Archives for Japan category

Japanese unique traditional craft; Wajima nuri Lacquerware

 In the previous entry titled “Japanese unique pottery:Arita yaki (Porcelain products in Arita,Saga prefecture)“,I have introduced one of famous potteries called “Arita yaki” in Saga prefecture,which is located in the northwest part in the Kyushu island.

In this entry, I would like to introduce another famous traditional crafts in Japan called ” Wajima Nuri (Wajima Lacquerware)”.

I think Wajima nuri lacquer is very Japanese and represents our traditional crafts very well.

The technical used to make this durable lacquerware was developed by the discovery of jinoko (powder obtained from the soil in Wajima city, Ishikawa prefecture).

Ishikawa prefecture is located in the main island “Hon shu”.

How Wajima nuri (Wajima lacquerware) is made..

1.  Wajima nuri lacquerware making starts from wood called “Ke ya ki”. Forming this wood into a bowl will be the first step done to make the beautiful lacquerware.

The wood used to curved and shaped into a bowl has been left and dried for many years.

2. Next step is nu-no ki-se step; A piece of fabric is plastered onto the fragile breakable parts of the bowl.

3. Then, Jizuke step; Lacquer (which we call U-ru-shi”) , mixed with ji-no-ko  (powder obtained from the soil) are applied to the bowl and then polished. They repeat this process.

U-ru-shi (lacquer) is obtained from sap of the u-ru-shi tree. The sap is collected,refined and aged. Hardened/dried U-ru-shi (lacquer) is water proof and protect the object from the heat. It makes them very durable lacquerware.

4. Then, Uwa-nuri step; Good quality lacquer is applied to the bowl with brush

5. After that, Chi-n-ki-n (gold foil)/Ma-ki-e step;It is the step where lacquerware is drawn on with a brush,engraving with a chisel is done,and gold,silver is embedded in the lacquerware.

6. Last step is called “ro-shi-ro”. Polishing the bowl with charcoal or applying more lacquer to make the finished  product

 You can view various kinds of Japanese Lacquerware at Nihon Ichiban website here.

You can watch how Wajima lacquerware are made via video at Japanese Government Internet TV website here.

Also, if you had a chance to visit Wajima city, Ishikawa prefecture, you can visit Wajima Lacquerware museum. You can find the information on the museum here.


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Jun 10, 2014 | 0 | Japan

Japanese Unique Pottery; Arita yaki (Porcelain products in Arita,Saga prefecture)

There are many locally manufactured traditional Japanese products that use local materials and natural environment.

Each prefecture has something that are famous/known for and, locally manufactured traditional Japanese products are often times hand crafted products with long history behind it and, its techniques have been passed down from generation to the generation.

In this entry, I would like to introduce one of famous pottery;Arita pottery.

What is Arita pottery?

The Arita pottery is a porcelain products that has been handed down for many generations in Arita,Saga prefecture.

For the product, the local stone called “Touseki” is used. The touseki is the stone that becomes clay.

History behind the Arita yaki…

According to the Japanese tourisum association in Arita area website, in 1616, The shogun Huideyoshi Toyotomi era, Korean pottery was brought to Japan.

The Korean potter “Ri Sampei” found the Kaolin clay in the Izumi mountain in Arita area, and he made the very first fine white porcelain in Japan.

The pottery he made was called “Imari ware” at the time, because it was shipped from the Imari port.

Then, when Imari ware becomes popular, there were 3 styles available.

One was called “Ko Imari” (Early Imari),which vessel was thick with rough design and they only used blue and white.

Later in 1600, these Imari ware was shipped to Europe and it was traded with the same value to the gold in those days.

Another one was called “Kakiemon”,which got thin outline with red or black and it featured the design with red, green,yellow over the milky white background.

The last style is called “Kinrande”(gold painted porcelain),and with this style, you could find lots of red and gold colors to draw floral patterns and it was loved by many Europeans.

You can read more on the history on Arita ware at the Japanese tourism association in Arita website here.

How Arita yaki is made..

To make Arita yaki, here is the step to make them.

1. First, the toseki stone (kaolin stone) is broke into pieces and they will be mixed with water

2. Then, it is kneaded to make the clay

3. Then, clay is put on the potter’s wheel and a shape is created

4. After the pottery is dried, shaped pottery goes into a klin that is very hot; 800-900 degree Celsius and being baked

This step is called “suyaki”

5. After the p;ottery is baked, the draft drawing is done, and the glaze is applied and this pottery goes into the klin again set at the temperature 1,300-1,400 degree Celsius

This step is called “Hon yaki”

6, After that, paint is applied and pottery is going to be baked again at the temperature set at 700-800 degree Celsius

7. Now you have the finished Arita yaki products.

You can see how they are made in the youtube video below.

Arita Yaki (Imari yaki)

If you are a blog subscriber,please click here to watch the video.


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May 07, 2014 | 0 | Japan

Japanese unique painting; Ukiyoe (Woodblock painting)

 There are variety of methods to paint and show the beauty of the nature through the paintings in the world.

 In the previous entry titled ” Japanese Unique painting; suiboku ga (Ink brush painting) “,  I have explained how Suiboku ga is painted, and how different from modern paintings.

 In this entry, I would like to introduce one more unique painting called “U-ki-yo-e”.

 Ukiyoe is the woodblock printing (depicting the ways of the world). The print will be made using woodblock and colors , one color at a time and it is very different from the way you will paint with the paint brush.

 Interesting thing is that, when you google “Ukiyoe”, 99% of the website written in English including wikipedia page describe that Ukiyoe is “picture of the floating world”.

 I have no idea what “floating world” is, but I think all of those writers of the articles on Ukiyoe must have simply translated literally how each Chinese character means.Therefore, they have come up with strange description of the genre of the painting description

 Anyway, Ukiyoe was the popular painting genre among common people during Edo period (1600-1868); Samurai era with Tokugawa clan, Oda clan, toyotomi clan etc .

 “Ukiyo” in Japanese means “pleasure seeking”, “sensual” and this the subject of the paintings called “Ukiyoe”.

 Therefore, when you look around the Ukiyoe, you would most likely find “bi-ji-n-ga; Portraits of beauties” ,which you see a woman wearing the Kimono in various posture, or “ya-ku-sha-e; portrait of actors”,which you see kabuki actors or “-fu-u-ke-i-ga; landscape pictures”.

How Ukiyoe is made..

 Ukiyoe is made very differently and very interesting to watch the progress.

 First, you would have a woodblock. Then, painter draws a draft and a wood copy.

 Then, Carver pastes the block copy on the block, then start engraving the block and make prints using only ink.

 After that,painter decides which colors to be used where on the print.

 Then, carver carves a block per color.

 Then, printer applies paint over the carved block with brush.

 Then, printer carefully place a paper over the block and scrubs the back of the paper with baren to transfer the paint onto the paper.

 Printer prints color by color till he finishes the print.

 Here is the youtube vide I came across. It tells all about Ukiyoe

Ukiyoe making

If you are a blog subscriber,please click here to watch the video.
 

 
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Apr 06, 2014 | 0 | Japan

Japanese unique painting; Suiboku ga (Ink brush painting)

 There are variety of methods to paint and show the beauty of the nature through the paintings in the world.

 Unique to Japanese painting, there is the style of painting called “Su-i-bo-ku ga”. This style of painting was introduced by Zen monks from China and it became very popular during the Muromachi era (1337 -1573).

 The black Ink was made the same way as we use for calligrapher.

 For the Ink color shading, you would first rub the black Ink stick against Su-zu-ri,which is Ink stone.

 Then, dilute the color by adding water to it.

 After that, using the brush dipped in the ink, draw the strokes and start painting.

 They used Ink to draw the painting and used the shading of the Ink color to express the depth and variety. The objects can be human,animals, and nature (landscapes,mountains, plants,and trees).

 Later, the suibokuga started appearing on fu-su-ma (sliding door) at temples, on the scroll along with short poem and it was hung on the wall as decoration.

 Traditionally, suibokuga use only black color and white color and no other colors are used and that also makes suibokuga very unique.

 However, as years passed by, people started the colors but with the same suibokuga technique,and you can find a little bit more colorful suibokuga these days.

 Here is the youtube video to show you how one can draw the suibokuga painting.

 The video shows plum trees with red blossoms and a short tailed brush warbler.

 The painter uses shades and sizes of each blossoms to express the depth of the painting. I thought it was a beautiful painting.

Plum tree with red blossoms and a short tailed warbler; suiboku ga (Ink brush painting)

 If you are a blog subscriber,please click here to watch the video.


 
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Mar 10, 2014 | 0 | Japan

Japanese unique musical instruments;Koto

 In the previous entry titled “Japanese unique musical instrument:Shakuhachi“, I wrote about one of unique Japanese musical instrument “shakuhachi”,which is a flute made of bamboo,roughly 21 inches long, 4 holes on front 1 hole on back, with 7 joints.

 Besides shakuhachi, you will find many more unique musical instruments in Japan and,in this entry, I would like to introduce another unique musical instrument;”koto”.

 What is “Koto”?

 Koto is a Japanese musical instrument made of wood with strings. It is very similar to Chinese musical instrument called “Guzheng“.

 The Koto is 6 foot long with 13 strings over 13 movable bridges called “Ji”.

 This “Ji” is moved left to right to tune the sound.

 Pressing the strings and controling the tone with left hand, the players play the music with their right hand wearing the small picks on the fingers.

 These picks shapes are different depending on whose style you follow. One style “Ikuta” uses square picks, and Yamada style uses round picks.

 To play, traditionally, Koto was put it down on the floor and player keeled over 45 degree against Koto to play but present day, Koto is placed at chair level.

 The “Koto” sounds like “herp” and it has very beautiful sound.

 What is interesting is that, music note is very different from music notes for piano, for example.

 Each string has name and from top to bottom,right to left,the name of the string is written and you will play the Koto accordingly.

 1st string is called “ichi”,2nd string is called “ni”,3rd string is “san”, 4th string is “shi”, 5th string is “go”, 6th string is “roku”, 7th string is “shichi”, 8th string is “hachi”, 9th string is “kyu”, 10th string is “jyu”.

 Then, 11th string is “to”,12th string is “i”, 13th string is “kin”.

 So, if the koto music composer wanted you to play 1st string,music note will be written down as “ichi”. Then, you will read the note from right line to left line,top to bottom.

 When “pause”, the music note will have circle on it.

 I did not get to learn how to play the “Koto”, but my mother did and I remember I saw big, tall musical instrument “Koto” was placed in our music room at my grandmother’s house as a kid.

 History behind “Koto”.

 According to wikipedia, Koto was introduced to Japan by China around 7th-8th century (Nara period).

 The “Koto” was often played at the court.

 In about 17th-18th century, 17 strings bass Koto was invented by  Michio Miyagi.

 Here is the youtube video where you can hear the sound of “Koto”

“Koto”-Traditional Japanese musical instrument

  If you are a blog subscriber,please click here to watch the video.

 Here is the 17 string Bass Koto youtube music. You can see the difference in the sound.

17 string bass “koto”

  If you are a blog subscriber,please click here to watch the video.

 What do you think of “Koto”- Traditional Japanese unique musical instrument?


 
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Feb 09, 2014 | 0 | Japan

Japanese unique musical instruments;Shakuhachi

 If you live in Japan for a while, you would start noticing you see some unique music instruments you would not see in the states.

 Some of the musical instruments was introduced from China just like some Japanese dish and it was adapted to Japanese culture.

 One of the unique musical instrument you see is called “sha-ku-ha-chi”.

 It is a flute made of bamboo,roughly 21 inches long, 4 holes on front 1 hole on back, with 7 joints.

 According to wikipedia, the sha-ku-ha-chi was introduced around 8th century, and it is a Japanese music instrument with long history behind it. You can see the picture of Sha-ku-ha-chi on the wikipedia page.

 I came across the very educational youtube video on sha-ku-hachi and some other musical instruments made of bamboo,and I would like to share it with you.

 Beside sha-ku-ha-chi, there is an instrument called “sho”. According to Japanlogy, the Sho is made by bundling  17 bamboo pipes,and its shape represents Phoenix.

 Another one is “Hichiriki”,which is approx. 7″ long, and has 7 holes on the front,2 holes on the back. This is rather tiny instrument.

 The Japanology video points out good one. As they say, the instrument “Hi-chi-ri-ki” and “Sho” are often used for wedding ceremony.

Musical instrument:sha-ku-hachi

 If you are a blog subscriber,please click here to watch the video.

 When I was at elementary school up to junior high school, we did not get to learn Sha-ku-ha-chi but we did learn the other Japanese flute called “Recorder“,which has 2 types;soprano or alto. At most elementary school, we learn the music with soprano recorder.

 Here is the youtube video of what appeared to be elementary school students performing “Recorder” in front of  other students. I think they play very good

Recorder performance by elementary school students

If you are a blog subscriber,please click here to watch the video.

 In Japan, there are a few occasions where kids parents come see the class at school.It can be science,it can be music, it can be math.. It depends. We call the event “Jyu-gyo-u San-kan”.

 I remember each time, I got super nervous knowing my mother is watching me from the back when my teacher called my name to speak up.

 When it comes to music, at our elementary school at least, every year, we had music performance event around February or March. Each grader practice song to perform in front of other graders plus their parents. Usually one student in the each grade gets appointed to play the piano for the rest of the students.

 From 1st grade through 6th grade, I was the piano player for others. I remember how much I got nervous especially when I felt like my fingers not moving as smooth as it would like to due to cold temperature.

 I think it is a good idea to give kids opportunities to learn more about our own culture as well.


 
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Jan 12, 2014 | 0 | Japan

Yassy’s Japan Trip Diary November 2012; Da-n-go (sweet Japanese dumpling) recipes

 In the previous entry titled “Yassy’s Japan Trip Diary November 2012;Day 6 Part 1“, I wrote about Hattasan Soneiji temple is famous for “Yaku-yoke-dan-go”.

 It is because the temple provide them to get rid of bad luck by eating them.

 “Ya-ku”
means “evil/bad luck” in Japanese. “Yo-ke” means “to avoid”. Thus, the
dango is to get rid of/ avoid bad luck coming in your way.

 You can see the “Yakuyoke dango picture” at Hattasan soneiji temple’s official website here. It is in Japanese but, you can browse through the pictures there.

 According to the Hattasan soneiji temple official website, the origin of the Yakuyoke dango’s story goes..

 In
Edo era, every new year, there was a custom to bring food that are
known for the region to the shogunate to wish for the better harvest for
the next year.

 In 1854;13th Shogun Tokugawa  Iesada era, this
area’s famous dango was given to the shogunate, and he named the dango
“spitted dumplings”.

 Since then, for more than 150 years, the
kushi dango was loved by temple visitors very much and they are now
known as “Yakuyoke dango”.

  The dango is another kind of sweet Japanese desert
dumpling made from mochiko (rice flour). You can often find soy basted
round shaped dango at festivals called “Mitarashi dango”.  Also you will
find them at the historic place such as shrine,temple, and castle.

 My husband loves those sweet teriyaki sauce basted dango from castles,temples,and shrines or at the festivals.

 In this entry, I thought I would share the recipe for dango;sweet Japanese damplings, basted with sweet teriyaki sauce and Dango with sweet azuki beans paste.

 I find that the local grocery store sells Mo-chi-ko (mo-chi ko;very fine white colored sweet rice flour) and the one I got is from Koda farms. You can look for white box with blue star on it. Here is the picture of the box.

 You maybe familiar with Mo-chi;rice cake but the kind of rice used for mo-chi (rice cake) is different. They are made from glutinous sweet rice, and they are much more stickier and taste different from regular white rice.

 If you did not find Mo-chi-ko at local grocery store, try look for it at Asian stores. They would be more likely carrying them.
 
 Here is m y version of Dango with sweet teriyaki sauce called “Mitarashi Dango”.

 Usually,mitarashi dango is sold stuck in wooden skewers,but I did not use skewers and simply coated with the sauce.

Mitarashi Dango with sweet teriyaki sauce..

Ingredients for dango (dumplings);

9 oz wt Mochiko
3/4C plus 2.5 tsp water

Ingredients for sweet teriyaki sauce for dango;

2 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs white sugar
3 fl oz water
1 tsp honey
1 tbs corn starch



<Sweet teriyaki sauce for dango dumplings>

1. In the sauce pan, add 2 tbs soy sauce, 2 tbs white sugar, 3 fl oz water, 1 tsp honey
1 tbs corn starch
and mix well

2. Heat the sauce to dissolve sugar into the sauce. Keep stiring till it gets thicker consistency and turn the heat off and set it aside

<dango dumplings>

1. In the bowl, add 9 oz wt Mochiko, add 3/4C plus 2.5 tsp water and mix well

2. Boil at least 3-4 Cups worth of water in the wide mouth pan and let it come to boil

3. Once boiled, start rolling the flour-water mixture into ball and drop them into boiling water one by one

** If you wet your hands now and then to roll the floue-water mixture on your palm, it is easier to roll them into round ball.

4. When dumpling came float to the top, scoop it up,drain water and put those cooked dumplings into the sauce pan with sweet teriyaki sauce to coat the dumplings

5. Serve

Makes; 21 dango dumplings


Enjoy!

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Dec 15, 2013 | 0 | Japan

Traditional Japanese storytelling:Manzai (Traditional Japanese stand up Comedy)

 In the previous entry titled ” Traditional Japanese storytelling “Kodan”“, I wrote that in Japan, we call the place where  comedians perform “Yo-se”.

 “Yo-se” literally means “a place where people gather together” in Japanese.

 Yo-se
usually feature variety of comedy shows such as “ko-dan”, “Ra-ku-go”,
“ro-kyo-ku”, and you have learned what “Kodan” is,how “kodan” performers
perform on the stage.

 In the previous entry titled “Traditional Japanese storytelling “Rakugo“, I wrote what “Rakugo” is, how they are performed,and introduced some video clips so you can experience “Rakugo” in English.

 In the previous entry titled”Kimono Part III;Kimono for jobs“,
I wrote that what types of jobs you get to see people wearing Kimono
for jobs. One of them was Rakugo performers.

 In this entry, I would like to write about “Manzai”.

What is “Manzai”?

 Manzai is traditional Japanese stand up comedy, often performed with 2 comedians.

 The performers is called “ma-n-za-i-shi” in Japanese.

 Between the two performers, they have role for each.

 One performer role is to “tsukkomi”, which points out things what other performers said funny things;be straight.

 The other performer role is to “boke”, which performers say the silly,funny things;be fool.

 Usually along the storyline, each trade the jokes that makes audience laugh out loud.

 The performance speed is super fast and it is full of improvisation. All those jokes coming in from one another and, it never bores you

 The mecca for movie industries in the states is Los Angels,CA.

 The mecca for stand up comedy “Manzai” in Japan is Osaka,which is located in western part of Japan in the main island.

 The large agency for Manzai is located in the prefecture.

 According to wikipedia, the stand up comedy “Manzai” in Japan date back to Heian period (794 -1185),and it has long history behind them.

 Recently,I came across the Manzai video with English subtitles.So, I thought it is good to share here to show you how fast they speak, how stand up comedy in Japan works. You can see that there is a difference between the regular stand up comedy here in the state and Japan.

 “Non style” is group name.

Non Style Manzai with English subtitles…

 If you are a blog subscriber, please click here to watch the clip.

 What did you think of traditional Japanese stand up comedy;”Manzai”?

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Dec 08, 2013 | 0 | Japan

Yassy’s Japan Trip Diary November 2012; Good luck animals in Japan Part 2

 In the previous entry titled “Yassy’s Japan Trip Diary;November 2012;Good luck animals in Japan“, I wrote that living in the
states, I now realize that our culture back home has great number of
superstition especially based around animals than I can find in the
states.

 Then, I wrote about what beckoning cats,Kaeru (frog),Fukurou (Owl),Tanuki(Racoon dog ),Kitsune (fox),Tsuru (Crane), Kame (turtle),and Usagi (rabbit).

 Besides them, there are a lot more that means “good luck” in Japan.

Kasuga Taisha shrine (one of national treasures)..

 Ten-tou-mushi (ladybug) is also one of animals that brings luck to you in Japan. In the case of ladybug, it seems that they are considered “good luck” in many parts of the the world.

 For example, in Europe, when you find ladybug lands on you, it means it brings luck to you. In Australia, if you ask ladybug, they will bring good weather,and in Sweden, when ladybug land on lady’s hand, it means that the lady the ladybug landed on will marry soon etc..

 In Japan, since ladybug climbs up the stem of flowers;from bottom to top, the ladybug is called “Ten-tou-mushi”. “Ten” mean “heaven”, “to-u” means “road”, and “mu-shi” means “bug”.

 The ladybug is considered good luck animals and you will find many fashion accessory with ladybug in Japan.

 Another one is pig,which is called “bu-ta” in Japan. Bu-ta is said to bring wealth, prosperity every new year,and considered one of “good luck animals” .

 I wonder we see many piggy bank with pig because of pig is being considered as the animal that brings wealth and prosperity.

 Another one is dragonfly.

 It is said that when emperor went for hunting, he got stung by a horsefly around year 456. But then, a dragonfly swooped up the horsefly and flied away.

 Since then, dragonfly is called strong insect, good luck insect and the drawing of dragonfly often used on armors, and shield.

 Also,since dragonfly does not fly backward but only forward, they are thought to be a brave insect that brings winning.

 Believe it or not, snake, especially white snake is considered to be good luck animals in Japan because the white snake is the symbol of god of money.

 At this moment these are things that come to my mind.

 What animals considered to be a good luck animals in your country?

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Nov 17, 2013 | 0 | Japan

Yassy’s Japan Trip Diary November 2012; Good luck animals in Japan Part 1

 In the previous entry titled “Yassy’s Japan trip diary November 2012;Day 6 Part 8“,I wrote about animals considered to be lucky charms in Japan.

 Living in the states, I now realize that our culture back home has great number of superstition especially based around animals than I can find in the states.

 I have written about “Maneki Neko (Beckoning cat) before;If
you visit Japanese business such as restaurants, at the cashier
counter, you would see a white cat ornament with red ears that can move
one of his/her front paw front to back or the one posture is set to one
raised front paw with palm side facing toward you.

 This cat ornament is  called “Maneki Neko”. “Maneki” means to invite in Japanese, and “Neko” means cat. The Maneki neko usually made with ceramic.

 The Maneki neko is a lucky charm for good luck and for good business.
Some people say that if the cat had left paw raised, it is for inviting
customers,and with right paw raised for fortune/money/good business, but
I am not certain whether side of raised paw really means something.

My grandmother’s handmade Owl and frog ornaments..

 Another one is frog. Frog
is called “ka-e-ru” in Japanese and it has the same pronunciation to
mean “return”. It was for the safe return to home and, we had the frog
thing long time.Frog is also the lucky symbol in Japan.

 Some people keeps tiny frog ornament in their wallet hoping to have money and fortune to “return” to them.

 Owl is also considered to be a good luck animals in Japan.Again in Japanese, “owl” is called “fu-ku-ro-u”.

 “Fu” in Japanese means “not”. “Ku-ro-u” means “hardship” in Japanese.So, if you translate the word as it is, it means “no hardship”,which leads to mean life would not have hardship in the way.

 The” fu-ku-ro-u” can be written as in “fu-ku” means “luck”,” ro-u”  means “coming” and it can also means “bring the luck to you”.

 If you look around gift shops,you would find many owl items because they are considered to be one of good luck birds.

 “Ta-nu-ki” (Racoon dog) and “Ki-tsu-ne” are both considered to be the animals that are very good at transforming themselves into human and trick people. However, they always forget to hide the tail in many Japanese folklore stories.

 On its own, it sounds like they are not good luck animals, but they are good luck animals as well.

 Take a look at the picture below.It is the picture taken at Toyokawa Inari shrine in Toyokawa city in Aichi prefecture.

 Inari is god of agriculture,rice,fertility and industry and often times, near to-ri-i (gate), you find fox statues.

 The reason why fox statues are always seen at shrins is that, it is said that foxes eats mice that eats rice and, shrine regarded fox as “protector/god of rice”.

 Therefore, fox is considered to be good luck at shrines,so you can find many fox statues there.

Fox statues in Toyokawa Inari shrine,Toyokawa city in Achi prefecture..

 Ta-nu-ki (Racoon dog) is good luck for money. You would find Tanuki statute most likely at shops just like beckoning cats.

 Also,you would notice that most often, ta-nu-ki is wearing hat.The hat symbolize protection from bad luck/troubles.

 Ta-nu-ki statue also has distinctive big eyes.It is to be able to see things well,which leads to make a better decision. The sake bottle which we call “to-kku-ri” can mean acquire “to-ku” (virtue) and it is good luck.

 The bank book means “to trust customers” and it protects stores.

 The big belly means “to be calm”,and big tail means “to achieve the work steadily”.

 In
Japan, crane is believed to be a lucky bird that brings luck to you
and, also, there is an old saying that goes “Tsu-ru wa se-n ne-n, Ka-me
wa ma-n ne-n” ; Crane is 1,000 years, turtle is 10,000years, and they
are the symbols for the longevity.

 
As for u-sa-gi (rabbit), when I was a kid, it was Jyu-go-ya night (full moon in the fall) and I remember that my father asked me to tell him what I see in the moon.

 He said that many people says rabbits are making Mo-chi (rice cakes) in the Jyu-go-ya night because of the mark you see on the Moon at the day.

 There is a folkrore about rabbit and Jyu-go-ya moon in Japan.

 The Jyu-go-ya moon and rabbit story goes..

 Once upon a time,there were fox (ki-tsu-ne), Monkey (Sa-ru) ,and a rabbit.

 One day, 3 animals met an old lady who seemed to be very tired.

 The old lady said “Would you give me some food?”

 Therefore, the 3 animals went for hunting for the food for the old lady.The monkey climbed up the tree,picked some fruits and gave them to the lady.The racoon dog (Ta-nu-ki) went to temples and stole the offering and gave those to the lady.

 No matter how hard rabbit tried, he could not find anything to bring back home for the old lady.

 After a while, rabbit decided to back to the home,telling the others to make fire and go hunting for the food again and, wait for his return and the rabbit left the home again.

 Fox and monkey made fire and waited for the rabbit but they thought rabbit was telling a lie because they did not bring anything back to home then.

 Rabbit said “I do not have ability to hunt for food.Please eat me”, and jumped into the fire and offered himself for the old lady.

 The old lady that visited the animals’ house was god “te-i-sha-ku-te-n” and,she wanted to test the 3 animals.

 Te-i-sha-ku-ten transformed herself into real self and pitied for the rabbit.

 She then let the rabbit raised from the dead, and let him be in the Moon to be a good model for others.

 The reason why many are told that rabbit is making mo-chi (rice cake) in the moon is because rabbit is making mo-chi for the tired old lady he has met to give food.

 Jyu-go-ya Moon (full moon in the fall) is the day to cerebrate great harvest and some believes that the mo-chi is probably to cerebrate the good harvest of rice.

 Rabbit is related with Moon,which we call “tsu-ki” that can also mean “luck” that way.

 Therefore, rabbit is considered to bring good luck to you.

 Also, rabbit has short front legs,long hind legs and hops ahead,which lead to mean “to act positively”. Then,their long ears is said to collect good lucks, and also they are known for good fertility luck..

 There are many more to tell about animals with good luck charms.

 Stay tuned.


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Nov 03, 2013 | 0 | Japan