Friday, May 20, 2011

What we'll take away from Japan

Sometimes (mostly in the cold cold winter) we wanted to strangle Japan's little neck. All in all, though she was really good to us. Here are some of the things we'll take away from living in Japan.
  • An appreciation for seasonal food. Sometimes it was a bummer when there was very little produce in the grocery store but it was all the more exciting when a certain fruit or vegetable came into season. We found ourselves eating more seasonally by default, which was nice.
  • An appreciation for regional foods. Japanese people are always telling you what foods a place is known for. We find ourselves doing it now too. For instance, Nagano is known for soba (buckwheat noodles), apples, miso, basashi (raw horse meat - John tried it!) and inago (fried locusts). Our town is known for unagi (eel), which John also had the other night.
  • An appreciation for seasons. While it's sometimes annoying that Japanese people think they invented seasons and are the only culture with them, it is nice to see the reverence they have for them.
  • An appreciation for sacred spaces and mindful moments. The Japanese are very busy and not that good at enjoying life overall when compared to say, South Americans or Europeans. However, they are good at creating lovely Japanese spaces to create a wabi sabi feeling and revel in it. Examples are clusters of cherry blossoms for ohanami parties, tea rooms and tatami rooms for fancy Japanese meals, temples and shrines for praying and outdoor onsen (especially in winter) for relaxing.

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