During my last visit to Kumamoto Prefecture, I spent a bit of time acquiring some samurai skills, an experience I shared in this article in All About Japan.
Traditionally, sake is brewed in winter. This isn't just because the process begins shortly after rice is harvested. Rather, it's because the fermentation process works best at constant cool temperatures (ie, below 15C). Perhaps for this reason, the Japan's snowy Tohoku region is thought to produce some of the best sake in the country. A … Continue reading Traditional sake brewing is best in winter
This article describes a couple of locations in and around Tokyo associated with Admiral Togo Heihachiro, a major figure of the Meiji Period and beyond. (Archived article – Originally published by Japan Today.)
Visit any Japanese Buddhist temple, or any Japanese home that maintains a Buddhist altar and you are bound to encounter Japanese senko, sticks of incense lit and stood in the ash accumulated in the bottom of an incense burner. Incense is thought to purify the air and sharpen or attune the mind. Some people even … Continue reading Senko Incense Produced Sustainably
Tokyo has been expanding itself into shallow parts of Tokyo Bay through landfill and land reclamation for four centuries. It is thanks to such expansion that Tokyo's southeastern-most ward, Ota-ku, can claim the largest area of any of Tokyo's 23 wards. One of those Ota-ku landfill projects was begun in the 1940s and by 1960 … Continue reading The Parks of Peace Island: Adventure, Relaxation and maybe a bit of History
Grapes have been cultivated in Japan since at least the eighth century, but it was not until 1879 that the first grape wine was produced. By lucky coincidence, the location of Japan's earliest wine production, and still one of Japan's major wine producing regions, Katsunuma in Yamanashi Prefecture, is just an hour and a half … Continue reading A Winter Weekend in Wine Country
On a recent visit to Aizu-Wakamatsu I enjoyed the experience of making my own herbal tea blend, which I have shared in this article in All About Japan.
My favorite way to observe the new year in Japan is by a midnight visit to a shrine. But this year below freezing temperatures convinced me to stay at home at midnight and make my shrine visits in daylight--temperatures above freezing with a bit of a cold breeze. Consequently I decided to do a seven … Continue reading Starting 2022 with the seven lucky gods of Tokai