Life in Japan in Photos: Obscure Temples and Shrines

I love visiting temples and shrines in Japan – not just the bigger or more famous ones that commonly top the visitor lists, but also the smaller ones that don’t attract much attention or are tucked away in rural pockets of the country. In part this is probably because I’ve always lived in rural Japan myself, so seeing secluded little temples and shrines dotted about the place is par for the course. Also though, I tend to love these kinds of places for their own sake – there’s just something about the quiet, mysterious, slightly unkempt feel that I like over many temples and shrines that are constantly bustling and meticulously kept, every tree branch and pebble in their place. Continue reading

Top 5 Instrumental Anime OPs

anime music

They may be vastly outnumbered by the number of vocal OPs, but instrumental anime openings have plenty to recommend them. For those viewers who aren’t the biggest fans of J-pop, instrumentals can be far preferable. Their lack of lyrics also means that for viewers without a working knowledge of Japanese, there’s no need to peer at subtitles (assuming they’re there in the first place) while also trying to concentrate on sometimes fast-paced or frenetic visuals. And of course, for any anime viewer, the very fact that the vocal-to-instrumental OP ratio is so unbalanced makes the latter stand out purely by default.

That said, there are still a good number of instrumental anime OPs around, some of them better or more attention-grabbing than others. Based on a combination of the music itself as well as the visuals, I’ve managed to narrow that number down to my top five (plus an honourable mention) – a couple of which will hopefully be new to at least a few readers. Continue reading

Anime Taste Testing: Winter 2019 Mid-Season Roundup

dororo mio
We’re now exactly halfway through the season for the majority of new shows airing, while those titles that began airing in the previous season have about 6 episodes to go as well. Let’s check in to see how they’re all faring. (Boogiepop wa Warawanai, Meiji Tokyo Renka, Revisions, and Grimms Notes were all dropped after the first episode.) Continue reading

The Break Down: Surgical Masks and Convenience Stores

This year on Otaku Lounge, I wanted to introduce something a bit different. Along with the usual anime-centric content and the new Life in Japan in Photos post series I started last August, it occurred to me that people might want to know more about very specific topics or questions relating to Japan – not in relation to anime or general pop culture necessarily (although that’s fine too), but more in terms of everyday living. Continue reading