桜 ~ Sakura, a Gate to Your Sensational Memories ~

While I was organizing my room, I found some pictures.In these pictures, there are preteen kinds smiling, giggling ,or acting silly.The phrase from the movie 'Stand by Me' represents them well: "I never had any friends later on like the on…

判子 ~ a Stamp of Your Identity ~

" What did you just say!? " I burst into laughter." I didn't know it was that important !" my Chinese friend cried over the phone.Oh yeah...of course she didn't know just a stamp could be such an important thing here in Japan, and she lost…

灯籠流し ~ The Light Completes The Obon ~

Everything that starts has an end. At the end of お盆 (obon ) we hold an event called 灯籠流し ( To-ro-nagashi ).This is to send back ancestral spirits to the other world. 灯籠 ( To-ro or 'Candle-lit lantern') is written on with a name of …

お盆 ~ Waiting to Welcome You Back ~

For my biggest LOVE.We've opened the gate to welcome you back.Miss you...From the bottom of my heart <3 Above was a comment on Facebook that I posted with a picture the other day.It was for my beloved grandfather who passed away two years …

茶道 ~An Art of Green Tea Ceremony ~

I have a place I often recommend foreign friends visit.It's called 八芳園 ( Happouen ), a luxury hotel in Tokyo. It has a very beautiful Japanese garden with a Bonsai exhibition and a 茶室 ( chashitsu or 'house for the green tea ceremony')…

そうめん ~ A Simple and Entertaining Food for Summertime ~

Bang, bang, bang...I wake up in the morning to the high pitch sounds of hammers hitting...It seems neighbors are building a long gutter made of split bamboo for 流しそうめん ( nagashi-soumen ). そうめん ( soumen ) are very thin noodles mad…

腹切り ~ Harakiri ~

One day, I was in abroad with non-Japanese friends...One of my friends jokingly asked me, " Have you ever seen harakiri?" " Ah...yeah...my dad did it..." I answered it with a small voice and a grief-stricken face.An awkward silence filled …

だるま ~ Make My Wish Come True! ~

Are you wondering what to bring for friends as souvenirs from Japan? だるま ( daruma ) can be an option. A daruma is a doll, without arms or legs, with a round body and a predominating face painted on it. It has strong features; bold eyebr…

歌舞伎町 ~The Place I Hate the Most ~

Oh my gosh! I hate this place - 歌舞伎町 (Kabukicho). It's infamous for its red light district and is one of the most dangerous places in Japan.However this place full of desires fascinates many people and draws them in every day, every ni…

絵馬 ~ Votive Picture of a Tablet of Horses ~

Don't forget to pray when you visit a Shinto shrine! There are tablets hanging on boards or strings and spread on a frame. Those are called 絵馬 (ema). But why are they called that? ; 絵 ( picture ), 馬 ( horse) In ancient times, the weath…

Hashi ~ My Favorite Word ~

Do you know what Hashi means? Perhaps it's written as 橋 ( bridge ) or 箸 ( chopsticks ).Nowadays it has different characters and accents. The sound of Hashi originally meant "connection". 橋ーBridge is a connection from one bank to anothe…