The Eitaibashi Bridge Disaster

In 1807, the Eitaibashi Bridge, which spans the Sumida River in Tokyo, was already over a century old. It had been builtin 1698 to commemorate a shogun’s fiftieth birthday. Eitaibashi was a wooden bridge that connected an area of temples with the city of Tokyo, then called Edo. There was confusion and dispute over who was responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the bridge, because the villages on both sides thought the other village should pay more. This dispute had been going on since 1719! As a result, the bridge was poorly maintained. Each side was looked after by a different community.

In 1807, excited residents of the Fukugawa side rushed to a festival that was being held on the Edo side. The weight of the throng caused the old bridge to collapse, depositing 1,400 people into the river. Most drowned. To make the tragedy even worse, the crowd of people eager to get to the festival was so large that those at the back couldn’t see the bridge – or that it had collapsed. They kept trying to move forward, pushing those in front of them. A stream of people fell in the river until an official with a sword physically prevented the crowd from pushing, and the crowd somehow listened to him.

Japanese laughing onomatopoeia 擬声語(gi-sei-go)

Even if they are similar events, different quantities or qualities produce different sounds.  As another example, let’s take a laughing onomatopoeia 擬声語 (gi-sei-go) sound.

When a man laughs uninhibitedly, it’s a loud laugh: ゲラゲラ(ge-ra-ge-ra)

Women could laugh this way, but in Japan where male chauvinism is still rampant, they may be frowned upon by both men and women.  Also, this sound should not be confused with the sound of someone vomiting: ゲロゲロ (ge-ro-ge-ro).

A young woman laughing ケラケラ (ke-ra-ke-ra) is a sign that she’s having a lot of fun talking with you.

But do not mix this up with a similar sound ケロケロ(ke-ro-ke-ro), because if she laughs like that, she is in fact a frog in disguise, not human!

A little girl chuckles silently クスクス(ku-su-ku-su), that’s cute.

A young man laughing ヘラヘラ (he-ra-he-ra) is not very agreeable.  Depending on the situation, it’s a bit unnerving.  He could be also slightly drunk.

It’s even worse if someone is laughing エヘラエヘラ (e-he-ra-e-he-ra).  If this is your teenage son,  you should smack his head.  He needs to be more serious, show more respect!

It’s a big hit if someone laughs ヒーヒー (hih-hih) at your joke with tears coming out from his eyes. It’s so funny he can barely breathe!

If you are smiling ニコニコ (ni-ko-ni-ko) all the time, it’s impossible for anyone to hate you.  Such a smile is highly infectious.  The best kind of smile!

If my friend is grinning ニヤニヤ (ni-ya-ni-ya), I might feel a bit uncomfortable, because he may be secretively laughing at something about me.  But then again, he may be just remembering a fond memory from his last date.

ニタニタ (ni-ta-ni-ta) is a rather obscene way of grinning.  Certainly gentlemen will not smile ニタニタ (ni-ta-ni-ta)  in front of ladies.

Now, in the last three smiles ニコニコ (ni-ko-ni-ko), ニヤニヤ (ni-ya-ni-ya) and ニタニタ (ni-ta-ni-ta), these people are not really making any sound as they smile in these ways.  They are all silent smiles.  But Japanese can hear them!  As I write below, Japanese have developed highly sensitive ears so that they can hear the would-be sound from almost anything!  Namely, Japanese language answers  what kind of sound they would make if they could!

Originally posted by atmeal012

@galaexia asked for my vegetarian nabe recipe so here we go! This is a recipe for two people. You can boil ANYTHING you want in nabe; all kind of meat, vegetables, mushrooms, tofu, seafood, fish, leak, onions, noodles etc. so fill the pot with your stomach’s desires :3 


7,5 dl (750ml) water
1,5 - 2 vegetable stock cubes
3-4 table spoons miso paste (yellow is the best. don’t use black one, it’s too strong)
3 table spoons sake*
4 table spoons mirin sauce (*if you can’t use sake, add 5-6 table spoons of mirin instead)

1. Boil water and add vegetable stock cube. Let it dissolve.
2. Add miso and mix it in
3. Add sake and mirin
4. Taste the broth; is it too salty? Add more water. Is it too watery? Add more miso or stock cubes. Does it taste just like miso or stock cubes? Add mirin and/or sake. The broth can be a bit salty!

When broth is boiling (you can use a regular pot), add in what you want. For vegetarian nabe I used

Brown champions
Baby carrots (chopped)
Napa cabbage
Retikka; a Finnish equivalent to daikon

I boiled hard root vegetables first and kept adding more ingredients in the go; for example napa cabbage and zucchini need only a few minutes of boiling compared to hard carrots and daikon. Tofu is good to add there first as it absorbs all the lovely flavors from the soup during boiling. Noodles can be added the latest with napa; udons are especially lovely with this! From mushrooms you can use any you want, but enoki and maitake are the best ones from my opinion.
You can replace vegetable stock cubes with meat versions. If you want to cook meat with your nabe, add thin slices of your chosen meat in first and then add vegetables. Scoop away fat and other dirt rising on the surface during boiling. 

Any leftovers stay good in a fridge and can be eaten later. Broth can be used again the next day! 


Travel to the Island of Dogs and Garbage in Wes Anderson’s Latest Trailer

When, in the not-distant future, Japan becomes overcome with dogs, and when, as a solution, excess dogs are sent to their own island, well, a 12-year-old boy would have no choice but to team up with those exiled dogs to find his beloved missing pet, obviously. 

That is the premise of Isle of Dogs, Anderson’s second journey into stop-motion feature film, whose first full trailer dropped this Thursday afternoon.

Can’t wait to see it in theaters on March 23, 2018? Read more about the film in our archives here.

- Courtney ( @harmonicacave​ )