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Please note: This is a machine translated version. The original article is in German and can be accessed .

The Shinto University

January 26th, 2016 | Tagged , | 3 Comments | 672 reads

Every morning I walk past this vast display of a university on the platform: “Become a Japanese, which reflects the heart of the country!” Now although I am long enough in Japan, order not to find too exceptional, still enough German, to view with a German eye. My mind's eye is this notice then sets in Germany – in German – before. “Complete the course for Germans at the Heinrich-the-squinters University”. Madness. In the small print are still a few details – such as the importance of learning the traditional Japanese way of sitting, called Sit seiza, or the correct handling of chopsticks”.

Anzeige der Kokugakuin-Universität

Display of Kokugakuin University

The ad promotes the Kokugakuin Kokugakuin Universität (on Wikipedia Is there even a German contribution), and you deliberately chose the old characters for the name (the spelling is used today 国 学院 大学). The university has at least approximately 11,000 Students and was founded 1920. The establishment is known for its proximity to the Shinto, because here you can be trained to Shinto priests.

The display is certainly an eye-catcher, she stabs it appears from the usual in Japan images of all too perfect people in advertising. On the other hand I can live so long in Japan – on these heavily nationalistic style I'll never get used to me quite. But here just different standards apply.

Interestingly at the Kokugakuin University is the Shinto Encyclopedia, at which one has worked a few decades. There is even a fully public English version here, in which it is worthwhile, poke around a bit.


10 überflüssige japanische Traditionen

August 7th, 2015 | Tagged | 6 Comments | 1095 reads

Yahoo! Japan veröffentlichte in dieser Woche eine kleine Studie, bei der 200 20-years, arbeitende Männer und Frauen gefragt wurden, welche japanischen Traditionen ihrer Meinung nach abgeschafft gehörten¹. Mehrere Antworten waren möglich. Das Resultat birgt keine sonderlichen Überraschungen für jemanden, der diese “Traditions” knows. In der Tat kann man die Liste sehr gut nachvollziehen:

  1. 目上の人へのお酌 meue no hito he oshaku – Ranghöheren Alkohol eingiessen müssen. Mit dieser Tradition konnte ich mich auch noch nie so recht anfreunden. Soll doch jeder so trinken, wie er oder sie möchte!
  2. 飲み会の余興 nomikai no yokyō – der Zwang, beim gemeinsamen Trinken irgendwelche Spielchen machen zu müssen. Oh ja. Das ist mein Favorit. Das verleitet zum Absagen.
  3. 義理チョコ giri choko – der Zwang, zum Valentinstag Männern Schokolade schenken zu müssen – and at “White Day” die Retourkutsche. Wer auch immer auf die Idee kam…
  4. 冠婚葬祭のお返し kankonsōsai no okaeshi Bei Hochzeiten und anderen Feierlichkeiten, aber auch bei Beerdigungen, Krankenhausbesuchen usw. wird Geld gegeben. Die Tradition besagt jedoch, dass man in etwa ein Drittel später in irgendeiner Form wieder zurückgeben muss.
  5. 飲み会などの二次会 nomikai nado no nijikai – der zweite Gang nach einem Zechgelage. Das kann ganz lustig sein, wenn man mit den richtigen Leuten unterwegs ist, aber wenn es zur Pflicht wird, ist das in der Tat lästig.
  6. 結婚式のご祝儀 kekkonshiki no goshukugi – Wird man von einem Freund zur Hochzeit eingeladen, sollte man normalerweise 200 Euro und mehr als Geldgeschenk geben. Will hot, Hochzeitseinladungen gehen richtig ins Geld – das ist umso ärgerlicher, wenn man selbst nicht verheiratet ist.
  7. 職場へのお土産 shokuba no omiyage – das Pflichtmitbringsel für die Kollegen aus dem Urlaub. Eigentlich keine schlechte Sache, aber manche nennen es auch “Schlechtes-Gewissen-Mitbringsel”, weil die Kollegen arbeiten mussten, während man sich amüsierte. In dem Licht betrachtet ist das in der Tat nicht schön.
  8. お中元・お歳暮 ochūgen / oseibo – kleine Geschenke an Vorgesetzte, Mäzene, usw. im Sommer und über Neujahr. Auch das geht schnell ins Geld.
  9. 「大安」「仏滅」など taian, butsumetsu nado – alle Tage gehören zu einer von sechs Kategorien – wobei es Regeln dafür gibt, welche Art Tag gut für was ist (Hochzeiten usw.). Dementsprechend halten natürlich alle am idealen Tag Hochzeiten ab usw.
  10. 故人に戒名 kojin ni kaimyō – Verstorbenen einen neuen Namen ausstellen. Kommt aus dem Buddhismus und bedeutet, dass man Verstorbenen, so sie ein ordentliches Leben führten, einen neuen Namen ausstellt. Den schreibt ein Mönch auf eine Tafel, und das kostet mal eben knapp 100 Euro. Streng genommen ist das eigentlich ein Brauch für buddhistische Mönche, aber die Tempel verdienen damit und mit vielen anderen Traditionen Unmengen an Geld.

Als Ausländer sollte man es sich natürlich gut überlegen, ob man eine Tradition im Gastland kritisiert oder nicht. In diesem Falle kann man das aber, da die meisten Japaner (200 Befragte stellen natürlich keine repräsentative Menge dar, aber man kann ziemlich sicher sein, dass das Ergebnis selbst bei 2 Millionen Befragten ähnlich ist) selbst regelmässig ob dieser gesellschaftlichen Zwänge stöhnen.

¹ See here


Novum: Imperial Palace is open. However…

December 18th, 2013 | Tagged , | 5 Comments | 6266 reads

Nijūbashi - Die Doppelbrücke - einer der Eingänge zum Kaiserpalast

Nijūbashi – The double bridge – one of the entrances to the Imperial Palace

… there are a lot of fine print to. The 宫内 庁 kunaichō – Imperial Household Agency announced today, that on the occasion of 80. Birthday of the Emperor in the next year, some areas of the Imperial Palace to the public should be made available. Such a thing has never been more – it is a sensation. Finally, there is a always been heavily protected area in the midst of one of the largest cities in the world. At the 24. and 25. May and on a Saturday and a Sunday in early October 2014 it is three groups on the day be possible, otherwise be allowed to enter inaccessible areas in groups. Maximum 50 People should be able to belong to a group. So that makes 50 times 3 times 4 Days = 600 Visitor. And to be selected by lot. If I do not sleep through it, I will also take care of a lot, for the opportunity I will not miss me.

By members of the imperial family, Except members of the said imperial Hofamtes and high-ranking diplomats and dignitaries, no one is allowed to enter the facility. Only a very small area is open to the public – and then only twice a year, at the 23. December (Imperial birthday) and at 2. January for New Year's speech.
Of course, not all areas will be made publicly – but the splendid lobby 正殿 松 の 間 Seiden Matsu no Ma and the halls 豊明殿 Hōmeiden and 長和殿 Chōwaden to be visible. The most important sanctuaries 皇 霊 殿 Kōreiden (Ancestral hall), 神殿 Shinden (Gods Hall) and 贤 所 Kashiko-dokoro (Place of reverence) will as always remain ever closed.

More about Palace opening there here in English and because in Japanese.


753 Reloaded

November 18th, 2013 | Tagged , , | 8 Comments | 8327 reads

In Japan, there were times times, where great distress prevailed and it was not self-evident, that children more than the first two, see three Lenze. This is thankfully nowadays different, but against this backdrop, a tradition has saved up to the present day: Das 七五三 shichigosan (7-5-3) – a ritual, which is committed, when boys 5 Be years old or the girl 3, and then later again 7 Years old. So at least the rule of thumb, because that can vary by region. In some regions and families according to the boys make the ritual three times by.

Since it all is an enjoyable thing in all, this is normally handled in a Shinto shrine and not in a Buddhist temple. This is about as: One speaks in front of the Shrine (or just call), if it is November and soon reached the appropriate age children – will reach or in the near future. The priest takes the “Reservation” contrary to, and says, what to bring. Very important: A small mite, as “o-kimochi”, also als Geste. In the case of our tribe shrine are the, what a nice coincidence, 10,000 Yen, Also key 80 Euro. Pro Child wohlgemerkt. And yesterday we had those two, the “due” were. For the ceremony, the children are packed pretty generally – in kimono or dress or suit, according as, which prefer the parents or grandparents. Now that is the kimono of course, such a thing: If you want a beautiful kimono, costs of several thousand euros, and since the little ones are grown out in zero-comma-nothing (and lacking other occasions, to wear the kimono – on the playground, it would certainly cause a mild irritation), you should consider the matter well. One can for example borrow a kimono, and also costs most of the 10,000 Yen. With us on Sunday so it was as far as, and we were lucky: 18 Degree, Sun – perfect weather. Dazu quengelige, but posh dressed children, which can be reluctant to take pictures. 30 Minutes later, the thing was over, and when I think, that this is the last 753 was for my daughter, I'm almost a little sentimental. A fortiori, if I Photo by me 753 before 4 Look at years – see below.

More over I would like to 7-5-3 not leave now, because I did four years ago in this article done.

753 vor 4 Jahren...

753 before 4 Years…



... und 2013, dieses Mal mit Verstärkung

… and 2013, this time with reinforcement


Kappabashi – the kitchen paradise

January 28th, 2013 | Tagged , | 6 Comments | 1483 reads

Südlicher Eingang zur Kappabashi-Passage

Southern entrance to Kappabashi Passage

The beauty of Tokyo is, that the specialization of individual districts on specific services or products is still strong. Previously, there was also in the German cities – but usually only announce them the place names, whereupon the district specialized.

The best known example is probably in Japan Akihabara. After the Second World War here growled the black market, where everything somehow need- or. actionable sold. This was a collection of shops, the electrics- and electronic components and products for sale. But there are many more:

・Suidōbashi (between Iidabashi and Ochanomizu) is specialized in printing and publishing products
· Jimbocho (north of the Imperial Palace) specializes in bookstores
· Asakusadōri (Ueno, Inaricho) on Butsudan (Home altars) specialized
· Tsukiji specializes in fish shops
· Shinjuku 2chōme is on… We let the

There would also Kappabashi between Ueno and Tokyo Sky Tree: Here it specializes in all, what is in the kitchen and gastronomy needs. Of Stäbchenablageteilchen (Hashioki) up to giant pots, in the loose one, two children can fit, there is everything, but really to buy anything. This includes of course also stores, specializing for example in Japanese or Japanese ceramic knives. Other stores specialize in everything, what you need as a coffee lover so – For example, who wants to roast his own coffee, find just the right thing.


Knife Shop

Voted, for tourists, are the shops of ユニオン Union – there are excellent knives and 田 窑 Dengama – a shop for pottery from different regions of Japan, To most reasonable prices, and みくら Mikura, a shop, the experts only on chopsticks. Union is located on a street corner in about the middle of the mall-Kappabashi, Dengama at the southern end (compared to the department store with the giant cooking on the roof) Mikura and at the northern end of Kappabashi.

A visit to Kappabashi can however be equated with Ikea: You will definitely buy something – even if you do not know until then, that you really need it. As long as you do not repent later…



August 24th, 2012 | Tagged , | 7 Comments | 933 reads

The Kyūshū-To be continued later. Today a few lines to a modern, but very important tradition in Japan. From current cause. Because today hosted the finals of the high school baseball championships in Japan. I write deliberately High School, because the Japanese senior high school with similar or only a very limited, translate in German business language can.

This final will has always been (more precisely since 1915) in a baseball stadium 甲子 园 Koshien instead of. That in turn is a district of 西宫 Nishinomiya, located between Kobe and Osaka. And the name is still in Japan for the most popular sport in the country (although football in recent years seems to catch up) and – for dreams. Baseball is very popular as a school sport, and who makes it to Koshien, is already in hero. Who wins there with his team, is the generic hero – and for some players, the finals there also opens the door to professional baseball. No wonder, take part in the competition for more than 4’000 Schools nationwide participate. And one has to say: The atmosphere in the stadium is huge – It is drummed, sung, made, done. If we know anything about football, even louder and more organized.

Now, it is interesting, the mood or to see. to hear (I once passed the stadium, there as a semi-final took place). It is also fairly interesting, the summary of the game on television. However: Even after all these years in the baseball nation of Japan I can not personally get at the Sports. And I firmly still, the only reason why fans make so much mood, because there is nothing else to do during the game. The rules of baseball is, now so, initially hard to digest. The focus: A thrower, a guy with a baseball bat and a catcher. Litter. Not taken. Captured. Litter. Not taken, captured… Gääääähn. OUT! Next Pfriemel. Litter. Oh, made! Ball flies. Suddenly it looks like on the field like a beehive. Etc.. There is no time limit – this can go on forever.

But good – one can safely describe as a baseball and football in this way. And in baseball, there are – normally – a winner, in football, however, often do not. And so I will Koshien Baseball and remain a mystery. The finalists this year were a high school in Osaka (also Lokalmatadoren) and one high school from Aomori in the north. Ōsaka gewann 3:0. Maximum ball speed of the best thrower: 153 km / h. Thrown by hand, mind you!

Below is a video montage from Koshien 2011, the meaning and the feelings summarizes quite well:


2012 – a nightmare when it comes to holidays

November 24th, 2011 | Tagged , | 6 Comments | 1623 reads

The constellation, in the 2012 plays on Japanese workers, thank God there are only about every 30 Years. Unfortunately, there is next year so far. And then again only in 2040.

The Japanese holidays – There are two different types. The traditional holidays such as New Year's, as well as “artificial” Holidays such as the Day of the Sea, for example,. The latter are often not accurate to date, but a system such as “the third Monday in September”. Fortunately, we introduced in Japan several years ago but a clever scheme: If a holiday falls on a Sunday, the following Monday a public holiday. If the day falls on a Saturday, however,, one simply has bad luck. And as this 2012 four times the case is, you have to do it with just a bad year.

An overview of the holidays 2012 – gray stands for Holidays, the 2012 fall on a weekend:

1. January New Year's Day (gantan) New Year Sunday
2. January Substitute holiday (furikae kyūjitsu) Substitute holiday Monday
9. January Coming-of-Age Day (Seijin no hi) Day of adult Always on 2. Monday in January
11. February The date of the founding remember の (Kenkoku Kinen no hi) National Foundation Day Saturday
20. March Vernal Equinox の (shunbun no hi) Spring Day- and equinox Tuesday
29. April Showa Day (Shōwa no hi) Showa-Tag (prior Emperor) Sunday
30. April Substitute holiday (furikae kyūjitsu) Substitute holiday Monday
3. More Constitution Day (kempo kinenbi) Constitution Day Thursday
4. More Greenery Day (midori no hi) Greenery Day Friday
5. More Children's Day (kodomo no hi) Children's Day Saturday
16. July Marine Day (umi no hi) Day of the Sea Always on 3. Monday in July
17. September The respect for the elderly の (keirō no hi) Day of respect for old people Always on 3. Montag im September
22. September Autumnal Equinox の (shūbun no hi) Autumn Day- and equinox Saturday
8. October Sports の (taiiku no hi) Sports Day Always on 2. Monday in October
3. November The culture の (Bunka no hi) Day of culture Saturday
23. November Labor Thanksgiving Day (rōdō kansha no hi) Day of thanksgiving for the work Friday
23. December Emperor's Birthday (Tenno tanjōbi) Tennō Birthday Sunday
24. December Substitute holiday (furikae kyūjitsu) Substitute holiday Monday

In memory: And, There are many, some of them quite strange Holidays in Japan. The government wanted to force some years ago, that workers, because they have no right to take vacation or get, occasionally can rest. The sad fact is, still propagated that many companies simply ignore Holidays.


Sommer II: Losglücklos and Dance of Death

August 10th, 2011 | Tagged , | 3 Comments | 868 reads

Summer-Jumbo: Sommer-Sonderziehung

Summer-Jumbo: Summer Special Drawing

Since I've recently written about the summer already here, But I can make out of it like a small series. Part 1 was here. You get used to so over the years on all sorts of things. Christmas, for example,. Like it or not. I've made a habit, in the summer to do something, what I normally never: Get into the massive gambling. Every summer there is the Jumbo Summer サマー ジャンボ 宝くじ Takarakuji (Lottery)-Special Drawing, there is to win a whopping 亿 円 – ichi oku en, i.e. 100 Millionen Yen (about 800,000 Euro). A ticket costs 300 Yen, and how I dress every summer for Losbode front of the station and buy a few lots, Most 连番 (renban – consecutive numbers), because if I バラ (only, non-contiguous lots) buy, I would have to synchronize so many different numbers. Like every year I gain here 300 Yen – for a single final number always wins 300 Yen, was also bei 10 consecutive ones is very difficult to miss. Toll, 10% Discount! Like every year I get myself but this 300 Yen is not even from…

Stage of the local Bon-Odori

Summer – This is also the time of Bon-Odori 盆踊り (see Wikipedia: Obon) – Fixed, where the souls of the dead may not be saved if at least something to be amused. The background is really serious, but have now become temporarily Obon Festivals, where dancing is relaxed and celebrated. The Bon-Odori I mean not so much the huge celebrations, most notably the Awa-odori in Tokushima, but all the small parties in the neighborhood, often cooped up in a small backyard or a mini park-like area, with a stage along with drummers and dancers in the middle and all sorts of amusements and Freßbuden around for children. The beautiful little at these festivals is, that you know and meet many people at once, which can be seen otherwise only sporadically and individually. For children, the whole thing is very nice – not quite as spectacular as a hype, but still.

For years, I have the impression, that it lacks young drummer in our neighborhood. In order to explain: These small parties are often schlager like popular songs played by band; to someone drumming on a large Japanese drum, while all around in kimono dancers dancing slowly in front of him. Rule of thumb: The smaller the neighborhood, the older the dancers. By this I mean really old old… I can only visitors to Japan, is brave, In mid-August to go to Japan, recommend, Bon Odori festivals small search. In my travels across the country many times before I moved it to such parties, and there you can get on very well with people talking and just enjoying the summer. Together with Yakisoba and cold draft beer.

Would appreciate to the point, If someone other small, but fine-Bon Odori can recommend.


Okuizome – The first meal

May 29th, 2011 | Tagged , , | 4 Comments | 1955 reads

Many rituals and customs revolve around children in Japan. One of these is the so-called お 食い初め Okuizome – the “Beginning of the meal”, a ritual with fixed rules and
full of symbols. This ritual is done either on 100., 110. or 120. Day after the birth of the child. As luck would have it, fit it with us: Today was the 110. Day. Na dann! As for the little ones 110 Meet “out” rarely actually eat something, This ritual has more character symbol: Carry this and that but for the child's mouth, But you can not eat the stuff. As with the New Year's dinner The menu is, apart from minor regional differences, as well as fixed, and each dish has its own meaning.
The food consists of 一 汁 三 菜 Ichijū Sansai – a soup and three side dishes, The traditional composition of a meal for happy occasions. In every case to:

1. 赤 饭 Sekihan (= Red Rice), mandatory in Japan happy occasions (Sekihan is sticky rice with red beans. Red and white are for luck / Celebrations),
2. 吸い物 Suimono (sui = saugen, mono = Sache, to German: a [mostly thin] Soup)
3. Pickles (Ko-no-money, kō = smell, mono = Sache) – pickles
4. (尾頭付き) 鱼 fish – namely, a whole, from head to tail. In general, one assumes 鲷 tai – Meerbrassen.

Even a rock is one of them – must be fetched from the local shrine and then brought back to. The stone is supposed to express the desire, that the child is over
his life has always healthy teeth (The tradition is well over 1000 Years old – Even then they obviously feared dentists). Instead of a stone is
but especially in the western and southern part of Japan also like Tako (Octopus) taken, Finally, requiring a lot of bite force. The soup is enough for (Suction)by virtue of, see meaning.
Even the crockery is predetermined in this tradition: Boy is the food served on a black lacquer tray with red interior; Girls on the other hand, a solid red lacquer tray. Of these, the child is eating the 3 年长 (3 nenchō – The three oldest participants in the ceremony) administered.

The time course for Okuizome is chosen wisely: Around 100 Days after the birth of the first teeth start to grow, and the child begins to be other than just food to breast milk or milk substitute used to (in Japanese 离 乳 食 rinyūshoku – “move away – Milk – Food” called).

Photo das vom Tai (Meerbrasse) I could not help me here unfortunately: The tooth bar just looked too impressive. Roasted sea bream also appeared in many Japanese films on – because that's really the most popular, symbolic fish for ceremonial occasions.


Japanese etiquette – a mistake and its consequences

April 5th, 2010 | Tagged , | 8 Comments | 872 reads

This weekend, I experienced an example of etiquette, as it could not be better described. It all started with a farewell party for a colleague, had left the company last week. He was a few years while, has done an excellent job and we were therefore owed him a farewell party.

So it went Friday night to a slightly better izakaya (Japanese pub restaurant). At the entrance there are two large closets with hangers. So jacket, up to the bar and finished. When the ceremony was to end, it went to the closet – go there a lot, but no leather jacket. Jackets only. Nanu? Three times sought, again looked out of place – no, definitely not as. A young employee passes, asks, was los ist, because all around me is a bunch of people – my colleagues sympathetic. I declare, what happened – and he acknowledged that with “The closet is really only for large groups by reservation”. I tell him – friendly – that it was irrelevant: If that is so, you should put a sign. Furthermore, it does not change the, that one in Japan but quite striking leather jacket is gone.

Intermediary being, is also the head of the shop appeared, and who is more experienced in matters of etiquette. He pulls his colleagues aside and correct me immediately: And, there would have to really be a sign. He offers me, immediately 干事 (kanji) to call. If people arrange to meet in Japan to any festivity, is always someone to kanji determined – who has the task, to ensure, that everything is all right, each finds its way, the invoice is paid, etc.. usf.
His group was large: 35 People, also corporate event. So, the kanji called – One of the calls then for the other.

Now, I was less important at the moment the jacket – was the important keys in his jacket. I tell the owner, I'll be half an hour in the area and then look over again. I give him e-mail address and telephone number. 30 Minutes later: The kanji has a hot lead: The jacket was a subordinate of another subordinate suspicious. The latter is no longer available but. Since I do not live alone, So I'm on the way home – no jacket.
On weekends you an email and a phone call from the owner: He goes on Sunday to pick up the jacket. I tell him, that it was time to Monday – Perhaps he might even then have to send the jacket too (I really felt sorry for the owner).

Sunday night another email – He takes the jacket the next day in my company (I left him my card). The key is also there. Tonight, then showdown at the company: The owner is, with jacket. And two pockets: In one: A (pretty expensive) Japanese Sweets. In the other: Fairly expensive cheese cake (as. 20 Euro). The former: From him. The latter of the thief Jack. Add to that a dozen excuses (and a dozen excuses and reassurances from me). Japanese etiquette just… the female employees in my company was pleased at any rate on the two pockets.

The Word of the Day: Apology owabi – the apology. There are some forms of apology in Japan – “owabi” is one of the higher forms (So if you look at – at least formally – “really” excused, So really takes responsibility).

As someone his suit jacket with a black, smooth, at least 5 times heavier leather jacket confused, I do however still propagated a mystery. I would be interested, when he had noticed it and what his wife (if present) had said to…


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