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 […]

ARTS&CULTURE May 10, 2018

Understanding Shinto – Japan’s Ancient Religion

Photo by Jeffrey and Shaowen Bardzell via Flickr The traditional religion of Japan, nearly 80% of the country’s population take part in Shinto practices or rituals. Shinto is Japan’s major religion alongside Buddhism and the country is home to over 80,000 Shinto shrines. So what exactly is Shinto and what are its beliefs and rituals. […]

ARTS&CULTURE April 19, 2018

LGBT Weddings in Japan

Photo by specchio.nero via Flickr As in virtually every culture in the world, weddings are fundamental in Japan. They are also big business, as the bridal industry in Japan is estimated to generate roughly $25 billion a year. This enormous industry is dedicated to making sure that every detail of the perfect wedding is done […]

ART&DESIGN, KYOTO, TRAVEL April 12, 2018

Ryōan-ji, The World’s Most Famous Rock Garden

photo by Wenjie, Zhang via Flickr Japanese rock gardens or Zen gardens have been around since the 8th century where they served as a place to meditate and search for the meaning of life. They can be recognized by their raked gravel or sand which symbolizes water ripples and great planning goes into what rocks […]

FOOD&DRINK March 22, 2018

Japan’s “Greatest Invention”: Instant Ramen

For all their culture’s artistry, subtlety and sophistication, the Japanese are a practical people. So when, in 2000, it came time to answer pollsters about what they consider their country’s greatest accomplishments of the 20th century, the top choice was the essence of practicality: Instant ramen. Instant “ramen” – which was actually just dried ramen […]