There may be universal board games that people love to play during their leisure time. They are normally played by two people although there are some that allow multiple players.
Each country, however, has its own traditional board games for adults that its citizens have grown to love. Japan is no exception. This land of the rising sun may be known to be a leader in technology including the popular electronic gadgets a lot of people own today but it also boasts of board games that have a cultural significance to the country and its people.
Gomoku is an abstract strategy board game traditionally played using Go pieces or the black and white stones. Also referred to as Gobang or Five in a Row, it makes use of a go board with 19×19 intersections although it may be played using a paper and pen as well. Continue reading »
Posted April 7th, 2014 by Teresa Te+ | Comment (0)
Japan is among the top tourist destinations in Asia. It has so much to offer its visitors in terms of attractions, products and even its rich culture.
Today, however, people around the world eager to learn more about this land of the rising sun need not spend a fortune and book a trip to the country. Thanks to the internet, the world has become smaller allowing users of all ages to travel the globe in the comforts of their home.
There’s so much information about Japan available online these days. And contrary to what others think that they’re mostly in the Japanese language, there are actually many quality blogs for English speakers although not necessarily managed by the Japanese. Depending on what information you’re looking for, there’s one Japan blog in English you can find on the web. Below are some of them worth visiting. Continue reading »
Posted January 22nd, 2014 by Teresa Te+ | Comment (0)
Japanese gardens are some of the world’s most beautiful. They’re designed for special purposes with certain traditions being applied and most of the time, they appear as mini landscapes with clean lines. Being the zen type, they are most ideal for meditation.
The Chinese gardens had an initial influence but eventually particularly during the Edo period, Japan developed its own style using indigenous materials and by applying their own culture.
Contrary to what some people believe, it’s not all the time that a Japanese garden involves rock and water. There are some designs that feature only sand or simply a grass covered area with trees around.
The basic elements of this type of zen garden are plants, rocks and water. Continue reading »
Posted January 9th, 2014 by Teresa Te+ | Comment (0)
Japan boasts of many traditional food that involves a set procedure in preparing and cooking the ingredients. Some are known worldwide while the others are known only to the Japanese.
The washoku cuisine is just one of the traditional cuisines of the land of the rising son. It is popular for being healthy and pleasant to the eyes.
Just recently, UNESCO designated the washoku as an intangible cultural heritage. Right now, 21 Japanese assets approved by the country’s government are in this prestigious list. Washoku is the first asset related to food included in this list. Continue reading »
Posted December 30th, 2013 by Teresa Te+ | Comment (0)
The Japanese love to use their bathtubs as often as they can. In fact, they have a bathing culture known worldwide. Additionally, they have a choice between pampering themselves in the comfort of their homes or in a public bath.
People from the land of the rising sun believe in the healing power of a hot bath. Also, they don’t just use pure water because most often than not, they include some natural ingredients that help keep their body warm even during the cold winter months.
Here are the most popular bath add-ins you might be interested in using yourself.
Apart from its benefit in one’s health such as relieving sore throat, protecting against colds, lowering blood pressure and improving one’s appetite, ginger also helps keep the body warm. In addition, those who regularly use this root crop claim that ginger’s strong aroma helps relieve their headaches. Continue reading »
Posted December 26th, 2013 by Teresa Te+ | Comment (0)
Public baths have been in existence since the ancient period. The Romans and the Greeks were known to be the first to use them.
In Japan, these baths particularly the hot springs or onsen are also common. It originated from the traditional ritual of purifying with water called Misogi. This was after the country adopted the Buddhist culture which allowed temples to have saunas open for the public to use.
Unisex public bath was normal in the past but today, there are separate areas for the males and females. Regardless of the area you’ll be using, it is very important to know the proper etiquette when using these facilities. Expats and foreign visitors should be aware of these to ensure the Japanese don’t get offended. Continue reading »
Posted December 14th, 2013 by Teresa Te+ | Comment (1)
If you’re traveling to Kyoto in Japan and are in a tight budget, there’s a way to stay in a decent accommodation without having to spend a fortune. Simply check in a capsule hotel which is the latest trend in the country.
Called the Nine Hours Hotel, this establishment does not have the usual hotel rooms. Instead, it features state-of-the-art sleeping pods that are available only to accommodate a guest for nine hours. Each pod is just a box enough to fit one individual or simply-put, it is the size of a coffin.
Yes, accommodation is for nine hours only. The first hour is allowed for getting ready for bed, the seven hours is for sleeping and the other one hour is allowed for getting ready in the morning after waking up and before checking out.
Three people are behind this new sci-fi hotel concept and innovative sleeping technology. They are Fumie Shibata and his Design Studio S plus Masaaki Hiromura and Takaaki Nakamura. The three came up with this new type of establishment with the belief that travelers need to be spending more time in their desired destination and as little time in their hotel, thus the nine hours of stay only. Each stay is worth $49 or 4,800 yen.
Capsule hotels are actually no longer new in Japan. They’ve been in existence since the 1970s. Unfortunately, they gained a bad reputation at that time as the only choice of drunken workers who have failed to take the last train home. Continue reading »
Posted December 7th, 2013 by Teresa Te+ | Comment (0)
You may have heard this name only now or you may have heard about it many times in the past but did not bother to find out what it is. Persimmon is a fruit of Chinese origin that looks a lot like tomato and is a popular autumn and winter fruit.
Originally, it was cultivated in Japan and China for centuries. It is called shizi in Chinese and kaki in Japan. Its botanical name is diospyros kaki and considered one of the oldest plants in cultivation.
From China, its cultivation later spread to East Asia (Japan in particular) then much later to California in the U.S., southern Europe in the 19th century and then to Brazil in the 1890s. Today, it is also grown in Italy, in the Mediterranean regions as well as in the U.S. and the Middle East. Continue reading »
Posted November 30th, 2013 by Teresa Te+ | Comment (0)
Much like in the western world, foods in Japan are normally best eaten together with its appropriate partner. This is among the important Japanese traditions that some people may not be aware of.
It should be noted that food pairings in the land of the rising sun go beyond just tradition. They also provide real health benefits which people who love Japanese food should be happy about. These pairings do not just include all food but foods and seasonings as well.
Learn about them here so that the next time you order at a Japanese restaurant, you know what to ask for. Continue reading »
Posted November 24th, 2013 by Teresa Te+ | Comment (0)
When autumn comes, the changing colors of the leaves of trees are what many people eagerly await. While spring may be the time when colorful flowers are abloom, autumn boasts of its own color tones mostly orange, yellow and red. The koyo, or colorful leaves of autumn, are the equivalent of spring’s cherry blossoms.
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Did you know that leaf watching during the latter part of the year is a popular activity in Japan? This has been going on for many long years and today, the tradition continues in many koyo spots that attract numerous tourists.
It is normally in mid September when the so-called koyo front begin moving southwards starting from the Hokkaido in the north up to the central and southern parts of Japan by the latter part of November. By early December, though, there are still some trees particularly in Tokyo and Kyoto that display their beautiful colors.
During the early part of autumn, the colorful leaves can be found in the mountains. While hiking is the best way to reach the place and see them up close, other means of getting there are by train, bus or ropeway. Continue reading »
Posted November 17th, 2013 by Teresa Te+ | Comment (0)