I think one can find a Muji store in Japan quite easily as their flagship store must be in Japan since they originated in japan ? It is like your friendly , neighborhood grocery store with clothing and whatever else you may need in your home . It is a pretty neat concept and I do like Muji very much when they first opened its door in Asia.
Everything of Muji seems to be functional and affordable. But most importantly , Muji is spacious ! and you and I know how much rent is in Tokyo or anywhere in Japan . So they must have some kind of right concept as it is known that Muji always knows what their customers want.
And people who’ve shopped at Muji becomes some very loyal customers and those who don’t even shop regularly , goes to Muji from basics to apparel and then some food as well.
Whenever we go on a vacation to Tokyo , we stay with a very good friend. We are very blessed because hotels in Tokyo can be very expensive. So we bring a gift with us and this year , we were asked if we knew where to buy clarinet for our friend’s child who is starting to play the instrument.
So instead of just helping our friend buy the clarinet for her daughter, we are going to bring it as a gift for them. The next time we will ask if they need anything from the West , that way we can kill 2 birds with one stone and getting them something useful. And yes, it is customary to bring a gift when you visit a friend in Tokyo and more so if you stay with them.
Exchange students are often going from Canada to Japan for a couple of months to experience the culture in Japan and to learn some of their languages to bring back to share with their fellow students from home.. Many a times , I’m asked what kind of gift/s do they send to the host family who are taking care of their children while they are away from home. I recommended a few things but I particularly like to give table linens and premiertablelinens.com has an excellent selection that one can order online and have the students bring along with them and present it to the host family as soon as they arrive.
Any host family from Japan would appreciate a piece of good quality table linen as the Japanese only believed in quality and not the quantity of things that one present. And since Japanese families celebrates the harvest month like the Americans , a good table linen would be an excellent gift to present to the host family. They would certainly appreciate it and will use it during the harvest month when they are celebrating with friends and family or any special occasion to show them off to family and friends.
Oden reminds me of Yong Tau Fu back home and you can find oden even in convenient stores like 7 – eleven and Lawson in Japan but you wouldn’t find the same thing anywhere else though. Although Yong Tau Fu you pick the ingredients and then they are cooked in boiling water , followed by noodles or no noodles , soupy or dry to be added, this is with broth that had been boiled in for hours.
The difference with Oden and yong tau fu is the broth, while the broth for Oden is soy based, the broth for yong tau fu I think is ikan bilis and also the ingredients , while some is quite similar, you will noticed that Oden’s ingredients are not things we usually add with our yong tau fu.
Oden is usually eaten during the cooler months in Japan and in Osaka, you will find many Oden eateries. They are not only found inside a restaurant but they can be found in market places , out on the street in a street cart. I love the daikon most if I have Oden and then the fish cakes as well as eggs and tofu like things. I also like the meat kind of food that comes in the Oden , because they are so flavorful.
Oden are almost always reasonably priced but it also depends on where you eat and buy them from.
The Hiroshima Lantern Festival is held on the 6 of August annually and even though businesses are still open for business, a lot of people are gathered at the Peace Park to think about what happened and also to pray for lost ones as well as thinking of ways how to end nuclear war , suffering and differences between countries.
There is a memorial service and everyone is welcome to attend and lighting of paper lantern with special wishes written on them and then released into the waters. The festival is a somber event and usually the political party give speeches and talk about the past event and the future.
Street performances in Japan is a common sight and I’ve written a lot about it in my many years that I’ve been in Japan. The talented Japanese guys and girls spare not change when it comes to buying their musical instruments and costume for their performances. My nephew who lives in Japan had asked me to bring a pro bass box for him this summer when I am on vacation in Japan and although my sister isn’t so keen in him performing on the street, I feel that it’s a really cool thing to do and experience. I say go for it just as long as he isn’t doing drugs or drinking alcohol or fighting on the streets.
If you are in Okinawa, don’t forget to try this bitter melon burger, you will be quite surprise at its taste because i myself, do not like bitter melon that much but I must say for $3.00 it wasn’t a bad burger at all. Of course, one has to have some goya rings too – at $2.50 a pop, why not?
Menu from one of the fast food restaurant where you can get your Goya fix (bitter melon).
Store front of one of the goya burger fast food store.
Alot of people are mistaken when they see an Oiran and a geisha, they think that they are the same but nope , they are not. The geisha is dressed up more simply than the Oiran but both the Oiran and the geisha can do the singing, acting and dancing but it is said that the Oiran does it better?
Oirans are freakishly expensive, I learned from a Japanese friend of mine who entertains a lot of their foreign clients. To have the company of an Oiran , it would cost an entire years salary of a normal worker in Japan. And yes, that’s a lot of money ! The Oiran is pretty special, she is not your normal prostitute because she can refuse your business, you need to be introduced first and if they are attracted to you , then you can start having a relationship with her.
People from all over the world comes for the once a year procession of the Oiran and it’s pretty elaborate. At the end of the procession, there is a stage, where the Oiran shows how the customers are served and what one can expect from the Oiran.
The Bunsui Sakura Matsuri Oiran D?ch? is a free event held in Tsubame, Niigata. D?ch? is a shortened form of oiran-dochu, also the name for the walk the top courtesans made around the quarter or the parade they made to escort their guests. This parade features three oiran in full regalia — Shinano, Sakura, and Bunsui — among the cherry blossoms in April with approximately 70 accompanying servants. Each oiran in 15-cm tall geta parades in the distinctive gait, giving the procession an alternate name, the Dream Parade of Echigo (Echigo no yume-dochu). The event is extremely popular across the country, with many people in Japan applying for the three oiran and servant roles.
I was there only once and I still remember it vividly because it made us feel like we were in the old Shogun days. All the building in this old town is pretty much preserved like we do here as a heritage building. And transport used is mainly the bicycle. One can get to the old edo town by train and it takes about 30 minutes from Tokyo.
There are gifts store a museum, candy store and craft stores and one must look at getting a good knife while you are there. There are also a couple of temples you might want to check out and one can easily spend the entire day at this old town just walking and exploring. Let it be known that this little town is quite the tourist attraction.
Drumming in Japan is quite tradition , unlike our drumming the West with a gretsch new classic . Although , I do enjoy the traditional drumming in Japan, I much prefer the classic drumming we have in the West. Both are art form but the traditional Japanese drumming seems a lot more intense.
I’ve seen some Taiko drumming in Sado Island sometime last year and tourists flocked to this quiet island because of this cultural event held yearly. There is no lyrics to the drumming but it was definitely very enjoyable but if I had a choice I still prefer our Western drumming.