The Japanese hot spring Inn we stayed at in Sado Island offered a traditional dance show in the evening: a unique opportunity to enjoy Japanese culture after soaking in the bath and a generous seafood dinner including a copious amount of Japanese beer and sake.
A group of traditional dancers and singers came to the hotel’s lobby and gave a warm performance of a traditional dance from Sado island along the Okesa Song. The Okesa song, which is a dialog between two lovers, is thought to have been brought to Sado island by seamen navigating the sea of Japan. It is now an important cultural heritage to Sado island.
Taking the ferry in Japan is a peculiar experience. Ferries are typically divided in different classes. All classes share the common characteristic that most Japanese try to sleep during the trip, even if it takes only a few hours during daytime. Upper level classes consist in large rooms filled with individual and fully horizontal mattresses on which customers can sleep. Few first class rooms akin to hotel rooms are sometimes available on the upper deck.
I was in the lower class, which is more rudimentary. It consists in carpeted floor area where one can lie down. Customers seemed to consider the carpets dirty since the best majority sleep on old journal paper. While older folks take a nap or watch baseball while lying down, kids feed the marine birds with potato crackers. I personally choose to eat a warm bowl of ramen noodles and to document in photos this interesting experience of Japanese culture.
The word Karaoke originates from the combination of two words: Kara, which means “empty” and ōkesutora which means, I bet you guessed it, “orchestra”. Karaoke is hugely popular in Japan Continue reading Karaoke
Bicycle is a popular mean of transportation in Japan and is widely used by people of all ages. Most Japanese bicycles are not made for sports, but are rather geared for comfort with extra accessories like the popular front basket.
The ancient art of Japanese archery, named Kyudo in the nippon language, is still practiced nowadays by young and old. There are two important elements in Kyudo. The first one, efficiency, puts emphasis on hitting the target each time. The second, aesthetics, is concerned by the appearance or meditative process that goes in every shot. In other words, one seeks to hit the target with a motion as beautiful or as elegant as possible.
Japanese stamp books are a fun way to visit Japanese historic sites and provide lasting memories of your adventures. Mine comes from Zenko-ji temple in Nagano prefecture. This temple is very famous around Nagano and was even visited by the Dalai Lama. Since 2012, I have accumulated several stamps of temple and shrines I have visited. Each stamp indicates the date of visit and the kanji’s of the shrine. If you get yourself a stamp book, I strongly suggest you always keep it with you Continue reading Japanese Temple & Shrine Stamp book (Go-Shuin-Cho, 御朱印帳)