Monthly Archives: October 2011

Stoves and How we Power Them

This is a continuation of the exploration of Japanese Culture by examining the major appliances we use every day. Stoves If you’ve ever been in a Japanese kitchen, one of the most obvious differences you’ll find is the stove.  In just about every American house I’ve seen, the ranges are large with at least four burners.  Electric is probably dominate, but there are areas where gas is used instead.  Nowadays they are often more likely to be flat panel warmers

Culture in the Things we Buy

Long ago Japan was known in the West as China was known until only a few years ago, as makers of cheap products that would quickly break.  After years of its manufacturing sector suffering under the stereotype, Japanese industries invested in quality control procedures and research that eventually won it the generally positive reputation it has today.  Toyota went from a foreign brand few Americans would buy to the leader in hybrid technology. This image is still alive today, though

The Sports Festival

In Japan there is an event called an undokai.  Roughly translated it means sports festival.  When I was on Kitadaito, we had one undokai scheduled every year for the entire village.  Students and teachers spent months preparing.  An entire day was devoted to the event and there were even whole mornings devoted towards practice and preparation.  The event included many running events, such as dashes, relays, and obstacle courses. Students and teachers also put on performances (think halftime shows Japanese-style) and many villagers