Source: Visual Anthropology of Japan
After seeing so much house wrecking in the neighborhood recently –
February 14th is Valentine’s Day! In Japan, Valentine’s Day is a chance for women to show their appreciation to the different men in their lives. Here’s what the massive $800 million Valentine’s Day industry looks like in Japan.
Valentine’s Day has been celebrated across the globe for centuries, but it didn’t begin in Japan until 1958. That year, a chocolate company in Tokyo called Mary’s began selling heart-shaped chocolates and encouraging women to give them to their romantic interests. Since then, chocolate companies across Japan have jumped on the Valentine’s Day trend, and continue to market February 14th as being the perfect chance for women to confess their true feelings.
Valentine’s Day Today
Today, confessing your feelings on Valentine’s Day is still popular, but it has also become quite common for women to hand out chocolate to a number of men in their lives to show their appreciation. The types of chocolate handed out depend upon the relationship with the recipient – the deeper the relationship, the more elaborate and expensive the chocolate tends to be.
Types of Chocolate
There are actually three different kinds of Valentine’s Day chocolates given out on February 14th in Japan.
Giri-Choco is “obligation chocolate”. The Japanese word giri (ギリ) means “obligation” so it makes sense that this chocolate is given out of obligation. Giri-choco is a simple gesture of kindness to male acquaintances and coworkers, and has no romantic undertones.
Tomo-Choco is “friend chocolate”. Tomo (友) is Japanese for “friend”. Tomo-choco is given out by Japanese women to their other female friends. It also has no romantic undertones, and is just a sweet gesture of friendship.
Honmei-choco is “true feelings chocolate”. Honmei (本命) refers to one’s true, inner feelings that are kept hidden below the surface. Honmei-choco is given as a first-time confession of feelings to …continue reading
Source: Gaijin Pot
I don’t care for Valentine’s Day. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m anti-romance — I just hate capitalism.
The scourge of the controversial holiday is nauseating here in Japan. Saccharine displays take up every shop window weeks ahead of time. Questionable ad campaigns stir up controversy. Women are unfairly expected to make and give away all the chocolatey goodness to every guy they know (though men supposedly reciprocate a month later on White Day). Ugh. Even when I am getting laid, the whole spectacle just annoys me.
So, naturally, I was chosen as the contributor to compile a series of reader-submitted 100-words (or fewer) love stories for GaijinPot this Valentine’s Day.
The result? You wonderful people opened your hearts to us and shared your experiences with love in Japan. There are stories of fairytale romances, missed connections and pepper jack cheese. Topics considered too taboo to openly discuss, like queer trysts and office romance, make steamy appearances. In total, about 40 people submitted, and though we were regrettably only able to select 10, every single one contained something valuable, authentic and thoughtful.
Y’all even made this cynic feel a little something this V-Day.
Japan taught me how to love, and allow myself to be loved by someone, unconditionally.
The reason my eardrums are still tickled by the fluttering interludes of Debussy. The backdrop for late-night sideways smiles leaning on door frames and early morning strolls to the post office, midday musings over washoku lunches on soft grassy knolls, sharing lives under umbrellas in the plum rain.
In the crazed fruits of the balmy Kansai air, I changed. We changed. I knew what it meant to feel alive. And for two people that couldn’t imagine ever deserving love, it meant—and continues to mean—everything.
Source: Gaijin Pot
When you step off the plane and start your adventure teaching English in Japan, the whole thing can be rather intimidating. You might have experience teaching in your home country or none at all. Either way, adapting to teaching here is going to be a challenge. It can be hard keeping students in line and on track when they speak another language. You might not understand them or they might not understand you and miscommunication can lead to some pretty disastrous lessons.
I remember the first English class I found difficult to control in Japan. The students kept sticking their tongues out and yelling “Justice!” every time I said, “just this” (a reference that I still don’t fully understand). It was stressful at the time but after teaching for a few years I’ve figured out that classes tend to have one of two problems: they can either be too quiet or too loud. The knee-jerk reactions to a loud class would be to tell the students to be quiet and to softly encourage a quiet class to speak more but with a language barrier, these tactics don’t always work.
So what to do? Here are eight ways based on my experience that can help you to save a class that feels like it’s going wrong.
If your students are too quiet…
1. Use technology to engage students
Interactive websites or apps are a great way to teach shy kids and get everyone engaged. Many ESL textbooks (such as National Geographic’s Explore Our World) have online games that test students on the book’s vocabulary and can be a really helpful teaching tool alongside regular classes. There are also many other websites that have education games such as BBC Bitesize or Games to Learn English.
To be honest, I thought a lot of these games looked …continue reading
Source: 世論 What Japan Thinks
Let’s celebrate the Chinese New Year of the pig by a survey from @nifty looking at pigs and their meat.
In Japan the year’s animal is a wild boar rather than a pig, but as far as I am aware wild boar meat (and game in general) is not very popular at all in Japan, despite the massive pig love. In fact (although I’m not going to go back to check) I think pork is the most popular of all these “Do you like…?” questions.
Anyway, for all you bacon fans, bacon doesn’t appear explicitly on the list, in fact in my experience bacon is a rarity, although thinly-sliced fatty belly pork does feature in many dishes here.
Here’s a typical example of the pig-themed mosquito coil holder: