Winter Solstice
Touji “winter solstice”, is celebrated on 22nd December in Japan, which has the shortest day and the longest night in the northern hemisphere. Traditionally in China and Japan, this day is considered as the day sun has least power and recovers its power day by day.
On Touji, Japanese people have the custom of eating pumpkin and have a bath with “Yuzu” orange. Yuzu is a very sour citrus fruit with strong sharp fresh smell. Also, it is good for skin, warms you and protects from getting cold.
yuzu bath.jpg

Similarly, pumpkin is rich in vitamin A and carotene and protect us against cold. Besides pumpkin, some people say all the foods that end in (んn ) which is the last letter of hiragana order and people give the same meaning as the day of Touji or “winter solstice” will be lucky food to eat in this day. For example, Ninjin (carrot), daikon (Japanese white radish), Udon (thick white noodles), and other food.

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To sum up, it is not only a superstition, but also a way of taking more vitamins and staying healthy.

By: Ateffa Jalali
posted by :時の旅:みちくさスタッフ at 16:20 | Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | スタッフDiary | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする


Yalda night

The longest and darkest night of the year

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Yalda night is also called “shab chla”, as it marks the night opening and the initial forty-day period of the three months of winter. It is a night between the last day of autumn and the first day of winter on December 20 or 21, which is mostly celebrated in Iran and Central Asian countries such as Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Caucasian states such as Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Foods play a central role in this celebration. Watermelon, pomegranate, nuts and dried fruits are served as a tradition, because red color in these fruits symbolize the crimson hues of dawn.

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Mostly families gather in the house of the eldest member and stay awake till midnight to eat, drink, read poetry, and tell stories or anecdotes.
Another custom among some young engaged couples the men send edible arrangements of fruits and gifts to their fiancées’ and some girls return the favor by sending return gifts back to the man.
Last night was my first Yalda night celebrating with my husband and we had decorated our room with candle and lightnings and had a romantic candle light dinner. Through these small celebrations, we create best memories together.
(our room)


By: Ateffa Jalali
posted by :時の旅:みちくさスタッフ at 10:55 | Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | スタッフDiary | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする


Select Shop of Handicrafts

Meeting of gifted villagers in Nishimera

In one of the post I had written, that Nishimera village’s air must have an endowment of nurturing talents.
http://michikusan.seesaa.net/article/428577348.html. I will support that sentence by giving you more reasons to believe it.
In this meeting of 17th December in Nishimera office of Ai-road Inc, I met many talented and skillful villagers. The environment was very social and everyone started by introducing themselves and showing their handicraft they had made with patience, and dedication.


I was amazed by the skill of Mr. Keisuke Kuroki, who made a speaker from bamboo and a lantern from “Hozuki” which means physalis alkekengi also known as Chinese lantern, and strawberry ground cherry.

I was lucky enough to receive the Japanese lantern handicraft as a present. :)

Mr. Tomoyuki Tazume is another talented villager of Nishimera, who made awesome paper flowers and paper masks.


Well to surprise you I didn’t attend the opening just as an employee of Ai-road Inc. I displayed my paintings too. The sunset was liked by most and I was very happy that Mr. Sadakichi Kuroki, who is a great artist, http://michikusan.seesaa.net/article/428577348.html praised my painting.


He said, he could see a massage behind my paintings and I was glad he noticed it. He also liked the cherry blossom tree I painted with water color.


I have already posted about Ms. Momoko Kuroki’s impressive handicrafts (http://michikusan.seesaa.net/article/427512259.html), but it did worth reminding you again.


This time she also made materials for New Year and Christmas decorations. This new year if you want to decorate your home with your own skillful hands, you can use your talent using these materials.


By:Ateffa Jalali
posted by :時の旅:みちくさスタッフ at 14:50 | Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | スタッフDiary | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする



Giving life to flowers

Ikebana is a disciplined Japanese art of flower arrangement that connects nature and humanity. Ikebana or “Ikeru”, means “keep alive, arrange flowers, living” and “hana” means (flower).
It emphasizes on every part of the plants like stems, branches, mossleaves, stalks and flowers rather than just putting blooms of flowers in a container.
In fact, many aspects are taken into consideration in this art like color combination, natural shapes, and symbolizing a meaning of the arrangements.

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The asymmetrical form and use of empty space as an important feature of composition are what makes Ikebana different from flower arrangements.
Japanese have a close relationship with their natural surroundings.
Indeed, most of Japanese houses have some type of floral arrangements at home and they value Ikebana a lot. It is an art like painting and making sculptures.

By: Ateffa Jalali
posted by :時の旅:みちくさスタッフ at 14:23 | Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | スタッフDiary | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする


Do you enjoy your own company?

To experience peace doesn’t mean that your life is always blissful. It means that you are capable of tapping into a blissful state of mind amidst the normal chaos of a hectic life. (Jill Bolte Taylor)

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In today’s challenging life, we all run for success and work hard to get it. Sometimes we find success, and lose ourselves. During the rush and busy hours of your day, slow down for a while and look for your inner peace. In other words, dedicate at least ten minutes of your day and go out alone, switch off your phone and internet, breath deeply and enjoy your own company. Trust me, it won’t be a waste of time, rather you will feel inner growth and renewal.

Almost every day I spend few minutes of my lunch break listening to my heart, day dreaming, feeling the breeze, listening to birds' sound, watching the sky or simply being with myself while looking at the view of Oyodo River, which is a five minutes’ walk from our office.

You won’t believe what this ten minutes gives me in return. It inspires me, makes me feel content and look for beauty in small and usual things that I don’t even notice in other hours of the day. Thousands of thoughts and ideas cross my mind and I feel like I let out all the negative feelings out and take in all the positive charges of the nature.

By: Ateffa Jalali
posted by :時の旅:みちくさスタッフ at 14:31 | Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | スタッフDiary | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする


Usuki City

Visit the national treasures (Stone Buddhas) and try the exceptional cuisine



Usuki is a historical castle town located in a bay on the east coast of Oita Prefecture in Kyushu. It is famous for its stone Buddhas, which are sculpted into the walls of cliffs. Stone Buddhas are rare in Japan, as most of Buddha statues are usually made of wood or metal.
HAKKO travel agency is sponsoring a two days and one night trip, which is arranged by Ai-road Inc, (Michikusa Green Tourism and Consultancy Company) on 16th and 17th January. Try this adventurous trip to try the extraordinary taste of Fugo fish http://michikusan.seesaa.net/article/431027413.html , crabs, with Miso soy sauce and know more about old traditions and cultures of Japan.
(It costs 34000 yen per person and for more information you can contact Ai-road.Inc)

By: Ateffa Jalali
posted by :時の旅:みちくさスタッフ at 14:54 | Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | スタッフDiary | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする


Fugu Fish

Would you play a game with death and try the exceptional taste of fugu?


Fugu is the Japanese word for pufferfish, which can be poisonous due to its tetrodotoxin. Therefore, restaurants that prepare fugu, are strictly controlled by law and fugu chefs must earn a license to prepare and sell it to public.
It is available in most Japanese cities, so dont try cooking it at home, as it occasionally causes accidental death.
The luxury and thrill of eating wild-caught fish, prepared on-site has kept fugu lovers stick to this expensive cuisine.
Fortunately, Usuki, a town in Oita Prefecture, is famous for selling non-poisonous fugu, thus you are actually not risking your life and it is safe.


By: Ateffa Jalali
posted by :時の旅:みちくさスタッフ at 15:35 | Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | スタッフDiary | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする


Japanese tea ceremony

A spiritual and artistic pastime unique to Japan

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One of Japan’s well-known tradition, Japanese tea ceremony history goes back to 1000 years. It is called chanoyu, sado, or simply ocha, which is serving of Japanese green tea called, Matcha.
To balance the bitter taste of the tea it’s usually served with Japanese sweets.

The philosophy of tea ceremony or “the way of tea” is “harmony, respect, purity and tranquility. The tea room’s interior usually looks very simple and rustic. It is decorated with paintings, unique tea utensils, flowers, ceramics, calligraphy, etc.
It is not only about serving tea but its characterized by an appreciation of beauty and good taste or as it is said “preparing a bowl of tea from the heart”.
Even drinking the tea and returning the bowl to the host is done in a specific way with due respect.

The ultimate purpose of tea ceremony is obtaining deep spiritual satisfaction through drinking tea and long and thoughtful observation of simple and natural beauties.

It allows having a tranquil conversation in a Pleasant and relaxing room where the friendship of host and guest gets stronger.

Once in a while we all want such an environment to find inner peace, thus whenever you visit Japan don’t miss the tea ceremony.
japanese tea ceremony 2.png

By: Ateffa Jalali
posted by :時の旅:みちくさスタッフ at 13:56 | Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | スタッフDiary | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする



New Year’s parade of the firemen

Undeniably, Japan is a country of high technology, rich culture and art and New Year in Japan is bountiful of traditional festivals.
Dezome-shiki is a centuries-old classic New Year tradition that originated from firefighters in the Edo period (1603-1868).
Tokyo was called Edo and it was known as a city of fires. Indeed, a completely new firefighting system established after almost the whole city of Edo had burned down in 1657. Thus, the main purpose of this event is to display modern firefighting techniques and instill confidence to residence of Edo toward the new firefighting system. It also raises the morals of fire fighters.

The main attraction of the event is the breath taking ladder stunt which is accompanied with a traditional music. Firefighters dress in festival coats and perform acrobatic stunts on top of a bamboo tower being supported by a group of men, but without safety ropes.
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At the end, firefighters use hoses and shot jets of water into the sky, water-spraying from fire-trucks, boats and helicopters all at once.
By: Ateffa Jalali
posted by :時の旅:みちくさスタッフ at 13:21 | Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | スタッフDiary | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする


What if...

What if you receive a call and be informed about death of a family member. And you are far far away!!! ;(
You couldn’t see her or talk to her for the last time. You couldn’t take care of her when she was sick. When you close your eyes you see her and remember all the small stories of her. And you already start missing her warm shaking hands taking your hand and asking where you have been so long. I remember her waiting in front of the window to see when we came back from school. I remember her prayers for our exams. I loved her talking she gave so much detail that I could clearly imagine what she said! Her favorite topic was when I asked how my father was in his childhood. She could talk for hours about it! It is true that when we grow old we become a child again. I remember her innocence and kind heart.
I don’t remember her nagging at all, because unlike other grandmothers she never did.

I miss you grand ma and I pray for you!

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By: Ateffa Jalali
posted by :時の旅:みちくさスタッフ at 09:43 | Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | スタッフDiary | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする