ARTS&CULTURE May 26, 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 […]

ARTS&CULTURE March 16, 2018

Japanese Cultural Values and How to Fit in as a Foreign Traveller

It is always important to adhere to the customs and values of the country you are visiting, and this is especially true when visiting Japan. Unlike many other western cultures which are a melting pot of ethnicities, Japan’s population consists of mostly ethnic Japanese. In homologous societies such as this, it becomes more expected that […]

ARTS&CULTURE February 21, 2018

A Short History of Karaoke in Japan

Of all the forms of contemporary Japanese entertainment that have reached international audiences, perhaps the most unique, and surely the most ubiquitous, is karaoke. The word is a portmanteau of shortened versions of the words for empty (kara) and orchestra (oke), creating karaoke, or “empty orchestra.” This poetic phrase well describes what are simply music […]

TRAVEL February 8, 2018

23 Places To See Cherry Blossoms In Japan This Spring

Photo by cpo57 via Flickr Any well-seasoned Japan lover knows the obsession with cherry blossom season across the island. Every spring, thousands of viewers flock to see the various shades of beautiful blooms decorate the air. There is no shortage of spectacular locations to enjoy a stroll through the fairy-tale like atmosphere, so we’ve listed […]

FOOD&DRINK January 25, 2018

Rice and its Infinite Products

Photo by Shunichi kouroki via Flickr When one wants to say “meal” in Japanese, one says the words gohan or perhaps meshi. Both words literally mean “cooked rice.” That etymology says much about the central role that rice plays in the Japanese diet. Valued as currency in past, rice is still used in a remarkable […]

ARTS&CULTURE January 11, 2018

14 Japanese Authors You Should Know (And The Books You Need To Read)

Often dark but full of humor and valuable life lessons, Japanese literature has a long history of producing entertaining as well as intellectually stimulating authors. Here are 14 Japanese authors and some of their most notable works that are definitely worth a read. 14 Japanese Authors You Should Know (And The Books You Need To […]