Culture & Etiquette

03/02/2016 Culture

Why do Japanese people bow? Japanese etiquette: Ojigi

In shops, in the streets, on the phone… You may have noticed that Japanese people bow all the time! Japan has a lot of hidden rules like where to stand in the escalators, are what to do with your shoes… But the manner of bowing is very visible. Ojigi, the “bow” is an essential manner for the Japanese people, especially when doing business. An adult who can’t properly bow will be labelled rude or childish. Although the “bow” is routinely used in Japan, there are nuances that even some Japanese people might ignore! If you intend to do business with Japanese people, it’s better to know the basics of the […]

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05/06/2015 Culture  Seasonal

Japanese seasonal customs for June

June 1st: Koromogae (Seasonal change of clothing) Schools and companies that use uniforms change them to their summer attire. This custom has existed for over 1000 years and people used to change their furnishings as well. On October 1st people change to their winter attire. June 10th: Time Day It was designated in 1920 to spread the importance of time among Japanese people. The day was derived from June 10th, 1400 years ago when the first ‘set’ water clock gonged. Nyuubai: Entering the rainy season In Japan, the rainy season is called “Tsuyu”. The date it starts depends on where you live in Japan. In 2018 for Tokyo, it will […]

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02/07/2015 Araki-Cho  Culture  Life & Language  Shinto

How to write on the wooden plaque called ‘Ema’ and send your wishes to the Shinto gods.

Ema for praying for success at school

Sending your wishes to the spirits If you have ever visited a Shinto religion shrine, you may have noticed these small wooden boards hanging. They are called ema. Japanese people believe that the kami (god or spirit) housed in the shrine will grant your wish if you write it on them. Typical wishes are getting into a specific school, living happily with your family, or being blessed with good children.  If you have a wish you really want to be granted, you can do some research and chose a shrine accordingly: some shrines and their kami have specific powers like granting prosperity to your business, finding love (like in Kamigamo shrine), succeeding in exams, […]

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03/10/2016 Culture  Life & Language

Ojizo-san, a deity with a red cloth.

You may see statues wearing red bibs while walking in the countryside of Japan. These statues are the Jizo Bosatsu deity, who is in charge of protecting children.
In this article, I will show you the secret of his cloth and explain why the statues stand outside.

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12/11/2014 Culture

Enjoy Japanese food even more with magnificent “chopstick technique”!

Chopsticks are indispensable for eating a Japanese meal, so it’s worth learning how to use them properly Japanese food is becoming more popular with the many Japanese restaurants that are appearing all over the world. Chopsticks are essential for eating a Japanese meal. In Japan, adults who are not yet able to hold chopsticks correctly are sometimes regarded as an embarrassment, or as having missed out on being taught an essential discipline during their childhood. Foreigners who are not accustomed to using chopsticks can easily acquire good chopstick technique by learning a few of the tricks. This will improve their dinner table etiquette and they will enjoy their Japanese meals […]

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