Uniquely Japanese- Ōsōji お掃除

Ōsōji 大掃除 is “New Year’s Cleaning”. More literally it means big cleaning. It is a custom observed by most people in Japan, sometime in December. Often in the last few days of the year. Usually around three days cleaning, not dissimilar to a "spring clean". This allows the space to be purified in order to … Continue reading Uniquely Japanese- Ōsōji お掃除

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. … Continue reading Japanese Names

Uniquely Japanese- Ukiyo 浮世

A ukiyo-e (woodblock print) of a women's public bath house from early 1800s, by Torii Kiyonaga

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 … Continue reading Uniquely Japanese- Ukiyo 浮世

Uniquely Japanese- Omoiyari 思いやり

Japanese fans clean stadium of rubbish after a World Cup match in Colombia. The Japanese people are seen picking up rubbish and filling rubbish bags in amongst the blue seats of the stadium.

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 … Continue reading Uniquely Japanese- Omoiyari 思いやり

Uniquely Japanese- Omou 思う

The kanji character for omou meaning to do in Japanese

Omou means, literally, to think, the verb. This is not uniquely Japanese, although maybe thinking is different in different languages and different cultures? It is however the root of many other Japanese words and several of them are unique to the Japanese language. I decided to write about omou first, so as to completely understand … Continue reading Uniquely Japanese- Omou 思う

Uniquely Japanese- Yoshoku 洋食

Yoshoku is Japanese western style cooking. In my experience, every dish that the Japanese adopt and alter ends up being more delicious than the dish they started with. Yoshoku translates literally as "Western style cuisine", as opposed to Washoku 和食 which translates to Japanese style cuisine. During the Meiji period (1868-1912) after more than 200 … Continue reading Uniquely Japanese- Yoshoku 洋食

Uniquely Japanese- Kanreki 還暦

Kanreki is the Japanese word used to describe someone's 60th birthday celebration. In Japan, this particular birthday has a lot of symbolic significance and meaning, beyond our Western idea of an age of retirement. It is quite a magical time and is as much a beginning or rebirth as a completion. Kanreki literally translates to … Continue reading Uniquely Japanese- Kanreki 還暦

Uniquely Japanese- Komorebi 木漏れ日

I started this blog a long time ago. I have been waiting for the perfect photo for it. Finally, the other morning, I got my photo. When you read the meaning of the word, you will understand why this has taken some time to achieve. "The interplay between light and leaves when sunlight shines through … Continue reading Uniquely Japanese- Komorebi 木漏れ日

Uniquely Japanese- Kuchisabishii 口寂しい

This unique Japanese word may be more relevant at the moment, as we are all spending a lot of time at home and some of us are struggling with lack of social contact and boredom. I was tagged in a kuchisabishii meme by a lovely friend of mine, who is in an apartment in Manhattan, … Continue reading Uniquely Japanese- Kuchisabishii 口寂しい

Uniquely Japanese- Kodawari こだわり

Google translate translates kodawari as meaning commitment, but this simple translation certainly lacks understanding of the nuance of the word. Kodawari is an uncompromising and relentless pursuit of perfection. In craftsmanship, in skill, in creativity, in the everyday. This is an attribute you can witness in every aspect of life in Japan. One that can … Continue reading Uniquely Japanese- Kodawari こだわり