Japan’s Cherry Blossoms: When is Cherry Blossom Season in Japan?

Japan’s Cherry Blossoms: When is Cherry Blossom Season in Japan?

A cloud of soft pink petals coating the world in a blanket of springtime joy- it sounds like a fairytale or a scene from an anime. But in Japan, this beautiful dream comes true once a year- during cherry blossom season! Called 桜 sakura in Japanese, cherry blossom time in Japan is without a doubt one of the most famous and celebrated events of the year.  Read on to learn how you can time your trip right in order to…

Where to Find American Comfort Food in Japan

Where to Find American Comfort Food in Japan

Japan has an array of smells and tastes that attract foodies from around the globe. In fact, the city of Tokyo has earned the title of the most Michelin-starred city in the world! But while Japanese cuisine is undeniably delicious, it is true that too much of even the tastiest thing can become tiring over time. Whether you are an American expat craving a taste of home or a fan of the decadent food from the Land of the Free-…

Why is Japanese so Hard to Learn?

Why is Japanese so Hard to Learn?

Why is Japanese so hard to learn? Is Japanese really that difficult? It’s true that Japanese can be a hard language to learn, but it comes with a lot of benefits. You could watch your favorite anime without subtitles, play video games before their international release, no longer have to wait for manga to be translated, and be able to travel comfortably in the Land of the Rising Sun. Learning a new language opens many doors and unlocks countless possibilities-…

Haiku vs. Senryū Poems: What’s the Difference?

Haiku vs. Senryū Poems: What’s the Difference?

When most people think they’re writing a haiku, they’re actually writing a form of poetry called senryū. Both are Japanese styles of poetry, and both are very similar in construction, but they’re not the same. Most poetry experts have come to accept that haiku has taken on a much larger meaning as the art form has spread around the planet – but if you want to be correct in the classical sense, it’s important to know the difference between haiku…

Famous Japanese Authors You Should Try Reading

Many readers outside of Japan aren’t familiar with Japanese literature. That’s unfortunate because many wonderful authors from Japan exist. Japan has maintained a vibrant literary culture since writing was introduced to Japan from China in the 5th century via Korea. It was during the Meiji Period (1868-1912) when modern Japanese literature grew exponentially. Since that time, Japan has enjoyed a wealth of literature from many different famous Japanese authors. Japan even has the distinction of being the birthplace of the…

Valentine’s Day in Japan: A Look at Japanese Valentine’s Day Traditions

Valentine’s Day in Japan: A Look at Japanese Valentine’s Day Traditions

Most well-traveled, culturally-aware people will know that holidays are not universal. As we approach February 14th, you might wonder: Do they celebrate Valentine’s Day in Japan? And if so, how is it different? Valentine’s Day in Japan: The Basics Most of our readers will be familiar with the Western way of celebrating Valentine’s Day. Generally speaking, it’s a holiday where romantic partners either gift equally, or where the male gifts the female (that all depends on relationship dynamics). In Japan,…

Why Do Japanese People Bow to Each Other?

Why Do Japanese People Bow to Each Other?

If you’ve ever visited Japan or watched a Japanese TV show, you’ve likely seen people bow to each other. It’s an aspect of Japanese culture that most of us know. There are several reasons people in Japan bow to each other. You might also be surprised there are several different bows for different situations, or to convey something different. Japanese people bow to each other to show respect, to apologize, to greet, or to thank. In this article, we’ll learn…

Washi Tape: What is Washi Tape & How Do You Use It?

Washi Tape: What is Washi Tape & How Do You Use It?

If you spend much time in craft stores, stationery stores, or Japanese gift shops, you’ve probably seen washi tape and wondered what it is or what it’s for. Conversely, you might have heard the name, but not made the connection with what it is. What is Washi Tape? Washi tape is a decorative adhesive tape that’s sort of like masking tape, but much, much better. It’s made from natural fibers like ganpi, mistumata, kozo, or even hemp, but it can…

What is a Tatami Mat?

What is a Tatami Mat?

You’ve likely noticed that the flooring in Japanese rooms looks different than what we are used to in the West. This type of flooring is called tatami and, like many things in Japan, it’s quite interesting. What is Tatami? A tatami is a type of mat used as flooring material in Japanese rooms. Traditionally, the core is made from rice straw. Tatami produced in modern times often uses compressed wood chips or polystyrene foam boards. The History of Tatami Originally,…

12 Unique Japanese Kit Kat Flavors You Need to Try

12 Unique Japanese Kit Kat Flavors You Need to Try

The origin of Kit Kat, the chocolate-covered wafer bar, goes back to 1911 when British confectionery company Rowntree trademarked the term. It wasn’t until the 1920s that production started, and became wildly successful. Most people are familiar with the traditional Kit Kat which is milk chocolate over crispy wafers. There have been variations like white chocolate, dark chocolate, and mint. You might be surprised to hear there are a lot more Kit Kat flavors you’ve probably never seen. That is…