The Red Thread of Fate

Unmei No Akai Ito 運命の赤い糸, the red thread of fate, connects you from your pinky finger to your destined lover’s pinky finger. It is a magical, invisible cord that can stretch around the world. It can tangle but can not break. The cord will eventually bring you together regardless of place, time or circumstance. It…

Romance in Japan

“Japanese are born Buddhist, marry Shinto and die Buddhist” is the old adage about religious tradition in Japan. However, these days it would probably be more appropriate to say “born Shinto, marry Christian and die Buddhist”. Ritual is popular in Japan. Religion not so much. Most Japanese consider themselves not to be religious, but they…

The Kimono Police

“The more I learn, the more I realise how much I don’t know” Albert Einstein Last week I had coffee with a very lovely friend of mine. We used to work together and share many interests including mushrooms and moss. She is Japanese, and I am always amazed that after every conversation we have, I…

Osaka Obachan

Every country has its own subcultures and quirks. Some more than others. Japan has many, and I think it is one of the things that make the culture of Japan so very intriguing. One subculture I find particularly interesting is the “Osaka Obachan”. I believe it is rare to find such a trend in older…

Tanuki Pop-Up with Melbourne Sake

Spending time with a bunch of like-minded people is always lots of fun. Especially when your shared passion is Japan in general and sake in particular. Sitting with a lovely group of people talking sake, in a room full of people who love sake, being plied with sake by a couple of guys who really,…

Cultural Dysphoria

My very first time in Japan my kids quickly pointed out to me that the reason I liked the country so much and felt at home was because the Japanese people were all like me. Small, polite and very tidy and organised. It has taken me some time to understand that the real reason I…

The Blue Apple

When I was younger, my mum enjoyed asking us philosophical and unanswerable questions. The old classic, if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound, was a favourite. Her other favourite, which always stumped me was, how do we know that what I call…

Uniquely Japanese- Ukiyo 浮世

In the last couple of weeks I have written a couple of blogs about ukiyo. One about ukiyo-e, woodblock prints of the Edo Period and one about Ukiyo, an excellent experience of story-telling and adventure in Melbourne. (Follow the links to read the blogs). During my research for these two stories I read quite a…

Ukiyo, a mystical story experience.

Last night Super Sake Boy and I had the most mystical experience in a Japanese garden, in another realm. It was an exciting and interactive experience which felt like we had been transported into a real-life RPG (role play game) or a Studio Ghibli movie. Imagine playing a video game, where you have missions, on…

Uniquely Japanese- Omoiyari 思いやり

You may have heard the story about the Japanese fans at the World Cup match who remained after the game to clean the stadium. It made the news around the world. This kind of behaviour is not rare in Japan. A tiny country, with LOTS of mountains and a huge population that has little crime…

Zen in Space…

I have not been able to find a lot of information about this in English, and my Japanese is not good enough to decipher technical writing, however I thought this was very interesting, and I have tried to fill in the blanks with some research. Daigo-Ji Temple in Fushimi, in Kyoto, is a very, very…

Yokoso – Welcome to Japan in Melbourne?

Yokoso, ようこそ, means “welcome” in Japanese. The Sunday before last, the 17th January, we enjoyed being welcomed to “Japan in Melbourne”. The City of Yarra, through a grant scheme, had enabled a group of Japanese restaurants, musicians, dancers and market stall holders, (and Dylan, from Chotto Motto’s mum) to create an excellent opportunity for Melbournians…