I As I had never been to an Asian country before, I really wanted to learn a lot about the Japanese culture and traditions while I was there. Of course we had read up on a lot of things before leaving, but in the end you just have to experience it. The same goes for the food, I guess. 😀
I’ve already talked about the sunrise on Mount Fuji, Naoshima Art island, Kawaii Monster Cafe and driving around Tokyo with Maricar in my previous post. In that blog post I focused especially on nature and on craziness, while this post will be more about culture and traditions.
Tea ceremony introduction
I’m a huuuuge tea lover, so one of the things on my bucket list was going to a tea ceremony introduction. We found a really nice one in Kyoto, Camellia. While Kyoto was already a lot calmer than Tokyo, it was still a metropolis. But when you enter Camellia, situated in the city center, you won’t notice any of that. The ceremony was super well explained, and we could try it ourselves on our own pace since it was just the two of us. Any questions we had we could also ask. We were so relaxed when we left there as well, because it’s all about being zen. I could only recommend it if you want to know more about the tea ceremony tradition!
Collecting shuins at Japanese temples
At the first temple we visited we noticed you could buy a notebook where a monk would draw in. Needless to say I was intrigued! Turns out the notebook is called a ‘goshuin’ and the stamps ‘shuin’. You can get a shuin in your goshuin for 300 yen (in most temples). First the monk will stamp a unique stamp to that temple in your notebook and then they will write the name of the temple and the date in calligraphy in it. We managed to collect 14 shuins, all collected in the goshuin we bought at the Zōjō-ji temple. In my opinion one of the prettiest, if not the prettiest, goshuin I’ve come across. 🙂
We haven’t figured out where and how we will put this souvenir in our apartment, but it’s just so pretty not to put out!
Next to getting to know old Japanese traditions, we also wanted to get to know newer Japanese traditions. And one of these is definitely going to the arcades. It’s one big play hall on different floors where you have crane games, race games, dance games, and much more. We even saw one game where you could ride a mechanic horse. Whut?! It was cool to play some games there, but seeing how good someone could dance was sometimes super cool as well! 😀
Food in Japan
Food really is something important to me. One of my colleagues told me recently I must be really into food because I talk so much about it. I had no idea I talked about it that much, but she certainly was right I’m really into food. 🙂 The food in Japan was also something I was (most of the times) really into!
In my previous post about my Japan faves I already talked about our funny desserts from the Kawaii Monster Cafe. We haven’t eaten many really weird things, except for the noodles they put on fire. They can also film you while they do that last one so you can watch your fear again. Yay!
There was sushi as well, but not as much as I had thought there would be. We went twice to a conveyor belt sushi, which was fun, but besides that we basically ate a lot of noodles or bento boxes. However, I did love to eat a rice ball in the morning, which is basically sushi but also not. I absolutely loved the triangle ones that have a layer of nori around it, filled with all kinds of stuffing. Yum!
Not all food we had was that good though. We had a traditional breakfast with rice and refrigerated cooked salmon a few times and sometimes we just couldn’t get ourselves to eating all of it. I felt so bad about it, but the difference sometimes was too big.
Overall I really loved all of the crazy, nature and culture we have experienced in Japan. It truly is a wonderful country and I would totally recommend visiting it!
Have you ever been to Japan?