With no TV at home, I don’t typically watch much sports coverage. But I do tune in whenever I’m at the gym, which is how I caught the start of the High School Girls’ Ekiden (road relay race). Wow. I would contest that there’s no one on earth who can challenge Japanese high school girls in terms of group spirit. So as you might imagine, these athletes were killing themselves to gain a few precious seconds in the race. Great TV.
Since the Girls’ Ekiden is a half-marathon, I can’t really post a video here. But another athlete made news over the weekend -- figure skater Mao Asada. Her comeback at the Japanese nationals was big news among the skate set. Here’s a look at her free skate…
Living as I do near popular Tokyo watering hole Akasaka-mitsuke, I’ve noticed that the air has taken on a peculiar flavor these past few weeks. It’s something I usually only smell during the cherry blossom viewing season. And no, it’s not the smell of sakura. It’s the unmistakable odor of beer. Lots of it. Floating in the air. Emanating from the drunk people around me (only during the walk home at night, thankfully). Rising up from the passed out dude on the station floor. Bonenkai season is clearly in full swing.
For those who haven’t yet had the pleasure, Bonenkai + more
Japan has a number of New Year traditions – giving otoshidama, watching the first sunrise, eating osechi (which I’ve never tried but have been assured tastes pretty bad)… So the making of New Year’s resolutions (新年の抱負 – しんねんのほうふ), while a thing, is not a big thing, relatively speaking. + more
The Year of the Rabbit is just around the corner, so it’s time to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions. We’ll be sharing ours in our afternoon post, but in the meantime we’ve put together a guide to some of Japan Gadget Shop products that might make it easier to achieve resolution success… + more
Just in case you have some downtime this holiday weekend, here are some of my picks for the top Japan-related reads of the week. + more
No self-respecting shopping district in Japan would let the holiday season go by without putting up some sort of lighting display. At the bare minimum this means putting strings of LEDs around any trees that might be around. One step up from that are the Regent Street-style lights hung between buildings. And in some places, Christmas illuminations are taken to unlikely extremes…
JR Nagoya Station 2009 Christmas illumination
While most people are happy to enjoy the lights around town, it seems like there are also plenty of Japanese who + more
Westerners don’t have a monopoly on humiliating their cats for the benefit of YouTube viewers it seems…