The Cultural Perception of Tattoos or Irezumi in Japan

My very limited knowledge of tattoos comes from my experience of growing up in Tokyo.  In Japanese, the word for tattoo is irezumi, 入れ墨。The first two characters together, ire(ru) means, to put in, to place or to insert.  The second, sumi, is ink.  So, it’s the insertion of ink. During the Meiji era, tattoos in …

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Shichigosan: The Japanese Festival for 7, 5, and 3 Year Olds

The Japaneses Shichigosan festival celebrates children who are 7,5, and 3.  The word, Shichigosan is literally a combination of three numbers in Japanese; shichi is seven, go is five and san is three. This makes it pretty easy to remember what this festival is about! The Shichigosan festival, thought to be over 400 years old, is …

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How One Tea Ceremony Taught Me So Much About Appreciation

Seattle’s Sister City in Japan is Kobe, the capital of Hyogo Prefecture.  To deepen the relationship between the two cities, they often have cultural exchanges.  This fall, the Hyogo Japanese Tea Ceremony group visited Seattle to increase cultural awareness.  It consisted of a group of young women who are learning tea ceremony accompanied by their adult mentors. …

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Seattle Congressional Gold Medal Celebration

On Saturday, Eddie Horikawa, my friend who is 91 years old and my ikebana teacher’s husband, was honored with ninety other Nisei veterans and received the Congressional Gold Medal for their WWII service. Nisei, are second generation Japanese American; those born in the United States to Japanese immigrant parents.  It was an honor to see …

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Foods That Help When Exposed To Radiation

The earthquake in Japan has made me realize what my feng shui master keeps reiterating:  man cannot control nature, instead we must learn to work with nature.  Also, it has become  evident how we are so reliant on electrical power and oil.  Our lifestyles take so much for granted, that it’s really a wake up …

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Is it Considered Bad Manners to Slurp Soup and Ramen Noodles?

Soup noodles are Asian’s comfort food. Just to name a few, in Hawaii, we have saimin, which has a seafood soup base.  It’s such a staple food there that they even serve saimin in local McDonalds!  The Japanese love their ramen, the Chinese have delicious wonton min, then there’s the wonderfully spicy Malaysian laksa, the delicate …

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