Learn about Japanese traditional storytelling
When I first came to Japan, I noticed students using story boards frequently at school. They drew pictures on cardboard with crayon or marker, to assist in skits, plays and telling Japanese folktales. Story boards were especially helpful in English classes because the illustrations helped the audience understand the less-than-perfect translations from Japanese to English. Furthermore, the students could write their translations on the back of each board and narrate rather than memorizing it in English first.
Little did I know that what these students were doing was performing an updated version of a traditional Japanese storytelling format called kamishibai, believed to be the precursor to Japan’s manga and anime.
Find out where Japan’s first superheroes came from and which manga and anime started with from this original, unassuming art form called kamishibai.
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We previously wrote an entry on Kitagishima (2010) kinda not really recommending the place. But Kitagi Island has come a long way since then, thanks to a few outsiders who have moved there to live out their dreams. And now with an English map to boot, you have no excuse to not discover this island on your own!
We’ve introduced RocketNews24 readers to Shiraishi Island and Manabe Island in the Seto Inland Sea before, but today, we’re going to take you on a tour of a sister island in the same group. Sandwiched between Shiraishijima and Manabeshima in Okayama Prefecture’s Kasaoka Island Chain is an island called Kitagishima. It’s the largest island of the group (20km around) and you need transportation to get to the sites. There is no bus service, so if you don’t have your own car or motorcycle, you really can’t see much of Kitagi. Unless, of course, you have a bicycle! Kitagi has it’s own bike path, making it perfect for a two-wheeled day-trip.
Join our bicycling reporter as she takes you on a ride, making all your dreams come true on Kitagi, an island of private beaches, home-made pizza, cute goats, a huge granite vagina (optional). At the end of the article…
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If you went to your town council meeting in your country and told them you wanted to make a cutesy mascot to represent your city, you’d probably get a few smirks from the council members. If you further told them that the character would be androgynous and hardly recognizable as any particular animal, you’d get a few laughs. Then, if you told them it didn’t even need to have a mouth, that it could be frumpy and clutsy, and that this could be a main draw to your town, you’d have been laughed out of the town hall right then and there.
But this is Japan, where characters are biiiig business. The Japanese have taken the concept of Mickey Mouse, Snoopy and The Muppets to a whole new level. With huge success. And now, one junior high school student is hoping to tap into the power of the mascot character…
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Japan is one of the cleanest countries you’ll encounter as a traveler. The inside of the bullet train is kept absolutely spotless, taxi drivers can be seen buffing their vehicles of dust and road grit while waiting for the next customer. Graffiti is rare here and men in jumpsuits are employed to scrape off gum and anything else adhered to train station floors. Glamorous and gleaming is the way the Japanese like things. Even diesel trucks are washed down in their terminals after a day on the roads.
So it’s no surprise that the city streets are litter-free, that public trash bins ask you to separate your refuse into burnable and non-burnable bins, or that the Japanese have a reputation for taking their garbage home with them when attending sporting events.
So it may have been a surprise to some of our readers when someone commented on the…
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From whacking watermelons with sticks to burying your friends in the sand or holding sweltering Japanese style BBQs, Japan has a very specific beach culture. We’ve introduced some of these activities before on our site, but this time, we’ve supersized the experience by adding more activities–and extra cheese!
We’ll introduce 13 beach scenes that you’re bound to experience on any trip to a Japanese beach, and present most of them in a six-second Vine video. We picked one of our favorite places to Vine from: Shiraishi Island in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea where one of our writers happens to live. This tiny island of 560 people in Okayama Prefecture, is one of Japan’s best kept secrets: the beach is never crowded, the sea is tranquil, the sunsets superb, and the beer never stops flowing.
Get ready to take the plunge into the sea of Japanese beach culture with…
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Visiting World Heritage Sites is a great way to see Japan. Since the sites are scattered all around the archipelago, you’re bound to be close to at least one of them no matter where you are in the country, and having gained the prestigious status by UNESCO, you can be sure you’re seeing the very best of Japan. After all, World Heritage status is not easily obtained and competition is stiff.
Join our peripatetic reporter as she takes you to each site and gives you the lowdown on what to see, how to avoid the crowds, and how to enjoy the sites on your own terms. Ready? Let’s go!
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