wedding documentary in Fukui-ken (34 minutes)

Customs and planning for weddings in Japan have changed since the Showa period. But in Echizen-city the kimono merchants and downtown business association have come up with a fall event to attract visitors and local interest. The clothing and customs of parents and grandparents are put on display by preparing for a demonstration of the earlier styles and rituals.

A colleague based in the area who used to work in TV news and entertainment keeps his skills sharp by producing short documentaries like this one. With his permission, here is the link for "Showa no Hanayome Gyoretsu" to enjoy the Japanese-only language track, https://youtu.be/7PiEP2IgjjQ


social changes - story about "monk ticketed for driving in Buddhist robes"

As society changes and things get more complicated in Japan, this story illustrates what happens when high-tech police in Fukui-ken see a monk wearing his Buddhist robes and driving a car.
=-=-=-=-=-= EXCERPT:

... ...Fukui Prefecture's regulations for enforcing the Road Traffic Law state that driving a vehicle in clothing that might affect safe driving is prohibited. The police officer is believed to have decided that the monk's robe violated this regulation and so cited him with a traffic ticket.

According to local reports, the monk was driving to a memorial service when he was stopped in Fukui on Sept. 16 around 10 a.m. The monk was told he could not wear kimono to drive and received a ticket with a ¥6,000 fine. The violation, according to the ticket, was "driving in attire that hinders vehicle operation."

The monk is refusing to pay the fine and said he would like to "clearly state at a trial that I can drive safely in a monk's robe."


video visit to Shikoku, "rural living in Japan"

Here is one filmmaker's take on life outside the metro centers of Japan.
=-=-=-=-=-= quoting boingboing.net this morning:

Until the early 2000s more people lived in villages and small towns than in cities. Population in large cities continues to rise, while the opposite is true in rural areas. This is especially true in Japan, where people are fleeing from their rural homes to live in Tokyo and Osaka. Today 92% of Japanese live in large cities. In this video, Greg Lam, the host of Life Where I'm From, went to Japan's smallest island, Shikoku, to learn what living outside a megalopolis is like.


glimpes of life and language, video Clips: Fukui-ken, Kii Peninsula and Kansai area in 2018 and 1998

About 20 years ago I borrowed a camcorder and recorded interviews in English with Fukui-ken friends about several facets of social life. After Youtube became easy to use by so many people, I digitized the recordings to share online (see below). Then during my 2017 year in Japan I made a few more clips, mostly 2-3 minutes observations of events, rather than conversations. But a few weeks ago I made a short visit to see some of the same 1998 people whom I talked with. After 20 years we see things from a different perspective. Most clips are in English, but still have value to learners of Japanese, since social proficiency and cultural literacy are just as important as linguistic fluency and accuracy.

One recording is with a former workmate in Fukui who has actively protested nuclear power each week at the kencho. That conversation is in Japanese.
And as a curious experiment, one conversation illustrates Code Switching: we jump back and forth between Japanese and English. In my early days of learning Japanese it felt confusing to switch so freely, but now there feels like almost no boundary between the languages anymore. Maybe other non-native speakers have a similar experience, too.

I will send this link to my social studies colleagues, too, but first I want to share the clips with students of Japanese life and language.
 -- W

Video Clips: Fukui-ken, Kii Peninsula and Kansai area, http://bit.ly/clips2018jp


kami shibai & ningyo gekijo, traditional performance in photos & viideo clips

Back in 2017 as part of an anniversary event for a Jodo-shu temple in Fukui-ken they hosted a Buddhist priest who has a combination road show - kamishibai and also puppet theater. Here are a few scenes to share with others.

kamishibai frame and audience, https://www.flickr.com/photos/gpwitteveen/33460093082
video clip (2.5 minutes), opening scene, https://www.flickr.com/photos/anthroview/33487732021

puppet story:
-young protagonist talks with wise priest, https://www.flickr.com/photos/anthroview/32774310484
-transformer demon (at first a meek human but now!), https://www.flickr.com/photos/anthroview/33576066156
-wise priest, https://www.flickr.com/photos/gpwitteveen/32774079664
-video clip, demon in disguise meets acolyte, https://www.flickr.com/photos/gpwitteveen/33604153865
-video clip, dramatic climax, https://www.flickr.com/photos/anthroview/33487725241


more films Re: Japanese culture, society and values through film

[cross-posting from SenseiOnline yahoo group for teachers of Japanese language/culture]

Thanks to T.P. for the initial question to senseionline about film titles with subtitles suitable for high school viewers. And thanks, too, for D.C. (below) for putting together a list to begin with. I would like to see the final choices for the students! But here is another way to answer the question:

Before assigning movie titles to a given theme/category, how about first making a list of some features of Japanese society, culture, values to show and discuss. Then the possible scenes or full-length movies can be selected. Joy Hendry's book, Understanding Japanese Society, has been an important overview to life and language on the islands. She is revising the 2012 edition now for reprinting.

The ToC would give a list of themes to examine through film. Some contexts would include, for example,

Home culture
School culture
Workplace culture
Counter-culture like citizen movements, protests, non-salaryman lives
Combinations of traditional and modern/Western practices
The land - before massive consumer economics, livelihoods were tied to coast, paddy, urban/merchant, and mountain conditions
Life events, life cycle, religion and ceremony

One big consideration is the teen audience, since some movie scenes or situations might not be suitable.
Rich sources of social observation or commentary are the 1980s, 90s films directed by Itami; more recently the ones by Kore-eda.

imdb.com and wikipedia sometimes give enough detail to make a decision about a film title, too.

A great documentary from 1995 that shows how foreign ideas come to Japan and acquire local uses, meanings, and expression is "The Japanese Version" from www.cnam.com They make a full version (includes a chapter on love hotels) and a high school version (no love hotels).

There is also this project with a dozen short conversations in English with Japanese residents in rural Fukui-ken from 1998:
"Social Sketches of Japan" segments are online at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLfc4C_JsrO37Rl2NBi6fJci09ls_478u3

Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:36 pm (PDT) . Posted by"Derek Chin"
Here are some movies I came up with. The titles marked with a (?), I wasn't able to confirm myself:
On confronting death/the deceased:
Departures / おくりびと

After Life /ワンダフルライフ

On dealing with suicide: [see also the documentary, "Saving 10,000" at tinyurl.com/saving10000 ]
The Cross / 十字架 (?)

On career/career change:
Railways / 49歳で電車の運転士になった男の物語

On parenthood/family:
Like Father, Like Son /そして父になる (?)

On school bullying / disability:
A Silent Voice /聲の形

On depression:
My SO Has Got Depression / ツレがうつになりまして。

On international cooperation:
We Can't Change the World. But, We Wanna Build a School in Cambodia /僕たちは世界を変えることができない


article about Shojin Ryori - temple foods

The people in Brooklyn, NY at ATLAS OBSCURA has lots of Japan articles, but among their new food-centric project, GASTRO OBSCURA, there is this article about (non-meat) temple foods, https://www.atlasobscura.com/foods/shojin-ryori-japanese-temple-cuisine


series from video bloggers based in Nagoya

Article at bbc.com showcases 6 years of the vlog from a husband-wife team on their Youtube Channel, "Rachel and Jun."
===Story excerpt:
They're all created by Nagoya-based husband-and-wife vlogging duo Rachel and Jun Yoshizuki, who run the YouTube channel Rachel and Jun. Their on-the-ground accounts of daily life in Japan have been viewed more than 200 million times.

They belong to a community of "J-vloggers": YouTubers who attract millions of views by sharing their insights into Japanese culture. Often (but not always) expats, these users upload anything from a tour of a Japanese high school, to what it's like to stay in a tiny room in a capsule hotel and what it's like to be multiracial in Japan.


family names - 26 readings for "Niu"

This JapanTimes article describes the logic, variations, and patterns among surnames in Japan these days.
The extreme example is the 2-character family name with kanji for 'ship' and 'alive' with 26 ways to read it, from Nioi to Mibu, according to the article.


photo-essay from Kobe: one-room family life

Most documentaries these days seem to be mainly video. But the older medium of still photos, with its unnatural frozen moment, allows careful study and reflection. This story of a big family in a small space shows readers something of Japanese society that seldom attracts attention. With the forces squeezing the middle-class ever smaller and expanding the proportion of people with few resources, this story is a timely one; probably similar stories can be pictured in many of the G-20 societies, too.



the 13 Buddhist deities

cross-posting today from H-Japan email list: Monday, July 30, 2018

...a Condensed Visual Classroom Guide titled:
Thirteen Buddhist Deities of Japan - Exploring Their Origins & Roles in Japanese Death Rites & Funerary Art

Summary: The Thirteen Buddhist Deities (Jūsanbutsu 十三仏) are a purely Japanese convention. The standardized group of thirteen emerged in the mid-14th century, but in its formative years (12th & 13th centuries), the group's composition varied significantly and included only ten, eleven, or twelve members. The group is important to all schools of Japanese Buddhism. Even today, the thirteen are invoked at thirteen postmortem rites held by the living for the dead, and at thirteen premortem rites held by the living for the living. As shown herein, the thirteen are associated with the Seven Seventh-Day Rites 七七斎, the Six Realms of Karmic Rebirth 六道, the Buddhas of the Ten Days of Fasting 十斎日仏, the Ten Kings of Hell 十王, the Secret Buddhas of the Thirty Days of the Month 三十日秘仏, and other groupings. The Thirteen provide early examples of Japan's medieval honji-suijaku 本地垂迹 paradigm, wherein local deities (suijaku) are recognized as avatars of the Buddhist deities (honji). This classroom guide is unique in three ways: (1) it presents over 70 annotated images, arranged chronologically and thematically, from the 12th to 20th century, including extant art outside Japan; (2) it offers four methods to easily identify the individual deities; and (3) it provides visual evidence that the thirteen are configured to mimic the layout of the central court of the Womb World Mandala 中台八葉院. █ KEYWORDS. 十三仏 or 十三佛・十王・七七斎・七七日・中有・中陰・六齋日・六道 ・十斎日仏・三十日秘仏・本地垂迹 ・兵範記・中有記・ 預修十王生七経 ・地蔵十王経 ・佛説地藏菩薩發心因縁十王經・弘法大師逆修日記事 ・下学集. █The Adobe PDF version is printable and searchable. The web version is not.

Contents of the Slideshow:

Slide 1

Table of Contents

Slide 2

Thirteen Buddhist Deities in a Nutshell

Slide 3

Conclusions Upfront

Slides 4-13

Seven Seventh-Day Rites & Ten Judges of Hell

Slides 14-28

Non-Standard Groupings (12th, 13th, 14th centuries)

Slide 29-31

Standard Grouping (mid-14th century onward)

Slides 32-35

 Three-Buddha Pattern

Slides 36-44

 Zigzag Pattern

Slides 45-48

 Linear Pattern

Slides 49-60 

Denominational Pattern

Slides 61-64

Other Related Deity Groupings

Slides 65-78

Extant Art Outside Japan

Slides 79-81

Pilgrimages to the Thirteen Inside Japan

Slide 82-84


Mark Schumacher, Independent Researcher, Kamakura, Japan

Discussion published by Mark Schumacher on Saturday, July 28, 2018


curious and mostly useful to know - 50 things about Japan

This 11 minute Youtube has some surprises even for long-time Japan residents, it seems!

English narration - https://youtu.be/URDXZSJZ2ME


article about role-play (Rental Family Members; letter from Tokyo)

There is some good food for thought in the examples here: families who have temporary need of a person to fill in a role for their family circumstances.

Letter from Tokyo - April 30, 2018 Issue. Japan's Rent-a-Family Industry
People who are short on relatives can hire a husband, a mother, a grandson.
The resulting relationships can be more real than you'd expect.

By Elif Batuman, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/04/30/japans-rent-a-family-industry
Japan's Rent-a-Family Industry People who are short on relatives can hire a husband, a mother, a grandson. The resulting relationships can be more real than you'd expect.


real estate worldview in Japan - land holds value, but structure as consumable

Recent story that contrasts the Japanese experience of building or buying ready-made residential property, rather than to seek previously owned houses to remodel or rennovate, https://www.rethinktokyo.com/2018/06/06/depreciate-limited-life-span-japanese-home/1527843245


How many women writers of Japan do you know?

A recent article at Japan-Times introduces some of the writers of Japan and ends by announcing a series of feature stories, beginning in June.

For many of us, this will be a chance to expand our own cultural literacy & social proficiency.  

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

A series exploring female writers of Japan will be published on the third Sunday of the month, starting in June.

Where would we be without the words of Japanese women?


photo story, National Geographic Magazine & "hiki komori" shut-ins

The February 2018 edition of NGM includes a story of interest to Japan observers & students:

Pictures Reveal the Isolated Lives of Japan's Social Recluses

A photographer explores the hidden world of the hikikomori, and the human bonds that draw them out.



time traveler - old photos around Japan

Here is a collection of early color photos taken in postwar by GHQ staffers,



The National Diet Library in Tokyo caught attention this autumn when it published color photos taken immediately after the end of World War II by a staffer at the General Headquarters (GHQ).

For even older visual history, browse these photos copied from Library of Congress in Washington, DC at the Prints and Photograph room, http://old-japanphotos.wikispaces.com/ (and the companion project for comparison, http://old-koreaphotos.wikispaces.com/ )


info-mercial about Smartphone distraction in public (walking)

subtitles in English, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Fm0Zirt8wI


annual whale hunt - contrasting documentary viewpoints

Japan Times (7 Sept 2017) gives a good overview of "Whale of a Tale," the newly released story with builds in local villagers point of view for the annual killing in the Taiji cove that was forcefully presented by the lenses of "The Cove." Excerpt of online news article follows, with URL to full article and movie URL.

    The anthropological foundational ideas of point of view and context are well illustrated by both documentaries.

..."Quite simply, I was fascinated by the controversy," Sasaki tells The Japan Times, "but I was also pained by what I felt was a very one-sided way of viewing things.
     "'The Cove' showed us what the Taiji fishermen were doing to dolphins in a way that made any counter-arguments difficult if not impossible. As a filmmaker based in the United States, I knew that using hidden cameras and bypassing authority is a very effective way to make a documentary, but I wouldn't call that journalism. And there were a lot of misleading passages and untruthful depictions in that film.
     "And as a Japanese I could understand how the people of Taiji felt betrayed and outraged. Their response was to try and cover things up, or put up a wall of silence and hope the foreigners would go away. Well, the foreigners were never going away. Unless the Taiji locals spoke up about their side of the story, things were going to get worse."
     Sasaki dedicated six years to meticulous research and interview and says she now feels like something of an expert on cetaceans, the scientific classification for sea mammals.
     Taiji has gotten a little wiser, too. It has gradually opened itself up to overseas media and protesters that routinely visit the town. In fact, all the attention has given the local economy a bit of a boost — what could be more appropriate for the digital age than "outrage tourism"? Also, last month Taiji Mayor Kazutaka Sangen visited the town of Klaksvik in the Faroe Islands with hopes of forging a sister city relationship. Fishermen there share the same practices and methods of hunting.

google map link
flickr, photos search
movie page, www.okujirasama.com 


福島 stories, Screening of Threshold: Whispers of Fukushima

Michigan based documentary film and photographer [excerpt from July  26, 2017 screening announcement in Ypsilanti, Michigan]

Trailer for the filmhttps://vimeo.com/103453868

"The issues of Fukushima are very complicated and delicate, and there is no easy way to explain what the problem actually is. The mass media especially tends to create TV programs which are unnecessarily sensational, and they consciously edit those programs to make viewers emotional. So, now, I refuse the offer to do interviews for those programs. Also, Fukushima has changed much since the disastrous events occurred. Locals hesitate to speak about it. It's because of resignation to the unchanging conditions, or fear of exacerbating the situation within the community by speaking to outsiders. It seems better not to talk about anything. 

In such conditions, I think 'Threshold: Whispers of Fukushima' became a very unique work. Toko omitted explanations, as much as possible, and connected people's calm honest talk (like they're speaking to themselves) and live music performances by the interviewees, to allow them to tell their life stories. Perhaps this is not even really a movie about "Fukushima". Even if she shot it in Fukushima, the theme of the film is not "the accident" nor "lost home", rather, it is a fundamental human theme: "what is 'living one's own life?'". Each individual has their own purpose in life, joy, and goal. Everyone is different from each other. Therefore, no one can truly say "my way of living is right or yours is wrong." After experiencing the confusion created by the accidents in Fukushima, I deeply feel this. How interesting that everyone in this movie, including me, said this same thing, although by coincidence.

Please watch this film once, just putting aside all preconceptions or background knowledge of Fukushima. And, if you can reconsider your own way of living life and your own sense of value by experiencing our stories, if you can perhaps reconsider the meaning of living on this planet Earth, and how we may to continue to live…… if this movie allows you to feel this… I can say this project succeeded." – Yoshimitsu Takuki

--------- And recently one of the groups who got featured in the movie Yamakiya Taiko ensemble played at Blissfest in MI! If you are interested, check out these clips! They are amazing! 

(Actually they played at Power Center last year, and so, you may have seen them in person! The fantastic residency was actually supported by CJS, CFWPS, and U of M SMTD!)
And lastly, here is the message clip from the leader of the clip about the movie: https://www.facebook.com/octoberbabiestoko/videos/10212324297756439/

Toko Shiiki: http://tokoshiiki.com

Current documentary project: "Threshold: Whispers of Fukushima"

October Babies: http://octoberbabies.net


recent blogs - visual and language materials for Japan; Japanese language

--cross-posting from H-Japan of July 12, 2017,

<>1<> Member Blog: New Online Digital Resource (Everyday Japanese Culture and Society)
A blog about life in everyday Japan written by a British professor
Responsible person(s):      Chris Burgess 
Synopsis:  Regular snapshots of everyday life in Japan with a nature and language focus plus musings on Japanese culture and society for Japan language learners and Japan lovers in general.          
Content type:  Short posts on life in everyday Japan with images and reading recommendations. Also a "Resources" section with links and information on Japanese Studies tools and sites

<>2<> Re-Envisioning Japan: Japan as Destination in 20th Century Visual and Material Culture
Re-Envisioning Japan is an open-ended recuperative project based on an original collection of tourism, travel and educational ephemera in a wide range of media.
Responsible person(s):      Joanne Bernardi  
Synopsis:     Creative digital curation of an original physical collection of travel and educational ephemera about Japan       
Content type:     High resolution images, moving images, audio materials, interactive timeline     
Intended audience:   Academic community and general public    
Host institution:         University of Rochester


film - So Long Asleep: bringing some of the 1940s forced laborers' mortal remains back to Korea

---[Pr. David Plath writes, 6/2017] 

So Long Asleep (60 minutes) follows an international team of East Asian volunteers as they excavate, preserve and repatriate the remains of Korean men who died doing slave labor in Hokkaido during the Asia-Pacific War. On the 70th anniversary of the end of the war we travel with them as they carry 115 sets of remains on a pilgrimage across Japan and over to Korea for reinterment in the Seoul Municipal Cemetery. Using a dark past to shape a brighter shared future the project offers an upbeat model for remembrance and reconciliation that could be adapted widely.
     The film and the repatriation project are featured in a 4-page special segment of the Spring 2017 issue of Education About Asia.
     See the DER website to view a trailer. Dialogue is in English, Korean and Japanese; in the DER edition the dialogue carries English subtitles. Separately, project participants have prepared editions with subtitles in Korean and in Japanese. For the Korean version, contact Professor Byung-Ho Chung (bhc0606at gmail) and for Japanese contact Professor Song Ki-Chan (kichans at hotmail).

An extended essay by Pr. Chung about the project appears in Asia-Pacific Journal; Japan Focus online magazine, as well, http://apjjf.org/2017/12/Chung.html


early days - Okayama Field Station (early 1950s) social science hub

Soon after WWII and during the time of occupation governance the Center for Japanese Studies from the University of Michigan (one of the war-time language centers to train personnel headed to Japan) got permission and assistance to establish a 3-part research location in rural Okayama prefecture. One team focused on agricultural livelihoods, another coastal resource base, and the third centered on mountain economic patterns of life. With a selection of social scientists using various approaches and projects, a lot of good fieldwork was conducted from which several books, many articles and conference presentations were produced. In recent months the U-M CJS has been uploading selected photos from the collection via their Facebook account. This screenshot gives a sampling of the 57 images as of May 27, 2017.
LINK to Facebook album, https://www.facebook.com/pg/umcjs/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1278945605481806
screenshot 5/2017 from U-Michigan Center for Japanese Studies, Facebook


Japan projections, low-income living, economic base of young people

This (Japanese language, well illustrated) PDF from METI presents the familiar elements converging in Japan (and elsewhere) for a slow-motion disaster of social fragmentation, isolation, and ever increasing numbers of cracks one can fall through, http://www.meti.go.jp/committee/summary/eic0009/pdf/020_02_00.pdf
The graph showing rates of single-parent household poverty puts Japan at one extreme; something many people do not know about or understand.

English language article based on much of the same data is online at http://www.businessinsider.com/japan-fertility-crisis-2017-4


Japanese lessons online, anybody? Duolingo tries on Japanese

There are limitations on language learning online, but here is one way to gain more Japanese exposure and experience, newly launched and likely to have updates as users chime in, http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/duolingo-helps-you-learn-japanese/

Duolingo has been helping people learn languages since 2011. However, it doesn't yet offer courses in every language, including Japanese. Until now...


documentary forthcoming about two Ainu families in Nibutani

Story from March 12, 2017 at Japan Times

It may interest students of Japanese life and language; or those interested in photography and video documentary.


peformance art - New Sumie, dancing brush with live music

Part of the February special exhibit at the Kokaido Hall in downtown Echizen city (Fukui-ken) has been a few demonstrations of the visual artist at work; in this case at the gallery, but with related events this time at Shokaku-ji, about 150m to the west, or so.

The artist, Ueda Miyuki (site requires Flash support, so IE browser), uses traditional materials (ink, brush, washi Japanese paper)  for today's themes with her dancing sumi-e brush performance event - meaning very large pieces of Japanese paper and live music to motivate the artist - note that she paints with left hand but later was writing address information with right! Among the collected video clips, below, the last one with Tibetan singing bowls is particularly riveting.

*Performance 2017-02-19, preparing the way - https://vimeo.com/204826192 

*Performance 2017-02-19, first ink - https://vimeo.com/204826215 
*Performance 2017-02-19, autobiography installationhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/gpwitteveen/32159822604 
*Performance 2017-02-19, completing the details https://youtu.be/OU_klPZ4PF4 
*Performance 2017-02-19, adding red details - https://youtu.be/-PRRiTj0g94 
*Performance 2017-02-19, after the performancehttps://www.flickr.com/photos/gpwitteveen/32849421332 

*Performance 2017-02-19, Temple (Shokaku-ji) sutra and Singing Bowls https://youtu.be/XtDW1UdUUhs 


Sonic Japan - audio recordings around the society

Sound recordings bring listeners up close to the immediacy of the context and events at hand. The Sonic Japan project has collected a variety of settings to let you explore the many cultural places around the society and language of the Japanese islands. Thanks to the initiative of colleagues in Australia, Japan, and the USA, this project has taken full form. Details of method, funding, contributors and links to follow via Twitter, Facebook, or the collection itself at Soundcloud can be found at http://sonicjapan.clab.org.au/about and this website also groups the recordings to browse by map, by places list, and by cultural theme. The soundcloud address is https://soundcloud.com/sonicjapan/

Sonic Japan is a collection of sound recordings made in Japan that enables listeners to traverse an array of themes pertaining to everyday life through a ...


documentaries in Japan, Kazuhiro Soda's filmography

The current scholar-in-residence this year at U-Michigan is Kazuhiro Soda. His Feb. 9, 2017 lecture will probably be video recorded (in English mostly).

Commonly these days the events are recorded and can be viewed online in 2-3 weeks.

=-=-=-=-= Excerpt from announcement link, https://www.ii.umich.edu/cjs/news-events/events.detail.html/38037-6859806.html
The Power of Observation: How and Why I Make "Observational" Documentaries
Kazuhiro Soda, Toyota Professor in Residence
[guiding principles]

1 No research.
2 No meetings with subjects.
3 No scripts.
4 Roll the camera yourself.
5 Shoot as long as possible.
6 Cover small areas deeply.
7 Do not set up a theme or goal before editing.
8 No narration, title, or music.
9 Use long takes.
10 Pay for the production yourself.

His filmography includes "Campaign" (2007), "Mental" (2008), "Peace" (2010), "Theatre 1" (2012), "Theatre 2" (2012), "Campaign 2" (2013), and "Oyster Factory" (2015).


meditating zazen steps 1-16, pamphlet

trifold pamphlet from the 1990s - well illustrated, accompanied in clear English, too:


summer 2017 - engaging in Japan topics (make and take workshop for higher education faculty)

....two-week intensive program in San Diego this year [2017], and many of the expenses will be covered. It encourages college professors to include Japan as a topic in their courses. This could be excellent advocacy for your program because you could make connections with other Departments and students.

Announcing the 2017 Japan Studies Institute (JSI) Program June 5-18, 2017 San Diego State University. Join your colleagues from both two and four year institutions ...


Bluegrass music in Japan

And then there is James Stanlaw's documentary on the subject, too, from 10 years ago, and this more recent presentation:
Japanese-Bluegrass: Creativity and Nostalgia in a Borrowed Imaginary Musical Genre.". 91st Annual Meeting of the Central States Anthropological Society.. Central States Anthropological Society.. (2014)


movie "0.5 miri" (2014, Japanese)

IMDB.com has an entry for this movie, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3825360/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1, which refers to a line by one of the characters toward the end of the film.
He talks about the power of human will - if enough people concentrate they can move a mountain _rei ten go miri_ (0.5 mm).
This full-length feature film presents a series of vignettes shining a light on a range of elderly people's experience in their twilight years.
So if you are looking for a possibly quirky take on contemporary life in regional and rural Japan, take a look at 0.5 miri.


vivid Japan photos for public use

If you need luscious photos, or if you're up to the challenge of deconstructing national presentation of "who we are" then these pictures may serve the purpose.
This comes via Senseionline yahoogroup:

Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry just launched a gorgeous website full of photos that are under the "Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License" - Which means you can use them for anything, anytime.   https://photo.kankouyohou.com/


art in daily life - Japan's manhole covers

The Japan Times publised a story about local government making special designs for their covers.
It began in the 1980s to improve the public image about sewage systems! Perhaps the 12,000 images are online by now, but if you are in Japan then you can request a set of collector's cards.

[excerpt from news story]

...Ishii's is among a growing legion of hobbyists enchanted by what he sees as the beauty manhole cover design. Enthusiasts are taking to social networking services such as Twitter and Instagram to share their joy, and the photos fly back and forth.

"They are works of art. The designs embody details and subtlety of the Japanese aesthetic," said Hideto Yamada, a leader with Gesuido Koho Purattofomu (Sewerage Promotion Platform), a group of professionals and enthusiasts that includes officials from local governments and the infrastructure ministry's sewage management department.