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News from Japan - January 17, 2022

Kyūdō & its women's archery tournament

1000 femmes ont participé au tournoi traditionnel de tir à l’arc des nouveaux adultes, aussi appelé kyūdō

At a Buddhist temple in Sanjūsangen-dō, nearly 1,000 women participated in the New Year's Archery Tournament for New Adults. It is near Kyoto that this traditional event takes place, dating back to the early 1960s. It allows young women to celebrate their new adult status (20 years in Japan), while challenging themselves on targets at 60 meters distance. 

The archery tournament, also called kyūdō (弓 (kyū): bow. 道 (dō): lane) was unfortunately held without spectators this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Nevertheless, in Japan, this tournament has a special importance and many visitors attend these festivities. Archers have two arrows and two minutes to hit the targets. Those who reach them qualify for the next round.

Kyūdō (formerly called Kyūjutsu) was the symbol of the weapons of the Samurai. However, the disappearance of the latter and the appearance of firearms, the number of practitioners has greatly decreased. the Kyūjutsu then transforms into kyūdō, a martial art more centered on sport and accessible to all. The arch available to the participants is impressive, in particular by its size exceeding two meters in height.

The kyūdō allows apprentices to improve their postures, to harmonize the mental and emotional attitude, in order to gain serenity. As a result, practitioners of this art are generally calmer than other individuals. 

Unlike other martial arts, kyūdō is not based on a fight against an opponent, but above all on the posture and gestures that the archer will have. During competitions, gestures are therefore of great importance in the final score. This art, open to all, will develop qualities very recognized in Japan, such as modesty, respect and friendliness. 


The Japanese Tinder 2.0

Des entreprises japonaises aident leurs employés célibataires à trouver l’amour

In Japan, finding love is a mission for companies. Indeed, nearly 800 companies have partnered with the dating app Aill goen. The latter is special because it is adapted to the business world and thus connects employees of the same company. Working thanks to artificial intelligence, it reveals the level of compatibility between singles, and even offers ideas for text messages to send to suitors.

One of Aill goen's leaders, China Toyoshima, explains that she wanted to "create a platform that would make it easier for employees to achieve work-life balance, which at the same time would boost the company's growth. ”.

However, the price of the application is high: 6,000 yen (46 euros) per month for users, a sum generally borne by the company. 

But why come to this?

In Japan, the professional life of employees very often encroaches on their sentimental life, and the latter find themselves exhausted. Also, the COVID-19 pandemic and health measures have weighed on soul-searching singles sister. This worries Japanese companies because, according to them, emotionally fulfilled employees will be more effective at work. This is how 800 of them collaborate with the dating app.

According to a study carried out within the Japanese population, more than 60% of young single people did nothing to find a soul mate. However, the country has a very low number of newborns, they were 918,397 in 2018, the lowest level measured in decades. In a country where, at the same time, the number of deaths is increasing due to the accelerated aging of its population. 


First flowering predictions for sakura trees

Prévisions de floraison pour les arbres à sakura, les fameux cerisiers japonais

Sakura 2022 predictions are out. From mid-March, many tourists book their trip to Japan to see the cherry blossoms. From Kyoto to Yoshino, via Tokyo, there are many beautiful spots for hanami (traditional Japanese custom of viewing flowers).

Destinations in Japan for cherry blossoms.

--Kyoto: sentier des philosophes, sites de sakura de Higashiyama, parc Maruyama, Kiyomizu-dera, Tenryu-ji d'Arashiyama, bambouseraie de Sagano.

- Around Mount Fuji.

- Yoshino (a city little known by foreigners): the most beautiful sakura are on the yamazakura, visible at the Takami no Sato Sky Garden.

- Tokyo: although urbanized, it is one of the best places for hanami fans with the Chidorigafuchi moat, the banks of the Sumida River in Asakusa, but also Ueno and Koishikawa Kōraku-en parks. 

When do cherry blossoms appear? Where to see them? How long do they bloom?

Cherry trees begin to bloom from mid-March on the islands of Shikoku and Kyushu, as well as in Tokyo. They are in full bloom, at the beginning of April, in the main tourist destinations (Kyoto, Osaka and Kanazawa). Mid-April to late April is the best time to see sakura around Mount Fuji and in the Tohoku region. 

The cherry blossom season ends in early May, after reaching the island of Hokkaido in northern Japan.

Whether in rural areas like the Japanese Alps, or in big cities (Tokyo, Osaka), these cherry blossoms can be seen in every city and town in Japan.

Its life cycle lasts about a month. Full bloom, called mankai, only lasts one to two weeks.

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