Japan not yet totally cut off from East Asia

The Mainichi’s English language Waiwai feature reports that not all of Japan’s international relations have been damaged beyond repair by recent diplomatic gaffes.

One intrepid reporter braved the frontlines of China to find out.

“Welcome, I’m Nana!” one of the older-looking hostesses in a black dress greeted him in Japanese. “Is this your first visit?”

“Are you participating in a boycott of Japanese goods?” the reporter then asks her.

“What you say? Me no understand?” she replies.

“Never mind. Tell me, what do you think of the recent controversy over Japanese history textbooks?”

“You know, your eyes have got a horny glimmer,” she counters. “It means you wanna do ‘rabu-rabu’ with me, right?”

“Um, okay, let’s move on to a different subject. How do you feel about the prime minister’s making visits to worship at the Yasukuni Shrine?”

“Hey, listen, if you no take me out, I’m really pitiful,” she nags. “I don’t make money hanging around this bar. You Japanese men are all lechers, but I’m good at doing ‘etchi.’ How about I give you nice blow job and then ride you on top?”

And another conducted similar field research in Korea.

There he is introduced to a hostess named Ruby, who croons a currently popular Korean tune, a stirring melody entitled “Tok-do belongs to us.”

“This song used to be banned, but these days you often hear customers in Korea singing it,” she explains.

“Should I take that to mean you intend to declare war on me?” the reporter asks.

“Shhhhhs,” Ruby whispers. “Our ‘mama’ told us to avoid discussing political problems here at the club.”

“You know actually,” the reporter thinks out loud, “I’d like to make that generous cleavage between your breasts my territory for a little while. What do you say?”

Ritsumeikan University to Move Headquarters

The new law school
New location at Nijo Station, Kyoto to open next fall

Ritsumeikan University announced on March 24 that it would build a new building Southeast of JR’s Nijo Station in Chuo-ku, Kyoto, moving its headquarters operations and law school there from the Kinugasa campus (in Kita-ku). It will begin construction today and plans to finish by September 2006.

The new building will have one basement floor and 7 above-ground floors. The lot area is 8118 square meters, and the groos floor area is 27147 square meters. The land will be purchase from the Japan Post Private Company. Total construction costs, including land costs, will come to 1 billion yen. The building, when completed, will be used by 700 teachers and students.

Nijo Station

In addition to the headquarters operations and law school, facilities for the Business Management Section, which trains business school masters students and certified public accountants, and the “University Administrator Development Graduate School” which develops university management specialists, will also move into the new building. All of these schools concentrate on working adults, so the move near JR Nijo, which is also accesible to the City Subway, takes into consideration those commuting to class.

Besides its Kinugasa campus, Ritsumeikan also has a campus in Kusatsu, Shiga, making the Nijo building the university’s third campus.

: Kinugasa was always a pain in the ass to get to, but that’s what made me the fit individual I am today, so I’m not complaining.

Wear a kimono and ride for free in Kyoto

From the Japan Times:

KYOTO (Kyodo) Kyoto will offer free subway and bus rides for anybody wearing a kimono over an 11-day period beginning Friday to promote the traditional attire and the local textile industry, city officials said.

Free admission to some tourist attractions, including Nijo Castle, Kyoto Tower and some museums, will also be available for kimono wearers during the period, and a kimono fashion show and kimono flea market are planned.

Free tickets for the transportation and tourist facilities will be available in subway stations, buses, hotels and elsewhere in the ancient capital.

Rental kimono will be made available if people make advance reservations.

For people who need to have their kimono readjusted, they can stop by 10 locations in the city, mainly at kimono shops and in the kimono sections of department stores.

For more information, call the Kyoto Municipal Government’s Traditional Industry Department at (075) 222-3337.

The Japan Times: March 8, 2005
(C) All rights reserved

From Abeno Seimei and Onmyodo

The Yomiuri newspaper has a short article on an interesting religious ceremony conducted at the ancient Kamigamo Shinto shrine in Kyoto. I’ve translated it below and due to the obscurity of the material included some additional notes.

From Abeno Seimei and Onmyodo

At the Kurabeuma horse race which has been conducted at the Kamigamo Shrine in Kyoto for 910 years, the Norijiri(riders) conduct certain rituals before the race. The ceremonies of self-harai(ritual Shinto purification) by onymyokuji(yin-yang divination by lots) and harai by onmyo-daiyuudai (some kind of obscure onmyodo ceremony) are known as the norikiji houhei [houhei are the hemp rope and folded paper decorations seen at Shinto shrines). In the houhei ceremony the norijiri waves the houhei and offers a prayer to the kami (gods) by taking a special step. Reseachers on religious ceremony have concluded that these rituals include rites that can be traced back to onmyodo harai..

For those who can read Japanese, more information on the Kurabeuma is avaliable here.

Onmyodo: Literally ‘the way of yin and yang.’ An ancient form of Japanese magical practice, combining imported Taoist philosophy and practices (such as ying and yang and the 5 elements) with native Japanese Shinto beliefs and rituals. Practicioners of onmyodo were known as Onmyoji.

Abeno Seimei: The most famous of all Onmyoji. There is a popular novel and manga series by the author Baku Yumemakura, which has not been translated into English. There is however a film version and sequel, which you can get as a package here. The budget may not approach Lord of the Rings, but they are recommended for anyone who wants to see what Heian era Japan actually looked like.

Kami-gamo Shrine: One of the oldest shrines in Kyoto, it actually existed long before the city was built. Named after the Kamo clan that ruled the area before the Imperial family moved the capital, Kami-gamo (upper Kamo) and Shimo-gamo (lower Kamo) shrines are a pair. The Kamo river which flows past downtown Kyoto also takes its name from this source. In Heian times, the Abe and Kamo family’s were the two preeminent onmyoji families.