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A record of life in Japan


amber22
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I was born and raised in Japan.
And now I am studying traditional Japanese arts in Kyoto.

I talked to many people here and found the cultural differences interesting.

So I think it would be interesting to write a record of Japanese life, for example, food, customs, cityscapes in the form of a journal.

 

I ate mochi on New Year's Day.
I saw a video on YouTube that said it tastes better with grated daikon and soy sauce on it, so I tried it. But I might like it better with sugar soy sauce, red bean paste or soybean flour. Mochi is convenient because there are many ways to eat it and it is good for your stomach. But eat too much and I will gain weight🤦‍♀️

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Today I went to a shrine.
In Japan, we go to greet the gods at the beginning of the year. It's called Hatsumode, and we ask for peace and prosperity for the year ahead.
However, there were so many people today. I had to wait in a long line to get to the main shrine. I gave up. It is crowded with people until three days. I left the shrine without greeting God. I will come back again. Japanese Gods are not so strict... Maybe.

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The red thing in the picture is a torii gate.
It is like a gateway that separates the world of humans from the world of gods.
Usually, when you pass through it, you bow.

 

After giving up on the shrine, I went to eat conveyor belt sushi. I don't have a picture, but it was very good. It must have been a famous place because there were many tourists there. It was an interesting experience to eat sushi while listening to English. I am studying English now, so listening to conversations helps.

And I found an interesting vending machine along the way.large.A13043B7-35B2-4BAD-B721-F0C977395E09.jpeg.8a7ac8dd555f67c0402b9df1549c53ed.jpeg

Ramen. It's ramen.

It says "All the flavors of that famous restaurant!
Frozen Ramen Vending Machine
Noodle Tours". 

This is the first time I have heard of a frozen ramen vending machine.
But interesting vending machines are common.
Gyoza and sweets are sold, sake and noodle soup are sold.

I didn't buy it today, but I'd like to buy it someday.

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Ohhh i love this. It was SO interesting - and i love asian culture ; like 4 example from korea - china and ofc japan.
I'd love to visit Japan one day; hopefully with my Caregiver; & i definitely wanna try some vending machines.
Red Bean Paste Mochis are my favorite so far !!
Love, love, love this !! ❤️

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wow this is awesome . learning about different cultures is awesome , i want one off those vending machines lol

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This was interesting. I'm amazed at all the vending machines and the things in them, especially when it comes to Japan.

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Posted (edited)

I'm glad to hear that you guys enjoyed yourselves.

 

Well, I have done my Hatsumode retrying today.
Today, I was able to tour the shrine slowly and alone, with only a few people there.
On January 5, the world wakes up from the New Year's holiday mood. The streets and stores are back to normal.large.A5951C6E-0EED-4CD4-BE3D-01D5706EDCC5.jpeg.b21def30685eed14459b970a91fe7c9b.jpeg

large.C6FE3F69-48A8-4DE9-9F70-4C03F5F22CB0.jpeg.1d52d71c6a57f103816bf035b1d08d73.jpeg

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I first worshipped at the main shrine.
There are no pictures of the main shrine. This is because I felt it was somehow impolite to take pictures.
There is a certain etiquette for worshipping at shrines. It's the basics that you first toss in your donation and then bow twice, clap your hands also twice and bow once again.  After that, meditate with your hands clasped together and make a request. When you have finished, bow one last time and you are done.
You can make whatever you wish. I thanked them for my safe stay last year and told them that I would do my best for this year and that they should watch over me.

Ahh, Japan has a zodiac sign. Apart from the western or Japanese calendar, there is a name for the year.
There are a total of 12 Chinese zodiac signs, all called by the name of a living creature. This year is the year of the rabbit.large.376D2619-ACF8-4965-A078-C09C6F4D565B.jpeg.1c4c85d50867d4ee869f3366921b69d1.jpeg
The Chinese zodiac is all about rats, cows, tigers, rabbits, dragons, snakes, horses, sheep, monkeys, birds, dogs, and boars.The year of birth determines a person's zodiac sign. I am in the year of the Snake.

 

 

After that is done, it is a fun fortune. I drew something called a mizu-mikuji.
When the paper of the omikuji is dipped in the river, the letters of the omikuji come to the surface.large.E6529092-042D-4CB1-BC2F-5A6C059247DD.jpeg.2a1d73a8ec4bacae10146e237a9ae283.jpeg

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There are different types of omikuji results: daikichi(big fortune), chukichi(medium fortune), shokichi(small fortune), and kyo(bad fortune).
To my delight, I won a big fortune.

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Here is what was written

Daikichi:
Wish: You will get what you wish for. But be on your guard.
Physical condition: Don't overdo it and leave yourself exhausted.
Money: Refrain from buying big things.
Academics: Be at ease and work hard. You can improve.
Love: You will be happy with this person.
Travel: good things happen where you go

Good content. I am especially pleased with the academic part. I will do my best as I have graduate school exams this year.

 

After all the prayers were over, I drank some amazake (sweet sake).Amazake is a drink made from rice malt.It has "sake" in the name, but there is no alcohol in it.large.AB6BCF14-F475-402A-8924-5F34FC8C6AFC.jpeg.95bc1aed5d15c955fd4332bd3e8fbc66.jpeg

 

The rest is a walk.
sacred tree.large.ADF10CCE-BF6A-4F8E-9610-9BD7CF880CB0.jpeg.c013999483e6a740edeb1d002f6eb893.jpeg

ducks.large.A13749CC-DD49-4ED0-888F-3613D11A6CD3.jpeg.27c6fcda368166687847b12712bbe28c.jpeg

Rivers and Herons.large.EC1CDECB-7059-431B-8F6E-58F4193D022A.jpeg.fd91c5f74d1767acb036367b8caa2532.jpeg

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Today's vending machine. A cake vending machine in front of a cake shop.
I think it's interesting, don't you? I have never seen such a vending machine before. I wonder how it will come out.large.7795E22C-FC4C-434C-B3B0-799391F05394.jpeg.9ede079a277bf3074df1b01b3af077aa.jpeg

Winter rice fields and beautiful skylarge.4434B58C-608C-416C-859C-ACA6C526BC31.jpeg.53626d1178eb11f926e139e98182f85a.jpeg

 

 

Edited by amber22
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Those are some beautiful pictures. A cake vending machine, now that is something. Are vending machines well maintained in Japan? Here in America, on occassion, sometimes it will eat your money or your item will get stuck. Though newer vending machines this is much less of a issue.

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Uhhh that was so interesting again ! I was born '95 so i think that was year of the pig ?
I love bunnies; so year of the rabbit is hopefully a lucky one for me. And my dada calls me bunny
Ohhhw i would love to see a pink vending machine - or a cute one ? maybe with sanrio ? if there's something like that

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wow i like these posts very much . a cake vending machine is very interesting i wonder how many people get cakes out of these things. glad to se worship still important in so many places still  . and yay ducks😁

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On 1/6/2023 at 6:08 AM, LeftyGuitar said:

Those are some beautiful pictures. A cake vending machine, now that is something. Are vending machines well maintained in Japan? Here in America, on occassion, sometimes it will eat your money or your item will get stuck. Though newer vending machines this is much less of a issue.

The vending machines are well maintained in my opinion.
I often see the person in charge refilling the products and maintaining the machines. Also, contact information is written on the vending machines so that you can contact them if any problems arise.In at least 21 years of my life, I have never seen a glitch occur.

Talking about vending machines, some vending machines in Japan have hot drinks available in winter, and some vending machines are equipped with a perch. If you win, you get another bottle for free.

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13 hours ago, Crybunbun said:

Uhhh that was so interesting again ! I was born '95 so i think that was year of the pig ?
I love bunnies; so year of the rabbit is hopefully a lucky one for me. And my dada calls me bunny
Ohhhw i would love to see a pink vending machine - or a cute one ? maybe with sanrio ? if there's something like that

Yes, you are in the year of the boar!
I think there is a cute vending machine somewhere if you look for it. I'll take a picture when I find one:)

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January 7.
In Japan, people eat Nanakusa porridge on this day. I ate it for the first time in my life.
Nanakusa porridge is a mixture of seven wild plants and vegetables in a rice porridge.
Water dropwort, Shepherd's Purse, Cudweed, chickweed, Nipplewort, Turnip,Radish.
It is eaten as a divination to drive away evil spirits and ward off all illnesses, but nowadays it is almost a custom and has no strong meaning.

When I was in elementary school, there was a song and quiz about the seven herbs, and we all memorized it.
I made this while remembering such nostalgic memories.

 

First, quickly blanch the nanakusa in boiling salted water.

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After boiling, drain in water and cut into 1 cm pieces.

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Next, make porridge.
Put raw rice in a pot and add water to it.
Once brought to a boil, simmer over low heat for 30-40 minutes.

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Finally, add the seven herbs and a little salt and soy sauce.

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It was delicious with a gentle taste.
I ate a lot of delicious food during New Year's, so this will give my stomach a break.

And may I have a healthy year.
Even if this is just a custom that has lost its meaning, it is important to remember.

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2 hours ago, amber22 said:

The vending machines are well maintained in my opinion.
I often see the person in charge refilling the products and maintaining the machines. Also, contact information is written on the vending machines so that you can contact them if any problems arise.In at least 21 years of my life, I have never seen a glitch occur.

Talking about vending machines, some vending machines in Japan have hot drinks available in winter, and some vending machines are equipped with a perch. If you win, you get another bottle for free.

That is awesome!

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Ohhh the food looks rlly tasty ! I love veggies and this looks so healthy too.
I just wish i was good at cooking haha :D
but maybe i can try this with my dada someday.

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I also love the Asian culture, especially the Japanese. My sister's partner was Japanese. She was a great cook and would teach me different things. Also, it's wonderful to see you practice your cultural traditions and beliefs. At times, it seems, that the younger people forget. In any culture, not just Asian.

Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures and a part of your experience with us. I have really enjoyed it!  

Vending machines... Especially over there are magical! Hahaha and I love ice cream mochi! Yummm

P.S.

I was born in the year of the Rabbit! I love bun buns!😊

Edited by Lil Juju
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I loved your series of insights into life in Japan. I hope that you are going to continue as the messages, pictures and explanations really tell us about you, your life and Japanese culture. I visited there a few years ago, but my stay was far too short. I may have to go back again.

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January 22

I had to leave here for a while because I was very tired from my school assignments, but I came back after finishing all my assignments.

All my 3rd grade classes are over and now it is spring break. In Japan, a new school year starts in April, so I will be a 4th grader in a few months.

 

I am studying Japanese painting in college. For a recent assignment, I was copying a painting about Zen. It is inevitable for me to learn that way because the theme of my work is very close to it.

How well is Zen recognized outside of Japan? I have seen a video or something about a famous person who has a deep formative experience with it. If someone here knows a lot about Zen, would it be possible to get along with say Taisetsu Suzuki? He is the one who spread Zen outside of Japan.

Zen is quite a Japanese (or Asian) sensory philosophy, so it has an uncanny sense to read it written in English.

Sometimes I find it difficult to translate Japanese culture and sensibilities into English. Language and culture (and the values that are formed with them) are so closely related that even if the translation comes across correctly, sometimes the meaning is slightly different.

 

 

Well, let's not talk about that.

I saw my mother during this period and then attended a seminar drinking party at the end of the semester.

I don't have many pictures because it was so much fun, but this is what we ate.

 

This is what I had when I went out with my mother.large.A615F340-3DD1-4200-9642-F51FBF496640.jpeg.c91caa641f799027e914f589c1c78182.jpeg

This dish is called obanzai, which means traditional home cooking in Kyoto.

From left to right in the image are beef shigureni, salted tofu, and mentaiko potato salad. The drink is ginger ale.

I'm not from Kyoto, so this was my first time to try obanzai. The menu is universal, but if I can eat this every day, I'm living a life of considerable quality. I would like to live like that if I could. Cooking is fun to do, but it is hard work.

 

 

This is a local red fish tataki that I had at a seminar drinking party.large.4E241D50-2656-4720-80D1-103E33ECF9A9.jpeg.47c949bbf04ed9cdf01c733edf7aed44.jpeg

I don't know what kind of fish it was because I only heard that it was local fish, but it was very tasty. I don't like red raw fish because it smells fishy, but this one didn't smell at all, and the flavor permeated my whole body. I ate it with charcoal salt.

Tataki is a dish in which only the surface of raw fish is seared. In Japan, bonito tataki is often eaten. Similar to very rare roast beef.

Edited by amber22
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This was - again - very interesting to read.
I heard about Zen but not that much
The Food lookin delicious !! I'd definitely try it - even the fish.
Because i am not a big fan of eating fish - haha
But i know its healthy.

Love this !

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Interesting had a Japanese exchange student one year. I am sad to say she was from Sedai, Japan. As my family lost contact with her we don't know if she survived the Tsunami from earthquake. Will my parents and me took her to a Japanese restaurant before she went to Japan. She talked us into having Sushi . We not use to having raw fish reluctantly agreed. When it came she did not like it. She said it was cooked. To my parents and myself it was raw.

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On 1/23/2023 at 5:13 AM, Erasmeus71 said:

Interesting had a Japanese exchange student one year. I am sad to say she was from Sedai, Japan. As my family lost contact with her we don't know if she survived the Tsunami from earthquake. Will my parents and me took her to a Japanese restaurant before she went to Japan. She talked us into having Sushi . We not use to having raw fish reluctantly agreed. When it came she did not like it. She said it was cooked. To my parents and myself it was raw.

Oh...I sincerely hope she is alive.
I will never forget that day of the earthquake, even when I become a grandmother. I was very young at the time and didn't really understand the situation, but I just knew that it was a very difficult situation. I studied it over and over again as I grew older. I remember watching the images of the tsunami when I was older, and the horror of it all left me cold.
Nature is beautiful but terrifying.
It makes us live and it kills us.

Edited by amber22
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