You don’t have to go far to experience the ancient, living practice of Kannon Pilgrimage. One of Japan’s three major Kannon pilgrimages is just eighty minutes by train from Tokyo!
Kesennuma is a beautiful coastal city in Miyagi prefecture in northern Japan. With Kesennuma having a population of a little over 65,000 people and best known for its fishing industry, one may wonder what it has to offer the average person. Lucky for me, the people of Kesennuma are so kind and ecstatic to share Japanese culture with others! Here are some of the things I’ve found so far!
Massively popular toy dispensing capsule machines known as “Gachapon” can be found all around Japan. Named onomatopoeically “gacha” represents the sound that the machine makes when you put a coin in and twist the handle, and “pon” represents the noise of a little plastic ball falling out.
Manga Souko is a chain of second hand stores found throughout Japan. Touted as a “recycle store”, they buy and sell games, DVDs, manga, books, clothing, furniture, toys, decor, textiles, musical instruments, leisure equipment, electronics, and collectibles. With stores located in the Chubu, Kinki, Chugoku, Shikoku, Kyushu and Okinawa regions, you aren’t too far away from experiencing one of these magical places.
It raises an important question for us all to ponder though. Just how difficult is it to learn Japanese, when compared with other languages? After all, Japanese is spoken by more than 130 million people and one of the most popular second languages on earth.
Shinseikatsu literally means “new life activity”. It is the time of year that many people, young and old, strike out into new horizons and new lifestyles while surrounded by the symbolism of Spring and literal new life opening all around them.
What some may not be aware of, however, are the equally beautiful but less famous Japanese plum blossoms! Plum blossoms, like cherry blossoms are a signal for the beginning of spring, and though they are often overshadowed by the popular cherry blossoms, the flowers are stunning in their own right. Though they are similar in some ways they are also quite different in appearance, variations and blooming period.
Kagoshima city holds a large number of interesting historical sites, but few of them are as big as Sengan-en, a sprawling Japanese garden and house on the northern edge of the city. It is one of Kagoshima’s most popular tourist spots and aside from the attraction within the gardens itself, it commands a wonderful view of Sakurajima, Kagoshima’s iconic volcano.
The area to the west of Kyoto main station has gone through major changes in recent years. Ume Koji Park has seen the construction of the popular Kyoto Aquarium, the upgrading and renovation of Kyoto Railway Museum, a new café in the park and new children’s playground. These changes have brought in many more visitors to the area and because of this, a new station has just opened between Kyoto and Tambaguchi, Ume Koji Nishi Kyoto.
Now that I am teaching in Japan, dodgeball is one of the most popular pass times during recess, and I play dodgeball with my students as often as I can (but only limited to elementary school kids excluding Gr.6 boys). What I didn’t know at first and surprised me was how different the rules are in Japan…What do you mean we are going outside? Why is he standing outside the court?