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Kyoto Culture G'Day Japan!

Maiko Maiko are the apprentice geisha of Kyoto, which remains a bastion of this antique entertainment culture in Japan today. Although they may come from any part of Japan to study the geisha arts, once they become maiko, all speak in the Kyoto dialect. Maiko live, study and work in the Gion… Read More

The ‘NŌ’ Girls & Boys

Culture Ayla Yuile Ayla Yuile

The Japanese food culture is one of the most healthiest in the world. The Japanese are also known to have long life expectancy and their obesity rate is among the lowest in the world. It's a clear fact that the Japanese people have a profound respect and love for their food and recently, this has t… Read More

Golden Week

Culture Alison Muir Alison Muir

Japanese people have a reputation for being some of the most conscientious workers in the world, but there's one period every year in Japan that is all about slacking off as much as possible. It's known as Golden Week - that's not a translation - and it is actually a collection of national holidays… Read More

Kimono Evolution – Part 2

Culture Ayla Yuile Ayla Yuile

aaPreviously in Kimono Evolution - Part 1, we discovered that the word kimono does not necessarily mean the Japanese traditional clothing but it describes clothing in general. We also discovered that over the long history of Japan, the 'kimono' has evolved from a simple potato sack style dress into… Read More

The Japanese Tradies

Culture Ayla Yuile Ayla Yuile

The word 'tradies' paints a very Australian picture; high-vis shirt, lace up workman boots, shorts, a small esky style lunch box, ute and beer stubbies. The hard working tradies of Australia have a certain look and certain mannerisms, and their work becomes a big part of their identities. Men who t… Read More

The Art of Deco

Art Ayla Yuile Ayla Yuile

Looking at the title of this piece you might be thinking, isn’t it ‘art deco’ or even ‘is it a typo for the art of decor?’ In fact, ‘deco’ is a shortened Japanese-English word for decoration. The word is used to describe any kind of object that has been ‘deco-ed’ as the Japanese would say. ‘Deco… Read More

Kimono Evolution – Part 1

Culture Ayla Yuile Ayla Yuile

kimono /kɪmóʊnə|-noʊ/ 1. clothes /kloʊz/ ; clothing /klóʊðɪŋ/ ; a garment Kimono is known across the world as the traditional, national costume of Japan, and there are many modern adaptations of this made in the western garment industry. These often come in the form of silky nightgowns that fe… Read More

Japanese Writing

Culture Alison Muir Alison Muir

Although a national survey hasn’t been carried out since 1948, the literacy rate in Japan is often claimed to be 99%. Realistically, the actual rate is unlikely to be quite as high as claimed, but illiteracy in Japan is still pretty rare – and considering the pervasiveness of text-based communicati… Read More

The Takarazuka Revue

Hyogo Culture Alison Muir Alison Muir

In the Takarazuka Revue, all the women are beautiful – and so are the men. The motto of the Takarazuka Revue is "kiyoku, tadashiku, utsukushiku" – a reminder to live with purity, integrity, and beauty. These are three qualities that the founder of this all-female musical theatre troupe, Ichizo K… Read More

XX-Kei: Herbivores & Carnivores…

Culture Ayla Yuile Ayla Yuile

When you look at a room full of young people, it's easy to group certain types of people into stereotypical archetypes. The jocks, the geeks, the glamorous, the hippies etc. There's a similar practice in the Japanese culture as well, where they express each archetype by actually using the word 'ty… Read More

Setsubun – A day of beans & evil spirits!

Culture Ayla Yuile Ayla Yuile

In the traditional Japanese calendar, there are four separate days that mark the beginning of each season. The first of the year, the first day of spring - known as ‘Risshun’ - falls around the 4th or 5th of February each year. This day marks the arrival of a new season and with it, a new year. … Read More

The Underworld of Japan: Host Clubs and Cabaret Clubs

Culture Ayla Yuile Ayla Yuile

Walking along the streets to the side of any CBD or central city area in Japan, you're more than likely to come across signage with glam photos of men and women. These are called 'host club'  and 'kyabakura' which is short for 'cabaret club'. The capital district of these clubs is Kabuki-cho in Shi… Read More

Toilets in Japan

Basics Alison Muir Alison Muir

Few things in Japan leave a bigger impression on the first-time visitor than Japanese toilets. In Australia, toilets tend not to be more complex than the distinction between a ‘toilet’, and a ‘dunny’ – admittedly an important distinction, when one is far more likely to contain spiders. But in Japan… Read More

Coming of Age in Japan

Culture Ayla Yuile Ayla Yuile

Every second Monday of the year is Coming of Age Day in Japan. This day celebrates young adults, who have just become of legal age at 20 years old. It’s a national public holiday and the streets are filled with formally dressed young men and women, celebrating their youth with peers from the local … Read More

Tattoos in Japanese Pop Culture

Culture Alison Muir Alison Muir

In recent years, Japan has seen the rise of fashion tattoos in the fringes of Japanese youth culture. Heavily influenced by American pop culture, Japanese pop stars like Ayumi Hamasaki and Namie Amuro have popularised tattoos as a form of fashion and self-expression among Japanese young people who … Read More

OSHOUGATSU – New Years in Japan

Culture Ayla Yuile Ayla Yuile

There are many interesting public holidays which come with traditional practices in the Japanese calendar, there's the Children's Day on May 5th, where families with boys fly a koi-shaped flags at their homes or there's Labor Thanksgiving Day on November 23rd. However there is no Boxing Day and if … Read More

The ‘Visual Types’

Culture Ayla Yuile Ayla Yuile

By now it is well-known around the world that Japan is the home to some interesting, sometimes borderline peculiar subcultures. The Japanese youth has a lot of commitment and passion for their subcultures - they live and breathe it. Without the maniacal commitment of these youths, some of these sub… Read More

The Freeter Phenomenon

Culture Alison Muir Alison Muir

One Japanese icon that is recognised worldwide is the stereotype of the ‘salaryman’. You’re probably aware of it, even if you’d never heard what it was called. ‘Salaryman’ describes the idea of a typical Japanese businessman (literally: a salaried man), a cut-and-paste clone in a cut-and-paste suit… Read More

The True Face of Geisha

Culture Alison Muir Alison Muir

The world of geisha is one steeped in mystery. The training of a geisha is a strict and demanding process, and the women who undergo this training are discouraged from revealing the secrets of this world to outsiders. Access to this world even by clients is restricted, and is generally only possibl… Read More