Month: Last updated Jun 24, 2017

Odd Scenes From the Tokyo Marathon (Part 2)

I quite enjoyed the costumes in the Tokyo Marathon, but I couldn’t help wondering if there isn’t something a little passive-aggressive about them. On the one hand, people wearing costumes are saying, “Hey, look. I’m just out here having fun in my costume. I don’t take this seriously.” But on the other hand, if I was out running my heart out in a marathon I trained six months for and some guy dressed up as Doraemon ran past me, I don’t imagine I’d feel too good about it. This is a karakasa, or umbrella monster. Ninomiya Kinjiro, a famous historical figure who got his education by reading books while carrying firewood. Have you ever seen a head as big as this? Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new...

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Waiting for the Pachinko Parlor to Open

Serious pachinko players often line up in front of a pachinko parlor before they open so they can be the first one in and find the best machines that are the most likely to pay out. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new...

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Odd Scenes From the 2009 Tokyo Marathon (Part 1)

The 2009 Tokyo Marathon took place last Sunday, March 22, 2009. I’ve never seen a marathon before, and I have to say that it was really entertaining and of course, completely different from watching the professional runners on TV. It’s quite amazing to see hundreds of people rushing by you every minute. I heard that 27,000 people entered the marathon this year, and I figure I must have seen about 20,000 of them rushing by me. If you ever want to get a real feel for what a big number like 27,000 means, the Tokyo Marathon is a good way to really understand just how many it is, and get a feel for just how many different kinds of people there living in Tokyo. This is a namahage. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new...

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Read the Kanji

I guess this site is pretty famous, since it’s already been on Japan Probe, but it recently got a lot better, so I’d like to write about it here. I’ve been struggling with kanji for 17 years, and Read the Kanji is the first study method I’ve ever found that was truly effective and efficient for learning them. It’s just a quiz site, but it’s done a thousand times better than all the other quiz programs and kanji books out there. It flashes a kanji on the screen, you type in the pronunciation, and it tells you whether you got it right or wrong. The great thing about Read the Kanji, though, is that it remembers the ones you have trouble with, and once you get a certain number wrong, it goes into “failure review” mode, and you do all the ones you got wrong (you have to set it to “Learning mode” for this to happen. Otherwise it’s a straight out kanji test). Once you get out of failure review mode, those difficult kanji keep coming up again and again until you start to get them right. I find the algorithm very clever about showing me the kanji just often enough that I learn them, but not so often that I get sick of seeing them. I’ve been using the site for a couple months, and I’m learning...

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Kanamara Penis Festival Reminder

This is just a reminder that Japan’s  most bizarre, hilarious festival is coming up soon. This year it will be held on Sunday April 5. Video of the festival: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SggvPrkoJUI Shrine homepage: http://tomuraya.co.jp/wakamiya.htm (Japanese only) 2-3-16 Daishi Eki-mae, Misaki-ku, Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture. Inside the grounds of Wakamiya Hachimangu. To get there, take the Keikyu line from Shinagawa Station. Transfer to the Keikyu-Daishi Line at Keikyu Kawasaki Station and get out at Keikyu-Daishi. It takes about 45 minutes and costs 580 yen. The festival starts at 10:00 AM. The main event, the penis procession starts at 1:00 PM. There are other posts about the festival here: https://www.meanwhile-in-japan.com/tag/kanamara-matsuri/ Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new...

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