For those who have not watched this video of us, and for those who have already...
Boston is FREEZING now..Currently 20C when Yokohama, Japan is 28C! Boston gets colder and colder as the sun starts to set...So I decided to watch this video of us to remember the cold somen noodles go through my throat making me feel so much cooler and fresh in the deadly summer heat of Japan. :) Those of you who are wondering how much somen we ate...We had 3 times more than a regular serving per person! :O
We've added some great photos of Boston to our photo blog. :) Make sure to check it out!
Hopefully we can make you fall in love with Boston. :)
If you are too lazy to go up and click the tab...just click... HERE ;)
Jet lag is always an issue when returning to the US.
My sleeping pattern has gone wild after returning to Boston.
I feel as lazy as this puppy (I took this video in Toyosu Lalaport when we were in Japan!)...
(HIM ●) During our experiences here in Japan we have coined a name for the way most Japanese operate in general, but most apparently in the urban environment. We call it the Japanese Follower Mentality. If you look closely enough on Japanese streets and modern culture you will find it everywhere around you. Japanese entertainment, fashion, and business, its everywhere. A great example is idol groups such as AKB 48. Where on earth do you find people following so called idol groups just because everybody else is following them? Where does fashion come and go like seasons based on popular consensus as fast as in Japan? Everybody follows everybody else and it seems that there is a follower mentality among the masses which affects everybody. For the media, the Japanese masses as a whole could be considered as a living breathing organism!
Initially we saw this interesting behavior on the streets. If there is a street performer without an audience, nobody will join in unless there is an innovator who stands by for the show, most of the times this is the case. In Japan you will see lines that span street blocks in length for a food stall but most of the times we wonder, do these people even know what they are lining up for or are they just lining up because they saw a long line to start with, which might indicate that there is something good at the end of the line.
This is something good to think about, how does this mentality affect business and marketing in Japan?
(HIM ●) We would like to thank everybody, friends, family and other followers that have been reading our blog for the past two months. Even though our journey is coming to an end soon, we are planning to continue our blog in Boston by keeping up with Japanese culture and happenings as well as life in Boston. Please stay tune!
Wearing a yukata on my own ended up taking me 2 hours!
Wearing a yukata on your own is very difficult in general. It takes years of experience or a couple of lessons from a professional. That's why most people go to a professional to get that perfect look! If it's on your own, the yukata could look "darashinai" (which means sloppy, messy and loose). You need to know the perfect length of the yukata or the perfect amount of opening behind the neck, so that it looks classy and beautiful to show off Japanese tradition!
Since I am not a professional when it comes to kimonos or yukatas, I felt very worried and embarrassed walking in the yukata that I wore myself, especially when I walked by an old lady who looked so elegant in her yukata. Is the length of my yukata right? Does it look sloppy on me? Am I walking correctly? These questions were constantly going through my head.
The video below may help if you are trying on your own.
The Bon Odori festival in Minato Mirai was a great success. Everyone was smiling, the atmosphere was very peaceful. Everybody can join the circle to experience Bon Odori (Japanese festival dancing) ! They also play each song twice so you can learn it the first time and join the second time! People of all ages are in the circle dancing, so it's an amazing experience for every single person.
Japan is a paradise if you love PENS, PENCILS, ERASERS, GLUE, NOTEBOOKS...STATIONERY!!!(Stationery = Bun-bou-gu in Japanese)
There used to be thousands of bun-bou-gu shops in Yokohama. There used to be one on Motomachi street which has now disappeared. An old man owned the shop. Once you stepped into the shop you would smell the old wood. No AC in the summer of course. Just a fan in the corner of the tiny shop. You would hear it running very loudly - it must have been years old. When I was a little girl I used to go to these traditional shops to buy stationery. As I grew up, I started to go to large department stores such as Tokyu Hands and Loft.
In Boston, I can never find pens that are comfortable and smooth. In Japan, they have different kinds of pens made for different people with different writing habits. If you like fat pens, thin pens, multi coloured pens, stylish pens, classy pens, customizable pens...Any pen! I am sure you will find the pen just right for you here in Japan.
Pens I find in Boston are usually very cheap and boring. I also find that people I have met in Boston don't really care about how the pen looks on you when you write, what your handwriting looks like when you write with a specific pen, what colours you use to take notes. Most Japanese students (especially girls) do care about such things!
There were 3 additional stalls similar to the photographs located in the stationery section.
The price of a regular consumer grade pen can start from 100 YEN to about 10,000 YEN in this store. They are all worth investing in!
(HER ●) Read a quick article about small to medium sized companies in Japan. Most of them being suppliers for larger companies.
What happened when the earthquake struck Japan?
Production paused, then slowed down. Absolutely no electricity in most areas.
Even at those small to medium sized companies who supplied for larger companies.
How do those larger companies keep their production process going in this case?
Most companies called similar companies abroad (e.g. China) and replaced their suppliers.
Few months later...
Most of those larger companies still have not gone back to their old local suppliers.
Most of those smaller local companies are known for great quality products. So why don't they expand abroad?
A man who owns a small local company in Tokyo who supplies for a large company was asked that question.
His answer surprised me.
He said that he did not want his company to expand abroad because he did not want to share his company's technology and skills that his company was able to get through hundreds of years of experience to non-Japanese people. Tradition is to be kept in this country, he said.
What do you think about this?
By the way have you all heard about the 19 year old Japanese girl who fell into the Niagara Falls?!
(Him) Japan is ranked no. 5 when it comes to population density, but how crowded does it really feel? Overall Japan has a population density of 336 persons per square kilometer, given the uneven distribution of the metropolitan areas and the rural areas (like in most countries), that figure does not seem bad once you go to the rural areas. Once you go into Tokyo metropolitan area that figure spikes to 5,937 which means nothing until you are actually there during Obon, a Japanese holiday. Be sure to see our previous post on Tokyo Summer Land, and that is not even too bad :/
Overall I love Japan, apparently it is not so crowded during non-summer months and people are usually young very nice and interesting. Even so, keep in mind that If you find yourself here during the summer don't think that just because it is raining or it is an odd hour of the day people won't be at a certain place, you are wrong, there will be hundreds of other people thinking the exact same thing you are :)On the bright side, if you come here with a group of friends there will always be interesting natives to socialize with, just make sure you at least give Japanese language a try!
I'm not sure where to start...So we created a simple and short video instead.
To sum things up Summer Land has a lot of potential, but not when it is crowded. We were stunned at the amount of people hoarding the pools and all of the other facilities at all times of the day. The short clip above stars the wave pool where an artificial tide is created for several iterations between about an hour interval. In between these intervals the pool seems like a regular but substantially crowded pool. Just before a new set of waves people start crowding the pool until complete saturation. We looked at the waves of people with shock and could not believe people actually enjoyed being in there! It was quite a view!
We thought it was funny how life guards were warning people not to go under the water with their goggles since there have been many cases of people looking at women's intimates.