“Irasshai!” Customers are greeted by the Japanese word for “welcome” as they enter a traditional sushi restaurant. They are led to the counter seat, and decide to do “omakase,” leaving the responsibility of choosing the selection of fish to the chef. The chef knows best; which order to eat, what fish is in season, and which fish is especially good on that particular day.
It can be said that Japanese culture has become intrinsically linked with Zen. First introduced to Japan around the 7th century, Zen ideology spread rapidly throughout the 12th century, a time known as the Kamakura period. Zen generally refers to a meditation practice derived from Buddhism, and its influences can be found throughout daily life in Japan.
Previously we introduced Naoshima, an island teeming with art and creativity. This time we will introduce some other noteworthy places that are located near Naoshima; Takamatsu and the surrounding islands.
The appreciation of beauty and its effortless integration into the daily rituals of life in Japan constitutes a history of ‘cultural addition’ as Japanese composer Ito Teijii points out. As such, the aesthetic concepts of wabi, sabi, and miyabi, explored below, have not only survived, but rather flourished over time.
So you've decided to take part in a formal Japanese dinner, maybe at a tea house.Today's topic is probably the most important for our readers making plans to go to Japan: How to prepare for and participate in a geisha dinner. What should you wear? What will happen during the dinner? What interactions can you expect?
Believe it or not, the original geisha hardly resembled modern geisha in any way. The first geisha were actually male, appearing around the year 1730. It was only about 20 years later that female geisha began to appear in the forms of odoriko (踊り子, meaning dancers) and shamisen players, and they quickly took over the profession, dominating it by 1780.
Geisha, at the most fundamental level, are professional entertainers. They are trained in a variety of Japanese traditional arts, such as dancing, singing, flute, and shamisen (a traditional Japanese three-stringed instrument), as well as the art of hospitality. They also play games and engage in conversation with visitors, all in service of providing the most welcoming and intimate environment possible.
The three syllables that make up the word “kabuki” (歌舞伎), mean “music”, “dance”, and “acting”, respectively. The whole word itself comes from an archaic verb kabuki, which means “to incline”, and references the actors' flamboyant clothes and actions. Since the kabuki’s founding, spectators were well aware that this new type of theater would be a strong deviation from noh traditions.
Naoshima 直島, a small island located in Setonaikai (a Japanese inland sea bordering 10 prefectures and containing numerous small islands), is only a ferry ride away from Hiroshima. After receiving many questions and requests for information regarding the island from our guests interested in art and design, we decided that a post should be dedicated to Naoshima.