Hardly any other country is as rich in contrasts as Japan; this is also reflected in the culture. For example, classic customs, arts and crafts exist right next to skyscrapers and the latest innovational advances. It was precisely these contrasts that particularly captivated us during our trips to Japan. While we find these contrasts strange and fascinating, this is very common for the Japanese. The combination modernity and antiquity is appreciated by both locals and travelers. The Japanese are proud of their culture, which we felt on site. This is revealed, for example, in the preservation of many ancient arts:
-The tea time is a ritual derived from Zen Buddhism in the 16th century. The tea is prepared according to a fixed rite and should serve to reflect on purity and harmony.
-The geisha is a woman who knows how to entertain, e.g. by dancing, conversing, playing instruments or singing songs. In the West, they have often been portrayed as prostitutes, which is by no means the case. Rather, they are society ladies of the financial elite who perform their arts in traditional restaurants or tea shops.
-Sumo is a type of wrestling match that dates back to the 7th century.
-The kabuki theater originated in the 17th century. This famous theater is a synthesis of dance and music. All roles, including the women, are occupied by men.
-Matsuri means something like devotion and is extremely popular in Japan. Matsuri are the link between the earthly and the divine, so the aim is to placate the gods.
-Calligraphy is the art of handwriting and was practiced especially in the 14th and 15th centuries by the painting priests of the Zen schools.
In addition, Japanese gardens, traditional Japanese houses and clothing (yukata) are still widespread today. The latter in particular is often worn by both men and women at the so-called hanabi. The yukata is a type of kimono, but it is much lighter and cheaper. Often you can get it in the ryokan as house clothing.
Japanese Food – A Culinary Adventure
Japanese cuisine is a culinary adventure that you can embark on during your trip. Only the little that could be used from the environment, such as rice, vegetables and seafood. But thanks to many different influences, Japanese cuisine has developed well for gourmets. Japanese food is very light and the fresh vegetables are usually only cooked briefly.
Probably the most famous Japanese food is a must during your trip to Japan. There are all sorts of sushi that are prepared with rice and various ingredients such as raw fish, seafood, vegetables or eggs. The right thing to do is to go to a sushi bar, where a conveyor belt with many different dishes often leads past you and you can choose the specialties yourself. The different types of sushi have different prices. To make billing easier, each type of sushi is placed on a specific plate. After the meal, all the plates on your table are simply charged.
Traditionally, this specialty consists of chicken pieces and vegetables that are skewered and grilled. Nowadays you can order and taste yakitori with other types of meat, fish, seafood and vegetarian as well. This Japanese food is served with a salty or spicy sauce as a dip. Blowing your nose in public is still uncommon in Japan, even if the younger generation is now a little more relaxed about it. Pulling up the nose, on the other hand, is okay. The Japanese are often a little reluctant to touch. Instead of shaking hands, bow slightly. Try to stay calm at all times and don’t get loud. This is particularly inappropriate for the Japanese and leads to the loss of face.