Japanese Jizo

Jizo are ubiquitous in Japan. They are lovely little statues, usually made of stone, and many have knitted bonnets and shawls of red wool. In Japan it is believed that when a baby is miscarried or dies early it has not had an opportunity to build the good karma required to enter the afterlife. In…

The Only Gaijin in the Village (Or, How the Onsen Changed my Life)

On my recent trip to Japan, my fourth, I finally tried an onsen. We stayed in a traditional, and very beautiful ryokan on Lake Chuzenji, just out of Nikko. We spent three nights eating, sleeping and bathing in the traditional way. All the traditional ways of living in Japan are surrounded with layers of etiquette…

Autumn beauty, Tokugawas, Jizo and The Abyss….. Nikko

Friday morning we woke early, again, and decided to take a walk before breakfast to the local falls. Kegon Falls was literally a 10 minutes walk from the ryokan, which was good. It was pretty chilly in the morning. The falls height is around 97 metres, but the ferocity of the water falling made it…

All the Tradition…..

Wednesday morning we were up, a little worse for wear after our sake day, and a little hard to motivate (me), which is always the case when leaving Kyoto. As much as I feel I am coming home when I arrive, I feel I’m being dragged away from a friend when I leave. A reasonably…

Historical Heaven

On Monday we woke up super early again, pensioner hour…. and got ready quite quickly. We were out the door and on our way into the city before 8am. This was a bizarre experience, as the last time we were in Kyoto we had four children to wrangle out the door, and it would never…

Looking for the Master

As a follower of Japanese culture, if you have never seen Midnight Diner on Netflix, you need to stop reading this blog for a moment and queue it up. It is one of Nihonshu Girl’s and my favourite television shows – ever. It is set in a diner in the backstreets of Shinjuku which opens…

“How long do I need in Kyoto?”

This is a question people ask me on an almost weekly basis. “I have four nights booked in Kyoto. Is this long enough?” I find this question really difficult to answer. For a number of reasons. Firstly, I have spent around a month, all together, in Kyoto. I am about to return for just 3…

Uniquely Japanese-Sakoku

Featured image credit The final shogun family in Japan was the Tokugawa Shogunate, also called the Bakafu. Under the rule of the Tokugawa, Japan entered into a period of isolation, called the Sakoku Jidai, translating to time of national isolation or exclusion of foreigners. The policy was enacted between 1633-39 by Tokugawa Iemitsu, and relations…

Uniquely Japanese- Kintsugi 金継ぎ or Kintsukuroi 金繕い

One of my favourite uniquely Japanese words is Kintsugi. The first kanji (syllable) means gold, and the direct translation is “gold splicing”… when a piece of pottery gets broken, the Japanese fix it, not trying to make the repair invisible, but by making the repair gold, and very noticeable. The reasoning is that they believe…

Japanese Pet Store Surprises

Last time we were in Kyoto, our friend Maki-san took us to a pet store. I’m not sure what I expected, but it was definitely not what we encountered. I was blown away, amazed with the cuteness, slightly disconcerted by the types of pets for sale and amused by some of the services available…. The…

Sake Matsuri…..Seriously Super Sake Fun

  So, Super Sake Boy was put in charge of writing this blog, but he has been dragging his feet and this event was too awesome not to write about. So, I, Nihonshu Girl, aka Blossomkitty, will attempt to do this event justice. My memory is somewhat faded and perhaps slightly hampered by the fifty-ish…

100 Things I Love About Japan

So, this is my 100th blog published, and I thought it would be fun to list 100 things I love about Japan…. maybe with a few pictures, here and there. Food- the food in Japan is insanely good, even from the convenience stores. Sake (Nihon-shu) – a no brainer for anyone who knows me and…