Tuesday, 20 January 2015

I'm going back to Japan!

So excited right now! This summer I will be spending three months back in Japan! For those of you who are recent readers of my blog I'll quickly fill you in. I am half Japanese and was born in Japan but have grown up in England. Then from July 2013 to May 2014 I spent my gap year living in Japan where I went to a Japanese language school as all I could really say were simple greetings.
The one year that I lived in Japan my Japanese improved so much, I learnt to read and write in Japanese which I had never been able to do. But now I'm back in England it's hard to keep up with it because I'm not surrounded by it.
So, during the summer I will go back to the language school in Japan to refresh my memory and stop me from forgetting everything I learnt! I will be living in Kyoto, the same city that I lived in before and will make sure that as well as studying I have lots of time for sightseeing and of course shopping!
Will be doing some posts on places I want to go to and places I loved so much last time that I want to revisit them.
Have you got anything exciting planned for summer?
Linking up with Travel Tuesday

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Does The Theory of Everything deserve 10 Bafta nominations?

Last week all the Bafta nominees were announced. The Grand Budapest Hotel led the way with 11 nominations, then came The Theory of Everything and Birdman both with 10 and then The Imitation Game with 9 nominations.
It was nominated for Best Film, Outstanding British Film, Best Actor, Best Actress, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Costume Design, Editing, Make up and hair and Music. Now, I am by far no expert film critic but I am glad The Theory of Everything got so many nominations.

Some people have been arguing that there isn't enough science in the film. Yes, it's about astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, but it's not a documentary. It's a film about a couple and the troubles they face from different opinions on religion to his struggle with motor neurone disease.
I think it definitely deserves to win Outstanding British Film and I would love to see it win Best Film however it is up against Boyhood which was awarded a Golden Globe the other day. Eddie Redmayne's performance was outstanding. I really believed that it was Stephen Hawking and not an actor pretending to be him. Every look and touch was so perfect. However Felicity Jones must not be overlooked, her performance was more subtle but just as effective and I am so glad she was also nominated for a Bafta.
I have no knowledge on things like the Director and Editing so I will move on to the music. I have watched a couple of films recently where the music has really let down the film. Sometimes you don't even notice the music. Not in this case. It was the icing on top of the already very delicious cake! So yes, in my humble opinion all 10 of those Bafta nominations were very much deserved.
Have you watched this film yet?

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

How to celebrate the New Year in Japan

In England for New Years Day you either stay in bed with a massive hangover, rush to the shops for the sales, or go out for a family meal because, you know, you haven't eaten enough over the past few weeks. However in Japan New Year is a three day event from January 1st to the 3rd and there are are lots of rituals and traditions. 

1. Watch bell ringing at a temple
At 12 o'clock when the new year starts, bells at temples are rung 108 times which symbolize the 108 human sins in Buddhist belief. It is believed that the ringing of the bells rids everyone of their sins from the previous year.

2. View the sunrise
January 1st is thought of as a very auspicious day in Japan and many people will get up early in order to view the first sunrise of the year.

3. Go to a shrine
During the three day period it is a tradition to go to a shrine and pray for a good year. The most popular shrines, such as Heian Jingu in the photo below, attract very large crowds.

4. Give otoshidama
While children in Japan may only get a few christmas presents, they can look forward to getting otoshidama from close family relatives. Otoshidama is money given to children on New Years Day in decorated envelopes.

5. Eat oshechi ryori
Osechi ryori is a meal prepared before the new year starts. Lots of it is made so that you don't have to do any cooking for the first three days of the year. In theory it sounds good, in practice? Well by the third day you do get a bit fed up of eating the same food.

6. Send New Years cards
New Years cards (nengajo) are sent to all friends, family and co-workers and usually feature the Chinese zodiac animal of the year, this year it's the sheep. Even if you send them early the post office will keep them and then deliver them all together on New Years Day.

7. Decorate your entrance
Everyone decorates the entrance to their home or business with ornaments made from straw and bamboo. They're like a New Years wreath.

Linking up with Treat Yo'Self Thursday

How did you celebrate the new year?