Archive for the 'Tradition' Category

Cremation ash urns use rack retrieval storage and ID card access

Private viewing booth at indoor tomb at Dentouin Akasaka Jouen in TokyoBuddhist temples in Japan that have run out of graveyard space for tombs are turning to high-tech storage solutions for ashes of the deceased.

In Japan, cremation is the norm and remains of the dead are kept in urns stored in a stone tomb on a family plot in a graveyard. The outdoor tombs have limited space for expansion. Rather than using the traditional method where each urn is displayed in a permanent spot, the new columbariums store the ashes out of site on multilevel racks, and then use a mechanical system to bring the urns out when loved ones come to visit. These storage racks have been installed in existing buildings on temple grounds, or specially designed facilities located on the grounds, or in temple-run buildings located off-site.


Unryuin temple in Kyoto is one location that offers computer-controlled movable storage of ash urns. Similar to an ATM, a contactless ID card and touchscreen control the functions of the indoor altar. Glass partitions create booth-like private spaces for privacy. The price of the perpetual memorial starts at JPY 893,000 which includes management fees, temple fees, biannual prayer service and a steady supply of flowers and incense.


Contactless ID card opens indoor tomb door at Dentouin Akasaka Jouen in Tokyo Row of partitions dividing cremated remains storage areas at cemetery Dentouin Akasaka Jouen in Tokyo, Japan Private viewing booth at indoor tomb at Dentouin Akasaka Jouen in Tokyo


Some of these high tech vaults add to the ambiance by displaying a photo of the loved one accompanied by music when transporting the urn out of storage.


Computer Controlled Automatic Cremation Urn Transfer System Toyota Industries Corp Computer Controlled Automatic Cremation Urn Transfer System Komyoji temple rein in Japan

Ryogoku-Ryouen mausoleum in Tokyo

The Computer Controlled Automatic Cremation Urn Transfer System was developed and manufactured by Toyota Industries Corporation. Storage of 7000 urns is possible in a structure on a 50 square meter site. (more…)

Fat gal marshmallow girls are chubby idols

Mizuki Tama large plus size marshmallow girl model in Japan La Farfa marshmallow girl model group A "chubby chubby boom" of popular fat female celebrities in Japan has led to the debut of Japan’s first fashion magazine for plus-sized women. The chubby lady models of La Farfa magazine are called "Marshmallow girls."


Chubbiness plus size marshmallow girl model group  in Japan Chubbiness fat female girl models in Japan

A new idol group of heavyset female models/spokespersons called "Chubbiness" has been assembled by CanCam woman’s magazine and Avex entertainment company. The average weight of the gals in the group is 55 kilograms (121 pounds.) Anyone who drops below 50 kilograms (120 pounds)  will be fired from the group.


Japanese dogu figurine looks like fat female model Dogu Japanese clay figure resembles Mizuki Tama large plus size marshmallow girl model in Japan

Big, sexy, female Japanese "gravure idols" have been nicknamed "Earthen (clay) figures" after the traditional Japanese "Dogu" clay figurines which have big-eyes, small waists and wide hips.

TV programs have reported on the chubby boom and one show compared plus-size model Mizuki Tama to a Dogu figure by painting her body in the likeness of the clay figurine.

Magazines and DVDs that feature scantily-clad fat women are also popular. 

Japanese Mizuki Tama adult video plus size marshmallow girl model Tama Mizuki sucks ramen adult video fat model in Japan Hana Seto Japanese gravure adult video fat model porn



Beauty face pack masks looks like Kabuki facial expressions

Face cream facial mask looks like kabuki actor makeup Japan Beauty face packs that look like the facial contortions of Kabuki performers are being sold by a company that specializes in Kabuki-related products.

The face pack patterns mimic the bright striped makeup worn by the actors in the bold aragoto style of Kabuki.


Moisturizing facial mask with kabuki actor print in Japan Moisturizing nightime face mask  kabuki makeup printed in Japan

The mask sheets contain natural moisturizers and also have a whitening effect. Usage instructions are in Japanese and English. The Kabuki 2-sheet facial packs are for sale at the Kabuki-za theater in Tokyo, Haneda Airport in Tokyo, and Tokyo Midtown Galleria. The price is JPY 880. photos: Sankei MSN

Loincloth underwear Fundoshi for women replaces panties

woman wearing fundoshi loincloth in JapanJapanese men wearing fundoshi loincloth at festival Store display mannequins wearing men's fundoshi loincloth in Japan
The traditional Japanese men’s underwear “fundoshi”, a loincloth made from a stretch of white cotton, and which reveals the buttocks, is making a comeback in other fabrics and with contemporary designs, and these fundoshi are gaining popularity with both men and women.

Traditional white fundoshi have been mostly worn by boys and men in Japan when participating in festivals and the Hadaka Matsuri (Naked Festival.)


The Japanese firm Wacoal, began selling fundoshi for women in late 2008.

The Japan Fundoshi Association was established in December 2011 to enhance people’s understanding and awareness of fundoshi. The association recommends that everyone over age 10 in Japan own at least 2 loincloths. The JFA also hopes to popularize February 14 as "Fundoshi Day.”

Trying on fundoshi on TV program in Japan How to wear Japanese fundoshi How to wear fundoshi in Japan How to wear men's Japanese loincloth fundoshi


A Japanese love life advisor known as “Love and Communication Instructor Olivia”, says that fundoshi for women will raise the quality of a woman’s love life.

In an article on the JFA website, she recommends wearing the loincloth only at night, for sleeping.

“Since there is no bundle of rubber around the groin area, blood circulation of the circumference of the pelvis is promoted and sensitivity to cold and resistance to edema are improved,” she says.

Olivia says that women will feel more vigor in their “lower half” in the morning, which will be attractive to men.

Olivia tested a loose one-piece loincloth fundoshi which wraps around the stomach and hips. She says it felt as if she were not wearing anything, breathability was good, and it was warm. The love life expert’s test loincloth was made of hemp, usually associated with the attire of Shinto priests. “Wrapping one’s private parts in the material used for divine work is a somewhat sacred feeling,” she says.

topless women naked festival japan
Fundoshi for ladies 
Fundoshi for men 
Fundoshi for men and women

photos: Mannequins; festivalTV program; anime how to wear; man sleeps

Shibuya Monkey Returns?

Shibuya monkey comes back to Tokyo after 2 years in hiding?A monkey that has been romping around parts of Tokyo since Aug. 6 could be the monkey that ran through Tokyo’s Shibuya station on Aug. 20, 2008.

On the morning of August 20, 2008, a macaque monkey scampered into Shibuya train station in Tokyo. Police armed with several meters of green netting and carrying hooped nets surrounded the macaque while it rested on an overhead timetable display. The monkey eluded capture and darted among commuters before escaping into the city. News video of the 2008 Shibuya monkey-chase was broadcast on TV worldwide and posted on TV and newspaper websites.

Macaque monkeys inTokyo, Japan August 2010 Route map Tokyo monkeys sightings August 2010


The first summer of 2010 monkey sightings occurred about 5:50 PM Aug. 4. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department says the monkey was discovered on the roof of a home next to a rice paddy in Nerima Ward. The same day, the monkey was seen in the same area jumping along electric power lines, scaling the walls of homes, eating some grapes in the garden of a house, and loitering in front of an elementary school.

The ape brushed a taxi that was driving down a road in Ikebukuro the morning of the Aug. 5. There were no injuries.

Also on Aug. 5, the macaque was seen in the vicinity of Ikebukuro station in the morning, and it was watched scampering on a road in Shinmachi, Itabashi Ward in the afternoon.

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There is speculation this Japanese macaque is a wild macaque that lived in Chichibu and might have followed a river into the urban area.

On July 23, the Shibuya monkey posted a message on twitter: "so sweety! atsui! matted fur drippng pocari sweat 8:] see yu my go out awgust! annibersery! this !!! keyboard ! stikney!!!"

It is not known why the monkey appeared earlier than Aug. 20.

Photo for Funeral Before You’re Gone

Have an eternalphoto prepared before you die in JapanFuneral-services providers are offering photography services so you’ll have a decent photo to display at your funeral ceremony. Photography studios are also targeting the new funeral-photo market.

A headshot of the deceased is usually on display at the start of funeral ceremonies in Japan. A different photo of the deceased – often a wedding photo – is displayed when the bereaved express condolences.


Kinoshita Inc operates 16 funeral parlors in Fukuoka and Saga prefectures. "Photos are shown at funerals to recall the deceased. If a variety of photos are displayed, participants in the funerals can recognize their personal characters more deeply," Masaru Ishikawa, 56, an executive of the company, told the Asahi Shimbun.


Photograph for Japan funeral before you get a disease
Translation: You have a higher risk of contracting disease as you reach old age. Or contracting a severe illness. You will lose teeth and your face will change. We welcome you to take a vibrant photo at age sixty, in your favorite style. For example, people who like golf can wear golf clothes. Kimono-lovers can wear kimono. And people who like to cook could wear one of their favorite aprons.

Funeral service homes in Japan offer portrait photo to elderly This photo studio advises taking a picture every 5 years until age forty, and then every 2-3 years after forty, in order to have an up-to-date photo if you die.


Terukazu Mori, 46, representative director of Kumamoto Resident Funerals, said, "If you prepare the photo (in advance), you can enjoy your remaining life without worry. Taking the photo is one of the things you should do for that purpose."


Photographers offer funeral photos for Japanese funeral. Take a picture before you die in Japan for your ceremony.
These suggest you have a picture taken so survivors don’t have to search for a good picture after you’re dead.

Posing for funeral photo in Japan.Photographer offers custom painted portrait photo for Japanese funeral.
Photographer makes composite photo of couple for funeral
photos: Eternal photoblue kimono; Ikeda Shashinkan; couple; gray suit.

Princesses and Anxiety at Home and School

Crown Princess Aiko Japanese Princess Aiko, 8, attended elementary school again March 8, the first time since she stopped going to school March 2 after complaining of being bullied by some boys at school. Princess Aiko is in the second grade at Gakushuin Primary School in Tokyo. Princess Aiko is the only child of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako.

Princess Aiko has complained of an upset stomach and has showed deep anxiety since March 2.

The Imperial Household Agency said that Princess Aiko and several other students had been "treated harshly" by boys in another class. A school official said the incident may have been a misunderstanding.

Crown Princess Aiko attends Gakushuin Primary School Crown Princess Aiko with parents

 "She had decided to leave school, and just as she had returned from changing into her normal shoes from her school shoes, I hear it was two boys that approached very suddenly and nearly collided with her, which scared her," school director Motomasa Higashisono told reporters.

Crown Princess Masako accompanied Princess Aiko to the school to attend the fourth period of morning classes. They then left the school together.

Japan's Princess Masako, January 2010

The outing was a rare public appearance for Crown Princess Masako, 46, who was diagnosed with an adjustment disorder in July 2004. Her condition is attributed to the difficulties of adjusting to palace life and the pressure to bear a son. Crown Princess Masako hasn’t attended most official duties for several years.

Doctors monitoring the health of Crown Princess Masako said March 5 her condition has vastly improved but she needs more time to reach a level that will allow her to expand the scope of her official duties.

Princess Masako "has gotten better and is now in a state incomparable to" five and a half years ago when she started to receive treatment, the doctors said in a statement issued through the IHA.

"However, considering her long battle with the illness and the stress she has been under, it will take more time for her to expand the scope of her activities," the statement said, noting that she "has made surprisingly great efforts" to overcome the illness.

Japan's Princess Masako and husband Crown Prince Naruhito, January 2010

In the statement, the doctors noted that the support of people close to her, especially members of her family, has played a key role in helping her to recover. "Watching Princess Aiko growing up and her increasing exchanges with her friends is a joy as well as a remedy for the crown princess," it said.

The doctors mentioned the crown princess’ presence last year at events commemorating the 20th anniversary of Emperor Akihito’s ascension to the throne as well as at a ceremony last month to mark the 15th anniversary of the Great Hanshin Earthquake.

The visit to Kobe for the quake memorial ceremony was her first official trip outside Tokyo involving an overnight stay since January 2008.

The statement warned, however, that high expectations for more public appearances could hamper her recovery.

"Although expectations for her to perform more official duties are expected to grow as her recovery progresses, it is necessary to consider the workload that she would shoulder so that it would not impose a heavy burden," the doctors said.

Japan's Princess Masako, Crown Prince Naruhito, Aiko, and pet dog, official photo

Some medical experts outside of the imperial family are skeptical about the prospects for a full recovery being achieved quickly.

"Although the cause of her stress is not clearly shown in the report, I assume there may be a gap between the feelings of Crown Princess Masako, who is longing to live the way she wants to, and the Imperial Household Agency, which tends to put things in a mold," said Masaaki Noda, a professor at Kwansei Gakuin University. "It looks like her illness could last longer judging from the doctors’ opinions," he said.

(Above compiled from news reports)

Princess Masako’s condition could have an influence on her daughter. 

The reports about Princess Aiko’s experience at school seem to indicate nothing more than normal, temporary fears.

However, studies suggest that children or adolescents are more likely to have an anxiety disorder if they have a parent with anxiety disorder.

Booms Booming Fads Top 10

The top ten booms in Japan now.

Fashionable forest girl boom in Japan. Mascot boom in Tokai region of Japan.


Forest girl boom. Fashion inspired by Anne of Green Gables. For your fashion life in the forest.

Tokai region local government mascot character boom. More than 30 municipalities in Tokai have mascot characters.
Tomehane Suzuri High School Calligraphy Club NHK TV show in JapanTome ha ne Suzuri High School Calligraphy Club NHK TV show in Japan


Calligraphy boom
Influenced by "Tomehane Suzuri High School Calligraphy Club" TV show on NHK-TV. Click here to try NHK calligraphy.

Joggers enjoy running boom in Japan Japan is Eco Friendly with Green living Castles are popular attractions now in Japan.


Running boom
A survey by Sasakawa Sports Foundation indicates the number of runners who ran two times or more during the week increased from 2.15 million in 2006 (the previous survey year) to 2.48 million according to the 2008 survey.

Eco boom
Japanese follow the green theme, from carbon offset mindfulness, recycling clothes, and shorter showers, to eco-cars and eco-bags.

Castle boom
Influenced by "Taiga" historical stories TV series on NHK-TV.
Sakamoto Ryouma samurai ronin in Japan history Sakamoto Ryoma ronin in Japan


Sakamoto Ryouma boom
Includes TV programs, books, movies, tours, fairs, restaurant menus, and ramen. The ronin Sakamoto led movement to overthrow the Tokugawa shogunate during the Bakumatsu period.
Samurai armor on display (3)
History boom
Inspired by television quiz programs featuring questions about Japan history.

Quiet life boom
Leading a slower-paced, low-stress life. Volunteerism, continuing education, personal growth, cultural pursuits, and contribution to society. Also includes leaving big cities to start a farm in rural Japan. (related:  Slow food life.)


Fried chicken boom
Started in Oita and is now spreading across Japan. More chicken is consumed in Oita Prefecture than any other prefecture in Japan.

Fried chicken is specialty of Oita prefecture Japan

Bows Obama Did Not Do in Japan

Correct way to bow in JapanUS president Barack Obama boows in Japan.


The bow that US President Barack Obama made to Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko in Tokyo Nov. 14, 2009 has been criticized by some US media pundits and news outlets. In the US the Obama bow debate has focused on whether the form of the bow was correct, if Obama should have only shaken hands instead of bowing, and the implication of the bow. In Japan, the bow was not critiqued in the media. The reports from abroad have become more interesting to Japanese media than the Obama bow itself.

The Obama bow-handshake combo, though not especially elegant, was appropriate given the situation and the hand-thrust maneuver presented by Emperor Akihito.

The US media has mostly taken only a superficial look at bowing in Japan. While reporting on Obama’s alleged bowing gaffes, the media has overlooked the tremendous number of bowing options available in Japan. President Obama could have selected from several bow versions. Here is the Lets Japan Guide to Bow.

The Ten Bows Obama Did Not Do
Obama bow deep and formal to Japan to Japanese Emperor Obama meets Emperor and empress in Tokyo with deep bow Obama's Japan bowing technique in Japan Angle of Obama Japan bow to Emperor criticized President Barack Obama greets Emperor of Japan with bow President Barack Obama greets Emperor of Japan with bow Obama's bow to Emperor of Japan US President Obama bowed to Emperor in Tokyo President Obama makes a bow to  Emperor of Japan Obama bows to Japanese Emperor and Empress
Taking bowing lessons inJapan.


Degrees and angles of bowing in Japan Guide to how to bow etiquette in Japan  photos Degrees man; womanWhite shirt.


Teachers Promote Proper Schoolgirl Skirt Length Poster

Poster promotes longer skirt length at high school  in JapanPosters promoting longer skirt lengths in Niigata high schools are causing a controversy. A group of high school teachers who also act as guidance counselors made the posters and distributed them to all high schools in Niigata prefecture in December 2008. At the end of January, school principals started the "Proper dress all at once together campaign". Parents were sent a follow-up document about the dress-code campaign in February. The material asks parents to instruct their daughters about skirt lengths.

There are three posters (pictured):
"It’s undignified for women" (white); "You can smarten your mind and your skirts if you’re motivated" (pink); "Beautiful style - Why don’t you change your skirt length?" (yellow). 

Many schoolgirls object to the prohibition of short skirts. Some schoolgirls wear sweat pants underneath so they can continue to wear short skirts during winter.

Hiroshi Uchikawa, principal of Koshi High School in Niigata city, and head of the student guidance staff, said, "We’d like students to think (about the issue) through the posters, rather than ordering them to change (the length of their skirts). There are some moves to make skirts longer."

Teachers check skirt lengths at high school in Japan Some teachers at high schools in Japan keep watch for too-short skirts, and if a surprise inspection catches too much exposed thigh, students are told to immediately correct the situation. Sometimes skirt hemlines have been shortened by rolling up the waistband of a skirt. Schoolgirls can quickly oblige a request to lower the hemline. But once out of sight of inspectors, the gals often re-roll-up the waistband.

One TV news report determined the average school uniform skirt lengths in Japan. FNN news reported school uniform skirts come to an average of 13 centimeters above the knee. FNN said high school girl skirt hems in Niigata are 15-18 centimeters above the knee. According to FNN, the shortest school uniform skirts are worn in Niigata, Sendai, and Mito. Medium-length skirts prevail in Tokyo, Sapporo, Fukuoka and Okinawa. The longest are in Osaka, and Kobe.

Some high school students from Niigata on a school excursion to Okinawa received complaints about the length of their skirts from Okinawa locals. The students were told their short skirt length was "unpleasant." The average high school uniform hemline in Okinawa is 7.7 cm above the knee.

TV report about high school girl skirt length in Japan Hiroshi Uchikawa, head of Niigata City Taka-shi high school and chairman of the Niigata District Student Guidance Liaison Council Assembly, says he’s aware that girls change clothes on the way to and from school. "The child shortens it according to surroundings and changes into a long skirt at the station on the way to school. A station employee confirms that."

Lets Japan asked two Japanese ladies about skirt lengths, Yoko (age 27) and Keiko (33).

LJ: Do public and private elementary, junior high, and high schools have rules about length of girl’s skirts?
Yoko: Girls is not allowed to shorten their skirt…also.. too longer skirt is not ok.
Keiko: It depends on the schools. There are a lot schools which have the rules about "appearance" including uniforms, hair styles, nails, make-up, shoes, and so on. Some schools are very strict and they never allow the students to make it short. Other schools don’t say anything.

LJ: Who sets the skirt-length rules?
Keiko: I think individual schools set the rules on their own.Pupil's handbook issued by schools in Japan.

LJ: How do the students know the rules?
Keiko: Parents knew the rules because they needed to go to the school orientation meeting. Parents and students receive the document at the orientation. In my school days the rules were written in the student’s pocketbook.

LJ: What is a pocketbook?
Keiko: Pocketbook is a small notebook that students have. It’s combined with student ID in my school. Students receive it from the teacher on the first day of school.

LJ: What about in Japan’s history – the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s – surely students tried to wear short skirts then?
Keiko: I guess that teachers at that time had much more authority/power than they do now, and they didn’t permit students to wear the uniforms in untidy way. Or the ordinary students just didn’t have the idea to make the skirt short. Rogue students used to wear too-long skirts instead of too-short skirts when I was a kid.

LJ: Is the Niigata skirt poster the first time a poster was made about skirt lengths?
Keiko: I’ve never seen such a poster in my life before.

LJ: Why is the poster such big news?
Keiko: Because Mainichi and Asahi have such stupid editors. (I hate both of them.)
Hair length rules at high school in Japan.

Excerpts from some school rules, translated from Japanese:

Aomori prefectural Hachinohe east high school.
The summer uniform period is 6/1 - 9/30.
Boys attire: In the summer, a white shirt, school emblem, and the standard school uniform as specified by the school. In the winter, a stiff upper collar jacket and the standard school uniform as specified by the school.
Girls attire: In the summer, the standard school uniform as specified by the school, and white socks. In the winter, the standard school uniform as specified by the school, and black stockings. 

Boys: Does not hang to the collar.
Girls: Hair that reaches the shoulder must be tied. Dyed hair and perms are prohibited.

Shoes: Girls and boys - black or brown is preferred.
Coat: Wearing a gaudy coat is not allowed.
Part-time job: Allowed only when it is unavoidable. It is permitted under economic circumstances.

Tokai Takanawadai Junior High School (Tokyo).
Unisex standard: Necktie (ribbon); Necktie (ribbon), blazer. The blazer need not be worn in the school. Sweater and long-sleeved shirts can be worn depending on the season. When the school ceremonies specifies it, full dress is worn.

Girl standard: The socks color and shape are specified. However, when full dress is worn, specified goods are worn. (Both navy blue high socks in the winter and summer.) The height of the skirt hangs to the kneecap.
Boy standard: white socks.

Both: Shoes are assumed to be black leather.

Boys: Does not hang to hang to the ear or the collar.
Girls: Bangs no longer than the eyebrow. When hair reaches shoulder length, please tie it up with a rubber accessory or get a haircut. Hair accessories limited to brown, navy, blue, or made of stainless steel. No glitter or highlights. Heavy makeup is prohibited. 
Prohibited for both: perms, dyed hair, and the fashion hair style, etc. Persons with peculiar hair that is not natural should correct the style.
School uniform in Japan 1965School uniform in Japan 1969School uniform in Japan 1969

School uniform in Japan 1975
School uniform in Japan 1975

School uniform in Japan 1993

School uniform in Japan 1997School uniform in Japan 2007Sites selling school uniforms: Nishiki; Gyakushi; Konomi; Noguchi.

photos: TV split screen; pink postergreen pocketbook; hair length1965; 1969 boys; 1969 girl; 1975 girls; 1975 boys; 1993; circa 1997; 2007.

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