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TRAVEL June 29, 2016

Introduction to the Onsen

Japan’s position on top of a volcanic archipelago has clear disadvantages, so it’s important to remember one of its great benefits: Japan is home to literally thousands of hot springs, or onsen. The Japanese have a long and beautiful tradition of deep enjoyment of this natural advantage. The word onsen refers to the hot springs […]

ARTS&CULTURE May 16, 2016

What is Ki?

Ki is possibly the most powerful, useful and even quintessentially Japanese word in the Japanese language. Familiar to everyone from fans of modern manga to practitioners of ancient Aikido, alone or in combination with other syllables, ki can mean many things. Among the words and concepts incorporating that one sound are the words for feelings […]

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 […]

ARTS&CULTURE April 26, 2016

7 Kanji to Write in Calligraphy – and Their Meanings

The Japanese language is difficult enough to learn, even for people who live for years in Japan; writing it is well beyond the ability of any visitor of short duration. But that doesn’t mean it can’t still be enjoyed for its great beauty and delicacy. Japan’s language is represented visually by not one, not two, […]

FOOD&DRINK April 26, 2016

Beginner’s Guide To Kaiseki

While many gourmands around the food world laud the current trend of “farm-to-fork” cuisine – with its focus on fresh, local, seasonal ingredients and simple-but-elegant presentation – the Japanese have been raising the same approach to a high art for centuries. Kaiseki, Japan’s multi-course haute cuisine, has been refined over the four hundred years since […]

FOOD&DRINK April 26, 2016

Beginner’s Guide to Japanese Tea

Tea, its cultivation and consumption, are crucial to Japan and its culture. Such elegant ancient rituals as the Japanese tea ceremony and unique contemporary creations as green tea ice cream have created the impression that Japan and tea are nearly synonymous. In fact, Japan accounts for a relatively small amount of global tea production and […]