Apr 2, 2021life
Japan’s National Holidays

Japan has a generous number of annual public holidays. There are 16 annual shukujitsu (祝日, national holidays) peppered throughout the year during which schools, public institutions, and many businesses are closed. By law, if a national holiday falls on a Sunday, the following Monday will also be a holiday.

Mar 18, 2021culture
Primer on Katakana
Last time, we talked about hiragana for a while. This time, we'll be taking a closer look at katakana, the second of the three scripts in Japanese — before you...
Feb 28, 2021culture
Hinamatsuri – Japan’s Colorful Festival of Dolls

Hinamatsuri (雛祭り) is a special festival which is held in Japan every year on March 3rd. This festival, which is known either as "Girl’s Day" or "Doll’s Day" in English, is a family celebration for young girls and is dedicated to their health and happiness.

Feb 25, 2021culture
A Primer on Hiragana

As you probably know, Japanese has three alphabets: Hiragana, katakana, and kanji. You're going to need all three of those; something I'm specifying mostly because I've met people who insist that just one will do, and you should pick kanji because then you know Chinese too (no, it's not the same, and 'I've been to Korea' just makes things worse).

Jan 19, 2021culture
All About Setsubun: The Bean-Throwing Festival

Setsubun is an annual festival celebrated widely both in private homes and public areas that at first glance seems to consist of equal parts charm and eccentricity. Can you imagine wearing a plastic devil-mask while the rest of your family gleefully pelts you with dried beans? This is a key part of the Setsubun celebration!

Jan 14, 2021culture
Japanese Traditional Garden Design Elements

Japanese gardens take many forms. There are large, meandering stroll gardens, hilly landscape gardens that can best be enjoyed from a single vantage point, smaller gardens attached to teahouses, tiny interior courtyard gardens, and stony dry landscapes.

Dec 30, 2020culture
The Top Ten Traditional Japanese Gardens Part 1

The tranquil gardens of Japan are famous for offering their visitors a sheltered landscape in which to stroll, sit and reflect. In this article we will introduce some of the most beautiful and fascinating gardens from across the country.

Nov 18, 2020culture
Cats in Japanese Culture

"I am a Cat" was the famed Japanese author Natsume Soseki’s first novel — written and published in the early 20th century. The main character is a house cat who, with humor and satire, describes the lives of the upper middle-class humans around it in all their pomposity.

Oct 20, 2020culture
Introduction to Online Gaming in Japan
In many ways, where the internet is concerned, Japan is an unusual country — not least because its adoption of the internet on a wider scale was relatively late, given...