Browsing Tag

CULTURE

ARTS&CULTURE June 29, 2017

Six Japanese Martial Arts You Should Know

Although the popular imagination tends to focus on judo, karate and perhaps sumo as Japan’s key martial arts, the country is home to a staggering variety of these ritualized combat skills. Developed for the battlefield over the centuries by samurai and ninja, these days, Japanese martial arts – known by the umbrella term bujutsu, or […]

ARTS&CULTURE June 27, 2017

9 Museums You Must See in Tokyo

Tokyo is the largest metropolitan area in the world, but it is more than that: It is a city so important to culture, commerce and history, that its name comes up as one of the crucial four international cities: London, Paris, New York, Tokyo. So it should come as no surprise that Tokyo boasts some […]

ARTS&CULTURE March 29, 2017

Concept of Uchi-Soto: In-Groups and Out-Groups

Japanese social customs are complex and dynamic, and often depend, and change, based on circumstance, social standing, age, professional position, and myriad other considerations. The dichotomy of honne-tatamae – the concept of a public face and a true face – is one expression of this duality. The duality of uchi-soto is another. Uchi literally refers […]

ARTS&CULTURE October 11, 2016

The Five Elements in Japanese Culture

Travel Stock / Shutterstock.com When traveling around Japan, there are a number of different statuary that will quickly become familiar: the komainu (lion dogs) that stand at either side of a Shinto shrine entrance; the numerous orange torii gates; and, of course, there is the Buddha in his many forms. The godai is the five […]

ARTS&CULTURE October 5, 2016

Japan’s “High Context” Society – Tips on Reading Between the Lines

Lodimup / Shutterstock.com It is a truism to say that every culture is unique, and it is also unnecessary: Everyone can see that food, dress, language, architecture and social customs can vary greatly from country to country, or even within countries. But some differences are not so obvious, and that makes them harder to grasp; […]

ARTS&CULTURE April 26, 2016

What Does Wabi-Sabi Mean?

If one were to pick a phrase that aptly sums up the traditional aesthetic sensibility of the Japanese, it might well be wabi-sabi. A combination of two old words with overlapping definitions, wabi-sabi might be the Buddhist view of the facts of existence: Both life and art are beautiful not because they are perfect and […]

FOOD&DRINK April 26, 2016

10 Japanese Table Manners You Must Know

There are few places offering greater opportunities to violate local customs that at the dining table. Nowhere else do such clear rules come in conflict with such a basic need: we are, after all, hungry. So here are ten tips for gaijin – things to do as well as things not to do – while […]