Although it is now an uncommon form of entertainment, the kami shibai 紙芝居, or paper theater, was a popular and widely accessible form of street-side entertainment. Continue reading
Many municipalities throughout Japan showcase their local culture on the manhole covers set down on city streets. The two examples below are to be found in Ueda City in Nagano prefecture. Continue reading
The highly successful anime “Your Name” (Highest worldwide grossing anime film) has given birth to a new anime pilgrimage. Fans astutely discerned the real-world places that were drawn into this anime production. They then quickly embarked on a journey to some of the sites. Thus inaugurating what fans term as a seichi “holy/sacred site”. One such place that gained the attention of fans is Suga Shrine (須賀神社) in Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward.
An article (in Japanese) titled “Examining the Modern Pilgrimage: Anime and Games Give Birth to Sacred Places” has been earlier published in the Folklore Society of Japan’s journal “Nihon Minzokugaku (Japanese Folklore)” Vol. 51.
「現代巡礼考―アニメ・ゲームから生まれた聖地―」 という論文を日本民俗学会の『日本民俗学』 第 283号に載せることが出来ました。ここで、改めて紹介します。
We can find several shops where the owners have made their own likeness into mascot-like characters. Here are two examples from Osaka. One for a shop for a ramen shop, the other for a shop that specializes in “vitality” drinks.
Speaking of everyday objects, at first I couldn’t figure out what these wood blocks were used for. Located just outside the temple precincts of Eiheiji Temple in Fukui prefecture was a restaurant for temple visitors/tourists. On the brick facade facing out to the parking lot were these neatly displayed blocks. On the day in November when I visited, there were only a handful of tourists who had made the trip to the temple. And the restaurant was all but empty. So what were these blocks for? As there were no tourist buses on that day, it was difficult for me to make the connection at first. Answer: homemade wheel chocks.
An image of the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami in the city of Minami-Soma, Fukushima prefecture. As can be seen, all the homes and businesses in this coastal neighborhood were washed away. Only the cement of the Continue reading
In Mikawa City, Aichi Prefecture stands a temple named Muryoji 無量寺, which is said to have been established during the Heian Period (794-1185). It is widely known as a place that provides efficacy toward the act of fujiru 封じる (sealing, suppressing, blocking, throttling) against some negative aspect in our lives, for example, ending habits such as gambling or smoking. This temple is alternatively named ganfuji-no-tera (the “Cancer Stifling Temple”) because of the belief in its power to cure or control illness. Continue reading
The truck is king of the road in Japan. And there is a special breed of truck that is both distinctively fearsome, yet elegant: kind of like Las Vegas on wheels. These trucks are called decotora, which is a melded abbreviation of the words “decorated” and “truck”. Decotora can be seen all throughout Japan though it is said that the original decotora was driven by a trucker from Aomori prefecture. Continue reading
Anime Cars, known as itasha 痛車 (compound of the word itai 痛い meaning “pain” coupled with the sha 車 meaning, in this case, “auto”). Itasha are automobiles decorated with manga and anime logos, characters, and so forth. The meaning of the name itasha then is in effect expressing the idea that the cars being so unabashedly adorned actually hurt the sensibilities (of even the otaku, fan). Continue reading