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  • kinwashi's Avatar
    10,941 posts since Jan '08
  • kinwashi's Avatar
    10,941 posts since Jan '08
  • kinwashi's Avatar
    10,941 posts since Jan '08
  • Indochinatravel's Avatar
    1 post since Aug '16
    • I have lot of interest in visiting Singapore. I have gone through this article and have some queries regarding visiting this place. My current location is Japan, I want to know the regulations to go to Singapore from Japan, if there is any, please kindly inform me. Additionally, tell me some of the best places to visit Singapore and the perfect time for the tour.

  • kinwashi's Avatar
    10,941 posts since Jan '08
    • Welcome on Board.

      Currently this is not the right right time to come to this region every years is the same.


      Haze returns to Singapore on Friday

      Yahoo SingaporeAugust 26, 2016

      Singapore on Friday (26 August) woke up to the acrid smell that usually signals the return of the haze. Photo: Yahoo Singapore. 

      [UPDATED 4pm: Readings have been updated to reflect levels as of 4pm]

      Many people in Singapore reported a burning smell when they woke up as haze readings surged on Friday (22 Aug).

      As of 3pm, the 3-hour PSI level stood at 188, according to the website of the National Environment Agency.

      The 1-hour PM2.5 pollution index, as of 4pm, was 55-104, within the normal to elevated levels. 

      “The 1-hr PM2.5 concentration over the next 6-12 hours is expected to remain in Band III (High) and Band II (Elevated) range,” the NEA said in an update at 2pm.

      The reading is a “good indicator of the current air quality”, according to NEA, which advised using it as a guide for immediate activities such as going for a jog.

      The agency said the hazy conditions have persisted, “as haze from central Sumatra continued to be blown in by the prevailing westerly winds”.

      The burning of forests in Indonesia to clear land for planting creates acrid smoke that is often carried by winds to neighbouring Malaysia and Singapore.

      Meanwhile, the 24-hour PSI reading, which is the basis for health advisories, was in a range of 76-105, a “moderate” level, as of 4pm. It would be within the “unhealthy” level if it reached the 101-200 range.

      The PM2.5 pollutant is one of six types of pollutants, including carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide, that the PSI measures. Long and regular exposure to PM2.5 is linked to higher risk of death from complications like lung cancer or heart disease. There are four bands of measurements for the PM2.5 index. 

      More people were seen on the streets donning face masks today.

      For an outdoor photography trip that was planned “quite a while ago,” student Adrielle Chua had put on a surgical mask.

      “My surgical masks does not cover up the nose area well, and I can still smell the haze, but the N95 mask is too hot to wear outside,” said the 18-year-old.

      Polish IT programmer Pawel Urafizuu donned a face mask while walking to the bank. Having lived here for one year, the 28-year-old was “surprised” at the haze in Singapore.

      “I thought Singapore was clean and green,” he said.

      Netizens took to twitter, with #SGhaze trending on Friday.

      Woke up to a burnt smell. Thot someone left the stove on.. till i looked out the window. #sghaze

      Oh guys, it’s not the haze that is outside your window. It’s just Gastly. #sghaze pic.twitter.com/XxjorwG7aE

  • kinwashi's Avatar
    10,941 posts since Jan '08
    • The same situation as like in Kagoshima.

      The eruption from Sakurajima, those volcano ash will get to you when the wind direction blowing toward you not favouring.


      To the mainland where many inhabitant stayed.


      Everywhere you can find this.


      All around.



      What Happen? What Happen?


       No..this is what i brought back from Kagoshima.

      Volcano Ash.


      This is what happen now,


      Free from anywhere.


      You name it, they are there.





      Like today over in Singapore the HAZE from neighbouring country.


      Nothing much you can get, Volcano ash  from Kagoshima is much better.


      This every years Haze from neighbouring country.

      you only suffocated and with thinner oxygen available.

      All carbon dioxide.



  • kinwashi's Avatar
    10,941 posts since Jan '08
    • Joseph Schooling favourite.


      • So next my Japanese guests had another local favourite dish,

        That you and i alway ate this. over here.




      • So i explained to them its Daikon.



        Daikon (from Japanese ダイコン (daikon?), literally "large root"), Raphanus sativus var. longipinnatus, is a mild-flavored, very large, white East Asian radish. Despite being known most commonly by its Japanese name, it did not originate in Japan, but rather in continental Asia.

        Although there are many varieties of daikon, the most common in Japan, the Aokubi-daikon, has the shape of a giant carrot, approximately 20 to 35 cm (7.9 to 14 in) long and 5 to 10 cm (2.0 to 3.9 in) in diameter. One of the most unusually shaped varieties of daikon is the turnip-shaped Sakurajima-daikon often grows as large as 50 cm (20 in) in diameter and weighs as much as 45 kg (99 lb) cultivated in Kagoshima Prefecture.

        Chinese radishes are grown commercially in Texas, primarily near Houston in south Texas. Major production is in California. They can be found on the market 12 months out of the year, especially in areas having an Oriental population.

        The flavour is generally rather mild compared to smaller radishes.

        In Chinese cuisine, turnip cake and chai tow kway are made with daikon. In Korean cuisine, kkakdugi and nabak kimchi use the vegetable. In Japanese cuisine, dishes made with daikon include takuan and bettarazuke.

        The roots can be stored for some weeks without the leaves if lifted and kept in a cool dry place. If left in the ground the texture tends to become woody, but the storage life of untreated whole roots is not long. Chinese radishes will keep well in the refrigerator if they are placed in a sealed container or plastic bag in order to maintain high humidity.

        Daikon is very low in food energy. A 3 ounce (85 g) serving contains only 18 Calories (75 kJ) but provides 34 percent of the RDA for vitamin C. Daikon also contains the active enzyme myrosinase that aid digestion, particularly of starchy foods. Select those that feel heavy and have lustrous skin and fresh leaves.

      • Red daikon, red mochi.



        A colorful version of the Chinese snack that is called in Japan daikon mochi and I can’t pronounce any of its names in Chinese dialects… Well, radish cake.


        I washed and grated my red skin daikon radish. It’s white inside as usual.


        I steamed the daikon. Added an equivalent volume of mochiko (sticky rice flour) with enough water to get it creamy. For flavoring : salt, chili pepper flakes, dry shiitake mushroom, fish flakes (skip for vegan version). And fried slices of garlic.


        I steamed the cakes. Let them chill.


        Then pan-fried cuts of very cold cakes in sesame oil. They become creamy inside, crispy around. The flower is a slice of raw daikon.

      • With Hashimoto san we went to this stall,

        i ordered four pieces of the below,

        show him how is the process of this cake,

        and with Daikon again is added.


        • What is PSI, over here.



          See the ash you cannot run.

        •  Volcanic Ash ended make good use.



          Edited by kinwashi 25 Jun `13, 9:36PM

        • Shirasu, contained in the volcanic ash of Mt. Sakurajima in Kagoshima, Japan has been used by the local people to wash cutlery for a long time. That secret wisdom is now concentrated in “Shirasu - Volcanic Ash - Soap”. Erupted hundreds of years ago, absorbing various minerals in the sea, later becoming the white stratums of the earth, Shirasu has been nourished in the nature over the years. Utilizing the hidden merits of Shirasu to the maximum, we would like to help you pursue beauty and health furthermore.
           With the dense and almost elastic bubbles featured with the soap, the froth made from the spheres of the ultrafine particle Shirasu removes the dirt on the skin to the deep inside the pore where ordinary cleansing cream cannot reach. It also features Lipidure which is often used for artificial blood vessel contact lenses and others. When used in a soap, it creates artificial cells on the surface of the skin, and even after rinsing, moisture remains in the cells.
          1. Make a froth with the bubbling net. Take “Sugoka Soap, made from Volcanic Ash” at the size of about a cherry or a piece of pearl, to the bubbling net, adding a small amount of warm water, making a froth.  2. Soft bubbles gently cleanse the skin Put the froth on your palm and wash your face gently.
          * No need to rub your face hard. Massage your face with the dense bubble, skimming over the skin.
          While moisture protected on the skin, it removes the surplus oil and dirt deep inside the pores. Rinse the face thoroughly, removing the bubbles. The shining refreshed skin appears.

          Copyright (C) 2009 Brain Cosmos Co.,Ltd. All rights reserved
        • More on Volcanic Ash.

          From Sakurajima.




          Sakurajima volcano, wind remobilizing ash Sakurajima volcano, Evacuation route sign Sakurajima volcano, warning sign, slippery road due to ash

          Ash remobilized by wind, view along S coast of Sakurajima

          Sign for evacuation

          Sign warning about ash on roads

          Sakurajima volcano, collecting ash Sakurajima volcano, ash collection point

          Collecting ash, S coast, Sakurajima Island

          Ash collection site, Sakurajima Island

          Agricultural land near Sakurajima volcano, volcanic ash Town SE of Sakurajima volcano which is producing ash in background

          Agricultural land SE of Sakurajima, the latter being veiled in ash

          Town SE of Sakurajima with ashing volcano behind

          Sakurajima, Buried Torii Shelter, Viewpoint, Sakurajima

          Buried Torii in Kurokamicho, E flank of Sakurajima

          Shelter near official viewpoint

        • For those who are new here.

          One more time, we cover this again.


  • kinwashi's Avatar
    10,941 posts since Jan '08
    • No probelm you can come.


      Like this also available over here, not need to find i will give you more info.


      10 Best Tonkatsus in Singapore To Pig Out On


      10 hours ago ... Good tonkatsus have its crisp exterior aromatically fried, while its interior remains exquisitely tender and juicy. And, it is often served with ...

  • kinwashi's Avatar
    10,941 posts since Jan '08
    • Not posting lately cause my computer crash.

      Just got a new one today.

      Will continue from here.


      Over in Japan what you cannot find, anything like this also available.


      Kanazawa Curry Cola lets you have your fried pork and curry on the go!

      Finally, the great taste of a fried pork cutlet drenched in thick curry that you can slip in your coat pocket without getting wet!


      Sold by Japan’s Tombow Beverage Co. as of today, this cola is based on the Ishikawa Prefecture specialty dish Kanazawa Curry which is a large fried pork cutlet (tonkatsu) soaking in a rich curry roux and topped with a drizzling of tangy tonkatsu sauce (similar to barbecue sauce) and served with a side of shredded cabbage.

      Now I know what you’re thinking: “Gee that sounds great, but it’s going to take an awful lot of chewing and utensil work to eat.” Well, your prayers of utter sedation have been answered! Combined with the awesome power of a drinking straw, you’d only have to be partially out of a coma to enjoy the great taste of this regional favorite.

      ▼ Why not have Kanazawa Curry Cola with an actual Kanazawa Curry for the ultimate in redundancy!

      This isn’t the first time a curry beverage has been released in Japan, but Kanazawa Curry Cola may be the first to take a carbonated cola base and blend in the tastes of curry roux and tonkatsu sauce.

      Whether or not that’s a winning combination will be knowledge bestowed on the lucky few who can acquire one of the 100,000 bottles Tombow is planning to bottle and sell this year.

      You would be most likely to find one at the various service stations along highways in Ishikawa and Toyama prefectures as a part of the Hokuriku Regional Drink Series. However, Tombow said they will distribute around the country and if demand is great enough they’ll also consider ramping up production in response.

      If you don’t feel like going on a wild curry cola hunt, you can always go to the Tombow website linked below to purchase a 20-pack for 3,900 yen (US$35). That’s not a terrible price considering, at the very least, Kanazawa Curry Cola sounds like it could be a highly effective laxative.

      Kanazawa Curry Cola order page (Japanese)

      Source: Tombow Beverage Co. via Netlab (Japanese)
      Images: Tombow Beverage Co.

  • kinwashi's Avatar
    10,941 posts since Jan '08
    • KFC Salty Lime Chicken

      As a variation on their boneless chicken, KFC now has a salty lime offering. There is not all that much added information, but a refreshing taste is followed by a spicy aftertaste, which appears to explain the lime, salt and pepper in the photo. ケンタッキーフライドチキン ソルティライムチキン

      Photo is a web capture for explanatory purposes, copyright belongs to the company.
  • kinwashi's Avatar
    10,941 posts since Jan '08
    • Haagen-Dazs Green Tea Crumble


      The premium ice cream bars from Haagen-Dazs are called crunchy crunch, and there is a new item that provides a triple blast of matcha or green tea. Matcha Crumble consists of green tea ice cream containing green tea cookie pieces covered with green tea chocolate. I must say, the food photography and layout here is pretty impressive. So if you are serious about premium ice cream and matcha, this might be worth an indulgent moment. 抹茶クランブル ハーゲンダッツ

      Photo is a web capture for explanatory purposes, copyright belongs to the company.

  • kinwashi's Avatar
    10,941 posts since Jan '08
    • BLOGS  >  FOOD

      Wendy's Summer Specials


      The summer special burgers at Wendy’s are two “Asian Taste Pretzel Burgers”: the Pretzel Spicy Korean BBQ Beef Burger (with a special pepper sauce) and the Pretzel Cilantro Avocado Burger (with coriander and sweet chili sauce). Wendy’s is down to one location and two collaboration stores (with First Kitchen) all in central Tokyo. They have had some interesting ideas in recent years, so if you want to support this chain, now might be the time. ウェンディーズ 辛カルビバーガー パクチーアボカドバーガー

      Photo is a web capture for explanatory purposes, copyright belongs to the company.

  • kinwashi's Avatar
    10,941 posts since Jan '08
  • kinwashi's Avatar
    10,941 posts since Jan '08
    • History 


      Last Samurai: Mt. Sakurajima, spewing ash, looms over Kagoshima. | LESLEY DOWNER PHOTO


      To Kagoshima in search of a great samurai unbowed



      Flying into Kagoshima from Tokyo across the volcanic landscape of Kirishima and Ebino Kogen, I feel as if I’m arriving in another country. The air is moist and warm, the light sharper, the sky bluer and the foliage intensely green, sprawling exuberantly over the rugged hills.

      Less than 150 years ago, this really was another country — Satsuma, the domain of some of the fiercest warriors in the land.

      I’m here in search of the last Samurai, Saigo Takamori, whose statue, with swirling robe, sword and faithful little dog, stands at the entrance to Ueno Park in central Tokyo. Saigo famously died in 1877 in the Satsuma Rebellion. But I soon discover that he’s still very much alive in Kagoshima.

      I leave my bag in my hotel and set out to explore. And there, on the hillside opposite Chuo Park, is an enormous bronze statue of a stern uniformed figure, silhouetted against the sky.

      Saigo arrived here by ship in 1873. He was coming home. Born in 1827, he was the most famous and beloved of the Satsuma generals. He led the troops that fought and defeated the forces of the Tokugawa Shogunate that had ruled Japan since 1603, overseeing the negotiated handover of the grand castle in Edo (present-day Tokyo) in 1868, and ushering in the restoration of the Meiji Emperor.

      He and his colleagues formed a new government. Shortly afterward, most of them went to Europe and America on a two-year fact-finding mission. Saigo stayed behind to head the caretaker government, effectively as prime minister. But when they returned they fell out over the issue of samurai privilege. Saigo resigned and returned to his birthplace, Kagoshima.

      From his statue I follow the massive lava-stone walls that were once the outer ramparts of Kagoshima Castle, beside the moat where brilliant orange and gold carp swim. Right behind them, Shiroyama, Castle Mount, looms above the city. It looks like a near-vertical wall of rock covered in dense foliage, but I find a footpath and climb to the top and look down on the buildings, like a child’s building blocks. Kagoshima is very much a maritime city, crammed into a narrow strip of land between the hill and the sparkling waters of Kagoshima Bay. There are ships and small boats at anchor and ferries shuttling to and fro. Sirens echo long and low across the water.

      Across the bay, visible from wherever you are in the city, is the spectacular cone of the Mount Sakurajima volcano, a plume of smoke floating above its jagged mouth.

      “If the wind is from the east the ash blows toward the city,” observes a woman standing next to me. “If it’s from the west, it blows away from the city.”


      Yes, she tells me, it’s not smoke but ash. As I watch, a fresh fist of ash balloons out, growing ever larger.

      Saigo, I soon discover, came from the wrong side of the tracks.

      “High-ranking samurai lived around the castle,” Kenji Fukuda, curator of the Museum of the Meiji Restoration, tells me. “The lower your rank the further away you lived. He lived a long way away, right across the Koutukigawa River. His family had samurai status but no income. They had to farm to support themselves.”

      The museum focuses in particular on the starring role played in the Meiji Restoration by the city’s most beloved son, Saigo. Everything is here: clogs he wove himself — noticeably large ones, for his famously big feet; his fan and his ink pot; even his underwear.

      There are also portraits, painted well after his death. No photographs exist at all. The British diplomat Ernest Satow, who knew him well, described him as “a big, burly man with an eye that sparkled like a big black diamond.”

      It’s well known, too, that he liked his food — tonkatsu (breaded, deep-fried pork cutlets), Castella cake, rabbit soup, eel. In Kagoshima he’s universally referred to as “Saigo-don” — don being an affectionate abbreviation of the honorific dono (milord) — and he’s portrayed as a wise, almost saintly figure.

      Ryutaro and Miwa Higashikawa, local guides and authorities on all things Saigo, take me to Daimonguchi, the city’s old geisha district, which the lords of Satsuma, the Shimazu, populated with the classiest, most sophisticated Kyoto geisha. Then we cross the river to the location of Saigo’s house.

      The city was flattened during the Satsuma Rebellion that raged from January to September 1877 after Satsuma ex-samurai launched a revolt against the Meiji government. Consequently, the house is gone but the grounds are still here, together with a plan of the building and a statue of Saigo and his friend, the calligrapher Kawaguchi Seppo.

      Here Saigo wrote poetry and lived the life of a gentleman farmer, growing vegetables, plowing, hoeing and carrying night soil. He had pictures of his heroes — Washington, Napoleon, Peter the Great and Nelson. But other than that the house was a simple place with no formal entrance. Visitors just slid open the shutters anywhere and stepped in. Nearby is a house reconstructed in the traditional style, like Saigo’s would have been, with two separate buildings, one for living in, one for cooking, each with its own straw roof.

      Besides farming, Saigo loved hunting and taking the waters. He had a house in Hinatayama, an onsen village at the top of the bay. I go there by taxi. Saigo would have gone by boat, seeing the spectacular purple peaks of Kirishima rising in front of him. Hinatayama is an idyllic place. His house is still there, carefully preserved with a sign under the eaves reading Saigo-don no yado(“Saigo’s house”). It’s a big thatched house in a beautiful glade with threshing and planting machines inside.

      “He used to sit in the shadow of the mountain near the river and fish and weave sandals,” the owner of the local bath-house tells us. “They offered him a special private bath but he said he was perfectly happy to bathe with everyone else.” He was a humble man, as everyone tells me; he had no airs and graces.

      He also set up schools. The main one was the Shigakko, literally “Private school.” It was more a military academy than just a regular school, what with its infantry and artillery units, though the students also studied the Chinese classics and foreign languages. Saigo denied he was training up a private army, but three years after he launched his schools program there were several thousand well-trained young men all over Satsuma — all itching for a fight.

      Today, there’s nothing left except a sign reading “Shigakko,” and the massive lava-stone walls, pocked with bullet holes, at the foot of Shiroyama, right beside where the castle was. The castle too has been destroyed, but the Shimazu lords’ summer villa, Sengan-en, is still there along the coast, with its landscaped gardens incorporating a view of Mount Sakurajima across the bay.

      Beside it was Japan’s first manufacturing plant, built in 1855 by Shimazu Nariakira, a forward-looking lord of that ilk, on the advice of Saigo and his colleagues. In Saigo’s day, it was the biggest machinery and gunpowder factory in Japan, with blast and reverberatory furnaces producing ships, cannons, firearms, gunpowder and shot. Some of the splendid stone buildings are still there, including a glassworks and a museum showing artifacts the factories produced.

      In 1876, Saigo’s idyllic life came to an abrupt end. That year the government passed a series of laws clamping down completely on samurai privileges. Samurai were no longer to carry swords or wear their hair in topknots, and, most devastating of all, they lost their stipends.

      Initially Saigo didn’t want to lead a rebellion, but in the end he was persuaded. In February 1877, 12,000 men assembled in front of Kagoshima Castle and marched out of the city. There was a snowstorm that day, blanketing both the streets and people in white, which seemed to symbolize the purity of their cause as they felt it.

      After a disastrous campaign they ended up back in Kagoshima that September. There were only 300 men left. There was fighting around the school, which accounts for the bullet holes in the walls, and they retreated to Shiroyama. There, Saigo spent his time playing go, exchanging poems, listening to thebiwa (a sort of lute) and joking with his companions — all awaiting the inevitable end.

      On my last day, I climb Shiroyama in search of the caves where Saigo holed up. There’s an outcrop there with a cliff right behind, with roots growing out of it and vines hanging from the trees. Black dust swirls in the wind. As for the famous caves, they are not much more than a couple of hollows which wouldn’t have sheltered more than a few men.

      On the morning of Sept. 24, the army closed in. Saigo and his men charged straight toward them. Saigo made it around 200 meters before he was hit. There’s a monument marking the place where he fell.

      The graveyard is in the grounds of a nearby temple. When I get there it’s pouring with rain, which seems appropriate. There’s a torī gate at the entrance and 755 stones marking the graves of the Satsuma; two of the youngest were 13. A huge stone engraved with characters that read “Saigo Takamori” marks the great man’s grave. There are fresh flowers in front.

      From the graveyard I look out at Mount Sakurajima looming over the city, a sight Saigo used to love to contemplate. Perhaps it was the last thing he saw as he fell.

      Roughly two Kyushu bullet trains arrive at Kagoshima-chuo Station every day. There are also plenty of flights. I stayed at Nakahara Besso, next to Chuo Park. On a previous visit I stayed at the Furusato Kanko Hotel, right on Mount Sakurajima. There, guests can take a lift down to the water’s edge and bathe in the volcanic waters, looking out over the bay. Besides the places described here, the Reimeikan Museum, on the old castle site, is excellent, informative and well laid out. Lesley Downer is a writer and journalist. She lived in Japan for many years and is now based in London. Her latest book is a novel, “Across a Bridge of Dreams,” which centers around the life of Saigo Takamori.

      Edited by kinwashi 05 Sep `16, 10:34PM
  • kinwashi's Avatar
    10,941 posts since Jan '08
  • kinwashi's Avatar
    10,941 posts since Jan '08
    • Japan: the history behind its love affair with dogs


      Empire of Dogs: Canine, Japan and the Making of the Modern World, by Aaron Skabelund. Cornell University Press, 2011, 312 pp., $39.95 (hardcover)

      The Japanese fascination with dogs is long-standing, but the pampered pooches of today would cringe at the horrid treatment of their predecessors during wartime Japan and extensive extermination campaigns before that. In Empire of Dogs, author Aaron Skabelund explains how the dog-eat-dog world of late 19th-century imperialism transformed canines’ place and role in Japan and how Japanese breeds evolved from reviled targets of eradication into paragons of national identity. There is much to be learned about a society from a dog’s eye view and readers will never look at the statue of Hachiko in quite the same way after reading the back-story of this celebrated Akita.

      All the imperial nations brought dogs with them as they spread across the globe conquering and occupying. Canine imperialism propagated Western breeding and dog keeping norms and also played out in the relationships between colonizer and colonized. Certain breeds came to represent nations and symbolize national traits such as the English bulldog, German shepherd and French poodle. Racist discourse naturally spilled over into concerns about bloodlines and pedigrees and dogs spread from companions for the elite to accessories of the middle class.

      As in the human world, dogs were divided by class — with recognized breeds and coddled pets lording it over mongrels and strays — while the traits of colonial dogs were invoked in assertions of superiority over indigenous people and their curs. Japanese emulated the same prejudices and favored Western breeds over local varieties until the 1930s when the rising tide of nationalism boosted the status of Japanese dogs.

      The elevation of national breeds owes much to the venerated Hachiko whose statue outside Shibuya Station is certainly one of the most popular meeting spots in the world. This statue is not the original, which was melted down during the war to make spare train parts. But it remains faithful to the controversial prototype.

      Saito Hirokichi, the self-appointed promoter and guardian of “purebred” Japanese dogs, raised funds for the original statue and insisted on depicting Hachiko with both ears upright, arguing this is how a pedigree should look. The artist refused and Hachiko’s floppy left ear was immortalized.

      Ear controversy also surrounded the casting of Saigo Takamori’s statue unveiled in Ueno Park in 1898. Saigo was being rehabilitated into a national hero and exemplar of samurai spirit despite his fateful rebellion against the national government. Inconveniently, his favorite dog was a large floppy eared Western dog.

      The sculptor unveiled a mockup that provoked criticism because the dog looked like a mongrel rather than Japanese and had floppy ears deemed to resemble those of a Chinese lapdog. In response, the sculptor recast the diminutive dog with “rabbitlike pointy ears” so that it would look suitably Japanese. Skabelund notes that the dog’s Chinese appearance was seen as a, “stain on the dignity of the newly canonized national hero [and] bore ugly traces of a popular chauvinism that the Sino-Japanese War had recently stirred into a frenzy.”

      Returning to the story of Hachiko, everyday he met his master in front of Shibuya Station and kept coming for nine years even after the professor died in 1925. The abovementioned Saito met Hachiko and mobilized media attention for a dog that embodied unswerving loyalty and duty, desirable traits in the wake of the 1931 Manchurian Incident. In this feverish climate Hachiko’s romanticized story was published and the Education Ministry included it in texts to inculcate fealty and patriotism. Unlike most national heroes, Hachiko actually lived to see his statue unveiled a year before he died in 1935, but he was probably unaware of the snarling going on behind the scenes concerning his floppy ear or role in promoting imperial devotion.

      Skabelund argues that “dogs and imperialism were inextricably intertwined and mutually sustaining.” National identity was linked to loyalty and the nation state required obedience, helping to explain why dogs were valorized and useful symbols. He further notes that “imperialism shaped the world of dog-breeding and dog keeping as we know it today.”

      Indigenous dogs were transformed into accessories of empire as Saito redefined them as repositories of national character and played an instrumental role in the official recognition of seven Japanese breeds during the 1930s. Interestingly, the Tosa was not one of this first batch of Japanese pedigrees because it is a cross-breed with the Western mastiff, a decision that speaks volumes about prevailing anxieties.

      Ironically, undercutting the new obsession with purity, the most famous wartime dog was the cartoon character Norakuro (1931-41), a mongrel orphan who rose from private to colonel in a dog army whose feats, blunders and victories captured the popular imagination. Depicting the emperor’s army as a pack of dogs was always risky and it is not surprising the Norakura series was terminated after irking (and embarrassing) military authorities when he decided to retire from the army and engage in some profiteering in Manchuria.

      Skabelund mines the rich cache of dog metaphors and sayings with wit and scant restraint, but it seems churlish to accuse him of barking up the wrong tree or straining to give every dog his day. Readers need not be dog lovers to appreciate this dogged and deft analysis of empire and its social and cultural repercussions, but those so inclined will find a rewarding trove of lore about dogs in Japan.

  • kinwashi's Avatar
    10,941 posts since Jan '08
  • kinwashi's Avatar
    10,941 posts since Jan '08
    • The Last Samurai

      Saigo Takamori's place of death

      Sakurajima from the top of Shiroyama. Saigo might have seen this before he killed himself hereSakurajima from the top of Shiroyama. Saigo might have seen this before he killed himself here
       By Takako Sakamoto   Jan 17, 2014

      There is one man that the people of Kagoshima never cease to love: Saigo Takamori, who was the leader of the Satsuma Rebellion.


      The Satsuma Rebellion was the last civil war in Japan, and this may be the reason why Saigo has been dubbed 'The Last Samurai': The last samurai who fought and died as a samurai. He is, of course, the model for 'Katsumoto', the main character played by Ken Watanabe in the Tom Cruise Hollywood movie The Last Samurai (2003).


      Once I had an opportunity to ask one of my friends who grew up in Kagoshima, "Who is more popular in Kagoshima, Saigo Takamori or Okubo Toshimichi?" She readily answered, "Of course Saigo-san is!" she continued, "Saigo-san is VERY popular, everybody loves him, but I've never heard of anybody who loves Okubo-san."



      Saigo Takamori and Okubo Toshimichi

      Saigo Takamori and Okubo Toshimichi were both prominent statesmen in the Meiji Era who helped lead the Meiji Restoration (1868). It could be an exaggeration to say this, but it was the two of them, together with other samurai like Katsura Kogoro, who were the driving force behind the overthrow of the Tokugawa Shogunate and who created the new Meiji government. Yet later they parted ways. Saigo led the Satsuma Rebellion, becoming the enemy of the Emperor, while Okubo, still the leader of the Meiji new government, led the Emperor's army to defeat Saigo's rebel troops. In the end Saigo was defeated by his best friend Okubo, committed Seppuku(hara-kiri) and died in Shiroyama, Kagoshima.


      From the government's point of view, Saigo was a rebel, and a traitor, yet a statue of him can be found not only in Kagoshima, his hometown, but also in Ueno Park, Tokyo – one that the Imperial Household Agency supported with a donation. In 1898, 21 years after Saigo died, this statue was unveiled in Ueno Park, and many prominent statesmen of the time, including then Prime Minister Yamagata Aritomo, many government officials, and British minister Sir Ernest Mason Satow attended the ceremony. They were all Saigo's ex-colleagues, subordinates, and dear friends.



      Saigo's story

      There is a reason why the Meiji government didn't, and couldn't treat Saigo as an out-and-out traitor. Here's a roughly abbreviated overview. In the first place, the Meiji Restoration was triggered by the appearance of Commodore Matthew Perry's four ships in Edo (Tokyo) Bay in 1853. Japanese people, mainly samurais, were enraged by thei high-handed way Japan was being forced to open her doors to the world and they screamed in rage, "Expel the barbarians!" Samurai of Satsuma (present-day Kagoshima) and Chosu (present-day Yamaguchi) came onto the scene. Imagine, it is 1853.

      Satsuma and Choshu are the two most powerful hans (domains) which sided with the Western Army in Japan (Toyotomi clan side) against the Eastern Army (Tokugawa side) in the Battle of Sekigahara (1600).


      They were defeated by Tokugawa, and were then severely punished for it. At the time, Satsuma was the biggest and strongest clan which ruled over the Kyushu area, and Choshu was the same in the Chugoku area. After the Battle of Sekigahara, the losers' fiefdoms were forfeited of course, and Satsuma was crammed into a parcel of land as small as present day Kagoshima prefecture, and Choshu was also pushed into present-day Yamaguchi prefecture. It was a modern-day forced-downsizing, and when any group, army or company is downsized, they can't afford to keep their employees. Many samurai lost their jobs in both Satsuma and Choshu, and some of them had to become peasants. For 265 long years, as long as the Tokugawa (Edo) Era continued, samurais in Satsuma and Choshu, along with their lords, held an unforgiving grudge against Tokugawa. Choshu samurai, for instance, slept with their feet toward the east. For 265 long years they slept with their feet kicking Tokugawa...What a show of disgust!


      The domains of these two once-powerful hans faced the sea. Utilizing a convenient location that was far away from Edo, they saved money earned by illegal seaborne trade, and by the end of the Edo Era they were fairly rich. When Commodore Perry's squadron triggered turbulence throughout Japan, they got off their feet, which had been kicking Tokugawa for 265 years, and while shouting, 'Expel barbarians!' to the outside world, their true enemy, the one they really wanted to expel was TOKUGAWA.


      Meiji Government


      Thus, the opposition group which mainly consisted of Satsuma and Choshu samurai, overthrew Tokugawa Shogunate and created the new Meiji Government. But most of the samurai who fought against Tokugawa didn't anticipate that the Samurai Era would end with the Tokugawa Shogunate. They expected that a Satsuma & Choshu allied Shogunate would replace the Tokugawa Shogunate, and then they would expel western enemies together. Only a few leaders including Saigo and Okubo understood that Japan had to open the country to the world and that Samurai Era had to end.


      After the Meiji Revolution(Restoration), the Meiji government opened up Japan to western countries in order to acquire their advanced technology and knowledge to counter the western threat, and tried to modernize the country. Along with that, they abolished the Han system (traditional feudal domain system) and the class system, which means that the entire population of samurai, 7% of the population at the time, lost their jobs. Suppose it happened in present day Japan. If 9.1 million people suddenly lost their jobs at the same time without warning. And those samurai not only lost their jobs but also their positions in society, where they had been at the top of the hierarchical pyramid. They risked their lives, shed tears and blood and fought hard, and what they got was this. If YOU were a samurai, could you accept such a decision?


      And Saigo Takamori played the role of a sacrificial lamb who took upon himself every resentment, grievance and rage of the samurai, especially the Satsuma (Kagoshima) samurai.


      The Two Last Samurai


      Saigo knew it was necessary to abolish the class system, as well as the aggrieved samurai, in order to modernize Japan. But he was opposed to the idea of rebel action. Yet he couldn't stop the enraged young samurai of Satsuma. He told them, "My life is in your hands." and shared his fate with them. He led 30,000 Satsuma troops, attacking first Kumamoto Castle, then fighting against 70,000 government troops in various places in Kyushu. His army suffered a heavy loss in the Battle of Tabaruzaka, and he returned to Kagoshima with the rest of his troops, now decreased to a few hundred, holed up in caves in Shiroyama. They fought to the end, and he killed himself by Seppuku (harakiri).


      Okubo Toshimichi, who led the government army which terminated his best-friend Saigo Takamori, was assassinated a year later after Saigo's death in Shiroyama. When he was killed on the street, there was a letter from Saigo in his pocket. It is my humble thought that these two great men, who contributed to modernize Japan and lost their lives while doing so, were BOTH the last samurai.

  • kinwashi's Avatar
    10,941 posts since Jan '08
    • Visiting Kagoshima City - Takamori Saigo walk

      (Announcement sign welcoming you to Kagoshima, in the City Hall building.)

      As mentioned previously, General Saigo Takamori was a significant figure in Kagoshima, and Satsuma, history, and is considered a local hero. After the fighting against the Tokugawa shogunate ended, Saigo opposed the negotiated settlement that marked the beginning of the Meiji Restoration and the return of ruling power from the Shogun to the emperor, arguing that the Tokugawa families be stripped of all of their lands. This put him at odds with the new government he helped install, and as a result he and his clan found themselves fighting government troops near Kagoshima. On Sept. 24, 1877, Saigo was hit by two bullets - one through his waist and the other through his thigh. According to the historical marker, he was "650 steps from his hideout cave" and his escape path was blocked. He committed seppuku and Beppu Shinsuke assisted by cutting his head off to hasten his death. Saigo's body was found later, and the fighting ceased, but the government forces couldn't find his head, making their victory a hollow one.

      Takamori's likeness is now used to promote just about everything, from crackers and sake, to Kagoshima City itself. The city tour bus shows the Ferris wheel, Sakura-jima, the whale/fish from the aquarium, and Takamori. I'm not sure if the woman in the glasses is supposed to be someone specific. Ryouma Sakamoto's wife, Oryo, doesn't wear glasses in the images I've seen, and I haven't seen any pictures of Takamori's wife.

      The marker for Takamori's birthplace (Jan. 23, 1828) is on the south side of the river, near the Meiji Restoration Museum, at the west end of the History Road. Currently, the spot is just a small packed-dirt plaza in the middle of some office and apartment buildings.

      (Just to the left of this marker are the stones from his brother's, Tsugumichi's, Tokyo mansion garden (shown in the previous post).)

      In Japan, it's fairly common for people to take on more than one name, if they master a specific cultural activity (like tea ceremony), take government office, or after they die. One of Takamori's other names was Nanshu. In 1853, both of his parents died, and according to one report he sold their house in 1855 to pay off debts. His next house was located where Kyoken Park is now. This park is just across the river and a couple of blocks closer to the Kagoshima-chuo station, near the Tourism center.

      During the fighting against the government forces, mentioned above, Takamori and his men had a base in the Shiroyama hills just east of the current train station, behind what is now the ruins of Tsurumaru Castle. The easiest way to get to this cave is to go to the east end of the castle ruins, at the east entrance to the Reimeikan. Go north past the train tracks, then follow the tracks northwest. When the road starts to snake in the hills, you'll see a parking lot for a souvenir shop.

      The cave is essentially just a horseshoe that goes back about 50 feet. You can see both entrances on either side of the statue above. There are two small alcoves in the walls of the legs leading to the back of the hill. One has a small statue of Takamori, the other holds a shrine. At the back of the cave are some glass cases displaying watercolor paintings.

      As also mentioned above, in the final battle, Takamori was wounded and his forces pinned down 650 meters from the cave, in a spot that you'll pass as you follow the train tracks up to the cave. According to the story, Takamori turned in the direction of Tokyo, bowed, then asked Beppu Shinsuke to assist him in committing seppuku (cutting his head off to quicken his death after cutting his stomach open). The government forces found his body nearby, but his head was spirited away, thwarting the Tokyo politicians of claiming a clean victory.

      The primary memorial for Takamori Saigo is the statue erected of him wearing his general's uniform, along Nakanohiratori street, at the northeastern corner of Central Park and in front of the Kagoshima Municipal Museum of Art.

      From Kagoshima-chuo station, you can get to the former site of his mansion in Kyoken Park in about 10 minutes on foot, and his birthplace in another 5. The bronze statue is 15-20 minutes away, and the site of his death is another 20 minutes. The cave is 10-15 minutes after that. To learn more about Takamori and the rebellion, visit the Meiji Restoration Museum located next to the spot of his birthplace.

      Posted by TSOTE at 5:52 PM  
      Labels: Kagoshima
  • kinwashi's Avatar
    10,941 posts since Jan '08
    • Guribu

      Guribu is Kagoshima’s yurukyara mascot. His name comes from the words guriin (green) and buta (pig): guribu. Kagoshima is famous for its lush vegetation and cuisine of pork from the Berkshire pig (Kagoshima kuro buta). Guribu’s eybrows are just like those of Kagoshima’s revolutionary hero, Saigo Takamori. He’s bold and a bit reckless, but kind and likes his food. He is here in the UK with one of his family, Kagobu. Come and join in Guribu’s dance おじゃったもんせ!

  • kinwashi's Avatar
    10,941 posts since Jan '08
    • Other Pork.

      • 3.1k
      • 2
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      So you might be familiar with luxury or high-end beef like Wagyu. But did you know there’s also such a thing as high-end pork?

      It’s called Kurobuta.

      Kurobuta, which means “black hog” in Japanese, comes from the Black Berkshire pig, and is known as the highest quality pork in the world.

      Due to its rich marbling, tenderness, and flavor, it’s often called the “Kobe beef of pork.”

      What is Kurobuta?

      Berkshire Pig

      Berkshire pigs are a rare breed of pig that was discovered over 300 years ago in Berkshire County in the United Kingdom. The breed quickly developed a reputation for its deliciousness.

      Originally, the Berkshire pig had a reddish or sandy color, sometimes with spots. But Asian black pigs were soon imported into England and cross bred with the Berkshire, which produced pigs that have a black coat with white spots on the feet, tail end, nose and tip of ears. Hence the name, the Black Berkshire. From then on, the Black Berkshire pig has remained a pure breed.

      Back then, the pork was only available to royalty. Because these pigs tasted like no other, the King of England had them specially bred so he could have eat-all-you-can Black Berkshire bacon and pork chops.

      Thankfully, the British didn’t keep the delicious pigs to themselves. As a diplomatic gift, the British government gave some Berkshire pigs to the Kingdom of Ryukyu (now Okinawa) in Japan.

      The Japanese were so impressed by the quality of the breed that they sent some to Kyushu island (where there’s more land) to breed them. Over time, the Japanese improved the quality of the pork even further. They developed their own breeding, feeding, and care methods to make the meat taste even more delicious. This is what separates Kurobuta pork from normal Berkshire pork.


      Just like Wagyu, there are different brands of Kurobuta.

      And just like Wagyu, the brands are named based on their location.

      If Wagyu’s most famous brand is Kobe, from the capital city of Kobe of Hyogo Prefecture, the most famous Kurobuta brand is Kagoshima Kurobuta from the capital city of Kagoshima of Kagoshima Prefecture in southern Kyushu.

  • kinwashi's Avatar
    10,941 posts since Jan '08
  • kinwashi's Avatar
    10,941 posts since Jan '08
    • How is Kurobuta different from other pork?

      Kurobuta pork looks and tastes like no other pork.

      Traditional pork has a white color. Kurobuta has a darker reddish color.

      Its meat contains a lot of intramuscular marbling (fat intermingling within the meat), which makes it uniquely tender and juicy. When you cut into it, the meat glistens.

      There are four main factors that give Kurobuta the perfect combination of juiciness, flavor, and tenderness.

      1. Genetics

      Just like how LeBron James was born to play basketball, Kurobuta were born to be deliciously eaten. Kurobuta comes from the Berkshire breed which is genetically predisposed to shorter muscle fibers and lots of marbling, which contributes to both the flavor and the tenderness.

      2. pH

      In pork, the meat’s pH is the main driver of quality – even more important than marbling. pH is the measure of acidity in the meat. Small differences in pH can have a huge impact on pork’s flavor and texture. Kurobuta have a higher pH than other pigs. That’s why their color is darker and have a reddish hue rather than a white one. A higher pH also gives the meat a firmer texture and more flavorful taste. Pork with low pH is the opposite. Its color is paler, its texture is softer, and its taste is bland.

      Kurobuta Pork pH

      3. Diet

      Aside from no hormones or antibiotics, Kurobuta pigs are given special diets since the food they eat while fattening is crucial. Pigs have a special digestive system that allows what they eat to affect how they will eventually taste.

      Basically, you can change the flavor of the pork based on what you feed them! Feed it fish and it’ll taste fishy. Feed it corn and it’ll taste….corny. Kurobuta pigs are usually fed apples so the pork will have a sweet fruity taste. But each pig farmer is different, so pigs may also be fed peanuts, clover, corn, oats, milk, and even beer.

      Kurobuta Drinking Beer

      3. Lifestyle

      Kurobuta live a low-stress life.

      When pigs are stressed, they produce energy that reduces their intramuscular fat. This results in dry, tough meat. The calmer the animal, the more evenly blood flows throughout its body, which ensures a juicy flavor.

      Pigs are also prone to depression. Which causes stress. And nothing makes a pig depressed faster than being confined in tiny pigsties. So Kurobuta pigs are allowed to roam freely in a pasture.

      Farmers make sure their pigs are happy. Happy pigs taste good. Sad pigs taste gross.

      Kurobuta Lying On Grass

      Is Kurobuta and Berkshire pork the same thing?

      Just like how Kobe beef is Wagyu, but not all Wagyu is Kobe beef….

      Kurobuta pork is Berkshire, but not all Berkshire is Kurobuta pork.

      While the Berkshire is known for its high quality meat, Kurobuta pork takes quality up a notch.

      This is due to the methods and standards in which the pigs are bred and raised. These methods and standards are just as important as the type of the breed.

      In order for pork to be considered Kurobuta, it must be certified by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

      In the United States, the American Berkshire Association (ABA) has a pedigree registry system that certifies genetic purity. The “ABA Certified 100% Pure Berkshire Pork” program requires pedigree history on all breeding and market animals as well as DNA testing for meat quality genes.

      Just like the question of whether Wagyu that are born and raised in the States is as good as Kobe Wagyu, the same debate arises between US and Japanese Berkshire pork. Although, there are smaller American farms that do export their Berkshire pigs to Japan.

      Where can I eat some Kurobuta?

      The most popular way to experience Kurobuta is to eat a tonkatsu dish. Tonkatsu is a breaded and deep-fried pork cutlet or filet, similar to European dishes like the schnitzel. Aside from the pork itself, what really makes a tonkatsu delicious is the special breading called panko.

      Here are some local Manila restaurants (in alphabetical order) that offer Kurobuta tonkatsu:

      Ginza BairinG/F UP Town Center, Katipunan Ave., Quezon City, Metro Manila

      Kurobuta Tonkatsu at Ginza Bairin

      Photo from Abby L.’s review for Ginza Bairin

      Katsu Sora2/F Greenhills Promenade, New Wing, Annapolis St. cor. Missouri St., Greenhills Shopping Center, San Juan, Metro Manila

      Kurobuta Tonkatsu Katsu by Layza O

      Photo from Layza O.’s review for Katsu Sora

      Kimukatsu5/F Shangri-La Plaza, East Wing, EDSA cor. Shaw Blvd., Mandaluyong, Metro Manila

      Kurobuta Tonkatsu Sherwin G

      Photo from Sherwin G.’s review for Kimukatsu

      Tonkatsu by TerazawaG/F Greenbelt 2, Paseo de Roxas St. cor. Esperanza St., Ayala Center, Makati, Metro Manila

      Kurobuta Tonkatsu at Tonkatsu by Terazawa

      Photo from Tommy T.’s review for Tonkatsu by Terazawa

      Yabu2/F Glorietta 5, East Drive, Ayala Center, Makati, Metro Manila

      Kurobuta Tonkatsu by Alex O.

      Photo from Alex O.’s review for Yabu

  • kinwashi's Avatar
    10,941 posts since Jan '08
    • https://www.ana-cooljapan.com/destinations/kagoshima/kurobutapork


      Kurobuta pork - KAGOSHIMA | IS JAPAN COOL?


      Kagoshima kurobuta pork boasts over 400 years of history


      Nicknamed “the walking vegetable?!” Kagoshima kurobuta pork – once a favorite of samurai warriors.

      Kagoshima kurobuta pork boasts over 400 years of history. With fine textured, tender meat and clean-tasting fat, highly nutritious kurobuta pork, unblemished by off flavors, was a favorite of shogun generals in ancient times and is still loved today as the “walking vegetable.” What makes Kagoshima kurobuta pork so delicious is Kagoshima’s sweet potatoes, one of the prefectures top products. Kurobuta pigs fed on these sweet potatoes gain the distinctive clean-flavored fatty meat so beloved by fans. Kagoshima’s warm and pleasant weather is also essential to raising kurobuta piglets. Thanks to this combination of factors, kurobuta has become a brand name for pork unique to Kagoshima.

      • Kurobuta pork's photo

      Shabu-shabu, tonkatsu, shogayaki... the recipes are endless!

      What’s the most delicious way to eat kurobuta pork? If you’re looking to experience the flavor of the meat in and of itself, definitely go with shabu-shabu. Dip raw slices of pork into boiling hot dashi broth, then cover with fresh raw egg, ponzu citrus sauce, or sesame tare sauce and enjoy. The tenderness of the thinly sliced meat and the sweetness of the fat will melt in your mouth. Other popular recipe choices include deep fried tonkatsu pork cutlet or menchikatsu ground pork patty as well as shogayaki – slices of pork sautéed in ginger and soy sauce. All are simple dishes, but with kurobuta pork, they become a real treat!

      • Kurobuta pork's photo
      • Kurobuta pork's photo

      If you’re going to try kurobuta cuisine just once, visit Roppakutei.

      If you’d like to enjoy an abundant variety of kurobuta dishes in one sitting, be sure to visit Roppakutei, a restaurant specializing in cuisine using Kagoshima Kurobuta pork. Roppakutei boasts the freshest kurobuta pork shipped directly from a farm under exclusive contract with the restaurant located at the foot of Mt. Kirishima. The shabu-shabu, the restaurant’s most popular item, uses prized fatty boned rib meat. Despite the high amount of fat, it avoids being too rich; the clean flavor will make it hard to put your chopsticks down. Another famous dish from the restaurant is Roppakutei’s lava-roast kurobuta kalbi – slices of Korean-style marinated pork roasted on a plate of stone cut from the cooled lava of Sakurajima, the symbol of Kagoshima. The deep fried tonkatsu, a Japanese staple for pork cuisine, also comes recommended. With a full menu of local Kagoshima dishes, you’ll want to try them all.

      • Kurobuta pork's photo
      • Kurobuta pork's photo
      • Kurobuta pork's photo
      Edited by kinwashi 20 Sep `16, 8:27PM
  • kinwashi's Avatar
    10,941 posts since Jan '08
    • Guribu

      Guribu is Kagoshima’s yurukyara mascot. His name comes from the words guriin (green) and buta (pig): guribu. Kagoshima is famous for its lush vegetation and cuisine of pork from the Berkshire pig (Kagoshima kuro buta). Guribu’s eybrows are just like those of Kagoshima’s revolutionary hero, Saigo Takamori. He’s bold and a bit reckless, but kind and likes his food. He is here in the UK with one of his family, Kagobu. Come and join in Guribu’s dance おじゃったもんせ!


      Nicknamed “the walking vegetable?!” Kagoshima kurobuta pork – once a favorite of samurai warriors.

      Kagoshima kurobuta pork boasts over 400 years of history. With fine textured, tender meat and clean-tasting fat, highly nutritious kurobuta pork, unblemished by off flavors, was a favorite of shogun generals in ancient times and is still loved today as the “walking vegetable.” What makes Kagoshima kurobuta pork so delicious is Kagoshima’s sweet potatoes, one of the prefectures top products. Kurobuta pigs fed on these sweet potatoes gain the distinctive clean-flavored fatty meat so beloved by fans. Kagoshima’s warm and pleasant weather is also essential to raising kurobuta piglets. Thanks to this combination of factors, kurobuta has become a brand name for pork

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