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KAIHŌ YŪSHŌ-KYOTO NATIONAL MUSEUM

A week ago I decided to go to see the exhibition of the famous Japanese artist Kaihō Yushō at the Kyoto National Museum. If you're thinking 'Who's this artist...?'Kaihō Yūshō was a Japanese painter of the Azuchi–Momoyama period.  He was one of the most famous and important Japanese artists of this period. His Kanō-style screen paintings are notable for their graceful lines and brilliant colour harmonies, qualities that influenced later artists.It was a great surprise! It was the first time for me to see paintings of that period.I paid 1500¥ but they were willingly spent, the museum is very spacious and the paintings were wordenful.The exhibition celebrated the Kyoto National Museum’s 120th anniversary with a showcase of 70 of Kaiho’s works, including new discoveries, historical documents and a room dedicated to his paintings of dragons. There also was a room dedicated to the visitors and we could paint with traditional brushes and see how difficult it is to draw perfect lines that emanate the right depth and dynamism. It was a beautiful experience and I highly recommend that museum that always offer amazing exhibitions.

THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT JAPANESE FASHION!

In Japan one of the first things that you can notice how well everyone here is dressed.There is a certain refined quality to Japanese street fashion, despite the fact that it is very similar to its western counterparts.Many classic western fashion brands are available in Japan, such as H&M, Zara, Nike, Forever 21, along with higher-end brands such as Armani, Louis Vuitton and Ray Ban. Of course, the Japan-original brands and fashion are still selling a western style, as the typical western dress-code has been dominant globally for a long time, but these brands seem to sell earthier tones which rings through to the basis of natural beauty in Japanese culture; embracing natural imperfections as a beautiful occurrence, founded in the deep animism of Japanese culture.Perhaps the most famous Japanese clothing brand is UniQlo. UniQlo is very cheap, very diverse in products, and quite common. It is the IKEA of clothes. . Perhaps the words I would use to best describe the brand are “neat” and “subtle”. Everything for sale feels very presentable, yet quite relaxed. UniQlo even offers to tailor the garments to assure that they fit, which is a step far beyond most western counterparts.There is a sister company to UniQlo known as GU. GU is generally cheaper for the most part, and many designs are very similar. Perhaps the only downside is that I have been told that the quality is not as high. The two stores are often sat side by side, and so a comparison between the two regarding price and durability should be quite easy.I was also recommended to try Urban Research, and it was really nice. If you plan to really just splash out on Japanese fashion, then stores such as Urban Research will be perfect for you; these places have a great balance of elegance and local style, not dissimilar to a Japanese version of American Apparel.Another thing that changes the sense of style is the injection of traditional clothesin Japanese fashion. In many cities –especially Kyoto – you will see people wearing hyper-Japanese Yukata and Kimonos (robes) throughout the year, and they will shuffle through the street on their Geta (wooden sandals), but these clothes don’t really mix too well with western fashion, and so it is a general choice of wearing fully traditional robes, or wearing something else.However, there are still a couple of traditional Japanese fashion clothing items that will change up the style entirely. That includes Tabi (socks with toes), Jika Tabi (boots with a toe space) and Hakama (broad-legged work trousers). Though these were once the sign of field-workers and labourers, and are still worn diligently by both, there seems to have been a fairly recent revival in their popularity, especially with Hakama, which I have often mistaken for a skirt at a long distance. They are unisex, and somehow have a strong masculine aspect in the shape and connotations of laborious jobs, yet an equally feminine sense in the flowing, skirt-like material. For women, I have noticed a stronger sense of using earthy or pastel colours, while men seem to go with blacks, blues etc...From personal experience, the best option for shopping has been re-use stores. These second-hand shops are much more likely to have the correct size for things such as trousers and shoes, as other gaijin sell them as they move around the country.Like in the west, re-use retro is very fashionable, and you will see many people wearing vintage denim, American university sweaters or letterman jackets.The odd thing about the second-hand shops is the price range. One store may sell something for 300 yen, and the same store in another city may have it for 1,500 yen. This probably depends greatly on the general price of the city itself. This is a case where hunting around can really save you some money.Shopping in Japan also includes very specific stores for certain fashion items. Want a hat? Go to the hat store. Want a handbag? Go to the handbag store.On the topic of handbags, you may notice a lot of men carrying what may generally be perceived to be a handbag in the west. Even the relatively masculine guys will carry them, and it may seem a bit odd, but I imagine that they are generally quite useful. However, I think it is unlikely that this fashion will be spreading to the rest of the world anytime soon.

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

Universal Studios is an amusement park located here in Japan, Osaka. Is easily accessible by train so u won't become crazy to find that because the train will take you exactly at the place. The ticket is not that cheap but if you want to visit Osaka I recommend you this place. Is amazing and if you like Harry Potter... oh my.. You really have to visit it! It's a place for children but also for adults, there are an infinite variety of games, from Jurassic park to Minions World, to Hello kitty's world but also things like Horror movies and horror games, The Wizarding world of Harry Potter.. (my favorite) etc...Entertainment is ensured, there are shows at every hour in every part of the park, parades on the streets and the staff is always present to help you.I loved this place but if you want to go I advice you to go there one hour before the opening because is always full of people, and if you can, go on week-days so there will be fewer people in line...!

Gunma Kids

Are you still struggling with Japanese? For foreign parents whose kids are in school and/or starting first school in Japan. Yes, there are a lot of paperwork involved to you and your kids in fully Kanji. I cried over several days to finish these, but you do not have suffer through it. Please share your thoughts on English translation, some of them are may be in what I poorly understand.  Gunma no Kodomo no Ruru 50 - Fifty Rules of Children in Gunma早寝早起きお しょう. Go to bed early and rise up early. [Hayane haya oki o shou] Эрт унтаж, эрт босох.朝食をしっかりとろう. Let's have sufficient breakfast. [Chōshoku o shikkari torou.] Ѳглѳѳний хоолоо сайн идэх.感謝して( Itadakimasu, gochisosama) を言おう. Gratefully say (Thank you for a meal, I had enough. [Kansha shite (Itadakimasu, Gochisosama) o iou.] Хоол идэж эхлэхийн ѳмнѳ, ба дараа (Сайхан хооллоорой, Баярлалаа) гэх мэт талархлын үгсийг хэлэх.口 の 中 に食べ物を入れたまま話をしない. Do not talk when you have food in your mouth. [Kuchi no naka ni tabemono o ireta mama hanashi o shinai.] Аманд хоол зажилж байхдаа ярихгүй байх.食べ物をそまつにしない. Do not have insufficient food. Tabemono o somatsu ni shinai. Тэжээл муутай хоол идэхгүй байх. 服装をきちんとしょう. Let's wear clothes properly. [Fukusou o kichin toshou.] Хувцасаа тохируулж ѳмсѳх.靴を脱いだらそろえよう. Let's take off the shoes. [Kutsu o nuidara soroeyou.] Гутлаа (гаднах) тайлаад. Эмхэлж хураах.遊びに行くときは、行先と何時に帰るかを伝えよう. When going out to play, tell the place and time to come back. [Asobi ni iku toki wa, ikisaki to nanji ni kaeru ka o tsutaeyou.] Тоглохоор явахдаа хаашаа явах, хэзээ буцаж ирэхээ хэлж байх.暗くなる前に家へ帰ろう. Please, go home before it gets dark. [Kuraku naru mae ni ie e kaerō. Харанхуй болохоос ѳмнѳ гэртээ харих.家の手伝いを進んでしょう. Offer help at home. [Ie no tetsudai o susundeshou.] Гэрийн ажилд туслах.きれいにあとかたづけをしょう. Let's clean up then arrange. [Kirei ni ato katazuke o shou.] цэвэрлэснии дараа тоглоомоо эмхэлж хураах.毎日、少しずつでもべんきょうしょう. Study little by little, everyday. Mainichi, sukoshi zutsu demo benkyou shou. Ѳдѳр бүр бага багаар сурах.電話をするときは、自分の名前を言って相手を確かめてからてみじかにようけんをはなそう。When you call, briefly check the opponent then tell your name, and what you are calling about. [Denwa o suru toki wa, jibun no namae o itte aite o tashikamete karate mijika ni you ken o hanasou.] Утсаар холбоо тогтоохдоо, утсанд хариу ѳгсѳн хүний нэрийг асууж, нэрээ хэлэн ѳѳрийн юун тухай залгасан талаар товч хэлэх.おこづかいを大切に史おう. Let's carefully use the money. [O kozukai o taisetsu ni tsuka ou.] Хэмнэлттэи хэрэглэх.寝る前に明日の準備をしょう. Prepare for tomorrow before going to bed. [Neru mae ni ashita no junbi o shou.] Унтахын ѳмнѳ маргаашийн ажилд бэлдэх.学校には授業に必要のない物は持っていかない. Do not bring unnecessary thing for school lesson. [Gakkō ni wa jugyō ni hitsuyō no nai mono wa motte ikanai.] Сургуулийн хичээлд холбогдолгүй зүйл авч ирэхгүй байх.  机の上に余分なものは置かない. Do not put extra things on the desk. [Tsukue no ue ni yobun'na mono wa okanai.] Ширээн дээр илүү зүйл тавихгүй байх.はいと元気に返事をしょう. Reply ''yes and well.'' [Hai to genki ni henji o shou.] Тийм, сайн байна гэж хариулах.授業中は集中しょう. Let's focus on classes. [Jugyō chū wa shūchū shou.] Хичээлд анхаарлаа тѳвлѳрүүлэх.  人の話をしっかり聞こう. Let's pay attention to the talk. [Hito no hanashi o shikkari kikou.] Ярианд анхаарлаа хандуулах.友だちがよいことをしたらほめよう. Let's praise friends when they do something good. [Tomodachi ga yoi koto o shitara homeyou.] Найзууд нь сайн юм хийхэд сайшаах.困っている友だちがいたら助けてあげよう. Let's help if a friend is in need. [Komatte iru tomodachi ga itara tasukete ageyou.] Хэрвээ найзад тус хэрэгтэй бол туслах.友達の悪口は言わない. Do not say bad things about your friends. [Tomodachi no waruguchi wa iwanai.] Найзынхаа талаар муу зүйл хэлэхгүй байх.しかられている友達をジ口ジ口見ない. Do not stare at a friend. [Shikara rete iru tomodachi o jirojiro minai.] найзыгаа ширтэхгүй байх.だれも仲間はずれにしない. No one leave the company. [Dare mo nakama wa zure ni shinai.] Багаас хэн ч гарахгүй.集団で行動するときは、けじめをつけてきびきびと行動しょう。When acting in a group, take action and participate.[Shūdan de kōdō suru toki wa, kejime o tsukete kibikibi to kōdō shou.] Хэрвээ багаар юм хийж байгаа бол чадлаараа оролц.  心をこめて掃除しょう。Let's clean things using whole heart. [Kokoro o komete sōji shou.] сэтгэлээсээ цэвэрлэгээ хий.  信号は必ず守ろう。Check the signal and proceed. [Shingō wa kanarazu mamorou.] Зам гарахдаа дохио шалган хѳндлѳн гарах.自転車のただしい乗り方を身につけよう. Learn to ride a bicycle correctly. [Jitensha no tadashī nori-kata o mi ni tsukeyou.] Дугуй хэрхэн унах талаар сайн сурах.  ものを大切にしょう. Let's treasure things. Ѳѳрийн ѳмчѳѳ хамгаалах.だれかがものを落としたら拾ってあげよう. Let's pick up if someone drops things. [Dareka ga mono o otoshitara hirotte ageyou.] Хэрвээ хэн нэгэн юм унагаавал, аваад эзэнд н ѳгѳх.せきやくしゃみをするときは口を手でふさごう。When you sneeze, please close your mouth with your hands. [Seki ya kushami o suru toki wa kuchi o te de husagou.] Найтаахдаа гараараа амаа хаах.次のひとのためにどあを押さえていよう. Hold the door for the next person. [Tsugi no hito no tame nido a o osaete iyou.] Дараагийн хүнд хаалга барьж ѳгѳх.  電車やエレベたなどでは乗っていた人が降りてから乗ろう. When you ride on the train, get on and off after a person. [Densha ya erebeta nadode wa notte ita hito ga orite kara norou.] Галт тэргэнд суухдаа дарааллын дагуу орох, буух.電車などではとしょりや体の不自由な人に席をゆずろう. Let people physical disabilities, sit on their designed area, when you ride on a train. [Densha nadode wa to shori ya karada no fujiyū nahito ni seki o yuzurou.] Хѳгжлийн бэрхшээлтэй хүнд суудал тавьж ѳгѳх.  順番待ちの列に割り込まない。Please do not interrupt, wait for your turn. [Junban-machi no retsu ni warikomanai.] Ѳѳрийн тан ээлж иртэл саад болохгүй байх.映画館や美術館などでは静かにしょう。be quiet in the movie theatre and museums. [Eigakan ya bijutsukan nadode wa shizuka ni shou.] Музeй, тeатрт чимээгүй байх.ゴミはゴミ箱に捨てよう。ゴミ箱がないときは持ち帰ろう。Let's throw garbage in the trash can. Take it home if there's no trash can. [Gomi wa gomibako ni suteyou. Gomibako ga nai toki wa mochikaerou.] Хогоо хогийн савaнд хаях. Хэрвээ хогийн сав байхгүй бол гэртээ авч очих.笑顔であいさつしょう。Let's greet with a smile. [Egao de aisatsu shou.] Инээж мэндлэх.   人に助けてもらったら If you get help from a person, say Thank you. [Hito ni tasukete morattara Arigatou o iou.] Хэрвээ хэн нэгэн тусалсан бол талархлаа илэрхийлэх.まちがいをすなおに認めよう。Honestly admit the mistake. [Machigai o sunao ni mitomeyou.] Алдаагаа хүлээн зѳвшѳѳрѳх.  ひとからもらったものに文句を言わない。Do not complain about what you get from people. [Hito kara moratta mono ni monku o iwanai.] Хүнээс авсан зүйлийн талаар гомдоллохгүй байх.困ったときはそうだんしょう。When there is a trouble, consult. [Komatta toki wa sōdan shou.] Хэрвээ асуудал тулгарвал зѳвлѳлдѳх.うそをつかずに正直でいよう. Let's be honest without lying. [Uso o tsukazu ni shōjikide iyou.] Худлаа хэлэхгүйгээр шударга байх.  相手の目を見て話をしよう. Look at the opponent's eye and talk. [Aite no me o mite hanashi o shiyou.] Харилцагчийн нүд рүү харж ярих.  きちんとしたいとばづかいをしょう. Let's do it properly. [Kichinto shitai toba dzuka i o shou.] Зѳвийг хийх.怒る前に5秒間考えよう. Think 5 seconds before getting angry. [Okoru mae ni 5-byōkan kangaeyou.] Уурлахын ѳмнѳ 5 хором бодох.約束やきまりを守ろう. Let's keep promises and rules. [Yakusoku ya kimari o mamorou. Амлалт, дүрэм сайн дагах.借りた物は必ず返そう. Always return borrowed things. [Karita mono wa kanarazu kaesou.] Зээлсэн зүйлийг буцааж ѳгѳх.勉強も運動も最後までやりぬこう。Let's exercise and learn until the end. [Benkyō mo undō mo saigomade yari nukou.] Tѳгсгѳл хүртэл суралцаж, боловсрохыг хүсьe.

The Adventures of Banana Teacher 06 - Stick Kid pt. 1

With both graduation and entrance ceremonies behind us, the kindergarten I work at has returned to normal. The new students are adjusting to their new environment and the returning students are adjusting to their new teachers. I usually spend the first few weeks of a new school year teaching procedures and rules and getting the kids used to my classroom. Things were going great... at first. Now, it isn't uncommon for new students to join a few weeks after the new year has started. So when I saw an unfamiliar face peering into my classroom, I knew that I would be getting a new student soon. The school's principal came in and introduced me to said strapping young lad and his father. I said the normal "hajimemashite" and continued on with my class. The kid seemed okay. He looked a bit overwhelmed and didn't understand any English, but this is common and easily resolved. The principal directed the student and father into the office to fill out paperwork. Since  my class was over, I walked down the hallway and noticed that said child was currently hitting his father with a rather large bamboo stick while the father tried filling out the paper work. I tried to engage SK (stick kid) so that his father could fill out the required documents in peace, but my attempts were in vain. While trying to communicate with SK, two of my students passed by. They tried to be friendly by giving their blunt object wielding classmate a grand, "hello"! Uninterested in the other children, SK continued with his life's mission: hitting his father with the stick. My students continued to say, "hello", but SK wouldn't even give them the time of day. Feeling defeated, they began to walk away, but not before So-kun exclaimed loudly in Japanese, "He must be a baby. He is so rude." While most children object to being called  a "baby" by telling the teacher or yelling back, SK reacted in what I can only describe as a fit of pure animal rage. He proceeded to stand up on the chair and jump down, all while waving the stick and shrieking. My students, fearing for their lives, ran away screaming as fast as their little legs could carry them. Luckily the school secretary was able to grab him before he could hit either of the other kids, but this earned her a few jabs in the behind with the stick. I stood there stunned and terrified. I made sure that the principal and secretary knew that I don't allow sticks in my classroom and to make sure that the father understood this. I then walked away shaking my head and questioning my career choice.My new wine glass...

How to enjoy Ikebana exhibitions

As I'm an ikebana teacher, I have a lot of opportunities to visit ikebana exhibition. And sometimes I invite my friends to go with. Most of my friends have never seen ikebana exhibition even though they are Japanese, so they are willing to follow me. To make their first experience more impressive and interesting, I carefully introduce ikebana speaking about history, techniques, materials...etc. In this post, I will write how to enjoy ikebana exhibitions.Where can we find exhibitions?As far as I know, unfortunately, there's no website that gathers information of all ikebana events. But you'll have chance to find exhibitions in some places. Regardless of area, in Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka or other prefectures, many of exhibitions are held at event space in department stores, mostly located on the highest floor. So when you visit department store, do not forget to check posters on walls of elevators or placed at information desk to know which event is held on the event space! Also, you can find some small shows at public halls, hotel lobbies.Last month, I went to an exhibition of Ikebana Association which many ikebana schools around Japan participate. It was held in Takashimaya Department store in Shinjuku, Tokyo.Ticket are sold at the information desk in the department store, or ticketing booth near the exhibition entrance. Price differs depending on the event, but normally between 600 yen and 1500 yen per person. Children and students under age 15 will be free (depends on events, but normally free). If you already have schedule, I recommend to buy ticket in advance because sometimes they sell it a bit cheaper (about 100-200 yen lower) than you purchase at ticketing booth. For events in public halls or hotels, no ticket needed. How to enjoy it --- Check these 1) to 3) !!!1) Enjoy various materialsWe have four seasons here in Japan, and ikebana is the best way to feel the season because we use different materials that are available at the time. We can find many colorful flowers from spring through early summer. When it's hot in mid-summer, only a few materials like tropical ones or green leaves are available. During autumn, we can enjoy autumn flowers as well as  lots of branches whose leaves are changing colors into red. In freezing winter, we have fewer choices of flowers, but many stuff for Christmas and New Year arrangements are seen in markets. You'll be able to find many kinds of materials which are original in Japan and seem new to you!You'll also find interesting materials in works. For example...The black fluffy stuff in the middle is dried seaweed ( Codium fragile; we call it Umi-matsu うみまつ or Miru みる). Creators of this work say they purchased it from flower wholesaler and they didn't dive into the sea,hahaThe round light-green is Cauliflower! ( official name is Broccolo Romanesco) Isn't it interesting that the vegetable has a key role to compose this arrangement?Of course, we find arrangements made of only "flowers".2) Look at vasesWe, ikebana artists, are greedy to find something unique to create the ONLY ONE works. We frequently check shops, ateliers to see what's new, sometimes order artists to make ones, and furthermore, some of us make vases or frame by ourselves. So, please pay attention to the containers into which the flowers are put. There are many uncommon vases that you'll be able to enjoy. This is not normal vase, isn't it? So weird! But matches cattleya.In water, there is a crab of metal... I guess this is some tool to hold materials.This looks the creator didn't use any vase, but actually the  styrene sheet colored in blue covers the container.Maybe this rocky one is handmade.3)Guess what technique is adopted for arrangementsThe technique and basic styles of arrangement are developed in each school, so for me, it's interesting to observe other schools' students works thinking about the techniques.  Tens of branches are carefully curved to make flowing lines. They are fixed inside the base inserted between short-cut stems. Seems really difficult to keep the balance.... This spiky green arrangement is made of tied thin leaves! How many hours did it take to finish...?Now you're more ready to visit ikebana exhibitions, aren't you? Hope you'll enjoy it!

How to prepare for Spring in Japan?

Spring in JAPAN!Finally the spring has arrived in Japan with the sakura blooming everywhere. Most of the foreigners like the spring of Japan. But have you prepared to celebrate it effectively? Here is some good tips for the foreigners:1. First of all, you have to wear the spring fashion dress. Mostly the light color dress are considered as spring dress in Japan.2. Use light bags.3. Use light shoes.4. Eat 'Haru Yasai".5. Do not wear heavy dress anymore (Winter is over!)6. Well, you have to use umbrella sometimes but not like rainy season or hotted summer. So use light umbrella.7. Start outing and outdoor activities including lunch at outside of your dining room.8. Change your hairstyle as spring comes.9. Prepare for the coming summer and ready to go to beach.10. Finally, try to reduce your body weight at least 2kg/month from now to Summer!

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