Uniquely Japanese- Itadakimasu 頂きます

Anywhere you are in Japan, at any meal, with any person, you will hear them clap their hands together and say itadakimasu 頂きます which translates, roughly, to “I humbly receive” before they begin eating. This is such an ingrained aspect of their culture that you will see people do it even when alone. These days…

A Short Taxi Tale

Japanese taxi drivers are polite, sweet and very patient (except in traffic). On our way home from Fushimi, I think we had the most patient and sweet taxi driver in all of Kyoto. Lubricated by quite an amount of sake, I jumped in the front seat, to give directions, while Stu, Mum and Ted were…

Marie Kondo and the “Spark Joy” phenomenon

Alternate Name: Uniquely Japanese- Tokimeku Featured image credit New York Times ときめくor tokimeku is the Japanese word that is translated in English to “sparks joy”. If you are not living under a rock you will surely have seen the Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, that is if you missed her New York Times…

Uniquely Japanese- Shinrinyoku 森林浴

Shinrinyoku literally means “forest bathing” in Japanese. I live in a magical part of the world, surrounded by lush forest. I live in amongst the National Park and I work on the edge of Sherbrooke Forest. Not a day goes by when I am not grateful for my amazing environment. I walk in the forest….

Sake, Shrines and Shopping…..

Despite what the children think, we have had opportunity to drink sake, but little time to explore it any further. Today we headed out early-ish to check out the Gekkeikan Sake Brewery Museum. Fushimi, in Kyoto is an area where sake has been brewed for hundreds of years, as the quality of the water is…

Uniquely Japanese- Inemuri 居眠り

Inemuri translates roughly to “snooze” or “doze, however, it very common, in fact, an every day experience, to see Japanese people sleeping in public places. Most commonly, on trains. It is quite alarming at first. It is almost as if a wave of collective narcolepsy has overtaken the train carriage. However, you soon become accustomed…

Climbing Mt. Fuji… Metaphorically

If I had have seen the info graphic on how long different languages take to master before embarking on my language journey, would I have chosen the language which takes longer than any other, by far? Maybe… I like a challenge. I could have become fluent in French, German, Spanish and Italian in the time…

Calligraphy

Have you ever wondered at why every Japanese person has exquisite handwriting, when writing in English? I believe it is because they have finely honed fine motor skills, due to the fact that they practice calligraphy throughout their schooling life. Last time we were in Kyoto we were fortunate enough to experience a calligraphy homework…

Uniquely Japanese- Tsundoku

Some Japanese words have no English equivalent. This is the case for many languages, where there is no literal translation, or if there was, it would not make sense. Many of the Japanese words, that are not in the English language are beautiful, some tragically so. Today, I am going to talk about my favourite…