Japan is a land of incredible diversities. It is a country of beauty and prosperity, a façade that grows only better as you discover more. A nation of blazing neon lights and snowcapped mountains, vast coasts and magical valleys.
Japan is widely known for its traditional arts as well as modernized pop culture. Its society today is very much influenced by the traditional old world hundreds years back, a time with warriors and samurais, with Gods and princesses all residing in the folklore.
However, the island of Japan is also in a continual state of rapid flux. It is able to modernize itself with time and before any other country in the world. They have a continual incoming of new fashion and trends. They are technologically very advanced and each new discover they perform is just a means to push away their own limits.
Nevertheless, the Japanese people are a very proud clan, they are proud of their culture and tradition. While you will see those developing new things every second, they still hold their cultural beliefs above everything else. You will still find Japanese women clad in beautiful kimonos with a dazzling obi around the waste with a flower pattern umbrella overhead. You will never fail to spot their most traditional sport, the sumo wrestling going on someplace or the other.
Japan is a land that has advanced in many aspects of technologies as well as value their unique social customs, refined visual and performing arts. There is so much more to this rich cultural heritage than what meets the eye. Travel to the Far East and discover the secrets of The Land of The Rising Sun.
Japanese Cultural Ceremonies :
The Japanese perform a lot of ceremonies all year round. Out of them, the most famous ones are the Japanese Tea Ceremony and the Japanese Wedding.
A Japanese tea Ceremony is a traditional ritual that uses matcha or powdered green tea and cha-no-yu or the hot water. The person performing the tea ceremony is usually a woman, who needs to be well versed with the tradition. She wears a beautiful kimono, especially for the ceremony; is familiar with calligraphy, ikebana or flower arranging, ceramics, incense and a wide range of other traditional items. The ceremony takes a lot of time to cover, with vivid gestures and intense postures. Even the guests should be well versed with the gestures. The Japanese Tea Ceremony is not just a custom, it’s a highly developed form of art that needs years of practice with several schools just to teach you the various techniques of performing the ceremony.
As for the Japanese wedding ceremonies, they are considered the most auspicious events of all. It’s a big family event where the man and the bride is married off at a Shinto shrine. The most auspicious time for weddings is usually autumn and spring, especially because the Sakuras or the cherry blossoms are at full bloom.
Japanese Cultural Festivals :
Masturi is the word that is used in Japan to denote “festivals”. The most auspicious Japanese festival of them all is Shogatsu or the Japanese New Year. It is a cultural as well as a family traditional event where everyone in the family is dressed in beautiful kimonos and visits the nearest shrine. Friends, family, and relatives everyone gets together for this festival as they bid the present year a happy goodbye and welcome the new year with warm hearts. The elders gift their children, nephews and nieces with otoshidama or special allowances that are usually used to buy new toys. The spirit of the entire community sings for the home coming of prosperity and good fortune.
Bon Odori Festival is a festival of the Summer. It is where you dance to your hearts delight and celebrate happy times. The Japanese people know how to make the most of everything and Bon Odori is the proof of that. People come together, sing and dance in delightful yukatas, play the drums no matter what age they are and enjoy ‘just being there.’
Other festivals also include the Shichi Go San Festival where the parents celebrate the growing up of their children to 3, 5 and 7 years and the Japanese Christmas celebrated the traditional way. There are many other festivals held all across the year in Japan; some of the noteworthy ones are Aoi, Hadaka, Gion, Kanamara, Jidai etc.
Japanese Modern and Traditional Sports :
The Japanese people are also extremely fond of their sports, especially traditional ones. They form a basic fabric of the Japanese culture where children are meant to join in one or more sports club in their school years. These help in instilling a sense of camaraderie, pride, hard work and dedication in the heart of the young ones. Sports like Sumo, kendo, karate, aikido and judo are the most famous forms of sport and attract hundreds of participants as well as audiences every year.
However, sports like football, basketball, tennis, volleyball are also mainstream games for the Japanese individuals.