Tag Archives: Japan

Ukiyo-e Japanese Woodblock Prints

It’s said that Ukiyo-e prints were today’s equivalent magazines. They often depicted kabuki stars and the latest fashion trends. Utagawa Kuniyoshi was one of the great masters of Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblock prints and painting. One of his most famous paintings is Takiyasha the Witch and the Skeleton Spectre.

The Bunkamura Museum of Art in Shibuya lets visitors enjoy the wooden prints as they were originally meant to, as entertainment. http://www.bunkamura.co.jp/english/museum/

Why not finish a long day with a visit to a Sake market in Tokyo? For a charge of 3000 yen, you can enjoy as much Japanese rice wine as you can or want. This standing bar is located in Shibuya. Shibuya https://kurand.jp/en/sakemarket/shibuya/

浮世絵は江戸時代ファッション雑誌です。それは頻繁に歌舞伎スター[アイドル]や最新のファッショントレンドを描きました。歌川国義は日本の浮世絵木版画と絵画の巨匠の一人で、彼の最も有名な絵画は(相馬の古内裏 妖怪がどくろと戦う大宅太郎光圀)です。


東京の日本酒市場への訪問で長い一日を終わりますか?3000円の料金で、日本酒の飲み放題ができます。この立ち飲み屋も渋谷に位置しています。 https://kurand.jp/en/sakemarket/shibuya/

Skiing in Japan

A late Friday night, an international team of 9 participants set out from Tokyo in two rented cars. Since Japanese people, in general, have a tendency to work late, we departed at almost 00:00 to arrive around 05:00 in Nagano at our hotel. The group consisted of 4 men and 5 women, all with the determination to enjoy a nice skiing weekend. These kinds of activities are encouraged by Social Apartment, where you can live and enjoy socializing in an apartment style share house.

With only a few hours of sleep, we got up and rented ski gear for about 5000 yen and then bought a lift pass for about another 5000. Hakuba was the name of the ski resort we went to and it’s a village in the kitaazumi district of Nagano prefecture.  Nagano is mostly known for the 1998 winter Olympics, is also connected with Tokyo by the  Hokuriku shinkansen. After enjoying skiing for a few hours, we ate dinner at a quite decent Yakiniku restaurant named Miyama(深山). The night was finished with an onsen visit close to the hotel will some drinks at our rooms.

Skiing in Nagano was quite different from skiing in Sweden. The snow was equally great, but it was a bit warmer than expected. The ski lift worked flawlessly compared to Sweden and Hakuba was well staffed. The next ski trip will no doubt be in Hokkaido next year!




Internship at the Embassy of Sweden

Last month I moved to Tokyo to do a half-year internship at the Commercial and Investment Office (Business Sweden) at the Embassy of Sweden in Tokyo. My job is to help Swedish businesses to reach out with their products, services and ideas in Japan. To some extent, the job is also about attracting Japanese investments in Sweden (FDI).

Right now I’m working on an event called “Treasures of the forest“. A part of this event is the “Sweden Interior Design Weekend” which is open to the public on Saturday the 12th of March. As the name gives away, it will feature a modern Swedish interior design with a handful of companies showing their products.

Tokyo is very different from Kyoto. There are fewer temples and lots of skyscrapers. Japanese people in business suits(Salarymen) often running off to somewhere.


現在は”森のタカラ未来のチカラ”というイベントに取り組んでいます。そのイベントの一部は”スウェーデンインテリアデザイン ウィークエンドであり、そのイベントは一般の方に3月12日に開かれます。言うまでもなく、それはモダンなスウェーデンのインテリアデザインを十数の企業が彼らの商品を見せながら紹介します。


Am I becoming Japanese?

“All good things must come to an end”, or so the saying goes. I started working at IKEA Kobe at the end of 2014 and just finished my last shift a few days ago.

In hindsight, I have learned many lessons. I put myself in a situation where I was forced to use daily conversational Japanese in the workplace. Additionally, I improved my keigo (polite Japanese) ability in order to provide better customer service. Working a part-time job in Japan, and especially in retail, requires you to use Japanese to communicate with both co-workers and customers.

There were many things that surprised me about Japanese customers. At IKEA Kobe, for example, oftentimes customers would bring us a small amount of change that someone forgot or dropped somewhere. That is something I have never seen (not can I imagine happening) in Sweden.

I’ve also been called many nicknames by customers: mostly “Gaijin!” or “Mite Gaikokujin da!”, Amerika-jin”,Eigo no hito“, “Aa marufoi da!“. Or in the case of co-workers: “Danieru”, “‘Danieru-san”, “Danieru-kun”, “Dani-chan”.

What surprised me the most was the following experience. On my last day at work, I realized that I had become somewhat more Japanese compared to when I first started working there more than a year ago. In Sweden, customers are King; but in Japan, customers are God.

In this small island country, a salesperson will do EVERYTHING for you. Even when paying with a credit card, you have to give it to the salesperson, who will swipe it for you and do the whole process for you except when entering your PIN code.

It was weird for me the first time, but now my feelings have changed after working in Japanese retail for a year. A few days ago, there was a fight between a foreign customer and me over the credit card machine. I tried to take her card and swipe it, as I have done in the past, but she didn’t let me do it. She wanted to do it by herself. She was so fast. At that moment, I thought to myself,“God damn it! What are you doing?”. However, I remember doing the exact same thing as a customer one year ago, and the realization of how “Japanese” I have become shocked me.

That being said, I’ve made some good friends, and I will never forget my time at KEA Kobe!

Good bye IKEA Kobe!

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Kyoto from the sky – Awa Drone

Ever heard of drones? A few weeks ago I met a few friends living in Tokushima in Shikoku. They are very interested in drones and even have a business called Awa Drone!

We spend a whole day touring Kyoto, starting with the ritual throwing of a coin at the first shrine visit of the year(Hatsumoude). We spend the rest of the day exploring Arashiyama and especially the area around Katsuragawa. There I gathered goshuin and we took amazing aerial footage for a video project called “Edge of Kyoto”. The video showing the slow river boat turned out better than expected and the video is a MUST see!

ドローンって聞いたことありますか?数週間前には、四国の徳島に住んでいる友達と会いました。彼らたちはすごくドローンに興味があり、Awa Droneというビジネスを設立しました

一日中に京都を観光し、初詣のために、神社でコインを投げました。その残りの間は御朱印巡りをして、嵐山の辺に行って、特に桂川の方に探りました。そこで、”Edge of Kyoto”というビデオプロジェクトをドローンで空からの撮影しました。そのビデオは桂川と屋形船を現して、思ってたよりいい感じで撮りました。是非ご覧ください!