Omiyage At A Glance

It’s been years since we’ve traveled to Japan (despite previously going every summer) thanks to the Pandemic, but we’re heading out soon, and so my wife has been super busy preparing omiyagé (お土産) for all the friends and relatives at home. Tofugu has an excellent article on omiyage, especially from the standpoint of a foreigner,Continue reading “Omiyage At A Glance”

The Ultimate Japanese Winter Food: Oden

Usually when people think of Japanese food, they think of sushi, or ramen, but these are luxury foods that aren’t normally eaten at home. There is one food though that’s very popular in Japan, eaten on special occasions at home, and truly a wonderful food for winter: Oden (おでん).1 Oden is hard to explain, butContinue reading “The Ultimate Japanese Winter Food: Oden”

Ancient Japanese Rap Battling

With all the time I have to kill while in quarantine in the den, I have been cleaning up my old blog on the Hyakunin Isshu poetry anthology. It’s been great rediscovering things, including poem 60 of the anthology, a poem composed by Lady Izumi‘s daughter, Ko-Shikibu no Naishi (小式部内侍, d. 1025). Lady Izumi byContinue reading “Ancient Japanese Rap Battling”

Bad Aura

Recently, I learned of a clever proverb in Japanese culture: 息の臭きは主知らずiki no kusaki wa nushi shirazu Japanese Proverbs: Wit and Wisdom, by David Galef This proverb, literally means that the owner doesn’t know the stench of their own breath. Obviously this is not meant to be literal, instead it is about people being unaware ofContinue reading “Bad Aura”

Waves and Water

Ryōhen (良遍, 1194-1252), was a prominent Yogacara-Buddhist scholar and faithful disciple of Jōkei, often credited as a reformer of Japan’s Hossō sect during the medieval period in Japanese Buddhist history. In James L. Ford’s book on Jokei and Medieval Japanese Buddhism, Professor Ford quotes this famous “restorer” when he describes the famous Buddhist metaphor ofContinue reading “Waves and Water”

Japanese New Year: a shopping list

If you, or a loved one, are celebrating Japanese New Year, Oshōgatsu (お正月), you may need to do some shopping. During the December in 2021, we got snowed in really bad, and my wife couldn’t go to the local Japanese supermarket to buy goods and ingredients herself. So, I went on her behalf using publicContinue reading “Japanese New Year: a shopping list”

Eating Simple, Japanese Style

I had intended to write this post earlier when I first started my winter abstinence, but during recent events, this got pushed out a little. Anyhow, my wife and I have been together for more than half our life and her eating habits have rubbed off on me over time: I’ve written about natto before.Continue reading “Eating Simple, Japanese Style”