Tag Archives: Japanese culture

Sumo Wrestler Models at Fasion Show

The highest-ranking sumo wrestler in Japan, 330-pound Asashōryū Akinori,took to the runway at a fashion show in Tokyo for the Shibuya Girls Collection. Asashoryu, the Mongolian-born badboy of sumo, was dressed inexplicably in a boy’s school uniform as he strode down the runway.

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Filed under For the Love of Japan, Japan, News

O-koto – by Melissa

I have been living in Japan and taking koto lessons for 6 months.  I have a students’ concert in one month and here I am, full of mistakes and cold reading the last part of “Sakura Saukra” in practice with my teacher, Mizutani-sensei.  She gets the patience award. Big time.  I take lessons weekly in her traditional home. She serves me tea and we bow with an “Onegaishimasu” before we begin the first song of the lesson. Continue reading

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Filed under For the Love of Japan, Inspiration!, Japan, Music

Divining Japanese Surnames – by Emmett

names

As part of my brief and unstudied education in Japanese I have been working out how to read family names. This is a manageable place to start, for nearly all names are made of only two kanji, pictographic characters descended from Chinese. Once I stopped associating each character with a phonetic counterpart, I was able to divine the symbolic meaning of the names. The characters’ sounds change depending on placement, noun-consonant morphology, or age of the name. The character , for instance, almost always reads as “yama”; however, in older family names and place-names may read as “san” as in “Fujisan,” the famous mountain. In the greater picture, means “mountain.” Once I focused on this, the names of the people around me began to tell a story that is not always obvious in the wake of Japanese modernity.

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Mochi – by Melissa

A few years back, my roommates, some friends and I were sitting around the dinner table making lists.  The lists were of our top ten favorite smells, tastes, sounds, textures and the like.  I filled mine out carefully, each decision sifted from a wide variety of synaesthetic moments in my life. In my sixth month of living in Japan, I now feel so strongly about one of these items that I could forgo the other nine and fill the entire textures list with one word: mochi.

Mochi is rice pounded into a paste and then shaped into or wrapped around whatever its maker wishes.  It is the Plaster of  Paris of Japanese food and it is divine; it feels like baby cheeks. Along with the apparent magic of mochi, it factors beautifully in Japanese culture, becoming not only a triumphant symbol of Japanese cuisine but also the industriousness of rabbits.

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Filed under animals, Food, For the Love of Japan, Inspiration!, Reviews