Author Archives: Michael Gakuran
In a recent scuffle over the controversial whaling issue, I managed to seriously offend a couple of Japanese friends. Political and ethical issues are volatile topics, but add to that cultural differences when arguing and you have a recipe for disaster. So here’s some insight to help you avoid making the same mistakes.
What’s your best kept secret about Japan? That was the question aimed at fellow J-bloggers for this month’s Japansoc Blog Matsuri. Quite a tricky topic, especially for those who don’t actually live in Japan, but nevertheless, we had 10 awesome entries letting us in on some lesser known parts of Japan.
Sakura Season is almost over and the final petals are falling gracefully to the floor. So before this ephemeral phenomenon has passed for another year, here’s a collection of 10 of the best pictures I shot in Okazaki, central Japan.
This past Sunday on 4th April, I was honoured to take part in a huge Japanese festival. Donning heavy metal armour coloured bright vermilion red, sitting atop a steely brown horse and grinning like a fruitcake while waving to the crowds. It’s safe to say my ‘Last Samurai’ aspirations have been fulfilled.
Last July I hosted the immensely popular ‘Weird things about Japan‘ blogging festival. This time, in celebration of the new focus on Gakuranman.com, I’m holding the Spring matsuri on the topic of ‘Secret Japan’. I want you to let me in on your hidden dirty little secrets!
Ruins are known in Japan as ‘Haikyo’ (廃墟) – literally ‘abandoned place’. The word has become synonymous here with Urban Exploration, or Urbex for short, which is the exploration of man-made sites usually hidden or restricted from the general public. But with such exploration comes inherent dangers.
More respectfully known as the ‘Japanese Fertility Festival’, but let’s not beat around the bush here, this is a bizarre matsuri that is full of phallic shaped sweets, giant wooden penises and rice cakes as hard as canon balls.
The Doctor’s shack lies hidden in rural Japan, its location closely guarded by haikyoists and folk who like to explore. And for good reason – inside is a goldmine of pre-war medicines and medical books, dusty bottles and old rusty instruments.