Friday, 29 March 2013

T.G.I.F: HSBS Sevens World Series, Tokyo

In 2016, Rugby will officially become an Olympic sport. What better way to familiarize yourself with this ancient and hallowed sport than to check out the HSBS Sevens World Series Round 7 taking place in Tokyo this weekend? Rugby teams representing nations from all over the world will compete for the title of World Champion. Click the image below for more details and ticketing information!

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The Izu Life: The Best of Cherry Blossom Season #2

On the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture, there is a little picnic area called Sakura Koen near Izunagaoka Station on the Izu Hakone Line. It is a a little known but fantastic hanami (cherry blossom viewing) location for locals. Check out some of my favourite snaps of the park below...

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Tops Tuesdays: Sh*t Gaijin Say

In my opinion, these videos are tops this week...

That last line had me rolling on the floor. If you teach English in Japan, you'll get these videos.

Friday, 22 March 2013

T.G.I.F.: Tokyo International Anime Fair

©T-ARTS/syn Sophia/テレビ東京/PRR製作委員会. Image Source.
This weekend at Tokyo Big Sight in Odaiba, the Tokyo International Anime Fair will be held. So get your nerd on in Tokyo and enjoy some of Japan's most famous export! Click the image below for more details...

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Wednesday, 20 March 2013

The Izu Life: 2 Year Anniversary

March 23rd marks the 2nd year anniversary of my arrival in Japan. I have decided to commemorate the occasion in kind with the following video. Enjoy! (You can read about my experiences post-arrival in Japan here and here.)

Only 4 months to go!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Tops Tuesdays: Maru the Cat

I recently became obsessed with feline Japanese Internet celebrity, Maru. Maru's owner makes delightful YouTube videos of Maru's adventures available with both Japanese and English subtitles. With more than 300,000 subscribers and more than 16,000,000 views on his first video, Maru's antics need to be seen to be believed.

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, 15 March 2013

T.G.I.F.: St. Paddy's Day and Fashion Week

This Sunday 17th, St. Patrick's Day celebrations will be taking place nationwide. Many events have been planned, included the Tokyo Saint Patrick's Day Parade. Of particular note is the Fujinishiki Sake Festival in Fujinomiya which I wrote about last year and falls on the same day as St. Patrick's Day. While not necessarily an official St. Patrick's Day celebration per se, drinking free locally-made sake from morning 'til night seems a good a way as any to spend this holiday. From as early as 9am, you can enjoy unlimited free sake samples and spectacular views of Mt. Fuji. The event is outdoors so bring a picnic blanket (and rubber boots if it is going to rain). To get there, get off at Fujinomiya station and take the free shuttle bus which leaves every 10 minutes (30 mins). 
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In addition, the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo kicks off this weekend across Tokyo. While most events are invite only, there are some free and open to the public events which you can check out at this link. Click the image below for more details.

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Happy Friday! What will you be doing this weekend?

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Travel Log: Cat Cafes, Mucha and Disney Sea...

Last weekend I went to Tokyo to visit some friends and a particular art exhibition that I have been anticipating. Check out some pictures after the jump!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Tops Tuesdays: Top 5 Hay Fever Cures

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The days are heating up and Japan's weather is returning to a more bearable temperature for my Australian sensibilities. Unfortunately with agreeable whether comes an inevitable downside; allergies. Every year in spring time the cedar trees release an intense nasal assault of pollen which sends Japan's citizens into a frenzy of sneezing and coughing unlike anything you have probably seen in any other country. If you, like me, are caught in the midst of all this, what can you do to combat the effects of hay fever? Read on to find out...

Monday, 11 March 2013

The Izu Life: March 11 Anniversary

Today is a day of remembrance for all who suffered on March 11, 2011 when the Tohoku quake caused a devastating tsunami and placed the country at the mercy of the Fukushima Power Plant. I wrote about my experiences in post "3/11" Japan one year ago on the first anniversary. You can about read it here. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sympathy for all who suffered as a result of the Tohoku Earthquake. 

Emperor Prays, Trains Stop as Japan Remembers March 11
Memorial at the front of an elementary school in Miyagi Prefecture. Image Source

Friday, 8 March 2013

The Izu Life: So You're Leaving Japan?

Having attended the After JET Conference in Yokohama last week, I learnt some great tips about preparing to leave Japan and looking for work after a tenure on the JET Programme. I'd like to share some of this information with you...

The first members of Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers leaving Japan from Haneda Airport (Photo: JICA)
"The first JETs to leave Japan were closely watched by security to ensure they really left the country"
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T.G.I.F: Alphonse Mucha comes to Roppongi Hills

Design for The Moon and the Stars: The MoonThe paintings ofrenowned Czech Art Nouveau artist, Alphonse Mucha, will be on display at the Mori Arts Center Gallery (Roppongi Hills Mori Tower 52F) starting this Saturday and continuing through until 19th May.The exhibition, "Alphonse Mucha: An Insight into the Artist," is a unique retrospective look at Mucha's beautiful Art Nouveau style. Many works that have never been seen in Japan before will be on display. The various artworks will be divided into six sections: "Mucha the Czech," "Sarah Bernhardt & the Theatre World," "Le Style Mucha & Art Nouveau," "The Message of Beauty," "Paris 1900," and "Visions for Humanity." The exhibition will include over 240 works, including rare works such as the satin-silk edition of "The Arts" series. Click the image below for more details...

(Above) "Rêverie" - 1897 Colour lithograph - (C) Mucha Trust 2013
(Top Right) "Design for The Moon and the Stars: The Moon" - 1902 Ink and watercolour on paper - (C) Mucha Trust 2013

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Tops Tuesdays: Top 5 Hanami Spots in Japan

Cherry blossom season is upon us and the days are warming up. Join me for my top 5 hanami spots in Japan as you decide where to stake out for your own cherry blossom-viewing itinerary...

Friday, 1 March 2013

T.G.I.F.: Omizutori, Nara

This weekend in Nara, the priests of the famous Todai-ji which houses the largest Buddha statue in Japan will be partaking in a festival called 'Omizutori.' This festival involves a ritual of prayer, asking Buddha to absolve the priests of their sins and deliver a rich harvest. Of particular note is the 'Otaimatsu' event; priests run about the Nigatsu-do (nearby to Todai-ji) bearing pine torches. To be showered in sparks from  these torches is said to protect you from evil. Click the image below for more details...

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