Kyaraben: Cute and Delicious Character Bento Boxes

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Bentos (Japanese boxed lunch) are popular among Japanese for a fast and easy way to grab a meal. They are single portion meals that can either be prepared at home, as takeout from restaurants, or pre-packed at convenience stores. It’s an economical, healthful, and delicious meal-in-one that is readily available almost anywhere around Japan. The […]

The Great Kantō Earthquake

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The Great Kantō earthquake was one of the worst natural disasters in Japanese history. It caused widespread damage in Tokyo, Yokohama, the surrounding prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa, and Shizuoka, and throughout the Kantō region. The estimated deaths brought about by the Great Kantō earthquake tragedy reached about 142,800. Destruction caused by the Great Kantō earthquake. On a […]

Traditional Japanese Tatami Mats

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Tatami (畳) is a type of flooring used for traditional Japanese rooms. Tatami, or mats, were originally made using rice straw to form the core. More modern versions of tatami are made from either polystyrene foam or compressed wood chips, and they come in standard sizes with or without cloth edging. Tatami was derived from the word tatamu […]

The Sumida River and Fireworks Festival

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The iconic Sumida River (隅田川 ) is a beacon of Tokyo, Japan. The Sumida River stems from the Arakawa River and flows into Tokyo Bay, passing through several wards of Tokyo: Kita, Adachi, Arakawa, Sumida, Taito, Kōtō, and Chūō. One of Japan’s most anticipated fireworks displays is held there on the last Saturday of July each year.  Thousands of fireworks […]

The Last True Samurai’s Final Stand

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Saigō Takamori is best remembered as the “Last True Samurai.” He led a life according to the strict samurai code, bushido, and played a key role in the abolition of the han system as well as in establishing a conscript army. He opposed the modernization of Japan and the opening of commerce with the West and […]

The Delicious World of Japanese Noodles

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The world’s oldest noodles, found at the Lajia archeological site along the Yellow River in China, were believed to be about 4,000 years old. The noodles were well-preserved and resembled the traditional noodles from the area. The oldest written record of noodles is found in a book that dates back to the Eastern Han period of […]

The Historic Town of Tsumago-juku

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Tsumago-juku (妻籠宿) in Nagiso, Kiso District, Nagano Prefecture in Japan, is seemingly untouched by time. The quiet town has been restored to its original appearance since the Edo Period, some 300 years ago. Walking along Tsumago-juku’s quiet streets takes you back to a time long gone and allows you to experience the rich traditions and culture of Japan. […]

Saigō Takamori: The Last True Samurai

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Saigō Takamori was one of Japan’s most influential samurai in history and is best remembered for being the Last True Samurai. He is considered the embodiment of bushido, the samurai code, and legends paint a magnificent picture of a life well lived in the annals of history. The movie “The Last Samurai” starring Ken Watanabi and […]

Seppuku: A Samurai’s Death with Honor

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Note: article contains graphic content. Seppuku is the samurai’s honorable way of dying through his own hand. The samurai bushido honor code explicitly states that a samurai can perform seppuku voluntarily rather than fall into the hands of the enemy and likely be subjected to torture, or because he has brought shame to himself. It was […]