Wood and Japanese architecture

If you have ever been to Japan or even seen photos, you will have noticed that Japanese architecture is characterized by the use of wood as the primary material. Today we see how this traditional material has become an emblem of Japanese architecture.

Wood, mold and fire in Japanese architecture

Author: Erika | Source: Nippon.com

Japan's wet environment has made it possible to develop an architectural style mainly focused on the use of wood. In fact, in summer, humidity levels reach peaks that we can hardly conceive of here in Europe. However, if you have been to Japan during the months of June and July, you will have noticed that you sweat even while standing still. For this very reason, in the history of this country, techniques and materials have been developed to help compensate for this problem. In fact, the raised floors and open spaces typical of traditional houses have guaranteed adequate ventilation to combat the accumulation of toxic mould. In addition, the wooden construction with mullions and beams not only helps against moisture but also becomes useful in the design for resistance to typhoons and earthquakes.

architettura giapponese architettura giapponese

Although fires have been frequent in the history of Japan, historically the Japanese have built almost exclusively with wood. Certainly, the fire was a persistent problem and this is reflected in the severity of the current fire laws. However, judging by history, it seems that the major cause of the problem was the natural disasters that led Japanese architecture to take the forms we all know.

The constant presence of mould in Japanese architecture

Actually, mould is a constant problem not only for Japan but a little bit for the whole world. In fact, today we were able to create a solution by applying modern architectural techniques.
Much of Japan has ideal conditions for mould because of the various types of mushrooms present in the country. In addition, temperatures rarely fall below zero and humidity can last over 70% for long periods of time. These are all ideal conditions for mould to form, but traditional wooden construction alleviated this problem. In fact, with these construction techniques, the building was raised from ground level leaving the walls open so that air could flow freely in the spaces. Because of this problem, older buildings contain very little furniture and equipment. Temples, sanctuaries, palaces and traditional houses fall into this category.

Japan and tradition

As we all know, Japan is a very traditionalist country and Japanese architecture is no less. However there is a strong preference for the new, in fact, large companies do not hide to design houses to last about 30 years, after that the house should be demolished and rebuilt. This is almost inconceivable from a Western point of view, but reconstruction is a perfect way to completely eliminate mould, infestation and other problems.

The culture of reconstruction has, in fact, ancient roots in Japan because until the 8th century AD the death of an emperor was the cause of the displacement of the royal palace and the capital. Moreover, there was a saying in the Edo period that read "fire is one of the two flowers of Edo, as the city often blossomed". Whether the cause was fires or abrupt changes, these reasons have significantly lowered the average life of buildings. However, moving a house meant throwing everything except the wooden structure, the framing was in fact dismantled and reassembled with a fresh roof and curtain walls. In fact, this not only solved the problems of mould or other problems but also preserved the most durable parts of a house. Precisely for this reason, today we find extremely old and recycled beams and columns in many farmhouses.

Wood VS Metal

During the Tokugawa Shogunate, political decisions limited the use of metal fasteners and this was also an important factor in the development of carpentry in Japanese architecture. In fact, despite the fact that steel was already widely used, metal fasteners had no comparison with the longevity of wooden joints. In fact, in unseasoned wood, these fixings were strongly subject to seasonal shrinkage and expansion of the surrounding material. Also, when exposed to air, they are subject to rapid oxidation due to Japan's humid climate.

architettura giapponese architettura giapponese

On the contrary, an all-wooden junction becomes stronger and stronger as time goes by. In fact, calculations show that the latter may be structurally more solid even in the centuries following construction. Wood gains in strength for 200-300 years after being cut, but gradually decreases after that. For this very reason, the heavy roofs of traditional Japanese architecture are impossible to build without an elaborate wooden structure.

To withstand the weather and typhoons, these roofs should be supported by large stone walls, but in a country where earthquakes are so common and typhoons so devastating, it becomes too impractical. In addition, during the rainy season, condensation would occupy and ruin all the walls. In traditional Japanese architecture, the entire wooden supporting structure is open for visual inspection, meaning that any water infiltration was easily identified and handled quickly.

Japanese architecture and earthquake-proof houses

As we well know, Japan is frequently hit by earthquakes that do not seem to create too much damage. This is not because earthquakes are less violent, but thanks to the anti-seismic techniques of Japanese architecture. In fact, earthquake resistance is the third reason why Japanese architecture primarily uses wood in its constructions.

In Western culture, houses are solidly bonded to the foundations, which makes them a solid earthquake-resistant box with walls strong enough to withstand lateral shocks. As a result, the building will move with the ground, however, making the occupants feel the full force of the earthquake. In Japanese culture, on the other hand, construction using wooden joints makes everything more flexible. In this way, the lateral energy of an earthquake is absorbed by the bending of the junctions themselves, allowing the building with a heavy roof to remain standing even during strong tremors. To make you understand better, many old buildings are constructed in a similar way to a wooden chair, with supporting pillars without walls connected both at the top, where the roof rests and at the bottom. This allows you to support the weight safely and dynamically.

Thanks to the use of this technique, most traditional buildings are not based on foundations or basements. However, one might expect that during an earthquake the structure will jump from the base stones, the masonry walls will break and the beams will bend or break. But a well-built wooden building remains standing, in fact even in contemporary construction basic insulation is becoming a standard for seismic design even though it is illegal in Japan.

So many forests equal so much wood

Here is the latest reason why we find this preference for wood in Japanese architecture. In fact, the ready availability of timber and the use in traditional construction, cypress and pine, for example, are ready for harvesting and use only after 40-60 years of growth. Japanese carpenters have in fact become experts in making the most of wood construction techniques for many generations. This has not only allowed us to specialize in the use of this material but has also left us a rich heritage of buildings that are not only cultural heritage, but also teach us in the West to become more sustainable and safe without giving up modernity.


Japanese Patterns

The Japanese are famous for their style and patterns related to kimono fabrics, pocket handkerchiefs and other items that have made history and remain one of the symbols of the land of the Rising Sun. Today we share with you some of the most famous patterns and we will try to analyze them together.

Traditional Japanese patterns, what they are and their meaning

Author: Erika | Source: Nippon.com

The Japanese tradition wants kimono, but also soft towels and other small Japanese objects to be decorated with precise fabrics. In fact, we often find very precise decorations on this type of fabrics. Every decoration and every pattern has a precise name and a well-defined origin that reveals hidden meanings with precise purposes. Here is a shortlist of the most traditional patterns.

Pattern: Uroko (Scales)

Created through the combination of triangles, this fabric resembles the skin of a snake or fish. In tradition, samurai wore clothes with this pattern as a protective talisman against evil.

Kōjitsunagi (Interlaced Kō Characters)

As we often find also in Western culture, the decorations of many fabrics correspond to a precise character repeated in a graphic way. In fact, this model takes its name from the use of the character 工 (kō), repeated interlocking so that the characters seem to stretch infinitely. This type of pattern is associated with luck and is a typical drawing used in materials to create kimonos.

Pattern: Asanoha (Hemp leaves)

Literally called Hemp Leaves, this Japanese pattern has a strong vitality just like the fibre of the same name. Hemp is a plant that grows vigorously without much care. In fact, this is the focus of the pattern that is often used in the creation of kimonos for children and infants in the hope that they too will grow strong.

Yabane / Yagasuri (Arrow feathers)

This Japanese pattern is based on the stylization of hawk, eagle and other birds feathers used in the manufacture of arrows. Behind this type of fabric, as always, we find a deep symbolism. In fact with the pointing to the target, arrows have long been used as a good omen. However, once shot, the arrows do not return, and for this very reason, in the Edo period, brides were given kimonos with this design as a good luck charm. In fact, this pattern was a kind of good luck charm to make sure that new brides didn't have to return to their family home.

Also, in the late seventies, this pattern became famous thanks to Benio, the main character of Haikara-san, a manga for teenagers. In fact, she wore this type of kimono at school and this led to the combination with burgundy hakama, a type of split skirt. This led teenagers to make this Japanese pattern a popular combination at graduation ceremonies.

Pattern: Same Komon (shark skin)

Thanks to the superimposed arcs in small dots, this Japanese pattern is reminiscent of shark skin and hence its name. In the tradition we often find it used by the Kishū Tokugawa family, to which belonged the Shōgun Tokugawa Yoshimune (1684-1751).

Seigaiha (Blue ocean waves)

Pattern

One of our favourites, this model is reminiscent of the fan waves of the open sea. The name comes from the ancient gagaku court dance called Seigaiha. During these ancient performances, the dancers wore costumes with this very motif.

Shippō (Seven treasures)

Pattern

With circles that overlap in quarters resembling petals, their centre forms a shining star. This pattern is given the meaning of good omen for the prosperity of your descendants, good relationships and to bring harmony into your lives.

Pattern: Kikkō (Turtle)

Pattern

Another auspicious pattern, this design comes from the shape of the turtle shell (hexagon) and that's where it takes its name from. This not only represents luck but also longevity. Depending on how it is composed, the hexagons form different variations for this type of design, including Kikkō hanabishi and Bishamon kikkō. In the former, the centre of the hexagons forms flowers, while the latter is formed by joining three hexagons.

Ichimatsu (chequered)

Pattern

With several coloured squares arranged alternately, this pattern is very similar to ginkgoam. A common fabric since ancient times, this pattern became famous as Ichimatsu in the 18th century thanks to the kabuki actor Sanogawa Ichimatsu. In fact, the artist loved to use this fabric on his hakama costume. Today we find it in the official logos of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Tachiwaki / Tatewaki (rising steam)

With two curved lines representing the steam rising in a stylized way, this pattern was often used in kimonos for noble and high-ranking people in the Heian period. The way these curved lines are formed serves to create variations called Kumo tatewaku (cloud) and Sasa tatewaku (bamboo).

Karakusa (Winding Plant)

Introduced in Japan with the arrival of the Silk Road, vines and spirals extending in all directions symbolize longevity and prosperity. However, this pattern became famous as a design for furoshiki cloth that thieves used to take away stolen goods. This suggests that this pattern was very popular because in every house you could find a furoshiki with this design.

Kanoko (Fawn)

Resembling the spotted back of a fawn, this pattern is created by hand using a special dyeing technique. However, the laborious process makes it a highly sought after fabric, in fact, kimonos with an all-over kanoko pattern are considered objects of great luxury.

Hishi (Diamond)

Pattern

Pattern with geometric shapes, this pattern is created when two parallel lines intersect. We often find it on the ceramics of the ancient Jōmon period. Moreover, we find this pattern in different variations that include Waribischi, four diamonds combined to form a single diamond, and Hanabischi, where the petals of the flowers are shaped in diamonds.

Mameshibori (Mame Tie-dye)

Pattern

This patter was the most common pattern on bath towels in the Edo period. In fact, the name comes from a play on words that means both peas or beans, is robust and healthy. This pattern represents the hope to stay healthy and most of the patterns of the time are created with stencil dyeing or printing techniques. However, under the name of shibori, we can understand that originally the design was made by hand with a particular dyeing technique. In fact, we note that in antiquity, these shapes were much more irregular than the prints of today.

 


Kit Kat, the 10 most unique flavors directly from Japan

"Have a break, have a Kit Kat" was the famous slogan of the world's most famous snack commercial. However, staying on simple chocolate after a few years is almost "boring". That's why the Japanese have invented several new flavors and associations to enjoy it even with your friends!

Kit Kat, the 10 most unique flavors directly from Japan

Author: Erika | Source: Guilty Yeats

photo credits: fpsconnexion

From Japan to the United States, Kit Kats are now the most famous snack in the world. If you love these bars as much as we do, you may already know the various flavors in the world. However, for those of you who are unaware of these flavors, today we have collected the most famous ones.

Matcha Kit Kat

Kit Kat Matcha

photo credits: wirtschaft-tv.com

Of course, this had to be the first on the list. Already present in several Italian and international supermarkets, the Matcha Kit Kat is certainly everyone's favorite. With the typical taste of Japanese green tea, the Matcha Kit Kat is a very satisfying snack and if you love Matcha as much as we do, then this is the snack for you!

Lemon Kat Kit

You know that citrus and chocolate are always a good match. In fact, Kit Kat has created a special edition dedicated to Lemon Cake and it has in fact depopulated. It actually seems to really eat a lemon cake!

Kit Kat Limone

photo credits:matcha-jp.com

New York Cheesecake

The Japanese are a cheesecake gourmand, they have cheesecake for all tastes, so they couldn't miss the cheesecake Kit Kat. Every bite of these bars is like melting a delicious chocolate cheesecake in your mouth. This could be the snack par excellence that can also be used as a dessert!

Red Almond Kat Kit

Cranberries, dark chocolate, and almonds, this is the delicious trio for these bars, a unique flavor. Perfect for a snack at any time, a sweet and crunchy taste with every bite!

Cookies and cream

If you love cookies and cream, this is the option for you! Not only is each bite a creamy biscuit flavor, but combined with the crispy wafer creates an incredible mix. One of the best in the world, we are sure it will satisfy all your sudden cravings.

Kit Kat Japan  Kit Kat Giappone

photo credits: wikipedia.org,food-spotter.com

Azuki Beans Kit Kat

Here we go again with the typical Japanese flavors. Sweet but not too much, these bars have a flavor reminiscent of the filling in Dorayaki, but with chocolate in addition. One of the rarest varieties but definitely worth trying!

Strawberry cheesecake

One of the most popular flavors in Japan, these bars should be savored with every bite. Tanks to the strawberry, you will taste these bars as if you were eating a real cheesecake. Also, the crunchiness of the wafer makes these bars have everything you need to qualify as a dessert.

Kit Kat Kit Kat

photo credits: wikipedia.org, fpsconnexion

Beni Imo Kit Kat

This is perhaps the most peculiar Japanese taste of all. With the sweet purple potato, it may not seem like the snack to fall in love with, however, once you try it you will change your mind. With just the right amount of sweetness, it also makes it perfect for everyone who doesn't like too sweet snacks.

Raspberry Kat Kit

Another fair exclusive of Japan (unfortunately) is the raspberry one and if you are a fan of this fruit, this bar will become your absolute favorite. In fact, with every single bite, you'll find the crunchiness of the wafer and the freshness of the fruit and if that's not enough to make you want to try them, then we don't know what could do it!

Unfortunately in Italy, it is difficult to find all these flavors, however, you can go to Japanese shops or restaurants in your city and see if they have any available. Alternatively, online shops always offer a wide choice! Which is your favorite?


Where to go when the borders reopen

Traveling to Japan: where to go when everything is over

Author: Erika | Source: The Japan Times

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, at the moment it is impossible to travel to Japan, however, nothing prevents us from dreaming but above all planning our next trip! Let's start by telling you about some particular places that you should absolutely include in your "travel to do list".

Tohoku: Michinoku coastal trail

If you love long walks and hiking, this is the place for you. In fact, along the coast of Michinoku, you can find a path for all those who like to venture into nature. It is a hiking trail that runs 1,025 kilometers along the Pacific Ocean from South Aomori Prefecture to Fukushima Prefecture.

The trail follows the old Sanriku Hamakaido, an ancient trade route that cut through the depths of the forest and glades. This will not only allow you to see an unusual side of Japan but also to spend some beautiful moments surrounded by nature.

Ishikawa Prefecture: Kiriko Festival in Noto

viaggiare in Giappone viaggiare in Giappone viaggiare in Giappone

photo credits: japan-forward.com

There are many festivals in Japan, some more traditional, others more eccentric and exuberant. However, the Kiriko festival of Noto (floating lanterns) in Ishikawa Prefecture is one of the most impressive. In fact, if you have ever had the fortune to attend, you will surely have felt teleported back to the Showa era (1926/89). Tradition has it that every year, everyone who belongs to the prefecture returns to Ishikawa to bring the great kiriko of their neighborhood.

Every year, men with matching happi of various colors, carry 15-meter kiriko weighing 2 tons through the streets of the city accompanied by the sound of flutes and drums. 

However, the Ishikawa Peninsula also offers many other attractions, such as Kanazawa Castle, one of the many beauties of the rising sun. So if you're planning to travel to Japan, this is definitely one of the must-see destinations.

Tokyo: The back streets of the Kita district

viaggiare in Giappone Kita-wu

photo credits: tokyo2020.jp

If you've ever been to Tokyo, you may have noticed that the city not only has its most known neighborhoods but is made up of many small side streets that hide endless secrets and delights. It's very difficult to choose what to see first, but the Kita district is one of the most particular and less known.

In these small streets in fact you can find small family-run shops that date back to even before the first World War. Surrounded by the shops of Wagashiya (traditional sweets), here you can taste the best and most particular dango and sweets in the city.

Don't forget the beautiful Japanese gardens, with colossal lanterns and typical Japanese maples, waterfalls, and rocks that make this place a sublime masterpiece.

Fukuoka Prefecture: the yatai

viaggiare in Giappone yatai

photo credits: gaijinpot.com

Traveling in Japan means not only visiting the various cities but also experiencing all the traditions of the culture of the rising sun. In fact, in the prefecture of Fukuoka, around 5 pm, the streets fill up in anticipation of the evening and it is here that we can find the many yatai, street food stalls. Outside the stations, at the corners of the most famous intersections, along the river and even on the streets of Nakasu, we find these typical street shops.

The food served here is mainly street food that focuses on Tonkotsu Ramen, the specialty of Fukuoka, but also yakitori and other delicacies. However, one of the things they have in common is the atmosphere, the people who crowd these stalls, and the managers who try to place as many orders as possible. A true moment of tradition and a cross-section of Japanese life not to be missed.

Tokushima Prefecture: Iya Valley

viaggiare in Giappone iya valley viaggiare in Giappone

photo credits: tripadvisor.it, gaijinpot.com

If you are planning to travel to Japan, you absolutely must include this destination within your destinations to visit. In the heart of Shikoku, we find the Iya Valley, an almost magical place to explore, with turquoise waters and lush mountains. Here you can not only immerse yourself in nature and the real Japanese countryside, but we can also find cheap accommodation and excursions for all adventurous tourists. In fact, here you can discover a remote, mountainous Japan with thatched-roofed houses, traditional thatched vine pits, and the famous 88 temples of Shikou. A destination not to be missed.

Okinawa: Kerama Islands

viaggiare in Giappone Okinawa

photo credits: watabi.it, viagginews.com

Okinawa is not only one of the most beautiful places in Japan but in the world. Between white beaches and crystal clear waters, the Kerama Islands are a jewel of nature. There are quick ways to get to the main island, however, taking a cruise from Kagoshima will help you discover places unique in the world. Passing between the islands of Okinoerabujima and Tokunoshima, you will see spectacular landscapes hitherto unknown to you. Among sea breezes, snorkeling with turtles, and trekking on the abandoned roads of Zamami Island you will discover a hidden world of corals and colorful fish.

Prefecture of Niigata: Museum of Northern Culture

viaggiare in Giappone viaggiare in Giappone

photo credits: hoppou-bunka.com

You can find the Museum of Northern Culture in the village of Soumi in the former palace of the Ito family. Here, the residence and garden were converted into a private museum after the war. With a landscape created by Taiami Tanaka over 5 years, the building houses a reception hall consisting of 100 meters of tatami. With a very special garden decorated with waterfalls, stone lanterns, wisteria, and miniature bridges, the park remains one of the main attractions of the area.

Not only will you feel relaxed to enjoy the view of this landscape, but you will also feel like you are going back in time. One of the most precious places in the prefecture.

We definitely recommend these destinations if you are planning to travel to Japan, and of course, we are curious about your feedback!


Far East Film Festival 22, this year in streaming

Far East Film Festival 22, this year in streaming

Author: Erika

This year due to the COVID-19 emergency many countries found themselves having to reorganize, or even cancel, several events. However, our friends from the Far East Film Festival decided to continue with the 22nd edition and found a perfect way to respect the rules. In fact, only for this year, the Far East Film Festival will be held from June 26th to July 4th via LIVE STREAMING, also thanks to the MyMovies live platform!

Far East Film Festival

Face to face, Heart to Heart is this season's motto. Taken from the homonymous hit of the eighties, this is the perfect synthesis of this new edition.

An edition that does not give up and that will take place online! Face to face, through the thin glass of the displays, heart to heart, because the festival community in Udine is literally one big family.

From 26 June to 4 July, the structure of FEFF 22 will be remodeled. In fact, we are not only talking about a switch up, with the films in competition to watch on-demand but an authentic transformation. All content will be adapted, as far as possible, to the dynamics of streaming.

During these months of lockdown, the audience has already attended en masse the MyMovies platform as a virtual theatre. In fact, it will be here that the online streaming of all the films in competition will take place. Obviously, the whole will not only be a reservoir of titles but the meeting point for all the participants of the Far East Film Festival.

Moreover, from June 30th to July 2nd, Focus Asia, the festival's Industry area, will also be online, with the FEFF in progress section (the first and only European platform dedicated to Asian films in post-production), the project market and a rich webinar program.

The accreditation campaign will start in a few days, on June 1st to be exact and soon the staff of FEFF 22 will share the complete list of the broadcast schedule. Let the umpteenth journey, the umpteenth challenge, the umpteenth adventure begins!


Things to do during Quarantine: Traveling to Japan through Movies

Embark on a Journey to Japan through movies

written by: Erika | source: Tokyo Weekender

The long quarantine is almost over but travel is still impossible, so let's continue our section on things to do in quarantine, and today we will explain how to discover Japan through movies.

film Giappone

With the coronavirus pandemic, the world's borders closed, airports blocked and flights canceled prevented people from traveling. This not only caused the tourism business to drop but also prevented us from getting to know and explore distant countries such as Japan. Precisely for this reason, today we share with you a simple method to be able to explore the land of the Rising Sun directly from your home. In fact, here are 5 films that will help you experience Japan as we know it today and as it was long ago.

Departures (2008)

An Oscar winner, this beautiful film tells the story of the city of Sakata and its surroundings in the Shonai region of Yamagata prefecture, north of Japan. A work of art from the world of cinema, the film tells of a man who returns to his hometown after a failing career as a cellist. Here, the man begins a new life and a new career as a traditional funeral director. Unhappy with the situation but fighting against the prejudices connected to his new job, the man begins to love his new profession.

Initially regarded as a taboo, Departures then proclaimed the international recognition of director Yojiro Takita. Along with this, the building used for filming has become a very popular film location. However, the film's memorable scenes were shot in the countryside around the Gakko River and the snowy Mount Chokai. This feature is perfect for those who want to know the most rural locations in Japan and the more traditional customs of the rural life of the Rising Sun.

Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)

Famous film and Oscar winner, Memoirs of a Geisha is one of those must-have films related to Japan. From the award-winning director Rob Marshall, this movie has indeed changed the face of Kyoto tourism. Although the film was not entirely shot in this city, the story lets us travel to the Kiyomizu-Dera temple, through the torii of the Fushimi Inari and the Arashiyama bamboo forest.

The film tells the story of the life of a 9-year-old girl whose father sells her to a Geisha house. In fact, we will set off on a journey that will transform this little girl into one of the most sought after geisha of the time. Not only does this film help us discover landscapes and traditions that are now almost lost, but it brought the culture of Geisha to the west for the first time. However, at the same time, Memoirs of a Geisha is also a celebration of Japan's harmony and unique ways of life.

In fact, the traditional tea ceremony, the beauties of the Zen gardens, the classic Buddhist temples, the traditional houses of the Edo period in the historic Gion district are the backdrop to this story. A perfect way to describe magical Kyoto and the experiences that can be faced in the ancient capital of Japan.

Lost in Translation (2003)

The film that launched the careers of Sofia Coppola and Scarlett Johansson, together with Bill Murray, this movie tells the story of a couple of friends who meet in a hotel in Tokyo. Filmed almost entirely in Japan, here we can see the contrast between the nightlife of the city and the colorful and noisy districts of Tokyo, together with the calm of the temples.

Winner of two Academy Awards, the film is a journey into modern Tokyo life. Moving from the neon graphics of the Kabukicho streets in Shinjuku, up to the beautiful images of the famous Shibuya crossing, the Tokyo Tower and the Rainbow Bridge in Odaiba. In addition, the film also shows us the countryside when the protagonist embarks on a journey to Kyoto. In fact, from the shinkansen, we can see the flowing of the Japanese countryside arriving then to the Nanzenji and Heian Temples. Let's not forget the beautiful scene where Murray plays golf in Kawaguchiko with the iconic views of Mount Fuji.

In short, a must-see movie for anyone who wants to find out more about Japan.

Rhapsody in August (1991)

One of the last films of the revolutionary director Akira Kurosawa, this film is set in a small town near Nagasaki. With a compelling but minimalist narrative, the story is about four teenagers who visit their grandmother during the summer. With a backdrop of cicadas, forest adventures, rickety wooden houses, and Buddhist ceremonies, the kids face a perfect holiday in the countryside of Japan.

In a bucolic portrait of Japanese country life, the four teenagers spend more time with their grandmother, listening to her stories. Subsequently, in the second half of the film, we will be able to see Nagasaki after the war with the bright colors of youth. In fact, the four young people embark on a journey to see the bombing sites and the school where their grandfather was a teacher when the explosion occurred.

A film that allows us to know the world of Japan after the war, but which at the same time becomes a denunciation of the guilt of the wars themselves. Controversial but at the same time enlightening, Rhapsody in August is a truly unmissable film for anyone who loves cinema and Japan.

Times of Joy and Sorrow (1957)

This time the acclaimed director Keisuke Kinoshita tells us the story of a lighthouse keeper, his wife, and their travels in 10 different lighthouses along the coast of Japan. A relationship and travels that cover 25 years of marriage, through this film we discover Japan through several years starting in 1932.

The famous site of Kannonzaki, the nation's first lighthouse, worked as a set for the opening scenes. In fact, here we now find a statue of the protagonists of the film. Thanks to the amazing work of the director of photography, through this film we have the opportunity to embark on a journey through the various lighthouses of the nation. In fact, in this regard, we see the beautiful scenes of the Hajikizaki lighthouse on the island of Sado, a wonder for our eyes.
Subsequently, the couple's journey takes us to some of the most remote areas of Japan and the adventures and misadventures of the protagonists introduce us to the lighthouse's staff.

An exciting film that accompanies us on a postcard trip of the shores of Japan, between waves and cliffs, absolutely not to be missed.


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!


Cose da fare in quarantena: 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.