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Tokyo 135˚

Tokyo 135˚ Kimono

The Tokyo 135˚ shop is hidden away on the second floor in a small building on a back street of Harajuku, Tokyo’s energetic youth culture district. If you don’t know it is there, you’ll most probably never find it. You’d miss out on Harajuku’s best modern kimono shop.

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• Wednesday December 3, 2008 • Add Comment

Back to the baths: Otaru revisited

Foreigners banned

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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The Japan Times • Wednesday December 3, 2008 • Add Comment

Karako

Karako

This Karako (唐子), a boy dressed in ancient Chinese clothes, is a traditional design pattern on silk textile used for haura, the back of a haori (a coat worn over a kimono).

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• Saturday November 29, 2008 • Add Comment

Karako

Karako

Deze Karako (唐子), een jongetje in antieke Japanse kleding, is een traditioneel ontwerp op zijde gebruikt voor haura, de achterkant van een haori (een jasje die over een kimono wordt gedragen).

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• Saturday November 29, 2008 • Reageer

Japan in the future to be caught between U.S., China: think tank

National Diet Building, Tokyo

Japan will probably find itself caught between the United States and China over the next 17 years, with its foreign policy at the mercy of the policies of Washington and Beijing, a U.S. intelligence community think tank reported Thursday.

In an unclassified report, titled “Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World,” the National Intelligence Council also said U.S. power will decline by 2025, with the world becoming unstable as the post-World War II international system vanishes.

On Japan, the 120-page report said the country will face a “major reorientation” of its domestic and foreign policies yet maintain its status as an “upper middle rank power.”

It forecast Tokyo’s foreign policies “will be influenced most by the policies of China and the United States,” with a broad spectrum of options possible. (Source: The Japan Times)

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The Japan Times • Saturday November 22, 2008 • Add Comment

Japan in de toekomst vast tussen de VS en China: denktank

National Diet Building, Tokyo

Japan zal waarschijnlijk vast komen te zitten tussen de VS en China over de volgende 17 jaar, met haar buitenlands beleid overgeleverd aan het beleid van Washington en Beijing, berichte een Amerikaanse inlichtingendiensten-denktank donderdag.

In een niet-geclassificeerd verslag met de titel #Globale trends 1025: Een getransformeerde wereld,” zei de National Intelligence Council ook dat Amerikaanse macht zal afnemen tegen 2025, met de wereld meer instabiel als het internationale systeem van na de Tweede Wereldoorlog verdwijnt.

Volgens het 120-pagina tellende verslag gaat Japan een “grote heroriëntatie” tegemoet ten aanzien van het binnenlands en buitenlands beleid, maar zal het land zijn status als een “top macht van de middelste rang” behouden.

OHet voorspelt dat Tokyo’s buitenlands beleid “beinvloed zal worden door het beleid van China en de Verenigde Staten,” met een breed spectrum van mogelijke opties. (Bron: The Japan Times)

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The Japan Times • Saturday November 22, 2008 • Reageer

Top 60 Buzzwords of 2008

Decorated Phone

Pink Tentacle has once again listed this year’s top buzzwords as released by publishing company Jiyu Kokuminsha. The words are an excellent way to discover what events, people and trends dominated the Japanese media during 2008. The list includes terms like Princess Phone (姫電, Himeden), Guerrilla Rainstorm (ゲリラ豪雨, Gerira Gou), Marriage Hunting (婚活, Konkatsu), Whispering Matron (ささやき女将, sasayaki okami), Taste for Middle-Aged Men (カレセン, karesen) and many others. (Source: Pink Tentacle)

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Pink Tentacle • Tuesday November 18, 2008 • Add Comment