Or you can opt for a kimono sash strap with an assassin hiding inside a murdered boar’ skin. It’s up to you!

Princess Mononoke doesn’t waste any time establishing its amazing visual presence. In the very first scene of the 1997 Studio Ghibli anime, we see a rampaging boar that’s been cursed and consumed with hatred, covered in writhing tentacles that reach out and spread the corruption to male lead Ashitaka as he fights to defend his village.

And now, those tentacles can be yours!

As part of its ongoing celebration of the 25th anniversary of Princess Mononoke’s Japanese theatrical release, Studio Ghibli specialty store Donguri no Kyowakoku has released a new collection of accessories inspired by the art of what was originally meant to be director Hayao Miyazaki’s final feature film. Proving that there’s nothing that Japan can’t find a way to turn into a pun, the designers call this piece the “Tataring,” a play on words with tatari, the Japanese word used to describe the curse that afflicts Ashitaka.

If you prefer your rings with less sinister undertones, there’s also a series of triple-ring sets, one for monster princess San, one for Ashitaka’s steed Yakul, and one for the Kodama forest spirits.

These can be worn stacked atop each other…

…but in the case of the Kodama, there’s also a strong case to be made for spreading them …continue reading


City Breeze

Midtown Summer 2022

Tokyo Midtown once again shows us what it’s like to be the coolest event organizer in a city that already has it all. This summer, stop by at Midtown in Roppongi for an experience of traditional Japanese summertime right in the heart of Tokyo: From a digital art space surrounded by mist at night to foot bathing in a brook to windchime-filled walls and cafes. A great place to bring friends to if they’re visiting you in town.

2022 Sumida Street Jazz Festival© Photo by iStock: GemaIbarra

Jazzy Days

2022 Sumida Street Jazz Festival Zero

Aiming to promote Sumida as Tokyo’s No.1 music city, this annual festival gathers bands performing jazz and other genres on three different stages: Sumida Triphony Hall, Sumida Park Theater and at Oyokogawa Water Park Event Square. This is the first year the event is being held after being on hiatus since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic with plans to host two day event in October.

SUN, Aug.14, 2022
11 a.m. – 6:40 p.m.
1-2-3 Kinshi, Sumida City, Tokyo 130-0013 – Map

More Info

City Breeze

Midtown Summer 2022

Tokyo Midtown once again shows us what it’s like to be the coolest event organizer in a city that already has it all. This summer, stop by at Midtown in Roppongi for an experience of traditional Japanese summertime right in the heart of Tokyo: From a digital art space surrounded by mist at night to foot bathing in a brook to windchime-filled walls and cafes. A great place to bring friends to if they’re visiting you in town.

FRI, JUL. 15-SUN, AUG. 28, 2022
DIGITAL ART GARDEN: 5 P.M.-11 P.M., FOG: 3 P.M.-11 P.M.

More Info

Summer in Full Wing

<h3 …continue reading


Source: Gaijin Pot

Summers in Japan always feel overbearing, and it feels like every year is hotter than the last. But that feeling is probably correct this time. This past June saw the country’s highest temperatures on record for the month in an intense heatwave.

What also broke June records was the number of heat stroke victims, with a total of 15,969 people being admitted to hospital for it that month, over three times more than June 2021.

The heat is no joke! We want everyone safe out there, so to help you stay cool, here are some ways to beat the heat in Japan, and what to do if you or someone you know falls victim to heat stroke.

Useful Japanese vocabulary for heat stroke

Photo: iStock/ Yamasan
What about Cool Biz?!

If you or someone around you appears to be suffering from heat stroke, here are some useful words and phrases for explaining heat stroke in Japanese in case of an emergency.

English Japanese Romaji
Heat stroke 熱(ねっ)中(ちゅう)症(しょ) Necchusho
Is there a water fountain here? ここに水(みず)飲(の)み場(ば)がありますか? Koko ni mizu-nomiba ga arimasuka?
Can we turn on the [fan/air conditioning]? [扇(せん)風(ぷう)機(き) / エアコン] つけてもいいですか? [Senpuki / e-a-kon] tsukete mo ii desu ka?
Can I take a break? I’m feeling faint. めまいがします。少(すこ)し休(やす)んでもいいですか? Memai ga shimasu. Sukoshi yasunde mo ii desu ka?
Please help, [I am/they are] suffering from heat stroke. 熱(ねっ)中(ちゅう)症です。手(て)伝(てつ)だってください。 Necchusho desu. Tetsudatte kudasai.
Call an ambulance! 救(きゅう)急(きゅう)車(しゃ)をよんで! Kyukyusha o yonde!

Who to call in case of heat stroke

Photo: iStock/ Rockdrigo68
A digital temperature shows 35 degrees celsius on a hot day in Shinjuku.

Heat stroke can be deadly, but symptoms range from mild to severe. The levels of heat stroke are:

  • Level 1 (mild): Dizziness, muscle cramps, nausea
  • Level 2 (moderate): Headache, nausea, fatigue
  • Level …continue reading

Huppy Hut Duy!

It’s August once again, and in Japan that means its time to dust off our hat and huts to celebrate 10 August, which is known as Hat Day…or Hut Day.

In Japanese the short “a” and “u” sounds of English are virtually indistinguishable, so the words “hat” and “hut” would both become “hatto” (ハット) in Japanese. This confusion is the true meaning of Hat Day, as well as Hut Day, and is probably best understood after hearing The Hat Day Story, also known as The Hut Day Story.

It all began in 2019, when automotive parts retail chain Yellow Hat approached the pizza chain Pizza Hut to work together on a promotional campaign called Hat Day. Yellow Hat had hoped to use the date of 10 August because the numbers “8” and “10” could be read as “hatto” together in Japanese.

However, the deal went south after Yellow Hat realized that their would-be partner was not named Pizza Hat.

▼ Though, to be fair, their logo looks an awful lot like a hat

Nevertheless, Yellow Hat continued without the pizza giant and had Yellow Hat Day registered as a holiday on 10 August by the Japan Anniversary Association.

▼ Certificate acknowledging Yellow Hat Day as a real holiday

And even though the collaborative Hat Day plan fell through the two companies stayed in touch and the following year even worked together on a special line of Yellow Pizza Hats that were reversible and could alternate between pizza hats and tire hats with a flick of the wrist.

This relationship continued to blossom, and in 2021 Yellow …continue reading


Sometimes “Atsui!” just isn’t enough.

In Japanese, the word for “hot” (as in hot weather) is atsui. But when there’s a day or night that’s really hot, there are actually official government terms for them.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency (part of the the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism), if the temperature rises above 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit), then it’s classified as a moushobi, or “ferocious heat day.” Meanwhile, if even the nighttime low is still above 25 Celsius (77 Fahrenheit), then we’re having a nettaiya, or “tropical night.”

▼ Sadly, the government has yet to enact a policy to distribute emergency rations of refreshing tropical drinks on “tropical nights.”

But what about when things get even hotter? The government’s terminology caps out at those 35/25-degree thresholds, so the Japan Weather Association, a non-government meteorological association, took it upon itself to come up with new terms through a poll of 140 of the organization’s members.

After tallying the responses, the association has dubbed days with a high temperature of over 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) kokushobi, or “cruel heat days.”

And for those nights that go beyond nettaiya? Here the Japan Weather Association decided to keep things descriptive and simple, with the survey deciding that if the overnight low never dips below 30 Celsius (86 Fahrenheit), then it’s a chounettaiya, or “super tropical night.”

Thankfully, neither kokushobi nor chounettaiya are all that common in Japan. Since the start of modern record keeping in 1875, there have only been 67 recorded incidences of temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius, observed at …continue reading


Monetary damages “don’t matter at all” compared to the loss of life, owner says in heartbreaking video.

Kazunori Yamada runs an indoor fishing pond called Tsuribori Honpo in the town of Toki, Gifu Prefecture. When he arrived at the facility on Tuesday morning to get the place ready to open for the day, he noticed that someone had cracked the inset window on the building’s back door and broken into the office.

The burglars stole a few thousand yen in cash (equivalent to less than US$100), along with the office WiFi router and the hard drive containing the data from the digital security camera system. As far as burglaries go, you could say that Tsuribori Honpo didn’t lose much, but the loss of property pales in comparison to the emotional damage the 48-year-old Yamada feels from the loss of life that occurred, as some 3,000 fish that were in the pond died as a result of the break-in. In addition to breaking the back window, the thieves also cut the building’s powerline, which disabled the pond’s air pump and filter system, and by the time Yamada showed up for work on Tuesday morning, the fish had perished.

“To me, the fish were our company’s employees. My employees were killed,” said Yamada, who broke into tears multiple times while describing the incident, as seen in the video below.

“For five years we’ve cared for the fish, raised them, and now all I can say is I don’t know what to do,” Yamada said, his throat choked with sadness and sympathy. “The money we lost and the property damage, honestly, don’t matter at all compared to [the fish]. It hurts my heart so much that they were killed like this. This is so wrong.”

It might seem surprising that the owner of a fishing pond would have …continue reading


Japan's former prime minister Shinzo Abe shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping during the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan on 28 June 2019. (Photo:Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev)

Author: Upamanyu Basu, NUJS

The death of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe is a shocking loss for Japan. But Japanese democracy has remained strong, with voters turning up for the Upper House election to give the Kishida government an anticipated victory. Abe’s move to deviate from Japan’s pacifist policies to confront China’s nationalistic designs remains a strong legacy for the Kishida government to conserve.

For the first time in Japanese history, Abe committed to centralising decision making on security matters. This move aimed to ensure that Japan’s security policy aligned with the national interest. There were two identified security threats — China’s regional military tactics and North Korea’s nuclear missile testing. Abe ensured increases in defence spending and upgraded defence policy, resulting in the acquisition of new weapons and effectively changing Japan’s historical foreign policy and maritime positioning.

Abe inherited a difficult political climate when he came to power. Relations with China had deteriorated due to territorial disputes over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. In his first years, Abe visited every ASEAN country and used the 2014 Shangri La Dialogue to establish a new maritime order — becoming the ‘father of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue‘. His infamous visit to the Yasukuni Shrine in which Japan’s war criminals are entombed was a huge blow to his already tumultuous relations with China.

Abe’s China policy was more pragmatic than adventurous, especially in the post-2012 period. The multilayered diplomacy of investing significant resources in Southeast Asia and South Asia, including the Japan–European Union Economic Partnership Agreement, exemplified Abe’s calculated, proactive participation and leadership. Japan’s foreign policy towards the Mekong Region, though overshadowed by China’s presence, posed an alternative to China’s development strategy. The 2018 New Tokyo …continue reading


Within the past decade or so, many Japanese commuters sought to avoid crowded trains by adopting the use of bicycles. The increase in cyclists is so significant that it is reported in the news that many municipalities have increased patrolling with the intent of catching traffic violators on bicycles.

The number of bicycle traffic violations in 2021 was 22,859 compared to 2,584 in 2010, an increase of about 10 times, indicating that the National Police Agency is stepping up its enforcement of bicycle traffic laws.

You might be wondering, “what’s the worst that can happen?”

While it might seem that cycling is an innocuous mode of transport, there are violations that if you are caught committing, can land you with a mandatory court appearance and possibly deportation!

If you are already using a bicycle in Japan to get around, you should be well informed already, but just in case, it may be useful to do a review.

Violations with severe punishments

Never ride a bike after consuming alcohol.

If you think that 飲酒運転(いんしゅうんてん) (inshu-unten – drunk driving) does not apply to bicycles, beware. This is probably the worst infraction you can commit on a bicycle. According to Article 2, Item 11 of the Road Traffic Law, bicycles are defined as a category of light vehicle, and therefore, like automobiles, there are penalties for drunk driving.

According to data from the National Police Agency, there are more than 100 arrests per year for drunken driving on bicycles, which means that arrests for drunken driving are definitely made even for bicycles.

Furthermore, as with cars, there are penalties of up to five years in prison or a fine of up to 1,000,000 yen for driving a bicycle while intoxicated.

The scary thing about the penalties for bicycling is that, unlike automobiles, there is no penalty system, which means that in some cases, …continue reading


5 Seasonal Vegetables to Buy in Japan This Summer

As we’re baking in the sweltering heat of this year’s summer, it’s hard to tell what is feeling the burn more these days, our bodies, our pocketbooks or our planet. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in times like these, but sometimes even making small personal changes can make a world of difference.

Case in point: vegetables. While eating more vegetables and consuming more locally have become far-reaching rallying cries, in food-insecure Japan especially, choosing local, sustainable and seasonal produce can help you (and the climate!) stay on a healthy path while supporting farmers in the country you call home. And, going with Japanese fresh and in-season veggies will also do wonders for your bottom line.

Check out five in-season Japanese vegetables below, as well as how to prep and store them, to get you started. Make sure to read all the way to the bottom for our suggestions of local vegetable delivery baskets so that you don’t even have to make your way to the supermarket!

1. Myoga

© Photo by iStock: mizoula

Myoga, known as Japanese ginger in English, refers to the edible tender buds and shoots of a herbaceous perennial plant native to Japan. It has a pleasantly crunchy texture and a refreshing and light gingery taste. Myoga contains many vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin K, calcium and magnesium which make it a great healthy vegetable to add to your repertoire.

5 Seasonal Vegetables to Buy in Japan This Summer© Photo by iStock: byryo
Somen noodles with myoga

It also plays well with other distinct summer foods, like as a thinly sliced garnish to a bowl of cold somen or soba noodles or even fried in a tempura batter. …continue reading


Passengers can keep computers and liquids inside their carry-on until they actually want to use them, thanks to new system.

Taking your laptop with you on an airplane flight seems like it should be a glorious combination of convenient technologies, allowing you to soar through the air while still making progress on a work project, letting your creative writing juices flow, or reading SoraNews24. Of course, that flight will be preceded by the hassle of having to dig your laptop out of your carry-on bag, take it out of its case, and pass the device through the pre-flight security check, then reverse the whole process once the airport staff gives you the OK.

There’s now a way around that inconvenience though, thanks to JAL. The airline has developed a new X-ray CT inspection system that it calls JAL Smart Security which lets you keep your laptop inside your carry-on during inspection, and which also utilize a few other clever ideas to get you to the boarding gate as smoothly and stress-free as possible.

The layout is shaped like a letter J, with three spots at the start where passengers can place a try for their carry-on and jacket. In addition to your laptop, you can also leave any allowable liquid-containing bottles inside your bag as well. Slide the tray forward (making sure it’s widthwise) onto the rollers, and it’ll make its way down the line to the inspection point.

The curved starting section is designed that way to prevent bottlenecks by allowing whoever’s tray is filled first to then pass through the metal detector. Assuming there are no …continue reading