One of my favorite times in Japanese history is the Meiji Period (1868-1912), when Japan re-opened itself to the world and rapidly modernized. Inevitably it was a time of turmoil. There was substantial economic and social upheaval as Japan industrialized and the rigid structures of shogunal Japan were abandoned. Satsuma Domain (now known as Kagoshima), … Continue reading Satsuma Contributions to Meiji Modernization
Japan is well known for borrowing ideas and technology from other countries and adapting them to something distinctly Japanese. Black vinegar is one such item. More than two centuries ago, the village of Fukuyama on the eastern shore of Kagoshima Bay began producing black vinegar using methods imported from China. Refined and developed over the … Continue reading It’s a condiment. It’s a health food. It’s black vinegar.
The Kirishima volcano system in Kagoshima Prefecture is fascinating for the variety of landscapes visitors can experience. The flanks of some of the volcanoes are covered with grassland conducive to raising cattle. Takachiho Farm is a kind of "show farm" within sight of Mt. Kirishima where visitors can see a working dairy and experience several … Continue reading Takachiho Farm: fun hands-on experience of life on a farm
This article introduces a fascinating historical site in Kagoshima. The site is an interesting blend of the lifestyle of samurai lords and some of Japan's earliest attempts at industrialization. Learn more in this article. (Archived article originally published by Japan Today.)
Unlike many Japanese, who rise early on New Year's mornings to watch the sunrise on the new year, I've always preferred seeing in the new year with a traditional hatsumode shrine visit promptly at midnight. This year's hatsumode was a particular treat, as it included some very special entertainment. This year I was fortunate to … Continue reading Myths in the mountains at midnight