Forest hike and Japanese tea ceremony

Today I wondered: what was I doing in Japan around this time four years ago? The answer did not disappoint me: I was hiking through a virgin forest and attended a field tea ceremony (nodate 野点). Me and my aunt, who was visiting from Belgium, were invited by my lovely friends Nobuo-san and Motoko-san to... Continue Reading →

Ancient arts: Japanese calligraphy

Calligraphy is one of the great Japanese arts. This is exemplified in the Japanese word for calligraphy, shodō 書道. The second kanji of the word, 道, means road. All the great Japanese arts have this kanji in their name. Examples are: sadō 茶道 the way of tea jūdō 柔道 the famous martial art, literally the... Continue Reading →

Flowers and manhole covers

I adore Japanese manhole covers. They are just so beautiful! Here's the one for Toyota City: It features the symbol of Aichi prefecture in the middle, surrounded by sun flowers. Toyota City has adopted the sunflower as its symbol flower. Likewise, the manhole cover for Takayama features rhododendron flowers, which are symbolic for the city... Continue Reading →

My first bowl of matcha green tea

After having lived in Japan for over a year, a bowl of matcha green tea seems like the most normal thing in the world to me. But I can still vividly remember the first time I came into contact with this magical substance. Matcha tea is produced by drying and grinding green tea leaves into... Continue Reading →

Japanese hands

The other day I was watching the Japanese movie 'Okuribito' (usually titled 'Departures' abroad). I absolutely love that movie and would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone. The movie is about a man who moves back from Tokyo to his hometown in the mountains. He gets involved in the funeral business, a profession that was despised... Continue Reading →

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