International Ninja Day

Today is the ‘International Ninja Day’. Ninja 忍者 were covert agents or mercenaries. Most people know them from fiction and movies. Utagawa Kunisada 歌川 国貞 (1786-1865) painted a scene of a ninja on a Kabuki stage about 1830.

If you are interested in ninja and their history you will find a comprehensive article on the English website of wikipedia. See also an article about famous ninjas at and about the allegation that maybe everything you know about ninjas is wrong at

Labor Thanksgiving Day in Japan 勤労感謝の日

Today is Labor Thanksgiving Day in Japan 勤労感謝の日 (kinrō kansha no hi). The national holiday was established in 1948. Each year on November 23rd this day is dedicated for celebration and honoring work and production, also to give thanks to one another.

It is traditionally connected with the Niiname-sai Festival of Food 新嘗祭 which is a harvest festival based on Shintô rituals. On this day the tennô is offering the newly harvested rice to the kami in order to pray for a good harvest in the following year. He is eating the first rice together with the kami in a ceremony held in the Imperial Household.

The picture above is an ukiyo-e of Hiroshige (1797-1858). A Path through Rice Fields at Ōmori on the Tōkaidō Road 東海道大森縄手.

Art on Tuesday: Changing Years


This picture was painted by Hirezaki Eihô 鰭崎英朋 (1881-1968) and is titled Changing Years. Although this scene is slightly melancholic it is very beautiful and charming. The woman’s dressing and hair is skillfully painted. The contrasting white flowers in the background add style and elegance.  Hirezaki’s pictures of Japanese women are unique.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Japanese

Today I learned about the lovely project of Dean Wright and Emma Wilson. I want to share their press information about their journey and film project in Japan with you. I wish both a pleasant journey and hope many people will support them.

Hitchhiking Documentary Offers Insight Into Rural Japanese Life.

“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Japanese”, a feature length hitchhiking documentary and insight into the people of Japan seeks backing to bring the film to you.

Searching for a fresh perspective on Japanese culture, filmmakers Dean Wright and Emma Wilson will be hitchhiking over 1700 miles from the north to the south of Japan to document hidden gems and interesting characters found away from the glittering lights of Tokyo. Hitting the road this August, they target to deliver the full film in December. Backers on The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Japan kickstarter page can pledge to receive copies of the full film along with bonus footage, photography and a host of other exclusive rewards.

The ambitious journey will begin at the northern most point of Hokkaido and down through Japan’s four main islands to the southern tip of Kyushu. Undertaken solely by hitchhiking, the duo are relying on the famous Japanese generosity to guide them to document the lesser seen areas of Japans cultural heart, off the beaten track and away from typical tourist sights. Interviewing their drivers along the way, the film will offer a unique and personal perspective on the varying lives of ordinary Japanese people.

In an interview Dean said “We really want to show the world there is more to Japan than just Tokyo and kickstarter is the best way to get the viewers involved from the very beginning of the journey”. You can even have your say on the production of the final documentary by leaving feedback on an early edit before the film is locked down. If you want to see the final documentary then head over to their kickstarter page and pledge on the tier that interests you most. If they do not make the full target before 19th August then you won’t be charged, but the film will only be made if they reach their funding goal. so spread the word to help bring this project to life.

For more information and in order to support Dean and Emma with their lovely project please visit their website