Japanese culture

These “Mikoshi Dako” are the badges of honour from a Japanese festival

Rather than hiding the calluses, the bulges on these men are glorified for a very special reason.

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BonAppetour startup lets you cook and dine with Tokyo locals in their homes

We visited Mariko’s home near Shinjuku for a variety of unique cultural experiences, including a lesson in making gyoza and a homemade feast complete with sake and shochu.

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10 things you didn’t know about geisha

We’ve talked before about geisha as one of Japan’s distinctly female professions, so this time we’re going to share with you a few fun facts about the geisha and their floating world.

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What do Japanese people think of “weeaboos”?【Video】

Weeaboos often get a bad rap for being out of touch with reality and over-idealising Japan. But what do ordinary Japanese people think of them?

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10 things foreigners in Japan notice about Japanese phone culture

Is Japanese smartphone culture really so different from other countries? Foreigners weigh in…

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How to lady: Fascinating Meiji Era women’s book features hairstyles, history lessons, etiquette

“From birth to death, a woman must never forget to display fondness and affection … a woman will surely experience a life of sorrow without it.”

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Napping taxi drivers in Tokyo become the subject of UK photographer’s work【Photos】

Check out these drowsy drivers catching 40 winks during a typical day in Japan’s busiest city.

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5 cultural tips for taking photos in Japan

Believe it or not, there’s a Japanese Way of taking photos. We’ve compiled some cultural guidelines as well as language tips to help you take happy snappies on your next trip to Japan!

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The 5 phases of adjusting to life in Japan (from a Western expat point of view)

Today, we present five phases Western expats go through, from arriving fresh off the boat to thinking about retirement, when living in Japan.

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Culture clash: 10 insider tips for visiting Japan

The Japanese are known for their politeness, so it’s only natural that visitors to Japan want to know what to do, or not do, to avoid appearing rude. Check out this list of little behaviors that you won’t find in your guidebook.

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Japanese teacher’s explanation about “individuality” to kids has a deep, beautiful meaning

Individuality is more than just writing kanji slightly differently from each other.

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8 things you should never say to a Japanese person

We asked Japanese people to tell us the things foreigners say or think about Japan that really gets their goat—and they were happy to oblige! How many of these faux pas are you guilty of?

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Japan Misunderstood: 3 stereotypes that live on

Every time I visit my home country and talk about my life in Japan, one thing becomes clear to me: Japan remains incredibly misunderstood overseas. With this in mind, today we’ll be discussing three stereotypes of Japan: the country’s apparent disdain for those who stand out from the crowd, the notion that Japan is a strict society, and that the idea of ‘losing face’ is a quintessentially Asian concept.

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“Amazing Kyoto” shows us sides of Japan’s old capital we’ve never seen before — in two languages!

Kyoto, which was the capital of Japan for more than 1,000 years, is one of those cities that looks beautiful no matter what time of the year it is. But out of all the seasons, autumn is by far the most popular time to visit, and now that the leaves are beginning to change people are also starting to plan trips to catch a glimpse of Kyoto’s gorgeous fall scenery.

If you happen to be one of those tourists, we have just the book for you, a unique insight into city by foreigners who now call Kyoto their home, called Amazing Kyoto.

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Oral care survey suggests foreigners think Japan has breath issues….

After having lived in Japan for a number of years, you get used to the certain ways in which it smells kinda different to your home country. For example, people here tend to wear less cologne and perfume so you’re not as likely to have your nostril hairs singed by someone who has doused themselves with eau de celeb as you share a train carriage on your morning commute. On the other hand, smoking is absolutely everywhere in Japan and you can expect to come home with your hair and clothes stinking of smoke after barely an hour at your local izakaya, even if you never touch the cancer sticks yourself.

But a new survey conducted by an oral care company has found evidence that suggests one of the things foreign visitors to Japan notice is the huge number of people with bad breath! Apparently, this halitosis has left many a foreigner visitor “disappointed” with the country, whatever that means…

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Four moments when Japan’s single men are glad they’re not married

We all know marriage and live-in-partnerships have a lot going for them. From constant companionship to support when you’re stressed with work or family problems, the idea of cohabiting with that special someone is powerful enough to sweep even the most jaded singleton off their feet.

In Japan, where pre-marriage cohabitation is still considered somewhat taboo, married life is a serious commitment with traditional roles that involve self-sacrifice and obligation, not only to one’s partner but to their extended family. So what do the single men of Japan think about marriage versus the bachelor life? A recent survey reveals the moments men are glad they’ve never put a ring on it and the interesting reasons why.

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Three myths about Japan you may be surprised to learn aren’t true! 【Video】

When people visit or move to a different country, they usually find it’s different from the image they’ve conjured up in their heads. Fortunately for those interested in Japan, there are quite a few channels on YouTube devoted to bringing you a real glimpse at everyday life in the Land of the Rising Sun.

In one recent video, three prominent bloggers from the Japan vlogging community met up last week to introduce three myths that people abroad often believe about Japan.
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Five things you need to know about Obon–one of Japan’s biggest holidays 【Videos & more】

If the idea of your loved ones leaving this earth never to return again seems unfair, then you should consider the Japanese view of the afterlife. While nothing can change death itself, it is comforting to know that in Japan there is a special time of the year when the souls of the dead come back to visit the living. This is called Bon (or Obon using the honorific “o”) a holiday period from August 12-16 (exact dates may vary depending upon location), a time when the entire country takes a break to celebrate the “festival of the dead.” It’s a lively few days when the living and the dead can once again unite to eat together, drink together and share good times.

The Bon tradition gives the country some of the unique dances that Japan is so famous for. Tokushima’s Bon dance, called Awa Odori, for example, draws over one million tourists every year. Traditional Bon entertainment is so lively, colorful and intriguing that a Bon dance is a must-see on every traveler’s itinerary.

Today we’ll introduce you to a five things you should know about Obon. Needless to say, it’s a very exciting time to be in Japan as a tourist!

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7 Japanese customs that even Japanese people wish would just disappear

Japan has a lot of unique customs, and not all of them make sense to newcomers. Eating fried chicken on Christmas Eve, anyone? How about the weird ritual of girls giving chocolate to guys on Valentine’s Day (do guys really like chocolate more than we girls do?).

But it turns out that there are plenty of customs that even Japanese people think are a waste of time. Here’s the top seven worst offenders, and why they are so annoying…

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Documentary about Japanese gold leaf process ignites interest in cultural arts online【Video】

With our Japan Wish competition winner Ashley now in Kyoto, the former capital of Japan, she now has access to many of Japan’s most popular tourist destinations, like Kinkakuji, or the Golden Pavillion, that we hope she makes her way to sometime during her stay.

This temple, which gets its name from the gold leaf that covers the upper two stories of the pavilion, was built during the Muromachi period (1337–1573), when much of the traditional Japanese art and culture recognized today began to flourish thanks to beneficial relationships between Japan and China as well as the spread of Zen Buddhism. This extended to architecture as well, where ornate decorations like gold leaf on Buddhist temples acted as a purifier against pollution of the outside world and inside the mind (on top of its structural benefits against weather and decay).

Over time, Kanazawa area of Ishikawa Prefecture, which produced the gold leaf used for Kinkakuji, became Japan’s top producer in gold leaf. Even today, Kanazawa produces 99% of the country’s gold leaf, and recently a wonderful documentary highlighting this traditional art has been garnering praise online both domestically and abroad.

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