Sakura Peak, Slice of Life #2

As I mentioned in my previous post, Slice of Life #1, I love this time of year in Japan. There is a local park called Minatoyama Koen which is popular for hanami (cherry blossom viewing) parties. I like to cycle down there during spring break and enjoy the sakura with a flask of tea. You can buy taiyaki, a fish-shaped toasted waffle with sweet red bean filling. It might sound weird but it goes really well with a cup of tea.

I went to the park yesterday and the sakura was at its peak. Some of the trees’ blossoms were already beginning to fall. It’s a beautiful sight as the light-pink blossoms drift down in the breeze. If one falls in your cup, it is considered lucky. Here are some photos of the cherry blossom in Minatoyama Park.

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Slice of Life #1

I took part in a 3-day English Camp from March 25th to 27th. It was held in a mountain village in Tottori Prefecture. We stayed in a hotel that had been converted from an old elementary school.


I love this time of year. The sakura are blossoming and the days are getting warmer. I’ve lived in Japan since 2003 and I still really look forward to the cherry blossom season. It’s a truly beautiful time of the year. People enjoy hanami parties in the local parks, sitting under the cherry trees having drinks or eating obento. Did you know that the sakura “front” gets reported on the daily news as it makes its way across the country?

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Happy New Ox!

Happy New Year from Wakizashi’s little corner of Japan!

2021 is the third year in the Reiwa Period (令和三年). The Japanese follow the Chinese Zodiac which has 12 animals for each 12-year cycle. 2021 is the Year of the Ox (or Cow). According to the Chinese Lunar calendar the New Year begins on February 12th.

Ox Years are: 1901, 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021

What kind of year can we expect?

Kathryn Wortley of the Japan Times writes: “The second animal of the Chinese zodiac, the ox denotes the hard work, positivity and honesty that will be manifested in all of us in the coming 12 months, according to astrologers.”


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Wakizashi

Like Tom Waits sang, “I’m big in Japan”; six foot two inches to be precise. They use centimeters over here, so that makes me around 189~190cm. Not significantly tall for a “Westerner”, but taller than a lot of Japanese people. I’m always easy to find in a crowd over here. That can have both its good points and bad points😉.

from IDW Publishing’s current run of Usagi Yojimbo
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Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Sakai

merry christmas from japan

“メリークリスマス!”

 

“A samurai should always be prepared for death – whether his own or someone else’s.”


I first got into Usagi Yojimbo back in the 1980s; just under 40 years ago! My brother lent me an early collection of Stan Sakai’s tales of the wandering rabbit ronin and I fell in love with it immediately. I was already developing an interest in all things Japanese at that point in my life so this was a perfect comic book for me. It introduced me to some Japanese words and gave me glimpses into some aspects of traditional Japanese culture. It also featured regular doses of samurai swordplay, ninja attacks and a myriad of mythological creatures. Can you believe that Stan Sakai has been chronicling the adventures of Usagi Yojimbo for 40 years? That’s very impressive! Continue reading