Let's Go Virtual!
In this month’s bento we explore virtual touring since we are still under lock-down. We can’t travel to other countries by train, plane or automobile but since technology are one of man’s biggest accomplishes we will surf the information highway and tour Japan virtually. Expect museums, shrines, railways, zoos and even shrines on our journey. We will also take padkos (food for the road) and listen to some inspiring AMVs. We also look at AnimeFanatika’s recommendation of anime of 2015 and we have our anime challenge. We are YOUR source for anime and Japanese News and culture, Itadakimasu!!!!
Hot News of the Month
To stop the spread of the coronavirus, the whole planet went under lock-down with people being asked to stay indoors and businesses continuing to close or shorten their operating hours. One career path suffered greatly due to the lock-down and that is the geisha. Industry, as they rely on entertaining clients in person and very often in close quarters inside restaurants.
But the geisha industry has always adapted with the social changes in the world and kept their tradition alive for centuries, one geisha group specifically adapted to the current climate of social distancing by offering to entertain clients via online drinking parties. This new online service is being provided by geisha from the Hakone Yumoto Performing Arts Association in Kanagawa Prefecture and Tokyo-based web integration services company Gaiax. These ladies, who usually entertain customers at local ryokan inns, haven’t been able to work since March, after reservations at the inns were cancelled from mid-February, leaving them without income.
The ‘Geisha Online Drinking Party’ was born, an excellent way to not only reach their existing customer base but also international tourists and the younger generation. These parties are held every every Friday and Saturday from 9-9:30 p.m. and 9:30-10:00 p.m., the 30-minute drinking party costs 2,000 yen and is open to a maximum of six people at a time. To participate is simple, the client make reservations and payments on their website and if successful will be notified of the Zoom URL by email.
These group of ladies plan to provide English-language support and continue these online-parties even after the coronavirus pandemic has passed. We salute this famously secretive tradition for staying mysterious but also changing with the times. Kanpai!
Gamer Grandma kills World Record.
90-year-young Hamako Mori, the world’s oldest video game streamer has played titles like Call of Duty, Skyrim and Dauntless for decades. She was born February 18, 1930 and has been playing games since 1981. She was judged by Guiness Book of Records as the oldest video game streamer. Hamako-sama regularly uploads videos to her Gamer Grandma YouTube channel. The oldest video on her channel (2014) records her having the time of her life on the back of a dragon in the game Skyrim.
She is seen as a Japanese treasure and inspires a lot of young gamers. “When I see her, it fills me with motivation. I’m gonna work hard to pass my college exams now.” One of her fans said. She is proof that the spirit of gaming has no expiry date, and that it’s never too late to start gaming. Who knows it may just be a fountain of youth.
How to: Draw Totoro!!!
We all love Totoro, it is one of the most Studio Ghibli movie characters. The studio’s former president, Toshio Suzuki created an online tutorial that teaches us how to draw this beloved anime character. Suzuki contributed the video to a website that supports children stuck at home during the coronavirus outbreak. It is a perfect gift for kids because as we all remember My Neighbour Totoro tells the story of two children and their friendship with forest creatures, and dealing with their mother’s illness. Suzuki produced the movie, as well as major Studio Ghibli animations such as Kiki’s Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away.
Kawaii Kulture – Virtual Tours
National Museum of Nature and Science
The Tokyo National Museum, Ueno’s National Museum of Nature and Science launched its own 3D/VR experience. Both the Japan pavilion and the Global pavilion can be explored now without setting a foot into the museum. With the magic of a mouse and your curiosity you now have the ability to freely navigate around the museum. The museum is impressive inside and it is definitely recommended by our staff that you should take a virtual walk in the museum.
Sapporo Maruyama Zoo
Missing going to the zoo? Well thanks to the Sapporo Maruyama Zoo you can now watch snow monkeys, giraffes, beavers, hippos, wolves and much more from the zoo’s video page. These videos are updated often and you are treated to the living quarter of every animal and some very cute video shots. Grab your kid or your parent, and watch zoo videos to your heart’s content.
Storks and Wombats
There are also hundreds of live streams devoted to specific animals like the Satsukiyama Zoo that streams its adorable family of four wombats every day or a livestream of a pair of Oriental white storks in the Shounji area, and by the way the pair are expecting to hatch some eggs soon.
The Kyoto Distillery
If you are more mature and gin is your poison, how about a tour of a gin distillery online to appreciate the hard work that made your favourite drink. You can explore the warehouse floor, see how the process work from the humble beginnings to the fulfilling end. The tour even contains interactive exhibits and mixed drink recipes.
4. Tokyo Rail Tracks
Trainspotting exists and if you are a fan of city life and trains you can spend your lock-down enjoying a live feed of Tokyo’s railways. (Especially if you enjoyed our Rail Wars anime Challenge last month). From 4:30 am to 1:10 am, come sun or rainfall you can watch the trains snake through the cityscapes. Watching the skyscrapers and roadways in the back are just as much fun to watch. So, relax with a nice cup of joe and watch the trains.
5. Mountains and Caves
Wish you could climb the mountains of Japan right now? Well, we can give you the next best thing; with Fujisan Watcher you have a live feed from multiple sources which enable you to see about every side of Mount Fuji, at any time of the day. You have read our article on Mount Fuji and now you can virtually see everything for yourself!
Makido Cave is a perfect cave system to explore virtually. It is a 450-meter-long limestone natural monument in the Okayama prefecture with an underground lake and features brightly coloured LED lights that prettily illuminate the stalactites.
Fushimi Inari-taisha, the head shrine of the kami Inari, located in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. It is an impressive site to explore and a talented game developer made it possible to explore the temple virtually.
This game is beautiful and a must play for Japanese Shrine enthusiasts and gamers that love exploration and beautiful art. Fushimi Inari the game is for everyone. And it can be downloaded for free or you can show gratitude by paying the artist for his hard work! To top it off, he created virtual tours of places in New Zealand and Iceland as well and all his virtual tours can also be downloaded in a bundle.
Spread the Word & Word of the Month: Tabi
Since we are talking about virtual tours lets look at the Japanese word for travel or journey. Here are ten useful words describing ‘to go on a trip’ or ‘to travel’. The word ‘tabi’ may look familiar to those who watched the anime Kino no Tabi, which can loosely translate to ‘Kino’s Travels’.
tabi たび – Travel, Trip or Journey
gaikoku ryokou がいこくりょこう – Foreign Travel, Oversea Trip
higaeri ryokou ひがえりりょこう – Day Trip
kaigai ryokou かいがいりょこう– Overseas Travel, Traveling Abroad
kankou ryokou かんこうりょこう – Sightseeing Tour
kengaku ryokou けんがくりょこう – Observation Tour
ryokou sha りょこうしゃ – Tourist / Traveler
ryokou sakiりょこうさき– Destination
shuugaku ryokou しゅうがくりょこう– School Excursion, School Trip
yoi tabi wo よいたびを！– “Have a good trip!” or “Bon Voyage!”
Word of the month
tabi たび – Travel, Trip or Journey
Traditional Japanese Food: Padkos
Since we are on lock-down and can only travel with our computers, it is a good time to explore Japan’s ultimate padkos, Japanese Street Food, those yummy cuisine that the streets of Japan offers us as we tour the streets. Padkos is a South African slang and Afrikaans term loosely translating to ‘food on the road’ or even ‘picnic food’. You can expect some tantalising tempura, mouthwatering miso and more, so grab a snack and watch with us!
Top Anime recommendations for the year 2015
2015 was a great year for anime where series were born that still are ongoing in some ways and have a cult following such as One Punch Man and DanMachi. It is also the year when the now gone anime house Manglobe gifted us with their final anime series, Gangsta. We give you our top five recommendation.
One Punch Man
2015 was a great year and we would also like to share honourable mentions with you such as Shokugeki no Souma (Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma), Overlord, Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou, God Eater and our anime challenge anime for this month, Death Parade. There are even more great anime gems of the year 2015 and we hope you find them all.
June Anime Challenge: Death Parade
Many anime have touched on the theme with life after death. There is Haibane Renmei, where winged people wake up from eggs and explore life after death in weird uncanny ways, then there is Bleach and one of the worlds is a place called Soul Society where the dead goes, also we have Gantz, a horror anime where life after death is a sick game of kill or be killed again. Death Parade however, is something else, a series that deals with the five stages of loss (denial, anger, bargaining, grief and acceptance) on a whole other level, as you will see…
In Death Parade, we first meet the characters: they have amnesia and look innocent at first. Then as the story progress, the darkness starts bubbling through the cracks. They play a game with Death that already has won anyway; this is just to decide their fate: Void or Reincarnation. It has the elements of dealing with choices and consequences, this time after death.
Anime Birthday of the month: Itachi Uchiha
Our birthday of the month, whose birthday is on the 9th of June, is Itachi Uchiha, best known to Naruto fanatiks as the missing-nin from Konohagakure, a member of Akatsuki, partnered with Kisame Hishigaki and that he is Sasuke Uchiha’s older brother. In his time at Konohagakure he was an ANBU captain.
Eldest son of Mikoto and Fugaku Uchiha, he was praised by all as the best of his generation and a prodigy, he became a missing-nin after murdering his entire clan, sparing only his little brother Sasuke. He joined Akatsuki and only after his death when Itachi’s motives were revealed we learned that he was a loyal Shinobi of Konohagakure to the very end. The story of Itachi and his little brother Sasuke is one of the main story-line branches in the Naruto anime franchise. It is a path of sorrow, the path of two brothers and the pain of loss, the darkness of being the sole survivors, tested by blood and honour.
AMV of the month: Around the world
As we have a journey-themed bento this month we bring you two AMVs titled around the world by their creators. . Get ready as you will see some old anime and new on this AMV journey of music.We listen to Target’s Around The World (Bass Power Remix) and he George Twins & KHS‘ Rather Be.
Target - Around The World (Bass Power Remix
The George Twins & KHS
Unfortunately, due to the lockup, our Anime Meetup for May is cancelled until further notice but keep checking every week for our weekly anime challenge to keep you entertained during the lock-down period.