Forging a blade into Japan’s metallurgic history

The delicately curved single-edged katana sword is an icon of Japan for many. Indeed, swords have been central to life in Japan for most of its history. Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, a sword that belonged to the mother goddess, Amaterasu, has been one of three items imperial regalia since Amaterasu sent it to earth with her grandson Ninigi … Continue reading Forging a blade into Japan’s metallurgic history

Traditional sake brewing is best in winter

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

Zuihoden: Honoring Sendai’s Date Daimyo

Sendai became the Tohoku region's premier city under Daimyo (feudal lord) Date Masamune (1567-1636) at the beginning of the Japan's historical Edo Period (1603-1867). Images of Date, and especially his iconic samurai helmet with its ornamental crescent moon, are ubiquitous across the city, which well remembers its founding father. Another way in which Sendai honors … Continue reading Zuihoden: Honoring Sendai’s Date Daimyo

Stepping back in time: the Meiji Village Museum of Miyagi

The Meiji Period (1868-1912) is perhaps my favorite period of Japanese history. It is the time when Japan, which had stagnated from being closed to the outside world since early in the 17th century, leapt forward, grafting new governmental structures to its traditional emperor system and adopting various new technologies to allow it to fend … Continue reading Stepping back in time: the Meiji Village Museum of Miyagi