Posts Tagged ‘power spots’

Hit the road: Japan’s 2013 trend forecast

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

'Long Trail' hiking is Trendy magazine's number one trend pick for 2013

‘Long Trail’ hiking is Trendy magazine’s number one trend pick for 2013.

In 2012 we got cat-ear hair-dos, an increasing appetite for salty mold, and a tower with a silly name. What wonders will 2013 bring? We’ve gone through Trendy’s predictions and came up with a list of themes that look good to us. Basically it boils down to this: smart phones continue to up the convenience factor, and people have to work harder to get away from convenience and to make up for all the energy it saves.

People will get moving – even more

Running and hiking have been big the last few years, and Trendy predicts that this will continue, and that people will invest even more in these hobbies. The magazine anticipates that hikers will head further into the hills, taking to what it calls the “long trails” that are dozens (possibly hundreds) of kilometers long, mostly in the Alps of central Honshu.

Naturally, these overnight trips will require more gear than the yama girls have acquired thus far, including camp stoves and camp stove-operated mobile phone chargers. Hikes deep into the heart of the country also fit in nicely with other growing interests that have been driving travel trends recently, like history and power spots.

Dieting will be more palatable, and fun

One of the biggest hits of 2012 was Kirin’s Mets Cola. Billed as the world’s first health-soda, the product claims to inhibit fat uptake. It got tokuho billing, the government-issued health food label usually reserved for products like bio-yogurt. Trendy anticipates that other ordinary edibles will ramp up their ingredients to qualify as tokuho products, and that 2013 will see more typically sweet things – from donuts to umeshu (plum wine) to teriyaki sauce – getting the low-calorie treatment with sweeteners like D-Psicose. Likewise, “water enhancers” like Kraft’s Mio Energy, which look like colored eye-drops but presumably have a Crystal Lite effect, look to make good, old-fashioned water more palatable to soda addicts.

Fujitsu's "Wandant" dog pedometer automatically uploads data to a cloud. Photo courtesy of Fujitsu.

Fujitsu’s “Wandant” dog pedometer automatically uploads data to the cloud. Photo courtesy of Fujitsu.

Trendy also sees gadgets that gamify weight-loss and fitness, like Nike’s FuelBand and Panasonic’s EW-NK63 pedometer – both of which beam data to smartphones – as being likely hits in 2013.

And (sigh) it looks like Fujitsu has gone and made a pedometer for dogs, the “wandant” (“wan-chan” being the word for puppy). As the pampered puppies of years past are now overweight middle-aged pooches, we’re probably going to see more human-driven weight-loss and exercise trends trickle down to the canine population.

Smartphones work their way further into our lives

Now that we’ve confirmed that Japanese consumers are buying into smartphones, it is likely that we’ll see more crossover products on the market. Expect more digital cameras that allow you to upload photos to a smartphone over Wi-Fi – like Nikon’s new Coolpix S800C, which is also an Android device itself – to hit the market in 2013, says Trendy.

Last year Moleskin introduced its “Smart Notebook” series, which is designed to sync nicely with the popular smartphone app Evernote. According to Trendy, Japanese office and school supply manufacturer Kokuyo (they make those ubiquitous “Campus” notebooks) has now launched its own series of smartphone-ready stationary, CamiApp, along with its own app.

 

Power spots: Japan’s latest spiritual craze

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Mount Fuji, the mother of power spots

Can you feel it? Mount Fuji, the mother of power spots for Yama Girls

Want to make a bit of money, improve your health or win big at pachinko? Then invest in a copy of comedian/fortune teller Shimada Shuhei’s new book: “The Definitive Countrywide Guide to Lucky Power Spots.” Being published Sept. 9 the book will tell you where to go in Japan to collect the spiritual energy necessary to achieve life’s more elusive goals. Shuhei’s book is the latest in a recent glut of publications on the power spot topic. A quick look at Amazon Japan reveals that this year has seen no less than 32 new books on the subject go into print.

The book that’s received the highest user rating so far is “This Power Spot is Amazing,” by guru Teruo Wakatsuki Yuu. To write the book, this spiritual master travelled from Hokkaido to Okinawa and carefully selected 79 energy spots. Wakatsuki Yuu’s other works include a book called “Become a Spiritual Leader,” a job he is evidently believes himself to be rather skilled at; his 8-day spiritual workshops cost a whopping ¥143,850 (around $1,710).

It’s unclear exactly what spiritual philosophy people like Shuhei and Wakatsuki Yuu are spouting, but that reflects the fuzzy logic of the movement itself. The belief that power spots are places where people can go to collect mystical energy is rooted in a pick ‘n’ mix of Eastern and Western Mysticism: Feng Shui, Qigong and Shinto, with a bit of murky spiritualism thrown in.

It all started back in the ‘90s when a self -proclaimed psychic named Kiyota Masuaki, who does tricks like spoon bending and takes psychic photographs, coined the word “power spot” to mean a place where the earth’s energy can be collected.

In 2000 public interest in spiritualism and feng shui increased, seeing the start of a boom in people going on pilgrimage to Shinto temples. Self styled spiritual councellers like Hiroyuki Ehara propagated the notion that you could receive spiritual power from visiting these places. The publishing boom began when around the end of 2009 the topic of power spots started to be widely discussed on TV.

Many companies are now seeing business opportunities in the power-spot movement as a growing number of young women interested in hiking (so-called Yama Girls) trek out to these locations. Hotel Nikko in Nara is running a Yama Girls Plan: the hotel, tucked between beautiful mountain scenery, is surrounded by power spots and the plan includes hiking treks to the spots as well as a night’s accommodation.

Power spots are usually out in the countryside in a mountain or shrine and some of Japan’s most famous power spots are: Mount Fuji; Mount Osore in Aomori; Togakushi shrine in Nagano; and Meiji Shrine, Tokyo. Even if you don’t live in Japan you can visit a power spot. Locations around the world include Machu Pichu, Hawaii, Lourdes and the Pyramids of Egypt.

So what are you waiting for? Get trekking and collect spiritual points and prizes along the way!

Photo credit: Ivan Walsh

Yama girls take to the great outdoors

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Randonnee outdoor/fashion magazine demonstrates how trekking can be trendy

Randonnee outdoor/fashion magazine demonstrates how trekking can be trendy

Bugs, sunburn and lack of decent toilet facilities have traditionally kept fashionable young Japanese women from discovering the joys of the great outdoors, but this year – if the media buzz is to be believed – things are changing, as hordes of fledgling female climbers, attracted by magical “power spots” and cute mountain skirts, take to the hills.

This new breed of outdoor women, also predictably called yama gaaru (山ガール、mountain girls), even have their own magazine. Randonnée, a cross between a hiking and fashion magazine, gives tips on how to maintain trail cred at high altitudes. Launched last year, Randonnee celebrated its first birthday in early June with a picnic party on the lawn of Roppongi’s Midtown complex. In addition to checking fashion shows and cute tent displays, aspiring yama girls could learn how to split firewood (presumably without breaking a nail) and how to cook with a gas camping stove.

The hottest item at the show was the mountain skirt, a kind of skirt version of combat pants which, on closer inspection, is not a skirt at all but a pair of shorts with a bit of fabric wrapped round. The skirts are popular because they can be paired up with cute and colorful leggings, making the whole outfit extremely fashionable. Granted, these skirts didn’t originate in Japan, but they have clearly caught on in a big way.

Nikkei Trendy reports that staff at outdoor shops are experiencing high numbers of inquiries from young female shoppers about the mountain skirt. Some more traditional places were rather dismissive of the mountain skirt fashion, pointing out that they aren’t very practical. If you’re climbing Mount Fuji, the temperatures at the top average about 6 degrees Celsius.  Factoring in the wind chill factor, wouldn’t a pair of pants make a lot more sense?

Mount Fuji is reportedly one of Japan’s three main power spots, making it an attractive destination for the female climber. A power spot (pawa-supotto) is a site that is purported to possess great spiritual and healing energy and since the start of the decade, interest in these mystical areas has been growing. These power spots appear to be popular with yama girls, which dovetails nicely with the rise of the so-called witch girls, we reported on earlier this year.

Climbing season for Fuji starts from today; mountain skirts are optional.

More yama-girl style links:

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