Japanese Names

Name Conventions When I started reading a lot of Japanese history, I initially found the names a little confusing. Although having some understanding, there are a number of practices that I still find really intriguing. I wanted to write about myōseki, the passing down of a family name to someone who is not necessarily related….

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…

Valentine’s Day… Japanese Style

Photo credit here Valentine’s Day in Japan is celebrated differently than anywhere else in the world. It is a day that women give gifts to men. It is usually chocolate. There are several different types of chocolate given, for a multitude of reasons. There is, of course, etiquette involved, and as with all gift giving…

Me, Japan and Suicide

Suicide is a hard subject to talk about. Especially when your Western culture has very little idea on how to talk about it, or anything else related to death. The English stiff upper lip has lead to many subjects being deemed as taboo. However, when you find yourself in a situation where you have to…

Well, well, well…. Japanese wells, actually

What is the significance of the humble well in Japanese imagery? I had not even realised that there was a significance until I was reading Peter Carey’s Wrong About Japan. Toward the end of the book, which follows Peter Carey and his son on their trip to Japan, the father and son watch a DVD…