Archive | September, 2012

TKE on hiatus

15 Sep

I’m sorry that I have to announce this finally but TKE goes on hiatus for several reasons.

1: Simply that I don’t have much free time to update it. I’d rather use that time for something different.
2: My interests have been changing from something kawaii to quite different things and themes.
3: I’ve been tired of SNS and outputting information. I may close down my facebook/twitter accounts in the near future so I keep in touch with those who contact me via email only.
4: I want to experience something different from what I’ve experienced in the past 4 years from blogging. I think it’s high time that I could allow new experiences into my life.

It was an interesting experience for me to get connected with the readers and made some good friends outside Japan.

Thank you for reading TKE blog. Without you, I was unable to experience what it’s like to blog and interact with people around the globe online, as well as to work with some international business owners and professional people.

It can be a short break or a long break or it’s possible this is going to be the very last post of TKE. I appreciate many offers of contributed posts to TKE, but without my writing a post at all and having guest post one after another is not a good idea after all. So I’d have to decline such offers unless I’m willing to produce more posts by myself.

It’s not the end of the world. I’m here in Japan and my contact remains the same for a while. Again, I personally don’t like SNS (such as Facebook or Twitter, but as to Youtube I like it 🙂 ) but I love email. I have ignored all the APPs and invitations on FB, no matter what. But I do my best to reply all the emails (except for sales pitch and spam or scam) that are addressed to me. Whether you agree or disagree it, that’s how I am. :p

It’s when I leave Japan that I may close down TKE. I’m eager to expand my possibilities outside Japan!!!! (Let me know if someone you know in your country is looking for a Japanese worker like me~~ lol)

Looking forward to growing friendship with some of you who truly accept the way I am as it is. 🙂
THANK YOU!

Kirin

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What is Wabi-Sabi? – A Westerner's Interpretation

10 Sep

This article is a guest post by Liam, on behalf of Housetrip.com; take in the culture in style with apartment rentals in Barcelona, New York and around the world.

===Guest Post starts from here===

CC Via Flickr

If most westerners were asked the question:
“What is wabi-sabi?”
Most of the time they would simply reply:
“Isn’t it the really hot green Japanese mustard you put on your sushi?”
Nice try, Westerner. However, that green spicy horseradish named ‘Wasabi’ (which when eaten can feel like a small ninja has kicked you in the nose) is completely different to the Japanese concept of ‘Wabi-Sabi’. Wabi-Sabi is the Japanese view of the world based around the concepts of transience and imperfection. Key to Wabi-sabi is the idea of aesthetic, which is derived from ancient Buddhist teachings – that beauty is not always perfection; it can be far from it.

Wabi & Sabi
As a Westerner trying to get to grips with wabi-sabi, it’s important you understand where the words come from. The words wabi & sabi were not always linked. In Japan, certain individuals think that the two words should have their own space, separately wabi and sabi, which is down to both words having their very own distinct identities:

Wabi
Derives from the word ‘wa’. In Japenese, ‘wa’ connotes thoughts of harmony peace & balance. Originally the word ‘wabi’ meant sad, desolate and lonely; but in more coming-of-age poetic & artistic terms the words now means simple, free, at one with nature & purposely humbled. A phrase that sums up wabi is:


CC Via Flickr

“The joy of the little monk in his wind-torn robe”
Someone who is wabi would be embodying the Zen concept; to be happy with little to nothing, to not be tied down to materialistic objects’ allowing to be freed from gluttony, sloth and anger.

Sabi


CC Via Flickr

The word sabi on its own directly translates as ‘the bloom of time’. Fundamentally what this is means is that beauty is a fleeting concept – something which now sparkles will indeed grow rust in time. sabi cannot be bought or be given as a present; it is simply the gift which time brings. So, understanding now the history behind the words – when is an object wabi-sabi? Simple, when an object’s use and beauty are the are the only things attached to it; when an objective is enjoyable to use and that you have a deep respect for also.

A good example of wabi-sabi would be an old handmade heirloom which has been handed down through multiple generations which you would still use on occasion. A beautifully intricate handmade pocket watch would be a great example, as it has been built with immense detail from scratch completely from hand; resonating with the heart and hands of the watchmaker.

CC Via Flickr

Loved ancient family photos would have an essence of wabi-sabi about them. The reason for this is that with an old family photo, the deep historical connection you have with it transcends the physical.

Rules of Wabi-Sabi
Even though an object may appeared old & weathered, but unless it is possesses cleanliness it is not wabi-sabi. The Japanese have a thing for cleanliness; it is a mark of respect – wherever you are. If a beautiful object has decayed and is inhabited by rot and insects; it is not deemed within wabi-sabi. However, if an ancient artefact which has been used frequently and has survived the test of time – it is indeed wabi-sabi.

For westerners it is hard to abide by the ways of wabi-sabi; we are constantly the subject of advertising barrages instructing us that we need a new Porsche, sofa or a set of sparkly white teeth. Yes in a Western world it is difficult to avoid all the ‘evils’ which are pushed upon us, so if trying to find wabi-sabi we must simply find a way to escape it; to find a sanctuary from all life’s distractions. Whether that is a looking at a picture of your great grandmother, taking a walk round place you used to play as a child – or even putting your four year old’s macaroni artwork from class on the fridge.

Wabi-Sabi is all around you, you just need to slow your life right down to see it.
===end of the post===

Kirin’s opinion:
Wow! Wabi-Sabi is definitely a difficult concept even for us Japanese. That’s because it’s an idea that Japanese people used to have long time ago and nowadays most of us have forgotten it. It’s not only westerners that are pushed to buy things. Many of us in Japan live a similar life style to westerners nowadays. With Wabi-Sabi thought, living minimal should be OK. But look at our life today. Most of us are having hard time throwing things away among too many unnecessary goods and information around all the time. lol

I think Wabi is from Wabishii (adjective, meaning poor or desolate) and Sabi is from Sabishii (adjective, meaning sad). But Google “Wabi-Sabi example” in Japanese and you’ll find many Japanese people asking what Wabi-Sabi actually means with specific examples. It shows how that concept is not common nowadays in Japan. Thus, please don’t be appalled at me when I have to say I can’t add any insightful comment to this post from a Japanese point of view. lol

Thank you Liam for your great challenge trying to explain such a difficult concept and sorry for my poor knowledge and understandings to it. Being Japanese doesn’t help anything! lol 😀 hahaha!!

Adventurous Family Holidays Abroad – Whether To Europe Or Japan!

7 Sep

This article is a guest post by Shannen Doherty who writes regularly on family holidays abroad for a range of travel websites and blogs.

===Guest Post starts from here===
This article looks at the holiday possibilities available for adventurous families and groups looking to travel to new overseas locations. We look at the rise in popularity of ‘offroad’ and adventurous travel and suggest some destinations to explore!

Why Adventure Holidays Abroad For Families?
Just because you have children, doesn’t mean you have to compromise on your holidays! In fact, more families than ever are exploring exciting and adventurous new options for vacations overseas, that match their interests, allow them to learn and develop new skills, as well as bonding together as a family through shared experiences and memories. With well chosen destinations, the right travel company and plenty of planning (not to mention a sense of humour!) it is entirely possible nowadays to take the entire family around the world and come back with memories to last a lifetime!

Destinations In Europe Or How About Japan?
The diversity of Europe makes it ideal for family holidays abroad. You can learn about new cultures, discover fresh landscapes, meet local people and even try new sports. With the right travel company, the hard work is taken out of your hands and you can focus on spending time with your children and relaxing together. All family trips run by organised operators will state a minimum age and you will find a range of options that cater for all ages, from tiny toddlers to demanding teens! There are also holidays devised particularly for the teenage market, as well as mixed options for families with children of different ages.

Popular options include Italy and the Bay of Naples for culture and relaxation, Barcelona for culture and the city beach, Greece for its beautiful coast and excellent family resorts, Ireland for horseriding holidays, France for canoeing, walking and food vacations and Germany for the beautiful countryside and picturesque villages of the Rhineland. Morocco is also fanstatic fun with its camel rides, desert jeep rides, bustling markets and beautiful hammams.

Don’t forget winter holidays either. Slovakia is ideal for winter tours, offering dog sledding, sleighing and skiing and the Alps is popular for activity weeks all year round. In winter you can luge, toboggan, board and ski and in summer you can hike, walk, cycle and even paraglide, in the most beautiful of environments. There are also plenty of spas available for parents who wish to relax!

Or why not head further afield than family adventure holidays in Europe and consider a cultural holiday in Japan? See the incredible buzz and pace of Tokyo, visit ancient temples in Osaka, see the Hiroshima Peace Park, ride the famous bullet train and experience the wonder of Kyoto. You will find welcoming people, ancient cultures, delicious food and incredible history and landscapes to experience in this hugely diverse country.

In conclusion, there are plenty of options for families to look at, for tailored and unique holidays that match their requirements, regardless of destination. Broaden your minds when considering destinations, but opt for providers with good feedback from other travellers and accreditations in the travel industry. You will also find that the best prices tend to be reserved away from the main school seasons, but you can still get good deals by booking well in advance, negotiating with your travel agent or being flexible about departures and accommodation.

===end of the post===

Kirin’s opinion:
I’d suggest more and more people visit Japan! Our country is very small but it’s got a lot of diversity to offer. Each region has its specialty food and cuisine, which are generally good. You can explore skiing in Hokkaido while you can enjoy a tropical weather and scuba diving in Okinawa. Even in a big city like Tokyo, you can see skyscrapers and a temple so close each other. The good news for foreign tourists is that they can purchase Japan Rail Pass and travel throughout Japan by bullet train very reasonably. (This rail pass is only available for foreign tourists and not for Japanese residents like me!)

Only if there’s a problem, it’s that signs are not always written in English. Important announcement such as to notify delay or change in a train is not served in English. Most of Japanese people are too shy or unwilling to communicate in English. (But we are very happy to help those who try to make themselves understood in some basic Japanese.) I hope Japanese government makes more effort to enhance the service for foreign tourists. ^ ^;;