Meet The Original Triforce: The Hojo Clan!

I was cleaning out old photos from my phone’s camera roll, when I realized that I still had photos left over from this post, including a photo of my omamori charm that I got from Enoshima Shrine way back in 2019. Sadly that was my last trip to Japan, and I haven’t been able toContinue reading “Meet The Original Triforce: The Hojo Clan!”

A Buddhist Monk in King Strahd’s Court

Having watched Netflix’s Castlevania series for probably the third time through, and as a way of “eating my own dog food” by applying my Dungeons and Dragons Hamato Islands setting to other environments, I started a recent thought-experiment: suppose I made a Japanese-style character, and suppose that character got transported to the classic gothic horrorContinue reading “A Buddhist Monk in King Strahd’s Court”

Day of the Chrysanthemum in Japan

September 9th (9/9) is the last of the yearly sekku (節句) or seasonal holidays in the old Japanese calendar, and is named kiku no sekku (菊の節句) or more formally chōyō (重陽). The name means something like “Day of the Chrysanthemum”, and has its origins in a similar Chinese holiday called the Double Ninth Festival. TheContinue reading “Day of the Chrysanthemum in Japan”

Summer Winding Down

Summer in 2020 came and went probably like no summer in recent memory. Ignoring the painful facts for a moment that there’s a global pandemic, politics are pretty bat-shit crazy, and the economic woes, and my stress level was through the roof, it was a quiet and low-key summer. Hunkering down for the summer hadContinue reading “Summer Winding Down”

Obon Season

For Westerners, the “scary” time of year (besides tax season) is Halloween, but Japan has a similar tradition, called Obon (お盆) season which arose from a totally different set of circumstances, but is an interesting example of convergent (and yet divergent) cultural traditions. Obon season in Japan varies by region: in the eastern “Kantō” partContinue reading “Obon Season”

The Months of the Japanese Calendar

Recently, I talked about the Japanese calendar, and in particular the so called “six days” that repeat over and over. Today I wanted to step back and talk about the months of the Japanese calendar, which similarly have cultural significance. In modern Japanese, the months of the calendar are simply numerical: ichigatsu (一月, lit. “FirstContinue reading “The Months of the Japanese Calendar”

The Six Days of the Japanese Calendar

I have a small fascination with calendars,1 including the traditional Japanese calendar, which has a lot of interesting cultural tidbits that aren’t obvious to Westerners. I remember my early years visiting Japan to see my in-laws and pondering every time I sat on the toilet the calendar that was hung up on the wall nextContinue reading “The Six Days of the Japanese Calendar”