Expect nothing and you will never be disappointed. Expect something and the risk is you’ll be disappointed. If you know that feeling, then you should know the expression ryutodabi, an idiom that…

These four instruments are not just credited with creating traditional Japanese music, but can also tell a story about Japanese culture. Shamisen The shamisen has a basic form similar to that of the…

When the Covid-19 pandemic started last year, one of the keywords bouncing around was 自粛 (jishuku; self-restraint). People were asked to refrain from going outside (外出自粛; gaishutsu jishuku) for the greater good.…

In my quest to brush up and expand my very basic Japanese with only the help of electronic devices, I today stop by an old acquaintance. Though WaniKani isn’t officially what most…

We all love a good 100-yen shop. You can almost find anything there, from kitchen accessories and home interior items to makeup and even skincare products. However, not all 100-yen items are…

Souvenirs from any Olympics have always been a popular way to remember the games, and with the years passing they become treasured mementos, family heirlooms, collectors’ items, and so on. Of course,…

Every year we try and predict the time when cherry blossoms will bloom exactly. The Japan Meteorological Agency has it down to a science (with an admitted margin of error), scientists are inspecting the…

Since I moved to Japan five years ago, my Japanese has been in decline. When I still lived in Germany, I took regular lessons. Mine wasn’t the most demanding school and I…

Sleep deprivation is no joke. The long-term effects of not getting enough shut-eye range from concentration difficulties and irritableness to memory loss, mental exhaustion and poor balance. And even though it’s said…

The mikan, Japan’s quintessential winter fruit, which can be found on the coziest kotatsu and festive New Years’ spread, has had a long journey to the contemporary table. From Chinese trade and…

With the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, many of us have taken a step back to reevaluate who we are and what we want to do in life. By asking ourselves probing questions like…

There is a poem about the Japanese warlord Oda Nobunaga (1534 – 1582) where he is asked what he’d do about a cuckoo that won’t sing, and his answer is that he’d…