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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Aichi Expo Ticket Prices

Expo Ticket
The Aichi World Expo 2005 has passed its half way point.

Ticket Prices

One-Day Admission Ticket Prices are as follows:
Adult ¥4,600 Age 18 - 64
Junior ¥2,500 Age 12 - 17
Child ¥1,500 Age 4 - 11
Senior ¥3,700 Age 65 and over

Expo 2005 Unlimited-Use Passes
Adult ¥17,500 unlimited use pass
Junior ¥9,500
Child ¥5,700
Senior ¥14,100

Evening Discount Ticket admission after 5:00 pm.
Adult ¥2,300
Junior ¥1,300
Child ¥800
Senior ¥1,900

Weekday Discount Pack of 4 tickets
Discount book of 4 one-day tickets. Not valid on Saturdays, Sundays or national holidays.
Adult ¥16,400
Junior ¥9,200
Child ¥5,600
Senior ¥13,200

Aichi Expo Tips

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Shark Sushi

Shark sushi
Shark 鮫 (same) is rarely eaten raw in Japan or as sushi, though this poor beast was spotted in a sushi restaurant in Nagoya swimming in a tank barely larger than itself.

Bite Back is an organization committed to saving the shark from extinction.

If you are interested in non-edible sushi products such as sushi replicas and sushi candles please visit our Japan shop.

Books on Japan

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Summer Yukata Robes

The perfect summer robe from our partner site are Men's and Women's Yukata, from Tatsuboshi of Kyoto. Available online exclusively at GoodsFromJapan.com. A perfect gift. These summer kimono are lightweight and beautiful. Made of 100% cotton. Foreigner friendly sizes. Low prices and wonderful patterns.

Summer Yukata Robes.

Jake Davies Exhibition

An Exhibition of recent paintings by Jake Davies
July 1st to July 9th
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wilds Gallery
Omori (Iwami Ginzan), nr. Oda
Shimane Prefecture.
(o855 92-0921)

My recent paintings have started to incorprate more symbols from Shinto, though still remaining concerned with natural rhythms and cycles. More of my paintings can be seen here Gifts From Japan

Taro Okamoto

Taro Okamoto's studio
Art is an explosion - Taro Okamoto

I visited the studio of the post-war artist Taro Okamoto (1911-1996) on the weekend. Located in Tokyo's trendy Minato ward, his studio is preserved much in its original state, and throughout the rest of where he lived is a selection of his paintings and sculptures.

Okamoto was not only an artist. He was also an anthropologist who, as an artist, received his inspiration from Japan's pre-historical Jomon era. He published extensively on the art of the Jomon era as well as creating works beginning in the 1940s and 1950s inspired by it that clearly anticipated the psychedelia of the 1960s and 1970s.

Strict orders - an anti-war satire by Taro Okamoto

He was enlisted to fight in China as a young man and spent four years at the front, an experience that turned him against war. His unapologetic anti-war satires are hard-hitting. Not only did this appeal to a war-weary nation after surrender, but his primal, vivid, otherworldly images rooted in Japan's history struck a strong chord in the hearts of a defeated people regaining their feet in the world. The photo to the left is a calligraphic-style work of his named 'Strict Orders' - a protest against the bondage of war that manages to make its subject look ridiculous but with depth, beauty and panache.

His most famous work is the 'Sun Tower' in Osaka, erected for the 1970 Expo, incorporating a sun of the past, a sun of the present, and a sun of the future.

Taro Okamoto sculpture - a Jomon era goddess

The range of media he worked in is enormous. As well as sculpting, painting, doing pottery and publishing, he also created artifacts such as the traditional Japanese koi-nobori or carp-streamers. The carp represents vigor and determination in Japan, being fish that, undeterred by the current, swim upstream to breed. These 3D streamers are a common sight in Japan on Boy's Day, puffed out in the wind and writhing colorfully. These are on sale on GoodsFromJapan.

Art Books on Japan

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Aichi Expo 2005 Night Visit

Aichi Expo 2005 Night Visit.

One way to avoid some of the estimated 80,000 to 100,000 people who visit the Aichi Expo every day is to go at night. Special evening admission (after 5pm) tickets are available for 2,300 yen. The weather is cooler, there are live performances and concerts every night and the beer bars come in to their own in the humid summer weather.
Aichi Expo 2005

Books on Japan

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Looking For The Lost Review

Looking For The Lost
Looking For The Lost: Journeys Through A Vanishing Japan
Alan Booth
Kodansha International

ISBN 1-56836-148-3

Alan Booth was a Brit whose forte was walking around Japan. His first book on the subject, Roads To Sata, was published in 1985 and documents his epic journey on foot from the northern tip of Hokkaido to the southern tip of Kyushu, a trip that one critic described as a 2,000 mile pub-crawl. Looking For The Lost, his last book, was published in 1994, shortly after his untimely death from cancer, and it concerns three shorter journeys on foot through the hinterland of Japan.
The first journey takes him to the Tsugaru peninsular in Aomori Prefecture where he follows in the footsteps of Dazai Osamu, a novelist who revisited his hometown in Tsugaru forty four years earlier.
The second journey finds him in Kyushu, retracing the route taken by Saigo on his final retreat, the reality of which bears little resemblance to how it was portrayed in Hollywood’s rendition in The Last Samurai.
The final walk finds him heading north out of Nagoya in search of remnants of the Heike, the clan that was virtually wiped out in the Genpei War of the late twelfth century. On all his walks he stays mainly to the back roads, not mountain trails, and he usually sleeps in ryokan or minshoku, not in a tent, leading to interactions with local people (invariably over a beer or three), and combined with his encyclopedic knowledge of Japanese history and culture we gain insights into a Japan that is little known by those who stick to the cities and major tourist sites. This final book also contains many of his reflections on how Japan has changed in the 25 years since he first lived here, noticeably that travel for foreigners is much easier now. Excellent travel writing.
Buy this book from Amazon USA

Guide To Oita/Beppu


Just upgraded from the NTT Docomo N503i to the FOMA SH700i mobile phone (keitai 携帯)complete with bar code reader (essential nowadays), imotion and silly whizzing noise as you close the handset - I hope there's a setting to turn that off. The imode screen is certainly brighter and more attractive and having a camera (1.3 megapixels 3.7 mm 1:2.8) is fun. To save images to disk there is the option of installing a miniSD chip to your phone and a USB reader to your computer to view images on your PC.

Hire the latest mobile phone on your visit or business trip to Japan

Article on cell phones - Keitai in Japan

Thursday, June 23, 2005

White Gold - The Politics of Rice

Rice seedlings in Shonai, Oita
The neat, evenly spaced rows of newly planted rice remind me of my students at morning assembly. A uniform green echoes the school’s navy blue. As late as 2 weeks ago, most of the rice fields here were mirror-flat ponds reflecting the early summer sunlight up into my eyes as I whizzed to and fro on my bike. Now geometrically studded, the seedlings forming diagonals, triangles, grids and finally a single mass as my perspective changes.
Here in the mountains of Shonai, Oita Prefecture, we have both high and low rice culture. Nearer to ground level, that is to say, nearer to the busy main road, the rice fields are more spacious, the houses are newer, the water from the upstream dams fills the paddies to brimming. Higher up, fields are necessarily smaller as the mountainside gets steeper. Farmers complain that the rains haven’t fallen this year. Anyone who’s tried it knows that stiffer mud means harder planting though planting machines make this academic in most cases.
In the local izakaya, a couple of locals compare notes on the new planting machines they’ve just bought while making short work of a huge bottle of shochu. The figures make the price of rice in the supermarket seem believable for once. The truth is, like the rest of the developed world, Japan is subsidising its inefficient farmers. It’s just that in Japan, the subsidy per hectare is twelve times greater than that in Europe or the US. Bring import tariffs into the picture and you have a closed market in which consumers pay ten times more for their rice than in California.
Wealthy countries like Japan want it both ways. Everyone wants to be lord of the manor and no one the peasant. To use money to preserve the veneer of a mythical rural idyll and shelter farmers from the reality that commercial rice just doesn’t pay, well, that’s just one of the perks of being a first-world country. With an abundant flow of government money and gas to fire up the planting machines, who cares if the rain doesn’t fall?

Rice Growers in Japan

Guide To Oita & Beppu

Books on Japan

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Weather in Japan June

Nara in the rain.
Nagoya, June 2005
It's the rainy season now in Japan - tsuyu or less commonly baiyu-which usually lasts June through early July. The Japanese government decrees official start and finish days for the rainy season announced on TV and in daily newspapers. This year, there's not much sign of the rain.
The monsoon winds, which travel eastwards up from The Philippines and South East Asia, bring hot and humid weather with temperatures between 25-30 degrees centigrade and usually torrential tropical rain and high winds.
The last time there was a shortage of water in the Japanese rainy season, in 1993, domestic rice farmers suffered and rice was imported from Thailand to press and public indignation directed at the supposedly inferior Thai rice taimai.

Is a failure of the rainy season monsoon a sign of global warming or just part of a natural twelve year cycle?
Whatever the answer, motorists continue to sleep in their cars with air-con running; daylight saving time is not on the political agenda.
Japan depends largely on imported oil for its energy needs - the nuclear power industry is in something of a crisis after a number of recent accidents and alternative energy has a small market share.

So how about this for a solution - giant domicile solar/wind power fans (SWPFs or Swips TM)?
A large solar panel unit that tracks the movement of the sun in the sky during the day, thus powering a fan - much like a large version of a domestic electric fan - to cool the house. Cool breezes guaranteed. Ideal for concrete double parking spaces and gardens nationwide.

Weather in Nagoya

Japan Book of the Week

Wild Flowers of Japan Posted by HelloThe deliciously named Ran Levy ("ran"in Japanese means orchid) has put together a book that is an excellent guide to the amazing variety of wild flowers in the Japanese archipeligo. The text is nicely arranged and very easy-to-use. Beautfiul color photos and group keys help even the least knowledgable easily identify many different floral species. Japan, which ranges in habitat and climate from subarctic to subtropical, is home to a diverse flora. Wild Flowers of Japan introduces the reader to hundreds of species in an easy to understand format. There are also identification keys and detailed background information. At the beginning of the
text is an illustrated shape-and-color key, at the end a comprehensive
index. Also helpful is a list of terms in both Japanese and English.
Buy this book from Amazon



Books on Japan

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Ichiro Happi Coats

Another fantastic item at our partner site are Ichiro Happi Coats, created by Tatsuboshi of Kyoto.

Ichiro Happi Coats

Available online exclusively at GoodsFromJapan.com. A perfect gift. These jackets are great for a day out at the ballpark or for just relaxing at home. Made of cotton. Free size.

Images of Japan

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Chubu International Airport (Centrair)

Chubu International Airport (Centrair) Posted by HelloIf you are traveling to the Aichi Expo you may well arrive at the new offshore Chubu International Airport (Centrair) located off the west coast of the Chita Peninsula south of Nagoya city.

The airport and connecting rail and ferry links were built to coincide with the opening of Expo 2005. The impressive and spacious glass framed atriums, shopping streets, viewing areas and even a public Japanese-style bathhouse are a big improvement on the old Nagoya city airport in Komaki, which has reverted to military use.

The airport is connected to Nagoya airport by Meitetsu train in about 28 minutes and by JR and Meitetsu buses in about one hour.

Book Flights to Japan

Nagoya Sightseeing

Saturday, June 18, 2005

I-Robot ACM-R5

Caterpillar Robot robot ACM-R5
Images of Aichi Expo 2005
The amphibious snake-like robot ACM-R5 designed to move in constricted spaces to provide support in search and rescue missions on show at the Prototype Robot Exhibition at the 2005 World Expo.

Images of Japan

More Robots From Aichi Expo 2005

Wakamaru Posted by Hello

Wakamaru enjoys being read to! Posted by Hello

Images of Japan

Friday, June 17, 2005

Expo 2005 - Teapot Stolen

A teapot created by living national treasure Jozan Yamada slated to be exhibited at the Aichi Expo was stolen in mid-March. En route from the Aichi Prefectural Ceramics Museum to the Expo's Reception Hall, it disappeared. The 10.7 cm diameter pot was entitled "Tokoname Shizen Yuchachu" (Tokoname naturally glazed teapot). It was valued at ¥250,000 ($2295) prior to Yamada's being named a national treasure, and would no doubt command much more on the black market today. Officials notified the police and apologized to the 80-year-old Yamada.

Images of Japan

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Japanese Screens

Another fantastic item at our partner site are byobu, or Japanese screens, created by Kuraya of Kyoto. Available online exclusively at GoodsFromJapan.com. A perfect gift. These byobu fit on a coffee table, desk, or anywhere around the house. A beautiful decorative item that you will not find anywhere else.

Japanese Screens, Byobu.

Images of Japan

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Book of the Week

A Public Betrayed Posted by Hello
A Public Betrayed is the first book on the subject of shukanshi. Beginning with an overview of Japan and its media drawing from the writings of Karel Van Wolferen, Chalmers Johnson, Alex Kerr, Ivan Hall, etc, it is followed by a history of the shukanshi. The book then concentrates on 5 case studies. Two concern smear campaigns and defamation of a Buddhist leader and a victim of an Aum terrorist attack, both of which highlight the extremely weak libel laws in Japan. Another chapter focuses on the curious cases of anti-Semitic and Holocaust-denial reporting and the final 2 concern the whitewashing of the Nanking Massacre, and the issue of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery, the “comfort women”--two issues that continue to make the news even since the publication of this book.
A Public Betrayed - Available on Amazon.com

Monday, June 13, 2005

Osaka 'Gyaruzu' - Girls On Phones

'Gyaruzu' (i.e. 'gals') on phones in Osaka. Posted by Hello

Images of Japan

Murasaki Beers

For the month of June in the Chubu area, draft beers will be 100 yen each in Murasaki izakaya restaurants from 5-7pm every day.

Murasaki Beers.

Drinking in Japan


Another great product we have added is electronic dictionaries. These can be found on our sales site GoodsFromJapan
- These are made for the domestic market in Japan and available outside of Japan only online. We stock the latest and best Canon and Casio models--and our prices are the best around.

Goods From Japan Blog

Saturday, June 11, 2005


Greenpeace reports that Japan is about to reopen commercial whaling. Greenpeace is promoting a whale conservation petition and will hand deliver signatures to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) when they meet at the end of June.

If you would like to support Greenpeace's initiative to protect the world's whales click here to sign the online petition:

Greenpeace needs at least 100,000 signatures by June 19th, just in time to personally deliver them to the IWC.

Goods From Japan Blog

Maneki neko

Maneki neko Posted by Hello
We've added a new product to our sales site http://www.goodsfromjapan.com - maneki neko or lucky cats. You can often see them in the entrances of shops and restaurants in Japan and they are popular in other Asian countries too. I was amused to read that maneki neko first become popular in the early Meiji Period (when Japan was opening up to the West) to replace rather more suggestive statuettes in brothels, as local people thought prudish foreigners would object! The cat's raised hand, clenched in a fist, is the traditional good luck/fertility/phallic motif.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Expo 2005 - Robots

The Morizo & Kiccoro Exhibition Center at Aichi Expo, Nagoya will feature an event titled "A 2020 City: Living with Robots". The exhibition showcases 65 prototype robots developed at universities and research institutes throughout Japan. The robots are designed to work with humans in a number of situations. Asterisk, an hexangonal robot has been produced to work in dangerous construction areas, TELEsarPhone is a cute cyberborg that can be sent out on shopping errands. UMRS-NBCT is a search and rescue robot designed to work in contaminated and devastated environments.

Gifts From Japan - Toys, Gadgets, Electronics

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