I am honored to have been given the opportunity to host May 2010 Japan Blog Matsuri, and amazed by the number and quality of this month’s entries. The global theme was How-tos and there are few subjects that weren’t touched in the following articles. Please read on, and you’ll certainly learn something new and useful.
A nata (なた, 鉈) is a special implement used to split bamboo. The blade is thicker on the back side and tapers down to the sharp edge. The thicker end serves to help separate the bamboo when it starts splitting.
I view Gakuranman as an etalon of quality blogs and with every new post he rises the quality even higher. This time, he has truly outdone himself with. This article is a very interesting view on the differences between Western and Japanese way of arguing including an example video and a tutorial on how to argue with Japanese. Also check out the nemawashi how-to below.
“You’ve seen the procession, you’ve stood there and watched the people go by. And you’ve listened to the garbled explanations provided in funny English over the loudspeakers. And while it all looked very pretty (and somewhat anti-climactic even), you still are not sure what it was all about. This handy, step-by-step guide will show you how the procession looked back in the 19th century and compare it with the procession we have today.”
10 ways how NOT to go loco in Yokohama is a fairly well known guide to living in Japan and I’m sure many of you have read it already. Still, despite the fact that it was published in 2008, I believe that it definitely can’t hurt to remember it once more.
If you’ve never been to Japan before, and especially if you don’t speak Japanese, it is very important to plan your first trip to the Land of the Rising Sun ahead, and take as many precautions as possible. This may be a difficult and time consuming process, but it’ll save you time and trouble in the end. Otaku Hime’s guide will show you how to organize your travel schedual, look up transport information, and plan your journey overall.
If you’ll ever move to Japan, you’ll be surprised at how difficult it is to buy a notebook with an English keyboard. If you’re not one of the lucky owners of the Optimus Maximus keyboard, read on, and find out what are the other options…
One of the most important skills in Japanese business is nemawashi—a commonly-used Japanese consensus building technique. It’s interesting that while I never heard of it before, I always proceeded this way, and probably prefer it to a completely open and direct discussion. Also check out Gakuranman’s entry above.
Donburi is a big rice bowl and Donburi menu refers to a dish that has a topping over a bed of rice in the big bowl. Nishoku-Gohan literary means ‘two-colored rice’ referring to rice with two colored toppings, which is one of the easiest dishes to cook and does not require different kinds of unusual Japanese ingredients. If that’s not enough, check out Ksenia Klykova’s Mushroom miso soup recipe and my Matcha pancakes & matcha latte.
Furoshiki is a Japanese tradition of wrapping and carrying many kinds of goods (obento, books, bottle of sake, &c.) in a handkerchief. I’m a frequent user of double and single Bin-tsutsumi (bottle wrap) and find this way of carrying things very comfortable, ecological, fashionable, and plain and simply cool. By the way, if you would like to learn even more furoshiki techniques, you may also check out Otaku Hime’s article on Tenugui and Furoshiki.
“Kanji is said to be one of the hardest, if not the hardest, part to learning Japanese. Anyone foreign to the language, looking at all those characters, would think so! Yet, they aren’t really that hard, you just need the right attitude and proper motivation.”
“Perhaps many of my Japan-resident readers will be aware of the presence of drink bars in many Japanese family restaurants, but they are difficult to enter alone when all you want to do is spend some quality me time. Fortunately there are alternatives that can save you a little money here and there.”
“If you’re green tea experience is pouring boiling water over a tea-bag or ordering ‘O-cha’ at your favorite sushi joint this post is for you.”
“How can one not enjoy an onsen?”, I hear you say. That’s true, but read on, and you’ll find out that there are many ways how you can improve the experience even further.
My own entry into the matsuri… Persimmons don’t grow all year round and drying is not only the best way to preserve these fruits, but it also brings out the natural fruit sugars and healthy attributes, making it a yummy tea treat.
As a bonus, I’m giving away a copy of The Book of Five Rings—the ultimate Japanese how-to on war, life and business by Miyamoto Musashi—to the author of the best entry. It was a very difficult task for me to choose the winner, as there were many high-quality entries.
At first, Gakuranman’s How to argue in Japanese seemed to be a clear favorite as it perfectly matches the subject and even includes a video, but after thoughtful consideration, I understood that as it is a collaboration of several bloggers, it would be difficult to decide who to give the book to, and decided to award Rochelle Kopp’s entry on nemawashi.
Congratilations to the winner, and big thanks to everyone who participated in this month’s matsuri. お疲れさまでした！
By the way, please let me know what you think of the new Japan Blog Matsuri banner I designed :)