Traditional Japanese Architecture: Sukiya-zukuri and Shoin-zukuri

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Each country has its own unique style of architecture that tells a lot about its history and people. Japan can tell us interesting stories as seen in the wealth of its architectural history—from grand castles to humble farmhouses in the countryside. Staying at a traditional Japanese ryokan (inn) acquaints any visitor with the authentic vibe and feel […]

Japan’s Elegant Imari Porcelain

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We have evolved a great distance from our cavemen ancestors, who roasted and ate food on twigs over a fire and, from the burnt wood, began drawing on cave walls. The discovery of kaolin (clay used for pottery) in the village Kao-Ling, China, began our love affair with fine porcelain.  Today, we have become much more refined […]

Looking Back on the Boshin War

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The Boshin War is a notable conflict in Japan’s history. It finally ended the military rule of the Tokugawa Shogunate and returned political power to the imperial court. The Boshin War (戊辰戦争), “War of the Year of the Yang Earth Dragon,” was a civil war in Japan from 1868 to 1869 between the Tokugawa Shogunate forces and those opposed […]

The Humble and Rustic Himono

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Japan is an island nation, so fish has been an abundant staple in the Japanese diet for hundreds of years. According to early documents, nobility from the Heian period had fish and vegetables as their typical meal. Banquet settings during that time consisted of common fare food such as rice, soup, and condiments such as salt, […]

The Tokugawa Bafuku

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Japan’s feudal era brought about a great warrior class we know as the samurai. Japan was in so much chaos that strong leaders and strict reforms were needed to bring the whole country together. The Tokugawa bakufu (徳川幕府) also known as the Tokugawa shogunate or the Edo bafuku, was preceded by the Sengoku period (warring states.) It […]

“Explore to Realize” with Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

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Japan’s version of NASA is the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (独立行政法人宇宙航空研究開発機構, Dokuritsu-gyōsei-hōjin Uchū Kōkū Kenkyū Kaihatsu Kikō), or JAXA.  JAXA, is primarily responsible for research, technology development, and the launching of satellites into orbit, asteroid and moon explorations, and other advanced missions Its corporate slogan is “Explore to Realize.” JAXA was formed on the 1st of October 2003 […]

The Beautiful Haha-jima

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Haha-jima, or “Mother Island,” is located in Ogasawara Village, Tokyo. It’s about two hours from Futami Port in Chichijima Island via a liner. Haha-jima is a long, thin island that runs north to south, and is the largest island of Ogasawara. Its main port is Oki Village on the southern portion of the island. Haha-jima, […]

KCP and Beyond by Hector Santiago

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KCP alumnus Hector Santiago describes how his desire to learn more about the culture and language of Japan led him to join the KCP program and later, achieve his goal of working in Japan. By the end of my second year in college, after having been involved in my school’s Asian culture club on campus and […]

Shinkansen: The Japanese Bullet Trains

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Ever since I saw the 1974 classic movie “Murder on the Orient Express,” trains have held a certain mystic fascination for me. Riding the opulent Orient Express symbolized travelling in luxury, no doubt something like being on board the Titanic, only by land.  Aside from the morbid plot of the movie (not to mention the fate […]

The Nikkei of Brazil

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During the Meiji Era, more Japanese sought a better way of life in other countries. The earliest Japanese nikkei (Japanese emigrants) were recorded as early as the 12th century when Japanese migrated to the Philippines. Nipo-brazilian family in the Bastos city colony, São Paulo State, Brazil, c. 1930’s. Nisei, Sansei, and Issei may sound like a rhyming […]