A World United- Responding to Japan’s Disaster

11 Mar

In times of need, distress, fear,  and anxiety, positive news always help.

Here is an overview of the world in action

1.The UN has responded with 62 international disaster response teams should help be needed following Friday’s earthquake. These teams would offer relief to victims of the tsunami and work with the Red Cross in areas of high alert. Teams in Fiji and Palau (small islands nearby) have also been alerted in case aftershocks were to impact them as well.

2. A U.S. Navy command ship is on its way to Japan from Singapore to provide humanitarian assistance.


3. China’s Earthquake Administration are prepared to go to Japan to help with relief efforts. Chinese earthquake rescue crews were preparing to go to Japan Friday to join earthquake relief work if needed.
Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2011/03/11/China-offers-rescue-help-aid-to-Japan/UPI-91291299861293/#ixzz1GL9gE9sx

4. The South Korean government has initial plans to send 40 rescuers.

5. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev also says his country is ready to provide humanitarian aid to Japan.


6. Redcross all over the world are working on raising funds. Japan still hasn’t made a call on what type of aid they need nor have contacted the redcross itself but it is expexted to be a call for financial aid. You can:

Visit the Canadian Redcross site and you will find a online donation form:


Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 from your phone.

I haven’t found a local U.S. redcross form for Japan’s earthquake and tsunami relief but there is an option here https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/donate.aspx?EventID=66175&LangPref=en-CA&Referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.redcross.ca%2Farticle.asp%3Fid%3D38380%26tid%3D001

Were you can choose “where help is needed the most” if you are unsure like me that it would go to Japan, just keep looking around different american local redcross agencies maybe you get more lucky than me.

7. Globalgiving.org has a Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund. So far $32, 097 has been donated (748 donations).  http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/japan-earthquake-tsunami-relief/

8. New York’s Japanese community is mobilizing to provide assistance in any way they can
Read more: http://www.dnainfo.com/20110311/upper-east-side/new-yorks-japanese-community-ready-help-tsunami-victims#ixzz1GL8hHvDC

More updates:

  • The Russian emergency services agency ERMACOM offered 40 people with three sniffer dogs, while Singapore had civil defense forces on standby and Poland offered firefighters.
  • China, Switzerland and the United States also offered rescue teams, while Britain, France and others said they were ready to offer whatever help was required.
  • French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he “wanted to express our solidarity with the Japanese people. “I want to tell all the Japanese people that France stands with you in this terrible catastrophe… We will send rescue teams, planes, whatever is needed to help.”


  • Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani also said his country was ready to help.
  • The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) on Friday announced it was collecting funds for relief efforts and has reached out to the Japanese Government to offer its expertise in earthquake and tsunami-related response
  • Meanwhile, IsraAID-FIRST, an Israeli umbrella group of relief organizations, said Friday morning it was preparing to send a team of experts to the island nation to assist in relief efforts.
  • The Los Angeles County Fire Department said it could send more than 70 experts in search and rescue, including paramedics, if called on by Japanese authorities.
  • Google crisis response has created a page for titled “2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami”
  • UNICEF Canada is receiving donations for tsunami-struck countries



I’ve been hunting and fishing through “tweets” and newsfeeds trying to find ways to help. It seems like it is still a bit early and the number of groups are still small.

A Series of Unfortunate Events– An Earthquake and a Tsunami hits Japan

11 Mar

It has been a series of unfortunate events in Japan this week. Mother nature sure has a lot of left turns that can place a nation is distress—here at Flavors of Japan we stand with the Japanese.

I know many of you are wondering about what’s going on in Japan, though the media should be taking care of that as we speak since its not a matter of little concern.

First of Fukushima No.1 nuclear plant shut down

Fukushima’s No.1 cooling system failed on March 11 due to the first earthquake of 7.2 that hit Japan. A state of emergency was declared though, luckily, there was no radiation leak. Just so you can get and idea of were the  nuclear power plant resides, it is south of Miyagi prefecture, which was probably one of the most affected areas by the earthquake.

There is another plant in Onagawa expecting a water leak and a fire broke out in a plant in Miyagi.

Now you might be wondering about the first earthquake, why am I saying first…?

An earthquake of 7.2 magnitude struck off the coast of Japan, about169 kilometers off the city of Sedai (northern Japan).

According to local authorities, the tremor was experienced for about 30 seconds without increasing intensity—30 seconds is a long time when an earthquake of 7.2 is shaking your soil.

There weren’t any major damages reported, yet a Pacific Tsunami Warning was issued because of the generated undersea jolt.

Now we get to the terrible part…

An earthquake of 8.8 stroke Japan and a Tsunami followed shortly.

The earthquake struck off the northeast coast of Japan—unlike the first earthquake this one has caused a concerning amount of destruction.

Airports have been shutdown– buses and trains as well. Roads have collapsed, ceilings have fallen down, home carried away and swallowed by water and bridges have collapsed. It is not a pretty sight, it is actually a terrifying one. It is the biggest earthquake in Japan’s history and the Tsunami it triggered was approximately 10 meters tall.

You can see at the rest of the pictures here:

Right now I’m researching ways to reach out to Japan, I’m glad to see that the United States had a fairly quick response. With Obama deploying units in Okinawa and Hawaii and getting FEMA on the move.

It is usual for aftershocks to follow for several days, these aftershocks are a major concern since the original magnitude of the earthquake was quite big. Tsunami advisories are still present and they have extended to Hawaii and east coast of the U.S. with Washington being included.

The Japan Meteorological Agency is keeping tabs, so you might be interested on looking at the warnings and the affected prefectures in detail.

I’ll keep working on more information and updates, this is a call for help from a strong nation, don’t let if fall on deaf ears.

American Male Children: Born Otaku?

4 Feb

It was not long ago that I came to the realization that today’s American children are almost born otaku, especially the boys. I have fond memories of watching Yu Gi Oh, Digimon, and Pokemon at a very young age. I never know their country of origin, or that they were even anime. All I knew what that I liked the show.

Look at most popular elementary school male-oriented TV shows: you will find that an unusual percentage of them are really dubbed anime. This is what our youth our watching. Go to any given toy store and look at the elementary school male – oriented action figures. No longer are there American G.I. Joe toys all over the walls, but Power Rangers and Bakugan figures. Two of the most popular children’s card games in America are Pokemon and Yu Gi Oh. Both of these are Japanese – made. That’s just crazy.

Now, let’s pull back from television and look at video games. What are the most-sold gaming systems? The Nintendo DS and Wii. Both of these systems are very child-oriented and makes sure to look after the elementary school crowed. Pokemon, whose Black and White versions will be coming out soon, is still enjoyed by American children after more than a decade. Mario games still get children hyped up when they beat the current level. The Wii’s motion controls still wonder our youth as they swing bats and golf balls. Of course, in recent times, there are a larger amount of American-made games for these systems, but the Japanese made ones have such quality and are comprised of such bigs names that it’s hard to compare them to “Pet The Dog To Win”.

Of course, most of these games, toys, and shows have been Americanized in multiple ways, but it really does invoke thought: just how much power does the Japanese have on our American media, especially when targeted at our youth, if any?

The Japanese Onsen: Life in a hot, smelly, watery nutshell

3 Feb

Onsen. Japanese hot springs are so many things. Crazy effing HOT comes to mind first, then relaxing, natural, naked, wet, and MODEL OF LIFE. That’s right, you can experience life in a nutshell in a Japanese onsen resort. You don’t even need clothes! Strip down, empty your bladder, grab your loin cover, and get ready for cradle to grave cleanliness.

Your onsen experience will usually start just like life—in the fetal position. More or less. Before you can get in the bath you have to shower down, which at your typical onsen will involve squatting down on a stool or bucket while you get clean. The size of the stools doesn’t allow for much elbow space, and invariably you end up hunched over your knees while you pour sticky liquid and hot water all over yourself with your eyes closed. This analogy may be stretched a bit, but it doesn’t take that much imagination to work out all the connections here.

After you’ve cleansed yourself thoroughly of your…birth fluids…and stuff, it’s time to take your first step out into the world, and your first tentative slide into the actual onsen. The main bath is your first taste of the world at large. Unlike the shower, you can’t control the temperature, and really, the painfully hot first steps into the onsen are probably pretty similar to your first moments of life outside the womb—we do come out crying, after all.

The big bath is also where you have to start making decisions about how to use your loin towel if you have one. I’ll be honest—I still don’t know what to do with mine. I’m too lazy to cover myself scrupulously, but it makes me feel, well, naked to not have one to carry around. By observing the Japanese around me, I’ve discovered such ingenious uses as useless sweat absorber, hat, pillow, and stress toy. Yes, part of life is deciding how you are different from others.

Now that you’ve acclimated to arbitrary life away from the shower, it’s time to go exploring. Depending on where you are, you might have a number of different options. Since you’ve been sitting this whole time, you might like to stretch your legs and try the tachiburo 立ち風呂, a bath deep enough to stand fully erect. They are often equipped with something like a bamboo pole hung from above by ropes so you can lean on it and float suspended with your legs dangling. They are INCREDIBLY relaxing—definitely an improvement on the original sitting concept. Unfortunately there’s usually only enough room for one or two in this bath. But then again, maybe that’s for the better—children don’t really like sharing, anyways.

If you’re really out for adventure in life, you might be able to locate an onsen with anaburo 穴風呂, or cave baths. And if you’re super super lucky, you might find pirate gold in them like I tried to do. Anaburo are hollowed out of living rock and usually built as small, connected, but semi-private rooms. They also feel rather like saunas. Honestly more of a novelty bath than any kind of unique enhancement of the onsen experience, they nevertheless really feel like pirate caves, which makes them awesome. A note of caution, however: try your best not to get caught by strangers acting out a pirate adventure in your onsen suit. That’s embarrassing. Or perhaps not, depending on how much you’ve matured in the other baths.

Alright, now that you’ve grown up a little, it’s time to experience the trials and tribulations of life—the takiburo 滝風呂 (waterfall bath). Yes, Japanese have invented an onsen bath to simulate pain. The history of sitting under a waterfall for the purpose of experiencing pain dates back to antiquity in Japan, when Buddhist monks started practicing takigyo 滝行, or waterfall meditation. Of course, they usually do it under freezing cold water instead of hot. But hey, if you got your head around being a fetus while you take a shower, you can imagine yourself as a Buddhist monk striving for enlightenment under a hot waterfall. In your typical takiburo, you’ll find a number of pipes extending out from a wall or roof, releasing streams of water onto a shallow area. All you have to do is imagine the water as all the s*** people give you in life. Sit under and enjoy/endure as an endless stream of hot water dumps relentlessly onto your back. Considering the typical work environment of your average Japanese salaryman, I find the analogy quite apt.

After you’ve survived the challenges of the outside world, it’s time to wrestle with the fears lurking inside you—time for an existential crisis. And where better to question the fundamental principles of life than in a sunaburo 砂風呂 (sand bath)? Yeah, you read that right. It’s a bath…filled with sand. Burning hot sand. Basically how it works is this: you put on a robe like a jinbei or yukata and then lie down on a bed of hot sand. Then, depending on whether it’s self-serve or not, you or someone else piles sand all over your body until you’re buried. From experience, I can say it’s much harder to have an existential crisis alone. It’s difficult to really cover your entire body with one hand. Anyway, you lie in the sand while your fat and your brain melt out of your pores for about 15 minutes or so. Then you shower off and go enjoy the rest of life that much more because you’ve probably been able to answer some pretty deep philosophical questions, starting of course with how a box filled with sand can be called a bath.

Finally it’s time for retirement. You’ve endured sitting, standing, treasure-hunting, waterfalls, even sand. Sand, in a bath! Anyway. The best way to experience your onsen retirement is in a neburo 寝風呂, a lying-down bath. They have baths for all positions and creeds at the Japanese onsen, and this is definitely the most relaxing. You can very literally fall asleep in the neburo. I wouldn’t recommend it, though, for those of you without a life, or onsen, partner. Old age has its dangers, just like how if you stay in a bath way too long you can get dangerously dehydrated. So enjoy retirement, but don’t die. It’s only a metaphor, after all.

After you once again return to the fetal position to shower off, you can now leave the onsen knowing that whatever trouble life may have in store for you, you’ve already pretty much been through it.


Bill 156- What does that mean for all of us anime and manga fans?

3 Feb

On December 13, 2010 the now infamous Bill 156 passed in Japan. What does thatmean for all of us anime and manga fans? A whole lot actually….


As previously mentioned by SweetMochi54, the presence of the Tokyo MetropolitanOrdinance Regarding Healthy Development of Youths, which was created in 1964. Itstated, “Its purpose is to promote the healthy development of people under the age of 18by restricting their access to published material that is considered harmful.” Let’s take acloser look at this from a Child Development perspective, starting by looking at the twomajor components included in this bill.
The first, those in the industry will be required to self-regulate their production of “manga,anime, and other images (except for real-life photography)” that “unjustifiably glorify orexaggerate” certain sexual or pseudo sexual acts.
This bill specifically exempts things like photography, live-action film and TV, and novels.

(1) Now is it just me or is anyone else questioning why in the world pornography wouldnot be included in this? Looking at this from the perspective of a child, I cannot imaginehow a fictional character engaging in sexual acts would be worse than watching anonfictional character engage in those same acts (Not that I would prefer either).

(2) Is reading Shakespeare’s Hamlet, filled with madness, revenge, INCEST, and MURDER, amore developmentally beneficial experience for someone 17 and under??
The problem with this however is not just that pornography is excluded from this bill, butthe poor wording used throughout the bill and its impact on anime and manga. The bill istargeting depictions of “sexual or pseudo sexual acts that would be illegal in real life, orsexual or pseudo sexual acts between close relatives whose marriage would be illegal”and therefore be “detrimental toward the healthy development of youth.” Hmm….
Pro: Not many are in favor of incest.
Pro: Not many want to marry their mother/father (Sorry Freud!)
Con: This includes same sex relationships.
I know, I know, not everyone is for this. But just because some are against it, thatdoesn’t mean people who would classify their sexual orientation as lesbian, gay, andbisexual will cease to exist and it is not fair for them to be under the impression thatwho they are is wrong. Or are government officials just trying to say that if you are gay,lesbian, or bisexual you should hide it?! (If so, the memo should probably go out to those5,000 people who showed up to Tokyo’s Pride Parade)
Another major component of the bill would allow the government to regulate the aboveimages if the depicted acts are “considered to be excessively disrupting of social order”,including rape.
Their regulation would include having regulations on the access to the Internet on themobile phones of those 17 and younger. Get this, according to a number of websites, inorder to remove some of these regulations a parent will have to submit a written requestultimately accepting responsibility to regulate themselves the access their children haveto the Internet. Well, isn’t that just great? As an adult and parent, you will have to ask thegovernment for permission to raise your child.

The government will have to consider thereason you want your child’s mobile device to have the filtering removed as justified. Somuch for being a grown up….
I completely understand that government officials have good intentions in mind, but thedevelopment of a child is based on much more than anime and manga. Research hasfound that parents and adolescents do not talk about important sexual topics beforeadolescents actually engage in sexual activity. Hiding those 17 and younger fromfictional images will only add to the secretive nature of it all, and leave them with nothingmore than experience to realize what they are being kept from.
Even if the government has good intentions, there is no need to sacrifice the freedom ofspeech of an entire industry.

Countdown Begins!

2 Feb

I am more than excited to announce that the countdown to our new blog will begin!

We have finally managed to get the domain and server going so soon enough you will be redirected to our new web address.

Get ready for a new look and a new feel!

New writers

New content

New navigation system

More tools and resources

More opportunities to interact


Certainly a change that  you cannot miss out!

Stay in tune for the official launch 🙂

Japanese Censorship- Things to Know before Creating an Opinion on the Bill 156

30 Jan

Article 21 of the Japanese constitution prohibits censorship and guarantees freedom of expression.


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Where are the colors?!

27 Jan

So I was looking at our posts and noticed that….THERE IS NO POST ABOUT COLORS!!! How uncool is that?! Haha That is -my- bad. So here I bring you….


So I start with WHITE which is Shiroi (しろい). Did you know that there’s a White Day celebrated in Japan? On March 14, if boys received gifts on Valentine’s Day, these boys give chocolate or other gifts to those girls. But not always….



Kuroi (くろい)



Aoi (アオイ). Ha! Remember this?


Aka(あか) or Akai(あかい). Most Japanese consider the sun to be red, contrary to other countries. Since Japan it’s the Land of the rising sun, the red circle represents the sun in the Japanese flag called “hinomaru (日の丸)”, which literally means “the sun’s circle”.



Midori(みどり). My favorite color! 😀



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Do Genki drinks make you Genki?

24 Jan

By our language instructor Glenn

Amongst the foreign expat population we always called them “genki drinks.”  “Genki”  (元気) is one of those words that is uniquely Japanese.

As an adjective, here are a few of the words given in the Web’s best Japanese<->English dictionary http://www.alc.co.jp:

Animato, bobbish, bonny, chipper, cobby, fine, fit, gamey, gamy ,hearty, lusty, perky ,pleasant ,puppyish, pushing, sprightly, spry, trenchant, trig, vigorous, vital.

“How are you?” in English is often given as “Genki desu ka?” in Japanese. Almost seems to have the implied message “You ARE genki, aren’t you?  [Because it would unpleasant and antisocial if you were not. We would hate to have to ostracize you for insufficient genki levels]

The poor Japanese salaryman needs constant genki refills, due to his painfully long hours at the office, dealing with a tyrannical boss or clients, commuting in a jam-packed train, and obligatory after work drinking, which means he will do the same routine tomorrow with a wicked hangover.  Look at the faces of these poor guys on the train in the morning or at night—they look like they’ve been to a war zone or something—they have that thousand-yard stare.

I feel your pain, brothers.

You’re not feeling any pain, brother.  Until tomorrow morning.

The real name for these magical elixirs is not “Genki Drinks,” though you have to admit it’s kind of catchy.  Most of the time they are called 栄養ドリンク (えいよう・どりんく- eiyou dorinku) in Japanese,  literally meaning “nutrition drink,” but usually translated into English as “energy drink,” or” vitamin drink.”

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Fukubukuros! Find out about the so called Japanese “Lucky Bags”

24 Jan

I was recently going through my Christmas gifts and  suddenly,  I got this urge to buy more Japanese items from J-list.

My consumer compulsiveness took me through pages and pages of items (all which I wanted) and found a very curious one..a fukubukuro bag.

This curious item is also known as a lucky bag and it carries a New Year’s tradition back in Japan. In fact, after I did some reasearch on it, it is a big thing in Japan. People actually look forward to the fukubukuro selling time.

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