Japans whacky holidays: Coming of age day

Japans whacky holidays: Coming of age day

Posted on Jan 15, 2014 in History of Japan, Japanese customs, Must see, Stories about Japan | 1 comment

The second Monday of January is Coming-of-Age Day, a national holiday to encourage those who have newly entered adulthood to become self-reliant members of society. (The holiday used to be on January 15, but in 2000 it was moved to the second Monday of the month.) Last Monday we celebrated the coming of age day for 2014. Local governments host special coming-of-age ceremonies for 20-year-olds, since an “adult” in Japan is legally defined as one who is 20 or...

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Things to do: Have your dinner blessed by a Koyasan monk

Things to do: Have your dinner blessed by a Koyasan monk

Posted on Sep 18, 2013 in History of Japan, Japanese customs, Stories about Japan, Things to do, Where to eat | 0 comments

Monks have taken over the menus at restaurants in the posh Shin-Marunouchi building in Tokyo to offer real soul food. Throughout the weeklong Koyasan Cafe event, diners can fill their stomachs and their spirits with Buddhist-inspired dishes. Koyasan Cafe takes its name from the spiritual center of Japanese Buddhism, Koyasan in Wakayama Prefecture. Also known as Mount Koya, it is the last resting place of the eighth-century monk Kukai, the headquarters of the Shingon sect he...

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Anime fans flock to temple to offer prayer tablets featuring favorite characters

Anime fans flock to temple to offer prayer tablets featuring favorite characters

Posted on Sep 18, 2013 in History of Japan, Japanese customs, Stories about Japan, Things to do | 0 comments

Anime enthusiasts are flocking in droves to Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, but not in a spiritual pilgrimage or prompted by a sudden interest in religion. Instead it’s worship of a different kind, a devotion to fictional characters from their beloved animated works. At the shrines and temples, these anime buffs are dedicating mountains of votive picture tablets, called “ita-ema,” containing drawings of their favorite characters. On one weekend in...

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Former train station renovated, now offers a unique dining experience

Former train station renovated, now offers a unique dining experience

Posted on Sep 17, 2013 in History of Japan, Must see, Things to do, Where to eat | 0 comments

Manseibashi Station (万世橋駅 Manseibashi-eki) can refer to two closed railway stations all in Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan. One was a railway station on the Japanese Government Railways Chūō Main Line and the other was a subway station in the Tokyo Subway network. Both stations were closed by 1943, though trains and subway cars still pass through them. The stations took their name from the nearby bridge, Manseibashi. The railway station was located on the south bank of the Kanda...

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Secret treasures of Japan: Origami

Secret treasures of Japan: Origami

Posted on Sep 16, 2013 in History of Japan, Japanese customs, Japanese technology, Stories about Japan | 0 comments

Origami (折り紙), Japanese: ‘ori’ means to fold and ‘kami’ paper, is a traditional Japanese folding art and developed in the Edo period. Origami uses a limited number of folds but due to the combination of these folds intriguing designs are possible. The art originates in China during the first or second century, shortly after the invention of paper. From China it came to Japan, where it gained its shape and form as we know it today. In general the...

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How to drink… Shochu (Japanese gin or vodka)

How to drink… Shochu (Japanese gin or vodka)

Posted on Sep 16, 2013 in History of Japan, Japanese customs, Japanese technology, Things to do, What to buy, Where to drink | 0 comments

While sake is familiar to millions outside of Asia, shochu is the drink of choice amongst the Japanese. Since 2003, shipments of shochu within Japan have outstripped sake and the trend shows no sign of reversing. Shochu can be made from barley, sweet potatoes or rice and is distilled like whisky, unlike sake, which is brewed similarly to beer. The shochu is then aged in oak barrels giving the drink more kick (it averages around 25 percent alcohol, rising to 40 percent for...

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