Welcome to JAPANOLOGY! We have created this web magazine in order to educate and inspire you by exploring some of the basic ideas, art forms and cultural norms that you will encounter in Japan. Japanese culture is infinitely complex, and is assiduously cultivated on a daily basis by the Japanese people, so knowing something about it can make your visit deeper and happier.

While cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto are among the most modern in the world, with conveniences that dazzle travelers, it is Japan’s ancient culture that draws visitors – and occasionally confounds them. We at JAPANOLOGY humbly offer what we hope are clear, in-depth studies of many underlying aspects of Japanese culture, such as the concepts of ki and wabi-sabi, which might make visitors’ experiences more profound. We will also offer simple guides to practical matters such as an explanation of the different varieties of Japanese noodles and green tea, as well as basic manners for the dining table and the onsen.

By providing these insights, we hope to give our valued visitors an advantage in exploring the dazzling delights of Japan.

David Watts Barton is an award-winning writer, editor and on-air personality who has covered the arts, culture, travel and outdoor recreation for newspapers, magazines, websites and National Public Radio in the United States. He wrote about business and law at Bloomberg.com, has been published in the Columbia Journalism Review, and was a visiting fellow at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Southern California. Some of his work can been read (and heard) at davidwattsbarton.com. When not traveling, he divides his time between Portland and New York City.