Important Question

Actually, two important questions. Full disclosure: this doesn’t have anything to do with a blogging project (although I may blog about it at some point way in the future), but I figure if anyone would want to try and answer this, it’d be you awesome readers.

So, first question: When I say Kyoto, you say _____? I’m ideally looking for one-word cultural answers – stereotypes, if you will, about Kyoto, whether or not these things are actually accurate. For example, “shrines,” “temples,” “geisha,” etc.

And the second question, whether you’ve visited these places personally or simply heard about them before and are dying to visit yourself someday, is this: Not including the ‘golden route’ of really major sight-seeing cities such as Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and Hiroshima, what are some of the most underrated places you know of in Japan? I’m not looking for cities or towns here so much as specific tourism spots – places that are just a bit more off the beaten path.

Thank you in advance for any thoughts you may have! I look forward to reading them. ❤

Sailor Fuku: The Long and Short of It

Despite or perhaps even because of its prevalence in anime, the traditional sailor-style school uniform, or sailor fuku, is one of the more misunderstood articles of clothing out there, particularly by those viewers who may watch anime only now and again or have little to no direct knowledge of Japanese daily life. I must admit, even as someone who consumed anime voraciously prior to my actual move to Japan, I was still surprised by some of the things I discovered firsthand, especially when it came to things like school-specific rules around sailor fuku and what students could/could not get away with. Continue reading “Sailor Fuku: The Long and Short of It”

Re-Thinking ‘Otaku’

Given the name of this blog, it seems only fitting that I make a post dealing with the word ‘otaku’ – its linguistic roots, the connotations it carries, and why many people today (myself included) feel okay labeling themselves as such, regardless of how the term may have been used in the past. Continue reading “Re-Thinking ‘Otaku’”

Life in Japan: Random Acts of Kindness

Unfairly or not, Japanese people seem to have a reputation for being shy, especially when it comes to new social situations and meeting foreigners. I can’t tell you how many times people have commented, when they know I’ve lived in Japan, on how the country’s inhabitants are supposed to be quiet, polite, reserved, unassuming, introverted, etc. etc. This isn’t a stereotype that’s limited to outsider opinion, either – Japanese people have likewise told me this plenty of times. Continue reading “Life in Japan: Random Acts of Kindness”

Life in Japan in Photos: How to Be Alone

Being in Japan undeniably taught me a lot of things. I’m sure anyone who’s travelled at any point in their lives, no matter where or for how long, can testify that you can stand to learn a lot from being away from home and outside of your comfort zone. You learn how to speak new words, how to appreciate new foods, and how to practice new skills.

The most valuable thing being in Japan taught me was how to be alone. Continue reading “Life in Japan in Photos: How to Be Alone”

Life in Japan in Photos: Obscure Temples and Shrines

I love visiting temples and shrines in Japan – not just the bigger or more famous ones that commonly top the visitor lists, but also the smaller ones that don’t attract much attention or are tucked away in rural pockets of the country. In part this is probably because I’ve always lived in rural Japan myself, so seeing secluded little temples and shrines dotted about the place is par for the course. Also though, I tend to love these kinds of places for their own sake – there’s just something about the quiet, mysterious, slightly unkempt feel that I like over many temples and shrines that are constantly bustling and meticulously kept, every tree branch and pebble in their place. Continue reading “Life in Japan in Photos: Obscure Temples and Shrines”

The Break Down: Surgical Masks and Convenience Stores

This year on Otaku Lounge, I wanted to introduce something a bit different. Along with the usual anime-centric content and the new Life in Japan in Photos post series I started last August, it occurred to me that people might want to know more about very specific topics or questions relating to Japan – not in relation to anime or general pop culture necessarily (although that’s fine too), but more in terms of everyday living. Continue reading “The Break Down: Surgical Masks and Convenience Stores”

Best J-Pop/J-Rock Albums of 2018

It’s been a fairly underwhelming year for Japanese music for me, at least as far as full studio albums are concerned. While plenty of my favourite artists released compilation or best of albums during 2018, far fewer released studio albums; as a result, I listened to only 11 of them total, while just 3 of these made the cut. As always, the following list is arranged in order of release date and comprises only full and original studio albums by a single artist or band – no cover, compilation, EP, or live albums have been included. Continue reading “Best J-Pop/J-Rock Albums of 2018”

A History of Hentai: The Super Abbreviated Version

manga magazine lemon people
Way back in February 2016, after wading through my computer for a good old fashioned spring clean, I ended up editing and posting some history material that never quite made it into my PhD – mostly due to length and relevance issues. Continuing my adventures of delving into the folder helpfully labelled ‘UNUSED WRITING’, here’s another piece that’s been repurposed for my blog after a period of deep hibernation. Enjoy!

Note: I have gone out of my way to exclude any visually explicit content in this article. However, the topic itself obviously may not be considered child-friendly, and possibly won’t be to everyone’s taste regardless. Please proceed with this understanding. Continue reading “A History of Hentai: The Super Abbreviated Version”

Life in Japan in Photos: Kappa

azumanga sakaki cat
This is Kappa. She was the one of several rescues I made in Japan over the past few years who ultimately survived. The rest, despite immediate vet care, eventually died due to the severity of their injuries or illnesses. I and a fellow lover of cats kept Kappa in our respective houses for several months, although we weren’t supposed to – like many apartments in Japan, big or small, pets were not allowed. However, the reason I’ve chosen this particular photo to post about is not just because I love cats, but also to highlight exactly how much of a problem Japan has with stray animals, and with cats in particular. Continue reading “Life in Japan in Photos: Kappa”