Ikebana 生け花

Ikebana, like tea ceremony, is more than art, but an integral part of Japanese culture. It is a discipline, taking years to master, yet practiced by millions who would attempt it. Unlike the more Western styles of floral design which focus more on color, ikebana focuses more on arrangement. Arrangements range from extremely minimal to…

Spring Window Display

The changing seasons in Japan are heralded by retail shops in the content of their window displays. The cherry blossom obviously plays a huge role in representing the coming of Spring, and color palettes often change to reflect the colors of these gorgeous blooms. Pastel shades of pink, off-white and green are traditionally used, and…

判子 Hanko

Unlike Western cultures which typically use a signature to validate an official document, Japan uses a stamp, called a hanko 判子to make a document official. There is very little you can do as a resident of Japan without one, so hanko is on the short list of things to buy when you arrive. Fortunately, hanko are…