Samurai refers to the warrior class which existed during pre-industrial Japan. This group is composed of men who serve the nobility in close attendance. In time, it became synonymous to the upper class echelons of warrior. There are four main things that differentiate a samurai from the other warriors. These are skill, having a daimyo or master, membership in the elite class, and living by the warrior code known as Bushido.
Bushido is the main thing that differentiates a samurai. It is the code of ethics by which a samurai lives and dies. There are people who see in this code a certain contradiction as it contains principles that do not seem to agree such as “obedience to authority” and ” duty first even in violation of law”. Even then, a samurai is expected to find his way when the situation calls for it. Translated to the “Path of the Warrior” , the code emphasized loyalty to master and death rather than dishonor.
Being a samurai goes beyond wearing armors, wielding swords, and enjoying prestige. In fact, it is more about mental bearing rather than physical skill. Even if the Samurai warrior existed a long time ago, there is a way that Samurai ethics can be practiced in modern times.
A samurai warrior trains hard to master his skills. Before, it was the mastery of combat skills while present times require mastery in more current skills. This is still true to day since it would be difficult to attain expertise and mastery without proper training. Training may take years but it is part of the true way of a warrior. Even in the absence of war, the Samurai way provides important lessons in hard work and patience.
A samurai warrior keeps his integrity. Death was considered desirable than dishonor. Integrity is probably the most difficult to maintain in the highly materialistic environment of the world today.
A samurai warrior never lets his sword rule. The weapon was considered a means to achieve a noble cause. Authority is not established by threats nor weapons but rather by the strength of spirit that others will see and recognize.
A samurai warrior commits to his purpose. In the olden times, the purpose was to serve a master. Today, the purpose can be any goal that requires full commitment to be achieved. This commitment is required in the face of extreme challenges and obstacles. The will to serve however, remains.
Teresa is a researcher-writer who covers a wide range of topics in search of useful information.
Posted March 30th, 2013 by Teresa Martinez+ | Comment (0)
Japan is one of the most attractive destinations for Australians – and other nationalities, for that matter. Japan is the epitome of a developed Asian nation, and with its own particular quirks, the Japanese culture is very easy to fall in love with. Then there is the food and electronics shopping.
It is no surprise then, that estimates point at more than 200,000 Australians traveling to Japan each year. Even government officials hold Japan in high regard, with (then) Prime Minister Howard saying in 2006 that “Australia has no greater friend in Asia than Japan”.
That being said, Japan is one of the safest places for tourist, no matter what nationality. However, nature does not always back up the intentions of humans, and we know that Japan is particularly prone to earthquakes, which can lead to some safety issues. If you are planning on paying this wonderful Asian country a visit in the near future, do take a look at some essential safety tips. Continue reading »
Posted March 23rd, 2013 by Maki+ | Comment (0)
Tucked deep within the dark recesses of most everyone’s psyche, a yearning to see the world and learn things firsthand through experience resides. Some people go for it – taking a leap of faith and dedicating themselves to the pursuit of trekking the globe – while many of us focus on other priorities.
Despite this, we cannot deny that the appeal of travel is universal. And should we wish to learn about travelling and what to keep in mind in which places, we only need to look to our TVs as there are a lot of highly informative travel shows out there that can help fuel your wanderlust – even more if you go through www.ExpertSatellite.com for your TV needs. Here are some of our favorites:
Quite possibly one of the most accomplished travel shows ever, Globe Trekker (or Lonely Planet as it is called in some countries) stars the lovably goofy Ian Wright as they showcase the world’s best travel destinations, imparting essential knowledge, and a lot of insider information.
Among the many different travel shows, Discovery Atlas is certainly one of the most ambitious. With its magnificent scale and gorgeous treatment, Atlas provides compelling insight into local life. Atlas also has a different celebrity narrator for every episode. Swanky.
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
Professional chef/writer Anthony Bourdain’s travel documentary about the various delicacies all over the world is every foodie’s dream come true. For those who dream of raveling and love to eat, this show is a definite must-watch.
An Idiot Abroad
If you’re looking for a travel show that isn’t just informational but entertaining as well, look no further than An Idiot Abroad. Starring sheltered little Karl Pilkington who is reluctantly thrust into a life of travel and adventure by his peers funnyman Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant An Idiot Abroad is chockfull of interesting data about different countries and their wonderful travel destinations.
About the guest author:
Amy is a travel aficionado who does most of her traveling…through her TV.
Posted March 4th, 2013 by ali+ | Comment (0)
For a highly developed country, it is quite surprising why Japan does not have its own army. The reason points to history and events that Japan has tried to make amends for. However, the country does have its Japan Self-Defense Forces.
Under its 1947 Constitution, particularly under Article 9, Japan has ” forever renounced war as an instrument for settling international disputes and that it will never again maintain land, sea, or air forces or other war potential”. This decision is rooted on the deep impact of the Second World War on the Japanese people in particular and the world in general. Up to this day, there are still countries awaiting reparation for the war atrocities that were supposed to have been committed by the Japanese military.
The Mutual Security Assistance Pact provides that US forces stationed in Japan will take care of any external aggression against Japan while the Japanese forces will address internal threat and natural disasters. Whatever semblance of military forces there are in Japan today are considered mere extensions of the country’s Police Force.
Being the direct recipient of the effects of nuclear weapons, Japan expressly abhors the use of it in any destructive form. It has to be noted though that Japan has several nuclear plants existing. Its is believed that the country is capable of developing its own nuclear weapon when the need arises.
Japanese troops have seen action in others countries mainly as peacekeeping agents. Only time will tell if there will be changes with regards to the role of the Self-Defense Forces.
About the Author:
Teresa is a researcher-writer who covers a wide range of topics in search of useful information.
Posted February 28th, 2013 by Teresa Martinez+ | Comment (0)
Japan is known for being a land of contrasts.
Attracted by this fact, more than 2 million tourists arrive in this country every year, using one of the many low cost airlines that offer flights to Japan. If you are planning a trip to this
fascinating country soon, it might be useful to be familiar with some of the most unusual customs you may be faced
Removing your shoes as you enter a house
Most people are familiar with the Japanese custom that involves taking one’s shoes off as they enter a house.
However, there is more to this tradition than just that.
It is believed that this custom is a way of avoiding bringing dirt, mud, and dust from the streets into a home, so taking
your shoes off shows respect for your host or the owner of the house. Japanese homes have a dedicated space by the
entrance where shoes must be left and where you must change into slippers. Now, here’s what not every Westerner
knows about this tradition: if a house’s floor is raised approximately 6 inches, this means shoes must be removed and
guests should change into slippers. However, if once inside the house you notice that the floors are covered with a
tatami mat or raised 1 or 2 inches, you should also take off your slippers. Moreover, as explained in this site , you must change into a different set of slippers when
using the house’s bathroom.
Continue reading »
Posted February 12th, 2013 by dave+ | Comment (0)
Like in any other country in the world, Japan observes certain standards that govern social behavior. These are standard Japanese etiquette which are expected to be observed by locals and visitors alike. Visitors could benefit from doing a little research before visiting since Japan has specific practices that are unique to their culture.
The Japanese consider good manners of primary importance. This is the reason why visitors to Japan should take time to learn the basic rules of etiquette observed in the country to avoid mistakes that may prove costly to social relationships. Mistakes when done can be very embarrassing to both the locals and the visitors.
It is considered impolite to refuse an invitation to a home in Japan. In fact, it is considered a rare honor which visitors can try to reciprocate by bringing a gift of food or drink while apologizing for it regardless of its monetary value. Shoes worn outside are always left on a designated area within the entrance of the home. As such guests should wear socks to be worn with the slippers for use inside the home. Bathroom slippers are only used in that particular area and nowhere else.
Locals and visitors alike are expected to present themselves in a neat manner. Hair is dried before going out in public places. Wearing excessive jewelry is not favored in Japan. It is considered polite to respect other people’s private spaces by avoiding physical and eye contact which is more than necessary in a given situation.
Greeting makes use of bows and handshakes not just as a sign of respect but also to put emphasis on thanking or apologizing. People are addressed by their last names followed by “san”. Shouting in public as well as using the cellphone in trains and buses are considered bad manners.
About the Author:
Teresa likes learning about different cultures.
Posted January 31st, 2013 by Teresa Martinez+ | Comment (0)
Japan takes pride in its observation of many ceremonial preparations. One of this is the Japanese Tea ceremony which serves powdered green tea, confections, and a light meal. Tea ceremonies have been part of Japanese tradition since the 8th or 9th century.
China holds the distinction of having observed tea ceremonies much, much earlier. A monk who returned from a trip to China introduced the tea preparation style referred to as “tencha”. The said monk was also able to bring with him tea seeds which helped produced excellent quality of tea in Japan.
Buddhist monasteries were known to be the first place where green tea was used as part of religious rituals. It did not take long for the same tea to become associated to a desired status symbol of the warrior class. Eventually, tea became part of Japanese culture that emphasized spirituality, refinement, and restraint.
The traditional venue for Japanese tea ceremonies is a tatami-floored room although any other place where the host can make the tea in front of the guests will do. The traditional room ideally has a floor area of 4.5 with a low ceiling. There is usually an attached preparation area. Decorations are kept simple and minimal, creating a rustic feel for the tea drinkers to enjoy.
Tea ceremonies in Japan consider seasonality where variations are made in the ritual performed and the equipment used depending on the prevailing season. There are basic components for a tea ceremony including the chokin which is used to wipe tea bowls, the tea bowl itself, tea caddy, tea scoop, and the tea whisk. There are specific rituals that will have to be observed by the host and the guests. The art of calligraphy plays a role in the tea ceremony by providing the symbolism for the occasion.
Posted January 25th, 2013 by Teresa Martinez+ | Comment (0)
Japan has the oldest continuous hereditary monarchy among the practicing monarchies in the world. The Emperor of Japan symbolizes the state and the people’s unity. The members of the family of the Emperor is referred to as the Imperial Family. They are only expected to perform ceremonial and social events but do not participate in any way in running the government.
The current Japanese Emperor is Akihito who acceded to the throne in 1989. His predecessor was Showa and his heir apparent is Crown Prince Naruhito. The Emperor of Japan is never called by his given name and is always referred to as “His Imperial Majesty the Emperor”.
Japan has a standing male-only succession law. It almost went into a crisis because of the considerable length of time that a male descendant was born. There were already efforts being made to recommend amending the law but was held in abeyance with the recent birth of a son to one of Emperor Akihito’s children. History however would reveal that there were at least 8 Empresses that reigned, all of whom were daughters of the male line of the Imperial Clan. No empress on record ascended to the throne by being a wife or a widow of an Emperor.
Monarchies require monarchs to rule for life and pass their responsibilities and title to their children or family in the event of their death. The advantage seen in this set-up is the continuity in leadership. Japan is a constitutional monarchy which grants no power to the Emperor. This lends credence to the view that a Japanese Emperor’s position is merely symbolic.
Posted January 1st, 2013 by Teresa Martinez+ | Comment (0)
Since the 19th century, Japan has started incorporating modern Western architectures in the design and construction of its homes. In fact, the country is currently an innovator in architectural design. Before this, however, Japan also used a traditional and heterogeneous style that was actually introduced by China and other Asian cultures. Below are some of the things you need to know about the traditional Japanese house. Continue reading »
Posted December 29th, 2012 by mel+ | Comment (0)
We all know for what purpose fans are used but there is a kind of fan in Japan that is primarily a signaling device. It is actually a fan designed for warfare. It can also be used as a weapon and it is called thew war fan.
There are three basic types of war fans consisting of the gunsen, tessen, and the gunbai. The gunsen fan is a folding fan usually seen hanging from a warrior’s breastplate. The tessen is often used as a throwing weapon and an effective means of fending darts and arrows. The gunbai is quite flexible even in its stationary form of being a large and solid fan.
It could be easy to imagine how wars can provide a semblance of art with the use of war fans. Instead of swift confrontation, the use of the Japanese war fan requires observing rituals, practices, and protocols. Commands can be given to soldiers through the use of war fans which in turn can be passed on to other participants.
The use of the Japanese war fan lends a degree of nobility to an otherwise dreadful activity. The use of the tessen is even considered lethal since it is considered quite a weapon in the hands of a real fighter. Many families preserve their war fans to be of use to others. To many however, they preserve theirs as historic specimens which can be brought out time and again for study and comparison. Japanese war fans are considered defense weapons by the samurai which are easily concealed.
Posted December 10th, 2012 by Teresa Martinez+ | Comment (0)