Cherry Blossom Festival
Busiest Train Station
Nothing can be as perfect as the bullet trains in Japan. The Shinkansen trains are one of the fastest in the world and it is extended to nearly every corner of Japan.
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If you are a person who is so much into gambling and casinos, there are a few places in the world that you should visit. They are the perfect spots where you can have a tremendous and unforgettable casino experience. Some of these cities are very much synonymous for hosting the biggest and famous casinos in the world. In this article, we will see the best casino cities in the world.
Macau is a vibrant city that has a great nightlife. The city alone has more than thirty casinos that are attracting the crowd in very large numbers. The best part about Macau is that there are a lot of casinos that are about to open. The largest casino in the world Venetian is located in Macau. The casino is almost 10,500,000 square foot in area. Gambling is one of the major contributors to tourism and also for the economy for this city.
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
If we are discussing casinos, how can we leave the sin city alone? Las Vegas and casinos are the two names that go well with each other and are absolutely inspirable. When it comes to casino cities, Vegas actually set a benchmark for others. Some of the famous casinos in Las Vegas are Bellagio and Caesar’s Palace. The Leo Vegas casino that offers the famous leovegas casino bonus is also from Las Vegas.
Monte Carlo, Monaco
Monte Carlo is a kind of city that you see in the James Bond Movies. The place is filled with a lot of exciting stuff. In most of the casino cities nightlife and partying will be an integral part along with casinos. But that is not the case when it comes to Monte Carlo. The city does not have good nightlife. But the city has some of the best casinos in the world. Some of the casinos still follow traditional gambling methods.
Many might have thought that the royal city is all about brunch and tea. But that is not London is all about. It is an important city in the whole European continent when it comes to casinos. It has all the necessary elements to qualify as a casino city. The city alone has nearly twenty-five to thirty casino places. Some of the casinos are exclusive ones where there are millions being transacted on a daily basis. Some have exclusive memberships, and some are normal ones.
Singapore is more like the new kid in the block when it comes to casinos. It was very recently that their government made gambling legal. Even though the city is known for its tourist attractions and being clean, gambling and casinos are gradually starting to gain the attention of the people.
Paris is not the kind of city that can be related to gambling because it is very much associated with fashion and high-end brands. There are a lot of great casinos in this place that needs to be explored. The peak time for these casinos is during fashion events. During these times the casinos will jam-packed.
The truth is that you cannot trust Wall Street, but you can trust some of the products sold. Some of the stocks, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and other products sold on the street are excellent investments. Dealing with stocks and wallstreet is like borrowing cheap short term loans. It is mandatory that you need to make it count. If you are investing it properly then you can get good returns. If not there are good possibilities that you might hit rock bottom. Unfortunately, the industry itself is an unreliable source of information and investment for the average person.
Wall Street is in the distribution business
The reason you cannot trust Wall Street is obvious: Wall Street’s job is to sell you investments. The people in the street and in the financial and investment industry earn their money by selling you investments. You make as much or even more money by selling a bad investment than a good one.
Most stockbrokers and investment bankers are sellers who make their money by selling you investments or by selling your assets to you. Any information they provide is intended to encourage you to buy or sell something. Asking a stockbroker if you should buy or sell stocks is like asking a car seller if he should sell his car and buy a new one. His answer will be yes, because he wants the commission for your sale.
Many people are burned in the street because they do not understand that. They rely on sales reps to get investment information and guess what the sales reps will say to them. They will say that you have to sell or buy to get a commission.
How Wall Street makes money
Have you ever seen the closing bell on the stock exchange on TV or personally? If you’ve ever noticed that traders clap and cheer every time they ring this bell. They clap and cheer whether the market went up or whether it went back.
The reason merchants clap and cheer is pretty obvious when you think about it. The traders have made money that day, regardless of how the market develops. They see stockbrokers and traders living on stock commissions. If there is a bull market and people buy, they earn the commissions from the buyers when there is a bear market and when all sell, they make money from the sellers.
So the main goal of Wall Street is to get you to buy and sell their products. Wall Street does not care if you buy or sell because it makes money anyway. If you kill or lose your shirt, the dealers and brokers still drive home in their new Porsche.
The Wall Street hype machine
Another thing you might not realize, however, is that the so-called investment or financial media are actually a hype machine for Wall Street. Their purpose is not to inform you about the market, but to persuade you to buy or sell. This is achieved by pushing your emotional buttons, not information.
Relying on such people to get information about investments and the market is like a bookmaker for horse racing information. A bookmaker earns his money when placing a bet. Traders, brokers and investment bankers make money when you place a trade. Everything they say is designed to make you trade.
This means you should not trust Wall Street. Instead, you should treat it like any other seller when you look at the quality of products sold and the price. Make your decision based on the products themselves and the price charged, not the hype on Wall Street.
Japan is an ancient nation, and as such, their music (original music) is quite different than what you’d expect.
Maybe the biggest difference between the western world and Japan, when it comes to music, is that the intervals in Japan are mostly based on breathing, rather than mathematical timing.
Unlike some cultures, most of the popular songs are actually instrumental, or they contain just a bit of vocals.
Japan Music Origins
Two forms of music have been recognized as the oldest forms of music in Japan. These are shomyo (also known as Buddhist chanting) and gagaku (or court music).
Gagaku has been used mostly for the elite as it was played at the imperial court.
Honkyoku (or ”original pieces”) came to be as early as 13th century. It was performed by Zen Buddhists as means for enlightenment. This form of music has also been used by the samurai while they were trying to understand the deeper meaning of life.
Honkyoku is still present today, and it can be heard at some concerts or performance setting.
Japanese Traditional Music Instruments
Traditional Japanese music instruments were mostly comprised of wind, strings and percussion instruments. This means that they had a lot of different flutes, drum-like instruments, and also a huge variation of string instruments featuring everything from one string to more than twenty.
Some of the most popular traditional music instruments are the following:
Hyoshigi, Shoko, Koto, Kugo, Shinobue, Ryuteki, and more.
Japanese music today
Japanese music industry is one of the leading music industries in the world. It is currently the largest physical market in the world, but also a second largest music market with a value of 2.6 billion dollars.
Despite being heavily influenced by the western music culture, Japanese people remained true to their own origins, and they have combined the elements of both sides and created a spectacular sound.
The leading artists in the Japanese music market are mostly Japanese where 37 out of 50 top album and 49 out of 50 top singles have been made by Japanese people.
Japan is one of the leading countries in today’s world. They are respectable in every aspect, and there are many things we can admire about Japanese people. But aside from this serious front, they are by far, one of the weirdest nations you will ever come across.
Some people dislike them because of it; some love them, but you will never truly now until you get to know them yourself.
Interesting facts about Japan
There are more interesting things about Japan than we could count, and if you don’t know anything about them, here’s just a fraction of things you could expect when you pay them a visit
Japan is the capital of the world when it comes to vending machines. Japanese love them. There are so many different vending machines that you won’t be able to get your head around it.
If you’re like everybody else, you expect vending machines to give out sodas, coffee and those kinds of things, but toilet paper?
They also sell umbrellas, condoms, fresh flowers, frozen food, fish baits and many, many more different things.
There are approximately 5.5 million vending machines scattered around Japan, so yea, welcome to the vending machine territory.
Raw horse meat
Most of you cringed just by reading the title, but Japanese people actually see this as a delicacy. They eat it regularly and for quite some time too. There is a village in Japan where people, on average, live more than eighty years, and their key to success? Raw horse meat.
Who knows, maybe they know something we don’t.
If you go to the restaurant in Japan and start hearing all kinds of weird noises, don’t worry, they’re just slurping. Slurping is quite normal in Japan and is actually the right way when it comes to eating certain dishes.
Some streets in Japan remain nameless
If you find yourself in Japan and ask someone for directions and they give you the number instead of a street name, don’t be alarmed. It’s perfectly normal for the streets in Japan to remain nameless, so if you want to get around safely, we strongly suggest you learn their street ”naming” system.
Origami is a technique used for folding paper in order to create some kind of shape. The most popular shape is the paper crane, but there are thousand different things you could make with origami.
Japanese masters believe that no tools should be used for folding, however, as this method isn’t so sacred and special as it used to be, it is practiced all over the world, and different people use different methods. If you want to learn how to fold paper into particular shapes, maybe you should start with some tools to help you.
Origami is a great way to impress your friends and family with a bunch of different and amazing designs.
Origin of Origami
It is widely believed that origami originated in Japan and that this ancient technique dates all the way back to the sixth century after Buddhist monks brought paper to Japan. At first, it was used only by the wealthy and mostly for celebrations or special occasions because paper was an expensive commodity. After a while, it became widely popular once paper lost its value and the origami techniques started to develop quite rapidly. Today it is practiced all over the world, and any paper-folding technique bares the name ”origami”.
Word Origami is actually made of two different words, ori and kami. Ori means folding, and kami means paper.
Types of Origami
Origami may be the common name for all paper-folding techniques, but that doesn’t mean that there is only one type of Origami.
Origami that ”comes to life” is called Action Origami
Modular Origami is a technique of combining a lot of identical, usually simple, pieces, which ultimately create a complex model.
A method in which gentle curves are used rather than geometrical straight lines is called Wet Origami.
There are a few more types of Origami, so if you’re interested in this topic or want to learn more about previous ones, with a little research on the internet, you will be able to find everything you need.
There is no limit to what you can do with origami. If you are quite skilled with it, you will be able to create almost any shape or design, so keep practicing and never give up.
For the Japanese, it’s like a holiday season – the time of year spanning from late March through April when the cherry, plum, and peach blossoms flourish all over the country. That is when they practice ohanami, the beloved tradition of flower viewing.
What is Ohanami?
Ohanami, also called hanami less formally, comes from the kanji for flower, hana and the kanji for “looking” or “to see,” mi. It means exactly what it sounds like: looking at flowers. Ohanami does not take place on a specific day, but rather can be practiced at any time during the spring window. The tradition is one of simply observing and appreciating the delicacies of spring – particularly sakura, ume, and momo blossoms (cherry, plum, and peach respectively) – and reveling in that which is made even more beautiful, more precious by its evanescence. For the Japanese, the transience of cherry blossoms is a powerful metaphor for life.
Ohanami is a tradition enjoyed among friends, families, couples and coworkers alike. It can be a picnic in the park, eating sweets in the fields, visiting a famous castle or popular viewing site, or a couple casual beers on the hillside. If it happens under cherry blossoms it is probably ohanami.
Festivals abound. Celebrating at festivals and organized events often means live performances and music as well as innumerable stalls with games for children and a plethora of traditional Japanese foods and sweets to choose from. Often offered at ohanami festivals are sakura icecream and sakura mochi. Likewise, stores put out a whole string of cherry blossom products including sakura-themed candies, pastries, wine, and beer. Even the Starbucks in Japan feature a specialty sakura latte during the ohanami season.
A Brief History
Ohanami actually started as umemi, or plum blossom-viewing. That’s because back in the Nara period (710-784) – when flower-viewing is said to have first become a tradition – plum blossoms were gaining favor as symbols of culture and nobility. Ume trees had been introduced to Japan by envoys returning from China, who’d been enamored with the Chinese spectacle of blossom observation and sought to impress Japanese nobles. By the Heian period (794-1185) ohanami had become a regular practice among the higher classes and was observed by eating and drinking outside. We also know from Lady Murasaki Shikibu’s Tale of Genji, a classic novel from the period, that by then cherry blossoms had overtaken plum blossoms in terms popularity and become the primary flower associated with the ohanami tradition.
By the Edo period (1603-1867), the practice of finding a spot in the blossoming fields to enjoy sake and special bento had become a pastime for the common people.
Many plum blossom-themed poems appear in the Manyoshu, Japan’s oldest poetry anthology, and the fleeting beauty of both ume and sakura are recurring themes in classic Japanese literature. Along with singing, reading such poetry has become common practice in today’s ohanami celebrations.
Everybody likes ghost stories. Huddling around the campfire swapping tales that would make the hair on your nape stands. It gives us a sense of mystery, that there are still things that couldn’t be explained by science.
Every city has its own ghost stories: a headless priest, a dead inmate pulling his ball and chains, a child humming a lullaby in the dead of night.
And the city of Tokyo is no different. However, there is a far scarier issue that’s been plaguing Japan for years: suicide.
Train station suicides
Shin-Koiwa Station is perhaps one of Tokyo’s most infamous train stations due to people committing suicide in the place. Between the years 2011 and 2013 there have been 13 people who have taken their lives in this station, although some of those numbers may have been accidents.
But Shin-Koiwa is just one of the many train stations where people have committed suicide, so many that the city placed barriers and automated gates on these places.
However, these are only deterrents and aren’t actual solutions. People who made up their minds about taking their lives can simply climb over the barriers.
There are other steps that have been implemented as well. If you’ve been to Tokyo or is going to visit the place you’ll notice blue lights that are installed inside their train stations. This particular color has been linked to decrease suicide rates, not only in Tokyo or Japan, but all over the whole world.
There are no concrete explanations as to why this is but there are a lot of theories surrounding it, one of which is that the blue lighting is said to provide a soothing and calm feeling to a person. But again, this isn’t hard evidence and is merely a theory at the moment.
Weight of urban living
Japan is among the top counties that has a high suicide rate. Tokyo alone clocked a number of 2,825 suicides out of the country’s overall 27,195 in 2013. And yet that was one of Japan’s lowest suicide rates.
Let’s laser focus our attention to Tokyo.
The city has been described as a placed where the weight of urban living is bearing down on its citizens. The average worker in Tokyo spends almost over an hour in commuting alone, with the train carrying four times more than the amount it’s supposed to.
The increase in single-housing has also been noted among young individuals indicating that social support is as thin as parchment.
There are also a lot of forums online urging individuals to take their own life. Sometimes these people even meet each other and decide on a group suicide.
It has become so bad that the government of Japan stepped in and took charge of the situation. Strategies have been made such as the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare allocating a budget for suicide prevention programs in 2001. Another is the law passed in 2006 The Basic Acts of Suicide Countermeasures.
Cybercrime operatives have also been mobilized to identify potential suicidal individuals that are participating in online suicide threads.
Thankfully, these steps taken by the government seems to be working as the number of suicidal counts in the country has been slowly declining over the years.
Culture shock is the feeling of disorientation, uncertainty and anxiety that can be felt when trying to settle into a new location.
Though these problems that arise from encountering a completely different culture are troublesome and difficult to deal with, they can be decreased by taking active measures to blend in and adapt to the new culture instead of taking a stance against it.
Experiencing Culture Shock in Tokyo
New travelers to Tokyo are likely to encounter culture shock due to the many unique aspects of Japanese society different from the traveler’s own. For example, Japan’s larger city locations, like many large Asian cities are notorious for being extremely crowded and difficult to navigate. The difference in language also poses a considerable addition to disorientation and anxiety.
Japan is also home to many weird and wonderful practices, for example the prolific amounts of anime and manga goods as well as toys, cute objects and collectibles that are actually aimed at adult markets.
The cuisine may also pose a problem for hose inexperienced with traditional Asian food as travelers can also be easily bombarded by the ranges of different foods available that are completely different from the westernized rolls of sushi and heavily battered fried tempura.
The lack of ‘home’ or European brands or the consequent high prices of these should they be found is yet another issue that is difficult to tackle.
How to Reduce Culture Shock
Though there are difficulties associated with travelling to a different country that can only be handled by spending large amounts of time actively getting used to the new environment travelers can also take steps in order to reduce the effects of these difficulties.
For example, a measure organized travelers can reduce the effects culture shock may have on their plans and adventures in Japan by familiarizing themselves with the Japanese culture even before they leave their home countries.
It is important to keep an open mind and try to avoid comparing the new culture with anything travelers have experienced before or happen to prefer. Being open to new activities, sights and experiences also allows travelers to be open to new chances and opportunities.
Homesickness plays a large part in adding to the likelihood if travelers suffering from extensive culture shock. They may find themselves unable to cope with the new environment due to the constant comparisons they may make between the new place and their home countries. For this reason, it is important to address these issues in order for travelers to be able to work through their difficulties and consequently adjust.
Whenever travelers find something they dislike about their new environment, or something about their home countries that is ‘better,’ it is a good idea to also immediately list a positive aspect of the new environment. In this way, travelers are less likely to constantly question their decision to move or their ability to reside in the new environment.
In a country like Japan, which is full of interesting and different things to experience, travelers should really take the chance to participate in any activities that even remotely interest them so they do not miss any new opportunities.
Coping with the Japanese Culture
Due to the unique nature of the Japanese culture, travelers may find they often feel pressured to adjust or easily drowned by the amounts of new knowledge they feel they need to commit to memory. When these feelings are present the best thing to remember is that though there are certain practices that need to learned, new comers to Japan are not expected to immediately learn the ins and outs of the culture.
It is more important to enjoy the learning process which can be partly entertaining as well, rather than just treat it as a strict studying environment or ‘sink or swim’ situation. Keeping an open mind and an understanding outlook is often all it takes to slowly pick up on the nuances and interesting aspects of the Japanese Culture.
Travelers who wish to spend large amounts of time should also remain aware that it is impossible to immediately adjust to the extreme changes in social and physical atmospheres. It is a good idea to allow for relaxing and exploring without pressure of learning to really acclimate to the new environment.
Through the years, Japanese pop artists have made a considerable fan base around the globe. With their impeccable dance routine and captivating voices – not to mention their stunning good looks – these artists have risen to stardom inside and outside their country.
Fusing of musical genres
Aside from capturing the hearts of foreign fans, some J-pop artists have also caught the attention of other foreign artists. Take Momoiro Clover Z, for instance.
Since the group was formed back in 2008, they have ascended to stardom in Japan topping the country’s musical chart with their upbeat tunes, as well as incorporating a number of genres into their song from pop to punk and heavy metal. This genre fusion has led them to meet and perform live with one of America’s most iconic rock band Kiss, and also resulted to Paul Stanley – Kiss’ frontman – to pen two songs for Momokuro, as they are known to their fans.
While others might disagree with the odd mix of middle-age rock stars and young J-pop idols, the two group still performed at Tokyo Dome last March 3. Others say it was a success, while there are those who say that it wasn’t what they were expecting. The crowd was a mix of black-shirts, leather pants, and a riot of multi-colored outfits as audiences who attended have dressed base on which band they were there to see most.
But it isn’t just Kiss that has collaborated with Momokuro. Marty Friedman of Megadeth has also made contributions to one of the song in their 5th Dimension album.
Momokuro means to take advantage of their increasing popularity in Western audiences. This is more than just striking iron whilst it’s hot. It’s more like throwing gasoline into a flickering fire as the group intends to release their two albums in select Western market with the plan of expanding their following more.
But it isn’t just Momokuro that is making a noise over foreign soil. The electro-pop group from Hiroshima, Japan known as Perfume also made a huge buzz after their performance at the 2015 South by Southeast Festival at Austin Texas.
The group getting invited was the result of their successful concert tour that included Europe and the Northern America. Their performance in Austin was regarded as phenomenal by those who have seen it live. The trio’s performance used projected images and adjustable translucent screens where the members danced in front and behind of – all the while being inundated by patterns and shifting lights.
The video of the performance is available on Youtube. Since it was posted, it has accumulated over a million views and varying comments from different fans around the globe.
There’s still a vast majority of Western audiences that hasn’t been exposed to J-pop artist. It’s still difficult to tell whether or not they’ll be as successful as their Western counterparts such as Katy Perry or Taylor Swift what with the language barrier and all.
However, this isn’t a hindrance for these Japanese idols; more like a challenge to rise further from where they are now.
Japan is notorious for being an expensive country to visit, even in terms of food and accommodation. But being a country of ingenuity, Japan also has several available modes of emergency accommodation made especially for those who can’t quite get home for the night or those who need to live on a shoestring budget. One of these options is the capsule inn or the capsule hotel which cost around 30 to 40 USD per stay.
The name describes the experience accurately with visitors being offered the rental of a small, capsule sized ‘bedroom’ at a fraction of the price of other rental accommodation.
Who Uses the Capsule Inn?
Capsule Hotels were primarily designed for the legions of Japanese businessmen in Tokyo who stay at work until extremely late at night and are needed at work early in the morning. On the nights where it doesn’t seem viable to make the long train trip home, these men utilize the capsule hotels located in the city.
Due to the fact that capsule inns in Japan are used by people who may be unprepared for spending the night away from home, they are fully equipped with bathroom amenities along with a shower and a bath.
Foreigners are also known to utilize capsule inns and most will encounter communicable English speaking clerks at the desk. The capsule inn provides a locker room for storage. The only foreseeable downside is that taller foreigners who may be 6ft+ may feel cramped as the capsules are usually 2m in length.
There was a time where women were not catered to in capsule inns for their own security reasons but now there are capsule inns available that have secluded male and female areas as one would find at an onsen.
Inside the Capsule Inn
Payment is made into a vending machine where the guest is given a ticket to give to the clerk. This is a common practice in Japan with many meals also being sold in this manner at smaller restaurants and food establishments.
Each capsule has a small TV, reading light, alarm clock, radio and some capsules offer adult videos to be played through the TV at the push of a button. Unfortunately however, the capsules don’t usually contain their own heating or cooling units.
Along with the available bathroom amenities, capsule inns in Japan are also equipped with it’s own store for a change of clothes, a TV room with comfortable chairs and its own small restaurant and bar making it an extremely condensed, yet well equipped hotel.