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Americans and Their New Year in Japan

2011 is just around the corner. Some of you probably already made plans for the New Year. Some are already in their holiday trip and will not read this post until next year. If you are like me, you ran out of idea on exciting way to ring into the New Year. My husband kept on saying, ‘I don’t know.’ In a midst of frustration, I realized that it’s not as bad as my first New Year’s Eve in the US; nerdy, fifteen years old and away from home. I suddenly had an idea of asking my American twitter buddies how they are dealing with New Year’s celebrations and customs for my last blog post of 2010 in Japan.

The Participants

All of our respondents are Americans living in Japan. Their profiles are sorted based on how long they have lived in Japan in ascending order.

Jenny Silver
Jenny was born in New Jersey, but raised in the Bay Area of California and central Illinois. She has been in Japan for about three and a half years. She was on the JET Programme in Saitama for three years, and have since been residing in Tokyo. She is a freelance teacher and translator, and also working on podcasting projects for next year. You can check out her Japan pictures on flickr or follow her on twitter.

Hana Jamm
Hana has been living in Tokyo for around four years. Previously she had lived in various places across the US – but Seattle, she declared, has her heart. She runs Japanese fashion, food, and lifestyle blog, FINDING TOKYO. She is getting married to her fiance Sho, very very soon.

 

Kimberly Tierny
Kimberly is a theatre artist from the United States, she teaches English through Drama in Tokyo. She lives very close to Haneda Airport and has been in Japan since 2006.

 
 
 

Thomas Gantz
Tom is an artist living in Tokyo area. He co-blogs Exotic Japan Blog with his wife, Sakie. He is from the Midwest and has live in Japan for four and half years now, and a bit over three years previously; a total of around eight years.

 
 

Peter Durfee
Peter Durfee is a translator/editor, originally from the West Coast of the USA. He has been in Japan since 1985 (25 years ago!), a husband since 2001, and a dad since 2007. His website is durf.org and he is @durf on Twitter.

 

 

Summer, Japanese Style

There are so many tales of fun things to do, yummy things to eat and cool places to go in Japan during the summer floating around the internet through anime, manga, videos,articles. I have never experienced it outside tour programmes, nor receive any first hand account from an acquaintance or a friend about ‘the real’ Japanese summer. It was about time that I do. So, I contacted some college friends and fellow bloggers to obtain some information via questionnaire from some of my real life and online friends. From their answers, I have discovered some familiar and unexpected things about how to experience a Japanese summer both in and outside Japan.

The Participants

I managed to find 10 volunteers for my mission: 2 couple and 6 individuals made of 2 males, 5 females; 7 Japanese, 1 Romanian and 2 American, 2 are living outside Japan and 4 of which are bloggers. Let’s introduce them to you first.

Japan Traveler

Muza-chan
Bucharest, Romania
Muza-chan or Lily, is a Japan travel photographer and blogger. She travels to Japan every summer to capture the country’s beauty. She runs a widely popular travel and photography blog: Muza-chan’s Gate to Japan.

 

Japanese Living in Japan

Akiko Takata
Tokyo, Japan
Akiko is a career woman working for a multinational company in Tokyo. She studied in the US for her Bachelor degree. She is now living with her Swedish boyfriend in a Tokyo suburb. I had visited her once in Japan and she showed me lots of fun.

 

Online Websites Coming to the Rescue of Lonely Otaku in Need of Friendship and Love

I found Mai Otaku when I was browsing today. This website is not just a virtual networking medium for the otaku, but also a dating website. The creator of the website had recognize the international contagion of Japanese otaku culture and the needs of its communities to get help in finding friends and even dates. You and I have to admit it, it is true in so many ways for many of us.

A Japanese Tea House in an Unexpected Place

Among Cherry Blossom and Apple trees, hidden a tiny tea house built as a place to spend time friends over a cup of tea in spiritual tranquility, creating a mutual closeness.

It is the vision of David Maštálka when he built the tea house, located in Prague, Czech Republic. The location and the creator may be Czech, but the soul of the tea house is clearly Japanese. It is the embodiement of the Sen no Rikyú.

A house and dewed ground
Guest and host
Drinking together a cup of tea
In quiet contemplation
In spiritual symphony


The tea house has two section: an open platfrom and enclosed tea room. The platform can fit one person, and I imagine that it would be nice to sit in it in a nice breezy day with tea and a book (or some manga).

Tenugui and Furoshiki

Tenugui

During my visit to Japan, I happened to come across two stores in Mosaic Street, Shinjuku, Tokyo that carried Tenugui: Karan Colon Kyouto and Koiki. Tenugui is a dyed cotton cloth which usually comes in 35x90cm size.

Here’s a description that I took from the Kamawanu info sheet I received from Koiki:

“[It was] used as a wiping tool such as a towel or a hankerchief, [and] also used as a bandage and a headwear in the old days, On the other hand, since it was possible to dye various graphic design on the Tenugui, it also came to be used in the place of a greeting card or a business card. And recently, people have found even more ways to use it, from place mats to tapestry for decorating their homes.”



Tenugui Wall Decoration from Koiki
Details: Purple flower, Monkey, Lotus

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