Japan - Discover the Land of Geishas, Ikebana and Origami
Japan is a country located in East Asia. It is an archipelago consisting of 6,852 islands, the largest of which are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku.
It is bounded on the north by the Sea of Okhotsk and the Kuril Islands, on the south by East China Sea, on the east by the North Pacific Ocean, and on the west by Russia, South Korea, North Korea, and China.
Japan is called the Land of the Rising Sun because its name when written in Japanese characters means "sun-origin". The term nihon used in nihonjin (Japanese) and nihonggo (Japanese language) also means sun-origin.
Japan is considered a major economic power and is the 3rd largest economy in the world exerting its influence on international trade and economics.
Japanese prefectures are the equivalent of Canadian and Philippine provinces, and the US states.
Japan has 47 prefectures which are divided into cities and towns and is headed by a governor who is elected by the people.
Some of the more famous prefectures are:
Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Kyoto, Okinawa, Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, and Fukushima, where the most destructive tsunami in Japan happened in 2011.
The rest of the prefectures are: Hokkaido, Iwata, Nagano, Niigata, Akita, Gifu, Aomori, Yumagata, Kagoshima, Hyogo, Shizuoka, Miyagi, Kochi, Okayama, Kumamoto, Shimane, Miyazaki, Tochigi, Gunma, Yamaguchi, Ibaraki, Oita, Mie, Ehime, Chiba, Aichi, Wahayama, Kyoto, Yamamashi, Iwate, Kanagawa, Fukui, Ishikawa, Nara, Shiga, Tottori, Tokushima, Saga, Kagawa.
Symbols of Japanese culture
I have always been fascinated with the uniqueness and sophistication of the Japanese culture which has been distinctly defined through their language, their extremely elegant and intricate national costume, their delicious and uniquely prepared food, their literature, music, fashion, sports, ikebana, origami, geisha, bushido, and much more.
Did you know that...
- Japan is the 10th largest nation in terms of population size?
- The Greater Metropolitan Tokyo Area is the largest metropolitan area in the word?
- It has the highest female life expectancy in the world?
- It has the lowest infant mortality rate in the world?
You will know right away that a particular menu is Japanese based on the food preparation and presentation. Japanese food is quite distinct in the manner the recipes are cooked and presented. Their food preparation is truly unique symbolizing their culture and way of life.
The Kimono is Japan's traditional clothing which means a "thing to wear'. The are usually made of silk - brocade silk, satin weaver and crepe silk.
They are traditionally created and decorated by hand making the finished product so expensive. Even the ones produced by machines would require a lot of work by hand.
The Geisha is another important symbol of Japanese culture. The literal English translation of geisha is "performing artist" or simply "artist'.
She is a traditional entertainer who acts as hostess by performing traditional Japanese dances and classical music for a particular audience.
In the 1800s, the geisha style and appearance became so popular that a lot of Japanese women mimicked their style and look. Various ranks and classification of geishas emerged. Some of these geishas had sex with their customers and some of them merely entertained with dances, songs and other forms of entertainment.
In Japan prostitution was legal until the 1900s and some of the geishas practiced them which became popular all over Japan.
The geisha way of life was founded mainly to promote independence among Japanese women and to teach them how to be financially independent.
Ikebana is the Japanese way of arranging flowers. It literally means "the art of flower arrangement" or "making flowers alive".
Origami is an elaborate way of folding paper into various objects.
Have you been to Japan
Lately in the news, there has been a proposal to allow Filipinos, Indonesians and Vietnamese to travel to Japan without a visa but that is just still a proposal as there need to be consultations between Japan and the countries identified to make this official according to the Japanese News Agency, Kyodo.
© 2013 Zee Mercado