blogFun facts, life lessons, and unique characters brought to life.
Land of the Rising Son
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Two snotty little brats received a growing opportunity to help them along into adulthood just the other day. Wanting to send these troubled children on their way fully edified, the entire class of twenty-eight pupils served as the captive audience for the “lecture.”
This prodigious forgotten heroine of human rights must be lauded and recognized for her incredible impact on the American society as one of the first person of colour to reach worldwide fame and acclaim based upon her sensation voice and dignity as an agent of change in the racially segregated Unites States.
One particular carpenters was having significant issues adjusting to Japanese food, and was longing for some good old Canadian comfort food, peanut butter!
In the beginning there was a beautiful star, which shines her life-giving rays of hope upon all living creatures of Mother Earth.
Being raised in the occidental tradition, including sporadically attending a variety of churches, did not prepare one for the experience in Japan when fully understanding why the Japanese venerate their ancestors.
Innate curiosity and social-intelligence is a gift, although sometimes a little too much curiosity is not really such a good thing at all.
Known as the “Inbound Ambassador, the joyful and exuberant Joy Jarman-Walsh grew up in Hawaii and is a decades-long veteran of Japan.
Recently there has been somewhat of a kerfuffle in the house of Windsor. Serious allegation have been made by a new member of the house of Windsor against the royal family.
The task was to support an American, “JC”, coming to “open up Japan.” Here, one really got an in-depth look at a specific kind of American mind-set, in particular the mind-set of selfishness and greed.
One’s friend jokingly (or not), asked whether one is Jomon or Yayoi. Somewhat taken aback, one had to look into this question more deeply.
There is a significant contrast in the way the Japanese think about love as compared to the Occidental mindset.
Unsung heroes abound, but no one really hears about them and their altruistic deeds. Why is it that these noble deeds for the betterment of humanity are unreported and go unnoticed by the greater world?
The very first time one became aware of the ubiquitous Japanese public address system was sitting inside an old farmhouse. The old black phone started to chime… ding dong ding….
One was shocked and dismayed when a large display of the controversial product RoundUp, made by Monsanto is now available at the local home center. This problematic herbicide with the active ingredient glyphosate has its fair share of detractors globally, as well as famous lawsuits related to the health risks associated with glyphosate.
The Gods of Music have anointed Ueda Hiromi as one of their own, a Goddess who now travels this mortal coil spreading joy where ever she may go. Here, exuberance exudes from her heart to all, via her Goddess-like unparalleled musical skills and divine presence.
It was just the other day when one called a dear old friend in Miura Peninsula for a catch-up after a very long time, where she confided to me that her father was actually in the 特攻隊 (tokotai – kamikaze squad).
Recently there has been some controversy concerning a decrepit, past-expiration-date politician, who has historically been looked upon by the common Japanese with palpable distaste while being widely considered somewhat of a moron.
What is the window tribe? It has to do with the corporate ladder, and the dreaded desk beside the dreary window.
Shoes On, Shoes Off/ Now, say this title again with the voice of Mr. Miyagi, the karate master to his young disciple, Daniel LaRusso, the downtrodden and bullied boy.
Putting in a lot of thought about a solar array after the typhoons (now known as Megaphoons), in September of 2019, knocked out a large swath of our prefectures electricity for a full 3 days in this area, and in some other cases for weeks.
When one thinks of Mickey Mouse, what is the very first thing that comes to mind? First and foremost, the joy this dearly beloved character brings young and old alike, and is so very cherished and dear to the Japanese heart.
Seeing the Japanese as katified throughout the evolution of this ancient civilization, one would have to say there are some bright spots, not only for the future of Japan, but for the shared future of an advancing civilization based upon ancient moral codes.
The deep influence of a writing system and language on a society can not be overstated. Language is a concept, and the Japanese society is built upon the constructs rooted in complex ideograms imported from China around 700 CE.
Keep in mind the social harmony one see in Japan is based upon following proper kata etiquette in daily behaviour, and remains the guiding constitution in all Japanese relationships. To understand this further one must look back into the indigenous belief system of the Japanese, known as Shintoism, and then one can see from whence this all came.
When recalling the way New Year’s Eve was celebrated so many years ago now, the images of these New Years Eve parties were very boisterous and rollicking, ringing in the Happy New Year with drink, dance, song, mirth, merriment, and gaiety.
The core principal of Japan’s kata cultural from the earliest times has been the promotion and maintenance of harmony. Personal behaviour, as well as all relationships, both private and public, was based upon strictly controlled harmony in the proper inferior-superior context of Japanese society, which continues up until this day.
One could say the most used and significant word in Japanese is shikata. In particular, and most significantly, the form and order of the process.
Having an awareness and understanding of kata is paramount to gaining comprehension of, and deal with the Japanese. The entire traditional Japanese culture, starting with personal etiquette, and then in how one learns to do all routine things in life, was, and still is based on precise kata.
Proverbs are indigenous to all cultures, and often expose the deeper roots of the philosophy and psychology of a society. Japanese culture is especially rich in kotowaza or proverbs, as Japanese culture is ancient and has been highly sophisticated for a very very long time.
Japan’s traditional etiquette continues to be one of the most structured, refined, and sophisticated patterns of behaviour ever imposed on any people. From infancy, the Japanese were trained physically and verbally on how to behave in the prescribed Japanese manner.
Watching recent events around the globe, it’s easy to see the police as adversarial, but are they? Not where I live. Called kōban in Japanese, this is a small neighbourhood police station found throughout Japan.
Like many things in Japanese culture, coming to an understand of key social concepts and the significance of their meaning to the Japanese takes intention and awareness to fully understand. One must say gaining an in-depth understanding of “kao” or “face”, and the gravity of protecting one’s face is of paramount importance to successfully interacting with the Japanese.
There is a specific reason why one thinks perhaps she has some kind of the special powers, as she continues to conjure up things from other worlds, and manifest them into our world. The first inkling I had that my wife was a (good) witch, is she conjured up our beautiful black cat by doing the following…
Among the most important tenants of Confucius philosophy are the obligations children owe to their parents, the young owe to their elders, students owe to their teacher, and that all people owe to their superiors. These obligations are natural and inherent.
Imagine waking up as an eight-year-old and seeing a stranger sleeping in your living room. For most, this would be a most unusual occurrence, however, not in my childhood household.
Some of the Japanese social conventions took much longer to internalize, and some of these lesson were really tough. The age old custom of the Japanese attaching the honorific san to the first and/or last names of the people one addresses is perhaps one aspect of Japanese etiquette which may seem like trivial nonsense to some foreigners.
When observing the first winter flu season in Japan, one was quite taken aback by people wearing what looked like white surgical masks. And thought, there are lots of doctors and nurses out and about today. When inquiring to a Japanese friend, as to why the citizens were wearing masks, they replied, “In this season, if you are feeling even a little unwell, you cover your face with a mask so as not to give something unwanted to anyone else”.
A deeper concept than “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine”, gaining an understanding into “amae”, is to gain an understanding into the Japanese way.Very early in Japanese history the concept of “amae” became a primary principal in the cultural and one of the fundamental foundations of where bonds of mutual trust are build into long, durable relationships.
What does it actually mean to worship one’s ancestors? First of all, there are different ideas about the word “worship” and what it encompasses in a “religious” context. I prefer to use the word “veneration” as can be translated nicely into Japanese as “sonkei”, which I feel to be a little more, “down-to-earth”.
All languages are a reflection of the emotional, spiritual and intellectual characteristics of the people who created them. One could say language is embedded into the speakers DNA. In essence, all languages are social concepts.
Who would have ever thought before the Internet, one could come across a kindred spirit, via a social media platform, and discover so very much in common, based upon our experiences in Japan, now decades ago. In fact, Joe wrote a book about his experience in Japan starting from the early 80s and it was incredible to read of the profound similarities of so many of the experiences we both had back in the 80s in Japan.
I observed her massaging John in what could only be described as seeing his painful grimacing, this obviously highly skilled massage therapist was working on a man one and a half time her own size, and getting deep into his tissue. After this experience, we anointed this remarkable woman “Needle Fingers Granny“.
The concept around eating is fundamentally different between cultures and is reflected in the utensils, or lack there of, used to eat.
Perhaps the most valuable book until now for me is called: Japan and the Shackles of the Past, by Emeritus Professor R. TAGGART MURPHY.
One of the most important holidays in Japan is smack dab in the middle of sticky and humid August, and this is known as “OBON”.
Onna-bugeisha women warriors were known to be to be every bit as strong, capable, and courageous as their male counterparts.
This young women dream to become a Merceds Benz mechanic has turned into reality. Next year from April she starts out on her special journey fixing Mercedes Benz, with not only high level mechanic skills, but with the warm and tender touch that can only be brought to the job by a motivated and subtly powerful woman.
I was never consciously aware of wabi-sabi, but like many unspoken mysteries of Japan, awareness of wabi-sabi is an innate trait in the spirit of the Japanese. In traditional Japanese aesthetics, wabi-sabi (侘寂) is a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection.