Tag Archives: Japan

Miniature Samurai Ningyo Figurine

We are walking around Fairview- Regalado Avenue in Quezon City a couple of weeks ago together with some of my friends who collects kokeshi wooden dolls. I accompanied them into one of the Japanese surplus stores after a small eyeball at the nearby SM Fairview- ( Lagro) .

While shopping for some surplus items from Japan. We spotted an interesting Japanese wooden kokeshi doll which depicted the famous Japanese folk hero Shimizu no Jirocho.

Miniature Samurai Ningyo Figurine.JPG

miniature samurai ningyo kokeshi doll about 2.1 inches tall

This is quite small about  height: 2.1 inches (5.4 centimeters) weight: 0.2 ounces (7 grams)and was just lying in on the floor. The seller thought it was something else.

It was rather good condition with marks and scratches from handling and discoloration and stains from age and display.

We suspect that this wooden item was probably created in the late 1980’s. The wood is still in almost perfect condition.

Initially, the store clerk ( tindera) wanted Php 20.00 for a small item, We managed to haggle the item down to a more manageable price of just Php 10.00. She told us ”  It was a rare find”.

We told her that it was also rare to see small item lying on the floor.

My friends bought a lot of plates, bowl sets, some kokeshi dolls. The store clerk persuaded to add some interesting freebies, after the short haggle.

Since my friend is not interested in samurai kokeshi item. This wooden figurine was given to me as a small token for accompanying them.

I also bought some cups and bowl set at the store for personal use and for potting some succulents. This was indeed a wonderful find.

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Artisinal salt from Japan

I met Ms. Calara Lapus ( president) Mama Sita foundation during the launching of Buhay Carinderia at Rizal Park Hotel in Manila.

DSCF9846

She gave me small pack of about 5 grams of different kinds of salt from Japan. The pack cost Y 390 or about Php 184 .

These salts is one way to promote using local salt from different regions of Japan and are popular souvenir items from Japan.

She is also advocating the use of natural salts from the country.

 

Collecting kokeshi wood dolls for friends

My first encounter with the kokeshi wooden doll was in the late 1980’s when an aunt who traveled to Japan gave a wooden doll to my younger sibling.

We just refer them as Japanese dolls. These were made of wood and painted in red and black. It was simple and unlike the barbie or rag dolls which was popular kind of dolls in the country before.

I remembered that the wooden doll is just kept in a container. It would take more than a decade or so before we would encounter these types of wooden dolls during a doll festival hosted by the Japanese embassy. I again encountered these doll few years later at the Museo Pambata exhibit.

An in depth documentary posted in youtube channel by Mr. Travis Wall – This was aired by NHK (Japanology) few years ago.

Early History

We learned that these dolls have originated from Japan in the middle part of Edo period (1603–1868) maybe around late 1700 or possibly early 1800 and the first recorded wooden dolls were made within the Tohoku region . Some historians would say that these may also influence the development of matryoshka doll .

The first kokeshi dolls were made from discarded wood and are primary targeted the children and parents. These often bought as souvenirs after families would take a dip at the hot spring resorts within the northern regions.

After the second world war , collecting kokeshi dolls became more popular as more people could travel across the country. Even foreign tourists would bring these wooden dolls for souvenir items.

The fad for collecting these wooden dolls eventually started to peak by the 1950’s to late 1970’s. Thus almost every known prefecture in Japan would boast several designs. craftsmen and artisans would eventually have their own different interpretation, thus adding more creative styles.

The fad seem to wane down by mid- 1970’s up until early this millennium when newer kokeshi doll designs began to solicit more interest in the traditional dolls. The rise of the social media would add to the fever of collecting these kawai items, as collectors would post interesting finds in their social media accounts.

A minor drawback for these dolls was some people believes that it harbors evil spirits or spirits of babies.

Collector Friends

I have at least 3 friends who collects kokeshi dolls. One who started collecting them few years ago while she was attending high school . Another friend started collecting just a few months ago which were bought mostly from Japanese surplus stores found in Metro Manila. While another friend started collecting just this year.

The phenomenal growth of kokeshi doll collecting in the country was due to the influx of Japanese surplus stores which carry some of these wooden dolls. Some are also brought home by OFW’s from Japan as gifts or display items in their homes.

Although this is not my cup of tea , I manage to collect about 15 items bought from Ms. Lexa Lo , She is an online seller of kokeshi dolls and other items from Japan.

It took over 1 month filling up the orders and the transaction went on smoothly. The items were shipped via local courier The Express Guy  and took just 1 day before we got the items.

These kokeshi doll have find their way to collectors which collects and treasure them. Happy collecting.

 

 

 

 

Tales of Matryoshka Dolls

Tales of Matryoshka dolls started when i was a teenager, I have a distant aunt ( on the maternal side) who just collected a couple of sets of the famed Matryoshka dolls. It was part of a few items displayed at the second floor of apartment and commercial stall somewhere along Salazar street within Binondo district, Manila.

According to her , the dolls were bought sometime in the early 1980’s from a Russian who sold some Matryoshka dolls during a bazaar in Makati.

It was selling like pancakes since there were few items sold in the country during the early part of the Russian- Philippines diplomatic relations. Being a license jewelry appraiser and Chinese plaque maker was the key in meeting some foreign dignitaries or joining a bazaar.

It was late 2005, when i saw again the dolls at the display cabinet. I felt like those dolls are quite eerie since they were facing the sala set near her room, They were like those  voodoo dolls. They have large eyes!

She asked me if i have some friends or relatives who would love to buy the set including an old vintage cabinet made from narra ( a hardwood variety ) art deco era around 1940’s and a Fuk Luk Su figurine set . She badly needed the money , But i have no friends who would collect those nesting dolls , Fu Luk Su and even the narra cabinet could not be sold immediately.

Business is getting bad and eventually there were a lot of bad credits and paying off her debts is the priority. Her father ( technically i called him great grandfather ( tai kung kung  ) because he is over 90 years old ! was the original owner of the cabinet.

Eventually, great grandfather or tai kung kung died a year after and they were evicted by the association who owns the unit that they were renting since the 1940’s . They are not able to settle the rentals for more than a year. Most of the items were used as payment to settle some of her bad debts. This it was not enough, since outstanding debts runs into millions of pesos ! According to her story, there were 2 old time regular ” suki ” jeweler from the province who borrowed some jewelries ( in millions ) paid in half  , since the jewelries would be shown to her buyer. Eventually, the bank cheque issued bounced and jeweler could not be found.

It was the same story of a Cebu based fashion accessory owner who also owe her about Php 450,000 worth of real jewelries and only paid her in fraction , Mostly useless fashion accessories which was never sold.

Her health failed and she died last year.

History

  The Chinese crafted nesting boxes , gift boxes or surprise boxes that date back to the Song Dynasty, around 1000 AD or a little bit earlier sometime around 950 AD  These boxes were both functional and decorative. Sometime during the 1700s they applied this concept to a set of dolls and the first nesting doll was born.

Chinese nesting dolls are similar to the nesting dolls that are common today.  In the original Chinese sets the smallest doll held a single grain of rice normally or  prosperity or fruitful. There were a lot of meaning an symbolism behind the rice.

Due to trade relations between China and Japan. Some of the nesting boxes or surprise boxes were adopted by the Japanese and new dolls were created sometime around the 17th century .

The outer most doll was Fukurokuju the Japanese god of happiness and longevity. Daruma dolls originated in the city of Takasaki, around the mid- 1760s.  They are a hollow Papier-mâché doll and often have a wooden mold to create their shape.

How did it Come to Russia

Some historians and dolls collector would trace their roots around 1880s to 1890’s when Savva Mamontov discovered a set maybe from Japan.  Mamontov was a wealthy supporter of the arts and wanted to revive Russian folk art.   One of his artists, Sergei Maliutin created the first Russian set with the help of Vassily Zviozdochkin.

Eventually it became a fad and it became a popular gifts . Some Eastern European countries also adopted the nesting dolls and there are clubs and associations which collects and exhibits the dolls.

 

Collector Friend

A friend who will be celebrating her birthday next week ,collects different kind of dolls, one of her bucket list was a Matryoshka dolls. Her passion started when she was a teenager with some barbie dolls she acquired as a birthday present. Her collection quickly expanded into dolls from other countries.

I saw 2 sets posted in a swap and buying site . The item quickly caught my attention. After a few days and a couple of delays ( due to heavy monsoon rains ) I was able to meet the dealer/ collector and paid the stuff. According to the collector, He got the item from Japan few years ago and decided to unload the item.

 

 

 

 

Zootobia Ski Resort Soon to be Opened in Japan

Zoomanity Group which is known for managing Zoobic Safari in Subic, Zambales, Zoocobia in Clark, Pampanga, Residence Inn in Tagaytay, Paradizoo in Mendez, Cavite and Zoocolate Thrills in Bohol is preparing to launch 3-4 theme parks before 2018 and headed by Mr. Robert Laurel Yupangco, the theme park management guru.

Zootopia Ski Resort at Nagano, Japan will be launched under the hotel and theme park management of Zoomanity Group, the leader in producing zoo and hotel facilities in the Philippines. True to the vision of the company to expand from 5 theme parks to 24 theme parks across the country.

For Zootopia, the company just purchased 11 rooms and plan to buy the whole facility and prepared to treat the Japan visitors and tourists to an experience they will never forget to try the following activities; Ski (Dragon Slider, Snow Strider, Snow Bike, Snow Tubing, Buggy and Snow Rafting), Snow Monkeys encounter, trip to Zenkoji and Kiyomizudera and Tokyo for as low as $999.00 per head for 5 Days and 4 Nights Itinerary at Dia Palace, Iiyama.

Situated in the far north of Nagano Prefecture, Iiyama city is Japan’s eternal home town, where nostalgic scenery depicted in songs like Furusato and Oborozukiyo can still be found. Amidst the region’s rich natural landscape, a unique history and culture, sense of tradition, and kindness has flourished. With elegant streets lined with temples, deep forests and highlands, and specialty produce each season, the area is full of charming attractions.
In addition, the Hokuriku Shinkansen (Bullet Train) line between Nagano City and Kanazawa City will begin running in the spring of 2015, and a new train station in Iiyama will be opened. With this launch, it will be easier to get to Iiyama from anywhere in Japan, and we hope to welcome many more travelers.

For more information, email your inquiries to grace@asiadigitalmarketing.ph or text/call 09166299381. TAG Media and Public Relations is the Marketing & Branding arm of Zoomanity Group under the Yupangco Group of Companies.

Yamaha Technician Grand Prix -Philippines

Music Hall , SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City- Philippines

Music Hall

Yamaha Motor Philippines Incorporated. plans to rev the hearts of many through the first -ever Technician Grand Prix in the Philippines. bearing the tagline ” Making a Difference in the Race for Service Excellence ” , The TGP poses a great challenge to Yamaha Technical Academy technicians to show off what they have learned and become the best in their fields .

The competition is joined by certified YTA technicians with  minimum level of YTA silver who is a regular employee with at least a year of work experience in Yamaha 3S shops. The mood is very festive with on the spot raffle , Yamaha Motor membership booth , friendly sales staffs . I even won some Yamaha backpack bags ! Yippie!!!!!

The regional TPG was held last November 2013 simultaneously done at the Yamaha head office in LIMA Technology Center and Yamaha Cebu Sales office, garnering a total of 67 participants.

Yamaha- Philippines 10 finalists

 From there , only 10 advanced to the national competition . These finalists received a plaque of recognition plus Php 3,00 worth of Yamaha apparels and other items.

L-R Mr. Vince Alquizalas, Mr. Yukio Fukada, Mr. Tomoyoshi Inoue and Mr. Sam Macapulay

The technical crew competed in Three categories : Written Examination , Salesmanship and the last one is the Technical Trouble-Shooting of motorcycle parts for the National finals .

The grand winner will take home a trophy, a motorcycle unit and will be our country’s representative for the WTGP 2014 in Japan.

2014 National finalists includes Mr. Edwin Aranguren from Misamis Oriental, Mr. Noel Bigay from San Pedro , Laguna, Mr. Conrado Bucar , Mandaue-Cebu , Mr. Joel Hidalgo- Pasig , Metro Manila ,  , Mr. Arpee Obina -Rosario, Cavite, Mr. Wilfredo Perez- Balayan , Batangas, Mr. Jade Pondar -Trans Cycle , Ozamiz , Misamis Occidental , Mr. Ramel Realin – UEMi , Urdaneta , Pangasinan , Mr. Calvin Kenneth Tan , Malabon, Metro Manila and Mr. Wilson Torres – Lemery, Batangas

There are about 5,000 participants in the World Technicians Grand Prix in Japan with 2 categories small motorcycles units and big motorcycle unit.

brand new Yamaha motorcycle awaits the National Grand Prix winner

The winner of the Philippine leg elimination will also win a Yamaha motorcycle , trip to Japan and some bragging rights.

Yamaha Motor Philippines Inc. : http://www.yamaha-motor.com.ph/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ph.yamaha

Miss International 2013 is Ms. Bea Rose Santiago from the Philippines !

Shinagawa Prince Hotel – Tokyo, Japan

L-R first runner-up Nathalie den Dekker (Netherlands) , Miss International 2013 Bea Rose Santiago ( Philippines )  and 2nd runner-up Casey Radley (New Zealand) photo from Reuters

Ms. Bea Rose Santiago from Masbate , Philippines captured the fifth Miss International crown tonight at Shinagawa Prince Hotel Hall in Tokyo- Japan. -Top 5 included  Colombia and Hungary.

 Top 15 were Gibraltar, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Hungary, Netherlands, United States, Philippines, New Zealand, Lithuania, Iceland, Colombia, Russia, Thailand, and Spain.

Early favorites Miss Venezuela , Miss Mexico , Miss Korea , Miss Poland and host country Miss Japan failed to make it in the semi-finals.

Ms. Bea Santiago during the swimsuit competition

She bested 66 other contestants .

Special Awards:

Miss National Costume: Miss Aruba Erialda Croes

Miss Friendship: Miss New Zealand Casey Radley

Miss Internet: Miss Macau Adela Ka-Wai Sou

Miss Photogenic: Miss Lithuania Elma Segzdaviciute

  Miss International 2008 Alejandra Andreu of Spain crowned Miss  Philippines Bea Rose Santiago

Controversy:

  The winner of Miss International 2012  Ikumi Yoshimatsu of Japan was barred from attending the event due to her involvement in a scandal where a media executive Genichi Taniguchi allegedly harassed and intimidated Ms. Yoshimatsu for not signing on to a talent agency with ties to the Japanese Yakuza or underworld. This was revealed during a press conference held a few days before the pageant.

History:

Mr. Oscar Meinhardt ( the man who developed the Miss Universe idea) established the International Beauty Congress ( IBC) in 1959 . The first Miss International pageant was held in Long Beach, California , USA in 1960. After  the departure of the Miss Universe pageant in Miami Beach , Florida .  Ms. Stella Marquez from Colombia is the first winner of the pageant .

Miss Stella Z. Marquez and her court – Miss International 1960

The pageant was hosted  in Long Beach until 1967, And the pageant moved to Japan from 1968–1970, being hosted each year in the same city as the Expo 1970.  For 1971 and 1972, it was held in Long Beach again, but since that time it has been held annually in Japan.  Some countries have co-hosted the pageant like Macau, China.

Philippines Participation:

Philippines is one of the few countries which send representatives annually in Miss International since its inception in 1960. Ms. Gemma Guerrero Cruz was the first Asian and Filipina to capture the crown in 1964.

Ms. Gemma Guerrero Cruz- Miss International 1964

Ms. Aurora Pijuan- Miss International 1970

Mimilanie Laurel Marquez – Miss International 1979

Miss International winner Precious Lara Quigaman from the Philippines (C), first runner-up Miss Dominican Republic Yadira Geara (L) and second runner-up Miss Finland Susanna Laine

The country ‘s almost perfect attendance was marred with a personal withdrawal  in 1977 of Ms. Maria Cristina ” Pinky” Alberto who alleged of favoritism and sexual harassment by judges.

Special Awards:

The country’s representative took home several special awards

1972- Best in National Costume

1976- Best in National Costume

1979-Best in National Costume

1989- Miss Friendship

1994- Miss Friendship

2010- Most Expressive and Miss Talent

2011- Miss Internet Popularity

Miss Philippines- International Trivia

Ms.  Edita Resurreccion VitalMiss Press Photography of the Philippines when she joined the search for Miss Philippines 1960 that would represent the Philippines in the very first Miss International Beauty Contest in Long Beach, California on August 12, 1960. She made it to the semi-finals that year. She made 2 films after the contest and earned a best actress nomination from the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences in 1961 for her role as Maria Clara in Jose Rizal’s “Noli Me Tangere”

Ms. Gemma Guerrero  Cruz  paternal great-grandmother was Doña Maria Mercado, the sister of the Philippine’s national heroof Jose Rizal, she donated $10,000 of her price to Manila- Boys Town and  Girl’s Home she received an “Outstanding Manileña” and a “Golden Heart” Presidential decoration by President Diosado Macapagal. She was greeted with over 200,000 people when she arrived at the airport.

Ms.Aurora Pijuan was an early favorite to win at the Miss International 1970.

Ms. Mimilanie Laurel -Marquez is the youngest Miss International title holder- she was just 15 years-old, when she won.  She also won Best in National Costume designed by Renee Salud and with a price tag of Php 10,000

Ms. Maria Cristina ” Pinky” Alberto– was the first Filipina to withdrew from the pageant in 1977.

Ms. Lilia Andanar– She won Miss Friendship at the 1989 Miss International pageant.

Ms. Precious Lara Quigaman – She is the shortest Miss International winner at 5’6 .

Note: The pageant is about 4 hours long . Congratulations !

LINKS:

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Miss.International.bp

Miss International: http://www.miss-international.org/en/

Pageantopolis : http://www.pageantopolis.com/

Missosology: http://www.missosology.info/~missyorg/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=180664&start=0