Archives for the day Friday, May 8th, 2009

Symbols of Japan:Part II

 In previous entry titled “Symbols of Japan: Part I“,I wrote about Japanese flag and Japanese anthem.

 Here,I like to write more about symbols of Japan.

 When you hear “Japan”,what flowers do you imagine? For most people,probably imagining cherry blossoms (Sakura). Spring time,if you visit rivers near our house in Japan, you find beautiful cherry blossom trees blooming at its peak along side the river bank. Then,if you caught the right time for cerebration,you may find many vendors along side the walk selling grilled corn cobs basted with soy sauce, cotton candies, etc. Possibly,you will spot someone or some groups doing Karaoke. If you walk along the road right next to the river,you will feel like you are walking under the cherry blossoms arches. It is very special time of the season for scenery.

 Cherry blossoms is the national flower for long time, and cherry blossom trees were sent to Washington DC in 1909 as a token of friendship between USA and Japan. The cherry blossoms trees bloom very beautifully every year,and if you have a chance to,you can catch the “National Cherry Blossoms festival” in Washington DC. It is usually hold around March or April. And,they invite famous people from Japan too. Last time when we visited,we saw Hawaiian Sumo wrestler and,this year, Jero White,who is  Enka singer was there  (You can see clips from my previous entry titled “What’s hot in Japan” ). You can find many food vendors there and you can taste Japanese food at festival as well. Here is an official homepage for the festival and they already have set-up the date for festival for next year! If you had a chance to,it is good events to check it out. When we were there last time,they gave free ice cream sandwich !! Nobody hates free stuff. So,come visit Washington DC for this events. It will be hold between March 27th,2010 and April 10th,2010.

 Other than cherry blossoms,there is one more flower as symbolize Japan. It is ” chrysanthemums” or what we call “kiku” in Japanese. The flower is imperial family’s mark or crest if you will.

 In Japan, each family has their own family mark. Our family back in Japan has own family mark too. I do not know our family mark is designed by what but,it is there as family mark. This mark will be marked into family tombs as well. Each tomb represents each family,and family members’ ash go into the same tomb,and members names and dates are signed on side of the tomb,and on its front,you read family name with family mark. Some families put “Nam ami da bu tsu” as pray on its front,and now you can find traditional Japanese tomb or western style tomb. You can see some of the tomb pictures of Japan here. This tomb site is written in Japanese,so you may not understand what it says,but you can see the pictures.

 This is the ancient Royal tomb article I found at National Geographic news site. You can read its explanation in English,and you can see the picture of the tomb.It is very different from our modern tomb and size is very big.

 When you hear Japanese birds as symbol of Japan,you may think it is a crane,or what we call “Tsu ru”. However, bird symbol of Japan is “Green pheasant” or what we call “kiji”.

 Here is interesting list of bird symbol for other countries from

 America’s bird symbol is,as you know,bald eagle. According to,the bird was chosen in 1782 although Benjamin Franklin wanted it to be Wild Turkey.


May 08, 2009 | 0 | Uncategorized