Scandal threatens Japan’s sumo wrestling

Posted in diary with tags , , , on August 25, 2010 by mikele

The 21st-century cycle shed

Posted in lifestyle with tags , , on August 4, 2010 by mikele

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I’ve seen these in Japan a few times, now finally I also get to see a video (above) that explains quite well the way they work..

From the Guardian, nov 2009:

Illegal parking of bicycles in Japanese cities is a major problem. But one company has come up with an ingenious and elegant solution

A related piece of (good) news is, London is getting a cycle hire scheme!

Book: Atomic Sushi

Posted in japanese concepts with tags , on June 27, 2010 by mikele


Here’s a book [see it on Amazon] I’d advice people to read before going to Japan (or after they’ve been there, like I did). Funny but at the same time very pungent and insightful, in the way it depicts many typical aspects of the Japanese society.

Simon May is (among other things) a philosopher.. that’s probably why I enjoyed the book so much. You constantly have the feeling that underneath the often lighthearted tone of the jokes and weird situations May describes in the book lies a much deeper knowledge of eastern world’s theories and ideas…

But I’m still half-way through it so maybe I’ll have more to say when I’m finished!

The Daruma Doll

Posted in japanese concepts with tags , , on April 30, 2010 by mikele


Nanakorobi yaoki, jinsei wa kore kara da…

[To fall seven times, to rise eight times, life starts from now…]

Named after an ancient Chinese Zen Master, Bodidharma, who lost the use of his arms and legs after sitting nine years meditating in a cave, the Daruma Doll is a symbol of his self-discipline and positive outlook. Its weighted bottom and rounded shape forces this ancient cultural doll to right itself after being knocked over, teaching us to be dedicated and persistent and symbolizing our recoveries from misfortune.

The Daruma doll comes with both eyes blank. Upon purchasing or receiving it as a gift, you paint one eye and make a wish or begin a new project. The second eye is painted when the wish comes true or the project is completed.

Daruma burning:

At the end of the year, all the Daruma are brought back to the temple they were purchased from for a traditional burning ceremony..[22] This ceremony, called the Daruma Kuyo (だるま供養 daruma kuyo?) is held once a year usually right after New Years Day. The most renowned of these events are held at the Nishi-Arai Daishi Temple (Tokyo), and the Dairyu-ji Temple (Gifu). At these events, people bring the Daruma figures they had used that year to the temple. After expressing gratitude to them, they turn it over to the temple and buy new ones for the next year. All of the old Daruma figures are burnt together in the temple. After a solemn display of the monks’ entry, reading of the sutras, and blowing of horns, the tens of thousands of figurines are then set aflame.

New backdated posts..

Posted in diary on April 26, 2010 by mikele

I added some new posts related to past events, check them out:

– visit to the wonderful Osaka aquarium (March 15, 2010)

– pictures of the trip to Nara (February 12, 2010)

Videos from the Sumo day (22/3/2010)

Posted in diary with tags , , on April 13, 2010 by mikele

#1: we got to the sumo stadium and saw some of the lower division wrestlers

#2: dohyōiri: Ring-entering ceremony, performed only by jūryō and makuuchi divisions; Baruto’s match;

#3: yumitori-shiki: The bow-twirling ceremony performed at the end of each honbasho day by a designated wrestler, the yumitori, who is usually from the makushita division.

Male geishas are the new fashion

Posted in preconceptions with tags , , , on April 1, 2010 by mikele

Geishas are a thing of the past: in modern Japan it’s women who like to pay for romantic entertainment!