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
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
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
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
It's been a while since we last posted about Japanese TV adverts from YouTube user JPCMHD who uploads them regularly. They're always fun to watch, and the latest upload includes adverts for Mouse the computer company, Y! Mobile with Read more
The Taiko drumming game gets its roots from playing the musical drum, which is a popular thing that is played in Japan. The arcade version of the game is a 1-2 player game consisting of two big taiko drums and a large screen. Each player has its own drum and two drum sticks. The game can also be played as a one player game where you use one of the drums. I have seen people that are really good at this game using both drums to play, there may be a setting for the game which allows one person to play two drums at once. It’s nothing that I have ever looked for since the menus are all in Japanese. We normally just keep to the basic game play, of one vs. one mode. A typical game consists of three songs, with most songs having different grades of difficulty. In two player mode you both can choose your own difficulty level while playing the same song.
Object of the game
The drum has two parts that can be hit with the drum sticks, the main section of the drum and the outer rim of the drum. On the screen you will see symbols moving across the screen and when they go past the left handside of the screen you hit the drum in the way that corresponds to the symbol. Small red faces mean one hit of the centre of the drum and the small blue face means you the outer side side of the drum. The drum strikes will go in rhymthm to the music that you’ve chosen to play to. There are also other variation of symbols, like a big red or blue face, which means you hit the drum with both sticks at once.
Versions of the game
The game has been released on many different platforms, like Playstation, Nintendo wii and iOS devices. A review of the iOS version of the game will becoming soon to the blog.
There have been many releases in Japan with updates, like new music etc. The game has also been released once in North America, going by the name of “Taiko: Drum Master” and is available as a Playstation 2 game, which came out 2004. The nature of the game being you are playing a Japanese drum makes the main market target of the game is Japan.
The main mascots of the drums is Don who has the red face icon and Kat that has the blue face icon. There are also other colourful face icons that appear, like the yellow one and the red one, but the main mascots are the red and blue face icons. Products in the shape of drums with the colourful faces are available, like Happy Meal toys, plush toys and so on.
The music is normally a mixture of j-pop songs, classical music, children’s songs and songs made just for game use.
We can’t get enough of the wonderful and lot of time the wacky TV adverts from Japan. We just love to share them with you and we hope you enjoy this great selection of adverts that have been shown on TV in Japan recently. We have ads from SoftBank as normal (which has a bit of a cross over to the world of Disney this time), a cat driving it’s Yahoo! van around the streets like cats do, a fun ad for the theme park Fuji-Q Highland, an advert for Green Aroma featuring Perfume, and also an ad showing some of the cool looking robots from Murata.
Tokyo Clash Japanese Pop Culture is written by Ralf Bähren, a German designer and photographer, that spent a year living and working in Tokyo, where half of the time he documented lots of close relationships and cultural discussion with all different of sort of people that live in Japan. From the old-fashioned to the more interesting side of Japanese people. This is his first book that he has released. When Ralf Bähren is not writing books, he designs exhibitions, interactive experiences, animation and websites.
Tokyo Clash Japanese Pop Culture
The book features lots of different pop cultures that can be found all around Tokyo. I remember on our first trip to Tokyo how so many things were so different compared to how things are here in Europe. Not always the big things, but the way day to day life can be. The way Japan looks at solving day to day problems can be an eyeopening experience. I think one of the things I really love about this book is that it presents so many of these things that we never see here in the Western countries, but are very present in Tokyo, Japan. It’s also highlighting the Japanese pop culture, and the way things look in modern Tokyo.
On each page of this book you find a short piece of text in multiple languages (German, English and Japanese) describing subjects that goes along with one or several photos. I found the pictures to be of great quality and they really seem to jump out of the pages of this book. You can really see that someone has designed it well.
It’s a perfect book for a coffee table read and I would really recommend it for anyone that loves Japan or is interested in Japanese pop culture.
Just Can’t Get Enough is a song from the American hip-hop group The Black Eyed Peas. It is the second single from the group’s album The Beginning. The song was written by the group and produced with help of DJ Ammo, Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, and Tommy Brown. The Black Eyed Peas have been a group since 1995 but they did not hit it big until their album Elephunk was released in 2003. To date the group are one of the all time best selling artists with 35 million albums and 41 million singles over the sold over the world. They were also ranked 12th on the Billboard ’s Decade-End Chart.
The video consists of all the members of The Black Eyed Peas: will.i.am, Apl.de.ap, Taboo, and Fergie. The video was shot while The Black Eyed Peas where in Japan on a press tour. It only took three days to shoot, it was filmed in Tokyo and directed by Ben Mor (who has also directed the music video for Scream & Shout).
What I love about the music video is the futuristic feel, with some of the locations being Sega Joypolis for like half a second, which was a shame. You can also see the driverless train in a couple shots, the one you can ride out to Odaiba to go to places like Sega Joypolis or go and see the massive Gundam robot behind Tokyo Diver shopping centre. There are also lots of street views of Tokyo at night in the video, which look fantastic. One of the shots features some of the led signs near the Shibuya crossing, and you can also spot Don Quijote in Roppongi in the background in of one of the shots.
The Just Can’t Get Enough video was released on Vevo on the 16th of March 2011 and the single was released about a month before that. The single reached number 1 on the UK dance chart and number 3 on the offician UK singles chart. It also reached the same position on the Billboard charts. The video was shot a week before the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, and just like the music video Big in Japan by Martin Solveig and Dragonette., it features a message: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the people of Japan. We love you”
If you have used public transport in Tokyo you might well have used one of two smart travel cards: the Pasmo or a Suica card. In Tokyo the cards have pretty much the same function, both allowing you to pay for travel on the public transportation system in and around Tokyo. Both smart cards can be also used in other parts of Japan for travel, but sometimes you can only use one and sometimes both. It’s always best to check with the local transport for the area you are visiting. The cards that you pre charge can also be used to purchase stuff in different shops and be used as payment on most vending machines.
Japanese companies love you to have a mascot to represent their company. Normally the cuter the better. While traveling in Japan you will almost certainly come across the cuteness of the company mascot that is one of my favourites – the cute penguin that represents the travel card Suica. You might wonder what a penguin has to do with travel? Well, penguins are seen to swim through water with ease and that’s how it should feel when using the Suicacard, a smooth moving process as such.
The mascot named Suica Penguin, or just Penguin, was designed by Sakazaki Chiharu and has been used as the mascot since 2001. The penguin has become very popular and I can understand why. Who could not like the cute penguin? I’m sure a lot of people choose that smart card for travel just because of the cute penguin on the card. I know I did on our first trip. We saw the Sucia penguin on a lot of posters on the public transport in Tokyo, but didn’t really know what it was to do with, since we had a different travel card on that journey, but after coming home and looking the penguin up, I had a better idea to why we saw it on a lot of places. After that we started to watch a lot of the TV adverts on watch here YouTube featuring the cute penguin, showing how to use the card which I loved. Silly that it might sound, like I said, I’m a sucker for a penguin. I also received some merchandise with thanks to a friend in Japan that hunted the products down and sent them to me, and to this day when we meet always manages to find me some cool Suica penguin stuff. The latest thing being a 2015 year calendar, that we now have on display at home. After our latest trip back in 2014 we found the Suica Penguin store in the Tokyo station, called Penguin Stadium, Pensta. They had loads of stuff to sell, like books, food, games, tea towels, inflatables, key rings and more. Now I will never run out of Suica Penguin stuff. If you’re looking for the shop, it can be found via this link.