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    2015/10/30
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Now you understand very basics of Shinto and Buddhism. But as a tourist, how shall you distinguish shrines and temples?

The easiest way is to check the entrance. If it has a gate made from either wood or stone, it should be a shrine. Originally the gate was the entrance of a spiritual zone which separate human world and holy zone.

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    2015/10/29
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a gate of shrine, called torii

A red wooden gate of shrine

When you come to Japan, you would visit at least one temple or shrine. There are 76 thousands temples and 88 thousands shrines in Japan. Actually there are more temples and shrines than convenience stores whose number is around 50 thousand.

But what are the differences? First of all, shrine is for Shinto and temple is for Buddhism. Shinto

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    2015/10/28
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テーブルセット
What are “itadaki-masu” and “gochiso-sama” in Japanese? If you a fan of Japanese anime, you should have heard the word “itadaki-masu” before a meal and “gochiso-sama” after meal. At home, we Japanese are educated to say those phrases before and after meals and if the children miss to say them, parents would let them say.
Both phrases are originally from religious concept. Itadaku, as a verb, literally means receive in polite expression.

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    2015/10/27
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http://anny.gift/1457/

photo from http://anny.gift/1457/

Sake is used in ceremonial occasions such as weddings. When I attended a friend’s wedding recently, kagami-biraki, which can be literally translated as “opening the mirror” was performed. It is a ritual whereby the bride and gloom break the wooden lid of a sake barrel together. The lid of the barrel is referred to as mirror because of its round and flat shape. By opening the

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    2015/10/26
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すし匠

As you may know, Japan is a country of gourmet. According to a Michelin restaurant guide 2015, there are 12 three stared restaurants, 53 two stared restaurants, and as many as 161 one stared restaurants in Tokyo. When you come to Japan, perhaps you do not want to miss some of those finest restaurants, especially Japanese ones. However, sushi, tempura and kaiseki restaurants are hard to book for foreign travelers because of

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    2015/10/25
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お箸
By far the most common you are likely to get from Japanese people, especially those who have limited or no experience in western countries, is “Can you use chopsticks?”
For a less-than-fluent English speaker, this is often the easiest question to ask, and many Japanese are unaware of the prevalence of chopsticks in households and restaurants throughout the rest of the world.
However, in Japan, the more important issue is not how to

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    2015/10/24
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sugidama green  sugidama brown

When you see a plant boll hung under the eaves, it is a sign of sake. It is usually brown but sometimes green. This ball, made from cedar leaves, is called sugi-dama (杉玉), literally means a cedar ball, and its color represents the matureness of sake.

Originally, sake was stocked in a barrel made from cedar tree and sake makers made

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    2015/10/23
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sakagura

Sake can be called rice wine and the process is similar to that of wine. Sake is made by fermenting rice like wine is made of grapes. In terms of brewing process, the major difference between wine and sake is glucose; grapes contain glucose whereas rice does not. During wine brewery process, grapes are fermented by yeast and ethanol is made during the process. Sake requires one more step to convert

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    2015/10/22
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Daiginjo is the most expensive sake as it uses only core part of rice; more than half of the rice should be polished to make daiginjo. But there are two types of daiginjo which are junmai-daiginjo and plain daiginjo. As we learned the difference between junmai-shu and jozo-shu, now you can guess junmai-daiginjo should not contain added alcohol. Plain daiginjo is made of water, highly polished rice and

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    2015/10/21
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sake3

If you are a sake lover, you may have heard that junmai-shu is better sake than jozo-shu. Is it correct? Not necessarily. Now let’ learn about some basics of sake. I checked several English information on junmai-shu and jozo-shu, but I think non of them explains the difference very well.

First of all, sake can be categorized into two big groups; junmai-shu and jozo-shu. (Honjozo is one type of jozo-shu.) Junmai-shu is

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