Kyudo: The way of the bow

I have done many posts on the culture and history of Japan. I have spoken about the clothing, food, sports, entertainment, and even gardens. There is a post of Samurai that talks about how far back they go and the importance they held. Throughout all of this I never once did a post about the use of a bow in Japan. It just never crossed my mind to do one. I have read plenty about them in my research for other posts. I guess I didn’t pay attention to their importance until now.

Kyudo, the way of the bow, has been practiced longer than there have been samurai in Japan. Kyudo the Japanese art of archery has over five hundred thousand people practicing it. In Japan Kyudo is normally first learned in high school or college. The Japanese believe it takes maturity to learn this art and require the students of Kyudo to be at least fifteen years old.

The Japanese have special names for the bows used in Kyudo. They are known as Yumi. Today they can be made from carbon composite materials, but practitioners of Kyudo mostly prefer them made the old fashion way.  The Yumi is a long bow that has been made of bamboo, leather, and wood as far back as the third century BC. The arrows for the Yumi are called Ya.

You may not believe this, but ya come in genders. The male ya are called haya and the female ya are called otoya. Depending on their gender they spin a certain way due to the placement of the feathers. The haya spin in a clockwise motion when shot. The otoya spin counter clockwise when shot.


Some Going’s on

There was no blog post yesterday. With Christmas only a few days away I spent all evening wrapping gifts and I am still not done. I have one more gift to wrap. I am going to let you all know now that this coming weekend; I will be taking a break starting 12/23/17 to spend the Christmas holiday with my family. There will be a new post on 12/26/17. I hope you all understand. So I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Honokaa, Have a great Winter Solstice, and not to leave out any Atheist like me, hey how’s it going. Below is my tree before and after decorating it. I might be an atheist, but I still like to give and receive gifts. 🙂



Red Crowned Crane

Endangered species have a way of surprising us. The gray wolf completely changed the Yellowstone national park. The grey wolf had gone completely extinct in Yellowstone. The wolf was reintroduced to Yellowstone and over the years since, the entire landscape has changed. The wolves hunted the deer that ate the trees. The trees were able to grow so beavers reentered the area and built dams in the rivers. This caused the rivers to divert their course thus changing the landscape. All of this was done by introducing grew wolves back into Yellowstone.

I told you about that so you would better understand the Red Crowned Crane and what they have been though. You see by late nineteen twenties there were only twenty red crowned cranes left in the world. In the eighteen hundreds the crane was hunted for their feathers. Oddly enough, it was due to World War two that the red crowned cranes were able to start recovering. In that time the birds were not hunted. They were able to recover to thirty five birds. Not much at the time, but it caused people to take notice.

People started working to recover the red crowned crane population in the nineteen fifties. In the fifties people started provisioning food for the cranes. This food was to help the cranes get through the Japanese winters. The people’s actions helped tremendously. The red crowned crane recovered to more than one hundred and fifty nine birds by the end on the nineteen fifties. After thirty years the crane had done something that changed the area forever much like the grey wolfs. The red crowned cranes surged from one hundred and fifty birds to well over four hundred. They didn’t end there. Today there are more than seventeen hundred birds.

The Red Crown Crane is a massive bird. It stands as tall as a human and has a wing span of seven foot to eight foot. The male of the species can get up to thirty six pounds. The female of the species is a little smaller. The crane is a symbol in Japan known as Tancho. In Japanese mythology the red crowned crane has a life span of one thousand years. To learn more about the red crowned crane you can follow the links below.

Winter in Japan

Let me start this blog off by saying sorry about there not being a blog post yesterday. I went out with my family and we picked up a Christmas tree. Went out and cut it down ourselves.  The best part of cutting down the tree is that it was snowing at the time.  It was a great day. Now on to the important stuff; today’s blog is about winter in Japan and the fun you can have.

The first thing you should consider doing if you visit Japan in the winter is to go to the Sapporo Snow Festival. It is held every February. The festival has snow and ice carving contests with some entries on the rather large side. There is another festival called Omizutori. It is one of the oldest festivals in Japan. It started in seven hundred and fifty two. This festival is especially important, because it is for welcoming spring. Not a bad way to end winter.

One of the best things you can go see while vacationing in Japan during winter is a traditional town. If it has snowed, you may be treated to a snow covered town that looks like it was stuck in time. If you see nothing else while visiting in the winter, you have to go see the monkeys in Nagano prefecture. Nagano prefecture is filled with onsen.  Onsen are also called hot springs. One of the biggest draws is that a group of monkeys use a natural onsen every winter. Below are some links to other winter activities in Japan.

Christmas in Japan

In just over one week it will be Christmas here in the United States.  Time for the family to get together and celebrate; a time to exchange gifts; and for some, a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas in Japan is celebrated completely different than it is here in the US. For starters, in Japan Christmas is not considered a religious holiday.

All over the world Christmas is seen as a Christian holiday. Out of the millions of people in Japan, only one percent or less is Christian. December twenty Fifth, Christmas Day, is not a national holiday in Japan. On Christmas day in Japan the stores are open, people go to work, and life carries on as normal. You see, Christmas day is just another day in Japan.

For a true holiday of the Christmas season you need to pay attention to Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve night is a time for parties and for young lovers. Couples on Christmas Eve go out for romantic diners and walks. On Christmas Eve friends get together and exchange gifts as well. What I think sets the Christmas season in Japan apart from other nations; is that in Japan they see the Christmas holiday as a time to give to others.

I know your all thinking that’s what Christmas is for, to give to others. For some however, it is all about what they get.  In Japan given the customs they already have, the Japanese people take making others happy. I have placed a couple links below if you are interested in knowing more about Christmas in Japan.

Alita: Battle Angel

This is going to be a short post today. I wanted to touch on the new live action Alita. The anime Battle Angel Alita came out in Jun of 1993. It finished airing in August of that same year. The anime was derived from the Manga series of the same name. It was published from November 1990 to March of 1995. The manga spanned nine volumes and was first published in Business Jump Magazine.

The new movie Alita: Battle Angel is being directed by Robert Rodriguez. The screen play was written by James Cameron, Laeta Kalogridis, and Robert Rodriguez. Rosa Salazar will star as Alita. You may remember her as Brenda in Maze runner: The Scorch Trials. Here is the trailer for the new movie. Let me know in the comments what you think of it.


Tokyo, Japan

What do you know about Tokyo? I thought I would put together a few facts about Tokyo. If you ever travel to Japan these facts could come in handy or server as ideas for places to visit. Look through them and let me know which ones is your favorite.

Let’s start this out with Tokyo.  Tokyo was founded in 3000bc. At the time it was known as Edo. Edo was a small fishing village. Today Tokyo has more than 30 million people living in it. It has come a long way since that small fishing village.

Despite how big Tokyo is and the amount of people that live there, English is not spoken much. If you travel to Tokyo be sure to know a little Japanese to be able to order food and other products.

In Tokyo there is a district called Ryogoko. Ryogoko is famous for fat guys. You see Ryogoko is the home of the Ryogoko Sumo hall. Sumo wrestlers are highly respected.

Mount Fuji is the reason most people go to Japan. They want to see that Iconic view of the snow caped mountain. If you want to see it in Tokyo you better plan ahead. The view to Mount Fuji is only available for 80 days out of the year.

Tokyo despite how many people are there is one of the safest places on the planet. Attacks on tourists are the lowest anywhere.

The last on my list is the Komagata Dozeu restaurant. The Komagata Dozeu restaurant has been in the same location and ran by one family for six generations. It has survived natural disasters and war.

Tokyo, Japan is one of those places that you could go and spend a week just exploring. Then as you get ready to leave you discover a magnitude of things to go back for. I hope someday I get the chance to go to Tokyo so I can discover my own reasons for going back.

Dragon Balls and Fuel Cells

No I’m not talking about Fuel Cell powered Dragon Balls. Although that would be cool to see depending on what they do. I’m talking about two different things going on in Japan; both equally big in their own right. What would you say if I said you could eat at a Dragon Ball themed restaurant and then take a ride on a train powered by a fuel cell?

In Osaka, Japan a Chinese restaurant has been converted into a Dragon Ball themed restaurant. The restaurant will be serving Dragon Ball themed food. For all of you Oolong fans, or those who remember the events of dragon Ball, there is a dish you will love. The dish is called Oolong Chashui. It is a ramen dish with meat and pantie shaped tofu. The restaurant has many other dishes including one with a “dragon ball” in it. The restaurant will also be selling merchandise. If you are interested in going to this Dragon ball restaurant then you need to act fast. It is only for a limited time.

So now you have stuffed yourself and you are ready to head out. Why not get a ride on a new fuel cell train? Well you could if it was open to the public. Right now it is in the testing phase. According to an article by KEIGO IWAMOTO a staff writer at Nikkei, “The R&D arm of Japan Railways group has already began test runs on trains powered by hydrogen.” If these tests are completed and everything works they could eliminate the need for overhead power cables. It would also be a more eco-friendly alternative. Since the fuel cell train runs of hydrogen it would not put out any greenhouse gasses. It only puts out water.

Both the Dragon Ball restaurant and the Fuel Cell train sound amazing. If I am lucky someday I will be able to ride the train. As for the dragon Ball restaurant, I’m sure it will be gone long before I ever get to visit japan. Visit the links below to see some great photos of the Dragon Ball restaurant and of the train.


KEIGO , IWAMOTO. “Japan’s fuel cell train rolls ahead under its own steam.” Nikkei Asian Review, KEIGO , 11 Dec. 2017,

Overworking in Japan

Everyone loves a little overtime. The extra money is always a great incentive to work those extra hours. In Japan where the rate of pay is low and the cost of living in very high; people work extreme hours. The Japanese work so many hours in fact that the Japanese die at an unusual rate. The Japanese even have a name for it. They call it karoshi and it has become a very big problem. Some workers have been known to commit suicide from the stress of working so much. They feel they have no choice, but to work. It is so ingrained in their society.

Two companies are looking to change all that. Telecom giant NTT and a security firm called Taisei have come up with a way to help resolve the overworking problem in Japanese businesses. The idea is to fly drones around the office on a pre-determined path. While flying they will play Auld Lang Syne, the same music that is played in malls when they are closing. This is not the only thing that is done to fight overworking.

The drones will also be taking pictures so employers will know who is continuing to work when they should have gone home. Many scholars believe this will not solve the issue. They feel that more needs to be done to solve the underlining issue. Below is the link I used for this post. Go give it a read for more.

Sports in Japan

You might be wondering what kind of sports they have in Japan. Would it surprise you to learn that the sports in Japan are mostly the same as the rest of the world? Pro wrestling was introduced to Japan early in the twentieth century, but did not catch on until 1951. Boxing has been a major sport in Japan since 1854. The Japanese boxers don’t normally fight outside of Japan and the Japanese championships are not recognized around the world. It should come to no surprise that golf is also played in Japan. Golf is one of those sports that transcend cultures around the world.

Auto racing has even found a home in Japan. In the 1920’s auto racing came to Japan. However, it wasn’t until 1936 that it became a permanent fixture in Japan when a permanent track was built. Probably the biggest sport in Japan is Baseball. Baseball is widely considered to be America’s favorite pastime. In Japan it is jokingly recognized as a national sport even though Japan does not recognize any sport as a national sport.

Two of the more traditional sports of Japan are Sumo and Judo. Judo was first created in 1882 by Kano Jigoro. Judo translates in English as the gentle way. Judo consists of three techniques known as throwing, striking, and grappling. In a way it sounds like pro wrestling. Judo is an Olympic sport and it is highly contested as such. The first Judo school was called Kodokan and was run by Kano Jigoro.

I have written about Sumo wrestling before. Sumo originated in the ancient times and was meant to entertain Shinto deities. The rules to Sumo wrestling are by far the most simple of those I have spoken about. All that is required is to knock your opponent out of the circle. There are no weight limits. This means at any given time a sumo wrestler could find himself against someone who is much bigger than he is. For this reason, sumo wrestlers tend to gain weight so they can be more competitive.

As I said earlier, Japanese sports are not much different than anyone else’s. They do have a few sports like Judo and Sumo that are unique to Japan. If you are interested in knowing more about Judo or Sumo wrestling I have put links below.