Category Archives: Japan

Pokemon – What’s New?

Browsing the web for Pokemon updates and news I found some articles really interesting regarding what’s been happening lately in the Pokemon community.

Many articles debate the upcoming two games for Nintendo Switch – Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!. The games are currently being polished – I think they are in some advanced beta stage and the release date will be November 16. Just as we were used for Pokemon games to be released – with multiple versions of the same game but with little differences between them – these two will not stray from the rule.

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Logically – you can choose either Pikachu or Eevee and the battling system and the encounters will differ. Also some of the creatures can be captured in one game, others only in the second version. For example, Oddish, Sandshrew, and Growlithe only appear in the wild in Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!, while it is known that Bellsprout, Vulpix, and Meowth are only found in the wild in Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!.

The game will include known rules for Pokemon games as battling and catching creatures. I think that the games will feature only first generation of Pokemon – from what I’ve seen in the revealed screenshots. Also the wild Pokemon can be seen in the grass – so you will know what you are up to catch.

Another interesting thing is the upcoming movie – Pokemon the Movie: The Power of Us. With only a limited theatrical release – also in November and December – the story of Ash and Pikachu will once again will capture the attention of the audience.

Merchandise seems to continually hit the market – from new figures, to clothing articles, books and food – retailer BoxLunch just released some Pokemon themed ice cream cones – for the days left of this summer.

Online tournaments and real-life events as the Pokemon Go Fest in Chicago are still bringing fans together. I’ve seen also updates in the podcast area and people are still getting involved in various activities regarding Pokemon. And as for me I started playing Pokemon Duel today – which can be downloaded from the Google Play Pokemon Duel Page. I plan a separate article regarding the game – for now I’ve collected a few figures and starting playing against online players. And since I left my phone to recharge I am listening the the mix below.

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Daily Japan: Ramen

So.. it’s been quite a while since I discussed a Japan-related topic on my blog.. I used to read lots of articles regarding the Japanese culture and society.

I also used some of the podcasts I was listening back then to conduct a study for my bachelor thesis. And today I thought that I should bring back my interest in Japanese culture.. and one element that I want to present is a important notion in the Japanese cuisine. Ramen.

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Ramen (/ˈrɑːmən/) (拉麺, ラーメン rāmen, IPA: [ɾaꜜːmeɴ]) is a Japanese dish. It consists of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat or (occasionally) fish-based broth, often flavored with soy sauce or miso, and uses toppings such as sliced pork (叉焼 chāshū), dried seaweed (海苔 nori), menma (麺麻), and green onions ( negi). Nearly every region in Japan has its own variation of ramen, from the tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen of Kyushu to the miso ramen of Hokkaido.

Ramen soup is generally made from stock based on chicken or pork, combined with a variety of ingredients such as kombu (kelp), katsuobushi (skipjack tuna flakes), niboshi (dried baby sardines), beef bones, pig bones, shiitake, and onions. Some modern Ramen broths can also be vegetable based.

There are tons of varieties of ingredients that can be combined with the ramen soup.. especially spicy ones. One thing that tastes great is the ham inside the warm soup. Tried ramen a few times at the local mall.. and it was delicious. Ramen became popular as a street food during the Japanese festivals but it is also a quick choice when you are taking a break during the job hours. Vending machines nowadays permit you to cook ramen outdoors, if you find yourself in a hurry or away from your kitchen.

Ramen is offered in various types of restaurants and locations including ramen shops, izakaya drinking establishments, lunch cafeterias, karaoke halls, and amusement parks. However, the best quality ramen is usually only available in specialist ramen-ya restaurants. As ramen-ya restaurants offer mainly ramen dishes, they tend to lack variety in the menu. Besides ramen, some of the dishes generally available in a ramen-ya restaurant include fried rice (called Chahan or Yakimeshi), gyoza (Chinese dumplings), and beer.

Further interesting reading.

Nekojiru-sou [Conceptual Review]

As an anime fan, I dwell into shows that are purely amazing. Genres like psychological, horror, thriller, dementia and drama are my favorites [as stated many, many times before]. And here I am watching Nekojiru-sou, on a Monday at job :)) [because why not].

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Type: OVA
Episodes: 1
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Feb 21, 2001
Licensors: None found, add some
Studios: J.C.Staff
Source: Manga
Duration: 32 min.
Rating: R – 17+ (violence & profanity)

 

This title embarks you into a world of surreal tenderness, depictions of imagination and strange facts.

 

[SPOILERS AHEAD!]

 

We assist to a death scene from almost the very beginning. It is told ritualistically, using a process of three steps. The soul of the poor cat leaves her body after three blinkings, and the forth times she sees death coming for her.

 

Her brother, after seeing his sister leaving with death, he tries to save her soul from death, and rips apart that aura of her substantiality, making his sister – a shell of her former self. He gains one part of her soul. Death leaves with the other part.

 

The story-telling process is a complex one.

 

There are humans depicted as elements in an absurd existence, strange characters, like the cloud-bird in the circus, which is used as a metaphor for cruelty towards animals in a circus. We have God who cuts a female into pieces and puts her together using a spell – which is an epithet for religious expression. Then comes the Noe’s Ark scene, in which humanity brought doom upon themselves – as the official story tells – and not that the nature’s wrath was beyond control in a moment of this planet’s history.

 

Elements like this are detailing the course of the story written here.

 

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Strange things begin to happen after the waters evaporate. We have elements of voodoo – in which one characters is sewing up parts of corpses to create a sort of community from dead “things”, excessive violence, graphic depictions of gross and unussual behavior.

 

The tones used are pale, almost rotting, creating a perfect ambiance and an atmosphere for this ilogical and irrational tale of unreason.

 

One scene in particular was a favorite of mine. I would call it terror-punk subgenre [if that even exists], in which a man with bdsm inclinations is trying to kill our protagonists, but ends up chopped-up by our beloved cute friends. The OVA is produced in such a manner in which the cuteness is very well fusioned with the acts of brutality and tragedies of the story.

 

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Another thing that is very pleasant and demads gratitude is the imagination of the author, used professionally in creating situations and characters out-of-this world. Like the water-elephant or the abstract art used in the backgrouds with a note of H. P. Lovecraft phenomena.

 

The paradox of time, stopping it, fastforwarding it, elements of the Darwinist theory, mechanisms of life, the evolution of life, historical moments, and the traditional japanese lifestyle – all in one creation.

 

 I recommend the title for its originality. Score 5/5.

1 Litre of Tears [imported from JapFun blog]

[so.. I know it is a lame ass idea to import stuff from an older blog, but some of these articles I wrote were very important to me, so I want them to be on this blog as well]

J-dorama or simply japanese drama.

One of the best j-dramas ever made is 1 litre of tears. After watching it, I read a lot of posts about this drama and it seemed that everyone who watched it was impressed.

250px-1_litre_of_tears(DVD cover-source: wikipedia.com)

1 litre of tears is presenting the case of a girl, who at the age of 15 finds out that she has an incurable disease: Spinocerebellar Degeneration. As wikipedia.com learns us, this disease is one of a group of genetic disorders characterized by slowly progressive incoordination of gait and often associated with poor coordination of hands, speech, and eye movements.

We see all the symptoms in this drama. Doctors and specialists in neurology were consulted during the making of it.

There are 11 episodes plus a special one, which tell us the sad story of Ikeuchi Aya. During these episodes we learn about the help and the obstacles she faced, her feeling towards the others and the feelings of the others about her.

This drama is based on a real case. Kito Aya [July 1962 – May 23, 1988] had this disease. During her life she wrote a diary, which was published in 1986. Aya just wrote about life, about goodness and hope. About 1.800.000 copies of her diary had been sold.

1_litre_of_tears-book(The book cover-source: wikipedia.com)

Episode List:

1- The beginning of my youth
2- 15 years old, sickness that steals up
3- Why did the illness choose me?
4- The loneliness of two
5- A disabled person’s notebook
6- Heartless glances
7- The place where I am
8- 1 Litre of Tears
9- I live now
10- Love Letter
11- Far away, to the place where tears are exhausted

And the special episode:
1 Litre of Tears: Memory

300px-Ichi_Rittoru_no_Namida(The Ikeuchi Family-from the drama)

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useful links
1 Litre of Tears – Wikipedia
1 Litre of Tears – D-addicts
1Litre of Tears – The book
View this drama online at DramaCrazy

Manga Madness: Higurashi no naku koro ni – Onikakushi-hen – Chapter 1

Manga Madness will be a series of articles in which I will be reviewing the manga I read. I am not really into reading manga – I prefer watching the anime – but there are a few stories that I really enjoyed and I want to get more into these stories.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

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Higurashi no naku koro ni began as a murder mystery themed visual novel. Manga adaptations came after, and then it was serialized as an anime show. Other products, games and collectibles were released through the years having the same concept.

I watched the first two seasons and some of the specials released, listened to the soundtracks hundreds of times – and I began to believe Higurashi (the whole idea and products that came afterwards) were really meant for me. My girlfriend says I’m crazy.. am I? 😀

So.. currently I am re-watching the second season – Higurashi no naku koro ni kai – and I began reading the manga as well. The first Volume – first chapter is a question arc.

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– released in Japanese on 22 December 2002

– released in English on 18 November 2008

– drawings by Karin Suzuragi

As an introductory chapter of the series – we are welcomed to Hinamizawa – apparently a place untouched by the monstrous reality of life – a quiet, natural and undisturbed place.

We meet the characters Maebara Keiichi, Ryuguu Rena, Sonozaki Mion, Furude Rika, Houjo Satoko and the other characters that are helping in the completion of the story.

Little by little Keichii discovers that this place isn’t as peaceful as it seems. He asks questions about the history of the village and he intercepts, at first,  minor changes in the answers he gets. Because a good way to find out something is by seeking answers yourself, he comes across some old newspapers and printed articles where he discovers the horrifying truth that went on in Hinamizawa. There was a series of murders and unexplained disappearances which everyone tries to hide from him. Reasons? Little by little he finds himself doubting everything and everyone.

A good start for a mystery manga. It slowly develops a tense atmosphere. Drawings are good and because I already know the story I say it is impressive.

 

Android Mannequin Takes Marketing To Another Dimension

The Takashimiya department store in Tokyo offers its visitors a unique display – a female robot capable of reacting in front of human visitors.

The android is capable of over sixty facial expressions and movements. This is a Valentine’s Day promotion sustained by a written message on the store’s display window “Android falls in love. She is waiting for you”. If you ask me – just another “Forever Alone ” notion.

But – the idea is great. It is a new visual merchandising concept which obviously is attractive to public.

Weird Japan: Square Watermelons

Japan..Japan..you did it again.

Once again my breath was taken away by an invention of the japanese universal mind. Have you ever tasted square watermelons? I surely didn’t and I will probably never have one. They cost around 10.000 yen [$82] so that’s way too expensive even for a Japanese worker.

But the idea is not hat bad – just plain weird.