About Us

Hello Everybody!!
We are Anindya & Pratyay, Japanese Language teachers and translators. Presently we are teaching at a Japanese Language Learning Centre in our hometown, Kolkata-India.

The most interesting part of language learning is experiencing another culture. For, Language does not exist apart from culture, that is, the socially inherited assemblage of practices and beliefs that determines the texture of our life. The study of Japanese language offers unique insights into Japan’s fascinating national culture, which boasts a rich heritage in the fields of native craftsmanship, performance art, visual art, music, film and graphic design. Anyone who can see and feel the beauty of the Japanese Language and culture can improve her/his cultural understanding and international awareness. It also helps one to gain an enhanced perspective of one’s own language and culture.

Through this Blog we would like to offer and share our knowledge and exchange our views & ideas with you all on Japanese language and culture. Let’s expand our possibilities both professionally and personally by learning Japanese.

If you have any query regarding translation or interpretation from Japanese to English or vice versa,
please feel free to contact us.....
letter2anindya@gmail.com or pratyajayaditya@gmail.com

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Raku: Pottery that captures the essence of Zen

In Japanese society, art, craft and everyday life are inextricably mingled. Especially ceramics have a very unique place in Japanese life. Japanese ceramics have many diverse and distinctive styles which are concentrated in towns and areas all over Japan. Potteries such as, 常滑焼き(Tokoname-yaki), 萩焼き(Hagi-yaki), 有田焼き(Arita-yaki), 瀬戸焼き(Seto-yaki),唐津焼き(Karatsu-yaki), 薩摩焼 satsuma-yaki and many others are now known worldwide.

Japanese ceramics have long history. But development of ceramics in Japan really began in the late 16th century during the Momoyama Period (1568-1615). This was also the time when the Tea Ceremony became very popular amongst the aristocracy and the military class. Kyoto wares 楽焼き(Raku-yaki) was introduced at this time as well, much influenced by the taste of the tea masters. Raku-yaki has been closely connected with tea ceremonies since those olden days.

楽焼き(Raku-Yaki):

Raku () literally means "felicity". The term 楽焼き (Raku-Yaki) is used to define a style of pottery invented in the 16th century in Japan. Raku tea bowls are considered by some to be the height of Japanese ceramic art. It was the first pottery that was specifically created for the art and culture of Japanese tea ceremony 茶の湯 (cha-no-yu). The pieces are undecorated and modest in shape, devoid of any luxury. Each piece is handcrafted without a wheel, which gives it a slightly uneven but unique shape and style. Each one has its own special look. Traditional Raku bowls have a thick lead glaze usually in black or dark red colors. They seem primitive, but their apparently accidental beauty is of a kind to excite an art connoisseur. The name and the style of ware have become influential in both Japanese culture and literature.


Red and Black Glazed Raku Pottery – Tea Cup Set

Origin of Raku-yaki (楽焼き):

Raku pottery originates out of Japan from the Zen tea ceremony during the Momoyama period (1573-1615). Today, Raku ware is known worldwide as a form of ceramic technique. However, it was initially referred only to the wares made by the Raku family.


The technique of Raku ware was developed by a potter named Sasaki Chojiro (長次郎). Chojiro came under the patronage of the tea master Sen-No-Rikyu (1522-1591), the "official aesthete" of “shogun" Toyotomi Hideyoshi(1537-1598), the leading warrior statesman of the time (and eventually “Lord Chancellor of Japan”). Sen-no-Rikyu was the most well-known—and still revered—historical figure in tea ceremony and was largely responsible for bringing the sensibilities of Zen and Taoism to the Japanese tea ceremony. Sen was among the first Japanese aristocrats to recognize the beauty in "wabi-sabi" 詫び寂び (humble simplicity) aesthetics, which celebrate simplicity and imperfection in the things created by man. At first, the tea ceremony was performed with smooth ceramic天目茶碗 (tenmoku tea bowls). Sen commissioned Chojiro to design stoneware bowls that would match the aesthetics the Japanese tea ceremony.

At that time three-coloured glazed potteries, san-cai ware, based on the technology originating from the Fujian region of China were produced in the region of Kyoto. Chôjirô employed this technique to produce tea bowls for the tea ceremony. The exclusive use of monochrome black or red glazes - in marked contrast to the brightness of the generic san cai wares from which they evolved became one of the main characteristics of this ware. That Pottery was well suited to the wabi-sabi aesthetic, and was naturally favoured by Sen no Rikyu. Thus Raku ware came into existence.
Tea bowl with designs of pine boughs and interlocking circles

At first however, this special type of san-cai wares, made by Chôjirô, were not called Raku wares, but Ima-Yaki, literally means "now wares" or "contemporary ware", that is to say, wares produced at the present time. Subsequently, They were distinguished as Juraku-yaki ("juraku wares") derived from “Ju-raku-dai, the name of a palace in Kyoto built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, one of the great symbols of the Momoyama period.

Hideyoshi presented Chōjirō with a seal bearing the Chinese character for Raku. (The term Raku is a shortened form of Rakuyaki, derived from the term “Jurakudai”). Chojiro adopted the name Raku as his family name, as well as started stamping the emblem into all the new pottery. Both the name and the ceramic style have been passed down through the family (sometimes by adoption) to the present 15th generation in an unbroken line. Raku Cho-jiro's descendents still make these tea bowls, although they are extremely expensive. The current Raku headship is with Raku Kichizaemon XV. The house and the workshop are located on the west side of the former Imperial Palace in Kyoto.

Characteristics of Raku:

Pleasing to the eye, calming to the spirit and bringing joy and harmony to your heart and life are part of the Raku tradition. The main characteristics of the Raku yaki are simplicity of forms and absence of decoration in a perfect harmony with the spirit of the tea ceremony. It is traditionally characterized by hand-molding of the clay, resulting in each piece being "one-of-a-kind"; low firing temperatures (resulting in a fairly porous body) and lead glazes. Hand-forming allows the spirit of the artist to speak through the finished work with particular directness and intimacy. It is rough-textured and has a very thick surface, but it also has a soft tactile sense.


Raku Jar with Turquoise Flash

Present Trends:
The Raku continues to flourish and tea bowls and other pieces for “cha no yu” continue to be made and used. Additionally, innovative sculpture with western influence and ultra modern style also flourishes. Raku is at the same time very traditional because of its down-to-earth, low-tech features and very modernistic because of the spontaneity involved in its creation.

Today, Raku pottery comes in a variety of finishes and patterns. Ceramic artists from all over the globe have been trying new variations. Raku Ware can now be found in many bright and brilliant shades such as lapis, aqua, persimmon, red, coffee, amethyst etc., with the unique cracked glaze that is the signature of the method. The distinctive patterns are created using special glazes that crack or craze.
Many contemporary Western potters have adopted modified Raku pottery. However the western style Raku only shares the techniques of Raku making, such as low- temperature firing, removing the pieces from the hot kiln, with the glaze still molting hot. But, it lacks the rich culture and spirituality that the ancient style of Raku pottery inherits.


Raku Hagi Karatsu

Sunday, November 8, 2009

SUGIHARA : The Good Samaritan


Stories of war time atrocities committed by Japanese Army are well known facts. Often they have been to some extent exeggarated by Western and Chinese authorities. But during the same time, Japan inspite of being an ally of Germany, turned out to be a refuge for Jewish refugees coming from Lithunia. Needlessto say, this fact is lesser known. The man who did this humane job was Chiune Sugihara (1900-1986), who had been the Vice Consul for the Japanese Empire in Lithunia. He provided transit visas to more than 6000 Jewish refugees, enabling them to escape the horrors of the Hollowcast and to settle in Japanese territories. It was July, 1940. Germans were progressing towards Lithunia.The Jews of Kaunas and their surrounding areas of the Lithunian province were desperate to obtain visas to leave the country. Their plightful condition appealed to Sugihara's conscience. He provided them visas against the orders of his commanders in Tokyo risking his life and those of his family members.



Saturday, September 19, 2009

SUMIYA: The Pleasure House of Edo Era


Sumiya: The last remaining Ageya

Sumiya was a typical traditional restaurant Ageya of Shimabara, the former entertainment district of the Edo Period (1603-1867) Kyoto, and was finally closed in 1985. It is the last surviving masterpiece of "ageya" architectural style. There are no other comparable buildings surviving in Tokyo or Osaka—or anywhere in Japan. In 1952 the Sumiya was protected by the government as the only remaining ageya in Kyoto. The building was designated as an Important Cultural Property and has been maintained as it is by Kyoto city government. It is now used as a museum open to the public.

Purpose

Sumiya was a place for well-heeled to come to be entertained. It was an elegant restaurant and pleasure house where banquets and dinner parties were held accompanied by the entertainment of geisha and taiyu (the top level of courtesans), who performed tea ceremonies, sang and danced. There were both ageya and geisha-dwellings Okiya in Shimabara. The geisha and taiyu lived in the Okiya, meaning "storehouse," and were summoned to the ageya, houses of assignation to perform at banquets and dinner parties.



The Cultural and Historical Significance

But to label the Sumiya to a "brothel" is to limit its significance and function. Most of the entertainment was of a very different sort and the women who performed here were not to be bought. Sumiya figures prominently in several phases of Edo Period artistic and political history. During the middle of the Edo Period, this building served as a meeting place and cultural salon where elite and powerful men gathered. great artists, writers and politicians of the day met. It was for example the meeting place of Shimabara Haidan, a well-known haiku group. Many poems were created about Shimabara, and in rememberance of the most famous there are 7 memorial stones scattered about the neighbourhood. It was also a showcase for some of the most talented artists and artisans of the era.

Amazingly, the same Nakagawa family has owned and managed Sumiya for 13 generations, since 1641. In 1787 Sumiya was expanded to about its present scale.

The Architecture

Sumiya is the finest extant example of Edo Period (l603-1868) Ageya architecture: plain on the exterior but sumptuous within; elegant and spacious like palaces of the samurai, but refined and casual like tea rooms. It combines the taste and craftsmanship of the sukiya-tsukuri (Sukiya style) with the elegance of Shoin-tsukuri (Shoin style).The rooms contain artwork by famous artists of the time Maruyama Okyo and Yosa Buson.




From the street, one can see the outside of three rooms on the upper floor, the Ogi no Ma, Suiren no Ma, and Donsu no Ma. It is a two story building roofed with tile, copper plates and shingles. It has three main parts:

  • The lattice work exterior and entry way

  • The huge, open kitchen

  • The interior rooms

The interiors of Sumiya surprise us with their freshness and originality. After passing through the front gate of Sumiya, you first enter a pleasant & large courtyard. Going through a small area where there are storage lockers, you come into the original kitchen and food and drinks preparation area. It is very spacious and has five “stoves” for cooking. Above, slats in the ceiling were used to ventilate the smoke that floated up from the fires. In the foreground, a large tatami area remains. Further in are the rooms for customers. In the rear of the Sumiya there is a gracious garden. Behind it are two teahouses, one with a copper roof, the other thatched. The house contains the characteristics of a traditional house as well as the characteristics of Kyoto culture. It is quite dark inside the Sumiya. However, darkness does not necessarily represent inconvenience. The dimness of incandescent or candle lighting has a relaxing effect on people. This dimness is part of the essence of Japanese architecture. Its fusuma (sliding paper doors) and byobu (folding screens) are decorated by some of the greatest artists of the Mid-Edo Period, such as Yosa Buson (l716-84), Maruyama Okyo, Kishi Ganku (1756-1836), Yamada Gazan and Emura Shumpo. These and other artifacts are now showcased. Among these works is the famous National Treasure, "Plum Blossoms", by Buson.



Sumiya is a precious heritage, retaining the essence of Japanese culture, lightness and the darkness and the decorativeness of Kyoto culture.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

NHK Special "What Did Justice Radhabinod Pal Ask?: Tokyo Trial, Unknown Battles"



‘India has been a lighthouse for the history of impartiality’, observed Mr. Kazou Ogura, President of the Japan Foundation, commenting on the history of mutual understanding between Japan and India. The year 2007 has been celebrated both in Japan and in India as Indo –Japan Friendship year. Mr. Kazou Ogura, in his short interview which was published in the Asahi Shim bun, referred to the dissenting opinion raised by Radhabinod Pal at the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, and also in his speech delivered in defense of Japan at the San Francisco Peace Conference. It is well known that the minority opinion raised by Pal has been greatly esteemed as a mark of impartiality in Japan. People like Mr. Kazou Ogura, feel that ‘Japan must value India’s faithfulness’
Born in 1886 at a small village called 'Salimpur', of Kusthia district in Bangladesh, Pal became a judge of the Calcutta High Court in 1941and the Vice-chancellor of Calcutta University in 1944. However, it is owing to his role at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, for which he is, remembered today .The International Military Tribunal for the Far East which was formed in the year 1946 turned out to be dissatisfactory from the very beginning. Pal’s sweeping criticism of the tribunal as ‘Victor’s Justice’ influenced the opinion of Judges of Netherland and France, who also provided a dissenting judgment of the tribunal. Judge Pal emphatically pointed out that that all judges were appointed by the winning nations as a consequence, the tribunal turned out to be partial and unjust. Moreover, Tribunal introduced new concepts of war crimes like ‘aggression’ and ‘conspiracy to commit crime’ by which the Japanese defendants were charged. This part of the Tribunal was vehemently criticized by Pal and he rightly pointed out that at the time the war broke out such concepts of war crime had no existence. Nandi in his essay on Judge Pal rightly points out that, ‘till 1944 France, Great Britain and the United States had agreed that aggression was not a crime in international law.’ Thus Pal felt that the Japanese could be tried only for committing conventional war crimes. It would be wrong to suppose that Pal was ignorant of the atrocities committed by the Japanese Army, he acknowledged the atrocities of the Japanese Army but he pointed out that such atrocious acts should be taken into account in the Class Band Class C trials. Finally by citing the case of Atomic bombing at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which were more heinous and more of a state organized violence against humanity than Japanese atrocities committed during the war, Pal questioned the legitimacy of the Tribunal and felt that if the accused were guilty, no less were the victor races .
It is interesting to note that till 1952, the year in which American occupation of Japan ended; Pal’s typewritten book containing his dissenting opinion was prohibited from publication by the Occupation forces.
Japan’s reverence for Pal is well-known. Decades after the trial Japan still honors him. In 1966 Pal was conferred the First Class of the Order of the Sacred Treasure by
the then Japanese Emperor . A monument dedicated to him was erected after Pal's death at the famous Yasukini Shrine. Besides, on 23rd August, 2007, erstwhile Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with Pal's son, Prasanta, in Kolkata, during his day long visit to the city.
These are all events of contemporary history which is known to many of us. However, what has
passed into oblivion is the fact that, Japan post-war pacifism is also linked with the life of Justice Pal. In fact Justice Pal took an active part in the Congress of the World Movement for the World Federal Government that took place from 3rd to 7th November in the year 1952. Those who criticize Pal for having accepted awards from the Japanese government have failed to view his emotional attachment and his regard for Japan from the right perspective. Pal was a diehard nationalist and so like his fellow brother judges of the tribunal he could not comply with the idea of taking revenge in the name of justice.
The above mentioned documentary made by NHK on the dissenting role of Judge Pal will help us to know about this part of contemporary history which has been forgotten in our country.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Japanese Language Course at Rabindra Okakura Bhavan, Salt Lake

Certificate Course in Elementary Japanese comences at Rabindra Okakura Bhavan, Salt Lake Kolkata.









After a long waiting we are on the threshhold of the fulfilment of a long cherished dream, i.e., introduction of regular Japanese Language classes at Rabindra Okakura Bhavan. The Rabindra Okakura Bhavan was inagurated by the earstwhile Japanese Prime Minister Mr. Shinjo Abe, further, eminent scholar and translator of tagore's works Professor Kazuo Azuma provided financial support to this institution. From its inception this institution has created an enthusiasm among Japanese students in Kolkata. Now in collaboration with Sakura Academy, the Bharat Japan Sanskriti Kendra introduces Japanese Language classes at the premise. Gifted with a splendid language lab, thiw institute will prove to be extremely helpful for students preparing for the JLPT (japanese Language Proficiency Test) Examination, conducted by the Japan Foundation. Further, it is expected that the institute will turn out to be beneficial for those engaged in Japanese language and culture related arenas.

Brochure 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mesmerizing Japan: Some Random observations


There are some experiences in everyone’s life which can never be erased and remained etched on one mind for ever. For me such a beautiful experience was my trip to Japan last month, as a participant of the JENESYS cultural-educational exchange programme. I may say that it was really an experience of a lifetime.

Beautiful country, amazing people


We landed at the Narita International airport on 16th June 2009. Narita Airport was far from the main city. We boarded the bus that would take us to Asakusa View Hotel. When the bus came on the highway, my initial reaction was one of amazement at the awareness level about environment and at the proliferation of trees on the sides of the road as we approached Tokyo. Everything looked so enchanting. I saw the tall skyscrapers, numerous flyovers, and wide roads. I saw buildings of various famous international companies. Everything was so discipline and well planned. It was wonder beyond description.

Towards Tokyo



Highway

Soon the bus entered the city area and it was dazzling. Tokyo, the capital city of Japan holds 10% of Japan’s population. It is also the most populous city of the world. But you would never feel it crowded. I saw lots of speeding cars and trucks on the streets of Tokyo. But there was no traffic jam at all. I saw every citizen following her/his duty and never putting a toe out of line when the signal was red. The city was busy all day but there was no noise. I didn’t hear a single motor-horn in Japan. I saw provisions for the blind people to walk on the footpaths and cross the street safely. Roads were pollution-free and everything was so clean. Surprisingly there was no policeman stationed at any crossing. Many of the office goers were riding bicycles to get to office. It is an environment - friendly and an economically viable option.


Park: Central Tokyo

Our accommodation at Asakusa View Hotel was superb. Hospitality was the first thing that hit me there. People there were polite beyond words, courteous, always ready to help, responsible, and entirely meticulous.

Asakusa

Down Town


City Road

Entrance of the Emperor's Palace


Asahi Beer Hall: Famous Gold Flame at the top by architect Philippe Starck

Shinjuku at Night


TEMPURA at the Japanese restaurant "AOI MARUSHIN"


Bangladeshi Restaurant "SHAGORIKA"



"Discipline"

Punctuality and honesty
On day 2 we had a lecture on Japan and Japanese. The lecture began at 9:00 a.m. sharp, as scheduled. The lecture was quite an eye-opener for me. We were guests to Japan for cultural and educational exchange. So, it was quite natural that we would be shown about the positive side of Japan. We were definitely shown the technological advancement that Japan achieved and the progress that Japan made in the sphere of social and human life over the decades. But I was astounded when the lecturer also chose to highlight some negative aspects of Japan, the mistakes Japan had committed in the past. He explained how Korean War brought undue prosperity for Japan, how Japan was still coping with gender discrimination at the work place. I loved this tremendous honesty and self-criticism – a good sign for the progress of any nation. My respect towards them increased manifold after this good gesture. Learning from mistakes: that’s what Japan did.

RAKUGO Theatre



View from the hotel window


Tokyo at Night


Five-storied Pagoda near Sen-Shouji Temple


Shinjuku: Always busy


Home that was Kobe
On the third day in Japan we moved to Kobe, the port city in Hyogo prefecture, by one of the newest shinkansen, Nozoni(hope)15. At the speed of 280km/h, it took around 2 & 1/2 hours. This place was our home for the next five days. The ride in the Shinkansen was superb. It didn't really seem all that fast, the landscape and houses alongside the tracks didn't fly by like I had expected. But it was really very swift and comfortable, not to mention its’ punctuality.




View from Shinkansen


Shin-Kobe Station


Kobe

Kobe Port Tower



View from Port Tower

At Indian restaurant "HAATHI": With our professor from Mukogawa Women University

Kobe is a picturesque city. The quiet bay and green mountains in the background would stun you instantly. What also very impressive was the presence of trees along the streets, and number of parks in and around. Getting on top of the port tower and looking at the entire city from that height was magnificent. But for me Kobe is also a symbol of tenacity and resilience of the people of Japan. The city has almost completely been rebuilt after the devastating earthquake and now you could not find a single trace of that calamity. Their ability to rebound is amazing! Be it the second world-war or the earthquakes, they can reborn from the ashes just like the proverbial Phoenix.


Port Area

Sangita San with our Kansai coordinator





Mukogawa Women University

MINT Kobe: With professor who taught us the art of calligraphy

Young Friends: MINT Kobe Cultural Centre

Environment & Garbage Disposal
Mottainai (勿体無い) is a popular environmental idea in Japan which means “we shouldn’t waste”. This includes space, food, water, garbage, energy, everything. It is based on an old Japanese concept of ”waste nothing, want nothing”. They know the need to carefully conserve their resources and possessions. The 3R, reduce, reuse and recycle is the motto that every Japanese people practice every day. Environmental education has got a high priority in the Japanese education system.
Technological advancement is put to best use. And they recycle or reuse everything. During our visit to Nishinomiya West Municipal Refusal Disposal Center, we came to understand how they turn garbage into resources. For that they follow the concept of分ければ資源、混ぜれば塵. At this plant they recover valuable metals like copper, brass, iron, aluminum etc, sort noncombustibles such as bottles and sell them to industries. They also generate electricity from combustible waste, part of which is used to maintain the operation of the plant; the other part is sold to the neighboring households. This way, the plant runs on commercial basis without support from the government. The cutting edge technology here is protecting the environment by reducing the waste to 20% of it actual volume, thereby saving Japan from being drown by garbage and also bring economic benefits.

Control Room: Nishinomiya West Municipal Refusal Disposal Centre

Port from a distance

Home stay
The most wonderful part in this program was when I got a chance of having a home stay in a small town named Kawanishi. Home stay with the Japanese Host family was the best way to learn and to become a part of the Japanese Culture and Language and to immerse oneself in their way of life. It was a wonderful experience. I have rarely spent time with people more warmhearted, hospitable and generous.

With Ojiisan and Obaa San

It was not only about learning the Japanese culture and language, but I also had the chance to teach my own language and culture to achieve the cultural exchange. Through this home stay program I realized that Japanese people are quite open. They preserve their culture and customs well, but they are equally welcoming to people who had different cultural values.

Dinner at a Nepali restaurant with our ane and her friends

I stayed with the sweet Inoue family. I absolutely loved the family. They were extremely polite, hospitable and everyone in the family did their best to make me comfortable. My hosts kept asking us about me, wanting to find out as much as they could about me. They were so kind and friendly to me; when my stay ended I was sad to leave. I’m really grateful of knowing them.

Kyoto: the ‘old capital’ stole my heart
On 20th June my host family took me to Kyoto, the fifth largest city in Japan. It is one of the few places in Japan with an extreme abundance of pre-war buildings, and is packed with national treasures. I also noticed a distinct lack of high rise buildings as Kyoto attempted to keep the city’s old skyline which allowed an uncluttered view of the mountains in the distance. Kyoto has the most interesting mix of people, places and culture. it has a lot of temples and shrines


Kyoto Road

Sumiya Garden


Oil-Store of Edo era

Kiyomizu Temple: My first stop was the stunningly beautiful Kiyomizu Temple or 清水寺. It is situated on the forested hills overlooking Kyoto. On the way there, we strolled down a narrow street for about half a kilometer filled with little souvenir shops and food stands. The entrance from the street is very eye catching and bright. The main hall of the temple comprises a verdana with very tall pillars that offer a spectacular view of Kyoto. This view of the city of Kyoto is one of the things that distinctly identify the temple. An old Edo period tradition was that anyone who could survive the 13 meter plunge from the edge of the veranda would have their wish granted.













Nijo castle: Next we went to Nijo Castle, home of the Shogun. Originally built between 1601 and 1603 under the supervision of Itakura Katsushige, Nijo Castle epitomized the political and military power of Tokugawa Ieyasu. The principal structure was made up of 33 rooms and was located on the eastern edge of a 70 acre compound. I see the amazing decorations on the walls and ceilings. My favorite part was the Nightingale Floor (Uguisu-Bari), the corridor of the Ninomaru Palace, because it makes a squeaking sound when one walked on. So in the olden days if anybody tried to sneak in they would hear them.

I am still amazed at how unique Kyoto is, because it has the daily hustle and bustle of life, but the old, beautiful and peaceful Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines are still embedded in the landscape and the culture of the people he

Very Very Enjoyable !!!

Eiga Mura

Never rest on its’ laurels
On 17th of June we visited TEPIA Advanced Technology Exhibition Hall. It showcased the cutting-age world of Japanese technology and gives a glimpse of the future of science and technology in Japan. The science museum linked us directly to the new wisdom of 21st century. The exhibits were featuring some of the most advanced products, services, technologies and systems. The museum demonstrated how these technologies applied in the areas of communication, health and medicine, urban life as well as environment and energy. It also showed how they could improve lives and communities. The people of Japan are continuously aspiring for new technologies, inventing innovative machine to help people to do their things, like robots.

TEPIA

Final Observation
Japan is an amazing country consists of outstanding people. It, as a country has a cultural background that is wide ranging and special. It is a country of typical hypermodern technology, but deeply rooted in its’ culture, tradition and customs and preserved them for a very long time. There are few aspects in their social and daily life that made an indelible impression on me. Japanese people are not quite religious but they obey certain basic social norms such as not to steal, be polite, not to waste time, be punctual, and they train their children to this way of life at the very young age. They give high importance to cleanliness and keep everything immaculately clean.

Kaminari Mon

Shin-Nakamise-Dori


Ikebukuro

Another thing that struck me was their perfectionism and attention to detail. Even the parking attendants, which are pretty much a necessity in the busy and crowded parking lots here, go about their job with a focus that is quite remarkable, regardless of weather or time of day.
It’s all about the details here. For example, when I bought a souvenir from a shop, the women asked if it was a present, and then proceeded to take a piece of washi, the handmade paper and turned them into the most exquisite gift-wrapping. On a related note, talking about presentation: even the bento boxes you buy from a cheap roadside stand look gorgeous.
Their custom of presenting gifts is also fascinating. They exchange gifts on every occasion to share happiness. Even during our trip to Kyoto my host mother presented a small gift to our taxi driver as a gesture of thanks. Gift giving is the glue that binds Japanese society.
Japanese culture is just so diverse and interesting. The above are just some of the many facets of the East Asian country's rich background that I came across during my 10 days there. The trip was a great learning experience and the qualities that I would like to imbibe from them are hard work, patriotism and how to be discipline with the time. It was an unforgettable experience and I hope to go back to Japan again someday soon.

Ja Mata Ne!