Category Archives: Life & Culture

A Bold, Beautiful Heart

Tōkō Shinoda is an avant-garde Japanese painter who keeps creating masterpieces. She just turned 104.

Toko Shinoda is a leading Japanese avant-garde painter who just turned 104. For over seventy years she has kept on creating bold, evocative art which speak from her heart.

Reminiscence – 2005

Picture above is of a 2005 painting by … Read the rest

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Reflections and Hopes

thank-you-for-2016December is time for traditions, celebrations and expressing gratitude. It is also time for reflections, hopes and positive thoughts.

We have had a busy year, thanks to every single one of you. Additionally, your suggestions, reviews and survey responses have … Read the rest

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How to Take a Japanese Style Bath at Home

you can incorporate the essential elements of the Japanese bath ritual into your routineIf you live outside Japan, chances are your home is not equipped with a Japanese style bath. Even so, you can still incorporate the essential elements of the Japanese bath ritual into your routine.

Cleanse, Bathe, Power Down

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Flower From Another World

Autumn has arrived in Japan and like in every year around this time, mysterious, other-worldly Higanbana flowers (Red Spider Lily) are in bloom

Autumn has arrived in Japan and like in every year around this time, the mystical, other-worldly Higanbana flowers (Red Spider Lily) are in bloom. And like in every year, it’s time for people to visit the family cemetery to clean … Read the rest

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Yomogi, Irises and Tale of a Queen


The love affair with irises and yomogi runs deep in the Japanese psyche, weaving a fascinating tale going back to the 6th century, when Japan was ruled by Empress Suiko, the powerful first female monarch of Japan.

It’s late April. The Japanese countryside is blanketed with some of the most beloved symbols of Japanese spring: irises and Artemisia princeps (yomogi).

The love affair with irises and yomogi runs deep in the national psyche, weaving a fascinating tale … Read the rest

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The Legend of Satsue Mito In Memoriam

Satsue Mito in Kojma, MiyazakiApril 7th will mark the 102nd birthday of Satsue Mito.

Mito-sensei, as everybody lovingly called her, was a gentle woman. And like Dian Fossey, she is one of the greatest primatologists the world has ever known.

Early Life

Mito-sensei was … Read the rest

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A Moment of Serenity in Midst of Busy Affairs

Incense and a moment of serenityAppreciating aroma of incense is a classical Japanese art form called Kōdō (the Way of Aroma), codified in 15th century in a set of ten principles (see below). “Brings a moment of serenity in midst of busy affairs” is the … Read the rest

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Traditions and New Year Wishes

Japanese ladies and Ema wishing plaques

New year in Japan is filled with a variety of traditional activities. The picture above shows shrine visitors during the very first visit of their favorite shrine in the new year (called hatsumōde), in front of a display of colorful … Read the rest

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Winter is Half Over! Heralding Spring's Arrival in January

 

Winter-is-half-gone

A typical Japanese New Year greeting goes like this: I humbly congratulate you in this early spring (Hatsu-haru no o-yorokobi o mōshiagemasu).

Japanese New-Year Card

Typical Japanese New Year card referring to January 1st as “early spring” (hatsuharu).

Seeing the

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When Myth Becomes Reality

Japanese girls with kimono at the procession

Japanese mythological storytelling often weaves tales of great gods and goddesses with real-life historical events which people can relate to.

Perhaps because of this reason, celebrations of Japanese myths and legends have always been a part of everyday life, and … Read the rest

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