If you’ve ever spent time in Japan and if you follow me on Twitter/Facebook I’m sure you already know The Rising Wasabi and I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re a big fan of their website. Every time you read one of their articles, I bet you burst out laughing just like I do because they perfectly capture, in the most hilarious way possible, everyday life in Japan but with a satirical twist.
If you don’t know much about Japan you might not fully grasp or understand why some of the articles are so clever and funny, especially if you’ve never lived in Japan or visited the country as a tourist, but I can assure you the more you learn about Japan and its culture the more you’re going to appreciate the brilliant satire, exaggeration and good humour that goes into every article on The Rising Wasabi.
I contacted The Rising Wasabi directly and asked them if they would answer some questions because I knew so many people would be interested in finding out more about their website and the people behind the scenes. I was delighted when they responded straight away and agreed to take part in this Q&A.
1. Please describe the purpose of your website and why you called it The Rising Wasabi.
We wanted to inform people in an entertaining style and what better way than satire. The name “The Rising Wasabi” was simply a play on “The Rising Sun” – and although we’re gaijin, we like wasabi.
2. When did you start The Rising Wasabi?
About 18 seasons ago.
3. How many people write for The Rising Wasabi? Are they male or female?
An unidentified number of gaijin/girljin write for The Rising Wasabi.
4. Are your writers based in Japan or all over the world?
Japan and possibly gaikoku
5. Can anyone contribute to The Rising Wasabi?
We don’t really take submissions; however, if someone has a hilarious idea for a headline we would be happy to hear from them.
6. What is your most popular segment and why do you think this segment is so popular?
In terms of categories, “Society”. Relatable daily-life stories are popular. Everyone loves seeing themselves in an article.
7. You have an English version and a Japanese (nihongo) version of The Rising Wasabi. Which one is more popular?
Our English website is our main focus. We translate some articles into nihongo.
8. How do Japanese people react to your articles? Do you have to be more careful about what you write about in your Japanese articles so you don’t offend certain people or groups of people?
Our audience mostly consists of gaijin – it’s rare to receive direct criticism from Japanese readers. Although recently one “academic” wasn’t pleased with our work. Of course. It’s a daily consideration for all articles. We try to make sure the target of our joke is appropriate.
9. Are there any topics you avoid or refuse to cover on The Rising Wasabi?
We try to avoid tragedies.
10. What can people buy from The Rising Wasabi Shop on the website?
At the moment we sell The Rising Wasabi Tote Bag
11. What kind of businesses can advertise with The Rising Wasabi?
We do advertising campaigns for socially responsible businesses.
12. What are some of your most popular articles?
Here’s one of the top articles on The Rising Wasabi:
MAN SURVIVES 78 DAYS ON WILD BERRIES LOOKING FOR SHINJUKU STATION EXIT 27K
“A man who arrived in Japan late last year has been surviving on wild berries for the past 78 days looking for exit 27K in Shinjuku Station.
Michael Leggart was confident heading from his Shinagawa hotel to Shinjuku Station that he would be able to find his desired exit with a cutting edge GPS tracking device and several maps of Tokyo.
Nearly three months later Leggart has yet to find his destination and is barely surviving on onigiri bought with his last yen and any wild fruits he can find growing in the less frequented parts of the station.
Last week, Leggart had his first taste of meat since December after crossing paths with a wild boar.
“I tracked ‘old piggy’ for several days before catching the beast and strangling it with my bare hands,” said Leggart.
Leggart set up camp complete with an open fire just outside train track number 22, spit roasting the hog to a medium-rare consistency.
“That was one of the good nights,” said Leggart.
Leggart has found exits J and F and feels his goal is within arms reach.
“I’m starting to really feel the pinch now with my tourist visa expiring in a couple of weeks,” said Leggart.”
Five more side-splitting articles by The Rising Wasabi for you to enjoy: