Matsumoto Castle is a National Treasure in Japan. Construction of the elegant black and white structure began in 1592. In the picture above we can see the side of the castle which was built in the period of the warring states.
For several years, I’ve been thinking about “hug”. Many Japanese couples hold hands when going out on a date. But they don’t usually hug each other in public, even if they’re boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife. Many Japanese don’t hug with family, as well. Even when we haven’t seen them in a while or when we part with them and we don’t know when we will meet again. We don’t hug and often don’t even shake hands. We don’t touch each other.
Why my culture rarely hugs? Continue reading
Here is Shirakawa-go. This settlement is one of the world heritage sites in Japan. These houses have roofs made of thatch. Some of the buildings have been made into visitor accommodations. The town is located in a heavy snow area, and I visited during winter. So I brought my rubber boots and thick gloves in the car. But I didn’t need to put them on, because it wasn’t cold and the roads of the village were cleared of snow. I was walking with my camera for a few hours.
I will take an English test, which is called Eiken. This test is a popular English test in Japan. Eiken has 2 types of tests. The 1st test is writing and listening. The 2nd test is an interview in English, which involves speaking, listening and reading comprehension. If we pass the 1st test, we can take the 2nd test one month later.
I like traveling but can’t frequently go on trips, so instead I sometimes like to observe the movement of packages I’ve sent using the tracking system of the international postal service. Because when I watch it, although I’m a little worried, I’m also excited because I feel it’s like the package takes me the trip abroad.
First, it might go through a few local post offices before arriving at an international post in Japan, then it will depart from there.
At this point, I think I want to board the airplane with the package. 📦 😀 ✈️
Anyway, it will ride in an airplane with others, arrive at the destination country’s international post, go through customs and be sent out for further delivery. Next, it will go through a few local post offices. Finally, it goes out for delivery to the final destination.
After that, I want to know the condition of the package inside and out. And if it’s almost the same as when I sent it, finally, I am relieved.
I want to go on the adventure like the package. ✈️
On Valentine’s day in Japan, usually, women give chocolates to men or somebody else special in their lives. They could be a boyfriend, a husband, a romantic interest, friends, etc. In the case of giving to friends, we call it tomo-choco and giri-choco. Depending on the relationship, these mean love, friendship, courtesy and obligation. Lately, some women buy a little bit fancier than usual chocolates for themselves for Valentine’s day, too.
Why should only women give presents to men in Japan? 😤
In 2017, February 4th was Setsubun, which is what we name the day before the first day of spring. It usually occurs around February 3rd. On this day, in a custom called Mame-maki, we throw and scatter roasted soy beans, inside and outside our houses while saying, “Get goblins out of the house! Invite happiness into the home!”
After that, we eat a bean for each year of our age and pray for happiness throughout the year. Some older people find eating them difficult because the beans are usually unseasoned and just taste like beans. During this time, we sometimes ask other people their ages and make small age related jokes.
There are many Setsubun events held in temples and shrines. The beans at these events are usually in small packs. If you are lucky, you can catch pack of beans for free. Although I didn’t go to any events and I didn’t do it in my house, I got a bunch of beans for sale this year. And then, I got an idea.
I will eat those roasted soy beans if I want to stop from becoming hungry. It’s my new diet. I wonder if it will work for me?
Anyway, I should go on a diet and exercise. I can’t wear my pair of jeans now. 😱 😭
Diet-related Haiku → Time to Haiku 2