Kizuna Japanese subscription box

Kizuna Japanese subscription box This is a promotional post. We were offered the opportunity to try a new subscription box from Kizuna Box from Japan. Of course we jumped at the chance. We were given the option of two different boxes, Read more

Sakura Matsuri Stockholm 2017

Sakura Matsuri Stockholm – Cherry Blossom Festival On April 22nd was the annual cherry blossom hanami festival in Stockholm (“Körsbärsblommans Dag”), Sweden. It's an event organized by the Japanese Association, and we were very happy to see that they - once Read more

Top Japanese places to visit in London

Top Japanese places to visit in London In this post we have collected our top Japanese places to visit in London. The city has so many places that are connected to Japan in one way or another. In our top Read more

Best art, crafts and stationery shops in Tokyo

Best art, crafts and stationery shops in Tokyo As a person who love all things art and crafts I've hunted down the best shops that I could find during my travels in Tokyo. Here's a guide to my personal favourites. Read more

Japan Candy Box review + giveaway

Japan Candy Box This is a promotional post. The Japan Candy Box was kindly sent to us to try and review for Why So Japan. We've been wanting to try a Japanese themed box for a long time now and thanks Read more

100km Walk Around Tokyo in 3 Days

Whysojapan 100km Walk Around Tokyo in 3 Days

100km Walk Around Tokyo in 3 Days

Jacob Laukaitis decided to walk around Tokyo for 100km and film what he saw on the his walk. The video has had great success on YouTube with over 30000+ views and still growing. We really enjoyed the video and even though we have been in Tokyo a few times and thought we had seen most of Tokyo, the video showed loads of great places that we have yet to explore, which we will now add to our list for our next trip. Check out the video at the bottom of the post.

Whysojapan 100km Walk Around Tokyo in 3 Days

We got the chance to ask Jacob a few questions about his trip to Tokyo.

Tell us a little about you. (Name, age, where you’re from, etc…)
My name is Jacob Laukaitis and I am originally from Lithuania, but I’ve been traveling for over 2 years now and already have visited 30+ countries. Currently I spend most of my time on ChameleonJohn.com, the company I co-founded a couple of years ago, which enables me to travel as much as I do. I am 22 years old.

What gave you the idea for this project?
I love walking and I love Tokyo! I just thought – why shouldn’t these two reasons be enough to make a video?

Had you planned the walk beforehand or did you just walk around with no prior knowledge?
From my previous experiences I knew that planning the trip would definitely spoil the fun of it. So I just took my tripod and went where I wanted. I think it was the main reason why the walk turned out to be so great.

Whysojapan 100km Walk Around Tokyo in 3 Days Whysojapan 100km Walk Around Tokyo in 3 Days

How many hours a day did you walk around?
Basically, all day long. I would leave in the morning (about 9 am) and come back around 9-10 pm.

How long did you walk before your feet started to hurt?
They started to hurt on the first day. Two out of three days I had to walk in my slippers, and on the third one I had some really crappy shoes. My feed were not too happy, to say the least!

Whysojapan 100km Walk Around Tokyo in 3 Days

Of all the things you saw in Tokyo, what did you find the most interesting?
There really isn’t a single reason what caught my attention.  I love pretty much everything about Tokyo – from its parks and markets to its housing neighborhoods and temples. It’s one of the biggest cities in the world yet it’s so peaceful, nice and calm. When you go into one of the parks you feel as if you’re somewhere in the country-side, hanging out in a beautiful forest, not in a massive city.

 





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Hyper Japan Christmas Market 2015

whysojapan hyper japan christmas market 2015 london

Hyper Japan Christmas Market

We managed to get a couple of days off work and booked ourselves on a flight to London, with our main focus being Hyper Japan’s Christmas market at the Tobacco Dock. Of course we did a few other things while in London too. We decided to visit Hyper Japan on their first day, which was the Friday. We bought out tickets in advance and we also purchased the priority entrance tickets, which turned out to be a bit of a waste of money, since we arrived in the afternoon and there was no queue so we didn’t need to use the priority entrance tickets.

whysojapan_hyper_japan_christmas_market_2015_london_00

whysojapan_hyper_japan_christmas_market_2015_london_09

Since we had not been to a Hyper Japan event before, we did not know what to expect. We knew which stalls were there beforehand and which shows we wanted to see. After entering the Tobacco Dock, our first impressions were not the best. We were expecting more of a Comic Con setup with lots of stalls in one main hall, but instead we found ourselves walking though like a shopping center where instead of the usual shops there were temporary Japanese stalls set up.

whysojapan hyper japan christmas market 2015 london

whysojapan hyper japan christmas market 2015 london whysojapan hyper japan christmas market 2015 london
whysojapan hyper japan christmas market 2015 london whysojapan hyper japan christmas market 2015 london

There were a lot of stalls we had been looking forward to seeing. Some of them were:

Tokyu Hands, a giant departments store in Japan, we were hoping to find something interesting to buy from them. But we didn’t this time, since they only had a very small selection to sell. It was still great to see a well known brand to have a stall at Hyper Japan.

NHK World was great to see. We saw Domo posting for photos, but when we got there the queue was long, but when we got there it was still seeing him in real life.

whysojapan hyper japan christmas market 2015 london domo

Tofu Cute sold a lot of plushies and other goods, and they had a great sweets selection. We could pick up all different sweets from Japan, like different flavoured KitKats and lots of different flavours of Ramune and lots more.

whysojapan hyper japan christmas market 2015 london tofu cute

whysojapan hyper japan christmas market 2015 london tofu cute whysojapan hyper japan christmas market 2015 london tofu cute

Being big fans of Cakes with Faces, it was great seeing their stall at Hyper Japan and looking at all the cute products. We were really interested in the sushi kit, so much that we bought it. What we loved about it was that we were not just getting the tools to make sushi, but also a super cute illustrated manual.

whysojapan hyper japan christmas market 2015 london cakes with faces

There were lots of other shops, some we had visited before, like Japan Center, JP Books, but there were also lots of stalls that we had never seen before, which made it even more fun, because there were sooo many stalls.

whysojapan hyper japan christmas market 2015 london minoriOne of the more unique guests attending the market was Japanese shironuri artist Minori. Famous for her fashion style, featured on TokyoFashion.com several times, and even seen in Vogue, it was quite special to be able to see her in London. I was looking forward to seeing her, so it took me by surprise when we randomly saw her amongst the stalls, posing for photos. For her fans, she held a tea party, where you could enjoy a cup of tea with her, for a cost.

There were food stalls with a selection of Japanese food to choose from, and also a Japanese maid cafe. We had Takoyaki, it was delicious.

whysojapan hyper japan christmas market 2015 london

whysojapan hyper japan christmas market 2015 london

An events area was set up for on stage performances. We decided to see Lady Baby. The performance was great, but unfortunately people stood up on the chairs so we couldn’t see much. It didn’t stop us from having a great time though.

whysojapan hyper japan christmas market 2015 london lady baby whysojapan hyper japan christmas market 2015 london lady baby

There were lots of other events throughout the weekend, like Mirai no Neiro the Vocaloid, WING WORKS and Kuli-Kala, and more.

This was just a slice of what could be seen at the Hyper Japan Christmas Market. There was so much more that we could have told you about this year’s market, but above were some of our highlights. For the price of the entrance it was well worth the money and it was a great afternoon and evening out.

whysojapan hyper japan christmas market 2015 london

whysojapan hyper japan christmas market 2015 london whysojapan hyper japan christmas market 2015 london

whysojapan hyper japan christmas market 2015 london whysojapan hyper japan christmas market 2015 london

whysojapan hyper japan christmas market 2015 london whysojapan hyper japan christmas market 2015 london

Official site for more information on up and coming events: http://hyperjapan.co.uk





Posted on by Vega @ whysojapan.com in Events Leave a comment

RocketNews24 – News From Japan

whysojapan rocketnews24
Rocketnews24 Soranews24 – News From Japan

There are few sites that we visit often on the internet, that are to do with or about Japan. RocketNews24 is one of them that we really do love.

RocketNews24 started off as a Japanese written news blog back in 2008. Their news articles are a real mixed bag of news and interesting tip bits from Japan and Asia – with everything from cute animals to the latest J-pop group to hit the scene, and so so much more. You can spend hours and days just clicking from news piece to news piece. It’s really great! You will almost always find something of interest to read on the blog. The best thing with the blog now is that since it has become so popular around the world, they now translate their articles for the English version of Rocketnews24, (Since  2010) so us who can’t speak Japanese don’t have miss out on all their great articles that are posted on a daily basis.

Most of the news are lighthearted, so it’s the opposite to most news outlets with all the doom and gloom, which makes Rocketnews24 a breath of fresh air. If you love all things Japan you have probably already read one of Rocketnews24 articles on one of the many other sites they work with, like Japantoday, Buzzfeed, Gizmodo and more.

The news blog has a couple of different sections on the site. My favourite is the “most popular” category, which can be found near the top to the right hand side.  I love that you can see what was popular last week, last month and even last year. Like I said, it’s easy to end up just clicking from news post to news post.

Next time you’re looking for some fun tip bits on Japan and Asia, head on over to Rocketnews24.

Site: http://en.rocketnews24.com





Posted on by Paul in Reviews Leave a comment

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu live in London 2015

whysojapan kyary pamyu pamyu london roundhouse 2015

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu live in London 2015

This year’s Kyary Pamyu Pamyu concert in London coincided with the Moshi Moshi Nippon Festival. The festival was held in the day time and the concert started at 8 pm.

Moshi Moshi Nippon Festival 2015

The festival opened a few hours before the concert at the Roundhouse in London, with a few stalls showcasing different food and products from Japan. As an added bonus, the original dress from Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s music video Fashion Monster, was on display for everyone to see.

whysojapan kyary pamyu pamyu london roundhouse 2015

Some of the other stalls were marukome×MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON and Kawaii & Oishii. Appearing on a ministage was a j-pop group called Musubizm, who performed for the public and later on took photos with their fans.

whysojapan kyary pamyu pamyu london roundhouse 2015 whysojapan kyary pamyu pamyu london roundhouse 2015
This year’s festival had free admission, which was great for those who just wanted to see the festival in the day time, but didn’t have any tickets to the actual concert in the evening.

After the festival we headed into London, to visit some of our favourite Japanese shops, and to get a bite to eat.

The venue

We joined the queue outside the Roundhouse around 19.15. The queue was very long, but moved quite fast. It was fun seeing so many different sorts of people had turned up for the concert. Of course, lots of Japanese people, cosplayers and lolitas dressed as Kyary, and more.

whysojapan kyary pamyu pamyu london roundhouse 2015

Before we knew it we were inside the venue, heading upstairs to find our seats. The concert was held at the Roundhouse in London this year, and had both seating and standing. We chose seating this year, which was fine. The only thing I would have liked to change about it was the supporting beams for the roof that were somewhat in the way of the view sometimes.

whysojapan kyary pamyu pamyu london roundhouse 2015

The show started promptly at 8pm and the crowd went mad when Kyary Pamyu Pamyu appeared on stage.

The show – Crazy Party Night

This year’s show  was seat up with a theme around a night at a night club called Crazy Party Night. Joining Kyaryu Pamyu Pamyu on stage were her dancers and her very own DJ who kept the music going all night and playing music for the dancers and entertainment between costume changes.

whysojapan kyary pamyu pamyu london roundhouse 2015

The stage differed quite a lot from the previous two London concerts, this time the stage was given a more grown up theme with a DJ booth, compared to last time with toys. The stage felt like it has grown with her now that she is old enough to drink and go clubbing.

whysojapan kyary pamyu pamyu london roundhouse 2015 whysojapan kyary pamyu pamyu london roundhouse 2015
whysojapan kyary pamyu pamyu london roundhouse 2015

Kyary played a  lot of her new songs this year, but also mixed in all her hit songs from her past albums. Something they did a little bit different this year with one of the tracks, Candy Candy, was to remix part of the song with other music, giving Kyary a chance to really get the crowd going, which we all enjoyed.

whysojapan kyary pamyu pamyu london roundhouse 2015

The show ended, as all Kyary’s shows have ended in London, with Chan Chaka Chan Chan, with the exception that this time there were lots of confetti shot out over the public.

whysojapan kyary pamyu pamyu london roundhouse 2015

Trying to pick out which of the songs was my favourite from the concert is always going to be hard, but I did enjoy Candy Candy and one of my favourites – Fashion Monster.

Previous posts about Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

Moshi Moshi Tokyo App
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu live in London 2014
Quick magazine feat. KPP
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu World Tour 2014
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Nanda Collection
Dokidoki Wakuwaku Pamyu Pamyu Revolution Land DVD review
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu live in London 2013 – part 1 | part 2 | part 3
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Space Invader
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu





Posted on by Vega @ whysojapan.com in Events, Music, Reviews Leave a comment

Zui ki tei, a Japanese tea house in Sweden

whysojapan japanese tea house Zui ki tei etnografiska museet stockholm

A Japanese tea house in Sweden

The first Japanese tea house in Europe was built in 1935 in Stockholm, Sweden. It burnt down 34 years later, but in 1990 – 25 years ago – a new tea house was built, and it can be found in the garden of the Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm Sweden. The museum has a collection of historical and cultural objects from all over the world, including a lot of items from Japan, and until spring 2016 there is an exhibition about Japan at the museum, called “Japan takes place“. We recently went to the exhibition, and we took the opportunity to attend a guided tour of the Japanese tea house, Zui ki tei. The name Zui ki tei (瑞暉亭) translates to “The dwelling of the light of promise” but it can also be read as Sweden and Japan.

whysojapan japanese tea house Zui ki tei etnografiska museet stockholm

A Japanese tea house, where you leave your worries behind

The Zui ki tei tea house was designed by Japanese architect Masao Nakamura. It was built in Japan, taken down, and re-built in Sweden and now stands in a garden next to the Museum of Ethnography, called “Dew’s ground“. During the summer months, when the trees and bushes are covered with green leaves, the tea house is quite well hidden. When you are standing in the garden, it actually feels like you’re cut off from the work outside. Everything is quiet and peaceful.

When you walk up to the tea house, you start by stepping on a stone and then walk along a pathway, and this symbolizes that you’re now leaving all the stress of your every day life, and stepping into the calm. You leave all your worries aside and slow down and enjoy the moment. Before entering the tea house garden you go through two gates, another symbol of leaving stress and entering the calm.

whysojapan japanese tea house Zui ki tei etnografiska museet stockholm whysojapan japanese tea house Zui ki tei etnografiska museet stockholm

Tea Philpsophy and Wabi

Before you are invited into the tea house, you have a sit in the waiting hut. You can have a chat with your friends and you can enjoy your surroundings. Wabi is part of the tea philosophy, and it stands for “Appreciating the beauty of things that are simple and natural”. In the autumn when the leaves start to fall, the leaves are left on the ground. It’s all part of Wabi – that’s how nature is and it is enjoyed that way. The waiting hut wooden pillars are left raw and unpainted, another part of Wabi, they’re left to look just like nature. There is a stone lantern, used during darker evenings.

whysojapan japanese tea house Zui ki tei etnografiska museet stockholm whysojapan japanese tea house Zui ki tei etnografiska museet stockholm

Entering the tea house

The photo below to the left is of the entrance to the tea house. All guests enter via this small door, no matter of your status. Even though there are different levels of statuses, this is a symbol of how we are all equal. Unless you’re part of the Emperor’s family, then you will enter via another, bigger, door.

The photo below to the right shows where the samurais leave their swords before they enter the tea house. The shorter shelf is for the seppuku / harakiri sword, the shorter sword a samurai would use for suicide to avoid shame.

whysojapan japanese tea house Zui ki tei etnografiska museet stockholm whysojapan japanese tea house Zui ki tei etnografiska museet stockholm

The design of the tea house

Even though most tea houses may look very similar to an untrained eye, they are all very individually designed. This specific tea house is close to Djurgårdsbrunnsviken Bay, so the element of water has been incorporated into the design as waves along the sides. It recently went through a renovation and restoration process, by craftsmen from Yasuimoku Komuten Company from Kyoto. They used traditional Japanese tools when doing the restoration.

The tea house consists of two tea rooms. The smaller room is more simple and the bigger room is more formal. The sliding rice paper walls inside the house (which are not actually made of rice paper) are designed to block off what’s happening outside, but still let the light through. This is so you can concentrate on the moment and the tea ceremony, without any distractions.

whysojapan japanese tea house Zui ki tei etnografiska museet stockholm whysojapan japanese tea house Zui ki tei etnografiska museet stockholm

The interior is kept simple. Tatami mats cover the floor, and there is a built in space called tokonoma where you display a piece of art to appreciate. It can be a painting, and it follows whatever is happening in nature at that specific time. For example, during autumn there could be a painting of a tree with falling leaves. It is also displaying a vase with a simple flower arrangement, ikebana.

whysojapan japanese tea house Zui ki tei etnografiska museet stockholm

The tea ceremony

The bigger room can take up to 20 guests, but because of the intimacy of the ceremony, the number is kept down to 12. The conversation is polite and typical discussions can be about the pottery that is being used. To study the Japanese tea ceremony takes years, and you study with the same master, you don’t change tea schools. Together with the Japanese Tea Society, you can attend beginner courses in the Japanese tea ceremony at the tea house in Stockholm. You can also host your own private tea ceremony for business events or family celebrations, or for a private experience of traditional Japanese culture. There are also open house days and demonstrations of the tea ceremony during the warmer half of the year, but you have to book beforehand to attend the demonstrations.

Learn more

If you want to know more about Zui ki tei or Japanese tea houses in general, here are some links:

Museum of Ethnography
Zui ki tei tea house
Japanese Tea Society Sweden
Japanese tea ceremony





Posted on by Vega @ whysojapan.com in Visiting Leave a comment