Baek-il: 100 Days

Baek-il is a Korean celebration of a baby’s first 100 days of life. It is a big milestone for a baby to reach 100 days. Back in the day, babies would pass away because of illnesses and poor living conditions. Parents would try and avoid bringing their babies outside until they were 100 days old, since 100 days was a sign that babies would see their first birthday.

On baek-il, parents pray and worship the spirit Samshn. They offered rice and soup to the spirit to thank her for helping the baby and the parents through this difficult time period. Afterwards, family, friends, and relatives celebrate with rice cakes, fruits, and other treats. Usually during this celebration, the parents dress their baby in a traditional Korean hanbok.

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Japanese Bento Boxes

Japanese bento boxes are packed lunch boxes or takeaway containers that are made out of wood, plastic, or metal. Bento boxes are often filled with cooked rice, meats, fish, pickled and/or cooked vegetables, and egg. They are usually made by parents to give to their children for lunch in school or sold as takeaway foods from restaurants or train stations. These bento boxes are often nicely decorated and look very cute. I’m not exactly sure if I would be able to eat from the bento boxes if they looked this cute!

The Difference Between Korean Kimbap and Japanese Sushi

Korean kimbap and Japanese sushi look the same, but are they really the same thing? The answer is yes and no.

Japanese sushi consists of vinegared rice, which is combined with other ingredients like raw seafood and vegetables. Japanese sushi has various types. Some of these include:

makizushi, also known as norimaki (rolled sushi)              makizushi

nigirizushi (hand-pressed sushi)                                                      nigirizushi

chirashizushi (scattered sushi)                                        chirashizushi

inarisushi (pouch sushi) -fried tofu pouch filled with cooked vinegared riceinarizushi

oshizushi (box sushi)                                                   oshizushi

Korean kimbap is like a variant of Japanese norimaki. In kimbap, however, the rice is usually mixed with sesame oil. Kimbap usually contains rice, vegetables (carrots, kimchi, pickled radish, etc.), meat (beef, ham, crab, etc), and fried egg.

kimbap

 

 

Top Anime Words You Should Know

If you’re an anime fan, but don’t know any Japanese-here is a list of anime words you should know:

  1. anime Japanese animation/cartoon
  2. baka – stupid, fool
  3. chibi– small, short (characters)                                                          chibi
  4. gijinka – personification of animals or characters gijinka
  5. kawaii – cute
  6. manga – Japanese comic book
  7. neko – cat
  8. oishii – delicious
  9. onee-san/chan – older sister (-san is more formal as -chan is more affectionate)
  10. onii-san/chan – older brother (-san is more formal as -chang is more affectionate)
  11. otaku – someone who has an obsessive interest (anime, video games,  manga), usually a derogatory term
  12. sugoi – amazing, awesome
  13. sensei – teacher
  14. senpai – a person’s senior in occupation/school/etc.

 

Nabana no Sato: Japan’s Winter Wonderland of Lights

Enjoy winter without being in the snow! Located outside the city of Nagoya in Mie Prefecture, Nabana no Sato is a botanical garden that has been transformed from flowers to thousands of LED lights to create a winter wonderland. The beautiful landscapes the lights and flowers create make it great for couples and families to visit.

Nabana no sato tree

From November to March, you can walk through the illuminated gardens and tunnels once it gets dark. You first begin with the gardens. Once you walk through the illuminated garden, “The Sea of Clouds”, and crystal white archways, you feel like you have been teleported into your own fairytale.

nabana no sato garden

After the gardens, you will reach the tunnels. The glittering tunnels will seem like they are never-ending. Both tunnels are about 100 meters long and filled with millions of LED lights. The tunnels are most popular with young couples to stroll under the stars and take pictures.

nabana no sato tunnel

While walking to and from the gardens and tunnels, you can walk along the Kiso river and enjoy Japan’s biggest water illumination display. It is about 120 meters long that is outlined with interchangeable lights. The combination of the waterfall and lights create such a breathtaking site. Watch the rainbow flow with you as you go!

Nabana no sato river lights

The most popular attraction during the winter season at Nabana no Sato is the light show. Each year is a different theme. This year’s theme is Heidi. Previous themes included Mt. Fuji and Niagara Falls. You can watch the screen come to life as the show and music play right before you!

nabana no sato heidi

The light show attracts about a million visitors every year. The light show was created, because they wanted to have an attraction in winter as beautiful as their flowers in the spring. Visitors are usually local Japanese since Nabana no Sato is not a well-known attraction to people outside of Japan.

When I visited there about a month ago, Nabana no Sato really took my breath away. This was definitely one of my favorite places I visited and I recommend for anyone that will be in the Nagoya area to visit and experience this winter beauty.

Adventures to Nagoya and Kyoto

It’s been about a few weeks since I’ve came back from my trip to Japan and since school is canceled again because of the recent snowstorm, I decided to write about my trip.

Before even going to Japan, I had a layover in Beijing, China for 2 hours. Well that was a trip itself…While I was on my flight to Beijing, they decided to cancel my flight from Beijing to Nagoya due to the lack of people. So you can pretty much understand how worried and confused I was when I arrived to Japan. First off, you are not even allowed to stay in China for more than 3 days without a visa. Second off, I had to explain my situation to customs and the ticketing officers with the basic Chinese
I know which still led to confusion from the language barrier. And third off, trying to figure how and when I would be able to get to Japan while trying to find my suitcase.

All in all, after a few hours everything worked out. I found my suitcase, the airplane carrier I was traveling on was able to book me a (free) ticket and hotel room, and the next day I was able to fly to Nagoya.

*Note: when traveling, expect the unexpected. You’ll never know what will happen. Make sure you have enough money, a way to contact someone from home, and keep track of your belongings at all times.

When I finally made it to Japan and my friend picked me up, I felt like I was in a whole new world. Everything was in Japanese, smaller, and the very best-cuter. You could see mascots and pictures of famous anime characters from e.g. Pokemon or Love Live!

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We were around Nagoya for about a week and then spent about 2 days in Kyoto. Even though I was only there for about a week and a half, we were still able to see and plenty of things.

The first day we went to the aquarium in Nagoya. There I was able to see not only fish but seals, turtles, penguins, whales, dolphins, and some really ugly fish (and I mean ugly).

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Throughout the days in Nagoya, we did a lot of shopping, went to Nagoya castle, Nabana no Sato (a winter wonderland of lights, a science museum, and one of my all time favorites-the Pokemon Center.

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Before New Years, we visited Kyoto for about 2 days. Each day we went to about 3 different sites. This included Kiyomizu temple, Fushimi Inari-taisha, Kinkakuji temple, and Sanjusangendo (Buddhist temple with 1000 statues). On the way to all the places, there were vendors and souvenir shops all over the place. One of my favorite things I saw at most of the shops were the amount of kokeshi dolls. If you’re not sure what kokeshi dolls are then you can read about them in my blog post here:

https://christinathepolyglot.wordpress.com/2013/01/01/kokeshi-dolls/

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Visiting all the places was definitely a lot of fun. Another thing I enjoyed about being in Japan was the food. I was able to try so many different foods and desserts while I was there. And there’s so many I already miss eating. I tried tonkatsu (pork cutlet), okonomiyaki (vegetable pancake with meat and sauce), fried shrimp, loco moco (even though it’s technically Hawaiian), kishimen noodles with miso, different types of soups, real ramen with dumplings and rice, melon bread ice cream, cakes, strawberry cheesecake kit kat, and so much more!

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All in all you can say I had a great trip. I’m so lucky and thankful to have such a good friend (who’s like my twin) to allow me to stay with her and her family and show me around like she did.

Japan is definitely a great place to visit and I highly recommend to go if you ever get the chance!

The Land of the Rising Sun

In less than  one week, I will be going on my next adventure to-if you didn’t get it from the title-Japan!

Japan is also known as the Land of the Rising Sun since the Kanji (Chinese characters) for Japan-日本 (Nihon/Nippon)– literally means  “the sun’s origin. Then from “the sun’s origin” translates to “The Land of the Rising Sun. Also in the national flag of Japan, officially known as 日章旗 (Nisshoki), has a red circle representing the sun in the center of a white background.

Japanese flag

Anyways, I’ll be going to Japan for about a week and a half to visit a friend of mine I met in college. I’m really excited now, since the closest I’ve came to actually being in Japan was being in the Narita airport 3 years ago. This time I’ll actually be exploring in the cities of Nagoya and Kyoto-the food, the culture, and the language. The language part will be interesting since I decided to start learning Japanese this semester, so let’s see how that works out…