes me feel not as fat. and no I don't know . I am wanting to visit the US, but I have a sneaking suspicion he really doesn't want me to go so is taking his time. I hope he realizes I WILL NOT come back and live in this house. I
just cant. It's so dirty in here and they don't clean up after those dogs. Considering the rat dogs go poo or pee in the bathroom at will usually once a day. I have freaky thoughts of a layer of invisible dog filth on the floor so don't linger to dry my hair or myself off. ewwwww. Which comes to another thing, I hate those "dogs" so much. How could I, who is supposed to be such an animal lover, hate those 2 dogs so much? Especially the little gremlin one. I always push it when no one is looking. They bark constantly, barking even at each other. how stupid is that?
Oh well, what can you do?

Taka let me order a few articles of clothing from online a couple days ago. He's so funny, he sometimes gives me money for all these dumb reasons I guess so he doesn't feel like he s really giving me money. Like the other day he gave me $50. because he said he had too many $50.s in his wallet. Ya, right. I gave it back to him for the clothes though.

Japan made a bad move in my opinion, they voted to make the postal service go private. you know our mail is going to be messed up big time. plus now people can price gouge so we ll never know how much postage will be. its not the best idea I've ever heard. Right now Japan has the most amazing postal service. I cant believe they would do this.

Another issue bothering me is alcoholism, its rampant in Japan. There is a higher alcoholism
rate here than there is in the US. The thing that really disturbed me is that for fathers day the big thing was to take father and children to a cocktail class that taught the kids how to make cocktails for their fathers so they could have one waiting for them when they come home from work. All their business deals are made in hostess clubs where they drink like fishes almost every night. With the pressures from their crazy working hours alcohol is a release and a social activity. Taka has been drinking alot more since he got his job, he never has been much of a drinker, but the president of his company keeps making them go out for drinks after work once a week. They were looking for an English teacher for 5 hours a week at his work for $300. a week, I wanted to do it but he wouldn't let me. Hes so overprotective of me. It's not fair.

At least I can watch some samurai dramas on tv. That's always fun and there is a new vending machine next door with all the soda flavors you could want!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Children's Day

Taka on the Bridge
Originally uploaded by pointybunny.
Today we got Pizza Hut. I had the "Idaho Special" without bacon. We also rented movies. We got "Secret Window" We both figured out the plot to that one within 20 minutes, "The Village" we agreed it was long and kind of boring, and "Highwaymen" which I just loved but Taka wouldn't watch it.

Monday, Taka got called into work and after we got take out from a place called "The Skylark Inn" They had excellent french fries but their pizza was awful. It had lots and lots of corn on it and that was pretty much it.

Tuesday we had the big trip to Costco. I love going to Costco. There are actually white people there! wheeee. We managed to find some cereal, all they had was Kellogs "Corn Frosties" but they are just like Frosted flakes. Got some great mystery books too called "The Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency" Here's a bit of Japanese trivia for you, Japanese homes don't have ovens. Yes, its true. No ovens. They usually just have a toaster oven. They cant cook a whole pizza or a big tray of cookies.

Wednesday we called "Romantic Day" where we just spent time doing stuff together we like to do. We went to see the "Koi No Buri" which are these giant fish kites that are all over town, especially near the river, they fly them to symbolize good health for the family for the
rest of the year, the big fish are the parents and the little fish
symbolize the children. The higher you fly your Koi no buri the
better luck you will have. They are really beautiful, I love seeing
them all over. They symbolize Children's Day:

<span class=

More About Children's Day!

It is a day set aside to respect children's personalities and to celebrate their happiness.

It was originally called Tango no Sekku (端午の節句), which may originally be the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival (端午節). Sekku means a season's festival (there are now five Sekku per year). This one marks the beginning of summer or the rainy season. Tango has a double meaning: Tan means "edge" or "first" and go means "noon." In Japanese go also means five (五), which could refer to the date of the festival: the fifth day of the fifth month. From the beginning of history, the fifth month of the Chinese calendar was said to be a month for purification, and many rites that were said to drive away evil spirits were performed this month.

Although it is not known precisely when this day started to be celebrated, it was probably during the reign of the Empress Suiko (593–628 A.D.). In Japan, Tango no Sekku was assigned to the fifth day of the fifth month after the Nara period.

Until recently, Tango no Sekku was known as Boys' Day (also known as Feast of Banners) while Girls' Day (Hinamatsuri) was celebrated on March 3. In 1948, the government decreed this day to be a national holiday to celebrate the happiness of all children and to express gratitude toward mothers. It was renamed Kodomo no hi. There is some disgruntlement that, despite its renaming, it is still Boys' Day and it is inappropriate that Boys' Day is a national holiday, while Girls' Day is not.[citation needed]

Before this day, families raise the carp-shaped Koinobori flags, one for each boy (or child), display a Kintarō doll usually riding on a large carp, and the traditional Japanese military helmet, Kabuto. Kintarō and the kabuto are symbols of a strong and healthy boy.

Kintarō (金太郎) is the childhood name of Sakata no Kintoki who was a hero in the Heian period, a subordinate samurai of Minamoto no Raikou, having been famous for his strength when he was a child. It is said that Kintarō rode a bear, instead of a horse, and played with animals in the mountains when he was a young boy.

Mochi rice cakes wrapped in kashiwa oak leaves — kashiwa-mochi and chimaki — are traditionally served on this day.

~quoted from Wikipedia

Afterwards we went to the Sega Arcade (for us that is
romantic) we played this game where you put metal disks in a type of
slot machine representing "Super Mario Bros." and we ended up winning the jackpot of 750 metal disks. Don't really know what the point of winning metal disks are, but its still fun to win at something.

Later we went to his friend's house which is the smallest apartment
you have ever seen in your life! His friend, his wife and their 2 children (3 years old and 8 weeks old) all live in this tiny 1 room apartment. I was flabbergasted, but Taka says that's the way most Japanese families live. The 3 year old is awesome. We took his
"Magirangers" figures apart and drove toy trains over them. Nothing
like teaching kids mass murder. "Magirangers" are fun, they are the
original "PowerRangers" but they are better and they sing and dance.
I wake up every Sunday early and watch them
Their baby hated me and screamed every time he looked at me. We went to an "Italian" restaurant chain called "sazeriya" where we ate the WORST spaghetti we ever had! For some reason known only to the Japanese they put Tabasco sauce on all their Italian food. And their sauce is that kind of wierd orange color like when you buy fake
spaghetti o's. There was another Japanese man/white lady couple there and we all stared at each other allot. They put us at tables right
next to each other like we had to have our own section for foreigners.

I spent the weekend babysitting Yoshiko. Saturday we went
to a pond near the house and there were boys there catching some kind of crayfish in it. Tried to take a walk in the woods but Yoshiko
flipped out. Her mother tells me she is deathly afraid of the woods
because of "Snow White" We also got to go to my special Sushi restaurant where the owner makes me awesome vegetarian dishes custom made to my tastes. I might ask him to teach me how to cook. Hes the best chef Ive ever met. If anyone comes to visit, we are definitely eating there.

Tonight we went to the exact opposite of the Awesome restaurant. Everything there is terrible and greasy and makes me
ill. The owner there just yells at me because he doesn't want to make
vegetarian food. Fine with me, heh. I cant say anything though
because the owners are friends of the PILs. It was Takas parents, His mothers 3 friends, one of the friends daughter and fiance and the
friends husband. Also I ate a baked potato with a coffee spoon. They don't have any forks.


Friday, May 04, 2007

Back from the Beyond

Tokyo Tower
Originally uploaded by pointybunny.
I was away for awhile. Had to travel between the US and Japan back in November and sort of lost track of my story here. Now I am back and will make sure to get this all updated! I know everyone misses these wacky stories and informative topics. Here to tease you is a photo I took of the Tokyo Tower just this past December.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Kimono Beauty : The Furisode

Back of Gold Furisode
Originally uploaded by pointybunny.
I will be discussing kimono in a series on the different styles and history of each starting with my favorite, The Furisode. I love kimono, I love the beauty, elegance, and simplicity in what can be an every day object. Each kimono is different and original in it's own way, each design was created for a reason and has underlying meaning. Many people over look this ancient art form. It IS an art form.

(to be continued...when my daughter is asleep ha ha)
Nosy People and Interesting Article

Sometimes people here are just so nosy, especially the older women. You never know what you are doing wrong either. The women here make this horrible noise, mostly when they are surprised, they go EEEEHHHHHHHH!in these big shrieky voices. It's hard to describe unless you have heard it. Once in an elevator, I had an older man tell me bluntly "You are too tall for a woman." Now what do you say to that?

I got a rash on my chin from an allergy to something I ate and I was told it is because Americans do not have strong skin. Now if I was Japanese, I would have strong skin. People make me laugh, they are so polite most of the time and then pop out of left field with these outrageous personal statements.

This is an interesting article that backs up my nosy people statement:

Woman held for fracas after being scolded for putting on makeup in subway

Thursday, April 28, 2005 at 07:22 JSTTOKYO -

Police arrested a 22-year-old woman Wednesday on suspicion of seriously injuring an elderly woman after the latter admonished herfor putting on makeup on a Tokyo subway platform.Akimi Odajima is accused of injuring a 65-year-old woman by grabbing her shoulders and shaking her, causing the elderly woman to stumble against the first car of a train arriving at the platform, the police said. Odajima has denied the allegations. According to Tokyo police, Odajima, a restaurant employee and residentof Tokyo's Meguro Ward, was admonished by the elderly woman around11:30 a.m. on the Hiroo Station subway platform operated by TokyoMetro Co.They said the victim, a resident of Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture,suffered head and chest injuries. Odajima reportedly told investigators that she wanted to clarify to the woman that she was not actually putting on makeup but wiping the sweat from her face with a sponge used to apply makeup.According to the investigators, Odajima was sitting on a bench on the platform when the woman admonished her, saying, "You should not put on makeup here."They said Odajima followed the woman, called out to her and then shook her by the shoulders. (Kyodo News)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Fast Food Vs. Sarah Michelle Gellar

Just a quick entry here as it is late and I am too sleepy to be very coherent. However, I just saw Sarah Michelle Gellar touting "The Grudge 2" on the Conan O'Brien show a few minutes ago. She has recently come back from Tokyo from filming "The Grudge 2" so Conan asked her how she liked Japan.

She said she went to McDonalds and in Tokyo you have to ask for your hamburger without egg on it otherwise they will put a raw egg on it. She warned the viewers "Make sure you ask for your burger without an egg on it, they put one on every hamburger" Then they laughed and made some jokes about it.

Now this is why everyone thinks Japan is such a wacky place. People come back from visits to Japan with all these weird stories that no one can really prove or disprove because not that many people you know have visited there. T and I are, or should I say "were" frequent fliers at McDonalds - Until we watched the movie "Super Size Me" and I have NEVER seen an egg on a hamburger at McDonalds or Wendy's for that matter. I have never been asked if I wanted an egg removed from a burger nor seen T eat an egg burger before and I have watched him eat dried squid for breakfast! We have probably been to half the McDonalds in the Tokyo area and I haven't seen that. Maybe someone reading this has???

The McDonalds near us is actually a very pleasant place to go. It has many overly friendly employees in beautifully clean uniforms and they even wear the matching hats. When you go through drive thru and your order takes a little time they bring out your meal and give you an extra coca cola or something for your trouble and bow as you drive off. The place is very clean and they pick up the tray after you finish but I think that is because they think Gaijin won't figure out the recycling bins. They got that right.

Once we went through the McDonald's drive thru and they didn't give T the honey mustard for his chicken thingies....McNuggets, I think they call 'em. So he called to complain and they actually sent someone to drive over and bring him some honey mustard PLUS they gave him a fresh order of nuggets!! Now would you ever see that done in America??? Not hardly. You don't complain in case they might spit in your food or something equally vile. One day I will write about the customer service in Japan. One word to start - Outstanding.

Cant Wait for Wendy's

They have most of the usual fast food joints in Japan. McDonalds, Wendy's, Pizza Hut, KFC (Which they call "Kentucky") Subway, Outback Steakhouse, Mr. Donut, Denny's etc...Usually I have found the menu to be basically the same as the US menu. Notable exceptions though would be Denny's and Pizza Hut. On every menu, of course, there are a few Japanese specials and favorites but even in the US there are regional variations. I remember having an arguement with a Japanese friend over whether Red Lobster was an American company or not.

Point is, I never saw an egg on a hamburger in McDonalds in Tokyo. Where was Sarah Michelle Gellar?

Addition to Post 10/21/2206:

I should add an explantion of the comments on here as well.

The Japanese are fond of "Moon Viewing" The moon is admired and people celebrate with food for viewing the full moon in Autumn. Called O-tsukimi and held usually on September 15th or August 15th, according to the old lunar calendar and called Ju-go-ya.

The raw egg hamburger dealy is a special food around for the moon viewing time. Or you can order it from restuarants . So it does exist is my point I never made, but not as a McDonalds staple for every burger you have to panic about getting a raw egg on it.