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Japanese pop culture is slowly but surely eating away the cultural stronghold that the US has kept for more than half a century. From manga to animated movies to food, Japanese influence is increasing worldwide. Japanese pop culture is hot. One of the net’s top shopping sites for Japanese pop culture products is J-List, run by Peter Payne, who also writes peterpayne.net, a very popular blog on Japan which every day attracts some 1,000 visitors. I talked with Peter about how he ended up selling a bit of Japan to the world.
The story is familiar to regular readers of Zeit Gist. Debito Arudou, a naturalized Japanese citizen, originally from America, was living in Sapporo, Hokkaido, and had heard of the Yunohana public bath’s policy of denying entry to foreigners. In 1999, media in tow, he decided to put that onsen’s policy to the test. Sure enough, entry was denied, with the accompanying explanation that foreigners often “cause trouble” and, as such, the regulars “dislike sharing the facilities with them.”
The origin of this controversy is the behavior of Russian sailors. The Yunohana “onsen” is located in Otaru, the main port between Japan and the Russian Far East. Otaru attracts over a thousand Russian vessels and more than 25,000 sailors a year on stays of varying lengths. In the mid-1990s, Russian sailors were frequently showing up drunk at the city’s various onsen and jumping into the tubs with soap on their bodies, thus rendering the facilities unusable.
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NHK reports on the Japanese boom in note-taking skills. Some books on such skills have sold as many as 200,000 copies.
Japan is highly depended on food imports. Even 80% of a traditional dish like tempura soba comes from abroad. Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries presents the problem in this really cool infographic video produced by Groovisions.
If you think that you are busy, watch this NHK program about the super busy schedules of Japanese kids. What are their parents thinking, I wonder?
(by Yuriko Yoneda) – A farming method called ‘natural farming’ needs no tilling, no fertilizers, no pesticides, and no weeding. For about 60 years, Masanobu Fukuoka, Japan’s renowned authority on natural farming, worked on methods based on his own unique theories, insights and philosophy. His seminal book, “One-Straw Revolution,” first published in 1975, was later translated into English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Russian and other languages, and has been read around the world. The book addresses not only the practical aspects of natural farming but also the root causes of environmental deterioration. Fukuoka’s thoughts and philosophies have inspired many people worldwide by pointing out a way of life. Here we introduce his thought and practices.