Culture

TRJ Awarded “Certificate of Awesome!” from Grey, Grizzled and Gaijin

TRJ Awarded “Certificate of Awesome!” from Grey, Grizzled and Gaijin

Craig Hoffman is a novelist, writer, blogger and social media guru living in Japan. Grey, Grizzled and Gaijin On his blog, Grey, Grizzled and Gaijin, Craig muses on expat life, travel and Japanese food – from his home in Kansai. What I particularly like about Craig’s musings on Japan is that he doesn’t sugar coat everything. He is happy to call it as it is – warts and all. The ups and downs of work…

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Visiting A Shinto Shrine, The Real Japan, Rob Dyer

Visiting A Shinto Shrine on New Year’s Eve

Visiting A Shinto Shrine on New Year’s Eve Hatsumōde (初詣) is the first Shinto shrine visit of the Japanese New Year (starting on 1st January). Although most people visit on the first, second, or third day of the year (as most are off work on those days), typically, we visit our local shrine a couple of minutes after midnight – just as the new year is starting on the 1st of January. Prayers are made…

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Just Japan Podcast The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Just Japan Podcast: The Real Japan

I’m not much of a podcast listener but there was one that caught my ear about 18 months ago – the Just Japan Podcast show – hosted by expat Canadian Kevin O’Shea – who as lived in Kobe for 9 years. Just Japan Podcast It genuinely does live up to its strapline: “Everything you want to know about Japan“. So I was delighted (and more than a bit chuffed) when Kevin invited me to appear…

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Kyoto Journal ikebana The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Kyoto Journal: Celebrating Japanese Culture

Founded in 1986 by editor and designer John Einarsen, Kyoto Journal has been creating a record of and celebrating Japanese and Asian culture for the past 30 years. That in itself these days would be impressive enough. Yet, more remarkable of all its achievements, is that not only is it still putting out a diverse and inspiring range of content but it has done so by relying entirely upon volunteer staff. Describing its approach as…

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The Ainu – Japan’s Forgotten People

The Ainu – Japan’s Forgotten People

The Ainu – Japan’s Forgotten People Honshu (northern Japan) and the island of Hokkaido. It’s here the Ainu, Japan’s little-known indigenous people live. They’ve lived here for tens of thousands of years. The second time I went to Japan (in 2001) was when I first I went to Hokkaido. I loved it. Hokkaido is Japan’s northern-most island, not far from Siberia in Russia. Before recorded history, Hokkaido was settled by the Ainu – Japan’s forgotten…

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Japan Matsuri, Trafalgar Square, London, UK

Japan Matsuri, Trafalgar Square, London, UK

  Japan Matsuri, Trafalgar Square, London, UK It’s that time of the year when the leaves are turning red, even in central London. So it must be time for the UK’s premiere Japanese festival – Japan Matsuri. This annual event, now in its ninth year, provides the ideal opportunity to sample Japanese culture in its many forms. From traditional crafts and martial arts, contemporary performances, alongside music and dance, there are, of course, always plenty…

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Uonotana Fish Market, Akashi

Uonotana Fish Market, Akashi

  Uonotana Fish Market, Akashi – Hyogo Prefecture You may have heard of Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, but there’s another, lesser-known fish market that’s well worth a visit – and you won’t see any foreign tourists there – Uonotana. Akashi is a small port city in Hyogo Prefecture – not far from Kobe, on the way down the Seto Inland Sea coastline towards Himeji. For more than 400 years the locals have been fishing off…

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Lunch, Sweets, Coffee and Naramachi (Nara)

Lunch, Sweets, Coffee and Naramachi (Nara)

Lunch, Sweets, Coffee and Naramachi (Nara) Naramachi is the former traditional merchant’s quarter in Nara – the old capital of Japan. Spending time, slowly walking around its narrow streets is evocative, like stepping back in time. Many of what were previously merchant stores and warehouses have been sympathetically rennovated; repurposed into a charming tapestry of boutiques, cafes, restuarants and craft shops – most of which are either family-run or solopreneur businesses. There’s no Starbucks or…

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Gaspard and Lisa In-Store Appearance, Kiddy Land, Osaka

Gaspard and Lisa In-Store Appearance, Kiddy Land, Osaka

Gaspard and Lisa In-Store Appearance, Kiddy Land, Osaka Warning! Kawaii! Gaspard and Lisa, are two friends, neither dogs nor rabbits but featuring elements of both, appearing in a series of children’s books created by wife and husband Anne Gutman and Georg Hallensleben. Gaspard (black with a blue scarf) and Lisa (white with a red scarf) go on various adventures. Gaspard, Lisa and their family members are drawn as animals, but live among humans in Paris,…

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Making Taiyaki, Daimaru Department Store, Ashiya

Making Taiyaki, Daimaru Department Store, Ashiya

Making Taiyaki, Daimaru Department Store In this short film, we see how the popular fish-shaped snack taiyaki are made. Taiyaki (literally “baked sea bream”) are Japanese fish-shaped cakes, made using pancake or waffle batter. The most common filling is red bean paste that is made from sweetened azuki beans. Other common fillings include custard, chocolate, cheese, and sweet potato. In this film, shot in the food hall of Daimaru department store in Ashiya, Hyogo Prefecture,…

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