Things to do in quarantine: Building a miniature Akihabara

Building miniature Akihabara in your home

written by: Erika | source: TimeOut Tokyo

Although things are starting to get better here in Italy, we continue our section on things to do in quarantine, and today we share with you how to build a mini Akihabara.

Akihabara Akihabara

Akihabara is one of the favorite destinations for all otaku and fans of Japan, a historic district dedicated precisely to everything that is manga, anime, and video games. In this delicate moment, we are not yet allowed to travel. However, there is no need to take the plane to get to know new places and visit the ones we have already seen. In fact today we share with you the opportunity to recreate miniature Akihabara directly from your home!

In Akihabara, there are not only many places dedicated to that world that we would call nerd, but there are also many clubs and shops dedicated to various hobbies. One of them is the Mansei Club, a corner offering a variety of fun games, origami instructions, and paper models all for free.

If you're still stuck at home and don't know what to do, you can now recreate the iconic Tokyo neighborhood with these detailed paper models. In fact, the streets of Akihabara are all reported in these detailed scale reproductions. Creating this model is very simple, just follow the instructions listed in these PDFs available for free for download. In fact, these reproductions perfectly show the buildings of Akihabara and also where these buildings must be positioned. Although the instructions are in Japanese, it is actually very simple to follow them also thanks to the various illustrations.

Akihabara Akihabara

However, if building an entire neighborhood seems too complicated for you, don't worry there are many other possibilities. In fact, Niku no Mansei offers more than 50 paper models that you can download for free. With a design that varies from reproductions of famous Samurai up to reproductions of the most famous Japanese foods. In short, here we find the opportunity to satisfy every taste and every type of hobby! You just have to choose your model, download it, and get to work! We are curious to see the results!


Things to do in quarantine: Learn Japanese cuisine

Learn Japanese cooking with 5 YouTubers

written by: Erika | source: TokyoWeekender

We continue our column on things to do in quarantine and today we talk to you how to learn Japanese cuisine with the help of 5 YouTubers.

cucina giapponese

In these lockdown days, we are all trying our hand at new recipes and experimenting with new combinations of flavors. Here are 5 YouTubers to follow in order to learn Japanese cuisine and try out some dishes at home!

Tasty Japan

They are our favorites. A lot of simple recipes to follow, with all the ingredients easily recoverable in any part of the world you live in. From desserts to first courses, from quiches to second courses. Authentic and fun, Tasty Japan engages the viewer with educational videos and many guests. Almost all the videos have English subtitles and all the presenters are very funny and full of energy, making even the most complicated dishes easy to do. Videos that fall into the #foodporn category par excellence, make sure you're on a full stomach when you try to cook these delights.

Ochikeron

Mother of two, the protagonist of the channel Ochikeron creates dishes to allow the whole family to cook together. In fact, the simplest dishes on the channel can be cooked together with the little ones too. However, more complicated dishes that require more time and energy are available for all those fearless enough to try all these new recipes. All this makes this channel a unique world for all those kitchen projects to be created together. Furthermore, if you are fed up with the usual dinners, this is the right place to find new ideas.

Japanese Cooking 101

With a huge selection of videos, Japanese Cooking 101 not only offers dishes easy to make, but more complicated processes can also be found. From Karaage to fried rice with chanko nabe, a perfect hot-pot style dish for the winter, this youtube channel is a real catalog of Japanese cuisine. In fact, we can find a lot of recipes to experiment and each video shows a complete list of ingredients together with instructions on how to create the dish. Although other channels have some entertainment, Japanese Cooking 101 has a more didactic and dry approach, but very easy to follow.

Diaries of a Master Sushi Chef

If, however, like many Westerners you love sushi too, Hiroyuki Terada's channel is the one for you! The diaries of this master sushi chef will teach you how to juggle knives, fillets, and much more. In fact, on this channel, you will find methods to create delicious sushi but also dishes such as chicken teriyaki and many other izakaya-style delights. With collaborations of the caliber also of Chef Ramsey, this is the channel for all those who want to seriously try their hand at learning the art of sushi.

Aki’s Japanese Recipes for Vegans

Vegan and vegetarian restaurants are difficult to find in Tokyo, this has led to the creation of various YouTube channels including that of Aki. In fact, on this channel, you can find the best recipes for all those who love unconventional cuisine. A real sensorial experience in HD for an accessible channel and with the instructions written in Japanese and English. In addition, Aki, the protagonist of the channel, always takes the time to better explain his recipes and ensure that the dishes always look good.

 


Mame Kurogouchi x TOD'S

Mame Kurogouchi x TOD'S, when Made in Italy encounters with Japan

written by: Erika | Photo courtesy of TOD's

Japan and Italy have always been linked by many things, the love for art and fashion is one of them, hence the new collaboration of Mame Kurogouchi with TOD's.

TOD's, historic Italian brand founded in the early 1900s by Filippo Della Valle, is today one of the most known brands in the world. The fashion house became famous for its iconic footwear, and today, under the guidance of Diego Della Valle, it holds a large slice of the Italian fashion market. With the always impeccable, classy, minimal, and chic design, TOD's has always winked a little at what are also the characteristics of Japanese design. For this reason, we are not surprised by the collaboration with Maiko Kurogouchi, designer of the Mame Kurogouchi brand.

Mame Kurogouchi TOD'S

The designer is the new guest of T-Factory, a project launched by Diego Della Valle in 2018 that previously involved Alessandro Dell'Acqua and Alber Elbaz. A collection of 26 pieces of clothing and accessories launched online on March 27 which focuses on shades of white and blue navy. Along with this, we also find pure and architectural silhouettes for both clothes and footwear.

Maiko, aka Mame, Kurogouchi

Born in 1985, originally from Nagano, the designer founded the homonymous brand in 2010, combining minimal and clean aesthetics with the more traditional aesthetic of Japan. In fact, she draws a lot of inspiration from everything in her Japanese DNA, from hand sewing to the traditional way of wrapping foods and packages.

The connection with TOD's started in Paris after a conversation with Mr. Della Valle. In fact, the two creatives discovered that they have a lot in common starting from their visions. A brand idea with a timeless elegance, which respects the traditional craftsmanship and an aesthetic linked to the concept of travel. These are also the basic elements of the collection designed for the brand.

"I am concerned that every woman can wear these pieces, and that in doing so she feels safe, at ease"

Mame Kurogouchi TOD'S Mame Kurogouchi x TOD'S Mame Kurogouchi TOD'S

Acclaimed as one of the best emerging designers in Japan, Mame Kurogouchi has reworked the key garments of the brand, changing all the details to fully blend this meeting between Italy and Japan. With precision and passion, Kurogouchi has transformed everyday life into something elegant both for clothing and accessories. Mixing classic Japanese design with contemporary silhouettes and sporty fabrics, Mame Kurogouchi thinks about what is really necessary for a woman.

The collection

A 26-piece collection that draws and winks at Japan in many details. Among the key pieces, we find a single-breasted trench coat with shirt-style  collar and leather pockets, trapeze pullover tunics with kimono sleeves and shirts with puffed sleeves and a belt that refers to the Samurai ensamble. In addition, practicality is the main focus of each garment together with the modernization of the brand's iconic pieces. In fact, Mame Kurogouchi reinterprets the classic ring bag discovered by the brand archive, making it a perfect piece for all women on the go but also looking for elegance, lightness, and versatility.

Mame Kurogouchi Mame Kurogouchi TOD'S Mame Kurogouchi TOD'S

Another element that recalls Japan are all the intricate embroideries that, according to the designer, recall the Kogin-Zashi sewing techniques. Furthermore, the designer found several similarities from the TOD's archives with Japanese artisanal work, despite the geographical and cultural distance between Italy and Japan. In this regard, the straps on the accessories become a symbol of closeness even between the two nations and cultures. A perfect blend of old and new but also between Japan and Italy.

The Mame Kurogouchi x TOD'S collection, available on the e-commerce of the brand, is only the first step towards the international growth of this young and talented designer.

[ngg src="galleries" ids="4" display="basic_thumbnail" thumbnail_crop="0"] 


Things to do in Quarantine: the best podcasts about Japan

The best Podcast about Japan

written by: Erika | source: TimeOut Tokyo

Let's continue our feature on things to do in quarantine and today we talk to you about some podcasts dedicated to Japan.

Giappone

The COVID-19 emergency has practically made it impossible to plan trips for at least another year. However, for all fans of Japanese culture, today we share with you an easy and fun way to learn more about this topic. In fact, there are several podcasts that can fill this void by helping you discover Japan's many facets. In fact, through these audios, it will be possible to discover the many hidden aspects and facets of the Rising Sun without having to face crowded flights and trains.

For example, are you aware of why spider lily flowers are located near Japanese cemeteries and rice fields? Do you know who the pioneering women of the Rising Sun were? These podcasts will not only delve into the food, history, and legends of this country but will also answer questions you didn't even know you had. So, in this moment where we cannot go out and travel, let these podcasts take you on a few minutes journey through Japan.

Japan Eats - Learn about Japanese cuisine

Podcast giappone

Japan Eats is a podcast of a historic Brooklyn-based radio focused on food. Presented by Akiko Katayama, Japanese cuisine journalist and director of the New York Japanese Culinary Academy. Here we talk about everything from the various trends of Japanese cuisine, to drinks and much more. In one of the recent episodes, Akiko focused even on how to live a vegetarian life in Japan, the art of the Yakitori and more. The podcast already has more than 180 episodes with a new one every week.

Uncanny Japan - All Japanese legends in one podcast

Podcast giappone

Theresa Matsuura, an American author who has lived half her life in a fishing village in Japan, presents Uncanny Japan. In this podcast, Matsuura talks about those parts of Japanese culture that are often invisible or inaccessible to anyone who does not speak the language. At the same time, it offers an insight into local customs, legends, folklore and superstitions of the rising sun. Ready to immerse yourself in the imaginative and sometimes even spooky Japanese fairy tales?

History of Japan - Learn Japanese history

Podcast

Isaac Meyer, a teacher with a PhD specializing in modern Japan, leaves nothing hidden in this historical podcast. From ancient to modern Japan, passing through poets, political scandals, economic booms, samurai, geishas and much more. Indeed, this podcast is an in-depth look through the history of the rising sun in each episode. Informative but also fascinating to hear, History of Japan has more than 300 episodes that can keep you company in this lockdown period.

Voices in Japan - Life in Japan

Podcast

Ben and Burke, expats in Japan who live in Hokkaido, share their life experience in the land of the Rising Sun. The podcast Voices in Japan talks about their life from work to studying the Japanese language, and also learning the customs of the nation and much more. The weekly episodes include general topics related to living in Japan such as a look at the Japanese health system. In addition, the talk also revolves around the love of technology, Sumo and the potential benefits of the Japanese diet. Whether you live in Japan or just want to hear more about life experiences, this podcast is ready for you.

Sake on Air - All about the world of Sake

Podcast giappone

For all fans of Sake and shochu, Sake on Air is the podcast made for you. The experts of this famous Japanese drink share their knowledge in each episode, inviting us to this virtual dinner. In fact, in each episode, we find a different topic such as new trends in manufacturing, stories from producers but not just this. We can also learn about the various flavors, the difference between the rice used and how to combine the various flavors of Sake with food. So, if you are also curious, arm yourself with a glass of wine or your favorite sake and listen to this podcast!

 


Things to do in Quarantine: create an edible Zen garden

Creating an edible Zen garden

written by: Erika

The world is still in lockdown and in the absence of things to do we can give ourselves crazy joy in the kitchen, that's why today we share a new idea with you, create an edible zen garden!

giardino zen giardino zen

In Japan there are mixes made specifically to share this experience with the whole family, even together with the little ones. Instead, today we offer you a variant to be created directly at your home with ingredients easily available in any supermarket.

In every self-respecting Zen garden we find rocks, sand or gravel, greenery and some stones to be able to cross it without disturbing its tranquility. By following our instructions, you can recreate exactly this atmosphere.

Step 1: The Rocks

As you well know, a fundamental ornament of the Zen garden are these huge stones present inside. In our recipe, we are going to create stones with simple brownies.

Brownies - Ingredients

  • Dark chocolate 265 g
  • Eggs (approx. 4) 200 g
  • Whole peeled hazelnuts 175 g
  • Room temperature butter 135 g
  • 00 flour 135 g
  • Sugar 255 g
  • Pinch of salt

Brownies are easy to make and won't take too long, so start chopping the chocolate coarsely and melt it in a water bath. When it is almost melted, add the soft butter cut into small pieces.
Stir thoroughly until everything melts in a water bath and then remove it from the heat. Then let it cool, stirring it occasionally.

While you wait for the chocolate to cool, take the hazelnuts and let them toast in a preheated oven at 180° for about 7/8 minutes. Once out of the oven, let them cool in order not to burn you, then chop them coarsely and keep them aside.

giardino zen brownie

Let's move on to the next step, put the eggs in a bowl and begin to beat them and then add the sugar. It is not necessary to whip the mixture, but continue to beat only until the sugar is well dissolved. At this point, add a pinch of salt and let it dissolve too. Still with the whips in action, slowly add the chocolate and butter mixture that will have cooled down by now.

As soon as everything is mixed, stop whipping. Take a narrow mesh strainer and sift through the flour. Then, mix everything with a spatula until the flour is absorbed uniformly. Then take the chopped hazelnuts and mix everything.

After having greased and lined a baking sheet, pour the dough inside by leveling it with a spatula so that it is evenly distributed. Bake in a static and preheated oven at 180° for 25 minutes, then take out of the oven and leave to cool. At this point, with a knife, you can create the rock-shaped pieces for your zen garden!

Step 2: The gravel

Another fundamental element for a Zen garden is gravel, a symbol of tranquility and purity. But let's see our suggestions to create this element!

Almond crumble - Ingredients

  • flour 0 60g
  • Finely chopped almonds 60 g
  • Brown sugar 60 g 
  • Butter 50 g
  • Half vanilla bean
  • Icing sugar

With the crumble, we are going to create most of our zen garden so we start by preheating the oven to 180°. As the oven heats up, we take the almonds and start peeling them. Then, we take a baking sheet and place it on the baking tin.

Next, we toast the almonds for 7/8 minutes inside the oven, then let them cool and finely chop them with a knife. Afterward, we take the 0 flour and mix the chopped almonds inside with the brown sugar. When we have an amalgamated mixture, we take the butter and cut it into cubes and then add it inside the same mixture together with the vanilla seeds.

crumble

Work the whole mixture with your fingertips until a grainy mixture is obtained. Alternatively, it is also possible to prepare all this with a mixer but the crumbs that we are going to get will be coarser.

At this point, you should have obtained a mixture that is somewhat reminiscent of shortcrust pastry. Leave it to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, then spread it on the oven paper and then bake it for about 15 minutes at 180° in a preheated oven. Once the cooking is complete, let it cool and then crumble it inside your dish ready for presentation. Cover everything with icing sugar to recreate the effect of the white gravel typical of Zen gardens.

Step 3: Green

Japan is one of the greenest lands and all major Japanese cities are full of large parks. Of course, even in our edible zen garden you can't miss a green area.

Matcha Chiffon Cake - Ingredients

  • Granulated sugar 300 g
  • 00 flour 280 g
  • Matcha green tea powder 20 g
  • 1 sachet of baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 sachet of cream of tartar
  • Sunflower oil 130 m
  • Hot water 180 ml
  • 1 teaspoon of natural vanilla extract

This is the most difficult part of our recipe, but don't be afraid, if you follow the instructions step by step you will be able to complete this part too. Let's start by preheating the static oven to 150° and preparing an aluminum cake mold. Make sure this mold is tall enough as our chiffon cake will rise a lot.

Separate the yolks from the egg whites and in a clean bowl add the egg whites with the cream of tartar, whipping the mixture until you get firm crests.

giardino zen chiffon cake matcha giardino zen

In another bowl sift the green tea, the flour, the baking powder, salt and sugar and with a metal whisk by hand make sure that everything mixes well. In a separate bowl, combine the water, oil and vanilla extract. Once you have everything well mixed, pour the yolks and the mixture with the water and oil into the bowl with the flour and green tea.

Mix everything with the metal whisk by hand until a uniform mixture is obtained. Then transfer 1/4 of the whipped egg whites into your dough and mix with a spatula to lighten all the contents. Whipped egg whites should always be mixed with a movement that starts from the bottom so that they do not lose the whipping. Next, incorporate the rest of the egg whites into three other additions.

giardino zen torta té matcha giardino zen

When you have the mixture well amalgamated, pour the mixture into the pan that should not be buttered or floured. Put everything in a preheated oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes and when cooked, remove the pan and turn it immediately upside down.

giardino zen matcha giardino zen

Let it cool slightly and then remove the cake from the pan. Once ready, you can cut thin slices to decorate your Zen garden.

Step 4: The Pathway

In some Zen gardens, we also find flat stones that allow us to cross the garden leaving it undisturbed. Here is how we will create them.

Mini Meringues - Ingredients

  • Egg whites (about 3 medium eggs) at room temperature 100 g
  • Icing sugar 220 g
  • Lemon juice just enough

The trick in preparing the meringues is all in the eggs, in fact, the trick is to have fresh eggs and at room temperature. Then separate the yolks from the whites, pouring them into a large enough bowl. In this case, we won't use the yolks, but do not waste them and keep them aside, you will surely find a way to use them in the kitchen.

Make sure there are no residual yolks inside the bowl otherwise they will not mount. Then take the electric whips and operate them at medium speed. Alternatively, you can also carry out this process inside a planetary mixer, if available. While you are whipping the eggs, gradually pour the sugar into the bowl together with a few drops of lemon juice.

To create perfect meringues, the egg whites will have to be whipped very firmly and to understand if you are doing everything correctly there are two tests. The first is the visual one, in fact, the mixture must always be shiny and frothy. You can do the second test with the whips. In fact, detaching the latter you should notice a tuft of egg white with the tip. Everything must be similar to a sort of frothy and shiny cloud.

giardino zen meringhe

Prepare a baking tray with a baking sheet and then transfer all the mixture into a sac-à-poche with a round hole nozzle. Form small disks from 2 to 4 cm in diameter (this depends on the size of your final zen garden) well spaced apart. Then put them in the static oven preheated to 75° for about 2 hours.

Your meringues will have to dry slowly in the oven and as soon as they are completely dry, take the pan out of the oven and let it cool completely before removing it from the pan.

Step 5: Serving the Zen Garden

Now you can let your imagination run wild and build your edible zen garden according to your preferences! In case you want some ideas, below you will find some reference images. If you decide to try this recipe, send us your photos in the comments below or on our social pages, we are curious to see your creations!

[ngg src="galleries" ids="3" display="basic_thumbnail" thumbnail_crop="0"]Sources: pandispagna.net, giallozafferano.it, Pinterest, Wikipedia


Japan Italy: "An Italian in Japan" the serie - Saracchan

Saracchan e la sua esperienza

Written by: Erika

A few months ago we launched the column "An Italian in Japan" where we interview our compatriots in the land of the rising sun. Few succeed in realizing the dream of going to live in Japan and we want to share with you the experiences of those who have succeeded! Today we introduce you to Sara, another very Italian girl who lives and works in Japan!

saracchan

JIB: Tell us briefly about who you are

Saracchan: Good morning everyone! My name is Sara, I am 25 years old and I come from Milan, where I have lived for most of my life. I love playing the piano, studying Japanese, singing karaoke and doing hanami, meaning looking at cherry blossoms in full bloom. About three years ago, I embarked on an adventure that completely changed my life: I moved to Japan, where I still live, work and attend university.
Before moving to the land of the Rising Sun, I opened a Facebook page called Saracchan’s Japan, where I publish photos and videos for fans of this beautiful country. I also manage a personal profile on Instagram where I publish my daily adventures in Tokyo.

JIB: How did your passion for Japan come about?

Saracchan: My passion for Japan was born in a somewhat obvious way, so to speak, given that many people have recently approached this country in this way.
Perhaps some of you will remember that ten years ago, on MTV, some anime episodes were aired, including InuYasha. That day, after returning from high school, I decided to turn on channel 8 instead of watching the usual Simpson's cartoon. In that moment, I fell in love with this particular anime that told the tradition and history of Japan in a picturesque way. From that day on I started looking for more information on the internet and I was introduced to the world of manga and anime, which I began to read and watch assiduously. Through them, I created an image of Japan that made me dream, nevertheless for the language that sounded so fascinating and melodious. After that, after the anime and manga period, I approached culture and traditions and started studying the language on my own.

saracchan

JIB: How long have you lived in Japan and why did you want to move to this country?

Saracchan: Considering all my experiences in Japan, I can say that I have lived in this wonderful country for about three and a half years. Although moving was a difficult journey, I can proudly say that I made my big dream come true. Note that by "difficult" I do not mean for bureaucratic issues, but precisely for the decision that led me to take this huge step.
In fact, after finishing high school I wanted to go absolutely to Tokyo to study Japanese but, for various reasons, I was "forced" to enroll in the biology faculty of Milan. Here I didn't feel fulfilled, I wasn't convinced that that was my way. One day, by chance, I happened to attend the presentation of the GoGoNihon agency in Milan, which opened the way for Japan to me. In fact, some time and some savings later, I enrolled in a language school in Takadanobaba, Tokyo, where I studied for one year, the most beautiful of my life. After that, after finishing my studies, I reluctantly returned to Milan, and I enrolled in the university of foreign languages ​​(including Japanese) in Bergamo. However, my heart now belonged to Japan and so the following year I enrolled in the Faculty of Business Economics at a university in Saitama, near Tokyo, where I am still studying.

saracchan

JIB: Tell us about one of the funniest experiences that have happened to you since you lived in Japan.

Saracchan: Japan has offered me and still offers me many wonderful experiences! Perhaps the first experience that comes to mind, linked to my initial year in Japan, was when a dear Japanese friend of mine invited me to spend New Year's Eve in the home of her grandparents in the countryside, with all her family. We cooked soba together, ate traditional Japanese food, put on the kimono and, at the stroke of midnight, drank hot sake in front of the bonfire, exchanging greetings for the new year. It was a truly unforgettable experience!

saracchan

JIB: As a westerner, what are the difficulties and differences that you encountered in the early days in Japan?

Saracchan: Definitely the language! When I moved I knew how to say just a few simple sentences and, not knowing anyone yet, I had to do everything myself, from shopping to paperwork. Not to mention the millions of kanji that I saw every day and that made absolutely no sense to me. Furthermore, it was very difficult to orient myself with the numerous and very crowded subway lines, but they are all things that I have faced with determination and great curiosity.

JIB: In our opinion, Italy and Japan have a lot in common, tell us a little bit about your point of view on this topic.

Saracchan: I think Japan is a "western" country in Asia, in many aspects very close to our culture and way of thinking. However, I think it would be more correct to list the differences between the two countries since they differ on some important features of daily life. For example, Japan is different in the culture of work, the punctuality of trains, safety on the streets, the way of living relationships and so on. Japanese society is more focused on the common good, while Italian society, in my opinion, is more individualistic.

saracchan

JIB: Which city captured your heart in Japan?

Saracchan: Tokyo! It is a city that has everything, nothing is really missing. It is very modern, with very high skyscrapers, but at the same time ancient, with its hidden temples scattered around the city and the silent and characteristic lanes that transport you to another world. There are many activities to do, many places to visit, it's immense! Spectacular gardens, an imperial palace, karaoke, Harajuku with its colorful shops, particular and unique cafes, izakaya and much more. It never ceases to amaze you and every day you can discover new things and meet interesting people. In addition, it is in a very convenient location, a few minutes from other characteristic cities such as Yokohama, Enoshima and Kamakura. I would say that it is perfect for me, also because, contrary to what one might think, it is not polluted and there are not many cars.

JIB: Which Japanese city looks more like Italy?

Saracchan: As for the urban landscape, I'd say the modern center of Kyoto. There the buildings are quite low and it is much less chaotic than in Tokyo. Instead, for the "human" aspect, I think Osaka is the city that comes closest to Italy, as the Japanese who live there are more sociable and open to others. In my opinion, in Osaka it is easier to meet people and make new friends.

saracchan saracchan saracchan

JIB: Cherry blossom, tell us a little about the point of view of a westerner who lived it

Saracchan: This is my favorite event ever! All the streets turn pink and come alive with visitors taking hundreds of photos. Usually, the Japanese gather in the parks with friends and family, they lay large blue sheets on the lawn and spend the days picnicking and drinking sake. In addition, there are many matsuri, or festivals with stalls and street food that spread a very good perfume throughout the park. It is a unique experience, especially seeing the sakura in the evening, illuminated by colored lights that create splendid images. For those who go to Tokyo during this period, I highly recommend going along the Meguro river near the Imperial Palace, areas dotted with beautiful blooming sakura.

JIB: Do you think there is a future for an even closer collaboration between the two nations?

Saracchan: Absolutely yes! Lately, in Italy, Japan and its culture are catching on and there are more and more people interested in discovering this wonderful Asian country. At the same time, there are many Japanese who are developing a great interest in our beautiful country. In fact, Italian food and wine are very renowned and there are many restaurants specializing in Italian cuisine. Very often there are events that sponsor our country and I believe that in the future there will be closer collaborations, also given by the increase in Italians living in Japan.

saracchan saracchan

JIB: Do you ever miss Italy? Are you thinking of coming back here?

Saracchan: Sometimes I miss it, especially my family, my friends and the food! Both nations have much to offer, each with its strengths and weaknesses. At the moment I am not sure what I will do after graduation, if I will live in Japan or return to Italy, but I know that I would like to have a job that allows me to live between the two countries, maybe something related to the tourism sector.

JIB: Say something and give an advice to all our readers

Saracchan: If you have come to read this final question, thank you very much and I hope to have sent you something or at least to have given you some suggestions that you can use in the future. As a last tip, I would tell you not to give up and to do your best to achieve your goals, whether it is to move to Japan, to study Japanese or even just to make a trip to the land of the Rising Sun. They are not unattainable goals, there is no need to be rich, just be determined and want it with all your heart. I, even with the help of my parents, worked hard to make my dream come true and I made it! You can do it too, don't be afraid to dare.

Follow Sara

Instagram: @saracchan

 


A hotel with cats? It just opened in Japan!

The Neko Hotel opens in Osaka

written by: Erika | Source: SoraNews24

Although we are all still stuck home, nobody forbids us to travel with the mind, so here is a brand new hotel where you can vacation with cats, the Neko Hotel in Osaka!

neko hotel neko hotel neko hotel

Forget about the sea view, now the "cat view" is what matters. As many of you know, in Japan there are the famous capsule hotels, very small rooms in excellent but low-priced locations. They call them capsule hotels because they are only a place to sleep with a shared bathroom/shower and nothing else. However, since last December, there is a brand new capsule hotel that offers extra comfort: cats!

Neko Yokujo & Neko Hatago, this is the name of the space that houses a small cafe and a neko hotel in Osaka. The buildings are divided in two parts with the cat cafe on one side and the hotel on the other. The floors are structured so that the area where the cats play is directly adjacent to the back of the guests' sleeping area. However, instead of having a solid wall that closes the view, the back of the night compartment is actually made of glass. In this way, a window is created that gives all the people who stay in this hotel a beautiful view of the cats.

neko hotel neko hotel neko hotel

If you are wondering about your privacy, don't worry because each guest will be able to use curtains to isolate themselves if they wish to. In addition, the windows are placed so that one cannot look into the adjacent capsules. This way, you can keep the curtains open overnight, even after the cafe closes, so that you can observe the night adventures of the cats. In addition, the staff of the structure also offers special toys that can be controlled via radio in order to play with the cats beyond the glass.

Obviously, being able to observe cats only from a distance could become quite poignant. For this reason, the neko hotel offers all its guests a package that includes a two-hour voucher for the cat cafe worth ¥ 3000 with the possibility of accessing the cafe even before and after opening hours.

neko hotelneko hotel neko hotel

The design of the neko hotel is in typical Japanese style and obviously cats are a recurring theme. However, for anyone who falls in love with these feline friends easily, it may be difficult to say goodbye after just a few nights. In this case, don't worry, the Neko Hatago hotel is managed by the animal welfare company Neco Republic. In fact, all the cats you find in this hotel are felines saved from the street and always looking for a new home. Both the café and the hotel encourage guests to consider the stay as a test period to see if their personality fits well with that of one of the cats, in the hope of encouraging their adoption.

Don't you find it a beautiful idea? It would be great to be able to replicate it also in other parts of the world and we would love to hear your comments about it!

Information

Neko Yokujo & Neko Hatago / 猫浴場&猫旅籠
Address: Osaka-shi, Chuo-ku, Shimanouchi 1-14-29
大阪市中央区島之内1丁目14

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Things to do during Quarantine: Watching the Kabuki Theater

Kabuki theater classics available for free online

written by: Erika | Source: SoraNews24

The coronavirus pandemic and lockdown continue all over the world, but today we share with you the classics of Kabuki theater available online to spend time in quarantine.

Kabuki

The Origins

For those who do not know what we are talking about, the term kabuki (歌舞伎) indicates a type of theatrical representation that arose in Japan at the beginning of the seventeenth century.
The origins of this theatrical form are traced back to 1603 and refer to dances performed, on the banks of the Kamo river in Kyōto. The word Kabuki is made up of three ideograms: 歌 ka (song), 舞 bu (dance), 伎 ki (ability). The ideograms chosen to form the name are the phonetic equivalent of the word kabuki, derived from the verb kabuku ("to be out of the ordinary"). This indicated the appearance and clothing in vogue at the time of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and characteristic of the so-called kabukimono.

Originally, the Kabuki theater was interpreted only by women, however, following the prohibition on grounds of morals, it was passed to a male only interpretation also for the female parts. The actors specialized in female roles are called onnagata. This theatrical tradition enchanted the emerging bourgeois class of the city and consequently became very popular. The novelty of these works consisted in the representation of facts, usually dramatic, that really happened. In fact, often very little time passed between the event and the performance, constituting a real means of mass communication.

The structure

The structure of Kabuki is very different from the scheme of western theater and the works never deal with general issues, existential questions or philosophical reflections. So there are no Shakespearean monologues or considerations of the protagonists on political issues. With a very fragile story and characters, the works are often written by several hands.

Also for this type of theatrical form, the principle of not assigning preponderance to verbal communication, in opposition to western culture, applies. In fact, for a long time, it was hard for us westerners to be able to read difficult and subtle situations. The events expressed through the emotions of the individual characters always prevail over moral considerations, creating a strong emotional tension.

5 hours of Kabuki theater online

Kabuki

In contrast to the Noh and Bunraku theater, the Kabuki theater has worldwide resonance especially for the traditional and exaggerated facial makeup together with the dramatic costumes. Most of these performances take place in important places, so to attend a Kabuki opera you have to be in the right place, at the right time and an economic possibility at your disposal. In fact, some performances such a niche that they can only run for one time. Furthermore, if we add the closure of the theaters we can understand how the problems arise for this type of art.

After the cancellation of Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura (Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees), a performance scheduled for March 3, Japan's National Theater took the opportunity to create something even more special. In fact, the performance with no audience will be published on the theater's Youtube channel. Divided into three videos, the theatrical performance is available for viewing until April 30 at 15:00 JST.

Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura

Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura has five acts and would usually take two days to perform in its entirety. As such, these videos portray the story in separate stages. Performance A covers the parts "Torii Mae", "Tokaiya" and "Daimotsu-Ura" of the work, the performance B includes the portions "Kokingo Uchijinishi", "Shiinoki" and " Sushiya ". Also, performance C manages the "Michiyuki Hatsune Tabi" and "Kawatsura Hogen Yakata" for a total of five hours of entertainment.

Kabuki

Although this is one of the most famous ancient epic operas, Kabuki theater can also be enjoyed with limited or absent Japanese language skills. Indeed, costumes, performances, and atmospheric music help to provide a broad context. In addition, Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura is one of the three most famous Kabuki shows, so the material for finding your way through the story is also available to foreigners.

To watch all the performances, check out Japan's National Theater YouTube channel.