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News from Japan - January 19, 2022

Old buses converted into mobile saunas

Reconversion dans anciens bus en saunas mobiles baptisés sabus.

It was in Himeji, a prefecture near the cities of Osaka and Kobe, that the bus company Shinki Bus embarked on an unlikely conversion. 

Indeed, in order to cope with the drop in the number of users, caused by the pandemic, the company decided not to waste its old buses and to convert them into mobile saunas.

This new service is called sabus, a new term that is actually a contraction of the words sauna and bus.

The first prototype is still being transformed, with the interior of the bus completely redone in wood to resemble a traditional hammam. The buttons to signal the stop have when they have been transformed into a steam diffuser.

The company plans to officially unveil its final version in February 2022, and make them availableor events, or in commercial areas. Just like in traditional buses, we notice in the photos the presence of straps and handles, which could suggest a concept of a real mobile sauna, which would allow its users to sweat a little before going to work. Hoping towels will be included in the price!


A Frenchman is a hit in Japan with his chocolate camembert

Frédéric Madelaine et son fameux camembert au chocolat cartonne au Japon

“It's delicious, the taste of camembert goes wonderfully with chocolate..."
Surely a sentence that one would not imagine coming out of the mouth of a Japanese!

This is what the customers of pastry chef-chocolatier Frédéric Madelaine, a Norman who has been living in Tokyo for 23 years, think, and whose shop offers many French delicacies, including this famous chocolate camembert!

With his activity called "Le Pommier", the pastry chef acts as a true ambassador of France in Japan. Introducing the inhabitants of the archipelago to recipes such as Mille-feuilles, Paris-Brest, chestnuts or Christmas logs, it is a great success in the land of the Rising Sun.

The Japanese craze for French gastronomy, especially its pastries, began in the 19th century.th century, with the arrival of teahouses in Japan. Then, in 1970, bakers and pastry chefs from the Doncq bakery came to the Osaka Universal Exhibition. This contributed to the Japanese interest in French sweets.

Following this, many Japanese made the trip to France to learn the art of pastry. Their return to the country has thus improved the quality of local products. Now, many pastry addresses in Japan allow you to taste French dishes, while others combine pastries from the two countries.

Next step: converting Japanese to coffee-dipped maroilles?


Japanese Emperor Naruhito's Annual Poem

L'empereur japonais Naruhito lors de la cérémonie annuelle de lecture de poème.

“While our contacts with the world
remain difficult,
I sincerely hope that one day
The window will open to the world"

Here is a rough translation of the Japanese emperor's poem, during the annual poem reading ceremony. The theme for this year: window.

The emperor explained his choice, speaking in particular of his desire to return to normal, and especially travel. Indeed, he considers essential the possibility for foreigners to come and discover Japan, but also for Japanese people to travel and open a window to the world.

The Utakai Hajime (歌会始) ceremony at the Imperial Palace is a traditional custom in Japan. First held in 1267, the ceremony became more regular during the Edo period (1603-1867), eventually becoming annual since the Meiji Restoration of 1868.

The poems are read there not only in Japan, but all over the world. The poems are recited in the presence of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress, as well as the rest of the Imperial family. Then the Emperor and Empress recite their own poems. This annual ceremony thus makes it possible to bind the people to the imperial family.

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