April 14, 2020

How To Meet-and-Greet In The Age Of Social Distancing – A Japanese Way

My first experience with the emerging new etiquette of eliminating physical contact was at a friend’s house about two months ago. “We aren’t supposed to hug anymore. Air hug,” she said as soon as she opened the door for me. We air-hugged then air-kissed.

bow illustration 1

Within a few weeks, no-touch greetings became a rapidly growing movement around the world. People are getting creative about saying “hi” with bumping elbows and tapping feet, or adopting one of those many other unique suggestions that are popping up online, such as secret dancing and giving finger guns & a wink.

creative greetingsLeft image by mariedera    Right image  by William Kriege via Flickrr

Japanese culture has always greeted each other warmly, without touching each other, with a bow. Bowing is not only a basic formality in Japan, it is a very expressive body language that is a big part of communication and sometimes speaks more than words. We think now is the good time to introduce the idea to the world!

bow 8

A bow can take on many meanings. It is used to say hello and goodbye, express gratitude and apology, ask for a favor and convey sympathy. It is seen in the office, in class, in shops, in the street, even from people on their phones. There is a study that shows a Japanese person bows more than twenty times in a typical day!

ceremonyFamily members bowing to the guardian god to purify the building site of their house at Jichin-sai. 


weddingBride and groom bowing to their guests

Though a bow is so commonly used and its motion looks simple, there are unwritten manners and hidden nuances that quite a few people in Japan feel they are not bowing properly. (I am one of them. I tried to improve my bow in front of a mirror after my manners teacher had described my bow as “an odd-shaped cucumber.” After twenty years I still do not feel right about my bow.)

But here in the U.S. and outside of Japanese culture, we can only implement the practical and favorable aspect of bowing. We are sharing four basic rules that make your bow natural and appropriate.

bow illustration

- Don’t multitask. (Put your phone down.)
- Do it with good posture. (Arms on the side or in front.)
- Look at your shoes. (No eye contact with the other person(s) while bowing.)
- Longer, deeper bow means more respect. (But don’t overdo it!)

Knowing there basic rules, you can give and receive bows when you have a chance to visit Japan. Because most Japanese do not expect foreigners to know proper bowing rules, showing you have made that effort will earn you considerable goodwill from the locals!


10 Amazing Facts about Bonsai You Should Know

August 4, 2020

You may think growing bonsai is intimidating, and It could be, especially when being absorbed in the intricate world of bonsai practice. Most bonsai today are hobbies limited to the enjoyment of growing beautiful small trees that actually mimic a large tree.


Beautiful & Delicious Japanese Fruit Sandwich Recipe

July 27, 2020

The fruit sandwich, or fruit sando as we call it, is a Japanese specialty found all over Japan in bakeries, café, and even convenience stores. It is a sweet sandwich filled with fresh seasonal fruit and velvety whipped cream between two slices of pillowy white bread.  


How Many Did You Know? 9 Japanese Dog Breeds AKC Recognizes

July 20, 2020

When it comes to Japanese dog breeds, most people think of Shiba or Akita, but Japan has so many more wonderful dog breeds. We have brought together 9 Japanese dog breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club® and AKC Foundation Stock Service® so you can learn more about their history, habits, and unique personalities!


How to Cook Japanese-Style Roast Beef from 1 Beef Chuck Roast Cut!

July 14, 2020

Getting Started

The Beef Chuck Roast is a cross-cut section from around the shoulder part. It is a flavorful, and relatively affordable cut that offers a range of cooking options with its large size and versatility. I am sure you have at least one go-for Chuck Roast recipe for a family get-together or a dinner party!

However, the downside of this useful cut of meat is that it is made up of different types of muscles so when cooked as a whole, you are more likely to get irregular pieces – some tender and fatty, some chewy and lean, making it a challenge to chefs.


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