Tuesday, September 25, 2007

In restaurant

We can receive special service in a restaurant in Japan. It is a glass of water and wet towel service.Yes, for free . It is amazing service before order.In almost of restaurants in Japan, a glass of water is served to each guests for free.It you want to drink more, waiter or waitress would pour water in your glass for you.Also there are one more service. In some restaurants, we can receive a wet towel(hot or cold) ,"Oshibori" in Japanese, to clean our hands.Hot wet towel is especially comfortable. Some men wipe even their faces.I've never seen a free service like that in other country.I think this service in Japan is excellent for hospitality.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Autumn Equinox Day - "Atsusa Samusa mo Higan made"

Today is a traditional holiday for Japanese. Twice a year, spring and autumn, we have a custom to remember own ancestors. During each 3 days before and after the Vernal Equinox Day and Autumn Equinox Day , we called "Higan".
Almost people go to our ancestor's grave and remember them. And we appreciate our present peaceful life.
We eat special sweet "Ohagi" This is a traditional sweet and we eat it in only this period. It is like rice cake that is covered with small beans paste, "Anko". There are other flavor, sesame or soybean flour "Kinako".
"Atsusa Samusa mo Higan made" We say as proverb. This means the season is changed from Higan , it gets cooler after Higan season in September and autumn comes. Heat in summer and coldness in winter finish by Higan season. This proverb is always true until now. Today gets cooler than yesterday.

The most favorite season for me or almost of Japanese, autumn is coming soon.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


I went to Ginza in Tokyo with my friends. It was very hot day of summer ending . However, many people walked around and enjoyed shopping. I am a one of them.
Ginza is a traditional Japanese commercial town and is known as sophisticated place in Tokyo. This area is downtown in Tokyo. We can go shopping , eat something or see movies and "Kabuki".
There are some bland shops , Chanel, Tiffany, Loewe or Apple store, etc. And there are some shop of long standing (Shinise) . New and traditional Japanese culture is mixed.
We thought Ginza was a town that especially adults can enjoy. However, it is changing . Now new buildings and department stores will be opened or redecorated for young people.
Now Ginza might be trendy place.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Elderly Vitality

Japan is a country of longevity. Many elderly people live actively. They go everywhere with their friends and some of them go for a trip a foreign country.
In my opinion,
1) First of all most Japanese people originally lived a very humble lifestyle before modern economic development , after World War Ⅱ. They would have eaten only simple Japanese food, fish and vegetables when they were young. Moreover, they didn't eat much and they ate only natural ingredients, vegetables that were grown with no agricultural chemicals.
2) Secondly, medical treatment is developing day by day. For a long time serious diseases weren't curable. However, even cancer is a disease that isn't fatal now if we can find it early enough. The improvement of treatment is remarkable. So elderly people can live longer.

On the other hand, the number of aged people that die alone is increasing now. Recently many aged people , especially in big city, live alone with no family or children live in other home. This situation is a problem for our society. I have heard a news that a aged man died without being known his death by neighborhood.

Living longer is excellent, however, it is best to live longer with good health and a reliable family or friends.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sesame - GOMA

Almost Japanese like sesame taste. Sesame is used in a lot of Japanese plates. There are many special Japanese ingredients. Sesame is one of them.
They are aromatic , "Koubashii" in Japanese. In my case, I dust them on spinach with soy sauce.
Sesame is used in even ice cream . We usually use grounded and roasted sesame. I recommend the Goma sauce , off course we use grounded sesame, with mayonnaise , vinegar and soy sauce. I eat it as salad dressing . Please try that .

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Seaweed - Nori

We frequently eat some kinds of seaweed , Konbu (Kelp), Nori, Wakame,Mozuku or Mekabu.etc. It is said that seaweed is good for health in Japan. Especially it seems to be good for our hair.
Nori is soaked in the sun and dried as a sheet. When it is used, a sheet of Nori is toasted for few minutes to get more aromatic before we eat. You must have seen Maki-zushi (rolls) that is wrapped with Nori.
In some Asian countries, seaweed is eaten, but I've never heard that western people or Arab don't eat seaweed. Is it true ?
I want to know who eat seaweed except Japanese or Asian.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Crowded train in the morning

Tokyo is a big city and many people live around Tokyo. Also many companies are located in the center of Tokyo.
Therefore, almost people commute to the offices by trains. A lot of trains and subways run in Tokyo. At rush hour in the morning trains are very crammed with a lot of people.It is symbolic scene in Tokyo. After they get it off, it is as if the station is flooded with the wave of people. And other countries people will be surprised at this cram and a flood of people.There are some people who get on for 1 hour or more than 1 hour to commute. The cram is sometimes like a hell. I get on these crammed trains every morning.
Interval of time schedule is so tight. The interval for Yamanote line is 2 or 3 minutes. Time is almost accurate. It is remarkable. The congested time schedule might be a reason that everyone says Japanese seems to be always busy . This is typical system for Japan.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Shrine & Temple

Our spirit is mainly based on Shinto and Buddhism.Shrine is architecture for Shinto and Temple is one for Buddhism.We worship nature for Shinto.
There are a lot of shrines and temples in Japan .Especially , 1 or 2 shrines are located at each city for the genius of the local area.
A festival is held at the time of "Bon" that it is said ancestors come home in summer for Buddhism.I used to go to summer night festival "En nichi" when I was child.Everyone enjoy traditional dance (Bon Odori) , play game or eat at the stands in temple.Some girls wear colorful "Yukata" ("Yukata is a kind of traditional Japanese wear for summer like kimono.)
Many traditional customs live in our life and is come down.
(The picture below is a shrine.)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

"Wa" 和 - Harmony and Consideration 

We respect "Wa" for our relationship with friend , family or co-workers ,etc. There are a lot of meanings in "Wa" . This meaning is harmony and consideration. We tend to think much of others, not individual.When we do something , we think how comfortable everyone spend in same space at first. Cooperating is first priority.
We often say this phrase."Feel of perceive air or atmosphere." This means we had better understand the feeling of others or situation around us. It is efficient way to keep good relationship by imagining how other people are thinking now even if they don't tell us. The concept "Wa" is very important to associate with other people for us.
I personally assume that the typical Japanese culture is excellent . However, we might forget "Wa" recently. It is sad that people who think of only themselves is increasing.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Miso (Soy bean paste)

Everyone knows soy sauce is one of Japanese famous seasoning.As well as soy sauce ,we use it for cooking and it is important taste.It is said that there are 5 basic seasonings in Japan .Sugar, Salt ,Vinegar, Soy sauce and Miso.Miso is made from fermented soybeans and there are a lot of kinds.We eat fermented food frequently except miso.
Almost people eats miso soup everyday. ( This traditional custom might change in Japanese homes recently.) I eat everyday at least. It is basically OK to put any vegetables in the miso soup.Typical ingredients are tofu ,Japanese radish or soft seaweed.It is so healthy food (No oil)
Instant miso soup is bought in food market. I sometimes bring it when I go to abroad for a long time. Because I miss Japanese food. It is convenient to cook. We can make miso soup easily after pouring in hot water.I can get energy after I eat miso soup and I realize I'm Japanese.

Sunday, September 2, 2007


Rice is very important and a source of power for Japanese . Rice gives us energy. I especially love rice and ate it everyday. I might say that I don't need anything if there are rice and miso-soup.
Autumn is a season that plants ripen. The taste of rice is a topic every year. Recently rice that isn't refined "Genmai " is popular for healthy food . (Normaly, we eat white refined rice.)
However, It is said that the people, especially young , who doesn't eat is increasing now . This situation is very sad for me.
But rice is basis in our body.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Land of Earthquake

It isn't too much to say that my country is an island of earthquake. There are a lot of earthquakes frequently. Since we sometimes feel small one , we aren't surprise at it. Today ( September 1 ) is a day of thinking about disaster prevention . Because a big earthquake struck around Kanto area in 1923.
Fortunately , I haven't experienced big earthquake until now. However, we forecast that a big one will occurred around Tokyo in near future . Recently an earthquake happened in Niigata prefecture. It caused extensive damage to this area.
If a big earthquake happen somewhere, we can't think it is other countries issue.
We can't live without thinking of earthquakes in Japan.