All posts by blogsonjapan

Isotake Beach

Day three of my walk along the Iwami Kannon Pilgrimage, and to get from the outskirts of the village of Isotake to the harbor and main part of the village I decided to cross the main road and walk along the beach.

We have a lot of nice beaches in the Iwami area, and this one is not bad.

As is normal there was some stuff washed up. Mostly floats and bits of rope… stuff from fishing

…continue reading

    

Learning the Way of the Monks in Wakayama Prefecture

Source: Gaijin Pot

I’m not a spiritual person. As someone who grew up in America’s “Bible Belt”, I’ve always been put off by the idea of touring religion. Still, I was genuinely excited to explore the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes and sacred Koyasan (Mount Koya) in Wakayama Prefecture.

The monks of Mount Koya.

Wakayama is one of the most revered places in Japan. It’s a mountainous and forested region on the southernmost point of the Kii Peninsula in the Kansai region. Japan’s earliest text refers to it as the “land of the dead,” where the spirits would ascend after death.

Looking at its landscape—pristine coasts, winding rural roads overlooking vast forests, and rivers with transparent waters—you can see how it earned its reputation.

The Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes

You’re on sacred ground now.

During the Heian period, three grand shrines in Wakayama’s Kumano region were the most revered: Kumano Hayatama Taisha, Kumano Hongu Taisha, and Kumano Nachi Taisha. These shrines became known as the Kumano Sanzan, and routes were established to connect them from as far away as Kyoto.

My mother can’t get me in a church on Easter Sunday and even I felt like I was walking on sacred ground. Which was also slippery ground.

People from all over Japan, regardless of their class—imperial and noble families, samurai and commoners—made the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage. They could purify their past at Hayatama Taisha, reflect on the present at Nachi Taisha, and pray for the future at Hongu Taisha.

Following my monk guide on the Kumano Kodo.

While not as perilous as it used to be, the Kumano Kodo can be quite challenging. The four main routes vary in length and …continue reading

    

Savings In Japan: How To Get Smart With Your Yen

Saving In Japan: How To Get Smart With Your Yen

Picture this: You’re living in Japan—maybe even far away from your family and friends back home. You have a wonderful life now, a stable partner, a job with the right income, security, and fulfillment. Not to forget: access to every seasonal Starbucks or Tully’s latte you’d ever want. But you wake up the day after and suddenly this is all gone.

What are you going to do and will you be able to protect yourself financially? Do you even know how much you spend each month?

Now, forgive me if I sound like your grandma back home, but these are important stuff to keep in mind—especially when you live abroad in a country where no job is really that secure.

Savings in Japan: starting with the basics

As the late Carl Sanburg said, “money is power” and while these words usually get associated with politics, the actual meaning lands much closer to home. Having your own stash of cash means that you will be able to weather any kind of situation: from divorce to death or even disaster.

Money allows you to save yourself from abusive situations. A lack of independent funds is often a reason why many women stay in unhappy relationships. It allows you to walk away from a soul-crushing job. To negotiate raises or tell your handsy boss to go to hell with no fear of starving. Most importantly for me, it is also the ticket to retiring several decades early to pursue your passions. And this, I believe, is the ultimate freedom.

Having your own stash of cash means that you will be able to weather any kind of situation

However, like all worthy endeavors, it requires a few lifestyle changes and joining a simple three-step program. Reducing your expenses, saving up and then making your money work for you. Here’s …continue reading

    

From ‘I Told You So’ to Hopeful, Japanese People React To 2020 Olympic Postponement

Source: Gaijin Pot

The flame for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games arrived in Japan from Greece just in time to be extinguished.

Let’s face it, the COVID-19 pandemic is here and it’ll take months to get back to our normal lives. The World Health Organization (WHO) knows it, the governments know it, hell, we all know it. Regardless of this well-known fact, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Japanese government stubbornly put off deciding to postpone the games for weeks.

We both got off the phone with the same painful feeling. I hope we’ll be able to meet and laugh about this in one year.

If it weren’t for the Canadian committee’s decision to withdraw from the 2020 Olympics had it not be postponed, the IOC and the Japanese government would still be turning a blind eye to the current outbreak.

About freaking time

A survey last week showed that two-thirds of Japanese people believed postponing the games was necessary, and it was only a matter of time before the government finally caved in.

This was the perfect opportunity to parody Tokyo Olympic bid ambassador Christel Takigawa’s speech on Japanese おもてなし, a term expressing the spirit of Japanese selfless hospitality, with relatable memes.

Twitter users reshared the parody below spelling out how the Olympic postponement was an obvious move.

う、つ、て、な、し
打つ手無し#オリンピック延期 pic.twitter.com/KNNoKpgNGZ

— ただのホークスファンです (@8llu_ull8) March 24, 2020

“No-o-ther-mo-ve

No other move.

#Olympicpostponement”

あ、た、り、ま、え
当たり前
#オリンピック延期 pic.twitter.com/hipkmeTV3W

— 袋小路みきまろ (@MIKIMARO_imp) March 24, 2020

“Ob-viou-sly

Obviously

#OlympicPostponement”

Let’s reset the clock

The iconic anime Akira predicted 2020 Olympic Game setbacks in a scene that showed a signboard with a countdown until the 2020 opening ceremony. Japanese Twitter peeps kindly offered to reset the countdown timer to 444 days.

こういうこと?
#オリンピック延期 pic.twitter.com/qDWNsr10lr

— ルイケ🐘4/29誕生イベ🎂 (@RUIKE_trhp) <a target=_blank …continue reading

    

APJ-Japan Focus’s Jeff Kingston on PM Abe and postponement of 2020 Tokyo Olympics; plus the inhumanity of the Japanese Govt

Source: debito.org

It’s time to talk about the politics of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and how Prime Minister Abe has put Japan at risk for the sake of a sports meet. Dr. Jeff Kingston of Temple University Japan has posted a salient article today about the politicking between Abe’s minions and and the International Olympic Committee, and how Abe may exploit any crisis he exacerbated for his own political benefit. It’s very much worth a read.

Kingston Abstract: Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has been widely criticized for ineptitude in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Keen to host the Olympics in 2020, he put public health at risk. Strong international criticism finally forced the IOC and Abe to accept the inevitable and defer the Olympics until 2021. Now both parties are now trying to claim credit for making this decision. The Japanese policy of limiting testing kept policymakers and citizens in the dark and handicapped responses to the outbreak. As the number of infections surges, the government is playing catch up. The combination of an accelerating COVID-19 outbreak in Japan and imminent global economic recession will hit Japan hard and could lead to Abe’s ouster. For now, there are growing concerns that he may exploit this crisis to advance his political agenda of constitutional revision.

Comment: All because the people who have money would rather risk the lives of the elderly and immunocompromised (as happened in the 1980s with Japan’s Health Ministry and HIV-tainted blood) than let any economic impacts of postponing an Olympics reduce their political power or their already-stuffed wallets. The short-sightedness and greed of people richer than God who won’t subsidize consumers and taxpayers (who have long subsidized THEIR lives) is astonishing. Especially since a dead consumer/taxpayer and their remaining resentful kith and kin is of no …continue reading