A Boy Band Apology

Brian Ashcraft:

This is SMAP. Sorry, SMAP. Last night, the pop stars appeared on television to apologize, garnering massive television ratings, and resulting in a comment from the Prime Minister of Japan. This is a very big deal.

What other boy band in the world could cause so much of a ruckus? SMAP is a pretty big deal in Japan, making this a big story for even thoes (like me) who couldn’t care less for boy bands.

Like Some Cat From Japan: A Tribute To David Bowie

The late David Bowie’s appreciation of Japan and its culture was strong. Following his recent death, The Japan Times asked five people who share that connection with the country, and who witnessed the decades-spanning trajectory of this starman, to recall what his sound and vision meant to them.

In addition to some good writing, there are some great older photos of Bowie from his Japan trips.

Kimono With Sneakers? Why Not, Says Osaka Fashion Retailer

Like kimono but don’t like wearing geta? Nothing to worry about.

Your feet don’t have to suffer for your love of traditional Japanese fashion any longer, though. At least not according to Boston Club, a shoe shop from Osaka that’s pushing the idea of wearing sneakers with kimono.

Somehow I don’t see this catching on. The photos given on the site of models wearing kimono with sneakers, however, are unusual enough to be worth a look.

Japan’s Most Beautiful Armor Rests In Aomori

Yumiko Sato, writing about Kushihiki Hachiman-gu, a historical shrine in Aomori:

The armor made with red thread was most impressive. It’s called Kiku Ichimonji (kiku means chrysanthemum and ichi means one, while monji is character or kanji), an elaborate suit of armor featuring designs of chrysanthemums and the kanji for “one.” It was made in the late Kamakura Period (1185-1333), and along with the Akaito Odoshi O-yoroi (roughly known in English as Red-Thread-Embroidered Armor with Golden Motifs of Bamboo, Sparrows and Tiger) at Kasuga Shrine in Nara, it’s considered one of the two most beautiful suits of armor in Japan.

Nice photos.

Japanese Designer New Year’s Cards Of the Year

From Spoon & Tamago:

Each year we select a handful of our favorite nengajo, or New Year’s cards, created by Japanese designers, illustrators and other creatives. Given that this year’s zodiac is the monkey, expect a lot of ape-themed designs.

Some very attractive designs here.

Japan Facts

I would like to see a source for a few of these, but overall this is an interesting list.

Eleven Beautiful Japanese Words That Don’t Exist In English

It’s always useful to be suspicious about articles like this. They are written by Japanophiles who pick out words that even many Japanese don’t know and ignore similar words that do actually exist in English.

Having said that, it is an interesting list. Just be aware you won’t hear or use most of these in daily conversation.