Typhoons Hagibis and Jebi in Japan

On October 12th, typhoon No. 19 Hagibis struck central Japan and the Kanto region. This was the second big typhoon I’ve experienced but luckily, it did not hit Hamamatsu hard. It was not as scary as last year’s big typhoon, No. 21 Jebi. I will describe my experience of both typhoons.

What Happens During Typhoons?

The skies turn grey and the rain pours. Then, strong winds arise. Rain drops strike windows like bullets. The heavy rain can cause landslides and floods. The winds fell trees, blocking roads, and hurl any object from roof tiles to bicycles into the air.

When a typhoon is announced, people rush to grocery stores and convenience stores. Bread, onigiri (stuffed rice balls), bento (traditional Japanese pre-packed meals), various drinks… all foods ready to eat disappear from the stores and shelves are left empty.

Warnings are broadcast on the media telling people to stay home and prepare for black outs and lack running water. People are also advised not to leave objects such as laundry racks and toys outside.

Tape to protect injuries from broken glass.

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Kyoto Robot Buddhist Priest

In the August edition of the Japan Times, a group of Buddhist priest from Kodaiji temple in Kyoto presented the first ever robot Buddhist priest. It can memorize sutras and recite them in Chinese and Japanese. It can give sermons. The priests state that the robot cost $1 million and will attract young people because the robot is not an old “fuddy-duddy” like them. Was the robot worth the money?

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NJPW G1 Climax in Hamamatsu

NJPW G1 Climax 29 ring

Growing up, I’ve always watched American Pro Wrestling such as the WWF (now WWE) and WCW. When YouTube was invented, I started seeing my favourite North American wrestlers in a whole different setting: Japanese pro wrestling. Since then, I had dreamed of watching Japanese pro wrestling. My dream came true when I got tickets for the 15th night of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) G1 Climax 29 tournament in Hamamatsu on August 7th.   I could not help notice the differences between American and Japanese pro wrestling, and pro-wrestling on TV and live.

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Description of Japan: A New Series

Egypt and Japan: the two countries that stole my heart away. When I was hired against all odds as an ALT (Assistant Language

"Welcometo Japan" at Narita airport
“Welcome to Japan” at Narita airport

Teacher) via the JET Programme (Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme), my boyhood dream of going to Japan finally came true. Now that I’m there, I would like to do something  Napoleon did.

When Napoleon invaded Egypt, he wanted to know everything about this country to better dominate it. That is why he had his scholars write an encyclopedia called La description de l’Égypte (The Description of Egypt). It would be impossible for me to write an encyclopedia on my own but I will try to understand Japan and explain my discoveries to the best of my abilities.

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Japan’s Hidden Social Problems

On February 26th 2018, Professor Adrian Favell and Vincent Mirza kicked off their lecture “Japon : comment gérer et vivre dans une société post-croissance” (Japan: How to manage and live in a post-growth society) at the Université de Montréal with familiar images. Doraemon, Pikachu, Prime Minister

Shinzo Abe as Super Mario
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dressed up as Super Mario makes an appearance during the closing ceremony of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics on Aug. 21, 2016. (Kyodo). Photo by Deohayer

Shinzo Abe announcing the Tokyo Olympics as Super Mario… This is part of the “Cool Japan” branding Japan wants to world to see. Behind the bright futuristic Tokyo lights, manga, anime lies the side of Japan the Japanese want to hide: failed modernity. Through postmodern art, Professor Favell showed the modernity artists reject: the one that fails to protect Japan from natural disasters, the one that empties the countryside, and the one that causes the youth to withdraw.

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