Learn more about Japan’s favourite spring week
Spring is a fun season in Japan, not only does the Sakura blossoms attract tourists from all over Japan and internationally, but it is also when Japan celebrates Golden Week. In this bento we will tell you more about Golden Week in our ‘Spread The Word’ section. The new anime season has blossomed as well, and speaking of blossoms, we have looked at some of the new shows and found scenes with Sakura blossoms in them.
In Episode 1 of Kabukibu, we see beautiful spring blossoms as Kurogo Kurusu recites his favourite Kabuki piece to his best friend Tonbo Murase. Amidst falling Sakura blossoms Kugoru clenches his fist saying in an exasperated Kabuki way: ‘Spring this year is going to be extra lucky!” Kabukibu tells the tale of Kurogo Kurusu, a boy with a dream of starting his own Kabuki club at school.
There is also a hint of spring in the first seconds of Tsugumomo’s first episode as they show us an obi and blossoms surrounding it as the anime explains to us the origin of the creature known as the Tsukumogami. The episode shows us the moment Kazuya Kagami discovers that the ‘Fukurobi’ his mother gave him is actually also a kimono-clad Tsukumogami named Kiriha. In the episode we see him reminiscing about the scent of cherry blossoms and the next moment a ‘hair-raising’ event involving a youkai happens!
At the end of Warau Salesman New’s first episode, the shadowy and ominous, Moguro Fukuzo is riding on a boat; on the banks of the river sakura blossoms are falling from a tree. Moguro is satisfied after selling his unique ‘gifts’ to two customers. The series is creepy to say the least as we explore Moguro selling people their heart’s desires… at a price they only realize when it is too late.
The Month That Was
In the news this past month a lot of old friends like Ghost in the Shell and Gundam: The Origin promised new seasons and movies. We also look at new anime to be expected later this year.
Ghost in The Shell
The Ghost in The Shell franchise is no stranger to the seasoned anime fanatik. It consists of various movies like the four-part prequel movie Ghost in the Shell: Arise which premiered between June 2013 and September 2014, and also a few anime series. A Hollywood live adaptation of Ghost in The Shell, produced by DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures premiered in March 2017.
If the current live-action version of Ghost in The Shell did not appeal to you, and yet, you have a craving for more anime of the franchise then we bring you happy news. Earlier this month Production I.G has announced that a new anime adaptation of the manga Masamune Shirow’s Koukaku Kidoutai: The Ghost in the Shell is in the works! This adaptation will have the talented Kenji Kamiyama (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex) in the director’s seat, joined by co-director Shinji Aramaki (Naruto Movie 1).
Gundam: The Origin
If you are hungry for new Gundam series or movies this current spring season has left you dry but at least on September 2nd we will get to see the fifth installment of the Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin as they will release the long awaited ‘Clash at Loum’, the first in the ‘Loum Arc” of the series. This fifth movie will also run two weeks longer in Japanese theaters than each of the four previous movies. It has also been revealed that the ‘Loum Arc” will end with a sixth movie titled “Rise of the Red Comet,” in 2018.
This new arc covers the Battle of LoumThe movie will feature Char’s younger sister Sayla, the Zeon pilot Ramba Ral, his lover Hamon as well as Amuro and Fraw Bow.
Hitorjime My Hero
An anime adaptation for Memeco Arii’s boys love manga Hitorjime My Hero has been announced. The series will be broadcast in Japan in July 2017. The Hitorjime My Hero manga is a spin-off of Memeco’s earlier work Hitorjime Boyfriend. The story line deals with the growing bonds between an incompetent delinquent and a high school teacher that sucks at math but is a great fighter. Details on the cast and crew are scarce for the moment but we will follow up as soon as more information comes to light.
Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You!
Reminisce with us as we nostalgically think back to 1997, when the first episode of Pokémon aired. Remember the magic of when Ash met Pikachu for the first time… Well the twentieth Pokémon movie Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! Will not only re-tell that story but will also explore an original story that sees us Ash and Pikachu grow closer by undertaking a quest to meet Ho-Oh, that very legendary Pokémon that appeared in a distance in that very first episode. This movie will hit Japanese Theatres on July 15, 2017.
The movie will feature a new mythical Pokémon, Marshadow, voiced by Kouichi Yamadera. It will be Yamadera’s 20th appearance in a Pokémon movie. Also, Shoko Nakagawa is again having a guest role in a Pokémon movie voicing Nurse Joy. Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! is directed by Kunihiko Yuyama.
Soutai Sekai/The Relative Worlds
An upcoming two-parter original anime web series named Soutai Sekai/The Relative Worlds premiere’s Friday the 28th of April, followed by a second part on May 5th. The anime is set in Japan 2020. The Main character Shin Hazama is a third-year high school student, who lost both his parents (His father recently and his mother in his childhood). He encounters a version of himself that has spent a different life in Japan. The anime promises a battle with another world and another self!
Shin Hazama is played by Yuki Kaji and joined by voice talents such as Maaya Uchida and Aoi Yuuki. The Opening Song is ‘VIP KID’ and Ending Song “ChiruChiru” is both performed by REOL. The anime project was planned and created by Craftar. In the director’s seat for this project is Yuhei Sakuragi (The Case of Hana & Alice CGI director).
Interesting tidbits from the realm of anime
Spread The Word
We learn a few Japanese words and also learn more about dining out in Japan. Japan has a lot of interesting dishes that can be found on the menu. Some of these include Udon (a type of noodle that is served in a soup), Soba (thin buckwheat noodle, which is sometimes served cold), Yakitori (kebab on a stick) or Yakisoba ( a stir-fried noodle dish with barbecue and pork).
The Japanese restaurants usually display plastic replicas of their food in the restaurant window so if you can’t read Japanese, you can just point to a plastic representation and they will prepare it for you.
Getting your table:
At the restaurant there will usually be a greeter, like we have seen in some anime. The greeter may ask you “Nanmei same desu ka?” (Nan-mei sa-ma de-su ka?) That means he or she wants to know how many people you are that will dine there.
Saying ‘itchi’, ‘nee’ or ‘san’ (one, two or three in Japanese) will not work, as you are not counting how many you are… In Japanese there is a different way of counting people. Example:
One person – hitori
two people – futari
three people – sannin
four people – yonin
five people – gonin
As you can see, most of these are the Japanese number followed by the word ‘nin’. When seated you’ll be given a clean cloth, which will be cold in the summer time and hot in wintertime, which is called an oshiburi. These are only for your hands. The Japanese are very hygiene conscious and it is nice that they provide these at the table too!
Asking for the menu/ ordering food:
You might strike it lucky and the restaurant has an English menu. To see if they have, you may ask: eigo no menyuu arimasu ka? (Eh-go no men-yu ga aree-mass-ka?) which means ‘Do you have an English menu?’
If they don’t you can always go outside to the yummy plastic display, take a photo of a dish and show the nice waiter inside what you want. You can tell him or her: Kore (w)o onegaishimasu (koh-ray-oh on-nee-gai-she-mass) – ‘That one, Please’.
If you know what you want to eat, you can always say it, by ordering it. Example let say you want some ramen you can tell the waiter ‘Ramen onegaishimasu’ and if you want many types of dishes you can list them easily by saying the word ‘to’ in-between. Like this: ‘Ramen to yakisoba onegaishimasu’ (Ramen and Yakisoba please).
We just talked about counting people but If you need more than one item, you need to use a different counting system. If you want two bowls of ramen saying ‘Ramen futari’ will mean ‘two ramen people’ and will just confuse the poor waiter, Instead you say ‘Ramen (w)o futatsu onegaishimasu’ . As you might notice, the word -tsu is the counter here.
Here is a way to count to five when talking about objects:
1 thing – hitotsu
2 things – futatsu
3 things – mittsu
4 things – yottsu
5 things – itsustu
A nice time to dine out in Japan is during its festivals and it just so happen that it is Golden Week in Japan. Golden week is a collection of four national holidays happening within seven days. It is one of Japan’s busiest holidays besides New Years Day and the Obon week. Many Japanese citizens take paid leave for that week, and some companies also closes down completely and give their employees time off. Golden Week is the longest vacation period of the year for many.
Days celebrated in Golden Week:
Showa Day (Showa on hi) April 29th:
This day is the birthday of former Emperor Showa, who died in 1989. Before 2007. April 2007 was known as Greenery Day (Which is now Celebrated on May 4th).
Constitution Day (Kenpo Kinenbi) May 3rd:
A national holiday celebrating the new constitution that came in effect in 1947 after World War 2.
Greenery Day (Midori no hi) May 4th:
This day is dedicated to the environment and nature, because the emperor loved plants and nature. This day used to be celebrated on April 29th until 2006.
Children’s day (Kodomo no hi) May 5th:
The Boy’s festival (Tango no Sekku) is celebrated on this day. Families pray for their son’s health and future success by hanging up streamers and displaying samurai dolls, both to symbolize strength, power and success in life.
Golden Week is an epic festival and there is a lot to do as well. It is a rollercoaster ride of culture. We hoped you enjoyed learning about dining out in Japan, Golden Week and enjoyed learning a few new words with us!
Traditional recipe of the month
Since it is spring in Japan we look at a dish that is well loved in springtime: Taiyaki. It only takes a few minutes to make! Some of you might remember that in the anime Kannon there is a girl named Ayu Tsukimiya that loves hot taiyaki or you might remember this snack from the anime Clannad. Taitaki translates to ‘baked steam bream’ and is a fish-shaped cake. The most common filling for taiyaki is red bean paste made from azuki beans. Other fillings may include chocolate, custard or even cheese. There are even shops that sell pink sakura flavoured taiyaki in spring.
Taiyaki is made using regular pancake or waffle batter. The batter they pour into a fish-shaped mould (for each side), then the filling is added to the one side and the mould is closed. Both sides are the cooked until golden brown. Here are the ingredients: 150 g (, about 1¼ cup) cake flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 egg, beaten, 200 ml (about ¾ cup) milk, 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar, 100 g (5 Tbsp.) anko/red bean paste or filling of your choice and 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil. Here is a video to guide you trough the whole baking process.
Upcoming Birthday of the month and AMV of the month!
Celebrating his birthday on the 1st of May we honour Chōji Akimichi, a member of Konohagakure’s Akimichi Clan, the future Sixteenth Head of the Akimichi after his father. He is a popular Character of the Naruto anime Franchise. Chōji used to be looked down upon as a child because he was not good at a game called ‘Ninja’, a game which is a cross between tag and hide and seek, and shurikens made of sticks and cardboard. Kids berated him but Shikamaru Nara stood up for him and they became the best of friends when they grew into fine young shinobis they both became part of team Asuma with Ino Yamanaka. They are also close friends of Naruto.
Choji has the unique ability to increase any of his body parts ten times their original size. Also with his ability to increase his size, he has another unique ability called Meat Tank, which allows him to roll toward his opponents at high speeds with his increased body.
Chōji’s name is made up of the kanji for ‘butterfly’ and ‘second’, and Chōji manifests butterfly wings made of chakra. His clan name ‘Akimichi’ means ‘autumn road’ referring to the time of harvest as well as the streets where food vendors are selling food!
Our AMV of the month features Chōji Akimichi and his fight with Jiroubou which happened in Episode 113 –114 of Naruto. The song is River Below by Billy Talent.