Shimatani!

•April 1, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Hitomi Shimatani

Hitomi shimatani , compared to some other popular Japanese artists , shes fairly “New” to the music industry , Having released her first Debut Single in 1999.  All that i’ve got to say about her is … DAMN i love her music. I can listen to her music over and over on repeat all day long , and every song just fits right in!

Her music has been popping up all over the Japan ,appearing in more than one popular anime series ( The Law of Ueki,  InuYasha)

On July 16, 2008, Hitomi released her seventh studio album, Flare. On March 4, 2009, she released her thirtieth single, SMILES, which is being used as the theme song for the drama Parallel, in which Shimatani herself stars.

(on a side note , i absolutely LOVE the new single SMILES :-P)

Shimatani had a part in the Prince of Tennis Live-Action Film as the character of Sumire Ryuzaki. She plays a young and optimistic girl who is Nanjiro Echizen‘s classmate. She was also in the 11-episode drama Boku dake no Madonna (She is my only Madonna / …and I love her). Though she wasn’t actually in the movie, she did a cover of Vanessa Hudgens’ song “When There Was Me And You”, titled “Anata To Ita Toki”, from the hit Disney film High School Musical.

Two of her songs id highly recommend if you are into J-Pop:

Destiny


SMILES



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Japanese Gurl!

•April 1, 2009 • Leave a Comment

hitomi11

Hitomi Furuya is one of my personal favorites when it comes to J-Pop , Shes funky and her music just grabs you from the first time you hear it.

Born January 26 1976 ,  she was quite active and at 15 one wouldnt have thought her ever being an idol ,as she was an enthusiastic athlete , playing baseball , soccer and basketball.  At 16 she was spotted by a modeling agency and signed a short modeling contract , appearing in magazines while she was still in High School!.

At 17 , Furuya was spotted by eminent Avex Trax music producer Tetsuya Komuro at an audition. Komuro signed Furuya to Avex, put Furuya through vocal training, and decided that she should use an all-lowercase ‘hitomi’ as her stage name. Thus the start of big things!

hitomi-peace

Her first single was rather dreadfull ( Let’s Play Winter ) and while i found her 2nd sinlge a lot better ( WE ARE “LONELY GIRL”) neither of them did well on any japanese music charts. Her 3rd Single however , Candy Girl, was used for the theme of a Kodak CM , and made it onto the Top 20 Oricon Music charts for Japan.

A lot of her songs have been featured on a wide range of products. Examples include “I am,” which served as an opening song for the popular anime InuYasha, “kimi no tonari,” which was the theme song for a PlayStation video game Persona 2: Innocent Sin, and “IS IT YOU?” was used as a theme song for a popular FujiTV drama series “dekichatta kekkon”. In addition, hitomi is a perennial favourite of clothes, cosmetics and accessories brands like Trussardi and Gillette for her modeling experience, photogenic features, and slender figure. Hitomi is currently the spokesperson for Gillette Venus shaver in Japan.

In 2007 she released an Album “Peace” which had all her most popular songs from the Album “TRAVELER” and some of her singles on. The album sold over 8,830,000 copie.

July 2008 she announced that she was pregnant , and during that time she released only one new single called “Fight for Your Run”. All hitomi fans can look forward to her new single ” WORLD! WIDE! LOVE!“, to be released on May 20 2009 and “LOVE LIFE 2“, her ninth studio album, to be released June 10, 2009.

ps. hitomi gave birth to a baby girl on December 23  😀


If you want a taste of how she sounds , take a look at this video , one of my personal favorites from Hitomi : Japanese Girl


Gomen!

•April 1, 2009 • Leave a Comment

gomen-nasai

So , i’ve been offline for almost a week due to some technical issues , but do not fear , J-addiction is back and packed full for this upcoming month! To make up for the past week ill kick start with a Double Post on two of Japans Hitomo musical wonders!

Enjoy!

(Note , The Sign at the top says “Sorry” in Japanese , and the writing style is known as Kanji. This is also verbally pronounced as “Gomen-nasai”)

Gomen!

r..r..r..RAAMEN!

•March 17, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Ramen

Yup, today we’ll be looking into ramen , some interesting things regarding it and some easy ways to make it.

Ramen is a noodle soup that was originally imported to Japan from China in the Meiji Period. In more recent decades, it has become a very popular dish in Japan, adapted to the Japanese taste. Ramen restaurants (ramen ya) number in the thousands, and instant ramen (invented in 1958) is popular both in and outside of Japan.

Ramen noodles are about as thin as spaghetti and are served in a soup that varies based on region, city and even specific vendor. Ramen’s popularity stems in part from the fact that it is so inexpensive and widely available, making it an ideal option for budget travelers. In addition to freshly prepared ramen at ramen ya, supermarkets and convenience stores offer a large selection of instant ramen bowls.

Though ramen can be considered a one dish meal, gyoza are a common side dish offered at ramen ya. These Chinese style, pan fried dumplings are eaten with a soya and vinegar sauce. Shichimi (red chili mix) is usually available on the table to be added according to taste.

Making a delicious ramen isn’t easy if you are making the soup from scratch. The taste of ramen mainly depends on the soup, and it requires skills to make delicious soup. Ramen chefs usually train for a long time to learn to make ramen soup. Each ramen shop has its own way to make soup, and there are so many different ways. Chicken bone, pork bone, dried sardines (niboshi), and/or kombu are used to make soup stock for ramen. Vegetables, such as ginger, negi, garlic, or/and mushrooms are also added.

Categorized by flavors, there are mainly four kinds of ramen: shio ramen (salt flavored soup), shoyu ramen (soy sauce flavored soup), tonkotsu ramen (pork bone soup), miso ramen (miso flavored soup). Tonkotsu ramen soup is creamy white, and miso ramen soup is brown.

Common ramen toppings are negi (leek), shinachiku (seasoned bamboo shoots), nori (dried seaweed), yakibuta (grilled pork), boiled egg, narutomaki, and so on.

Narutomaki , any Naruto fan would’ve seen this before :

Narutomaki

Narutomaki is a kind of Japanese Fish Cake , it can be sliced thin or thick and added to food , boiled or raw.

Here is a Recipe to make make Ramen (Note that this is just one of many recipes that can be found on the internet , if it doesnt suite your tatste needs , just browse around!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 oz. ground pork
  • 5 oz. bean sprouts, rinsed
  • 4 oz. cabbage, chopped
  • 2 oz. carrot, cut into thin strips
  • 4 cups warm water
  • 2 tsp chicken bouillon powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 4 Tbsp miso paste
  • 2 Chukamen (raw Chinese noodles)
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil

Preparation:

· Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet or a wok.

· Add minced ginger and garlic in the skillet and saute pork on medium heat until done.

· Add carrot, bean sprouts, and cabbage in the skillet and saute together for a few minutes.

· Pour warm water in the skillet.

· Season with chicken bouillon powder, sugar, and soy sauce and bring the soup to a boil.

· Turn down the heat to low, and melt miso in the soup.

· Add sesame oil at last.

· Stop the heat.

· In the meantime, boil lots of water in a large pot.

· Put Chukamen noodles in the boiling water and cook for a few minutes, or boil noodles, following the   package instruction.

· Drain the noodles and serve into two noodle bowls.

· Pour hot miso soup over the noodles with ingredients on top.
*Makes 2 servings

A Short Video of a common ramen Indoor shop,

Honen-Sai Festival

•March 15, 2009 • 2 Comments

March 15th marks the middle of the month for South-Africans (or at least  almost the middle). It comes and goes every year , nothing out of the ordinary , just another day. Not for the Japanese.

fertility01

15th of March marks the day on which the Japanese annually ask for fertility in order to ensure a bountiful harvest. They parade a freshly carved 3m(13-Foot) wooden phallus(Penis) around the shrine. Couples will come and pray at the shrine and touch the phallus for the hope of getting a child. In other words , touch the phallus for fertility.

The large phallus is carved every year from a single cypress tree. The tree is selected and felled in mid-winter then taken to the shrine for purification rituals. Using only traditional tools, the phallus is slowly carved into being. After the festival, the phallus will reside the rest of the year at nearby Shinmei Shrine until it is time to carve the next phallus.

fertility03

This Festival is not a 5min walk around the park , Before the procession traditional music is played (see the video at the end) while everything is being prepared. A Traditional Sword show will take place during the procession and afterwards the phallus will be marched around the shrine.

Sword Show

Following the phallus, comes a group of women all of them 36 years of age who cradle a 60-centimeter wooden phallus in their arms like it were a baby. Thirty-six is traditionally thought to be an unlucky age for women so the women gain protection as well as energy by carrying these phalluses. Their revitalized energies in turn help to stimulate the energy of the male deity.

36 Year old Woman

Behind the unlucky ladies comes a group of men carrying yet another phallic symbol that stands upright on long thin board. They sing old laborers’ songs with scarcely concealed sexual overtones.

This is just one of the many odd yet fascinating festivals the Japanese have , and for the feint hearted the free Saki is sure to calm the nerves and help to pray for fertility.

Some Short videos of the festival(Worth the watch!) :

Hagane no Renkinjutsushi!

•March 14, 2009 • 1 Comment
FMA

Hagane no Renkinjutsushi or Full Metal Alchemist is surely one of the mile posts in any Anime Fanatic’s log. Its action packed keeping you on the edge of your seat for the duration of the 52 episodes.

A while back BONES anime studio let a few things slip about a possible continuation of FMA , a second season… well for those still in the shadows , dont sulk no more! The official release date according to the new site is the 5th of april 2009 which is just a few weeks away!

Here are 2 very short trailers confirming the 2nd season and the release date:

If you were a big FMA fan , then im sure those two trailers would give you goosebumps , even though they dont show much. Now , the big question everyone is asking regarding this “2nd Season” is wether it will pick up from the movie (Conqueror of Shambala) or give the “correct” storyline according to the manga , as the first season branched away from the original Manga storyline.

Only Time will tell for sure , but one thing we all know ,  is that waiting week after week for the next episode will be hell in a heavenly way.

Welcome!

•March 14, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Welcome to J-A! My new domain for spreading Japanese rumours , giving info and sharing what i know!

As march aint the start nor the end of anything and not yet the middle ill be covering some recent material that some of the “hardcore” guys will already have heard , but that might still be a good read to some casual fans. Ill also be covering what we can expect in the upcoming months on the Anime scene!

Hope you enjoy my point of view on things and feel free to comment and criticize!