October 2013 - Vikingess Voyages

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Japanese Mascots (ゆるキャラ): The Unpopular Hyakuman-san

4:40:00 PM
In recent years, the use of mascots in public context has gained increasing popularity in Japan. As a result, the number of mascots has skyrocketed, and any Japanese prefecture with a little self-respect naturally has a mascot of its own. Mascots are better known as "Yuru-Kyara " (ゆる キャラ) in Japanese , which can be translated into "loose characters". These characters are often made ​​by the government to represent the prefecture externally, and are for instance used for marketing various products from the prefecture. The Japanese mascots participate in a wide variety of events on behalf of their prefecture, such as the annual Japanese sports festival, or through acting on TV as sumo wrestlers. And the mascots can become quite valuable for the places they represent. The mascot Kumamon from Kumamoto was named Japan's most popular mascot in an online survey in 2011, and in 2012 Kumamon artifacts were sold for more than 29 billion yen.

But even if yuru-kyara is a very popular phenomenon in Japan, it is still not all mascots who achieve glory. The latest example of this is Ishikawa-ken's new mascot with the appealing (?) name Hyakuman-san (さん, Mr. One Million). The Japanese morning show みのもんたズバッ! ( Mino Monta no Asa Zuba ! on TBS ) introduced the new mascot on their show last week , and announced that the mascot had created a fuzz in Ishikawa because a large number of citizens thought it looked ugly. Hyakuman-san looks like some kind of fancy gold colored daruma doll, decorated with flowers and with a large mustache. But it seems like a flowery and goldish mustache man does not quite do the trick in a country where everything is supposed to be sweet (“kawaii”) and innocent. Nevertheless, there have been examples before where unpopular yuru-kyara eventually has gained acceptance by the people. A good example is Nara's mascot, the controversial Buddha-deer Sento-kun. Sento-kun was also the center of ridicule for a long time, but despite criticism from various groups it seems like he is here to stay. Although Hyakuman-san seems to be rather a failure so far, perhaps also this yuru-kyara can manage to capture the hearts of the Japanese people eventually..
The unpopular Hyakuman-san (百万さん)
Here is a picture of Hyakuman-san. What do you think? Is he really as ugly as some people say?

(For those of you who can read Japanese, here is an article about Hyakuman-san featured in j-town)

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Recommended Hotels in Ishikawa

THE SHARE HOTELS HATCHi kanazawa
THE SHARE HOTELS HATCHi kanazawa
Kanazawa Manten Hotel Ekimae
Kanazawa Manten Hotel Ekimae
Hatori
Hatori
Ryokan
Kaga Katayamazu Onsen Kasuikyo
Kaga Katayamazu Onsen Kasuikyo


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Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below
Anette

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The next time you see somebody driving a Ferrari..

8:33:00 AM

Must-see motivational video: 

Alain de Botton: A kinder, gentler philosophy of success

"Alain de Botton examines our ideas of success and failure -- and questions the assumptions underlying these two judgments. Is success always earned? Is failure? He makes an eloquent, witty case to move beyond snobbery to find true pleasure in our work." TED.com

"The next time you see somebody driving a Ferraridon't think this is somebody who is greedy, think this is somebody who is incredibly vulnerable and in need of love"


In a world where we are pretty much driven by the capitalistic hunger for consumption it is good to take a brake once in a while and remembering the things that really makes us happy. Hope you enjoy the video!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Hiking in Kamikōchi - The Japanese Alps: Mt. Yake (焼岳)

12:50:00 PM
Getting closer to the mountain
Although Japan might be most known for its major metropolitan areas like Tokyo there are also mountainous areas such as the so-called Japanese Alps on the main island Honshū. I've already visited the Japanese alps once this year, as Yuma and I climbed Mt. Chōgatake (蝶ヶ岳) in July. This time our goal was the summit of Mt. Yake (/Yakedake 焼岳), which actually is an active volcano and listed as one of Japan's 100 most famous mountains (百名山). We left Tokyo early Saturday morning with the bus from Shinjuku, and reached Nagano's Matsumoto city at 9 am. This time Yuma's father also joined us for the hike from Matsumoto, and together we took a taxi to the trail entrance and began the hike (although I would recommend taking the train from Matsumoto rather than a taxi. You can't go all the way to Kamikochi by train, but taking the taxi form Matsumoto takes about an hour and is thus sliiightly expensive..).

Autumn is on its way here in Japan, and as we walked through the green forest we could see a gradual increase in trees with red leaves. This phenomenon is known as kōyō (紅葉) in Japanese, a word that literarily means "red leaves". In October and November, the leaves of among others the blood maples turn red, and this time of the year is therefore widely regarded the kōyō-season in Japan. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Japan Hardanger Club (日本ハルダンゲルクラブ) Performance at the Norwegian Embassy

12:09:00 PM
Yesterday we arranged a welcome concert at the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Tokyo for seven mayors from Hardanger in Norway who are visiting Japan on a short business/promotion trip, and on that occasion members of the Japan Hardanger Club held a great Hardanger fiddle performance in the Arctic Hall. I’ve uploaded a short video of one of their songs for those who might be interested.
Representatives from Japan Hardanger Club led by Rio Yamase and seven Norwegian majors at the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Tokyo

For more information about Japan Hardanger Club, please check out their homepage.

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Norway in Japan: Arne & Carlos Knitting Event

11:45:00 PM
We are arranging a wide variety of events at the embassy, and some of the events are about promoting Norwegian culture to a Japanese audience. Today the embassy held a promotion event for Arne and Carlos, who are famous in Norway and abroad for their fancy knitting designs. As a trainee at the embassy I've been helping out at the event with some simple task such as welcoming the guests at the gate:)

Arne & Carlos have just published a new book about knitting which also has been translated to Japanese. 

For their promotion event at the embassy we welcomed among others visitors from various media such as the Japanese Vogue. The interest has been great in Japan, and apparently Arne & Carlos will have to increase the number of printed books already due to the popularity of the book.

Arne and Carlos presented many of the designs from their new book.

Arne and Carlos is also promoting knitting in other countries. The prince of Wales has recently been trying to promote wool as an environmental friendly material, and Arne and Carlos will be participating in his "wool week" later this month. The two of them are traveling the world promoting their cute knitting patterns, and will be visiting various countries until mid-December. Perhaps they'll come to your country too ;)

A cute doll designed by Arne and Carlos

Arne (left) and Carlos (right) with their new book

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About Me

Adventures ofAnette


A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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