Geisha, Oiran and Tayu. Misunderstood Women of Japan.

The mere mention of Japan will probably conjure many pervasive Japanese images in your mind, and undoubtably, geisha will probably be among those images. However, for most foreign people the concept of geisha is difficult to understand and many people are misinformed as to their cultural significance, the role they played, and still play, and…

Onna-bugeisha…female Samurai

“Samurai” usually brings forth a vision of a guy in traditional Japanese feudal armour with several swords and a scary disposition. While many samurai were certainly great warriors and warlords, the term actually refers to a class of people in Japan, which, of course, includes women. The bushi class in feudal Japan were the highest…

Kunoichi… female ninja

When I think of female ninja, a picture pops into my head of a badass women, all in black, wearing tabi boots and carrying shuriken stars and swords. Sadly, this is not the reality of these women. They were definitely badass, but usually a little more understated and certainly less recognisable than their male counterparts,…

Women, criminals and other subversions in Japanese sub-culture….

Last night I watched a documentary made by a woman, a well-educated and intelligent woman, who was raped by a well respected Japanese journalist. Her story was very sad and her outcome was not satisfactory. The case was dismissed, at the last minute, as there was insufficient evidence. The man was the biographer of Shinzo…

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…

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…

Sengoku Samurai Heaven… Osaka

The first time I came to Japan, I stayed in Osaka for three or four days. I was not a huge fan. I found the trains much more difficult to navigate than those in Tokyo and just the general, overall vibe of the place a little less charming than many other places I have been…

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…