Fusion of the Far East
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The streets of Yokohama are cornucopias full of foreign influences ranging from the Yokohama Christ Church (Catholic Yamate Church) to the Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery right down the street, to the American Yama Park. If you are in the Yokohama … Read More

Japan’s Destination Marketing Panel Meeting
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Due to Japan’s growing number of foreign in-bound tourists, a panel meeting was called to discuss how to market Japan to the United States audience. In this meeting, three American university interns and Professor Tadayuki Hara were invited to our … Read More

Yanaka Town and Nezu Jinja
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The same day that we visited the Tenryuin and participated in the zazen lesson, we also made a few side trips around Yanaka Town. The day was the right mix of cloudy and sunny, where it was warm enough to … Read More

What is Zazen?
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Sitting cross-legged on the ground and looking down, half focusing on the black line that runs across the floor, I catch out of the corner of my eye the Buddhist priest’s movement. His barefoot feet make muted sound on the … Read More

Nichirenshu Saichuzan Joshoji and Aikido: The Way of the Mental Sword
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We were welcomed at the Nichirenshu Saichuzan Joshoji by Itou-sensei, who was the head priest of the temple as well as master of the aikido dojo connected to the temple and shown to the main prayer hall. As we entered … Read More

The National Diet and Kozo Yamamoto: Strengthening Japan’s Economy
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As we were led through the halls of the National Diet, we all anxiously mused about our upcoming meeting with the former Minister of State for Regional Revitalization, Yamamoto Kozo. It would be our first time meeting such a prominent, … Read More

Blue Skies in the Floating World
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Blue is undoubtedly the most popular color. Blue skies, seas, eyes, and clothes have all been admired for centuries. It is not surprising then, that art makes use of this beautiful color and all its shades. Today, it is easy … Read More

Not a Bad Lesson in Martial Arts
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Martial arts: the popular image that this phrase conjures is one of sage masters, fast striking action heroes, and disciplined training. Aikido falls into this nebulous and often misunderstood category. One might expect (as I did) that aikido training would … Read More

The Art of Sitting and Emptying Your Mind
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We’ve all seen it in movies: the Buddhist monk sitting still in the Lotus position, legs crossed, and their hands joined in a specific formation, their eyes closed in concentration. This is how mainstream media has simplified Buddhism, but there … Read More

We Found Beauty in a Foreign Place
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Today, we visited our district’s protectorate shrine. As we made our way through the busy streets of Minato-ku, we passed office buildings, hotels, small restaurants, and familiar fast food chains (I’m looking at you McDonald’s), there was no greater surprise … Read More

Tea Ceremony at Hamarikyu
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The Japanese Tea Ceremony is a traditional practice in which green tea called matcha is made and served to guests, all in a set ceremonial fashion. The ceremony dates back the 9th century CE during the Heian period in Japanese … Read More

Akasaka Hikawa Jinja Shrine
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When entering Akasaka Hikawa Jinja Shrine. Akasaka district is how the trees seem to envelope you and take you away from the concrete jungle of urban Tokyo. At the entrance you will encounter the first large stone torii gate, flanked … Read More

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