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Traditional Culture

Monkey -Part 1- “Saru Kani Gassen”

Monkey in a nursery tale The most famous tale of monkey is “Saru Kani Gassen” (The Battle Between A Monkey And Crabs). Saru is Japanese for monkeys, Kani is crab. Gassen is battle, pronounced as “Kassen” when it’s used as one word, Gassen when it’s a part of a word like “Yuki-gassen” (Snowball Battle).…

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Gaijin Chronicles : Kangeikai and Edamame

Japanese companies usually hold 歓迎会(kangeikai or welcome party) to welcome new employees and 送別会( Soubetsukai or farewell party) for those leaving. In some cases, the welcome and farewell parties are combined into one — 歓送迎会(kansougeikai). These are usually dinner parties held in nice restaurants.The party is usually started with speeches by the company president or any top ranking official and by the 新入社員(shinyuushain or new employee(s)) or the person(s) leaving.…

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Gaijin Chronicles : Mikan and Japanese Gift Giving Etiquette

Early autumn of 2012, my friends and I went to Kuroisan Green Park in Setouchi-shi, Okayama for mikan harvesting.  Mikan, according to its Wikipedia entry, is a sweet,  seedless,  and easy-peeling citrus species about the size of mandarin oranges but smaller than an orange.…

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Japanese dog as a spiritual being

Dog in Japan -Shiba- The very best dog in the world IMO. Photo from Ashinari One of the very popular animals in Japanese old tales. As long as I remember, usually drawn as a white medium-size Japanese dog in a book, with a curled tail and erect, triangular ears like a Kishu dog.…

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Momotarou, the Japanese old tale

Momotarou -Momotarou picture books- “Momotarou” is one of the very well-known folk tales in Japan, and it’s a quite popular character in Okayama where I live, so I felt this would be a good theme to start. Like many children’s stories, Momotarou is about “The good defeats the evil forces”.…

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