Japanese Vending Machine Culture

In Tokyo, you may find at least one vending machine in 5minutes walk. There are numerous numbers of vending machine in Japan. Why vending machine became popular in Japan?
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According to a book about Japanese culture, there are 5 reasons.
First reason is the lack of labor population in retails store. After high economic growth in 50’s, labor cost rapidly change to higher than before the period. It made difficult to spare enough the labor force in retails store. The second reason is increasing land price, this is also related to economic growth. This increasing land price also made difficulties in running retails store. The third reason is improvement in bottling technology, and the improvement helps to preserve the drink fresh longer than before.
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These already mentioned three reasons related to the decline of retails store, and the other two reasons related to the change in life environment in Japan.
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The forth reason is changing the life style to 24 hours day. Rapid economic growth also changed life style of Japanese people, and the needs to 24hours store became gradually increased. For that reason, vending machine is effective solution to fill the needs to 24hours store. The final reason is the safeness of Japan. The number of vending machine is directly proportional to the safety. These five reasons explain why there are many vending machines in Japan.
Lastly, I would like to mention the wonderful variation of products which are sold by vending machines. Do you know there are Oden-can (おでん:a type of boiled and seasoned food in Japanese cuisine)? I wanted to try Oden-can, however, I have not try yet.
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Kyoto(京都)— the no.1 popular sightseeing city —

On July 7th in 2015,we all Japanese were full of delight from young to old. Can you guess the reason for? No need to say, Kyoto(京都) won the first prize in the World’s Best City Award held by U.S. famous sightseeing magazine.

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To be surprise, Kyoto(京都)won the first prize also in last year , so it was actually the second time that Kyoto(京都)got the first place in that Award.

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Why Kyoto(京都)is so attracting the people all over the world?

Today, we would like to clarify the reason of it here.

Firstly, according to the magazine held this award every year, they evaluated the plenty of its sightseeing attractions such as historical temples, shrines and cuisines. Not only the material things, it was greatly focused on its human things, kind-hearted, friendly, and helpful at any time to the people visiting in Kyoto(京都). Moreover, in old time, Kyoto(京都)was particularly known as its historical aspect but in recently, Kyoto(京都)started to be paid attention to its modern aspect. In other words, we can feel the brilliant harmony of both old and new at the same time and in one place.

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In addition to those reasons, Kyoto(京都)has a nice and mild weather throughout the year. For all foreign tourists who came to Japan, it is so unendurable with Japanese climate, high temperature and high humidity. But Kyoto(京都)is relatively confortable among the place is Japan for them.

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Also, Kyoto(京都)city decided to start some new and effective systems that are so helpful for the foreigner. For instance, the city is providing the free Wi-Fi network environment to all the people visiting Kyoto(京都) for 3 hours, hiring the bilingual taxi drivers, and making free brochure of Kyoto written in both Japanese and English.

Of course, there are great numbers of attractive points that naturally existed from the old time in Kyoto(京都) such as a calm climate and historical stuffs, but I would like to say with emphasize that the enormous efforts of people in Kyoto(京都)were surely made this honor.

Although Kyoto(京都) is already recognized as a good city to visit, this winning brought more strong awareness that Kyoto(京都)is the no.1 wonderful sightseeing spot in the world!!

Chirping trees in summer

This season, just before coming the hottest season in a year, put me in mind of a story about trees sounding melody. In that story, a couple which came from Europe found a sounding tree in Japan. They wondered why that tree is sounding. Anyway, it was very attractive melody for them. So, they asked some Japanese people to give them that sounding tree as souvenir…. I am not sure who told me this story, but this story is impressive to remember it every summer in several years.

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Chirping sound of Cicadas (蝉:SEMI), it was the answer of sounding tree.

Usually, we did not recognize and consider about sounds around us. Especially, it is difficult to be sensitive to it if the sound closely tied with our lives. However, there are exactly existing sounds in everyday and it completely defers from person to person. For myself, the sound of Shinkansen is familiar sound because my home was very close to a station. All of these sounds like chirping cicadas or Shinkansen might be a kind of nationality, because it is unique to the country.

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Summer is the best season to explore sounds which unique in Japan.

You might find the sound of wind-bell(風鈴:FU-RIN) under the eaves, or the sound of fireworks(花火:HANABI). There are a lot of sounds which only can be heard in particular season in Japan.

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If you have already lived in or you have a plan to come to Japan, why don’t you explore your special sound in Japan?

Chuken-Hachiko(忠犬ハチ公)

“Let’s meet up around Hachiko(ハチ公) tomorrow!”

“I’ll see you at Hachiko(ハチ公)later!”

Among us from young to old/ both men and women, this is so common phrase in our daily life.

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In front of Shibuya(渋谷) station in Tokyo(東京), the statue of dog, we often call it as Hachiko(忠犬ハチ公),has been standing for a long time. As almost all over the world may know, statue of Hachiko(ハチ公) is known as a great meeting place and tourist spot in the middle of massive crowded people in Shibuya(渋谷). We often plan to meet up around statue of Hachiko(ハチ公) because it is said to be one of the best places to find out each other in chaos Shibuya situation .

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Well, do you know why the statue of Hachiko(ハチ公) had been there for a long time? To tell the truth, statue of Hachiko(ハチ公) has a pretty heart-warming story indeed. Sometimes, statue of Hachiko(ハチ公) is called “Hachiko, the faithful dog” due to its sweet story behind. In 2009, Hollywood made Hachi’s story into a film entitled “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale(『HACHI 約束の犬』)”

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Today, we would like to share Hachiko(ハチ公)’s story that is so nice and heart full here.

The story started about more than 100 year’s ago, there were a dog named Hachi and his owner. Hachi is well known as his outstanding faith and loyalty to his owner. In spite of his owner’s death, Hachi continued to wait his owner at an appointed place even a day of heavy rain and strong wind. To be surprise, his waiting for his owner with a strong faith and loyalty went on about 7 years.

After we found this sweet story of Hachiko(ハチ公), no one can stop crying and all of them try to have opportunities to rethink about our faith and loyalty to the people around. Hachi is now telling us an importance of appreciation that is actually forgetful especially in modern society. Now, Hachi is no longer lonely doggy anymore. His fans not only in Japan but also in all over the world are always together with him anytime and anywhere.

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Why don’t you visit statue of Hachiko(ハチ公)?

Hanabi: Art of ephemeral

You might know the meaning of “Hanabi(花火)”, because it so popular and Japanese people gradually tend to talk about it in summer has begun. Hanabi means fireworks in Japanese. There are many kinds of Hanabi, but mainly all of Hanabi can be categorized two types: Temochi-Hanabi(手持ち花火) which means handheld fireworks, or Uchiage-Hanabi(打ち上げ花火) which means skyrocket fireworks.

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Around the middle July, Hanabi starts to go on the market and hanabi season rises. Especially about Temochi-Hanabi, most Japanese people share an unspoken rule on the order of doing Haanbi. Generally, a type of firework called Senko-Hanabi(線香花火)which means sparkler is tried in the end. I don’t know the reason, but many Japanese keep this rule. Sometimes sparklers are played to compete the time of lasting like a game.

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The end of burning a sparkler makes people feeling they lost something important like a life in the game or a joyful summer time, so people might prefer playing sparkler at the end.

Mixed 2 shots for this Illuminations Finale.

Mixed 2 shots for this Illuminations Finale.

In addition to Temochi-Hanabi, Uchiage-Hanabi also makes people some ephemeral feeling after burning. It mainly starts to be seen from around the end of July. Many summer festival set off fireworks as a climax and to ends up festival. For most cities, summer festival is one of the greatest events, so they often prepare unique or enormous number of fireworks to make a difference to other cities. As a result, in many summer festivals crowded with tremendous number of people till the end of an event, because people come to see Hanabi and it often in the end of event. Summer festival is also good chance to wear Yukata(浴衣).

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Let’s go to summer festival, there are also some festivals in Tokyo. If you look for some events which include Hanabi, we are willing to help you to find it.