Posts Tagged Under: Japan

    2015/11/1
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hina dolls

two sets of hina dolls and a kimono

So far, we have seen some visual and historical differences between Shinto and Buddhism. Now let me explain how naturally both Shinto and Buddhism affect on our daily lives and seasonal ceremonies.

At the night of New Year’s Eve, December 31, we usually go to temple to appreciate the lucks of previous year and worship for coming good year. Next morning, on January 1, we go to shrine wishing for a good new year. You may feel this is something very unprincipled. But this is the way Japanese have been. Other religious ceremonies both from Shinto and Buddhism can be observed every season. March 3 is girls’ day, which families with girls Read More

    2015/10/31
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sensoji
The basic actions you have to take in either shrine or temple are similar. First of all, keep in your mind that it is a holly place that you have to show resect. Then as follows.

Step1. Enter the site walking under the gate. Inside the site is regarded as holy.

Step2. Wash your hands and mouth at a place for ritual cleansing. Hold the ladle with your right hand and pour water on your left hand. Do the same with your left hand to clean your right hand. Then hold the ladle with right hand again to wash your mouth.

Only in Temples; After washing hands, you would find an incense burner. Wave your hands over the smoke to clean yourself with Read More

    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.

Stone shrine gate

If it has an incense burner (jokoro), it is a sign of a temple. At the incent burner, people clean themselves with the smoke and its aroma before moving forward. Also, if you find grave stones inside or around, that place is a temple.

[caption id="attachment_603" align="alignnone" Read More
    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 is the oldest religion in Japan and relatively primitive. Its unique characteristic is polytheism believing in many gods and spirits. People believe there are as many as 8 million gods and spirits- people find gods and spirits everywhere, from behind a leave, under a stone, to top of a mountain.

Buddhism Read More

    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. Japanese say itadaki-masu before meals to appreciate two things. The first appreciation is for all the people who relate to the cooking- not only cooks themselves but also others such as farmers and clerks of supermarkets. The second appreciation is for lives of all food, not only livestock Read More

    2015/10/27
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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 lid, it is believed to bring good luck and prosperity to the couple. It is said that the ceremony originates from the time when sake barrel was opened to offer sake to samurai soldiers before battles.

With all the attendees watching, the newly-wed couple broke the lid together with a wooden Read More

    2015/10/18
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When you’ve been to a good Japanese restaurant in your country, you may have tried sake. But was it really good? Maybe yes, it should have been so fantastic. But if you were unlucky, you might have tasted something untasty. Why?

Unlike wine, most of sake (even the ones in foreign markets) do not contain sulfites or any other antioxidant. Which means, Sake is fragile to the change of temperature and air. Unstable temperature and oxygen easily damage the flavor and taste. Sake bottles should be treated very carefully to keep the temperature at the same level. And once the bottle was opened, you have to finish it within a day. However, some restaurants keep big bottles (1800ml bottle is common for Read More

    2015/10/15
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sword13

If you are attracted by beauty of the sword, why don’t you purchase it? Sword has been not only the symbol of samurai spirit but also known as gift in special occasions. Japanese people today still regard sword as special gift. Ken Takakura, one of the most popular and famous Japanese cinema actors who played a role of samurai in many films, is known that he sent swords to his close movie director, co-workers and friends. Swords can be either private or corporate gift. Sword as gift perfectly suits the situation such as celebration of opening a new office, memorial of important contraction, or symbol of tight bilateral relationship. Sword is definitely unique and eternal gift that can remain next several generations.

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