The Citrusy Goodness Of Kabosu

I’ve discovered a wonderful new fruit. It makes fish taste better, you can make awesome mixed drinks with it, and you can put it in the bath – what could be cooler than that?

 I’m talking about kabosu (カボス). One of my students’ families runs a kabosu farm in Gifu prefecture. When I was over there at their house one day, they gave me a whole grocery bag full of kabosu. I said, ‘Oh no, you really shouldn’t,’ and then they showed me a massive box that had just arrived from Gifu full of them. Then, I was like, ‘okay.’ Continue reading

The Blood Types Of Japan Explained

In the West, we’ve got the 12 signs of the Zodiac (or 13 if you’re up on the latest new age gibberish – Ophiuchus, the serpent-bearer!).  In China, they’ve got an animal for each year.  Japan has something a little different – blood types that determine personality.

Lots of people in Japan believe that your blood type – A, B, AB, or O – determine the characteristics of your personality.  People will often ask you your blood type and after you answer, they’ll nod knowingly as if to say, ‘I knew it.’  It’s pretty odd but kind of interesting at the same time.  Continue reading

Modern Life And The Old Time Religion Of Japan

I come from a place where people are really serious about religion and it’s everywhere you go.  No, I’m not from the Middle East – try the Middle West.  Missouri, to be exact.  So I’ve always found it refreshing that Japanese people aren’t so religious.

But when you look in all the Japan guides, they tell you that Japan has two religions – Shinto and Buddhism.Shinto

Shinto is the old-time religion with spirits in the trees and wind and the ghosts of your ancestors watching over you.  Buddhism came from China starting about 1,500 years ago along with civilization.  What happened was that Buddhist practice was basically slapped right on top of the old gods and now the two peacefully coexist.  The Shinto gods live in the shrines (神社) while Buddha hangs out in the temples (お寺).

If this is true, why don’t I have old ladies coming to my door with magazines asking if I’d like to learn about the Shinto spirits?  Why aren’t there Buddhist televangelists thumping sutras on TV every Sunday morning and telling me that in order to attain true enlightenment, I have to call now and giving my credit card?  Where’s the religion of Japan that I keep hearing so much about?

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Renkon Is Japan’s Tastiest Tuber

Renkon is another delicious and healthy food that Japanese folks love.  It’s known as ‘lotus root’ in English and it’s actually a part of the lotus plant’s root system.  Apparently, lotus plants have stems that extend horizontally from the main root.  This is the part that we eat.renkon

Renkon is used throughout Asia in a number of dishes and I think people in the West are starting to discover its wonders.  I found some stuff about lotus root supplements and products on some natural health websites. Continue reading