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Traditional Culture

Let’s Play “Go”! – How to Play the Board Game Go

The game Go is a quest to conquer territories. One of the two players uses black stones and the other white stones to mark out their respective territories. The player who has captured more territory at the end of the game is the winner.…

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Let’s Play “Go”! – History of the Board Game Go

The game of ‘Go’ has its origin in China 4,000 years ago. It is more than 1,300 years since ‘Go’ was introduced to Japan. During these centuries, the ancient Chinese form of ‘Go’ has been modified and improved by the Japanese.…

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Playing with Flowers in Cards: Hanafuda 2

As we learned in our first post about Hanafuda (花札), they are Japanese playing cards that are used to play a number of games. The name comes from two Japanese words hana (花) which means flowers and fuda (札) which can mean cards.…

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Playing with Flowers in Cards: Hanafuda

Hanafuda (花札) are Japanese playing cards that are used to play a number of games. The name comes from two Japanese words hana (花) which means flowers and fuda (札) which can mean cards. Some call it “flower cards” in English.…

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Osechi: Traditional Japanese New Year’s Food – Meaning

In my previous post about osechi, I mentioned that each dish has its own meaning and significance. You can think of juubako of osechi as a box full of one’s desires or wishes for himself or for his families for the New Year.…

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Seijin no Hi or Coming of Age Day

Furisode. A type of kimono usually worn by unmarried women. (Image by Nuria Monsó Tarancón on Flickr) Coming of Age Day Today is Seijin no Hi (成人の日) or Coming of Age Day in Japan. It is a national holiday held every second Monday of January.…

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Osechi: Traditional Japanese New Year’s Food

“Shin-nen akemashite omedetou gozaimasu”, Happy New Year to everyone! How did you spend your year end vacation? I guess, everyone is still in their vacation mode. Did you eat osechi during “sanganichi” (三が日)? How was it? Did you know that each dish has its own meaning and significance?…

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税 (Zei) – 2014 Kanji of the Year

Every year since 1995, the Japanese Kanji Proficiency Society (財団法人日本漢字能力検定協会, Zaidanhōjin Nihon Kanji Nōryoku Kentei Kyōkai), chooses a Kanji of the Year (今年の漢字, Kotoshi no Kanji). The selection is done through national ballot. The character with the most votes, usually related to events happened that year, is announced in a ceremony on December 12 (漢字の日, Kanji no Hi or Kanji Day) at the Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto.…

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New Year Holidays in Japan: Hatsuyume

As we mentioned in our hatsumoude post, everything you do in the first days of the New Year can mean something or will affect the whole year. Hatsu (初) or “first” of something are important according to Japanese culture: the first shrine visit, first dreams, and the first sunrise have impacts on how your year will turn out.…

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New Year Holidays in Japan: Hatsumoude

Happy New Year! Everything you do in the first days of the New Year can mean something or will affect the whole year. Hatsu or “first” of something are important according to Japanese culture: the first shrine visit, first dreams, and the first sunrise have impacts on how your year will turn out.…

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