Tag Archives: 日本

School Lunch JAN 26 – FEB 1

It’s Thursday, so that means I’ve enjoyed another week of great school lunches. This week I was at all junior highs so they didn’t over fill my plates. On my island, all the food for elementary and junior high schools are prepared at one central location, then trucked to each school. Every school gets a trolley with sets of containers for each grade. Homeroom teachers’ food is included with their students’, but the rest of us have a separate teachers’

New Years Cards

Known as hagaki in Japanese, post cards are even bigger in Japan than they are elsewhere in the world.  Post cards are used for different events, such as catching up with old colleagues after moving, or to make announcements, but the most popular use is for new years greetings.  While people do call or visit, in Japan New Years is generally spent with the immediate family so cards are a useful way to keep in touch with friends and extended family. The Japanese

Winter Solstice in Okinawa

Here’s a special bit of Okinawan Culture.  Today happens to be the winter solstice (冬至).  Throughout Japan many families will offer rice at their butsudan (family shrines) and pray for good health in the coming year.  In the mainland they will offer white rice. Okinawa has its own traditions, influenced by Chinese culture.  Here they offer a type of fried rice called juushi (じゅうし).  Since it is a special occasion they add a blue potato called ta-mu- in hogen(田芋 or

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

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