cooljapanlover

Aah~ ✿! The sakura season is finally here  (*^ワ^*)/ 

Here’s a simple infographic that we made about how sakura are classified, based on this article by japan-guide.com :http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2011_species.html 

Are you going sakura-viewing any time soon? We’d love to see your cherry blossom photos (please share them with us ♥)! Let’s see if we can classify them using this infographic~ (*‿*✿) 

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😭 If only I could fix my papers now huhu 😣 - by @japanloverme “Shibuya is one of the most famous and busiest shopping and entertainment centers in Tokyo. ヽ(^。^)丿There are just so many things you could do that you might get overwhelmed! >▽< So we listed 10 activities we could recommend you to do when you’re in Shibuya:

1. Take a photo at the Shibuya Crossing - Shibuya Crossing is the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world. It’s one of the most amazing spots to take photos in Japan!

2. Visit Hachiko’s famous statue - It is said that as long as you can pinpoint the location of the statue, you’ll never get lost in Shibuya
3. Shop at Shibuya 109 - HUGE shopping center!

4. Shop from LoFT / Tokyu Hands - These are shopping centers for cute and quirky products, stationery, craft materials for DIYs, accessories, and souvenirs.

5. Dress up cutely (like a Japanese schoolgirl heheh) and take purikura! >3<

6. Test your crane skills and win a cute toy/plushie from the UFO catchers or crane machines in arcade buildings!
7. Visit One Piece Mugiwara Store at Shibuya Parco

8. Visit and shop at the Disney store (a wonderful building that looks like a castle from outside)

9. Relax at the Kiki and Lala Cafe (Little Twin Stars)

10. Visit Mandarake - one of Japan’s biggest manga and anime (and toys and collectibles) store! ⊙▽⊙ Miscellaneous: KARAOKE, of course! >3< ♪♫ ~~~ How about you? What was your experience in Shibuya? Also, do you have other places in mind that you would recommend to other JapanLovers as well? ☆

If you have a list of things to do in a particular favorite place in Japan, please do send us an email and we’ll see if we can make a kawaii infograph (by Little Miss Paintbrush ) out of your suggestions! (email: www.japanlover.me@gmail.com | subject: [Places in Japan]) www.japanlover.me

#japanloverme #japan #placesinjapan #shibuya #cooljapanlover #cool #infograph” via @PhotoRepost_app

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In Japan, the Tanabata festival is celebrated every 7th day of the 7th month (July 7).  But since our theme this month is all about Japanese legends and folklore (and love  ♥), here’s the story behind the popular tradition. (。・ω・。)ノ♡

♡ The Legend of the Tanabata ♡

むかしむかし, Orihime (the “Weaving Princess”), the daughter of the King of the Skies, helped her father in decorating the sky. While her father made and hung stars in the sky, she weaved a very fine, delicate and beautiful cloth-like material, which we now know as clouds. ꒰●꒡ ̫ ꒡●꒱

Orihime’s weaving was so skillful that the King of the Skies was so proud of her. She worked hard day and night, until one day, her father noticed that she looked ill. He let her rest for the day, and allowed her to do whatever she pleased.

Orihime was so happy with this! She went and played along the Heavenly River (the Milky Way), and she danced among the stars. Across the river, she saw Hikoboshi, the Cow-herder star (he took care of the Heavenly cows that help produce the Milky Way). In turn, he also caught sight of her.

The two approached each other by crossing the only bridge that stretched across the wide river. Upon meeting at the middle of the bridge, they greeted each other casually and warmly. Hikoboshi asked Orihime if she wanted to come with him so he could show her around. Orihime, who always wanted to explore life outside her weaving routine, immediately agreed. 

Orihime and Hikoboshi had so much fun exploring the skies. They became friends easily, and soon they felt that they were falling in love with each other. ♡(*´・ω・)(・ω・`*)♡

Orihime was so happy that she forgot to come home. The King of the Skies was so worried, that he sent some magpies to search for her and guide her back to him. When the magpies found her, she ignored them because she didn’t want to come home yet, she wanted to stay with Hikoboshi.

When the magpies returned to the King of the Skies with this news, he was outraged! He fetched Orihime himself, forced her to come home, then destroyed the only bridge on the Heavenly River. He also made the river deeper and wider that it already was. He forbade the two to ever meet again.

Orihime and Hikoboshi were distraught. Orihime understood that as the Weaving Princess, she had certain responsibilities, but she missed Hikoboshi so terribly. With tears in her eyes, she asked her father if they could somehow settle for an agreement. Her father could not bear to see tears in her precious daughter’s eyes, so he told her that if she works hard for a year, he will let her see Hikoboshi once a year, on the 7th day of the 7th month.

From then on, on every 7th day of the 7th month, a flock of magpies forms a bridge on the Heavenly river, allowing Orihime and Hikoboshi to be with each other. In return, Orihime worked hard in weaving clouds, mist and fog for the rest of the year, until the end of time.

The End ~ 

✩✩✩

So that’s the story of the Tanabata!  Hope you enjoyed it~ ♡^▽^♡

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A futakuchi-onna (二口女) is a type of yokai from Japanese folklore that is in the form of a woman with two mouths: one normal mouth, and one big mouth on the back of her head. 

((((;゜Д゜)))

These women appear be very innocent and eat only a little bit of food at first, but when they think nobody is watching, a big, ghastly mouth open up as a slit at the back of their head, and they use their long, writhing hair to shovel tons of food into it (because a futakuchi-onna’s second mouth has a very huge appetite!). 

(ノ゚0゚)ノ~ 

One story about the futakuchi-onna is about the miser who married a seemingly meek and innocent beautiful lady. She rarely ate meals, and when she did eat, she ate in very small quantities.

The stingy miser thought he hit the jackpot because she was very low-maintenance when it came to food. It was all good until one day, despite their small food consumption, he found that their food storage has been mysteriously and steadily decreasing. He spied on it that night to catch the “robber”, and was shocked to see his wife open a horrifying mouth-like slit on the back of her head (complete with teeth and tongue!) and use her tentacle-like hair to shovel food into it. The miser was so horrified that he ran away, never to return. Σ(゜ロ゜;)

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Shibuya is one of the most famous and busiest shopping and entertainment centers in Tokyo. ヽ(^。^)丿There are just so many things you could do that you might get overwhelmed! >▽< So we listed 10 activities we could recommend you to do when you’re in Shibuya:

1. Take a photo at the Shibuya Crossing - Shibuya Crossing is the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world. It’s one of the most amazing spots to take photos in Japan!

2. Visit Hachiko’s famous statue  - It is said that as long as you can pinpoint the location of the statue, you’ll never get lost in Shibuya 

3. Shop at Shibuya 109 - HUGE shopping center!

4. Shop from LoFT / Tokyu Hands - These are shopping centers for cute and quirky products, stationery, craft materials for DIYs, accessories, and souvenirs.

5. Dress up cutely (like a Japanese schoolgirl heheh) and take purikura! >3<

6. Test your crane skills and win a cute toy/plushie from the UFO catchers or crane machines in arcade buildings! 

7. Visit One Piece Mugiwara Store at Shibuya Parco

8. Visit and shop at the Disney store (a wonderful building that looks like a castle from outside)

9. Relax at the Kiki and Lala Cafe (Little Twin Stars)

10. Visit Mandarake - one of Japan’s biggest manga and anime (and toys and collectibles) store! ⊙▽⊙

Miscellaneous: KARAOKE, of course!  >3< ♪♫

~~~

How about you? What was your experience in Shibuya? Also, do you have other places in mind that you would recommend to other JapanLovers as well? ☆

If you have a list of things to do in a particular favorite place in Japan, please do send us an email and we’ll see if we can make a kawaii infograph (by Little Miss Paintbrush ) out of your suggestions! (email: www.japanlover.me@gmail.com | subject: [Places in Japan])

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When you hear “Melon Princess”, you might guess that it’s going to be a cute and sweet tale. (✿。・ω・。)



But you guessed wrong. ( ꒪Д꒪)ノ 

This folktale is so not “cute and sweet” that it even spawned an urban legend. But here’s the story first:

✧✧✧✧✧

The Tale of Urikohime, The Melon Princess

むかしむかし, there was an old couple who found a huge melon floating by the river. They took it home and was surprised to find a baby girl inside! (Quite similar to the tale Momotaro~) They named the baby “Urikohime”, which meant “a baby princess born from a melon”.

Urikohime grew up to be a beautiful young lady with a kind heart. Everyone admired her, including the young prince. As Urikohime and the prince became friends, she always advised him about how to be a good friend to the citizens, and he always told her stories about his travels and adventures. Eventually, they fell in love with each other, and soon the prince proposed to her for marriage.

The whole kingdom prepared for the celebrations. However, before the day of the wedding, Urikohime went missing! The prince, and even the townspeople looked for her, but did not find her.

What they didn’t know was that she was kidnapped by the Amanojaku, a demon. This demon has the power to bring out the evil in people’s heart so they will perpetrate evil deeds.

The Amanojaku, knowing that Urikohime can influence the prince (the soon-to-be king), kidnapped her to control her and turn her evil, which will soon lead to the demon stealthily controlling the whole kingdom.

However, the demon’s attempts to control Urikohime were in vain, as she revealed to him that she was not exactly a normal human, because she was born from a melon. 

The amanojaku was enraged with this, and upon realizing his failure, grabbed Urikohime and killed her, and then skinned her! 
(((( ;°Д°)))) 

The demon then wore Urikohime’s flayed skin and clothes, then returned to the kingdom pretending to be her. The prince was relieved to see her again, but noticed that she was quite different. She was rude to the servants and told the prince false accusations against the people. However, the wedding was on again, and was to be held on the next day. The amanojaku finally felt assured of its victory.

That night, back in the demon’s lair, a small bird rose from Urikohime’s corpse. It was her soul. It flew to the kingdom, straight into the prince’s quarters. The small bird whispered to the prince in his sleep, and in his dream, Urikohime appeared to him and told him about what the amanojaku did to her and what it was planning for the kingdom.

The prince woke up furious, and confronted the fake Urikohime who was sleeping in the next room. He asked her about things that only he and the real Urikohime knew. The amanojaku could not answer any of the questions, and when it got pressured enough, it revealed its true form by ripping Urikohime’s skin apart and coming out of it. ∑(;°Д°)

The prince, shocked and enraged, took out his sword and attacked the demon violently, with hot and angry tears pouring out of his eyes. The amanojaku tried to control the prince, but failed because the prince has already brought out his violent side out of anger! Since the demon was not that strong physically (only resorting to controlling other people to do its evil deeds), it was easily killed by the angry prince.

The prince then picked up Urikohime’s clothes, hugged them, and cried. Suddenly, he heard a chirping bird, and looked towards the window. There sat a small and beautiful bird. It flew towards him, around his head and lingered near the side of his face and snuggled his cheek lightly. Then finally, it flew out of the window and into the sky.

The end. 

。:゜(;´∩`;)゜:。

✧✧✧✧✧

The Urban Legend:

It is said that when you look into an old mirror at midnight, and say “Urikohime” three times, it’s either you will be visited by Urikohime’s skinless ghost, or your head will fall off. (・□・;)It is said that this is because Urikohime’s body was never recovered and was not given a proper burial, and her “good soul” reincarnated as a bird, leaving her “evil soul” behind on earth, hungry for revenge.

( ꒪Д꒪)

Totally not “cute and sweet”, right? But we hope you still enjoyed it, heheh! >3<

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Rokurokubi is a type of Japanese yōkai that has two types: one whose head can detach from the body, and one whose neck can elongate. 

The type whose head can detach is called nukekubi. It is said to be the evil type, since it feeds on human blood through biting its preys. Its body is said to be weak when its head is detached, and this is the only time when it can be killed.

The regular rokurokubi is the one that can elongate its neck, sometimes even without it knowing (meaning it can’t always control its neck elongation). 

It is said that the rokurokubi is produced through human karma. In one tale, a man cheated his wife with another woman (to the point that his wife committed suicide upon discovering his unfaithfulness), and when he got the other woman pregnant, their child was born a rokurokubi.

(;╹⌓╹)

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Our tale for today is about Tamamo No Mae, a nine-tailed fox (kyuubi). (=^・ω・^)y=

✧ The Tale of the Nine-Tailed Fox ✧

むかしむかし , there was a beautiful lady who arrived at the Emperor’s palace. She was Tamamo No Mae, and she was so beautiful, intelligent, and graceful that the Emperor fell in love with her the first time he saw her. 

When he asked her what could he do for a visitor like her, she told him that she would like to stay at the palace. The Emperor could not resist her charm, so he agreed.

The longer she stayed at the palace, the more people around her adored her. She was the most beautiful girl they have ever seen! 

She was also very polite, elegant, and very, very intelligent.The scholars in the palace often liked to test her knowledge, and she always passed their tests, sometimes even exceeding their expectations. 

The Emperor, who also enjoyed her company, found himself falling in love with her even deeper. One day, he asked her if she wanted to move in with him inside the palace. Tamamo No Mae agreed. 

As the days went by, she and the Emperor became a couple. They were always together, day and night, all days of the week. They were almost inseparable~ ヽ(*≧ω≦)ノ ♡♡

As time passed, the people of the palace noticed that the Emperor was becoming weak. Until one day, he was so severely ill that he could not get out of bed! 

The servants also found it strange that at first, Tamamo No Mae was apathetic, not showing any signs of sadness, nor any emotion at all. It was just until when the Emperor had a grave near-death convulsion that Tamamo No Mae almost appeared worried and restless, sometimes even looking quite confused.

One of the palace’s scholars became very suspicious of their mysterious lady visitor, that he sought help from the monks in the high mountains. He told them how the nearly-perfect Tamamo No Mae came to their town and charmed everyone, including the Emperor, and that he fears that she might not be what she appears to be.

The monks gave the scholar a small wand, and told him to trick Tamamo no Mae into touching it. They said that when she touches it, it will reveal her true nature. 

The scholar returned to the palace and immediately went to Tamamo No Mae. He found Tamamo No Mae in her room, staring blankly out of the window, looking very absentminded.

The scholar took opportunity of Tamamo No Mae’s absentmindedness, and asked her if she wanted to come with him for another knowledge test, to get her mind off of things. He offered his hand to as if to invite her, and when she reached out her hand, he immediately pressed the wand against her palm.

The moment the wand touched her skin, it began to smoke! Tamamo No Mae retracted her hand in pain, but it was too late. A blinding light came out of nowhere, and amidst the light and smoke, the scholar was shocked to see a number of tails unfurl behind Tamamo No Mae. 

The scholar screamed for the guards. Just as the guards came bursting into the room, a cornered and panicking Tamamo No Mae transformed fully into a kyuubi, or a nine-tailed fox! She leapt out of the window and tore through the town at top speed. 

The people (who adored her before), upon seeing her, threw rocks and sharp objects at her. Wounded, she escaped the town and headed towards the mountains.

Back in the palace, the scholars informed the Emperor of Tamamo No Mae’s true nature. Kitsune (and Kyuubi) are creatures who are known to use their charm to absorb the energy of people, especially those who feel closest to them. 

Heartbroken and still weak (but miraculously recovering), the Emperor heavy-heartedly authorized the scholars to “do what needs to be done”, for the sake of the people. 

The scholars then hired two skilled warrior-assassins, Kazusa-no-suke and Miura-no-suke, to hunt and kill the fox.

It took long before the two warriors found her. Tamamo No Mae, the fox, was found hiding in the mountains, victimizing wandering travellers for food. When she saw the two warriors, she instantly attacked them, but they were too skillful so they easily dodged her attacks. 

Suddenly, Miura-no-suke said aloud, “Under the order of the Emperor, a foul traitor like you must die a painful death!!!”

The fox suddenly stopped, then a blinding light came again, and the two warriors found a very beautiful Tamamo No Mae standing before them, with nine tails on her back, and her eyes brimming with tears. She stood there shaking, staring at the ground, looking half angry and half miserable.

“Do what you need to do,” she finally said. “But I’m not going to die without a fight.” Upon these words she charged at the two warriors with sharp claws and bared fangs. 

The three had a long and tough fight, eventually leading to the three of them heavily wounded, and with Tamamo No Mae transforming again into a fox and fleeing the mountains.

The fox ran towards the plains, again at top speed. The warriors chased after her, but she was too fast, so one of them took out a bow and arrow. He aimed at the running fox, and with several attempts, he successfully shot an arrow through the fox’s chest.

The fox, as it lay dying on the ground, once again transformed into Tamamo No Mae. Hot tears of sadness, anger, and pain ran down her beautiful face, before finally dying. 

The moment she drew her last breath, she transformed into a cursed black stone (Sessho-seki, or Killing Stone). The stone released a magical poisonous gas, killing anyone who went near it.

The stone stood there for many generations, victimizing many. Until one night, a monk passed by, and set up a ritual around the cursed stone. He prayed the whole night, muttering enchantments and setting up blessed candles and incense around the stone. 

The next morning, he got up and approached the stone, even placing his hand on its surface, but miraculously, he was not harmed. 

He then called out to it, “I’ve heard of your story, Tamamo No Mae; of how as a kyuubi you bewitched the Emperor and got what you deserved - a painful and lonely death. But I know that there is so much more than that story, and I would like to lend a listening heart for you. Please, I want to know your real story.”

He waited several moments, until a voice came from the stone. 

“I am Tamamo No Mae, but I haven’t always been Tamamo No Mae. My real name is Mizukume. My adoptive father found me in the forest as an infant, not knowing that I was already cursed to be a nine-tailed fox, which is probably why my real parents abandoned me. When I was seventeen years old, my adoptive father was framed for treason, and the palace sentenced him into exile, eventually leading to his death. 

"I was terribly angry and alone. I decided to embrace my kyuubi self and immediately sought vengeance towards the palace, eventually gaining the trust and love of the young Emperor himself. As I slowly drained his life force, I came across something unexpected: I found myself falling for him, which was not part of the plan. A part of me didn’t want him to get hurt, or to die. I became very confused about things. I got my heart broken even before that arrow tore through my chest, and that’s what really killed me in the end. 

"Please, kind monk, I cannot take this anymore. I have been cursed since I was born, and even after I died, I am still cursed. I have killed so many, in my life and death, and I am very sorry. Please, I beg you, release me from this misery.”

The monk closed his eyes, and with his hand still leaning on the rock, he muttered a solemn incantation, which he ended with “thank you, Mizukume. Be free." 

A brilliant ball of light rose up from the stone, and went up into the sky. The stone, which was not cursed anymore, crumbled into pieces, and the debris scattered all over Japan.

The End~

~~~

Such a sad story, but this might be our most favorite so far! ;3;
We hope you liked it!   

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“The loveliest village in Japan. A place full of soul. At last, I belong.” - JapanLoverMe contributor Ashley Dy / Candy Kawaii Lover

http://candykawaiilover.blogspot.com/2013/12/shimokitazawa.html

Shimokitazawa is a beautiful place indeed. It is often compared to Harajuku, but it has a more laid back and calmer feel (and not much crowded too!) (。・ω・。)

Ashley recommends 10 things you should do when you’re in Shimokitazawa:

1. Cafe Hammock Tribe - A hammock cafe inspired by the beach. They serve Thai / Asian cuisines. The best cafe I’ve ever been to. Definitely a must-visit hangout place in Shimokitazawa.

2. Darwin Room - Where you can find a real otter, zebra, butterflies among many other animals preserved. They also have a small cafe area where you can dine. The store’s atmosphere is just magical!

3. Flamingo - You can find authentic vintage clothes from the 40’s to the 80’s.

4. 2丁目3番地 (Nichome Sanbachi) - A toy store that sells used items from the 90’s or even older. I found Sailor Moon, Star Wars, Hello Kitty toys and more! They’re usually 50% OFF on weekends. 

5. Cateriam cat Cafe

6. Rabbit cafe

7. Rainbow cafe 

8. Sunday flea market

9. Buy cute plushies

10. Dress like mori-kei! (*‿*✿)

 Thanks, Ashley! 

How about you? Have you ever been to Shimokitazawa? What was your experience? Also, do you have other places in mind that you would recommend to other JapanLovers as well? ☆

If you have a list of things to do in a particular favorite place in Japan, please do send us an email and we’ll see if we can make a kawaii infograph (by Little Miss Paintbrush ) out of your suggestions! (email: www.japanlover.me@gmail.com | subject: [Places in Japan])

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Osaka, a city that is one of Japan’s most important economic centers, has many sights and activities to offer for tourists and travelers. (・∀・)

These are just 10 of the many things you can do in Osaka:

1. Take a picture with the famous Glico Man ✧
2. Do a sight-seeing on top of the Umeda Sky Building / Floating Garden Observatory
3. Visit the open air museum of japanese farm houses ✿
4. Eat okonomiyaki and takoyaki! (っ˘ڡ˘ς) Yum!
5. Visit the Osaka Castle
6. Visit the Osaka History Museum (you’ll find the NHK building beside it!)
7. Stroll around Osaka in kimono 
8. Explore the Kamigata Ukiyo-e Museum (woodblock prints)
9. Visit Universal Studios Japan (http://candykawaiilover.blogspot.jp/2013/06/universal-studios-japan-osaka.html)
10. Have fun at The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum!

~~~

Special thanks to JapanLover Carly of www.carly-rose.com and to Ashley from Candy Kawaii Lover 

~~~

How about you? What was your experience in Osaka? Also, do you have other places in mind that you would recommend to other JapanLovers as well? ☆

If you have a list of things to do in a particular favorite place in Japan, please do send us an email and we’ll see if we can make a kawaii infograph (by Little Miss Paintbrush ) out of your suggestions! (email: www.japanlover.me@gmail.com | subject: [Places in Japan])

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Today, January 13, the second Monday of the year, Japan celebrates the “Coming-of-Age Day (Seijin no Hi 成人の日)”! ^^

It is a national holiday that celebrates and congratulates people who have just reached 20 years old (the Japanese legal age) over the past year, and reminds them of their responsibilities as an adult. (✿´‿`)

Coming-of-Age day is usually celebrated with a ceremony (girls wear furisode, guys wear a traditional hakama or Western style coat-and-tie), followed by a social gathering, then a party at the end of the day. °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°

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According to Japanese folklore, due to extremely powerful emotions such as anger, sadness, or love, a living person can unknowingly produce an “ikiryō”, or a “separate soul”. This separation can cause weakness or illness to the said person.

An ikiryō can allegedly cause harm to a person of interest (for example, a cheating partner, or a person the ikiryō’s host is obsessed with). It is also said to be able to possess someone. 

Exorcizing a person possessed with an ikiryō is said to be very difficult. (꒪⌓꒪)

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Our むかしむかし of the day is about the tale of the Kitsune (fox).
(^・ω・^ )

This is one of the oldest surviving tales about the shape-shifting fox, and it is said that this story tells where the word “Kitsune” came from.

~~~

むかしむかし, there lived a man named Ono. He fell in love with a very beautiful lady he met at a vast moor, and soon they became lovers. He married her a year later, and they lived a happy life.

Years later, his beautiful wife gave birth to their son, simultaneously, their dog also gave birth to a pup.

As the pup grew up, it always barked and growled at Ono’s wife. She always avoided the pup (now a dog), and became very tensed when it’s around.

One day, it suddenly attacked her violently. She ran and ran and when she got cornered, she had no choice, but to reveal her true form, which was a fox-like creature, in an attempt to scare to dog away.

When she saw that her husband saw her transform, she panicked and leaped over the fence and tried to flee. As she was escaping, Ono called out to her,

“You might be a fox, but I still love you! My heart will always be yours. I still want you to stay with me forever. Whenever you want to come back home, your will always be welcome.”

That night, and every night after that, she came home to her husband and child. She slept in his arms, and they continued to live happily ever after. ♡。゚.(*♡´‿` 人´‿` ♡*)゚♡ °・

From that day onward, the fox was called “kitsune”, because kitsu-ne means come and sleep, and ki-tsune means always.

~~~~

;________; So sweet~

Hope you enjoyed our story for today! Until next time! ^^

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Yūrei (幽霊) are “ghosts” in Japanese folklore. The kanji directly translates to “faint spirit”. It is a traditional Japanese belief that for a dead person’s spirit to rest in peace and join its ancestors (sometimes even becoming the protector of their living loved ones), it has to be given a proper funeral and burial rites. 

It is said that if a dead person has not been given a proper burial, or has been a victim of a violent death, its spirit lingers in the land of the living as a yūrei (or sometimes as an onryō or “vengeful spirit”). Sometimes, extreme feelings (such as love and anger), or an unfinished business may also cause a yūrei to stay.

One old tale about a yūrei is about the prodigal samurai and his wife:

むかしむかし, there lived a poor but skillful samurai. He met the woman of his dreams and married her, and together they lived a happy but simple life in a small village. 

Everything was looking good for both of them, until one day, the samurai was given great honors for his skills, and was offered a high position in the emperor’s palace, which was in a faraway city.

The samurai, blinded by power and money, immediately decided to leave home. He promised his wife that he would return soon, then he excitedly set off to the faraway place.

Once he got there, he was amazed by all the luxury that lay before him: delicious food, all kinds of extravagant things, and he even met a lovely lady that he forgot all about his wife. He spent his days merrymaking when he was not working.

Five years had passed, and soon he got weary of his life in the city. He missed his simple life with his loving wife, and everyday he grew more homesick.

One day, he finally decided to come home to the small village. He found their house looking the same way when he left it, but it was very clean and tidy. He found his wife sitting on their porch, and she smiled warmly upon seeing him, her eyes shining with tears. He hugged her, feeling very guilty. That night, they slept with his wife in his arms. 

He whispered to her, “I’m sorry I left you, and I’m sorry for a lot of things too. I missed you so much.”

She answered, “Don’t worry, I’m happy now that you’ve come home. I love you, and I missed you too.”

He fell asleep, and the next morning, he was shocked at what he saw the moment he woke up.

Next to him was a corpse, and when he looked around the room, everything was old and dusty! He ran outside to his neighbor’s house and demanded that they tell him what happened to his home. They replied:

“When you left, she waited for you to come back. When she did not receive any letter from you, she became very distant and depressed as time went by. She stopped talking to us and she stopped coming out of your house, until one day, we thought we smelled something rotten coming from your house, and we figured that she had died. Nobody ever came to check on your house because everyone thought she cursed it.”

The samurai, feeling very shocked and sorry, went back to his house and started to cry. That afternoon, he took his wife’s corpse and buried it.

He cleaned the house, and continued with his life. Sometimes, when he felt really sad and alone, he could have sworn that he could still see his wife sitting in their porch, smiling at him warmly and sweetly. 

The end~ 

;_____;

Tales about yūrei are often sad and/or frightening. ;A; Until next story, JapanLovers! 

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In Japanese folklore, when a person disappears mysteriously, he or she is said to be taken to the spirit world, or has been “spirited away”. *wink* ( ´∀`) It is also said that when a person comes back from being spirited away, he/she is now a new and better “enlightened” person than before.

In Hayao Miyazaki-san’s film “Spirited Away”, Chihiro started to become “see-through” upon prolonged exposure to the spirit world. Haku then gives her a bit of spirit food that helps her from disappearing and makes her one with the spirit world, because according to Japanese folklore, if someone eats food from the spirit world, they are then allowed and bound to stay, until a powerful spirit releases them from their curse. (︶ω︶)

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Before our かっこいい month ends, here’s a list of public/national holidays in Japan for the year 2014 to keep you updated! ヽ(*・ω・)ノ

Info:

Coming of Age Day: “a day to congratulate and encourage people who have reached the age of maturity (20) during the year.”

Foundation Day: “a day to reflect on the establishment of the nation and to nourish a love for the country.”

Vernal Equinox Day: “ a day for the admiration of nature and the love of living things.”

Shōwa Day: “a day to reflect on the events of the Shōwa period ("Period of Japanese Glory”).“

Constitution Memorial Day: "to commemorate the day on which Japan’s postwar constitution took effect.”

Greenery Day: “a day to commune with nature and be grateful for its blessings.”

Children’s Day: “a day on which to esteem the personalities of children and plan for their happiness.”

Marine Day: “a day of gratitude for the blessings of the oceans and for hoping for the prosperity of the maritime nation that is Japan.”

Respect-for-the-Aged Day: “a day to respect the elderly and celebrate long life.”

Autumnal Equinox Day: “a day on which to honor one’s ancestors and remember the dead.”

Health and Sports Day: “a day on which to enjoy sports and cultivate a healthy mind and body.”

Culture Day: “a day to celebrate peace and freedom and promote culture.”

Labour Thanksgiving Day: “an occasion for praising labor, celebrating production and giving one another thanks.”

The Emperor’s Birthday: “The birthday of the reigning emperor”

Additional trivia:

When a national holiday falls on a Sunday, the next working day shall become a public holiday, known as furikae kyūjitsu. o(^▽^)o

Source: http://goo.gl/3L9VK

☆☆☆☆☆
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Hi everyone! Our destination for today is… Shinjuku! (*^▽^)/

Shinjuku is a major commercial area in Tokyo, and it is the home to the busiest train station in the world, Shinjuku Station! These are just 10 of the many things you can do in Shinjku:

1. Visit Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
2. Visit Robot Restaurant
3. Visit the Hanazono Jinja Shrine
4. Visit Calico Cat Cafe - http://www.catcafe.jp/
5. Buy goods at Don Quijote Shinjuku
6. Dine at Takashimaya
7. Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3011_tocho.html
8. For fashion students, Bunka Gakuen Costume Museumhttp://www.bunka.ac.jp/museum/text/english.html
9. Visit Shin-Okubo (KoreaTown)
10. Visit Alice Fantasy Restaurant in Shinjuku

~~~

Do you have anything to add to this list? We’d love to hear it! Please comment away!

ヾ(。・ω・。)

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Hi JapanLovers! Welcome to Chiba~! (。´∀`)ノ

Chiba Prefecture is one of the most must-visit places in Japan (according to us! haha), and here are 10 reasons why!

JapanLover Yuna from Sydney, Australia (http://yuna-dayo.blogspot.com.au/) helped us list 10 things you can do when you’re in Chiba: 

1. Visit Tokyo Disneyland!! ☆
2. Visit Tokyo Disney Sea!! ☆ (http://japanlover.me/kawaii/kawaii-travel-guide/tokyo-disney-sea/)
3. Visit Funabashi and buy Funassyi goods! Funassyi is the unofficial mascot of Funabashi. It is basically a pear who likes heavy metal and peaches. (゜▼゜*)
4. Do nashi (Asian pear) picking! Aside from peanuts, Chiba is famous for its pears. 
5. Take a dip at Kotehashi Onsui Pool  It is known for its clean and warm water! It has multiple pools~
6. Go to Chiba Marine Stadium and watch Japanese baseball 
7. Collect Chi-ba kun goods! Chi-ba kun is the mascot of Chiba, it is shaped like Chiba on the map!
8. Shop at Lalaport 

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9. Dine at Aiba Masaki’s (of ARASHI) parents’ restaurant! They have cute memorabilia of him as a kid on display, and even a message book where you can directly dedicate a note for Aiba 
10. Visit the Noda Soy Sauce factory (makes of Kikkoman soy sauce) ~ Take an educational tour 

~~~

Hope you enjoyed our tour! (^ω^)

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Gather around, JapanLovers, because here comes our Japanese folktale of the day! (◕‿◕✿)

~~~

✲The Legend of Yuki-onna ✲

むかしむかし (mukashi mukashi, or “Once upon a time”), there was a handsome young man named Minokichi, traveling with his master in the middle of a snowstorm. The snow was falling so hard, and they were really exhausted, so they decided to take shelter in an old, abandoned hut. 

That evening, while they were sleeping, a draft of cold wind swept into the hut. This woke Minokichi up, and he was surprised to see a beautiful young lady with long black hair, skin as white as the snow, and a white, flowing kimono, hovering over his unconscious master. Her beautiful face was an inch away from his master’s face, and it seems like she was blowing an icy breath onto his mouth.

She then proceeded to approach Minokichi. She floated towards him with a terrifying and deadly cold expression on her face, but when she got close enough to see the young man’s handsome face, she stopped and her facial expression somewhat softened. She stared at him, and after a few moments, she spoke, “I shall spare you, but you must promise me that you will never speak of this incident ever again, or you shall end up like him”.

A confused Minokichi nervously answered, “Yes, yes, I promise!”

This was the last thing he remembered that night, for afterwards, he fell unconscious. The next day, he was terrified to find his master dead and cold. Minokichi then went to a nearby town to continue his life, trying hard to forget that fateful night.

Years later, he met an extremely beautiful young lady, whose name was Oyuki. They became friends, then lovers, until they decided to get married. 

Minokichi treasured Oyuki with all of his heart, loving her more than anything else in the world, and together they produced a wonderful family with beautiful and intelligent children.

Oyuki stayed young-looking and beautiful through the years. One night, while their children were sleeping, Minokichi took notice of this while looking at her face and told her, 

“My beautiful Oyuki, you remind me of an incident that happened to me long ago. I was traveling with my master when we were attacked by a beautiful but deadly spirit of a lady with an icy breath one night, killing my master. She was very terrifying, but your face resembles her supernatural beauty.”

Upon hearing this, Oyuki stood up and floated in the air, her eyes welling with tears and anger. “That woman was me! You broke your promise! But I cannot kill you because of our children! I cannot be with you anymore. Take good care of our children.”

With this, Oyuki, the Yuki-onna(or snow lady), vanished and was never seen again.

~~~~~

So that’s the story of the Yuki-onna.  The lesson of the story is that you must never break your promises (especially with a Yuki-onna hehe!) ヽ(^Д^)ノ

Hope you enjoyed the story (even though it’s another sad ending LOL)! \(^∇^)/

Stay tuned for our next JapanLovin’ folktale!! 

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