Coming of age is an important day for everyone. It is a time when you gain more rights and obligations. There are more privileges but the responsibility is also greater. It is a reason to celebrate in every country. In Poland, everyone celebrates their own date of birth. In the Country of Cherry Blossoms, all Japanese celebrate this event on the same day. How do they do this?
What is the symbol of Japan? There are several answers to this question. Japanese culture and history are so extensive that one can actually find many well-known Japanese symbols, characteristic only for the Land of the Cherry Blossoms. But will the cherry blossoms themselves also be included? Here are 10 things that most closely associated with Japan.
Whenever you plan to go abroad, make sure to learn about the rules and customs of the country of destination. After all, conventions differ from place to place, and ignorance of the law excuses no one. For instance in Dubai you can be fined for failure to throw chewing gum to a dustbin and intoxication is punishable with imprisonment. In Idaho, USA, you can go to prison for being sad and in France no pig can be named Napoleon. And what is forbidden in Japan?
Large, friendly-looking mascots form an inseparable element of Japanese culture. Often met at festivals and next to establishments, various attractions and institutions. You can also see them strolling down the streets. They are so important in public space that the Yuru-Kyara Grand Prix is held every year. Where does the popularity of giant Japanese mascots come from?
A beautiful and elegant woman in a stylish kimono, with heavy make-up and full hairdo, holding an umbrella or a fan. Probably everyone knows who she is. This is a typical Japanese geisha. A woman whose colourful clothes hide many secrets, skills, an interesting life story, and mostly years of learning about culture, craft and various practical ceremonies. Meet a geisha.
Kabuki is a traditional Japanese theatre with almost 300 years of history. The scenes played by the actors are unlike anything known from western theatres. The same applies to stage design, costumes or make-up. It owes all this to its intriguing history and mostly to the exotic culture of the Country of Cherry Blossoms. Why was its heritage appreciated by UNESCO?
According to myths and legends, the Japanese used to live very close to foxes. Fox is still one of the most popular animals in the folklore, culture and art of Japan. Dwarves are considered their European equivalent. Kitsune is a rational being with magical powers. The special position of foxes in the Japanese culture is clear based on the number of places where we can find their image – from temples to shrines, scattered all over the country.
Drowning Marzannas, spring sweeps and playing truant – those are some of the ways to welcome spring in Poland. The approaching warmth can also be sensed in Japan. However, the people in the Country of Cherry Blossoms bid farewell to winter a little differently and much earlier. Throwing beans inside and outside the house is not the only tradition of Setsubun.
Bonsai trees have been popular for years but hardly anyone remembers their original symbolism and meaning. After all, bonsai are not just a decorative element of the interior design; it is a plant growing technique of miniaturising trees with centuries-long tradition.
Building business relations is one of the foundations of Japanese business ethics. To win the trust of Japanese entrepreneurs, try to develop strong personal relations with a potential customer and learn the basic business customs you may encounter in the Country of Cherry Blossoms.
The term ‘kimono’ was initially used to denote any clothes but today it means the traditional Japanese garments. It comes in many types worn depending on the nature of the event. Besides, there are different variants for men and for women. In this article, you will learn about the real kimono.
The art of paper folding is incredibly popular among people all over the world. Origami originated in the Far East and it involves creating models without the use of scissors and glue. So sit back and let us tell you how this over one-thousand-year-old art became an international phenomenon. Also, find for yourself why the OYAKATA Master loves the company of cranes and folds them of paper whenever he has the time!
The irezumi Japanese tattoo is different from tattoos made in other parts of the world. It is unique owing to its rich colors, deep symbolism and, above all, the traditional tattooing methods, which have been cultivated for centuries. You will learn about everything from Master OYAKATA in the following article, including the beginnings of the traditional tattoo art and whether this tradition is still being cultivated today.
Japanese gardens are an indispensable part of the culture of the Land of the Rising Sun. The idea behind them is to make them resemble the wild nature as closely as possible. However, it should not be imitated or reduced to background. The garden should be designed according to the principle, which states: “learn from nature, but do not copy it”. Taking care of it requires special intuition, because it must not reveal the human work put into designing the garden, as it is supposed to give the impression of being a genuine part of nature, which has existed for many years.
San, sama, or perhaps senpai? One word is enough for the Japanese to realise their interlocutor’s attitude towards them. Learn the most common suffices which the Japanese use to express their respect for the elderly, recognition for masters and tenderness towards those they love the most.
A gesture is worth a thousand words – well known to the Europeans, the saying perfectly describes the culture and lifestyle of the people from the Country of Cherry Blossoms. Famous for their innate guardedness and self-restraint, the Japanese use hundreds of gestures, the majority highly rooted in the Japanese tradition. The non-verbal communications expressed through those small signs are used primarily to sustain appropriate, harmonious or hierarchic interpersonal relationships. Furthermore, staying in large cities, such as Tokio, we will quickly understand that in such crowded places, characterised by a quick pace of life, gesture is practically indispensable for efficient communications.
What is the key to a long and happy life of Okinawa residents? Does hard work of the Japanese mean work addiction? Learn about ikigai and discover a Japanese recipe for happiness.
Are you looking for a way to make get-togethers more fun? Or maybe you cannot image an evening with friends with no scrabble round? Find out how inhabitants of the Land of the Rising Sun have had fun for generations and get inspired by Japanese ideas of spending time together.
Curses, demons, cursed commercials and conspiracy theories – contemporary Japanese myths will delight any fan of horror-filled stories. Learn about the most popular Japanese urban legends to discover where the gloominess of Japanese horrors come from.
Scandinavian simplicity, hygge-ish cosiness or maybe an atmospheric interior in the shabby-chic style? If you are looking for a compromise between interior trends, look no further: the Japanese wabi-sabi is here. Discover the beauty of nature, imperfection and restraint in interiors inspired by this Japanese philosophy.
Music is one of the areas where you can clearly see the uniqueness of Japanese culture. See – because Japanese music is not only a harmony of sounds but a careful stage performance, where costumes and the theatrical presentation of the artists play a prominent role. Learn the history of Japan’s traditional music and how much of it is left in the works of contemporary Japanese artists.
It brings the body, mind and soul together in harmony. It helps you relax, unwind, and it supports the natural strength of the body. Shiatsu – a Japanese massage technique that represents a path of personal growth for both the patient and the therapist.
For the Japanese, the traditional rice beverage means the same that wine does for French cuisine. Sake can add taste to prepared dishes, emphasise it while eating, balance intensive aromas or purify taste buds before next bite. Escaping the Western classifications, “the Samurai’s beverage” is another proof of the uniqueness of the Japanese culture.
Japanese cinematography, which Westerners may perceive as an unvarying combination of anime and Kurosawa, as a matter of fact, abounds with diversity and undiscovered flavours. The OYAKATA Master has selected 7 classical productions which will help you – albeit to a small extent – discover the richness of Japanese cinema.
To fill the kitchen with Japanese flavours it is enough to follow some tested recipes of OYAKATA Master. But what to do to introduce Asian climate to whole home space? Find out how to arrange Japanese-style interior and enjoy the exceptional atmosphere of the Orient in your every-day life.
Red circle against a white background – the Japanese flag most likely needs no introductions. But few of us know its origin and what the characteristic pattern stands for. Both the flag and the other national symbols of Japan say a lot about the history of the Country of Cherry Blossoms and are an important element of its culture.
Sumo, karate, judo… Baseball and football lead the way as Japanese favourite sports nowadays but martial arts still represent an incredibly important element of the Japanese culture, which is reflected not only in the physical fitness of the islanders but also in their mentality.
Japanese love for festivals, holidays and colourful traditions is also reflected in the celebrations of Children’s Day – a holiday so inconspicuous in Europe. Though officially two separate days – Girls’ Day and Boys’ Day – are no longer celebrated, the festivities are still unique, full of symbols and unique customs.
The art of the Country of Cherry Blossoms is characterised by moderation, modesty and precision – attributes so typical of the Japanese. Despite appearing quite simple and schematic, the works of suibokuga – the Japanese ink painting technique – entail years of patient practice, perfection of drawing skills and deep mediation.
The kokeshi wooden dolls have been a part of Japanese traditional art for centuries. They attract the attention of collectors and tourists looking for regional handicraft. Made in Japan for the past centuries, the figurines represent a craft tradition passed down from generation to generation and are surrounded by many popular myths.
Visitors to Japanese temples are bound to notice the colourful stands full of shiny trinkets and knick-knacks. Their attention is usually drawn to the bright shades and the brocade threads of omamori – Japanese special task talismans, shimmering in the sun.
Despite being attached to tradition, the Japanese are not particularly religious. They celebrate the important events connected with the cycle of life, known as the rites of passage, but religion is not a very important element of their daily lives. Omamori, the colourful talismans to be found at the stands near almost any Japanese temple – whether it is a Buddhist tera or a Shinto chram – are the few remains of the religious association of the people of Japan.
The culture and tradition of Japan, so different from that of Europe, never ceases to enchant and intrigue people from the West. Let’s take a look at traditional rules of Bushido to understand this difference at least to a certain extent. The unwritten collection of rules for Japanese warriors shaped not only the characters of brave samurai but it also tremendously contributed to the development of the insular country’s whole culture.
Balance, harmony, beauty – Ikebana is more than simply a method of arranging flowers. It is a mystical and spiritual art where man becomes one with nature, paying their respects with the precision of flower compositions.
All around the world people believe that the arrangement of celestial bodies influences their life and determines the character, and that knowledge about planets and stars helps predict the future. Asian and European cultures differ in many aspects, such as religion and customs. This is also the case when it comes to the calendar and to zodiac signs. If you are curious about a Japanese horoscope, you must read this article.
Just one encounter with Japanese culture, so different from that of Europe, is enough to invoke our interest and curiosity. Japan has many customs and traditions that stimulate our imagination. Giving names can be a good example as it is a process much more complex and complicated than for instance in Poland. Japanese parents do not leave this to chance because names express the desired quality of character or appearance of their child.
Umi-no Hi is one of Japanese national holidays, celebrated to express gratitude for the gifts of the sea and hope for kindness from the element in the future. Every year, the Japanese gather on the sunny beaches of coastal cities to celebrate Umi-no Hi during various festivals.
The annual festivals accompanying the traditional holidays are among the most spectacular elements of Japanese culture. During the celebrations, one can admire traditional clothes and intricately embroidered altars wandering down the city streets in multicoloured processions.
Japanese culture is ripe with traditions and customs unheard of in Europe. There is a reason why it fascinates so many people, and why so many want to learn more about what makes it different. In Japanese culture, the calendar plays a very important role.
Every country has its traditions. These traditions are often so important to the people in a given country that they become national holidays. The Land of the Rising Sun is no exception. However, Japanese national holidays differ from European traditions.
Good manners are of great importance to the Japanese. Everyone who visits a native Japanese at their home should take the time to learn the rules of politeness according to which the Japanese act. Table manners are also incredibly important.
The culture of Japan is considerably different from that of Europe. If you are planning a trip to Japan, make sure to learn as much a possible about local customs – not only to avoid social blunder but to gain insight into the secrets of Japanese culture and good manners.
Valentine’s Day is an important holiday in Japan but, just as other “borrowed” calendar events, it widely differs from the classic day of love we know in the Western tradition.
The Japanese like to celebrate various ceremonies, such as tea brewing – a custom they consider of great importance. When brewed in a special way, green tea acquires an intensive and distinct taste.
Weddings in Japan are traditionally organised in the spirit of Shintoism. Ceremonies are often interwoven with Christian customs but at times we can also meet Buddhist weddings which are fully in concordance with a traditional model of wedding.
Since 1873, Japan celebrates the New Year on 1 January, according to the Gregorian calendar. Before that, it was celebrated according to the Chinese lunar calendar. In some parts of the country, however, the New Year is celebrated according to Chinese, Vietnamese or Korean tradition. “Shōgatsu san-ga-nichi” means the first three days of January, as the customary New Year’s celebrations in Japan last until 3 January. The Japanese New Year is a unique event and has a symbolical meaning. It is believed that it heralds the coming of the new, and brings a chance of starting a new life and getting rid of all troubles. Unlike in Poland, in Japan the New Year is an event centred around the family rather than an occasion for extensive celebrations.
Karimasu, the Japanese Christmas season, starts as early as mid-November. The Japanese regard Christmas as entertainment and a commercial rather than religious event (only 0.7% of the Japanese population is Christian). The Japanese have adapted Christmas to their own cultural context, with Christmas trees and Santa Clauses accompanied by pandas and other symbols that have nothing to do with Christmas as we know it. According to Shinto and Buddhism, which are practised by the majority of Japanese people, there is no reason against celebrating Christmas. It is popular to send Christmas cards depicting Santa Claus and angels.
While Japan is not a Christian country and there are few Christians living there, Christmas has been viewed by the Japanese as an occasion to adopt a few traditions from the West, including gift-giving. As in Europe, in Japan gifts are brought by Santa Claus (of course adapted to the Japanese context).
Almost every country in the world has its own distinctive holiday that sets it apart from the neighbours. The same is true for Japan, which boasts an extensive tradition that is inextricably linked with its history. Hanami, or the cherry blossom festival, often begins as early as late February.