Gaijin on Getas Blog

Archive for January, 2012

Politeness in Japan Goes Beyond Words

Posted on January 24th, 2012 by Mike Roberts

 We all know the Japanese are “very polite.” In Japan being polite goes beyond just saying excuse me or thank you. In Japanese, the word is “teinei.” Teinei goes beyond the English word “polite” because it applies to far more than just people and their actions. Additional meanings of the Japanese word “teinei” include courteous, careful, care, kind and conscientious. For example, in Japanese, you can treat a fragile item “politely” meaning “gently” or “with care.” And a birthday present should be wrapped “politely.” Read the full post »

Sake Brewing in Fushimi, Kyoto

Posted on January 24th, 2012 by Takako "Tammy" Ota

Gekkeikan Sake Brewery

Gekkeikan Sake Brewery

Sake making began about two thousand years ago when rice planting was introduced to Japan. Fushimi is one of the biggest sake producing areas in Japan. When Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the lord of Osaka Castle, built Fushimi Casle in the late sixteenth century, the sake industry in the surrounding city of Fushimi flourished. Many sake breweries including Gekkeikan started brewing sake here during the Edo Period. Today there are about 20 sake breweries in Fushimi. When you walk around Fushimi the fragrant smell of sake floats on the wind. Read the full post »

New Years Dishes

Posted on January 15th, 2012 by Takako "Tammy" Ota

Herring Roe and Black Beans

Herring Roe and Black Beans

Osechi Ryori, (New Year’s dishes) are specially prepared to be eaten during the first three days of January. They are cooked and  preserved for three days so that housewives don’t have to cook during that period. The yellow in the grey dish is herring roe representing fertility. Bean in Japanese is ‘mame’ which has the same sound of ‘working hard’. So the black beans in the yellow dish reflect our wish to stay healthy and to work hard. Each of the dishes has some auspicious meaning which reflects people’s wishes such as longevity, prosperity and fertility.  Read the full post »

New Years Decorations

Posted on January 5th, 2012 by Takako "Tammy" Ota

New Years Decorations

New Years Decorations

Happy New Year! Akemashite Omedetou in Japanese!

Christmas displays at department stores, grocery stores and train and subway stations are changed to New Year displays over night. The changes are made quickly but thorough. To the righ, you can see a display where various colored chrysanthemums and plum branches are put into bamboo stems, and placed on red carpeting in front of a gold screen. Gold and red are regarded as a happy color representing a lighthearted atmosphere for a new year. Read the full post »

Tora Tora Tora (Tiger Tiger Tiger)

Posted on January 4th, 2012 by Mike Roberts

Tora Tora Tora” (Tiger Tiger Tiger) is a Japanese party/drinking game played by Maiko with their clients. The game is another version of “Jyan ken pon” (the Japanese name for Rock, Paper, Scissors). The game is played between two players who start on opposite sides of a wall, or as in this case, a rice paper screen. The players sing a song while making hand gestures, and then assume one of three characters: a Samurai (Watonai) with a spear, an old woman with a cane or a tiger. The old woman wins over the Samurai, the Samurai wins over the tiger and the tiger wins over the old woman. Read the full post »