Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Onsen, hot spring in Nagano

Hello. This is Murasaki Japanese Institute.

Today, I would like to introduce onsen, hot spring in Nagano.
I think Onsen reminds you Hakone or Beppu in Fukuoka, however, there are a lot of onsen in middle of Hoshu like Nagano, Yamanashi prefecture.
Nagano is mountains area. You can enjoy nature green, autumn leaves, hiking and onsen.

There are many big onsen towns and small onsen towns. You can find information about big onsen towns in a lot of website like;

This is very nice website about Nagano.

This time, I would like to pick up a small onsen town, Yamada onsen. It is small town which has less than 5 ryokan, Japanese style inn, but, their hospitality is so nice.
For example, they has free bus tour in the morning to see Autumn leaves, beautiful water falls etc.
This is the picture to see one of the water falls.

And in another water falls, you can see it from back side of it.
There is a cave and you can go through it.

You can taste nice sake in dinner time.

They have big bath and small private bath which you can make reservation and use private 30 minutes. The view from there is so nice, autumn leaves etc.

Next day, they send you to Obuse station. You can enjoy Obuse town. 
There are a good path to walk around,

And there are nice restaurant;

Kamo nanban, backwheat noodle with duck meat,

Tofu full course lunch,
There are the tomb of Masanori Fukushima. He was one of samurai who was in the service of Hideyoshi Toyotomi.

Enjoy your trip in Nagano!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

“Chabako茶箱(ちゃばこa tea chest) Temae点前(てまえformalized manners of the tea)”

Hello! This is Murasaki Japanese Institute.
Our school teacher, Shimizu-sensei who is also an experienced tea master wrote about "Chabako Temae." Please enjoy the article.

 “Chabako” has been used for travels or tea ceremonies in the open air. The beginning of it was the portable box for tea ceremony utensils. In the Edo era, “chabako” was used frequently. However, it was used just as a portable box.

The current “temae” were designed by Gengensai, “Juichi-daime (the eleventh)” grand master of Urasenke (one of the tea ceremony schools). After him, Tantansai, “Juyon-daime (the fourteenth)” grand master added two more “temae”. There are 6 types of “chabako temae” in modern Japan, such as “(つき)moon”, “(ゆき)snow”, “(はな)flower”, “和敬(わけい)respect to peace”, “卯の花(うのはな)deutzia” and “色紙(しきし)colored paper.”
There are a lot of “temae.” However, “chabako temae” has different refinement far from the original “temae.”

Original tea ceremony starts from the state that utensils are already set. On the other hand, “teishu (a person who erves tea)”’s taking utensils out from “chabako” that stores them compactly is a process of tea ceremony in “chabako temae”. The process of taking utensils out gives guests a little bit different feelings of surprise and enjoyment from the original tea ceremony.

There are unique utensils for “chabako temae”, so let me introduce them.


We put sweets like small “konpeito(small colored sugar candy covered in gulges)” or beans in it.


We put clothes wiping teacups in it.


We put “chasen (bamboo tea whisk)” in it.

We use the above utensils. There are appropriate utensils for each of the 6 types of “chabako temae”, so we use appropriate utensils depending on the “temae”.
I explained that “chabako” was originally for outdoor. However, we often use it indoor recently, too. “Chabako” doesn’t need much space because it can restore tea utensils compactly. And it is refined. So there are a lot of people who love it, and not only experts in the tea ceremony.

Japanese Art of Tea Ceremony

 今日(きょう)のブログは、お茶会(ちゃかい)イベントの詳細(しょうさい)について 茶箱点前(ちゃばこ てまえ)について です。

 Today's blog topics are:

     Chabako(tea box) temae(procedures)

     Our spring tea ceremony

 Our school teacher, Shimizu-sensei who is also an experienced tea master wrote the below.



 “Chabako  temae" - Urasenke 


We have a variety of  serving style of the Japanese traditional tea. 

This Chabako temae is one of them. 

Chabako means tea box. Temae means procedures.

All utensils that necessary for serve of tea are in the box compactly. 

It's very cute and also convenient to carry around.

Therefore you can enjoy Japanese traditional tea not only in side but also out of doors cozily with  Chabako. 


And you can also enjoy Japanese sweets with tea. 



I'm sure that you would be interested in this and enjoy the Japanese traditional tea ceremony. 

 We hope that you will have a fun time!

We will hold "お茶会(ちゃかい) = a tea ceremony" at April 2nd at our school.
The details are:
Date: April 2nd (Saturday)
Time: 13:00 - 15:00
Place: Our school
Price: JPY1,500/person (includes tea and sweets)
 1. What is Japanese art of tea ceremony?
 2. How to drink tea and eat Japanese sweets?
 3. Let's have tea and sweets along what you learned!
 4. Let's make tea using a chasen (bamboo tea whisk)!
                                      *Minimum participants should be 4 people.
If you'd like to participate in the tea ceremony, please send us an e-mail to let us know your name and the number of participants.
We are looking forward to receiving e-mails from you about participating in this tea ceremony!


Thursday, January 1, 2015

お正月(しょうがつ) Oshōgatsu New Year’s Day

<正月(しょうがつ) Oshōgatsu New Year’s Day>


Do you know how Japanese people celebrate their New Year’s Day?
New Year’s Day is the most important holiday in Japan. Many special events
take place during the first three days.

Hatsumōde---Many people go to the shrine and temples wishing for the good
Fortune and good luck during the year ahead.

 People eat special food called Osechi ryōri (New Year’s special food)
   Osechi ryōri are beautifully arranged in the lacquer box called Jubako.
Each dish has some special meanings.


 Kuromame (black beans) 
    —working hard and become healthy.


Datemaki( egg omelet)
Because the shape looks like a scroll, it is
associated with scholarship.

   Kinton (sweet potatoes and chestnuts)
the word ‘kinton’ means golden dumplings, and the color looks like a gold.
    It is associated with treasure.

   Kobumaki (dried herring wrapped in seaweed)
the word ‘kobu’ means to be happy.

Tazukuri (dried sardines)
In ancient times, dried sardines were used for fertilizer for the rice field.
    Also Tazukuri literally translates as ‘making rice corps’. It is associated with
    Good harvest.

(かず)()--- 子宝(こだから)(めぐ)まれます。
    Kazunoko (herring roe)
        Herring roe contains a lot of eggs and the word ‘kazu’ means number and ‘ko’ means children. That means you are blessed with many children.


海老(えび)---- (なが)()きられます
      Because the shape of curved body, it is associated with longevity. Because when
people get older, their bodies are hunchbacked.

 Ozōni is a special soup eaten on New Year’s Day. Ingredients for Ozōni differ from region to region.

  関東(かんとう)Kanto style (clear soup) 

関西(かんさい) Kansai(white miso soup)

    We receive New Year’s Cards on New Year’s Day. The Chinese zodiac sign of the 2015   will be the year of the sheep ‘hitsuji’. So you will exchange many nengajo like Christmas cards with the picture of the sheep.


   We have placed ‘kadomatsu’ in pairs in front of houses to welcome year God and
      displayed ‘Kagamimochi’ for the offering to Year God.

 鏡餅(かがみもち) (かたち)(かがみ)()います。
 kagamimochi/mirror rice cake
The round shape looks like a mirror.

 Kadomatsu/pine decorations 

 Thank you for everything you did for us this past year.
Please have a good new year!

---- by Yada-sensei