Showing posts from December, 2022

Best Japan Travel Guidebooks

 Japan is a captivating and unique destination that attracts travelers from all over the world. With its rich history, stunning natural beauty, and unique culture, it's no wonder that Japan is on so many people's bucket lists. If you're planning a trip to Japan, a good guidebook can be an invaluable resource, helping you to make the most of your time and experience in this amazing country. When choosing a guidebook for your trip to Japan, it's a good idea to consider your own interests and needs. Some guidebooks, such as Lonely Planet and The Rough Guide, offer more in-depth cultural and historical information, Other guides, such as Fodor's and Frommer's, focus more on practical information and recommendations. It's also a good idea to compare the coverage and recommendations of different guidebooks to find the one that best suits your needs. In today’s post, we'll take a look at some of the best Japan travel guidebooks available to help you plan

Are Animal Cafes Ethnical (Good and Bad)

Japan’s animal cafe scene is unlike any other with less commonly seen: owls, penguins, pigs, hedgehogs, snakes… You name it, Japan has it, but are animal cafes an ethical way to interact with animals? Animal Cafes have been criticized for mistreating the animals under their care by causing stress, poor environment, and forcing them to interact against their nature. However, these wild animals educate and raise awareness on any potential issue keeping them in the captivity of a cafe could be an issue worth exploring and debating. We do not wish to shame any reader who may have visited such cafes or plan to do so. Instead, we wish to educate readers who plan to visit the cafe before deciding whether or not they want to patronize such cafes. To ensure animal welfare is being considered, here is a look at how well animal cafes meet ethical standards regarding their furry friends. Undoubtedly, these experiences at animal cafes are extremely interesting and novel, and unlikely to be abl

History of Samurai Mask (From 14th Century)

 The movie “The Last Samurai” starring Hollywood Heartthrob Tom Cruise hit the cinemas almost 2 decades ago. While the movie did not depict this, real Samurais in ancient Japan had a very special and essential piece of armor: their masks. The oldest samurai mask on exhibit was from around the 14th century (based on a somen exhibit in Met Museum) but it is difficult to determine the exact age of the oldest surviving samurai mask, as many historical artifacts from this time period have been lost or destroyed over the centuries. These masks had various functions and meanings associated, from protection to intimidation, there’s an interesting history behind these unusual pieces of armor. In this article, we'll take an in-depth look at the history of the 4 types of Mempo included: Somen, Mempo, Hanbo, and Happuri. History of Somen Masks (Entire Face) Somen masks were worn by samurai as early as the 14th century based on a Met Museum exhibit. These straw-made masks were designed to

How to Enjoy Onsens as Foreigners (Even With a Tattoo)

Have you ever thought about visiting an onsen in Japan? Onsens are a great way to immerse yourself in traditional Japanese culture, but as a foreign visitor, it can be confusing to know where and how to start. It's important to remember that onsens aren't just for tourists; they have been a part of Japanese culture for centuries. For foreigners unfamiliar with the rules and etiquette of this revered ritual, visiting an onsen can be intimidating. Here is your guide to enjoying onsens no matter where you're from. Important Things to Know Before Visiting an Onsen as a Foreigner To act like a local in an onsen, we must learn the rules and etiquette of the Onsen. Not only will we be respectful of the culture and norms of Onsen, but we also make the experience more enjoyable for others. 1. Have Tattoos? Fret not! Traditionally, visitors with tattoos were not allowed into Onsen, due to safety concerns: the Yakuza (members of an organized crime syndicate) were often heavily t

A Closer Look Into Maid Cafe

 In Japan, the term “maid” can entail a completely different experience – A “Maid Cafe”, which are cafes where servers are women dressed in maid costumes. Shocking, isn’t it? At first glance, Japan’s maid cafes could seem slightly odd and not something we are used to. However, taking a closer look, the industry is full of respect and etiquette and is an essential part of Japan’s rich culture. Maid Cafes: Myth or Fact? The term “maid cafe” is undeniably one that will raise a few eyebrows, due to its sheer novelty and uniqueness. It begs the question: Are maid cafes truly prevalent in Japan?  The first permanent maid cafe, Cure Maid Cafe, was established in March 2001 in Akihabara, Tokyo. Akihabara is a bustling district renowned for its manga and anime stores. As these cafes became more and more popular, more such cafes cropped up, with expansion to other districts and even other countries. In Akihabara alone, there are more than 100 maid cafes as of today! Other countries like Si

Types of Bread in Japan (With Delicious Photos)

 Take a stroll down a street in a Japanese city, and more often than not, you’ll find yourself salivating from the whiff of freshly baked bread peeking at you from the insides of charming bakeries and cafeterias. Or maybe you have had moments of being fickle over which breads to buy while grocery shopping at a Japanese mart. Perhaps you need a clearer picture of the different types of bread that can be found in Japan, and here are 5 classic options for you to consider for a quick snack or a filling meal. Anpan bread Credits: Honest Food Talks This highly raved airy bread was invented in 1875 by Yasube Kimura, a samurai who eventually became a baker. He baked round bread rolls that he studded with poppy seeds or black sesame seeds. As he wanted the Japanese to develop a greater appreciation for Western bread during the Meiji Period, he stuffed the buns with sweet red bean paste. By being presented to the Meiji Emperor the following year, news started spreading through newspapers a

What Is The Appeal Of Anime?

Anime, a shortened form of the word "animation," is a style of animated entertainment that originated in Japan and has gained worldwide popularity in recent years. Anime often features complex and well-developed characters, immersive storytelling, and a wide range of themes, from action and adventure to romance and drama. Many anime series are also influenced by traditional Japanese art and storytelling and may incorporate elements of Japanese mythology and folklore. Anime is typically produced in Japan, but it has a global audience and is available on various platforms, including streaming services, television networks, and home video releases. From the visually stunning graphics and complex character development to the immersive storytelling and deep cultural roots, there are many reasons why anime has such a strong appeal. Let’s explore these reasons for the appeal of anime: Unique art style Well-developed characters Immersive storytelling Deep and meaningful mess

How Fast Can I Learn Japanese? (With 5 Factors)

Japanese is often considered one of the most difficult languages to learn, with thousands of characters and complex grammar. Japanese is a complex and nuanced language with a unique writing system and distinct cultural context. In today’s special post, we will explore how long it takes to learn Japanese, what factors can affect the learning process, and what it takes to become proficient in the language. So, if you’re wondering “how fast can I learn Japanese?” keep reading on! According to the U.S. Department of State, it takes an average of 600 classroom hours to reach a basic level of proficiency in Japanese. This equates to about two years of study if you are able to attend the class for three hours a week. However, this is just a rough estimate, and the actual amount of time it takes to learn Japanese will depend on the factors mentioned above. The amount of time it takes to learn a language can vary widely depending on a variety of factors. Some people may be able to learn Jap

Aokigahara Forest (青木ヶ原樹海)

  Image source: Jake Weirick From its mysterious beauty to heartbreaking tales, there is much to know about Aokigahara Forest. In this article, we will explore the creepy legends of this forest and discover why it has become such a dark destination for those seeking death.  Is Aokigahara forest a national park? Aokigahara, termed 青木ヶ原樹海in Japanese, is also known as the ‘Blue Tree Meadow’ or ‘The Sea of Trees’. It is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park that offers numerous walking trails for hikers and nature lovers. In addition to its lush forest, Aokigahara has three lava caves open to the public for exploration, Bat Cave, Ice Cave, and Wind Cave . However, Aokigahara is not famously known for the variety of flora or lava caves that it hosts. Rather, it is infamously known for its nickname, ‘Suicide Forest’, due to the tragically high number of suicide cases recorded there. According to a case report by Y. Takahashi published in 1988 , about 30 people commit suicide in Aoki

How to act like a Japanese person

Bought air tickets to Japan? Then you probably don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb while you are there! Well, you’re in luck, we’ve spoken with friends and family members who have lived in Japan for an extended period of time to ask them how to act like a Japanese person. It is important to first recognize that there is no one "right" way to act like a Japanese person, as every individual has their own unique cultural background, values, and behaviors. That being said, there are certain customs and social norms that are commonly practiced in Japan that you may wish to familiarize yourself with if you are planning to visit or live in the country. Japanese culture places a strong emphasis on politeness and manners, and there are many specific customs and traditions that are considered important to follow. Here are a few tips on how to act like a Japanese person. Respect hierarchy Be polite Communicate indirectly Pay attention to body language Be punctual Take yo

Are Hiroshima and Nagasaki Still Radioactive?

Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the two cities in Japan that were devastated by atomic bombings at the end of World War II, have long been associated with the horrors of nuclear warfare. The bombings, which occurred on August 6 and 9, 1945, respectively, killing approximately 140,000 people instantly, and another 70,000 died later due to illness caused by exposure to radiation. Are they still radioactive? The vast majority of the cities are now safe for habitation, and millions of people live and work in the cities without any ill effects from radiation. In fact, did you know that radiation levels in Hiroshima and Nagasaki are now generally similar to those found in other cities around the world? In the years since the bombings, Hiroshima and Nagasaki have been rebuilt and have become thriving metropolises once again. However, the question of whether or not these cities are still radioactive has still lingered in the minds of many. In this blog post, we will discuss what radiation is, wha

Working for the Japanese: Pros and Cons

What would you say if I told you that Japan has the 3rd highest number of millionaires in the world? That’s right at 6.5% of the global millionaires behind the United States and China. Working for a Japanese company can be a unique and rewarding experience, offering the opportunity to gain experience in a different culture and business environment, the potential for professional development and growth, and the chance to work with a highly organized and efficient team. However, there are also some potential drawbacks to working for a Japanese company that should be considered before deciding to take a job with one. In today’s post, we will explore the pros and cons of working for a Japanese company in depth, to help you make an informed decision about whether this is the right career move for you. You will develop a strong work ethic One of the biggest pros of working for a Japanese company is the work culture. Japanese companies are known for their strong work ethic. This can crea

Japanese Green Tea vs Chinese Green Tea

Japanese green tea and Chinese green tea are two of the most popular and well-known types of tea in the world. Both types of tea are made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant and have a long history and cultural significance in their respective countries. Japanese green tea and Chinese green tea both have a long and rich history, with the cultivation and enjoyment of tea dating back thousands of years in both countries. Despite their shared history and origins, there are many differences between Japanese green tea and Chinese green tea, including the way the tea leaves are grown, processed, and enjoyed. Comparisons Chinese Green Tea Japanese Green Tea Cultivation Techniques Different climates and soil A cool climate and moist soil Tea Leaves Processing Methods Pan-fried or roasted Steamed Tea Leaf Appearance Larger and looser formed Long and slender Types of Tea Sencha, gyokuro, and matcha Green tea, black tea, oolong tea, and white tea Tea Enjo

How to Win a Japanese Man’s Heart

Winning a Japanese man's heart may seem like a daunting task, but it's actually quite simple once you understand the unique and traditional culture of Japan. With a little bit of knowledge and understanding, you can successfully capture the heart of a Japanese man and form a lasting and loving relationship. We’re here to help you get started - have a Japanese man’s heart you want to win over? Here’s how: Be Patient Be Genuinely Interested in His Culture and Traditions Be Very, Very Respectful Be a Supportive Partner Be Humble Be Affectionate Be Confident and Exude Your Personality Be Patient First, it's important to understand that Japanese men tend to be shy and reserved, so it may take some time for them to open up and express their feelings. This doesn't mean that they are not interested, but rather that they are taking their time to get to know you and ensure that their feelings are genuine. Therefore, if you immediately give up after you find that the

Going to Japan? Buy These Bags!

Image Japan is known for its high-quality craftsmanship and attention to detail, so it's no surprise that the country is home to some of the world's best bag brands. From traditional Japanese designs to modern and minimalist styles, there is a wide range of options to choose from when it comes to buying a bag from Japan. In this article, we will highlight some of the top bag brands to consider when shopping for a new bag in Japan. Here are some bags that you've got to…BAG in Japan! Master-Piece One of the most well-known bag brands in Japan is Master-Piece. Founded in 1994, this brand is known for its high-quality backpacks and bags that are designed for outdoor use. Made with durable materials like canvas and leather, Master-Piece bags are built to last and are perfect for those who want a bag that can withstand the elements. Porter Another top bag brand from Japan is Porter. Fo

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