Akio Wannabe-San

Hiroshima Lantern Festival In Japan

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The Hiroshima Lantern Festival is held on the 6 of August annually and even though businesses are still open for business, a lot of people are gathered at the Peace Park to think about what happened and also to pray for lost ones as well as thinking of ways how to end nuclear war , suffering and differences between countries.

There is a memorial service and everyone is welcome to attend and lighting of paper lantern with special wishes written on them and then released into the waters.  The festival is a somber event and usually the political party give speeches and talk about the past event and the future.

The Oiran Experience

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Alot of people are mistaken when they see an Oiran and a geisha, they think that they are the same but nope , they are not.  The geisha is dressed up more simply than the Oiran but both the Oiran and the geisha can do the singing, acting and dancing but it is said that the Oiran does it better?

Oirans are freakishly expensive, I learned from a Japanese friend of mine who entertains a lot of their foreign clients.  To have the company of an Oiran , it would cost an entire years salary of a normal worker in Japan.  And yes, that’s a lot of money !  The Oiran is pretty special, she is not your normal prostitute because she can refuse your business, you need to be introduced first and if they are attracted to you , then you can start having a relationship with her.

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People from all over the world comes for the once a year procession of the Oiran and it’s pretty elaborate.  At the end of the procession, there is a stage, where the Oiran shows how the customers are served and what one can expect from the Oiran.

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The Bunsui Sakura Matsuri Oiran D?ch? is a free event held in Tsubame, Niigata. D?ch? is a shortened form of oiran-dochu, also the name for the walk the top courtesans made around the quarter or the parade they made to escort their guests. This parade features three oiran in full regalia — Shinano, Sakura, and Bunsui — among the cherry blossoms in April with approximately 70 accompanying servants. Each oiran in 15-cm tall geta parades in the distinctive gait, giving the procession an alternate name, the Dream Parade of Echigo (Echigo no yume-dochu). The event is extremely popular across the country, with many people in Japan applying for the three oiran and servant roles.

Maid Cafes In Japan

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Maid cafes are quite the thing to do when you visit Japan, but it is not only for the tourists, they are for the locals as well.  Most people who comes to the Maid cafes in Japan only do it for the experience but some are into cos-play and others well, just wants to look at the pretty and young girls there.

Maid cafes are themed cafes obviously and there are so many sprouting in every corner in Japan especially bigger cities like Tokyo.  You are usually not allowed to film inside the cafes or take photos but there are some who would let you take a picture of them for a few hundred yens.

 There are of course different maid cafes around Japan , and all of them do have food involved as well as drinks.  They also dance for you and before you can partake your food, you need to do some singing or dancing or both from what I know.  I don’t know if they are popular for the older folks but for the younger folks ,  both men and women , they seems to have been quite taken by all the cos-play and the cutesyness of the dress up and cos- play.

Oh btw, maid cafes are not hostess hereby they drink with you and you can neither touch them.  This isn’t a prostitution ring , no naughty business here, so cheeky old men out there, you can do away with the idea, if you think it is this kinda establishment.

Now the tricky part of one’s experience with the maid cafes are that there is a table charge plus whatever you order during your 1 hr stay at the cafe.  If you intend to stay longer, you will be charge another table charge , so the turnover of the tables are fairly quick.  You cannot hang around the cafes and not pay for the table charge.

Japanese Drumming In Japan

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Drumming in Japan is quite tradition , unlike our drumming the West with a  gretsch new classic  .  Although , I do enjoy the traditional drumming in Japan, I much prefer the classic drumming we have in the West.   Both are art form but the traditional Japanese drumming seems a lot more intense.

I’ve seen some Taiko drumming in Sado Island sometime last year and tourists flocked to this quiet island because of this cultural event held yearly.  There is no lyrics to the drumming but it was definitely very enjoyable but if I had a choice I still prefer our Western drumming.

Cherry Blossoms at Kiyosu Castle

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Finally, the time to look for Cherry blossoms and a visit to Kiyoshu Castle is a must if you are in Aichi Japan.  You see people bringing their dogs out for walks and most importantly during the weekends, family having picnics here while enjoying the full bloom of the cherry blossoms.  The cherry blossoms are so pretty and one can always enjoy the koi in the ponds but do not feed them please.  There are also turtles or tortoises?

If you didn’t bring your own picnic, no worries, they have food store set up.  There are all kinds of food on sticks and also cotton candies for kids.  And don’t forget to take lots of pictures with those lovely cherry blossom trees just about everywhere.

Inside A Capsule Hotel

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The spouse was recently in Japan and stayed in a very  new capsule hotel in Shinjuku and reported that it was quite pleasant and that the amenities were plenty too.   He was quite surprised with it because it even have a luxurious bath in this particular capsule hotel.

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And like any Capsule Hotel , every capsule has its own tv and outlets where you can plug in your computer or anything that you need to recharge like phones and tablets or computers.  The capsule hotels has lockers for you to place your valuables and robes for you to change into , that way you don’t need to worry about messing up your clothes.  They also have a food court in the hotel and plenty of vending machines as well.

They are relatively cheaper than the hotels if you are alone but each capsule is only meant for 1 person and won’t fix even a kid, so if you have someone else with you that day, you can forget about getting a capsule for the night.

PS :  They also have shampoo, soap and toothbrush and paste for in house guests , so you need not bring any or worry about purchasing some.

Manga Cafes

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Manga cafes in Japan takes you to a whole new level of enjoying your anime.  There are many Manga cafes in Japan and all has great amenities to offer.  From hourly to half a day and even over nite booking.

One can book their private booth and enjoy their free complimentary internet or just have a quiet rest in the oh so comfortable leather seating that you can reclined and stretch out fully.  Of course, there are food that you can order and drinks as well.

There are 1000s of manga for  you to enjoy and you can pick anyone that you like.   Manboo is one of the biggest Manga cafe chain in Japan and they are open 24/7 from what i understand.  There is the 30 mins rate at about 100 Yen and 3 hrs rate at 980 Yen or an over night rate of 1290 Yen approximately. But weekends are a little bit more expensive.  In order to use the internet, you need to have a valid ID as well, but one can always apply for a Manboo card and you never have to worry about using the internet for free.

 The inside and the outside of a Manga cafe is totally different , while the reception area looks like a hotel , the booth area is dark and have neon lights all over.  The booth consist of its own computer, a faux leather chair and internet access of course.  Oh I also forgot that you have your very own tv in the booth as well.  Some Manga cafe have a nail salon that offers really cheap manicure as well , so there are lots to do in Japan besides shopping , eating and karaoke.

Halloween In Japan

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Folks asked me all the time if the Japanese celebrates Halloween like we do here in the West.   And yes, they do – in fact I think the Japanese are more serious about dressing up for Halloween than any Asian countries that I’ve visited.  Starting from early September right thru’ October, there will be Halloween decorations at the shopping centers and candies made for Halloween as well.

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Haunted houses as well as Halloween events are in place in various bigger cities. If you want to do something really spooky in Japan, Tokyo, check out Mt Fuji – Aokigahara Forest , I hear they put up a good event every year.  The Japanese do have a Halloween Parade called the Kawasaki Halloween Parade, known as one of the largest parade in Japan, just outside of Tokyo.  Of course, Disneyland in Japan will have its own celebration even if the rest of Japan isnt’ but you will be surprised that even in Yokohoma and Osaka, they have their own parades as well.

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