Quaran, the official quarantine mascot of Japan

Quaran, the official quarantine mascot of Japan

written by: SaiKaiAngel | Source: TimeOut Tokyo

Meet Quaran, the official Japanese quarantine mascot! That's right, once again Japan has decided to give us an important message while maintaining a smile.

The whole world is going through a very difficult time, fighting against the Covid-19 pandemic. Right now, wherever companies, museums, schools, and even entire cities are closing, pushing people to take action with smart-working. All this will last until the end of this emergency.


And here comes Quaran, a mascot created by the Japanese Ministry of Health to make people understand the importance of staying at home and also remembering the safety distances. It is described as a small fairy with a Q on the forehead, a shield, and protective glasses. Take a look also at his back: with the Q shaped tail, the Q of Quaran, the Q of Quarantine. The description, as we said, speaks of a small fairy that reminds us how to avoid the virus by respecting the distances and avoid gatherings. However, when we meet it, we discover it's actually a life-size mascot! Where can this puppet be found most? At airports in Japan, but it is said to travel around the world to prevent illegal attitudes that could spread the Covid-19 virus, even more, protect us with its shield and common sense.


Quaran was also created to promote the work of the Quarantine Information Office, under the control of the Ministry of Health.

Not just this! Quaran even has it's own website, it deserves one very careful look. Stay safe, world! Quaran will help us live everything with responsibility, common sense, prevention, but always with a smile. A smile, we must never lose during this fight.

Source: TimeOut Tokyo | Photo credits: forth.go.jp

Tokyo Olympics to be postponed to summer 2021 at the latest

It's official: the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic

written by: Erika | Source: The Japan Times

March 24, 2020, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced that he has reached an agreement with the International Olympic Committee to postpone the Tokyo Olympics to next summer at the latest.

olimpiadi di Tokyo olimpiadi di Tokyo

Abe "reconfirmed" with the president of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach that the Olympic Games will not be canceled but that the two have reached a common agreement to hold the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics "at the latest by summer 2021".

The announcement, which came following Abe's call with Bach, Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike, Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee chairman Yoshiro Mori and Olympics minister Seiko Hashimoto, indicates that the games will be postponed for the first time during a peace period.

The Japanese Prime Minister said that the health of athletes and visitors played an important role in the decision to postpone the games and that it would be difficult to hold them later this year.

"Given the current circumstances, I asked him to consider that the Tokyo Olympics be postponed for about a year to make sure athletes from around the world are able to perform in the best condition possible and to ensure spectators' safety and security as a host country , ”Abe told reporters.

The prime minister has promised to ensure that the Olympics and Paralympics will be held in "complete form" also to prove that humanity has conquered the new coronavirus.

“Japan will fulfill its responsibilities as a host nation,” Abe said. “Given that goal, we’ll be making adjustments about venues, and we understand that an IOC meeting will be held soon,” 

Tokyo 2020

As announced during the press message, the Olympics will be held at the latest in the summer of 2021. However, the possibility of holding them during the next spring cannot be excluded as long as the pandemic linked to COVID-19 is under control.

According to official sources, given the unprecedented situation and the deterioration worldwide, the organizers have decided that the Olympic torch will remain in Japan until the start of the Olympics. This will be for all a "beacon of hope" for the whole world during this difficult period. It is hoped that the Olympic flame will become the light that guides us towards the end of this tunnel in which we find ourselves.

Although they will be held in 2021, these Olympics will continue to be called the Tokyo 2020 Games but more details will emerge from the next meetings of the International Olympic Committee.

In addition, Koike specified that canceling these Olympics would have devastating results for the Japanese people. Although postponing these games constitutes a major financial loss for Japan, the IOC and the shareholders hope that this decision can stem the damage to a minimum in the hope that the pandemic is under control by then.

Japan Italy Bridge interviews: Shito Hisayo, AAPPARÉ designer

Japan Italy Bridge interviews: Shito Hisayo, AAPPARÉ designer

Written by: Erika Swan, Yoshi | Translated by: Yoshi

Our special feature series, "Japan Italy Bridge Interviews" is back with an interview with designer Shito Hisayo who will be talking about the concept behind her brand AAPPARÉ!

To start, what is AAPPARÉ?

Answering that, AAPPARÉ is a brand line that was designed and conceived from the notion, “I want to bring the national dress of Japan, Kimono, into global fashion.”
Introduced as “Japan Kimono”, this new fashion can be casually worn as it utilises the elegance and formative beauty embodied in Kimono to pair clothes, which look like Western wear that retained the silhouette of a traditional Kimono’s neckline and sleeves, with sash belts, straw sandals, and boots.
The fabric used is woven in Shizuoka Prefecture’s Hamamatsu City and sewn in Japan, and even the knitwear uses materials produced in Niigata Prefecture’s Mitsuke City, making sure that the garments are truly and genuinely made in Japan.
In addition, “Hyottoko” and “Okame”, the symbols of “a good man and woman of traditional Japan”, are attached on the garments as brand logos.


―― Firstly, please introduce yourself.

I am Shito Hisayo and I am a designer. I own 8 brands where I sell, make, and create head-to-toe outfits of western wear, kimono, and accessories that I design.

―― What led you to start this business?

It was my love for fashion. Especially when it comes to kimono.

―― What do you pay particular attention to in running this business?

That there is “only one” (of each item).

AAPPARÉ Shito Hisayo

―― What does it mean for you as a woman to run the business in Japan?

In the male-dominated kimono industry, I believe that I can bring something new into it because I design with the perspective, ideas, and sensitivities of a woman.

―― How do you think the global market perceives AAPPARÉ?

(I believe that AAPPARÉ) is being seen as an evolution of kimono. It is modern and easy to wear; it is fashion that can be as easily appreciated as western wear.

―― Do you think that growing a global presence is difficult?

I don’t think that it is difficult. I believe that AAPPARÉ matches the modern lifestyle scene as it possesses both the elegant designs of kimono and the functionality of western wear.

Shito Hisayo Shito Hisayo

―― What do you personally think is the thing that attracts Westerners to Japan?

I believe that it is the charm of the Japanese people; their diligence and subtlety.

―― On the other hand, what do you think of Italy?

I feel that the Italian sense is similar to my works. I feel that we share parallels in terms of using slightly deviant designs and colour shades, like smokey gold, silver, and bronze.

―― What are the similarities between Italy and Japan?

The fact that we are both well-attuned to what is stylish and that we enjoy fashion from the bottom of our hearts.

―― How do you see the future of the relationship between Japan and Italy?

I believe that there are wonderful discoveries to be made through the combination of Italy’s superb leather processing technology and Japan’s unique colours and designs.

Shito Hisayo Shito Hisayo

―― Going back to 『AAPPARÉ』, what are your future plans and goals?

I want to open a shop in the airport where people from all around the world converge. I also want to open shops in countries all over the world. At the same time, I think it’ll be interesting if (the brand) could (supply) uniforms for restaurants or casinos.

―― Lastly, please leave a comment for our readers.

As a Japanese person who loves Japan, my hope is that I can elevate Japanese kimono fashion into the global fashion industry.
Filled with those thoughts, “AAPPARÉ” was created.
Thank you for your present and future support.
Shito Hisayo

And that was our intimate interview with Shito Hisayo! Having read it, how do you feel? What do you think? Do share your comments with us on our Facebook page!
To find out more about Shito Hisayo and her brand, do check out the official links below!

– Links –

Website: https://shito-hisayo.jp/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shito1027hisayo/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shitohisayo_official/

Japan History: Sasaki Kojirō

Sasaki Kojiro (around 1583 - April 13, 1612) was born in a village in the province of Echizen. Known as Sasaki Ganryū, he was an important Japanese swordsman, mainly remembered for having been killed in a duel with Miyamoto Musashi. Sasaki Kojiro is also remembered for wearing a red haori and lived between the Sengoku era and the beginning of the Edo period.

Sasaki Kojirō

photo credits: wikipedia.org

His life

He lived at the turn of the Sengoku period and the beginning of the Edo period, as a boy he met Toda Seigen, martial arts instructor of the Asakura clan, becoming his pupil. This type of training takes him away from Seigen's style, approaching kodachi, and developing a technique that makes use of ōdachi called Ganryū ("Rock Style"). Thanks to his katana called Monohoshi Zao, he develops the Tsubame-Gaeshi ("Swallow Counterattack") technique, inspired by the bird's flight.

In 1610 he opened a dojo in Kokura and his fame began to attract numerous martial arts students, among whom we find Miyamoto Musashi, a 29-year-old swordsman who in April 1612 challenged him to a duel that became the protagonist of many legends. The descriptive versions of the legends regarding the duel between Sasaki Kojirō and Miyamoto Musashi are varied and differ greatly in detail. On one thing the legends are all in agreement and it is the end of the duel that sees Musashi as the winner.

The final duel

The duel took place on April 13, 1612 on an island a few kilometers from Kokura. Before arriving at the place, Musashi built a bokken with an oar and showed up three hours late, that is between 9 and 11. Kojiro pulled out his sword getting very angry with Musashi because of his delay and threw the scabbard into the water. Musashi killed Kojiro with a blow to the head dealt by his wooden sword. It all happened so quickly without giving Kojiro time to use his technique.

Sasaki Kojirō

photo credits: muza-chan.net

The hypotheses of the death of Sasaki Kojiro

There are many hypotheses regarding the victory of Miyamoto Musashi, among which it is also believed that the delay was premeditated precisely to annoy the opponent. During the three hours of delay, in fact, Musashi rested while Kojiro completely lost concentration. In addition, his untreated clothing and wooden sword contributed to anger Kojiro even more. Musashi can be said to have won by playing on the opponent's psychology.
Another hypothesis sees Musashi extend the delay specifically to take advantage of the effect of sunlight so that it could blind the opponent, yet another sees him take advantage of the low tide that would have allowed him to escape more easily.

Sasaki Kojirō

photo credits: wikipedia.org

Kojiro was (probably) deaf in one ear, but this never contributed to his loss, despite everything that seems to have happened because Musashi used the greater length of his bokken than his opponent's sword.

The island that was the site of the duel was renamed Ganryū-jima in honor of Sasaki Kojirō.

2020 Best Japanese Shows on Netflix

We can’t really deny the fact that Netflix is one of the biggest revolutionary inventions of the latest years, so here are some of the best shows available on the platform.

In the last weeks, the world has changed, and these days when we are forced to stay home, our very intimate relationship with Netflix has become even closer. In fact, this is the moment when you can take advantage of all the new Japanese shows on the streaming website. Whether you are a fan of tv series or not, you can enjoy these shows and also practice your Japanese skills.

Terrace House

2020 Best Japanese Shows on Netflix

photo credits: netflix.com

Terrace House (テラスハウス) is a reality show franchise in Japan. The first series of the show was also known as “Boys×Girls Next Door”. It aired on Fuji Television's Cool TV from October 12, 2012 to September 29, 2014 for eight seasons. After the huge success, an independent film was released as a continuation/conclusion of the series.
On September 2015, Netflix previewed Boys & Girls in the City as one of its Original Series. The new show is a co-production of Netflix and Fuji, also broadcast on Fuji Television in Japan switching also its location to a hidden area in central in Tokyo.

One of the most well known Japanese show of the platform, Terrace House has its obvious draws. We are all intrigued by the inevitable romances that blossom on the show, but it’s also interesting to see how the people in the show work to accomplish their personal goals. Of course, together with this, there are also the occasional hiccups among the housemates, which are always fun to see.

Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories

Best Japanese Shows Netflix

photo credits: mymovies.it

Do not watch while you are hungry. “Midnight Diner” features a man who is known as “Master” and runs a small restaurant from midnight to 7 am. The place welcomes a mixed clientele every night who share their fascinating personal stories while eating mouth-watering home-style dishes. During these hours, the Master becomes a confidant for everyone.
As you join these lone diners at the table while they connect with each other, you’ll find yourself connecting with them too and discovering a new reality of the Tokyo By Night.

As we said, do not watch this if you are hungry or you will start craving whatever Master is dishing up that night, even if we can’t guarantee that won’t happen anyway.

The Naked Director

Netflix Netflix

photo credits: mubi.com, justwatch.com

This is the show everybody is talking about. Inspired by the life of director Toru Muranishi, the show is a provocative narrative of his eccentric and bizarre adult film career. During the apex of the economic boom in the ‘80s, Toru Muranishi, an unsuccessful salesman, tries his luck in the porn industry in Japan. Despite the lack of experience, Muranishi quickly learns the potential of VHS and builds an empire for himself, revolutionising the Japanese porn industry.

The Comedy-drama series was only released in August, however, Netflix has already confirmed the renewal of the show for a second season.

Samurai Gourmet

Best Japanese Shows Netflix Best Japanese Shows Netflix

photo credits: esquire.com, eater.com

After a year of being a salaryman, Takeshi Kasumi struggles to find a new routine for himself. While his wife carries on with her usual daily activities, Kasumi goes out looking for a bite to eat. While around he discovers his inner samurai who encourages him to live each day to the fullest. Living also each meal to the fullest will help him, and us, enjoy the food the way it’s meant to be.
Samurai Gourmet is a series that not only will help you rediscover the beauty of each meal but also take you to the streets letting you explore yourself and a new city.

Queer Eye: We’re in Japan!

Best Japanese Shows Netflix

photo credits: netflix.com, wonderlandmagazine.com

A reality rebooted in 2018 and ready to release its 5th season. The show had overwhelming success and caught the attention of a man with its inspiring message of self-worth.
Five experts take on Japan for the first time and help some locals to rediscover themselves by sharing their flair and skills. With Naomi Watanabe and Kiko Mizuhara the group set out to transform lives together. This long-awaited mini-series filmed in Japan is and highlights some of the most exciting cultural aspects together with some emotional moments.


photo credits: netflix.com

If you liked “The Devil Wears Prada” this is the show for you. Wide-eyed newcomer Mayuko Tokiya starts working for a lingerie design house in Ginza, the Tokyo fashion district. Even if she’s at her first job, Mayuko is determined to find her feet under the scrutiny of the company and its founder, sort of a Japanese Anna Wintour.
This one-season long series will take you on an eventful journey where Mayuko paves her way in a fast-moving fashion house and city.

Million Yen Women

photo credits: wikipedia.org

Adapted from the homonymous manga by Shunju Aono, five women appear at the house of a struggling novelist, Shin Michima. By paying him a monthly sum of a million yen, they ask for rent and living expenses in exchange. However, Michima doesn’t know why these women are here and they won’t let him ask any questions. While this could seem like a story from a manga for young men, each woman has actually her own personality. Their refusal of giving out any information creates an interesting dynamic that will amaze you and make you watch all the episodes in one go.


photo credits: techprincess.it, decider.com

When in high-school, have you ever dreamed of switching places with the most popular girl in your school? This drama series tells the story of a depressed student Zenko Umine who commits suicide while a fellow student Ayumi sees her falling from the rooftop. After passing out, Ayumi wakes up and finds herself in Umine’s body, while Umine is in Ayumi’s. With many twists and turns, we get a closer look at how the high-school students are under pressure from today’s society.

Good Morning Call

Best Japanese Shows Netflix

photo credits: netflix.com, geekinsider.com

Among the most successful shows on Netflix, the two-season romantic comedy-drama series is a live-action television adaptation of the homonymous manga by Yue Takasuka. Co-produced by Fuji TV and Netflix, the story is set in Tokyo and follows the relationship between teenager Nao Yoshikawa and Hisashi Uehara. When moving to her new 2 bedroom apartment, Nao discovers that the coolest and most popular guy in school is also moving in. Realizing they have been scammed into renting the same apartment, they agree to become roommates in secret so to be able to make the rental payment. While following their adventures, you’ll find yourselves rooting for this couple and being amazed by how much relationships can be difficult at any age.


Best Japanese Shows Netflix

photo credits: tvserial.it, everyeye.it

Premiered on Netflix on February 27 2020, the series revolves around the city of blinding lights, Tokyo. With its life, colours, fashion and ambition, the city is a background for the story of Limi Nara, a famous and successful fashion photographer. She advanced her career with photographs of modern Tokyo, capturing the changes in the city and the people that live in it. Leading a confident and independent life both privately and professionally, she’s in contrast with the young struggling actress Natsume Hyakuta. Having problems in both her professional and personal life, Hyakuta is in search of self-confidence and her own identity. All of this changes when one day Limi publishes a photograph of Natsume on Instagram. From this moment on, the life of the young actress and the ones around her changes completely while these two women try to find their own way to happiness and love.


Best Japanese Shows Netflix

photo credits: netflix.com,pinterest.it

Kei Nagai, a student who discovers he’s an Ajin, a demi-human when he’s fatally wounded in a traffic accident. In this world, a small number of humans possesses extreme regenerative abilities that are triggered upon death or mortal injuries. This allows them to completely recover from their wounds in a matter of seconds, even the most extreme ones. Together with this, Ajin can create “black ghosts”, highly dangerous combat-oriented entities that are invisible to normal humans. These ghosts are resistant to any physical injuries, have extraordinary physical strength, razor-sharp teeth and claws. Black ghosts have their own level of intelligence and for example, most of them are completely reliant on their Ajin for directions, others are more independent.

Obviously, Ajin are considered dangerous and inhuman by the people and most are captured by governments. The nations came to protect Ajin but in reality, they use them as subjects for cruel experiments to exploit their healing abilities. As a result to this, two factions are created and some Ajin escaped from the laboratories are looking for revenge. Tune in to this sci-fi anime series and discover how the story unfolds.

These are just some of our favourite shows currently available on Netflix. Join the conversation on our Facebook page and tell us which one is your favourite!

Bringing Japan to Italy: episode 10 - Hoshitaro Asada

Our feature 『Bringing Japan to Italy』 is back with episode number 10 dedicated to Hoshitaro Asada, who works at the Sogen sakagura in Ishikawa in Japan.

His mission is not only to produce one of the best sake in the world, but also to spread Japanese culture internationally. He told us about the similarities between Italy and Japan and how Italians see and live the world of sake.


It's Kiiro Week time at TENOHA Milano! In fact, the Hinamatsuri (雛祭り), also known as the Doll Festival or Girls' festival, is celebrated in Japan and also at TENOHA Milano.

Kiiro Week
Usually, this holiday is held on March 3 of each year in Japan and is a very heartfelt anniversary. It consists of exhibiting a series of ornamental dolls representing the emperor, the empress and other representatives of the court of the Heian period. During the Hinamatsuri, family members pray that the girls can have beauty and health by passing bad luck to the dolls so to avoid the bad luck on the girls. In the rest of the world, together with the Doll or Girls festival, women are celebrated on March 8th. TENOHA Milan, a real bridge between Japan and Italy, decides to bring the two parties together and presents Kiiro Week with a typical Hinamatsuri dish: Chirashi-sushi ちらし寿司 in a wooden bento (juubako).

Kiiro Week dishes

The sets that you can taste are composed of Chirashi & Osuimono.
Chirashi sushi is a typical and popular dish. Rice, eggs, prawns, tuna, salmon, tobiko, cucumbers, lotus roots, yellow peppers and snow peas.
Osuimono is a soup with clams, turnip tops and yuzu


When: March 4-9
Where: TENOHA &| TASTE, TENOHA MILANO — Via Vigevano, 18
Meal: lunch & dinner
Cost: Special lunch set KIIRO: 18€ | Special dinner set KIIRO: 18€


SET: Chirashi & Osuimono
2 special drinks (weekend only)

Atsuta Matsuri, lanterns and fireworks

There are many Japanese matsuri but today we decide to focus on Atsuta Matsuri, in the prefecture of Aichi.

Atsuta Matsuri

photo credits: thegate12.com

In the Chubu region, more precisely in Nagoya in the Aichi prefecture, if we enter the city, hidden among centuries-old cypresses, we will discover one of the most sacred shrines in Japan: the Atsuta Jingu. Venerated since antiquity with its 1900 years, it is believed to be the home of the Holy Kusanagi Sword of the Emperor, one of the three imperial insignia.
In this magical place, Atsuta Matsuri (諸ブー祭), better known as Shobu-sai, is held every year on June 5th.

Atsuta Matsuri day

Atsuta Matsuri

photo credits: kawaii-aichi.jp

Around 10:00 in the morning the celebrations begin with a special ceremony in which an imperial messenger is sent to the shrine to offer goheimotsu. These are in fact strips of white paper for Shinto rituals and which are used to celebrate a special ceremony dedicated to the gods and goddesses of Atsuta Jingu. After that, this splendid and characteristic Matsuri hosts various shows between the precincts of the Shrine.

The shows

The shows during this festival are many and varied, including kyudo, Japanese-style archery and kendo, Japanese fencing. But the real protagonist is the Atsuta-kagura, a type of traditional local Shinto dance accompanied by flutes and taiko, the typical Japanese drums. In addition to this, we find various performances including the Sumo and entertainment competitions such as the Kodomo Mikoshi, the portable shrines for children!

Atsuta Matsuri

photo credits: kawaii-aichi.jpgoinjapanesque.com

The Festival reaches its climax when, at 18:00, the five makiwara kento, huge allegorical altars decorated with 365 lanterns each, are placed next to the entrances of the three torii doors of the sanctuary and are illuminated. Of course, there are stalls offering typical products and souvenirs of all kinds.
The chatter of people stops at 21:00 in the Jingu Koen park when a wonderful fireworks display raises heads and fills the eyes with lights and colors.

photo credits: goinjapanesque.com

The Atsuta Festival is the largest festival among the approximately 70 events held at the Atsuta Shrine every year.

Atsuta Matsuri Atsuta Matsuri

photo credits: nagmag.jp, kichijapan.com

If you are in the surrounding area, don't miss these magical lanterns and fireworks show to spend a fun day in the name of tradition! Like any festival, participation is free. For any information on how to reach the location, visit the official site of the Shrine in English.