Every Year Has A Character: Japan Chooses Its “Kanji of the Year” 2017

For the last 23 years, people in Japan have turned on the evening news on December 12 (Kanji Day) to learn which “kanji of the year” was chosen. A tradition established by the Japanese Kanji Proficiency Society, the kanji character which best represents the events of that year is chosen through a national ballot and announced in a ceremony at the famous Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto. Source: © Sankei Shimbun Co., Ltd. 2017’s Kanji: 北 (kita, north) The choice of “north” in 2017 is likely due to the following events: In April, leading snack maker Calbee announced it would stop manufacturing potato chips due to a poor potato harvest in…

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Buddha’s Cafe: Enlightening Our Minds Over A Cup Of Coffee

Kamakura is home to over 110 temples, but you don’t necessarily have to go to one to pay respects to the Buddhist religion. During a visit to Kamakura, my sister and I stumbled across a rather curious sign. It showed an image of a Buddha statue and read: お寺カフェ (Otera Cafe). Since otera is the Japanese word for “temple,” we could only speculate that it was a temple-themed cafe of some sort — something we had never seen before, not even in Japan. The sign also said, “Produced by Jyoenji,” which was presumably was one of the many temples in Kamakura. A cafe produced by a temple? We found the…

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Add Elegant Japanese Script To Your Look With Beautiful Hiragana Accessories

As much as Japan occasionally gets it oh so very wrong with odd Engrish words on t-shirts and store signs, it’s not unusual to see non-Japanese-speaking people with a cool kanji tattoo or clothing, only to discover that the characters mean something quite ridiculous (like feet, or toilet). While we understand that some people, both Japanese and not, value the “look” of the script over the actual meaning, it wouldn’t hurt to get something that’s both gorgeous and sensible in meaning. That might be one reason why Japanese designer and calligrapher Saori Kunihiro’s hiragana-inspired jewelry are so explosively popular. A type of phonetic Japanese script unique to Japan, the soft…

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Can You Find The English Words Hidden In These Japanese Calligraphy Paintings?

Japanese calligraphy doesn’t necessarily have to be limited to the artistic writing of Japanese characters. In fact, one artist found a way to add a new twist to the art of Japanese calligraphy, one that utilizes the letters of two languages instead of just one. Tomomi Kunishige is the pioneer of eikanji — a different form of the written traditional art. Born in Yamaguchi Prefecture, the eikanji artist succeeded in creating a never-before-seen fusion of Japanese calligraphy and the English alphabet. Eikanji is a portmanteau of the Japanese words eigo (meaning English) and kanji (adopted logographic Chinese characters), and is also a play on a phrase in the Kansai dialect…

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[VIDEO] A Beautiful Dragon Drawn In A Single Brush Stroke. The Action At 3’40” Took My Breath Away

These one-stroke dragons, made in Nikko in Tochigi Prefecture, are becoming a hot topic abroad. The face of the dragon is draw on black paper and the climax appears at 3’40” when the single-stroke drawing begins! It’s so perfect that it will generate sighs. The dragons are made by a company called Single-Stroke Dragons Koushuuya, which has a store in Nikko. If you find yourself in Nikko, you have to visit this store.

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