Archive for the 'Travel' Category

Swastika symbol removed from maps for foreigners

Comparison of nazi swastika to Japanese manji symbol for temples on maps

A traditional symbol that resembles a swastika which is used to indicate Buddhist temples on maps for foreign tourists in Japan will be replaced. The Japanese map symbol is called "manji" and originates from an ancient Sanskrit symbol that has been associated with Japanese Buddhism for centuries. The manji symbol looks very similar to the Nazi swastika symbol that was used by Adolf Hitler to represent the Nazis in Germany from 1920, through WWII and the early 1940s.

 

Swastika symbols used for temples on maps in Japan

 

Swastika icon indicates temple on local map in Japan Swastika symbols is similar to Japanese Manji ideogram denoting temples on pedestrian maps and other maps in Japan

 

Japanese Manji character resembles swastika symbol on maps in Japan

Map icon looks like swastika - indicates temples in Japan

 

In order to avoid confusion about the meaning of the map swastikas, the symbols will be replaced with a three-storied pagoda icon on maps for tourists. The manji icon on Japanese maps will not be changed.

New symbols for Japanese tourist maps replace swastika for olympics 2020

Results of an international study by Japan’s Geospatial Information Authority prompted the agency to revise some symbols on tourist maps in Japan.

news source: Examiner (pdf) photos: Iwate; Koenji; Yokohama; Miyagi

Japan Geospatial Information Authority (Japanese)  (English translation)

Sexy city stamp rally promotional poster recalled

Minokamo busty stamp rally poster Japan

A provocative poster promoting a local shopping incentive campaign by the Minokamo City Tourist Association has been recalled due to public outcry.

The poster features a manga illustration of a woman with an exaggerated bust size. The character is from a popular anime TV program which is being used in a tie-in with the city’s "stamp rally" point card campaign. A stamp rally is a promotional effort in which users receive a blank booklet and have the booklet stamped when they make a purchase at participating retailers. When the booklet is full of stamps, the customer receives a free gift or a discount on goods from a specific retailer, a group of participating merchants, or the organization sponsoring the campaign. Stamp rallies are also used for short term offers such as during local festivals or local events.

 

Minokamo buxom anime character used in stamp rally poster in Japan

The Minokamo City poster features a buxom female character from "Nourin", an anime TV series based on a 2014 novel for young adults about an agricultural high school. The story focuses on a fictitious school that is based on an unnamed actual school in Minokamo. Several female characters from the animated program are used in the stamp rally.

The controversial poster was distributed in late November to 21 Minokamo City shops and the local train station. On November 29, the poster at the station was removed due to complaints.

Minokamo is located in Gifu Prefecture, Japan.

 

Anime character used in Minokamo city PR campaigns in Japan

 

Other stamp rally posters for communities and tourism campaigns in Japan

 

Hokkaido tourism stamp rally poster in Japan Mie prefecture stamp rally poster in Japan

Mt. Fuji stamp rally poster in Japan

 

Tokushima stamp rally poster in Japan Wakayama stamp rally poster in Japan

Yokohama stamp rally poster in Japan

Beach naming rights sold to cookie company

The maker of a popular pigeon-shaped cookie was awarded naming rights to three beaches in Kamakura, Japan. The beaches will be renamed in 2014 by the manufacturer of the Hato Sabure (pigeon sable) butter cookie. Toshimaya company opened the first Hato Sabure confectionary store in Kamakura circa 1897.

The Kamakura city government in Kanagawa Prefecture sold the naming rights to cover the cost of beach maintenance. Ten firms submitted naming rights bids. Hato Sabure will pay 12 miliion yen annually for 10 years. It is the first time beach naming rights have been sold in Japan.

 


Koshigoe, Yuigahama, and Zaimokuza beaches will share a single name. Hato Sabure officials have not chosen a name for the beaches but says it does  not intend to name the areas Hato Sabure Beach.  

Kanagawa prefectural outdoor advertisement regulations limit advertising displays to 2-meters in size.

Recipe: Butter Cookies 

photos
: Zaimokuza beach; Yuigahama beach; Koshigoe beach.

Real life in Tokyo following Fukushima and the earthquake

Pedestrians in Tokyo, Japan March 25, 2011Shoppers in Tokyo, March 25, 2011

 

We’ve been having some troubles here in Japan.  Maybe you’ve heard. I’ve written some articles about the earthquake and the coverage of the tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear reactors. You can read my reports here:

March 25, 2011
Op-Ed: Tokyo OK, foreign media’s sensational coverage shameful

March 16, 2011
US govt recommends 80 Km Fukushima evac zone; currently 30km

March 15, 2011
US agrees with reactor response ambassador in Tokyo says

March 15, 2011
Higher than normal radiation detected along Japan Pacific coast

March 14, 2011
Shielding possibly damaged by explosion at Fukushima No.2 Tuesday

March 14, 2011
Op-Ed: The earthquake aftermath in Tokyo

March 13, 2011
Rolling Blackouts Begin Monday in Tokyo

March 12, 2011
How I survived the Japanese earthquake

Appliance store sells electric car

Electric car sold inYamada Denki retail stores inTokyo

 

Appliance and electronics retail chain Yamada Denki has begun selling an electric car at some of its retail stores. Yamada has partnered with Mitsubishi Motors to sell the Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric vehicle. Yamada is the first household appliances store in Japan to sell an electric car.

The i-MiEV electric vehicle is on sale at 17 Yamada Denki stores in the Tokyo metropolitan area. The car is on display inside each of the 17 stores and there is a full-time car salesman on hand at each outlet. These Yamada stores also sell and install the vehicle-charging equipment and offer complete “Smart House” solar photovoltaic solutions.

Owners of Mitsubishi electric car imiex in Japan

 

The i-MiEV has been on the market since July 2009, and about 3,000 of the vehicles have been sold in Japan.

 

Yamada Denki Online shopping

 

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Electric car charging point in JapanElectric vehicle charging station in Japan

 

Yamada Denki electic and electronics appliance store in Japan Elderly owner of Mitsubishi Japanese electric car imiev in Japan

 

photos:  Charge point (R)Charge point (L)

Smoking Rules on the Beaches

People  peace sign finger no cigarette Japan Designated smoking area stand hut Zushi beach Japan

 

A popular beach near Yokohama implemented a smoking policy at the start of this year’s swimming season in June. Zushi beach in Kanagawa Prefecture has banned smoking except at designated areas on its 600-meters of sand. Five smoking huts have been installed on the beach. Four standing ashtrays have also been placed in the span of sand. There is no penalty for violating the smoking rules.
Zushi beach Japan Mayor smoking ban beach signs

Shirahama
city in Wakayama Prefecture implemented smoking rules on its beach in 2008. Banners and a standing signboard notify visitors of the locations of smoking areas. There are several standing ashtrays in the sand. 
Ougigahama beach Tanabe City Japan smoking rules
A smoking policy went into effect on the July 2 season opening of the 300-meter-long Ougigahama beach in Tanabe City, Wakayama. No-smoking signs are posted in three places, and there is a smoking area near the official beach facilities office.

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Boso Peninisula Japan designated smoking area on beach

 

Atami City in Shizuoka prefecture commenced smoking regulations at its beach in 2005. Kanagawa is the only prefecture of Japan’s 47 prefectures to have a smoking policy in effect for a beach.

 

beach clean up fesyival volunteers Okinawa Japan

Draft Beer Kegs on a Plane

ANA flight attendants demonstrate new draft beer keg tap for in-flight beerAll Nippon Airways says it is the first airline in the world to offer in-flight draft beer from a keg.

A traditional beer keg uses a high-pressure carbon dioxide bottle which is prohibited by law on flights.

ANA sponsored development of a special beer keg dispenser that does not use a high-pressure gas cylinder.

The new device uses the pressure from carbon dioxide gas captured from dry ice. The dry ice also keeps the beer cool so a power-supply unit and refrigerator are not needed.

 

How CO2 draft beer keg tap for in-flight beer works All Nippon Airways

 

Can of beer served on All Nippon Airlines flightAll Nippon Airways started offering this real draft beer on domestic flights for the first time on July 20.

The brand of the beer varies according to the route.

The price is JPY 1000 per 400 milliliter glass, including a dry snack.

Depending on the aircraft, 20-40 glasses of beer will be offered per flight.

Airline Gives Women Exclusive Toilet

ANA press release announces women only lavatoryAll Nippon Airways has designated one lavatory for exclusive use by women on most international flights.

Men may use the women-only toilet only when there are few female passengers and in an emergency. Men can also use the ladies-only rest room before taking off and landing before the fasten-seatbelt sign is displayed, and when there is an urgent need due to illness. An announcement about a given flight’s toilet-usage is made at the start of the flight.

A 2007 ANA online survey found women do not like using unisex lavatories because men sometimes leave the seat up. Women also expressed displeasure about waiting in line for the toilet with men after airline meals.

ANA says 70% of male passengers it surveyed say they did not mind the ladies-only washrooms, and some men approved because it means less time waiting for women to finish using the toilet. ANA said demand for a lavatory exclusively for women is especially high among passengers taking long flights.
Women-only toilet sign on ANA flightAll Nippon Airlines ladies only lavatory

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.

(10)

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

(9)
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

 (8)

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.

 (7)

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.

(6)
Eco boom
Japanese follow the green theme, from carbon offset mindfulness, recycling clothes, and shorter showers, to eco-cars and eco-bags.

(5)
Castle boom
Influenced by "Taiga" historical stories TV series on NHK-TV.
Sakamoto Ryouma samurai ronin in Japan history Sakamoto Ryoma ronin in Japan

(4)

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.

(2)
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.)

 

(1)
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

Top Japan Monthly Laughs of 2009

January
Canon Japan employees leave early to make babies

Canon lets workers leave early twice a week to encourage them to have more babies. The 5:30 p.m. lights-out program at Canon addresses the declining birthrate problem while also reducing employee overtime costs.

February
‘Doorplate mania’ man arrested.

A 42-year-old Tokyo man is arrested for stealing about 290 nameplates from house entrances. "I loved to collect plates of rare names. I repeatedly stole nameplates in Tokyo, Chiba and Saitama prefectures from about five years ago," the man told police March.

March
Teacher forced student to wear maid costume

A 51-year-old male high school teacher in Odate, Akita Prefecture forces an 18-year-old female student to wear a maid costume in the school’s art club and makes other club members take pictures of her.

April
Doctor admits lacing tea with sleeping powder

Kyoto University Hospital doctor arrested on suspicion of putting a sleep-inducing drug in a female graduate student’s tea. The doctor said he was fond of the student and wanted to attract her attention.

 

May
Horror-themed Toilet Paper from Japan Puts You on the Edge of Your Seat

Novel printed on toilet paper rolls. Written by Koji Suzuki, who also authored the horror novel "Ring".

June
Dead tadpoles fall from sky

Ishikawa Prefecture, located on the Japan Sea Coast experiences raining tadpoles. One resident finds 13 dead tadpoles each around 3 inches long, on and around his car. Another reports hearing a strange noise in a nearby parking lot, then finds 100 tadpoles covering cars in the lot.

July
Love hotels not touched by recession.

Japan’s love hotel industry thrives while other businesses suffer. (Love hotel finder.)

 

August
Elderly American tourist jailed for holding small pocketknife

Man asks Tokyo cop for directions. Cop asks if man has a knife. Man says yes. Man jailed for 10 days.

September
Blue lights soothe suicidal in Tokyo train stations

Blue lights installed on train platforms in Tokyo to prevent people from jumping into oncoming trains. "Blue lighting was selected because there are claims the color blue calms emotions," an official from East Japan Railway’s Tokyo office said.

October
Airline passengers told to use toilet before boarding

All Nippon Airways positions staff near the boarding gates in terminals to ask passengers waiting for their flight to relieve themselves before boarding the aircraft. ANA claims empty bladders means lighter passengers, which in turn means lighter aircraft and lower fuel use. ANA said that it may expand the October toilet-trial if results are positive and it is well received by passengers.

November

Dead pets come back as bracelets

A Shiga, Japan company advertises it will pickup a dead pet, mix its ashes with the clay from the bed of nearby Lake Biwa, and bake the ashes into jewelry for the owner of the deceased pet. The clay from Lake Biwa is commonly used to produce traditional Shigaraki pottery and stoneware.

December
Hotels with train view entice train spotters

Hotels near stations try to attract railway fans with rooms marketed as having a "rail view". There are estimated to be 20,000 railway buffs in Japan. (Odakyu hotels rail fan stay plan; Keikyu hotels rail fan stay plan.)