The Eternal Light of the Dharma

Something cool I wanted to share with readers: the Japanese Buddhist temple of Enryakuji (mentioned in a previous post) on Mount Hiei has a 24-hour livestream video of a special oil lamp called the fumetsu no hōtō (不滅の法灯) which means something like the “eternal Dharma lamp” : According to tradition, this small oil lamp hasContinue reading “The Eternal Light of the Dharma”

Goodbye to the Heisei Period and Hello to the Reiwa Period

As of today the Heisei (平成) Period in Japan has officially ended, and the Reiwa (令和) Period has officially begun. Personally, having seen the Heisei Emperor on TV and such, I will definitely miss him.  He really seemed like a cool guy, and really cared about people.  I saw one clip on Japanese TV whereContinue reading “Goodbye to the Heisei Period and Hello to the Reiwa Period”

Part Three: Learning Hiragana Ain’t Hard!

In lesson one we covered basic concepts of Japanese hiragana writing and in lesson two we covered some more advanced features.  Today, we’ll focus more on how to learn hiragana. If you’re studying Japanese, hiragana is a “learn once, learn early, use often” feature of the language.  The sooner you make the leap, the better. Continue reading “Part Three: Learning Hiragana Ain’t Hard!”

Spring Drowsiness

Recently, my wife and I were talking about how lately we’ve been feeling extra drowsy and lethargic, and she reminded me of a famous Chinese poem from the Tang Dynasty that is often quoted in Japanese culture as a figure of speech: 春眠暁を覚えず shunmin akatsuki wo oboezu This phrase can be loosely translated as “whileContinue reading “Spring Drowsiness”

Even Cherry Blossoms Get Old

Recently, I found this post on Twitter: The sakura sure have lasted a long time this year😬🌸 there comes a timeeven in blossoming Kyoto…sick of it或時は花の都にも倦にけり Kobayashi Issa (小林 一茶), 1795.Translation by David G. Lanoue.#Kyoto #Sakura #Japan #Chionin #小林一茶 #cherryblossom #知恩院 pic.twitter.com/sOjHZntnb5 — Adventures in Kyoto (@KyotoDailyPhoto) April 14, 2019 The haiku in question, writtenContinue reading “Even Cherry Blossoms Get Old”

Gone Before You Know It

Now that the miserable long winter here in the Pacific Northwest is becoming a faded memory (not to mention unusually persistent this year), Spring is finally here!  At times like these I love to go back and re-read poems from the famous Japanese anthology, the Hyakunin Isshu. In particular, one of my favorite is thisContinue reading “Gone Before You Know It”

Spring Fever

Warm weather has finally arrived! I wanted to post an old poem from my other blog here to celebrate: 久方の Hisakata no 光のどけき hikari no dokeki 春の日に haru no hi ni しづ心なく shizu gokoro naku 花のちるらむ hana no chiruran Porter’s translation is: THE spring has come, and once again The sun shines in the sky; So gentlyContinue reading “Spring Fever”

In Praise of Takoyaki

Japanese takoyaki (たこ焼き) is a dish you rarely find in overseas restaurants but it is a great comfort food. Explaining what they are to someone who’s never tried them, while making sound appetizing, isn’t easy. Afterall, how often do people eat octopus parts cooked in batter (sometimes with pickled ginger) topped with dried, shaved tuna,Continue reading “In Praise of Takoyaki”

Girls Day is Nigh

My son made this in Japanese preschool yesterday. This is the prince and bride depicted in the Japanese holiday of hinamatsuri (ひな祭り) or Girls Day. Girls Day happens every year on March 3rd. We have the doll display setup already, and my wife is preparing a nice sashimi feast for my daughter. Looking forward toContinue reading “Girls Day is Nigh”

Buddhist Altar, Japanese Style

Recently, I was chatting with a coworker who’s a fellow Buddhist and he was asking about how to make a Buddhist altar. It turns out that English-language books usually don’t explain such things, focusing on the more cerebral, dogmatic details. Great if you want to know Buddhist philosophy, but kind of lousy when you justContinue reading “Buddhist Altar, Japanese Style”