Film: The Echo Of Astro Boy’s Footsteps




Film: The Echo Of Astro Boy’s Footsteps (アトムの足音が聞こえる)

When: Friday 11 January, 19:30pm

Where: The Star and Shadow Cinema (Directions)



Once again Zipangu Fest is bringing another fantastic film up to Newcastle’s Star and Shadow cinema and once again we can’t wait for this!!


“In 1963, Japan’s first ever animated TV series began broadcasting, Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy. The series itself has entered the realms of legend, with its main character a cultural icon across much of the world. But outside of the adventures of its little boy robot star, the series is also remembered for its futuristic sound effects, the creation of the pioneering sound designer Matsuo Ohno.


“Once you grasp a sound, it becomes part of this world. I’m not interested in sounds that already exist,” this trailblazer of electrical experimental music is quoted as saying, and indeed, Ohno can be attributed as creating whole new sonic worlds. His aural alchemy found itself deployed in the works of such ground-breaking filmmakers as Hiroshi Teshigahara and Toshio Matsumoto, and the spatial sound systems for the pavilions at the Expo ’85 in Tsukuba.


And then, in the 1980s, Ohno suddenly disappeared from the public eye. This riveting documentary follows his career through the eyes of those who worked with him and the experimental musicians whom he inspired, through a combination of hypnotic sounds and extraordinary images as those left by the Astro Boy’s footsteps leads us to a revelation that is as moving as it is unexpected.


With narration provided by the world-renowned Pizzicato Five vocalist Maki Nomiya, and the film’s own sound design by the electronic musician Pardon Kimura, Mochinaga’s film features rare scenes and sounds from animated films such as Lupin the 3rdSpace Battleship Yamato and Mobile Suit Gundam.” — Zipangu Fest



How do you say Merry Christmas in Japanese?



A KFC Xmas in Japan, sent in by one of our readers, @CraigedyCraig, Thanks!

A KFC Xmas in Japan, sent in by one of our readers, @CraigedyCraig, Thanks!

Please note that for this article you will have to have Japanese characters turned on to get the best of it (a quick google of the name of your browser + turn on Japanese characters should sort you out)


In a quick Friday update you can learn in a few minutes how to wish someone Merry Christmas in Japanese.


The simplest answer is that Christmas is a foreign concept to the Japanese, so for them to say Merry Christmas they would simply say “Merry Christmas”. However those unfamiliar with the English tongue would adapt it to use Japanese syllables and say “Merii Kurisumasu”. It’s really that simple!


So how do you write this is Japanese? Well like so;


(Merii Kurisumasu)

This is written in Katakana, the Japanese alphabet for foreign words translated into Japanese. Write it in your Christmas cards this year to impress your friends!


Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan, you can read more about that next week. So people don’t tend to say it to one another as we do in the West, unless wishing it to a Westerner of course. So now you know, simpler than it may seem but impressive to write in cards!


Until next time, メリークリスマス!!!!


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

Continue reading




Has it been one of those weeks? Job getting you down? Boss on your case? Maybe it’s time to hit the bar and drink away some of those sorrows!! But maybe if you fancy doing it in style, you could skip the beers, discard the alchopops, turn your nose up at the spirits and try your hand at sake. Sake as we know it in the West refers only to Ninhonshu (日本酒 – Literally ‘Japanese Drink’) where as in Japan in can also be used as a general term for any alcoholic beverage.


Generally though, if you ask for sake, you will get Ninhonshu. So what is sake? Well it’s commonly referred to on our shores as ‘Japanese rice wine’ and although not completely incorrect, the term misleads as sake is fermented and brewed from rice in a style closer to beer. Despite this sake is closer in its flavour to wine. Sake is made from surprisingly few ingredients; rice, water, yeast and a type of mould called Koji. These ingredients are then taken through a roughly one month brewing process (which is detailed here) by a Toji (杜氏 – sake brewer) before it is aged for a further six months. The average alcohol content is 15-17% and it is best drunk soon after it’s bought as after it peaks at the six month period, the sake will slowly deteriorate in quality over the next year.


There are five main types of sake (Thanks to Sake World for the descriptions);

  1. junmai-shu (rice only; no adding of distilled alcohol) – “Generic Sake”
  2. honjozo-shu (a tad of distilled alcohol is added)
  3. ginjo-shu (highly milled rice, with or without alcohol added)
  4. daiginjo-shu (even more highly milled rice, with/without added alcohol)
  5. nama-zake (refers to sake that is NOT pasteurized and basically is mutually independent of the above four)


Sake is intrinsically linked to Japan, Chinese records speak of an alcoholic drink drunk by the Japanese as far back as the third century, and it is confirmed that the drink was present in the seventh century. After becoming a firm part of Japanese life, when the Meji Restoration occurred it was written into the law that anyone with the money and the knowledge was legally allowed to set up their own sake brewery. This lead to over 30,000 breweries being established, although the government began to tax them heavily as the years went on, staggeringly in 1898 46% of the government’s tax income came from sake! During World War II sake production was hit hard as rice shortages were rampant and substitutes for rice were made, which kept up production but lowered quality. During post-war American occupation Sake was eclipsed by beer and spirit consumption, however sake brewers used new technologies to improve the quality and brewing process of the drink, before long sake was back on top. Now sake is drunk worldwide and is a cultural icon associated with Japan as it’s national drink.


So how do you drink sake? Well generally it is drunk from a wide variety of cups made for the specific purpose of drinking sake, these cups are called choko (猪口), or if in the box form called masu (枡). Sake is held, and poured from jars known as tokkuri (徳利). The most famous, and usually most confusing thing to those not in the know, about sake is if you should drink it hot or cold? As a general rule it should be served chilled. Hot sake is seen as a winter drink and was traditionally served warm; however the heating of the drink also forces aromas and flavours to be lost. Old or lower grade sake is often served warm however there are some less common sakes that are designed to be heated. Cool sake contains all the aromas, flavours and alcohol that the drink should. Sake can be drunk at room temperature as well.


So why not try some sake next time you have the chance? Sake can be purchased in Newcastle from HiYou, 7Days and Wing Hong, Sake sets are on sale in HiYou and Wing Hong. If you don’t fancy picking one out yourself, all of the Japanese restaurants usually have at least one sake choice on the menu.



Lecture: Teikyo Uni Now and in the Future



Event: Teikyo University Now and in the Future (Mr Michael Daly)

When: Wednesday 5th of December, 19:30pm

Where: Durham Oriental Museum, Durham (Directions)


Price: £3/£1 (Concessions)/Free (Friends of Durham Oriental Museum Members)

Other Info: Use the Elvet Hill House entrance for Lecture Room EH009.

Mr Michael Daly, Bursar, Teikyo University of Japan in Durham

!Michael Daly will give an overview of what the small Durham campus does in relation to undergraduate studies, and mention it’s relationship with London (Teikyo Foundation (UK)) and the main campus in Tokyo. He will discuss the wider Teikyo University academic operation, the Teikyo University Hospital in Tokyo and the current medical placement programme at the James Cook Hospital.   He will provide an update on the three day July Medical Symposium (Oxford/Cambridge/Durham/Harvard/Teikyo) held at Durham University.  He will provide an overview of the relationship with Durham University, Oxford University and Cambridge University in 2012. Finally, he will provide information on the future and any answer any questions.” — Durham Oriental Museum

Geordie Japan Featured In ‘Wor Diary’ 2013


We are very proud to announce that Geordie Japan is featured in ‘Wor Diary’ this year! Wor Diary is a yearly, collectively drawn, not for profit DIY diary. Each week is drawn by a different person in their own unique style, and the diary also features other things such as recipes, drawing pages, political info, how-to guides, useful info and resources for the local area.


There are plenty of helpful, interesting and unique things within the diary. Not least May 20th – 26th which features a hand drawn week by Geordie Japan! The week contains a guide to doing something Japanese in Newcastle for seven days straight. It’s great to have been included in the production of the diary and we are very proud to have our own page in it. We would encourage anyone looking for a diary to pick one up!


Geordie Japan Featured In Wor Diary 2013

Geordie Japan Featured In Wor Diary 2013


So how can you get your hands on one? Well there are two ways, firstly you can go in person to Travelling Man Newcastle (43 Grainger Street, NE1 5JE) and find one in the small press section for just £4. Alternatively you can buy one from the Wor Diary Etsy online store for the same price plus £1.50 p&p.


So why not pick one up if you are in the need for a unique diary? Numbers are strictly limited so if you want one, grab one as soon as you can!


10,000 Visitors & A Site Update


A little over a month ago we posted an article in honour of 7000 visitors to Geordie Japan, a little over a month later and we are proud to announce that last week we hit 10,000 visitors! We’re truly overwhelmed by how the site has taken off and we’d like to say thank you to every single one of you that visits the site for supporting us. It’s so great to see that there is such a community interested is so many different aspects of Japanese culture. We are working on some behind the scenes things in an attempt to make the site as user friendly as we can, working within wordpress can be a little slow, but they are coming!


A little bit of a site update for you now, Geordie Japan is run by a very small team that for the most part consists of one person. So occasionally real life (i.e. work) gets in the way and that’s why the site has been a little quiet over the last week or so. But stay tuned, this week will see some articles posted later on.


While we’ve got you here, have you ever wondered if you could contribute to the site? Well there are several ways that you can

  1. Fancy writing for us? Even just a one off? Then drop us an email and we will see what we can work out
  2. Noticed a Japanese event that’s not up on the site? Then tweet us and let us know!
  3. Like the site? (We hope you do) Then please tell your friends about us and follow us on twitter
  4. Think you can help the site in any other way? Email us!


So thanks again to you all, we’ll leave you with this beautiful giant cookie adorned with the Japanese flag that arrived to commemorate 10,000 visitors!



[Kids Club] Arrietty


Film: Arretty (借りぐらしのアリエッティ)

When: Saturday 15th December – 10:30am

Where: Tyneside Cinema  (Directions)

Extra Info: This screening is dubbed in English, only for children or adults accompanying children

Price: £3.20 (all ages)

*Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. adults only admitted to Children’s Film Club screenings when accompanying children.

“Residing quietly beneath the floorboards are little people who live undetected in a secret world to be discovered, where the smallest may stand tallest of all. From the legendary Studio Ghibli (“Spirited Away,” “Ponyo”)  comes “The Secret World of Arrietty,” an animated adventure based on Mary Norton’s acclaimed children’s book series “The Borrowers.”

Arrietty (voice of Bridgit Mendler), a tiny, but tenacious 14-year-old, lives with her parents (voices of Will Arnett and Amy Poehler) in the recesses of a suburban garden home, unbeknownst to the homeowner and her housekeeper (voice of Carol Burnett). Like all little people, Arrietty remains hidden from view, except during occasional covert ventures beyond the floorboards to “borrow” scrap supplies like sugar cubes from her human hosts. But when 12-year-old Shawn (voice of David Henrie), a human boy who comes to stay in the home, discovers his mysterious housemate one evening, a secret friendship blossoms. If discovered, their relationship could drive Arrietty’s family from the home and straight into danger.” –

Arrietty is a sweet and beautiful film that will be great viewing for children (and us adults). I caught the film when it was first released a few years back and honestly I can’t recommend the film enough.  If you’re sad that you can only attend with a child but still want to see the film, why not pick up a copy at HMV? Either way, let us know what you think by tweeting us @GeordieJapan — GJ

20 Facts About Ghost In The Shell


This weekend the Tyneside Cinema is screening the classic anime Ghost In The Shell as well as the original Godzilla for just 75p each! We already covered some facts about Godzilla a few months back, but here are 20 Ghost in the Shell facts to get you up to speed for Sunday’s early morning screening.


  1. Ghost In The Shell (攻殻機動隊) began as a serialised managa story  in 1989 in the Japanese magazine “Young Magazine” (ヤングマガジン)
  2. The series was created and written by Masamune Shirow (士郎 正宗), also known for his manga ‘Appleseed’
  3. Ghost In The Shell was turned into a anime feature film in 1995 and was directed by Mamoru Oshii (押井 守)
  4. Oshii regularly uses quotes from the bible in his films, Ghost in the Shell’s quote comes from I Corinthians 13
  5. The film was highly praised by Western directors, with James Cameron calling it “the first truly adult animation film to reach a level of literary and visual excellence.”
  6. The film was highly influential on The Matrix, which ‘borrows’ several key concepts and camera shots
  7. According to the soundtrack’s liner notes, the haunting choral song that plays throughout the film is a wedding song, sung to get rid of evil influences.
  8. The entire film was reworked into Ghost in the Shell 2.0 (攻殻機動隊 2.0) in 2008. The whole film was reanimated using new CGI technology, the score was re-recorded and some of the voice actors replaced.
  9. One of the first films to mix cel animation with CGI
  10. Ghost in the Shell was the first anime film to ever be released in Japan, the USA and the UK at the same time. The aim was to bring manga to the mainstream in the West.
  11. The brand of beer that is drunk within the film is the real life brand San Miguel
  12. The film was actually less successful inside Japan than in the rest of the world, when the sequel was released in Japan it was only titled ‘Innocence’ and lost the ‘Ghost in the Shell 2:’ prefix.
  13. Although never specified in the film, it has been long rumored amongst fans that the film is set in futuristic Kobe.
  14. Hollywood has purchased the rights to a live action remake, although news has been quiet on the project recently
  15. The character of Motoko never blinks in the film, unlike other characters. This was a deliberate move to make her appear more “doll-like”
  16. A song played over the credits is credited to the band ‘Passengers’, in reality it is a combined effort between U2 and Brian Eno
  17. Weirdly, in Japan, two versions of the VHS were sold. One in Japanese, and one in English with Japanese subtitles. Commonplace now on DVD’s but extremely unusual back in 1995 on video!
  18. A television series, Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex followed the film, the TV series follows a different story arc and has far more in common with the original manga.
  19. The film cost around $10 million US Dollars to animate and produce
  20. Three video games based on the franchise have been produced for various PlayStation consoles. The first game featured specially animated story sections in keeping with the style of the film.

So there you have it. If you are going to see either Ghost in the Shell or Godzilla on Sunday morning, we will see you there!