Tuesday, October 30, 2007


The Tsubaki (not to be confused with Tsubaki, Tsubaki or Tsubaki) is known as 'Camellia Japonica' in English. I found these seed cases on the road side on Sunday.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Statisticaly speaking

Here are some of the stats from my hit counter this month that detail how some poeple came to visit 'Japanese Light'. Sad but true, the posts that mention anything vaguely pant-like will bring the hits.

Getting visited and receiving comments gives me a warm fuzzy feeling of contentment, but porn searched visits are like the experience of having everyones attention until you realize you have a huge zit on your nose.

My fault for mentioning the P-word I suppose. Sorry, move along now, nothing to see here, move along.

cartoon porn
roricon (roricon = lolicon = lolita complex)
roricon pics
anime girl taking off pants
anime undies
blogspot roricon
completely free cartoon porn
english cartoon porn movies

A late postcard from London

A picture from London that I thought I had lost, of the houses of parliment taken just after light up on a sunny summer eve. Very postcard like.

That evening I met a Russian student who had travelled down from Scotland where he was studying to be a doctor. He already spoke perfect English and was learning Japanese to be able to visit/study/work in Japan (the Japanese evidently having a good reputation in medical circles).

More on Japanese medicine as experienced by ordinary folk in the future I think. For now, just the memory of a very rushed summer in the U.K, and a few days happy snapping.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Autumn's long night

秋の夜長 (あきのよなが ) Aki no yonaga means 'Autumn's long night'. It is a phrase commonly used to describe the longer night times in this season.


A member of the Chindon-ya performance group at the street performers festival on Saturday.

This year was the 30th anniversary of the street performers festival in Osu Kannon, Nagoya. Amongst the many and varied performances was a Chindon group from Osaka.
I saw them there last year for the first time. A real, working Chindonya!
You can find out what a Chindonya is by reading the link here, but I thought it would be more interesting to show you what they write about themselves, and have spent a couple of hours (cough... long hours) translating the first section of their promotional material from this page.
Although not a professional translation, I think it retains some of the flavour of the original that should help give you a better idea of what a Chindonya is and does. Excuse any strange wording.

“You want and exciting atmosphere for you shop opening or sale.
At the lively beat of the drum, your counter will quickly take on a festival feeling.
For a business unsure of how to liven trade, the Chindon group is the answer. People gather from far and wide to hear the sound of the Chindoya!
Similarly, by performing a circuit in local residential areas, the Chindon group can help to show the sincerity of the storekeeper, make people feel more personally attached to a local store or business and at the same time make it the word on everyone’s lips.
During such promotions we can also listen to the needs and requests of residents, and report these back to the store or business. The Chindon group is, after all, an information medium for the local area.
If you decide to favor our group with your business, you get the youngest, freshest and most content rich group in Japan! We are number 1!
Just one call and we will fly to anywhere in the country, anywhere in the world! Contact the Chindon group information center now.”

Monday, October 22, 2007


In June I wrote a post titled OAP (for Old Age Photographers) in which I used the phrase 'Rotographers' (Rojin (= old people) + Photographer). It is a phrase and an image that I find myself looking for at every festival I attend in Japan now. The silver year snappers, the retired generation who may be one of the last generations to enjoy the retirement benefits of the governments after war promise of employment for life.

Here are a few of the snaps of these photographers that keep the mid-range digital SLR market from stagnating:

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The test of a photographer

Out of interest, I dropped into the head office of the Asahi Shinbun, one of Japan’s national newspapers, to find out what would be involved in becoming a staff photographer.

The young lady sitting alone at the reception desk was very kind, and after I had explained that I wanted to ask some advice about becoming a staff photographer she immediately phoned upstairs.

“There’s a gentleman in reception who would like to know how to become a staff photographer. Yes, Yes, Oh, he’s a foreigner by the way. Yes, thank you.
(looks at me) One of our photographers in on his way down to talk to you. Please wait in here.” “This is going very well”, I thought.

I was shown into a small waiting area and after only a couple of minutes was greeted by the photographer. I explained why I had dropped in and asked if he could give me some advice. Looking a little wary, as if he had not quite decided whether my language ability was up the explanation, he began to describe the application process.

Each applicant for a position within the company is required to take a ‘Nyu-sha shiken’, an entrance examination and a health check. After the test, comes an interview, and after that for the lucky few another interview and the chance to show ones portfolio. The brick wall in the process for the non-native Japanese speaker however comes right at the beginning. The test!

The test is a mixture of language ability, historical and general knowledge, reason and mathematics. It is unrelated to the position you are applying for. It requires a level of Japanese that even the top level of the Japanese proficiency test does not prepare you for and the mathematics test is at least A-level (high school) standard. It is difficult, and it is a test based on the Japanese system of education.

I do not know what it takes to become a staff photographer in other parts of the world, but to become a company employee in almost every large Japanese company you would have to take the test. This could be the point where I start whining about the Japanese system and the way it discriminates against foreigners etc but I will not for two reasons. Firstly, the level of ‘discrimination’ that I as a westerner experience is nothing compared to the experiences of other nationalities. The second reason is even simpler. This is just one of the things that makes living in Japan so interesting! Challenges you never expected. I suspect this is the reason some people stay for a long time, because they still didn’t overcome all of them.

Some people, the photographer told me, are hired because of their track record, and sometimes freelancers are used for specific tasks, but with an unusual hint of realism in my voice, I think that a staff position with a Japanese newspaper in any role is out of my reach….
…for the moment.


A defeated samurai general roars his challenge to the conquering army during a battle re-enactment held as part of 'The Parade of the Three Heroes' for the Nagoya Festival last weekend.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Private Population

Campaigners outside kanayama station, Nagoya, on Saturday afternoon, calling for support for the democracy movement in Myanmar (Burma). One of the Japanese volunteers spoke of the difficulty of obtaining the support of the Japanese people. While the Japanese media has been working overtime to report the death of journalist Kenji Nagai, the subsequent repatriation of his body and his very well attended funeral, the Japanese people themselves seem reluctant to show open support.

The volunteer spoke of a protest held in Nagoya two weeks ago to highlight the oppression of the people of Myanmar by the current millitary junta. A total of 70 people attended. He was dissapointed with the turnout, comparing it to rallies held in London and New York.

He reasoned that the Japanese people were disinclined to involve themselves on a personal level with a problem outside their boarders, adding that even the abductions of Japanese nationals by North Korean agents provoked little response from the people themselves. This may or may not be the case, but Nagoya is known to be one of the most conservative areas of Japan, and perhaps not the easiest place to provoke a such a public response.

The military junta of Myanmar still continues to round up opposition, and seems to be targetting people like Kenji Nagai, journalists who wish to show the world the truth.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


A quickie from the world of advertising media. The commercial below was the winner of the Cannes Lions grand prix award for film advertising this year. It is a commercial for the Unilever Dove brand and was (cleverly) released on Youtube before anything else. Youtube as marketing? You'd better believe it!

My friend is 'in advertising' in a Japanese company and attended the festival this year. He is fascinated with the 'other side of the coin' approach to advertising that can be seen in commercials such as this and many other commercials from abroad.

In Japan, the t.v commercial is very often a very direct thing, with occasional imports from abroad adding spice. This years festival has, for him at least, provided another avenue of ideas to explore. It is possible that in Japan we may see the growth of commercials that must be contemplated, that require more audience participation so to speak. I am no weather reporter, but that seems to be the way the wind is blowing.

Anyway, back to the clips in hand. Sit back and enjoy the first, and then crack up and enjoy a very very well produced parody in the second.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Nakagawa Dusk

The Real Me

Mars Base

Autumn is a time to watch the skies.
"Japan has four seasons, what about your country?" is one question that any foreigner living in Japan is likely to be asked. Certainly the transition from summer to autumn here is a very clear one. One day it is warm, the next it is cool. The autumn fruits, the falling leaves, the fantastic sunsets and the ever changing clouds.
Yes, my country has four seasons, often in one day.

Monday, October 08, 2007

No parking signs

I don't remember ever seeing signs like this in the U.K, or anywhere else outside Japan.


While you are on line....

Funny place the internet, travelling without moving. You can even be in two places at once!
While you are here then, you might also consider being here as well.

Chris Willson is an Okinawa based photographer who uses medium format (big) film to record images from all over Japan. There are some beautiful images on the Travel 67 site and Chris has just added a new festivals section to the site gallery. You may find it worth your while being in only the one place to appreciate them fully.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Happy Birthday

Happy birthday Mitsuyo! (25 again!!!)

Friday, October 05, 2007

New Beginnings

Bar Arco of Sakae, Nagoya will be closing at the end of this month. The closure had been predicted for early next year but the Nomura San the bar owner has decided not to wait.

When I first moved to Nagoya I asked a new friend if he knew of any good bars in the city. He took me to Arco. Arco has, for me, over the last 6 years been a place to relax, meet interesting people, dance, drink eastern european liquors, ponder life, rant and rave, learn new vocabulary, pick up useful photography tips.... the list goes on. Simply speaking it was everything a good bar should be. My father even held his 60th birthday there!

Nomura san has found a new space for a new kind of bar not far from Nagoya station near Nagoya's oldest covered shopping street (one of the only areas that survived the bombing during the war). He is planning many exciting things for this new space, and non of them to do with machines that go beep. The second floor is to be converted to provide cheap rental office space for freelancers of all sorts, and may even provide me with an inexpensive studio work space.

I shall be sad to see the end of Arco, but an ending is a time for new beginnings.

Thursday, October 04, 2007