The Always Energetic Yosakoi Festival

Here’s episode 2 of A Taste of Japan. This time, I attended a festival in Sagamihara called the Ranbu Yosakoi Festival. Great energetic dancing! Please watch the video.

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

Last weekend, during my lunch break, I was able to go to the Ranbu Yosakoi Festival in Sagamihara, Kanagawa. Yosakoi is a type of dance that began in Kochi City in 1954 as a modern alternative to the more traditional Odori dance. This festival is held every year in September. They make plenty of noise! A lot of the music used is quite modern, and the dances are always very energetic. Very fun and uplifting.

In case you’re wondering, yes, I did take a video. And here it is. This is episode 2 of A Taste of Japan. Be sure to watch all the way through, because I have a full performance in this video.

Interested in seeing more? I’ll have a lot more Japan videos coming in the near future, and lots from famous tourist sites in Japan in October. So, please subscribe to my YouTube channel to…

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Filed under Festivals & Events, Japan, Kanagawa, Minami-ku, Sagamihara

A Local Japanese Festival

I’ve begun a new series on my YouTube channel called A Taste of Japan. I’ll be making videos of different events, places, and culture in Japan. This is episode 1 of A Taste of Japan.

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

At the shrine near my home, there’s an annual festival in September that features local dance clubs, cheerleading clubs, a taiko drum club, and singers. In the past, there’ve been professional enka singers, but not this year. I took a few videos, and now, my new series on YouTube has begun.

Here is episode 1 of A Taste of Japan.

I used Windows Movie Maker, as it appeared the other video editor I was using has informed me I must now buy it. I get roughly the same result with WMM, though.

If you have any comments or questions, you know what to do. Oh, and subscribe to my YouTube channel already!

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Want to Know About Life in Japan?

It’s time for some more questions. If you have any questions about what it’s like to live in Japan, please go to this post and ask me anything. I had some great questions before. Let’s have even more great questions!

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

I’ve been running a weekly series about living in Japan since April, and asked you, the reader, to ask me any question about living in Japan. I got some great questions and had nearly three months worth of questions to answer. However, I’ve run out of questions.

Now it’s your turn to give me some more questions. If you have any questions about what it’s like to live in Japan, please ask in the comments below. It can be anything. Maybe even just about living in another country, or dealing with different food, culture, language, and so on. You can ask as many questions as you like. So, what would you like to know?

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Life in Japan: What Japan Needs from Canada

Living in Japan for so long, there are a lot of things I really miss about Canada. This is what I wish Japan had.

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

Having lived in Japan for ten years, there are quite a few things from Canada I don’t have access to at all.  Occasionally, I’ll be able to eat a real hot dog in Costco, find Marmite in Union, and A&W Root Beer in Carnival, but there are some things that are impossible to find here. This week’s question comes from stomperdad.

Besides family, what do you miss about Canada that you wish Japan had?

Most of things I miss are food.  There are a lot of similar fast food restaurants here, such as McDonald’s, Subway, and Burger King, but what I really want isn’t available here.

Harvey's burger and fries. Harvey’s burger and fries.

I always loved going to Harvey’s. The ability to customise your burger is missing from fast food places in Japan.  And eating a Harvey’s hamburger was so satisfying.

I’m not a big fan of pizza, since I don’t like pizza…

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Life in Japan: Japan on a Budget

Traveling to Japan? Well, it doesn’t have to be expensive.

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

Japan has a reputation for being expensive. But in recent years, it’s not really that expensive. It’s about as expensive as Canada, USA, Australia, or any place in Europe.  This week’s question comes from Trisha Ann.

I’m planning to visit Japan in October. My trip takes 6 days and I’m on a tight budget (but I won’t leave Jp without ever going to Harry Potter world and Kyoto!!). Any tips?

I’ve already written about visiting Kyoto, so I’ll talk about visiting Japan on a budget.

It may seem daunting to some people, considering all the touristy areas tend to be expensive.  But there are many ways to save money, especially related to food and transportation.

Going to big restaurants in the busy, tourist areas is not recommended.  Those restaurants tend to be geared toward tourists, anyway, so they raise the prices.  If you want cheap, go on some of the…

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Life in Japan: Learning Kanji

After 10 years in Japan, you’d think I’d know the 2000 main kanji, right? Well, I only know about a quarter of that. But is it really important to know kanji in Japan? How has knowing only 500 kanji affected me? Here’s my answer.

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

There are three writing systems in Japan: hiragana (ひらがな), which is the main phonetic set of characters; katakana (カタカナ), which is the phonetic characters used mainly for foreign words; kanji (漢字), which is used throughout Japanese, and is taken from Chinese. It’s this last one that gives a lot of people trouble. It’s extremely important to know how to at least read kanji to be able to read a newspaper or book in Japanese.  This week’s question comes from Ellen Hawley.

I had friends who lived in Japan, and even after years reading Japanese (not the phonetic alphabets but the characters) remained a problem. Have you been able to learn enough to manage well? If not, how does that affect you?

Chinese_characters_logoI’ll begin by saying that I love kanji. It’s fascinating to me, but the biggest problem with it is that I often forget how to write them. But that’s…

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Life in Japan: Surprising First Impressions

Here are a few things that surprised me when I arrived in Japan. It’s been ten years since then, so it’s sometimes hard to remember the feeling. I miss that feeling, though.

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

When I first came to Japan, I had some expectations. I thought I knew what I was going to see. But I was pretty surprised in many ways. This week’s question comes from moldydaisy.

What were some of the things that really surprised you when you moved there? What things stood out in your mind that you would never have thought of before your arrival?

The very first thing that surprised me was before I even landed. From the airplane, I could see the rice fields near the airport. From the air, they weren’t a uniform shape. No grid, no squares, no rectangles. They were very organic in shape.

After landing, I was on the Narita Express to Yokohama, and I saw so many houses that were different than anything I’d seen in Canada. They were small, built close together, and everything was so dense.  Yet there were pockets of…

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