Cherry Blossom Sale In Tokyo! Last chance to 花見!

Cherry blossom tree next to a pond at Koishikawa Korakuen

As eerie as the location sounds, Aoyama Cemetery is far from spooky with hundreds of trees that bloom each spring. The cemetery also contains the graves of several notables including Toshimichi Okubo, one of the founders of modern Japan; Henry Spencer Palmer, the Times’ first correspondent for Japan; and the owner of Hachiko. Yes, Hachiko, the famous dog whose statue serves as a popular meeting place in front of Shibuya station. For history buffs or for someone who wants something different from the same old picnic in a normal park, Aoyama Cemetery is the place to be.

Yakuza Rapper Releases Spoken Word Album: Yamazin/Collected Short Stories

Japanese rap has a bad rap.  It doesn’t rhyme, not really, it’s almost impossible to follow if you don’t understand Japanese, and most of it is crap.  Most of the “gangster rappers” in Japan are about as tough as Vanilla Ice and about as talented.  The bravado is show, the source material puerile and the […]

Freedom: A Small Tokyo Bar Where Someone Knows Your Name

RyanFreedom-7

The tiny neighborhood bars and watering holes distributed throughout Tokyo are probably as numerous as the stars on a clear night in the Himalayas. Perversely, they’re often the kinds of places that are easy to miss, at least in the daytime, even if a given joint is open when one happens to walk by.

The most obscene thing in Japan isn’t a 3D vagina model

The most obscene thing in #Japan isn't a 3D model of a vagina. It's something more insidious. http://t.co/L691cGnFJd — Jake Adelstein/中本哲史 (@jakeadelstein) December 7, 2014

Book Review: “The Bad-Mood Marriage” 不機嫌な主婦 なぜ女たちは「本能」を忘れたのか(朝日新書)

yakuza-wives2

By Kaori Shoji As long as time immemorial, being a woman in Japan meant the rawest of deals. The long, long tradition of top-down patriarchy held that women were good for of either two things: sexual slavery or household drudgery. Once a woman got past her reproductive years, she was expected to control the younger […]

Origin of the peace-ies: The history of peace sign/V-sign in Japan

Live long and prosper. Try to stay calm and negotiate on.

By Sandra Barron for JSRC originally posted on March 9th, 2011 It was one of those nightmare commutes. A crowded train finally pulled up to a rush-hour platform, dense with people who’d already been delayed, who were already running late, and were spending this purgatorial time pushed up against piles of equally inconvenienced fellow commuters. […]

Some parting words from Yakuza movie icon Takakura Ken on yakuza films, his favourite movies, and acting

昭和残侠伝 破れ傘(プレビュー)

But I think that the reason the general public identified with the roles I played, was that they were struck by my stance as a man who unrelentingly stands up to absurd injustices. It wasn’t just that I was just going off to a sword fight, but that my character was willing to sacrifice himself in order to protect the people important to him. JSRC: Mr. Takakura, you have been called the Clint Eastwood of Japan, what do you think of that?
Ken Takakura: It’s what someone else thinks, so I have no thoughts on the matter. 

How the Japanese Went Under, and Stayed There

karyushiko

Uchida’s speciality is throwing politics and philosophy, Aikido and women’s issues, the income gap and Japan’s slide into poverty, plus sex and relationship advice – all in one blender and made it palatable.

“Karaoke Man”: An Ode For the Expat In Japan Reeling From Ennui

The expat blues can only be exorcised by singing this modified version of "Piano Man"

And the hostess is practicing pouring green tea
As the businessmen get drunk real slow
Yes they’re sharing a drink they call loneliness
But it’s better than drinking Jinro

AKB48: A Microcosm Of Dark Corporate Japan. Sexual exploitation of child labor is sooo cute. (Book review)

AKB48 aren't just a band of  teenage girls creepily sexually exploited by a money-grubbing management team that includes an ex-yakuza associate, they're also symbols of how badly workers in Japan get screwed over--in every way.

Shohei Sakakura has linked Black Companies with the nation’s most famous and lucrative girl group AKB 48. “AKB48 and the Black Companies,” and his indictments make Walmart look like a towering monument to worker’s rights. Yasushi Akimoto was a Zegen with a vision – having never been popular in high school himself, he recognized the deep sexual frustration and vast need for sexual fantasies festering in the educated and dateless Japanese male.