Category Archives: Life & Culture

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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Japanese Autumn

autumn-foliage-in-JapanIt’s October, and the sights, smells, textures, and tastes of autumn are everywhere here in Kyushu, the southernmost of Japanese main islands.

You can even notice the packaging in local food stores adorned with seasonal patterns such as falling leaves, … Read the rest

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Rice Harvest Season in Miyazaki

rice-harvest-in-miayazaki

Most parts of Japan have little choice as to when they plant their rice.  It’s usually transplanted into the rice paddies soon after the last frost has passed in the spring.

This means that mountainous areas often can’t plant their … Read the rest

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A Blanket of Health

sugi-forest-and-Japanese-woman-1A healthy forest is a medicine factory.

Nature has designed us to feel good when we are surrounded by trees. Perhaps this is it’s way of encouraging us to do more of it.

Forest Bathing (shin-rin-yoku)

The Japanese countryside is … Read the rest

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Still Modern After 1200 Years

Kiku-chrysanthemum-wagara-motif

Traditional Japanese motifs and patterns are loved and admired the world over. Some are over 1,200 years old, yet they still look modern and fresh.

Most people recognize them as “Japanese” immediately, though many cannot explain why. The ones who … Read the rest

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Happy 95th Birthday, Grandma!

happy-95th-birthday-grandma-2

It felt not that long ago when we had the honor of celebrating the 94th birthday of Fumi-san, the grandmother of our Ms. Yuri.

A year has gone by so fast. Fumi-san just turned 95. She still lives by … Read the rest

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A Small Boat and Bounty of the Sea

Katsuo-bonito-fishing-boat-in-Miyazaki

Pouring rain did not stop the citizens of Odotsu from turning out to welcome the return of their new boat, Ryomei Maru, from it’s first voyage.

Odotsu is a small fishing port about 40 kilometers south of Miyazaki. Tuna fishing … Read the rest

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Summer Rain

hydrengas-in-rainy-season-in-Japan-500px

The rainy season (Tsuyu, 梅雨) has arrived in Miyazaki, as it does every year.

The weather is a balmy 20-24 degrees C (68-75 ºF), and we will have warm rains here almost every day for the next few … Read the rest

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