Culture & Etiquette

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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03/02/2016 Culture

The Japanese manner of “お辞儀” (Ojigi: The Bow)


Have you ever seen the Japanese soccer player Nagatomo bowing after he scored his first goal after joining the Inter Milan soccer team?That scene was uploaded on YouTube and his performance was seen throughout the world. The “bow” is an inseparable manner from the Japanese people, because it is one of the many, essential business manners in Japan. An adult who can’t properly bow will be labelled naive. Although the “bow” is routinely used in Japan, Japanese people who understand it might not know everything about it. In what kind of situations do the Japanese bow? We bow to express salutation, gratitude, apologies, and respect. Nevertheless, we almost never use […]

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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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