Guest Posts · Pop Culture and Japan

Guest Post: Japanese Baseball: Fun, Modern, Sacred

One evening not too long, my daughter surprised me an unlikely question about, of all things, Japanese baseball.  I am keenly interested in Japan and always enjoyed attending baseball games during my many visits to that country, but still the question came out of left field.  

“What is baseball to the Japanese?” she asked, explaining that “during the Second World War, Japan’s military government suppressed all things American, even the English language, but the Japanese continued to play baseball, even professionally.”  She then added, almost innocently:  “Didn’t they know it was an American game?” 

I assured her that Japanese people knew the game’s origins well.  Other than that simple fact, I had nothing specific to offer her.  In the back of my mind, I sensed that the answer somehow connected to a broader mystery about the Japanese – how they can so readily adopt so much from abroad and never for a moment lose their sense of self or their commitment to steward Japan’s unique culture and values.  Americans, when they adopt something foreign, often feel a tension between their identity and the new practice as if somehow indulging it makes them less American.  Not so the Japanese. 

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Pop Culture and Japan

Japanese Bass Player Yusuke Morita Selected To Play At World’s Largest Flamenco Festival And Contest

The Cante de las Minas Festival’s contests have launched the career of many flamenco artists through its 61 years of history in the disciplines of singing, dancing, guitar and other instrumental playing

Flamenco bass player Yusuke Morita (Nishinomiya, 1988) has been selected to play on August 4th at the semifinals of the Cante de las Minas International Festival, the world’s largest flamenco event that takes place in the Spanish town of La Unión.

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Pop Culture and Japan

Walking On The Wild Side Of Sake With The Miyoshikiku Brewery

The world of sake is made up of interesting folks who’ve dedicated themselves to keeping the rich history of Japan’s native drink alive. Folks who’re leaving their own unique mark and something very special is going on at the Miyoshikiku brewery in Tokushima Prefecture.

Meet Mamiya Ryōichirō, the 5th generation head of the Miyoshikiku brewery. A born RocknRolla with a taste for out of the box sake and a man I had the pleasure of interviewing alongside Kyoko Nagano.

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Pop Culture and Japan

Sake, Shochu And Drinks Galore: Launching The Drink To That Newsletter

Being in a bar or a restaurant is transformative. Venues like that are an intersection of new cultures, communication, excitement and storytelling. Drinks play a vital role in creating these experiences, with Japanese drinks like sake and shochu elevating nights out, intimate lunches and conversations with friends.

Sake is one of my favourite drinks. But it’s not the only thing that floats my boat. I’m pleased to announce the launch of Drink To That, a newsletter for imbibing knowledge, celebrating the hospitality industry and providing content marketing tips for drink brands.

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Pop Culture and Japan

The Way Of The Warrior: Samurai And Comics

Japanese culture has been popular in the west for years, with anime being woven into the fabric of pop culture. Westerners also visit Japan to learn about the country’s history and the samurai are an important part of it.

The traditional view of samurai are noble, honourable warriors who dedicated their lives to a singular cause. It’s no surprise that samurai have been featured in comics.

But how are they portrayed? Do mainstream comics like Marvel and DC remain faithful to what samurai stood for? Let’s take a closer look.

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Pop Culture and Japan

Appreciating The Intricacies Of Shinto Funerals With Daken And Wolverine

Everyone has their own way of coping with death, whether through carrying out their own personal rituals or spending time with loved ones. The passing of my grandad has made me think about the burial ceremonies from different cultures, with comics offering an insight into the various practices. After all, death is never constant in comics. But we still mourn characters if we’ve read about them for years.

Japanese funerals are some of the most elaborate, so it seemed appropriate that Wolverine’s death would be honoured through a culture that shaped his life.

During the Death of Wolverine arc, Logan’s son, Daken, carried out a traditional Shinto funeral for his father. Shinto funerals have twenty steps and I’m looking into each one as a way of seeing how grief is processed.

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Japanese Cuisine · Pop Culture and Japan

Yamato Magazine Offers Copywriting And Content Marketing Services To Japan-Inspired Brands And More

When it comes to running your business there are only so many hours in the day and in today’s fast-paced digital world it’s vital that you have a high-quality website. And the content on your website can make or break your brand because it’s key to how your customers interpret your products and services.

From web pages to blogs, every little piece of content counts and devoting time to focus on all that detail isn’t everyone’s cup of tea! That’s where a copywriter comes in and Yamato Magazine happens to be run by a content writer who loves getting to the heart of a brand’s story and sharing that story with the world.

That’s why Yamato Magazine offers copywriting services to Japan-related, hospitality and travel businesses. If you’re curious about content writing then you’re in the right place, so read on to find out more about these services.

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Pop Culture and Japan

Fire Water Of The Kamuni: Burash

Japanese spirits like shochu aren’t that well-known in Western countries. But when you develop a taste for shochu, it’s easy to disappear down the rabbit hole and drinking the spirit has inspired the creation of a spirit for my horror world of The Frontier.

No matter where you come from on The Frontier, alcohol is the great equaliser, playing a vital role in religionpolitics and everyday life. The same goes for the kamuni, who use alcohol as a way to be closer to their beliefs, celebrate and mark important milestones.

A popular drink within kamuni culture is burash, a type of spirit that can be made from several ingredients and has a huge range of flavour profiles.

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Pop Culture and Japan

Unlocking The Mysteries Of Tinek And The Secret Brewing Techniques Of The Kamuni

The drinking traditions of different cultures is fascinating and Japanese sake is one of the most unique beverages on the planet. I enjoy drinking it so much that it inspired the creation of a fantastical drink that fits into the world of The Frontier, a horror western universe inhabited by monsters and gunslingers.

Tinek is the spirtual drink of the kamuni and you can learn more about it here.

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Pop Culture and Japan

Cultural Displacement And Complex Identities: An Overview Of The Kamuni

Japanese culture has had a big impact on me. Hell, it inspired the creation of Yamato Magazine and it’s been influential in crafting a world in which I’ve been able to publish my debut novella AT THE DEAD OF DUSK. Set within a dark western world called The Frontier, the novella follows an infamous witch hunter transporting a young woman across dangerous terrain.

When creating The Frontier, I dipped into my love of Japanese culture and created a group of people called kamuni. Much of the kamuni’s history has been inspired by the Ainu, the indigenous people of Japan who have their origins in Hokkaido. Read on to discover more about the kamuni.

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