blogFun facts, life lessons, and unique characters brought to life.
Land Of The Rising Son
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Maggie May Way
Incessant churring of unpleasant murky past narration, remains the antithesis of the benevolent heart and rock solid constitution—the unshakable foundation of the Maggie May Way.
Declaration of Interdependence
Regardless of the inevitable growing pains during the coming-of-age ceremony of the nation of Japan, it is now clearly understood—Japan has given birth to civilization 3.0—having never wavered from its foundational principals—Form Order Process.
For even though he was accepted in kindergarten as a valuable friend, it was at this early stage of age, where that fantasy came to an abrupt end.
Do Or Don’t
When one of the most successful basketball players to ever walk the talk, offered up a a worthy philosophy for practical usage as a guidebook somewhat akin to decision support.
Once a decision has been made, it is not necessary think about it ever again—Don’t Touch It.
All language, verbal or otherwise, embody culture, heritage, and traditions of their respective native speakers, in particular, this phenomena is reflected in the cohesiveness of Japanese culture and society.
Colourful Coloring Book
Coloring books given to Little People by BigPeople, hitherto have someone else’s construction-paper world already filled in and then thoroughly glossed over.
Don’t Touch It
Japanese have specific roles to play, when deadwood does not pull weight (productivity), lethargic slugs find their chair, has been moved in sideways motion, to arrive then reside beside the window—becoming a shamed member of the dreaded Window Tribe.
Heal By Healing
In Asian societies, the mental wellbeing of One’s clan members, particularly in domain of mental stability, is never responsibility of State.
It was here inside extreme adverse weather and impoverished attitudes of those living under frozen icy conditions, where the Noble Notion of color blindness was hardwired into One’s electrical circuitry via Maggie May, the matriarch of our Clan.
The frequency of Japan embodies the essence of what it means to be Japanese, imprints of ancient protocol, which are embodied in four-ideogram-compounds which is the key into the psyche of the Japanese and their deeply ingrained Notion of Motion
Bet On Yourself
A most important, yet simple book—initiating fate of this wandering Son under the Sun—invoking courage—to take paths—into the multiverse, and the Notion Of Motion, and what infinity entails.
One can observe this Universal Truth in the timeless branches of Japanese eternity, which is represented by the lives of all Japanese people—living—dead—unborn—and in the lives of those whose final destination is enlightenment into the Japanese Way.
The highly worthwhile compounded effects, were somewhat akin to a miracle at the time, but when in fact, merely an accumulation of small intentional acts, culminating in a significant change, over immeasurable moments of time
Draw The Line
In Old Japan, right and wrong were based on the universal concept of “might is right,” and this established law-of-the-jungle still sets the rules and remains firmly in place today.
This truth is clearly reflected in the language protocol of the Japanese—particularly the predominate communication conventions of honne and tatemae.
An unprecedented time to be alive, growing old offers a plethora of opportunity for the mature and wise to formulate, create, and build a strong and powerful clan with peaceful, thriving, knit communities.
Depending on the place of birth, and whether born with a silver spoon in the mouth or not, the material sludge is profoundly different and each situation as unique as a snowflake.
Matter Over Mind
Perhaps the most famous of the master Japanese swordsman, the example set by Musashi Miyamoto was by no means rare during that particular era.
Before the rapid industrialization of Japan from the 1870s, effectively all Japanese, in whatever art or craft, spent most of their lives in pursuit of perfection in their fields.
All guest, no matter what class or status, were there united in a common purpose—to consume the masterful cooked Toricho chicken-on-a-skewer—among many other home-style cooking of the Japanese country kitchen.
Certainly in Japanese, the concept of face embodies significantly deeper implications than conceptually available to Occxies who only communicate using Latin based languages—particularly those featuring singular and plural and countable and non-countable nouns.
The Occxies only see innocence and naivety as characteristics that are appropriate only for the very young.
In Japan, on the other hand, innocence and naivety had traditionally been regarded as highly admired traits in people of all ages, and something that was especially admired in adults.
Three Success Doors
The Japanese have realized there is a spiritual element in all worthy achievement, the greater the achievement, the greater the contribution of spirit.
Change Is Constant
To the Japanese the world is in a constant state of flux thus the ultimate life philosophy of flowing with the wind.
Occxies, on the other hand, have look upon the world as fixed in place and relationships and human activities as unchanging.
Akemashite Omedetō-Reiwa 5
By virtue of living in Japan, the opportunity to meet people from diverse cultures and life experiences has deeply enriched one’s own life in ways too profound to be express in mere words.
Despite long periods of virtual isolation from China, the Japanese are still in the process of purging themselves of innermost feelings that they were little more than imitation the Chinese, which they clearly are not.
Mind Over Matter
Much to one’s surprise, the heating system consisted of a worn out kerosene heater, that had seen better days sitting in the back of the classroom.
Unfazed by the icy cold, the pupils carried on about their day in a most routine manner—some of the boys in short pants.
Shame On You
The protocol of shame originated from Shinto, in which all Japanese are direct earthly descendants of gods and goddesses, and that any behaviour displeasing their godly ancestors was shameful and discourage.
Ms. Hanako not only runs her farmhouse like a well oiled glove, at 82 she also swings her lawnmower with the skill of a master mower.
Cousin Dennis Celebration
Dennis would travel great distances around North America to see all the contemporary music acts of the 70.
He was also so very kind as to take a 14-year-old boy to the record store to buy Led Zeppelin IV.
What Goes Around
The never ending flow of enchanting four-character compounds—yojijukugo—is a source of endless fascination.
Frequently, these salient phrases are embedded with profound wisdom, moral lessons, and cautionary decrees—which are to be ignored at one’s own peril.
Turning Of Leaves
One can see the Japanese in droves at the airport—dutifully line up in strict order waiting for the start of their 5 nights/6 day whirlwind tour of the pristine Rocky Mountains of Canada—the turning of the leaves in what is arguable the most spectacular natural phenomena in Mother Nature.
She perches on ‘Rose Throne’ preening and posing as she view the subjects of her domain with steely eyes.
Never one to back down from a fight, she is capable of icy stares, which would make the Satan himself retreat to safer grounds.
Maggie May’s Magical Garden
Seeing these traditional shops when first coming to Japan in the late 80s brought back fond memories of days growing up in central Central British Columbia in the 60s and 70s.
When about to win, with only one last squares remaining the Japanese will shout out—REACH, which means “almost there.”
In Japanese, the handy word REACH can be use in many situations, and this particular case of REACH is particularly salient for the author of this article.
The look of shock and horror on the faces of the Japanese when observing this affront to Japanese cultural sensibilities served as a point of amusement, if not some times a bone of contention—soy sauce is used for cooking and to dip sashimi—never to be poured onto rice directly.
Most of the Japanese are packed together in big cities where their highly complex social skills developed—this is a phenomenon of a society based upon mutual dependency.
Way-Station No. 9
Japan is the last stop before exiting the atmosphere of mother earth to reside as a god—one foot in this material world—the other in Nirvana.
Keep in mind, in indigenous Japanese mythology (Shinto), all who pass from the material to spiritual world become a God to be venerated by the descendants of the clan.
The Japanese evolved on a series of small volcanic islands over millennium, thus, ordinary Japanese were rarely exposed to other ways of life or thinking.
Fork In Road
One passes by important forks in road all the time—without noticing—wandering aimlessly—going left and right—or in many case—stopping altogether—going nowhere at all.
Do not ignoring important forks in the road, whatever they may be.
Well over half of the world’s population believe in a spiritual afterlife, which in principle is not such a bad thing, who doesn’t want to live forever?
After entering the atmosphere, indoctrination starts in earnest, and more often than not, there is the promise of eternal life contained with in these fantastic stories.
Who Is Tokyo Rose?
Shortly after arriving, the tension between Japan and the U$A escalated making it impossible for her to return home—last ship bound for America—left without her— so here she was stranded—in the Land Of The Rising Son—alone—Ms. Tokyo Rose.
Back To Skool
Truly, one was also shocked to see Japanese children going to school on Saturday of all things!
In the pristine mountains of Occxie-land, Saturday was clearly the first day of the coveted weekend, and going to the indoctrination center was the furtherest thing from this author’s mind.
Certainly, the antiquated image of the Japanese is one of expressionless people―with cold hearts―who are robotic in nature―or so the historical narrative went.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Suck It Up Buttercup
Truly, most Japanese distain those who come here with the arrogance of attitude embodied within “open up Japan,” and the boisterous blob of the greedy American was no exception in failure to “open up Japan.”
So what exactly does “Suck It Up Buttercup” mean?
Royal Tutor – Elizabeth Vining
Elizabeth Vining was personally selected by Emperor Hirohito to become the private tutor to then Crown Prince Akihito from 1946 to 1950 and the profound influence upon Japan of Ms. Vining, a Quaker English instructor can not be disregarded.
Eye For An Eye
The Japanese government carried out a capital punishment event recently.
This particular execution was carried out to atone for a heinous crime which took place on June 8, 2008.
Love Is Fertilizer
One could say the opposite of love is hate, but that would be a misnomer.
The top three enemies of love corrupting minds leading to mass depression, despondency, and abject hopelessness for the future should be consider:
Bigotry, Narcissism, and Greed
Master Music Molecule Manipulator Maestro Motsuri
Understanding music molecules molecularly is reserved for those who see sound at a quantum level, bringing obscure molecules together for mini-masterpieces of sound design.
How does Maestro Motsuri do this?
Taste Of Meiji
One of the deep charms of Japan is regardless of modernization having taken place starting with the Meiji Restoration, there are still shops in the nooks and crannies in the Land Of The Rising Son preserving the way of Old Japan.
Here is where one can put away any preconceived notions concerning the arts, and one would be best served to look upon life as art.
Care Factor Zero
Having acute sensitive as to what others are thinking, was, and still is a highly valuable skill to navigate the murky air of the unspoken ancient protocols of the Japanese society.
Lot In Life
When querying a spectrum of younger Japanese about their dreams, desires, and aspirations, one is mostly left with blank stares, or them fumbling around trying to understand exactly; “What does this all means?”
A somewhat enigmatic society, the Japanese are often viewed by the casual observer as cold, distant, and even unfriendly.
Why is this so?
New Kind Of Freedom
Viewing the world through the lens of curated Japanese media, the Japanese now look upon the United States with its multiracial and multiethnic society, as having been infected by a nefarious mind-virus leading to the current state of dystopia in the Dis-United States of ‘Merica.
The sakoku 1.0 era occurred between 1603 and 1867.
The peace and stability of the Tokugawa period, and the economic development it fostered, set the stage for the rapid modernization that took place after the Meiji Restoration.
Suffrage Pioneer – Komako Kimura
This incredible Japanese woman was responsible for some of the most important yet difficult work as one of the first advocates of women rights in the early 20th century, especially coming from the samurai roots of a male dominated Japanese culture.
Wipe The Hard Drive
The initial indoctrination from birth, combined with experiences thereafter, construct each individual’s hard drive, and contain many preconceived notions and fabricated prejudices.
Not proactively recognizing the existence of one’s own preconceived notions, which morph into blatant prejudice, is disingenuous and indicative of a meaningless life.
Call Me Grandfather
Having grandson use the word “grandfather” will act as a permanent pronunciation exercise to haunt him throughout his life.
Along with the extreme vexing “r” pronunciation at the beginning of “grandfather” it is also part of the double-consonant “gr.”
Gravy ‘n’ Rice
This remarkable meeting of these two culinary culture touchstones fuses these staples into a flavour unlike any other.
Indeed one’s beloved father in the French Canadian tradition was deeply fond of porcine and the versatility of this staple.
From centuries past, the Japanese were acutely aware of the aesthetics of design, not only of craftsmanship, but extending into the conceptual and sublime societal protocol of form, order, and process, which are critical for a successful life in Japanese society.
The attitude and behaviour of the Japanese in most practical matters including those of a sexual nature are in fundamental alignment with nature, as is indicative of an agrarian island nation.
Mark Of The Beast
In Christian mythology the number 666 is know as “the mark of the beast, and indeed some Americans actually think world governments are possessed by Satan.
One could even say that large swaths of humanity have actually been brainwashed into the ridiculous notion of evil existing outside of oneself.
Father Became God Today
He made his way out of the darkness of poverty through the sheer force of his will and settled down in 1963, in a pristine paradise, which is referred to by the locals as “gods country.”
Anyone who has had the joy of fly-fishing for rainbow trout, on a pristine mountain lake nestle in the alpine mountains of British Columbia, can understand the significance of such deep and meaningful childhood experiences.
Here is something that is universally applicable to ponder, no religion necessary:
Do not judge a book by its cover.
The chasm between “East” and “West” has never been as volatile since the enslavement of the Chinese nation with massive opioid addiction in the early 20th century.
Let us refresh our collective memories as to why this historical inflection points has now set up a showdown between these two civilizations, and why the nation of Japan has always represents the third pillar of modern civilization.
Class Fee Of Life
Think of the class fee of life in the following way:
A needle on a vinyl album of the symphony of life.
It skips back over and over while play the same old tired phrase until a lights turn on.
Analogue vs Digital
Hey hey mama said the way your move it’s gonna make you sweat it’s going to make you groove.
Nothing can replace a memory of an eccentric older cousin passing through our small rural town in British Columbia, and stopping by to take me to a record store to buy Led Zeppelin IV.
Brigadier General Bonner Fellers
Like so many that come to understand and respect the Japanese people for their culture and unique way of life, Bonner Feller also understood the true nature of the Japanese when he befriended Aya Shimada in 1932, a Japanese exchange student in America before the outbreak of World War II.
Moreover, this level-headed soldier character was formulated by the Religious Society of Friends Family (Quakers), to which he was an adherent.
Your sensei is not merely a teacher, but also a mentor for life, fortifying disciple with knowledge and wisdom to forge a unique path in the world.
Here one can internalize the concept of sensei, by erasing the Occidental notion of what it means to be a teacher.
Heavier Rice – Deeper Bow
minoru hodo kōbe wo tareru inaho kana
The sake flowed and the party at the counter got underway in earnest, and during this party, each individual character was laid bare for all to see.
A delightful arrow in the linguistic quiver is to sprinkle one’s Japanese with onomatopoeia.
These most flavourful sounds and phrases always add special sauce to the esoteric Japanese language.
Meta-Cognition Master – Tim Ferriss
There are 2,136 ideograms that must be studied by all students attending compulsory education in Japan.
One could say Master Ferriss’s first steps to Meta-Mastery is when he encountered his first major Meta-Cognition Event when memorizing the Japanese Education Ministry’s Jōyō Kanji Hyō during his stay in Japan.
Tagai – Each Other
The importance of trust of each other, and trust in one’s own community is embodied in the spirit of this magnificent ideogram.
This Is Japan
Using the philosophy of ichi go ichi e, it is always best to take each encounter as an extraordinary moment in time, regardless of the tone, timbre, or hue contained within the encounter.
Sword – Jewel – Mirror
All cultures have meaningful symbolism strewn throughout the spectrum of their respective religions and cultures.
Many of these old stories remain very much alive, continuing to influence countless masses of adherents, immersing generational obedience to deep dogma of long gone but not forgotten distant times.
In this historic work, Japan, An Attempt At Interpretation, Patrick Hearn (Koizumi Yakumo) endeavoured to suggest a general idea of the social history of Japan, and a general idea of the nature of those forces which shaped and tempered the character of the Japanese people.
But the fact that Japan can be understood only through the study of her religious and social evolution has been sufficiently indicated.
Akemashite Omedetō-Reiwa 4
For the Japanese, the ringing-in of the New Year is the most important holiday in the Land Of The Rising Son, along with Obon where the ancestor worshiping Japanese honour their dead.
For the most part, the Japanese celebrate this special occasion in a solemn and reserved manner.
At the time of the opening of Japan, society had not evolutionally advanced beyond a stage corresponding to that of the antique Western societies in the seventh or eighth century before Christ.
Everywhere the course of human civilization has been shaped by the same evolutional law.
In the Occidental world, the repressive part of moral training begins in early childhood.
The European or American teacher is strict with the little ones, we think that it is important to ingrain the duties of behaviour.
The “must” and the “must not” of individual obligation, as soon as possible.
It has often been asserted by foreign observers that the real power in Japan is exercised not from above, but from below.
What cannot be denied is that superior authority has always been more or less restrained by tendencies to resistance from below.
After the reconstructions of the Meiji period, after the abolition of the feudal fiefdoms, and the suppression of the military class, it still maintained its former shape, just as the tree would continue to do when first abandoned by the gardener.
The slow weakening of the Tokugawa Shogunate was due to causes not unlike those which had brought about the decline of previous regencies.
The race degenerated during that long period of peace which its rule had inaugurated.
The strong builders were succeeded by feebler and feebler men.
During two hundred years of peace, prosperity, and national isolation, the graceful and winning side of this human nature found chance to bloom.
The multiform restraints of law and custom then quickened and curiously shaped the blossoming, as the gardener’s untiring art evolves the chrysanthemum flowers into a hundred forms of fantastic beauty.
The second half of the sixteenth century is the most interesting period in Japanese history for three reasons.
First, because it witnessed the apparition of those mighty captains, Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, and Iyeyasu.
Religion Of Loyalty
The history of the Japanese people strongly exemplifies these truths.
Among no other people has loyalty ever assumed more impressive and extraordinary forms.
Among no other people has obedience ever been nourished by a more abundant faith, that faith derived from the cult of the ancestors.
Rise Of Military Power
Although everything prior to the seventh century remains obscured for us by the mists of fable, much can be inferred concerning social conditions during the reigns of the first thirty-three Emperors and Empresses.
Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters), completed in 712 CE, and the Nihon Shoki contain records of fact, but fact and myth are so interwoven, it is difficult to distinguish the one from the other.
Its original unit was not the household (Domestic), but the patriarchal family, that is to say, the clans.
These clans consisted of a body of hundreds or thousands of persons claiming descendant from a common ancestor, and so religiously united by a common ancestor worship; the cult of the Ujigami.
Introduction of Buddhism
Intolerance of ancestor worship would have long ago resulted in the extinction of Buddhism; for its vast conquest have all been made among ancestor worshipping races.
Everywhere it made itself accepted as an ally, nowhere as an enemy, of social custom.
Rule Of The Dead
Ethics were not different from religion, religion was not different from government, and the very word for government signified “matters-of-religion.”
To obey was piety, to disobey was impious, and the rule of obedience was enforced upon each individual by the will of the community to which he belonged.
Developments Of Shinto
Ancestral ghosts, considered more or less alike when primitive society had not yet developed class distinctions of any important characteristic.
Subsequently these ancestral ghosts became differentiated, as a society itself differentiates into greater and lesser.
Like the “religion” of the home, Domestic, the religion of the community, Communal is also based upon ancestor worship.
What the household shrine (kamidana 神棚) represents to the immediately Japanese family, the Shinto parish-shrine represents to the greater community.
Three stages of ancestor worship are to be distinguished in the general course of religious and social evolution, and each of these can be found in the history of Japanese society.
Ask any Japanese what their “religion” is, and they will say, “We don’t have one.”
For the Japanese do not have a “religion”, and never have.
The Japanese have an indigenous way of life, which has continued for millennia until this day, and has been labeled a “religion” by others.
Strangeness and Charm
One of Yakumo’s dearest friends said to him:
“When you find, in four or five years more, that you cannot understand the Japanese at all, then you will begin to know something about them.”
Patrick Lafcadio Hearn
Lafcadio Hearn is a historic figure of Meiji-era Japan, he introduced Japanese culture to the West with intriguing observations about Japan.
Right-Brain Left-Brain – Part 6
Americans are the most obvious example of a left-brain dominated people as exhibited by their behaviour, action, and words.
For it can be said, the Japanese regard Americans as the most unpredictable people on Earth, due to the absence of any precisely defined societal form, order, or process.
Right-Brain Left-Brain – Part 5
Stories from the annals of the Japanese are replete with incidents where the fate of individuals, groups, and even the entire nation hung in the balance, and these critical decisions were based upon intuition, rather than reason.
Right-Brain Left-Brain – Part 4
The core principal which can be considered the Japanese way of thinking can be though of as fuzzy thinking, or better still, holistic thinking. If this concept has not became apparent yet, this “way of thinking” contrasts sharply with the linear way of thinking in which most of the rest of the world operates.
Right-Brain Left-Brain – Part 3
The core principal which can be considered the Japanese way of thinking can be though of as fuzzy thinking, or better still, holistic thinking.
Right-Brain Left-Brain – Part 2
According to the research of Dr. Tadanobu Tsunoda in the 1970s, there is a fundamental difference in the hemisphere dominance of the brains in the Japanese and non-Japanese. His research also demonstrated the difference in dominant side…
Right-Brain Left-Brain – Part 1
Remember, Lafayette De Mente was the first writers to introduce the Japanese terms wa, nemawashi, kaizen, tatemae-honne, shibui, and wabi-sabi to the Western world.
Master Storyteller Dan Carlin
Dan Carlin entrances one into spellbinding incredible rides probing the nooks and crannies of history. Hardcore History, has millions of downloads per episode and is one of the most widely acclaimed podcast in history.
Last Olympics – 1976
Here, all representatives created a sense of fairness and sportsmanship, even if outside of these games the political ideologies of the participating nations could not have been more disconnected.
No I Do, Yes, I Don’t
Being ignorant of kotodama, and the importance of reading the air, will always leave one at a distinct disadvantage when interacting with the Japanese, if unaware of this element of communication.
Mr. Big Tree
For it was at this time one thought, “Here you are truly on your own.” And then in the depths of despair came an angel, in the form of an ordinary Japanese businessman.
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.”
Divine Diva Marian Anderson
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.
Not Peanut Butter
One particular carpenters was having significant issues adjusting to Japanese food, and was longing for some good old Canadian comfort food, peanut butter!
Welcome to Ise Jingu
In the beginning there was a beautiful star, which shines her life-giving rays of hope upon all living creatures of Mother Earth.
Really Great Grandmother
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.
May I Peel Your Face Off
Innate curiosity and social-intelligence is a gift, although sometimes a little too much curiosity is not really such a good thing at all.
People You Meet: Ms. JJ Walsh
Known as the “Inbound Ambassador, the joyful and exuberant Joy Jarman-Walsh grew up in Hawaii and is a decades-long veteran of Japan.
Tale of Two Princesses
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.
Goodbye Greedy JC
One really got an in-depth look at a specific kind of American mind-set; the mind-set of selfishness, narcissism, and greed.
Jomon or Yayoi?
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.
I Don’t Love You, I Like You A Lot
There is a significant contrast in the way the Japanese think about love as compared to the Occidental mindset.
Dr. Tetsu Nakamura is a Hero
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?
Calling All Citizens
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….
Japan Yes, France No?
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.
Music Goddess Uehara Hiromi
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.
My Friend The Kamikaze
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).
Dan Son Jo Hi
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
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.
Personalized Solar Farm
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.
The Mickey Mousification of Japan
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.
Kata – Way Forward – Part 6
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.
Kata – Way Of Writing – Part 5
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.
Kata – Part 4 – Katafication
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.
Akemashite Omedetogozaimasu Reiwa 3
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.
Kata – Part 3 – Harmony
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.
Kata – Part 2 – Way Of Doing
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.
Kata – Part 1 – Form Order & 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.
The Wisdom of Japanese Proverbs
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.
Language is a Concept: Formal Greeting-Aisatsu
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.
Koban: Police Box
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.
Language is a Concept: Kao-Face
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.
Is My Wife a (Good) Witch?
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…
Language is a Concept: Giri-Obligation
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.
The Milk Of Human Kindness
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.
Language is a Concept: San-Mr. Mrs. Ms.
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”.
Language is a Concept: Amae-Indulgent Love
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.
Why Ancestors Worship?
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”.
Language is a Concept: Wa-Harmony
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.
People You Meet: Joe Palermo
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.
Massage My Soul
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“.
Chopsticks and Fork
The concept around eating is fundamentally different between cultures and is reflected in the utensils, or lack there of, used to eat.
Japan and the Shackles of the Past, by Emeritus Professor R. TAGGART MURPHY
Perhaps the most valuable book until now for me is called: Japan and the Shackles of the Past, by Emeritus Professor R. TAGGART MURPHY.
Obon: Bring Back Our Dead
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”.
Forgotten Samurai: Onna-bugeisha
Onna-bugeisha women warriors were known to be to be every bit as strong, capable, and courageous as their male counterparts.
Japanese Women Power: Mercedes Benz Mechanic
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.
The Almighty Chop
The personal seal is a piece of stone engraved with your family’s ideogram, or in my case the first three initials of my name. Company chops have elaborate engraving of the company’s name, and these designs are complex and extremely difficult to duplicate.
Akitaya – Japanese Style Family Restaurant
The server gruffly pointed to a seat at the very narrow counter where the patrons were elbow-to-elbow, snarfing skewers and quaffing drinks. This is where a cheap wet towel was then slapped in front of me and I was tersely asked “what da ya wanna drink!
One of the most important film critics of all time. Nagaharu Yodogawa devoted his life to the cinema.
Japanese Women On Husbands; Three Things
Traditionally, the Japanese women were happy to be stay-at-home mothers, running the house, taking their children to their extracurricular activities, and visiting with their friends.
Reason For Being
Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means “a reason for being”. The word refers to having a direction or purpose in life, that which makes one’s life worthwhile, and to take spontaneous and willing actions giving one satisfaction, and a sense of meaning to one’s own life. Ikigai consists of ‘Iki’ (to live [生き]) and ‘gai’ (reason[甲斐]).
Sorry Boys, No Baseball Today
Sorry Boys, No Baseball Today The Japanese National High School Baseball Championship tournament got cancelled for they first time in several decades. Alas. Personally, I am not a spectators of sports, preferring to play badminton with my local club; however, I do...
Japanese School Lunch
I fondly remember the first time I was invited to an elementary school as a guest, it was my very first experience for the school lunch in Japan.
I Have Known You For Years, I Don’t Know Your Name
I have a relationship with a subsidiary of a large corporation since 1992. There was a gruff but kind engineer who had been with this company from its inception in 1970. He called me “anchan” all the time, which I guess was an appropriate suffix for him to use in this ridged Japanese hierarchal system.
Finding One’s “WAY”
Japan’s natural religion, Shinto (神道), consist of 2 ideograms: “God (神)” and “Way (道)”. I noticed there are many different Japanese disciplines contain “Way (道)”. The “Way (道)” to be the most important thing in ones own life, and the quest for all is to find ones own “Way (道)”.
Am I An Alien?
Am I An Alien? My lovely spouse called me an alien the other day (Anata wa uchijin desu ne!). Now what she didn’t know when she called me an “alien”, is we “foreigners” used to be categorized as “aliens” on an official Japan government document. And the word “alien”...
A Journey Of A Thousand Miles Must Start With The First Step
A Journey Of A Thousand Miles Must Start With The First StepAt one of my favourite restaurants, the young man next to me confessed; “I just quit smoking on April 1”. I mentioned to him that “I thought it was awesome” he quit smoking, and that “a journey of a thousand...
Way Of Bath
Bathing is truly a unique experience in Japan. I never thought about the art of bathing while growing up in Central British Columbia, when as a child, I was taking my weekly bath on Sunday evening. Jump in, scrub up, wash off the soap (yes, while in the same water one soaped up in is where one also rinsed)
The beauty of kizuna (絆)
The beauty of kizuna (絆)I believe this to be one of the most important concepts the Japanese continue to subconsciously practice throughout their lives; it’s in their DNA. No way to express this in English, as, likely many other things Japanese, it remains...
Walk With Me
Walk With Me More often than not, I think the neighborhood I live in is sublime. I walked around my neighborhood with my new found friends the other day and one of them turned to me and said “you have such a opulent walking course” and I had to agree. Join me on a...
Natto: Soul Food Of Japan
Stinky, Slimy, Savoury, Succulent and So on… One get a mixed reaction from many of the Japanese, and uniform abhorrence of this miracle food from foreigners.
Miraculous Rock Art
Miraculous Rock Art You could consider Akie Nakata to be a rock star of sorts, but not the one that usual comes to mind. Akie Nakata is a self-taught artist creating realistic animal designs using small stones and pebbles to make incredible art which you can hold in...
Three Cold Four Warm (san kan shi on)
Three Cold Four Warm (san kan shi on)A new concept of those of the western mindset. The Japanese have an interesting 4-character compound used to describe the weather just around Cherry Blossom season, "san kan shi on". What happens is you get 4 nice warm days in a...
Significance Of Cherry Blossoms
What may look like just a gigantic party in Japan, is actually something that has much deeper meaning and significance to the Japanese. The time when cherry blossoms are bloom is when the Japanese gather to reflect on just how fleeting and ephemeral life can be, all the while sitting, eating, drinking, and some times singing and dancing as they congregating beneath the majestic cherry trees.
Alcohol Ponds—Meat Forests
Of course the party always starts with some long winded speech by a couple of “important people”, of the group. These speeches tend to drone on and every one wants them to shut up and start the party.
There’s always an amazing array of delicious food and lots and lots of “junkatsu yu” or social lubricant.
Incredible Paper Octopus
Incredible Paper OctopusWhat can you do with a single sheet of paper? Plenty when your name is Masayo Fukuda, who, after seeing her art I now refer to her as Sensai Tensai or “delicacy genius”. The Japanese are know to be extremely diligent and exceptionally...
Girls Festival-HinamatsuriAt the beginning of every March there is the spectacular Girls Festival here in Japan. As you can see, the ancient cultural of Japan is alive and well in modern Japan today. The primary aspect of the Girl’s Festival is the display of seated...
Spirit Of The Word
Spirit Of The WordOne's wise wife often chides when the Occxie savage, who stinks of butter, has unthoughtful things to say. In where she always reminds me of kotodamashi or "the spirit of the word." Most of us (unless you are a psychopath), know the power of...
Shoten: Laugh Point
Shoten: Laugh PointThere is a very interesting and long running TV program that has been running since May 15, 1966, called laugh point (shoten). In fact, the show has been going so long that I am on my 3rd host since coming to Japan. They don't quit the job, they...
Setsubun: Throw Some Beans
Setsubun: Throw Some BeansSetsubun is the day before the beginning of spring in Japan, and has its origins in a Chinese custom introduced to Japan in the eighth century. The name literally translation is "seasonal division", and usually refers to the spring Setsubun,...
Sobataka Jinja Moustache Festival
Sobataka Jinja Moustache FestivalEvery year near our house there is a very interesting, if not somewhat bizarre festival ,which takes place at a historic shrine, Sobataka Jinja. This shrine was established in year eighteen of the Jinmu-tennō reign, which began in 660...
Tuna Fish Insanity
Tuna Fish InsanityPersonally, I don't eat things that are becoming endangered, but that is just me. However, the Japanese are at it again, expensive seafood, really, really expensive seafood. A single bluefin tuna fetched 193.2 million yen on Sunday at the 2020 New...
Snow Monkeys Of Hell’s Valley
Snow Monkeys Of Hell's ValleyAn incredible natural phenomena is happening in the Land Of The Rising Son as we traveled to one of the largest prefectures and Japan, Nagano. By the way, Nagano is mostly know for hosting the 1998 Winter Olympics. We made our way over the...
First Visit To The Imperial Palace
First Visit To The Imperial Palace We had the once in a life time opportunity to enter the Imperial Palace Grounds and see the incredible structure assembled for this rare event know as "Daijōsai". These structures were recently constructed and then used in a...
Japanese School Girl Enchants Powerful Talk Show Host: Part 2
Last week we talked about the 9-year old drumming prodigy Yoyoka Kaneai and her original appearance on ellentube. She was invited on the show for a second time (first for Japanese citizen) to find out what happened in that most amusing original encounter.
Father’s Hat Back To Japan!
My father came to Japan in 1968, at the invitation of Nissan Motor Co Ltd., and wore this hat. Datsun was the export brand of Nissan Motors cars.
Japanese School Girl Enchants Powerful Talk Show Host: Part 1
What does a 9-year old Japanese child have to teach what is arguable one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful person in American show business? A little of the Japanese Way from Yokoka, the 9-year old drumming sensation to her very powerful and most gracious host.
The Beckoning Cat (maneki-neko) Often times, when you are going into a shop, you will see a cat with a paw raised up beckoning you into their store. The maneki-neko is usually displayed in, and often at the entrance of shops, restaurants, pachinko parlors,...
Love Of Crab
Last year this company also bought the prized itsukiboshi crab for a mere ¥2 million, and has now smashed its own Guinness book of World Records for the highest price ever paid for a crab.
The meaning of this important event is to celebrate the survival of their children, because as we all know historically understand, the mortality rate for young children in most parts of the world was very high. They pray to the Shinto Gods for the continuing healthy growth of their children in the coming years of youth into adulthood.
Really Scary Ghosts
Really Scary Ghosts One attended a high school cultural festival and was highly intrigued by the haunted house assembled by the one of the grade 12 classes. Now the difference between the Western ghosts and goblins and the spirits of the dead Japanese is profound....
Japanese Way Of Cake
The Japanese never fail to amaze me when it comes to KAIZEN. As I’m sure many of you already know as fans of Japan, the Japanese take things from the outside world, and refine them to an extraordinary degree and make them uniquely Japanese.
Enthronement Ceremony of Emperor Naurhito
Enthronement Ceremony of Emperor NaurhitoThe enthronement ceremony for Emperor Naruhito took place on October 22, 2019 (See the enthronement ceremony here). I talked about the importance of the emperor to the Japanese in my first podcast back in May. If you care to...
Hanafuda Card Game
Having just landed on the Land Of The Rising Son, I barely spoke any Japanese, and my new friend’s English was basically zero.
He invited me over to his house for my very first sukiyaki experience.
Sumo, Mikan, Kotatsu, Ocha, and Senbei
A few short days after my arrival on January 11, 1987, I was invited to a lovely girls house and what a surprises that awaited me there.
Wagyu vs Amegyu
Wagyu vs AmegyuThe way one thinks about beef is fundamentally different between America and Japan. It seems that the general philosophy of the Americans is; more is better. As this is borne out by the massive steaks, hamburgers, and ribs available in the dinning...
Ichigo Ichie ~ Once In A Life Time
The beauty of the Japanese language never fails to take the breath away.
Japanese Tattoos Without a doubt the Japanese have some of the most incredible art, and the art of Japanese tattoos is no exception. The Japanese word for tattoo, irezumi is translates directly as "inserting ink". Fundamentally having a tattoo in Japan is strictly...
Samurai SalarymanLike many aliens, I mean foreigners, I got my start in Japan as an English lecturer. Fortunately, I had the privilege of sub contracting to a large Japanese company for my career. There I saw complex hierarchical human relationships, fierce factions,...
Delights Of The Sea
Let’s think about it: Who in their right mind would think, “Why not – let’s eat fish raw”, said no one from the western world, ever.
However, once you discover the delightful and subtle flavours of the “umi no sachi [delights of the sea]” there is no turning back.
Who is Sazae-san?
Who is Sazae-san?The importance of the Sazae Family to the Japanese can not be over emphasized. Sazae-san (main female character, lives with her husband, Masuo, her parents, younger brother and sister and her child) is based upon the comic character first publishes in...
What Are Loan Words?
What Are Loan Words? Did you know that Japanese has an extensive amount of “loan words” most of them are English? I often tell the Japanese, that they already have a rich English vocabulary, if they only pay attention to the "loan words" and pronounce them properly,...
Basketball: Invented in Canada Refined in Japan
Basketball: Invented in Canada Refined in JapanThere was quite a stir in Japan recently as a Japanese citizen became the first Japanese basketball player to be taken in the first round of the NBA draft by the Washington Wizards. This is a very important milestone for...