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

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

Experiencing “Omotenashi”
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When you first arrive in Japan there’s always a phrase that will almost immediately get stuck in your head, “Irrashaimase”. This Japanese word of “welcome” is one of the many features of the unique service you are guaranteed to experience … Read More

Exploring the Art of Karakami
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During my time in Tokyo, I was fortunate enough to visit a Karakami exhibit and store. For those who don’t know, Karakami is a traditional method of pattern printing. Located Ueno, Tokyo Matsuya is a 4 floor location that is … Read More

Wrapping up money?
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When looking at western style cultures, gift giving is done for many occasions. Holidays, anniversaries, graduations, birthdays, and weddings are just a few of the many. These gifts can be presented in various forms such as wrapped in paper to … Read More

The Battle at Sekigahara
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(Writing the column article about Nangu Taisha in Tarui reminded me I had promised to write about why I considered General Hanbei TAKENAKA to be the person who brought victory to Lord Ieyasu TOKUGAWA at the Battle of Sekigahara, fought … Read More

A traditional Shinto Wedding Ceremony
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My wife and I were legally married (i.e submitted the form to City Hall) in late April of 2016. About a week prior to the event, I enlisted the help of a friend to clear out the master bedroom which … Read More

Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine
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As a resident of Kamakura, it would be remiss of me not to talk about Tsurugaoka Hachiman as the first of a series of articles about Kamakura. This shrine is the abode of the patron deity of the Minamoto Clan … Read More

The Reason Behind the Red Bibs
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If you have visited any temple or shrine in Japan, there is a good chance you have seen a statue wearing a red hat or red bib. One of the most frequent questions I have received about shrines and temples is, … Read More

The 5 Things you Should Know Before Visiting a Temple
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Make sure to step over the threshold: Each temple has a wooden section of the floor right before the temple. This section of wood is known as the threshold. The threshold forms a boundary. Positioned between the posts, lintel and … Read More

The 5 Things You Need to Know Before You Visit a Shrine
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No trip to Japan is complete with out a visit to at least one shrine. However, visiting a shrine can at times be a little overwhelming. Here are five essential tips to get the most out of your visit to … Read More

How the Tourism Boom is Causing Japan to Change its Controversial Symbol for Temples
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The other day while finding temples to add to our interactive map, I noticed something strange. I kept noticing the same symbol continuously popping up. This symbol was the manji, or as it is more commonly known, the swastika. Before World … Read More

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