Inside knowledge from Inside Japan
Wednesday, 27th May 2015
In Japan Entertainment News,
Japanese films do well at this year's Cannes Film Festival
The film industry in Japan has had notable successes in recent years, but in order to continue to develop it is important to gain the world's attention. One of the annual events when this can be achieved is the Cannes Film Festival and this year saw a number of Japanese movies perform well.
A total of seven films from Japan were selected to be screened at Cannes. Director Kore-eda Hirokazu returned with his latest work Our Little Sister, after his other piece, Like Father, Like Son won the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2013.
The Un Certain Regard section, which runs alongside the more well-known Palme d'Or, featured two Japanese films. While Kawase Naomi gained praise for AN, it was Kiyoshi Kurosawa who won the directing prize for Kishibe no Tabi, which translates as Journey to the Shore. The winning film is a supernatural drama about a grieving widow who is haunted by her dead husband. It received mixed reviews by critics, but managed to wow the judges at Cannes.
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Tuesday, 26th May 2015
In Japan Entertainment News, Business In Japan,
Could 4-hour coffee queues in Japan spell the end for green tea?
Green tea has long been the favoured drink in Japan, but it seems the nation's taste for coffee could be posing a threat. Since Blue Bottle, a Californian coffee roasting company opened branches in the country, queues to enter the establishments have been so long that some people have waited four hours to get their hands on a cup, reports the Associated Press.
Blue Bottle is not the first American company to have seized the imagination of the Japanese, with the likes of Taco Bell and other fastfood outlets having done well in the nation before. What is different about the artisanal roaster's approach, however, means that the initial flurry of interest could continue.
James Freeman, the musician that founded Blue Bottle, openly admits that the concept for the brand was influenced by kissaten - the old-style tea shops of Japan. Unlike other large-scale chains, these Blue Bolt has taken this concept to provide slow coffee experiences, as opposed to sweet concoctions to go. Think dimly lit venues, with good music and real drip coffee.
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Friday, 22nd May 2015
In Japan Entertainment News, Business In Japan, Events In Japan,
Two melons sold for the price of luxury car in Japan
The first Yubari melons of the season have gone on sale at the Saporro Central Wholesale Market in Japan, selling for an incredible price.
A huge 1.5 million yen (£7,955) was spent on a pair of the fruits, which are a hybrid of two types of cantaloupe and considered a luxury item in Japan.
The purchase was made by Kazuo Watarai, a local fruit wholesaler, who paid the equivalent sum of a new car for the melons.
High prices are normal for the fruit, but these become astronomical for the first auction of the year, with the winner gaining much prestige from buying the beginning of the season's bounty.
While the price fetched for this fair of melons was high, it did not reach the record sum of 2.5 million yen, which was achieved in 2014.
Yubari melons are only grown in the small town of the same name, which is close to Sapporo and must be cultivated under exact conditions.
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Thursday, 21st May 2015
In Japan Entertainment News, Business In Japan, Events In Japan, Japan Entertainment News,
Japanese aquariums make ethical decision to stop buying Taiji dolphins
A vote taken by the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA) will mean its members no longer buy dolphins from the town of Taiji. The destination in Wakayama prefecture has become infamous, due to 2009 documentary The Cove, which portrayed dolphins being herded into nets by fishermen. Some were then killed with knives, while others were destined for the country's aquariums.
This has led to widespread condemnation of the practice, which sees hundreds of dolphins being killed every year. JAZA was facing the prospect of being expelled from the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) if it did not change its stance on the procurement of dolphins from Taiji.
As a result, a vote was taken by members of the body in Japan, with 89 zoos and 63 aquariums creating a majority to ban obtaining the animals. Had the decision gone in the other direction, leaving WAZA would have made it very difficult for such attractions in Japan to gain rare species from abroad in the future.
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Unagi is traditionally made from eel, but farm-raised catfish could represent a sustainable alternative.
Japan's attitude to technology will be showcased through the roll out of innovative toilets.
Monthly Kagura dance performances commence in June and run until November
Narita International Airport encourages stopover passengers to check out the area around the airport.
The Man who sold the world will be performed in Japan.
Crying rooms are the latest in the more exotic hospitality ideas in Japan