Asagao, Japanese Morning Glory

One of the most popular summer flowers in Japan is Asagao,  the Japanese morning glory. We write it with the characters “morning” and “face.” Just like in English, it was…


Tanabata, the Star Festival

Every July 7th is the Star Festival, called “Tanabata” in Japan. The original story came from China and arrived in Japan during the Nara era (710 – 794).  The story…

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How to Make a Twofold Ken-tsumami

Last time, we used a twofold Maru-tsumami to make a Japanese plum flower. Today, I’ll show you how to make a twofold Ken-tsumami. Actually, I think this is the easier…

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“Risshun,” The First Day of Spring

Japan now uses the 12 month Gregorian calendar like the West, but that doesn’t mean our older, more traditional calendars aren’t still extremely important. We inherited the Chinese lunar calendar…

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Tsubaki – Japanese Camellia-

The “tsubaki” is the Japanese camellia. It is an ancient flower mentioned in Japan’s oldest collections of poems, “The Anthology of Myriad Leaves,” about 1250 years ago. One facet of…

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Seasonal events in Japan

Tokyo Olympics 2020 Emblems

Did you notice the emblems from the Tokyo Olympics 2020? The deep blue and white checkered pattern was called “harmonized chequers emblems.” It appears to be a very modern design,…

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Hanabi, Fireworks

Summer is here, and one of the most important things about summer in Japan is hanabi! Hanabi means “fireworks” in Japanese. It is written using the characters for “flower” and…

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The Coming-of-Age Day Ceremony

The second Monday in January is Coming-of-Age Day in Japan. Ceremonies are held in each city to celebrate people turning 20 years old. In Japan, people are legally considered adults…

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Other Japanese crafts


A yukata is a thin kimono that Japanese wear for summer festivals and events. Nowadays, it has also become a kind of special summer fashion.  It began as a garment…

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Mizuhiki Crafts

“Mizuhiki” is a thin cord made from starched Japanese paper. The starch makes them stiffer, but still bendable enough to fold and tie for decorations. Similar to how gifts are…

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