Stories from Quick Reads and Japan
The heaviest snowfall in 45 years hit Tokyo over the weekend. The unusual amount of snow triggered traffic accidents, killing 11 and injuring thousands, and travel was disrupted across the country.
However, amid the cold and white, some used the snow to create beautiful, fun and sometimes strange artwork. RocketNews24 has compiled photos that were taken and shared by Japanese Twitter users.
In light of the ongoing controversy regarding clubbing in Japan, where clubs continue to be shut down and harassed by the police for the ‘crime’ of dancing, Time Out Tokyo is looking to get to the bottom of the problem. We'd like you to tell us a few things about the clubbing environment in your country, city, or area, wherever in the world that may be.
A Tumblr post [ja] illustrating double standards in attitudes towards women in corporate Japan has been widely shared on social media among users:
If a boss asks him for lunch, they say he is getting promoted soon.
If a boss asks her for lunch, they say she is a lover.
If he talks with his colleagues, they ask what he is discussing.
If she talks with her colleagues, they say she's chatting again.
If he decides marry, they say to him “now you can settle down to work”.
If she decides marry, they say to her “when will you resign?”
If he has overseas business trip, they will say to him, “it'll be a good experience, go for it”.
If she has overseas business trip, they will say to her, “are you leaving her family at home?”
If he resigns, they say, “he found a better job”.
If she resigns, they say, “here it goes again, women…”
The Tumblr post seems to be quoting a website [ja] that collects jokes around the world, but when and who made this joke remains unknown.
Five prominent Japanese chefs and five of their Greek counterparts got together at a hotel in Crete on January 14, 2014 to create ten dishes representative of the respective origins using local products. At the culinary event dubbed “CRETE delicious” [el], Japanese chefs demonstrated how Cretan products can be incorporated into Japanese popular dishes, and exchanged their healthiest recipes. More about the event including the menu can be found here [ja/en/el].
“Abita”, an animated short film about Fukushima children who can't play outside because of the radiation risk, delicately illustrates their dreams and realities. The film, produced by Shoko Hara and Paul Brenner, won the award for Best Animated Film at the International Uranium Film Festival in 2013.
Shoko Hara, a student in Germany who was born in Okayama in the western part of Japan, wrote about the metaphor she used in the film.
We used Japanese symbolism in our film. The Dragonfly represents the Japanese island, because of its form. It also symbolizes hope, perspective, dream, energy in Japan and it unites all the natural elements like water, earth and air. These were destroyed with the Fukushima disaster, they don't have any perspectives for their future. Furthermore dragonflies in japan are carriers of fertility. The Dragonfly represents the inner world of the child, that it wants to be free in the nature, but it can't. Dragonfly is a popular symbol in japan and we often use it in arts, poems and in literature.
Despite scarce media coverage in Japan, the film has been shared widely on social media.
Radiation remains a serious problem for residents in the area surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant since the plant suffered a meltdown following the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.
Heavy snowstorms hit Japan on Feb 8, 2014. Twenty seven centimeters of snow fell in central Tokyo, for the first time in 45 years. Moro Miya, a writer and a blogger who specializes in introducing Japanese culture to Chinese readers, collected the photos of snowmen and snow-animals that were posted by the netizens on twitter.
A special exhibition on ‘comfort women‘- Korean girls forced to work as sex slaves for Japanese army during the World War 2 era- was featured at one of the leading cartoon festivals in France. It made several headlines as the Japanese government tried to block it, but failed. Korean net users have shared an English translation of Park Gun-woong's cartoon ‘Tattoo- A Story of a Comfort Woman'. (The cartoon- which is based on a true story- depicts violent assault, torture and rape. Viewer discretion is strongly advised)
As Berlin and Tokyo mark 20 years of friendship as sister cities, representatives of two creative industries, including Chairman of the Club Commission of Berlin Marc Wohlrabe and Takahiro Saito, a lawyer and member of Let's Dance, a consortium that fights against Japan's dance regulations, will come together for the AFTER 25 conference on March 1, 2014 in Tokyo to discuss how creative culture can contribute to the socio-economic development of both cities:
After the fall of the Berlin wall, extreme social, cultural and economic changes transformed the city into a unique playground. Today, 25 years later, it attracts creatives, tech startups, social entrepreneurs, and investors from all over the world.
Berlin recognized its creative sub-cultures as part of its identity and history, which now act as key drivers for tourism and economy. This transformed Berlin into a unique, successful city demonstrating how supporting creativity can grow into key economic and social factors fueling innovation and growth.
This dramatic yet positive change that Berlin went through leads us to the question: what role can Tokyo’s creative cultures play in laying the foundations for the city’s next phase? How can we paint a brighter future by aligning the creative potential of these two cities?
Japan was evaluated as “Free”, where the constitution protects all forms of speech and prohibits censorship, and Internet and digital media freedom are generally well established. For key developments during May 2012 to April 2013, Freedom House reported that:
- Political speech was constrained online for 12 days before the December 2012 election under a law banning parties from campaigning online.
- In April 2013, the legislature overturned that law, but kept restrictions on campaign emails.
- 2012 amendments to the Copyright Law criminalized intentionally downloading pirated content, though lawyers called for civil penalties.
- Anti-Korean and anti-Chinese hate speech proliferated online amid real-world territorial disputes.
- A constitutional revision promoted by the newly-elected LDP party threatens to erode freedoms and rights that “violate public order” .
You can read the full report here.
Hatsumōde (初詣 hatsumōde), the first Shinto shrine visit of the New Year, is a common practice among Japanese. Tokyo-based blogger Tokyobling posted a series of photos about the ritual of Hatsumode in Japan.