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Springtime in Japan

  Springtime is perhaps the most wonderful time of year in Japan! It is a time of renewal with verdant greenery and perfect weather. April marks a new beginning as schools and businesses start their new year. The weather is mild and welcoming after a cold winter and before the rainy season begins in June. Cherry blossoms (sa-ku-ra) are in full bloom all over the country in parks, along-side roads and virtually everywhere. Their delicate and breathtaking pale pink petals bloom for 10 brief days or so, and when the petals start falling, the ground is covered in what looks like pink snow. Pure magic! Ha-na-mi (cherry blossom viewing) is a popular, annual activity as families and friends picnic under...

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A Japanese New Year

As 2020 comes to a close — and it couldn’t come any sooner for many of us — we turn our focus on how to ring in the New Year with hopes of prosperity, good fortune and the best intentions.  All around the world, there are many interesting and meaningful traditions: Spaniards eat twelve grapes, one grape for every toll of the clock at midnight to bring good luck for each month of the year; the Danes smash old dishes against the doors of their friends and families to ward off bad spirits; the Greek hang onions on their front doors as a symbol of rebirth; many cultures kiss at midnight to strengthen romance, and avoid superstitions of a loveless...

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Make Japanese Bathing Rituals Part of Your Self Care

   Bathing in Japan is a distinct ritual symbolizing the cleansing of your body and soul. Soaking in a deep tub of hot water is a way to relax and unwind after a hectic day and to ready one’s body for a good night’s rest. More often than not, it is customary for family members to take turns soaking in the same bath water each evening, which makes washing yourself before you enter the tub an important order of things. This is made easy as Japanese bathrooms consist of a wet room where there is a shower area to wash and rinse before stepping into a pristine hot bath. In traditional, multi-generational family homes, the elders take their baths first...

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