10 Stereotypes of Japanese People which are Never True

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Let’s see if your stereotypes of Japanese are true

japanese people
Stereotypes for any race, ethnic groups, country, culture do exist, but particularly Japanese people are one of the most stereotyped groups of people. Some people think that Japan has the weirdest culture on earth, others think that all Japanese people are extremely polite… Imaginations of the mysterious country go endless.

Of course, some stereotypes are true, but others are merely a myth. The followings are the stereotypes of Japanese people that foreigners often come up with, but in fact, are never true.

1.All Japanese people are into Anime and Manga

animeandmanga
Since Japan is known to have a huge anime and manga culture, people think that all Japanese people love those. But, this is just like a typical assumption that all Americans are a fan of baseball. Not all Japanese people are into anime and manga, let alone, those who enjoy these things are the minority. It is often the case that foreigners know much better about Japanese anime series and manga.

2.Japanese people eat sushi and ramen every day

ramen
Do Americans eat hamburgers and pizzas every day? Do Italians eat pasta every day?
Definitely No! Right?
When foreigners think of Japanese food, the typical dishes they come up with are sushi and ramen, and they think that the Japanese eat these dishes every day, or eat them on a daily basis. But in fact, sushi is such a delicacy that most Japanese people do not eat it often. Also, although ramen is a relatively cheap dish, it is not something that the Japanese eat regularly.
The Japanese cuisine has a diverse range of dishes and what people usually eat may not be typical Japanese dishes such as tempura, katsudon, gyudon, udon, soba, etc. They enjoy not only Japanese dishes but also dishes from other countries like Italy, China, or Korea.

3.Japan is a High-Tech country

toilet
Japan is usually associated with a high-tech miracle land. Probably high-tech toilets have accelerated the image? It was true during the 70s and 80s when Japan saw a rapid economic growth, but does not apply to the current society. Japan is now left far behind China, Korea, and Western countries regarding technological adaptation to the society. Many tourists, foreign workers, and exchange students are shocked to find Japanese people still use a fax machine at the office, and they usually pay by cash instead of the credit card.

4.Japanese women are obedient and docile

japanesewomen
Some foreigners may be dreaming of marrying Japanese women because they are known to be subservient and docile. But it is a thing of the past. As many women are coming into workplaces, they have come to be independent and not obedient to men. Also, it is common for Japanese households that who manages the family budget is the wife.

5.Japanese students are hardworking

japanese students
If you think of Japanese students being diligent and serious about studying, such an assumption will be collapsed when you enroll in a university course. It will be a huge strike to you. You will see them opening their laptops to play games, to watch YouTube, or to chat with friends, checking SNSs, and even sleeping.
Also, many Japanese students are more into club activities, hanging out with friends, and doing part-time jobs than studying. This is why there exists a saying “university is a summer holiday of life”!

6.Japanese people are always polite

politeness
This is often the case. Japanese people are quiet in public spaces, don’t litter, speak in a polite manner to strangers, respect older people, and so on. But this may not be the case during a deadly rush hour. People are all in a hurry to be on time, and they feel stressed by taking trains full of people. So they may not be as polite as you imagine.

7.All Japanese people are xenophobic

are japanese xenophobia
Some people think that Japanese people are xenophobic. Thus they are feared that the Japanese treat them harshly, which would make a bitter experience in Japan.
Since Japanese people do not have many chances to come into contact with foreigners, they are not used to interacting with people from different countries and cultures. However, not everyone has hatred towards foreigners. In particular, the younger generations are open to these people and curious about their countries and cultures. Most of them are willing to talk to foreigners and help them if needed.

8.Japanese people often eat whales and dolphins

whale
It is true that Japanese people used to eat whale and dolphins for hundreds of years until right after the WWⅡ, but it is uncommon anymore. They used to eat these animals as an easy, plentiful source of protein. But as other kinds of meat such as pork and chicken became familiar, people have come to consume less whales and dolphins. Some people still eat these kinds of meat, and some supermarkets sell packed meat of these animals, but not many people have it. Actually, most of the young generations have not had these animals in their lives.

9.Japanese people are not positive about dating or romance

uninterested in love
It is often pointed out that the decline in the birthrate and marriage rate is due to young people in Japan who are uninterested in dating or finding a romantic partner. However, it is too simplifying to determine that the cause of low birth rate and marriage rate is the fewer interests to romance. There are many couples that want babies and people who want to have a romantic partner. But since many young people have financial difficulties, they opt not to marry or not to have babies.

10.Japanese people can’t handle alcohol and drink sake only

sake
As for the Japanese not being able to hold their liquor, this is partly correct. About 40-45 % of Asians do not proceed alcohol well, and Japanese people are no exception. It causes drunken salarymen (office workers) sleeping on the trains or on the road, which may be familiar to some of you. However, those who were not born to have such an unfortunate mutation can handle any alcoholic beverages.
When it comes to the stereotype that Japanese people drink sake only, this is certainly untrue. They may drink sake more than other types of alcohol, but they also enjoy wine, whiskey, beer, and cocktail. In fact, in the most drinking party (nomikai), they start off with drinking a jar of beer.

Were there any surprising facts or new aspects about Japan?

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How have your stereotypes of Japanese people turned out?
I hope this article has provided you with a new journey to Japan.

See you next time!

17 Best Classic Japanese Snacks You Can’t Stop Eating

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17 Irresistible Japanese Snacks!

kakinotane
Japan has been adopting many things from other countries mainly from Europe and America, and transforming into Japanese style, making the goods “Japanized.” Snacks are no exception. When sugar started to be imported in the 1500s, snacks using sugar were invented. As industrialization and modernization progressed in the 19th century, popular snacks such as cookies and chocolate flowed into Japan from the Western countries. After that, a lot of confectionary companies were established and produced snacks, with changing Western snacks into Japanese style. Those confectionary companies such as Morinaga are still dominant in the confectionery market.

In Japan, snacks come and go very quickly, so few snacks can get classic. The followings are 17 best Japanese snacks which have been popular among people for a long period. Once you try them, you cannot resist anymore. Even if you are not planning to visit Japan, don’t worry. You can buy those delicious snacks online.

Let’s go and find out what you like.

1.Kit Kat

kitkat
You may think that Kit Kats are no different depending on the country. Flavors you may come up with would be just milk chocolate and dark chocolate. But Japanese Kit Kats come in an astonishing variety of flavors. They do taste just as the picture on the package.

Regular flavors include milk chocolate, dark chocolate, green tea, and strawberries, but unique flavors are seasonally and regionally limited. For example, caramel pudding, strawberry cheesecake, raspberry flavors get a debut in spring. Locally specialized flavors include Japanese sake, sweet red beans, wasabi, sweet potato, Hokkaido melon, etc. Japanese Kit Kats also have special varieties that you can enjoy by heating in the oven or cooling in the fridge.

If you travel to Japan, make sure to leave a space for putting all sorts of Kit Kats!

2.Pocky

pocky
Pocky is one of the most popular and classic snacks in Japan created by a large confectionary company Glico based in Japan. It is comprised of thin cookies dipped into chocolate, and comes in tens of sticks. Its crunchy texture and the best balance of chocolate and cookies make you want “just one more.”

Pocky has many types of cookies and flavors of chocolates. Other than normal thin cookies, there are a heart-shaped version, thicker version, chocolate-flavored version. Various flavors of chocolate include strawberries, green tea, almond crush, rose champagne, melon, grapes, cherries, and orange, some of which are regionally limited.

3.Pretz


Pretz, which is also from Glico, is a thin cookie-like snack. It is like Pocky without chocolate, but Pretz has a taste in cookies themselves, and flavored powder is sprinkled on them. Similar flavors include salad (salty flavor), tomato, and butter. Seasonally limited selections include sweet potato and shrimp, and locally specialized versions have takoyaki from Osaka, mentaiko from Fukuoka, wasabi from Yamanashi, and so on.

4.Kinoko no Yama

Kinoko no Yama is a common Japanese snack launched by Meiji more than 40 years ago, and it has become a staple snack in Japan. As the name Kinoko indicates, it resembles the shape of mushrooms. It has a crunchy biscuit on the bottom and chocolate which seems the head of a mushroom on top. It comes in different flavors such as chocolate, green tea, strawberries, and dark chocolate. You can find different flavors in different parts of Japan, too.

5.Takenoko no Sato

Takenoko no Sato, also invented by Meiji is a sister snack of Kinoko no Yama, which resembles bamboo shoots. It is made with a cookie bottom shaped like bamboo shoots and chocolate on top. It has similar variations in flavors to Kinoko no Yama.

With similar characteristics, Takenoko no Sato and Kinoko no Yama often compete for each other to get more supporters. Even customers are also debating about which product is better!
How about you? Are you for Kinoko no Yama or Takenoko no Sato?

6.Koala no March

Koala no March is produced by a confectionary company Lotte, which is a popular snack among kids. It composes a koala-shaped biscuit filled with chocolate. Regular flavors include chocolate and strawberries, and seasonally limited versions come out depending on the season. The mascot characters, March-kun and Waltz-chan, are printed on the cookies, creating a cute appearance on the product. According to the Lotte website, there are 365 patterns of prints!

7.Alfort

In Japan, snacks which combine chocolate and biscuits/cookies catches many people’s minds. Alfort from Bourbon is one of them. It has a rectangular-shaped biscuit with chocolate and comes in 12 pieces in a package. Different flavors in biscuits and chocolate are available; plain biscuits with milk chocolate, dark chocolate biscuits with white chocolate, plain biscuits with butter-rich chocolate,,, etc. Seasonally limited versions are also released, for example, a strawberry chocolate flavor in spring.

8.Jagariko

jagariko
Jagariko is a type of potato snack widely spread across Japan. Mashed potatoes are mixed with flavors and ingredients, shaped into sticks, and then fried. It comes in various flavors and sizes. Basic flavors have salad (salty flavor and contains a bit of vegetable), cheese, Jaga-butter (potato and butter), and Tarako-butter (cod roe and butter). Other flavors include yuzu and black pepper, Japanese plum, corn and butter, soy sauce, nori (seaweed), and nikujaga (common Japanese simmered dish).
In autumn, Satsumariko is produced as a seasonally limited version. Satsumariko uses sweet potatoes instead of potatoes. A large space is taken for Satsumariko at supermarkets and convenience stores because of its huge popularity among sweet potato-lovers.
9.

Potato Chips

potatochips
How can potato chips be unique to Japan?
Regular flavors of potato chips worldwide would be salt, sour cream, and black pepper, but common flavors in Japan are different; sea salt, seaweed, and consomme (chicken stock) are the most popular ones among Japanese people. Other than those flavors, there are numerous variations in flavors which cannot be found in other countries such as pizza, wasabi, and seasonally/regionally limited flavors include Japanese plum, banana, garlic, cheese cheese cheese, avocado mayonnaise, tartar sauce, peach, Takoyaki, soy sauce, and butter, etc.
Trying different flavors of potato chips will be an exciting experience during your stay in Japan, and with their lightweight and a small portion, they will be a great choice for souvenirs.

10.Kappa Ebisen

ebisen
Kappa Ebisen is a shrimp flavored puffed snack invented by Calbee in 1964. Shrimp flavor may sound peculiar, but just try! It is tasty! As the catchphrase “Yamerarenai-Tomaranai (I can’t resist, I can’t stop)” says, the savory shrimp flavor made from actual shrimp makes you grab another piece.
It comes in different flavors depending on the season and the region, such as garlic soy sauce, lemon, bonito stock, Japanese plum, Takoyaki, wasabi, and so on.

11.Hi-Chew

Hi-Chew is a soft, chewy candy released from Morinaga more than 30 years ago. It has been one of the most popular candies in Japan. One-bite size candy is wrapped one by one and then packaged in a colorful, appetizing package with 12 pieces. Juicy fruit flavors made from actual fruits will spread in your mouth once you chew. Also, the initial texture is like bubblegum, and as you keep chewing, the candy gets softer.
Standard flavors are grapes, strawberries, and green apples, and other variations include coke, lemon, soda, and so on. Some flavors such as peach, melon, orange, pineapple, or mango became local specialties in a particular region. Hi-Chew is now sold worldwide, especially Asian countries, America, and New Zealand.

12.Gummy candies

gummycandy
Gummy candies have been a common selection of snack in Japan. Different confectionary companies cator such a wide range of gummies that it is difficult to list all of them. One of the most popular gummy candies is Kaju-gumi from Meiji, which uses actual fruit juice for flavoring. Pure-gumi from Kanro is a very popular sweet among women due to its cute heart-shaped appearance and a little bit of sour powder put on the sweet gummy. Kororo from Uha-Mikakuto is such an invention, and everyone is struck by its unimaginable texture. A thinly-coated gummy pops in your mouth once you chew, and soft juicy gummy flows out and fills your mouth with delicious juicy fruit flavor. It is just like you are eating real fruits!

13.Japanese Sweet Bread

sweet bread
Japan has been creating unique varieties of bread and has made bread something different you can find in other parts of the world. Japanese bread is known for a wide range of sweet bread, such as melon pan (regular bread covered with soft cookie-like dough), anpan (a roll filled with red bean paste), creme pan (a sweet roll filled with custard), and milk-france (a baguette with milky cream sandwiched).
Bakeries, supermarkets, and convenience stores carry many types of sweet bread, and they make a nice dessert after a meal or a snack.

14.Senbei

Senbei is a cracker made from rice. It is said to be brought from China in the 6th century, and remains as a classical Japanese snack. It comes in hundreds of flavors, shapes, and sizes, but the most familiar type is a round-shaped, soy sauce-flavored senbei. Sightseeing spots make senbei one of the local specialties, and you can buy it fresh off the grill. Senbei is also available at supermarkets, convenience stores, and local sweets shops.

15.Kaki no Tane

kakinotane
Kaki no Tane are rice crackers with a distinctive shape that resembles seeds of persimmons. They are a little bit spicy, have a crunchy texture, and go well with alcoholic beverages. Kaki no Tane are usually packed mixed with peanuts. They come in some varieties of flavors such as wasabi. If you are not a fan of peanuts, a package that contains only rice crackers is available.

16.Umaibo

umaibo
Umaibo is a puffed, cylindrical corn snack. Umaibo is known for its various flavors and extremely low price. Flavors include corn potage, cheese, salad, Takoyaki, teriyaki burger, tonkatsu sauce, mentai (spicy cod roe), chocolate, chicken curry, pizza, yakitori, and many more. The price is just 10 yen, so it makes a great souvenir to take back home.

17.Karinto

karinto
Karinto is a traditional deep-fried Japanese snack made with flour, water, sugar, yeast, and salt. It has a stick-like appearance and coated with sugar syrup. Karinto may not be as easy as other modern snacks to find, but it is sold at candy shops which mainly sell nostalgic Japanese snacks and at department stores. Some Japanese-style hotels also serve it as a welcoming snack. A variety of flavors are produced these days, such as vegetables, sesame, green tea, peanuts, and so on.

Get your stomach full of these delicious snacks!

anpan
Since Japan is a food paradise, you may wonder what to pick to please your mouth.
Then, why don’t you try these 17 snacks? They will definitely give you a moment of joy.

See you next time!

15 Drinks You Can Buy Only in Japan

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Japan is a Paradise of Drinks

list of Japanese drinks

When you stop by vending machines or convenience stores, you will find shelves full of colorful, nicely, but uniquely packaged drinks. Japanese convenience stores and vending machines have all sorts of drinks from refreshing tea to sweet soda to satisfy you and also offer a bit of surprise.

Since canned, bottled, or paper-packed beverages got ubiquitous in Japan, beverage companies have improved the quality of every single drink and invented unique drinks that have never existed before. Also, universal drinks such as Fanta are sold with a subtle Japanese essence. The followings are 17 drinks you can find only in Japan.

15 Drinks You can find only in Japan

japanese drinks

1. Ramune

ramune
Ramune is a type of carbonated soft drink created more than 120 years ago. The name “ramune” was derived from an English word “lemonade,” leading to the original flavor of ramune, lemon-lime. It has been a representation of summer due to its refreshing flavor and see-through bottles, and enjoyed by all generations.

Ramune is known to be its specially designed bottles, the idea of which was from Hiram Codd. They are made of glass and sealed with a marble, with the pressure of the carbonation in the bottle keeping the marble at the head. When you drink ramune, you push the marble inward with a device provided. People who try ramune for the first time have difficulties to open it because sometimes the drink splashes out once you push the marble inward. Empty bottles are usually collected and recycled.

2.Mitsuya Cider

Mitsuya Cider is a carbonated soft drink invented in 1884, now sold and produced by Asahi. Although it is named “cider,” it is used in a different meaning from that used in English. “Cider” in Japanese refers to a carbonated drink with a cross flavor between Sprite and Ginger Ale. But Asahi comes out additional flavors such as grapes, orange, peach, lemon, and peach. Seasonally limited versions are also produced annually.

Originally Mitsuya Cider was sold in metal bottles but is now mostly sold in plastic bottles. Old metal bottles can be found in some places and those who like to feel a sense of nostalgia favor that type of Mitsuya Cider.

3. Flavored Fanta

Of course, Fanta is an American soft drink, but Japanese Fanta has so many different kinds of flavors which you cannot find in other parts of the world. More than 100 kinds of flavors have come out since Fanta arrived in Japan, which makes it No.1 brand in the fruit-flavored carbonated soft drink category in Japan.

Other than familiar flavors like grape and orange, Japanese Fanta includes white peach, melon, honey lemon, yuzu (citrus fruit), grapefruit, pineapple, strawberry, muscat, Japanese pear, white banana, tropical mango, fruit punch, golden apple….and many more.

Japanese Fanta releases new flavor every year, which keep fans attracted.

4. Japanese tea

japanese tea
Green tea is a part of everyday life in Japan. Since the arrival of green tea from China in the 8th century, the Japanese have been enjoying tea. They often drink tea after the meal, and restaurants, convenience stores, and vending machines always have a variety of tea. Some regions such as Kyoto and Shizuoka specialize in green tea cultivation as their local specialties. Green tea is known to have a lot of health benefits like anti-cancer, anti-virus, anti-oxidation, and so forth.

The followings are types of tea that are familiar to Japanese daily lives.

-Sencha
Sencha is what people usually call green tea or ryokucha. It is abundant in caffeine, catechin, and vitamin C. Different companies have different brands on sencha, so shelves at convenience stores are filled with a lot of bottled sencha.

-Houjucha
Houjucha is made with sencha leaves dry-roasted until turning brown. People adore its savory aroma and taste, which makes it the best drink after the meal. Also, Houjicha contains less caffeine and catechin; it can be enjoyed by many generations from small kids to elderlies.

-Genmaicha
Genmaicha is made with dry-roasted brown rice and sencha. Genmaicha fills your mouth with the savory flavor of roasted brown rice and refreshing fragrance. Same as houjucha, genmaicha includes little caffeine.

Tea is sold in the form of either tea leaves or bottled, but most people buy bottled tea at convenience stores or vending machines. If you want to make tea from tea leaves, you want to find your favorite type of tea and get a Japanese teapot. If you are away from Japan, you can, of course, buy them online.

5. Calpis

Calpis, also known as Calpico outside of Japan, is a non-carbonated soft drink sold by Calpis Co., Ltd. It has a milky, slightly acidic flavor and tastes like a middle of yogurt and milk. It is made from water, nonfat dry milk and lactic acid produced by lactic acid fermentation.

Calpis is sold both as a concentrate or as a diluted version. The concentrate version is usually found at supermarkets and mixed water just before drinking. Varieties of fruit flavor are produced, so some people send a set of flavored calpis as a gift. The diluted version is often found in convenience stores and vending machines, and a common choice for the young.

6. Pocari Sweat

PocaRi sweat is a Japanese non-carbonated soft drink marketed in 1988, and was a starting block of spreading sports drink across Japan. Though many consider this beverage as a sports drink, the manufacturer Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. does not label it as such. Otsuka sells Pocari sweat as a “health drink,” which replenishes quickly water and ions to the human body.

Aquarius from Coca-Cola Japan is a rival product. While Aquarius has more sour flavor, Pocari sweat has more sweet flavor.

7. Match

Match is a light-carbonated soft drink produced by Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. Marketed as “Vitamin carbonated drink,” Match contains some kinds of vitamins like vitamin 6, C, and niacin. It is yellow-colored which evokes Gatorade or Vitamin Water, and tastes like those beverages. It is sold in various sizes, from 270 ml of plastic bottles to 1.5L of plastic bottles. The grapefruit flavor is also available.

8. Canned coffee

Japanese office workers are mostly so busy that they do not have time to stop by a cafe and grab a cup of coffee. That is why canned coffee is one of the main drinks that takes a large space of shelves at stores, and is affordable for everyone due to its low price ($1).

Different companies produce various types of coffee brands like BOSS from Santory, Georgia from Coca-Cola, WONDA from Asahi, and so on. The beverage companies have a wide range of line-up from espresso to cafe au lait to match each customer’s preference.

But you may be doubtful about the quality of the canned coffee. Well, that is your task to taste both canned coffee and coffee from Starbucks. Let’s see how much they are different!

9. Yakult

Yakult is a probiotic drink produced by Yakult Honsya Co. It contains water, skimmed milk powder, sugar, flavors, and live Lactobacillus casei Shirota strain, and has a milky, yogurt-like flavor tasting similar to Calpis. Yakult is notable for the live Lactobacillus casei Shirota strain, which reaches the intestine and helps it keep in good condition. Some schools serve Yakult for school lunch valuing those health benefits.

10. Hachimitsu-Lemon (Honey Lemon)

Hachimitsu-Lemon is a soft drink flavored with lemon and honey. Hachimitsu-Lemon is available throughout the year but is usually considered to be a drink for the wintertime. As many people get sick easily in winter, hachimitsu-lemon, which is rich in vitamin C would help them prevent from getting sick. Candies with hachimitsu-lemon are also sold at stores.

11. Amazake

amazake
Amazake is a traditional Japanese beverage made with rice yeast and rice. Although it is named amazake (sweet alcoholic beverage), it contains little alcohol, so amazake is categorized into the soft drink.

The origin of amazake is considered to be back in the mid-third century, and was consumed as a nutrition drink because of its nutritious value. Today, many shrines and temples offer amazake to visitors on the new year’s day. Some regions still keep traditions of making amazake as an offering to express the gratitude of good harvest.

Amazake comes in canned, binned, powdered, and freeze-dried. It is available at convenience stores or vending machines but is sometimes served at shrines and temples.

12. Flavored soy milk

Soy milk is known to be a healthy, nutritious option instead of cow’s milk, which attracts health-conscious customers. Did you know that the Japanese soy milk comes in more than 50 varieties in flavor?

Despite its nutritious value, some people do not like soy milk due to its strong smell and taste from which you feel soybeans directly. Various companies have released flavored soy milk so that it reduces the strong flavor of soybeans and makes it easier to drink.

Regular flavors include plain, banana, chocolate, tea, and coffee. Plus, soy milk producers release seasonal version in each season. They try to make the flavor match the image of the season and also try to include familiar Japanese taste. For example, in spring, sakura (cherry blossom) flavor comes out. Customers can feel a sense of spring by finding it at food stores. Common Japanese flavors contain oshiruko, green tea, amazake, Japanese plum, and so on. Tasting those flavors will be a great way to experience Japanese taste.

13. Aloe drink

Aloe drink is made with either only the juice or with the juice and the pulp of the aloe vera plants. As well as its health benefits like anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, the slightly sweet, refreshing flavor makes it popular. Usually, aloe drink contains only aloe flavor, some variations mix chopped aloe pulps with fruit flavor-based soft drinks such as muscat. But as aloe drink usually contains a lot of sugar, you may want to opt for sugar-free aloe drink if you want to appreciate its health benefits.

14. Jelly drink

You may wonder what jelly drink is. It is literally a drinkable jelly. Crushed jelly is packed in a squeezable pouch with a plastic nozzle, and can be re-sealed with a plastic cap. So you don’t have to finish it up once you open. The pouch can be held with one hand, which makes it portable and easier to drink. Flavors vary, but usually contain fruit flavors such as orange, lemon, grape, or peach. Drinks which contain various nutrients are also popular, for they come in handy to refill lacked nutrients.

Jelly drinks are available at any types of stores, including supermarkets, convenience stores, drug stores, and some vending machines.

15. See-through drink

You might have thought, “another weird drink comes up again,” but see-through drink is basically a flavored water. You may have flavored water in your country, but Japanese flavored water goes beyond your imagination.

Fruit-flavored water had already been available and popular in Japan, but Suntory, a large beverage company, blew a new wind into the flavored water. In 2015, Suntory launched a new product called “Yogurina,” which is water with yogurt flavor. It seems to taste awful, but in fact, it was sold out within three days from the release. In 2017, the same company produced “Premium morning tea lemon,” which is water flavored with lemon tea.

Unique flavored water is definitely worth a try if you are craving for an exciting experience in Japan!

Japanese Drinks; Just Give it a Go!

conclusion
Did you find any drinks you want to try?
I hope those drinks will make your experiences in Japan even more enjoyable and interesting!

See you next time!

Omiyage:Not a mere souvenir-a part of Japanese culture

omiyage

Omiyage is a mere Souvenir?

is omiyage a souvenir?
In Japan, even buying souvenirs is considered to be unique – that is “Omiyage” culture.

Most of you may buy souvenirs when you take a trip away from home, so do the Japanese. However, what you call “souvenir” is not equal to what Japanese people call “souvenir.” There are some differences between those two.

So, what is “Omiyage” and what makes it a distinctive aspect of Japanese culture?
What are the differences between souvenir and omiyage?
Japadventure will immerse answer these questions and will present the best omiyage you should not miss when you travel to Japan.

What is “Omiyage”?

omiyage

As those who have come to Japan may know, tourist shops are everywhere in Japan.
In the street, at hotels, airports, train stations… etc.
At those shops, you will find colorfully decorated boxes of sweets, food, and goods that are special to the region. All of those are “Omiyage.”

Omiyage is meant to buy for someone when you go back from your trip, and this “giving omiyage” culture is very important to maintain the relationships in Japan. Bringing back special products of the region to your family, friends, and colleagues means sharing your happy moments of your trip, and shows that you were thinking about others while you were away.

Your friends, relatives, family, coworkers, or neighborhood expect you to bring back special products from where your trip – whether it be vacation or business trip – was taken place. So the first thing you should do when you come back home is to give omiyage to your family waiting at home, and when you for the first time appear at your office or school after your trip, you should show up with omiyage. Also, if you do the homestay in Japan, don’t forget to take omiyage for your host family when you leave home!

Omiyage can be anything. If you buy omiyage for your workplace or classmates, it doesn’t have to be expensive, fancy gifts. Something edible, usually local sweets, will satisfy your peers. Tourist shops offer a large selection of shareable omiyage. They are mostly large portioned, and packaged one by one so that it is easy to share them with many people. If you buy omiyage for your close friends, keychains, shot glasses, accessories, pens, or pouches will be a good choice.

But, there is one thing you should keep in mind when you choose omiyage.
Omiyage should be something that represents the region. Every part of the world has distinctive cultures and products which can be found only in that area. For example, flamenco, turon, olive oil from Spain, pineapple cake from Taiwan, amber from Poland, and so on.

What are the differences between omiyage and souvenir?

differences between omiyage and souvenir

Usually, omiyage is translated as “souvenir”, but that translation is misleading. “Souvenir” lacks the important aspect of omiyage.
When you say souvenir, you imagine it as what you buy for yourself to remember the trip, and it doesn’t include gifts you buy for others. Omiyage, on the contrary, is not meant to be kept for yourself but is meant to give to others. But omiyage is different from gift-giving, too. While gift-giving is for someone’s birthday or some other special occasions, omiyage-giving takes place every time you came back from the trip and is a part of maintaining relationships.

When did omiyage culture emerge in Japan?

the history of omiyage

There is not one specific history of omiyage, but the origin of omiyage is thought to be a custom related to sacred pilgrimages in Edo period (from the 1600s-the mid-1800s). Those who visited Shinto shrines or Buddhist temples brought back religious items like rice wine cups or charms as the evidence of having completed the pilgrimage. The protection granted to pilgrims was believed to transmitted to others whoever received the sacred religious items brought back from the trip. As more and more people traveled to shrines and temples, small shops selling products specific to the region began to fill the street on the way to shrines/temples. This is the beginning of omiyage.

Are you getting to the point?
Omiyage is neither a mere souvenir nor gifts but is kind of a mixture of those two. It is a product representing to the region that you buy for your family friends, co-workers when you return home.

Best Omiyage You can buy in Japan

the best omiyage in Japan

So, what are products “special” to the region?
The followings are the list of omiyage from popular sightseeing spots in Japan; Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hokkaido, and Fukuoka.

-Tokyo

tokyo

Tokyo Banana (東京ばな奈)
Tokyo Banana is a banana-shaped fluffy cake filled with banana cream. Variations in flavor and patterns exist. In addition to normal banana flavor, there are honey banana, almond milk, chocolate banana, maple banana, and many more flavors. You can find it almost everywhere in Tokyo, especially at Tokyo station, there are special stores dedicated to baking the sweets and selling them directly from the oven.

Edo Kiriko Glass (江戸切子)
edokiriko

Edo kiriko glass craft developed in Edo period, and its elaborate, beautiful patterns attract many visitors’ eyes, making it one of the popular omiyage in Tokyo. Edo kiriko glass is sold in the form of liquor glass, plate, leaf vase, necklace, and so on, but liquor glass is the most famous. Choose the best Japanese sake to give along with Edo kiriko liquor cups as a set of great omiyage!

-Osaka

osaka

Rikuro Ojisan’s Cheesecake(りくろうおじさんのチーズケーキ)
Rikuro Ojisan’s cheesecake, with shops always full of people, is something you have never come across in other parts of the world. Freshly baked and sold directly from the oven, it makes everyone walking down the street stop by. The surprisingly low price (only $6 for a whole cake), extremely fluffy texture, simple but rich delicacy make it worth a try.

Takoyaki Maker
Takoyaki is famous street food in Osaka, made with pancake-like mixture shaped into a bite-size ball shape, with octopus inside. Probably you have it at least once while you are in Osaka, and then think, “I wish I could take this food back to my home country.”
Then, get a Takoyaki maker! Inviting your family members and friends to your house and making takoyaki together will create a moment full of joy and wonderful experience.

-Kyoto

kyoto

Japanese Green Tea
Uji district in Kyoto is famous for green tea, especially “Uji matcha (Uji green tea).” Uji is where the tea cultivation first took place in Japan and gained the reputation of high-quality green tea. Uji green tea can be enjoyed in various ways, not only tea but also cake, pudding, tiramisu, and other types of sweets.

Yatsuhashi (八つ橋)
yatsuhashi

Yatsuhashi is also a famous regional product of Kyoto. It is a thin, mochi-like Japanese sweet made from glutinous rice flour, sugar, and seasonings to add a flavor such as cinnamon, green tea, or black sesame. There are two types of yatsuhashi: nama(raw) yatsuhashi and baked yatsuhashi. Most of the time nama yatsuhashi is served with red bean paste at the center. Also, there is a wide range of flavor for nama yatsuhashi to choose from, which may make it difficult for you to pick the one that matches your preferences. So if you are perplexed with abundance selections of yatsuhashi, get the basic one, either cinnamon or green tea.

-Hokkaido

hokkaido

Shiroi Koibito (白い恋人)
Shiroi Koibito is langue de chat (cat tongue) cookies with either white chocolate or milk chocolate sandwiched, and is a standard omiyage of Hokkaido. Light color cookies and packages evoke you the image of Hokkaido with flaky snow and great nature.

Jagapokkuru (じゃがポックル)
Jagapokkuru is a potato snack from a Japanese snack maker Calbee but sold only in Hokkaido. It is made with potatoes shredded into french fries-like sizes, and then deep-fried. What is special about this snack is that all the ingredients are from Hokkaido. You can taste the natural taste of Hokkaido potatoes and slight flavor of Hokkaido salt. Why not buying “the Hokkaido” snack on your way home?

-Fukuoka

fukuoka

Mentaiko-flavored snacks
mentaiko

Mentaiko is a cod roe with spicy flavor and is a regional specialty of Fukuoka. While mentaiko is delicious by itself, its flavor is added to famous Japanese snacks such as jagariko, pretz, or potato chips as a limited edition to Fukuoka. You can find them at train stations, airports, and even convenience stores, so grab one of those snacks to enjoy Fukuoka until the last minute of your stay.

Hakata Torimon (博多通りもん)
Hakata torimon is a western-style sweet made of thin dough with white bean paste inside. Torimon indicates parade participants in the Hakata Dontaku festival taken place in Hakata, the central city of Fukuoka. The reputation of the festival made this delicacy the symbol of Hakata, thus became a must-buy omiyage. You can get it on the basement floor of department stores as well as train stations and airports.

Ready to get Omiyage back to your home?

gifts
Did you get what omiyage is?
Next time you visit Japan, make sure to grab omiyage to share your memories with people awaiting you back home!

See you next time!

8 Different Types of Sushi in Japan: Perfect Guide of Sushi

typesofsushi

Can you List the Types of Sushi?

When you think of Japanese food, the first dish that comes up to your mind would be sushi. Yes, sushi is one of the typical Japanese dishes, and Japanese people enjoy eating sushi with friends or family.

But did you know that there are many types of sushi?
Other than nigiri and rolled sushi which may be familiar to you, but many different types of sushi that you have probably not heard of are found in Japan.

Today Japadventure introduces 8 different types of sushi.

What is sushi?

sushi

First of all, what is sushi?
Sushi is a Japanese dish using vinegared rice and raw/cooked fish. Fish is mainly topped with rice, but sometimes eggs and vegetables are also topped.
So sashimi, often confused with sushi, is not sushi. Sashimi is sashimi.
For the differences between sushi and sashimi, please read this:Nigiri vs. Sashimi; What is the Difference?

1.Nigiri

sushi

Nigiri, or nigiri zushi is a dish with small vinegary rice topped with an ingredient such as raw/cooked fish, an egg omelet, or vegetables. Most nigiri contains wasabi between the rice and the ingredient, and is eaten dipped in a little bit of soy sauce. But some nigiri does not have wasabi, and some nigiri is eaten with a special sauce instead of soy sauce. You can order nigiri by one piece at sushi restaurants, but at kaitenzushi (go-round sushi) restaurants, nigiri often comes in two pieces.

Sushi chefs should be skillful enough to treat fish properly, find out fresh ingredients, and make delicious sushi, so it is said that it takes ten years to become a professional sushi chef.

Here are common nigiri
-sake(salmon)
-maguro(tuna)
-tamago(egg omelet)
-ika(squid)
-ebi(cooked shrimp)
-amaebi(sweet shrimp)
-tako(octopus)
-buri(adult yellowtail)
-hamachi(young yellowtail)
-anago(conger eel)
-hotate(scallop)
-aji(Japanese jack mackerel)
-toro(fatty bluefin tuna belly)

2.Makizushi

Makizushi is rolled sushi. It is made with a thinly cut ingredient at the center with vinegared rice around and rolled with seaweed paper(nori). Makisu (a bamboo mat) is used when making makizushi. Ingredients can be either fish or vegetables. Makizushi had already existed as early as the 1700s, soon after nori was invented with a similar process to make paper.

Unlike rolled sushi found in foreign countries, Japanese makizushi does not have the rice on the outside and nori on the inside. Inside-out sushi such as California roll is called “western-style sushi.” Also, Makizushi is not a major type of sushi served at sushi or Japanese restaurants but can be found more often at convenience stores or supermarkets.

Makizushi has four kinds according to its size and appearance.

-Hoso maki

Hoso maki, or thin roll is basic makizushi. It contains one ingredient at the center and is cut into one-bite sizes when served. Familiar ingredients are Kamoyo (boiled seasoned gourd strips), cucumber, pickled daikon radish, natto (fermented soybeans), and tuna.

-Futo maki

Futo maki is a literally fat roll, and referred as a thicker version of hoso maki. It includes several kinds of ingredients, and the diameter gets more than 5 cm. It is cut into 2-3 cm thick when eaten. Familiar ingredients are egg, seasoned tofu, shiitake mushroom, grilled conger eel, and cucumber, but variations exist depending on the region or the household.

-Gunkan maki

Gunkan maki is another type of rolled sushi, which was created at a sushi restaurant in Ginza in the 1940s. It has a wide strip of seaweed paper around the rice with a little space for putting an ingredient on top. The name “Gunkan” stems from “Battleship” because the shape of gunkan maki resembles it. Popular toppings are uni (sea urchin), ikura (salmon roe), and negitoro (a blend of fatty tuna belly and green onion). Gunkan maki is a popular option at sushi restaurants.

-Temaki

Tamaki is literally a hand roll as the word “te” indicates “hand.” It has vinegared rice and whichever fillings you like rolled with a sheet of nori, shaped into like an ice cream cone. Although temaki is getting familiar at sushi restaurants, it is usually made at home due to its easiness and enjoyment. Temaki is a great dish for parties and family dinner because making temaki is a lot of fun and you can put whichever ingredients you want.

3.Chirashizushi

Chirashizushi is a type of sushi which combines the vinegared rice with multiple ingredients. The name “chirashi”(to scatter) is originated from its making process, which the ingredients are “scattered” in the rice or over the rice.

Common ingredients mixed with rice are boiled, seasoned carrot, shiitake mushroom, kampyo, and lotus root, but different regions use different ingredients. After the rice is prepared, seafood, egg, and nori are added as decorations.

Chirashi is often eaten on special occasions especially on Hinamatsuri (Doll Festival or Girl’s Festival).
For more detail about Hinamatsuri, check out this; Hinamatsuri ? Japanese Doll Festival for Girls

4.Inarizushi

Inarizushi is a little bit different from the other types of sushi in that it does not use any seafood and contains a slightly sweet flavor. Inarizushi has rice mixed with sesame or some kinds of vegetables in a pouch-like piece of Aburaage (deep-fried tofu). Aburaage is simmered in a blended seasoning including soy sauce, mirin, dashi, and sugar. Sometimes additional ingredients such as egg, boiled prawns, or salmon roe are put on the top of inarizushi.

Due to its ease of making and mobility, inarizushi is a popular item for bento and finger food for picnic or parties.

5.Temarizushi

Temarizushi is a small, ball-shaped type of sushi which is usually made at home. “Temari” is a Japanese word of “ball,” which became the origin of the name “Temarizushi.” A bite-size ball of rice topped with an ingredient is wrapped with plastic wrap, creating a perfectly round shape.

Temarizushi is also a common dish for bento or parties because of its ease of making and customizing.

6.Oshizushi

Oshizushi literally means “pressed sushi”, which is made with vinegared rice and an ingredient put into a wooden mold (oshigata) and pressed. Oshizushi resembles nigiri, but is different in that oshizushi is firstly shaped in a mold and then cut into rectangular shapes. Common ingredients used for oshizushi are vinegared mackerel, salmon, and sea bream.
Oshizushi was originated in Osaka, and is still made in some regions around Kansai area (western part of Japan) like Kyoto, Toyama, Tottori, and Hiroshima. Oshizushi is one of the particular commodities in those regions and purchased as gifts.

7.Sasazushi

“Sasa” means bamboo leaves, and sasazushi is a kind of sushi containing vinegared rice and toppings wrapped in bamboo leaves. Wrapped in bamboo leaves, the rice and toppings get a subtle aroma from bamboo leaves, creating a neat, distinct flavor.
Toppings can contain bamboo shoot, mountain vegetables, walnuts, carrot, and deep-fried tofu. Each regions has invented its unique sasazushi, making it special to that region.
Sasazushi is said to be rooted in Nagano prefecture during the Sengoku period (1467-1573), and it was created either because the food was served on bamboo leaves, or Nagano locals were seeking for a dish to offer the visiting samurai warlord of that time.

8.Narezushi

Fermentation used to be a technique to preserve food before refrigeration was invented. Narezushi is one of the examples that used the technique of fermentation- people preserved fish for several months to years in salt and rice, and its origin dates back to the Nara period (710-794).

Narezushi used to be a dish offered to the imperial court in the ancient era. At that time the rice was removed, but over time people came to eat rice as well as the period for fermentation became shortened. In the Edo period (1603~1868), as the vinegar for rice came to be available all over Japan, the Japanese started to use vinegar to add a taste of sour to rice. This is said to be the original form of nigiri.

Today narezushi is not as common as before due to its strong flavor, but still made in some areas in Japan. The most famous one is Funazushi from Shiga prefecture, using crucian carp caught from nearby Lake Biwa.

Japanese Sushi Offers Much More Types than You Imagine!

We have introduced 9 types of sushi, but there are more kinds in Japan. Trying different kinds of sushi will give you experiences of enjoying the natural taste of the ingredients, skills of sushi chefs, the history behind the dish, and so on.
Please make sure to try as many types of sushi as possible if you come to Japan!

9 Traditional Japanese Masks and their Meanings

japanesemask-title

Japan is a country of Masks

masks
The Japanese people today are known to wear surgical masks in public for the protection of disease or for the feeling of privacy.
As well as a modern type of masks, traditional masks have been playing an important role in the Japanese society. Their history dates back to many centuries ago, and they were used in religious rituals, festivals, and theaters.
Here presents 9 types of Japanese traditional masks and their meanings.

History of Japanese Masks

history
Masks were originally used in prehistoric religious rituals in Jomon period (10,000 B.C. to 300 B.C.), but after the introduction of Buddhism, masks came to be used for more secular purposes such as Shinto dances or playing roles on the stage. Noh dance, which is performed with wearing masks was originated in Muromachi period (1336-1573), and had an influence on subsequent traditions, including the face-painting of Kabuki.

1. Mempo (Samurai Masks)

mempo

Mempo is known as samurai mask, used both to protect warriors’ faces and to give fearful impressions to enemies. Mempo were started to be worn in wars from the 16th century, and they were made by skillful craftsmen using iron and lacquered leather. Masks were decorated with details such as fake teeth. Their designs were customizable according to the wearers’ preferences.

2. Noh Masks

noh

Noh is a type of traditional Japanese musical drama. Since all roles were played by male actors, female characters and old men characters were played with masks. Masks are still used in Noh theater today.

Noh masks have a complex design. They show different facial expressions depending on the angle from which they are viewed. They show sadness from one angle, but they also show anger from a different angle. Noh actors change directions of their bodies depending on which facial expression they should show.

3. Hyottoko Masks

hyottoko

Hyottoko is a silly, childlike character in traditional Japanese performances with a funny facial expression on his face. His mouth is always rounded and skewed to one side. This feature was derived from a mask of Usobuki used in Kyogen (traditional Japanese comical drama), and the name Hyottoko was originated from Hiotoko, who blew fire with a bamboo pipe.

Dances with Hyottoko masks are played in some regions in Japan such as Miyazaki.

4. Okame Masks

okame

Okame masks, sometimes called Otafuku, demonstrate a female character with a round face, small nose, and small head design. They are often referred to a female version of Hyottoko, and both Okame and Hyottoko usually appear together. Also, Okame is known to bring a good fortune.

The origin of Okame masks is derived from the oldest female dancer Ameno-uzume appeared in the Japanese myth, and the name “Okame” is said to be rooted in the shape of kame (water jar).

5. Oni Masks

oni

Oni is a demon, and their masks are depicted as frightening with long sharp teeth and horns. Masks are usually painted red, but painted other colors such as blue, yellow, green, or black. Each color indicates the calamity people want to overcome. Red is greed, blue is hatred, yellow is regret, green is disease, and black is grumbling.

Oni masks are commonly used in Setsubun, which is the day people expel a bad fortune and invite a good fortune by throwing beans. This event is held both at shrines and at each household. Parents wear masks to play Oni to frighten their children.

6. Hannya Masks

hannya

Hannya masks are used in Noh theater, representing female demons. They are portrayed as a female with much jealousy and hatred with long horns, sharp teeth, and distorted eyes. Hannya masks at a glance seem to show anger and jealous, but at the same time, if seen from a certain angle, they seem to show sadness.

7. Kitsune Masks

kitsune

Kitsune is fox. Kitsune masks are worn by participants or attendees in Shinto festivals. Foxes are historically believed to be magical creatures which can transform themselves. They are believed to appear as a messenger of Inari, or the God of rice, commerce, and prosperity. So foxes are an important figure in Shinto festivals involving the god. It is also said that the gods themselves show up as foxes.

8.Tengu Masks

tengu

Tengu is a legendary creature known as the god or demons, which frightened humans due to its strong power to control the world. Historically it had a bird-like figure, but as time passed its figure turned into human-like, but the beak remained in the shape of a long nose.

Tengu is now believed to be a protector of mountains. Tengu masks are worn in many festivals and used to decorate shrines and temples because they are believed to keep them out from evil spirits and draw good luck.

9. Character Masks

Character masks are not traditional masks, but masks representing popular anime characters are sold at festivals and worn by kids. They are made of plastics and very cheap.

Which masks caught your attention?
I hope you enjoyed a variety of Japanese masks.

See you next time!

Complete Guide of Traditional Japanese Breakfast;the Healthiest Breakfast

japanesebreakfast-title

The Most Well-balanced Breakfast?

In many parts of the world, a nutritious, well-balanced, freshening-you-up breakfast is considered to be important, so is in Japan. As people get busier and busier, people have come to skip the breakfast or have a quick, easy breakfast, but still, Japanese people consider breakfast as important, and they spare time to prepare nutritionally well-balanced breakfast.

Each country has a traditional style breakfast, and you can see the essence of that country and culture from it.
Traditional Japanese breakfast may be different from other styles of breakfast you have ever seen.

What is traditional Japanese breakfast like? Let’s check it out!

Traditional Japanese Breakfast

breakfast

Traditional Japanese breakfast is composed of steamed rice (gohan), miso soup (miso shiru), a plate of main dish rich in protein like grilled fish, sunny side up, or natto (fermented soybeans), and one or two side dishes like Japanese pickles (tsukemono) or boiled vegetables (ohitashi).Sometimes fruits are added according to one’s preference.

It sounds too much, but each dish is served in a small portion, so there is no problem to finish it all. Also, it consists of light dishes which do are not greasy or creamy.

It seems to take much time to prepare all of these dishes in the morning, but Japanese people have time-saving hacks. Most people use the leftover of steamed rice and instant dash broth for miso soup, and packed or prepared dish for the main dish. They sometimes have rice seasonings (furikake or dried seaweed).

Typical Dishes for Traditional Japanese Breakfast

The followings are the dishes commonly eaten for breakfast in Japan.

-Gohan

gohan

Gohan is steamed rice, either white rice or brown rice. Gohan is a main source of carbohydrate in Japanese breakfast and eaten with main dishes and side dishes, so gohan is a must in the traditional style breakfast.

Most households cook rice with a rice cooker because it is faster than cooking with a pot, and they can prepare other dishes while waiting for rice to be cooked.

Most of the time rice is eaten as steamed rice, but also can be eaten as porridge (okayu). Okayu is nice when you do not have so much appetite but want to have something. Okayu is eaten with various toppings such as pickled plum or seaweed.

-Misoshiru

misoshiru

Misoshiru is miso soup, another crucial dish for Japanese breakfast. It is made with dashi broth to add a subtle taste of seafood, miso paste (a paste made from soybeans), and whatever ingredients you like.

Ingredients for miso soup can be really anything you want, but common ingredients are wakame seaweed, tofu, nameko (a kind of mushroom), and negi (green onion). Other than preparing misoshiru at home, miso soup package and pre-seasoned dashi infused miso paste are familiar ways to make miso soup.

Misoshiru is not only nutrient but also a dish that wakes you up with its warmth and gives you a sense of comfort. That is why Japanese people always have it for breakfast.

-Grilled fish

grilledfish

Grilled fish is a typical selection for the main dish and a source of protein. Fresh, nice fish is broiled in the oven or cooked in a frying pan with a pinch of salt. Common fish is salmon, horse mackerel, and mackerel.

-Tamagoyaki

tamagoyaki

Tamagoyaki is a Japanese style ommlete with thin layers of the egg are rolled. Tamagoyaki is also a familiar dish for breakfast as a source of protein.
Tamagoyaki is made with eggs (usually two or three), dashi, and sugar. But the seasonings used differs depending on the household; some like sweet tamagoyaki, while others like it with less sweetness.

The mixture is poured into a rectangular-shaped pan little by little, and after one thin layer is set and rolled into a log, more mixture is poured to make another layer, and the is rolled together with the log you just have made.
This process sounds complicated, but once you master it, it is a lot of fun.

-Natto

natto

Natto is fermented soybeans with soy sauce, Japanese mustard, and green onions added, and eaten with steamed rice. Natto must be one of the mysterious Japanese food for westerners, due to its strong, distinct aroma and slimy texture, but it contains various nutrients.

Different companies sell various types of packed natto, so it is a common sight that a large space is spared for natto at grocery stores.

-Ohitashi

ohitashi

Ohitashi is a vegetable dish cooked in a way that steeps them in a dashi-based soup. This method instills the vegetable with umami taste, but at the same time, natural taste of the ingredient can be enjoyed. But these days ohitashi also indicates boiled vegetables seasoned with soy sauce.

Any kinds of vegetables will do for ohitashi, but the commonly used ingredient is spinach. After quickly blanched, then soaked in the cold water, and infused with dashi, the vegetable is served on a plate topped with katsuobushi (bonito flakes).

-Tsukemono

tsukemono

Tsukemono is a Japanese pickle served as a side dish as the name means that accompanies the meal. A typical kind of tsukemono is pickled plum, or known as umeboshi, soaked with shiso. PIckled daikon radish is also familiar among Japanese people.

Variety of tsukemono can be available at a refrigerated section of supermarkets, but a particular pickle can be found and famous in sightseeing spots especially rural regions as well.

Traditional Japanese Breakfast is Highly Nutritious

onigiri

Traditional Japanese breakfast is known for its nutritional value. It is well-balanced, consisted of a decent amount of carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamin, and other nutrients. Serving each dish in a small portion makes it possible to contain different kinds of dishes, which ends up composing many nutrients.

Ingredients used for Japanese breakfast contain benefits for health, too.
Typical ingredients for Japanese cuisine such as soy sauce, miso, natto, etc. are fermented. Fermented food is highly nutrient, and prevents diseases and health problems like cancer, high blood pressure, heart attack, and so on.

Also, typical dishes for Japanese breakfast, cooking methods, and the serving style reduce the amount of fat. Instead, it contains a proper amount of carbohydrate and protein and lots of vegetables. That is probably why Japanese breakfast is known to be healthy.

Variations of the Breakfast Japanese People Have

As well as traditional Japanese breakfast, western style breakfast has been getting common for Japanese people especially among the young generation, as various types of food have become available anytime and anywhere.

Bread

bread

Among all kinds of western style breakfast, bread is huge. There are a large number of bakeries in Japan, and people buy bread for breakfast on the way home.
Shokupan, or square-shaped, soft white bread is often picked by those who crave for quick and simple western style breakfast. Shokupan is toasted in a toaster and eaten with butter or jam. Sometimes people add sausages, eggs, salad, and soup as an extra.

Cereals

cereals

Cereals are also becoming a standard for an easy breakfast. A plenty kinds of cereals are sold at supermarkets, with simple cereals like cornflakes or brown rice flakes the top-selling. Granola coming with dried fruits, seeds, nuts, and grains is a popular choice as well. Like in western countries, some fruits, milk, or yogurt are topped with cereals.

Pancakes

pancakes

Those who are looking for a gorgeous breakfast make pancakes. Pancake mix, which contains all the ingredients needed to make pancakes is available at grocery stores, so it is easy to make them at home with a few ingredients like milk and eggs. Maple syrup, jam, and butter are common condiments for pancakes like the western counterparts.

Smoothie

smoothie

Smoothie is another choice for breakfast, and those who are health conscious or who are on a diet tend to have a smoothie for their breakfast. Vegetables, fruits, ice cubes, and honey are mixed in a blender, and then poured into a glass, at times topped with some nuts.

Bon appetit!

Have you enjoyed traditional style Japanese breakfast?
If you come to Japan, never miss this nutrient, healthy breakfast!

See you next time!

25 Japanese Curious Culture Facts; Introduction to Japanese Culture

kimonogirl

Curious about Facts about Japanese culture?

japan

Japanese culture is often referred to “unique” and “distinct” from other parts of the world, especially western countries. There are habits, customs, traditions, and ways of thinking observed only in Japan, which catch many people’s interests.
Japan is a country surrounded by the ocean, and not many contacts with other countries enabled Japan to develop cultures inside the country, which made Japanese culture distinct.
Here we introduce 25 curious facts about Japanese culture which you may have not known.

1.Four different writing systems

Japanese language has four different writing systems: hiragana, katakana, kanji, and romaji.

Hiragana; Normal Japanese character used with kanji for native Japanese words and grammar
Katakana; Japanese character used for writing foreign words
Kanji; Originally Chinese character but adjusted to the Japanese tyle
Romaji; Romanized spelling
Japanese people combine those four writing systems when writing sentences.

2.Vending machines

In Japan, wherever you walk around, you will find vending machines like every 200 meters. In fact, there are more than five million vending machines in Japan, the kinds of which include beverages, tobacco, alcohol, food, newspaper and lots more. Especially, the number of vending machines selling beverages is about 2.6 million.

Why so many vending machines in Japan?

One of the reasons is it is convenient for busy office workers. Japanese office workers are known to be too busy to stop by coffee shops. So vending machine is like an oasis for such busy workers.
The variety of options would be another reason. From drinks to food, even newspaper can be purchased in vending machines.

3.Trains in a rush hour are crazy

The trains in a rush hour are so packed that people even do not have to stand on their own feet. Commuting by car is not common in Japan, so most office workers and schoolers commute by trains. If you go to train stations in a rush hour, you will see train officers push people into the train cars.

4.Capsule hotel

A capsule hotel is a type of hotel with a large number of rooms (literally like a capsule). Capsule hotels were developed to provide cheap, basic overnight accommodation for guests who do not expect high-quality services offered by conventional hotels.

Facilities differ, but most capsule hotels are equipped with a television, an electronic console, and wireless internet connection. For privacy, each capsule can be closed with a curtain or a door.

Capsule hotels can be found mainly in big cities, such as Tokyo and Osaka. The price is around \2000~4000 ($18~37) per night.

5.High-tech toilet

Toilets in Japan would be ranked within the top three in “the surprising things in Japan ranking”. They are featured with an auto-lifting cover, built-in bidet, warm seats, dryers, and flushing sounds that diminishes the embarrassing sounds which one makes in the bathroom.

Those high-tech toilets are found not only in hotels or restaurants, but also at home! When building a new house, most people choose the high-tech toilets, and those who have normal toilets at home change them to the high-tech ones.

6.Convenience store has everything you need

Convenience stores are everywhere in Japan, especially in the cities, you will find them every five minutes.
As the name indicates, convenience store in Japan is literally convenient. It is not the place where you grab your snacks or drinks anymore- it serves customers many more handy uses! So convenience stores will be your first aid when you get in trouble while traveling Japan.

You can get all of the followings at the convenience stores;
-food (includes bento (boxed lunch), bread, rice ball, sweets, …etc.)
-beverages (even alcohol drinks!)
-snacks
-stationaries
-seasonings
-instant food
-frozen food
-cosmetics
-books and magazines
-clothes(underwear, shirt, necktie, accessories… etc.)
-amenities (toothbrush, shampoo, …etc.)
-toys
-mobile charger
And more.

ATM and free wi-fi are also available in almost all convenience stores. More surprisingly, you can print out any types of tickets by yourself with a machine!
How would you describe Japanese convenience stores other than “convenient”?

7. One of the safest countries in the world

Japan is known to be one of the safest countries in the world.
How much safe is it? Well, crime rate is less than 10 percent- the second lowest number in OECD countries, following Spain.

There will be lots of situations which would surprise you, but all of them are common sights for Japanese people- elementary school kids on the trains without parents, people leaving things to take seats at restaurants, women walking on the street late at night, and so on.

8.Animal cafes

There are cafes featuring that you can play with animals while enjoying drinks and sweets. The most common type is cat cafe, but also there are dog cafes, rabbit cafes, owl cafes, and many more. The price is about \1000~1500 ($9~14) an hour.
If you are fan of animals, animal cafe should be in your to-do list during your stay in Japan.

9.Anime is huge

As you may know, anime is such a big thing in Japan. Animated output both for films and television accounts for 60% of the world’s animation, and there are 130 schools for anime voice acting in Japan. As well as small kids, teenagers and adults watch animes.

Many shops specializing anime goods are located across Japan, and museums featured with anime are the landmark in some regions. These days, some cafes collaborate with anime, releasing special menu.

10.Taking off shoes when entering the house

Japanese people take off the shoes when entering the house.
You face a small space right in front of you when opening the door. That is called genkan, where you take off your shoes, and wear slippers.

However, slippers should be taken off when entering the tatami (straw mat) room not to damage the delicate straw mats. Also, when you use the bathroom, you should change the slippers to the ones provided in the bathroom.

11.Japanese people bathe themselves in the bathtub every night

Japanese bath culture may be different from the rest of the world.
Japanese people fill up the bathtub with warm water, and they bathe themselves in it every night. Japanese bathroom is composed of two areas (bathtub and where you wash yourself), so after bathing themselves in the tub for about 10 minutes, they wash themselves in the washing area right next to the bathtub.

Bathing is thought to release stress, and thought to recover from fatigue. Also, bathtime is a relaxing time in a day for many Japanese people. So Japanese bath is one of the things that Japanese people miss when they are out of Japan for a long time.

12.Japanese schools have “cleaning time” everyday

In most Japanese schools, from elementary school to high school, students clean their classrooms and other common rooms everyday. This practice is aimed at the educational purposes, based on the thoughts that cleaning the school by students themselves would nurture the practice of keeping things clean, working with peers, having the responsibilities for given roles, and so on.

13.The national sport is sumo

Japanese national sport is sumo, whose origin dates back to 23 b.c. Two rikishis (sumo wrestlers) fight each other in a circular ring, trying to push the other out of it or to force him into touching the ground with any parts of the body other than the soles.

Sumo now is described as one of the martial arts and a national sport of Japan, but was originally a Shinto ritual, so sumo game still includes several religious rituals, such as purification.

14.Christmas is a day for couples

What you imagine about Christmas would be staying at home with your family. But , that image never comes up to Japanese people’s minds.

Christmas in Japan is a day for couples. They spend Christmas day together dressed up a little bit gorgeously, going to see the Christmas lights, eating dinner, going shopping, and so on. Tokyo Disney Resort is a popular destination for the Christmas date.

15.Culture of “Omiyage”

Omiyage is a present or souvenir that people buy for family, friends, and coworkers on the way returning home from the trip.

When you go to sightseeing spots, local shops are filled with bunch of omiyage. Omiyage indicates goods that are special to the region- melon flavored sweets in Hokkaido, for example. While some goods are for the individuals like mug cups or postcards, many goods especially sweets are sold to be shared. Sweets are packed one by one so that they are easily given.

16.Most restaurants do not offer customers “Take-out box”

When you cannot finish the food at a restaurant, you would ask for a box to go, right? But to-go-box culture is not common in Japan.

You might feel it is inconvenient and think it produces a lot of food loss, but since the portion of food in Japanese restaurants is small enough to finish, you do not need the box in the first place.

17.Holding dishes is good manners

Holding dishes when eating in your country is odd, or bad manners. But it is opposite in Japan; holding dishes shows your good manners. On the contrary, eating food with the dish on the table is seen as rude and uneducated, often referred as “inu-gui” (eating like a dog).

18.Typical sushi in Japan is different from what you may encounter in other parts of the world

Sushi you imagine would be rolled sushi like California rolls, and typical sushi served at Japanese restaurants in the world would mainly be rolled sushi.
But, when Japanese people imagine sushi, the first image of sushi that comes up to mind is not rolled sushi, but nigiri-zushi.

Nigiri zushi is made with raw/cooked fish atop vinegared rice. Nigiri zushi is mainly served at sushi restaurants in Japan, and rolled sushi is not a mainstream. If you try sushi in Japan, your image towards sushi will be changed.
For more detail about Japanese sushi, check out this page; Nigiri vs. Sashimi; What’s the difference?

19.Slurping noodle is totally fine

Slurping noodle is considered to be rude in many parts of the world, but in Japan, sucking up noodles with a slurping sound is not a problem.
Of course, making a noise when eating food is impolite in Japanese table manners, but noodle is an exception.

Why?

In the Edo period, about 400 years ago, soba (buckwheat noodle) was eaten as fast food among general public, so it did not require high-class table manners. Also, Japanese noodles (soba, udon, and ramen) can be fully enjoyed when noodles and soup eaten together, and slurping is the way to make it possible.

This is the answer to the mystery of Japanese slurping-noodle culture.

20.No tipping

The culture of tipping does not exist in any places in Japan.

Being polite to the others is highly considered as important in Japanese society, and this mindset is nurtured from a childhood. When it comes to services, it is the same; being polite to customers and offering good services for customers’ comfort is considered to be normal regardless of receiving the tip or not.

21.Being humble is important

One of the characteristics of Japanese people is being humble.
Being humble, and not showing that you are proud of yourself about what you have accomplished or your skills is very important in Japanese society.

Long time ago, Japanese people were living in small villages and worked together, so it was necessary to live keeping good relationships with the community members. Avoiding conflicts with neighbours was a key to live in a small village.
In this situation, sticking up from the others or boasting oneself looks arrogant to the others. Then, being humble enables the one to be in the same level as the others.

So, Japanese people being humble are not negative about themselves. That mindset is rooted in old Japanese society.

22.Be on time

Have you ever heard of Japanese train staffs apologizing for just one or two-minute delay?

Punctuality is one of the things that is considered to be important in Japan.
If you meet someone, it is normal to arrive at the meeting point five or ten minutes before the appointed time. Japanese people practice the panctuarity from elementary school.
Teachers tell students to do “ten minutes before actions” when students have to gather somewhere, which means “Be there ten minutes before the scheduled time”.

Being late makes someone wait long, and detters the schedule to proceed on the planned time.
So, if you have an appointment with Japanese people, it is good to be on time, or five minutes before, much better!

23.”Age” matters

A typical question Japanese people ask when meeting a new people is their age, because the age is an important factor in interpersonal relationships.
The reason why age matters in interpersonal relationships is due to the Japanese language.

In Japanese language, there is “keigo” which someone uses to the other who is older than him/her. If the younger one speaks to the older one without using keigo, it is extremely rude.

To tell whether they should use keigo or not, Japanese people ask the other person’s age when meeting someone new.

24.Bowing is a way to show respect

You might have seen a situation that Japanese people bow when greeting each other, welcoming someone, showing gratitude, and so on. The culture of bowing came from Buddhism as a means of showing respect and gratitude for Buddha, and it has become an ordinary custom.

When bowing, one’s head comes lower than the other’s head. Lowering one’s head than the other’s indicates that the one bowing is not in the higher position than the other one, which leads to show respect to the person whom the one is bowing to.

25. Indirect speech

Japanese people are often said to be shy; they do not say what they are feeling/thinking. However, you think so maybe because you do notice “cues” that Japanese people present in conversations.

Japanese people avoid direct speech especially when it comes to negative matter. “I do not think that shirt looks good on you.””This is not good (to dishes someone made).” Telling your negative thoughts about something directly embarrass the others.

That is why Japanese people say negative feelings in a way that would not hurt the others, or making them notice their thoughts with nonverbal languages such as facial expressions. Such indirect signs may be difficult to catch, but it is an important social skill.

Nigiri vs. Sashimi; What is the difference?

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Did you know the Difference between Nigiri and Sashimi?

Now sushi has become famous and popular worldwide, and sushi restaurants can be found almost any places in the world.

Today, you have come to the sushi restaurant for the first time to try what it tastes like.
You open the menu, and read it from the top, looking for what would tease your tongue-
But, there are so many words that you have never come across.
What is nigiri? What is sashimi?
Are these all sushi?

For those who have experienced this kind of situation, Japadventure will explainthe differences between nigiri and sashimi.In addition to that, we will tell you how to eat nigiri and sashimi properly and interesting facts about those two.

The comparison of nigiri and sashimi

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The table below is the quick comparison of nigiri and sashimi.
You can grab an overall image of those two.

comparison

What is nighiri?

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Nigiri, or nigirizushi is composed of vinegared, cylinder-shaped rice topped with an ingredient. The ingredient atop rice is raw fish or cooked fish most of the time, but pickled vegetables and Japanese egg omelette are also common ingredients.

Recently many sushi restaurants have come to serve unique sushi such as roasted beef sushi, tempura sushi, prosciutto sushi, and so on.

A pinch of wasabi is placed between the fish and rice, but if you are not a fan of wasabi, you can order a chef not to add it. Sometimes a small trip of toasted seaweed, or nori is wrapped around nigiri instead of wasabi.

How it should be eaten

When you eat nigiri for the first time, you will probably at a loss how you should eat it properly. Here introduce some points you want to keep in mind when eating sushi.

1.Eat with hand or chopsticks?

You can eat nigiri either by hand or with chopsticks.A traditional way of eating nigiri is eating it with a hand because nigiri used to be served at a food stand. But today most people eat nigiri with chopsticks.

2.How to put soy sauce?

First, you pour a little amount of soy sauce in a small dish. Sushi restaurants give you a tiny dish for soy sauce.
Caution; You should never pour soy sauce directly on the nigiri!

Second, hold the nigiri, so the fish side is facing downward; it makes it easier to dip the fish in the soy sauce.
Caution; Do not dunk nigiri in the sauce nor dip the rice in the sauce because it ruins the flavor of fish.

3.Eat in one bite

It is considered to be good to eat nigiri in one bite. If nigiri looks too big, you can ask the chef or the restaurant to make nigiri smaller in advance. Even if you cannot finish nigiri in one bite, try to finish it at most two bites.
Caution; Do not cut the nigiri in half on the plate before you eat it.

Facts about nigiri

・Sushi chef needs a decade of training

At a glance, it seems that nigiri is easy to make- just grab a small amount of rice, shape it into cilynder form, and put wasabi and whatever ingredients you prefer.

However, it is not as easy as it looks to make nigiri.
It is said that it takes a decade to become a skillful sushi chef. Not only do they need the skill to make sushi, but also they need to train their abilities and accumulate the knowledge to distinguish good fish, treat the fish properly, and so on.

A lot of chain sushi restaurants in Japan make nigiri with sushi-making machines. If you compare sushi at the chain sushi restaurants with that made by a professional sushi chef, the difference will be clear.

・Nigiri is just one kind of sushi

As shown in the table at the beginning, nigiri is just a type of sushi.
The types of sushi are the followings;

Nigiri; Sliced fish or other ingredients are atop the rice.

Maki-zushi; Maki-zushi is rolled sushi (maki=roll) made with fish or vegetable and vinegary rice on the inside, rolled with seaweed paper. It is cut into small pieces when served. There are two types of maki-zushi, for one hoso-maki (thin roll) and the other futo-maki (fat roll).

Ura-maki; It may be the most common type of sushi outside of Japan, which the rice and the seaweed paper are inside out. Although the major type of rolled sushi is maki-zushi in Japan, ura-maki is getting popular as well.

Te-maki; Te-maki is made with the same ingredients as the other types of rolled sushi, but it uses less seaweed paper and is made with hands (Te=hand), giving it a cone-shaped look.

Chirashi-zushi; Chirashi-zuhi is made with vinegared rice mixed with some vegetables, and topped with shrimp, egg, peas, salmon fish eggs, shredded seaweed paper, and so on. It is commonly eaten on Hinamatsuri, or Doll festival.

What is sashimi?

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You will find sashimi part on the menu at almost all the sushi restaurants. But, as shown in the beginning, sashimi is not categorized into sushi. Sashimi indicates mere sliced raw fish or raw seafood. Unlike sushi, it is not served with rice nor does not contain cooked fish or other ingredients.

Sashimi is often served with garnishes called tsuma, such as daikon radish, shiso, and seaweed. Ingredients for garnishes differ depending on the season.
Also, when sashimi is served, it is generally composed of three or more kinds of fish to enjoy the different taste of fish.

How it should be eaten

As well as sushi, there are some things that you want to keep in mind when eating sashimi.

1.Enjoy sashimi as a form of art

Sushi chefs pay attention when preparing sashimi so that sashimi is visually appealing. Before starting to eat sashimi, indulge yourself in the beautiful presentation of sashimi first.

2.Enjoy the aroma of sashimi

Since sashimi is a dish whose aroma and taste should be enjoyed, please take some time to savor the aroma of fish.

3. Enjoy the fish

After you appreciated sashimi with your eyes and nose, it is finally time to enjoy it with your tongue. Sashimi is often eaten with soy sauce and wasabi, but at first, please try sashimi without any additional flavor to enjoy the taste of fish itself.

Skillful sushi chefs select the best fish for sashimi, treat it with great care so that the freshness does not be ruined, and slice and flavor the fish in different ways depending on the type of fish.When you eat sashimi by itself, you will appreciate that delicate preparation.

Facts about sashimi

・The knives of sushi chefs should be re-sharpened everyday

To keep sashimi fresh and make the most of the taste of fish, it needs extremely sharpened knives. Sharpened knives make it possible to cut fish quickly and delicately, which keeps the quality of the fish high.

・Sushi chefs cut fish differently depending on the fish

Sushi chefs know how to bring out the best taste and flavor of each fish, so they cut each fish differently depending on the type of fish. For example, red-fleshed fish such as tuna and bonito is cut thickly while white-fleshed fish such as sea bream and flounder is thinly sliced.

You will not be lost on the menu in sushi restaurants anymore

Did you learn anything new about sushi and sashimi?
I hope you will enjoy the Japanese delicacy!
See you next time!

Is Japanese School Uniform a “Uniform”? Probably No!

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School Uniform as a part of Japanese Culture!

Japanese school uniform is known for its fashionable appearance. Most schools in Japan have their uniforms, and the design varies depending on the school.

For Japanese students, school uniform is not only for showing which school a person belongs to. It has become one of the fashion items due to the change of school uniform designs and fashion trends. Many Japanese school girls add accessories to their uniform to express their originality.

Now, you will see how Japanese school uniform has been developed and changed over time, and how Japanese students enjoy their uniforms as fashion.

History of Japanese School Uniform

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School uniform was firstly introduced in the late 19th century.

The first school uniform called sailor fuku was inspired by the European naval uniforms. Japanese took the idea of scaled-down sailor suits of royal families in Europe, and many Japanese would see them cute because they might have evoked the Western-style children’s outfits rather than the navy gear.

Sailor fuku was easily adapted to Japanese schools due to its facility to sew. Many schools gave sewing school uniforms as an assignment of home economics class up until the 1950s, so Japanese students made the uniform on their own.

In the 1960s, given the critics about the school uniforms, that monotonously, simply designed uniforms would degrade the originality of each student, and that the sailor fuku would be associated with the military wear, some schools started to make the uniforms more fashionable or abandoned school uniform.

It became common, in the 1980s, to introduce school uniforms with unique design and a variety of colors particularly in private schools. Some schools allowed students to customize the uniform with accessories. Stylish school uniforms lead to the increase the number of candidates to the school.

After 1990s, school uniforms came to be recognized not just as “uniform”, but as “fashion”. Students, mostly girls wore uniforms even when they hang out with friends. Nanchatte seifuku, which means wearing uniforms of different schools, also became popular among students.

The “fashionalization” of Japanese school uniform caught eyes from all around the world, and there are many online shops where you can buy Japanese style school uniforms.

Types of Uniforms

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Japanese school uniform has a wide range of types. Each school has its uniform, usually its school symbol on. Uniforms in private schools tend to have fashionable designs while those in public schools tend to have simple designs.
Most schools have two types of uniforms: one for summer, the other for winter. The length of sleeves and fabric are adjusted according to the season.

Sailor uniform

Sailor uniform is an initial design of Japanese school uniform for female students, inspired by the naval uniform. It consists of a blouse with a sailor-like collar and pleated skirt. Accessories such as ribbon, necktie, or bow are tied around the collar. Not many schools have adopted this type of uniform recently, but it is still the main stream of school uniform design among Japanese schools.

Gakuran uniform

Gakuran, characterized by the Tsume eri (standing collar) is a common uniform among male students. The color is usually black, but some schools use navy blue.
Gakuran was derived from the Prussian cadet uniform, and the name Gakuran is a combination of the words Gaku (学)and Ran(蘭), Gaku meaning “study”, and ran meaning “Netherland” or historically in Japan, the West in general.

Blazer uniform

Blazer uniform is a relatively new style of school uniform compared to the other uniform, and it is often introduced when the school changes the uniform design. It is mostly worn by female students, and it is common to add ribbons or ties when wearing the blazer. In wintertime, they wear knit sweater or vest under the blazer.

Bolero uniform

Few schools have the bolero uniform today. It is usually worn with the jumper skirt.

Eton jacket uniform

Eton jacket is a jacket without a collar, and is often introduced to elementary school or junior high school. The name of “Eton” was from Eton Collage in England.

Jumper skirt uniform

Jumper skirt used to be the main stream of school uniform in the summertime, but it is replaced with the other style when the school changes the uniform. In winter, jumper skirt is worn under the blazer or the bolero.

Suspender skirt uniform

Suspender skirt school uniform is usually worn in elementary school, sometimes in kindergarten.

One-piece uniform

One-piece (dress style) uniform is a minor type of uniform among Japanese schools. It is worn with a blouse in the wintertime.

School Uniforms as Fashion

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Today school uniform is worn not only to show which school a person goes to, but to use as fashion items as a means of expressing the individual’s personality. Some schools require students to buy only blazers and school pins designated by the school so that students can choose the other items such as socks, shoes, ribbons, bags, etc.

Apparel brands such as East boy and Conomi offer a wide variety of optional items for school uniforms.
The followings are the list of items which students can usually choose on their own. Here you will see school uniform in Japan is no longer “uniform”!!

Knit cardigans and vests

Many students put on knit cardigans or vests under the jacket in the wintertime, so cardigans and vests are the ones which students can show off the individuality in winter.
Color variations exist: camel, white, grey, navy, pink, yellow, sky blue, etc., but the most common ones are camel and grey.

Socks

Socks worn along with school uniform are usually black/navy or white, with the length below the knee. Some schools have strict rules on the length and color of socks, but most schools allow students to buy them on students’ preferences.
Socks sold at shops almost always have a one-point stitch, to add a little piece of cuteness.

The trend of socks have changed over the decades; about 20 years ago, loose socks, a type of baggy sock gained the popularity among Japanese female high schooler, which was often associated with the symbol of revolving against the strict rules of the school. The most common length of the socks was just below the knee ten years ago, but the recent trend is short-length socks.

Shoes

Most students wear loafers, usually in black or dark brown, while some people wear sneakers. Loafers in the recent collection have heels so that girls have better proportions.

Ribbon and ties

Many female students put ribbons or ties around the collar. Ribbons and ties are the typical items which can easily express the personal taste. Girls usually have two or more variations of ribbons and ties, changing them from day to day, depending on the mood.

The variations are overwhelming-from the shape to the color; apparel shops offer the vast kinds of ribbons and ties. Students enjoy picking their favorite ones at the shop.

School bags

Some schools have their own bags, but most of the case students can use whichever bags they want. Typical school bag in Japan is a handbag-type, made out of nylon or leather. Those who do sports may use enamel bags, and other students use backpacks.

Students decorate their bags with keychains or other accessories, which is one of the ways to show their individuality.

Is school uniform in Japan really a uniform?

Now you have probably got the idea about why Japanese school uniform has become outstanding worldwide.

School uniform in Japan has changed its forms and meaning overtime, and it has transformed from “uniform” into one of the fashion items which exhibit the personality. Choosing the favorite items at the shop, and changing the uniform from day to day is a lot of fun. It is just the same as choosing the outfit of the day. This aspect of school uniform makes the memories of school valuable and unforgettable.

Now, it is your turn. Why don’t you find your favorite style of Japanese school uniform?

See you next time!