J's Bar appeared in the rat trilogy that begins with the Murakami's first novel Hear the wind Sings followed by Pinball 1973 and A Wild Sheep Chase, where two protagonists Boku and the Rat (鼠, nezumi) met and frequented.
During the period under the Muromachi or Ashikaga shogunate rule, a profound change took place in Japanese culture.
The Kyoto nobility in the Heian period developed a society devoted to elegant aesthetic pursuits.
The introduction of Western cultural values led to a dichotomy in Japanese art, as well as in nearly every other aspect of culture, between traditional values and attempts to duplicate and assimilate a variety of clashing new ideas.
In the Edo period, a style of woodblock prints called ukiyo-e became a major art form and its techniques were fine tuned to produce colorful prints.
Japan has a unique food culture: various good fresh ingredients of sea and mountains, seasonings that adds to the dishes’ tastiness, Japanese sense of taste represented by umami and intense curiosity about savoring variety of foods.
The Japanese perhaps are the world's best connoisseur of food exhibiting great curiosity about gastronomy.
Tokyo is a rare city you can try various kinds of cuisine from all over the world. The diversity is not only found in their origins but also can be seen in menu or in atmosphere - store size and facilities.
Japanese have never been conservative about trying unforeknown foods or ingredients but incorporated imported food from across the world, and have historically adapted many to make them their own.
The official policy of separation of Shintō and Buddhism caused great damage to Buddhism in Japan.
Enryakuji, the temple complex of Tendai became a sprawling center of power, attended not only by ascetic monks, but also by brigades warrior monks who fought in the temple's interest.
Kami, Japan’s indigenous religion and foreign Buddhism never quite fused, but a combination of Buddhist and Taoist elements, and the incorporation of shamanistic features of the indigenous religion remained however inextricably linked all the way to the present day.
Meiji rulers made Shintō the official religion, creating a form of Shintō known as State Shintō by merging Shrine, Folk, and Imperial Household Shinto.
"Animation" is a compound word of"Anima" ("Animal" comes from "Anima") and Animate. Few Japanese Manga and Anime don't contain any animistic connotation.
"The essence of Japanese Anime is in its taboo-free, in terms of violence, eroticism, and mechanical presentation." Sugiyama Tomoyuki
"Moe" (萌え, mo’e), came out in 90th, is not a trendy concept something popping out of the blue, but an aesthetic sense that has intricately tied to the Japanese traditional aesthetic ideas.
Among Japanese traditional art techniques, line drawing has fundamental impact on today's Manga and Anime. "Drawn only with outlines, Manga who inherits the characteristic of Japanese-style painting made up of lines seem three-dimensional.
Japanese aesthetics, in its nature covers a broad spectrum in comparison with the explicit formulation of 'aesthetics' in the Western sense, and is seen as an integral part of daily life.
"The town has deep hold on me; almost all my memories are tied up with the place. Yet the spring I left town to enter university, I let out a sigh of relief from the bottom of my heart,"Haruki said in his novel.
Hanshinkan, the area between Osaka and Kobe, was a comfy place to spend Haruki's boyhood to the adolescent period.
Haruki was permitted to buy books on credit at the local bookstore, as long as he avoided comic books or trashy weekly magazines, and he became a voracious reader.
Young Haruki would often hear his parents discussing eighth-century poetry or medieval war takes at the dinner table. Haruki said, “Throughout my teens I became hate ‘Japanese literature’ and ‘teachers’.”
"The road by the river had been one of my favorites. I could walk at the same speed as the river. I could feel it breathing. It was alive. The town belonged to the river from the very beginning, and it would always be the way."
Of his middle-school years, Murakami has written that all he remembers is being beaten by his teachers. He didn't like them and they didn't like him because he wouldn't study.
What is Cool Japan?
The keywords, "Cool Japan," are flying all around the world.
From fashion, anime, games, and food, various cultures that the Japanese take for granted are being accepted as cool and trendy by foreigners.
"COOL JAPAN Discovering what makes Japan cool," uses the sense of foreigners to the fullest, to dig up and examine the appeal and secrets of these cool cultural aspects.
In a 2002 article in Foreign Policy entitled "Japan's Gross National Cool," Douglas McGray wrote of Japan "reinventing superpower" as its cultural influence expanded internationally despite the economic and political problems of the "lost decade."
Surveying youth culture and the role of manga, anime, fashion, film, consumer electronics, architecture, cuisine, J-pop, and phenomena of cuteness such as Hello Kitty, McGray highlighted Japan's considerable soft power, posing the question of what message the country might project.
He also argued that Japan's recession may even have boosted its national cool, due to the partial discrediting of erstwhile rigid social hierarchies and big-business career paths.