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Japanese Culture



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Japanese Culture

December Guide Sign

As autumn deepens the nights become longer and colder.

It is the time of apples, mandarins and sweet potatoes.

Yet often overlooked is the humble persimmon. Persimmons are a popular autumn fruit in Japan.

It is native to China, and spread to Japan more than 1,000 years ago.

At that time the fruit was a luxury good for the aristocrats.

By the 17th century persimmons became a fruit for the common folk due to increased cultivation and uses.

Two varieties exist: the astringent persimmons(shibu-gaki) and sweet persimmons(ama-gaki).

Astringent persimmons must be peeled and dried to become edible.

Hoshigaki, or dried persimmons can keep longer than raw ones and contain high calories.

So they were an important preserved food for winter season in the old days.

Associated with good luck and longevity, hosigaki are often used as a part of the New Year’s decoration with big rice cakes.

Young astringent persimmons are also used to produce kakishibu, the traditional Japanese dye of deep amber color.

Ama-gaki or sweet persimmons are eaten fresh, peeled and quartered just like apples which were introduced in Japan around the mid-19th century. Sweet persimmon, native to Japan, are a mutation of the astringent species.

The first was found about 800 years ago.

In addition to the fruit, the kaki leaves have been used for wrapping sushi called kakinoha–zushi or persimmon leaf sushi to keep fish good to eat.

The kaki fruits ripen when the leaves have mostly fallen off the tree from late October to mid- December.

Stretching out the leafless branches,

the kaki tree with many red fruits standing against the sky makes one of the most beautiful sights of the season.

Not only has this fruit long been a seasonal symbol,

but also it is an important aesthetic material included in paintings and ceramics, as exemplified by Kakiemon style of porcelain.

Kakiemon ware was invented by Kakiemon, a potter and named after him.

It features a white porcelain base decorated with vivid red.

The color of persimmon fruit inspired the potter to produce Kakiemon the 1670s and the style has continued since then.

Now is the time for a year-end party. If you have a hangover the following day, eating a fresh sweet persimmon is one of the remedies.

Amazingly persimmons are really versatile.

Japanese Culture

November Guide Sign

Now is the time to enjoy autumn colors in Japan.

There are many famous spots in this country where you can appreciate their beauty.

When you are in Japan, there is no need to worry about security and toilets as well.

The public toilets here are commonly clean. They are found in many places, used free, equipped with warm seats.

In Japan, cleanliness is very important, and the Japanese word kirei for ‘clean’ can be also used to describe “pretty: beautiful ”

This may explain the success of the high-tech toilet which is well known as Washlet nationwide.

They are electronic western style toilets with various functions such as seat warming, washing bottom, bidet, and drying.

With newer electronic toilets, the lid opens automatically when people come in and water automatically flushes

when they are done and the lid closes people stand up.

The Washlet is the product name of electronic toilets,

however it is used as a general name of electronic toilets in Japan.

It is an absolute necessity in Japan’s household nowadays.

In the past the Japanese used traditional squat-type toilets.

Inspired by imported bidets from Western countries for a medical purpose,

a Japanese maker developed western type toilets with heated seats and a warm water wash.

The age of the high-tech toilet in Japan started in 1980, since then the toilet has been widespread.

The idea of the high-tech toilets is to transform the bathroom into a place of relaxation, comfort and cleanliness.

However it would take some time for foreigners to get used to the idea of the Washlet.

Behind this is that Japanese bathrooms are constructed very differently from their western counterparts.

Namely, the bathtub are usually separated  from the toilet.

A Japanese washroom can have an electrical outlet behind the toilet,

while high current electrical outlets installed in bathrooms are prohibited in many western countries due to a safety reason

At first the Washlet may be regarded as a curiosity by non-Japanese users,

but after all they would agree that the toilet is essential to life, so it should be comfortable and clean.

Japanese Culture

Japanese Language Complete Biginners’ Course Level1 Step1

Japanese Language Complete Biginners’ Course Level1 Step1

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Sep. 13 –  Nov. 1

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