Friday Favorites #2

This week is all about the logo for the 2020 Olympics, controversies, different views and life in Japan.

EDIT: Obviously the earthquake in Kumamoto is the biggest news this week, but I didn’t think it would be fitting to include it in this list and made a separate post for it here.

The last week one of the popular topics about Japan was – again – the logo for the 2020 Olympics in Japan. Back in July last year all newspapers and TV-stations reported about the plagiarism allegations regarding the Olympia logo, that had just been presented. In the end the similarities of the logo, the threat to sue and the (world-wide) public reactions led to the announcement two months later, that the logo had been scrapped. I remember how all the posters and billboards had to be taken off again.

©The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

After the logo was deemed unfit, an open competition was held, with fewer entry restrictions. Originally only designers who had won a special award were allowed to submit entries. The committee revealed this week the final four designs for the Olympics and Paraolympics. People can now vote on an open website and select which ones represents the seven points best: The power of sport, Japanese-ness and Tokyo-ness, World peace, Personal Best and Utmost Efforts, Sense of Unity and Inclusion, Innovativeness and Future-oriented, Reconstruction and the Power to Rise Up.

But this is not the end of the problems, as you can read in this weeks Friday Favorites:

Articles/Blog Posts

  • Tokyo 2020 logo contenders face criticism from designers – After the four final designs were revealed they now face criticism for a lack of quality and failing to represent the spirit of the event. Considering the scrapped logo as well as the scrapped stadium design, the Olympics in Japan seem to be ill-fated.
  • Japan wants ‘Chinese-only’ zones at tourist attractions to limit bad behavior – The relations between Japan and China have always been problematic, to say the least, and you will find regularly reports like this about Chinese tourists. This is a very difficult topic, because the opinions are always pretty heated and it’s not fun to read the comments. So what’s the story here? Chinese tourists climbed cherry blossom trees and ripped off branches to get the best photos during this years Hanami season. Pictures and videos were shown on Japans News, with everyone understandably huffed. Let’s be clear, I do not like this kind of behavior and I definitely do not condone it. But imagine Germany would call for “This people”-only zones. Can you imagine the reactions?
    Not one of my Chinese relatives or friends behave this way and they themselves think this behavior is not acceptable. I think it’s sad how quick people nowadays are to judge a race or a group of people as a whole.
  • Hedgehog cafe opens in Tokyo to promote animals’ softer side – A hedgehog café opened in Roppongi and people are waiting in line to play with the cute animals. Why is this a controversy? Well, even though my immediate thought was “How cute, I want to go there and cuddle with a hedgehog”, I am well aware that the animal cafes here in Tokyo also have to be seen with a critical eye. Every time I read something about an animal cafe, there will also be comments on how cruel it is to keep animals like this and not in their natural environment. So on the one hand I really don’t want the animals to suffer, but on the other hand the chance to play with an animal you would otherwise probably not be able to hold, is enticing. And Tokyo really has a lot of animal cafes. Be it for rabbits, cats, snakes, owls or even penguins
    If you want to have a look inside the cafe, check out Visiting a Hedgehog Cafe in Tokyo from Abroadin Japan


Gesundheit Desu from Mary Cagle

  • Gesundheit Desu – The “Let’s speak English” web comic from Mary Cagle is really great. Although I don’t have any teaching experience I can still relate to the living in Japan parts very strongly. Not saying “Gesundheit” after someone sneezes feels like a really rude thing to do. It is so strange to force yourself to say nothing because you are afraid that it might confuse the other person or maybe even embarrass him/her. (Thank you jilidachristiansen for the great hint!) –>
  • Deer, deer, deer – If you follow anything Japan related, be it blogs, Instagram accounts, etc. then you will have seen a lot of Hanami the last weeks. Maybe to a point where you think, that’s enough. But I after all those Hanami pictures I really enjoyed the Hanami Post from travel67, who captured an unusual sight. You guessed it, it’s all about the deers.
  • penji_no_hiroba – An Instagram account I discovered, which I find absolutely fascinating. He posts videos of Kanji writing, nothing else, and it’s somehow completely mesmerizing. With more than 24.000 followers, I can’t be the only one who thinks that.


  • How we know we’ve been in Japan too long – A video from Rachel and Sharla, two of the YouTuber I watch regularly, where they talk about how they have changed after living in Japan. Interesting for anyone who has lived in Japan or knows people how live/lived in Japan. I notice many of the things myself…
  • A week in the life of a Tokyo salary man (watch below) – The first video I saw from Stu, which went viral last year. He worked 78 hours in one week and the short video really gives an impression about this utterly exhausting work week. If you haven’t until now, watch some of Stus videos on his “Where’s Stu” channel.

What was your favorite story/photo/video this week?

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