Tokyo 2020, everything you need to know about the Olympics

The new year has finally arrived and there are only a few months to go before the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Tokyo 2020 Tokyo 2020

The Olympics are always a time when the whole world comes together. It is the moment when we all become experts in fencing, discus throwing and weight throwing. In the end, the whole world is like a small town, but the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are shaping up to be a breathtaking show.

All the details on Tokyo 2020

Less than a year after opening, the first official news and programs begin to come out. The opening ceremony will be held on July 24, 2020, and the closing ceremony on August 9, while the Paralympics will take place from August 25 to September 6 of the same year. You can find a complete program of all competitions on the official website.

Tokyo 2020 Olimpiadi 2020

Where the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will take place

For this occasion, Tokyo has prepared more than 40 places and buildings around the city. The last summer games hosted in this city date back to 1964, the first Olympics in Asia. However, the capital of the rising sun has twice hosted the winter Olympics, in 1972 and 1998.

The logo

Throughout history, the checkered pattern has become very popular in several countries and for various reasons. In Japan, this formally became known as "ichimatsu moyo" in the Edo period (1603-1867). This checkered design in the traditional Japanese colour of indigo blue expresses a refined elegance and sophistication that exemplifies Japan.

Made of three varieties of rectangular shapes, the design represents different countries, cultures and ways of thinking. It incorporates the message of "unity in diversity". It also expresses that the Olympic and Paralympic Games seek to promote diversity as a platform for connecting the world.

Olimpiadi tokyo Tokyo 2020

Where to find tickets for Tokyo 2020

At the moment, unfortunately, and as expected, the tickets are all sold out. However, a new wave of tickets will be available in the spring.

The new sports

As it often happens with every Olympiad, there are also new competing specialities for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Despite missing the London and Rio edition, Baseball and Softball officially entered the competition thanks to the strong popularity in Japan. Five nations will compete with the hosts for the gold medal on the diamond field.

Tokyo 2020 Tokyo 2020

Together with these, we can also find Karate, climbing, surfing and skateboarding. In the same wave, basketball adds three-on-three tournaments for eight nations. Rugy seven will not be less, a variant involving only 7 players per side. In addition, golf returns after its debut in Rio.

The medals

Not to be overlooked are the medals that athletes will win during these 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo. In fact, for this occasion, Tokyo has created a special project to make these Olympics a little greener. This special project, the Tokyo 2020 Medal Project, will have the task of collecting more than 80,000 tons of mobile phones and small electronic devices to be recycled throughout Japan. These will then serve to create the wonderful medals of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics Games.

Olimpiadi

Tokyo 2020 medaglie

The project's website said over 6 million mobile phones from a two-year-long national donation were used.

Sport and technology together for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

The 2020 Summer Olympics are already shaping up to be spectacular, but the surprises don't end here. Japan is famous for being at the forefront of research and development in various technological fields. In fact, during the opening ceremony, Sky Canvas, with the help of the research company ALE, will illuminate the night sky. The two companies will launch "the ingredients for a shooting star" into the atmosphere using a small satellite device.
In addition, we know that fireworks are very important in Japan and for this occasion, the city plans to create its own controlled meteor shower.

Tokyo 2020 torch

But curiosities continue. Inside the Olympic village, humanoid robots will be available to provide information on nearby accommodation and attractions. However, Japan is not satisfied yet and wants to do things big. In fact, a technology that will allow holographic updates of events inside the stadium is also being developed.

Tokyo 2020 transportation

In terms of transport, Tokyo is known to be one of the most advanced and connected cities in the world. For these 2020 Olympics there will be special measures in place. In fact, to go to your hotel, you can use only one magnetic card for trains, hotel room and taxi without a driver. That's right, a driverless taxi whose road tests are already underway in Tokyo.

But the news regarding transportation in Tokyo 2020 does not end here. In fact, the city will once again introduce the fastest train in the world. Although it will not operate until 2027, Maglev will make its debut at the Tokyo Olympics. This train has broken all ground speed records and is capable of reaching speeds of around 600 km/h.
These futuristic trains operate thanks to the principle of magnetic levitation, allowing the trains to remain suspended on the tracks. It is the absence of friction that allows trains to reach these speeds, while continuing to comply with strict Japanese safety standards. In short, a taste of that science fiction future that until now we have only seen in movies.

Shinkansen N700s Supreme

During the Tokyo 2020 Olympics the new Shinkansen N700S series, also called Shinkansen Supreme, will debut.
Completely redesigned in a more intelligent and silent mode, this train will operate on the Tokaido Shinkansen line. Being 11 tons lighter than the previous generation, it will consume less energy and will run between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka stations.

Shinkansen N700s supreme Tokyo 2020

The new station of the Yamanote line

In honor of this event, the Yamanote line will also inaugurate a new station: Takanawa Gateway Station. Located between Shinagawa and Tamachi stations, the new one will offer access to Haneda Airport Monorail and the JR Keihin-Tohoku line. Designed in the eki naka style, the Takagawa Gateway station will rise on 4 floors with a public area that will host a great shield for watching the 2020 Olympic Games.

Tokyo 2020 Takagawa Gateway

We are very much looking forward to these Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and you?

Sources: olympic.org, mainichi.jpkyodonews.nettimelapsetokyo.com, japan-forward.com


2020, the year of the Rat

We are in 2020 and the time of the year of the rat has officially struck. Have you ever wondered why in Japan, at the stroke of each new year, the name of an animal is announced? For example "the year of the ram" or "the year of the ox" and so on?

Topo Topo

photo credits: amazon.com , https://tokyo5.files.wordpress.com

This custom originates from the Chinese zodiac, which unlike our tradition, is not based on the month of birth, but on the year! Therefore, each year corresponds to one of the 12 animals of the horoscope: rat, ox, tiger, hare, dragon, serpent, horse, ram, monkey, bird, dog and boar.

Topo

photo credits: pinterest.it

Astrology has always fascinated everyone, even the most scepticals. 2020 is the year of the Rat, the first of the 12 signs, characterized by positivity and energy. In fact, if its influence will be that promised, this new year should see the evolution or start of new projects, promising juicy fruits for those who work hard.
In addition, famous astrologers such as Jessica Adams and Cathryn Moe say that 366 days await us in which "the union will be a strength". In this new year, nobody should face big challenges alone but join together to achieve a goal. Consequently, "sharing of power" will be one of the keywords.

anno del topo

photo credits: pinterest.it

We could witness an evolutionary process on a global scale, in which people could come to understand each other and collaborate for the collective good. This would have great positive social consequences.

The rat represents that part of the darker psyche where the true "I" expresses itself. The masks that have surrounded us so far will fall. This would lead to greater compassion and understanding even towards our own Planet (just think of the fight for climate change).

New energy within us will release all its power. And you? Are you ready to face this revolution given by the year of the rat?


Akira Isogawa: Japanese Australian legend

Japan is famous and attractive not only to Italy’s eyes but also worldwide and Akira Isogawa’s work is an example. With the opening of Japan to the world, Japanese people have travelled and moved to different countries. Akira Isogawa is now Australia’s most famous Japanese resident.

Akira Isogawa Akira Isogawa

Who is Akira Isogawa

Born in Kyoto, Japan in 1964, he emigrated to Australia in 1986 and he is now one of the most famous Fashion Designer in the land down under. He studied fashion at the East Sydney Technical College drawing inspiration from contemporary Japanese design. By the late 1990s, he was known internationally together with his womenswear label Akira. His clothes appear under his own label and are sold in Australia and New Zealand, and 10 other countries. As of now, he is one of the few Australian designers to exhibit and sell his clothing in Paris.

Akira Isogawa

The Australian Legend

In 2005, caught by surprise, he became an “Australian Legend” and he was invited to appear on a commemorative postage stamp. This honor is just one of the many awards received by Isogawa for his achievements in over 25 years of career

He told The Japan times “To be honest, I had no idea that Australia Post was so progressive and innovative in their marketing,” he says, laughing. “I thought you had to be dead to appear on a postage stamp, let alone working actively in your field. I still have so much yet to do!”

Akira Isogawa Akira Isogawa

Life in Australia

Australia and its fashion scene have embraced Akira Isogawa as one of their own. He feels very closed to his adoptive home, also thanks to a maternal cousin living in the New South Wales town of Mittagong.
The government launched a Working Holiday visa program that gave Isogawa the chance to realize his ambitions of studying and working in fashion.

Arrived in Australia in the mid-80s and having some difficulties in the first weeks of his stay, things got better after the city’s groundbreaking RAT (Recreational Arts Team) dance parties were born. Here Isogawa could connect with like-minded people and let his talent flourish.
After enrolling in a fashion course at the East Sydney Technical College, he opened his first shop using all his savings.

“Sydney is my base,” Isogawa says. “Growing up in Kyoto, I always felt as if I belonged elsewhere. I don’t think I can behave ‘typically’ Japanese and follow societal rules. I understand how such rules are necessary and help Japan to function as efficiently as it does. But I’m a rule breaker, and that’s permitted here in Australia. It’s a real relief.”

However, everyone always misses the homeland. Akira Isogawa too admits a nostalgic longing for the tranquil Kyoto of his childhood. He refers to the Japanese art of “reading the air,” where things are understood, but not necessarily said.

 Akira

The 1990s

However, it’s in the 90s that Isogawa’s work and his label Akira exploded and was known all over the world. After his debut show during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia in 1996, this now became a regular outlet for his work, but not only. In fact, these runways were just the beginning and he landed a spot in Paris fashion shows. Here he caught Joan Burstein’s eye, the international fashion buyer who helped launch names such as Alexander McQueen and John Galliano in the U.K.

Another pivotal moment was Naomi Campbell wearing Akira’s kimono-inspired dress on the cover of Vogue Australia in 1997.

“That cover was a turning point in my career; it can’t be understated. It was amazing,” reminisces Isogawa. “I’m also very grateful to the media, everyone who supported me. But at the same time, it was so stressful. I couldn’t handle everything and ended up with a receptionist, among 25 other full-time staff.”

Akira Isogawa

After the Fashion Madness

In 2004, he met with CEO of Australian Wool Innovation and Isogawa became the ambassador for Australian Wool. The institute was looking for a designer who could update wool’s image so in 2005, Akira Isogawa created a new kind of fabric. A featherweight, fine wool gauze inspired by silk georgette.

“I wanted (the textile) to be light. I wanted wool to be reinterpreted as transeasonal,” he says. “The wool gauze is quite fragile, beautifully soft and 100 percent Australian merino. I still have it in stock.”

Akira Isogawa Today

Now that life is a little bit calmer, Isogawa is free to explore new visions and different outlets for his work. In fact, we can see him collaborating on artistic projects, such as costume design for the Sydney Dance Company.

The Akira womenswear brand is famous for mixing elements of East and West in both terms of textiles, techniques and design. The freedom afforded to Akira’s work and life as an Australian immigrant helped him develop his own personal style.
As a firm believer in slow and sustainable fashion, Akira Isogawa’s garments transcend time, oblivious to trends, and they are to be worn again and again.

Source: japantimes.co.jp
Photos: japantimes.co.jp


2019 Kanji of the year: 令

2020 is finally here and like every year, Japan has elected the “Kanji of the year” and for 2019 the choice was very logical.

Kanji of the year

December and January always force us to do some retrospectives on the year that just passed and the choice for Kanji of the year is not less worthy.
Administered by the Kyoto-based Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation, a single Japanese character is chosen by open ballot. The final choice is meant to embody a deep significance for the year as it comes to a close.

This yearly tradition is announced by Seihan Mori, the head abbot of Kyoto’s historical Kiyomizudera Temple. This is not a normal announcement, in fact, the head abbot writes the kanji with a giant calligraphy brush while standing on the temple’s balcony.

This time, 216,325 votes were cast, and the winner kanji of the year is 令 pronounced rei.

Kanji of the year

Rei means “order” (in the sense of orderly control), however, in some contexts it can also mean “beautiful”. This kanji has become famous during 2019 not just as the winner choice, but also when Reiwa, Japan’s new imperial era, was announced. The Japanese government clarified that the meaning of this new era is “beautiful harmony”

令/rei received 30,427, roughly 14% of the total votes. Considering that the Japanese language has more than 2100 regular-use kanji, this is still a very important result for any single character. Second-place was occupied by 新/shin, meaning “new,” and third-place 和/wa, which means “harmony” and is the second kanji in Reiwa.

2019 was a very important year for Japan since it marked the change in the imperial era since 1989. The selection of 令/rei isn’t much of a surprise. However, it reflects a happier mindset than the Kanji of the Year in 2018 (“disaster”), 2017 (“north,” in reference to North Korean missile launches) and 2014 (“tax,” the result of an unpopular sales tax increase that year).

Hopefully, 令和/rei will be not just a reminder of the significant changes of 2019, but also a ray of hope that more beautiful things are coming in 2020.

And with this, we want to wish a Happy New Year to all our readers, your families and loved ones. 明けましておめでとうございます。

Sources: ©SoraNews24
Images ©SoraNews24, japon-secreto.com


G-Satellite is ready to accompany us during the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo

2020 is around the corner and so are the Tokyo Olympics and the G-Satellite has just been completed! But what are we talking about?

G-Satellite

For the first time in the history of the Olympic and Paralympic that a satellite will be orbiting the earth to celebrate the Games.
The miniature “G-SATELLITE Go to Space” satellite has finally been completed and it will be deployed into space in a special way! “Mobile Suite GUNDAM and Char’s ZAKU – two of Japan’s most popular animated characters - will accompany the G-Satellite in its journey to space before the Olympics.
This is the first initiative in history and it’s part of the Tokyo 2020 One Team Project. This project was launched in collaboration with the University of Tokyo, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and three companies in Fukui prefecture including toymakers from Tokyo.
The G-SATELLITE will fly into International Space Station (ISS) in March. After that, it will be released into its own earth orbit in April 2020.
The design of the satellite is based on the 3-kg “CubeSat” satellite known as TRICOM-1R, will be transported to the International Space Station by rocket and launched from there. Measuring just 10cm x 10cm x 30cm, the G-SATELLITE will orbit the earth for the duration of the Olympic Games, broadcasting images of the planet, displaying messages on its electric bulletin board and filming the animated figures.

GUNDAM and ZAKU into space with G-Satellite

In a cubicle inside the G-SATELLITE there are GUNDAM and ZAKU together with a number of small cameras installed which will record and transmit their images. There will also be an electric bulletin board which will be deployed once the satellite is in orbit.
This bulletin board will display messages about the Tokyo 2020 Games in English, French and Japanese.

G-Satellite

The miniature GUNDAM and ZAKU figures have been produced to fit the tiny satellite. Special materials and paints have been used to manufacture the animated characters. Also, the figures undertook various tests such as vibration and impact assessments to ensure they can withstand the harsh environment of space. But this is not the end of the surprises! In fact, the eyes of the GUNDAM and ZAKU will glow on a white background in each of the colours of the five Olympic rings during the Olympic Games and three Agitos colours during the Paralympic Games and their heads will move.
Shinichi Nakasuka, professor at Intelligent Space Systems Laboratory, University of Tokyo, commented, “When I heard about this project, I wondered whether they would really go through with it. We've put satellites into orbit before, but then I thought we might be able to do something in space to help cheer on the Olympic and Paralympic Games. I'm feeling a bit of pressure as the creator of the satellite for this project, but I will turn that pressure into enjoyment and do my best.”

G-Satellite

Tokyo 2020 Sports Director Koji Murofushi added, “The Olympics and Paralympics are a festival that will bring athletes from all over the world to Tokyo and to Japan to compete with one another. With the addition of space as a new dimension for Tokyo 2020, I hope that the Games will become an even bigger event. I am really looking forward to GUNDAM and ZAKU cheering on the athletes and the Tokyo 2020 Games from space.”

source: tokyo2020.org
photo credits: tokyo2020.org


An unusual Pokèmon appeared at Yoshinoya in Japan

A whole generation has been affected by these pocket monsters called Pkémon and now you can find them at Yoshinoya in Japan! But how is that possible?

2019 marks the 120th anniversary in the beef-bowl business for the popular chain Yoshinoya. The popular fast restaurant decided to celebrate it through an interesting partnership with the Pokémon franchise.

To catch’em all will be easy and super delicious, only 6 Pokémon available this time! From December 19th, customers across Japan will be able to order a new type of beef-bowl: The Pokémori!

 

The Pomémori at Yoshinoya

Available in three varieties, Gyudon, Kid’s Gyudon, and Curry Rice, all for less than 500 yen (US$5), this special menu includes a juice box and Pokémon figure.

The word “gyudon” means “beef bowl” in Japanese, so in honor of this incredible meal of Japanese cuisine something special has been arranged. You will get the chance to find six figures of Pokémon with “don” in their Japanese name.

Left to Right: Charizard (Lizardon), Groudon, Slowpoke (Yadon), Weepinbell (Utsudon), and the West/East versions of Gastrodon (Tritodon)

However, the surprises don’t end here!
We know that the Japanese culture has a strict policy when it comes to respecting the public areas. So for all good boys and girls who clean their plates, there is a special plus! It is, in fact, possible to discover one of these monsters hiding at the bottom of the bowls, which are also specially designed to resemble Pokéballs.

Unfortunately, the surprise bowls are only used for eat-in orders in Japan. However, if you order Pokémori to-go you can get specially designed containers and bags too.

Furthermore, it is possible to enjoy one of those Pokébowls in the comfort of your own home by participating in Yoshinoya’s Twitter contest. All that you need to do is photograph and tweet your receipt from either dining in or taking out a Pokémori order. Follow Yoshinoya’s Twitter account and retweet a specific contest post, you’ll be in with a chance to win one of the Pokébowls (only available in Japan).

All the Pokémons are already waiting for you at Yoshinoya. However, if you want to fully live the experience, you should check out the Yoshinoya Ebisu Station location, also known as one of the swankiest Yoshinoyas around. This location will be, in fact, redecorated in a Pokémon motif too.


Decorations are planned to stay up until 5 January, however, Pokémori itself will only last as long as supplies do. So hurry up, you really should catch’em all!!

Source: Yoshinoya
Photo Credits: Yoshinoya, perfectly-nintendo.comnintendosoup.com


Bushido: ethics and conduct, the way of the Samurai

Between the period of the Kamakura shogunate (1185) and the Muromachi period (1336) the code of moral conduct known as Bushido took shape (武士道, the path of the warrior). Formally adopted and applied by the "bushi", the warriors (Samurai) in the Tokugawa Period (1603-1867), this code of conduct is a re-adaptation of the principles of Buddhism and Confucianism. Originally adapted to the warrior caste, after the Meiji Restoration (1866-1869), the Japanese nationalist movement adopted by Bushido as a discipline of behavior.

Bushido

photo credits: camminospirituale.com

The 7 principles of Bushido: 7 steps towards perfection

Honesty, justice, piety, duty, honour, and loyalty were the principles that had to be pursued until death. If this were not followed, the penalty was the dishonour to be expiated through the seppuku (切腹) or harakiri (切り). Both of these terms indicate the ritual of honourable suicide through the cutting of the belly. Harakiri is used in speech, while seppuku is most used in writing.
Each Samurai was therefore required to follow 7 fundamental principles that we can define as "perfect morality".

Let's go into them and discover them together:

義, Gi: Honesty and Justice

There are no middle ways, there is only the right or the wrong. It is necessary to be honest in dealing with others, to believe firmly in the justice that comes from oneself, not from other people. The true Samurai never has uncertainties about honesty and justice

勇, Yu: Heroic Courage

The heroic courage of the Samurai rises above the masses. A warrior is not afraid to act, he does not hide in the shell like a turtle, despite the risk and danger. Heroic courage means to live completely, fully, wonderfully, it is not blind but strong and intelligent.

仁, Jin: Compassion

The intense training makes the samurai quick and strong. He is different from the others, he acquires a power that must be used for the common good. He possesses compassion, takes every opportunity to be helpful to his fellows and if the opportunity does not arise he does everything to find one. The compassion of a Samurai must be demonstrated above all in regard to women and children

礼, Rei: Kind Courtesy

The Samurai have no reason to behave in a cruel way, they don't need to show their strength. A Samurai is also kind to enemies. Without this demonstration of external respect, a man is little more than an animal. The Samurai is respected not only for his strength in battle but also for how he interacts with other men. The best fight is the one who is avoided.

誠, Makoto: Complete Sincerity

When a Samurai expresses the intention to perform an action, this is practically already accomplished, nothing will prevent him from completing the express intention. He needs neither to give the word nor to promise. Speaking and acting are the same thing.

名誉, Meiyo: Honor

The Samurai is the only judge of his honour. The decisions you make and the actions that follow are a reflection of what you actually are. You can't hide from yourself.

忠義, Chugi: Duty and Loyalty

For the Samurai to perform an action or to express something is to become its owner. He assumes full responsibility, even for what follows. The Samurai is immensely loyal to those he cares about. He remains proudly faithful to those for whom he is responsible.

For several years I myself have adopted these 7 virtues as a path to follow. I find them essential in everyone's life because we are all warriors. Every day we face challenges and every day we must aim for that spiritual perfection that, if pursued to the end, would lead to a better world.
Are you ready to take these steps?


Kitsunebi Matsuri, when folklore comes to life

In ancient Japanese folklore, the Kitsunebi (狐火, foxfire) was a yōkai that, overnight, suddenly appeared as a glowing red-orange and sometimes blue light. The Kitsunebi gradually increased to cover vast areas, reaching even 4km! It was believed that they were torches of a procession of foxes marching for their wedding. The lights were sighted by farmers in the mountains and were considered a good harbinger for the harvest. In fact, the greater the number of lights seen, the more fruitful was the harvest. However, no human was allowed to approach: those who tried were condemned to vanish.

Kitsune

photo credits: tradurreilgiappone.com

In particular, the stories tell of the marriage between Otonosama, the king who lived in Furukawa, and Okon, the daughter of the fox God. This fascinating image is the origin of the Hida Furukawa Kitsunebi Matsuri (騨古川きつね火まつり). This festival is celebrated every year, on the fourth Saturday of September in Hida Furukawa, a picturesque and rural town full of beautiful landscapes, where even today you can breathe a life far from the frenzy of the metropolis.

Kitsunebi Matsuri

photo credits: tradurreilgiappone.com

Happiness and prosperity!

Like almost all the festivals we are used to now, the Kitsunebi Matsuri also aims to bless the harvest, happiness and prosperity for families.

Kitsunebi Matsuri

photo credits: myjapantravels.wordpress.com

But what exactly does the Kitsunebi Matsuri consist of??

First of all, all the participants have fox mustaches drawn on their faces, be they children or elderly, shopkeepers on the road or tourists. It begins with the blessing of local businesses: the dancers carry a dongamaki, a 5 meter long snake, door to door.

Kitsunebi Matsuri

photo credits: myjapantravels.wordpress.com

After that the main event begins. We could say that it is a marriage, but not a common one, but a solemn procession in which the foxes' wedding is celebrated, the Kitsune no Yomeiri.

photo credits: myjapantravels.wordpress.com

The future spouses, a couple bound in real life, are chosen by a pool of candidates at the national level in the town where the wedding ceremony will be held. The long march will lead the bride to the groom as night falls when the Kistunebi begins (a torchlight procession). Those who attend the whole procession will be blessed and can make a wish like a good harvest, or happiness for their family or prosperity in business.

photo credits: tokyopic.com

A romantic curiosity

From 1392, throughout the Muromachi period until the end of the nineteenth century, when Western wedding ceremonies replaced traditional Japanese ceremonies, weddings were held at night and the bride was escorted to her new home by a parade of lights.