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    2015/11/19
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bizen ware

At first glance, you may be confused as to why Japanese people consider Bizen-style pottery very beautiful and one of their most valued cultural arts. Because its color does not seem to be something special, the shape looks ordinary. You could pick up a Bizen-style pottery by the roadside without realizing its beauty. But if you were to take it home and display it in a tokonoma alcove, you will

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    2015/11/18
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bonsai

Bonsai is a miniature tree in a small container, but more than that. Bonsai is an art to create majestic scenery inside the container. Unlike pictures or sculptures, it is a living art and the time plays an important role. You’d easily find more than 80 years old but only 40 cm high bonsai in a garden. Time plays important role to make beautiful shape as the bonsai owner intend. In

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    2015/11/15
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moss basin
In a Japanese garden, green moss is one of the most important components. It is a symbol of smallness of a human being in contrast to the great nature and the flow of time, as it takes long period of time for moss to cover the entire rocks or ground. Therefore grown moss tells us the shortness of a human life and is a good sign to correct the arrogance

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    2015/11/14
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sinjuku gyoen garden

Now you understand three principles to enjoy Japanese garden in our previous post. The second principle, symbolization (mitate) is an important key to understand and enjoy a dry landscape garden or karesansui teien (枯山水庭園). As mentioned, a dry landscape garden is highly abstract. All natural objects such as mountains, water falls, flow of brook, and trees are represented by rocks, stones and moss. Some

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    2015/11/13
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magome

The most distinctive difference between Japanese garden and western-style garden is that Japanese ones are made as natural as possible whereas western ones in general arrange trees and rocks geometrically. Japanese garden designers follow three basic principles which are miniaturization (shukukei), symbolization (mitate) and “borrowed views”(shakkei). And those three principles are key to enjoy Japanese garden.

The first principle, miniaturization is to create natural views of mountain and brooks in reduced scale.

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    2015/11/12
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You may recall a stone garden when you hear a word “Japanese garden”. Yes, it is one type of Japanese garden out of three types. Let’s see what types of traditional gardens you can enjoy in Japan.

1) chisen teien (pond garden)
It is a type of Japanese garden with a pond in the center and most often observed in many regions of Japan. Usually it is large and you are supposed to enjoy the garden by walking around the pond. Its

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    2015/11/11
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tattoo

Tourists who are inked should be aware that, in general, Japan has a negative attitude about tattoos that make accessing certain facilities more challenging. Although tattoos are quite commonplace in most western countries, and are becoming popular with younger demographics here, many older Japanese view them as explicitly crime-related. Fans of Japanese cinema and video games will easily recognize the ornate, full-body tattoos worn by the Yakuza. Additionally, similar to the

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    2015/11/4
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Those who live in other metropolitan areas around the globe may be surprised to learn that Japanese subways and commuter trains do not run 24 hours a day. While the time of the last train varies depending on the line, it’s usually between about 12:00 and 12:30AM. The earliest trains the following day will run intermittently starting from about 5:30AM.

As Tokyo is a city with no lack of nightlife, many may wonder why it does not have public transportation to

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    2015/11/3
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ginza line

Japanese culture is well known for its rules and formality. Whether it’s table manners, business introductions, or after-hours drinking parties, there are unspoken rules for every situation. Riding on the train is no different! Let’s take a look at how the locals are supposed “not” to do.

No talking on the phone
The cardinal rule of Japanese train etiquette is to avoid talking on the phone while onboard. Many new to Japan

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    2015/11/2
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Osaka, Dotonbori

Osaka, Dotonbori

While it may not be apparent to short-time visitors, Tokyo and Osaka are very different cities with very different cultures. Tokyoites are known for being reserved, serious, polite, and tend to keep to themselves. Osakans are the opposite – gregarious folks sometimes bordering on raucous. Osaka is the home of many famous Japanese comedians, and the people there are known for their sense of humor. Locals

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