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Eating Rice in Japan

In Asia, rice is a staple food although it is prepared and served in different ways. Japan is one country which uses rice in a unique way.

Rice is the most important crop in Japan. In fact, it has been cultivated in the country for more than 2,000 years. It was even used as currency in the past.

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Japan Rebuilds Lives and Communities After Earthquake

Japan Earthquake

Japan is situated in a fault line the reason why it experiences earthquakes more often than other countries.

The latest to shook this Asian nation was the Kumamoto earthquake that struck in April this year. A 6.5 magnitude quake hit Japan’s southern region claiming the lives of nine people and injuring some 800 more. A stronger tremor occurred afterwards with a magnitude of 7.1 to 7.4 and 100 more aftershocks.

According to scientists, the April 2016 temblor was a series of quakes caused by two plates slipping against each other along an active inland fault. And since they occurred at shallow depth, they resulted in the destruction of the bedrock. This earthquake is also said to be of the same type as that of the 1995 Great Hanshin earthquake that it Kobe and killed more than 6,000 people.

Humanitarian Efforts

Fortunately, relief efforts come right away whenever Japan experiences an earthquake. The U.S. is often among the first to respond to such natural disaster joining Japanese troops and emergency services personnel in the relief operations.

Non-profit organizations are also raising funds to help the victims and other affected families. Most accept direct donation through their website to make it more convenient to generous people who want to help in whatever way they can.

Here are some reliable organizations dedicated in helping the Japanese rebuild their lives and communities in the aftermath of the recent major earthquake in the Kumamoto Prefecture. They have respective websites where people can donate their share for specific projects online.

Association for Aid and Relief (AAR) – AAR is experienced in emergency disaster relief, assistance to people with disabilities and mine risk education. Founded in 1979, it now has offices in 10 countries and is operating in 13 countries.

Global Giving – Global Giving launched its Kumamoto Relief Fund after the April 2016 quake. The organization is considered a top-rated charity which has raised millions of dollars for recent disasters including the Nepal earthquakes and Typhoon Haiyan.

Nippon International Cooperation for Community Development (NICCO) – NICCO is a Japanese NGO with vast experience in disaster assistance, community as well as human resource development and rural environment protection. Established in 1979, it is now operating in six countries.

Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE) – JCIE is an independent NGO specializing in Japan’s international affairs. Established in 1970, its objective is to foster dialogue and cooperation among countries such as Japan and the U.S. to promote and strengthen civil society and philanthropy. To date, it has distributed more than $2 million to 160 innovative non profit organizations.

The Famous Hot Springs of Japan

A trip to Japan would not be complete without trying the onsen or the natural hot springs that abound in the country. Each region has its share of hot springs and they come in varied types with the water also in different colors such as black, white, green, red and brown. They have been enjoyed by the Japanese for hundreds of years now.

Hot springs provide health benefits owing to the minerals found in their water. And being hot, they keep the body warm and promote mental relaxation.

Hakone hot spring
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How Sumo Wrestlers are Raised and Trained

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Sumo wrestlers are popular figures in Japan. In fact, they are regarded as celebrities owing to their weight. They are unique, being larger than the regular Japanese citizen, and they take part in the country’s national sport.

Sumo is a Japanese style of wrestling that dates back to the ancient times. Its purpose then was to entertain the Shinto deities and by tradition, only men are allowed to be involved in this professional sport. Continue reading »

Japan Travel Blogs Worth Following

Japan is an amazing country rich in history and culture. It is, without a doubt, one of the world’s top tourist destinations. Foreign tourist arrivals for the first five months of this year alone reached 7.54 million, based on data from the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO). The Japanese government hopes to achieve its annual goal of 20 million by 2020.

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Learning about Japan and its people is fast and easy today. One just needs to go online and browse the different websites or blogs that focus on the land of the rising sun. These sites are also very useful to people wanting to visit this Asian country. Those passionate about writing on anything about Japan can even pursue a career in blogging. You just have to search via online jobs sites and check posts that says blogger needed.

There are numerous choices available but here are some of the best Japan travel blogs worth visiting and following. Continue reading »

How the Japanese Live to be 100

The Japanese are known to lead a healthy lifestyle and have a medium built body with no signs of a bulging tummy in both males and females. They don’t have weight issues and many live up to 100.

Did you know that Japan has four times more people aged 100 or more than any other country? The Health Ministry based in Tokyo noted that an estimated 51,000 Japanese are still living.

Japanese meal

Japanese women enjoy the longest life in the world averaging at 87.0 years based on the most recent World Health Organization (WHO) study while the men has an average of 79.4 years life expectancy. The Guinness World Records listed Misao Okawa who lived up to 117 years as the world’s oldest person in 2013. Okawa died of heart failure just this April 2015 after celebrating her birthday. Continue reading »

How to Enjoy Your Conveyor Belt Sushi

Sushi is one of Japan’s most famous dishes. This is served not only in Japan but as well as in other Japanese restaurants around the world.

But when you’re in the land of the rising sun, a dining place you should experience is the conveyor belt sushi restaurant. This type of restaurant is also referred as a sushi train or kaiten-zushi in Japanese.

kaiten sushi restaurant

As its name suggests, conveyor belt sushi restaurants are eateries where dishes are served using a conveyor belt floating past your seat. In short, no waiter serves your food so you have to serve yourself by simply picking the dish you like that passes by. Sushis offered here are the quality yet affordable ones. Continue reading »

Seijinshiki: Rite of Passage for Japanese Girls

Japan has many traditional rites that up to now are still being practiced. One of them is Seijinshiki or the coming of age of Japanese girls.

This so-called Coming of Age Day honors Japanese ladies as they turn 20 years old and enter adulthood. It is a yearly national holiday that takes place every second Monday of January.

Coming of Age Day in Japan

To celebrate their becoming adults, the ladies are encouraged to develop self-reliance to become responsible citizens of their society. Ladies qualified to attend the Coming of Age Day are those whose 20th birthday is between April 2 of the past year and April 1 of the present year. Unlike in other countries which consider 18 as the legal age, the proper age a Japanese enters adulthood is 20. Continue reading »

The Cherry Blossom Phenomenon

The cherry blossoms or sakura are one of Japan’s gems that attract millions of tourists from around the world each year. But they can only be experienced during spring time hence, people from foreign countries wishing to see them should plan well for their trip.

These flowering trees bloom at different times every year depending on their location. Generally though, the blossoms bloom early in areas with milder climates. Those in sunny areas bloom earlier than those in shadowy places.

Blooming Season

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On the southern island of Okinawa, for instance, the cherry blossoms open in January while in Hokkaido in the north, they bloom as late as May. In the cities of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka meanwhile, they bloom in April. Continue reading »

Schoolchildren Bike to School in Japan

Japan is one Asian country that boasts of an active bicycle lifestyle for kids and adults. As such, one would see specific bicycle lanes around the country’s major cities and these are widely used by people of all ages and social standings every day.

Among the active bicycle users in Japan are the schoolchildren. Even in their uniforms, these young kids notably those already in the higher level are urged to pedal to and from school on a daily basis.

students biking in Japan

Schools in Japan prohibit parents from dropping off their kids by car. If they do, they have to drop off the child a few meters away from the school. This is because of the narrow roads around schools and the presence of many kids who can be at risk of accidents when cars are allowed to pass by the area. Continue reading »