The Sakoku Years of Japan


The 17th to the 19th century saw Japan adopting a policy that isolated the whole country from the outside world. This long period of national isolation was called sakoku.  During sakoku no Japanese could leave the country on penalty of death, and very few foreign nationals were permitted to enter and trade with Japan.  Sakoku […]

Riveting October Festivals in Japan


For most Japanese, religion is a combination of elements from various religions known as Shinbutsu shūgō (神仏習合 amalgamation of buddhas and kami).  In 1886, the Shinto and Buddhism Separation Order officially ended the syncretic practices of religion known to Japanese, but they are still observed. Though Shinto and Japanese Buddhism are officially considered two separate faiths, they are more […]

Japanese Supernatural Creatures to Look Out for on Halloween


As a country that has popularized cosplay, performance art, and wearing costumes and fashion accessories to look like a particular character, Japan is a natural at celebrating Halloween with just as much pomp. Japan has its own fair share of supernatural creatures, or yōkai, from stories passed on from one generation to the next.  There are creepy […]

Wagyu: A Slice of Red Meat Heaven


Any carnivore would appreciate a big, fat, juicy slice of steak, a mouthwatering cheeseburger, or a slab of barbecued ribs smoked for hours and slathered with sauce.  Early American settlers had bountiful resources for meat, including beef. The renowned English writer Charles Dickens wrote about his visit to America, mentioning “no breakfast was breakfast” without a […]

Sake: Japanese Wine


Sake, or rice wine, is a Japanese alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice.  Japanese culture considers sake to be more than just a drink to enjoy. Sake is an important part of Japanese culture—it is a celebratory drink in almost every defining moment of a person’s life, from birth to honoring someone at death.  Sake has […]

Remarkable Bridges of Japan


As civilization advanced through the years, bridges became more and more important in connecting lands that were separated by bodies of water. The very first bridges were natural and as simple as a tree trunk that had fallen across a stream. Then, crude bridges were made by man using cut wooden logs or stones that […]

Sushi 101


Sushi (すし, 寿司, 鮨) usually consists of cooked rice mixed with vinegar and sweet sake, raw or cooked seafood, seaweed, and vegetables. The ingredients and presentation vary but sushi always contains rice. Raw fish or other types of meat that are sliced and served without rice is called sashimi. Sushi is often served with a daikon garnish, […]

KCP Student Colette Kinder Takes Us Around Kasai


One of KCP’s dormitories is in Kasai City, and KCP student Colette Kinder stayed there during her time in Japan. Here are just a few of her many photos of the dorm and the Kasai area. Check these out! My Kasai dorm room desk. There is lots of storage for books and supplies. However, that […]

The Unique Japanese Komusō Monks


The komusō  (虚無僧)  were a popular group of monks who relied mainly on charity or begging to survive during the Edo period (1603–1868). They were from the Fuke school of Zen Buddhism.  Fuke Zen arrived in Japan in the 13th century and was derived from the teachings of Linji Yixuan, a Zen preacher from China during […]

Colette Kinder Answers the Question, Why KCP?


With all the study abroad programs that offer Japanese language courses, you might wonder what sets KCP apart from the rest. In this informative post, KCP student Colette Kinder answers the question, “Why KCP?” Often I get asked why I chose to attend KCP rather than a Japanese university, or another language school somewhere else in the country. […]