Calligraphy – one of Japan’s “cultured” arts

Japan has a number of traditional fine arts that have been practiced for centuries and are still going strong today:  flower arranging, tea ceremony, poetry and calligraphy, to name a few. This week I had the opportunity to attend a calligraphy demonstration and workshop at Tokyo's National Arts Center, conducted in English, sponsored by the … Continue reading Calligraphy – one of Japan’s “cultured” arts

Sekigahara: New movie brings the battle, and the battlefield, to life

This article is a combination movie review and travel piece, looking at both the new release movie "Sekigahara" and the Sekigahara battlefield in Gifu Prefecture.  Both deserve attention.  Readers in Tokyo, note especially the screenings of the movie with English subtitles during the first week of its release. (Archived article - Originally published by Japan … Continue reading Sekigahara: New movie brings the battle, and the battlefield, to life

Somen: Slippery summer noodles worthy of slurping

Japanese love their noodles!  From steaming bowls of ramen or udon, to mounds of yakisoba fresh off the griddle and dripping with tangy sauce, to bamboo trays of buckwheat soba noodles for dipping into a salty soy sauce-based soup, noodles are a dietary staple here.  Not as common or well-known is somen--long, thin, wheat-based noodles, … Continue reading Somen: Slippery summer noodles worthy of slurping

Haneda Festival: traditional fishermen’s prayers in the shadow of jets

One of the best things about being in Japan in the summer is the various neighborhood festivals.  Depending on the neighborhood and its guardian shrine, the festival can take place any time of the year, but summer seems to be the most popular season. Historically, Haneda, the neighborhood just north of the mouth of the … Continue reading Haneda Festival: traditional fishermen’s prayers in the shadow of jets