Category Archives: Japan

Kon’nichiwa Tōkyō

If you want a 5 minute introduction to Tokyo, head straight to the Shibuya Crossing. Thousands of people (up to 45,000 in a 30 minute period) – cross at a time, coming from all directions but remarkably, it’s orderly like everything else in Japan. There’s no pushing and everyone is polite as all manage to dodge each other , well….. except for all those tourists that get scrambled in the middle while trying to take selfies ….
There is also the Kawaii, meaning “cute” or “childlike”, culture in Japan. The term is used for the phenomenon of Japanese obsession with cute characters, toys, foods, games, and fashion. This affinity for kawaii, mostly from Japanese women has grown at a tremendous rate over the past three decades and has become an integral part of Japanese society attracting a fair share of criticism. Some women, such as the wife of Japan’s prime minister said in a recent interview “Japan’s women are being held back by pressure from men to be cute, rather than capable.

We’ve seen many young women walking “pigeon- toed” (which at first we though was due to a medical condition) on purpose,purely because they beleive it is cute!

It would appear that the physical appearance of being weak, submissive, childish, helpless and some times dumb, is very appealing to some Japanese men ….

KON’NICHIWA TŌKYŌ from SAMt & Bike Without Borders on Vimeo.

Japan’s Road to Recovery

Five years after the Tsunami hit the east coast of Japan , the area still faces a long road to recovery. Entire towns were obliterated in a matter of minutes meaning that many places had to endure years of debris clearance before a single new building could be reconstructed. After spending years cleaning, the workers are now busy raising the ground level several meters. You can see truck after truck bringing fill dirt and cranes working everywhere you look.

If there is one thing we have learnt about the Japanese culture in the short time we’ve been here it’s their resilience and resolve and their ability to work together to reach one common goal.  They really are quite remarkable how they can reach a consensus so quickly, move on, and get the job done.

JAPAN ROAD TO RECOVERY from SAMt & Bike Without Borders on Vimeo.

Japan & the Cherry Blossom

To everyone’s delight, cherry blossoms in Japan are now just blooming!

We went for a walk on Sunday to a park in Tokyo and we were overwhelmed by the number of families and friends that were gathering for the highly anticipated, centuries-old tradition of hanami (cherry blossom-viewing).

But the meaning of cherry blossoms in Japan goes deeper, and makes the country’s national flower a cultural icon well known around the world not just for its breath taking beauty, but for its enduring expression of life, death and renewal.

Tied to the Buddhist themes of mortality, mindfulness and living in the present, Japanese cherry blossoms are a timeless metaphor for human existence. Blooming season is powerful, glorious and intoxicating, but tragically short-lived — a visual reminder that our lives, too, are fleeting.

Although we do not identify ourselves with any religion , we certainly do advocate the reminder!

Blog video 100 from SAMt & Bike Without Borders on Vimeo.