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Christmas Cards in Japan

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It’s J-Festa time again, and this month’s theme is Christmas in Japan. Christmas in Japan is a curious thing. December 25th is not a holiday in Japan, and most of the action takes place on December 24th, which is a big date night. By the end of December 25th, most traces of Christmas have completely gone [...]

30 Things I Love About Japan

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It’s my birthday today, so I’ve decided to write a very self-indulgent post featuring some of the things I love about Japan. I’ve picked 30 random topics off the top of my head, in no particular order – one for every candle on my virtual birthday cake. 1. Takoyaki Osaka’s favourite octopus balls! 2. Daibutsu [...]

Let’s Merry Xmas!

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Merry Christmas everyone!  メリークリスマス! Thank you for reading all year and sticking with me even though I left Japan. Please keep reading in the New Year, as I will strive to keep up my promise of weekly posts about Japan, Japanese culture, and Japanese-related happenings in the UK. If you’ve never experienced Christmas in Japan, [...]

Hello Kitty Christmas Crackers

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Christmas Day had a little burst of Japanese fun this year – Hello Kitty Christmas Crackers! I was really excited to see that my mum had found Kitty-chan crackers in Tesco. Hello Kitty seems to be really popular in the UK at the moment, which is good news for me. The crackers contained some pretty [...]

Matcha & Azuki Roll Cake

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As a special post-Christmas treat, my mum surprised me by preparing all the ingredients to make the matcha and azuki roll cake I had recently drooled over on the Japan Centre website. I’ll admit that both of us thought it might be a bit of a challenge, but it was a challenge we were willing [...]

Looking Back at Post a Week 2011

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Back in January I accepted WordPress’s Post A Week challenge, although I was worried that I might not be able to keep it up. (There was a Post A Day challenge too, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to do that!) Now, WordPress has invited us challengers to reflect on our accomplishments with eleven [...]

Happy New Year! あけましておめでとうございます!

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Happy New Year! あけましておめでとうございます! Wishing all the readers of Haikugirl’s Japan a very Happy New Year! 2012 is the year of the dragon. According to Amy Chavez, “Japanese dragons are said to be benevolent but don’t be fooled. They can still be very wrathful.” But Amy also goes on to say that dragons are the [...]

2011 in review – what a year it was!

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for Haikugirl’s Japan. (From: Kanzanji: A big Buddha, a beautiful lake, and a lot of walking!) Here are some excerpts from my annual report: The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 120,000 times in 2011. If it were an [...]

Totoro slippers!

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Totoro slippers. So, so, so cute. I caught up with a friend today and received these as a belated birthday present. I was so excited that I had to share them with you all. Not only will my feet be cozy this winter, they will be ridiculously cute!

Weekly Shiritori #1

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Shiritori? What’s that then? Shiritori (しりとり) is a fun Japanese word game which I learnt while waiting for a train one day in Japan. You can play the game with two or more players, and it’s a great way to practice your Japanese vocabulary. The game is played like this: The first player says a Japanese [...]

Hyper Japan 2012 Spring update

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With only seven weeks to go, I’m starting to get excited about the return of the UK’s biggest J-culture event: Hyper Japan! Hyper Japan 2012 Spring will take place from Friday 24th – Sunday 26th February at Brompton Hall at Earls Court (London). Check out the official website: hyperjapan.co.uk. More details about the events at Hyper [...]

Japan in NYC

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Just before Christmas I went on a little holiday to New York and while I was there I made sure to keep my eyes open for Japanese-related stuff. I wasn’t disappointed! On my first night I visited Starbucks and was delighted to discover that the rumours I had heard were true – Matcha (Green Tea) [...]

Reasons to visit Japan #1

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It’s no secret that I would happily book a holiday to Japan today if I had the money, and I’m always on the look out for more reasons to add to my list of “why it’s ok to consider getting into debt to visit the country I love”. So, throughout the year I will sometimes [...]

Professor Munakata’s British Museum Adventure

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While visiting the Manga at the British Museum - Drawings by Hoshino Yukinobu exhibition at the British Museum yesterday I frequently heard people asking each other “what’s manga?”, and so I will begin this post by answering that question. In the words of Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere, “Manga, which we might translate playfully as ‘pictures run riot’ is [...]

My Girlfriend is a Cyborg

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Cyborg She or 僕の彼女はサイボーグ (Boku no Kanojo wa Saibōgu) – literally, My Girlfriend is a Cyborg – is a bit of a mind-bending movie. This 2008 Japanese film by South Korean director & writer Kwak Jae-yong stars Haruka Ayase and Keisuke Koide, and is about a geeky boy’s relationship with a cyborg from the future. I [...]

Weekly Shiritori #2

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Last week I started my new weekly series: Weekly Shiritori. The first word was “shiritori” (the name of the game!) – click here if you missed that! So, “shiritori” is written しりとり, which means that this week’s word has to begin with り (ri). I had one topic suggestion from a fellow blogger, Alyse of [...]

A night at the opera

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This is a long overdue post. So long overdue, in fact, that I considered not bothering. However, I’ve never had the chance to write about opera before, so here goes… On November 26th I went to see a production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly at the Theatre Royal in Brighton. This was my first time to [...]

Exhibition: Over the Parched Field by Akiko Takizawa

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Heike Ghost, 2007, gelatine silver print © Akiko Takizawa As I gaze at the photographs behind the glass, I feel a sense of loss, a deep sadness, and a hint of mystery. I don’t pretend to be able to understand or interpret the work of Akiko Takizawa, a Japanese artist based in London, but I [...]

Winter in Japan

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This month’s J-Festa is all about “Winter in Japan“. Since the announcement of the theme, I’ve been trying to decide what to write about. I lived in the Chubu region of Japan, so I haven’t experienced harsh winters. It snowed a couple of times, but it was light snow that didn’t last long. It was [...]

Weekly Shiritori #3

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Last week’s Weekly Shiritori post was about rikishi (りきし / 力士) so, this week, I need to start with  し (shi). A big thank you to everyone who left comments and made suggestions. I really liked Sarah’s suggestion of “shogi” /  しょうぎ(将棋), Japanese chess, but I don’t know anything about it and wouldn’t be able to write [...]