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 โ€œOsaka Obachanโ€. 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 ๆตฎไธ–

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 ๆ€ใ„ใ‚„ใ‚Š

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, ใ‚ˆใ†ใ“ใ, 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…

Ukiyo-e, a picture of Japanese art history

When I started travelling to Japan, I knew precious little about Japanese art. Despite studying art and art history through school and at university, my exposure to Asian art in general was very limited. My knowledge of ukiyo-e, woodblock printing, was limited to famous images such as Hokusai’s The Great Wave (actually called Under the…

Uniquely Japanese- Omou ๆ€ใ†

Omou means, literally, to think, the verb. This is not uniquely Japanese, although maybe thinking is different in different languages and different cultures? It is however the root of many other Japanese words and several of them are unique to the Japanese language. I decided to write about omou first, so as to completely understand…