Marianna

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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Wagyu and Kobe Beef, Explained

If you’re dropping $150 for a steak, you should know what you’re getting into. All your questions, answered.<p>The words "wagyu" and "Kobe" get thrown …

Japan

The Los Angeles Bakery Keeping Mochi in Temples and Traditions

Brian Kito wants to protect mochi’s status as more than a standard sweet.<p>Once a year, Japanese Buddhists and followers of the Shinto religion lay an …

Japan

A Guide to the Cutest, Coolest, and Craziest Stationery in Tokyo

For some, stationery begins and ends with the essentials—once you have a classic Moleskine and a tried and true Mont Blanc, what more do you need?—but in Japan, pens, paper, and the assorted accoutrements of writing are taken to the next level. Even with email and texts outpacing letter-writing, …

Kitagawa Utamaro | Girls Gathering Shells on the Sea-shore | Japan | Edo period (1615–1868) | The Met

How to Eat Sushi, According to Tsukiji Fishmongers

Just like produce, sushi is seasonal.<p>When I visit Tokyo’s legendary Tsukiji market at 11 AM on a Saturday, the frenzy that had kicked off at its daily 2 AM standard was petering out—vendors were propped up smoking or napping against stacks of empty crates, trucks drove past with shovels full of sea …

Japan

How Killer Rice Crippled Tokyo and the Japanese Navy

One stubborn doctor pioneered a cure.<p>In 1877, Japan’s Meiji Emperor watched his aunt, the princess Kazu, die of a common malady: <i>kakke.</i> If her …

Japan

Amazing images of Tokyo before it became a city | Style Magazine | South China Morning Post

Before Tokyo matured into the gleaming, dense city it is today, it was a small fishing village called Edo.<p>Now home to over 13 million people, the …

8 Photos From Japan's Annual Ice Sculpture Winter Wonderland

Hokkaido’s Sapporo Snow Festival may be less known internationally than the northern city's famous export — Sapporo beer — but the spectacular …

Discover the Japanese Museum Dedicated to Collecting Rocks That Look Like Human Faces

It says something about the human brain that we so often see the shape of human faces in inanimate things — and that we feel such amusement and even …

The Japanese castle that defied history

Kumamoto has seen its fair share of drama over the centuries – but perhaps most famously, it was the site of the final battle between 20,000 samurai and the ruling Meiji government.<p>In a downtown park in the under-visited city of Kumamoto on Kyushu, the south-western-most of Japan’s main islands, a …

Japan

17 English Words that Come From Japanese : Rickshaw

Minamoto no Yoritomo, the first shogun of the Kamakura shogunate (1179).<p><b>Definition:</b> <b><br>1)</b> a top leader (as in politics) <b><br>2)</b> a businessperson of exceptional …

14 reasons you must visit vibrant Venice for the Carnival

The Venice Carnival starts tomorrow, but this fabled city on the water has plenty to offer all year round.<p>1. See the original carnival<p>Venice was already a tourist honeypot by the 18th century. But visitors were also drawn by the courtesans, gambling dens and the original carnival. The party …

Les Baux de Provence, France photo via joann

Peter Mayle obituary

Author of the bestselling 1989 book A Year in Provence<p>In 1987, Peter Mayle and his third wife, Jennie, moved from Devon to a farmhouse in Ménerbes, in the Luberon region of Provence, which they intended to refurbish while he worked on a novel. Months later, he wrote his agent a long letter …

Books

Know Your Yokai!

On the adulteration of Japan's oldest religion

Primitive Shinto is one of the loveliest religions in the world. It’s beautiful in its simplicity — defenseless too, as it proved, against the …

Japan

The Japanese words for “space” could change your view of the world

When you are the first person to arrive in a meeting room, do you think of it as being empty or full?<p>If you were raised in the West, a meeting room is made for people to meet. Therefore, if there are no people in that room, then of course it must be empty. As philosopher Henk Oosterling remarks, in …

Omoshiroi Blocks: Japanese Memo Pads Reveal Intricate Buildings As The Pages Get Used

We've all had the experience, growing up, of using notepads for something other than their intended purpose: running our thumbs down their stacked-up …

Japan

A psychological ailment called 'hikikomori' is imprisoning 500,000 Japanese people in their homes — and it's more of a threat than ever

Hayashi Kyoko started becoming a social recluse when her high school principal started talking about university entrance exams on the first day of school.<p>"The fun high-school life I was looking forward to transformed into nothing more than a period of test preparation," the Japanese native told the …

Japan

Japanese 'sangaku' paintings reveal the sacred side of maths

Geometrical theorems that used to hang from Shinto and Buddhist shrines were both religious offerings and public entertainment<p>This image is a stunning example of one of the most intriguing practices in the history of mathematics.<p>Between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, the Japanese used to …

A Super-Insulated Home in Japan Brings Comfort to an Elderly Couple

This retreat in Ehime in northwestern Shikoku belongs to an aging husband and wife who don't see eye-to-eye on air conditioning.<p>He is averse to air conditioning, but she can't stand the heat. The couple hired local Ehime studio Takashi Okuno & Associates to design this modern Japanese home, where …

Living Rooms

What Is Bushido?

The Samurai Code<p>Bushido was the code for Japan's warrior classes from perhaps as early as the 8th century through modern times. The word "bushido" …

Luxury Japanese Shiki-Shima Sleeper Train is Out of this World

The 10-carriage Shiki-Shima sleeper is a state-of-the-art train unlike anything you've seen, mixing traditional Japanese design with contemporary …

travelingcolors: Puerto de Mogán, Gran Canaria | Spain (by Nacho...

travelingcolors:<b>Puerto de Mogán,</b> <b>Gran Canaria | Spain</b> (by Nacho Coca)Follow me on Instagram

Spain

The Hidden History of Japan’s Folk-Rock Boom

When the Japanese singer-songwriter Kenji Endo first heard Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” as a young student in Tokyo in the 1960s, he was perplexed — offended, even. Aren’t pop vocals supposed to be pretty? But by the third listen, Mr. Endo remembered that he was in awe: “This guy is creating …

Japan

Japanese Noodle Masters share Ramen and Soba Techniques

Whenever I'm in Japan, I like to stop and watch the noodle makers. On occasion, you'll come across someone hand-making soba noodles and the process …

Japan

The Bamboo Flutes of Japan’s ‘Monks of Emptiness’

The basket-masked komusō monks used music to meditate and created a distinctive art form.<p>Those familiar with Japanese history or culture might have …

Flute

Porquerolles, France by Bruno Jose

Japan's Untouchables: The Burakumin

Members of the Four-Tiered Japanese Feudal Social System<p><i>Burakumin</i> is a polite term for the outcasts from the four-tiered Japanese feudal social …

Japan

An Essential Guide to Japanese Sauces and Condiments

Washoku, or traditional Japanese cuisine, is based around five essential ingredients referred to as “<i>sa-shi-su-se-so</i>”, which are used to create …