Japan From Your Living Room
There are many ways to get creative and get pumped for your upcoming trip to Japan so that you’ll be ready to dazzle your group with your local knowledge as soon as you arrive.
So here are some of the best ways to make the most out of your quarantine time at home and bring as much of Japan to you as you can.
Play some Classic Japanese Games
From the Japanese gaming giant Nintendo, the Switch has been one of our lockdown must-haves! Re-live your childhood with a copy of Mario Super Smash Bros, get lost in the ultra kawaii world of Animal Crossing, or pick up a copy of Pokemon Sword & Shield to take yourself back to that one perfect summer when Pokemon Go took over the world..
You can play it as a handheld device and join your mates online, or connect it to your TV to use it as a console for a game night! Don't have a switch? Get the Pokemon Go & Super Mario apps right on your phone!
The best part? You'll be working on your gaming skills so that when you do make it to Japan, you're ready to blow everyone's mind when you hit up the gaming arcades in Tokyo's Electric Town, Akihabara!
Watch a great movie
Battle Royale- filmed in 2000 and Directed by Kinji Fukasaku this is set in the future when the Japanese government captures a group of students and forces them to kill each other under a parliamentary act know as “Battle Royale Act”.
Sound familiar? It should, as this is said to have been the original Hunger Games, even though Suzanne Collins claims to have never heard of it. The Japanese government attempted to get the original novel banned but to no avail. In fact, it boosted popularity with the book and film becoming huge successes. In fact, it is one of the Top 10 highest-grossing movies in Japan.
Ringu – Also known as Ring is another movie plot that should sound familiar to you if you are into the horror/ suspense genre. A reporter investigates the suspicious death of several teenagers, who supposedly all watched a cursed videotape just seven days before. Japan is big into the horror genre and many western movies are actually adapted from original Japanese books or films. As you may have guessed, this was remade by Hollywood in 2002 starring Naomi Watts and distributed under the title ‘The Ring’.
If you're not a fan of horror, the iconic Studio Ghibli movies have just been released onto Netflix Australia! From Spirited Away to Howl's Moving Castle, these are classic Japanese animated movies you should definitely watch before visiting!
Get lost in a book
The Tale of Genji by Murasake Shikibu – This classic book written way back in the 11th Century is a portrait of life in medieval Japan as is often referred to as the worlds first novel. It is a long story recounting the life and love of the son of an ancient Japanese Emperor and the customs of aristocratic society. Not the lightest of reads but something of a work of art and important to Japanese arts. It is often referred to as the ‘Canterbury Tales’ of Japan.
Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata – Written by a Nobel Prize winner in literature, this must-read is a thrilling tale revolving around a love affair set in a remote hot spring (Onsen) town involving a Geisha.
The Diving Pool by Yoko Ogawa – This trio of novels from award-winning Ogawa feature themes like love, fertility and obsession. In one, a lonely teenage girl falls in love with her foster brother as she watches him jump into a swimming pool from a great height. Setting off a shockwave of ripples throughout her life.
This book at times shows off a dark-humourous undertone, with each novel about average people who at some point discover their own dark possibilities.
Devour some delicious food
Of course you're excited about the food in Japan! There are some amazing dishes on offer so wait no longer and cook up a feast in your own home.
A staple Japanese dish and a favourite of university students everywhere. A good combination of chicken, noodle, spinach, sweetcorn, and eggs make a light yet wholesome dish!
A little tricky to make at home unless you have a sushi roller (available on Amazon), you can customise the sushi to your own taste and even make veggie ones. Made from bamboo it's eco-friendly too!
Sushi is traditionally made with white rice, although you can use brown rice also. It is a very traditional Japanese dish, often served with squid, eel, tuna or salmon.
Technically a technique of cooking, this traditional way of cooking includes foods that have been grilled or broiled with a glaze of soy sauce, mirin and sugar.
Popular variations are duck or chicken teriyaki but if you want to keep it more traditional you can use tuna, mackerel, marlin or trout.
Fun fact: the word teriyaki derives from the noun teri which refers to a shine given by the sugar in the sauce and yaki which refers to the cooking method of grilling or broiling.
Listen to a Podcast
Uncanny Japan – If you are interested in folklore, myths and legends then this will be a great listen for you. These episodes delve deep into local stories often only heard by children by their grandparents so you will be getting a real insight into local life. There are plenty of episodes to choose from and some truly weird and wonderful stories that will leave you wondering just where exactly did these tales come from. You’ll be desperate to get to Japan and discover the root of these stories yourself! One of my favourite episodes is ‘Monkeys and Monkey Lore’, where you can learn all about the superstitions surrounding these creatures in Japan.
Just Japan – The Just Japan Podcast is great all rounder to learn about life in Japan before you get there. With different topics such as culture, music, history, as well as your everyday-life living in Japan covered. New episodes each week so there are plenty to choose from. One that may help you with customs is Episode 159: Don’t do that in Japan! Which covers some interesting DON’T do’s before you arrive, such as talking on trains or being a loud drunk!
Duolingo – Japanese
If you really want to impress upon your arrival in Japan I’d recommend downloading the free app Duolingo! Tipped as the best and easiest way to learn a language, this is a wonderful way to start your journey into the language. With bite-sized lessons laid out for you, you can take it at your own pace so that you can impress your local hosts in Japan. You and a friend can even track your progress together on the app, or better yet why not arrange a Zoom call with some of your group before you arrive and practice together? Check it out here!
So now you are just about ready to head off to Japan, head here to check out all the amazing activities you can do on our Japan Adventure tour, such as our incredible Samurai Masterclass (because we don’t recommend practising with a Samuri sword alone in your living room!).