Eating in Japan-Ekiben

I love trains. I particularly love Japanese trains. Shinkansen, or bullet trains, are my favourite. Travelling on shinkansen is like flying. You have allocated seats with fold down tables and you can buy drinks and snacks from an onboard trolley. One of the most wonderful parts about travelling on shinkansen is ekiben. Ekiben is a…

Sansankudo 三三九度

Three three nine times is the literal translation of sansankudo. An integral part of a Shinto wedding ceremony involving drinking sake. As you can imagine, Super Sake Boy and I were quite enamoured with the concept of building this ancient ritual into our own wedding ceremony. Trying very hard not to culturally appropriate, I have…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

The Enduring Exploits of Super Sake Boy and Nihonshu Girl

It has been nearly a year since COVID put a big, fat STOP sign on nearly all international travel. Being obsessed Japanophiles, Super Sake Boy and I have tried to take the travel ban graciously, while feeding our need for Japanese food, sake, culture and connection with the language. We were last in Japan in…

Yurei, Bakemono, Yokai and other Japanese Horror Stories

I am not a huge fan of horror movies, although I was an avid reader of horror when I was younger. The last horror story I read was Ring by Koji Suzuki (1998). It was terrifying, in a very subtle, psychological way. I have recently been watching The Terror: Infamy by AMC on Amazon Prime….