Ninomiya Sontoku: The Power of Curiosity & Passion

The power of passion and curiosity, a subject I always wanted to write about. Incidentally, the desire to do so, first emerged during my stint in Japan, quite some time ago. But having months of transition behind me and needing to lay out my future anew now, it resurfaced and I suddenly felt the urge to finally write it down. Long enough it has been sitting in the back of my head …

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Sontoku’s classic image emerging during the Meiji period. Him using every opportunity to read in the Teachings of Confucius (論語;ろんご and 大学;だいがく) while carrying firewood or working the fields. Although a sort of romanticized depiction of his and not an actuality, it is that image which remains in the hearts of the people.

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How Do You Live? 君たちはどう⽣きるか? by Yoshino Genzaburou

How do you live? or Kimitachi wa dou ikiru ka? (君たちはどう⽣きるか) in Japanese, is a story written by children literature author Yoshino Genzaburou (吉野 源三郎・よしの げんざぶろう). It depicts the story of a second year middle school student as he is confronted with questions of growing up and becoming part of society. In other words, what it means to be human and how to live as one in our world.

How do you live?

After Your Name (君の名は。), will ‘Kimitachi wa dou ikiru ka?’ be the next Japanese novel to receive an anime adaption?

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The unfulfilled Ambition of an Edo Police Chief Inspector

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「待っていたぞっ、火付盗賊改メ、長谷川平蔵じゃ!」・’I have been waiting for you! This is chief inspector of the arson and robbery department, Hasegawa Heizou – freeze!’, he proclaims in typical manner as he catches criminals red-handed on the crime scene. He wears his signature soldier helmet of authorized rank, the Jingasa (陣笠・じんがさ) and in his hand he thrusts out a short, metallic truncheon, called a Jitte (十手・じって, usually of metal with a hook on the side to ward off sword attacks). Nothing escapes his sharp sight and what he aimed for, he will not let of the hook again – watch out you villains out there!

After my first stint into Japanese history with the article about the Shimabara Rebellion, this article I like to devote to Hasegawa Nobutame (長谷川宣以・はせがわのぶため; 1745-1795), a historic figure of the same era, the Edo Period (江戸・えど; 1603-1868). The name Hasegawa Nobutame might not ring many bells because in Japan he is more commonly known by the name of Hasegawa Heizou (長谷川平蔵・はせがわへいぞう), or his alias Onihei (鬼平・おにへい).

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Popin’ Cookin’ DIY Candy Kits ‘Fun Sushi Shop’ by Kracie

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This post is featuring the making of ‘sushi’ sweets with the ‘Fun Sushi Shop’ (楽しいお寿司屋さん・たのしいおすしやさん) DIY kit in the Popin’ Cookin’ Chef Series, produced by the Japanese food and pharmaceutical multi concern Kracie (クラシエ) and available, for instance on amazon.co.jp in lots of 5 or 10.

As we go towards the end of the year 🎅🎄, you might wanna try something new with your youngsters or for yourself, besides the traditional cookie making. There is a variety of 10+ such cute DIY kits 🍬🍭 you may choose from, differing in style and flavor (a list on the bottom of this article). In Japan they are categorized as Education Sweets (知育菓子・ちいくかし) for kids (3 – 12 years) to sensitize them from an early age on for the respectful handling of foods and to nurture their imagination by hands on experience. However, they are not only kids’ stuff, as nowadays they enjoy huge popularity at home and abroad with people of all ages. For a start, I tried myself on the ‘Fun Sushi Shop’ kit 🍣, which totally lived up to its name, making for a joyous pastime at this time of season. Let’s see how I did and get down to cookin’!

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Amazon.co.jp rolls out Otaku and Popular Character Stores

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Originally I had planned a mini series for October, unfortunately though this drowned in work and I had to give it up. Still on my ‘Creative Break’ and finding myself with not enough time at hand for research and translations in recent months, there is something I like to make a quick post about today.

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日本のことは、マンガとゲームで学びました。by Benjamin Boas – The Power of (Pop-)Culture, Benjamin’s COOL JAPAN!

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English Title: Everything I know about Japan I learned from Manga and Video Games

Publisher: 小学館

ISBN-10: 4093883955
ISBN-13: 978-4093883955

Language: 日本語・Japanese
Pages: 143
Price Tag: 1188 JPY

While in preparation for a next extensive research project of mine, I took the time to check out another COMIC ESSAY. It is the one of BENJAMIN BOAS, which I announced in my previous post of NORDIC GIRL ÅSA DISCOVERS THE MYSTERIES OF JAPAN VOL. 2 ・北欧女子オーサが見つけた日本の不思議 2, in which he has a quick entry.

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A Year to forget – 忘年会・(ぼうねんかい)

No, no it was not all that bad, the passing year, however as we are going towards the end of it, I would like to talk about the custom of year-end parties in Japan, which are the so called BOUNENKAI (忘年会・ぼうねんかい). It is yet another and last occasion of the year for the festive people of Japan to throw their parties. The country has a vibrant festival culture, but unlike many seasonal events, bounenkai has no religious connotation or specific event protocol what so ever. Nonetheless, it can be said that it still carries a not unimportant social relevance and therefore is not to be missed out.

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北欧女子オーサが見つけた日本の不思議 2 by Åsa Ekström – A delightful Journey to continue!

Åsa made it again - ‘Nordic Girl Åsa discovers the Mysteries of Japan 2’. The cover of the second cover comes in similar fashion.
More mysteries to be revealed, Åsa made it again! – ‘Nordic Girl Åsa discovers the Mysteries of Japan 2’. The cover of the second cover comes in similar fashion.

English Title: Nordic Girl Åsa discovers the Mysteries of Japan Vol. 2

Publisher: 株式会社Kadokawa

ISBN-10: 4040679105
ISBN-13: 978-4040679105

Language: 日本語・Japanese
Pages: 157
Price Tag: 1080 JPY

I am happy to announce the second in my series of book introductions for COMIC ESSAYS (see also FUN WITH COMIC ESSAYS side page). After enjoying the first volume of Nordic Girl Åsa discovers the Mysteries of Japan・北欧女子オーサが見つけた日本の不思議 (see post) quite a bit, I got myself also the sequel, which was published back in September. Whereas I was about 6 months behind the release for the first book, for the second volume I have miraculously managed to post slightly more opportune. Then I shall get started right away with the latest book introduction of mine, with which I hope to tempt you in reading the book yourself. Continue reading

Kaki, Divine Blessing – Dried Persimmon・干し柿 (ほしがき)

Dozens of dried persimmon in front of houses are not an uncommon sight during the autumn month in Japan.
Dozens of dried persimmon in front of houses are not an uncommon sight during the autumn months in Japan.

Whenever I think I make a quick post about a topic, somehow I always end up with a full-fledged study in some way…well I shouldn’t mind, I guess, because it brings back some many cherished memories (i.e. the CAMPHOR TREE・楠). This post about the dried persimmons, sets me right back into Japan during this month of year.

October days are most pleasant with skies clear, the air refreshingly cool, leaves fiery red or bright yellow. Ideal for hikes in the countryside or leisurely walks in quite neighborhoods of the cities and towns. The autumn season has much to offer for the eye, but also comes up with many delectable amenities, of which the dried persimmon is one of them. With producing techniques nowadays in place, the nutritious treat could technically be made available all year round. However, only during the autumn months one will notice the fruits on strings hanging from below the eaves of resident housings and in front of windows on balconies of apartment buildings. So this practice of drying persimmon outdoors in the sunlight is distinctly associated to this time of year, therefore considered an aspect of FUUBUTSUSHI (風物詩・ふうぶつし; things reminiscent to seasons), in other words the emotional awareness by Japanese people for certain seasonal characteristics, apart from such things as natural phenomenons, living things or sense of taste.
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Fun with Comic Essays – New Page Content Announcement

Reading Japanese

Happy to announce that a new side page has been added to MyLittle Dejima with FUN WITH COMIC ESSAYS, which contains a few recommendations on books of the COMIC ESSAY/MANGA ESSAY genre. They are all Japanese only and I would classify them intermediate level. For people interested in Japan and students of Japanese language the books are definitely worth to check out. The stories are fun and light to read. Most of them have ruby characters (Furigana) over the texts to support the reading flow of difficult kanji compositions. When time allows, I will aim to add the detailed reviews of each book in a separate blog article. It is an ambitious goal and will take a great deal of time, but I shall give my best. Even though it requires quite an effort for me, I indulge in reading Japanese stuff of all kind of sources, be it books, online articles or short stories and I hope that readers will find the information I make available via the page helpful. Happy reading!

©MyLittle Dejima