TRAVEL October 12, 2018

Autumn in Japan: Things to Do and Everything Else You Need To Know

Photo by Syuzo Tsushima via Flickr Japan offers four distinct seasons and it could be argued that autumn is the perfect season to fall in love with the country. While it may lack the famous cherry blossoms of the spring hanami season, it provides just as much vibrant color in the form of autumn foliage. […]

ARTS&CULTURE September 20, 2018

Sento Baths: The Everyday Onsen

By sanmai – Flickr: Modern sento at Takayama, CC BY 2.0, Link The love of a hot bath has been a part of Japanese culture for centuries, in part because of the volcanic nature of the archipelago, which often means hot springs, also in part because of the Japanese love of communal activities, and ultimately […]

FOOD&DRINK, KYOTO September 13, 2018

Must Eats in Kyoto

Photo by Andrea Schaffer via Flickr Once Japan’s Imperial capital, Kyoto is known for its temples, shrines, and beautiful natural landscapes. The city also presents a rich culinary history, offering several famous dining styles, local dishes, and confectionaries to tempt your taste buds. Japanese food is very regional, with each region having its own specialty […]

ARTS&CULTURE August 22, 2018

The Individual and the Group In Japan

There is an old saying in Japanese which translates as “The nail that protrudes will be hammered down,” and it says much about the place of the individual in Japan’s group-oriented society. All cultures must balance the often-conflicting needs of the individual to be happy, and of the society to function. But in Japan, historically […]

ARTS&CULTURE August 9, 2018

Traditional Japanese Wedding Dresses (Shinto style)

Photo by Marco Mastrojanni via Flickr You will find four major styles of wedding celebrated in Japan including Shinto, Christian, Buddist, and non-religious. In the past, it was the Shinto style wedding that dominated Japan. This style of wedding became popular in the early 20th century before it was replaced by the more westernized Christian […]

ARTS&CULTURE July 20, 2018

How Baseball Came to Japan (and Became Japanese)

Photo by takako tominaga via Flickr Though one might naturally assume that baseball came to Japan during the U.S. occupation after World War II, this quintessential American sport was actually one of Japan’s earliest Western imports, during the Meiji Restoration, having arrived in the archipelago in 1872. Brought by an American, the sport was quickly […]

KYOTO July 11, 2018

Gion Matsuri: Japan’s Most Famous Festival

Photo by S. via Flickr The month of July officially kicks off the start of Gion Matsuri in Kyoto. It is not only the largest festival in the city, but is also one of the most famous festivals in all of Japan. It is a festival that can be traced back to the 9th century […]

ARTS&CULTURE June 20, 2018

The Ubiquitous Power of Shikata

Photo by Dick Thomas Johnson via Flickr The Japanese word shikata is often translated to mean “shape” or “form,” or in other translations, “way of doing things.” Familiar book titles such as The Way of Zen or The Way of the Samurai, touch on this. But in Japan, numerous kata – the word used for […]

KYOTO June 7, 2018

History Of Kyoto – The Heart Of Japan

Photo by Espen Faugstad via Flickr Once the Imperial capital of Japan for more than a thousand years, Kyoto still stands as the Heart of Japan despite Tokyo taking on the title as the country’s capital. The city’s history has seen the rise and fall of several Japanese shogunates and saw the construction of some […]

ARTS&CULTURE May 19, 2018

Bowing In Japan – A Basic Formality

Bowing is a fundamental human motion, a way of paying respect that has had expressions in nearly every culture in the world. While it has largely disappeared in Europe and was never common in the Americas – but where entertainers still bow to their audience – it remains widely used in Asia. Nowhere, however, is […]