This Is Japan

in #travellast year

Explore everyday life in Japan

Raku-Gaki Bus


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It’s true; you never know what you’re going to find.

And just when you think you’ve seen it all, you stumble upon something new, something that you didn’t see coming. That new thing for me was a Raku-Gaki Bus (Graffiti Bus in English).

Set in the middle of a downtown block, surrounded by a variety of parked busses that offered children and adults a chance to don the bus driver’s cap and sit behind the steering wheel, the Raku-Gaki Bus gave all who passed a rare chance to embrace the feeling being mischievous.


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More than the People vs. Bus Tug O’ War, in my opinion, the Raku-Gaki Bus was the highlight of this event.

Graffiti is seriously frowned upon in Japan. While it isn’t uncommon in larger cities, being caught vandalizing in this country generally comes with a large penalty, sometimes even jail time.

That’s why being offered the chance to vandalize a piece of public property (albeit a retired one) is a little exciting. It’s rare, and it’s taboo.

What do you do when you suddenly have the chance to do something that is forbidden? Do you take the leap, or do you hesitate?

Looking at the Raku-Gaki Bus, many people here tend to say “Thank you”, and/or draw one their favorite characters. Do you see any characters that you recognize?


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Image Credits: All images in this post are original.


This is an ongoing series that explores various aspects of daily life in Japan from the vantage point of Niigata City, a city of 800,000 people on the coast of the Sea of Japan. My hope is that this series will not only reveal to its followers, image by image, what some of Japan looks like, but that it will also inform its followers about unique Japanese items and various cultural and societal practices. If you are interested in getting intermittent updates about life in Japan, please consider following me, @boxcarblue. If you have any questions about life in Japan, please don’t hesitate to ask. I will do my best to answer all of your questions.


If you missed my last post, you can find it here Mochi Maki.

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Is that No Face (カオナシ) from Spirited Away drawn in blue in the last picture?

It looks kind of like a senbei cracker, but yes, I think it is supposed to be No Face. Good eyes!

Love your “This is Japan” posts. Resteemed.

Posted using Partiko iOS

I’m glad to hear it. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve written one. I guess I’ve been slowly collecting some new material.

I’m pretty interested in checking out the interest on BTC platform you wrote about yesterday. I have to reread the post to see what the name of it was again.

Yeah, it’s always fascinating to me to read about different cultures and what locals get up to.
Thanks, yeah the platform is called crypto.com, and I only started using their Crypto earn program recently. It’s a really convenient app, and if you’re looking to hold long term like me, it’s a good option to earn interest on crypto.

I sold most of my holdings last summer to fund a trip home. I’d like to build back up and hold long term though. Getting paid dividends to hold crypto would be amazing.

Nice, it’s always good to spend some of the crypto on real-life needs. Yeah, I’ve been putting a lot of my crypto into the Crypto.com app and it’s been earning pretty good interest. I’m always thinking of converting some Bitcoin into a stable USD coin like USDT or PAX when Bitcoin goes up a bit, as they pay up to 12% PA on these pegged USD coins with the Crypto Earn program, much more than a bank. That’s my plan anyway. Will see how it works out.

12% is a lot. I have to get over there and take a look.

It’s nice to be reminded that using crypto for real life expenses and treats is a good thing. Sometimes that’s easy to forget;-)

I got a pal on YouTube and all he does is film life in Japan. I am always amazed at how clean and pristine most public transportation seems. Thanks for explaining it. The guy on YT just films and never speaks lol.

Japan definitely is remarkably clean. When I went to Paris last January, I was really surprised by the amount of graffiti everywhere. It was nice and not nice at the same time. The garbage in the morning, too, was unbelievable.

What is you friend’s channel? I’m curious to see what kind of videos he is making.

SUPERGENKI is the name of his channel.

His name is Thomas.

Wow! That was a really mesmerizing video. Do you know what kind of camera he uses?

I dont know him personally but I asked him just now in a comment on his video. If I hear back, I will let you know :)

I do like his style and editing. I have never tried to do a video of just scenes and no talking. I think I will try it some time.

Ok Thomas replied it is a Sony a7.

Thanks! I want one.

His editing is really nice. I’ve never worked with video, but having watched that, really want to give it a try. I’ve been doing a fair bit of design lately, and I’m really curious as to how he edited the slow reveal of his logo over his moving images. I thought that was really cool.

I'm surprised how people seem to be scribbling little notes and caricatures, kinda respecting not taking up too much space... I expected one to go in there with a can of spray paint and take over the entire one side! Lol... But that's just me... :)

Good to see your posts... Have a good weekend ahead!

Well, they only offered markers to write with;-) If they had put cans of spray paint on the table that was near he bus, things might have gotten a little wilder. 😬

Even still, there are two tendencies over here that are very prevalent. One is that you shouldn’t and/or can’t be too confident in yourself. This leads to people being pretty modest and conservative and not taking chances that people from other countries might (in my opinion). The second is being aware of others and not acting in a way that would disrespect them or would lessen their ability to enjoy something. If a person were to write a message on half of the bus, that many fewer people would be able to participate in this opportunity. People here are very aware of that and conscientious of that. I’m sure the children who scribbled all over the lower half were being reprimanded slightly by their parents as they did so.

Ahaaa... 'controlled' scenario... lol! But still, at least there's that respect, or someone would have brought their own can... and...

What you said about not being too confident in oneself, I see it as an Asian trait ingrained especially in the older generation... but slowly disappearing as the new generations are getting bolder. Also the second of being self aware so as not to disrespect others (also respect of authority and elders), that I recognise as what my mum taught us, and another fast disappearing social behaviour. In fact, with the prevalence of the internet creating easier and borderless access to common behaviour, these tendencies hardly exist any more - here at least!

I think things are changing over here as well. I’m curious to see how those traits hold over here. Schools here really reinforce both of those traits, so I think they will hold for a while, but I can see them being challenged by Western thought and values every day. Hopefully, future generations will find a good balance between the two.

Yup, keyword "balance"... If only people are able to keep a balance, lots of problems wouldn't even arise...

Have a good evening, my friend! :)

If not balance, at least be able to be comfortable with diversity and differences of identity, culture, and opinion. I think self-confidence is really important, especially these days. Future generations will really have to find a way to make peace with themselves and who they are, otherwise they’ll have a real struggle to not be like all the fantasies they see online.

Yes, that's true...
Make it keywords: Balance and acceptance! Balance in all that we do, and acceptance of all that others are, as well as who we are

such a cool idea with the graffiti bus and event, Is it crazy in Japan at the moment with the World Cup Rugby on?

I haven’t noticed any difference where I live other than that people are excited and talking about rugby more than usual. I don’t live near any of the venues though, so I imagine things might be a little wilder around Tokyo, Yokohama, and Osaka.

One of the National players is from the city I live in, so people are pretty excited here; especially since Japan bear Ireland the other day.

I read a couple articles about slight traffic/transport problems due to the Rugby World Cup, and bars stocking up on beer. Other than that, I don’t think it’s too wild. I could be wrong though.

Ohh yeah rugby and Beer go well together so I bet the bars had to stock up on it
It may not have to big an impact it’s nothing like hosting the olympics lol 😂

Apparently, they’ve got a two hour long all you can drink beer train rolling around Tokyo somewhere that is a temporary thing for the Rugby World Cup. I imagine that gets a little out of hand.

Ohh yes having been a rugby fan and a beer drinker I can see that being a crazy idea and a source of problems

It can be a source of problems without the rugby;-) The Japanese nomihoudai (all you can drink option) can really knock you on your ass. Especially when you first come over here and can’t comprehend anything other than what a golden opportunity you have to get absolutely plastered.

LOL I bet That has happened to me at an all you can drink place all be it many years ago I eventually learnt the benefit of moderation and being sensible LOL