Japan Travel: Shinjuku

[:it]

Shinjuku

Photo credits: Sergio Rola 

Shinjuku (新宿), importante centro commerciale ed amministrativo e sede del nodo ferroviario più trafficato al mondo, fa parte dei 23 quartieri speciali di Tokyo.

Non solo treni, Shinjuku è anche una delle maggiori tappe degli autobus a lunga percorrenza; il Busta Shinjuku, un grande terminal, è situato proprio in cima alla stazione ferroviaria.

Prendendo come riferimento la stazione, ad ovest di essa ci si ritrova nello Skyscraper District. Qui sorgono gli edifici più alti di Tokyo tra i quali hotel di lusso e le torri gemelle del Palazzo del Governo Metropolitano di Tokyo. Progettato dal famoso architetto Kenzō Tange,  qui è dove viene gestita l’amministrazione politica e pubblica della città. Le sue torri sono alte 243 metri e i ponti di osservazione, situati al 45° piano, sono aperti al pubblico gratuitamente.

Proprio da quei ponti di osservazione ciò che si può notare è la Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower, un grattacielo situato nel quartiere finanziario di Nishi-Shinjuku. Alto 203 metri, è costituito da 50 piani al cui interno trovano spazio tre scuole: una di moda (la Tokyo Mode Gakuen), una di design (la HAL Tokyo and Shuto Ikou) e una di medicina. L'architettura, anch’essa progettata da Tange, dona al grattacielo una forma a bozzolo creata dalla forma spanciata dei tubi in alluminio bianchi (curtain wall) attorcigliati che salgono in diagonale.

Photo credits: Google immagini

Shinjuku non è solo modernità, ma è anche la sede di uno dei più grandi e più piacevoli parchi di Tokyo: Shinjuku Gyoen,  dove la vista dei ciliegi in fiore è rinomata per essere tra le migliori del paese. Il parco è stato aperto al pubblico nel 1949 dopo essere stato il giardino della famiglia Imperiale dal 1903.

I quartieri del distretto

Photo credits: Gor Badoyan

Tra i più famosi e discussi, ecco Kabukichou, situato a nord-est della stazione. Esso è il più grande quartiere a luci rosse del Giappone, e forse è proprio per questo che ad annunciarne l’ingresso c’è una grandissima insegna luminosa rossa. La storia di questo quartiere è davvero curiosa: il suo nome proviene da un teatro kabuki che non fu mai costruito. Dal 1872, quinto anno dell'Era Meiji, quando in Giappone furono revocate le leggi che regolavano i rapporti con le geishe e le prostitute, Kabukichou divenne il principale quartiere a luci rosse della città di Tokyo. Successivamente le leggi contro la prostituzione divennero più ferree e dopo la seconda guerra mondiale il quartiere fu sottoposto ad alcuni tentativi atti a cambiare la sua immagine. Fu quindi fatto il tentativo di trasferire qui il teatro Kabuki-za di Ginza, distrutto da un incendio, ma alla fine il teatro fu ricostruito a Ginza, mentre a Kabukicho rimase solo il nome.

Un altro teatro fu comunque costruito a Kabukichou, il teatro Koma, che si trova in un edificio che contiene alcuni bar e discoteche.

Photo credits: Benjamin Hung

A Kabukichou comunque non si dorme mai e questa zona vanta numerosi ristoranti, bar, discoteche, "hotel dell'amore" e una varietà di strutture a luci rosse per tutti i sessi e gli orientamenti. Camminare per Kabukichou può essere rischioso in fatto di spese. I costi sono esorbitanti poichè tutto è gestito esclusivamente dalla Yakuza, uno dei motivi per cui Kabukicho è anche uno dei quartieri più sicuri di Tokyo in quanto c’è un attento controllo nelle varie attività. Proprio qui, in un dedalo di stradine ci si imbatte nel Golden Gai (la via dorata) in cui una serie di piccolissimi bar molto particolari fanno capolino. I posti a sedere al loro interno sono pochi, dai 2 ai 5, e spesso sono situati anche negli scantinati! Destreggiandosi tra di essi, si possono udire risate fragorose e spiando all’interno intravedere personaggi eccentrici, scrittori, registi e qualche turista curioso. I piccoli locali possono essere anche a tema, ma in ognuno di essi ciò che si può sempre bere è lo yamazaki, un particolare whisky giapponese.

Svincolandosi dal Golden Gai, troviamo Ichigaya, sede del Ministero della Difesa. Okubo, ricca di negozi di gestione coreana che vendono cibo tradizionale e gadget classici della cultura pop coreana. Inoltre vi si trovano bar a tema coreani, club a luci rosse e ristoranti. Shinjuku ni-chome, il quartiere gay di Tokyo e infine Takadanobaba. Quest’ultima, è una zona prevalentemente frequentata dagli studenti delle vicine Università di Waseda e Università Gakushuin. Qui sono presenti scuole di preparazione e intrattenimento, molti bar e Izakaya. L’Izakaya, composto dalle parole "i" (sedersi), saka (sake) e ya (negozio), è un tipico locale giapponese che vende bevande accompagnate da cibo, una sorta di pub.

Il simbolo di Takadanobaba è il "Big Box", un grande edificio a forma di scatola, a fianco della stazione.

Photo credits: Google immagini

Sacro e profano

Photo credits: Node Reaver's Blog

Sembra incredibile, eppure è proprio tra i grattacieli di Shinjuku che si apre uno spazio di pace e preghiera: il Tempio shintoista Hanazono. Fu fondato nel 1600 ed è una delle mete degli uomini d’affari in quanto il tempio è dedicato alle divinità del successo economico. E’ una tappa quasi fondamentale per i turisti che, dopo aver camminato per la caotica Shinjuku, vogliono concedersi un po’ di riposo e, ogni domenica, curiosare il mercatino dell’antiquariato. Tanti sono i festival e gli eventi religiosi che hanno luogo ad Hanazono, il principale si tiene nell’ultimo week-end di maggio, il Jinja Reitaisai. In questa occasione si svolge una modesta processione nella quale il piccolo altare mikoshi viene portato a spalle dai fedeli. All’esterno del tempio 100 stands di ogni tipo affollano lo spazio circostante offrendo un perfetto intreccio tra il sacro ed il profano.

Photo credits: Google immagini
[:en]

Shinjuku

Photo credits: Sergio Rola 

Shinjuku (新宿), important commercial and administrative center with the world's busiest railway node, is part of the 23 special wards of Tokyo.
Not just trains, Shinjuku is also one of the major stops for long-distance buses. The Busta Shinjuku, a large terminal, is located right at the top of the railway station.

Taking the station as a reference point, west of it, you find yourself in the Skyscraper District. Here are located the highest buildings in Tokyo including luxury hotels and the twin towers of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building. Designed by the famous architect Kenzō Tange, it’s here that the political and public administration of the city is handled. Its towers are 243 meters high and the observation bridges, located on the 45th floor, are open to the public for free.

Right from those observation bridges, one can see the Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower, a skyscraper located in the financial district of Nishi-Shinjuku. 203 meters high, consisting of 50 floors with three schools inside: a fashion one (Tokyo Mode Gakuen), design one (HAL Tokyo and Shuto Ikou) and a medicine one. The architecture, also designed by Tange, gives to the skyscraper a cocoon shape created by the twisted white aluminum tubes (curtain wall) that rise diagonally.

Photo credits: Google immagini

Shinjuku is not only modernity but also houses one of the largest and most enjoyable parks in Japan: the Shinjuku Gyoen, where cherry blossoms is renowned for being among the best in the country. The park was opened to the public in 1949 after being the Garden of the Imperial family since 1903.

Shinjuku’s districts

Photo credits: Gor Badoyan

Among the most famous and discussed neighbourhoods, here is Kabukichou, located northeast of the station. It is the largest red-light district in Japan, and perhaps it is for this reason that the entrance is announced by a great red light sign. The history of this district is really curious: its name derives from a kabuki theater that was never built. Since 1872, fifth year of the Meiji Era, when laws governing relations with geishas and prostitutes were revoked in Japan, Kabukichou became the main red-lights district of Tokyo. Subsequently, laws against prostitution became stricter and after the Second World War the district was subjected to some attempts to change its image. It was then made an attempt to bring here Ginza's Kabuki-za theater, destroyed by a fire, but eventually the theater was rebuilt in Ginza, while in Kabukicho just kept the name.

Later on, another theater was built in Kabukichou, the Koma Theater, located in a building that contains some bars and nightclubs.

Photo credits: Benjamin Hung

Kabukichou never sleeps and this area boasts numerous restaurants, bars, nightclubs, "love hotels" and a variety of red-light structures for all sexes and orientations. Walking down Kabukichou’s streets can be risky in terms of expenses. Prices are exorbitant as everything is handled exclusively by Yakuza, one of the reasons why Kabukicho is also one of the safest neighborhoods in Tokyo because there is an attentive control over the various activities. Right here, in a maze of narrow alleys we come across the Golden Gai (the Golden Street) where a series of very small and peculiar bars peek out. The seats inside are limited, 2 to 5, and may be often located in basements as well! Moving around among them, you can hear loud laughs and if you spy inside you may spot eccentric people, writers, directors and some curious tourists. These small places can also have a theme, but in each of them what you can always drink is the yamazaki, a particular Japanese whiskey.

Out of the Golden Gai, we find Ichigaya, headquarter of the Ministry of Defense. Okubo, filled with Korean stores selling traditional food and many classical gadgets of the Korean pop culture. There are also Korean-themed bars, red-lights clubs and restaurants. Shinjuku ni-chome, is Tokyo's gay district, and finally Takadanobaba. The latter, is an area mainly frequented by students from the nearby Waseda University and Gakushuin University, there are preparatory schools and entertainments, and many bars and Izakayas. The Izakaya, consisting of the words "i" (sit down), saka (sake) and ya (shop), is a typical Japanese restaurant that sells drinks accompanied by food, a kind of pub.

The symbol of Takadanobaba is the "Big Box", a large box-shaped building next to the station.

Photo credits: Google immagini

Sacred and profane

Photo credits: Node Reaver's Blog

It sounds incredible, and yet it is right among Shinjuku’s skyscrapers that a space of peace and prayer opens up: the Shinto Temple Hanazono. It was founded in 1600 and is often visited by businessmen as the temple is devoted to the gods of economic success. It is almost a fundamental stop for tourists who, having walked around the chaotic Shinjuku, want to find some rest and, every Sunday, look around the antiques market. There are many festivals and religious events that take place at the Hanazono, the main one is held the last weekend of May, the Jinja Reitaisai. On this occasion there is a modest procession in which the small mikoshi is carried by the worshippers. Outside the temple 100 stands of every kind crowd the surrounding space offering a perfect interweave between sacred and profane.

Photo credits: Google immagini
[:ja]

Shinjuku

Photo credits: Sergio Rola 

Shinjuku (新宿), important commercial and administrative center with the world's busiest railway node, is part of the 23 special wards of Tokyo.
Not just trains, Shinjuku is also one of the major stops for long-distance buses. The Busta Shinjuku, a large terminal, is located right at the top of the railway station.

Taking the station as a reference point, west of it, you find yourself in the Skyscraper District. Here are located the highest buildings in Tokyo including luxury hotels and the twin towers of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building. Designed by the famous architect Kenzō Tange, it’s here that the political and public administration of the city is handled. Its towers are 243 meters high and the observation bridges, located on the 45th floor, are open to the public for free.

Right from those observation bridges, one can see the Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower, a skyscraper located in the financial district of Nishi-Shinjuku. 203 meters high, consisting of 50 floors with three schools inside: a fashion one (Tokyo Mode Gakuen), design one (HAL Tokyo and Shuto Ikou) and a medicine one. The architecture, also designed by Tange, gives to the skyscraper a cocoon shape created by the twisted white aluminum tubes (curtain wall) that rise diagonally.

Photo credits: Google immagini

Shinjuku is not only modernity but also houses one of the largest and most enjoyable parks in Japan: the Shinjuku Gyoen, where cherry blossoms is renowned for being among the best in the country. The park was opened to the public in 1949 after being the Garden of the Imperial family since 1903.

Shinjuku’s districts

Photo credits: Gor Badoyan

Among the most famous and discussed neighbourhoods, here is Kabukichou, located northeast of the station. It is the largest red-light district in Japan, and perhaps it is for this reason that the entrance is announced by a great red light sign. The history of this district is really curious: its name derives from a kabuki theater that was never built. Since 1872, fifth year of the Meiji Era, when laws governing relations with geishas and prostitutes were revoked in Japan, Kabukichou became the main red-lights district of Tokyo. Subsequently, laws against prostitution became stricter and after the Second World War the district was subjected to some attempts to change its image. It was then made an attempt to bring here Ginza's Kabuki-za theater, destroyed by a fire, but eventually the theater was rebuilt in Ginza, while in Kabukicho just kept the name.

Later on, another theater was built in Kabukichou, the Koma Theater, located in a building that contains some bars and nightclubs.

Photo credits: Benjamin Hung

Kabukichou never sleeps and this area boasts numerous restaurants, bars, nightclubs, "love hotels" and a variety of red-light structures for all sexes and orientations. Walking down Kabukichou’s streets can be risky in terms of expenses. Prices are exorbitant as everything is handled exclusively by Yakuza, one of the reasons why Kabukicho is also one of the safest neighborhoods in Tokyo because there is an attentive control over the various activities. Right here, in a maze of narrow alleys we come across the Golden Gai (the Golden Street) where a series of very small and peculiar bars peek out. The seats inside are limited, 2 to 5, and may be often located in basements as well! Moving around among them, you can hear loud laughs and if you spy inside you may spot eccentric people, writers, directors and some curious tourists. These small places can also have a theme, but in each of them what you can always drink is the yamazaki, a particular Japanese whiskey.

Out of the Golden Gai, we find Ichigaya, headquarter of the Ministry of Defense. Okubo, filled with Korean stores selling traditional food and many classical gadgets of the Korean pop culture. There are also Korean-themed bars, red-lights clubs and restaurants. Shinjuku ni-chome, is Tokyo's gay district, and finally Takadanobaba. The latter, is an area mainly frequented by students from the nearby Waseda University and Gakushuin University, there are preparatory schools and entertainments, and many bars and Izakayas. The Izakaya, consisting of the words "i" (sit down), saka (sake) and ya (shop), is a typical Japanese restaurant that sells drinks accompanied by food, a kind of pub.

The symbol of Takadanobaba is the "Big Box", a large box-shaped building next to the station.

Photo credits: Google immagini

Sacred and profane

Photo credits: Node Reaver's Blog

It sounds incredible, and yet it is right among Shinjuku’s skyscrapers that a space of peace and prayer opens up: the Shinto Temple Hanazono. It was founded in 1600 and is often visited by businessmen as the temple is devoted to the gods of economic success. It is almost a fundamental stop for tourists who, having walked around the chaotic Shinjuku, want to find some rest and, every Sunday, look around the antiques market. There are many festivals and religious events that take place at the Hanazono, the main one is held the last weekend of May, the Jinja Reitaisai. On this occasion there is a modest procession in which the small mikoshi is carried by the worshippers. Outside the temple 100 stands of every kind crowd the surrounding space offering a perfect interweave between sacred and profane.

Photo credits: Google immagini
[:]


Japan Travel: Shibuya

[:it]

La dinamica Shibuya

Photo credit: Google

Shibuya (渋谷区 Shibuya-ku), conosciuta come la zona più dinamica della città, è uno dei 23 quartieri speciali di Tokyo. Si sviluppa attorno all’area della stazione omonima, tra le più trafficate della capitale, che si apre sullo Shibuya Crossing, l’attraversamento pedonale più affollato del mondo.
Tutti i palazzi della zona sono corredati da mega schermi che illuminano l’intero quartiere al calare della sera. Le strade sono ricche di negozi, come lo 109 (Ichi-maru-kyū) iconico centro commerciale, e in particolare si possono trovare negozi di musica, ristoranti e i famosi “love hotel”. Questi sono concentrati soprattutto nella cosiddetta Shibuya’s Love Hotel Hill . A rendere il tutto ancora più caratteristico sono i giovani tra i quali impazza l’arte del cosplay e….. beh, Shibuya è anche uno dei quartieri dove la Yakuza è più presente!
Se non sapete cosa sia la Yakuza, il mistero è presto svelato. È la famosa organizzazione criminale giapponese suddivisa in numerose bande chiamate kumi o bōryokudan (letteralmente ‘gruppo violento) secondo la terminologia legale. Le sue radici provengono addirittura dal periodo Edo.

Photo credit: fotopedia.com

Uno dei simboli di Shibuya però è il celebre monumento dedicato ad Hachiko, il cane divenuto famoso per la fedeltà nei confronti del suo padrone Hidesaburō Ueno. Purtroppo la statua è semplicemente una riproduzione di quella andata perduta durante la Seconda Guerra Mondiale.

Un quartiere, tante curiosità

Photocredit: AndreBenz

Sicuramente il nome “Shibuya” non è sconosciuto alle orecchie di nessuno. Gli amanti degli anime si saranno accorti che, ad esempio, in Super Gals! i riferimenti a questa zona sono innumerevoli. Senza contare che la protagonista ha l’abitudine di salire sulla statua mettendosi in sella ad Hachikō per liberarsi da tutti i suoi pensieri! Nei Digimon il treno per “Digiworld” parte proprio dalla stazione di Shibuya, ma non è solo negli anime che troviamo questo tipo di riferimenti. Nel videogioco per Nintendo DS The World Ends with You, è possibile aggirarsi nel quartiere fedelmente riprodotto in tutti i suoi luoghi-simbolo.
Ultima, ma non per questo meno importante, è proprio qui che nasce il genere musicale Shibuya-kei, fusione tra musica elettronica e pop, appartenente alla categoria del J-pop.

Il distratto di Harajuku

Photo credit: JAPAN ITALY BRIDGE

Harajuku (原宿 letteralmente "alloggio nel prato") è la zona più conosciuta per essere una miniera di tendenze giovanili estremamente innovative. Due sono le principali strade dello shopping Takeshita e Omotesandō. La prima è dedicata alle mode giovanili in cui abbondano negozi di articoli in stile lolita, visual kei, rockabilly, punk, e cyberpunk. Omotesandō invece, gli "Champs-Élysées di Tokyo" è dedicata a negozi come Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Prada, Tod’s, solo per citarne alcuni. Le giovani che popolano le strade di Harajuku vengono identificate con il termine Harajuku girls. Sono adolescenti abbigliate secondo svariati stili anche molto diversi fra loro, ma accomunati da una generale eccentricità e colori che non passano inosservati. Queste ragazze possono essere esponenti di varie subculture, fra le quali le più importanti sono lolita, ganguro e kogal.

Photo credit: Google

Il Visual Kei nasce qui

Photo credit: Alex Knigh

La corrente musicale Visual Kei – dall’inglese visual ("visivo") e dal giapponese kei (系, “stile”)- nata attorno alla fine degli anni Ottanta, si è sviluppata proprio attorno a questo quartiere. Il principio di questo movimento musicale è la dimensione estetica. Infatti, i gruppi musicali ad esso appartenenti si distinguono per la grande teatralità ed attenzione all'aspetto visivo e scenografico. Uno degli elementi più caratterizzanti è sicuramente la presenza esclusiva di musicisti uomini. Essi affondano le loro radici nello storico e raffinato Teatro Nō in cui gli uomini recitano anche i ruoli femminili. Il canone è quello di una bellezza virile che esalta la figura della donna come riferimento unico di bellezza anche per il sesso maschile.
Curiosamente si pensa che “Visual Kei” derivi da uno degli slogan della band X Japan, pioniera del genere: “Psychedelic violence crime of visual shock”.
Harajuku è il luogo perfetto per immergersi in questa subcultura, in particolare sul Jingu Bashi ("ponte del santuario"), ponte pedonale che collega il centro di Harajuku con il Santuario Meiji.

Photo credit: @camknows

Photo credit: tokyofashion.com
[:en]

The Dynamic Shibuya

Photo credit: Google

Shibuya (渋谷区 Shibuya-ku), known as the most dynamic area of the city, is one of the 23 special wards of Tokyo. It develops around the area of the Shibuya Station, one of the busiest stations of the capital, that opens to the Shibuya Scramble Crossing, the most crowded street-crossing in the world.
All the buildings are covered by big screens that illuminate the whole ward as the sun sets. Streets are full of stores like the 109 (Ichi-maru-kyū), the iconic department store, and in particular music stores, restaurants and the famous “love hotels”. These can be found mainly in the so called Shibuya’s Love Hotel Hill. To make it all the more distinctive there are the young people leading the art of cosplay and….. well, Shibuya in one of the wards in which the Yakuza is more active!
If you don’t know what the Yakuza is, well the mystery is soon solved. It is the famous Japanese criminal organization divided in many different groups called ‘kumi’ or ‘bōryokudan’ (literally ‘violent group’) according to the legal terminology. It has its roots back to the Edo Period.

Photo credit: fotopedia.com

Yet, one of the main symbol of Shibuya is the monument dedicated to Hachiko, the dog that became famous for his loyalty to his owner, Hidesaburō Ueno. Unfortunately, the statue is just a reproduction of that original one that was lost in the Second World War.

One ward, many curiosities

Photocredit: AndreBenz

Surely the name “Shibuya” is known to everyone. Those who love animes must have noticed that, for example, in Super Gals! there are many references to it. Not to mention that the protagonist has the habit of sitting on the statue of Hachikō to free her mind from all her thoughts! In the Digimon series the train for the “Digiworld” departs right from the Shibuya station. But its not only in animes that these kind of references can be found. In the Nintendo DS video game The World Ends with You, you have the chance to walk Shibuya’s streets faithfully reproduced in all their symbol places.
Last but not least, its right here that the musical genre of the Shibuya-kei was born as a fusion between electronic and pop music, and part of the J-pop genre.

Harajuku District

Photo credit: JAPAN ITALY BRIDGE

Harajuku (原宿 "meadow lodging" literally) is best known as the center of the Japanese extremely innovative youth trends. Two are the main shopping streets of the area, Takeshita and Omotesandō. The first one is dedicated to youth trends and is full of stores with many lolita, visual kei, rockabilly, punk and cyberpunk style items. Omotesandō, on the other hand, “Tokyo’s Champs-Élysées”, is dedicated to stores like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Prada and Tod’s, just to name a few. The young girls that crowd Harajuku’s streets are identified as Harajuku girls. They are teens dressed according to many different styles, often very different from each other, but all with a distinguished eccentricity and very colorful. They are expressions of various subcultures, lolita, ganguro and kogal among the others

Photo credit: Google

Visual Kei was born here

Photo credit: Alex Knigh

The musical genre of Visual Kei – from the English word visual and the Japanese word kei (系, “style”) – that was born around the end of the 80s, developed around this ward. The core of this genre is its aesthetic dimension. In fact, its various music bands distinguish themselves with the great theatricality and attention for the visual and scenographic aspect. One of the most distinctive elements is the exclusive presence of male musicians. This has its roots in the traditional Noh Theater where men play female roles as well.
Curiously, many think that the word “Visual Kei” derives from “Psychedelic violence crime of visual shock”, one of X Japan slogans, a band pioneer of the genre.
Harajuku is the perfect place to immerse yourself in this subculture, in particular on the Jingu Bashi (the sanctuary bridge), a pedestrian bridge that connects Harajuku’s center to the Meiji Shrine.

Photo credit: @camknows

Photo credit: tokyofashion.com
[:ja]

The Dynamic Shibuya

Photo credit: Google

Shibuya (渋谷区 Shibuya-ku), known as the most dynamic area of the city, is one of the 23 special wards of Tokyo. It develops around the area of the Shibuya Station, one of the busiest stations of the capital, that opens to the Shibuya Scramble Crossing, the most crowded street-crossing in the world.
All the buildings are covered by big screens that illuminate the whole ward as the sun sets. Streets are full of stores like the 109 (Ichi-maru-kyū), the iconic department store, and in particular music stores, restaurants and the famous “love hotels”. These can be found mainly in the so called Shibuya’s Love Hotel Hill. To make it all the more distinctive there are the young people leading the art of cosplay and….. well, Shibuya in one of the wards in which the Yakuza is more active!
If you don’t know what the Yakuza is, well the mystery is soon solved. It is the famous Japanese criminal organization divided in many different groups called ‘kumi’ or ‘bōryokudan’ (literally ‘violent group’) according to the legal terminology. It has its roots back to the Edo Period.

Photo credit: fotopedia.com

Yet, one of the main symbol of Shibuya is the monument dedicated to Hachiko, the dog that became famous for his loyalty to his owner, Hidesaburō Ueno. Unfortunately, the statue is just a reproduction of that original one that was lost in the Second World War.

One ward, many curiosities

Photocredit: AndreBenz

Surely the name “Shibuya” is known to everyone. Those who love animes must have noticed that, for example, in Super Gals! there are many references to it. Not to mention that the protagonist has the habit of sitting on the statue of Hachikō to free her mind from all her thoughts! In the Digimon series the train for the “Digiworld” departs right from the Shibuya station. But its not only in animes that these kind of references can be found. In the Nintendo DS video game The World Ends with You, you have the chance to walk Shibuya’s streets faithfully reproduced in all their symbol places.
Last but not least, its right here that the musical genre of the Shibuya-kei was born as a fusion between electronic and pop music, and part of the J-pop genre.

Harajuku District

Photo credit: JAPAN ITALY BRIDGE

Harajuku (原宿 "meadow lodging" literally) is best known as the center of the Japanese extremely innovative youth trends. Two are the main shopping streets of the area, Takeshita and Omotesandō. The first one is dedicated to youth trends and is full of stores with many lolita, visual kei, rockabilly, punk and cyberpunk style items. Omotesandō, on the other hand, “Tokyo’s Champs-Élysées”, is dedicated to stores like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Prada and Tod’s, just to name a few. The young girls that crowd Harajuku’s streets are identified as Harajuku girls. They are teens dressed according to many different styles, often very different from each other, but all with a distinguished eccentricity and very colorful. They are expressions of various subcultures, lolita, ganguro and kogal among the others

Photo credit: Google

Visual Kei was born here

Photo credit: Alex Knigh

The musical genre of Visual Kei – from the English word visual and the Japanese word kei (系, “style”) – that was born around the end of the 80s, developed around this ward. The core of this genre is its aesthetic dimension. In fact, its various music bands distinguish themselves with the great theatricality and attention for the visual and scenographic aspect. One of the most distinctive elements is the exclusive presence of male musicians. This has its roots in the traditional Noh Theater where men play female roles as well.
Curiously, many think that the word “Visual Kei” derives from “Psychedelic violence crime of visual shock”, one of X Japan slogans, a band pioneer of the genre.
Harajuku is the perfect place to immerse yourself in this subculture, in particular on the Jingu Bashi (the sanctuary bridge), a pedestrian bridge that connects Harajuku’s center to the Meiji Shrine.

Photo credit: @camknows

Photo credit: tokyofashion.com
[:]


Japanese Culture: Vampire Knight

[:it]

Vampire Knight: Japan's Vampires

vampire knight, ヴァンパイア騎士, vanpaia naito, japan italy bridge, japan, manga, anime

Quali sono le creature oscure più affascinanti e temute di sempre? La risposta è semplice e scontata: i Vampiri.

Nell’immaginario comune il vampiro ha origine nell’entroterra europeo, ma forse pochi sanno che c’è una stirpe proveniente addirittura dal Giappone! Parliamo proprio di Vampire Knight.
ヴァンパイア騎士 (Vanpaia Naito) è un manga nato dalla penna di Matsuri Hino. Lei è specializzata nel genere shōjo-gothic e ha debuttato nel gennaio del 2015 sul numero di LaLa.
L’autrice ci regala una visione oltremodo romantica dei Vampiri. Splendidi agli occhi umani, si differenziano dai soliti “succhia sangue”. Loro stessi hanno sangue che scorre nelle loro vene, e bere il sangue della persona amata è un gesto di devozione senza eguali che disseterà il vampiro che lo compie.

vampire knight, ヴァンパイア騎士, vanpaia naito, japan italy bridge, japan, manga, anime

La Cross Academy

In un mondo oscuro senza tempo né luogo, i protagonisti di Vampire Knight vivono in una prestigiosa scuola privata con un’insolita struttura delle classi. Gli studenti sono infatti divisi fra la Day Class, composta da normali studenti che svolgono le loro lezioni di giorno, e la Night Class, i cui componenti nascondono un segreto. Agli altri appaiono come un’élite di geni, mentre invece sono bellissimi vampiri. Solo tre persone della Day Class sono a conoscenza della verità sulla Night Class: il preside e i due "Guardiani": Yuuki Cross, la protagonista, e Zero Kiryu.

Attorno a loro ruotano, tra gli altri, le figure di Shiki Senri, Hanabusa Aidou e Takuma Ichijo enigmatici e attraenti nobili vampiri legati da forte amicizia, oltre che dall’obbedienza imposta dalla gerarchia, al vampiro Purosangue e capoclasse della Night Class Kaname Kuran.

Da questo incipit si snoda la storia appassionante e ricca di colpi di scena. Le tavole che l’autrice ha sapientemente disegnato hanno un tocco dark attraverso il quale i protagonisti comunicano i tormenti dell’anima e il pathos che vivono giorno dopo giorno.
I Vampiri rappresentati sono creature ammantate di innata sensualità. Proprio come nella migliore tradizione letteraria, anche nei momenti più sanguinosi lo scenario è magicamente avvolto da un alone di fascino ed eleganza. Tutto questo riesce a rendere meno cruento qualunque tipo di scontro.

vampire knight, ヴァンパイア騎士, vanpaia naito, japan italy bridge, japan, manga, anime

Tra Amore Eterno e Dannazione

Il tema caratterizzante di Vampire Night è proprio l’Amore Eterno. La lotta interiore dei vari personaggi per conquistare ciò che il loro cuore desidera, la non arresa nemmeno di fronte alle scelte più dolorose.
Su questo piano, la personalità di Kaname è quella più complessa. Autoritario soprattutto verso i suoi compagni della Night Class e spietato contro i suoi nemici. Raramente lo si vede sorridere o lasciarsi andare, ma il suo carattere cambia in presenza di Yuuki. È solo con lei che dimostra tutta la sua dolcezza e il grande senso di protezione di cui è capace. La metafora dell’amore tormentato, quel sentimento che comporta disperazione, dolore e lotta interiore, incarna nella figura di Kaname la determinazione, la forza e la capacità di oltrepassare i limiti pur di raggiungere il proprio obiettivo.

vampire knight, ヴァンパイア騎士, vanpaia naito, japan italy bridge, japan, manga, anime

Anime, Drama CD e Novel

Una storia come questa non poteva certo restare solo scritta. Il primo episodio dell’anime di Vampire Knight prodotto dallo Studio Deen, è stato trasmesso su TV Tokyo l’8 aprile 2008. Il successo ha portato il direttore Kiyoko Sayama a lavorare anche sulla seconda serie, Vampire Knight Guilty. Questa è andata in onda il 7 ottobre 2008 ed una terza serie uscita nel 2014. Indimenticabili resteranno per sempre gli opening theme di entrambe le stagioni. Questi sono "Futatsu no Kodō to Akai Tsumi” e "Rinne: Rondo”. Assieme agli ending theme "Still Doll” e "Suna no Oshiro” saranno inseriti nel cd della colonna sonora di 30 tracce composte da Haketa Takefumi.

Come se non bastasse, due Drama CD sono stati rilasciati. Uno è “LaLa Kirameki“ nel Settembre del 2005 e un secondo “Vampire Knight Midnight CD-Pack” reso disponibile esclusivamente attraverso ordinazione.
Inoltre Matsuri Hino in collaborazione con Ayuna Fujisaki, pubblicarono per Hakusensha due Light Novel nel 2008. Entrambe le novel si distaccano dai capitoli del manga, ma raccontano avvenimenti riguardanti alcuni dei personaggi della storia.

Nel novembre del 2008 venne pubblicato anche il Fanbook ufficiale intitolato: “Vampire Knight Fanbook: Cross”. Quest’ultimo regala ulteriori informazioni sui personaggi ed include le immagini dettagliate dello storyboard dell’autrice.

E la storia, non finisce qui…

Foto credit: Google images; Vampire Knight wiki;
[:en]

Vampire Knight: Japan's Vampires

What is the most fascinating and feared creature of the darkness of all? The answer is simple: the Vampire.

Vampires are often thought to originate from inland Europe, but many do not know that there exists a race of vampires that actually comes from Japan! Vampire Knight is a manga series that draws on this.
ヴァンパイア騎士 (Vanpaia Naito) is a manga series that was written by Matsuri Hino. She is a true expert in the shōjo-gothic genre and this series of her's debuted on the January 2015 issue of the magazine LaLa. The artist uses an extremely romantic image for her vampires. Beautiful in the eyes of humans, they are different from the commonly horrifying "bloodsuckers".

They, too, have blood running in their veins as well, and drinking the blood of a beloved person is a sign of devotion like no other that will quench the thirst of the vampire who does it.

The Cross Academy

In an obscure world out of space and time, the protagonists of Vampire Knight dwell in a prestigious private school with an unusual class structure. Students are divided into two different sessions; the Day Class, attended by normal people that take their lessons during the daytime, and the Night Class, whose students hide a secret while attending classes after dark. To the Day Class students, the Night Class students seem like an elite class of geniuses, but they are, in reality, vampires. Only three people from the Day Class know the truth about the Night Class: the school director and the two “Guardians”; Yuki Cross, the protagonist and Zero Kiryu.

Around them, we find among others the characters of Shiki Senri, Hanabusa Aidou, and Takuma Ichijo, mysterious and charming noble vampires bounded to the Pureblood and head of the Night Class, Kaname Kuran by a strong friendship and obedience imposed by the hierarchy.

A thrilling story full of twist and turns takes place within this setting. The panels, that were skillfully drawn by the artist, have a touch of darkness through which the protagonists communicate the anxieties of their souls and the pathos they live day after day.

The vampires depicted here are creatures surrounded by a natural sensuality. Like in the best literary tradition, even the goriest of scenes is magically enveloped by an aura of charm and refinement. All this contributes to making every kind of fight less gruesome.

Eternal love and damnation

The characterizing theme of Vampire Knight is Eternal Love, the internal struggle of the characters to conquer what their heart truly desires, the will to withstand even the most painful choices.
Considering these aspects, Kaname’s personality is the most complex of all; authoritative especially with his classmates of the Night Class and merciless toward his enemies. He is rarely seen smiling or letting himself loose, but his personality changes in front of Yuuki. He shows all his tenderness and the great sense of protection he is capable of only with her. The metaphor of tormented love, an emotion that entails despair, pain and inner struggle. All of this embodies in the character of Kaname the determination, the strength and the ability to overcome every boundary in order to reach his objective.

Anime, CD Drama and Novels

A story like this certainly couldn’t be left only printed on the paper. The first episode of the anime series of Vampire Knight was produced by Studio Deen and was aired on TV Tokyo on April 8, 2008. Its success convinced the director Kiyoko Sayama to work on a second season, Vampire Knight Guilty. It was aired on October 7, 2008, and a third one aired during 2014. Unforgettable are the opening themes of both seasons, "Futatsu no Kodō to Akai Tsumi” and "Rinne: Rondo”, together with the ending themes “Still Doll” and “Suna no Oshiro”, that was included in the soundtrack album consisting in 30 tracks composed by Haketa Takafumi.

In addition to that, 2 CD dramas were released. One is “LaLa Kirameki” released in September 2005, while the second volume “Vampire Knight Midnight CD-Pack” was only available through online order.

Moreover, Matsuri Hino, in collaboration with Ayuna Fujisaki published two Light Novels in 2008. Both were not specifically based on chapters of the manga but are side-stories about certain characters featured within the original story.
In November 2008 an official Fanbook was published too, “Vampire Knight Fanbook: Cross”. This latest work gives further information on the characters and also includes detailed images of the author’s storyboard.

And the story goes on...

Photo credit: Google images Vampire Knight wiki;
[:ja]

Vampire Knight: Japan's Vampires

Which are the most fascinating and feared creature of the darkness of all times? The answer is simple and obvious: the Vampires.

In the common imaginary vampires have their origins in the inland Europe, but probably not many know that there is a race of vampires that actually comes from Japan! We are talking about Vampire Knight.
ヴァンパイア騎士 (Vanpaia Naito) is written by Matsuri Hino. She is a really an expert in the shōjo-gothic genre and debuted on the January number of the magazine LaLa in 2015. The artist gives us an extremely romantic image of vampires. Beautiful in the eyes of humans, they are different from the common "bloodsuckers".

They have blood running in their veins too, and drinking the blood of the beloved person is a sign of devotion like no other that will quench the thirst of the vampire who does it.

The Cross Academy

In an obscure world out of space and time the protagonists of Vampire Knight live in a prestigious private school with an unusual class structure. Students are divided in two different classes. The Day Class, attended by normal people that take their lessons during the day, and the Night Class, whose students are hiding a secret. To other students they are like an elite of geniuses, but in reality they are beautiful vampires. Only three people of the Day Class know the truth about the Night Class: the school director and the two “Guardians”: Yuki Cross, the protagonist and Zero Kiryu.

Around them, we find among others the characters of Shiki Senri, Hanabusa Aidou e Takuma Ichijo, mysterious and charming noble vampires bounded to the Pureblood and head of the Night Class Kaname Kuran by a strong friendship and the obedience imposed by hierarchy.

From this starting point takes place a thrilling story full of twist and turns. The panels, that were skillfully drawn by the artist, have a dark touch through which the protagonists communicate the anxieties of their souls and the pathos they live day after day.

The vampires depicted here are creatures surrounded by a natural sensuality. Like in the best literary tradition, even the most gory scene is magically enveloped by an aura of charm and refinement. All this contributes to make every kind of fight less bloody.

Eternal love and damnation

The characterizing theme of Vampire Knight is Eternal Love. The internal struggle of the characters to conquer what their heart truly desires, the will to withstand even the most painful choices.
Considering this aspect, Kaname’s personality is the most complex of all. Authoritative especially with his classmates of the Night Class and merciless toward his enemies. He is rarely seen smiling or letting himself go, but his personality changes in front of Yuuki. He shows all his tenderness and the great sense of protection he is capable of only with her. The metaphor of tormented love, that emotion that entails despair, pain and inner struggle. All of this embodies in the character of Kaname the determination, the strength and the ability to overcome every boundary in order to reach his objective.

Anime, CD Drama and Novels

A story like this certainly couldn’t be left only written on the paper. The first episode of the anime series of Vampire Knight was produced by Studio Deen. It was aired on TV Tokyo on April 8, 2008. Its success convinced the director Kiyoko Sayama to work on a second series, Vampire Knight Guilty. It was aired on October 7, 2008 and a third one aired during 2014. Unforgettable are the opening themes of both seasons. These are "Futatsu no Kodō to Akai Tsumi” e "Rinne: Rondo”. Together with the ending themes “Still Doll” and “Suna no Oshiro”, they were included in the soundtrack album consisting in 30 tracks composed by Haketa Takafumi.

More than that, 2 CD drama were released. One is “LaLa Kirameki” released in September 2005. The second volume “Vampire Knight Midnight CD-Pack”, available only through online order.

Moreover, Matsuri Hino in collaboration with Ayuna Fujisaki published two Light Novels in 2008. Both novels are not specifically based on chapters of the manga but are side-stories about some characters of the story.
In November 2008 an official Fanbook was published too: “Vampire Knight Fanbook: Cross”. This last work gives further information on the characters and also includes detailed images of the author’s storyboard.

And the story doesn't end here...

Photo credit: Google images Vampire Knight wiki;
[:]


Japan Travel: Tokyo Tower & Skytree

[:it]

Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower, Sky Tree, Tokyo Sky Tree, japan, japan travel, japan italy bridge, tokyo travel

Ispirandosi alla Tour Eiffel, la Tokyo Tower svetta all'interno del quartiere di Shiba-kōen di Minato a Tokyo. Costruita nel 1958 come simbolo di rinascita economica, con i suoi 333 metri ha una duplice funzione. Infatti è sia una torre per le telecomunicazioni e sia torre panoramica!

Nella struttura interamente d'acciaio ci sono due osservatori che permettono di godere una delle viste più belle. Al primo piano, situato a 150 m dal suolo, si trova l'Osservatorio principale, che offre una vista panoramica sul quartiere. A 250m vi è quello speciale e suggestivo che permette di vedere il Tokyo Sky Tree ed il monte Fuji.

Tokyo Tower, Sky Tree, Tokyo Sky Tree, japan, japan travel, japan italy bridge, tokyo travel

Naturalmente la Tokyo Tower non è solo questo. Al suo interno vi è un negozio di souvenir, un bar molto elegante ed un palcoscenico dove ogni settimana avvengono vari eventi musicali.
Anche i più piccoli possono godere di spettacoli a loro dedicati nei weekend e durante le festività grazie ai "Noppon", le mascotte della Tokyo Tower.
Ai piedi della torre sorge il Highball Garden Rooftop Genghis Khan: un bar-terrazza aperto nei mesi tra marzo e settembre che offre un luogo di ristoro con specialità e cocktail esclusivi.

Dal 1° giugno al 31 agosto si tiene un evento molto curioso e altrettanto affascinante il “Milky Way Illumination”. Le scale che vanno dal pianterreno all'Osservatorio sono illuminate da una luce blu. Sul soffitto appaiono tante stelline proprio a rappresentare la Via Lattea. Inoltre durante i giorni di luna piena Tokyo Tower è illuminata di rosa!

Tokyo Tower, Sky Tree, Tokyo Sky Tree, japan, japan travel, japan italy bridge, tokyo travel

Naturalmente ancora oggi la Tokyo Tower porta avanti il compito per la quale fu costruita. Grazie all'antenna che custodisce, si occupa della trasmissione dei segnali per le maggiori televisioni giapponesi.

Tokyo Skytree

Tokyo Tower, Sky Tree, Tokyo Sky Tree, japan, japan travel, japan italy bridge, tokyo travel

Molto più recente della Tokyo Tower è la Tokyo Sky Tree. Simbolo di Tokyo dell'archittettura con le sue forme che si rifanno agli antichi templi dell'epoca Heian, svetta nel cielo della città con i suoi 634 m di altezza. Un numero non casuale: i caratteri mu (6), sa (3), shi (4) formano la parola "Musashi", antico nome della regione in cui si trova la Tokyo Sky Tree. Essa è la torre per telecomunicazioni più alta al mondo con uno dei punti panoramici più belli grazie all'area denominata Solakara Point. Qui il pavimento e le pareti di vetro, regalano la sensazione di appartenere al cielo.

Tokyo Tower, Sky Tree, Tokyo Sky Tree, japan, japan travel, japan italy bridge, tokyo travel

La Tokyo Sky Tree fonde modernità e antichità in modo sorprendente. Dal quarto piano della torre ci si imbatte nel SUPER CRAFT TREE dove il designer Yukio Hashimoto ha esposto le sue creazioni. L'artista fonde il moderno con le tecniche artigianali del periodo Edo. Una testimonianza è il TEMBO SHUTTLE, l'ascensore con i pannelli che rapprensentano il miyakodori (l'uccello simbolo di Tokyo), alberi di Sakura ed il fiume Sumidagawa.

Tokyo Tower, Sky Tree, Tokyo Sky Tree, japan, japan travel, japan italy bridge, tokyo travel

Come di consuetudine a Tokyo, anche la Sky Tree possiede a sua mascotte, la Sorakara-chan (figlia dal cielo). Naturalmente la principale funzione della torre è la diffusione radio-televisiva a livello regionale.

Photo Credit: gaijinpot.comtokyo-skytree.jptokyotower.co.jpgoogle image
[:en]

Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower, Sky Tree, Tokyo Sky Tree, japan, japan travel, japan italy bridge, tokyo travel

Inspired by the Eiffel Tower, the Tokyo Tower is situated in the Shiba-kōen zone in Minato, Tokyo. Built in 1958 as a symbol of economic rebirth, with its 333 meters it has a double function. It is in fact a tower for telecommunication and scenic landmark!

Completely built in steel there are two observatory that will let you have one of the best views in the world. At the first floor, situated at 150 meters from the ground, there's the main observatory offering you a scenic view on the city. At 250 meters there's another special observatory that will allow you to see the Tokyo Sky Tree and up till mount Fuji.

Tokyo Tower, Sky Tree, Tokyo Sky Tree, japan, japan travel, japan italy bridge, tokyo travel

Obviously the Tokyo Tower is not just this. Inside there is a souvenir store, a very elegant bar and a stage where every week you can enjoy musical events. Even the younger ones can enjoy shows during holidays also thanks to "Noppon", the Tokyo Tower mascottes.
At its feet there's the Highball Garden Rooftop Genghis Khan: a terrace bar opened between March and September that serves specialties and exclusive cocktails.

From June 1st and August 31st there's a very peculiar and fascinating event called “Milky Way Illumination”. The stairs that go from the ground up to the observatory are enlightened with blu lights. On the roof a lot of starts will appear and it will make you feel as if you are in space. Furthermore, during the full moon nights, the Tokyo Tower lights up in a pink shade!

Tokyo Tower, Sky Tree, Tokyo Sky Tree, japan, japan travel, japan italy bridge, tokyo travel

Even today, the Tokyo Tower serves the purpose it was built for. Thanks to the antenna on top, it takes care of the transmission of the signal for the main Japanese TV networks.

Tokyo Skytree

Tokyo Tower, Sky Tree, Tokyo Sky Tree, japan, japan travel, japan italy bridge, tokyo travel

More recent than the Tokyo Tower is the Tokyo Sky Tree. Symbol of Tokyo architecture with it's shapes that reminds us of the ancient temples of the Heian era, it fills the sky with its 634 meters of height. A number that is not casual: the signs mu (6), sa (3), shi (4) they form the word "Musashi", ancient name of the region where the Tokyo Sky Tree is.
This is the highest telecommunication in the world, with one of the most beautiful sceneries thanks to the Solakara Point. Here the floor and the glass walls gift the feeling of belonging to the sky.

Tokyo Tower, Sky Tree, Tokyo Sky Tree, japan, japan travel, japan italy bridge, tokyo travel

The Tokyo Sky Tree mixes modern and ancient times. From the fourth floor of the tower you can see the SUPER CRAFT TREE where the designer Yukio Hashimoto showcased his creations. The artist mixes the modern techniques with the Edo period craftsmanship. A proof of this is the TEMBO SHUTTLE, the lift with crafted panels that represent the miyakadori (the bird symbol of Tokyo), Sakura trees and the Sumidagawa river.

Tokyo Tower, Sky Tree, Tokyo Sky Tree, japan, japan travel, japan italy bridge, tokyo travel

As custom in Tokyo, also the Sky Tree has its own mascotte, the Sorakara-chan (daughter of the Sky). Naturally, the main function of the tower is the distribution of the radio and tv signal at a regional leve.

Photo Credit: gaijinpot.comtokyo-skytree.jptokyotower.co.jpgoogle image;
[:ja]

Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower, Sky Tree, Tokyo Sky Tree, japan, japan travel, japan italy bridge, tokyo travel

Inspired by the Eiffel Tower, the Tokyo Tower is situated in the Shiba-kōen zone in Minato, Tokyo. Built in 1958 as a symbol of economic rebirth, with its 333 meters it has a double function. It is in fact a tower for telecommunication and scenic landmark!

Completely built in steel there are two observatory that will let you have one of the best views in the world. At the first floor, situated at 150 meters from the ground, there's the main observatory offering you a scenic view on the city. At 250 meters there's another special observatory that will allow you to see the Tokyo Sky Tree and up till mount Fuji.

Tokyo Tower, Sky Tree, Tokyo Sky Tree, japan, japan travel, japan italy bridge, tokyo travel

Obviously the Tokyo Tower is not just this. Inside there is a souvenir store, a very elegant bar and a stage where every week you can enjoy musical events. Even the younger ones can enjoy shows during holidays also thanks to "Noppon", the Tokyo Tower mascottes.
At its feet there's the Highball Garden Rooftop Genghis Khan: a terrace bar opened between March and September that serves specialties and exclusive cocktails.

From June 1st and August 31st there's a very peculiar and fascinating event called “Milky Way Illumination”. The stairs that go from the ground up to the observatory are enlightened with blu lights. On the roof a lot of starts will appear and it will make you feel as if you are in space. Furthermore, during the full moon nights, the Tokyo Tower lights up in a pink shade!

Tokyo Tower, Sky Tree, Tokyo Sky Tree, japan, japan travel, japan italy bridge, tokyo travel

Even today, the Tokyo Tower serves the purpose it was built for. Thanks to the antenna on top, it takes care of the transmission of the signal for the main Japanese TV networks.

Tokyo Skytree

Tokyo Tower, Sky Tree, Tokyo Sky Tree, japan, japan travel, japan italy bridge, tokyo travel

More recent than the Tokyo Tower is the Tokyo Sky Tree. Symbol of Tokyo architecture with it's shapes that reminds us of the ancient temples of the Heian era, it fills the sky with its 634 meters of height. A number that is not casual: the signs mu (6), sa (3), shi (4) they form the word "Musashi", ancient name of the region where the Tokyo Sky Tree is.
This is the highest telecommunication in the world, with one of the most beautiful sceneries thanks to the Solakara Point. Here the floor and the glass walls gift the feeling of belonging to the sky.

Tokyo Tower, Sky Tree, Tokyo Sky Tree, japan, japan travel, japan italy bridge, tokyo travel

The Tokyo Sky Tree mixes modern and ancient times. From the fourth floor of the tower you can see the SUPER CRAFT TREE where the designer Yukio Hashimoto showcased his creations. The artist mixes the modern techniques with the Edo period craftsmanship. A proof of this is the TEMBO SHUTTLE, the lift with crafted panels that represent the miyakadori (the bird symbol of Tokyo), Sakura trees and the Sumidagawa river.

Tokyo Tower, Sky Tree, Tokyo Sky Tree, japan, japan travel, japan italy bridge, tokyo travel

As custom in Tokyo, also the Sky Tree has its own mascotte, the Sorakara-chan (daughter of the Sky). Naturally, the main function of the tower is the distribution of the radio and tv signal at a regional leve.

Photo Credit: gaijinpot.comtokyo-skytree.jptokyotower.co.jpgoogle image;
[:]


Ōmisoka, japan italy bridge, japanese new year, japan traditions, joya no Kane, HATSUMOUDE

Japanese Traditions: Ōmisoka - New year's traditions

[:it]

Japanese Traditions: Ōmisoka - Nuovo Anno

Shogatsu (o Oshogatsu) è il nuovo anno per il popolo del sol levante.

Nel periodo Meiji, questa data coincideva con il calendario lunare cinese. Durante la restaurazione dello stesso periodo, anche il Giappone ha adottato il calendario Gregoriano. Il 1° gennaio diventa quindi il giorno festivo che tutti conosciamo.

Per noi occidentali è quasi impossibile pensare di poter racchiudere 365 giorni in un solo momento. Aprire gli occhi di fronte allo spettacolo dell'Hatsuhinode (il sorgere del primo sole del nuovo anno) è di buon auspicio. E' anche la rappresentanza dell'anno che sta per cominciare.
Tutto però ha inizio dal 28 dicembre quando si cominciano i preparativi per il capodanno. Durante i giorni dello Shougatsu Sanganichi, solo i servizi primari sono attivi. I giapponesi si dedicano allo Susuharai, la pulizia della casa da cima a fondo per eliminare tutte le tracce negative del passato. Sugli ingressi vengono appesi i Kadomatsu (rami di pino) e lo Shimenawa (corda di paglia con strisce di carta colorata) per tenere lontani gli spiriti maligni.
Le poste giapponesi sono attive per recapitare le cartoline augurali che devono raggiungere amici e parenti entro capodanno, le nengajou (年賀状).

Ōmisoka, japan italy bridge, japanese new year, japan traditions, joya no Kane, HATSUMOUDE

Tutto è pronto per trascorrere il proprio tempo con la famiglia ed il 31 dicembre, ha inizio l'Ōmisoka (letteralmente la vigilia di Capodanno, l'ultimo giorno dell'anno). Attorno alle 22:30 inizia il Joya no Kane, i rintocchi della Tsurigane (la campana del tempio). Sono molto lenti, perchè il suono del precedente rintocco deve spegnersi prima dell'inizio del successivo. Proseguono fino a mezzanotte per un totale di 108 rintocchi. Essi permetteranno - a chi li ascolta tutti - di purificarsi per affrontare un nuovo capitolo tutto da scrivere.

I cibi tradizionali

Ōmisoka, japan italy bridge, japanese new year, japan traditions, joya no Kane, HATSUMOUDE

In questa notte si mangia il toshikoshi soba (年越しそば), cioè vermicelli fatti con grano saraceno, uova e brodo caldo. La lunghezza dei vermicelli sono auspicio di una vita lunga. La loro digeribilità indica la pulizia interiore e la facilità con cui si tagliano simboleggia l'eliminazione di tutte le cose brutte nel passato.

Ōmisoka, japan italy bridge, japanese new year, japan traditions, joya no Kane, HATSUMOUDE

Il giorno seguente, avviene la prima visita al santuario, l'HATSUMOUDE (初詣). Pregare per la salute dei propri familiari e la loro felicità è lo spirito giusto per affrontare il nuovo inizio. Inoltre i bambini giapponesi ricevono una piccola busta decorata, bukuro (袋), nella quale vi sono riposti dei soldi (otoshidama, お年玉).

Famiglia e festa sono legati insieme anche dal cibo. Sulle tavole fanno capolino i osechi-ryouri (お節料理) , i piatti speciali della tradizione come le alghe kombu ( 昆布), i kamaboko (蒲鉾, torte di pesce). E poi anche il kurikinton (栗きんとん, purè di patate dolci con castagne), il kinpiragobo (金平牛蒡, radici di bardana bollite). I più amati e conosciuti Kuro-mame (黒豆, fiagioli di soia neri dolci) e non mancano sushi e sashimi. Tutte le leccornie presenti fanno sì che esista anche il giorno del “riposo dello stomaco”, il 7° giorno di gennaio, il jinjitsu (人日), in cui si mangia il nanakusa-gayu (七草粥, la minestra delle sette erbe a base di riso).

Se avete mai avuto la possibilità di trovarvi in Giappone durante l'Ōmisoka, raccontatecelo nei commenti oppure sulla nostra pagina facebook.

Image source: Google
[:en]

Japanese Traditions: Ōmisoka - New year

Shogatsu (or Oshogatsu) is the new year for the land of the Rising Sun.

In the Meiji period, this date was coinciding with the Chinese lunar calendar, but during the restoration of the same period, Japan changed to the Gregorian calendar too, fixing January 1st as the festive day we all know.

For the westerners it’s almost impossible to think to gather 365 days in just one moment. However, opening your eyes in front of the sight of the Hatsuhinode (the dawn of the first sun of the year) it is considered good luck and as the representation of the year that’s about to begin. However, every year, celebrations start on December 28th when all the preparations for new year begin. During the days of the Shougatsu Sanganichi, only the primary services are available, while Japanese people dedicate themselves to the Susuharai, cleaning of the whole house to get rid of all the negative traces of the past year. Kadomatsu (pine braches) and Shimenawa (straw rope with stripes of colored paper) are hanged on the doorsteps to keep the bad spirits away.
Japanese postal office are actively sending out and delivering cards for the best wishes that need to reach friends and families before new year’s day, the nengajou (年賀状).

Ōmisoka, japan italy bridge, japanese new year, japan traditions, joya no Kane, HATSUMOUDE

Everything is ready to spend the time with the family and on December 31st, that's when the Ōmisoka begins (literally New year’s eve, the last day of the year).
Around 10:30pm the Joya no Kane, the tolls from the Tsurigane (bell of the temple), begins. They are very slow, because the first toll has to stop ringing before a second one is taken. They go on until midnight for a total of 108 tolls. They are said to be purifying for all those who listen so that it’s possible to face a new chapter of our lives.

Traditional foods

Ōmisoka, japan italy bridge, japanese new year, japan traditions, joya no Kane, HATSUMOUDE

In this night it’s tradition to eat toshikoshi soba (年越しそば), noodles made with buckwheat, eggs and hot broth. The length of the noodles are auspice of a long life, their digestibility indicates the interior cleanliness and the ease in cutting them are a symbol of the removal of all bad things of the past.

Ōmisoka, japan italy bridge, japanese new year, japan traditions, joya no Kane, HATSUMOUDE

The day after, the first visit to the temple takes place, the HATSUMOUDE (初詣). To pray for health for every family member and their happiness is the right spirit to face a new beginning. Furthermore, Japanese kids usually receive a small engraved envelope, bukuro (袋), containing some money (otoshidama, お年玉).

Family and festivities are connected together also thanks to the food. On the tables you can find theosechi-ryouri (お節料理), specialties coming from the tradition like the kombu (昆布) weed. The kamaboko (蒲鉾, fish cake), kurikinton (栗きんとん, mash potatoes with chestunts), kinpiragobo (金平牛蒡, burdock boiled roots). The most loved and well known Kuro-mame (黒豆, sweet black soy beans) and of course sushi and sashimi. Due to all these specialties, on the 7th day of January there’s the jinjitsu (人日), the day for “stomach rest”, when you only eat the the nanakusa-gayu (七草粥, the soup of the seven herbs made with rice).

If you ever had the chance to be in Japan during the Ōmisoka, tell us in the comments or on our facebook page! We'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

Image source: Google
[:ja]

Japanese Traditions: Ōmisoka - New year

Shogatsu (or Oshogatsu) is the new year for the land of the Rising Sun.

In the Meiji period, this date was coinciding with the Chinese lunar calendar, but during the restoration of the same period, Japan changed to the Gregorian calendar too, fixing January 1st as the festive day we all know.

For the westerners it’s almost impossible to think to gather 365 days in just one moment. However, opening your eyes in front of the sight of the Hatsuhinode (the dawn of the first sun of the year) it is considered good luck and as the representation of the year that’s about to begin. However, every year, celebrations start on December 28th when all the preparations for new year begin. During the days of the Shougatsu Sanganichi, only the primary services are available, while Japanese people dedicate themselves to the Susuharai, cleaning of the whole house to get rid of all the negative traces of the past year. Kadomatsu (pine braches) and Shimenawa (straw rope with stripes of colored paper) are hanged on the doorsteps to keep the bad spirits away.
Japanese postal office are actively sending out and delivering cards for the best wishes that need to reach friends and families before new year’s day, the nengajou (年賀状).

Ōmisoka, japan italy bridge, japanese new year, japan traditions, joya no Kane, HATSUMOUDE

Everything is ready to spend the time with the family and on December 31st, that's when the Ōmisoka begins (literally New year’s eve, the last day of the year).
Around 10:30pm the Joya no Kane, the tolls from the Tsurigane (bell of the temple), begins. They are very slow, because the first toll has to stop ringing before a second one is taken. They go on until midnight for a total of 108 tolls. They are said to be purifying for all those who listen so that it’s possible to face a new chapter of our lives.

Traditional foods

Ōmisoka, japan italy bridge, japanese new year, japan traditions, joya no Kane, HATSUMOUDE

In this night it’s tradition to eat toshikoshi soba (年越しそば), noodles made with buckwheat, eggs and hot broth. The length of the noodles are auspice of a long life, their digestibility indicates the interior cleanliness and the ease in cutting them are a symbol of the removal of all bad things of the past.

Ōmisoka, japan italy bridge, japanese new year, japan traditions, joya no Kane, HATSUMOUDE

The day after, the first visit to the temple takes place, the HATSUMOUDE (初詣). To pray for health for every family member and their happiness is the right spirit to face a new beginning. Furthermore, Japanese kids usually receive a small engraved envelope, bukuro (袋), containing some money (otoshidama, お年玉).

Family and festivities are connected together also thanks to the food. On the tables you can find theosechi-ryouri (お節料理), specialties coming from the tradition like the kombu (昆布) weed. The kamaboko (蒲鉾, fish cake), kurikinton (栗きんとん, mash potatoes with chestunts), kinpiragobo (金平牛蒡, burdock boiled roots). The most loved and well known Kuro-mame (黒豆, sweet black soy beans) and of course sushi and sashimi. Due to all these specialties, on the 7th day of January there’s the jinjitsu (人日), the day for “stomach rest”, when you only eat the the nanakusa-gayu (七草粥, the soup of the seven herbs made with rice).

If you ever had the chance to be in Japan during the Ōmisoka, tell us in the comments or on our facebook page! We'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

Image source: Google
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