Japanese Christmas Music

 

December is Christmas extravaganza month on Geordie Japan, expect lots of Christmas Related articles in the run up to Christmas, starting today!

 

Ho Ho Ho! ‘Tis the season to be Jolly! But what’s that? You’re not feeling jolly and in the Christmas spirit yet? Well Geordie Japan has  just the remedy for you! What you need is some lovely Christmas tunes to get you in the mood, but forget Maria Carey or Bing Crosby, you need some Japanese Christmas music! But where would you find such a thing? Right here on Geordie Japan of course!

 

Click on the youtube video below for a playlist of 16 Japanese Christmas songs complete with music videos. Under the video you can find a track listing and individual links to all the songs! If you enjoy it, please share the link with your friends.

 

Click here to play the playlist from youtube

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Japanese Horror Films

 
 
Being October, and just over a week away from Halloween you’re probably wanting to get in the Halloween mood, and seeing as you are visiting this site you most likely like Japanese things, so why not combine the two with a good old scare-fest of Japanese films to chill you to your core!

Please note that this is not intended to be a definitive list of any kind, merely some suggestions. Also ‘horror’ is a rather loose genre, some films here may not be simply regarded as horror films but all contain strong elements of horror.

For those who want classic horror

Ugetsu Monogatari

 Ugetsu Monogatari (雨月物語)

After a raid on their village, Genjuro and Tobei move their families and pot making business to the city. The city is not kind to them and they send their wives home promising to return home with money soon…but who is the mysterious Lady Wakasa and why is she so interested in Genjuro’s pots…

1953, Dir. Kemji Mozoguchi (溝口 健二) — TrailerBuy Here.

 

Kwaidan  (怪談)

Made up of four chilling stories: ‘Black Hair’ in which a man returns to his ex-wife after leaving his new lover only to find something is very different with her. ‘The Woman and The Snow’ in which a young man is saved from a snowstorm by a spirit but he can never tell anyone about it…until one day he does. ‘ Hoichi the Earless’ in which a blind musician is slowly having his life force sucked away by ghosts & ‘In a Cup of Tea’ in which a samurai is haunted by the spirit of a dead samurai.. 

1964, Dir. Masaki Kobayashi (小林 正樹) — TrailerBuy Here.

 

Onibaba (鬼婆)

In 14th century Japan a civil war wages, a mother and daughter do their best to survive and prey on hapless samurai, killing them and selling their armor for money. One day a friend of one of these samurai turns up and the women learn what has become of him…

1964, Dir. Kaneto Shindo (新藤 兼人) — TrailerBuy Here.

  

For those who want films from the J-Horror boom

Ringu

Ringu (リング)

A reporter begins investigating an urban legend of a cursed video tape. She quickly finds herself in possession of the tape but her young son watches it first, now she must race against time to save his life… 

1998, Dir. Hideo Nakata (中田 秀夫) — TrailerBuy Here.

 

Audition (オーディション)

At the encouragement of his family and friends Ayoama begins to search for a new wife years after being widowed. His friend suggests setting up a fake movie audition to meet women and Ayoama falls for a beautiful ex-ballerina named Asami, on the surface she appears to be the perfect woman… (Warning: The DVD cover contains a big spoiler for the film, try to avoid it)

1998, Dir. Takashi Miike (三池 崇史) — Trailer (Spoilers!) — Buy Here.

 

Exte: Hair Extensions (エクステ)

A man obsessed with hair steals the hair from a newly killed woman and adds it to his collection,he sells parts of the hair to hair salons to be used as extensions, only this hair starts possessing women, driving them insane or worse… 

2007, Dir. Sion Sono (園 子温) — TrailerBuy Here.

 

For those who want contemporary horror

Confessions

 

Confessions (告白)

A class of high school students hold a dark secret relating to their former teacher and a series of events that shocked the school… One of the most stylish films ever made.

2010, Dir. Tetsuya Nakashima (中島哲也) — Trailer (Spoilers!) — Buy Here.

 

Cold Fish (冷たい熱帯魚)

When a man’s teenage daughter is caught stealing she is offered a job in a fish store to set her straight. The man soon discovers that the owners of the fish store have a dark secret however…

2010, Dir. Sion Sono (園 子温) — TrailerBuy Here.

  

For those who want anime horror

Vampire Hunter D

 

Vampire Hunter D (吸血鬼バンパイアハンターD)

In a strange future time the world is ruled by supernatural forces, a young girl requests the help of the mysterious ‘D’ to hunt down the vampire who bit her in order to save her from becoming one of the creatures… 

1989, Dir. Toyoo Ashida (芦田 豊雄) — TrailerBuy Here.

 

Perfect Blue (パーフェクトブルー)

A retired pop singer turned actress’s sense of reality is shaken when she is stalked by an obsessed fan and seemingly a ghost of her past.

1997, Dir. Satoshi Kon (今 敏) — TrailerBuy Here.

  

For those who don’t want subtitles 

(A selection of the better American Remakes)

The Grudge

The Grudge

The closest thing to watching the Japanese original, made by the same director with the same vision. An American nurse living and working in Tokyo is exposed to a mysterious supernatural curse, one that locks a person in a powerful rage before claiming their life and spreading to another victim.

2004, Dir. Takashi Shimizu (清水 崇) — Trailer Buy Here.

 

The Ring

A fairly faithful remake of the original. A young journalist must investigate a mysterious videotape which seems to cause the death of anyone in a week of viewing it, now she must race against time to stop the tape’s effects.

2002, Dir. Gore Verbinski — Trailer Buy Here.

 

Dark Water

A mother and daughter, still wounded from a bitter custody dispute, hole up in a run-down apartment building. Adding further drama to their plight, they are targeted by the ghost of former resident.

2005, Dir. Walter Salles  — TrailerBuy Here.

  

For those who want something unique

Shirome

Shirome  (シロメ)

The  real life J-pop band ‘Momoiro Clover‘ are the victims of this horror mockumentary in which the girls are forces to investigate a haunted school for a supposed Japanese television series. In the haunted house the girls hope (or rather don’t hope) to find Shirome, a spirit that can grant wishes, but only if the person asking completely believes in the spirit… This is not available on DVD in the UK, the full movie is available below from youtube. Please not that we are not hosting any content and do not endorse piracy.

2010, Dir. Kōji Shiraishi (白石晃士) — Watch the full movie here

 

Uzumaki/Spiral  (うずまき)

After coming home to find her father obsessively staring at a snail Kirie notices the whole town appears to slowly becoming obsessed in the same way with the shape of a spiral and begin turning into spiral’s themselves. Totally bonkers and more than a little scary.

2000, Dir. ‘Higuchinsky’ — TrailerBuy Here.

 

House  (ハウス)

When Oshare finds out that her Father’s girlfriend is joining them on their summer trip, she and her friends decide to go to her aunt’s farmhouse instead. From the moment they arrive, strange things begin to happen and the girls slowly begin to realize Oshare’s Aunt may not have their best interest in mind. A cult classic that has to be seen to be believed!

1977 Dir. Nobuhikio Obayashi  (大林 宣彦) — TrailerBuy Here.  

 

For those who want something not scary

Happiness of the Katakuris

The Happiness of The Katakuris  (カタクリ家の幸福)

A family moves to the country to run a rustic mountain inn when, to their horror, the customers begin befalling sudden and unlikely fates. An utterly entertaining film that smashes horror, musicals, comedies, mysteries, angry volcanos, a charismatic dog and a Japanese man who claims to be a member of the British royal family… 

2001 Dir. Takashi Miike  (三池 崇史) — Trailer Buy Here.  

 So there you go, I hope that has given you some insperation for some Japanese Halloween scare-fests!

 

Want to recommend a Japanese scary movie to other users? Leave a comment below!  
 

Qoo (クー)

 

Yesterday I popped into HiYou, as I frequently do, in order to pick up a beverage before work. I was browsing thought the various interesting and unique drinks on sale such as Aloe vera juice, ramune and many others when suddenly I was stopped in my tracks when I caught eye of this…

What’s the big deal about that? It looks like any other juice carton, and perhaps to some it is, but a flood of memories suddenly washed over me at the sight of this drink. I will tell you why, before I tell you why you should try it for yourself.

 

One of my overwhelming memories of Japan is the heat during the summer; it’s humid, hot and drains all of the water from your body in no time. For this exact reason no matter if you are in the middle of Tokyo or halfway up a mountain, you are never far from a vending machine, they’re are as common as road signs and are a glorious sight to anyone being ravaged by the sweltering summer heat. The vending machines of Japan are another topic for another day, but the sheer variety and services provided by them are nothing like we get here in Newcastle. While I was in Japan I took it upon myself to try as many different types of drinks as humanly possible, and it was one day in Kyoto just outside the Kiyomizu Temple that I stumbled across a vending machine that served an odd looking drink named Qoo. The first major difference between Qoo and every other drink I had sampled up to that point was that it came in a metal bottle which was utter heaven to hold against your forehead before drinking. The drink itself was a glorious apple juice which not only quenched my thirst but was the perfect drink to re-energise me for the long walk ahead. From that point on if there was nothing new and interesting to try in a vending machine I would go for Qoo. Since my return to England I have looked out for the drink but much to my chagrin there was not a sniff of it anywhere…until yesterday.

So What Is Qoo?

Qoo (クー) is a beverage produced by Coca Cola in association with Minute Maid and was launched in Japan in 1999. The drink is based in Japan but has been exported to many other countries in Asia and a few countries in Europe. The term ‘Qoo’ is said to be an exclamation of refreshment that many Japanese will utter after a refreshing pint, or so the official site claims. The name has the good fortune to translate in Chinese to 酷兒 (kùér) which literally means ‘cool kid’; unfortunately it has the bad fortune to also be a slang phrase comparable to the word ‘queer’ as in homosexual. The drinks are non carbonated fruit juices available in the following flavours; Acerola Lemon, Fuji Apple, Blackcurrant, Fruit Punch, White Grape, Grape Lemon, Honey Lemon, Honey Quince, Lemon, Mandarin Orange, Mango, Mango Milk, Mango Orange, Orange, Peach and Peach Plum. Currently only White Grape and Mango have been spotted in Newcastle.

 

Probably the most defining and popular feature of the drink is it’s mascot, Qoo, who is a blue creature vaguely resembling a cat whose most recognisable trait (aside from being insanely cute) is spouting a long refreshed “Qooooooooo” after downing a glass of Qoo. The drink is well known for its easily recognisable theme tune and short cute advertisements following the adventures of the Qoo character in it’s pursuit of a refreshing Qoo juice drink.

 

 

Click on the video to begin a playlist of Qoo adverts.

So next time you are in HiYou pick one up from the chilled fridge and try one for yourself, they are priced currently at £0.69 and they are worth a try! Let us know what you think of them, they are best drunk ice cold.

 

I’ll leave you with an amusing official profile of the ‘Qoo’ character from it’s official site.

Sex: No one is really sure, from its behaviour it appears that it has both masculine and feminine traits.

Family: Since it appeared unexpectedly one day its origins are unknown, but is thought to be an only child.

Age: It is rumoured it is, in human years, between seven to ten years old.

Characteristics: Only says “Qoo!”. Whenever it drinks Qoo, its cheeks inflate.

Special Ability: Likes Dancing, Baths, Qoo, friendly children, and tasty drinks

Dislikes: Children who bully others

Character: Although it is a child it thinks like an adult. Optimistic and easily elated. Relaxed, a little sensitive and a bit of a narcissist.

Favorite pose: Left hand filling a cup to the brim with Qoo, right hand resting gently on hip, head tilted slightly skywards drinking the cup of Qoo and expressing delight by saying “Qoo”!

 

Lucky Number 七

 

Over the weekend Geordie Japan hit 7000 views, now perhaps in website terms that’s not that much, but for a niche blog that’s only been online since March I’m pretty damn proud of that figure. I’m hoping for big things for the blog and beyond and hopefully the number 7 will bring us some luck with this, why? Well seven is considered a lucky number in Japan (and other parts of Asia too) but what’s so special about seven?

 

7, or 七 (pronounced “nana” or “shichi”) in Japanese, is deeply ingrained into Japanese culture. In the Buddhist religion when one becomes a ‘stream winner’ they can be reborn a maximum of seven times before reaching nibbana. There are also regarded to be seven Buddhist treasures. This religious association with the number seems to be the origin point in Japanese culture for the importance of the figure of seven.

 

The part where seven becomes lucky starts with the seven lucky gods (七福神). The seven gods are most commonly known to be;

  • Hotei – the fat and happy god of abundance and good health
  • Jurōjin – god of longevity
  • Fukurokuju – god of happiness, wealth and longevity
  • Bishamonten – god of warriors
  • Benzaiten – goddess of knowledge, art and beauty, especially music
  • Daikokuten – god of wealth, commerce and trade.
  • Ebisu – god of fishers or merchants, often depicted carrying a sea bream

Of the group only Ebisu is known to be Japanese, Hotei, Jurōjin and Fukurokuju are from China while Bishamonten, Benzaiten and Daikokuten are from India. The seven lucky gods are often depicted sailing on a treasure ship, the Takarabune (宝船), and will sail into port on New Year and distribute gifts and wealth to those deemed worthy, Children will often be given red envelopes with the image of the Takarabune on it containing money around this time. Children are also encouraged to put either a picture of the seven gods or the Baku (a mythical being that devours nightmares) under their pillow on the evening of January 1st. If you have a dream that night where you are blessed with good fortune in life then you will be lucky for the year, provided you do not tell anyone. On the other hand if you have an unlucky dream then you must prey to the Baku spirit and set the picture adrift in the nearest river or ocean. On January seventh it is traditional to eat nanakusa-gayu (seven herb rice porridge) which is packed full of good vitamins to help you recover from your New Year over celebrations, it is also thought to prevent illness for the year. Further reading on the seven lucky gods can be found here.

 

The number seven has also ingrained itself into both the celebration of life and the mourning of death in Japan. After a baby is born its birth is celebrated on its seventh day of life, conversely after someone’s death there is seven days of mourning, then they are mourned once again seven weeks after the death. Other life monuments are often marked alongside the number seven somehow, such as in the 7-5-3 festival which held on the 15th November where children aged seven, three and five visit their local Shinto shrines and are blessed. Girls aged 3 and boys aged 5 are formally welcomed into the community at this event and Girls aged seven are allowed from this day to wear the decorative obi sash with their kimono as they have now entered womanhood.  The Tanabata (七夕) star festival is held on the seventh day of the seventh month, again luck is once again associated with this as it is traditional to write your wishes down and hang them from a specially erected bamboo tree.

 

Film Still from The Seven Samurai

So from this deep rooted concept of the lucky number seven it’s no surprise to find that the number is prevalent in Japanese popular culture. Such as in Akira Kurosawa’s legendary Seven Samurai (七人の侍) in which seven warriors attempt to defend a village, the film was later remade in the West as The Magnificent Seven. There is also a Japanese manga named Nana (Japanese for 7) in which two girls, both named Nana, come together coincidentally and share an apartment together, the apartment is number 707 of course.  There are many references to the number seven in the manga, and later the anime and live action film versions. There is a television drama named lucky seven and even AKB48 have a song named for the number. Overall Japanese films, television programs,  songs, manga, video games and every aspect of popular culture often somehow includes a reference to seven.

 

So with all that, can you blame me for being excited that we have hit 7000 views? I’ll leave you with two things, firstly a Japanese proverb;

Nana korobi ya oki (七転び八起き) which literally means “seven falls, eight getting up”,  an encouraging phrase which reminds us that after life goes down it always comes back up again.

And lastly a question, have you ever wondered why the highest concentration of 7-11 brand supermarkets in the world is in Japan?

 

 

How to be Kawaii (In Toon)

 

Kawaii – loveable, cute or adorable.

–          Prominent culture of Japanese behaviour, toys, food, clothes entertainment

–          Kanji ‘ka’ = acceptable

–          Kanji ‘ai’ = love

–          From The Tale of Genji – referring to pitiable and docile qualities

 

Today Kawaii can be seen everywhere. You don’t have to go to Japan to witness Kawaii as some the best loved characters in the West are considered Kawaii. This includes Pikachu from Pokémon, Kirby, Hello Kitty, Miffy, Snoopy, Minnie Mouse and even the Teletubbies. Though some of these are not of Japanese descent, their overall cuteness has been celebrated as part of this phenomenon.

 

A typical Manga Kawaii character, this example is from ‘Angel Beats’

 

However it isn’t just batting your eyelids and talking cute, Kawaii is a heavily influenced DIY genre. This is all Japanese influenced, as they have a strong culture of recycling, so for the average student who has limited funds, Kawaii has embraced the idea of recycling your old clothes, jewellery, material and in some cases rugs to add to your fashion.

So how does one become Kawaii? There are so many different types of Kawaii, but here are a few overall pointers in Kawaii fashion to help you get started and create your own Kawaii style.

 

  1. Big eyes. Big eyes are reminiscent of Disney Princess’ and this is the same in Kawaii. Big eyes represent wonderment, innocence and beauty, so grab some mascara and fake eyelashes and get some big beautiful eyes going
  2. Long hair. Long hair is also associated with innocence and Kawaii. This is because most little girls have long hair, because long hair means you are a girl not a boy. The longer the hair, the more natural your look, as you have not been touched by the material human world. This is also reminiscent of Rapunzel, the Princess at the top of the tower who uses her lush long hair to let the prince climb up and save her.
  3. Pastels. Pastel colours, often light pink, blue, green, purple and yellow are used in Kawaii as they refer to baby pink and blue. Pastels are soft colours that often make one look slimmer and fairer, showing a sweet natural look again.
  4. Bows and ribbons. Bows are a must in cuteness, especially worn in the hair. But bows and ribbons bows are incorporated onto shoes, clothes, jewellery and bags.
  5. Hearts. Hearts obviously represent love, and thus are used on everything including nails; to give a very cute look.
  6. Overall fairy tale. It seems that fairy tales such as Alice in Wonderland and most Disney Princess movies are referenced in one way or another. This is because they represent innocence, kindness and above all being a princess, which is what Kawaii is all about.
The Kawaii look demonstrated by idol singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

The Kawaii look demonstrated by idol singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

 

Most elements of Kawaii are inherited from Manga and Anime cartoons, due to their upbeat sweet attitude and reference to big Western eyes. The Manga look is often considered and ideal in Japan and is perpetuated by many ‘idol’ singers and celebrities.

 

So there’s a little guide on how to be Kawaii. But here are a few locations in our lovely Newcastle Upon Tyne City Centre to get you going

 

Fenwick. 39 Northumberland Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, NE1 1AR

On the second floor, at the back, Fenwick has its own Haberdashery and Fabric section. There you can find a lovely arrangement of ribbons, sold by the meter and fabrics with different ranging prices to add or start to your clothes.

 

John Lewis.
Eldon Square, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE99 1AB

John Lewis on the second floor, at the back also has a Haberdashery section. They have ribbons, brought by the pack, a larger range of fabric and at the moment small tubs with assorted buttons in them!

 

Grainger Market. Grainger Market, Newcastleupon Tyne, NE1

The Grainger Market has a number of fabric stores which a cheaper than Fenwick and John Lewis as it is a market stall. You may have to snoop round a little more but they have some amazing bargains, and add to your cheap DIY Kawaii style.

 

Claire’s Accessories. Eldon Square, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7XJ

Claire’s have a number of cute cheap headbands with bows and animals on, perfect for a Kawaii look. They also have hair extensions in store, so you can accessories your hair to match your Kawaii outfit!

 

Toki Yoki. 1B Sidgate , Eldon Square , Newcastle upon Tyne , NE1 7XF

Toki Yokihas some very cute clips, scarves and headbands in Big baby style to Kawaii it up. It also has some signature big geeky glasses, giving you an extra edge in Kawaii innocence, with a smart style.

 

–Aisha Din

Interactive Map

 

 

Here at Geordie Japan we are always looking for ways to make it easier for you to visit Japanese establishments and events in and around Newcastle. So after a bit of testing and hard work we are proud to announce the Geordie Japan interactive map!

You can click here to see the map or the link will always appear on the right hand side of this page.

 

So far there are 30 markers on there covering 5 different categories 1) Asian Supermarkets 2) Japanese Restaurants* 3) Specialised Japanese Stores 4) Japanese Cinema 5) Japanese Attractions and History.

 

*Sometimes this is a bit of a grey area, I have included on this first version of the map explicitly Japanese restaurants and Asian fusion restaurants with a large Japanese menu selection.

 

But here’s what we want from you! Firstly feedback on the map itself, but also on additional venues that we may have missed (the map is very much a work in progress) or in the future, venues that have opened or closed. Are there any other categories you would like to see on there? Would you like to see all the Asian restaurants in Newcastle included on the map? Please let us know by either leaving a comment here or tweeting us!

 

So we hope you enjoy it and find it useful!

Karaoke

 

When most Westerners people hear the phrase ‘karaoke’ it evokes one emotion…fear. It conjures the image of a crowded bar, everyone’s eyes on you, watching, judging as you attempt to summon the courage to begin singing publically. Sweat pours down your brow as you hope and pray that you won’t clear the place out. It seems that the phrase ‘I couldn’t sing in front of people!!’ follows on from the notion of karaoke like a Pavlovian response.

 

My rendition of 'Sex Bomb' seems to be winning them over!

My rendition of ‘Sex Bomb’ seems to be winning them over!

 

Fortunately in Japan, most of Asia, and increasingly the rest of the world karaoke is done in a different way to the stereotypical neurosis educing nightmare scenario described above. Of course those public karaoke establishments still exist all over the world but often more popular are the ‘karaoke boxes’ (カラオケボックス) or private karaoke rooms. Before we delve into these though, let’s take a look at the history of karaoke.

 

Karaoke (カラオケ), which literally means ‘empty orchestra’, is the practice of amateur singers singing over backing tracks to popular songs that have had the lead vocals removed. The origin of the karaoke machine is debated, with Japan and the Philippines both claiming to have invented the practice, it appears karaoke developed almost simultaneously in both countries. The Japanese originator of the practice was Daisuke Inoue (井上 大佑) who invented the karaoke machine and began renting them to bars around Kobe, Japan in the late 70s. Since then the practice caught on like wildfire across Asia and began making an impact into Western culture in the late 80s through to the 90s; when it became common place to find bars holding karaoke nights. This is where the often cited nightmare at the beginning of this article developed. So what are these karaoke boxes and how do they differ from the karaoke bars of old?

Typical Karaoke Room

Typical Karaoke Room

 

Karaoke boxes (also known as KTV or K) are private karaoke rooms which often hold between 6 and 20 people, although 6-10 is probably the standard size of a typical room. There are usually multiple rooms within a single establishment so you and your friends can sing in private without the embarrassment of having to sing in front of strangers. The room itself usually contains sofas, a table, the karaoke equipment and microphones. Drinks and food are normally available as well to encourage a social atmosphere and to help with any anxiety you may have about singing, even if it’s just in front of your friends.

 

We at Geordie Japan can’t get enough of karaoke, it really is that much fun and once you get into it, you’re bound to be singing well into the early hours of the morning. It can look expensive at first but when you consider you will be splitting the cost probably at least 4 ways it becomes much more affordable. But where can you try these private karaoke rooms in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne?

Here are a selection of the karaoke rooms in Newcastle, let us know what others you would recommend in the comments below!

 

Moji Restaurant

Nagomi 

Cosy Joes

Hanahana

 

So why not give it a go, you never know, you might just enjoy it!

 

A Trip To Tynemouth 2!

A Trip to Tynemouth 2!

This is a follow up to the first article https://geordiejapan.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/studio-ghibli-a-trip-to-tynemouth/ telling you all about Hayao Miyazakis short comic, A Trip to Tynemouth!

But now we want you to get involved! The accuracy of the comic was so exact, that we at Geordie Japan really feel that Hayao Miyazaki must have come here, and we think that’s so amazing that we want you to get involved!

It’s simple! If you’re ever stuck for a day out, take a day out in Tynemouth and all you have to do is create a sign saying ‘OUR TRIP TO TYNEMOUTH’; hold your sign up at these landmarks, take a photo and you’re literally following Miyazaki around!

Grand hotel – The Grand Hotel is situated on the Grand Parade, Tynemouth, Tyne and Wear, NE30 4ER. This is where Miyazaki, in the comic, checks in! The inside of the Grand is divine, and just by looking at the front desk, you can see what Miyazaki was seeing!

 

In the comic Miyazaki seems to double back on himself, but it’s all part of the trip out! From the Grand Hotel, take the road left towards Percy Garden Road and that’ll take you round to Sea Banks Road where you’ll see the Priory Court ruins.

Beach and Priory – Get yourself down to King Edwards Bay, on the beach with the Priory shining in the background and you’ll be where Miyazaki went for a walk! Also a great place to take a picture!

After the Priory and King Edwards Bay, you’ll be walking back up Percy Gardens towards the Grand Hotel. After that you have the choice of the beach or the Grand Parade! It might be easier to stay on the Grand Parade, as there is a roundabout coming up. [see Roundabout info]. Go towards the Blue Reef Aquarium and at the end of the Grand Parade is the Church that graces the front cover of A Trip To Tynemouth! [see Church info] After the Church follow up Beverley Terrace, continue straight up the roundabout to Victoria Crescent. Here is a series of shops and you’re next set of photos!

Slope – The slope features a number of landmarks, all shown in the comic. There is the Dove Laboratory and its amazing big clock, which also proves a nice spot to stand and look out at the sea. There is the RNLI Cullercoats Lifeboat Station and the Boat!

The Boat – On Victoria Crescent is a slope going down the beach, the slope features prominently in the comic and has a few landmarks! Firstly the boat. The Cullercoats boat features in the comic, with the same colour, same place, same writing on it, and considering this comic was written a time ago, it’s uncanny that the boat is EXACTLY the same in the comic.

Pub – Though there is no Pub on the slope, there is the Dove Laboratory and Life Boat Station, both feature, we allow Miyazaki creative license. However if you’re a bit tired from walking, a pub lunch does sound mighty good! Just up the slope are a number of Fish and Chip shops, as well as a Brunos’ Italian, Bills Fish and Chips, Mama Rosas restaurant and the Queens Head, just down the road for a proper pub experience!

After this you’ll be going back up Victoria Crescent, past the Church and back towards the Grand Hotel!

Roundabout – The roundabout is situated on the Grande Parade, it continues onto the Grande Parade towards the Blue Reef Aquarium. In the comic we see Miyazaki and Westall walking up a slope towards the Grand Hotel. This could be the stretch of road between the roundabout and Grand Hotel!

Bench – On the other side of the road to the Grand Hotel, Miyazaki and Westall sit on a bench and talk. There are a few seats around here, but the one in the comic is a big wooden bench. When taking your photo makes sure you’ve got the exquisite Grand Hotel in the background! And if you’re very lucky, a green 306 bus!

Church – Though the Church does not feature in the comic itself, it is the seminal front cover! Situated on the Grand Parade, take yourself on the beach opposite and get some sand, sun and sky when taking a photo! The washed dreamy sun afternoon colours compared to the dark strong church is a good comparison, so do as Miyazaki did on the front cover and gets all the elements in there.

Now you’ve done taking photos send them to us via the site or Twitter! Let us know how your day out was and what it’s like to follow in the steps on Hayeo Miyazaki! We can’t quite get to Japan but we have a little bit of Japan in our back beach.

 

A Quick Guide To Some Of Newcastle’s Asian Toys

 

 

Newcastle has a vibrant centre full of lovely items to buy, but if you’re looking for something specific, and more in the eastern range; there are a number of places in the city centre to buy some cuddly eastern toys.

 

 

Animez. 48 Low Friar Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear NE1 5UE.

Animez is a specific store featuring every king of collector’s edition toys, action figures and trinkets from your favourite Anime or Manga. They have everything from Naruto headbands and sweatbands to Final Fantasy action figures and everything in-between. They also stock some of our favourite toys, including Studio Ghilbi’s Totoro.

 

Baltic Flour Mill. Gateshead Quays, South Shore Road, Gateshead NE8 3BA

Though not strictly from Japan, Kozyndan are an L.A. based couple that had an exhibition in the Baltic in 2008. The Baltic gift shop sells their famous Tidal Wave of Bunnies, reminiscent of The Great Wave off Kanagawa. There is a small model version of this, as well as a portrait of bunnies on branches with pink flowers, also reminiscent of Utagawa Hiroshige woodprint Cherry Blossom art.

There are also display cased toys by Takashi Murakami, a Japanese contemporary artist. The toys descend from his famous Mr DOB work, with huge obscure, somewhat scary, expressions. The price of Mr DOB is over £55, but to own something from Japan, made by the famous artist is somewhat priceless.

 

Forbidden Planet. 59 Grainger Street, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 5JE

Forbidden planet has a range of toys and plush. They have the typical and loveable range of Studio Ghibli toys including Totoros with a range of expressions, soot bunnies and sometimes a even cat bus!

If the nostalgia of Pokémon still washes over you (and it should) plush Pikachus are available! And many different types of Pac-Man toys are on sale, including a stress ball; all Japanese originated.

 

 

Travelling Man. 43 Grainger Street, City Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 5JE

Travelling Man stocks all your favourites including Domos, and even a white Domo to pain how you may. Gloomy Bear, a more sinister Japanese toy in the disguise of a lovable pink shell is available in Travelling Man, again blank ones to paint how you may.

Travelling Man also stocks Momiji Dolls. Based on the idea of friendship, there is a large variety of Momiji dolls in Travelling Man so find one for a friend! Though the Momiji dolls we know originate from England,  Momiji originated from traditional Japanese folk-art.

 

Debenhams. St Andrews Way, Eldon Square, Newcastle NE1 7XD

Debenhams, on the top floor do have a range of toys originating from Japan. Yes you guessing it, Hello Kitty! They have Hello kitty toys and stationery sets in the kids department, most likely for little girls, but we won’t judge!

 

 

Fenwick. Newcastle Upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7AF

Fenwick, same as Debenhams have a whole pillar dedicated to the Japanese Hello Kitty. Based on the top floor, in the kids department, Fenwick stock Hello Kitty toys, stationery, jewellery making sets, jewellery and hair accessories.

 

–Aisha Din

Takeaway Sushi

 

 

Sometimes it can be hard to get a variety of food in the city centre of Newcastle when it comes to lunch time. If sandwiches become boring after a while and Prêt don’t have the latest combo in stock, there’s always sushi.

Sushi is vinegared rice combined with neta which is most commonly seafood. Sushi sometimes contains raw slices of fish, known as sashimi. Sushi or nare-zushi was first developed in Southeast Asia, spread to south China and then Japan, where we now commonly associate sushi with.

There are a few places in the city centre to get your hands on some sushi and don’t fret you won’t have to run all the way to China town for it!

 

Prêt A Manger

Prêt have some sushi trays consisting mainly of salmon and tuna. The trays and sushi themselves are a bit bigger than most places, but so is the price.

There are several Prêts in town. The first is on Grey Street, opposite the Monument. The second is on Northumberland Street, near to Haymarket Metro Station. The third is in Fenwick on Northumberland Street, close to Haymarket Metro Station.

 

Marks & Spencer

M&S probably has the best array of sushi, ranging from fish and meat sushi to oriental rich balls in different colours! There is something to please everyone and the trays prove a decent size; so if you want to fill up at lunch time you can do so!

Though the sushi packs are £3 each, or £1 for the vegetable snack boxes, M&S has the best range of sushi!

Marks & Spencer is situated on Northumberland Street.

 

Some of the Sushi on sale at Marks and Spencers

 

Boots

Boots has a pretty basic set of sushi range, as with all their lunches. They have a single pack that provides two salmon and two tuna sushi rolls with rice or seaweed. As with Tesco they get snapped up pretty quick, as it’s fresh light food that still fills you up!

There a few Boots in the town. The first is situated on Blackett Street, next to the Monument Metro. The second is in Eldon Square, opposite the Blackett Street Boots, you can cross the Green sitting area, towards Nandos and Starbucks and follow the stairs just to the right of them up to Boots. The third is situated on Northumberland Street, opposite the Haymarket metro Station.

 

Tesco

Tesco has a number of sushi trays available on the meal deal section, all at very decent prices. However whether they’re all out there, and you can get your hands on them is another question. The sushi gets snapped up pretty quickly, as they have a pretty good variety at affordable prices on offer.

There is a Tesco on Express on Percy Street, east of The Gate, near Magic Box.

 

Yo Sushi

Yo Sushi specialise in sushi, so thankfully they have been so kind and boxed some up for us to take away. Even though the amazing Doriyaki pancakes are not on sale, Yo Sushi has every kind of sushi combination you could ask for. They also stock books on how to make sushi, sparkling water and eastern chilli nuts.

Yo Sushi is situated on the ground floor of Fenwicks, in the food department, on Northumberland Street.

 

Tesco Sushi

Tesco stocks some nice pre-packaged Sushi

 

Hi you

Hi you is the new oriental supermarket which has opened up no Newgate Street. It’s a vast space and contains a huge variety of food and drink, all from the far east.

Hi You also provides an exciting take away buffet on the right side of the entrance and has a brilliant selection of sushi. Hi You provide fresh sushi, rather than pre packaged, so though the price might be a little higher than your normal eatery, the sushi is worth it for the fresh quality. Ranging from meat, fish and vegetable sushi, you’re guaranteed to find something you’ll like.

Hi You is situated on Newgate Street, on the opposite side of the road to The Gate.

 

 

If you know anywhere else that sells takeaway Sushi please let us know either in the comments or via our twitter.

 

–Aisha Din