How to Stay Cool Without Air Conditioner

Hello, there! How are you doing? I hope everybody is having a good day.

In Japan, the rainy reason was over, and the really muggy summer has come! I personally don’t like using air conditioner because the cold air makes me feel very sluggish.  I prefer sweating. I always try not to use air conditioner until I really can’t bear. I especially don’t use it day time.  However, my hubby can’t stand without air conditioner. So, when I am with him, I have no choice.

We have some ideas to spend summer time without air conditioner, and today I want to show them with you.

Sudare

すだれ

We put a screen, called ‘Sudare’ made of thin strips of wood in front of a house or back side of a house to shut down sunshine. We have put this screen in front of our bathroom window. We can open the window to get cool wind, and nobody can peek us. Some shops put this the entrance of their shops like the picture.

Uchiwa

うちわ

This is our very traditional tool ( a fan) , called uchiwa. We can buy lots of pretty ones. We have both modern designs and traditional ones. I prefer traditional ones. This is very popular for summer festivals with a summer kimono, Yukata.

Uchimizu

打ち水

This is my favorite for summer. We water in front of our house to stay cool. My grandparents did it in summer every single day when the temperature got high, especially evening. So, when I see someone is doing this, this reminds me of my grandparents a lot. When I lived in Nagano prefecture with my family, I saw people did it a lot.

Furin

風鈴

We do make us cool down with pretty sounds. The glass things are called Furin. They make very pretty healing sounds, and I love them. We have one in our house, and I have hanged it every year in summer. When I hear the sounds, they definitely reminds me of summer.

I think each country has their own unique ideas or culture for seasons. These ideas make us enjoy the hot and humid summer.

Thanks as always for reading my blog post. I hope you can expand a little bit your horizons about Japan!

See you in two weeks again!

-Yumi x

 

 

 

 

The Best Season Ever in Japan!

Hi there!

How have you been? I still have had a really bad cold and can’t stop coughing…….. Cough, cough, cough…….

A couple of days ago, a friend of mine lives in Tokyo came up, and I took her to Kyoto!  That’s because it’s the best season ever for us to enjoy viewing leaves changing!!!

It’s my first time to see her in person in 4 years. We used to go to the same porcelain school for years, but after I moved to Osaka, I quit the school. Since then I hadn’t met her for a while.

We had a great time in Kyoto!!

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Since the day was clear and fine, it was the best day for me to take a lot of photos.

I hope you can enjoy the Japanese leaves changing season through my post!

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

The place where I took my friend is called, Arashiyama, and it’s very popular in spring and fall.  When you come to Arashiyama in spring, you can enjoy viewing cherry blossoms and it’s a completely different scenery from this one.

This time everything here is red, and at that time everything here is PINK!

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

I love spring the best, but I love fall as well.

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

I love the place and it reminded me of Hayao Miyasaki movies a lot.

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

I am planning on going back to my previous porcelain school in Osaka again next year. I am really looking forward to it.

I asked my friend if she could come up again in spring. I hope she can make it. Then, I can take her here again to enjoy viewing cherry blossoms!!

Happy Eel’s Day!

Hello friends!

Today is a eel’s day in Japan! It might sound gross for you, but in Japan we have eaten grilled eel in summer to keep health.

This isn’t an official holiday, and it has been changing to be up to a calender every year. Last year, we had two ee’ls days, but this year we have the only one day. Today is it!!!! It has long history to eat eels, and it started since 1772 to 1788. We still keep the tradition.

My family and I went out to eat grilled eel. I love it as I can eat it every day!

Happy Eel Day!

Happy Eel Day!

 

Happy Eel Day!

Happy Eel Day!

 

Happy Eel Day!

Happy Eel Day!

 

Happy Eel Day!

Happy Eel Day!

 

Happy Eel Day!

Happy Eel Day!

 

It was soooooooooooooo good and made my day 🙂

We love going out to eat eels, but sometimes we take out to go eat eels as a bento box. A bento box looks like a lunch box. Grilled eel is good when it gets cold. I love both eating outside and taking out to go.

 

Happy Eel Day!

Happy Eel Day!

 

We have a serious problem about the eels. Now, they might become designated as an endangered species. If it will become designated as an endangered species, we won’t be able to eat eels in the future. We might not keep our tradition in the future. We are good at farming fish, but somehow, it’s hard for us to farm eels. That’s because eels are very mysterious species and sensitive, and we still can’t understand their biogeocenosis.

When I was younger, eels were not so expensive. However, nowadays it’s getting higher and higher. Now, eels are one of Japanese cuisines.

I hope we can succeed to farm eels soon!!!! Knock on wood!!!!!

Setsubun

Today is “Setsubun” in Japan. I would like to skip to explain what is “Setsubun”. So, if you are into “Setsubun”, please check out the page.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Setsubun

It is part of our tradition. We throw dried soy beans to both inside and outside of our house and eat “Ehoumaki” while we are facing to a good luck direction every year. This year’s good luck direction is south south east. So, we eat “Ehomaki” to face to the direction.

We throw beans in the evening because we do it with all our family members. We throw beans to each room, an entrance space, a bath room, a veranda and everywhere while we are crying “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!”. We also throw beans to our garden, a road in front of our house and a space where is close to our house while we are yelling “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!”. The phrase means ” Get away evil stuff from our house, and welcome good luck to our house!” in English. After we throw beans, we eat beans as many as our age. As I hate soy beans, since I was a child, I have hated it. Since my mother is kind of a superstitious person, she never allowed me not to eat beans. We believe that we can keep good health thanks to eating beans. It is difficult for adults to eat beans as many as their age, in my parents and our case we eat beans as many as the numbers that are gotten ride of tens place of our age.

After we eat beans, we counts beans as many as our age, and we cover our beans with “Hanshi” ( it is a Japanese writing paper.). In other words, I put beans as many as my age on a Japanese writing paper and cover them with it. Each person does the same thing. And then while parents pray their children’s good luck, we put the beans covered with the paper on our children’s body parts. For instance: when we put it on our children’s head, we pray our children will become smarter than ever. Adults do the same thing by themselves. I guess it is part of regional tradition. I think my mother was born and grew up in Kyoto, so the tradition relates to the Kyoto region. That is because my husband did not know the tradition before he got married me.

After we do, we go to a Shinto Shrines and put all our beans on there. We pray our good luck again there. After we get home, we eat “Ehomaki” together.
That is our “Setsubun”.

We have lots of regions, so this tradition is different from each region. However, mine is influenced by Kyoto.

                                                                     Ehoumaki

                                                                        Dried soy beans

Japanese New Year Eve

Today I would love to introduce Japanese New Year Eve.

As you know we celebrate New Year Days rather than a Christmas day. Before we welcome a new year day, we clean up our house. I think in America people clean up their house in spring, and it is called “spring cleaning”. In Japan around Christmas, we start to clean up our house to welcome a next year.

Japanese wives become very busy to prepare for the new year. We have to clean up our house, and in addition, we also have to cook special food called “osechi (おせち)” in Japanese. We have “osechi” on the 1st of January morning. I will explain about Japanese New Year on my next blog entry, so on this entry I would love to focus on New Year Eve.

On New Year Eve we have “toshikoshisoba (年越しそば)”. In Japan when we have the soba on New Year Eve, we believe that we can make our life span longer. Soba is a black Japanese noddle made from “soba” flour. In my family’s case we eat “soba” while we are watching “kouhaku utagassen (紅白歌合戦)” on TV. Since the TV show is very poplar among Japanese people, I do not think there is no people who never watch the show before. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C5%8Dhaku_Uta_Gassen

After “Kouhaku utagassen”, we watch “yukutoshi kurutoshi (ゆく年、くる年) on the same channel. I prefer “yukutoshi kurutoshi” because we can hear different sounds of “jyoya no kane”. I have some experience that I have gone to some temples to hit a Japanese bell. The tradition relate to Buddhism. In Buddhism, we have 108 worldly desires ( The word “worldly desires” is called “bonnou (煩悩)” in Japanese.). So, while we are hitting a bell in a temple 108 times, we try to get rid of the “bonnou” from us. I love the bell sounds very much.

After we finish hearing the 108th bell sounds, we welcome our new year.

                                                                                  toshikoshi soba (年越しそば)

   kouhaku utagassen (紅白歌合戦)

  jyoya no kane  (除夜の鐘)