[VIDEO] Japan: Mother Duck with 14 Baby Ducklings, Walkin’ the Mean Streets of Kyoto

要法寺 鴨の引越し その3(孵化47日目)


How to Imagine the Interior of Michelle Obama’s Kyoto Visit $78,741 Rental Car


The cost for ‘Rental Vehicles for Flotus in Kyoto’ is $78,741, according to a contract signed last week

 reports: First Lady Michelle Obama’s visit to a Buddhist Temple in Kyoto is costing taxpayers nearly $80,000 for rental cars, according to a government contract.

Mrs. Obama, who is travelling to Japan and Cambodia for a girls’ education initiative, will arrive in Kyoto, Japan, on Friday.


Disclaimer: This isn’t the car Michelle Obama rented. But for that kind of money, isn’t this the ride you’d want?

According to the White House press office, “The First Lady will travel to Kyoto on March 20 and visit the Kiyomizu-Dera Buddhist Temple and the Fushimi Inari Shinto Shrine. She will also greet staff from the U.S. Consulate in Osaka.”

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama (C) makes a speech at a meeting on strengthening assistance for girls' education in developing countries at the Foreign Ministry's Iikura Guest House in Tokyo on March 19, 2015. Obama is flanked by Japanese first lady Akie Abe (L) and U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy. (Pool photo)(Kyodo) ==Kyodo

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama makes a speech at a meeting on strengthening assistance for girls’ education in developing countries at the Foreign Ministry’s Iikura Guest House in Tokyo on March 19, 2015. Obama is flanked by Japanese first lady Akie Abe and U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy. (Pool photo) (Kyodo)

Fushimi Inari Shinto is a shrine dedicated to a god of rice. Visitors of the temple can pay to go into a pitch-black basement that symbolizes the womb of Buddah’s mother…. Read the rest of this entry »

[VIDEO] 餅つき Mochitsuki! Meet the Fastest Mochi Makers in Japan


The making of mochi, traditional Japanese rice cakes, is a traditional activity for many Japanese families around the time of the New Year’s holiday. The term for this important ritual in Japanese is mochitsuki (餅つき), which quite simply means “mochi pounding.”

While there are dozens of mochi specialty shops scattered throughout Japan, one particular shop specializing in yomogimochi (mochi mixed with mugwort, giving it a distinctive green color) in Nara Prefecture boasts much more than delicious sweets–its second claim to fame is that it employs the fastest mochitsuki champions in all of the country!

The mochitsuki professionals at Nara’s Nakatanidou (中谷堂) shop make a great team. They’ve got the art of mochitsuki down to a tee, and it’s obvious that in the process they’ve also cultivated a mutual trust over the years. I mean, why else would they be so willing to stick their hands in the direct path of a mallet crashing down at full force?

The following video of the mochi masters at work is so impressive that it’s even garnered thousands of views outside of Japan. Remember, what you’re about to see is not sped-up or altered in any way–it’s the actual speed that the video was recorded at:

Source: Team Yellow via RocketNews 24 – YouTube


[PHOTOS] Hayashi Dancer at Hachioji Matsuri


Some arresting images at Tokyoblings Blog:

A couple of weekends ago saw the grand Hachioji Matsuri, one of the bigger city festivals in the Kanto region and in my opinion, one of the most accessible. Hachioji is a city in western Tokyo, with a population of over half a million people it is the 8th largest in Tokyo...(read more)


See the whole series at Tokyoblings Blog

[VIDEO] Japanese Travel Agency: Trips For Toys?

Faith Braverman reports:  Japan has given us many gifts over the years: sushi, anime, and 300 tons of toxic waste into the ocean per day. Now, for a mere $20-95, you can send your cuddle companion  on a trip to the land of the rising sun.

Unagi Travel, possibly the most adorable travel agency ever, has already granted dream vacations for over 200 stressed stuffed animals. You’ll get updates of your toy’s trip through Facebook photos, allowing you to live vicariously through your teddy bear or stuffed hippo. According to the company’s website, your toy can enjoy a trip to Tokyo, Kyoto, Tohoku, or even an intriguing “mystery tour.” (The cheapest option.)

Whatever your reason for wanting to use Unagi’s services, some people gain a lot from the experience. Japan News tells the story of one 51-year-old woman from Saga Prefecture. Read the rest of this entry »

Heroic Chinese exchange student rescues nine-year-old boy from fast-moving river

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The powerful Typhoon Man-yi having swept through the region and dumped enough rain to completely submerge parts of Kyoto, the majority of rivers in Kansai were either worryingly high or had completely burst their banks by Monday afternoon this week. Shortly after the storm had passed, however, a group of schoolboys ventured out to take some snaps of trains passing over a nearby bridge when the youngest, a nine-year-old elementary school student, lost his footing and fell into Osaka’s Yodo River, which was flowing dangerously fast as a result of the heavy rain.

The boy was unable to reach the riverbank and was quickly dragged downstream, his young friends powerless to help. Thankfully, an extremely brave Chinese exchange student was passing by at that exact moment… Read the rest of this entry »