In truth my relationship with Japan, above all else, is defined by nostalgia. However stimulated I may be by ponderings on the psychological and philosophical connotations of our British-Japanese biculturalism – as Naomi and I like to explore on Thinking Japlish – my emotional interaction with Japan is nostalgic; it is why I love it, it is why it’s the only place I ever really want to go.
Nostalgia, though it is perhaps the most enigmatic emotion of all, is also one of the most distinctive and compelling. Whilst it can never be consciously summoned and only an external trigger can bring it out from your subconscious, no one could mistake that cocktail of joy, yearning and regret it evokes. It is a particularly apt emotion to explore in the context of Japan when so much of Japanese art is pre-occupied with it – just think of any Hayao Miyazaki film; and consider how much more common a word ‘natsukashii’ is than ‘nostalgic’.
Continue reading “Taro’s Nostalgic Walk – The Walk to the Station”
Kiddy Land is one of my favourite places in Tokyo so I thought that I would share it with you today – but do not let the name fool you – it is not just for kids! Kiddy Land in Omotesando is filled to the brim with toys, stationery and everything from tissues to cooking equipment. They are all related to your favourite Disney, Snoopy Town or Studio Ghibli characters, and more! I was showing my friend Rosa around Tokyo (who is on a year abroad, studying in Japan) and here is what we got up to. Continue reading “Shopping Haul: Kiddy Land and Daiso”
Hello! As you may have read last week, I had a great time at the Star Wars exhibition at the top of Tokyo Skytree. You can read more about that on last week’s post, but today I must tell you about Skytree itself because there is plenty more to say! I would thoroughly recommend it as a day out or place to meet friends because there is plenty to see and do. The complex is huge – it has a large food court, hundreds of food stalls (like in department stores such as Matsuzakaya), an ice-skating rink, many yummy restaurants, aaaaand shops after shops after shops. I was with lots of family members of three generations and there is certainly something for everyone. Continue reading “What to See at Skytree”
Calling all Star Wars fans! Tokyo Sky Walk is an exhibition in the top galleria of Tokyo Skytree, and it is well worth a visit. In fact, this is my top pick for a day out in Tokyo at the moment! It’s there till 11th February, 2016.
Skytree pulls out all the stops here: surrounded by the spectacular view of Tokyo, 450m in the air, you can see interesting Star Wars collectables, including a set of “Japan Originals”. You can also pose with Stormtroopers or queue up for professional photos of you with a lightsaber!
Continue reading “Star Wars: Tokyo Sky Walk”
Narita airport greeted me exactly how a best friend would after a long-haul flight: with cameras poking in my face, keen to capture the red-eye and frazzled expressions. As soon as I came out of security, there was a Japanese TV crew waiting to capture the faces of backpackers who had come to Japan to find some adventure. Not so keen to have my dazed, exhausted, and pallid face on TV, I tried my best to melt away into the background.
Another fellow passenger (who had also come from the UK) did not share this wish of avoiding them. Dressed in the style of a Harajuku girl, with three or four grey roses in her hair, blonde locks, white tights and a cream dress, she soon attracted the attention of the film crew. I watched with amusement whilst sipping my CC lemon from a vending machine in the waiting area as one of the members of crew spotted her and rallied his colleagues. The whole crew sprinted over to her in what I can only describe as a very Japanese-like fashion. In the UK people try so hard to make it onto the silver-screen of daytime TV; in Japan it really is no hard task. I made a mental note to dress in a more eye-catching costume the next time I touched down.
Continue reading “Tadaima, Tokyo”
In the largest metropolis in the world, the crowds bustling around you become a blur. Shibuya lies at the heart of this vibrant city. To me, standing in the middle of Hachiko crossing, the path of about one million people per day, I feel as if I’m at home.
Continue reading “Tokyo Has Lungs”
Hi there and welcome to our blog, Thinking Japlish! We’re Taro and Naomi and we’re both half-Japanese, writing about our thoughts and experiences. We think that being half-Japanese is quite a unique thing – a unique identity. In Japan it is sometimes referred to as ‘hafu’ – a rather alienating phrase. But we have decided to embrace it. Japan is a particularly fascinating country and it is constantly in the news in the West for being ‘different’ and more often than not, ‘bizarre’. However, as both outsiders and from having insider experience of our cultural heritage, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to see Japan through two sets of glasses, appreciating it in different ways.
We’re both studying at the University of Oxford in the UK; Taro is studying Classics and Naomi is studying English Literature. You can find out more about us here!
Our blog will be a record of our thoughts about Japanese culture, and our ‘Japlish’ way of thinking. We will also be posting restaurant reviews for Japanese restaurants that we find and enjoy.
We hope that you check back to see what we’re writing about!
See you again soon,
Taro and Naomi