Category Archives: Japanese Culture

So You Want to Get Married in Japan

So no posts for two weeks. Trust me, there were good reasons. Reason one was that my mother made her first international trip and came to visit. If you saw the TV show I was on you will have seen that my brothers and I gave her the tickets for her 65th birthday. On a related note… You’ll be able to see more about what happened on TBS’s Motemote 99 show in a few weeks. Make sure you’re following on twitter

Aoshima Shrine

On the last day of my trip to Miyazaki Prefecture in January I traveled to Aoshima Shrine with my fiancée and her family. The shrine is located in the middle of the forest on a small island connected to the mainland by a bridge. The day we attended was a large festival where attendees braved the cold seawater for good luck this year. We arrived in the afternoon so we missed the crowds. Next to the island is an interesting

Food of Miyazaki Prefecture

You might have noticed that there was no post last week. The reason is that I spent 5 days in Kyushu’s Miyazaki prefecture. Though I’ve been to Kyushu three times with my students on their school trips, this was my first time to the southern prefectures.  There was a lot to see and do so I’ll split the trip into a series of posts on each place I visited. This post I’ll use to share some of the interesting differences

Okinawan Culture in Dance and Song

This past weekend the Okinawa cultural promotion association in partnership with the Kume Island Board of Education hosted a free night of song and dance at the Gushikawa Community center on Kumejima. The event, titled Dentou Tenou Kouen (伝統芸能公演) or Traditional Arts Performance, was a two-part evening with a mixture of traditional music, dance, and plays. The majority of the performances were in the Okinawan dialect hogen, which most people no longer regularly speak. Along with the performances were subtitles

I Don’t Want a Bed

Sleeping in Japan isn’t as straight forward as you might expect. Houses in Japan have unique features that have led to differences in the appliances and things people use in the home. One of the most significant differences is the way people in Japan traditionally sleep. With raised floors and often muddy outdoors, it is understandable that removing shoes before entering one’s house became commonplace, and then the rule. Since they are raised off the ground and cleaner without boots tracking

Japanese Houses

Japan’s unique history has led to culture that is not surprisingly unique in the world. In Japan, natural disasters and local weather has led to housing adapted for the resources and needs of the people. While new materials have been included in modern building, many of the aesthetics developed for traditional housing are still carried into the modern age. Since a lot of Japanese culture revolves around the home, this post will be a base for many others in the

2014 New Years Cards

It’s that time of year again. It’s time for Nengajo, New Year’s hagaki greeting cards in Japan. Since it can be impractical to actually call everyone you know on New Years Day, post cards have become a popular way to keep in touch during the holidays. As you might imagine there are a lot of ways to go about preparing your New Year’s Cards. Stock The easiest way to do Nengajo is to simply go to your local post office

Senso Temple in Tokyo

After visiting Tokyo Skytree during my two-day trip to Tokyo I worked my way down to the new train station to work my way back into town. Many people had suggested the Asakusa area so I got off at the Asakusa station, just a few stops from the tower. I didn’t have any specific plans or maps but I quickly found my way to a highly populated area before the Senso Temple grounds. Between the Kaminari (lightning) Gate and the Hozo

TV and Dating in Japan

Television shows are a window into the culture of their target audience. They’re built to entertain but also be full of images that people can relate to. When viewing television from another culture, it is often easy to immediately see cultural differences that might lead to stereotypes or misunderstandings. Though I’ve lived in Japan for quite a while, I’ve never really made the transition to watching much Japanese TV. When friends started asking me if I was interested in participating

Tokyo National Museum

Just outside the grounds of the Ueno Zoo is a wide paved pavilion. Walking from the zoo, past the Starbucks and to the left is the Tokyo National Museum. For those interested in Japanese history it is a great place to stop by and see a wide selection of art, architecture, and historic items.  The museum complex includes five separate buildings, each with a separate focus. Honkan: Japanese Gallery The largest and most central building of the museum is the

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