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Going a step further from our previous series BEGIN Japanology, host Peter Barakan visits experts in various fields to show Japanese culture from a new perspective.


Saisons & épisodes Les résumés de tous les épisodes de Japanology Plus

S01E01 Bathhouses 03/04/2014 Japanese public bathhouses, also called sento. From the outside, some of them look like Shinto shrines or Buddhist temples. Inside, they have many features that help to create a space for retreat and relaxation. More than just a place to wash the body, bathhouses have long served as a social forum for the local community. This time on Japanology Plus, we'll explore the wonderful world of bathhouses with our guest Machida Shinobu, a sento expert. In Plus One: bathhouse etiquettes for beginners.
S01E02 Ramen 10/04/2014 Ramen is one of Japan's favorite foods. Broth, noodles and toppings are the 3 elements, but within that basic framework there is almost endless variation. An annual gathering in Tokyo of the best ramen shops from around Japan draws hundreds of thousands, and now the popularity of ramen is going global. Our expert guest this time is Hiroshi Osaki, the director of the Nippon Ramen Association, and the man who eats more ramen than anyone else in Japan. And in Plus One, the basics of slurping!
S01E03 Mt. Fuji 17/04/2014 Mt. Fuji is Japan's tallest peak. Its beauty changes from season to season, from day to day. Frequently featured in ukiyo-e woodblock prints and other artworks, Mt. Fuji is also a place of worship, and home to a deity. The gentle slopes of the mountain attract 300,000 climbers each year. This time on Japanology Plus, we'll explore Mt. Fuji with our expert guest Hiroshi Tashiro, who has been researching the mountain with passion for decades.
S01E04 Shogi 24/04/2014 Maneuver your pieces to capture the opponent's king - that's the essence of shogi, Japan's most popular board game. Descended from the same ancient Indian game as chess, shogi dates back more than 400 years, and has been a widely enjoyed pastime for centuries. These days about 12 million people play shogi, and the internet has opened up new ways to enjoy the game. Our expert guest this time is Masahiko Urano, a professional shogi player.
S01E05 Cherry Trees 01/05/2014 Springtime in Japan means cherry trees in bloom. Cherry blossoms flower gloriously, but briefly, then their petals fall like confetti on the spring breeze. This yearly occurrence strikes a deep chord in the Japanese soul. Our expert guest this time is Toemon Sano, who goes by the title of "protector of the cherry blossoms", and whose family owns and maintains a forest with over 150 varieties of cherry tree.
S01E06 Akihabara 08/05/2014 Akihabara, with its mix of gadgets and geekdom, is a one-of-a-kind experience. Shops selling everything electronic from appliances to cutting-edge robots crowd its streets. Japan's famous video game and anime subcultures are another big part of Akihabara. And in recent years, numerous pop idols have launched their careers here. Our expert guest this time is Kenichiro Senoo, a professor with a deep affection for Akihabara who researches and promotes the district.
S01E07 Wagashi 15/05/2014 Wagashi, Japan's traditional sweets. Each colorful, exquisite morsel contains a clear sense of the season - wagashi are an essential part of various annual events. This time, we'll sample the freshest modern flavors, and the 1,000-year history, of wagashi. Our expert guest is Tsugio Itami, an acclaimed Japanese confectioner who has been officially designated a "contemporary master craftsman".
S01E08 Ninja 22/05/2014 Under cover of darkness, moving by stealth, ninja used superb physical skill and special equipment to infiltrate and disrupt their enemies. Ninja appeared during Japan's age of regional conflict, and their origins seem to lie in small communities that were clustered in the mountainous regions of Iga and Koka. Our expert guest this time is Hiroshi Ikeda, who has spent the last 25 years tracking down information about ninja.
S01E09 Rice 29/05/2014 From sushi to sake, rice is an absolutely essential part of Japanese cuisine. Appliance makers offer state-of-the-art rice cookers with elaborate functions, while a "rice-cooking wizard" keeps on making rice the time-honored way. Our expert guest this time is Mitsuo Ishizuka, a 10th-generation rice farmer in Niigata (Japan's "rice basket") who works hard to promote awareness about Japanese agriculture.
S01E10 Castles 05/06/2014 Japan's castles are masterworks of wood and stone. They bristled with defences and functioned as symbols of authority. Today they are cherished local landmarks and popular tourist spots. With their architectural elegance and ingenious fortification, castles have long played a prominent role in Japan. Our expert guest this time is Yoshihiro Senda, the president of Nara University and an archaeologist who specializes in castles.
S01E11 Japanophiles - Elizabeth Suzuki 03/07/2014 This time, we present an installment of our special talk-show series Japanophiles, which features lively interviews with foreigners living in Japan. Elizabeth Suzuki, originally from Switzerland, has been practicing kamikiri - the Japanese art of paper cutting - for 27 years. She performs around Japan and in other countries at all kinds of events, delighting crowds with her warm, witty banter, deft scissor skills and innovative creations that incorporate Western motifs.
S01E12 Japanophiles - Everett Kennedy Brown 10/07/2014 This time, we present another of our special talk-show series Japanophiles, which features lively interviews with foreigners living in Japan. The photographic artist Everett Kennedy Brown uses the old-fashioned wet-plate technique to create unique works of art presenting Japanese culture and landscape. Living the agrarian life, Brown has recently been working on a new theme: traditional artisans and their crafts. Today, we discover how Brown is sharing Japan's beauty with the world.
S01E13 Japanophiles - Carolin Eckhardt 17/07/2014 This time, we present an installment of our special talk-show series Japanophiles, which features lively interviews with foreigners living in Japan. Carolin Eckhardt is a young German manga artist. Her debut comic, about a cross-cultural marriage between a German woman and Japanese man, became a hit on a manga website, earning her a book deal. Amid the cutthroat competition of the manga world, Eckhardt is taking her first steps as a pro. We learn about her passion and determination.
S01E14 Karaoke Boxes 07/08/2014 Microphone in hand, tens of millions of people in Japan belt out songs in private party rooms known as karaoke boxes. These intimate spaces are great places for friends to build camaraderie... although solo boxes are also gaining popularity. We'll see how the karaoke box has become a part of Japanese life. Our expert guest this time is Kyoko Koizumi, a sociologist with a particular interest in how people interact with music.
S01E15 Bento 14/08/2014 Bento are portable boxes of food, typically composed of rice, protein-rich main dishes, and vegetables on the side. They've evolved from a purely practical means of sustenance into a fun way to eat - these days, there's even a fad for bento with cute characters drawn using the food. This time on Japanology Plus, our theme is bento. Our guest is Ayao Okumura, one of the leading experts on Japan's culinary culture.
S01E16 Bamboo 21/08/2014 Through the ages, bamboo has been profoundly important to Japan's industry, culture and everyday life. But why does bamboo grow so quick, and when does it flower? A great deal about these familiar plants is not yet fully understood. This time on Japanology Plus, we'll explore bamboo's mysterious life cycle and see just how precious it is to the people of Japan. Our expert guest is Shozo Shibata, a professor of bamboo ecology at Kyoto University. And in Plus One, traditional bamboo toys!
S01E17 Taiko Drums 04/09/2014 Japan's taiko drums - made in many shapes and sizes, played at various occasions - are an ancient heritage. Originally taiko were an integral part of festivals and rituals, used to summon the gods. In recent years, taiko drumming has been admired as a form of music in its own right. Our guest this time is Hitoshi Mogi, a taiko expert at the National Theatre who has exhaustive knowledge of Japanese drumming traditions. And in Plus One, getting in shape with taiko!
S01E18 Tsukiji Market 11/09/2014 Tokyo's Tsukiji Market is the world's largest fish market - hundreds of kinds of seafood from around the world are sold there. 40,000 people work at Tsukiji each day, and hordes of foreign tourists come to check out the vast, buzzing hive of activity. This time on Japanology Plus, we explore the customs and commerce of Tsukiji Market. Our guest is Masataka Fujiwara, a seafood expert who's been visiting Tsukiji regularly for more than 30 years. And in Plus One, Tsukiji etiquette for visitors.
S01E19 Festivals 18/09/2014 Festivals are held in every region of Japan throughout the year. The oldest date back well over a millennium, and typically feature prayers for good harvests or peace and stability. These days, festivals in Japan have become vital to many areas as a magnet for visitors. On this edition of Japanology Plus, our theme is festivals. Our expert guest is Tetsuya Yamamoto, who visits dozens of festivals a year and publishes articles and essays about them. And in Plus One, how a portable shrine is made.
S01E20 Japanese Gardens 25/09/2014 This time on Japanology Plus, our theme is Japanese gardens, compact evocations of nature's majesty. Japan has many garden styles: from tea gardens, to the dry gardens of Zen Buddhism, to the pocket gardens of city-dwellers. Our expert guest is Takahiro Naka, a professor of garden history who is actively involved in garden design and restoration projects around the country. And in Plus One, a Japanese rock garden that fits on your tabletop.
S01E21 Origami 02/10/2014 Origami, the traditional Japanese art of creating objects by folding paper. It's a classic pastime that everyone in Japan has done at some point, and with roots in religious rituals and social etiquette, it expresses many facets of Japanese culture. Origami techniques have even been used in space! This time on Japanology Plus, our theme is origami. Our expert guest is Kazuo Kobayashi, the head of the Origami Center in Tokyo. And in Plus One, fun folding you can do at any Japanese pub.
S01E22 Buddhist Statues 09/10/2014 Japanese Buddhist statues come in countless shapes and forms, and they are not just objects of prayer but also meticulously crafted works of art in their own right. When Buddhism reached Japan in the mid-6th century, religious statuary came with it, and in thickly forested Japan, the statues began to be made mostly in wood. This time on Japanology Plus, we explore the deep appeal of Buddhist statues with our expert guest Yasumi Miyazawa. And in Plus One, keeping the Buddhas in your own home.
S01E23 Yokai 16/10/2014 Yokai: the collective name for all sorts of bizarre creatures and supernatural phenomena in Japanese folklore. They have a very long history in Japan, and these days they often feature in video games, anime, manga and many other contexts. Yokai culture, with its huge variety of uncanny creatures, offers a window on the Japanese mind. Our expert guest this time is Kazuhiko Komatsu, perhaps the world's leading authority on yokai. And in Plus One, visiting yokai relics.
S01E24 Shinkansen 23/10/2014 The Shinkansen is Japan's bullet train system. Since it debuted 50 years ago as the world's fastest train service, its speed, safety and on-time performance have enabled it to carry more than 6 billion passengers. Today, we explore the secrets behind the Shinkansen, the world's ultimate railway system. Our expert guest is Yoshihiro Akiyama, an engineer who helped design Shinkansen lines in many parts of Japan. And in Plus One, the world's fastest train cleaning crew.
S01E25 Lessons for Life 06/11/2014 Whether it's learning about a traditional custom, or a newly popular sport, people in Japan love to take lessons and develop a skill. It's estimated that there are 86,000 such classes being offered in Japan right now. Courses held before or after the workday are in particularly high demand. This time on Japanology Plus, our theme is Lessons for Life. Our expert guest is Sachiko Yamaguchi, a freelance writer who reports on various classes. And in Plus One, a diorama-making lesson.
S01E26 Lessons for Life 06/11/2014 Whether it's learning about a traditional custom, or a newly popular sport, people in Japan love to take lessons and develop a skill. It's estimated that there are 86,000 such classes being offered in Japan right now. Courses held before or after the workday are in particularly high demand. This time on Japanology Plus, our theme is Lessons for Life. Our expert guest is Sachiko Yamaguchi, a freelance writer who reports on various classes. And in Plus One, a diorama-making lesson.
S01E27 Sports Days 20/11/2014 Sports days are all-day athletic meets held annually at schools in Japan - pretty much every Japanese person has taken part in one. Students compete in all sorts of team-based physical challenges; they are also heavily involved in planning and managing the event. Sports days are a proven way to build camaraderie and forge friendships. This time, our theme is sports days. Our expert guest is Miho Shinoda, a gymnastics instructor and former Olympian. And in Plus One, sports days for grown-ups!
S01E28 Bonsai 04/12/2014 With just one plant in one pot, you can create your own personal vision of nature. This is bonsai. Although in Japan it's often regarded as a hobby for old men, bonsai's popularity is growing among younger people and women. On this edition of Japanology Plus, our theme is bonsai. We'll see how these living works of art capture a Japanese view of nature. Our expert guest is Minoru Akiyama, a young star in the world of bonsai growing. And in Plus One, bonsai...with action figures?
S01E29 Sushi 11/12/2014 Sushi is basically vinegared rice topped with something else - usually seafood. Simple ingredients, but proper preparation demands the delicate skill of a trained chef. Sushi originally came to Japan from Southeast Asia about 2,000 years ago, and in recent years, it's become a popular cuisine around the world. On this edition of Japanology Plus, our theme is sushi. Our expert guest is Terutoshi Hibino, the chief advisor to Japan's first sushi museum. And in Plus One, making your own sushi!
S01E30 Geisha 18/12/2014 A private banquet in the company of geisha is considered the ultimate in elegant hospitality. A common misconception is that geisha are courtesans - in reality, they are skilled practitioners of traditional performing arts. At one time, there were 80,000 of them working in Japan, but only about 1,000 remain today. Our expert guest Kenji Watanabe, a scholar of early modern Japanese literature, will guide us into the real world of geisha. And in Plus One, playing party games with geisha!
S01E31 Japanophiles - Bartholomeus Greb 08/01/2015 This time, we present an installment of our special talk-show series Japanophiles, which features lively interviews with foreigners living in Japan. Bartholomeus Greb, originally from Poland, works as the manager of Kiya Ryokan, a historic inn founded in 1911. Greb is experimenting with ways to showcase the appeal of old-fashioned Japan, including promoting work by local artisans. Meet Bartholomeus Greb and learn about his efforts to reinvigorate his area from his base at the Kiya Ryokan.
S01E32 Japanophiles - Ivan Vartanian 15/01/2015 This time, another installment of our special talk-show series Japanophiles, featuring lively interviews with foreigners living in Japan. Ivan Vartanian, a photobook producer from the US, has won the trust of Japan's leading photographers. In Japan, photobooks are artworks in their own right. Vartanian collaborates with photographers, turning their visions into photobooks - which often go beyond the conventional book format. We'll see how he's continually seeking out new modes of expression.
S01E33 Japanophiles - Alex Bennett 22/01/2015 This time, another installment of our special talk-show series Japanophiles, which features lively interviews with foreigners living in Japan. New Zealander Alex Bennett studies the way of the samurai - bushido - and its expressions in martial arts. Through decades of practising kendo, Bennett has learned bushido is not about winning or losing, but about being self-possessed while living life to the fullest. We'll discover how he is bringing samurai philosophy to life in the modern world.
S01E34 The Seikan Tunnel 05/02/2015 The Seikan Tunnel, the world's longest undersea tunnel, connects the Japanese islands of Honshu and Hokkaido. Making it took 24 years, and the enormously challenging work claimed many lives. This time on Japanology Plus, we'll dig deep into the dedicated effort and technological knowhow that helped to create the Seikan Tunnel. Our expert guest is Toshio Kadoya, who worked on construction of the tunnel for 18 years. And in Plus One, we look at a ferry service that predated the Seikan Tunnel.
S01E35 Snow Country 12/02/2015 The "snow country" that covers nearly half of Japan gets huge amounts of snow every year. Local people have devised various practical ways of coping with harsh winters, and in recent years, innovative ways of attracting visitors have been breathing new life into the region. This time on Japanology Plus, Natsuo Numano, a professor who has pioneered the field of snow country studies, will guide us through Japan's snow country. And in Plus One, learn the secrets of shoveling snow the right way!
S01E36 Comedy 19/02/2015 Japanese comedy has always been different from Western comedy, with its own approach to getting laughs. Japan has a stunning diversity of humorous entertainment - stand-up, sketch comedy, theatrical shows - and it's starting to find an audience abroad. This time on Japanology Plus, our theme is comedy: we'll get to the heart of the Japanese sense of humor. Our expert guest is Chad Mullane, an Australian who's been doing comedy in Japan for over 15 years. And in Plus One, a trip to comedy school!
S01E37 Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway 02/04/2015 The Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway is the capital city's most important road system. Begun 50 years ago, with a 4.5-kilometer stretch built for the 1964 Olympics, it is today a massive, complex web of roads that runs more than 300 kilometers and carries more than 1 million vehicles per day. Our guest this time is Kenichi Kawabe, an expert on transportation systems and the technology used to build them. And in Plus One, navigating the expressway like a pro!
S01E38 A Season of Change 16/04/2015 Cherry blossom season in Japan is also a season of change. In late March, graduations take place all across the country. Early in April, students and workers attend entrance ceremonies for their new schools and companies. This period also marks the turn of the financial year, as well as a fresh emotional start for many Japanese. Our expert guest this time is the writer and cultural commentator Hisafumi Iwashita. And in Plus One, a unique kind of memento related to this season of change.
S01E39 Waste and Recycling 23/04/2015 To many foreign visitors, Japan's streets seem amazingly free of litter. Making the most of what's available is traditionally woven into the culture of this resource-poor island nation. But, as with other industrial nations, Japan is far from free of the problem of waste. How are the Japanese tacking this issue? This time, our theme is waste and recycling. Our expert guest is Junya Matsunami, a professor who teaches environmental economics. And in Plus One, shopping at a recycling factory!
S01E40 Period Dramas 30/04/2015 Plays, movies and TV dramas that depict Japan as it was in the eras up to the samurai times are called "jidaigeki", literally "period dramas". The original period dramas were kabuki plays. The first one on television was broadcast in 1958, and ever since, viewers have been glued to their sets by famous actors playing bold samurai. Our expert guest this time is Katsuhiro Tsuchiya, a senior producer at NHK who is in charge of a period drama series. And in Plus One, transforming into a samurai!
S01E41 Weight Loss Industry 07/05/2015 Japan has the lowest obesity rate in the industrialized world, and yet, from schoolgirls to businessmen, it is a country where almost everyone seems to be on a diet. Why is weight loss such big business when so few people are overweight? This time on Japanology Plus, we look at Japan's weight loss industry. Our guest is Kiyoka Wada, an expert on dieting and fitness. And in Plus One, slimming down with a personal trainer.
S01E42 Dams 14/05/2015 Giant man-made structures dominating steep canyons, dams are a common feature of Japan's mountainous landscape. Dams provide water, prevent floods and generate hydroelectric power. But all this can come at a cost, with communities submerged and ecosystems disrupted. This time on Japanology Plus, our topic is dams. Our expert guest is Saki Miyajima, a dam aficionado who runs a website called Dam Mania.
S01E43 Silk 14/01/2016 What gives Japanese kimonos their luxurious appeal? Pure silk, a natural fiber made from the cocoons of the silkworm. Strong and elastic, silk is used to make strings for the shamisen, as a canvas for Japanese paintings, and these days it is being applied in medicine. With our expert guest, Takayuki Nagashima, who knows a great deal about silk and silkworms, we explore the importance of silk to Japan's culture and way of life. And in Plus One, the wonders of wild silk.
S01E44 Craft Beer 04/06/2015 For decades, the big breweries dominated Japan's beer market. But in the last few years, so-called "craft beers" from small producers have been in the limelight. Now Japan's craft beers are even winning acclaim on the world stage. What lies behind their appeal? We explore the world of Japanese craft beer. Our expert guest is Ikuko Noda, a "beer journalist and ambassador" who has written many books on the subject. And in Plus One, we'll see the cutting-edge of the craft beer scene.
S01E45 Fermented Foods 11/06/2015 Fermented foods are a staple of the Japanese diet, and they come in countless forms: soy sauce, miso, vinegar, pickles, natto and more. Because they keep well and are high in nutrients, they were historically favored as energy foods and even military provisions. Studies are now going on to use them to solve environmental and food-supply problems. Our expert guest is Makoto Kanauchi, a scientist who researches fermented foods. And in Plus One, taking on a seriously fermented food challenge.
S01E46 Umbrellas 18/06/2015 Japan leads the world in sales of umbrellas, with 140 million purchased each year. In rainy Japan, umbrellas are a must, and on sunny days, many people carry parasols to shield their skin from the sun. Over the centuries, umbrellas have served as fashion accessories and symbols of authority. This time, our topic is umbrellas. Our expert guest is Kotaro Nishibori, the sole manufacturer of traditional Japanese umbrellas in Kyoto. And in Plus One, designing your own umbrella.
S01E47 Job Hunting 25/06/2015 In the business districts of Japan, a major battle plays out each year: the job hunt. Students spend their last year of university working to land a full-time job with benefits. Although "lifetime employment" is on the wane, a long career at a single firm remains an ideal. This time, we look at Japan's distinctive system of hiring new graduates. Our expert guest is Taichiro Tsuji, a former HR professional who knows the hiring process inside and out. In Plus One, how to ace your job interview.
S01E48 Japanophiles - Amir Takahashi 09/07/2015 This time, we present an installment of our special talk-show series Japanophiles, which features lively interviews with foreigners living in Japan. In the city of Takasaki, north of Tokyo, Amir Takahashi runs a popular bakery. Born in Iran, he moved to Japan at 20 to master the baker's art. Amir spares no effort: he fetches water from a mountain spring, makes his own soymilk from local beans, and uses only additive-free, natural ingredients. The results are both wholesome and delicious.
S01E49 The English Conversation Business 16/07/2015 Despite years spent studying the language at school, many Japanese feel inept at English. Perhaps that's why Japan's English conversation business rakes in hundreds of billions of yen each year. This time on Japanology Plus, we begin a two-part series focusing on English in Japan, and part one looks at English conversation classes. Our expert guest is Ruth Marie Jarman, a regular on an NHK English language education program. And in Plus One, a linguistic experiment on the streets of Tokyo!
S01E50 English at School 23/07/2015 Students in Japan receive years of instruction in English, usually starting in elementary school, but how best to teach the language is a question that has never been conclusively answered. In the second of a two-part series on English in Japan, we trace the history of English education in Japan. Our expert guest this time is Kumiko Torikai, a professor of communications famous for her work as an interpreter during the Apollo 11 moon landing. And in Plus One, made-in-Japan English!
S01E51 Shrine & Temple Carpenters 06/08/2015 Japan boasts many shrines and temples built using sophisticated techniques that have been passed down through the centuries. This time, we feature shrine and temple carpenters, the artisans behind many of Japan's best-known religious monuments. Our expert guest is Hideo Senda, the owner of a traditional carpentry firm that has been in business for 140 years. He will introduce us to some of the ancient techniques found in Toji, a temple in Kyoto. And in Plus One, carpentry with a difference.
S01E52 Bunraku 12/08/2015 Bunraku is a traditional Japanese performing art dating back more than 4 centuries. It combines a stylized narration and music with a cast of puppets so expressive that you can almost hear them breathe. This time on Japanology Plus, we examine the timeless appeal of Japan's bunraku puppet theater. Our expert guest is Hideki Takagi, who does the commentary for the earphone guides at Osaka's National Bunraku Theatre. And in Plus One, the creation of a bunraku puppet.
S01E53 Kids' Summer Holidays 03/09/2015 Every year children in Japan eagerly look forward to their summer vacation, which generally runs from late July to late August. How do Japanese kids spend the hottest part of the year? Between homework, studying for entrance exams, playing video games, and going to summer camp, things can get rather busy! On this edition of Japanology Plus, our theme is kids' summer holidays. Our expert guest is biologist Takeshi Naganuma. And in Plus One, how children enjoy Japan's traditional summer festivals.
S01E54 Swimming 10/09/2015 From young children to seniors, Japanese people love to swim. In samurai times, swimming gave warriors an edge in battle, and their techniques have been passed down through the centuries.
S01E55 Haunted Houses 17/09/2015 It's Japan's timeless summer thrill...haunted houses! There are dozens of haunted-house attractions around Japan, many of them at theme parks. These creepy experiences are popular with people seeking to beat the scorching heat with spine-chilling fear, and they offer a distinctive style of fright. Our expert guest this time is Hirofumi Gomi, who has been the brains behind roughly 50 haunted houses in Japan. And in Plus One, eerie ghost art of centuries past.
S01E56 Onsen 01/10/2015 Japan has a lot of active volcanoes, which means it also has a lot of hot springs. Known in Japan as onsen, these natural baths have brought physical and spiritual refreshment for centuries. They were used in turbulent times to heal wounded samurai, and the peace that followed gave birth to onsen tourism. More recently, new onsen businesses are taking off across Japan. Our expert guest this time is Michio Ishikawa, who has visited over 2,000 onsen. And in Plus One, onsen aquaculture!
S01E57 Japanophiles - Andrew Mancabelli 08/10/2015 This time, we present an installment of our special Japanophiles series, which features lively interviews with foreigners living in Japan. Fascinated with the samurai from an early age, New Yorker Andrew Mancabelli chose a career as an armorsmith in Japan. But there is little demand nowadays for traditional armor, and for a relative novice like Mancabelli, it can be hard to make ends meet. We meet a man overcoming various obstacles in pursuit of his dream to be a Japanese armorsmith.
S01E58 Cameras 15/10/2015 From compact point-and-shoot digital cameras to high-end SLRs, and those built into smartphones, cameras are a part of everyday life in Japan. Durability, affordability, and advanced features have earned Japanese-made cameras great popularity around the world. This time we explore Japan’s fascination with cameras. Our expert guest is Chotoku Tanaka, a professional photographer who also writes extensively about cameras and photography. And in Plus One, how to get a unique photo for posterity!
S01E59 Wrapping and Packaging 22/10/2015 From the nifty wrapping of convenience store rice balls to intricate cardboard packing, the Japanese have a knack for cleverly packaging just about anything. Both packaging and content receive equal care, revealing important aspects of the Japanese character. This time we peel away Japan's wrapping and packaging to examine the techniques and motivations concealed within. Our expert guest is Shinichi Minakuchi, a veteran of the food-packaging industry. And in Plus One, wrapping with a furoshiki!
S01E60 Tokyo Housing 12/11/2015 From detached homes to tower blocks, from micro-houses on tiny lots to large dormitories, a vast variety of housing is jammed into Tokyo. Many homes feature ingenious use of space, including the traditional terraced houses called nagaya in Tokyo's old-fashioned neighborhoods. This time, we look at Tokyo housing. Our expert guest is Noriyoshi Suzuki, a researcher whose specialties include the history of residential architecture. And in Plus One, some of Tokyo's tiniest storefronts!
S01E61 Japanophiles - Adam Zgola 19/11/2015 This time, we present an installment of our special Japanophiles series, which features lively interviews with foreigners living in Japan. Historically, most Japanese houses have been made of wood. But housebuilding has become more mechanized, and traditional carpentry skills are in decline. One man carrying on that ancient legacy is a Canadian named Adam Zgola. From selecting the lumber to cutting and assembling it, Zgola works as a lead carpenter, handling every step with care and precision.
S01E62 Kombu 26/11/2015 Scientists think there are around 20,000 species of seaweed. They include many varieties of kombu, a type of edible kelp. Kombu has been harvested and eaten in Japan since ancient times. It is more than just an essential part of Japanese cooking - it is also a symbol of good fortune. This time on Japanology Plus, we'll explore the part kombu has played in Japanese cuisine and culture for millennia. Our guest is Hajime Yasui, one of the world's leading experts on seaweed. And in Plus One, kombu art!
S01E63 Hotels and Inns 03/12/2015 One important part of any trip is choosing a place to stay. And if you come to Japan, you have a wide variety of options, from traditional Japanese inns called ryokan to capsule hotels where you sleep in a tiny pod for one. You can even stay overnight at a temple or shrine. This time on Japanology Plus, our topic is hotels and inns. Our guest is Takao Ikado, a travel industry expert and consultant who works to support ryokan establishments. And in Plus One, the latest trends in capsule hotels.
S01E64 Tidying Up 10/12/2015 Since ancient times in Japan, cleanliness has been seen as a moral virtue. It's part of living life well. And now the world is embracing a Japanese approach to keeping things neat and tidy. This time, our topic is tidying up, and how it reflects the spiritual heritage of Japan. Our expert guest is Nagisa Tatsumi, an author who writes about housework and daily life. One of her books focuses on the "art of discarding", and it has sold well over a million copies. And in Plus One, how to clean house, Japanese style.
S01E65 Mt. Takao 17/12/2015 Mt. Takao, a peak that's visited by around 2.7 million people per year, is less than an hour by train from central Tokyo. This lushly wooded paradise has been regarded since ancient times as a place where sacred beings dwell, and our expert guest this time is Shujin Sato, a yamabushi, or mountain ascetic, who has been training on Mt. Takao for almost 3 decades. And in Plus One, the basics of hiking etiquette.
S01E66 Japanophiles - Maud Archambault 07/01/2016 This time, we present an installment of our special Japanophiles series, which features lively interviews with foreigners living in Japan. Minyo is Japanese folk music, passed down from generation to generation all over Japan. A Canadian named Maud Archambault became enthralled with the world of minyo 13 years ago - and now she is a professional minyo dancer. She can also sing and play the taiko drums and shamisen. We'll see how she has devoted herself to this uniquely Japanese music.
S01E68 Underground Tokyo 28/01/2016 Hidden beneath Tokyo are underground spaces of many kinds: intricate webs of subways and roads, tunnels carrying utilities, and even shopping malls. This time on Japanology Plus, our topic is "Underground Tokyo". We'll explore the subterranean spaces that keep this mega-city functioning. Our expert guest is Taro Kasuya, who served for many years as an engineer for underground infrastructure in Greater Tokyo. And in Plus One, some amazingly efficient underground storage spaces.
S01E69 Earthquake Preparedness 11/02/2016 From volcanic eruptions to torrential rain, Japan is one of the world's most disaster-prone countries. Earthquakes, too, are common. To ensure people are ready to look after themselves and their communities, Japan spends more time and energy on being prepared for earthquakes than any other country. Our expert guest this time is Minoru Watanabe, a journalist who covers disaster preparedness and risk management. And in Plus One, how to put together an emergency bag.
S01E70 Japanophiles - Jorge Cabeza Fernandez 25/02/2016 This time, we present an installment of our special Japanophiles series, which features lively interviews with foreigners living in Japan. With economies in Asia growing, air travel in the region is booming, and Japanese airlines are playing up Japan's unique hospitality. Jorge Cabeza Fernandez is a Spaniard who works at one of Japan's biggest airlines. He's currently an instructor at the airline's training center, teaching cabin attendants the art of Japanese service...with a global twist.
S01E71 Japanophiles - Pico Iyer 03/03/2016 This time, we present an installment of our special Japanophiles series, which features lively interviews with foreigners living in Japan. Japan serves as the base for the essayist and novelist Pico Iyer, whose writing ranges across stories and literary profiles to accounts of travel to far-flung places. Born in England to Indian parents, he achieved early success as a writer in New York City, but soon left it all behind to move to Kyoto. What is this eloquent globetrotter's take on Japan?
S01E72 Okinawan Dance 17/03/2016 Okinawa Prefecture, the southern tip of Japan, was once home to the ancient independent kingdom of Ryukyu. Through centuries of trade with other countries, the islands of Okinawa developed a unique, international culture, an important part of which is a deep-rooted love of dance. This performing arts tradition has been passed down to this day. This week, our topic is Okinawan dance, and our expert guest is Izumi Higa, an award-winning performer and instructor. And in Plus One, Okinawan performing arts for beginners!
S01E73 Whisky 07/04/2016 While Japan is halfway around the globe from the world's traditional whisky-making centers, in recent years premium Japanese whiskies have been winning top prizes in big competitions and winning fans in many countries. But these achievements are actually the culmination of decades of passionate efforts by dedicated professionals. Our expert guest this time is Mamoru Tsuchiya, editor-in-chief of a Japanese magazine devoted to whisky. And in Plus One, the perfect ice "sphere" for whisky on the rocks.
S01E74 Quest for Perfect Skin 14/04/2016 Japanese women are among the world's most passionate about skin care. For centuries, elite and commoners alike have embraced the quest for perfect skin, with Japan's climate and beauty ideals giving rise to a characteristic style of skin care. This time we unveil Japan's image of perfect skin and how to achieve it with the help of expert guest Kaori Ishida, a university professor who's engaged in research on the philosophical underpinnings of beauty. And in Plus One, we meet a beauty witch.
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